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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Ivashanko

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Hey everyone!

I've been pretty since I'm less than a month into a half-way-'round-the-world kinda move (which I do somewhat often but its still busy) so things will be a little slow for the next two or so weeks. That being said I do have another update on the way, this time featuring the troubles of the Rising Sun.

Just a few questions I wanted to ask you all: what would be a good name for another (but Japanese dominated) Chinese Dynasty? I can think of a few okay ones, but I'm sure someone out there will come up with something better than what I have.

Was there any Han pretender to the throne by 1950, Ming or otherwise? Or any Han who would be somewhat accepted as Emperor? If not I guess I could use a Manchu again.

Also, is there a historical parallel to a anti-rightist alliance like the one seen in northern South America? The names I've come up with seem painfully inorganic, and if there was something I could model a name off of it'd be useful.

Will the radical left have any more part to play? They seem to be a lot less extreme than in our time line and in other aars on this board. Less Amerosul and more Yugoslavia. And it almost looks like the far-right is more dangerous than the left in this world, wonder how that's gonna turn out.
The Radical Left is simply disorganized, but they still have a part to play. And yes, I'm trying to avoid overt Stalinist/Maoist parallels. Part of that is simply because the Syndicalists in this world chose very moderate, reforming, and pragmatic options. The British and Italians were radical-leftists instead of Syndicalists, the Italians were accommodating to the church, Centroamerica (I believe) peacefully became a social democracy, the left allowed the monarchy to survive in the Ukraine, and Totalist Columbia allied with strongly democratic Venezuela. That isn't to say the left is entirely without its fanatics: the second Russian Revolution was bitter and extremely destructive, for instance, but on the whole the far-right (both in its monarchist and republican factions, and even a theocratic aspect in Papal Italy) seems like it will be the more dangerous to the current world order. The base KR mod in many ways doesn't have very cohesive radical (as opposed to fundementalist or reactionary) right-wing threats, so this will be something of a change from many AARs (at least among the ones I've read). I hope it plays out well.
 
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Razgriz 2K9

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Well, besides the Aisin Gioro family that made of the Qing ruling dynasty, there was also Zhu Rongji, who's is descended from the Ming Dynasty and was the Shangqing supported pretender.

In addition there were the Holy Dukes of Yen/Duke Yansheng (Republican China's Sacrificial Official to Confucius) which as the latter title provides are titles held by the descendants of Confucius. At the time of Kaiserreich and during the era of which your AAR is set, the current Duke Yansheng is Kung Te-cheng.
 

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Well, besides the Aisin Gioro family that made of the Qing ruling dynasty, there was also Zhu Rongji, who's is descended from the Ming Dynasty and was the Shangqing supported pretender.

In addition there were the Holy Dukes of Yen/Duke Yansheng (Republican China's Sacrificial Official to Confucius) which as the latter title provides are titles held by the descendants of Confucius. At the time of Kaiserreich and during the era of which your AAR is set, the current Duke Yansheng is Kung Te-cheng.
I'm always amazed by your dynastic knowledge :p

Anyway I wonder how long can Austria enforce its will on the world. I hope the whole thing will blow up soon :p
 

Razgriz 2K9

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My only regret, dunno if any other dynasties existed, outside of those three. Would be cool to have a distant descendant of the Shun or the Tang as Emperor.
 
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Ivashanko

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Well, besides the Aisin Gioro family that made of the Qing ruling dynasty, there was also Zhu Rongji, who's is descended from the Ming Dynasty and was the Shangqing supported pretender.

In addition there were the Holy Dukes of Yen/Duke Yansheng (Republican China's Sacrificial Official to Confucius) which as the latter title provides are titles held by the descendants of Confucius. At the time of Kaiserreich and during the era of which your AAR is set, the current Duke Yansheng is Kung Te-cheng.
This was very useful, thanks!

Do you/anyone else think a dynasty named the 'Bian Dynasty' (transformation change) would be acceptable? My Mandarin is coming along, but I'm in no way capable of judging whether or not something would make a good name for a Chinese dynasty or not.
 

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"More mercenary groups?" Jan Krause heard the little boy ask his mother as they marched on past. Krause smiled at the little boy and handed him a lollipop. Brave lad, that one. Most of the people just slunk away when his group walked past, but this one came up to them bold as you please and dragged his mother alongside him.

The Cantonese really hated them here, Krause knew, but he didn't hate them. Well, most of them anyways. There were always the local girls in the cities and villages who knew how to give a man a good time, but he didn't like how they gave his men issues that lingered for years. And the intellectuals, the nationalist ones anyways, were always preaching how mercenaries like him were stripping the fat from the land and burning it all down. Which was shit, of course. Krause knew that without mercenaries the AOG would disappear in a month.

Sure, every once in a while an armed European group would go rouge and set up their own little kingdom somewhere in China, but usually the local warlords would make a deal or slaughter them and they wouldn't be much of an issue anymore. And anyways, wasn't this all supposed to be a big Empire by now? The 'new Chinese Empire', or whatever the Japanese were calling it? Absurd men, those Japanese. Krause looked forward to facing them in battle.

Krause took out a small 'Donitz' pamphlet that he found in a fallen comrade's pocket and began reading it. A lot of the boys only came here after the Austrian Invasion and there was not a one of them who cared for the the Hapsburgs. Line after line of graphic descriptions of the horrors of Austrianism, Catholicism, and Papism made him smile; he'd become somewhat immune to propaganda during his time in the AOG.

A commotion up ahead drew his interest. Feeling uneasy, Krause began hustling over, but a sharp shock of pain tore though his leg. He fell to the ground and looked at his foot in shock; he'd been shot, not once but twice. "Damn mines" he swore as he crawled over to cover. His men reacted to the attack just as they had been trained to. They located the enemy, fixed them with superior firepower, and cleared the objective with a secondary team.


Long after the battle was over, long after Krause saw the faces of one of his dead friends, a small boy arrived at the mercenaries' camp and handed him a message. Reading it with one hand focused on keeping the bandages covering his leg intact, Krause looked back at the boy, pulled out a gun, and shot him in the head. Krause looked at this rest of his men, sighed, and knew today was the day he died.

"They are coming."


The Conference of Beijing

It would be difficult to find a country in the first half of the 20th century that played its hand better than Japan. In 1900 it was little more than a prestigious Asian country, considered backwards and barbaric by the civilized states in the West. By 1949 it was a roaring dragon, conquering island after island and city after city. Its economy had grown substantially due to the imports it received from its puppets in China and elsewhere, and its alliances kept it from being isolated internationally. The Emperor Hirohito had at his command the largest navy in the world and an island that suffered from neither Syndicalist unrest nor Republican fervor.

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The Emperor Hirohito and the Empress Kojun had spent much of the twentieth century as effective pawns of the military. In the 1930s and 40s the Emperor was able to use his immense popularity- which boarded on outright deification- and the military intra-personal conflicts to become one of the most significant players in Japanese politics.

This might seem obvious in retrospect, but Japan's strength in 1949 was significantly overstated by many analysts of the era. China remained a hotbed of sectarianism and nationalism, and the mass majority of the Japanese forces there were in a constant struggle with the partisans in the region. Warlords dominated much of Japanese controlled China, and their allegiance to Tokyo was fragile at the best of times. To the south of the Fengtian Republic was the AOG, which had against all odds achieved a form of independence from its corporate masters in Berlin, Vienna, and Petrograd. Tokyo feared that one strong push by revolutionaries would topple the AOG's government and unleash a whirlwind that would destroy everything the Japanese had worked for.

upload_2015-9-5_1-36-18.png
Japan has gone to war twice with China in the past fifteen years. The first conflict was against the Fengtian Republic, which had declared independence while Japan was busy fighting Korean and Taiwanese Independence movements. The second was the outright conquest of the Qing, a conflict which is typically considered part of the Third World War since Japan only felt confident enough to attack the Chinese when Beijing's ally, Germany, was under attack by Austria and France. Many in Tokyo fear that their allies in China might one day again be bold enough to demand independence.

To the north and the west was Russia and her allies, constantly alert for signs of weakness in the Empire. Russia's commercial contacts in the AOG and its alliance with the warlords of the Yun'an Clique made outright support of Chinese nationalists unlikely, but Petrograd never backed away from its claim on Vladivostok. The Black Baron himself, Pyotr Wrangel, gave a speech during the height of the Invasion of France calling for reunification with Transamur, which was something that was utterly unacceptable to both the Emperor and the leader of Transamur, Gregory Semyonov.

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The White Army General Gregory Semyonov became convinced that Kolchack's dictatorial measures were the only thing that could save Russia from both Leninist traitors and German imperialism. After Kolchak's administration retreated to the Transamur, Semyonov was declared a traitor by Alexander Kerensky. Kerensky desperately needed German industrial and military support to defeat the Communists, and saw anti-German nationalists as an existential threat. After a democratic revolution toppled Kolchack from power Tokyo forced Transamur to reinstall a military government with Semyonov as the head of the government. Semyonov's rule was weak; his own people longed for independence from Japan and either a return to the Russian Empire or the creation of a democratic Republic, and Kolchack remained in Transamur with the backing of a large section of the Transamur military.

Japan's industrial base was the smallest of the four powers, and many intellectuals stated publicly that their naval superiority would not last long now that the world was mostly at peace. Most immediately the leaked documents from the Commonwealth Forum proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the British wished to once again control all of India. Though not a mortal threat, many in Japan feared a revived British Empire would once again meddle in the affairs of Asia. The chief of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Toko Hideki, hastily called for their own alliance's conference to deal with the crisis.

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The first issue brought up during the convention was what should be the Co-Prosperity Sphere's chief foreign objective in the upcoming years. After considering trying to take the rest of Europe's islands in the region (including, shockingly, Australasia) and trying to unite Indochina under Thai control, Japan and her allies in the Fengtian Republic convinced the other delegates that all of their futures lay in a supportive and unified China.

upload_2015-9-5_1-38-36.png
Let the bodies hit the floor.

By early 1949 it had become obvious that Russia and Austria were in danger of stretching their limited resources too thin. In early February Austria finally put down the most flagrant terrorism of the early White Terror, while Petrograd's inability to capture the Baltic Duke after Russia had annexed the country humiliated the Tsar and brought international scorn on Russia's intelligence service. Hirohito and his top military adviser, Tojo Hideki, felt that they would never be offered a greater chance to finish their conquest of China.



upload_2015-9-5_1-39-18.png
The escape of the Baltic Duke Adolf Friedrich I to Finland was one of the more romantic and exciting events of 1949. The Duke was smuggled out of a heavily armed Russian military camp onto a Finnish submarine. They somehow transported around the ice sheets, avoided a Russian marine that was specifically looking to stop the Duke's escape via submarine, and successfully landed on the southern shores of Finland. To this day no one is sure how exactly the Great Escape occurred, though that hasn't stopped Napoli from producing dozens of well-regarded films on the subject. The Baltic citizens for their part saw this as a sign that God was on their side in the struggle, and a legend was born that the Duke would return to the Baltics when the land was purged of sin.

To help succeed in this goal, the Japanese reached out to their old friends in Holland. While Hirohito prided himself on his anti-imperialist rhetoric, the Dutch had through trade and diplomacy slowly found themselves to be the only Europeans trusted on the Islands. This strategy had worked wonders; just a few months before in late 1948 the Japanese helped the Dutch capture and execute several French and native Syndicalist spies operating in Indonesia. The Japanese wanted to utilize the economic capabilities and raw resources of Indonesia, and the Dutch were more than happy to accept a partnership into the Co-Prosperity Sphere on behalf of their financially-troubled colony.


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To be clear this is not an alliance. Dutch Indonesia is now involved in the economic side of the Co-Prosperity Sphere, not the military side.

upload_2015-9-5_1-40-36.png
The Dutch East Indies were troubled colonies, its inhabitants still furious by the joint Japanese-Dutch crackdown on suspected Syndicalists. Dutch politicians debated whether or not to make Indonesia a proper federal state or an autonomous region while nationalists clashed with colonial police.

This agreement would have long lasting consequences. Hata Shunroku, head of Hirohito's air force, utilized a loophole in the Treaty of the Eastern Air Forces that allowed him to send planes to spy on Delhi, Burma, and the Russian-aligned warlords. Though the Dutch had little to do with this, their coming conflict with Russian backed Indonesian nationalists would be in large part because of Japan's abuse of Dutch airfields. Shunroku was, coincidentally, something of a colleague of mine; when I wrote a book discussing the continued political dominance of the Shizoku-Samurai in Japan I corresponded with Shunroku who was one of the leaders of the hierarchical class. His tactic of using overwhelming air power to bomb enemy armies and cities into oblivion became a major reason why the man was latter assassinated by the Yun'an Clique.

upload_2015-9-5_1-41-47.png
The warlords of China held de-jure power over much of China during the first half of the 20th century. By 1949 many of them had either allied with or been destroyed by the Japanese, but several were able to escape with some of their men to the Yun'an Clique, a Russian-aligned military junta that welcomed Chinese dissidents and warlords into its ever growing ranks. The brutal tactics of many of these warlords' armed forces and their constant fighting in the territory controlled by the Clique gave rise to the belief that the nation was a body "where the lungs are in a permanent state of war with each other".


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China in 1949. Nine powers are in the region, and every major alliance is heavily involved.

The final act of the Beijing Conference was the most monumental. Tojo announced that the Emperor and his wife had made a surprise visit to the city which caused the entire conference to rise to their feet. The Emperor had not visited China for seven long years, and his presence in Beijing was seen as giving a great honour to the city. Minutes latter Hirohito, standing next to his entire cabinet, announced the birth of the Luan Dynasty. Emperor Kung Te-cheng would be the first ruler of the Chinese Empire reborn.

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Kung Te-cheng, Holy Duke of Yen and a 77th generation descendant of the great philosopher Confucius, was taught by his father and mother (shown above) to be a patriot above all else. Though Kung Te-cheng was not enamored with the Japanese, he feared that without Tokyo's support China would never be free of foreigners and barbarians. He would latter call his acceptance of the throne a 'necessary deal with the island ghosts'.

As the delegates roared their approval, the people of the city celebrated the end of Republican and xenophilic rule, as Zhang Xueliang, leader of the Fengtian Republic, was known to openly sympathize with foreigners and Christianity. The celebrations spiraled into violence as the southern Han began attacking known Republicans in the capital.

upload_2015-9-5_1-43-25.png
The riots in the foreign sections of the city were particularly fierce. The republican Han, the Manchus, and the foreigners found themselves banding together to face the ferocity of the southerners, an alliance which deeply unnerved the Japanese.

The new Chinese Empire's claim to be the legitimate ruler of all of China was seen internationally as the aggressive and militaristic statement it was. The feudal theocracy of Tibet drew closer to its supporters in Moscow, an action that endangered its relations with its southern Entente-supporting neighbors. Mongolia's reactionary far right populist government declared that as the successor of the Yuan Dynasty its emperor was the rightful Emperor of all China. Tsar Vladimir Romanov must have been amused when he found out that his Mongolian puppets announced him the rightful heir to the Chinese Imperial Throne, but his refusal to accept the title was seen as 'pragmatic' and that 'this action once and for all proves the great Tsar's dedication to peace'. The New Imperial Times, New York, March 1949

The Yun'an Cliques response was far more violent. Within days a massive force of multiple warlords collectively began raiding neighboring territories. The warlord's threat only ended during the Butchering in Xi'an. The start of the battle saw the warlords' force encircling and cutting down multiple units of the Chinese Empire. Without an army to defend them the citizens of the city fled en masse and found themselves being literally cut to pieces by horsemen. Entire city blocks were burnt to the ground, and the local banks and treasuries were overrun. This story has something of a happy ending. Had the warlords simply destroyed the enemy and fled they would have avoided vengeance. For after two days of heavy fighting Japanese divisions began to arrive. The warlords' armies, untrained and unready to deal with professional soldiers, were quickly eradicated.

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The Japanese commander during the battle of Xi'an, Prince Kan'in Kotohito, was a strong proponent of gas warfare. The warlords' forces were unable to successfully respond to such a tactic and many of their affected troops were easily picked off by elite soldiers specifically trained to fight in such conditions. Coincidentally, the battle also is credited with unearthing the Terricota Warriors after an explosion uncovered some in a nearby field.

The proclamation started a crisis for the AOG. The corporate giant was, technically, subordinate to the Chinese Emperor. The AOG had always acknowledged Puyi as the rightful Emperor, something that continued even after the Japanese conquest of the Qing Empire. The AOG was forced to decide between the Emperor living in Xiamen and the Emperor ruling in Beijing. The arguments between the factions that supported appeasing the extremely powerful Japanese and declaring their own rival Emperor (the 'anti-Emperor', as impish Papal wags called Puyi) became increasingly bitter. Both sides recognized that if Puyi was given power that it would be effectively a declaration of independence, something the company had refused to do even though foreign oversight of its activities had ceased to exist.

upload_2015-9-5_1-49-1.png
John Rabe, leader of the faction supporting Puyi. Rabe had spent a lot of time helping deepen economic and social ties between the people of southern and northern China. He was banned from entering northern China by the provisional government after he personally stopped Japanese troops from preforming 'anti-partisan activities' in Nanjing and other cities.

In Japan itself the news was met with mixed emotions. Many trusted and believed in Hirohito implicitly, and refused to question his actions. Others were angered that the title given was 'Emperor', which theoretically put him on the same social latter as their own Emperor. Any many were concerned that a united China would once again threaten to break free of Japanese dominance.

upload_2015-9-5_1-49-14.png
A Syndicalist poster mocking the growing number of Emperors in the world.

Hirohito was not unaware of the threat a united China posed. In order to keep the Chinese Emperor from achieving a state of military power that could threaten the Japanese army, Tokyo split off the western provinces and created a new Western Kingdom under the Ming pretender Zhu Rongji, a man hated by his people due to his support of the Shangqing. The Western King would in theory answer to the Emperor in China, but the Japanese created the kingdom's constitution to have crucial, irreconcilable difference with the constitution of the Chinese Empire, difference that Tokyo hoped would keep them locked in acrimony and reliant upon Japan. In time Japan hoped to create a southern kingdom, a northern kingdom, and a kingdom based around Chengdu.

upload_2015-9-5_1-50-23.png
The Western Kingdom's constitution gives only limited influence to the Western King and real power to the Japanese 'advisers'.

As the conference wound to a close, troubling reports from overseas had begun to reach Japanese ears. Yemen had descended into chaos as its hated leader, commonly called 'al-Djinn', attempted to abolish the painfully limited democratic reforms enacted in the past decade. An anti-Axis pact had been signed by forces in the Levant with the intent of kicking Egypt out of the region. Soldier protests in Africa had brought the forces of the Eighth Coalition in a state of near panic. The mysterious Guo Zhen (who would become a flee in the Japanese' porridge) had released a manifesto denouncing royal authority over China regardless of whether the leader was Manchu or Han. Most ominously Otto von Hapsburb, in reaction to the Commonwealth Forum and the Beijing Conference, formally usurped the mantle of responsibility from the Kaiser and declared Mittleuropa reborn.
 

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Xie

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The base KR mod in many ways doesn't have very cohesive radical (as opposed to fundemental or reactionary) right-wing threats, so this will be something of a change from many AARs (at least among the ones I've read). I hope it plays out well.
Um...what about Wrangel?
 

Ivashanko

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Um...what about Wrangel?
I haven't played as Russia since KR for HOI2, so its been a long time and many iterations ago so maybe it has changed since then but I don't recall Wrangel being that revolutionary. Does a revolutionary far right Russia get the chance to ally with nations with a similar political outlook? If so I know what my next game is going to be!
 

Harbin

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Who downvotes an AAR post? :eek: What a jerk!

Liked this post. Looking forward to the Qing Emperor of the AOG fighting the Holy Emperor of the northern Chinese Empire! (Let the bodies hit the floor, lol) ;)

What's going on in South America? Liked the idea of a pragmatic anti-right alliance.

Also congrats on getting the AAR writer of the week award! That's awesome news.
 
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Ivashanko

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Who downvotes an AAR post? :eek: What a jerk!

Liked this post. Looking forward to the Qing Emperor of the AOG fighting the Holy Emperor of the northern Chinese Empire! (Let the bodies hit the floor, lol) ;)

What's going on in South America? Liked the idea of a pragmatic anti-right alliance.

Also congrats on getting the AAR writer of the week award! That's awesome news.
I'll get to South America soon enough- I just got a lot of other stuff to focus on first. And I won some sort of award? What is this madness?
 

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A Papal Interruption


"I needed that paper on Nigeria yesterday, Karl. Where the hell is it?" His boss' spit sprayed into Karl's face as he sat, stone like, and listening.

He had no bloody idea where the paper was. Why the hell would he know? He couldn't even have told you where Nigeria was a couple of months ago, and now he was supposed to be some sort of resident expert on the region? It was insane. Absolutely insane.

He had trained to be an expert on the Middle East. The Middle East, not Africa, or at least nothing south of the Sahara. He had never seen (much less talked to) a Yoruba or an Igbo and now he was expected to make decisions that would change their lives forever. Should he ban the Orisho? Or try and force the different tribes to speak a more civilized language? And why the hell did all his British friends laugh when they heard about his boss' quest to find some sort of golden stool?

He didn't know what to do, he didn't know why people thought he knew what to do, trusted him to do the right thing for the nation and for the people living under it, he just... he just didn't want to hurt anyone. He took another gulp of wine. He didn't want to hurt anyone, he told himself over and over. No matter what else happens, he just didn't want to hurt anyone!

The Italian Affair


There are few times when my religion and my work as a historian come into greater conflict than when I write of the life and death of Pope Julius IV. How can one write of Julius the man, with all his faults and imperfects, without letting Saint Julius, Doctor of the Church and the Great Defender of Christendom, dominate the narrative? I do not wish to be a bad Catholic, and I do not wish to offend either my country’s censorship laws or the devout laity. His beloved successor is himself on the path to sanctification, making it even more difficult to remain impartial.




Current cabinet of Papal Italy. Recently relations between this nation and Germany were trashed after Germany refused Italy’s request for the return of Malta- which was one of the many events that I write that impact the outcome of the world but might not make it into the narrative.

In late 1948 the body of Pope Julius was carefully taken from its massive mausoleum (the ‘Papa Delle Masse’, which was itself destroyed during the Italian’s White Terror) and stored in a special container to prepare for his proper burial. The entire world came out to see it: historians sometimes argue that the burial almost outshined the Second Congress of Vienna, though I cannot possibly begin to agree with such a ridiculous statement. The burial was a spectacle though: the Papal Guard, recently recruited en masse from the Swiss government walked alongside a horse-drawn open casket containing the Pope’s remains. The unhealthy slenderness of his body and the lack of care the Syndicalist showed to his corpse (not to mention the alleged torture that occurred to him in life) caused many in the crowd to break down in tears and cover their faces in ash like the Israelis of old. As the casket passed a certain area a women, dressed in black and with long flowing hair of gold, rose to a Greco-style podium and began to tell the story of the Pope’s trials and his death.

The Pope was born in Bohemia in the latter half of the 19th century and entered a seminary during its dying years. By 1925 he had become a close friend of many in the Austrian court, who compelled the Papal administration into accepting his as a new cardinal. By 1937 he had been proclaimed Pope by a gathering of Cardinals in the hopes that the Austrian Emperor would accept Italian self-rule. Otto von Hapsburg did, but at a price: the new Pope would need to crown Duke Giuseppe di Toscana King in Italy. Julius, knowing that northern Italy could not possibly face the forces of even a weakened and decentralized Austria, was forced to agree, earning him the lasting support of the Hapsburgs.


View attachment 137831
Syndicalist to this day attempt to co-opt Julius’ legacy. The Pope’s popularity remains a force to be reckoned with.


When the Syndicalist conquered North Italy the King fled to Austria. Pope Julius, fervently anti-Syndicalist and utterly unwilling to let the Catholic world see their leader flee with his tail tucked behind his legs met the enemy forces standing at the foot of the Apostolic Palace with an array of priests flanking him. The Pope was taken into custody during the Battle for Rome and placed under house arrest. The difference in accounts of what happened to Pope Julius after this point is striking. Anti-Syndicalist Catholics claim that he was tortured, beaten, and was raised to heaven by the Virgin Mary herself after the Pope received the stigmata. Totalists claim the Pope was treated wonderfully, attacked his escorts, carved markings into his hands, and eventually starved to death.



The Eternal City took months to fall to Syndicalist forces. Its inhabitants bravery and commitment to resistance became another influential aspect of modern Catholicism.

How he died is not as important as the fact that he died. Members of the Paris Commune, who had long had a policy of infiltrating the Catholic Church, forced the Cardinal who had fallen under their control to vote for Pope Peter II, a Communard priest from the so-called ‘Galician Catholic Church’. The Cardinals who fled to Austria swiftly responded by electing their own leader, Pope Victor IV. Pope and anti-pope promptly excommunicated each other.

And in a small room in occupied Napoli a small group of people held their own vote. Unaware of the Austrian Pope and unwilling to accept the Syndicalist leader, the man latter known as Pope John XXII called a conclave of the present and the willing. The gaggle there were not Princes of the Church, but common priests and laymen. Two women were there, women who had themselves took up arms against the southern invaders, and John invited them to join the Martyrs’ Conclave. One atheist, a lapsed Catholic, was also given a voice and a vote. Two southern Italian soldiers came crying and kissed the hands of the Cardinal, as well as two soldiers working with the enemy and one Muslim who had fought them to the knife in Northern Africa. Austrians, Frenchmen, Germans, Belgians, Americans, Africans, Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox were all located in the crowded prison, and they all with one voice proclaimed the reign of the real People’s Pope, Pope John XXII.



A modern day picture of the Royal Palace at Napoli. It was here that the future Pope, and many others, were imprisoned for their crimes against the people.


The news of his election was spread from person to person and from community to community. Soon his name was on the lips of Catholics all across Italy, who already hailed him as a living saint. The Syndicalists reacted by throwing him into the worst prison they had, and they did torture him. His suffering soon became part of his legend, something that legitimized him more than any collection of cardinals ever could. His Papal name became a partisan rallying cry, his regional number (XXII) became a common motif seen in paintings, used in tattoos, and sung in music, and his face became one of the most well known throughout Europe. It was in his name that partisans overran large parts of Northern Italy before the arrival of Austrian forces, and his accession to the now indisputably theocratic government of Italy was met with public adoration and the sobbing approval of the masses. While the Austrian anti-Pope willingly resigned from office, Peter II fled to South America which led to a break in the church not seen since the Investiture Controversy.

Brazil offered Peter refugee until Argentina threatened them with war. The last remaining anti-Pope then fled to Columbia alongside large parts of the Syndicalist leadership.

Vienna loved the popularity of John. There was only one big problem: the Pope was not a theocrat. Not at all. He had already reached out to pro-democratic groups in the hopes of starting a ‘dialogue’, which was a word that Austria and Berlin particularly hated. And when the chaos in the Middle East began reached a deadly pitch, when it became common knowledge the Israelis had signed a treaty with a major power and the Turks agreed to support the other independence movements, the Pope felt compelled to call for independence of the entire Levant. To Axis-Supporting Vienna it was quickly becoming clear that something had to be done with the troublesome Pope.
 

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Mkoll13

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22nd has a very nice ring to it!
 

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And we're back!

...getting rid of the People's Pope? That's just dastardly on a whole new level. :eek:
To be fair I never said that the Pope had to be killed. Something just 'had to be done'. :D

Some of the pictures don't work for me.
Hmm, which ones are broken for you?

22nd has a very nice ring to it!
It does! The game picked it (in the sense that its his head of state name) but I liked the idea of people incorporating the motif into everyday life. Seems a lot like the current pope.

As for my writing itself, and this might as well go in orange 'cause I'm directly commenting on the story:

If I were to restart this story I'd go with a much smaller introduction and less focus on a month-to-month kind of storytelling, and rather let things build up and then tell the reader in a series of interrelated sections about them. I have a lot of plans for this AAR, but I've recently become extremely busy and will remain so for quite a while after this, so if interest is as low as I sometimes fear I'll just let this die a quiet and hopefully dignified death. Otherwise, I'm thinking of switching between a few various styles to just check out which one I'm best at in the hopes of improving not only this AAR but whatever one I write next (assuming one happens).

Finally, if anyone here is writing (or wants to write) their own AAR and needs help with either making images or events, I might be able to help. Just shoot me a message and we will chat.