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AoI 4.0: The German Century

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Stories & Tales' started by SonicTH, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. SonicTH

    SonicTH Tsubushi no Berugamo

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    Prologue

    Under the careful administration of Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck, Prussia rose from one of the German states to the unifier of almost all of them. With his tact and Germany’s resources, the new German Empire was able to assert itself on multiple continents, gaining large holdings in Africa and the Pacific Rim. He further secured Germany’s newfound power through strategic alliances meant to keep the peace in Europe amidst the tensions of colonial expansionism. Though he would later be forced from his position due to disagreements with Kaiser Wilhelm II, the legacy of Germany owes much to the pragmatic man and his realpolitik.

    Under Leo von Caprivi, Bismarck’s successor, Germany’s diplomatic machine crumbled, with only the alliance with Austria remaining solid. When the old Prince Hohenlohe succeeded Caprivi in 1894, this allowed an extremely ambitious foreign minister, von Buelow, to assert his policies. Wilhelm being the impetuous, aggressive type, was soon quick to give von Buelow immense leeway in foreign affairs. Wilhelm called for a large naval buildup, but this necessitated a stronger industrial base – von Buelow was able to ensure the Emperor coerced the weak Hohenlohe to strive for maximum economic production, even if the population would decline due to the sheer pace of converting agrarian land tor industrial use. With an enlarged military, Germany made sure a lid was kept on dissent.

    As the years went by, von Buelow glossed over his Emperor’s irresponsible, belligerent remarks and provided an image of Germany peacefully rising. Germany’s productivity surged in the period from 1895 to the turn of the century. With Hohenlohe’s health rapidly declining and with a close relationship with the Emperor, it was not surprising von Buelow had his eyes on the Chancellory itself, seeking to control German domestic as well as foreign policy to make sure his grandiose global ambitions could be realized.

    Such was the influence von Buelow had on the Emperor (being far more agreeable than Bismarck had ever been, for better or worse), that he was able to declare war on the Low Countries in 1899, with Wilhelm lending full support. “Germany’s peaceful rise” was over.

    War of 1899 Overview

    Day 1, 1899: Germany declares war on Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg.
    Day 5: Germany occupies Luxemburg.
    Day 9: Germany seizes much of the southern Netherlands, cutting off supply lines between Dutch and Belgian forces.
    Day 112: The Dutch campaign stalls due to lack of sufficient manpower, though Germany slaughters hundreds of Dutch soldiers and captures thousands more in Tanzania.
    Day 169-185: Another battle across Tanzania claims 9000 Dutch and Belgian casualties. Most of the slain or captured Dutch forces are actually of Indonesian origin. The desperate plan by the Dutch and Belgians to squeeze Tanzania from both sides to force concessions from Germany fails.
    Day 178-187: After holding out for half a year, an assault on Amsterdam destroys large sections of the city and results in 19,000 being captured or killed. Amsterdam is occupied by Germany, and within a few weeks, all of the Netherlands follow.
    Day 199: An attempt by the Dutch to avenge the loss of their capital with an attack on Tanzania ends in disaster, with over 4000 lost or captured.
    Day 230: The German Invasion of Belgium begins with a seizure of the eastern part of the countryside and Germans camping all around Brussels.
    Day 285: After a lull in the campaign and the capture of trivial objectives, an assault on Brussels burns several blocks to the ground and kills hundreds of Belgian soldiers. The city holds, but it is apparent that the city won’t be able to hold for long.
    Day 306-321: Intense fighting rocks the Belgian Congo as Germany musters enough forces for an offensive in Africa. Artillery and cavalry charges slice through the southeastern part of the Congo.
    Day 307-316: An assault on Brussels wears the numbers of young men guarding it down even further. The strain of the assault costs hundreds of young Germans their lives, but Germany occupies Brussels (and in the next few weeks, all Belgium) with minimal losses.
    Days 333-337: The central Congo is seized from the Belgian forces, thus cutting the territory in half.
    Day 345-352: The Dutch portion of Papua New Guinea is occupied in a costly battle, solidifying Germany’s position in the Pacific.

    Treaty of London (1900)

    The war had progressed with such speed that the French and British, the two powers most concerned with German expansionism, had not been able to form a coherent response to the bloodshed. As debates raged in Paris and London’s parliamentary halls, however, German forces had effortlessly cut through three countries’ forces on three continents. When it looked as if the British and French might finally reconsider their neutrality, the Emperor was quick to call for peace… and sure to invite the two powers.

    In a move of surprising humility, von Buelow invited the British and French to submit their grievances and their proposals for a postwar order. Naturally, the status quo antebellum was unacceptable to Germany… but similarly, the idea of a Germany able to freely rampage across Europe did not register well with the Anglo-French delegation.

    Von Buelow was able to come up with appropriate compromises to satisfy the other parties, as well as consolidate Germany’s gains. Germany’s benefits from the Treaty were readily apparent: the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Flanders were annexed into Germany. Wallonia, the Congo, and the Dutch East Indies (later Indonesia) were granted independence; the Belgian government was exiled to the Congo and the Dutch to Indonesia. While a simple legal fiction, the message was obvious: Germany had no intention of leaving its new territories in Europe. While it outright annexed occupied Indonesia, it nominally returned the occupied Congo to the new Congolese state… though in reality, it continued to exert considerable influence in regions of the country. Germany clearly came out ahead in the 1899 conflict, and so it fell to what to do with its two western rivals…

    For Britain, perhaps the most pressing matter was the German annexation of the Belgian coast, which gave the latter a clear shot at the British capital. Von Buelow’s compromise was simple: Britain would acquire the entirety of the Belgian coastline, as well as some of the Dutch. This would prevent German forces from being stationed there, and similarly provide Britain with a continental base to monitor German activities. Overseas, the British were also granted some of the Belgian Congo and the Dutch East Indies.

    The French were naturally not as easily placated. While the Royal Navy gave Britain the extra insurance it needed against aggression from Berlin, France was now right in the German crosshairs with the Low Countries under German rule. Von Buelow had a suitable compromise: Wallonia would be ceded to France. That wasn’t enough insurance for the French, however, so Germany made an even bolder move: it said that it would not balk at a preventive alliance between the French and British to check Germany if it were to attack either of them.

    The compromise pleased the French, who signed the Entente Cordiale with the British. While the provisions were re-worded so unapproved German aggression anywhere in Europe would invite the intervention of both powers, the Kaiser’s Government accepted this… its focus was abroad now that it had enlarged its European holdings at the expense of the Benelux. With concessions made and negotiations concluded, the new millennium began on a peaceful note… there would be no war over the Lowlands, despite how uncomfortable the prospect had made the British and French governments.

     
  2. SonicTH

    SonicTH Tsubushi no Berugamo

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    Chapter I: Searching For A Purpose

    Spoiler :
    With the Low Countries defeated and German influence greatly enlarged, approval ratings of the Von Buelow government soared. Britain and France had been placated, and despite the formal loss of German unilateralism in Europe, the population nonetheless felt emboldened. As the war drew down and despite the thousands of German soldiers lost in great battles such as those in New Guinea, the people threw their support behind imperialist and militarist candidates in Reichstag polls. Von Buelow was savvy as to the meaning: successes in Europe meant that there was great support for expanding markets and clout elsewhere.

    The Americas were off limits, what with the United States lording over the region with its Monroe Doctrine; policymakers remembered all too well how defensive the United States became when Germany would seek to collect on debts to American nations. While Asia had opportunities, it was obvious Germany needed the support of foreign powers: Britain and France sought to maintain the Ottoman Empire for stability purposes, while Persia was neutral ground between British India and the Russian Empire. China was a delicate issue, given that any mass expansion there would irritate the many local players; there was also the fact Germany would have to ship considerable amounts of manpower into the area. Neutral Siam was a buffer between British and French territory, and while Germany considered invading it, it would need the permission of both powers to proceed.

    Ultimately it was reasoned that Africa was where the potential for expansion lay. While Italy had minor possessions that would have been of minor use to Germany, Germany had promised over a decade ago to assist Italy in case it was attacked by France. Portugal offered tempting gains, but Germany knew that it would be a considerable struggle in the short term until the full German economy could be brought to bear; the Portuguese could put up considerable local resistance in the Pacific and Africa.

    Spain looked like the most promising target, with small holdings in Africa and a weak, distant position in Europe, but the Philippines loomed large and would be a constant threat to Germany’s scattered Pacific territory.

    The decision was hard, but it was made: Portugal would be the ideal nemesis of Germany. Eliminating Portuguese Africa would link German possessions in southern Africa, while picking off the Pacific territories would greatly increase regional security.

    Diplomacy

    Von Buelow decided early on that Russian support was critical in any Pacific campaign. While the German fleet had its purpose, it was ultimately under constant watch by Anglo-French rivals. The Russian railway network would offer an alternative means to ship troops into East Asia.

    While Russia and Germany often had tensions given Germany’s friendship with Austria-Hungary (frequent rival of the Russians over the Balkans; it was this very rivalry that dissolved both attempts at a trilateral alliance), von Buelow adhered to the idea that “the enemy of our friend is not necessarily our enemy.” While Germany’s primary alliance commitment remained with Austria, Germany did ink an alliance with the Russians for access to the Trans-Siberian… while also offering to protect Russia from Japanese aggression. It was a brilliant move by von Buelow: Austria-Hungary had little to call its own in East Asia, and so von Buelow was able to carve a compromise between the two rivals, protecting Austria’s claims in Europe and Russia’s claims in Asia. Von Buelow’s limiting the Russo-German partnership to Asian matters was also savvy in light of current events: the Russians had been at war with Britain for a brief few months, and in that timespan had taken over British Borneo and Australia.

    The Economy

    As early as January 1900, von Buelow put the nation on the warpath. While production remained in civilian hands to maintain an illusion of peaceful intent, he sent ships from the North Sea into the Atlantic, ostensibly to secure Africa… many of these vessels seemed to conveniently deviate from their path and linger off the Portuguese coast. Furthermore, a naval buildup program began in New Guinea, with the state publicly declaring a desire to subsidize local trade; they were only humble cargo vessels, after all. In Africa, there was no sign of military buildup, as the primary focus was backing missionary efforts as well as infrastructure. German Southwest Africa was an exception, with a large military buildup, but the preference of some natives for insurrection easily convinced many this was benign in intention.

    Similarly, nationalists decried the exportation of German engineers to Russia to supervise the growth of the Russian railway system, while people outside the country saw it as evidence of growing international cooperation between the two neighbors and a more lukewarm view of Germany towards war (it was no secret, after all, that Germany would have much to gain from a war with Russia, given the security threat Russian Poland posed with the long border it created with Germany).

    The War

    Starting in late March, von Buelow began to do whatever he could to create tensions with the Portuguese. Where he found his solution was in the Congo; since the collapse of the Belgian military, the new Congolese state had a lot of trouble enforcing its claims. Per the Berlin Conference and its principle of effective governance, this rendered the Congo’s borders up for debate. Germany conveniently ignored this.

    The Portuguese had occupied sizable amounts of land along the Congolese border after the end of the 1899 War. Germany, originally aloof to the Congolese struggles, suddenly became very interested and requested their removal; Portugal refused on the basis of the Berlin Conference’s provisions. Germany then proceeded to stretch the Treaty of London’s terms as far as possible, a small section of it having regarded German access to the Republic of the Congo for commercial as well as military use. Von Buelow generously interpreted this as a German obligation to protect the Congolese government, which in turn gave German backing to any Congolese claims; Portugal did not budge in its stance.



    In response, von Buelow sent German troops to occupy the same areas Portuguese troops had entered. It was only natural what happened next: May 28th, a scuffle resulted in several dead on both sides. Von Buelow had his casus belli, and war was declared on the 31st.

    For the first phase of the war, the High Command decided taking Portuguese Angola was of the utmost importance, as it would allow the sizable Namibian forces to join with the main army and advance on Mozambique.



    At Villa Luso, 8 German battalions faced off against 6 Portuguese. Losses were sizable on both sides: 1100 Germans and 3000 Portuguese dead, with 2500 Germans and 1200 Portuguese wounded. Despite the considerable casualties, however, Germany successfully entered Angola and was able to receive reinforcements from Namibia.

    As reinforcements flowed in to resupply the army in the field as well as fortify Villa Luso, some battalions were given another mission: the seizure of the hills east of Luanda. Howitzers took up positions shortly after they did so, giving Germany a clear vantage point on the city. While many had proposed taking Benguela first to secure supply lines to Namibia, the High Command had reasoned Luanda was a better target due to its small size and the fact the Army would not have to go off-road to attack it from the North; Luanda was bordered to the south and east by a river, and would have made offensive action all the more complicated if attacked from there. The desire to maintain mobility ultimately won out.

    As reports from Villa Luso dominated the press during June, two other fronts were forgotten: Europe and the Pacific. While no assaults were made on Dili itself, half of Timor was occupied by a German landing force.



    On the home front, the Kriegsmarine extensively shelled Portugal; while the British and French had prohibited German expansion in Europe, they had said nothing about campaigns in general on the continent.

    The Global Response

    One of the first things that had been deliberated at the start of the campaign was the reaction by other powers. Britain and France would have likely been uncomfortable with wholesale seizure of the Portuguese Empire by Germany… and that was precisely what von Buelow had in mind. The Chancellor had already made a contingency plan: he would offer some territory to the two powers.

    Peculiarly, the French were the only ones to voice concern to the campaign come late July. The reason was apparent: the Mahdist rebellion had flared up in the Sudan, the uneasy ceasefire the Muslim rebels had enjoyed with Britain having given way to open conflict once more. The large, experienced, fanatical Mahdists were more than a handful for the British Empire, and this made the latter reluctant to jeopardize their African holdings by pestering Germany. Von Buelow resolved to guarantee the French control of southern Mozambique as well as Portuguese Guinea in the event either was taken.

    As the Mahdists overran much of Egypt, Germany remained secure in the lack of British intervention. Even moreso as signs of German victory grew more apparent with Luanda (200 Germans lost to 3000 Portuguese) and Dili (50 to 1500).


    The taking of Dili on August 23rd was a strategic coup for Germany in the Pacific: it put Australia well within Germany’s reach. This should have prompted British concern, but Westminster continued to ignore the German and Portuguese struggle for empire.

    Portuguese humiliations continued throughout August, as two Cavalry battalions sent towards Amsterdam were wiped out; Germany made sure to retaliate by levelling more of the Portuguese countryside through a mixture of naval firepower and punitive expeditions. A policy of total war against Portugal proper continued unabated, while cargo vessels trying to make their way into Lisbon and Oporto were frequently sunk without mercy.
     
  3. CELTICEMPIRE

    CELTICEMPIRE Zulu Conqueror

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    Looks interesting as always!
     
  4. SonicTH

    SonicTH Tsubushi no Berugamo

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    Chapter II: Our Place in the Sun

    Spoiler :
    Von Buelow kept his finger on the pulse of British public opinion as German soldiers fought for glory across the globe. He was concerned about the British: the British had been allies with the Portuguese since the Middle Ages. Fortunately, the Anglo-Portuguese tensions of 1890 had won out, and the alliance was shaky… Britain reasoned it would only intervene to help Portugal if Germany annexed Portuguese territory; colonies were “fair game.”

    Autumn – the Portuguese Fury

    Portugal retaliated against Germany’s efforts in Europe with total war of its own in Africa. Portuguese Cavalry roamed the countryside, slaughtering civil laborers where they could find them (fortunately most laborers had escorts) and losing 2 battalions in the process. It was obvious that the War would be very bloody for civilians if not for the soldiers.

    As Portugal continued its guerrilla efforts in Namibia (whenever they weren’t running around being chased by artillery, that is), the assault on Benguela was underway. Germany had assembled the largest stockpile of artillery since the 1899 conflict and targeted the city; the result was devastating, as the Portuguese military (and the bands of militia who had joined them after being roused by talk of protecting their homes) nearly evaporated.



    Germany had only 10 battalions, but they were more than up to the task of defeating the Portuguese. The Portuguese lost 7 battalions in the city, with 3900 killed and 900 wounded. German losses were only a few dozen men killed with 150 wounded. Benguela was the turning point in the war; Germany had defeated a sizable force with almost no losses, and now had the means to strike an isolated Mozambique with the whole of its African Empire.

    The Portuguese once more renewed their offensives in October, but had even less success this time around, as both European and African expeditionary forces were picked to pieces by artillery mixed with cavalry charges. The way to Mozambique was open.

    The city of Tete in northwestern Mozambique was the target of choice. It was expected the Portuguese would guard their border with Tanzania, and so the offensive came from the west instead, through Boer and British territory. Surprisingly, the city was well-defended, and the Corps tasked with charging it wasn’t able to take it in the first weeks of fighting. Armed to the teeth with artillery, however, the regiment was able to calmly set up camp outside the city and await reinforcements… Mozambique’s days were numbered.

    The Second Battle of Tete raged from November 3rd to November 8th, and saw intense street fighting by a determined Portuguese foe, even as artillery shells came down on their positions. Ultimately, Germany carried the day with 700 wounded and 200 dead to Portugal’s 4200 killed.

    Winter – The End of Mozambique



    By mid-December, German forces had advanced to Mozambique City, killing 3700 Portuguese troops. The German forces had a dilemma: if they advanced further into Mozambique, they were obligated to give the land over to France to avoid the latter’s intervention. But if they sat idle, they’d waste their manpower; this was especially important given troops were en route to Macau, which was seen by the High Command as the last major goal of the war.

    In the end, the government proved devious and invited British intervention in Africa by “leaking” the decision to cede land to the French to Westminster. Parliament was naturally furious and demanded Britain be included in the concessions. The result: Germany kept its northern share, but France was forced to agree that Britain would also receive a portion of the south. Germany would receive all of Mozambique north of the Zambezi River as well as the northwestern portion around Tete, while Britain would receive everything south of the Changane; France would receive the middle between the territories.



    With the full weight of its numbers, Germany was able to crush the last of Mozambique by February 3rd, when Lorenco Marques fell. The Portuguese had lost 12 battalions in the last five weeks of fighting; Germany lost only 1. The government issued a declaration of cession, with the new lands to be transferred to Britain and France by March 1st. The Government also instructed the High Command to relay messages to strip anything of value from the cities and to turn a blind eye to looting; the transfer of land to the Entente was clearly under duress, after all.

    The war in Africa was declared over. While Portugal maintained a garrison at Bissau and the Gambia, it was apparent that Portugal was finished. Military readiness in the colonies was allowed to relax as civilian life once again returned to the fore, while veterans of the conflict were granted land in the new territories. Meanwhile, an expeditionary force was drawn together from those in Togoland and Kamerun, and instructed with the task of attacking Bissau and the Gambia to drive the Portuguese from Africa once and for all; the French would turn a blind eye to the occupation in exchange for the Gambia, but Bissau would become proudly German.

    To the East in Asia, the Portuguese cowardly attacked a lone German battalion and wiped it out. Too scared to face the Army head on, the Portuguese’s desperate situation was apparent.

    The Rape of Portugal

    For months, a small German battalion had straddled the Portuguese border, terrifying most people from entering the countryside. Armed with artillery, it was able to effortlessly destroy anything civilian or military that went into its path, plunging Portugal into anarchy and depression. In April, the High Command authorized German forces to enter Portugal, proclaiming that no Portuguese territory would be annexed at war’s end; destroying Portugal’s economic centers of Lisbon and Oporto through siege was the goal, not conquest.



    This had also been motivated by Portugal advancing into the Lowlands yet again; Cavalry served as a distraction for Portuguese transports heading towards Amsterdam. It was only fair in the Kaiser’s opinion to for Portugal’s own homeland to be a valid target for occupation. In reality, von Buelow just wanted to be sure Germany’s European regiments remained top of the line in experience; Portugal’s civilians were just a necessary sacrifice.

    Portugal’s counteroffensive was a disaster, with less than a dozen Germans killed and hundreds of Portuguese cut to pieces near Brussels or drowned in the North Sea. The Portuguese diversion had failed, and the Kriegsmarine had foiled their attempted amphibious invasion.

    The Foreign Ministry was shocked in late April, as the British Empire opened another front against Russia in light of the lingering Australian Question. Britain had begun making advances against the Mahdists, but it looked like their success might be halted now that imperial attentions were divided. British distraction had the extra benefit of allowing German forces the easy task of occupying the country.

    The Rape of Portugal soon went down in the annals of history. German artillery shelled Oporto with ferocity that hadn’t been seen for some time. Granaries caught fire, incinerating valuable supplies; what wasn’t burned was exposed to vermin. Utilities structures were similarly demolished, plunging the city into darkness barring shots of artillery and gunfire, while the lack of plumbing left countless throats parched. Thousands of homes were levelled, and with emergency forces overwhelmed, anarchy reigned. The Portuguese Royal Army was forced to impose martial law in an attempt to keep order, but that was mostly in the perimeter and civic centers.

    The German Army attacked in the middle of the night on May 19th, and the remnants of the Portuguese Army marched forth to oppose the German battalions. Portugal saw the loss of 13 regiments in Oporto and the surrounding region, with 40,000 killed. Germany suffered only 1200 killed and minimal wounded.



    Northern Portugal was placed under occupation. With Britain now distracted with Russia, France was reluctant to raise Hell over the issue. Germany assured France it would return Porto to Portugal as soon as the war was over. The Army left a small detachment to garrison the region, while the majority descended on Lisbon itself. Schlieffen gave his generals orders to live off the land first and worry about the welfare of the locals second.

    Schlieffen had also received intelligence reports that taking Bissau and Macau was not feasible without large amounts of casualties or artillery; the war was best called off then by the reports. Von Buelow, upon receiving Schlieffen’s reports, quietly informed him to stay the course and occupy Lisbon. Destroying Portugal’s ability to wage war for years to come was a worthy goal in itself.



    Lisbon fell with 12 Portuguese battalions destroyed for a total of 22,000 killed and 15,000 captured. German losses were once more minimal. With the capital under its control and Portugal effectively bested in the field, von Buelow oversaw the peace negotiations himself.



    The Treaty of Lisbon was signed July 3rd, 1901. Portuguese rule of its homeland was restored, but Portugal had to concede Mozambique, Angola and Timor. Portugal maintained a small overseas empire, consisting of minor outposts such as Goa, Bissau, and Macau. Even though France had not been a belligerent, von Buelow nonetheless arranged for the Gambia to be turned over to France to secure their goodwill; this was in spite of Germany failing to take Portuguese possessions along the northwestern coast. Besides the territorial changes, Portugal had to agree to a sizable up-front indemnity as well as continued payments; the Portuguese economy would suffer greatly from such massive reparations. As if to rub salt in the wound, Portugal was obligated to grant the Kriegsmarine access to its shipyards for resupply and repairs; it had just barely staved off becoming a German client state.

    While Germany prospered from the war, Portugal’s situation was exact opposite. The national humiliation left the people highly demoralized. Tens of thousands of young men had been killed, opening a rift that few families escaped from, while countless more would face lingering physical and psychological issues for the rest of their lives.

    Portugal’s economy had all but been destroyed, with only Cape Verde, Goa, and the Azores free from German bombardment; the rest of the country was in ruins. Portugal proper’s population had dropped from 22 to 9.7 million between starvation, dislocation, and combat. What people could feed themselves had trouble finding work now that most private industries were buried beneath rubble. The government could theoretically have led the way, but what sparse money it retained had to be spent keeping order, not rebuilding the country. A weak economy merged with higher taxes, high debts, and widespread discontent with the government’s performance during and after the War to lead to the Republican Revolution in November.

    The new Portuguese Republic would, despite working to improve the lives of the common people, continue to gladly pay off the debts to Germany, knowing what would happen if they did not.

    Back in Berlin, the government evaluated why performance had not been optimal. There had been losses in Asia, and Portugal retained Macau and Bissau. The culprit was obvious: transportation. The French and Russian communications networks being subpar, it was no easy task to ship large quantities of men and material to the frontlines; this allowed the Portuguese to retain local superiority. Von Buelow’s next move was clear: do whatever was necessary to provide excellent supply lines across the Empire and to any possible targets.
     
  5. SonicTH

    SonicTH Tsubushi no Berugamo

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    Chapter III: Finishing What We Started

    Spoiler :
    One of history’s great examples of pragmatism is apparent in the second half of 1901. As the British continued to fight a fierce war with the Mahdists and Russians (gradually turning the tide by retaking Russian Australia and reducing the Mahdiyah to Sudan proper), Germany saw opportunity to follow up on its defeat of Portugal by attacking the very people the war was supposedly for the benefit of: the Congolese. The treaty with the Congo had expired just days after the one with Portugal was signed. Von Buelow wasn’t one to turn down the chance to consolidate Germany’s hold on the Congo basin, especially given the Congolese were in the way of a German railway to Nigeria.

    The British had swallowed up all of Sudan by the time Germany was prepared to declare war on the Congo, but this did not deter the Reich; if Britain could expand its African power base, so could Germany. Trumping up border issues, war with the Congolese came easily enough. All German forces were ordered to seize Leopoldville before reorganizing and marching on the Northern Congo.



    German forces cut down the city’s 4500 defenders and lost 800 of its own men. The namesake Leopold I of the Congo was captured, and Germany (suddenly caring for human rights) declared the brutal regime of Congo Free State null and void in the hopes the remaining Belgian rump state would surrender. Instead, a chaotic mixture of Belgian bureaucrats and indigenous chiefs competed for authority in the Northern Congo; Germany would have to silence both.



    Two weeks later, the Royalist town of Coqhuilhatville was taken by infantry forces. While casualties were high, many of them were non-lethal (only 900 Germans killed). The Belgians lost 6900 men and saw 2800 captured; the Belgian Royal Army finally evaporated. Only the indigenous alliance that had formed around Stanleyville opposed German domination of the Congo.



    The Battle of Stanleyville from August 25th to 27th saw the demise of 5800 Congolese warriors. The Congo Campaign had drawn to a close in a matter of six weeks, earning it comparisons to the war with Austria prior to German unification in how much glory it bestowed upon the Reich. German officers and soldiers ate and drank well at the end of hostilities in Africa with barely any German men lost, all while keeping a close eye on the tens of thousands of British troops traversing the continent, assumedly en route to South America, where Guyana was under siege from South American invaders.

    Von Buelow easily enough concluded the surrender of the Belgian Congo: the continued legal fiction of a free Congo state, but with native rulers handpicked by Germans and advised by German commissioners.

    The Post-War Order

    The significance of the German Congo cannot be understated. With the Congo, most of German Africa was unified. Rail lines ran unbroken through much of the territory; while there were areas where communications ran through British Rhodesia or Bechuanaland, this wouldn’t last more than a year or two as Germany conscripted large amounts of labor to build a trans-African railway.

    Naturally, it was Britain that was the most concerned about this new development. While Russia had been a considerable distraction (the Russian Navy was shelling England extensively, so the last thing the British people wanted was a war with a much greater naval power), it had still monitored Germany’s rise with anxiety. Germany now had the means to cut off South Africa from the rest of the continent in the event there were tensions; Cecil Rhodes’ “Cape to Cairo” ideology was never more threatened. In a karmic twist, the Portuguese who were unable to bridge Africa from East to West had helped lay the foundations for a German colonial empire that did just that.

    Von Buelow is said to be a cousin of Bismarck’s in his ideology, however. He was a very aggressive, opportunistic sort, befitting of Wilhelm, and wasn’t as beholden to planning and caution as Bismarck was. That said, however, his pragmatism meant that while war was a favorite tool, peace and negotiation were always considered. Von Buelow continued to maneuver carefully once the war was over to assure Britain of German goodwill: he declared German Africa open to all trade and travelers except if the relevant country of origin was at war with the Reich. So long as Britain didn’t go to war with Germany, it would not have to worry about the latter threatening to block British use of the Trans-African Railway. Though the naval race was still on, with Germany mass producing larger and larger ships to maintain control of its territorial waters, von Buelow stated that the relationship with Britain was one of “friendly rivalry,” even sure to trump up the blood ties of each country’s monarch. While a full alliance wasn’t feasible, von Buelow did whatever he could to convince the British that despite competition, their status of being “of the same stock” made complete hostility similarly infeasible. He went so far as to encourage Britain to renew its alliance with the Portuguese (the two had become estranged after Britain threatened war over the African interior a few decades prior) as a guarantee that Germany would not renew its aggression towards the latter; Britain had remained outside the Luso-German conflict on the basis that Germany was not occupying (and after Germany did in fact occupy it, annexing) Portugal proper, only its colonies. Now the alliance was fully upgraded, and a clear Western bloc had formed between the French, British and Portuguese.

    While the early years of Wilhelm’s reign had seen the deterioration of Germany’s diplomatic stature, von Buelow had restored it. To the south, he worked to maintain the alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy, both of whom were small enough to not conflict with Germany’s overseas interests. In the West, he continually appeased France and Britain, making them feel a part of the process of German expansionism rather than existing in opposition to it. In the East, he exploited Russia’s unique situation; their constant skirmishes with Britain was an opportunity to keep them from aligning with the Entente and encircling Germany. Despite Russia’s tensions with Austria-Hungary, von Buelow’s guarantee to protect Russia in the event of war with Japan had worked to make Russia a third pillar of the European order, aligned to neither the Western or Central powers.

    Despite all his successes in keeping Europe multipolar, however, Buelow’s dream continued to escape him: the destruction of the Anglo-French Entente. The British, with their large possessions and status across the North Sea, were not seen as anywhere near as much a threat to German’s security as the powerful, land bordering French Republic.
     
  6. SonicTH

    SonicTH Tsubushi no Berugamo

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    Chapter IV: The Slumbering Beast

    Spoiler :
    Von Buelow was content to let Germany enjoy a time of peace with the fall of the Congo. It had, after all, been the poor infrastructure of Russia and Africa that had prevented total victory against Portugal. With that factor in mind, he did not want such a hurdle to ever again make itself known. More workers were shipped to Siberia to assist Russia with the trans-Siberian, which would be the key to a stronger German presence in Asia. Workers in Africa would labor to bring the whole of the continent together, while also enabling easy supply lines for any target of Germany’s choice. Germany would also be able to enlarge its army, which had admittedly been stretched in the various campaigns; von Buelow wanted more cavalry and more artillery to enable lightning campaigns. The “blitzkrieg” strategy had been proposed before, but had been seen as impractical; von Buelow desired to make it a reality, where German forces could strike so fast and in so many locations that the enemy would not have a chance to recover.

    The Economy

    Germany’s peacetime accomplishments were as impressive as its wartime. Germany’s industrial power expanded rapidly with production techniques and advances in chemistry, while science flourished with new theories and ideas years ahead of other nations’.

    Germany once again played host to both the Olympic Games and World Fair, the advanced, cosmopolitan nature of the Reich making it a perfect candidate for a monopoly on the events.



    The economic stature of the German Empire was perhaps best seen in the vicious, ruthless tactics adopted by its business magnates. Germany became a dominant exporter of cotton, wine, motion pictures, and cruise liners. Germany accounted for 10% of the world’s wine production, but nearly 30% of its sales; for cotton, 14 and 40%; for coffee, 17% and 47%; for gems, 14 and 21%. Germany was not able to carve as much of a niche for itself in the field of gems due to the sheer size of the British de Beers Company, but the discovery of the Cullinan Diamond in Tanzania did help national prestige.



    It was in Cameroon where real changes swept across the Empire, however. Vast gold deposits in the north prompted countless migrants from all over Germany, but some from France as well. When France noticed Germany gave preferential treatment to its own citizens as well as the English, they were extremely displeased; Germany replied France was welcome to add it to Strasbourg as something they were too prudent to not try and fight over. France remained silent despite von Buelow’s insult.

    The Military



    The opening of a military academy in the colonies was an unprecedented move at the time, putting local units nearly on par with European soldiers in their training. Germany was savvy, however, and knew racial supremacy would need to take a backseat to military dominance if it was to continue expanding in Africa against French and British interests.

    The introduction of the machine gun by the Wehrmacht in late 1902 changed the face of European warfare. It was even more lethal than the widespread Maxim gun that had been adopted by most countries by the time, and gave Germans confidence in their defense efforts. The High Command was quick to retrain all existing Maxim Gunners with the new model weapons. The Fatherland looked outright impenetrable.

    Foreign Affairs

    Any German optimists about the global picture received a harsh reminder of the world’s nature in late September, when Mexican spies were captured in Brussels. Mexico as an antagonist puzzled the German government; had they confused the Hohenzellerns for the Habsburgs, the dynasty that had tried to rule their proudly-independent nation? The Reich made note of Mexico’s duplicity, but did not pursue any aggressive maneuvers, partly because of the infrastructure efforts, and mostly because the United States would have intervened.

    No sooner had Germany inked non-aggression terms with France were the latter also implicated in planning an invasion of Germany, based on an attempt to intercept German communications of troop movements. Von Buelow changed his mind about peace: France had to be punished. It would be nearly two years before said punishment would happen, but the Government was quietly directed to begin the necessary preparations to allow a war of opportunity. The moment France happened to get into a scuffle, the Wehrmacht



    France’s insolence continued into December as further espionage rings were detected and broken up. The government kept its continued discoveries secret, knowing the public’s rage would boil over catastrophically if they found out.

    Knowing the vulnerable position of the German Pacific, the Americans demanded a bribe to celebrate New Years’ 1902. This was publicized to distract France from Germany’s military buildup.

    In May, the Anglo-Russian War ended, finishing what had been started in the first, as Britain regained Malaya and Australia from Russian occupation. Czar Nicholas’ reputation suffered enormously, though he continued to have assurance from his cousin Wilhelm against the Japanese.

    China joined the trend of trying to sabotage German forces in June. The Tsingtao Affair convinced Germany that it should reconsider its policy towards Beijing. While the United States had been expressing concerns over China’s integrity, the major powers ignored them, given they were not present on the Western Pacific Rim.



    When the Tibetans declared war on Britain in early August, the Reich was shocked at the boldness of the Tibetan warriors. However, the Government wasn’t going to decry anything that could absorb British resources.

    1903

    By 1903, both the British and Tibetans had urged Germany to join the war effort against either; Germany dismissed both requests, for what benefit would it be to the country?

    February 2nd, the British and the New Granada Alliance made peace, with Guyana being established as an independent state and a member of the Alliance; Venezuela and Colombia essentially ruled the new country. The British Empire had been humiliated yet again; despite successes in Australia, Malaya and the Sudan, it had been evicted from continental South America. The power shift was of concern to other south American blocs (another powerful alliance was in La Plata, composed of Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay), but the French and Dutch colonies were most anxious of their defensibility; if mighty Britain hadn’t been able to protect its share of Guyana, what hope did Indonesia and France have?

    In late March of 1903, Spain demanded that Germany export Timber to it at low prices well below the market rate. Germany refused, and Spain said that Germany would “pay” for its refusal. The Kaiser gave the order to invade Spain. On April 13th, 1903, the German Empire declared war. The High Command was instructed to deploy the German Army to the Franco-Spanish border and begin the process of turning the country into a second Portugal. Germany exaggerated the plight of the Catalan people, fabricating stories of persecution and atrocities, and used both Spain’s attempted extortion as well as the liberation of Catalonia as its rallying cries.
     
  7. Redman

    Redman Chieftain

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    Nice story Sonic. No further reports? :(
     

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