AH Vignette: The End of an Era

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by DrakonFin, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. DrakonFin Operator Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    The Finnish Military-Historical Complex
    [​IMG]


    "The Old Man's Dead"



    The sound of countless church bells tolling across the capital region was ominous as much as it was impressive.

    The Prime Minister looked out of the window, towards the Market Square and the still icy Gulf of Finland. Lost in thought, he didn't notice the grey-clad soldier awkwardly fumbling with his old-fashioned rifle when the guard in front of the building was changed.

    ” - So the old man's dead, then.”

    The Prime Minister glanced to his left to see the Minister of the Interior standing there, suitably solemn in his dark suit but having a less than respectful look on his face.

    ” - Well”, the man mused, ”'tis a wonder he soldiered on for as long as he did”.

    The Prime Minister could not disagree with that notion. The old man had been in a poor way for many years. Even if the government's inner circle and his closest allies and subordinates had long conspired to hide his illness and his growing detachment from reality. To keep up the illusion of normalcy as long as possible, in part. But also to keep a hold of the power they themselves had held through this man that had led Finland for over four decades and balanced the Finnish interests with those of a great power with resources and might that overshadowed the small northern nation in every possible way.

    The Prime Minister had worked with the old man for as long as he could remember. They had first met before the war, when neither was yet in a real leadership position. They'd had their ups and downs and falling-outs as well, but never had they truly became enemies. The Prime Minister wanted to think that this fact had been to the general benefit of all of Finland, considering everything the country had been through. Internal discord could destroy a small nation, yes indeed.

    The Minister of the Interior cleared his throat to get the other man's attention.

    ” - I just came to inform you that the police has been ordered to send out patrols in force, and that the military garrisons have been put on alert so that the soldiers can move in support of the police if any, um, unforeseen complications should present themselves.”

    The taller man nodded.

    ” - Thank you. Keep me updated if anything happens. Not that I expect that anything will happen – the nation will be stunned for a good while before anyone as much as thinks of using the situation for their own gain. We'll see later at the meeting.”

    As the younger, wiry man left the room, the Prime Minister thought about the fact that about right now, the radio and the TV would be relaying the news to the Finnish people - ”from Hanko to Petsamo, from Vaasa to Äänislinna”, in the words of the old song. The people had grown accustomed in all these years to the old man, they'd even come to love the cantankerous sod in their own peculiar way, the Prime Minister thought. For many it would be as difficult to think about the nation's future without the man as it was for him.

    What direction was Finland going to? It would have a new leader soon, a new, young leader who had been waiting for a few years for the old man's inevitable demise. Prepared to take over, as that possibility had been drilled into him from young age. Understanding his duty and everything it brought with it.

    Europe was in state of unrest. The post-war order was being put into question, for the first time in decades. There were protests on the streets of Paris on a weekly basis now, and the occupying troops got pelted with rotten eggs and even stones every so often. The Balkans was also in disarray, with the new government in Budapest about to make a break with those who had lorded over Hungary for so long.

    The Prime Minister had a light lunch and dealt with the official condolences sent by various governments. His face lit up with a subdued, ironic smile to see that Washington had been the first to send its regards – it was part and parcel with the Great Rivalry That None Dare Dub War between the superpowers to engage in such one-upmanship. It was also something that in this moment in the year 1982 underlined how much Berlin was off the ball, what with its current troubles with a Europe that was quickly careening off track, getting out of hand.

    There would have to be a state funeral, of course, the Prime Minister now realised all of a sudden. He had gone through the first hours of the day in a stupor, really, and only now he remembered that seeing that the funeral was arranged according to all the necessary pomp and gravity, all the tact required by the passing of a monarch was ultimately his responsibility.

    It was the first time a King of Finland had died in Finland, after all. In ordinary circumstances, in times of peace. This funeral would be something that would signify the end of an era, for the Finnish state and nation as it did for the House of Hesse.

    The Prime Minister suspected that organising it all might be the last significant service he would perform for Finland. The passing of King Karl II had already sent various people jostling for the best positions under the new monarch, and the long-serving Prime Minister no longer thought he would have the strength and stamina for all that. It is a young man's game, he found himself thinking.

    And he was not a young man.

    It was only an hour later when the top ministers, bureaucrats, parliamentary leaders and royal officials were gathered at the Royal Residence. A coronation would have to follow, in due course, but right now they would have to recognise the legitimacy of the new king de facto. The Prime Minister regarded the young man standing awkwardly in front of the mostly old or middle-aged men with a critical eye. Prince Karl Wolfgang, the heir to the Finnish throne, tried to show a brave face to the men for whom he would soon be Karl III, the King of Finland, etc. He was a bright young man to be sure, but in no way could he command the same respect as his great uncle did. A bright, kind young man, he did not have the gravitas, the strong will and the feared, hidden vindictive streak of the man the Finnish people people had simply known as Kalle.

    The King is dead. Long live the King!”

    Prime Minister Kekkonen looked around the room.

    The boy won't last a year.


    He was shocked when he realised what he had just thought. Thank God he didn't say it aloud.


    [filler
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  2. DrakonFin Operator Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    The Finnish Military-Historical Complex
    And before anyone in the know asks - this is not from the Lords of the North-verse. Would be too much of a spoiler otherwise.:)
     
  3. DrakonFin Operator Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    The Finnish Military-Historical Complex
    [​IMG]

    The Young Heir. Wolfgang Moritz of Hesse, the Crown Prince of Finland, photographed while on
    a tour of the United States in 1924 to gather support for the young Kingdom and its struggle
    against Communism and subversion. He ruled Finland as King Charles II from 1940 until his
    death on March 27th.

    From the New York Times, April 2nd, 1982.

    [filler]
     
  4. wannis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    What is the back story to this? Looks like a POD around WW I and the Russian revolution?
     
  5. Tom Colton be great, don't denigrate Donor

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Location:
    Sabana, end of the Golden Chersonese
    So the German Reich got their wish in the end? :D
     
  6. DrakonFin Operator Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    The Finnish Military-Historical Complex
    Oops, didn't notice you had commented to this old thing... Yes, it is pretty much your standard CP victory scenario here. With German leadership in continental Europe as a result, then another European war against a revanchist France and allies, another German victory but one underpinning an increasingly uneasy, overextended German domination in Europe. A Cold War against the Americans and the British, then eventual stagnation and Berlin gradually losing the grip over the continent.

    Germany here is still stronger than the USSR at the end of the OTL Cold War, due to its economic model being somewhat more sustainable. Nevertheless, decline is on its way and the young Karl III will lead Finland through very interesting times indeed. Karl II managed to keep Finland somewhat independent from the Germans, with the help of his loyal long-time PM Kekkonen and a circle of other skilled politicians, but now it is a time of the old guard waning away and the abilities of the younger generation are going to be put to a test.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  7. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    Yay, a Kingdom of Finland vignette. :)
     
  8. DrakonFin Operator Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    The Finnish Military-Historical Complex
    Oh, this old thing? Just a crude, gimmicky one-off, setting up the rule of a headstrong Karl II of House Hessen as a parallel to the OTL Kekkonen presidency and the Kingdom's position towards the German Empire as a skewed mirror to OTL Finlandization in a a "Cold War" analogue at a time when a great power's hegemony is crumbling along with new generations replacing the old.;)
     
  9. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    I've noticed the parallels. :)
     
    DrakonFin likes this.
  10. Jurgen Wullenwever Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    Location:
    Sweden
    (Are those white-helmeted troops above wearing finnish uniforms? The helmets give a Swedish impression to me, but what is shown OTL? It looks 1973-ish or sometime around then.)
     
  11. DrakonFin Operator Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    The Finnish Military-Historical Complex
    The photo is from the Kekkonen funeral in 1986. The troops above, with the ceremonial white helmets, white gloves, white belts and white spats are Army troops from the Guard Jaeger Battalion. Apart from that silly white gear, I think it is the typical 1980s grey service uniform they are wearing. It is quite close to the current uniform used by Guard Jaegers on ceremonial occasions. The troops marching after them are cadets from the Cadet School (part of the current National Defence University). They as well wear essentially the same cadet uniform as is used today.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The solitary man following the cadets, in a long dark overcoat and a top hat, is the academician Heikki Waris, a respected Helsinki University emeritus professor of social politics, of the same age as the dead president, who apparently joined the procession unannounced out of his own accord and nobody dared to stop him. He followed the procession all the way to the cemetery.

    You can see that part of the funeral here, third video from the top.
     
  12. Jurgen Wullenwever Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    Location:
    Sweden
    Great thanks. I suspected something like that. Anyway, then I suppose that the helmets are Finnish m40 or m62 based on Swedish m37.
     
  13. DrakonFin Operator Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    The Finnish Military-Historical Complex
    I'd say it's most likely the m/62. Incidentally the same helmet I was issued (in woodland camo colors) when I was a conscript in the air force, just before the newer m/92 composite model was generally introduced in my unit.