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What's the general consensus on how long a thread should run before a new one gets started? I've thought it might not be the worst idea to make this thread a five-parter (Part V will cover 1890-1899 give or take) and then start a "Cinco de Mayo Vol. II" with Part VI to kick off the 20th century. After covering the POD and then the mid-1860s wars, each Part has roughly covered a decade (Part III: The Age of Questions ran from 1868-1878, Part IV: The Liberal Ascendancy is currently set to run to 1889, and then Part V, etc.)
A five to six part Cinco De Mayo is something I would definitely want to see. Keep up the good work.
Belgique Rouge
"...but the antics of the generation of young princes, led largely by the Duke of Brabant, scandalized European tabloids (to the extent that periodicals were permitted to report on the debauchery of the young royals) and instigated substantial whisper campaigns. The Prince of Wales [1] frequently made his way across the Channel to Antwerp in order to socialize with Leopold, bringing with him a small coterie of clingers-on in Belgium nicknamed "the Cretins" who became an infamous presence in the Brussels whorehouses. The behavior of Leopold and Rudolf of Austria was perhaps the most degenerate of the "Playboy Princes," seeing as both men were married fathers; that heirs such as Heinrich of Prussia or the future Carlos Jose of Spain did not debase themselves so readily only made the behavior more abhorrent to the public as they flaunted their wealth, indulged in adultery and solicitation of prostitution and most certainly did not live by the strict Victorian expectations of the nobility of the day. Perhaps only the Prussian Playboy, Waldemar - younger and more affable than the others, and critically not the immediate heir to the German throne - escaped the kind of scrutiny levied upon the peers of his generation, though he was no less an inveterate party animal nor any more loyal to his future wife once his father and brother slapped some sense into him in his late twenties. But it was still Leopold above all others when it came to the debauched orgy that was the youthful nobility of the late 1880s; it was he who never grew out of his lazy, entitled demeanor, he who was such a poor influence that he poisoned the personal lives of princes on both sides of the ocean over the course of several decades [2], and he who would, in a twist of cruel irony, soon have the most sudden responsibility thrust upon him at a time in his life when he continued to show little inclination that he understood or appreciated the necessities of the crown..."

- Belgique Rouge

[1] Prince Albert Victor, in case Bertie's 1871 death had gone forgotten
[2] Recall that it was Leopold who gave Mexico's Luis Maximiliano his first taste of hookers and partying during Carlota's long "gotta find my kid a wife I can drag back to Mexico come hell or high water" tour
I have two questions about this episode:
First one: I remember Rudolf was the one who Luis Maximilano first taste of parties and woman.
Second one: Rudolf had child? I remember he had no children whatsoever.
I hope you are having a nice day and goodbye.
I have two questions about this episode:
First one: I remember Rudolf was the one who Luis Maximilano first taste of parties and woman.
Second one: Rudolf had child? I remember he had no children whatsoever.
I hope you are having a nice day and goodbye.

That may have been the case! It was one of his two cousins who got him hooked. Maybe both!

Rudolf had a daughter IOTL (and here) before he and his wife both went sterile from his syphilis
That may have been the case! It was one of his two cousins who got him hooked. Maybe both!

Rudolf had a daughter IOTL (and here) before he and his wife both went sterile from his syphilis
I didn’t know Rudolf had a daughter. And according to Wikipedia, she was also a socialist. Thanks for telling Rudolf had a daughter, KingSweden24.
One Party, One Nation: Canada's 19th Century Tory Dynasty
"...having led the Tories to another comfortable albeit moderately smaller majority in the autumn elections, Tupper would retire in the new year having arguably surpassed even his mentor Macdonald as the party's north star. The Haligonian leader, satisfied in having secured his legacy in eleven years as Prime Minister, moved behind the scenes to see to it that his colleagues as well as the new Governor-General Lord Stanley - a Tory stalwart of Britain himself - moved Sir Alexander Campbell into the office as his successor, transferring the Premiership back to Ontarian hands. The appointment of Campbell was met coldly in Quebec; the Justice Minister responsible for the hanging of Riel was seen as a distinctive snub against French Canada generally, and his notorious harassment of Catholic lay organizations as head of the Dominion Police, under the guise of rooting out "Fenians," was not soon forgotten either.

Campbell was in that sense very much a pick of the "Orange establishment;" like Macdonald and Tupper before him he was an Orangeman in good standing with the Lodge but moreso than that he was in many ways an even more reactionary choice. Unlike his predecessors he sat in the Senate rather than the Commons, making him a choice more akin to that a British peer being elevated to head the Cabinet; his moralizing against drink and activity in continuing the Orange infiltration of Canadian institutions, particularly in the city of Toronto where membership in the Order was in many ways a prerequisite to public or professional advancement made him a much less electorally political animal; and he had been at Charlottetown and was a member of Macdonald's old law firm, very much placing him in the center of the clubbish network of Tories who ran the Dominion behind the scenes. Already 65 at his appointment, he was a Father of Confederation very much at the tail end of his career; hardly a man ready to innovate or budge from his long-held views. [1]

For the Liberals, a new path had to be taken. It was the Francophone Wilfried Laurier who emerged as the party leader after Blake was forced into retirement, making 1887 a year of new leaders for both of Canada's major parties. Laurier was a talented orator and attorney, who made his first mark in critique of the slow response of the national government to the Great Fire of Vancouver; though dismissed over his Catholicism initially, Campbell's Tories would soon start to fear the ambitious young lawyer..."

- One Party, One Nation: Canada's 19th Century Tory Dynasty

[1] Yes, there are certainly some parallels between the "Dixie PRI" of TTL Confederacy and the hyper-Orange Tories of TTL Canada
Frederick and Victoria: Consorts of Germany
"...the surgery came at an inopportune time; not only were tensions in the Samoa Islands spiking and soon to turn hot, but the reforms spearheaded by Frederick had stalled out, and the rivalries between Bennigsen, Hohenlohe and Eulenberg were intensifying as the Reichstag, Bundesrat and Prussian Landtag each flexed their independent muscles and stymied the projects of one another. [1] After the initial spurt of liberal reforms after the Waldersee putsch, efforts to further entrench power under the "triad" of Kaiser, Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor in Berlin were harder to pursue. The successful battle to eliminate Prussia's parallel Foreign Office and consolidate it within the Imperial diplomatic service was long and arduous; further attempts to rein in the Landtag ran into problems as Eulenberg's conservative bloc began to make more noise about blocking reforms in the Bundesrat if its privileges were not maintained. Bennigsen and Hohenlohe did not work as well together as Frederick had hoped upon their initial appointments; Bennigsen, for his part, had grown accustomed to deference from not only the Kaiser but his bloc in the Reichstag and grew increasingly autocratic in how he controlled the legislature, and despite the soft agreement that ministries would be staffed by mutual consent, Hohenlohe and the Vice-Chancellor often sparred over even minor appointments as a form of regional or personal patronage, in no small part over Bennigsen's suspicions towards Hohenlohe's Catholic faith.

By 1887, when Frederick went under the knife to have a full laryngectomy performed at the Royal Palace, only the Caprivi reforms consolidating power with the General Staff over the armies of the individual kingdoms and creating a more uniform command structure was still moving along, and even that was only due to the removal of much of the Prussian old guard during the post-Waldersee purges. Even there, Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Wurttemburg would maintain separate armies; but staff colleges became streamlined and uniform, setting up a cold war within the War Office between appointments made by the Kaiser as "Imperial commandants," Prussian and Bavarian officers of the noble class, and staff officers who were generally drawn from the middle classes but would never see the more prestigious appointments reserved for aristocrats, as opposed to the egalitarian Navy which quickly earned favor with the liberal Reichstag.

Victoria, of course, was strongly opposed to Fritz's cancer operation, relying heavily on the British specialists who assured her it was benign; in the end, and perhaps in one of the first times in their marriage, Frederick dismissed his wife's counsel as his voice grew so weak he could barely speak and he coughed frequently. He deferred to Dr. Bergmann and the advice of both his heir and his Chancellor to proceed, even at the risk of death on the operating table. [2] The planned surgery was kept secret and the Kaiser vanished from public view for months, with Henry on leave from his Naval duties to handle the most critical matters of the German state and leaving all royal Prussian matters in the hands of Kaiserine Victoria, which boiled the blood of Eulenberg and other Prussian nobles who loathed the Empress. The fairly new and innovative procedure of a laryngectomy was successful - the cancer of the throat was removed and later revealed to be highly malignant in a later biopsy, but it came at the cost of the Kaiser's voice. For the next two years, until a device was designed and surgically inserted as a prosthetic larynx, he was unable to speak, communicating only via handwritten missive or tapped Morse code on a table with a large black stone he kept tucked in his pocket, and he was forced to kick his longtime smoking habit. Both the life-prolonging surgery and the manufacture of a prosthetic larynx with which Frederick was slowly able to re-learn to speak and make sound - very faint and odd-sounding, but words nevertheless - caught the royal courts of Europe by surprise and were hailed continent-wide as marvels of modern science..."

- Frederick and Victoria: Consorts of Germany

[1] We see here now the downside of the German Imperial constitution when there's not a singular figure like Bismarck to dominate the machinery of government
[2] Of course, IOTL, Frederick listened to the British doctor who told him he was fine at Victoria's urging and did not have the surgery after Bismarck intervened. Here, he listens instead to his original German doctor, Bergmann, who aggressively advocated the surgery, and Crown Prince Henry and Chancellor Hohenlohe (not Bismarck) accede to his proceeding with it. My head-canon is that Frederick does this having already been on the throne nearly a decade and trusting that Henry will be a more able Kaiser should he die than William, whom he did not particularly love
"...I actually don't think this would be a big a POD as you think. Here's why:

The last six years of Frederick's life, after he had the surgery, were the beginning of the waning of the Kaiser's temporal power in Germany. This was partially due to his weakness post-surgery, but also societal forces such as the increasing infighting within the Reichstag and the byzantine complexities of not one but two parallel governments in Berlin as the Prussian government, dominated by Junkers, tried to find its place alongside the Imperial regime, which waxed and waned between oligarchic landholders, progressive free-thinkers, liberal businessmen and bourgeoisie from the middle class, lay Catholics, and a growing component of Socialists taking advantage of the post-1890 eruption of radicalism, becoming a bloc that could not be ignored. It should be pointed out that the future Kaiser Heinrich would probably be just as aloof from day-to-day politics in 1887 as he would when he actually ascended to the throne in 1893; perhaps even more so, as a byproduct of youth. It's been pointed out that Heinrich's depoliticization of the German throne had a large effect on the German monarchy's continued survival, much as Victoria and later George V in Britain; based on everything I've read about "the Contented Kaiser," I see no reason to think he would have gotten his hands dirty in the political disputes of the day between personalities such as Bennigsen and Hohenlohe in the wake of his father's premature death.

Realistically, an 1887 POD is Frederick dying on the operating table; the cancer was severe enough in that it returned so suddenly and aggressively in 1893 that it probably takes him the next year or early 1889 if not operated on. If anything, Fritz dying under the knife while a very cutting-edge and difficult procedure is being performed on him may have been a best case scenario; I don't think the Samoa War goes much better with a more singular German government, but the confusion with a recovering Kaiser who couldn't give orders or properly consult with his military officers, and Heinrich being wary of interjecting into the conduct of naval operations in the Pacific during his father's convalescence, certainly didn't help. That Heinrich was a fleet man himself and had indeed studied the American naval capabilities after the Chil-Am War could have at least offered Germany a slightly better performance on the margins, though again - the Samoa War is in the end a minor colonial conflict that was much more important in American politics than in German history, where it barely registers as a footnote.

The bigger PODs during this very formative decade of German history remain, of course, one or both the two Wilhelms surviving longer - the younger one particularly so, because Germany really dodged a big bullet with him dying in the view of most historians, though how can you judge how a hotheaded, passionate 20-year old will rule? - and the Waldersee Putsch, which though it really could never have been successful could certainly have triggered a much more destabilized atmosphere..."

- WI: Frederick III's Cancer Gets Him (alternatehistory.en)

(We have a lot of flash-forwards in this entry)
Engines of Industry: The Capitalist Innovation of the Second Industrial Revolution
"...just as ugly as the Current Wars between Westinghouse and the direct current providers of Edison Electric Light and alternating current innovator American Electric Company [1] was the escalating rivalry known as the Telephone War between the Bell Telephone Company, which in early 1887 moved to New York City due to a more favorable regulatory environment, and Western Union, which survived the onslaught from Bell thanks only to its controlling stake in component manufacturer Western Electric and the skepticism of the American government towards a telephone and telegraphy monopoly held entirely by the Bell shareholders, even in the pre-Hoar Act era. [2] Western Electric's continued investments in telegraphs over the more expensive telephones, especially with a large network west of the Mississippi, helped it survive in those cutthroat years; that it laid the first American trans-Pacific telegraph cables from San Francisco to Hawaii via its Pacific Telegraph subsidiary and later ran a cable in the mid-1890s to Port Hamilton, off the Korean coast, gave it a foothold in trade and money transfer services in the emerging global trade order even as it substantially lost market share with the increasingly popular telephone to Bell, especially in the Northeast. Of course, even in this age, even the exponential success of Bell was not flawless; attempts to absorb Edison's phonograph interests were rebuffed, a potential purchase that would have left Bell dominant in the recording industry as well..."

- Engines of Industry: The Capitalist Innovation of the Second Industrial Revolution (University of Oregon, 1988)

[1] What in OTL would be known as Thomson-Houston
[2] So WU doesn't settle its patent dispute with Bell here; but it also doesn't take Gardiner Hubbard up on his offer to sell them the master patent for the phone (whoops!)
The Lion of Edinburgh: Prince Arthur, the Empire and the Twilight of the Victorian Age
"...his mother's Golden Jubilee was among the grandest affairs Arthur could recall; a glittering celebration of her fifty years on the throne, attended by effectively all of European nobility in some form or another. Despite growing poverty in the cities and on the farms, particularly in Ireland, the Jubilee was rung in with fanfare, a gaudy celebration of the British Empire, in no small part meant to outdo the decadence thrown by France for their own Emperor. France may have won Indochina, but Britain had India; France may have the Suez, but Britain had the Three Capes and the Royal Navy. At a time of domestic and international concern over the nation's standing, as wealthy industrialists grew ever wealthier and the ledgers of the City's bankers and brokers only escalated in value, the Jubilee was meant to celebrate all that was British, of the Pax Britannica that had stretched across the globe since the original Bonaparte had been vanquished..."

- The Lion of Edinburgh: Prince Arthur, the Empire and the Twilight of the Victorian Age
And with that we close out 2020 effectively 25 years from the POD! I really appreciate all my readers and your commentary, critiques, and most of all patronage. I'll see you all in the New Year!
The Cornerstone: John Hay and the Foundation of American Global Prestige
"...that Germany would respond to Mata'afa's provocations were not a surprise; the rebel chief had killed 16 Germans in the last three months. The shelling of his primary village and the landing there, and the engagement of German soldiers with surprised US Marines trying to keep the peace was the move that Hay and Goff had not anticipated. Events in Samoa careened out of control half a world away from where cooler heads in Washington or Berlin could have intervened; the fighting between Germans and Americans on Samoa turned bloody, reports arrived Apia suggesting a massacre had occurred, and suddenly another Panama Crisis had blossomed - German ships opened fire on American ones after the hero of the Bahia Magdalena, Lewis Kimberly, demanded their surrender for negotiations. Whether nerves of arrogance, it is hard to say; the SMS Adler was sunk, the SMS Eber was so badly damaged it was only able to flee to Savai'i where it was beached and its crew was dragged into inter-tribal fighting between pro-German and pro-American forces. The corvette SMS Olga was able to flee only after engaging the American gunboat USS Georgetown, which it sunk with all hands as it escaped Apia Harbor, with the crew aboard Kimberly's Vandalia accusing the HMS Calliope of shadowing the Olga to allow its escape.

British attempts to intervene went nowhere once the Olga was back in Hongkong and Cambodia and able to report back to Germany what had happened; both Washington and Berlin claimed the other side had attacked first. With their ships in control of Samoa, the US Navy funneled supplies throughout May and June to Mata'afa in order to take advantage of their brief opportunity; Germany, it was well known, lacked the ability to project much power in the Pacific; but now concerns of a commerce raiding war in the Atlantic bloomed. Hay, who had been unable to make it to Germany during his previous European tour, debated traveling there to defuse the situation; the European Squadron in the Mediterranean was mobilized and the North Atlantic Squadron began patrolling the Eastern Seaboard more aggressively. If the Samoan War was much of a war, and it was perhaps even less of one than the Chilean-American War of two years prior, it was barely even being fought in Samoa now; but, of course, to the outraged Democratic House, which viewed it as an undeclared war on the seas fought once again by a renegade President, it was an outrage - an outrage that, with the burgeoning German American middle class potentially up for grabs, had political upside..."

- The Cornerstone: John Hay and the Foundation of American Global Prestige
Chessboard: The Splendid Isolation and British Foreign Policy
"...1887 was not the first time the Foreign Office expressed concern about Morocco, but it was indeed when its concerns became more sophisticated and realized. The uninterrupted run of both military and diplomatic foreign policy victories for France since the Unification Wars - starting with its therapeutic Korean Expedition through the Treaty of Tientsin - had left it with the apex position in the Porte, granting it either direct control or indirect influence on a vast swath of land from Algiers to Basra and, increasingly, south towards Timbuktu and the Niger. The great British fear was not its southwards movement, though Salisbury and his lieutenants were worried that within a decade French railroad interests would complete the Near Eastern projects on behalf of Istanbul and attempt a network linking Dakar, Conakry, the Ivory Coast and Algiers, so much as its increasing political and economic encroachment on Morocco via Algeria.

The potential of a sphere of French influence and alliances extending down both sides of the Red Sea, across an entire swath of the Balkans from Vienna to Istanbul, most of the Levant, and then from the Pillars of Hercules to the Suez, effectively granting them suzerainty of the entire southern Mediterranean coast, was the apocalyptic scenario for London. A France that had use of Moroccan ports would have effective control of the entire central Atlantic; it would make Gibraltar effectively obsolete, and it would create rising tensions between Spain and France after a decade of cooling passions. That the Treaty of Madrid allowed countries to maintain the territories they had seized in Moroccan lands seemed to invite further expansion of both Spain and France into Sultan Hassan I's domain; for Britain, a colonial crisis on the Straits of Gibraltar that could end with either Franco-Ottoman hegemony over all of North Africa or a hot war in the Pyrenees between the rival Spanish Hohenzollerns and French Bonapartes, ironically tightly aligned with the Bourbons, was unthinkable.

So even as Germany made overtures to Salisbury about pressuring the fissuring Sweden-Norway into a "Nordic Ausgleich" to create a bulwark north of Denmark, the Foreign Office zeroed in on Morocco as her next major project - to protect British influence and nip French ambitions in the Atlas in the bud. (It should be pointed out that Britain was wary of cozying up to Germany for a variety of reasons; fear of further enhancing any one continental power, distaste for its Prussian elite outside of the Royal Family which adored Frederick III, longstanding biases against Germans within the civil service, and not wanting to appear to be taking sides in the gunboat crisis in the North Atlantic between Germany and the United States). A quieter, less widely acknowledged concern regarding Morocco was having Spanish suzerainty on both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar - British policy had long been to see to it that no power control both coasts of strategic straits, a major factor in its quiet support of Ottoman suzerainty over Tunis less the local Bey be sucked into an ever-ambitious Italy's sphere. Persuadable, neutral Spain controlling all access to the Mediterranean, a project that Britain felt that King Leopold I and his elected government under Cristino Martos was seeking to pursue as imperial expansionism came in vogue throughout European courts, was nearly as much a disaster as France commanding all of Africa north of Conakry.

It would be one of the first instances of the government directly incorporating intelligence collection and spy tradecraft as a vehicle for diplomacy and influence rather than purely military uses; Hassan's bureaucracy quickly became sluiced through with British influencers, London's banks opened the wallets tremendously for investment projects in Morocco in a rare case of the government directly leaning on private actors to coordinate with them on national strategy, and discussions began of a treaty to even denote Morocco as a soft protectorate of Britain, a move that the new Prime Minister William Henry Smith endorsed but which even Salisbury was wary of fully committing to, fearing that such a move would push Spain into one of the continent's power blocs when it served British interests to keep her formally neutral..."

- Chessboard: The Splendid Isolation and British Foreign Policy

(Couldn't find a good way to incorporate this into the text but these concerns will drive Britain to make The Gambia its own protectorate rather than part of Sierra Leone and boost investments in both compared to OTL due to strategic considerations being different)
Umberto's Italy
"...the death of Depretis and then elevation of Francesco Crispi in June of 1887 then marked the first time that Umberto had a man of his own instincts as Prime Minister; bullheaded, brash, authoritarian and stubborn. The chaotic rotation of Prime Ministers had come to an end - despite Umberto's own autocratic instincts, his working relationship with Crispi would allow the mercurial new leader to rule for the next fourteen years, until his death. [1]

To the reformists of Italy, which had watched a coddled, corrupt union of moderates from both right and left rule Italy in tandem, having a man fully committed to a "system of differences" that emphasized the reformist aspects of the Dissident Left in opposition to the Church and the establishment was a godsend. Crispi wasted little time reforming the Italian penal code, its system of elections to comuni, further expanding suffrage, and protectionism to build Italy's industry, a move popular with northern industrialists otherwise wary of the first Southern Prime Minister. Crispi's statist progressivism would in many ways serve as a harbinger of the populist movements of the 1890s; he supported just as much the consolidation of power within the government as he did the right to strike and the foundation of public health institutions, the first of their kind in Europe. Such efforts, and Crispi's bucking of the Mafia and Comorra in the south to build better roads and railroads south of Naples, were the first true investments in the otherwise restive and poor Foot; and despite his endeavors, the mass migration of Italians to the Americas was only about to begin, and securing their interests abroad would be a theme dominating Crispi's government for the remainder of its existence.

This innovation extended to foreign policy; even more so than Depretis and his predecessors, Crispi was a firm Francophobe, viewing France as an unwavering enemy of the Italian state vis a vis its alliance with Vienna and the Papacy. Britain became an even more critical ally of Italy in the Mediterranean, to the point that the Pontiff remaining a Maltese Exile soon rose as a political issue. Crispi was radical and stubborn but not unrealistic; his Germanophile course and increased military investments ended any notion that France or Austria could attempt to restore the Papal State on Italian soil by force, but nevertheless he was strongly supportive of the Leonine Compromise which he viewed as having been settled by all the Great Powers at the Treaty of Brussels in 1867. That Pope Leo XIII continued to decline to return to Rome was seen by Crispi of further evidence of the Church's untrustworthiness and unrealistic approach on temporal matters, and also a Franco-Austrian conspiracy; of course, though Crispi would have been unlikely to believe it, Napoleon IV and Franz Josef were just as flustered by the two-decade exile of the Papacy on a British colony as the Italians were, and though Napoleon IV did not want to annoy the substantial constituency of proto-Integralists in France who were wedded to his ideology of the National Contract, the Young Eagle privately would have backed Crispi but refused to give the Pope an ultimatum, even though his views were quietly communicated to Malta many times. And so the Roman Question dragged on, the Leonine City remaining reserved for the Church but home to only half the Curia and College of Cardinals, the Maltese Thorn remaining a frustration for all four powers which continued to gently try to get the Papacy to see reason [2]..."

- Umberto's Italy

[1] Here's a case where an OTL leader is coming to power on schedule but the circumstances of his sticking around change; Crispi of course was a major figure of OTL!Italy but here will be an even more titanic one.
[2] Britain of course could just tell the Pope to get lost at this point and find somewhere else to live but the implications that would have in Ireland and Quebec, to say nothing of relations that are already strained with Paris and Vienna, continue to dissuade the Foreign Office from doing so, no matter their annoyance with the Church for not just accepting reality (and Leo XIII is much more of a diplomat than his predecessor was... it's just that the Church can't be seen accepting its temporal life dictated to it by earthly powers, so on and so forth)
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