Der Kampf: The Rise and Fall of the Austrian Führer

Prelude

Der Kampf: The Rise and Fall of the Austrian Führer


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Prelude

“A plague has been loosed upon the continent and it comes in the form of a failed Austrian artist.”​
-George Lloyd, Head of the House of Lords, 1939

"With the outbreak of war between the United Kingdom and the Japanese Empire, I advise we remain steadfast and monitor the situation. Our friends in the Kuomintang are eager for more advisors, machine tools and heavy equipment in the joint efforts to modernize their country and military. It is my belief, Herr Generalfeldmarschall, that we should provide these to ensure they do not fall victim to Japanese aggression, or worse, the Communists. Please relay my suggestions to the Chancellor at your earliest convenience."​
-Lieutenant General Alexander von Falkenhausen, advisor to Chiang Kai-shek, 1940​


“The Germans were an ever-present threat, especially after the restoration, but little did I know that the true threat to Europe would come not from the Berlin but rather Vienna.”​
-Brigadier General Charles de Gaulle, Commander-in-Chief Armée d’Afrique, 1941

"They think they have broken us but this is a lie spread by their silver tongued propagandists. Breslauer and Pavolini tell their people that we are defeated, that we have been "relocated." Lies upon lies. Hear me, my comrades! Today I promise you that our people and our faith will survive this war! I promise to you, my brothers and sisters, that we shall march into Sarajevo and cast down the Kruckenkreuz and reclaim our homeland!"​
-Halim Malkoč, Leader of the Bosniak Partisans, 1944​

+ + +
“In history there are the defeated and the victor, the conquered and the conqueror, the vanquished and the triumphant. In the Great War our beloved country was defeated by the poor leadership of the Hapsburgs, the ethnic conflict that divided us so terribly into petty squabbles, and the Judeo-Bolshevik forces that sabotaged our nation from within while besetting upon us from without like locusts.

For Austria to not only return to but supersede its former position of power in Europe it must unite the lands of the former empire under the rule of Vienna. Not as an empire ruled by bluebloods and so-called ‘products of high breeding’, as one’s birth into the aristocratic ranks does not gift one strength or credential as so many have erroneously believed throughout history, but rather one’s blood of superior racial stock tempered by war and the struggle against the forces that seek to undermine our nation and its people. Territory once lost must be returned, whether by force of arms or strokes of a pen.

United under the principles and goals of the Party, this Movement shall seize the reins of power and right the wrongs of the past whilst ensuring our dominance in a Europe currently laden with undesirables and damnable ideologies. Only through the cleansing fire of Social Nationalism can we rise like a phoenix from the ashes and reclaim our position as a great power in the world."
-Preamble to The Struggle, Adolf Hitler​
 
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Prologue
Prologue
Request Denied
August 1914
Munich, Bavaria
German Empire​


“Your request is denied.”

He stood there, dumbstruck, as the seated lieutenant looked up from his official papers and shrugged.

“Denied?” he muttered angrily, tiredly. “How, why?”

The Bavarian Army leutnant leaned forward, fingers crossed with a disappointed look on his face.

Mein herr, you were denied enlistment into the Bavarian Army for two reasons. One is your health. You are as thin and pale as a ghost, good sir, and I doubt you could carry an infantryman's kit into the field without collapsing either from the weight or heart attack. On health grounds alone you would be disqualified from service.”

The Bavarian enlistment officer snorted, either clearing his nose or in contempt.

“The second reason is that you are Austrian, sir. The Austro-Hungarian Empire is an ally of Germany and therefore you, a citizen of said nation, cannot join the armed forces of the German Empire.”

“I will not join an army of mongrel races. I want to join the brave men of Germany!” An idea struck him, “I will write a petition! I will… I will go to another recruitment center in Germany. Bavaria may have denied me, but the Fatherland is hungry for soldiers! Surely one will allow me to enlist. Surely one will take me in.” Desperation seized him as he stood before the seated officer. A manic look befell the sickly man from Austria, causing his dark blue eyes to dart about the room, as if searching for an answer that refused to reveal itself.

The Bavarian officer leaned back into his chair, a scowl upon his face. Behind the sickly disheveled man stood dozens of other men, far more healthy in appearance and more controlled in manner, awaiting to enlist and fight for King and Kaiser. They shuffled impatiently and many stared daggers at the dark haired Austrian who was delaying their patriotic duty.

“Sir, you attempted to enlist in the Bavarian Army six months ago. You were denied then, just as you are denied now. Nothing has changed.”

The dejected man slammed his hands down on the wooden table separating the two men. “Everything has changed! The world is at war! Soon enough the armies of empires will march across Europe, Africa and Asia. Nations will fall whilst others rise, and glory and honor will be for those who dared to fight in this war, it being the greatest endeavor Mankind has ever faced. We are brothers, you and I. German, Austrian, two sides of the same coin. Our language is the same, our love for Germany is the same. Don’t let pedantics of birth and nationality dilute the German blood that flows through my veins. I may be an Austrian by birth but I am a German by blood. I deserve a chance to fight for the Vaterland and for its people. It is my right. ”

The officer raised an eyebrow, minutely impressed with the passionate fervor of the man before him… but orders were orders, the rules and regulations in place must be followed. Not even an impassioned Austrian could bend the rules.

“I’m sorry, but the answer is the same. You are denied entry into the Bavarian Army and will continue to be denied based on your poor health and foreign citizenship. Neither the Bavarian Army nor the German Army will accept you into its ranks. I, as military representative of His Majesty Ludwig III of the Kingdom of Bavaria and Kaiser Wilhelm II of the German Empire, bid you farewell.”

The Austrian slumped, his soul sapped of its energetic will. He turned and walked out of the recruitment office, eyes downcast at the concrete floor, unable to even look at those men who would go on to fight for Germany.

Germany, the Fatherland he never had. A nation of Germans for Germans, a place he could call home and a country he had come to love in his months of living in Munich. He had hoped that with the outbreak of war the requirements for enlistment would have lowered. But he was wrong, and now he was defeated. What was he to do? He had only a couple of Goldmarks in his pocket, the remnants of his family inheritance, his clothes were worn thin, rough, and patchwork. He had not showered in days and his stomach rumbled from hunger, a minor pain wracking his abdomen.

Grimacing, he turned to walk… somewhere. He didn’t know where to go anymore.

“Hey, you!” called a voice from behind, coming from the recruitment center. The Austrian turned, excited, thinking that at last the officer had come to his senses. But instead of the portly mustachioed officer, a man about his age with dark hair and eyes approached him, a friendly smile on his face.

He noticed the gentleman’s expensive clothes and top hat, and the way he walked, assured as if nothing would ever deny him or be out of reach. The Austrian could almost smell the wealth coming off of the man. While he detested the wealthy elite, many of whom were Jews, he nonetheless smiled and tried to present a friendly face. It was after all what he did to help sell his art down in the Kunstareal.

“Hello,” said the rich man as he neared, holding out his hand. “I must say I loved your speech back there. Really fired up the flames of patriotism in myself! Well done, well done indeed!”

“Oh, umm, thank you. Much obliged, herr-”

“Walter Schulz at your service!” The man took off his hat and gave a small bow while smiling.

Good God, he is like the theatre in the flesh, he thought sardonically.

Herr Schulz. Thank you for your kind words. They have lifted my spirits somewhat.”

“It’s a damn shame you weren’t admitted. We could use you in the Army. Like you said, you might be an Austrian by birth but you’re a German by blood. And it’ll be that same noble blood that sees our two countries emerge victorious in the months ahead.”

“Thank you, that means a great deal to me,” he said, truly touched by the man’s comments. A brief silence existed between them, the nearly-penniless Austrian not knowing what to say and the rich German having spoken his piece.

“Well I’m sure you’re busy, Herr Schulz, and I must be off as well. I have… other matters to attend to.”

Schulz’s eyes flicked over his appearance and a look of pity flashed over the well-to-do German’s face.

“I see, yes, of course, I’m sure you are quite busy.” Schulz went for another handshake but with the opposite hand, it having emerged from his pocket. The Austrian shook it awkwardly, eager to end this odd meeting, and felt something in the man’s palm slip into his. He looked at it and saw a fifty Goldmark banknote. His eyes widened and he stared up at the taller man.

“I-” his tongue felt stiff and dry so he swallowed. “I don’t know what to say other than thank you.” The relief and honesty in those words poured forth with conviction.

“That’s more than enough for me. While you may not be able to fight for Germany directly, perhaps you could do so in another way by joining your nation’s army. Our countries share the same enemies after all. You would still be fighting for Germany, if indirectly. I overheard your comment about fighting beside mongrels races, but better to fight beside the Slav and Magyar then to not fight at all, eh?”

The Austrian nodded, realizing the truth of the words.

“Use that,” Schulz gestured towards the banknote, “to eat a hot meal, stay in a comfortable hotel tonight, and take a first-class ticket to Vienna.”

A tear formed in the Austrian’s eye that he was quick to blink away. “Thank you so much, this… this has saved me.”

Schulz nodded, understanding. As the German turned away, bidding farewell with a wave, he stopped mid-turn.

“I apologize, mein freund. I never asked your name.”

“Ah, the fault is mine, I forgot to give it. My mind is a whirlwind of emotion.”

Schulz laughed. “I’m sure it is. So what is your name?”

The destitute, dejected, recently elevated from impoverished by the fifty mark banknote painter from Austria scratched his cheek and locked his blue eyes with Schulz’s hazel.

“My name is Adolf Hitler, pleased to make your acquaintance."
 
Hello, everyone! This is a project I have been tinkering and world building for the past six weeks or so. There is a fair amount written for worldbuilding, with much more planned. I have a general roadmap and idea on how I want this story to go, but am of course open to suggestions. As of now, I have about 45 pages of story written and will be posting them periodically as I continue to write more.

I will forewarn that I am soon to be really busy (I'm a teacher and school starts up next week) so my time between updates will vary greatly depending on how busy and hectic work and real life is.

As you can probably tell by the title and the Prelude and Prologue, this is a story of Adolf Hitler becoming dictator of Austria and not Germany. The PoD is him not being able to enlist into the German Army (via Bavaria). Historically he was only able to join due to a clerical error as his Austrian citizenship was unknown or misplaced when recruitment was occurring. This is not surprising as I'm sure recruitment centers in Germany were slammed for weeks to months after the Great War started and mistakes were made.

With Hitler unable to join Germany's armed forces, he will return home and join the Austro-Hungarian Army. Due to his much different experience in the Great War and the butterflies that will follow we will see Hitler eventually rise to power as the Führer within Austria. There will be a noticeable change in 1920s Austrian politics and by the 1930s a somewhat different Europe will emerge with the eventual WW2 being quite different in many ways to the real Second World War.

I hope you will join me on this grand adventure, as it will be long and possibly over-detailed in sections, but I hope entertaining and enjoyable nonetheless.

This story idea was inspired primarily by The Red's "Our Struggle" story and a collection of Hearts of Iron 4 mods.

Thank you to @Uru Hammer for creating the flag in the Prelude.

Comments, feedback, critiques are more than welcome! Help me make this story as good as it can possibly be.

Until next time,

-Tanner151
 
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Chapter One
Chapter One
A Second Chance
September 1914
Carpathian Mountains
Austro-Hungarian Empire​

It was to be, Hitler concluded privately in his tent, a time of reflection. It had been over a month since the charitable Schulz had provided the means for him to return to his homeland and join its ranks. He had spent the days traveling from Munich to Linz, having decided to try his luck there rather than Vienna, sleeping well and eating better. He had put on some weight and a healthy color to him, as well as a vigor obvious to all. It had helped land him in his current state.

While he had been previously disqualified from conscription due to his health, he was not denied a second time like he was in Munich. This time the Austro-Hungarian Army welcomed its newest volunteer and slotted him into the Landwehr, the German-speaking Territorial Army of Cisleithania. Thus Hitler became a private in the 87th Landwehr Infantry Brigade, 21st Regiment (Sankt Pölten).

Training had been quick, mostly learning how to march, salute, aim and fire a gun as well as clean it, and there Hitler had gained more strength, eating the plentiful albeit bland food the Army provided. As his health improved it had come to match his hawkish persona, his patriotic drive now being able to be pursued in full force. Austria may not be Germany, but it was home. Perhaps he would view it as his Fatherland, in time.

But not only was it a time of reflection on his improving health and the pride he displayed wearing the pike grey uniform of the Landwehr, but also a reflection on Austro-Hungary thus far in what some were labeling the Great War. Unlike his own pathway through life the past month, the path the Dual Monarchy of the Hapsburgs underwent was much less savory. Disastrous, truth be told.

Many had predicted a short victorious war, one in which the Austro-Hungarians would stall the Russians in the east while simultaneously quelling the unruly South Slavs. Those predictions turned to ashen hopes as several defeats against the Russians in Galicia threw the Empire on its heels.

Only the quick thinking of the German Army and the bravery of the Austrian soldier staved off an irrecoverable blow long enough for the front lines to stabilize along the Carpathian Mountains. But already so much had been lost. Eastern Galicia and Northern Bukovina were now in Russian hands, Premissel was surrounded and besieged, and casualties for Austro-Hungary numbered in the hundreds of thousands. The “short victorious war” had nearly been the undoing of the Empire in the first six weeks of hostilities.
The Battle of Tannenberg in East Prussia may have destroyed an entire Russian army, but the Battle of Lemberg hemorrhaged the Austro-Hungarian Army of its trained officer corps and veteran soldiers. It was on this front that the 87th Infantry Brigade was deployed alongside a dozen other brigades to help replenish the greatly depleted forces under the command of Field Marshal Conrad von Hötzendorf.

Attached to the Third Army under the Croat Baron Boroëvić von Bojna, the 21st Landwehr Infantry Regiment settled in alongside the other regiments of the 87th, digging tertiary trenches some distance from the frontline, showcasing High Command’s lack of faith in holding the current positions, and readying itself for the inevitable Russian assaults that were sure to come.

Hitler sat in his tent, his squadmates snoring beside him on their pallets, looking out through its opening as it rained. Thunder rumbled overhead and lightning crackled across the sky. While some in the camp complained about the weather, or whispered it was God’s anger at the succession of military defeats, Hitler felt peace. He wondered if the Vikings of old had felt this calm during a storm. The thunder was the sound of Thor beating his anvil, tempering a new weapon, the lightning the sparks from his strike. The weapon was the vengeance of the Austrian people, ready to make right the wrongs that had so recently transpired.

It would be in the next few days, he thought, before battle was joined. Where Austrian might would face off against Russian savage and avenge the disastrous month that preceded it.

Clutching his M1895, he stared out into the storm and it stared back.

+ + +​

Days later, the 87th Brigade marched in full strength to the front, with Hitler marching alongside his comrades in the 21st Regiment. They marched from the rear echelons towards the rapidly expanding primary and secondary trench network that was quickly becoming a hallmark on the Carpathian Front, and in truth was becoming a staple of the war as a whole. News of the German defeat at the Battle of the Marne was sweeping through the ranks, as were reports of vast entrenchments by both sides beginning to form in northern France.

Not even the news that the Germans had secured a significant amount of French industry, thereby affecting the French war effort, could alleviate the mood setting into the Austro-Hungarian Army. The men of the 21st marched proudly into the trenchworks, passing by trench lines far more extensive and formidable than the ones they had dug several kilometres away just a few days before. The trenches were bolstered with countless foxholes bristling with machineguns, mortars, while dedicated artillery positions were frequent alongside the supply depots needed to feed such an army, both the men and the weapons they fielded. They passed columns of men heading to the rear, tired and dirty. They were not far in the trenchworks when the cat calls came, largely from the withdrawing soldiers.

“Look at these clean boys, so young and eager,” laughed an Austrian whose dirty appearance and ragged look contrasted sharply with the 21st. Mud and dried blood caked his uniform. His comrades laughed, hollow and almost desperate.

Two other men, Hungarians, leaned on their rifles, sneering and spoke German in thick accents. “Did you lose your mommies? You all look like you are barely old enough to shave and… is that milk I see dropping from your mouth?!” they pointed and derided a young trooper, aged eighteen whose pale complexion darkened with fury.

Before the situation could deteriorate, an officer approached. He was dirty as well, but he did not let it bring him down like it did the common man. He seemed to excel, standing erect and walking with lethal confidence.

He walked over to the two Hungarians, spoke to them in their godawful language. The two men were humbled and withdrew, but the officer was not done yet. He turned, saw the Austrians continuing to jeer the newcomers and promptly marched and berated them in German.

“You fools, these are our comrades. They may be new to this, but they’ll learn soon enough. Cease your derision and keep marching.”

The Austrian trooper nodded before joining his fellows as they continued marching away. The officer turned to the 21st. “My name is Major Wilhelm Boehler. Welcome to hell.”

+ + +​

Major Boehler directed our regimental commander, Major Olbrecht, to the section of the trenches we were to man while the rest of the 87th plugged in the gaps elsewhere along the frontline. The soldiers they replaced were of the Common Army, the largest land force in the Empire and as ethnically varied as the Empire itself. Austrian soldiers took orders from Slavic commanders whilst fighting beside Hungarians. It was supposed to show the unity of the Empire, instead it showed an army that fielded most of Austro-Hungary’s manpower yet was not as well equipped when compared to the Austrian Landwehr or Hungarian Honvéd.

This was the mixing of races that Hitler abhorred, though he privately admired the brotherhood he saw on display. A man with a bandaged face was led by a comrade, while three men walked side by side speaking a mix-mash of German, Hungarian and… Slovenian perhaps? It was obvious those they replaced were relieved that they had lived another day and would have some time behind the lines to sleep peacefully and bathe to be rid of lice and the odor of death and smoke that seemed to permeate everything here.

They walked into the trenches and were aghast at the state of it. Puddles of water turned the floor to liquid mud that sucked on the boots and filled them with cold dirty cold water. Rats were running to and fro, squeaking as they scuttled away. Carved into the sides of the trenches were little hovels to lay down but were obviously better suited for more of a hunch-like position than proper laying down, while every few hundred metres was a bunker, slabs of cement and wood plaster with opening towards the northeast where Russian lines resided, machinegun barrels poking out, ready to fire. This misery is what the 21st settled in, dismayed at their new lodgings.

It quickly became home.

Major Olbrecht scowled and after a quiet but likely furious discussion with Major Boehler he walked away, resigned.

“Settle in men! Clean the trenches to the best of your ability, firm up the mudwalls with wood so they don’t collapse on us, and dig proper latrines. Ready yourselves, Ivan could attack at any time.”

+ + +​

Olbrecht’s words soon proved prophetic. Two days later the Russians attacked. It was late in the afternoon, hoping to catch the Austro-Hungarian positions unaware after a day of little more than infrequent potshots. Artillery thundered, hundreds of pieces unloading shells onto the Empire’s lines.

Hitler was startled awake. He had dozed off in one of the wall hovels, his pencil and sheet of paper falling off of him into the trench floor, his failed attempts at facial realism being further ruined by the mud.

Looking at his squadmates, he tried to speak but the artillery was so loud and so all encompassing the only thing that came out was a terrified scream. A piercing wail approached, the men half-frozen in fear and uncertainty. The shell detonated on the rim of the trench wall, showering Hitler with mud. His squadmate, Hans Stückel, was not so lucky. A shard of metal was lodged in Stückel’s throat and despite having his hands around it to stem the bleeding, blood was leaking through at an alarming rate.
“Adi…” Stückel coughed and died, his eyes staring up into the red-tinged sky.

Hitler threw up, noisily and messily. He and Stückel had been acquaintances at best, but the camaraderie that had been developing was now forever quashed. He slipped into his hovel and sat there staring at his comrade’s corpse as the barrage continued.

For three hours Russian explosive steel fell from the sky, killing a few dozen and reshaping the landscape. Within moments after the beginning of the Russian barrage, the Austro-Hungarian artillery batteries replied in kind, with the deadly bombardment making only the soldier in the trench miserable, fear-ridden for his life, and eager for the rumbles of shell impacts and the piercing wail of their passing to stop.

With the three hours ending the sun began to set over the horizon, with it blaring from behind Austro-Hungarian lines. Yet this would not have been as advantageous as it would have been in flatter country. The trench the 21st Regiment occupied was in hilly country, not far from the Russian controlled pass in the Carpathians that they had seized in the initial offensives of the war. Therefore the Russians that came spilling forth from their own trench lines, whistles bleating sharply to rouse the men and instill discipline, would not have the sun in their eyes as they advanced up the hill to the Austria-held lines.

Major Olbrecht moved into the trench from the bunker he had waited out the bombardment, pistol in hand.

“Ready yourselves! Here they come!” He leaned down to Stückel, closed the dead man’s eyes with his hands and then grabbed the deceased private’s rifle. Holstering his pistol, the major took up the slot next to Hitler. Hundreds of Austrian men readied themselves, their rifles aimed at the encroaching Russians.

They came in their hundreds and then their thousands, an ever growing horde of khaki-clad Slavs.

“Hold, men! Hold!” Obrecht yelled, voice hoarse from the smoke and strained from the effort. He coughed. “Hold!”

Hitler aimed at the center mass of a Russian and waited, hand shaking, wavering his bead on the man.

“Hold!”

The Russians were around a hundred metres away now. Mortars were being fired from Austro-Hungarian lines, felling some and causing more to seek cover but the vast majority still advanced, yelling bravado as they suppressed their fear by charging forward.

“Fire!”

Hundreds of M1895s fired alongside a half-dozen machineguns. The Austrian firepower cut through the Russians like a scythe through wheat, blood spraying in the air, appearing as a pink mist, while the Mosin-Nagant hefting soldiers fell like dolls thrown by a disgruntled child.

Hitler fired and pulled back the straight bolt, the empty casing flying into the air. He slammed it forward, loading a new round into the chamber. He took aim and fired again.
On and on he fired his weapon, reloading when the last casing flew out. Again and again in what felt like eternity but eventually the Russians retreated, whistles heralding their withdrawal. They never advanced within fifty meters of the trench, the wall of lead having halted them in their tracks.

A Russian rose from the ground, limping as he ran away. Hitler raised his rifle but did not fire. There was no point. He lowered his rifle and took a deep breath, shaking.

“It isn’t fear,” Paul Lutjens said, his comrade who stood on the rampart beside him, looking out over at the field of death. His light brown hair was matted and darkened with sweat, face flushed red and marred by dirt. “My pa, he said that the shaking wasn’t nerves or fear. It was adrenaline, or at least most of it is.”

Hitler glanced at Lutjens before looking at the long cooled corpse of Hans Stückel.

“Shame,” Lutjens said. “Hans has a girl back in Linz. She’ll find out soon enough when his family does.” Lutjens rubbed his brow of sweat. “Another one fallen for the Fatherland.”

“For the Fatherland,” Hitler mumbled before stumbling down onto the trench floor, relieved to have survived.
 
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Interesting POD here, Hitler getting rejected from the Bavarian Army, which in OTL let him in due to a bureaucratic error.
And Hitler's on the Eastern Front instead of the Western Front.
Any chance he might join a German Freikorps once the war concludes?
 
Okay. This is awesome.
Thank you :)

Interesting POD here, Hitler getting rejected from the Bavarian Army, which in OTL let him in due to a bureaucratic error.
And Hitler's on the Eastern Front instead of the Western Front.
Any chance he might join a German Freikorps once the war concludes?
Yes, a clerical correction prevents Hitler for serving in the German Army.

He does serve on the Eastern Front in a multi-ethnic army. This does change some aspects of him. Now Hitler is still Hitler. He will be a monster, a tyrannical dictator and a despised man in history, just in a slightly different form.

Hitler, as of now in my roadmap, does join a paramilitary force and politics but that is after the Great War arc. Aspects are subject to change due to feedback and suggestions.
 
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As I said in response to your posts in the Post-1900 Miscellaneous thread, I like the way you're giving Hitler a different experience without having much of an effect on the war itself. I think that's realistic - the butterflies will really start to breed after the end of the war.
 
Interesting POD, I'll be following this one.

Are any of the people Hitler's fighting with real-life people? Either way, I'll be curious to see how they influence him - especially since Hitler is lacking the joy of war he spoke of.

He does serve on the Eastern Front in a multi-ethnic army. This does change some aspects of him. Now Hitler is still Hitler. He will be a monster, a tyrannical dictator and a despised man in history, just in a slightly different form.
Hmmm. Perhaps his genocidal ambitions will be directed towards another minority instead/additionally?
 
As I said in response to your posts in the Post-1900 Miscellaneous thread, I like the way you're giving Hitler a different experience without having much of an effect on the war itself. I think that's realistic - the butterflies will really start to breed after the end of the war.
Correct, WW1 will play out the same. Hitler has zero impact on how the war will play out, but due to his circumstances the war will have a notable affect on him and his views which will snowball into a different Hitler with different goals once he comes to power in Austria.

Interesting POD, I'll be following this one.

Are any of the people Hitler's fighting with real-life people? Either way, I'll be curious to see how they influence him - especially since Hitler is lacking the joy of war he spoke of.


Hmmm. Perhaps his genocidal ambitions will be directed towards another minority instead/additionally?
Welcome!

No, these are all original characters and many of my PoV characters will be original though once the war ends, we will start to see some familiar faces, and especially once we hit the 30s and 40s you will see a lot of familiar faces though not always on the same side as they were OTL or in the same situation.

Yes. Hitler will still despise Jews and Communism, but some groups will not be included and perhaps even favored while others that he was neutral towards OTL will be persecuted.
 
Chapter Two
Chapter Two
Trench Raid
September 1914
Carpathian Front
Austro-Hungarian Empire​

Lieutenant Tamás Horváth crawled through the cold mud, quietly, hearing only the sound of breathing, the rustle of grass being trampled, and a dozen men trying their best to sneak their way to Russian lines.

Overhead the moon was covered by thick clouds which had only helped them as they crossed No Man's Land. It would rain soon, he thought. Best to begin before that happened.

“Here,” he muttered to his men, the words repeated softly to those at the back.

They were near the forward foxholes and preliminary trenches of the Russian lines, not the proper regiment-shredders further back that had repulsed several assaults already. They could hear chatter not far away, jovially spoken Russian whilst the smell of cigarette and campfire smoke drifted upon the wind.

Horváth looked at the men he led, a mix-mash of Hungarian, Czech and Bosnian, a typical unit within the Common Army.

“You know what to do.”

Horváth pulled out a grenade from his belt, pulled the pin and waited two seconds, sweat beading down his face despite the cool night air.

As the third second began he threw the grenade into the closest foxhole of Russians. The explosion drowned out the scream of the men inside, their foxhole turning into a slaughterhouse of ruined cloth, bent metal and shredded meat.

“Go!”

Horváth’s men stormed the closest trench line, using their rifles butts and bayonets to silence the few half-ready men. Some shots were fired but in the close confines of the trench it was difficult to aim and fire properly.

A group of Russians spilled out from a bunker. Horváth fired his rifle and chambered a new round, firing again. The first missed, hitting the sandbag wall next to the opening but the second hit true, slamming into a Russian trooper’s chest, throwing him back into his comrades who suddenly found a corpse slumped upon them.

An officer’s cap was spotted amongst the confused and frightened Russians.

“There’s one! Grab him!” bellowed the Bosnian Davud in thickly accented German, the common language amongst the Empire’s Common Army. Ironic that Slavs and Magyars best way to communicate with one another was a language native to none of them.

The struggle continued, but eventually the Russians were overwhelmed. The officer was brought before Horváth. The Magyar officer looked at the Russian officer, noting his captain’s pins.

“You’ll do.” Horváth grabbed the man’s arm roughly but was surprised when the Russian shook free and glared at him.

The Russian stiffened. “I am Mikhail Stefannovich Petrovnik, son and heir to Baron Stefann Peterovich Petrovnik. As a noble and a gentleman you shall not handle me as if I were a child.” Behind the officer, Horváth's men cut the throats of the two wounded Russian prisoners as an act of mercy, gurgling as they died. Both had belly wounds, one from a bullet, the other from a bayonet. A quick death was a Godsend to what they would have experienced.

Horváth cocked an eyebrow. “Your Hungarian isn’t half bad for a foreign blueblood, but,” he punched the Russian noble in the nose, knocking him back, blood and snot dripping down his nose, “I never much cared for aristocrats from my country and even less about those from my nation’s enemies. So shut the fuck up and do as I say. Understand?”

The Russian’s gray eyes were wide in shock that a Magyar commoner would dare lay a finger on him, the sounds of his soldiers dying behind him unnerved the man. The Common Army unit gathered up the Russian officer and several sheets of paper that were locked in a watertight briefcase. Horváth and his men left the Russian forward trench, leaving behind two of their own to join the dozen Ivans they had killed.

The whole engagement took less than five minutes. By the time Russian reinforcements arrived Horváth and his men were long gone.

When they returned to Austro-Hungarian lines, the Russian noble was handed to several officers of the Evidenzbureau who strong armed him to the rear lines where undoubtedly a car waited to take him to a more appropriate location for interrogation. The briefcase was also handed to the intelligence officers, who nodded their thanks and promptly left.

Lieutenant Horváth wearily walked towards the small forward bunker he and several other officers claimed as their own, greeting his fellows who were able to avoid being volunteered for the raid party, and collapsed in his cot, exhausted, still covered in mud and smelling of gunpowder.
 
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Interesting and well written--followed :)
Thank you!

And here is the first of several PoV characters that will pop up either periodically or frequently depending on the flow and ebb of the story. Everyone is pretty unimportant at this stage, but many of these characters will either become important overall themselves or interact with those will become major players in the stories to come.
 
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