Der Kampf: The Rise and Fall of the Austrian Führer

Chapter Three
Chapter Three
Hollow is the Home
October 1914
Klilisk, Western Siberia
Russian Empire​

The manor was quiet, as had become typical these past few nights. It was darkly lit, illuminated only by candles and a handful of electric bulbs, a rarity in the Russian village of Klilisk, a great distance from the Urals. Entire countries could fit in Siberia and be lost in its vast sea of grasslands. A man could walk for days and not see a sign of civilization.
Fyodor walked through the front annex, one side dominated by large windows that showed a black landscape with only the occasional flicker of torches or firepits in the distance showing the homes of local farmhands. The other side held murals of family patriarchs who had come and gone, looking out over land their family had ruled for two centuries. They murals faced the windows, as if gazing over their demesne.

The murals, expensive and time consuming, were always commissioned after death and presented here to show the deceased in their youthful prime. The most recent addition showed a man who was the age presented and who had never truly been more than an heir. It being there showed longing favoritism of the man standing there in uniform, even after death. The frame was gilded gold, the canvas covered in the best paints money could buy from Petropavlovsk, the nearest major city. It was a waste of money, the family fortune being swindled by an increasingly tyrannical and decrepit head of household.

He passed by servants who bowed their heads in respect rather than fear. They did not flinch every time he raised a hand or turned his head sharply. He was not his father after all.

At the end of the annex waited a thick oak set of double doors with silver handles. The butler, Yuri, bowed as he went to open them for Fyodor, announcing him to his parents.

“Wait,” he said, looking into a nearby mirror, seeing a disheveled youth of twenty-two with brown hair that seemed as wild as his spirit. His eyes were his most notable feature, one brown and the other gray.

“You may now present me.”

Yuri nodded and pushed open the doors as if at a ball.

“My lord and lady, the noble Fyodor Stefannovich Petrovnik.”

He walked in and was met with silence. His father’s pale eyes were akin to chipped ice as they stared at him while his mother’s soft dark eyes darted back and forth from father to son. The long table was fitted with the finest linen cloths, napkins and old enameled plated that were new in Fyodor’s grandfather’s time. Food had been set out earlier and it was obvious his parents had waited for his arrival to begin the meal.

Fyodor sat at the opposite end of the table, facing his father, rather than sitting from across his mother as he had done for his entire life. His mother grunted in dismay while his father clicked his tongue in annoyance.

“Have you no respect, boy?” demanded Stefann Peterovich Petrovnik.

“Respect for whom, father?”

The older baron reddened and slammed his fist. “You know damn well who, you little shit,” The baron’s eyes flicked to a nearby shelf where an opened letter from the War Ministry had resided for over two weeks, half-crumpled from fury and stained with tears.

Fyodor looked at his father, a slim feeling of guilt coming and going, but he met that steely gaze with one of his own.

“He’s dead, father, and he won’t come back. It is time we moved on.”

Baron Petrovnik stood up suddenly, slamming his fists down on the table, causing the glasses of champagne to shake, one nearly toppling before a servant rushed forward to stabilize it.

“Get out of this room! Get out of this house! Get out. GET OUT! Go to town and sleep with the whores, you won’t be welcome to a bed in my family’s manor this night.”
Though cold and shaking internally with fear, Fyodor slowly picked up a silver spoon and sipped the bowl of soup’s contents that had been laid before him. Grimacing theatrically, he laid it down carefully and rose from his cushioned seat.

“The food is cold anyway.” He turned towards his mother. “Pardon me. Goodnight, mother.”

The baroness’ eyes were wet from tears but she mouthed goodnight as his father continued another tirade that had become all too common since news of his eldest son’s death in an Austro-Hungarian prisoner-of-war camp reached them, ostensibly due to disease though Baron Petrovnik and Fyodor both suspected torture had caused Mikhail the heir’s demise. They had deigned to not share this belief with the baroness, lest her fragile health was affected by the realization.

Fyodor knew his father’s words to leave the house were an order he dared not risk rebelling against, promptly arriving at his room and gathering a change of clothes for the night while exchanging what he currently wore to a simple white shirt with rolled up sleeves and black trousers. With a satchel of clothes and toiletries plus a pocket full of rubles, Fyodor left Petrovnik Manor. The two stablemen who doubled as guards, both carrying aging rifles over their shoulders as they waved the young lord away.

Passing beneath the iron archway, Fyodor walked in the general direction towards Klilisk, though he angled to walk far from the manor and its grounds so he did not approach the town directly from his home. The town of Klilisk held perhaps a thousand people, many of whom were laborers who worked in the nearby copper mines, and the rest made up principally of those who washed, housed, and supplied the miners. Another thousand or so farmers lived in the surrounding countryside, growing a variety of foodstuffs for the town and its residents.

All of it was subservient to the Petrovnik family and had been for close to two hundred years. It deeply ashamed him that his family had grown wealthy on the backs of near penniless workers and peasants. He had grown up in wealth, though admittedly not as vast as his ancestors, it was still opulent compared to the masses of Klilisk and its neighboring farms.

In time, he would repent for that sin. One day. Just outside of town, he rummaged in his satchel for the false beard, using gluey gop to stick it to his face. He knelt onto the ground and grabbed handfuls of dirt, rubbing it into the clothing and his face, his sweat acting as a good retainer of the dirt.

Once thoroughly dirtied, he made off into the town, passing the outlying homes and warehouses.

Walking through the main street, dust kicking up as he walked over the dirt, he approached Schastlivchik (The Lucky One), a mix of a motel, bar and brothel.

He was a frequent attendee.

Walking in, he was greeted by the customers inside, from the large bartender who went by the name of Bull, the dirt and sweat laden miners drinking away the exhaustion of another long thankless day in the mines, and the topless barmaids who passed out lukewarm beer in dented cups and shots of vodka in dirty, chipped glasses. Trays of food were handed out as well, alleviating the smell of unwashed bodies and burned tobacco.

“Ah, Andrei!” spoke a dark haired Kazakh barmaid, Amina, her breasts heavy and glistening with sweat despite the sun having set hours ago, and attracting the gaze of every man with a pulse. “It has been some time. What brings you to Klilisk?”

“Why the piss-poor beer of course!” several seated customers nearby chuckled aloud, Bull smirking as he wiped his ever-dirty counter. Fyodor walked over to the bar and leaned forward.

“Is there a card game tonight?”

Bull eyed him and gave a small nod to the back of the brothel where a strongman watched everyone. Fyodor was allowed through after a quick pat and bribe. It was their customary exchange.

At the back of Schastlivchik was a room filled with smoke from cheap cigarettes and pipes. A half-dozen men and two women were playing cards, seemingly tense until they saw who it was.

“Andrei!” bellowed the dealer, Turrol. “Sit, my friend! Play a hand.”

Fyodor did so, and for hours they played cards, talking of the war, both official, unofficial and rumor, and the military and police crackdown of agitators in cities throughout the empire. Okhrana agents were said to be everywhere.

As the noise, both singing and the thud of miners escorting barmaids upstairs for a session of paid for sex, lessened the card players turned serious once more. The Bull and Amina came in, as did three others, while the strongman, whose name Fyodor never knew for it was never given, handed out shots of vodka.

The bull went to a false wall behind Turrol and pulled out three battered copies of books and passed them around. Fyodor, as the most educated of the people here though few knew it, received one. He looked at its battered cover.

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

The sacred tome of revolutionary thought that was growing across the Motherland.

The Bull raised his shot glass, the others following.

“To the Revolution, comrades.”

“To the Revolution,” they whispered fervently, not daring another to hear of their illegal gathering, and all downed the shot with ease, the vodka burning their throats to explode in their stomach. It was cheap but effective. Exhales of pleasure, and perhaps pain, echoed around the room.

“Let us begin with a quote from Comrade Marx,” Bull said, opening his copy of the Manifesto but not even looking down at it for he had memorized it long ago. Clearing his throat, he began, “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”

And so they would, Fyodor thought, revolutionary fervor surging through him. And so they would.
 
Who are you and how did you access my notes?! Seriously though, excellent points and observations.

But yes Hitler does want to expand Austrian territory but never to Nazi Germany’s level of lebensraum. No Drang nach Osten or anything like that. That would simply be too unrealistic.

Lebensraum won’t really be a pillar policy of the Social Nationalists. More of restoring the Austro-Hungarian Empire under new management. A big thing with Hitler’s Austria is that Austrians are just “better Germans” which was something the Fatherland Party stated when it ruled Austria OTL.

When Hitler comes to power Austria is a wreck economically, with much of A-H food and industry being located outside Austria proper. He does have various plans to rejuvenate the Austrian economy and its subsequent militarization which will be revealed once we get there.

Austria will never have the manpower or industry on its own to take over Europe in the way Nazi Germany did but it will have allies, some known from OTL, others unknown. But also new and old enemies.



I hadn’t heard about either of those but very interesting figures to be sure. I could see them being involved in some way. Thanks for telling me about them!
I think that a focus for a expansive fascist Austria would be pro-natalist policies to increase the Austrian population and potential manpower. I also think that Austrian expansion would focus firet on Yugoslavia, it’s the easiest target.
 
That's a very good chapter. I could almost smell the atmosphere in the bar and then the back room.
Were the Petrovnik family OTL?
They were not. I’m sure that was some Petrovnik family, but this one is of my creation. Like I mentioned earlier, many of these characters are original creations but the people they will serve with/under/command will be historical char tears, popping up more during the post-war period.

Glad I nailed the atmosphere

I think that a focus for a expansive fascist Austria would be pro-natalist policies to increase the Austrian population and potential manpower. I also think that Austrian expansion would focus firet on Yugoslavia, it’s the easiest target.
Excellent observation and Yugoslavia will be a battlefield during the war. There are some irredentist claims Austria could push.
 
Interesting timeline.

I wonder if it is not the usual suspects that go Fascist in this timeline?

Perhaps it is France, Austria, and Germany- or Italy, Austria, Turkey? Just a differant combo to OTL just to throw us and WW2 into a different shape.
 
Interesting timeline.

I wonder if it is not the usual suspects that go Fascist in this timeline?

Perhaps it is France, Austria, and Germany- or Italy, Austria, Turkey? Just a differant combo to OTL just to throw us and WW2 into a different shape.
There will familiar and unfamiliar faces of nation that make up the Axis Powers ITTL.
 
Chapter Four
Chapter Four
From the East They Come
November 1914
Vienna, Austria
Austro-Hungarian Empire​

Simon Golmayer was typically a man of easy demeanor and quiet wit, but ever since the war had started and with the quality of coffee having plummeted he found himself quick to frustration and annoyed retorts.

Scowling as he set down his cup of ersatz coffee, he continued reading the Wiener Zeitung. News from the front was dire and ever growing.

The fortress-city of Primessel in Galicia, relieved by a combined Austro-Hungarian and German offensive only the month before, had now been put under siege a second time with the soldiery of the Central Powers thrown back in defeat. Nearly 120,000 Austro-Hungarian soldiers were trapped in the city with casualties rumored to be extensive. Not even the government’s official statements in the Zeitung could fully gloss over what a catastrophe it was and what the war had become.

“Dear, eat your breakfast.”

Simon looked up at his wife, Judith, and sighed under her steely gaze that appeared to all to be gentle. His wife was very strict that he and their children eat, especially during these uncertain times.

“Very well,” he muttered, starting to eat the plate of eggs, bread and fruit before him. Meat was an increasing rarity in Vienna, and though the Golmayers were a respectable upper-class family, they did not wish to spend frivolously on overpriced meat of low quality. When Judith and Simon had married some eighteen years ago they were near-penniless, but years of hard work had seen him rise to a prestigious banking position and her a talented weaver who sold her goods to many of their neighbors for a fair price.

Judith smiled as he ate and returned to cutting up the food for their youngest child, Felix, who was but one and adamantly refused the goop-like food Judith held in a spoon for him to eat.

His other two sons, Abraham and Richard, had devoured their food as befitting boys on the cusp of manhood. Both were fifteen, twins, and were tall and gangly looking, though Simon knew they would fill out in time.

Simon finished his meal, wiped his mouth, making sure nothing lingered in his mustache. Rising, he walked over to Judith who still struggled to feed Felix, and kissed her cheek. He kissed the top of Felix’s head which was beginning to thicken with hair and walked around to the twins, tousling their hair as he walked by, both complaining but enduring the morning routine.

They waved as he left via the front door, briefcase in one hand, the other putting his top hat on a head of thick curly black hair. Simon walked at a steady pace through Leopoldstadt, the well-to-do Second District of Vienna. Houses and flats were the norm, typically inhabited by high-middle to upper-class families. Simon walked along his traditional route to Stubenviertel Gate. He nodded and exchanged pleasantries with the regulars he met on his walk to work.

“Good morning, Simon!” his friend and work associate Fritz Hanke said, walking briskly down his own home steps.

“Good morning, Fritz.”

Simon waited as Fritz joined him. The two shook hands and proceeded on their way.

“Did you read the Zeitung this morning?” Fritz asked as they made their way closer to Innere Stadt, the Inner City.

“I did, I did. Tragic news about Premissel.”

Fritz nodded. “The war… it’s not what we expected,” he stated.

“No,” Simon said, “the ‘short victorious war’ has turned into a meat grinder. Whispers at the bank are that half a million men are dead or wounded from the Empire alone and we aren’t even in December yet. Some say more, others say less, but regardless it is terrible what our boys are facing over there against the Russians to the east and the Serbians to the south.”

“Not to mention that some things here at home are going down hill. Coffee, cigarettes, tea, meat, all of it has degraded in quality or increased in price, sometimes both.”

“By God, you can say that again about the coffee! And you can take that to the bank.”

The two men chuckled at the joke as they neared Stubenviertel Gate. Though it bore the name gate, Stubenviertel Gate was in fact nothing more than a minor checkpoint and crossway from Leopoldstadt to Innere Stadt. Encircling the Inner City was the Ringstraße, the large paved roadways built decades ago to replace the city walls who had found their usefulness having expired with the ever advancement of military technology.

As the two men neared the gate a commotion was garnering a large crowd of onlookers, many of them well dressed Austrian men and women of standing.

“Get out of here! Go on, move!” yelled a gray uniformed policeman who shoved a man dressed in rags and covered in dirt, a sharp contrast to the dresses and suits of the Viennese elite.

The man stumbled onto the ground, slipping into a small puddle of water, eliciting a laugh from the onlookers. A handful of coins scattered across the ground, which the man quickly scraped up in a desperate frenzy. He was of dark complexion, wore dark almost funeral-like black clothes with more holes and patches in them than any Simon had ever seen. It was obvious at a glance who and what he was.

“Good sirs, help me. My family starves,” he held out a hand palm upright toward Simon and Fritz, but it was smacked away by the policeman’s square-headed cudgel.

“You don’t belong here, Ostjuden,” the cop snarled who grabbed the man by the arm and manhandled him away from the crowd, two other officers nearby joining him as if the ragged man was a credible threat to society.

Simon grabbed Fritz’s arm, guiding him away as his friend tensed. Fritz resisted for a moment as if to interject himself and hail down the policemen, but Simon escorted him through the assembled crowd, passing through the gate cordon and walking over the Ringstraße, joining the bustle of crowds in the midst of the morning rush. Horse carriages and the occasional rare car, usually bearing military or state markings filled the streets while the sidewalks were filled with hundreds as they went about their day.

They walked in silence for a few moments, Simon seeing Fritz glance at him, open his mouth but then clamp it shut as if not knowing what to say or how to say it.

“What?” Simon asked, irritated after the third glance.

“I was going to help that man. Clearly he was in desperate need. Why didn’t you let me save him from those wolves?” he said, referring to the police.

“He’s not from here, not like us. The war has caused many of his people to flee to Vienna these past months. The city would be better off without them.”

Fritz shook his head and stopped his friend. “They’re your people, Simon.”

Simon let go of his friend’s arm, annoyed. Damn the lack of good coffee! “I am Jewish by birth and by faith, but I am not that kind of Jew. They are Orthodox, clinging to the past and archaic traditions, while I am a modern Austrian Jew. I speak German first and foremost, and I call Vienna my home, not some long-fled patch of dirt in the Middle East. So please, don’t bundle us together as an inseparable one. What if I had said all Austrians were in fact Germans, eh? That you should pay your taxes to Berlin and swear allegiance to a Hohenzollern rather than a Hapsburg.”

Fritz nodded, apparently understanding. “I’m sorry. Do you forgive me?”

“Of course," he said, and he meant it. "Now, let’s get to work before we’re late. Herr Rothschild would not be happy if two of his senior-level accountants were late. If we are, I’m blaming you.”

“Hah! But what if I were to blame you instead?” Fritz joked, with the two laughing off their awkward moment, as they proceeded further into the Inner City. Though Fritz quickly became at ease, the mental image of the poor Galician Orthodox Jew holding out his hand for help haunted Simon for the rest of the day.
 
Huh.....are Jews going to be Hitler's allies ITTL? Jews were much better regarded in Austria-Hungary.
I don't think so, unless he goes the "many peoples/one culture" some IRL and fictional Fascist movements adopted, in that case he'd align with "cultural" Jews against the more conservative Ashkenazim.
 
Chapter Five
Chapter Five
A Dream Formenting
November 1914
Carpathian Front
Austro-Hungarian Empire​

As the sun rose on the sixteenth of November, the penned up fury of an empire humiliated was unleashed. Hundreds of artillery cannons fired, as varied as the Austro-Hungarian soldiery that readied across the Carpathian Front. Austrians, Hungarians, Slovenes, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, loyal Serbs, Croats, Italians and Ruthenians comprised the Third and Fourth Army, a perfect represenation of the multi-ethnic makeup of Austro-Hungary.

For half the day, well into the sun rising and reaching its peak at noon though it was hard to tell with the thick snow-laden clouds prevalent over Galicia that day, the Austro-Hungarian Empire unloaded thousands of artillery shells into the Russian held lines, aimed at the forward trenches, the second trenches and at the bunkers spaced along the frontline. The Russians responded in kind, churning up No Man’s Land even more with their own cannons and field guns, with less than half falling on the Hapsburg lines.

Screams cried out but were not heard by the falling rain of metal and the piercing wails that followed. Medics scrambled to find the wounded amidst the carnage, running alongside the trenchworks to better navigate as the trenches themselves were filled with mud, equipment and terrified men who threw themselves along the mud and wood plank walls, several half-cowering on hovels. The earth shook as dust filled the air, obstructing the view.

Shortly after noon the Austro-Hungarian barrage ended, the barrels hissing as the crews lathered them in water soaked towels to cool the metal before they warped from the heat. Moments later the Russians ceased firing as well and an eerie silence filled the air.

Hitler sat in an overcrowded bunker, counting himself relieved to have been in there and not outside, and breathed a sigh of relief that they had not been hit directly during the barrage. If their bunker had been hit then they all would have died, either from the shrapnel or the blast trauma, likely both. The bunker stank of sweat, unwashed bodies and piss.

“You ok, Adi?”

Hitler looked at Paul Lutjens and nodded, continuing to breath through his mouth so as to limit the sensory overload.

“I’m fine, Paul.”

“Your hands.”

Hitler looked at his hands, noticing they were shaking slightly. He grabbed the rifle laying between his legs to stop them from doing so.

“I’m fine.” His friend looked at him with a sidelong glance but said nothing.

“Alright,” Major Olbrecht said, standing up from near the door. “We have five minutes, move out.”

The men shuffled out of the bunker, filling the trenches, sitting on the floor or on the ramparts, crouched to avoid a sniper’s shot. Men stretched, packs and equipment donned back on, helmets buckled and secured. Some were drinking water to ease their nerves, others emptying their stomachs onto the trench floor.

Hitler, Lutjens, and the other Landwehr soldiers readied.

“Fix bayonets!” came the call, repeated and echoed through the trench. Hitler fastened it to the barrel, sliding and locking it in place. The dust was beginning to settle. He hoped it would rain to clean the air, but it would more than likely snow. Despite the freezing temperatures, the winter was showing the General Staff that the lower temperatures allowed the ground to harden and the mud to, thankfully, lessen. But firmer ground made the blueblood officers in their heated offices with their maps and papers to feel that mass infantry charges were effective.

For weeks, since the Germans defeat at the Battle of Vistula River, the Imperial General Staff had been planning an offensive to relieve Premissel which was surrounded by the Russians once more.

And now they began what they hoped to be a crippling offensive into the Russian flanks, focused as the Russians were on the Germans. The Slavs had thinned their lines of veteran divisions to bolster their front in Congress Poland facing Field Marshal von Hindenburg. With the Battle of Łódź holding the attention of both Germany and Russia on the Eastern Front, General von Hötzendorf began the offensive.

The word came and the whistles blew.

“Up! Over the top!” Olbrecht and other officers yelled, blowing their whistles as they ascended the ladders or climbed atop the trench. Flags were carried and hung limply until the bearers began running. Hitler climbed the ladder and began running with the thousands of other soldiers, sprinting to the Russian lines. Lutjens ran beside him, their breath fogging in the air.

On they ran over the cold hard dirt, pockmarked with artillery impacts and lumped with corpses from two empires littering the ground. Hitler was running so hard that his legs began to burn and his breaths were deep, ragged and rapid. Soon enough however they reached the Russian lines.

The Russians, shaken from the barrage, responded sluggishly. Mortar rounds and field guns fired, but it was too little too late. The machineguns were the true terror but the Russians lacked sufficient amounts. Though hundreds of Austro-Hungarian soldiers fell, thousands more were able to push on. Soon enough the Hapsburg troops entered the Russian forward trenches, shooting and stabbing any man in khaki.

The slaughter continued when Hitler jumped into the trench alongside Lutjens. Raising his M1985, Hitler fired twice at Russians spilling out from a feeder trench. One man fell, his clothes turning crimson over the chest, while the other four withdrew, firing their Mosin-Nagants aimlessly. Nonetheless, Hitler crouched against the trench wall. Lutjens fired his own rifle, felling two of the retreating men.

Major Olbrecht and their platoon commander, Lieutenant Schmidt, rallied the men. Though tired, they were energized with each meter of trench taken from Ivan. Territory that had been lost in the war’s opening weeks was at last being reclaimed for the Vaterland.

More and more men in pike gray joined Hitler and his comrades as they readied for the push. Already entire companies were moving forward, some haphazardly and disorganized, but the momentum could not be stopped and nor would it be risked. Within half an hour of securing the forward trenches, the 87th Brigade’s 21st Regiment moved out alongside a half-dozen other units.

Later, after the sun had settled and new positions had been dug and fortified as the frontlines had been pushed further into the Carpathian Mountains, Hitler would not be able to recall much of what happened. He remembered firing his gun until he ran out of ammunition, how he had to use a Mosin-Nagant scavenged from a dying Russian to partake in fending off a counterattack. Hours of the days were nothing but a blur, a haze of smoke, fire, flashes of light and dead men thrown about.

Though the 87th Landwehr Infantry Brigade had performed splendidly, their ranks were greatly depleted. Nearly a third were dead, the other third wounded in battle or suffering from various stages of frostbite. Out of their squad, only he, Lutjens, and two others emerged largely unscathed except for bruises or scrapes beginning to scab over.
Lutjens and him sat around a pathetic excuse of a fire as night fell and snow began to drift softly to the earth. They drank flavorless watery soup but was hot and filling, keeping them warm and satisfied which helped them fall asleep, the towering Carpathian Mountains closer than ever before with the occasional pop and thud of gunfire and artillery echoing throughout the night as the war raged on.

As Hitler pulled the thin wool blanket tighter around his body to keep warm in the freezing November night, his eyes caught the Imperial flag hoisted not far away on a pole that had bore the Russian tricolor only a few hours before. Pride filled him as he saw the black and gold flag flutter in the cold mountain wind, elation gifting some semblance of temporary warmth.

He had been born and raised in Austria yet he never had considered it home. It had been a residence, a place to live while mind and heart had lain elsewhere. Germany, that was the land he considered his own, a nation he could fight for, die for if need be.

Yet it had denied him in its time for need.

If a nation would deny him so then could it truly be a nation for him? He had been searching for purpose in life and right as it seemed he would seize the moment it had all come crashing down. His need for belonging and Germany's need for warriors had been dashed by bureaucracy. Those thoughts had filled his mind these past months since volunteering in Linz after the rejection in Munich. Originally, he joined the Landwehr to fight Germany’s enemies even if he could not fight for Germany itself. Yet these men, these comrades, had endeared him to the land that birthed him. He saw fathers, brothers, cousins, sons, nephews, friends all coming together from all walks of life to stand in the trench beside him and fight for Austria.

And despite his reservations and dislikes of such a multi-ethnic military, Hitler had come to privately admire the fortitude of the other Imperial half, the Hungarians. Considered to be the lesser partners in the Dual Monarchy by many German-speaking citizens in Austria, they were nonetheless a vital asset, providing the manpower and shared disdain of the Russians to allow the Empire to remain afloat despite the military failures that had beset it since the war’s inception. Though Hitler too felt they were lesser than those of German blood, they were nonetheless allies and comrades and for that some minutiae of positive regard had formed for them in his mind.

So while Germany had discarded him before ever getting the chance to prove his worth, both to himself and his race, Austria had not. His country had welcomed him and named him a soldier in defense of nation and people.

Perhaps Austria could be what Germany should have always been. A land of Germans for all Germans not limited by borders and nationality. His country, his fatherland, would be a better Germany and its people better Germans.

Such dreams and thoughts whisked around his mind until exhaustion overwhelmed him and fell asleep next to the crackling fire with the Imperial Austrian flag standing tall and proud above him, bloodied but unbowed and unbroken.
 
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It'd be interesting if Austria and Germany end in opposing sides
Indeed it would.

Huh.....are Jews going to be Hitler's allies ITTL? Jews were much better regarded in Austria-Hungary.
Defeat and the Treaty of St. Germain would make anyone angry and look for people to blame. Unfortunately this includes Jews. They are one of Europe's most frequent scapegoats. Hitler will still be Hitler afterall, however just like OTL Wehrmacht there will be people of Jewish descent or who have married Jews that will serve in the Austrian Armed Forces come Hitler's rule. No idea if I would have a character in this angle, but it is something that I should mentioned once Hitler comes to power in the 1930s.

I don't think so, unless he goes the "many peoples/one culture" some IRL and fictional Fascist movements adopted, in that case he'd align with "cultural" Jews against the more conservative Ashkenazim.
Ah, like Valkism from HOI4 mod Fuhrerreich. Interesting. Hitler is still very much German blood and culture is superior, but he is beginning to acknowledge that there might be some ethnic groups/cultures (at this point in time Hungarians) that are at least worthy of some admiration and acknowledgement of their achievements. He has been fighting beside Hungarian soldiers (many Common Army and Honvéd units are in the area) and that will affect his view on them, making them appear in a more positive light in his very narrow view.

Assimilated Jews who have Germanicized/Austrianicized would be much better off than orthodox traditional Jews, at least in the beginning of Austrofascist rule but to the Sozinats they are all "enemies of the state."
 
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Defeat and the Treaty of St. Germain would make anyone angry and look for people to blame. Unfortunately this includes Jews. They are one of Europe's most frequent scapegoats. Hitler will still be Hitler afterall, however just like OTL Wehrmacht there will be people of Jewish descent or who have married Jews that will serve in the Austrian Armed Forces come Hitler's rule.
So he's still going to hate jews, just not on the level of OTL?
 
So he's still going to hate jews, just not on the level of OTL?
I would say his level of hatred towards Jews would be the same, but there will be some Jewish (either partial or half-Jew, perhaps even fully Jewish people) who discard that aspect of their life and fully embrace Social Nationalism. Such as Erhard Milch, Emil Maurice and many more who did so OTL.
 
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Chapter Six
Chapter Six
One Step Forward...
Serbian Front
Belgrade, Serbia
December 1914​

Belgrade was silent as a crypt. Smoke and fire dotted the city, and carrion birds flew overhead, but aside from this and the bustle of an army setting up an occupation it was quiet.
Private Jakob Kuhr walked with several Common Army squads through the streets. Newspapers and trash rolled along with the wind. The city had surrendered with only minimal damage done to it, and the sites of fire were already being contained and put out.

Kuhr walked alongside his brothers-in-arms, eyes watching the windows, wary of snipers. Though their particular group of soldiers had not been shot at, there were reports of Serbian snipers harassing Austro-Hungarian units throughout the city.

Though only eighteen, he had acquired a significant amount of combat experience in the two months he had been fighting in the Balkans. It… was not what he had expected. Conscripted into the Imperial Common Army weeks after war had been declared, he had expected the military might of Austro-Hungary, both in its equipment and numbers, to outclass and outmaneuver the Royal Serbian Army. Yet the empire had been humiliated, outclassed and outfought in a host of engagements against a foe which was predicted to collapse in the face of the Hapsburg assault.

It failed and only at the cost of thousands of Austrian dead, or so the blueblood staff officers would say, so goes the rumor in Common Army encampments across Europe’s powder keg.

His unit and dozens of others like it were patrolling the streets, ensuring no Serbians military forces remained and no confederates were carrying out acts of defiance. Kuhr walked down the main road but a commotion to his left caused the clustered squads to raise their rifles.

A door slammed open and three Serbian men ran out but stopped in their tracks at the sight of dozens of armed men, looking panicked. One charged them, knife in hand. An older soldier next to Kuhr, Rudolf, fired his rifle, the bullet taking the man in the chest and his corpse slammed into the ground. The other two turned to run back into the building they fled from but three Imperial soldiers exited the building’s entrance, blocking their path.

“Grab them!” pointed a man with sergeant’s chevrons. Kuhr was close so he rushed the two men, grabbing one and throwing him to the ground, his compatriot joining him with a cry of pain.

The sergeant moved over to them and began patting the two men down. In their pockets a few stripper clips of rifle ammunition, a key, some change, wire clippers, and crumpled up papers. The sergeant opened it and glanced at it.

“This is it. Damn Serbs. Move back,” Kuhr and the other trooper backed off. The sergeant pulled out a revolver from its holster and fired two shots, one round per head, the bone, brains and blood of the two men staining the ground. The sergeant looked at the men of the Common Army and shrugged.

“Saboteurs, rigged a bomb that blew up a truck and a dozen men.” The NCO looked at the two dead men. “They deserved it.”

Kuhr could not agree more. The murder of Austrian soldiers could not be tolerated, not if the Serbs were to be properly subjugated.

As the city became secured, Kuhr found himself and about a hundred other men from his brigade winning lotteries to be quartered into apartments of good German-speaking men and women who opened up their homes voluntarily to the Imperial liberators. It was meant to boost spirits and show the ethnic German population that lived in the city that they had been saved.

The father of the household he had been assigned was Herr Tilger, a kind man who shared his table with Kuhr during dinner.

“I am so thankful to see good men of German stock come to Belgrade. The Serbs, they were not so kind to us. Ever since they killed the Archduke, we have been persecuted. Slurs, sneering,” Tilger looked at a window, cracks evident, “Rocks.” Tilger sighed. “It would have become worse in time, perhaps arrests or executions.”

Kuhr spooned sauerkraut into his mouth, soaking up the juices with bread that was far better than anything found in the Army’s ration.

“Don’t worry, Herr Tilger,” he said, swallowing the food, juices dripping down his unshaven face, “the Empire is here to protect its interest and that includes any and all ethnic Germans.”

The older man smiled, nodding thanks.

As night approached, Kuhr fell asleep snugly on the coach.

Sometime after midnight he was startled awake by a feeling. He looked in the dark and by the moonlight sneaking through the windows he could see Herr Tilger’s daughter Anna looking at him. In one hand she held a small doll.

“Are you ok?” Kuhr asked.

She nodded. “Did you make the bad men go away?”

“Yes, with the help of others like.”

“Thank you,” she said before walking away back to her room.

Tired and a little confused, Kuhr went back to sleep. He tossed and turned now, unable to get comfortable. Eventually he was able to settle and his dreams were of nothing.

It was a serene abyss, nothing to disturb or haunt him. The horrors of battle, of seeing friends and comrades die, had temporarily faded.

Until he was shaken awake.

“What?” he mumbled, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. The figure before him was not Herr Tilger but rather Rudolf. A glance outside showed that the sun had risen hours ago, it potentially being noon. He had slept long, his body and mind exhausted.

“What?” he repeated, more clearly this time.

“Gather your things and let’s go,” Rudolf said, all serious and grim, throwing Kuhr’s pack on him and nodding towards his rifle.

“Hey, wait, why the hurry? What’s happened?”

Rudolf opened his mouth to speak but saw the Tilger family looking at him. The older soldat leaned forward, planting a small smile for the civilians. Leaning down he whispered into Kuhr’s ear.

“The Sixth Army was wiped out this morning by the Serbs. The Fifth Army had been sent to reinforce but arrived too late and it itself is being decimated. Potiorek has ordered a withdrawal from the city to shorten our frontline. So hurry your ass!” Rudolf whispered fiercely, the fake smile placating the Tilgers but his informed gaze shook Kuhr to his core.

Little did Kuhr know at that moment was that the next time he would march into Belgrade the following year he would find the Tilgers having been executed for hosting Austrian soldiers, the kind innocent family being labelled ‘traitors’ with accusations of ‘treason'. Not even the little girl Anna had been spared, her corpse swaying with the wind alongside her family. They had been hanged from nooses wrapped around tree branches in the park not far from their home.

Kuhr, tears in his eyes and anger in his heart, buried them. He wept as Rudolf comforted him with a hand on his shoulder. But it wasn’t enough. It never was.

They would be avenged and their murder would not be in vain, by God and country, he swore this.
 
Hey, everyone, just letting you know that this is the end of what has been pre-written. Since uploading the story, I have expanded and refined the chapters as they were released so they are longer and more polished but from here on out everything will be freshly written.

Expect updates to be released at a slower pace, especially since school is about to start, but I will keep you updated and work on progressing the story in my spare time. My aim is to keep the story engaging, interesting, polished and entertaining.

There will be a few minor time jumps so we can get through WW1 as I don't feel it is necessary to have 40+ updates over the arc that has the most similarity to OTL but once 1918/1919 hit and lead into the early 1920s we will be there a while. Lots of stuff to explain and show you.

As of now these are our PoV characters:
Adolf Hitler (Austrian soldier, Landwehr)
Tamás Horváth (Hungarian officer, Common Army)
Simon Golmayer (Austrian Jew, civilian)
Jakob Kuhr (Austrian solider, Common Army)
Fyodor Petrovnik (Russian noble, Communist)

More will show up in the future, either as a frequent PoV character or a one-off cameo.

As I've said before I have a roadmap on where I want the story to go and key events planned, but I am open to new suggestions. And if you know some historical characters from Europe (the rest of the world will largely be the same up until the 1930s when events from Austria began to butterfly) that may have been minor or secondary, please let me know and I can research about them and see if they could either be a minor again or a major player in the world to come.

Hope you are all as excited as I am for the future of Der Kampf!
 
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Stenz

Monthly Donor
Expect updates to be slower, especially since school is about to start, but I will keep you updated and work on progressing the story in my spare time.
Take your time. Real life should always come first and there’s no need to rush such a promising TL for the sake of it.

I’m finding this very interesting and look forward to where you take it next. In your own time, that is.
 
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