Kalter Krieg - a TL of a three way cold war

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by MSZ, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. MSZ Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Okay, this is my first attempt at writing a timeline. I always liked the idea of no WW2 and thought about various scenarios which could avert it. The POD in this one is Adolf Hitler being killed by Maurice Bavaud after annexing the Sudetenland, leading to Goring taking power in Germany and a Cold War between the capitalists, communists and fascist taking place instead of a world war. For those who would like to point out that OTL the Reich was indebted so much that it would have to go bankrupt soon after 1938 without a war – assume the PoD being also Goring being overall a more clever guy, doing a better job running the first 4 year plan. Dictatorships tend to pay their debts, even if they have to kill their own people. So just please handwave it, okay?






    Historians still debate on the question which event could be considered as marking the beginning of the Cold War. While some point towards the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia as the point where “traditional” competition between world Great Powers turned into an ideological - rather than a national - conflict, others consider it the Fascist takeover of Italy in 1922, pointing out that it was only after the birth of Fascism that the actual three ideologies competing for global dominance in the XXth century were born. The National Socialist Revolution of 1933 in Germany is considered another one, as it was the German Reich that led Fascism into becoming an actual alternative to both the Capitalist and Communist ideologies, competing with the states following them for power and influence

    It was a strange coincidence that both Vladimir Lenin, as well as Adolf Hitler, the two men who “begun” the Cold War, by starting their respective revolutions in their countries, have not seen it develop beyond it’s infant stages. Having suffered a stroke in 1922, Lenin died in 1924, leaving a vacuum of power which his fellow Bolsheviks would come to fight to fill. Joseph Stalin succeeded, quickly becoming the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union. A paranoiac on his own, like many of his comrades, believing the Soviet Union to be the carrier of an inevitable Global Soviet Revolution, Stalin’s policies allowed the broken country to rise from the ashes of the Great War and the Revolutionary War back to Great Power status, albeit at a terrible cost in human life.

    Adolf Hitler’s demise in 1938 also occurred before the clash between National Socialism and Communism he predicted had come. On November 9, during the celebrations of the 15th anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch, the chancellor was killed by Maurice Bavaud, shot two times in the chest. Despite immediate medical aid, “the Fuhrer” died on the streets of Munich, in the very cradle of the Nazi Revolution which he started and led to victory. Becoming another martyr of the movement, the popularity of National Socialists soared, at the same time reducing the leftover opposition into irrelevance – the accusations that it was the “reds and reactionaries” who killed the man who returned the Reich to greatness denied anyone who disagreed with the new order any place in politics or public office, as they were immediately branded as anti-German and anti-state, either arrested or outright executed.

    And just like the Lenin’s, his death too would bring the Nazi’s into a conflict of succession. Having officially been holding only the office of “Führer und Reichskanzler” after taking over presidency powers in 1934 and without the office of Vice Chancellor being occupied, his legal successor was uncertain. The main competitors soon became Rudolf Hess, the Deputy Fuhrer and the Chairman of the NSDAP; and Hermann Goring, the Head of the Luftwaffe and President of the Reichstag, among other of his held offices.

    The two sided conflict would come to reflect a general split in the Nazi party, between the so-called “Blood and Soil”, “Agrarian” wing - led by Hess, followers of Hitler's vision of an endless Social Darwinist struggle between different races – and the “Wilhelmine Imperialists” – led by Goring, who viewed themselves as the successors of Imperial Germany, Nazism being the modern incarnation of the traditional German Sonderweg. While the NSDAP would also be filled with various opportunists, who hopped on the bandwagon of the Nazi movement during it’s rise after the Great Depression, actual believers were still plenty, and remained loyal to the party leadership.

    Rudolf Hess and the “B&S” wing appeared to have the initial upper hand – holding not only a large part of the country’s administration via it’s Gaue but also enjoying popular support among the population - thanks to the charisma of Hess, as well as the efforts of Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda. With Himmler and his Schutzstaffel, at his disposal as well as the Gestapo and other police forces on his side, the matter of the Deputy Fuhrer stepping into the office of Chancellor seemed obvious.

    Goring would however have allies of his own, and was not willing for the matter of succession to simply take it’s course. Wilhelm Frick, the German minister of internal affairs, would prove to be one of his greatest assets, passing a regulation on declaring a three-month long period of national mourning after “the Fuhrer’s” death. For that time Goring, acting as President of the Reichstag, prevented it from assembling and electing Hitler’s successor. The three month period during which the casket of “the Fuhrer” traveled across Germany for all people to see, starting and ending in Munich, his final resting place, would be a time in which the Wilhelmine faction gathered it’s strength to challenge Hess, Himmler and Goebbels.

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    Memorial srvices for Adolf Hitler being held in Munich

    Goring was quick to regain control over large portions of the German police forces, by having the office of Chef der Deutschen Polizei – held by Himmler – to be directly responsible before the minister of interior, rather than the Chancellor, due to it’s vacancy. While Himmler did object to it, he found himself powerless to prevent the ordinary police to fall to Goring. With a great many of policeman despising the SS, most of local police units of the Ordnungspolizei begun to report directly to the Minister of Interior, going around the Reichsfuhrer. Those who remained loyal to Himmler were dismissed. With the prosecutors offices subordinated to Franz Gurtner, another ally of Goring, the Wilhelmine faction gained control over the entire judicial branch of government. The “B&S” faction found its power significantly reduced, with the SS becoming its main will-enforcement unit.

    Goring’s actions allowed him to bypass the limitations put in place by the Ministry of Propaganda, led by Goebbels. With a large part of German media tycoons being uncertain of their future should the German News Office grow in power, many of them saw Goring as a safer alternative. Mostly free from the threat of arrest, German media would come to hugely support Goring, praising him as the “right hand” of the deceased Chancellor, as well as cover the matter of the investigation regarding his death. Many supporters of Hess found themselves under accusations of either being part of the anti-Hitler conspiracy, or their negligence allowing the assassination to take place, strongly affecting the publics view of them. Goring’s “blessing” of immunity would also extend to other of his supporters within the German Big Business, as his position of being in charge of the 4 years plan gave him great influence over the German economy, bringing industrial tycoons to his side.

    But Goring’s main source of strength would come not from the police or large business owners, but from the Army. While the Wehrmacht was nominally placed outside the matter of politics, many high ranking officers were opposed not only to the “B&S” wing, disliking the Volkish policies it represented as well as the SS, mostly due to the conservative, even aristocratic background of the military, but were also terrified of the concept of a future war – something that the “Agrarians” were seemingly pursuing. Goring’s own military background helped him to gain support of the OKW. In January 1939, a secret deal was made between the Wilhelmine Imperialists and the Army, in which Wilhelm Keitel and other top ranking officers pledged to support Goring in case of the “B&S” getting into power.

    The deal would not remain a secret long though, and soon the word reached Hess and Himmler. Realizing that the possibility of a second “Night of Long Knives” – a move which terminated the third “socialist” wing of the NSDAP – was becoming more and more possible, the group decided that compromising with Goring was a safer move. Before the first assembly of the Reichstag after Hitler’s demise, an agreement was reached in Berchtesgaden between the parties. In it’s accordance, Goring was to obtain the office of Chancellor; Rudolf Hess was to become the President of the Reich; Joseph Goebbels to become the Chairman of the NSDAP. The trio would also split the various ministries, Gaue and other offices between their supporters, in a bid of “sharing” power.

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    Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring and Rudolf Hess, the triumvirate ruling Germany after the death of Adolf Hitler

    Why Goring allowed for such a compromise is uncertain – the SS was hardly a force the Police and the Army could not overcome. However, removing his competitors from the German political scene was not something Goring could do either – he did not have the prestige to simply oust them and usurp power, much less to terminate them. Doing so could easily lead to popular dissent growing too strong for him too handle. He also did fear the reaction of the German military in case of martial law being introduced and it having to be used in restoring order in the streets – while the high ranking officers might have supported him, the matter would ultimately be decided by the grunts, many of whom, having sworn their loyalty to the Fuhrer as well as having a “rural” background. It was feared that they could ultimately side with the “agrarian” faction at least in some parts of Germany. A civil war was what positively terrified Goring – both because it could shatter Germany completely, as well as that it would de facto allow the military to take power over – Goring knowing that he was being viewed as a lesser evil, not a perfect option for many of the Old Guard conservatives in the armed forces.

    On February 1st 1939, the Reichstag session in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin took place, officially confirming the provisions of the Berchtesgaden agreement. After 3 minutes of silence in memory of the deceased Fuhrer, the delegates unanimously voted in both Rudolf Hess as Reichsprazident and Hermann Goring as Reichskanzler. The next day during the Party rally in Munich Hess stepped down from the position of Party Chairman, and the delegates elected Joseph Goebbels in his place.

    The transition of power was complete, and with only little blood being spilled – much unlike the previous 1932 events, as well as the Soviet Union. That Goring managed to obtain power despite the adversities was in a large part possible thanks to the rather sluggish nature of Hess’s character – his publicity being not used as well as it could, and mostly acting only in response to Goring’s doings, hardly ever trying to disrupt his plans. While Goebbels persona and rhetorical talents were of great advantage in bolstering their ranks, they also led to a lot of Germans throwing their support to Goring – as his uncompromising nature and aggressiveness and what was sometimes called ‘lunacy’ deterred people from the “agrarians”. The SS and Gestapo, while successfully being able in imprisoning, and occasionally eliminating opponents in “mysterious circumstances”, also found themselves targets of the state police and prosecutors, hampering the effectiveness of their actions.

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    Hermann Göring as chancellor of the German Reich

    The new arrangements would still leave Goring with his power being somewhat restricted – with Hess holding presidential powers, it was still possible for him to be dismissed by the President, as well as any new laws presented by the Chancellor had to have his nominal acceptance. With the Reichstag still being divided into factions, and Goebbels and the NSDAP watching over his conduct, the Berchtesgaden agreement came to be more akin to a ceasefire than a peace, with both sides trying to get the necessary edge over the other.

    Goring’s policy of weakening Goebbels came mostly from re-empowering the various local governments of the former Landers and their administrative units – who were to be responsible before the central government, rather than the Chairman of the NSDAP. By 1936, the local governments had lost nearly all power to their Nazi counterparts or were controlled by persons who held both government and Nazi titles alike. This led to the continued existence of German titles such as Bürgermeister, as well as the existence of German state legislatures but without any real power to speak of. Goring strongly emphasized splitting the Party and State offices, thus limiting Goebbels control and strengthening his own. He did not however return to the federal structure of pre-nazi Germany and eventually came to officially abolish the Landers, granting their powers to the Gaue, with the Gauleiters becoming appointed and dismissed by the Chancellor only.

    Goring would also come to weaken Hess by keeping him isolated from actual state affairs, while allowing him to bask in the prestige of being the Head of State – sending him on useless foreign voyages as well as public meetings with Party officials and other meetings or rallies. Goring would mostly ignore the necessity of Hess’s acceptance for new legislation by simply ignoring him – and Hess having no institution to appeal to deny them legitimacy. Hess wasn’t very ambitious and did not seek too get involved in internal conflicts for power – his position of Reichsprezident making him absolutely content, much to the dismay of other, more ambitious people than him.

    But weakening his opponents wasn’t enough – in order to not only preserve, but also strengthen his position, Goring needed success and fame, both in internal as well as foreign affairs. As the chief of the 4-year plan, Goring knew of the dire need for additional funds to be obtained if the Third Reich was to avoid bankruptcy, as well as economic reforms having to be implemented. Doing so would however mean drawing unavoidable criticism – and threaten his position. In order for changes to successfully occur, Goring would have to resort both to short term solutions, as well as gaining support from successes in foreign policy to gain the popular support necessary for longer-term reforms.

    A pan-germanist like Hitler, Goring honestly did believe in the “Ein Volk – Ein Reich” principle – that every state ought to be a homogenous nation-state for that nation, encompassing all peoples of that nationality. In an attempt to gain additional funds, Goring began a campaign of stripping “non-Germans” from their property, the seized assets benefiting the budget of the Reich. The Jews were an obvious first choice, although they weren’t the only ones to suffer that fate – the various peoples of the Sudetenland also had their wealth taken away, and forced into emigration, as did “politically uncertain” individuals all over the country. Pogroms became weekly occurrences with synagogues being looted to the core, going so far as having bells stolen and smelted for precious metals. Financial assets and estates of businessmen who were previously tied to other political forces were taken away as well. Even those who sought to hide their wealth by cashing out and placing their money in foreign banks did not have it so easy, as Nazi authorities responsible for financial oversight would efficiently find out those who attempted it, reported them to the police, leading to either them or their families being arrested – and only let go after paying a very large bail.

    In foreign matters, the principle of “national self determination” became the standing doctrine of fascist Germany. Since the Treaty of Versailles has led to a large German diaspora being left in almost every state neighboring Germany, and that most of the new states in central Europe have declared their independence on that basis, the demand for the same right being granted to the Germans came to a convenient way of demanding changes to the Versaillesdiktat. Both the Anschluss and the Munich agreement were both examples of this policy being enforced – the goal being the foundation of a true pan-German state.

    This policy and rhetoric however brought concerns in the states surrounding Germany – as all of them were potential targets of territorial demands. Following the Munich conference both France and the UK have started military build-ups, aimed at preventing further German revisionism. Their public opinion opposed another war however – leaving London’s and Paris’s capacity at stopping Germany limited. Their publics were also somewhat accepting towards the Germans demands on the basis of their right of self-determination being respected, opposing only the way that right was enforced – by military strength and blackmails.

    Goring realized that by accepting certain procedural principles the western democracies considered pivotal, he could gain a fairly free hand in dealing with his eastern neighbors. In order to gain more acceptance from the west, Goring was quick to “legitimize” Munich by holding a referendum in that province. The referendum was held on April 10 1939, one year after the Anschluss referendum, which asked German voters to approve of a single Nazi-party list for the new 814 member German Reichstag. Asking “Do you approve of the reunification of Sudetenland with the German Reich accomplished on 10 October 1938”, despite elections to the Reichstag having took place in the province already in December, the vote gave a 99.3 % turnout with 99.4% voting in favor.

    With that accomplished, Goring moved onto his first victim – Lithuania. The region of Memelland was occupied by Lithuania in the "Klaipėda Revolt" of 1923 and subsequently annexed. Memel Territory was recognized as an part of the Republic of Lithuania by Germany on 29 January 1928, when the two countries signed the Lithuanian-German Border Treaty. However, the region remained predominantly German, it’s inhabitants following a pro-German policy. Soon after the Sudetenland referendum, Nazi-sponsored demonstrations began, demanding that the Memellanders be allowed to decide their state belonging as well.

    Goring’s pressure on Lithuania remained surprisingly weak in the early weeks of the crisis, he himself restricting himself to calm speeches, and the German foreign ministry to declarations of goodwill, and hope of a peaceful resolution of the arising conflict. Knowing well how isolated Lithuania was, and that should the need for the use of force come it would remain available, Goring turned west, looking for acceptance for his move among the western democracies. Having difficulties denying the Germans in Lithuania their rights, as well as having little interest in the region, the UK gave unclear messages. Pointing out the promise of Adolf Hitler that after Munich, Germany would not seek any other territorial gains, London sought mostly to preserve it’s image of a Great Power, one which does not simply remain inactive in continental affairs, and even if does remain inactive, it does so for a reason – not because of a general lack of agenda. Allowing both the English and French to make up their minds, Goring waited for a suitable response which did come sooner that he expected - on June 3 in a meeting in Paris regarding negotiations of the planned Franco-German Declaration of Friendship, the French minister of foreign affairs Georges Bonnet, suggested that any future border revision in Europe should only occur after plebiscites in that area have been held, and only under League of Nations supervision. This was exactly what Joachim von Ribbentrop was waiting for, the information being quickly published in both German and French press on Monday the 5th. With this consent being granted, Goring moved on to Lithuania, demanding that a plebiscite overseen by the LoN and German authorities to take place in Memelland. With both the French and British public either being irrelevant on the matter, or even accepting German “reasonable” demands, Lithuania found no allies to protect it – despite Germany not having presented a threat of using force to have it’s way. With the League eventually coming to an agreement, in which it accepted the formation of a commission to “inspect” the situation of Germans in Memelland – a commission to which not only Lithuanians, but also Latvians and Estonians were not allowed to join – Lithuania officially refused the demands, not accepting to allow the commission to operate. A massive protest against this move was held in Klaipeda, which ended violently, one woman being killed from police gunfire. This was the final straw that led to the German Ultimatum of June 15th, where Goring informed that German troops would secure the area within 48 hours from it’s presentation to the Lithuanian President, using force if Lithuania resisted. With no other options, Anastas Smetona agreed to withdraw from Memelland, and on the 16 of June, the province was under German control.

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    German troops entering the city of Memel


    The occupation of Memelland proceeded peacefully, with not one shot being fired. Local German militias managed to occupy the bridges on the river Memel even before Wehrmacht troops arrived, overseeing the Lithuanian armies withdrawal. Local police forces were suspended from duty, and the control of the area was granted to Gauleiter Richard Walther Darré – who replaced Erich Koch earlier, per the Berchtesgaden agreement. Staying true to his demands, Goring declared that the plebiscite on the future of Memelland would take place on Monday 19th of June and invited LoN delegates to oversee it. With very little time being granted, the League managed to send just a few people who oversaw only the voting booths in the city of Klaipeda and a few other urban areas. Much like expected, the plebiscite had a positive turnout for Germany, with over 90% of the population voting in favor of unification with Germany. The province was subsequently incorporated to the Gaue of East Prussia.

    The events of June 1939 were mostly accepted by the world – foreign observers pointing out the “benevolent” way of Goring, who used mostly democratic procedures to achieve results, as opposed to Hitler’s action in Ostmark and the Sudetenland – where force and blackmail were the only tools in use. While accusations of the plebiscite being rigged were present form the beginning, even those accusers could not deny that the will of reunifications was shared by the great majority of the regions population – and could not be changed. The relative lack of opposition from the western states, particularly France had also come to be a great enlightenment for the German Foreign Affairs Ministry – as it had realized that the French Republic would not act against Germany without obtaining British guarantees first. France, already being surrounded by Fascist state from the north-west, south-west and south (since Franco’s victory in the Spanish Civil War) should not have allowed for the principle of self-determination to be successfully used in favor of Germany, as not only had it strengthened Germany – something France feared most of all – but also could easily be used against France itself, as the province of Elsass-Lotharingen held a German plurality. The lack of French reaction brought Goring to come to believe that French and British interests did not completely overlap – the gap between them being that particular space where Germany could push the French out, without risking condemnation and trouble from the United Kingdom. Thus obtaining British consent – whether genuine, silent or a grudging acceptance - would become the main goal of Germany’s foreign policy in the east, as having it would automatically be followed by French acceptance, or at least non-action. With central Europe being an area where the UK never had particular interest in, Goring sought out to test just how far were the British willing to accept German growth in influence and power in that region.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
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  2. Shaby Sontaran

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    As an author of a TL with a similar premise - Goering in power in Germany - but a with later POD (November 1939), I find your timeline very interesting. Since your POD is during peacetime entire set of circumstances is different.

    I am not sure whether in that particular moment Goering would be seen as a successor. But if he did take over the power, I presume he would behave very much in the way you have represented.

    Presumably, Danzig is next on the menu?
     
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  3. sharlin Banned

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    Well written and thought out, I really hope you do more of this as this is really good!
     
  4. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    Yayyyy finally a major three-way cold war timeline!!!
     
  5. MSZ Banned

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    The Free City of Danzig and the Polish Corridor were the main reasons of hostile Polish-German relations in the Weimar period. Relations between the two states warmed up after the Nazis rise to power, as Adolf Hitler was quick to reduce the power of the DNVP – the main nationalist party supporting a revisionist policy against Poland. While Adolf Hitler himself never considered the détente between the Reich and the Rzeczpospolita to be a permanent shift in policy – as in his words it was just a tactical move – at the time of his death relations between the two states were better than ever, with Poland annexing Cieszyn, and a Non-aggression Treaty signed in 1934 being still in force. Hitler’s passing was also quite depressing for Polish politicians, as many problems between the two states were still unresolved, and no guarantees were made that the state of affairs in late 1938, when Poland and Germany seemed to have reached some basic agreement and that remaining issues would be dealt with peacefully would hold. The German Army rearmament at a rapid pace was still a great concern for the Poles.

    The annexation of Memelland was met with mixed feelings in Warsaw. Lithuania losing the province was seen as an opportunity for Poland, as it was widely believed that after being “betrayed” by Germany, the country Lithuania most depended upon, it would have to alter it’s policies and turn to Poland – since the two states had already re-established official relations earlier. On the other hand losing the German populated territory was a dangerous precedence, especially after Munich – Danzig was also a mostly German populated area and the German minority was quite numerous in western Poland. That the Polish state could become the next target of the Reich was something Poles gravely feared, especially with the western democracies following a policy of appeasement, the Franco-Polish alliance growing weaker under German pressure, not being strengthened by it.

    In Danzig itself, the German population strongly supported the idea of reunification with the Reich, with marches of Nazi sympathizers being weekly occurrences. Attacks on Poles and Jews, as well as various Polish institutions in the city happened as well, intensifying after the Memelland referendum, with demands for granting Danzig the same privilege becoming more common. While some democratic parties opposed reunification, on the basis of loosing not only the freedoms the city dwellers enjoyed, but their finances being ruined as well, the Nazis were by far the most powerful political power in the city, and their goal of returning to Germany being shared by many non-nazis as well. The enthusiasm of this idea was present in Berlin as well, and after Memelland, Goring wasted no time seeing the dream of incorporating all Germans into the Reich becoming reality. Relations with Poland deteriorated progressively with anti-polish propaganda becoming more common in not only German, but Western media as well. They were coupled with demands for the principle of self-determination to be applied to Danzig as well, pointing out that Poland itself was founded on it – and that the Polish state had no right to deny the Danzigers the right to choose their own future.

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    Anti-Polish demonstration in Danzig

    On January 17 1940, during his speech in the Reichstag, Chancellor Goring vowed that 1940 would be the year when the problems of Polish – German relations would be finally resolved. He would come to keep that promise – from that day German foreign policy towards Poland became gradually more aggressive, former pleas and suggestions on how to handle problems being replaced with demands and threats. This was in part caused by Goring seeking to further strengthen his own position in Germany quickly, as well as pure calculations. The German economy was still in a dire situation despite small scale reforms in 1939, and was unable to maintain it’s growth. With the 4 year plan being soon finished, the next plan would require cutting military spending, weakening Germany’s position in negotiations which strongly depended on the threat of using force, should traditional diplomacy fail. 1940 would thus be the last year when the gap in military strength between Germany and it’s neighbors was wide enough for the threat of war to work.

    France wasn’t ready to fight a war with Germany as long as it’s own security was not threatened and was hesitant in respecting the Franco-Polish alliance, seeking to better it’s own relations with the Reich – even if it was to happen at the expanse of other neighbors of Germany as well the French Republic losing it’s allies and position in central Europe. That the loss of continental allies would make France completely dependent on Britain in matters of security – as the province of Elsass-Lotharingen contained a German plurality, who very well could demand leaving France – was a problem the opponents of supporting the central European states did not answer.. France’s situation was even more dire after the end of the civil war in Spain – for the first time since the Napoleonic era it was surrounded by hostile fascist states from all sides.

    As for Britain, while it did begin to implement it’s rearmament policies already in 1938, they concentrated on the developments of modern aircraft and navy – not land forces, which were not of utmost importance for it’s protection. As a result, while British military potential rose, it did not result in Germany becoming any more threatened by it – as there still was no way for it to be used against the Reich. Implementing a naval blockade against Germany was the only threat posed to it, but with both Italy and Japan on it’s side, the Royal Navy would still have to divide it’s vessels among the many seas it controlled. Thus the UK preserved it’s stance considering appeasement a necessity and declaring that German demands in the east were not regarded as illegitimate, but that only peaceful processes of change would be acceptable. Britain had no obligations towards Poland and only sought not to allow for Germany to grow too strong in influence in central Europe by extending economic, but not military aid to countries of that region.

    Tensions between Poland and Germany rose after a proposal in the Danzig Senate to hold a vote regarding a union with Germany – which would go against the provisions of the Paris Convention on Danzig. While the application for the vote was dismissed on legal grounds, the problem of what would have happened should such a vote be held arose in Warsaw. In March 1940 an internal memorandum was written in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggesting that the Polish response to such a situation should only depend on the German reaction to it. Should Germany ignore such a vote, Poland would regard it as an incident and ignore it; however should Germany recognize the call for the union, Poland would take military steps to protect the city, as it was legally obliged to represent the Free City of Danzig in it’s foreign affairs. The memorandum additionally suggested strengthening the polish garrison in the City, as well as forming a light “fast reaction” battalion stationed in Pomeralia for it to be used in case of German military action. The secret internal memorandum would not stay secret for long, as it would find itself in the hands of the Germans quite soon. Linguistically altered and tampered with, it was published in German media in a way that gave the impression of Poland preparing to forcefully take the Free City as well as threaten it with military action should it try to introduce legislation against the wishes of Warsaw. The memorandum caused great outrage, and despite Polish protests against it being manipulated, the western reaction was still negative – as it did appear that Poland was willing to use force too eagerly. The growing crisis over Danzig led to Chancellor Goring demanding another conference to take place, to “finally solve” the “Danzig Question”. France was eager for such a solution, as was Italy. Britain and Poland hesitated, trying to delay any such meeting, but to little avail – German threats that it would not ignore the will of the people of Danzig and was prepared to protect their rights with any means possible forced Poland into consenting, with Britain following. Despite pleas, the Soviet Union was not allowed on the conference, opposed by Germany, Italy and Poland; neither was the State President of the Free City of Danzig due to polish protests. The League of Nations High Commissioner for the Free City was allowed to participate as an observer, as the City was still nominally under the protection of the League.

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    Streets of Danzig before the Danzig Conference

    The conference took place on 8 – 10 April 1940 in the City of Danzig itself. Local National Socialists had prepared for the delegations arrival, decorating the city with swastikas and banners of various pro-German slogans. The world was nervously watching the events unfolding, waiting whether another war would come to Europe, or whether it would be avoided. The Poles, being adamant about not being given the Czech treatment and taking part in the actual negotiations were quite certain that the summit could actually lead to a positive outcome for them – believing to have the League of Nations behind itself, as there were never any complaints from the organization about the terms of the Paris Convention being breached, as well as the Western Powers being more supportive of Poland than Czechoslovakia – as neither was looking forward to Germany growing in power, France also having its own reason not to allow the “right of nations for self-determination” becoming an absolute right – as Elsass-Lotharingen still held a German plurality, caused by German colonization efforts in the province like in Danzig. Similarly, Italy was expected to have the same concerns regarding South Tyrol. While preserving Danzig’s status as a Free City with certain modifications being made to the extent of the rights Poland enjoyed in return for border guarantees and bettering economic relations was Poland’s target objective, it was still willing to accept less – considering a “collective security system” compromising all of the present states as a suitable alternative.

    The meeting would not go according to Poland’s visions however. Goring immediately placed his stakes high, demanding that Danzig be immediately incorporated into Germany following a vote in the Danzig Senate, as well as plebiscite to be held in Polish Pomeralia and Upper Silesia, one excluding the Polish population introduced there after 1918, while including the German population who held residence there until 1918, together with their decedents. Volksdeutsche residing in Poland were to be given preferential treatment. No offers on granting Poland any guarantees or rights in access to sea were given, nor for any special treatment for the Poles in the Reich. The will of the “native population” was supposed to be absolute. The conference thus became one to not decide the future of the Free City, but for deciding all of Polish – German issues. This came to as a shock to the rest of the representatives, the Italians included, forcing them to quickly decide their stance on the presented matters. It was even more difficult for France and Britain to do so, as their parliaments and ministries did not discuss these things in detail, forcing Prime Minister Chamberlain and Daladier to deal with them without prior approval.

    Goring’s over the top demands were however not those he truly sought – in fact he would be content with much less, as he did not seek a war in his lifetime, not with him knowing well that Germany was not yet ready to wage such a war at the time, but also knowing that neither were his adversaries. The parties would thus come to reach a compromise, one beneficial for Germany. Danzig was to hold a joint referendum on it’s independence and incorporation into the Reich. A plebiscite was to be held in Pomeralia, with only the already present population being granted voting rights. Both were to take place under joint Polish-German-LoN supervision, and both were to decide the future of the two areas wholesale. Germany was to be allowed to construct a exterritorial route through Polish Pomeralia should the plebiscite in the area end up in Polish favor, while Poland was to be granted certain rights in the province should it vote in Germany’s favor. In the meantime, Germans were to be free from any fees for moving through the Corridor until the routes completion. Both countries were to grant guarantees to their respective minorities, and special diplomatic missions too ensure the implementation and respect of the agreement were to be established – in Allenstein and Thorn. In return, Germany was to officially recognize all of its own and all of Poland’s borders, granting them Locarno-grade protection, as well as to re-join the League of Nations, and be granted a permanent seat at it’s security council. Germany and Britain were to begin talks regarding granting Germany mandates in it’s former African colonies. All states involved were to sign a “European Declaration of Friendship and Peace”, which was suppose to be a entry-treaty to furthering European cooperation – at least in the eyes of some of them.

    [​IMG]

    Goring signing the Danzig Treaty

    The results of the voting’s after the conference did not come as a surprise to anyone. With 99% of those eligible to vote in Danzig voting in favor of independence and 71% in favor of unifying with Germany, the Free City of Danzig ended it’s existence on the 22nd of April 1940, when German troops entered the city, the Polish garrison exiting it and along with other symbols of Polish presence being removed, among them the infamous polish postal boxes. Albert Forster was granted the position of the Gauleiter of Danzig, despite calls for having the city incorporated directly to the Gaue East Prussia. In Pomeralia the voting ended in polish favor, with 88% voting for remaining part of Poland. In Berlin, the Reichstag approved of the Treaty of Danzig, despite certain opposition which was not willing to recognize Pomeralia as polish territory, hailing mostly from the old Prussian aristocrats as well as the “agrarians” – nevertheless they were a minority quickly sidelined. Talks regarding the establishment of the exterritorial route through Pomeralia picked up from the dead end it found itself previously. The greatest change from the previous scenarios involved the plan of the motorway and railway being replaced with the plan of constructing an underground tunnel under the corridor – seeing that with Danzig’s incorporation to Germany the Corridor was now less than 50 km wide at it’s most narrow point. The idea was suggested by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Galeazzo Ciano, as Italy was supposed to participate in the endeavor and that such construction would solve a great deal of legal and practical difficulties a ground railway/motorway would have had. The loss of revenue from transit fees for movement through Pomeralia was a serious strain on the Polish budget (as they generated about 15% of its income) and the prospect of regaining at least some of that money from income generated by the tunnel led to a large speed-up in work on Poland’s side.

    [​IMG]

    Planned route through Pomeralia to East Prussia

    The annexation of the City however came at a cost. The Bank of Danzig was almost immediately stripped of it’s assets and reserves, and the replacement of the Danzig Gulden to the Reichsmark took place at a very unfavorable rate of exchange. The local Jews who remained in the city became targets of German anti-Jewish legislation and had a great deal of their property nationalized, many of the them being expelled to Poland, as German citizenship was not granted to them. The financial gains from the treaty further helped Germany to better it’s economy, with a new 4 years plan being announced in the same year, one limiting military spending, further liberalizing the economy on one hand by encouraging small business and lowering trade tariffs, on the other – granting the state greater control over large enterprises. Companies holding German debt were “compensated” with various mid-sized enterprises ceased by the state earlier under coercion and forced into joining various state controlled “Combines” (Vereinigung) – allowing them to nominally preserve their status as private corporations, while also granting the government a large degree of control over them. With many business owners joining the NSDAP and being granted offices designed for controlling and administrating these combines, the division between “private” and “state” enterprise had however become blurry.
     
    Tanner151 likes this.
  6. DaVinciCode Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    I tried this idea in the ASB without suscess. Therefore I will watch this grow with great interest.

    Subscribed.
     
  7. MSZ Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    The success of the Danzig Agreement had come to strongly affect national movements all over Europe. The conference has de facto established that the right of nations for self determination was an absolute principle applicable universally – giving others hope for being granted the same rights by the LoN as the Germans in Danzig were. Czecho-Slovakia, the leftover state from the Munich Agreement would come to experience the effects first. It has struggled to keep in one peace since 1938. With the Hungarian populated southern parts of Slovakia lost and the rest of the country being granted autonomy, Josef Tiso and the HSĽS-SSNJ came to power in Slovakia following an authoritarian policy aiming for independence. Establishing pro-Slovak policies, Tiso made sure to quickly bypass the limitations still placed upon his autonomous government – The Hlinka Guard units mostly replaced the traditional police forces, and were authorized to receive military training, preparing them for the role of an armed militia. Slovakia established its own representations in neighboring states – Germany, Hungary and Poland – to bring their own interests to light, without Prague’s consent. It did so mostly through personal contacts of MPs, as well as other trade and culture organizations. Slovak offices purposely falsified their books and records, lowering real budget income presented to Prague, extending their financial security. All these actions were known to the Czecho-Slovak government, but it hesitated in breaking Tiso’s power, afraid both of foreign reaction, as well as of the effect a crackdown on Slovak autonomy would have on the nation.

    [​IMG]

    Signing of the Zilina Protocol, granting autonomy to Slovakia

    While Slovakia was absolutely dominated by HSĽS-SSNJ, the party itself was not so unified. While it was adamant about the goal of achieving full independence, the way this goal was to be achieved was not so specified. The two main factions in the party were the pro-German faction – which considered obtaining the Reich’s support for independence as the best way of forcing Prague into acceptance – and the pro-Polish faction which saw the Reich as both a friend and a foe of Slovak independence, fearing Germans may well dominate Slovakia like the Czechs. The faction was led by Karol Sidor, and sought to strengthen Slovak institutions – both civilian and military – to a point were unilateral declaration would be a possibility without the fear of a Czech retaliation as a better alternative to German involvement. It considered obtaining Polish support as preferable to German, as Poland was viewed as a state strong enough to protect Slovakia, but not strong enough to dominate it. This view was however significantly weakened after Poland annexed Zips and Orava, affecting the entire pro-Polish faction in the party. It however was strong enough to prevent Slovakia from making a move which would come “too soon” – in their opinion. That time was working in Slovakia’s favor was one of their most important views, which contrasted with many of the pro-German faction members who thought consolidation of Czecho-Slovak power in Prague would threatened their goals. Josef Tiso shared both views – believing that time was working for Slovakia, yet considering German involvement to be ultimately impossible too avoid. He thus bided his time while in office, waiting for the opportunity to come and for events in Germany, Poland and Hungary to develop.

    After the Danzig Agreement, the opportunity was finally there. Conflict on the Prague – Bratislava line was steadily growing in 1939, with the problem of both de iure and de facto division of power leading to tensions in just about every part of the states operation, allowing radicals to grow in popularity. Soon after the takeover of Danzig, demonstrations sponsored by the HSĽS-SSNJ took place in not only Bratislava, but Prague and other major cities across the country. Demanding that the Slovaks right of self determination be recognized, the demonstrations took a violent turn with various Czech offices being attacked and police forces being necessary to quell the riots. Aggressive action was suppose to intimidate the Czecho-Slovak government, showing the strength of the Hlinka Guard and the determination of the Slovak people, but it had an opposite effect. Violence erupted spontaneously, against the wishes of Sidor – in fact it is suspected that the attacks were staged to weaken his position, proving his inability to control his troops, and to discredit his policies of keeping distance from Germany. Returning to Bratislava, he ordered the Hlinka Guard to mobilize to re-gain control of the situation. President Hácha responded with declaring martial law in the entire country, further escalating the crisis. Martial law had less effect than was expected, as the Czecho-Slovak army suffered from low morale and had problems with manning the towns and cities, many of the soldiers either actively sympathizing with the Slovak cause, others feeling little loyalty for Hácha and not being too serious about respecting orders. It was not unusual for them to hold joint patrols with the Hlinka Guard troopers, and where the troops were forced into submission, many escaped to the countryside remaining a threat. Martial law did not lead to any of the Slovak institutions to be abolished – as the fear of civil war was too great. It did however cause the world to turn it’s attention to the country, including the eyes of Germany and it’s leaders.

    [​IMG]

    Hlinka Guards and Czecho-Slovak soldiers standing guard outside the mayor's office in a Slovak town.

    While Goring wasn’t too interested in foreign affairs after Danzig – considering himself and Germany fully satisfied, and being more concerned about internal matters, especially the economy – Joachim von Ribbentrop remained vigilant. “Divide and Conquer” was the motto of German foreign policy and the troubles in Czecho-Slovakia played both nations into the hands of the Reich. Remaining informed about the events in the rump state through the Party of the German Minority, Ribbentrop sensed an opportunity. Knowing well that there were many who would be glad for German “assistance” in finally dissolving Czecho-Slovakia and granting both its parts the “freedom” of their own nation-states, he came to suggest the possibility of Germany forcing the Czechs to step back – not directly, but through Franz Karmasin, the leader of the German Minority in Slovakia. In a meeting with Tiso, without Tiso knowing about Karmasin getting instructions from Berlin, he argued that Czech actions aimed towards the abolition of Slovak autonomy would threaten the Germans as well, as they would have become a likely target for Czech revanchism. As the German Reich would not allow such a thing happening, and that it would use force to protect Germans abroad, Karmasin further argued that present events would lead to a German intervention – or a second Munich at least. He thus strongly pleaded Tiso to declare independence and get German support before the situation escalated beyond a point of no return.

    [​IMG]

    Demonstration in Banská Bystrica

    Tiso realized his situation was grave. Martial law could not be maintained indefinitely, but it could end only in two ways – the Czechs pulling back and thus opening Slovakia a road for independence; or breaking Slovak autonomy and suppressing all resistance, destroying everything he worked for. The first would leave the Czechs with only Bohemia and Moravia, completely surrounded by hostile states, and totally discrediting the present regime which was highly unlikely. The latter could preserve them in power or be their downfall as well – Tiso wasn’t certain if an armed conflict was something the Slovaks could win without foreign help – help which could very well end in another occupation, be it German or Hungarian. Forcing the Czechs out of Slovakia without blood being spilled would be the best outcome – and one which Germany could help achieve. Weighting his options, Tiso asked Karmasin about what the stance of the Reich towards Slovak independence would be, as well as what it would do should a civil war break out.

    Franz Karmasin reported back to Ribbentrop who was delighted by the development. Presenting the situation to Goring, he pointed out that Germany could demand almost anything from Slovakia at that point, and do so without fear of war – without being seen as an aggressive power even. Recognizing Slovak independence and signing a forced alliance with it would bring Slovakia into Germany’s “sphere of influence” – Czechia being given the same treatment. Goring complied and demanded a draft on the German-Slovak Treaty being written immediately. Ribbentrop already had one prepared. On June 14th 1940 Tiso arrived by plane to Berlin where he met with the Chancellor, agreeing to German terms.

    [​IMG]

    Jozef Tiso and Hermann Goering in Berlin

    The German-Slovak Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation (which was de iure void, as it was signed by a non-existing state) had Germany officially recognize Slovakia’s independence, promising it military support should it be threatened, recognized the Slovak-German border, as well as the future Czech-Slovak one. In return Slovakia had to offer everything else it had – Slovak financial assets and gold would be seized, the country being forced to pay an annual contribution for its “debt”. Germans in Slovakia were to be granted privileged positions in social and economic matters. The two states were to “coordinate” their foreign policy, Slovakia was to join the anti-comintern pact as well. Customs barriers for German products exported to Slovakia were to be lowered or removed. The list went on, with the treaty being de facto a homage Slovakia would have to pay to their German “masters”.

    Nevertheless, the Treaty would allow Slovakia a degree of self rule and nominal independence. German troops were not to be present on Slovak soil, which was in fact a great success of Tiso, who strongly objected to that. On the 15th of June 1940 Josef Tiso would officially declare the independence of the Slovak State and demanded that Czech military evacuate from Slovakia immediately, threatening to use force if necessary. The message of the declaration arrived in Prague together with Germany’s official recognition of the new state, and it’s declaration of commitment to protect the “right of self-determination” of both the Slovak and Czech nations, strongly implying what the Reich expected of Czecho-Slovakia. Threatening to use force to “liberate” Slovakia should the Czechs fail to withdraw (what went against the text of the German-Slovak Treaty) Germany demanded all military equipment of the Czecho-Slovak Army to be left in Slovakia and declare the Czecho-Slovakia to be officially dissolved. Hácha, completely devastated and incapable of standing up to the Germans, his country isolated and weak, was forced to comply. One day later in a session of the parliament in Prague the 22 year old state was officially disbanded, the new State of Czechia becoming it’s legal successor and Slovakia being recognized by it. It would not come to be the end of it’s humiliation however – with the Czech withdrawal occurring not as fast as expected, Germany accused them of obstruction and placed a new ultimatum to the Czech State – one almost exactly like the German-Slovak Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, seizing the remaining Czech wealth for Germany’s benefit and forcing it into the anti-comintern pact among other demands. The last democratic state in Central Europe thus ended it’s existence – replaced by a new fascio-military regime with the old and senile Hácha in charge as a figurehead.

    [​IMG]

    Vote in the Czecho-Slovak Parliament on the dissolution of Czecho-Slovakia

    The events in Czecho-Slovakia did not escape Hungary either. Having already annexed the southern, Hungarian populated areas in southern Slovakia, Hungary still had further ambitions, particularly in Transcarpathia. Since the introduction of marshal law in Slovakia, Hungary declared a partial mobilization, and concentrated it’s forces along it’s northern border. This action came to be an additional concern for Tiso, who feared Hungarian intervention. Horthy on the other hand feared that should Slovakia manage to obtain independence without Hungary being part of the process – such as by a compromise between Tiso and Hácha – Hungary would lose it’s opportunity. He thus sought to reach a settlement with Germany beforehand, requesting that Hungary be granted a free hand in Transcarpathia, to which Germany has made no promises, but has not rejected it either. Horthy was left out from the loop about the German-Slovak Treaty, and reacted initially with shock, ordering an increased level of alert in the Army. Following that, he sent an ultimatum to Tiso, demanding that Slovaks pull out of Transcarpathia. By doing so he de facto recognized him as the Head of State of Slovakia and Slovak independence as well. Tiso tried to avoid an answer and buy time to learn of the German position in the conflict. He responded informing that the matter of Transcarpathia has not yet been settled between Bratislava and Prague, and thus he was not the person to whom demands ought to be presented to, and that the ultimatum was re-sent to Prague as well. The Czechs were baffled by this and did not know how to respond – which they did not. With the dissolution of Czecho-Slovakia, Transcarpathia has thus found itself in a limbo, neither part of Czechia or Slovakia, but with Czech and Slovak troops and administration present. Ribbentrop found himself with two leaders asking him for support in their confrontation. However, with Slovakia already under German protection, pleasing Hungary and drawing it closer to the Reich seemed more important. Ribbentrop responded in Hungary’s favor. Hungary moved in on its own into the province, the local soldiers surrendering their arms in return for the right to return to their homes. On June the 20th Transcarpathia was under effective Hungarian control, the Hungarians and Poles exchanging handshakes on the new Polish-Hungarian border.

    [​IMG]

    Meeting on the new Polish - Hungarian border.

    Interestingly, Goring himself had little interest in the entire affair, the matter of Czecho-Slovakia coming on to the agenda of Goring’s cabinet only a few times since Munich. Goring also almost never talked about it with any other high ranking Germans either, restricting himself only to the issue of the German minority in Czechia and Slovakia remaining safe. Ribbentrop had almost complete authority over handling the crisis, and even in the signing of the German-Slovak Treaty, Goring only insisted on financial and economic provisions being introduced, even at the expanse of direct control over Slovakia and Czechia. Goring instructed Ribbentrop, that should Tiso resist German demands, he was to withdraw from demanding military presence in Slovakia (what was part of the original draft plan) and demanding a simple military alliance instead – the takeover of financial assets was to remain a priority. Goring’s foreign policy was thus dominated by the internal problems Germany faced, primarily economic ones. Germany desperately needed currency to pay of its debts, which the Czechs an Slovaks happened to have, as well as an area for dumping its manufactured goods. Goring also opposed military intervention, as his alliance with the military was beginning to be problematic – the expected and partly announced cuts on military spending were not liked by the generals. Occupation would thus both strengthen the Wehrmacht politically, as well as be very costly for the German budget. The treaties signed with both Czechia and Slovakia granted the Reich with everything it needed at almost no cost.

    International reaction to the breakup of Czecho-Slovakia was mixed. What occurred could not have been separated from the crisis in 1938, which led to the German, Hungarian and Polish populated areas of the state being surrendered to their respective states, annulling the events from the years 1918-1920 when the multinational state was founded. Most of the western public maintained the stance that Czechia and Slovakia were “far away countries about which we know little” and mostly remained happy that a war had been avoided – especially since the civil war in Spain had ended only recently. Some even praised Goring for sticking to the promises Hitler made in Munich, refusing to resort to military strength and for supporting the Slovak independence movement – even becoming called the “Champion of Nations” by some French newspapers. The obvious truth was however quite distressing – the treaties between Germany and the two new states were unequal, de facto subjecting them to it and neither the League of Nations nor the western powers took part in this new deal. Germany was establishing Central Europe as it’s own playground and while Britain was concerned with it’s growth, France was straight out terrified of it. Anti-German commentators accused Germany of orchestrating the events, as it ultimately did lead to Germany benefiting immensely. There was however nothing that could have been done to remedy the situation – only having started to come out of the depression and with military spendings rising, there was little economic aid that could have been granted no the central European countries. Without Czechoslovakia, Poland was the only power capable of granting France a second front against Germany, but the incentive of preserving the Franco-Polish Alliance was weakening on both sides, as the leaderships of both countries were struggling whether to maintain their arrangement of relations with Germany and improving them, hoping for Germany to calm down, or whether to start opposing the Reich more actively by trying to form a new alliance with new members. The Soviet Union was a obvious candidate, but any Polish-Soviet alliance never had a chance of success, as it was Russia whom the Poles considered the greatest threat – in Warsaw, Germany was starting to look more like an ally against it and less as a foe. With the democracies unable to create a plan of action, the fascist powers continued to grow, preying on weakness.
     
  8. Shaby Sontaran

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    Location:
    Flagship "Undefeatable" of the Battlefleet Ib
    I don't think Goering would keep v. Ribbentrop for that long. He despised him. Unless, of course Hess or Goebbels intervened. Other than that, everything sounds nice and plausible. Good writing style. Reads like history book.
     
  9. Pwn0r Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Location:
    United Socialist States of St.Arnold
    In german the title wouldn't be Kaltenkrieg, but Kalter Krieg

    Like this , will follow.
     
  10. MSZ Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Thanks. Personal changes are going to take place over time, Goering's position just isn't strong enough - he is Chancellor for only few months at this point.

    Crap. Krieg is maskulin in German? My old German language book has it in neutral. Is this my book being wrong, somekind of regional difference in language or some new language change? (the book is old, uses ß instead of ss)
     
  11. DerGreif A European Citizen - Britain Stronger IN Donor

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Location:
    Europe (Lake Constance region)
    Your book is just plain wrong. Krieg is and was as far as I can remember masculine. It is either "Der kalte Krieg" or "Kalter Krieg". But even if it was neutral, it would have been "Kaltes" ("s" from the neutral article "das") not "kalten".

    Edit: Side note - the "ß" is still used today, only less so. Only after a long vocal the "ß" is used, eg "Fuß" (= foot). The most prominant replacement after the last reform was with "daß" which (because of the short "a") is now "dass".

    Kind regards,
    G.
     
  12. MSZ Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    This is so... embarrassing. I thought it was Einen Krieg, hence the 'n' at the end of the adjective compound. Is there any way to change the thread title?
     
  13. artha Apparently the meaning of life

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    Location:
    on my feet
    Great TL.:D
    Could we see also some figures about the german debt?
     
  14. Rudi Maxer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    This could be interesting. How long are you planning TTL to be? Up to present day?
     
  15. bolhabela Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Location:
    Csikszereda
    Well at least the Hungarians will be happy to have a border to Poland
     
  16. Perkeo Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2011
    I once more confirm that "Krieg" is masculin. "Kaltenkrieg" isn't necessarily false, but sounds odd and means "War of the cold ones"
     
  17. The Oncoming Storm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Location:
    Fighting the system from within
    Very well written so far please keep it up!
     
  18. MSZ Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Maybe in the future. I intend to write a piece on the German (and not only) economy, but it is really difficult to find reliable data. The Nazis statistics aren't exactly reliable, and the western estimates mostly measure war production, which further falsifies even rough estimates. So I was thinkig about something like a "German census 1950" presenting figures on demography, GDP, foreign debt and so on, with some explanation on how the figures came to that point through the 40's.

    If I manage, then yes. I intend for this to be a cold war timeline, but I see no reason for why it shouldn't extend to the post-cold war era, if such a thing would come to exist ITTL.

    Yeah, I got the message. Stupid of me to rely on personal notes and handbooks from school, should have checked it even on Wikipedia. I know getting the wrong Artikel isn't a grave mistake, but it also sounds awful to native speakers. Any way to edit that?



    Here is the next part.

    With Hungary having regained much territory in the north, it started looking east to correct past wrongs. Terminating the dictate of Trianon was the goal of Horthy’s regime, and it was by using the “Trianon Trauma” and rallying it behind him that he was able to maintain his power. Obtaining Upper Hungary and Transcarpathia gave him immense support – his brutal reign being proven “successful”. Hungarians seemed to be willing to give up any amount of freedom or wealth for the purpose of regaining their ancestral lands, and their regent was willing to grant them that. Hungarian tactics were very similar to those used by the Germans – the Hungarian diasporas in Romania being organized and granted state backing, initiating marches and demonstrations; Romanian authorities being accused of mistreating minorities and being incapable of protecting it from attacks of radicals; demands for the Hungarians to be allowed to decide their own state allegiance. Hungarian tactics suffered however from quite a few flaws – Horthy wasn’t quite as finesse as Goring or Hitler in presenting his case to the international opinion; the Hungarians themselves being a minority in Transylvania, Hungary breaching the principle of self-determination by annexing non-Hungarian Transcarpathia. Romanian military strength was also quite formidable compared to Hungary, and Romania still had standing military alliances with Yugoslavia, Poland and France. Hungary would thus have to count on the strength of it’s ally, Germany, and the non-action of Romania’s allies. Diplomatic talks with all powers involved began soon after Slovakia’s independence, after it became apparent that a new Little Entente would not be formed.


    [​IMG]

    Székelys in marching in a town in Transylvania.


    That Romania itself was struggling with radicals, government officials being killed in assassinations becoming a routine, somewhat helped Hungary. Hungarian demonstrations in Székely provoked violent attacks on them, further discrediting the country. The royal dictatorship found itself under pressure both from within, in the form of the nationalistic Iron Guard, which grew in strength thanks to it’s uncompromising stance of not surrendering an inch of Romanian soil to the hated Hungarians, and from abroad, with Hungary directly demanding a revision of the Trianon treaty and Germany too calling for national self-determination to be exercised, albeit doing it discreetly, trying to maintain the image of a neutral party. It did not do a good job in the last one though, as “secret” Germano-Hungarian negotiations became an open secret in the diplomatic world quite quickly. That Hungary was willing to join the anti-comintern pact in return for German support in expanding eastwards was widely speculated. Romania on the other hand found itself lacking reliable allies. While the Soviet Union offered a great amount of support, including military alliance against any invaders, Romania was reluctant to allow Soviet troops on it’s territory. Poland was unwilling to get involved, having to deal with its own domestic troubles, as well as officially pursuing a policy of “equal distance” between Budapest and Bucharest – though leaning towards the Magyars more. Yugoslavia also did not seek to involve itself, especially as it was conducting its own talks with its northern neighbor, the matter of Hungarian populated Vojvodina being talked about with in good faith, suggesting a possible autonomy for it. Attempts to appeal to the League of Nations have been unfruitful, as Germany blocked any far-going initiatives. And while France was very much willing to support Romania in its conflict with Hungary, it was still not willing to end up fighting a war with Germany over it, not without British support.

    The United Kingdom was increasingly worried about German influence in central Europe rising unchecked, and while it still was the largest empire in the world, it felt more and more uncomfortable in its position of the preserver of the balance of power in Europe. The Rheine was beginning to lose its psychological significance, no longer being the geographic barrier further east of which the UK was to have no direct interests. Britain realized that German expansion east directly affected western Europe - thus making sure that central Europe would not find itself under German domination was becoming more and more important for it. Still, the idea of making a permanent commitment to the states of that region was not something it was able to do, not without sufficient land forces which were still under development. Britain fell for the same “mental trap” the French did the 20’s – aggressive rhetoric being accompanied by defensive action – the construction of the Maginot Line being the French example, enlarging the Royal Navy the British, as even without any additional funds for the fleet, it was still more than much for the Kriegsmarine. Calling for a “peaceful resolution”, it did not give Romania enough support for King Carol to simply dismiss the demands.

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    King Carol II and Prime Minister Constantin Argetoianu.

    On January 3 1941, before the Orthodox Christmas celebrations, a referendum was held in the entire province of Transylvania, asking whether the population wanted to remain part of the Kingdom of Romania. It was an attempt to weaken Hungarian demands, as the referendum proved the majority of the entire population of the province – who were Romanian – obviously preferred Romania. The referendum was carried out without either German or Hungarian officials, but had LoN observers to prove it’s truthfulness. Hungarians did not boycott the referendum, despite it being obvious they would lose it, as well as losing their arguments – rather, the outcome was to prove their own points, that they maintained a significant presence, proven despite the outcome “being rigged”, persecutions and attacks being carried out, colonization policies being conducted by the Romanians, etc. – all types of accusations. Finally, on January 14th, with Romania proving to not be easy prey and time working in its favor, Hungary signed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Germany – the final effect of almost half a year of negotiations. According to the treaty, Hungary was to join the anti-comintern pact in the unspecified as of then future, grant certain rights for it’s German minority as well as form an official military alliance with Germany – these being the official provisions, amongst others. Unofficially, Germany promised to support Hungary in any war with Romania and for it to obtain territory in the east, in return for which Hungary was to surrender it’s financial reserves as well as grant economic privileges to the Reich – much like Slovakia and Czechia were forced to earlier – once Romania transferred control over the disputed lands to it. This condition was to ensure that Germany would keep it’s end of the bargain, as it didn’t get the right of stationing troops on Hungarian soil, or even a right of passage. Goring however had no interest in war, fearing it’s possible consequences. For him, the negotiations and the treaty were mostly dictated by the necessities of internal politics – though they also did give him a much greater interest in foreign affairs as well. Being attacked for his economic policies of freeing trade rather than pursuing full autarky, lowering military spendings and turning the industry from military to consumable goods, success was seen as a way of silencing the opposition and gaining the hearts of the people – as under his rule, things did get better for the ordinary Germans, the effects of the great depression becoming a thing of the past. They also helped in dealing with the high ranking military – some of which were looking forward to war, others being more restrained about it. Talking about a possible war without actually going to it was a way of pleasing both of the sides. Even though in the end it would be up to Romania to decide whether to accept the loss of territory, in either way Germany would profit from it – by either gaining Hungary as an ally should Romania comply, or forcing it to accept anything else after a war would start and Germany would refuse aid, threatening to abandon it to it’s fate.

    Two weeks after signing the treaty, Hungary demanded that Romania joined into negotiations which were to be conducted in an “impartial state” – that being Germany, and the talks were to take place in Vienna – on the subject of control of the disputed territories. The “negotiations” were finished on February 1st, and in fact took the form of an ultimatum, with the Romanian delegation finding itself in an impossible situation and forced do accept the terms – surrendering the northern half of Transylvania, which held a significant Hungarian population even according to the recent referendum. Hungary accepted what would be known as the “Vienna compromise”, despite being somewhat bitter about not regaining all lands lost in the Great War – that was however too much to ask, as Goring thought Romania would fight if that was demanded, and that ending the crisis sooner than later would be more beneficial, (contrary to Ribbentrop, who did see war as a possible option, one not to be turned down), not to mention that it would also leave Romania more open to Germany in the future – as it was still allowed to keep a lot of what was demanded from it.


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    Horthy and Ribbentrop and other German officials in Vienna, after the signing of the Vienna Compromise.



    The “Vienna Compromise” was seen as a great success by Goring, for whom it was a turning point in his perception of the world, giving him a much greater interest and insight into the workings of diplomacy, which he wasn’t too interested in in the past. That so much could have achieved by so little led him to becoming much more ambitious. Ribbentrop’s successful handling of it would not be rewarded however – instead it would mean his downfall. Already disliked by Goring in the past, his active pursuit of using the crisis to start a war went contrary to Goring’s ideas. The foreign ministers rising popularity was also a threat to his personal power. Ribbentrop was allowed to keep the office in 1939 as part of the Berchtesgaden agreement, since at the time Goring did not have much interest in foreign affairs, considering the position to be a “toxic” one – where mistakes and failures would be remembered and punished, while victories remaining unseen, due to how diplomatic work was traditionally conducted. Ribbentrop and his co-workers and other allies weren’t however traditionalists, and even Goring would not sacrifice the good of the Reich in order to deny his political rivals glory – especially when their positions were feeble. With the “Vienna Compromise” signed, the Chancellor would begin to play down Ribbentrop’s role in it, while his own would be highlighted in German media. As a “reward”, Joachim von Ribbentrop would be dismissed from the position of Foreign Minister and moved to Britain to serve as an ambassador – his former office being given to Ernst von Weizsäcker, whose approach to foreign policy was much more to Goring’s liking. A number of other prominent Nazi officials would come to share his fate, being ‘promoted’ to various posts of little to no importance. Ribbentrop would still be lucky to become head of one of the most prestigious diplomatic missions, a little something to sweeten the situation for him.

    Though viewed as a fantastic success of Germany, ironically, the treaty was however a terrible mistake for it – having gained an average ally, it also gained powerful enemies in the form of not only the Soviet Union – whose leadership was more than upset with the bilateral way Germany conducted foreign policy, keeping Russia out and isolated – but also the west, which considered the “Vienna compromise” to be the last straw. The Treaty was after all not in order to enforce the principles of self-determination behind which Germany would hide in the past – it was a simple competition of power, of which the Reich might have had more at that moment in that place, but the gap between it and the west was closing. Defying all democratic procedures and the League of Nation, Goring was no longer viewed as a trustworthy figure with whom negotiations could be conducted in good faith. Talks about the possibility of changing the status of some of the LoN mandates in Africa died almost overnight, as did those on re-negotiating the Anglo-German Naval Treaty. Goring was confused by this sudden change of attitude, incapable of understanding that it was his own actions that led to them – as it was he who was seen as the real threat, not Horthy or even Ribbentrop. The German Foreign Office attributed this to the demands of the British public, as well as to “Jewish propaganda” which was suppose to be getting more and more desperate and therefore organized the “brutal attacks” on the Reich. These dismissals could not however change the fact that the atmosphere in which any future diplomatic relations took place would be different.


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    Hungarian cavalry entering Transylvania


    In Hungary, excitement over the reclamation of Transylvania reached ecstasy. Celebrations took place all over the country, with feasts and festivals being spontaneously organized in the streets. Horthy was universally praised as the ‘father of the state’, toasts being raised for him almost everywhere. The state supported those events, providing food and drinks to the tables and putting up various decorations – despite it being a February winter. Legislation would quickly be passed marking the first of February as a national holiday, the ‘National Unity Day’ (or just “National day” - Nemzeti ünnep), which would be celebrated by similar festivities in the future. Things would go so far as to genuine suggestions to be made to grant the title of “King of Hungary” to regent Miklós Horthy, or to at least “Grand Duke of Transylvania” – a move which would legitimize his rule and make it hereditary. These were not implemented however, as they would go against what the Crown of Saint Stephen stood for, and from which Horthy would claim his powers came, as he favored idea of Szent Korona Állameszmény, which assigned legal personhood to the Holy Crown and declared that all state powers of the monarch or the government came from it. Splitting its power to grant it personally to him would thus make him an usurper.


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    Celebrations of the Hungarian National Day



    The gains of the Vienna Compromise would sadly be costly for the Kingdom of Hungary. The seizure of Hungarian financial reserves and other deposited wealth would strongly affect the struggling economy. With the assets moved, the value of the Hungarian pengő dropped significantly, in fact making it of trash value abroad. Rather than fighting it, Hungary would try to use it as an opportunity for reduce its foreign debt, further devaluating its currency by simply printing money and using it to pay off debt holders. This led to a strong inflation and increase in prices, which the government in turn would attempt to fight by introducing price fixing. Being an agricultural economy, dependent on buying industrial goods from abroad, mostly from Germany, Hungary found itself at the economic mercy of the Reich, as it was virtually the only country to accept the pengő. The Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation would further solidify this one-sided relation, as Germany would demand for its companies, as well as those held by the Volksdeutsche in Hungary to be granted monopolies on the sales of various crucial goods. Further, it would demand that grain and other foodstuffs be used as payment in barter transfers for its industrial goods the Hungarians required – despite it being winter and no crows growing. State silos were thus emptied and once it turned out that the stockpiles did not meet the demand, they had to be nationalized from individual farmers. Government officials tasked with this would find themselves facing a significant resistance, as what they did wasn’t any different from communists ‘collectivization’ practiced by the Soviets whom the regime demonized. It was only broken by force, by those “hoarding” their food being beaten and arrested.

    State propaganda avoided talking about the reasons for these measures, denying that what was happening was Hungary paying its serfdom duties. Quiet explanations occasionally appearing attributed all this to the unification, declaring that it was due to the malnutrition of the population in Transylvania, which had to be fed. The reason why the trains went west, rather than east was not explained, nor why were the Romanians in Transylvania forced to give up even more than the Magyars. In 1941 the country faced significant food shortages, but desperately tried to avoid introducing rationing. This further led to it indebting itself in Germany, for which money food had to be imported. This was an early example on how German domination in Central Europe would work, as what happened was de facto Germany pushing the costs of its nutrition onto its neighbors, either paying them with otherwise unsellable manufactured goods, or not paying at all.

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    Long queue to a food store in Budapest



    The consequences of associating with Nazi Germany were not only financial. In February the same year, only a three weeks after the Vienna Compromise, Hungary would join the Anti-Comintern Pact, making its alliance with the fascist powers official. It would be thus forced to introduce new laws, those in line with the totalitarian ideology. Among first things was the legalization of the National Socialist movements, which were outlawed in the 30’sand whose many leaders emigrated to Germany. After petitioning to Goring, the Chancellor requested that they not only be allowed to return, but to be allowed to the parliament and government, granting them ministerial portfolios, with Ferenc Szálasi of the Arrow-Cross Party becoming Deputy Prime Minister. The Party would gain much support from Germany, though unlike other countries it would not be the only Nazi Party in the country, as others, such as the HRNSP would operate separately. It would nevertheless be the strongest of them, absorbing smaller ones and increasing in membership over time. This forced “unity government” of pro-Horthy fascist, and Szalasi’s National Socialists would be ‘united’ in name only, as they followed different philosophies – Horthy found support among the conservatives, former noblemen, the middle class urban population, while the Nazis among the poorer parts of the society, such as small farmers or migrant workers. The two did nevertheless share some common goals, although of the most sinister kind.

    Anti-Semitism was already an established political cause by the far-right in Hungary, which escalated after the Nazi participation in power and the rise of German influence. After passing the First Jewish Law in 1938, which set quotas limiting Jews to 20% of positions in several professions, subsequently the Second Jewish Law and Third Jewish Laws were introduced, further restricting the rights of Jews in Hungary, defining them by race, rather than religion (people with 2, 3 or 4 Jewish-born grandparents were declared Jewish). They were banned from practicing certain trades or be employed in various positions, attend universities or make up more than a certain percentage of the employed in companies. The changes strongly resembled the reforms in Germany, with the Jews being eventually stripped of citizenship (together with voting rights) and given the status of ‘inhabitants’. With the economic situation of the country worsening, they were the first and obvious scapegoat, their wealth being nationalized without compensation. While ethnic Hungarians were spared most of this treatment by the authorities, political opposition, both democratic and socialist, was banned as well. The introduction of compulsory labor was a way of quieting dissenters as they were conscripted into “work battalions” to participate in construction and other type of works. The “work battalions” were in fact a somewhat ‘prestigious’ position, being praised and commended by the state as those who literally were ‘building a better future’ - as those less fortunate to be part of the simple work gangs were left with more dirty jobs, such as cleaning streets, sewers or used as simple slave labor. The sight of Jews with brooms and David’s Star on them sweeping streets while being laughed at by passerby’s wasn’t uncommon in larger cities.

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    Jews forced to clean the streets in Budapest

    While citizenship of the Kingdom of Hungary would be awarded solely to ethnic Hungarians, the minorities situation would differ. While the Jews, Gypsies and Romanians would face the greatest discrimination, Germans would enjoy plenty of privileges, such as a fixed number of representatives in the Diet, exemption from certain taxes and compulsory military service, would have the right to separate judicial paths in specific cases, etc. Other minorities were given varied status – the region of Sub-Carpathia would enjoy autonomy for a certain period of time, though this would change over time as the central government would start to simply ignore their special status. That persecution against the Rusyns did not rise to the same degree as against others was mostly caused by irrelevance – while the Hungarians wanted their region back, they did not feel the same animosity towards the people as against the Jews or Romanians. Similarly, the hate between the Magyars and Slovaks, present before 1938, would also come to pass with the Slovaks in Upper Hungary being quite often granted citizenship on request, as no further northward expansion was even thought about.

    Relations between Hungary and Slovakia would remain strained though, as many in Slovakia were still bitter about the new arrangement. While the Slovaks would obtain support from Slovakia, the Germans from Germany, the Rusyns situation would not deteriorate in part thanks to Poland – which was odd, as relations between the Poles and the various East Slavic people were on an all times low. Fearing that strong persecution against them might lead to rise of nationalism in the region, which in turn would affect south-eastern Poland, Warsaw requested that the Hungarians help them in fighting those already engaged in hostile activity, but leaving the general population well enough alone. Budapest accepted this argument. The Hungarian situation of having plenty of minorities all of which had different status would lead to new type of legal branch, out of necessity – Minority Rights. The subject would be heavily discussed in Hungary (and later in all central European states), on how minorities ought be treated, what rights and obligations should be given them and on what type of basis should the legal situation of inhabitants of the state be different. The Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest would be the first University to include first the Institute, and later the Faculty of Minorities Rights, making the school the center of the new legal thought.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
    Tanner151 likes this.
  19. edvader Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Great post, I am subscribed.Don't mind you using my REAL last name!Similar to Shaby's but this looks just as good.BTW what is going to happen to the US and Japan?:cool:
     
  20. Alex1guy First Of His Name

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    Location:
    The New Zealand Empire
    This is really well written, and I love pictures! Subscribededed