Nothing to Lose but Your Chains! / a German Revolution TL

Glad to see this back! The specter of federal socialist Pannonia is really fascinating. Can only hope that Red Germany can help it out sooner rather than later.
Bella Ciao
Bella Ciao

With southern Austria relatively secure, the Volkswehr’s commander-in-chief Theodor Körner decided it was time take the White bastion of Tyrol and Vorarlberg. The operation commenced on 11th May, the main objectives being Innsbruck and Bregenz; 12,000 men of the Volkswehr were assigned to the offensive. On that very same day the state government of Vorarlberg, led by Otto Ender and dominated by his fellow Christian Socials, held a referendum for the proposed annexation of Vorarlberg to Switzerland. Before the arrival of the Red soldiers the results were announced with over eighty percent of the voters in favour of the annexation. However, even without an entangled civil war in Austria and Germany, the Swiss government was opposed to the idea in part because the demographic shift would lead to a larger Catholic and German population. Meanwhile, the Volkswehr were under strict orders to not engage the occupying Italian troops in the region, who numbered 22,000. Fortunately for the socialists, the Italian soldiers remained impassive as the Volkswehr advanced towards Innsbruck. The Italians above all wanted to return home, especially as they were hearing about the escalating tensions between the left and right.

Even though Italy was on the victorious side of the war, the country was beset with crisis. As early as 1917 the Italian economy began to falter; government budget deficits, inflation, decreases of wages in real terms, increasing unemployment, and falling standards of living all resulted in the emergence of a restless and angry population. Among the left, the Italian Socialist Party (Partito Socialista Italiano/PSI) was the most dominant representative of the workers and was significant among European socialist parties for refusing to support the war effort. The party was of course afflicted with factionalism; many reformists had previously been expelled allowing the maximalists and communists together to comprise the majority. The maximalists, led by Secretary Costantino Lazzari and Giacinto Menotti Serrati, had already proclaimed their support for the Bolshevik Revolution and the Communist International. The communists were further divided between ultra-leftists, led by Amadeo Bordiga, who opposed PSI involvement in bourgeois politics, and their opponents led by Antonio Gramsci. The General Confederation of Labour (Confederazione Generale del Lavoro/CGdL), Italy’s main trade union centre, was affiliated with the PSI and shared the incumbent leadership’s reformist outlook. The more radical constituency of trade unionism was represented by the anarcho-syndicalist Italian Syndicalist Union (Unione Sindicale Italiana/USI), which drew most of its support from unskilled workers in Liguria, Romagna, and Le Marche. Of peculiar note was the national syndicalist Italian Labour Union (Unione Italiana del Lavoro/UIdL) of Alceste De Ambris.[1] Since the end of the war the UIdL had moved sharply to the right, with De Ambris declaring in an editorial that the only reason he hadn’t joined Benito Mussolini’s movement was because of his responsibilities as leader of the UIdL. Mussolini, the former editor of the PSI’s newspaper Avanti!, had since embraced national syndicalism and militarism, founding the Italian Fasces of Combat (Fasci Italiani di Combattimento/FIdC). The more traditional far-right were represented by Enrico Corradini’s Italian Nationalist Association (Associazone Nazionalista Italiana/ANI). Between these two rival blocs were the centrist parties of Vittorio Orlando’s government, such as the Liberal Union, the Italian Radical Party, the Italian Catholic Electoral Union, and the Italian Reformist Socialist Party, formed from reformists and social democrats expelled from the PSI in 1912.

Amidst the crisis, the first factory occupation in Italy occurred on 16th March 1919 when negotiations between the UIdL and the owners of a steel factory in Dalmine (near Milan) broke down. The occupation only lasted for two days until 1,500 soldiers arrived and expelled the workers, yet the tone of the revolutionary period was set by the workers continuing and managing production themselves. Factory occupations remained a rare occurrence afterwards however, as the PSI and CGdL encouraged their workers to settle for the eight-hour workday in negotiations with the bourgeoisie, though factory councils continued to proliferate and strikes remained ubiquitous. Despite the escalating tensions, violence between the two opposing camps was at a minimum. This deceptively peaceful period came to a dramatic end on 15th April when Fascists and Nationalists attacked the headquarters of Avanti! in Milan. Angered by a recent Socialist strike in Rome and another planned for Milan, Ferruccio Vecchi, Mario Chiesa, and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti led a large group of armed veterans and students to attack the striking Socialists. After dispersing the strikers the reactionaries marched to the newspaper headquarters, ransacking and torching the building; their stolen loot was presented to Mussolini that night. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, the police and army put the city on lockdown, ending the strike, while War Minister Enrico Caviglia met with Vecchi and Marinetti to praise their actions. Furthermore the industrialists of Milan raised 10,000 lire to reward the participants of the attack.


Ferruccio Vecchi's editorial boasting of his attack on Avanti!

The cityscape was not the only theatre of conflict though; the countryside was the stage for fierce confrontation between the numerous varieties of farmers and the landlords. The National Federation of Agricultural Workers (Federazione Nazionale fra i Lavoratori della Terra/Federterra), led by reformist Socialist Argentina Altobelli, organised strikes and aided farmers in exercising self-management. In the north however Federterra faced competition from the left-wing of the newly-established Catholic Italian People's Party (Partito Popolare Italiano/PPI). Opposed to his party’s class-collaborationist stance, Guido Miglioli and his fellow trade unionists militated for comprehensive land reform. In many cases they even proved to be more radical than Federterra in their conflict with the landowners and agro-industrial bourgeoisie. The PPI leftists and Federterra rarely cooperated however - in part due to traditional socialist hostility to clericalism, and partly due to Miglioli’s defence of private property – and the landlords were sometimes able to leverage this divide to their advantage during negotiations. Despite the ostensibly strong support for revolution in the PSI and Federterra, the radical actions of the Catholic unions were accused of being grotesque deformations or a ploy by the PPI; strikes and occupations by the Socialists were focused on short-term goals like better wages and union rights. Serrati and his maximalists received similar criticisms from both flanks of the PSI: the communists for not taking advantage of the revolutionary circumstances; and the reformists for exhorting the proletariat to revolution and then leaving them at the mercy of state repression.[2]

Tired of the maximalist posturing the communists of the PSI – Bordiga and his ultra-left abstentionists, and Gramsci and his group around the newspaper L’Ordine Nuovo – decided to take a stand. The communists would propagandise the importance of the workers’ councils, likening them to Russian soviets and German räte, and help to establish more throughout the country. After some debate they also agreed to work with the USI and the Union of Anarchist Communists, partially with the hope of turning their irrepressible attempts at direct action toward something more constructive.

Meanwhile in Austria, General Roberto Segre of the Italian mission in Vienna and General Guglielmo Pecori-Giraldi of the occupying troops in western Austria grew apprehensive at the advance of the Volkswehr. Segre and his mission had remained unmolested but impotent in the face of the revolutionary upheaval. Pecori-Giraldi for his part had followed a hands-off approach to governing, while also providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and the wounded. He justified his orders for non-confrontation with the Volkswehr by reasoning that the civil war was an internal Austrian matter and would remain so as long as the Italian occupation was not challenged. Privately Pecori-Giraldi also did not want to be the one responsible for reigniting the war. Consequently Red soldiers had taken Innsbruck by 15th May and Bregenz on the 18th; Richard Steidle and Otto Ender managed to escape to Switzerland. The situation was tense, not only between the Volkswehr and the Italian soldiers, but also between the Reds and the predominantly conservative population. Despite this the Volkswehr reorganised the region’s administration by empowering the workers’ councils which had been driven underground by the Christian Social militias early in the conflict.

In Germany proper a political shift of extreme importance was about to take place as the intelligence network of the military junta discovered the Social Democratic covert correspondence with the Paris Peace Conference. The militarists’ reaction was swift and the entirety of the SPD leadership in Frankfurt am Main, including President Friedrich Ebert and Chancellor Gustav Noske, were arrested on 14th May. Upon further investigation Noske was released for lack of evidence and his loyalty to the junta, but the rest were charged with treason. General Paul von Hindenburg took the presidency while Wolfgang Kapp succeeded to the Chancellorship. The junta made certain to publicise the SPD’s treachery, resulting in news outlets of both the right and left moving in for the attack. The SPD were banned within the territorial control of the Frankfurt government and the repression which had already been directed toward the party became official policy. The position of the Social Democrats in the Berlin government also suddenly became precarious. Hermann Paul Reisshaus hung onto his position as co-Chairman of the Council of People’s Deputies declaring that he and his colleagues in Berlin represented the true face of the party, even as scores of the membership left to join the KPD and USPD, and Social Democrat councillors were recalled by their voters. For many who had been attempting to remain uninvolved in the civil war the rightward shift of the Frankfurt government and its implicit rejection of peace with the Entente, non-cooperation and resistance against the militarists became more attractive; for if the junta had no qualms crushing the pliant Social Democrats, could the centrist liberal parties be next?

[1] Not to be confused with the centrist/social democratic UIL which was established after WW2 and remains in operation.
[2] All of the Italy content up until now has been OTL.

Dramatis Personae (OTL biographies)

Costantino Lazzari: One of the founders of the PSI and some its preceding parties, Lazzari served as party Secretary from 1912 to 1919 though he spent most of 1918 and 1919 imprisoned for defeatism. A revolutionary and a pacifist, he coined the party's "neither join, nor sabotage" policy towards WW1. Lazzari supported the party joining the Comintern and following the condition to expel reformists which led to so much factional strife. He was persecuted by the fascists and died in 1927.
Giacinto Menotti Serrati: A leading figure of the PSI's revolutionary maximalist faction, Serrati supported the PSI's joining the Comintern, where he served on the Executive Committee. However, he was opposed to expelling the reformists of the PSI which led to the Communist split in 1921; the reformists were expelled in 1922 anyway. Serrati and other revolutionaries from the PSI joined the Communists in 1924. Serrati also succeeded Mussolini as editor of Avanti! and died in 1926.
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In Germany proper a political shift of extreme importance was about to take place as the intelligence network of the military junta discovered the Social Democratic covert correspondence with the Paris Peace Conference. The militarists’ reaction was swift and the entirety of the SPD leadership in Frankfurt am Main, including President Friedrich Ebert and Chancellor Gustav Noske, were arrested on 14th May.
Reading about Ebert getting his comeupance, like the reactionary backstabber he is deep down, warms the cockles of my heart.
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It's really morbidly fascinating to see guys like Noske go from a starting position of Marxist socialism and bend themselves around the sheer hatred of their leftist factional enemies and almost nihilistic expectations of the general public to end up occasionally even more rightwing then the liberals and the confessional parties, or at least their own left wings,
It's really morbidly fascinating to see guys like Noske go from a starting position of Marxist socialism and bend themselves around the sheer hatred of their leftist factional enemies and almost nihilistic expectations of the general public to end up occasionally even more rightwing then the liberals and the confessional parties, or at least their own left wings,
I mean he wasn't all that different IOTL
An International General Strike?
An International General Strike?

With socialist Hungary somewhat stabilised the Revolutionary Governing Council was eager to establish it political legitimacy. Thus the First Congress of the Socialist Party of Hungary was held on 23rd May.[1] Béla Kun’s presentation of the party program, including membership of the Communist International and the new commitment to a federal Hungary, elicited little surprise or opposition. It was the name which drew most controversy however; Kun had expected the adoption of the “Communist Party of Hungary” to be a trivial matter. It was not to be. The former Social Democrats considered it to be both a betrayal of the agreement which led to the unification of the two parties, and also a Communist appropriation of the Social Democratic legacy. People’s Commissar for Education Zsigmond Kunfi led the charge against the Communist proposal. Kun was able to end the debate with the acceptance of his cumbersome compromise Socialist-Communist Workers’ Party of Hungary (Szocialista Kommunista-Munkások Magyarországi Pártja/SKMMP). The congress concluded with the election of a new Central Committee, continuing the equal participation of Communists and Social Democrats.[2]

Subsequently the National Assembly of Federal Councils, elected on 7th and 8th April, was also convened for the first time on 26th May.[3] Due to the method of the election - delegates sent from workers’ councils – and bourgeois opposition to the government, all 378 members of the National Assembly were elected under the formerly-named Socialist Party ticket. The most significant topic for debate at the National Assembly was the provisional constitution, presented by People’s Commissar for Justice Zoltán Rónai. The constitution was strongly inspired by that of Soviet Russia: the Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic was to be a nested council-based democracy representing the interests of the workers, soldiers, and peasants and with limited disenfranchisement of the exploitative classes. Federalism for the state’s ethnic minorities was guaranteed: district councils in which a national minority constituted the majority population over a contiguous area would be entitled to establish separate districts and even federated republics if of a sufficient population and economic power; the elected leaders of these autonomous entities would also hold membership on the Revolutionary Governing Council. These articles had already been put into practice for the German and Ruthenian communities prior to the convention of the National Assembly.[4] The debates lasted for several days, after which the constitution was approved with a near-unanimous vote. The National Assembly then received reports from the appropriate People’s Commissars on the economy, foreign policy, and the military situation, whereupon the various decrees of the Revolutionary Governing Council were confirmed. On the final day of the Assembly, 2nd June, the delegates elected from among themselves the 150 member Federal Central Administration Committee, as per the new constitution, to act as the supreme legislative and executive organ when the National Assembly was not in session. Convening over the next two days the Committee voted on the composition of the Revolutionary Governing Council. The former Social Democrat Sándor Garbai retained his seat as Chairman of the Council, and thus also as Chairman of the Federal Central Administration Committee, making him both head of state and of government; Antal Dovcsák, leader of the metalworkers’ union and previously a People’s Commissar, was promoted to Deputy Chairman. Most of the People’s Commissars remained the same, though Zsigmond Kunfi was replaced as People’s Commissar for Education by Jószef Pogány. On the 5th June the Slovak Council Republic was established with its capital at Košice. Antonín Janoušek, leader of the SKMMP’s Czech and Slovak section, was appointed Chairman of the Revolutionary Governing Council until a National Assembly of Councils could be elected and convened.

Elsewhere, the European theatre of the Russian Civil War was producing mixed results for the Bolsheviks. In the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic anti-Bolshevik uprisings coincided with a White offensive, led by General Anton Denikin, in late May. By the end of June the Whites had occupied Crimea and the Donbass, and the official alliance between the Bolsheviks and Nestor Makhno’s anarchist forces had broken down due to tensions and disputes over supplies. Further to the west in Galicia, the Polish offensive against the Ukrainian People’s Republic remained in stalemate while advances against the Russian Red Army in Belarus and northern Ukraine only achieved little territorial gain.[5] Despite the lack of Polish success, Soviet Russia and Ukraine began peace negotiations with Poland in June so as to deal with more pressing issues. In addition to the White advance in Ukraine, an anti-Bolshevik coalition of Estonians, White Russians, British, and German Freikorps had waged a successful offensive which reached perilously close to Petrograd. Fortunately for the Bolsheviks, the campaign ground to a halt after conflict erupted on 5th June between Estonia and the Freikorps/Baltische Landeswehr puppet government in Latvia.

Of all the events which troubled the participants of the Paris Peace Conference the most, the German military junta’s arrest of the SPD leadership ranked the highest. The Entente leaders had yet to officially present the peace treaty to the German government but the contents were an open secret by that point: extreme restrictions on the military; large territorial concessions in Europe and the loss of all colonies; and extortionate reparations to be paid, were among the most notable of the provisions. Yet the military junta had just all but stated that they would not accept any treaty that was contrary to Germany’s interests. The socialists in Berlin were also unlikely to agree to the treaty. Months of work had thus been wasted. The Entente could not allow the war to be restarted though, and so the victory of either side in the German Civil War was undesirable. As a result the new Entente policy for Central Europe would have to be the containment of communism; ensuring that it could spread no further while abandoning those areas already lost, and that ensuring whichever side won the civil war in Germany would be too fatigued to pose a threat. Of course this plan entailed reining in Romania and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes to prevent them from angering the Hungarians and Austrians even further; the Czechoslovak government on the other hand had been remarkably restrained when dealing with the internal and external threats of communism. Furthermore, the Entente leaders hoped that there could still be a chance to cajole Austria into separating from Germany. On the other hand, events in Eastern Europe were proving fortuitous for the Entente; the Bolsheviks were slowly being driven back, evidence that they could be beaten. Consequently the Entente decided to stay their course as regards to the Russian Civil War.

By the end of May, the Council of People’s Deputies in Berlin was confident that they could begin their next military offensive. Denmark proved to be a tempting target. The surprise invasion of Schleswig had caused much embarrassment to the command of the Rote Garde, who were eager to collect restitution from the Danes. Additionally, Denmark had been an important lifeline for Germany during the Entente blockade and so People’s Deputy for Foreign Affairs Karl Liebknecht and People’s Deputy for Trade Hermann Paul Reisshaus were keen to force Denmark to restore a normalisation of relations between the two countries. As Korpsführer of the Wasserkante Karl Jannack was in command of the operation, deploying 24,000 soldiers to the frontline. The Danish outnumbered the Rote Garde by 10,000 men, but Jannack hoped that peacetime had softened the Danish soldiers. What they lacked in recent combat experience though, the Danes made up for in nationalistic fervour, as the Germans discovered when their offensive began on 2nd June. The Korpsführer assigned another 8,000 troops to the offensive and by the 9th the Danish frontline had been pushed back to Flensburg. In accordance with the Entente’s new strategy, British Rear-Admiral Walter Cowan offered assistance to Denmark. The government of Niels Neergaard was all too grateful for the aid, resulting in a detachment of Royal Marines being deployed to reinforce Danish positions. The Red offensive became bogged down at the siege of Flensburg, though the western front saw more success.

The Council of People’s Deputies had hoped for a short, trouble-free campaign, yet that clearly failed to materialise. The three Chairmen agreed to seek peace with Denmark. On 13th June Liebknecht sent the peace offer both privately to the Danish government and as an open letter to the Social Democratic mayor of Copenhagen Thorvald Stauning’s office. The conditions for peace were simple: the Aabenraa resolution’s territorial plebiscites would be carried out and respected, in return for Danish recognition of the Free Socialist Republic as the sole legal government of Germany and a restoration of previous trading conditions. The customary exchange of prisoners of war was also to be enacted. The Liberal-Conservative government of Neergaard prevaricated, leading to the Social Democrats and Social Liberals to begin organising another general strike in support of peace. Faced with the threat of another strike, and under the impression that Danish military might had driven the socialists to peace, King Christian X pressured Neergaard to accept the German overtures. Liebknecht and a German delegation were thus invited to Sønderborg to finalise the agreement; the plebiscites were to take place no later than September 1919 and would be overseen by a joint Danish-German commission. No mention was made of foreign forces or military occupation, leaving the frontline at a status quo. The Treaty of Sønderborg was signed on 18th June, after which food imports from Denmark were resumed.

In June the French General Confederation of Labour (Confédération Générale du Travail/CGT), founded as a decentralised confederation of regional and industrial union federations, called for a meeting to organise an international general strike against the military interventions in the new socialist countries; the imperialist nature of the Paris Peace Conference was also to be protested against. Trade union delegates from across the Entente countries attended the meeting in Paris on 13th June, but the event was sabotaged by factionalism from the outset.[6] The Italian Syndicalists (USI) were not invited because the Socialists (PSI) claimed the former to be fanatics. Armando Borghi, leader of the USI, felt compelled to inform the meeting that the all-but-Fascist Alceste De Ambris, who attended the conference, had in fact not been a member of the USI for five years. Léon Jouhaux, Secretary General of the CGT and host of the meeting, contrasted sharply with the pro-communist Pierre Monatte, editor of the union’s newspaper La Vie Ouvrière. The leadership of the British Trades Union Congress, which represented five million workers, was suffused with reformism and social democracy, and so rejected any strike that could lead to revolution. Likewise the delegates from the American Federation of Labor were opposed to any revolutionary action. The meeting ended without achieving anything more than a vapid call for peace.

That is not say that the working classes of the Entente countries remained docile however. Besides Italy, industrial action was gripping France, Britain, and America throughout 1919. Across June, July, and August, French metalworkers abandoned their workplaces in a disorganised and uncoordinated manner. When the reformist leaders of the CGT and the French Section of the Workers’ International (Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière/SFIO) deigned to provide leadership, they strove to turn the strikes’ demands to solely economic issues such as wages and work hours, even while the workers were drawing connections between their plight and international capitalism. As a consequence, significant numbers of revolutionary syndicalists joined the SFIO, where once they had respected the boundary between union and party.

In Britain the working class was much less militant, yet strike action still occurred. Glasgow and the surrounding area had become a centre for discontent during the war and this was continued into 1919. At the end of January a series of strikes led by William Gallacher, David Kirkwood, and Emanuel Shinwell for a forty-hour working week were repressed by the army after the police failed to disperse the strikers; no one was killed and Gallacher and Shinwell were imprisoned. Later on a nation-wide miners’ strike was threatened; the government of David Lloyd-George compromised and promised a seven-hour work day and the continuation of state ownership of the mines. The granting of near-universal suffrage immediately after the war, the social democratic nature of the British labour movement, and an economy which was doing well in comparison to other European countries, prevented working class unrest from becoming too unmanageable for the British state.

Canada and the United States were not so fortunate however. While Samuel Gompers and his AFL were content to act as an arm of the state, some constituent unions as well as the syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World regularly organised strikes for improved pay and conditions, workplace democracy, and opposition to the war. The Socialist Party of America, despite its reformist leadership, was often drawn into these industrial actions. In January 1919 a dispute over pay between the dockyard workers of Seattle and their employers escalated into a general strike which took control of the city from 6th to 11th February. The strikers elected a General Strike Committee which continued operating essential services, alongside grassroots organisations of workers who provided other services. Throughout the strike, Mayor Ole Hanson amassed an army of soldiers, sailors, and special deputies, while the AFL and its constituent unions exerted pressure on their Seattle branches to end the strike; the General Strike Committee eventually did, without achieving any of its aims. On May Day in Cleveland, a demonstration organised by Socialist Charles Ruthenberg protesting the incarceration of Eugene Debs and the Entente intervention against the European revolutions clashed with police and the military on three separate occasions, resulting in two deaths and 116 arrests, including Ruthenberg.


Soup kitchen organised by the Seattle General Strike Committee

Across the border, revolutionary syndicalists (mostly from the west) split from the Trades and Labour Council of Canada, which was funded by the AFL, in March to establish the One Big Union. The schism was in part inspired by the Russian Revolution and the subsequent repression directed towards the labour movement by the government of Robert Borden, but also by the explosion in union membership which occurred during the war and opposition to conscription. From 15th May to 26th June a general strike seized control of Winnipeg after failed negotiations with employers. Like in Seattle an elected Strike Committee continued the operation of essential services, including the police who were in favour of the strike. Unlike Seattle though, the forces of reaction, in the form of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police and newly-hired special constables, regularly clashed with the workers culminating in the Bloody Saturday of 21st June. Soon afterwards the Strike Committee voted to end the strike. The strike did not achieve its aims, but further general strikes in Amherst, Brandon, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Victoria, Alberta, and Montreal occurred, some of which did achieve their aims.

Militancy was not limited to just civilians but also spread to the military as well. Non-violent mutinies struck British ships which were involved in the Baltic campaign. Some mutinies occurred before the ships had even left Britain as in the case of 13th January when sailors on the HMS Kilbride, docked at Milford Haven, Wales, refused their orders; and on 12th October at Port Edgar, Scotland where ships were prevented from leaving and the sailors marched to London. On 21st November a squadron of ships stationed near Petrograd also were occupied by their sailors. In Murmansk and the North Russian theatre Royal Marines and some other British soldiers mutinied. In April most of the French Black Sea squadron was seized by mutineers, complicating the evacuation of the Crimea which was already under way. When the ships returned to their home ports in France and North Africa, the mutinies resumed in June to demand the acquittal of those arrested for the earlier mutinies. The mutinies were ended through a combination of negotiation and police intervention.[7] After the battles between the Entente soldiers in the Rhineland and the German paramilitaries during April, the desertion rate among the former increased, especially for the French. The purported “war to end all wars” had finished and yet across the world soldiers were still fighting and dying in combat, whether in the colonies or in revolutionary conflicts.

[1] The OTL date was 12th June.
[2] OTL there was an almost successful attempt to exclude almost all of the Communists from the leadership almost causing the party to split. The attempt failed when József Haubrich and the right wing of the former Social Democrats refused to get involved. With successful German and Austrian revolutions ITTL, the former Social Democrats have less need of securing their position to prepare for the worst (defeat and occupation by the Entente).
[3] The OTL date was 14th June.
[4] Here is the Hungarian constitution; you’ll need translation software to read it though (or, you know, be able to read Hungarian).
[5] Here we see the effects of Haller’s exile Blue Army being stuck in France thanks to the German military coup.
[6] It’s been hard to find information about this event, leading me to think that it didn’t amount to much.
[7] All of the previous sections on industrial action and mutinies is the same as OTL.

Dramatis Personae (OTL biographies)

Pierre Monatte: One of the prominent revolutionaries of the CGT and editor of its newspaper from 1909-1921, Monatte was opposed to the CGT and SFIO's support for the war. He fought during the war and afterwards established the internal opposition group Committee of Revolutionary Syndicalists. From there Monatte was one of the main agitators for joining the Comintern. Monatte was arrested for his involvement in the 1920 rail workers' strike and after being released joined the editorial board of the new Communist Party's L'Humanite newspaper. He didn't join the PCF until 1923 however. During the party's factional struggles, Monatte was expelled in 1924 and remained a Trotskyist until his death in 1960.
Charles Ruthenberg: As one of the leaders of the Socialist Party of America's revolutionary wing, Ruthenberg experienced imprisonment often both during and after the war. During the expulsion of the left-wing majority of the SPA and the factionalism of the left, Ruthenberg sided with those who aimed for the immediate creation of a communist party. Thus he became leader of a Communist Party in 1919 but split with some colleagues in 1920 to merge with the Communist Labor Party, whereupon they established the United Communist Party. After intervention by the Comintern, the split communist parties merged into one in 1922 with Ruthenberg as it leader until his death in 1927.
Constitution of the Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic
Constitution of the Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic

* Source here, translated via Google Chrome and edited for consistency by me.

Principles of the Constitution of the Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic.

§ 1. In the Council Republic, the proletariat take all freedoms, rights and powers in order to abolish the capitalist order and the rule of the bourgeoisie and replace it with the socialist production and social order. However, the dictatorship of the proletariat is merely a means of ending all exploitation and all forms of class rule and preparing for a social order which knows no classes and in which the ultimate means of class rule, the power of the state, also ceases.
§ 2. The Council Republic is a republic of councils of workers, soldiers, and peasants.
The Council Republic does not permit power to be exercised by the exploiters.
In the councils of workers, soldiers, and peasants, the working people make laws, enforce them, and rule over those who break them.
The proletariat exercises all central and local power in the councils.
§ 3. The Council Republic is a free union of free peoples.
The foreign policy of the Council Republic seeks to achieve peace in the world of workers through the world revolution. It wants peace without any conquest and war reparations, based on the right of workers to self-determination.
Instead of the imperialism that caused the World War, the Council Republic wants the unification of the world's proletarians, an international Council republic of workers. It is therefore the enemy of the exploitative war, of all the oppression and subjugation of the peoples. It rejects the tools of the class state's foreign policy, especially secret diplomacy.

Workers' rights and obligations in the Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic.

§ 4. The Council Republic seeks to ensure that all means of production become the property of the workers' society in order to eliminate exploitation and to organize and increase production. Therefore, it takes public ownership of all agricultural, industrial, mining and transport plants beyond the scope of the small farm.
§ 5. The dominance of financial capital in the Council Republic will end with the transfer of financial institutions and insurance institutions to public ownership.
§ 6. In the Council Republic, only those who work have a place. The Council Republic imposes a general obligation to work, but establishes the right to work. The state is supported by those who are unable to work, as well as those who want to work but cannot be employed by the state.
§ 7. In order to secure the power of the working masses and to prevent the restoration of the power of the exploiters, the Council Republic is arming the workers and disarming the exploiters. The Red Army is the class army of the proletariat.
§ 8. In the Council Republic, workers are free to express their opinions in writing and orally, but the power of capital to diminish the press as a means of spreading the capitalist mindset and weakening the proletarian class consciousness is abolished. The press's dependence on capital has also ceased. The right to publish all forms belongs to the workers and the Council Republic ensures that the socialist idea spreads freely throughout the country.
§ 9. Freedom of assembly for workers is complete in the Council Republic. Every proletarian has the right to assemble freely and organise marches. By breaking the rule of the bourgeoisie, all barriers to workers' right to freedom of association have been removed and the Council Republic not only gives workers and farmers the fullest freedom of association and organisation, but also provides them with all material and intellectual support to develop and secure their freedom of association.
§ 10. The Council Republic abolishes the literary privilege of the bourgeoisie and opens the possibility for workers to actually acquire literacy. Therefore, it provides free and high-level education for workers and peasants.
§ 11. The true freedom of conscience of the workers is protected by the Council Republic by completely separating the church from the state, and the school from the church. Everyone is free to practice their religion.
§ 12. The Council Republic proclaims the idea of the unification of the proletarians of the world and therefore grants all foreign proletarians all the rights that belong to the Hungarian proletarian and authorizes all local councils to declare foreign workers Hungarians at their request.
§ 13. In the Council Republic, every foreign revolutionary has the right to asylum.
§ 14. The Council Republic knows no racial or national differences. It does not tolerate any repression of national minorities and restrictions on the use of their language. Everyone is free to use their mother tongue and all authorities are obliged to accept a related application issued in any of the languages used in Hungary and to listen to and negotiate with everyone in their own mother tongue.

Central organization of council power.

§ 15. In the Council Republic, supreme power is exercised by the National Assembly of Federal Councils.
§ 16. The National Assembly of Federal Councils is responsible for all major state affairs, but in particular:
1. the establishment and amendment of the constitution of the Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic;
2. establishing and changing the country's borders;
3. the declaration of war and peace;
4. concluding international agreements;
5. taking out government loans;
6. main management of external and internal policies;
7. territorial division of the country;
8. establishing the powers of local councils;
9. the general management of the economy as a whole and of its individual branches;
10. establishing and changing the monetary system, the system of weights and measures;
11. the establishment of the budget of the Council Republic;
12. determination of public burdens;
13. determination of the organization of the defence force;
14. regulation of the right of nationality;
15. public, private and criminal law;
16. the main management of public policy;
17. determination of the organization of the judiciary;
18. general or partial amnesty.
All matters in respect of which the National Assembly of Federal Councils establishes its competence shall fall within the National Assembly of FederalCouncils. If the National Assembly of Federal Councils is not in session, its powers shall be exercised by the Federal Central Administration Committee.
However, the National Assembly of Federal Councils necessarily has the power to:
a) establish and amend the constitution;
(b) declare war and peace;
(c) establish the demarcation of the country's borders.
§ 17. The National Assembly of Federal Councils is convened by the Federal Central Administration Committee at least twice a year.
§ 18. The National Assembly of Federal Councils should always be convened by the Federal Central Administration Committee if requested by councils of districts and cities whose combined population represents at least one-third of the population of the country.
§ 19. The Federal Central Administration Committee, elected by the National Assembly of Federal Councils, consists of up to 150 members. All nations living in the country are adequately represented in the Federal Central Administration Committee in proportion to their population.
§ 20. The Federal Central Administration Committee, in the absence of a convened National Assembly of Federal Councils, is the chief administrator of the affairs of the country, and exercises supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power.
The Federal Central Administration Committee is also directly involved in the conduct of public affairs. In addition to the People's Commissars, its members include committees attached to the People's Commissariats and supplementing and monitoring the work of the People's Commissars. In addition, the Administration Committee may set up other committees from among its members to carry out specific tasks and may entrust certain of its members with certain tasks.
§ 21. The Federal Central Administration Committee directs the work of the councils of workers, soldiers, and peasants, as well as all council bodies. It ensures the practical implementation of the council constitution, implements the decisions of the National Assembly of Federal Councils.
§ 22. It reports to the National Assembly of Federal Councils on the operation of the Federal Central Administration Committee. It reports there on the general political and economic situation as well as on important issues.
§ 23. The National Assembly of Federal Councils is responsible for the operation of the Federal Central Administration Committee.
§ 24. The Federal Central Administration Committee elects the Revolutionary Governing Council and its chairman.
§ 25. The members of the Revolutionary Governing Council are the People's Commissars. The Revolutionary Governing Council appoints the People's Commissars to head the departments of the individual People's Commissariats and the National Economic Council. A People's Commissar can be appointed to head several People's Commissariats and several departments of the National Economic Council.
§ 26. The Revolutionary Governing Council is responsible for conducting the affairs of the Council Republic in accordance with the instructions of the National Assembly of Federal Councils and the Federal Central Administration Committee.
§ 27. The Revolutionary Governing Council may issue regulations. In general, it can take whatever measures it deems necessary to accomplish its duties.
§ 28. It shall immediately notify the Federal Central Management Committee of the regulations and decisions of the Revolutionary Governing Council on its actions in major matters.
§ 29. The Federal Central Administration Committee reviews the regulations, decisions, and measures of the Revolutionary Governing Council, the National Economic Council and all other committees and has the right to change them.
§ 30. In matters of major importance to the state, the Revolutionary Governing Council may act only in cases of extreme urgency without prior guidance from the Federal Central Administration Committee.
§ 31. The members of the Revolutionary Governing Council are responsible to the National Assembly of Federal Councils and the Federal Central Administration Committee.
§ 32. The individual People's Commissariats are:
1. the National Economic Council,
2. foreign affairs,
3. the military,
4. internal affairs,
5. justice,
6. welfare and public health,
7. public education,
8. German community,
9 the Ruthenian community.
§ 33. Each People's Commissar may issue regulations and instructions in matters within the competence of his or her Commissariat, and the National Economic Council in matters within his or her competence. Before issuing regulations of principle, the National Economic Council shall seek the consent of the Revolutionary Governing Council. The Revolutionary Governing Council may amend the regulations of the National Economic Council and individual People's Commissariats.
§ 34. The National Economic Council is responsible for the uniform management of production and the distribution of goods, the issuance and implementation of regulations governing management, as well as the technical and economic control of production and the bodies carrying out the distribution.
§ 35. The sections of the Economic Council are:
a) general production management, materials management and foreign trade,
b) farming and animal husbandry,
c) technical management and operation of industrial lifting,
d) financial management,
e) local supply,
f) transport,
g) economic organization and control,
h) centralization,
i) labour.
The People's Commissars in the National Economic Council form the Presidency of the National Economic Council with the involvement of the German and Ruthenian People's Commissars. The presidency shall have the right of discretion.
§ 36. The Board of the Economic Council may consist of up to 80 members. Of these, 40 members are elected by the Trade Union Council. These members of the Board are also members of the National Assembly of Federal Councils. In addition, other bodies of workers may elect members of the Board of the National Economic Council in a number and manner to be determined by the Federal Central Administration Committee, who, however, are not members of the National Assembly of Federal Councils.
§ 37. The Presidency of the National Economic Council takes into account the opinion of the Board on all important issues.
The Board may also make proposals to the Presidency on its own initiative.

Organization of local councils.

§ 38. Members of the National Assembly of Federal Councils are elected by district and city councils. District and city councils send one councilor to the National Assembly of Federal Councils for every 50,000 residents.
§ 39. The affairs of villages and towns are handled by local councils of workers, soldiers, and peasants. In general, the question of whether a municipality is a village or a city is governed by the old administrative position until further notice. However, every village with less than 6,000 inhabitants counts as a village, and every village with more than 25,000 inhabitants counts as a city, even if the old administrative position provided otherwise.
§ 40. The working people of the village send a councilor for every 100 inhabitants to the village council. However, the council may not consist of less than three or more than 50 members.
§ 41. To the city council, the working people of the city send one council member for every 500 inhabitants of the city. Cities cannot elect councils with more than 300 members. In Budapest, the districts form a district council, to which the district sends one council member for every 500 inhabitants. However, the district council may have a maximum of 300 members. The district councils send members to the 500-member central council of Budapest in proportion to their population.
§ 42. The village and city council form a committee to deal directly with the affairs. The steering committee may consist of a maximum of 5 members in villages and a maximum of 20 members in cities and districts of Budapest. The Budapest Central Council forms an 80-member Executive Committee headed by a five-member Central Presidency. The members of the Executive Committee of the Central Council are also members of the National Assembly of Federal Councils.
§ 43. The village and city councils form the district workers', soldiers', and peasants' council. Both the councils of the villages and the councils of the neighboring towns send one member to the district council for every 1,000 inhabitants. However, city delegates may not account for more than half of the members of the district council. Cities bordering several districts in the same district (county) shall send members to each district council, but the total number of members sent from the cities to the district council shall not exceed half of the council. The number of members of the district council may not exceed 60.
§ 44. The members of the district councils are elected by the members of the city council and the election commissioners of the village councils. Each village council elects an election commissioner. The election shall take place in a district not bordering a city, at the seat of the district, and in a district bordering one or more cities, in the next largest city.
§ 45. The district council elects a management committee of up to 15 members to manage the affairs directly.
§ 46. The district (county) councils of workers, soldiers, and peasants are elected by the city and district councils in the district. Legislative cities in the district also send council members to the district council. A district councilor must be elected for every 5,000 residents. The district management committee determines how many council members a city or district sends to the district or city council. The number of members of the district council may not exceed 300.
§ 47. The district council elects an administration committee of up to 40 members to deal directly with the affairs.
§ 48. The vocation of village, town, district, and county councils is to promote the economic and cultural well-being of the working people living in the area of the village, town, district or county in question. To this end, in all matters of local significance, the regulations of the supreme councils and the People's Commissariats referred to them are taken and implemented.
§ 49. The former organization of local government will be abolished. The staff of the offices and utilities taken over by the councils shall be at the disposal of the councils. Offices and other public buildings, if they have previously served the purposes of the local administration in question, will be placed at the disposal of the councils together with their equipment.
§ 50. The councils deal with matters themselves in a council meeting or through their management committees or other bodies.
§ 51. The councils may issue regulations of general application (decrees) in their competence; these ordinances shall not be inconsistent with the ordinances of the Supreme Councils, the Revolutionary Governing Council, and the People's Commissariats. The regulation shall be presented to the immediate superior council and the district and city regulations to the Revolutionary Governing Council immediately after its adoption.
§ 52. The councils constantly monitor whether the regulations of the superior authorities have proved their worth in practice. Deficiencies shall be brought to the attention of the superior councils or the public safety committees and shall be submitted to them if they observe that the rulemaking or action of the superior council or other authority is necessary.
§ 53. Advice to the population on food, health, economic, cultural, etc. public utilities to meet their needs may also maintain institutions, establish new ones, and initiate the establishment of such ones with the superior council.
§ 54. Villages, towns, districts, and counties manage their finances independently within the framework of a regulation established by the National Economic Council.
§ 55. The councils elect and dismiss officials and other skilled workers, including staff taken over by the previous administration.
The assignment of any employee of the Council Republic may be revoked at any time.
§ 56. The councils elect their management committees and the members to be sent to the superior councils. The appointment of the elected may be revoked at any time by a majority of all members of the Council, ie not only those present at the meeting.
§ 57. The management committees elected by the councils prepare and implement the decisions of the councils, they perform the administration, if they are not referred to a special authority.
The management committees shall also take urgent measures on a temporary basis in matters reserved to the council. The council may repeal such measures.
The management committee manages the property and plants, its chairman or deputy chairman and at the same time, through a committee member, vouchers for the treasury, further controls the officials, and has control over the army.
§ 58. The council may send smaller commissions to deal with certain matters, in which experts may be elected in addition to the members of the council.
In districts, cities and counties, special commissions (subcommittees) are usually formed for the following matters: 1. economic, financial and operational, 2. public and public transport, 3. public welfare, popular movement and public health, 4. public supply, 6. public education.
Where local conditions so warrant, several subcommittees may be merged or matters may be grouped differently.
The division of village councils into subcommittees can be dispensed with.
§ 59. The management committee shall be divided into subcommittees as necessary or otherwise share the management of matters among its members. Certain members of the committee may be seconded to deal with certain matters independently.
§ 60. The councils shall meet in ordinary session at least once a month, but shall hold an extraordinary meeting if necessary by decision of the management committee or at the request of a number of council members specified in the rules of procedure.
The management committee and the other committees shall meet as necessary.
§ 61. The councils and committees elect their own chairmen and their deputies from among their own members, who preside over the deliberations, maintain its order and represent the authority externally. The registrars shall be seconded from among the officials in the required number.
The language of the administration shall be determined by the rules of procedure of the council. Meetings are usually public. Members are required to appear at the meeting. The penalty for their unjustified failure shall be determined by the rules of procedure.
Decisions shall be taken by simple majority, unless the rules of procedure or a special rule provide otherwise.
§ 62. The councils are obliged to ensure that the parties receive prompt and thorough information in their mother tongue in all cases, without any formality; that appropriate media are available to receive oral complaints and requests; that requests be dealt with as soon as possible after the hearing of the parties concerned and after the matter has been fully clarified, preferably on the basis of a straightforward view of the situation, and without undue delay.
§ 63. Decisions are usually subject to an out-of-office and only one-way complaint from interested parties, which can be submitted to the decision-making authority in writing or orally within 15 days and is dealt with by the immediate superior authority or its council.
§ 64. The management committees are accountable to the councils that elect them.
The councils or the management committee shall have the right to change of its own accord any previous decision of the council.
§ 65. Regarding which matters fall within the competence of the village, city, and district or county authorities, the guideline is that the case falls within the competence of the superior authorities only if the matter is of significance, either territorially or for the population concerned. It is beyond the sphere of interest of the local authority in question if the need in question can expediently be met only by a higher authority. In case of doubt, the councils can deal with all matters dealt with by the previous authorities they have replaced.
Disputes are decided by the Federal Central Administration Committee and the Revolutionary Governing Council, respectively.

The right to vote.

§ 66. In the Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic, only the working people have the right to vote. Voters and council members, regardless of gender, are all those who have reached the age of eighteen and make a living from work useful to society as workers or employees, and so on, or engaged in domestic work for the aforementioned workers, employees, etc. Voters and Red Army soldiers, as well as workers and soldiers of the Council Republic who have lived on useful work but have lost all or part of their ability to work, may also be elected.
§ 67. Voters and citizens of other states may also be elected if they meet the conditions mentioned in the previous section.
§ 68. Non-voters and those not eligible to be elected:
a) who employ wage labour in order to gain profit,
b) who live on unemployment income,
c) traders,
d) priests and monks,
e) the mentally ill or under guardianship,
f) whose political rights are up suspended because of offenses committed as established by law.
§ 69. The Federal Central Administration Committee sets up an election committee in each city and in each district in Budapest to conduct city council elections. To conduct village and district council elections, the Federal Central Administration Committee sets up a special election committee at the district headquarters, which has the right to appoint separate election committees for larger municipalities or entire districts.
§ 70. Voting shall be by secret ballot before the collecting committees, with lists of the names of the candidates. The candidates who received the most votes shall be considered elected.
§ 71. In villages and towns where the number of voters so requires, more polling commissions should be set up.
§ 72. The members of the collecting committees are ineligible for the election committees and vice versa.
§ 73. Minutes of the vote shall be taken in duplicate. All members of the collecting committee shall sign both copies.
§ 74. Minutes of both votes shall be sent to the relevant election committee.
§ 75. Electoral committees determine the outcome of council elections. A record of the results shall be recorded in duplicate. A copy of the minutes will be sent to the Federal Central Administration Committee, which may override the determination of the election results and invalidate irregular elections.
§ 76. After the election of the village and city councils, the members of the district councils are elected, after the election of the district councils the county councils are elected, and after the election of the county councils the members of the National Assembly of Federal Councils are elected. The validity of any election is ultimately decided by the National Assembly of Federal Councils. The term of the councils last for six months.
§ 77. A new ballot shall be ordered if as many as at least one-third of the voters who voted in the previous election request so.
Voters may, in the same way as council members are elected, revoke their mandate by a new vote.

Budgetary law.

§ 78. The Council Republic is guided in its financial policy solely by meeting the needs of the workers. There is no regard for unemployment income.
§ 79. The bodies of the Council Republic may collect revenue and implement expenditure only within the limits of the approved budget.
§ 80. The budgets of the villages, districts, towns, and counties shall be established by the relevant local councils on the proposal of the management committees, and the budget of the Council Republic by the National Assembly of Federal Councils on the proposal of the Revolutionary Governing Council and the Federal Central Administration Committee.
§ 81. The budgets of the local councils are subject to the approval of the direct superior council, the budgets of the district and city councils are subject to the approval of the Revolutionary Governing Council and the Federal Central Administration Committee, respectively. The right of the councils to change previous decisions also applies to the decision approving the budget.
Exceptionally, the approval authority may allow the amounts allocated to each item of expenditure specified in the budget to be used for other purposes and, in cases of extreme urgency, may authorize expenditure for which there is no or insufficient budget in the budget.
With regard to vouchers from public assurances, its transfer of credit, additional credit or extraordinary credit may be authorized by the management committees; such authorization shall be notified immediately to the Central Audit Committee of the Council Republic.
§ 82. Local councils shall cover their expenses either from sums made available to them in the budget of the Council Republic or from revenues which are transferred to the councils by the National Assembly of Federal Councils or by the Federal Central Administration Committee to cover their local needs.
§ 83. The Council Republic monitors compliance with the budget and, in general, financial management by a three-member central committee.
The Central Audit Committee is elected by the Federal Central Administration Committee and is responsible only to the National Assembly of Federal Councils and the Federal Central Administration Committee. The Central Audit Committee can examine the accounts of councils and management committees at any time and bring any council or committee to account. The results of its audit are reported from regularly by the Federal Central Administration Committee and make the necessary proposals for sound financial management.

The rights of nations in the Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic.

§ 84. In the Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic, all nations are free to use their language, and nurture and develop their national culture. To this end, every nation, even if it does not live in a contiguous area, can form a national council to develop its culture. The national council cannot be dismantled on a territorial basis.
The German and Ruthenian People's Commissars are elected by the German and Ruthenian National Councils, respectively. The German and Ruthenian People's Commissariats lead the affairs of the German and Ruthenian National Councils as well as the national district councils.
§ 85. As a consequence of the council system, local administration is headed everywhere by the workers of the nation whose workers are in the majority in that local area. This is also expressed in the language of local administration. However, national minorities may also use their language in contact with councils.
§ 86. Where the workers of a nation are in a majority in a contiguous area covering several districts, separate districts shall be formed.
Where a nation is in the majority in a contiguous larger area covering several districts, the districts may merge into a national district.
District councils send councilors to the central district council, one for every 10,000 residents. The central council and the management committee of the national district may not have more members than the district council or its management committee.
The districts thus united are part of the Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic in connection with the national district. The national district council and management committee is the supreme authority of all local councils and management committees established in the national district. The Council Republic communicates with the territory of the national districts through the central councils of the national districts. A direct consequence of the council system is that the councils of the national districts independently manage the administration, justice, public education, and culture of the districts in question.
§ 87. The German-majority and Ruthenian-majority contiguous districts of Hungary are already recognized by the Constitution of the Council Republic as German and Ruthenian national districts, respectively. In matters of general interest to the Council Republic, the provisions of the Council Republic also extend to the national districts.
In order to protect the interests of national life, the German and Ruthenian People's Commissariats set up mediation departments within each People's Commissariat and the National Economic Council.
§ 88. The Hungarian Socialist Federal Council Republic does not stand in the way of the nations of the liberated territories being able to form separate council republics federated with the Council Republic due to their population and economic power.
§ 89. The provisions of the Constitution concerning the rights of nations can be changed only with the consent of the national councils of the workers of the nations concerned.
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A City of Many Names
A City of Many Names

Angered by the failure of the socialist conference in Paris to organise an international general strike, Syndicalist Armando Borghi called a meeting in Bologna with the maximalists and communists of the PSI on 1st July. The USI leader wanted to plan an unlimited general strike that would lead to a revolution. The maximalist Egidio Gennari, acting Secretary while Costantino Lazzari was in prison, countered with the demand that the reformists of the party also be involved for the sake of working class unity. Antonio Gramsci and Amadeo Bordiga stood by the USI however, stating that the participation (or not) of the PSI reformists was by that point irrelevant. The two opposing camps left the meeting agreed that there would be a general strike, but not when or for what purpose. In the meanwhile, strikes were becoming an almost daily occurrence throughout Italy from the end of June, though they were left without national leadership. On 14th July, Borghi held another emergency meeting with the Socialists. Here the battle lines were drawn: the maximalist leaders submitted to the reformist minority and decided on a limited twenty four hour strike, no revolution, and no alliances with other groups; the 20th July was decided on as the date. The Syndicalists and Anarchists were so furious that some of them plotted the assassinations of Giacinto Menotti Serrati, and the reformists Filippo Turati and Claudio Treves. The three Socialists were granted government protection, while Borghi and his colleagues were arrested on the 19th. When the day of the strike came, the dominance the PSI and the CGdL held over the Italian proletariat became apparent as the masses heeded the call for a non-violent and limited strike. The Syndicalist and Anarchist leaders were released the next week.[1]

Relations between the states of Central Europe grew even tenser from June onwards. Besides the Hungarian campaign through Slovakia and the subsequent establishment of the Slovak Council Republic, the disputed status of Bratislava and events therein further exacerbated tensions. The recently renamed city, known as Pressburg and Pozsony to it respective German and Hungarian populations (who comprised the majority), had been under the joint occupation of Czechoslovak and Entente soldiers, the police, and the Arbeitergarde since the beginning of the year. The latter group were the paramilitary organisation of the Hungarian-German Social Democratic Party, led by the anti-communist Paul Wittich. The leaders of the party, who were opposed to Bratislava’s incorporation into Czechoslovakia, had been arrested on two separate occasions on charges of being agents for socialist Hungary. Released in May, Wittich and his colleagues continued to agitate against the Slavicisation measures being enacted by the Czechoslovak government: the firing of German and Hungarian teachers and civil servants; the changing of street and road names; and the closing of book shops. Wittich and the party leadership were stuck in an untenable position. Opposed both to the neighbouring communist government of Hungary, and to the overbearing nationalism of Czechoslovakia, the reformists seemingly had nowhere to turn to.


Bratislava in the early twentieth century

On 11th June the workers’ and peasants’ council of Bratislava, of which Wittich was the chairman, narrowly passed a motion to ask Vienna for protection against Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Wittich was opposed, due to his mistrust of German-Austria annexing itself to the Berlin government, while the Hungarian workers’ view of Vienna ranged from cautious acceptance to hostility. Gyula Nagy, one of the leaders of the Hungarian-German Social Democratic Party, attempted to inform the Czechoslovak authorities but was caught, beaten, and detained by German workers; many of the council’s Hungarian members withdrew in response. Upon this breakdown of order, Wittich resigned as chairman and began his journey to Paris to lobby the Entente for the establishment of Bratislava as an international free city. The German workers’ plea for aid reached Austrian Army Secretary Julius Deutsch, subsequent to which he ordered Volkswehr commander Theodor Körner to prepare the expedition. Deutsch forewarned the Budapest government in order to ensure that they did not misinterpret the manoeuvre. The interim-Chancellor Karl Renner was only informed after the operation began however, as Deutsch considered it to be within his ministerial remit. On the 14th, 4,000 Volkswehr soldiers arrived at the outskirts of Bratislava whereupon the commanding officer sent an ultimatum demanding the withdrawal of Czechoslovak troops. Before the ultimatum could be acted upon German elements of the Arbeitergarde attempted to seize control of the German-majority Engerau district. The Slovak workers in Engerau, who were generally supportive of the Czechoslovak project, resisted the Arbeitergarde leading to violent clashes between the two groups. The Volkswehr decided to move in, as did the Czechoslovak army. After two days of fighting, the Volkswehr, with the aid of the local Germans, had driven the Czechoslovak army out of the city and subdued Slovak resistance.

Renner was angry at Deutsch’s unilateral action but was not willing to give up what he saw as rightful German territory. Instead he and Foreign Minister Otto Bauer authored a communique to the Czechoslovak government, claiming that the arrival of German-Austrian troops in Bratislava was not an attempt to alter the city’s international status but was only a measure to protect the German population. Meanwhile Josef Seliger’s position was in peril; the party and country to which he claimed allegiance had, for all intents and purposes, invaded the country of whose government he was a member of. The Czech-language press were in uproar over the invasion, stopping just short of condemning all Germans as fifth-columnists, and demanding the dismissal of Seliger from the government. The principal Czech leaders – President Tomáš Masaryk, Prime Minister Vlastimil Tusar, and Interior Minister Antonín Švehla – knew however that sacking Seliger would in fact do more harm than good. While the three Czechs and Seliger were engaged in crisis talks, events took a turn that was simultaneously peculiar and incredibly threatening.

On 20th June, soldiers (formerly of the Czechoslovak Legion) from the garrison at Železna Rudá, near the Bavarian border, abandoned their post and commandeered a train set for Prague. At each stop they succeeded in gathering more soldiers and workers to their initially small gathering of forty, despite propagating a contradictory message: they wanted to establish a Bolshevik-inspired military dictatorship with Masaryk at its head, while proclaiming support for both a democratic Czechoslovak Republic and a Czech Communist Republic. Additional demands included a true beginning of peace, immediate equality for all nationalities, and the opening of fraternal relations with the neighbouring socialist states. Mixed in with this grandiose plan were the usual grievances against poor living conditions, pay, and the continued presence of former Austro-Hungarian officers. In all, the episode was less a coherent political programme and more a general outpouring of discontent against the perceived broken promises of the Czechoslovak state. The procession of mutineers and workers arrived in Prague only to be greeted by loyalist soldiers. There was no violence however, as the leaders of the mutiny were escorted to meet with government representatives. The latter impressed the would-be revolutionaries with noncommittal promises of reform and praise for their patriotism, and provided a marching band to accompany their return to the train station.[2]

The government recognised though that the mutiny was a stark indicator of the pressures facing the country. Despite the relative ease with which the gathering had been dispersed, measures would have to be taken to prevent any recurrence. Tusar, Seliger, and their respective Social Democratic colleagues argued that official recognition of the workers’ and soldiers’ councils, and the subordination of them to the state’s authority, would go a long way in stabilising the country. Masaryk, ever the conciliator, agreed with the plan; Švehla, of the agrarian RSČV, was less enthused however but nonetheless was convinced by the Social Democrats that legalisation would defuse the revolutionary potential of the councils. As to foreign policy, Foreign Minister Edvard Beneš remained in Paris in contact with the Entente delegations, and so was left out of the immediate discussions. Threading the needle between the Entente and the socialist states would be crucial for the Czechoslovak government. De facto leader of Hungary, Béla Kun, had previously called for a conference between the states of the former Habsburg monarchy to decide the status of borders and national minorities. Whether he had intended for those states to be socialist or not was irrelevant to the Czechoslovak government and so they reached out to Hungary, testing the validity of Kun’s offer. The Hungarian Revolutionary Governing Council treated the communique with suspicion but decided that it would be an effective method of stalling further action from the Entente. The Hungarians accepted and, simultaneously with the Czechoslovaks, pondered over who else to invite to the conference.

Both Hungary and Czechoslovakia sent separate invitations to Romania. The right-wing government of Ion Brătianu rejected the Hungarians’ invitation out of hand, but that of the Czechoslovaks’ was at least considered before the Romanians justifiably decided that they could seize their territorial claims through military means. After that failure, the Czechoslovaks proposed cooperation to the Hungarians in composing and transmitting future invitations; the Revolutionary Governing Council bemusedly agreed. The next invitation was sent to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (colloquially known as Yugoslavia): the Yugoslavs had occupied part of Hungarian Vojvodina and Austrian Carinthia and Styria with the help of French troops. Czechoslovak and Yugoslav nationalists had established themselves as allies against Habsburg imperialism earlier on during the Great War, and so the Yugoslav government agreed to attend the conference. The Austrians were the last to be invited, though the Czechoslovaks made it clear that they were to be representatives of Austria alone and not Germany as a whole. With the four participants confirmed the Hungarian and Czechoslovak governments agreed on a date of late July or early August. The choice of venue proved more difficult however; Bratislava would have been an ideal candidate if not for the recent difficulties. Eager to avoid overt influence from either the western members of the Entente or the emerging socialist bloc, the two foreign ministries unsurprisingly settled on Switzerland (specifically Lucerne).

[1] Apart from the communist alliance with the USI and the Anarchists, this is all OTL.
[2] This crisis was inspired by an OTL event which occurred on 21st July. Some of the contradictory aims of the mutiny have remained the same. I figure that with TTL’s much more precarious situation for Czechoslovakia (occupation of Bratislava, most of Slovakia, and being surrounded by socialist states) the mutiny would both gain more traction and more radicalism, while keeping its much disorganised nature.
Bratianu's days as near-hereditary premier were already numbered otl, but now everything's worse as the Czechs are cut off by Communist Russia, Germany and Hungary, Greece is busy grappling with the Turks, and Yugoslavia alone is not the stuff of which a Little Entente is made. The Austro-Hungarian Empire is threatening to come back, only under a red banner, and with so little allies ready on the ground to fight with Romania, it must be wracked with fears about the precariousness of its current position and the insecurity of its so dearly won liberation of Greater Romania. When this insecurity and the failures to crush Soviet Hungary are combined with the rather glaring absence of the land reforms the government's promised since 1917 and the not-so-quiet labor wars going on back home in the rise of all the newly formed anti-PNL parties like the People's Party, Peasant Party, Socialist Party, Democratic Nationalist Party. Labor Party, etc...,

hell, things got so freaky otl that the king was pressured to actually drop Bratianu as prime minister for two months so a supposedly apolitical general would be charge for the election, and even some of the warmed over bits of the old conservatives in the DNP were in talks for a united anti-liberal bloc with not only Populists and Peasantists but certified Socialists. Averescu getting his vague populism ahead of the pack and being the one to make it to the finish line may have turned out to be more of a blessing for the established liberals who could occasionally coalition with the People's Party, but if instead a more radical Peasant-Labor front (let alone the explicit Marxists) wins enough votes that the King has to select a non-Boyar PM or else dissolve the parliament entirely, that's cooking with gas.
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This is a great TL, I really appreciate how well written and researched it is. It's neat to see a plausible communist Germany, which will hopefully be a more open and democratic government than the DDR.

I am curious how the German liberals are reacting to the revolution. Unlike in Russia, there is a very sizable middle class in Germany which supports liberal democratic parties (as seen by the results for the DDP and Zentrum in the national elections). However, the current situation of the civil war puts them in a bit of a bind. On the one hand, almost all of the liberals would certainly not support the Reds, but the Whites don't look too much better. While the military probably has plenty of support from conservatives and ultranationalists, they aren't too well-liked by middle class liberals on the heels of a disastrous war led by a military dictatorship that plunged the country into economic ruin. Add in the fact that the "legitimate" government is pretty transparently a puppet to said military, and it is hard to see many liberals flocking to the Whites. I can imagine a lot of liberals keeping their heads down and trying to wait out the war. Alternatively, I can see some liberals forming their own anti-Red forces that are disconnected from the official White military. These would probably be defeated fairly easily as they would be isolated and cut off from any support (although they could still pose a nuisance to the Reds). Probably the best situation for the German liberals is in the Rhineland, where they could petition the Entente to help set up a liberal democratic German rump state.

In terms of international affairs, I'm interested in seeing a Red Central Europe. Germany, Austria, and Hungary have all gone red and it seems like more might follow. I hope that Czechoslovakia at least retains its independence (even if going communist seems a foregone conclusion, what with it being surrounded on all sides). Also, while Poland seems pretty much doomed to fall with the Soviets on the East and the Germans on the West, there is a chance that it could still gain some territory. After establishing the precedent for plebiscites in Schleswig, the communist German government might allow the Polish minority in Posen to rejoin Poland. After all, regaining lost territory would make any new communist Polish government a lot more popular at home if (when) such a government comes to power. On the whole the balance of power in post-Great War Europe looks interesting, to say the least (and certainly isn't setting up for another European conflict in a few years time).

Once again, great TL and I look forward to more in the future!
Just reread this timeline and I feel like I picked up a lot of details I missed the first time around. I'm curious how events will transpire in Finland and the Baltic states. Could the Finnish Red Guards end up getting a second wind, for example? I believe it was stated that the higher intensity of military action in central Europe was depleting Bolshevik forces in other areas like central Asia, although it's difficult to see how the khanates would be able to resist the RSFSR in the long term. Assuming they are eventually united under the red banner, I wonder whether the Germans' ideological support for multi-ethnic federalism might help butterfly the creation of the OTL central Asian SSRs in favor of a pan-Turkic socialist state.

On a less pressing note, what flags would all of these new socialist states use? The hammer and sickle are used by both the Spartacists and the Bolsheviks, so presumably they would continue to use it while also utilizing more distinctive symbols for their own nations. Hopefully they wouldn't just resort to the seal-on-a-bedsheet format and come up with easily recognizable designs. Are tricolors completely out of the question for ideological reasons, or is there a chance they might still see some use? Anyway, this is one of my favorite timelines on this site, and I can't wait for its next update!
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I am curious how the German liberals are reacting to the revolution. Unlike in Russia, there is a very sizable middle class in Germany which supports liberal democratic parties (as seen by the results for the DDP and Zentrum in the national elections). I can imagine a lot of liberals keeping their heads down and trying to wait out the war. Alternatively, I can see some liberals forming their own anti-Red forces that are disconnected from the official White military. These would probably be defeated fairly easily as they would be isolated and cut off from any support (although they could still pose a nuisance to the Reds). Probably the best situation for the German liberals is in the Rhineland, where they could petition the Entente to help set up a liberal democratic German rump state.
Zentrum are split on the issue: the right of the party wholeheartedly support the military government's crusade against socialism, while the moderates are much more sceptical of the traditional Protestant Prussian dominance in the junta. The moderates who are able to do so are eagerly supporting the Entente occupation forces in the Rhineland. The DDP are opposed to the military junta, especially after the banning of the SPD and the imprisonment of their leadership. So I think I'm going to have the DDP establish the Reichsbanner Schwartz-Rot-Gold as their own paramilitary that's opposed to both the socialists and militarists. Also, there was a pan-German, 1848 Revolutions style nationalist streak to the DDP so they'd be reluctant to support a separatist Rhenish state like parts of Zentrum do.
Also, while Poland seems pretty much doomed to fall with the Soviets on the East and the Germans on the West, there is a chance that it could still gain some territory. After establishing the precedent for plebiscites in Schleswig, the communist German government might allow the Polish minority in Posen to rejoin Poland. After all, regaining lost territory would make any new communist Polish government a lot more popular at home if (when) such a government comes to power.
It's a tricky situation. The common slogan of anti-war socialists 'no annexations, no indemnities' combined with the KPD's opposition to Lenin's call for national self-determination makes giving away territory quite unpalatable. The Schleswig situation can be relatively easily handwaved away, but handing over Posen with its large German population to Poland? That would be much more difficult to get away with politically. I do have plans for how socialist Germany will address minority issues though.
Assuming they are eventually united under the red banner, I wonder whether the Germans' ideological support for multi-ethnic federalism might help butterfly the creation of the OTL central Asian SSRs in favor of a pan-Turkic socialist state.
My plan for the Bolsheviks' nationality policy is based more on Lenin surviving longer. My reasoning being that his health will be considerably improved by not having to worry about Bolshevik Russia et al being isolated. As a result, Lenin will succeed in having Stalin demoted from General Secretary and People's Commissar for Nationalities. Having Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev succeed as NarKomNat may be too much wish fulfilment, but Lenin will approve of Sultan-Galiev and Turar Ryskulov's plan for a single Censtral Asian republic.
It's a tricky situation. The common slogan of anti-war socialists 'no annexations, no indemnities' combined with the KPD's opposition to Lenin's call for national self-determination makes giving away territory quite unpalatable. The Schleswig situation can be relatively easily handwaved away, but handing over Posen with its large German population to Poland? That would be much more difficult to get away with politically. I do have plans for how socialist Germany will address minority issues though.
It's going to be interesting then to see how the new socialist Germany deals with territorial concessions as part of the Treaty of Versailles, since the Entente is almost certainly going to insist on some. Would they refuse any terms that forces them to cede lands? While some concessions could be minor and not cause too much fuss (like Schleswig), others might be a problem (Alsace, Saarland, Posen, maybe even the Rhineland). France is still going to want major concessions (including reparations), and Britain -- seeing a rising communist Germany as a threat -- will likely agree to harsher terms than OTL.

Speaking of Versailles, how are the Allies reacting to the civil war? It's kind of put them in a bind since the German delegation they've been working with no longer has any standing with either side in the war and, while the socialists might accept a treaty, the militarists certainly won't. With a war-weary population, they won't want to restart hostilities in/with Germany, but they might not have a choice if they want their treaty demands to be accepted.
It's going to be interesting then to see how the new socialist Germany deals with territorial concessions as part of the Treaty of Versailles, since the Entente is almost certainly going to insist on some. Would they refuse any terms that forces them to cede lands? While some concessions could be minor and not cause too much fuss (like Schleswig), others might be a problem (Alsace, Saarland, Posen, maybe even the Rhineland). France is still going to want major concessions (including reparations), and Britain -- seeing a rising communist Germany as a threat -- will likely agree to harsher terms than OTL.

Speaking of Versailles, how are the Allies reacting to the civil war? It's kind of put them in a bind since the German delegation they've been working with no longer has any standing with either side in the war and, while the socialists might accept a treaty, the militarists certainly won't. With a war-weary population, they won't want to restart hostilities in/with Germany, but they might not have a choice if they want their treaty demands to be accepted.
Sorry for the long delay.
The Treaty of Versailles is dead in the water; the socialist government won't accept an imposition of reparations or large amounts of territorial losses due to a war caused by a government they deem to be illegitimate (the Kaiserreich), though they will quietly let go of Alsace-Lorraine. As a result there will be armed conflict between socialist Germany and the Entente, but mass unrest at home, especially for the latter countries, will prevent the war from escalating too quickly. Without the ToV, Germany will instead conclude smaller treaties with the other planned signatories that formally ends the war between them, but peace between Germany on the one hand and Britain and France will likely be maintained via another armistice/truce rather than a proper treaty.
The War for East Prussia
The War for East Prussia

With peace between Denmark and the Free Socialist Republic of Germany about to come to fruition, on 15th June the Council of People’s Deputies decided to secure the revolution’s rear in eastern Prussia. The benefit of doing so would also provide a potential route to Bolshevik aid. Plans for a new military campaign were composed by People’s Deputy of Defence Heinrich Dorrenbach, requiring the redeployment of Rote Garde soldiers from Schleswig, Thuringia, Brandenburg, and Saxony; in all, 36,000 men under the command of Korpsführer Karl Korsch were assigned to the campaign. Eastern Prussia was ostensibly a rural conservative stronghold for the military junta. However the results of the federal election indicated a more nuanced picture. In the province of East Prussia the left-wing parties gained the majority of the vote, with the SPD receiving the lion’s share.[1] Similarly in Pomerania the socialists won a plurality of the votes.[2] Only in West Prussia and the unoccupied parts of Posen did the reactionary parties of the DNVP and the DVP win more votes than the socialists, but even so the centrist parties Zentrum and the DDP combined came in first.[3] Unlike other rural regions in Germany, where agriculture was characterised by small and middling farmers who owned the land they worked on, agriculture in eastern Prussia was dominated by large Junker-owned estates worked on by farmers who could accurately be termed peasants. In the revolutionary fervour gripping the country the rural poor had evidently shifted to the left. In preparation for the military campaign Dorrenbach and Korsch coordinated with People’s Deputy for Food and Agriculture Wilhelmine Eichler and Bavarian Farmers’ League leader Karl Gandorfer to make the government’s land reform programme a key component of the offensive.

On 20th June Red forces began their advance from Stettin, the large industrialised city which had marked the north-eastern stronghold of Red control since early in the civil war. The opposing militarist forces comprised Armeeoberkommando Grenschutz Nord commanded by General Ferdinand von Quast in coordination with Reichskommissar of East and West Prussia August Winnig; though Winnig was a member of the SPD he had wholeheartedly supported the military coup in March.[4] Furthermore, the Reichskommissar was central to a plot with the Army High Command to maintain German hegemony over the Baltic states by creating a separate eastern Prussian state; the original purpose of the plan was to insulate Germany’s eastern frontiers from the provisions of the forthcoming peace treaty. Indeed, Winnig had been one of the main architects of the recruitment of demobilised German soldiers into the Freikorps units engaged in the Baltic. With Germany’s political escalation into a civil war, the so-called ‘eastern state’ plotters accelerated their plans and consolidated their control over eastern Prussia’s main urban centres such as Danzig, Königsberg, and Elbing. By the 23rd the Rote Garde had reached West Prussia’s temporary capital Schneidemühl; the defenders, a comparatively small assortment of regular army soldiers and Freikorps, were defeated and forced to retreat. The town was host to a prisoner-of-war camp for Entente soldiers though the overwhelming majority were from the former Imperial Russian army. The latter group had been one of the sources of manpower for the Army High Command’s West Russian Volunteer Army in the Baltic. The prisoners who remained at the camp were given the choice to join the Rote Garde – many took the offer – and the remainder were released.

While the Red offensive was ongoing, the German High Seas Fleet was scuttled at Scapa Flow. As part of the Armistice of November 1918, the High Seas Fleet – that is, the majority of the German navy – had been interned in the Orkney Islands. The 20,000 German sailors were gradually repatriated over the subsequent months until over a few thousand remained prior to the outbreak of the German Civil War. The remaining sailors were held on the ships in poor conditions, and letters to and from Germany were censored by the British captors. Nevertheless the sailors and their officers understood that not all was well back home. Meanwhile, at the Paris Peace Conference the Entente dignitaries were haggling over the spoils of the German fleet; the French and Italians each wanted a sizeable share, while the British would rather destroy the ships so as to ensure that Britain’s naval supremacy remained intact. The British admiralty had tentative plans to seize the ships due to their justified suspicion that the German sailors intended to scuttle the fleet. Following the onset of the civil war in Germany and the resulting uncertainty of the enforcement of the planned Treaty of Versailles, the British plans for seizing the ships was placed on hold. However, German Rear-Admiral Ludwig von Reuter was unaware of the external circumstances and so pushed on with his plan to scuttle the fleet. On the morning of 21st June Reuter gave the signal and the interned sailors set to work flooding their ships. During the British response nine German sailors were shot and killed; the rest were interned on the Scottish mainland. In total twenty of the twenty-four large ships were sunk along with thirty-two of the fifty destroyers.[5] When news eventually reached Germany it was a rare moment of unanimity among the conflicting sides: the crews were regarded as heroes for the action, though for different reasons. Newly-appointed People’s Deputy for the Navy Hans Paasche praised the sailors for frustrating the imperialist greed of the Entente, while the junta’s Minister of the Interior Alfred von Tirpitz claimed that the navy had regained its lost honour.

After the Rote Garde’s occupation of Schneidemühl, the Red forces pushed northeast while carefully avoiding the Polish frontline; Bromberg/Bydgoszcz had been taken by the Poles after the armistice with the Berlin government.[6] The next major objective for Korsch was Danzig. Along the way Kolberg and Stolp were occupied after minimal resistance, respectively on the 26th and 28th June. Danzig itself was under occupation by a large concentration of militarist forces. Besides the city’s strategic worth, the occupation was by necessity as the socialist parties had called a general strike upon Berlin’s call to arms in March. Only with great effort and extreme violence did the Grenschutz Nord succeed in pacifying the city. The Red siege of Danzig began on 30th June. After the battle had raged for three days a proletarian uprising occurred in the city, deciding the siege in favour of the Reds. By the 5th July Danzig was firmly under Rote Garde control, but both sides had suffered heavy losses. It was during this period in which the socialists tested the efficacy of the propagandising for the proposed land reforms; as the Rote Garde advanced the Junker landlords fled east or joined the Grenschutz Nord, leaving their estates in the hands of the peasants. Rote Garde officers explained to the peasants that the estates would be divided between the peasants or turned into cooperatives where appropriate. Some were sceptical however; rural politics revolved around associations comprised of farmers, peasants, and landlords which advocated class collaboration and a focus on rural culture. On the other hand, other peasants leapt at the opportunity to take control of land they felt they were rightfully owed. Only time would tell of the long-term success and popularity of such measures though.

Upon hearing of the loss of Danzig, Winnig and other members of the civilian government fled from Königsberg further east to Memel. From there Winnig called on German soldiers fighting in the Baltic to return home and defend the homeland against socialist revolution. The plea had some unintended consequences. For the regular soldiers of the Deutsches Heer who were still present in the Baltic – three-quarters of whom had voted for the SPD, USPD, and KPD in the federal election – fighting the Russian Revolution was demoralising enough, but returning home only to repress parties they had supported was beyond the pale. For the newly-arrived Freikorps however the new opportunity was much more attractive than their current campaign; the promises of land and citizenship in the Baltic states had been only a lukewarm prize, especially in the face of intransigent local governments. Mutinies and ideologically-motived clashes within the German forces broke out, temporarily removing them from the region’s internecine conflicts. In Estonia the disruption was minimal: the government had succeeded in establishing a substantial native army of approximately 80,000 soldiers, perhaps due to the social democratic parties’ implementation of a land reform so thorough that the state’s British backers regarded it to be undue Bolshevik influence. Latvia and Lithuania did not fare so well however. In April German forces led by the Baltic German-dominated Baltische Landeswehr overthrew the Latvian government, yet by the time of the Rote Garde’s occupation of Danzig the territorial gains of the German forces in Latvia had been completely reversed. With Winnig’s announcement the Freikorps retreated south through Lithuania, leaving their erstwhile Baltic German comrades in the cold, and marauding through the Lithuanian countryside as they went. The Lithuanian government had only been able to raise an army of over 10,000 soldiers and thus were reliant on support from the relatively large German forces subordinate to Grenschutz Nord. With the ensuing chaos the Polish army took the opportunity to ignore the demarcation line the Entente had recently imposed and carried out an offensive which successfully gained them even more Lithuanian territory. [7] Success in Lithuania was vital for the Polish government as their offensive against the Ukrainian nationalists in Galicia continued to stall.


Lithuanian soldiers at the front

Elbing fell to the Rote Garde on 6th July with minimal resistance leaving the way open to Königsberg, the siege of which began shortly after. The city’s defenders were noticeably fewer than those of Danzig but still of a considerable size, and General von Quast himself was in command. The siege lasted until 9th July and, like Danzig, was decided by proletarian resistance within the city; von Quast was captured and sent to Berlin. The Rote Garde began their advance toward Memel but faced serious resistance at Tilsit; Baltic Freikorps units had heeded the call of Winnig and streamed into Memel. Red forces were thus delayed and only reached Memel on the 12th, whereupon they laid siege to the city. Winnig and his entourage fled east into Lithuania, as did the defending Freikorps on the 15th; the Rote Garde pursued them. The Lithuanian garrison in Šiauliai stood little chance against the retreating Freikorps and were forcibly disarmed and interned by the Germans. The Kaunas-based government of Prime Minister Mykolas Sleževičius reacted with apoplexy; the collapse of order following Winnig’s proclamation had been trying enough, but the spill over of the German Civil War into the heart of Lithuania could only be seen with incredulity. President Antanas Smetona, who had previously been a prominent collaborator with the German military occupation during the Great War, tried to reach out to Winnig’s forces in Šiauliai. When Sleževičius discovered this he demanded the president’s resignation, but the head of the army Silvestras Žukauskas sided with Smetona and together they deposed the prime minister. Subsequently Smetona appointed himself as prime minister and successfully negotiated a continuation of the alliance with the Freikorps upon which the Lithuanian army had become reliant.

The Entente response to the situation in Lithuania was comparatively more muted. France and Britain had considered the independence of the Baltic states to be a temporary measure until the restoration of a White Russia, after which the Baltic would be reintegrated into. Of the three Baltic states Lithuania was looked upon with the least favour: the country was too small to function independently; the Lithuanian government was perceived to be too close to the German military (a view vindicated by recent events); and to France especially, Lithuania was an obstacle to the ambitions of Poland, the bulwark of anti-Bolshevik defence. American President Woodrow Wilson was the only sincere champion of Baltic independence, but against such opposition he could achieve nothing. With those considerations in mind, the Entente mission in Kaunas was instructed to hold its position as the Rote Garde began their attack on Šiauliai on 17th July. The city was taken on the 21st, but not before Winnig fled once again, this time to Kaunas to liaise with Smetona. The Red forces had run out of steam however. After all they had joined up to defend the revolution from militarism and capitalist greed, and even though pursuing the Whites into Lithuania served that purpose to some extent, going any further was out of the question. Even with the promise of uniting with the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, Korpsführer Korsch was unable to convince his staff and men to push on, leading him to inform Berlin of the situation.

[1] OTL the SPD got 46% and the USPD 5%.
[2] OTL 41% for the SPD and 2% for the USPD.
[3] OTL results: DNVP 27%, DVP 6%; Zentrum 13%, DDP 26%; SPD 24%, USPD 3%.
[4] Just as he supported the OTL Kapp Putsch, for which he was sacked and expelled from the SPD. Winnig later supported the Nazis.
[5] In other words, the incident is pretty much the same as OTL.
[6] Unlike OTL where Bromberg remained out of Polish control until the Treaty of Versailles went into effect.
[7] The Poles carried out this offensive IOTL as well.