Shame it's a bit early to send an e-mail.Chapter One Thousand Eight Hundred Eighty-Six
21st October 1968
With the new Governing Coalition in place and the Cabinet sworn in, the first piece of business came as a bit of a surprise though everyone knew that it was a long time coming. In a rare address to the Reichstag that was broadcast on radio and television, Louis Ferdinand, King of Prussia, and Emperor of the Second German Realm announced his intention to abdicate the throne and retire at the age of sixty-three effective on the 10th of November 1970. The day after his birthday. Having given a lifetime to the service of the Empire, he said he was looking forward to watching his two youngest daughters grow up in relative peace. Helene knew that he was referring to his daughter Antonia from his second marriage and his adopted daughter Annette, the State of Bavaria having just made that official. He also called for a meeting of the Imperial Council of Electors to meet and go about selecting his replacement starting in one year’s time.
That meant that Germany would have a new Emperor. The odds were extremely high that the choice had already been made and it would be Louis’ oldest son who would become Emperor Friedrich the IV of Germany. This way gave Friedrich a chance to win over the public before he ascended the throne. Helene looked at it from a Politician’s perspective. Friedrich was youthful, a Lawyer by training who had specialized in Contract Law. He had a beautiful wife and two young daughters who were incredibly photogenic, which didn’t hurt. Friedrich had also recently volunteered to take his Reserve Pioneer Battalion into action and had been awarded an EK2 by the Kaiserliche Marine with the citation endorsed by General Dietrich “Tilo” Schultz of the Marine Infantry and a Merit Cross in Gold for his prompt action in getting his unit in place to clear obstacles in the Vistula River so that the advance could continue. Actually, a good candidate even if Helene found the notion of Kings and Emperors to be quaint relics. She understood that was a bit rich for her to think that way considering who her father was.
For Helene herself things were going well, Democratic Ecology had managed to increase their representation in the latest round of elections. They had done well in areas that had been strongholds of the National Liberals, appealing to people were not thrilled with the NLP’s stance on industrialization and heavy-handed approach to local issues. They had yet to crack Bavaria, but Sophie Scholl felt that it was only a matter of time the last time that Helene had talked to her. She had also congratulated Helene on her new position in the Cabinet, something that would only increase the visibility of the DOP. Helene had feared that when she had been offered the position of Minister of the Interior which was considered the third most powerful position after the Offices of the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor, Sophie would be jealous considering that she was a backbencher in Munich. She had been thankful when it had not worked out that way.
Hillary Rodham had written a letter to Katherine von Mischner years earlier when her mother had given her a copy of Katherine’s biography when she was twelve. She remembered being enthralled by the stories of this woman who had started out as a waifish figure, riding on freight trains around Europe before being recruited by her nation’s military intelligence. Emerging as a heroine in the Reichstag bombing and in the war years that followed. She remembered that she had said that she had wanted to be just like her in the letter. Hillary had gotten an impersonal form letter back, thanking her and all the others who had written for their kind words.
Months earlier when she had been home for the holidays, Hillary had found the book on the shelf where it had been left years earlier. Reading it from the perspective of an adult she had seen things very differently. Physical and mental anguish along with battles with crippling depression were plain to see if you knew what you were looking at and could read between the lines. The valor in combat that Katherine had displayed looked less like bravery and more like a quest for self-destruction. Hillary had difficulty in trying to reconcile that with what she had read when she was a girl. For lack of anything better to do, she had written a letter to Katherine explaining how she felt after reading her biography for the second time. Hillary had also mentioned about how she was trying to get into Law School next year and directions she was being encouraged to go in. It was something that she had completely forgotten about until today.
A letter had arrived with a strange stamp and postmark, the return address was Cumulusweg 5, Tempelhof, Berlin, Deutschland. Opening it, she saw that there was a short response written on a single piece of paper.
To the young woman who read a bit too much into the biography that my friend Gloria wrote about me. She means well, but I don’t entirely agree with her characterizations. We all have problems and there was a great deal I didn’t tell her for simple reason that the truth might endanger her. So, she filled in the blanks with the best information available. That is hardly something that I can fault her for, and she got far more right than wrong.
As for you going into Law School, congratulations on getting that far. Just remember that regardless of what you are told, you do not need anyone else’s permission to go about achieving your goals. Few men would be expected to do so, instead they would apply everywhere no matter what the odds of gaining acceptance are and be applauded for it.
I would encourage you to do the same.
Sincerely, Fürstin Katherine von Mischner zu Berlin
Rereading the letter, Hillary realized that it had come at the perfect time because she had been debating as to whether she should send and application to Harvard in addition to the other applications she was sending out because it such was a longshot. This certainly answered that.