All caught up, gripping stuff. I had one question, what happened to the German possessions in China? I saw mention of a German enclave?
 
All caught up, gripping stuff. I had one question, what happened to the German possessions in China? I saw mention of a German enclave?

The Germans traded the Japanese technology for the return of Tsingtao. Western Samoa was returned to German control in 1918 as part of the postwar negotiations though for obvious reasons the Germans have no interest in basing a naval squadron there at this time.
 
Part 8 Chapter 68
Chapter Sixty-Eight


3rd February, 1924

Wunsdorf-Zossen, Germany

Jacob had just confirmed the death of Vladimir Lenin, one more example of uncertainty in the world. There was an ongoing power struggle in the Soviet Union that showed no sign of resolving itself anytime soon. He’d so hoped that 1924 would be a better year than 1923. So far it was off to a roaring start and not for the better. Not to put too fine a point on it 1923 had sucked.

For Jacob personally it had started in late 1922. Being called in to meet with Sarah’s teacher. Later in the car Esther had been unhappy and only reluctantly told him why. She’d been aware of Nessa for longer than he’d been. That Nessa played with numbers the way Jacob did, that she very likely had inherited that from him. Sarah on the other hand wasn’t like that. She was ordinary, she learned like any other child, spelled words wrong and needed practice to solve math problems. Then she started learning music and proven anything but ordinary.

Sarah had learned in days what most musicians took decades to learn. Her ultimate potential was unknown but it was pointed out that her school was not equipped to teach someone like her. When Esther had learned this, it was one of her worst fears realized. That both her children would advance beyond her understanding and she’d be forever outside looking in. Jacob had told Esther that it didn’t work that way, no matter what happened she’d still be their mother. He couldn’t tell if she had believed that. After that Jacob’s domestic situation had grown tense, as if to reflect that the wider world had gone into convulsions.

What had happened over the following months was described by economists as the German State finally paying the reckoning for the Great War and Poland. The bills had finally come due. Watching the economy grind to a halt, tens of thousands of workers getting furloughed and the resulting turmoil had put things into perspective. He was insulated from that but even he could see consequences if the March revolution from a couple of years ago had happened differently or Germany had been subjected to victor’s justice after the Great War. There would be crowds with red flags in Berlin right now and there would be a counter reaction.

Jacob could easily see it. Someone come along to exploit that sort of chaos, someone always did. Then it would fall into the faux revolutionary politics of the Soviets or right wing nationalism of the sort that brought out the worst in Germany. Either way it would be people like Jacob and his family who lost out.

This was just a mild recession, but it had given Jacob a glimpse of something that had disturbed him greatly. He rolled a piece of paper into his typewriter. He needed to do a report on this and it had to have solutions. The system needed to have redundancies built into it before a real series of crises overtook them.


Nuremburg, Germany

Helga was out with her mother when there was a knock on the door. The kids were in the parlor listening to the radio, that would keep them occupied for the next hour or so. It was a broadcast of a radio play that depicted the 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment in Poland. He had no interest in listing to the fictionalized version of what he’d done just months earlier, but his oldest son, Jost, had discovered this radio play a couple weeks before. Popular culture had discovered them remarkably fast, but with everything going on the German State needed heroes right now and the valiant Green Devils fighting the dastardly Reds had fit the bill. Who the Hell wrote that trash? No one in the Fallschirmjäger called themselves that. He found it ridiculous, blatant propaganda even if he didn’t mind kids thinking their father was some sort of hero.

The man who was outside the door was typical of the grey-faced bureaucrats that he’d met a thousand times before.

“Are you Johan Schultz?” The man asked.

“Only if I know who I’m talking to” Schultz said.

“My name is Herr Blau” The man said.

“That’s nice, Sir” Johan said stepping out onto the stoop. He had a feeling that he didn’t want this Blau in his Mother-in-Law’s house. If there was a problem he’d not have to worry about getting blood on the carpet if he stepped outside.

“I’m here to discuss with you your next career move” Blau said.

Schultz grabbed Blau’s shoulder, normally a friendly gesture was decidedly less so when Blau’s back hit the wall, his feet barely touching the concrete of the front stoop.

“I’d say you have about 5 seconds to explain how that is any of your business” Schultz said.

“You are currently on leave from the 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment” Blau said, Schultz noticed that he’d broken through Blau’s composure, good “But that is not what interests us.”

“Who’s us?” Schultz asked.

“I can’t really…” Blau said.

Schultz twisted something in Blau’s shoulder and watched him grimace in pain. This man was clearly some mid-level pencil pusher. “I’d say you really can tell me who us is.”

“Auswärtiges Amt” Blau said. The Federal Foreign Office, go figure.

“What do a bunch of diplomats want to do with me?” Schultz said “And why are you stupid enough to approach me when I’m with my family?”

“Sorry about your family” Blau said “We are interested in where you were between 1911 and 1914.”

“That’s hardly a secret” Schultz said “I spent those three years in New York.”

“That’s not the secret” Blau said “If you’ll let me get something from my briefcase.”

Schultz watched Blau closely as he reached into his and pulled out a piece of paper that was creased and yellowed with age. When Schultz saw it he started laughing. He didn’t stop until Helga and her mother came home a few minutes later. Helga was delighted, her mother frowned. Helga might have met Schultz during that period of their lives but that didn’t mean she approved of it. It was an old handbill from Schultz’s days as a wrestler in New York.

Masked Mangler to battle Iron Mike McGrann

Schultz remembered that night well, he’d beaten the Irishman to the loudly booing crowd. He’d played the villain in the ring that night, good vs. evil. That night evil had won a round. Schultz had carried Helga out on his shoulder to the crowd’s dismay. The truth was that they had planned on eloping anyway, the promoter had just wanted them to make a show of it when they did. The battle had been for her favor, as planned Schultz had won.

“I doubt the International Olympic Committee will care at this point” Schultz said to Blau “It’s not like I ever medaled in anything.”

“No” Blau said leaning close and practically whispering “But the Foreign Secretary and Abwehr need people who understand America.”
 
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Looking good. Now if Johan did aid the Abwehr, will he escape unnoticed or might he get caught by a Hoover type?
 
The situation for Jacob does not abode well in the short term. With one daughter inheriting his math talents and another a musical prodigy, his marriage may disintegrate. This might cause him to pull into the world of computing and lose touch with his family.
 
Ok, that was yet another intriguing update.
One question for this update and another for the naval stuff.
What is the driver for all this Intelligence activity?

And for the naval stuff, what kind of treaties if any is present? Did the US and Britain continue on their historical programmes?
 
The situation for Jacob does not abode well in the short term. With one daughter inheriting his math talents and another a musical prodigy, his marriage may disintegrate. This might cause him to pull into the world of computing and lose touch with his family.
Its actually a bit unusual for parents not to enjoy the childrens progress, even if it side-tracks themselves.
 
Ok, that was yet another intriguing update.
One question for this update and another for the naval stuff.
What is the driver for all this Intelligence activity?

And for the naval stuff, what kind of treaties if any is present? Did the US and Britain continue on their historical programmes?

The Washington Naval Treaty was stillborn in this timeline but the economic realities of building warships has caught up to the nations of the world. In the UK the building program sits at a standstill and in the US it's slowed. The recent recession that hit the German Empire also deeply effected the rest of Western Europe, something that caught the UK and France off guard.


The intelligence activity is still being driven by events in WW1. Abwehr is still building up, right now they view their mission as preventing another two front war. They are acutely aware of how the German Empire is squeezed between the USA and USSR.
 
Johan Schultz is practically a gross stereotype and obviously he's not being recruited as a spy. He's based on several people who existed in OTL whose job it was to help German agents pass as Americans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Greif

Gotcha. Thanks for the link and background.

I wonder if he would be the type to take the money and then stretch things out to keep getting the paychecks. Someone has to pay for the kids schooling. ;)
 
“I doubt the International Olympic Committee will care at this point” Schultz said to Blau “It’s not like I ever medaled in anything.”
You don't know the IOC of the 20's, Johan. Not only would they care, they would be furious that you have sullied their cherished "amateur" games with crass commercialism. Look at what they did to poor Jim Thorpe, and he played professionally in a completely different sport than he competed in.
 
You don't know the IOC of the 20's, Johan. Not only would they care, they would be furious that you have sullied their cherished "amateur" games with crass commercialism. Look at what they did to poor Jim Thorpe, and he played professionally in a completely different sport than he competed in.
I like this too. The Abwehr has a squeeze on him
 
I like this too. The Abwehr has a squeeze on him
Well, realistically speaking, there isn't much, if anything, the IOC could actually do to him. He doesn't have any medals to be stripped from him, he isn't connected to Germany's current Olympic team, and neither his current job or his upcoming one is connected to sports in any way.
 
A genius code-breaker has two genius daughters, one in Mathematics and one in Music. Meanwhile, his home country just got stuck in a war to assist his... smaller neighbour against another giant country, his Intelligence (also his office) wants to spy against another giant country.

What could possible go wrong? :p
 
A genius code-breaker has two genius daughters, one in Mathematics and one in Music. Meanwhile, his home country just got stuck in a war to assist his... smaller neighbour against another giant country, his Intelligence (also his office) wants to spy against another giant country.

What could possible go wrong? :p

May you live in interesting times.
 
Part 8 Chapter 69
Differing perspectives and the relations Royal Navy and High Seas Fleet are thawing. Sailors at sea can always find common ground.


Chapter Sixty-Nine


30th June, 1924

Wunsdorf-Zossen, Germany

There were times when Esther was forced to admit that she let her fears run away from her. Her worrying about what would become of her daughters was one of those times but it was as Esther’s mother had once told her that God didn’t give you more than you could handle. Not that being married to Jacob was easy, he had this weird mix of arrogance and introversion. He was almost always the smartest person in the room but take him out of his comfort zone and watch the neurosis pile up. She’d loved him since they were children in Bremen but there were times that she just couldn’t understand him, that he was on a totally different wavelength. She had been worried that the same thing would happen with Sarah and Nessa. Then Esther met the Schultz children and realized that she needn’t have worried.

A few months earlier the house next door to the Schmidt’s owner, an elderly Generaloberst and widower had been eased out of the Heer and into a retirement home. The modest three-bedroom house had been bought almost as soon as it hit the market. The Schultz family had moved in, able to afford it because Johan’s stake in a company he’d co-founded was bought by an automotive corporation. There seemed to be this constant fraying around the edges of everything they did money or not.

Esther got to know them well over the months since. Every Sunday Helga packed everyone off to church, it was clear she was desperately hoping that something took. Depending on weather Johan would fall asleep listening to the radio on the back porch most evenings. The Schultz kids generally ran wild around the neighborhood. She genuinely felt sorry for their oldest child Ava, baring divine intervention Ava seem destined to become her mother in a few years. The oldest son, Jost, on the other hand already seemed prison bound at the age of nine. The other four’s personalities hadn’t gelled yet, the way they followed Jost around put one in mind of the Pied Piper of Hanover.

Sarah and Nessa behaved nothing like this and Esther had found comfort in the fact that she didn’t have to worry about their future.


Helga noticed that the neighbor lady, Esther, was watching the kids again. She was glad that people in this neighborhood were willing to do that. It made her life easier. At first, she hadn’t been sure what to make of the Schmidt family, she knew that they were Jewish, until they’d moved in here she’d never met such a family. It seemed like their girls were so serious all the time but here and there Helga could see that it was a false impression. The father, who Johan said was a big deal with the Navy, and the youngest girl were often out at night looking at the stars through a telescope on clear nights. They were even kind enough to include Jost in that. The other one played a violin in the back garden, she was so good that Helga had thought she was a record at first. It was so wonderful that the kids now had smart friends like that.


Off Dogger Bank, North Sea

V105 was currently involved in a very ticklish bit of international diplomacy and commerce. The crew off the Royal Navy Destroyer they were tied up to was driving a hard bargain on the trade value of a stack of blue films from the Berlin Cinema of the sort that would give cause any self-respecting official Censor to have a heart attack. The Limeys were offering a stack of American cowboy novels and a couple cases of rotgut in return. Even though the crew of V105 had seen the films till they were sick of them, they knew that they were worth more than the Brits were offering. Oberstaber Giese was leading the German negotiations and was doing a masterful job. Arend was watching along with the rest of the crew, those cowboy novels were a hot commodity in the fleet. Everyone wanted a crack at those before they got thumbed to pieces and if they had them they could name their price to the crews of the BBs and BCs moored back in Wilhelmshaven. They intended to drink all the booze before they got back to port. If Giese felt the same way you couldn’t see it on his face.

“You have to agree that no films like these would ever be made in England” Giese said impassively, puffing on his pipe.

“I understand that” The British negotiator, and equally salty RN Chief Petty Officer said “But the offer we’re making is very generous.”

“Do I look like a whore to you?” Giese asked “Why are you trying to fuck me like one?” That brought a laugh from the assembled crews.

“I prefer my whores to have fewer wrinkles, grey hairs and definitely no beard” The Brit said, then as he looked at Giese appraisingly for a few seconds “There was that one time I got totally shitfaced but I could have sworn it was your mother or a particularly smelly goat.”

That brought more applause and cheering.

“If your offer was half as good as your insults we’d have closed this deal by now” Giese said “Don’t tell me you can’t sweeten the pot a bit more.”

That was how it went for another hour. Both men making offers and counter offers, intermixed with insults. Finally, the Limey made a miscalculation, he offered a few cases of beer to sweeten the deal. Bad call, as if V105 didn’t already have a dozen or more cases and kegs of beer in the hold. They’d had to have been at sea for a lot longer than just a few days to take that offer. After that, the Brit had been forced to throw in an American Gangster film to save face. Gold was worth its weight in that film.

The crews of the two ships cheered as Giese and the British CPO shook hands closing the deal.
 
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A genius code-breaker has two genius daughters, one in Mathematics and one in Music. Meanwhile, his home country just got stuck in a war to assist his... smaller neighbour against another giant country, his Intelligence (also his office) wants to spy against another giant country.

What could possible go wrong? :p


ANY country with any sort of international presence is spying on all of the others. It's just sense, you need to have a good idea of what the others are thinking and working on. It was that way all though OTL in the interwar. Probably goes on today, a lot more than you might think. Even allies will do spying on each other, though not necessarily the deep spying.

Love the chapter OP, especially the haggling scene in the ocean. Makes me think of McHale's Navy
 
Part 8 Chapter 70
The flotilla in question is two Schlesien Class BBs(L20b), four Bayern Class BBs, three Yorck Class BCs and Three Mackensen Class BCs.

Chapter Seventy


26th July, 1924

Spithead, Off Isle of Wight, Near Portsmouth, England

There was a word for had happened to the crew of the V105, irony. They had just gotten back to Wilhelmshaven with the load of contraband when they’d received word that much of the fleet battle fleet was preparing to put to sea in the name of peace and diplomacy. The ironic part was that because of the excellent combat record in the Gulf of Finland and the good conduct of her crew V105 they’d been selected to be close escort to the SMY Hohenzollern III, the Imperial Yacht.

Wilhelm the II had been invited to the British Royal Naval Review. Still in mourning for the Empress who’d died suddenly the prior winter, Wilhelm had leaped at the opportunity. Knowing that his authority was limited these days, Wilhelm had asked the OKW and KLM if they would be willing to provide ships for the German Empire to showcase. It was an impulsive move on the Emperor’s part and the first time he’d tested the limits of his authority as Emperor since the March revolution. This had triggered a debate in the Reichstag as to the exact limits of the Emperor’s authority. In the end, it was decided that while the Emperor couldn’t unilaterally declare war he could use military assets for diplomatic and humanitarian purposes. This precedent would have interesting consequences but in the meantime the KLM had decided that they’d put on a showcase that the world would not soon forget.

The SMS Schlesien and her sister ship, the SMS Hessen were in the midst of conducting sea trials in the Baltic. They were to transition the Wilhelm Canal, join the four Bayern Class, the Imperial Yacht and 1 Scouting Group in the Jade. From there they were to proceed to Spithead and the Royal Review. With the contraband’s trade value burning a hole in their collective pockets, and the frustration that it would have to wait until they got back, they joined the flotilla to go beard the lion in his den.


The Royal Navy had an impressive number of ships, until one looked at the ships themselves. Almost all of them were built prior to or during the war, still formidable but not as impressive as the first impression gave. Some of the fleet units like the HMS Tiger were just waiting for sale or a trip to the breaking yard. At Jutland, the SMS Moltke had put a hole through the top of the Tigers turret and the Germans had declared the Moltke obsolete and sold her to Argentina. Here was the Tiger still in the Battle Line going past the HMY Victoria. Something that couldn’t have been lost on Wilhelm the II, there as a guest of George the V.

The USS Colorado, USS Washington and USS Arizona passed by representing the US Navy. Unlike the British ships the Americans had not bothered paint their ships white in peacetime. The two Italian ships had. Then came the German ships. Two giant new battleships in the lead dwarfing the four older battleships trailing. Next came the six battlecruisers of 1 Scout Group, their very presence was a provocative move. The British had not forgotten Felixstowe, even if neither von Hipper or any of the BCs from the Great War were present. Their hulls were painted gray but the superstructure and upper-works were all painted a grey on grey two tone camouflage pattern. Wilhelm sat impassively. He could tell that this show of force by the newest units of the HSF was giving the assembled members of the British Government and Admiralty collective heartburn.

This trip had really been worth the time. Wilhelm figured that his cousin wasn’t going to extend another invitation like this to him again anytime soon. His last intelligence briefing had suggested that the British could stop building warships or they could go broke. Now they were seeing their worst nightmare pass by. I won, Wilhelm thought to himself.


As it turned out, they were wrong about Admiral Franz von Hipper not being present. He sitting on the bridge of the SMS Yorck listening to the British reaction to their presence on the British radio broadcasts. Wilhelm is probably enjoying all this, von Hipper thought to himself. Too bad that the antagonistic relationship with the rest of Europe was something that they could no longer afford. He’d read the Schmidt report, he remembered the radio operator from the SMS Moltke, odd man but after the Des Moines incident and the Texas, ignore him at your own peril. He’d suggested that sooner or later the Americans and the Russians were going to go to war with each other and they would cheerfully turn Europe into an abattoir to get at the other. The Emperor could have his fun today. They needed to perform a miracle and make the French, British and Italians into enthusiastic allies tomorrow.


Wunsdorf-Zossen, Germany

Johan Schultz was sitting in his favorite chair listening to the radio on a mild summer afternoon. He had cut a deal with Abwehr, he’d work for them and they’d never tell the IOC he’d wrestled professionally before the war. He still had ambitions of coaching and the hypocrites at the IOC could make his life very difficult. Those pricks expected athletes to either be rich or live in penury to preserve their purity of sport.

All he had to do was tell potential agents about what America was like from the bottom up. He could do that easily enough. He’d run away from home at 14 and spent the next few years on a tramp steamer. He’d had no money when he’d finally jumped ship in New York. His size and strength had held him in good stead in the ring. It was pure serendipity that he’d fallen in love with the ring girl, who’d happened to have come from Nuremburg, 20 kilometers from his home village. Eventually he’d brought Helga and her mother home when he went back to Germany with the ambition of representing Germany internationally. Then war started and life happened.

It struck him that if Abwehr wanted him to work for them then perhaps he could carve out his own fiefdom there. He’d done that once before in Jasta 11 during the war.

Right this instant he needed Jost to get him a beer from the icebox. Where'd he run off to?
 
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What does the British building program look like? Obviously they aren't showing off the newest, but I would think that they have all 5 Queens, all 5 R's, Refit, Repair and Hood. Past that...any G3/N3? Even if they have them, they don't need to participate in weenie wagging, so I wouldn't think they would necessarily have them out. Also, are the Italian battleships mentioned the Carracciolos?
 
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