The Extra Girl: For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Dr. Waterhouse, Apr 19, 2018.

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  1. Threadmarks: The Life of Elector Friedrich IV, Holy Roman Empire, 1547

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Portrait of a man with a gold-embroidered cap.jpg

    Portrait of a Man with an Embroidered Cap, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, as the Duke Johann the Younger of Saxony


    I don’t know if you’re like me, but if you are, you have enough to worry about. Will the new common American currency make it? Are these new Russian kovcheg-class darts going to give everyone cancer, and I mean everyone? Of course they say it’ll be great, that Mars is only marginally less habitable than Siberia anyway, so how hard can it be, but that won’t exactly matter if getting there renders our whole planet less inhabitable than that.

    But you know what no one has time to worry about? A close shave. And that’s why starting when they became our sponsor here at Resignations Privatcast, I have been using the Spektrum Zaehklinge. Spektrum offers the very best solid light blade available, no replacements, no mess, no cuts, no water, just a little smoke and that weird burnt smell we won’t talk about. Best of all, one shave with the Zaehklinge can last up to a week, depending on how your beard grows.

    So take it from me, and take it from Mrs. Resignations, who loves the new look.

    Now, let’s get to it. I'm Duncan Duncan, and this, is...Resignations, our continuing privatcast look at all the great quitters of history, and the story of how they all came to make the decision to walk away from it all. This week we reach part 83 in the ongoing struggle of the Emperor Charles V and the Elector Friedrich of Saxony, over the Holy Roman Empire too small to hold them both.

    Now you will recall last week Charles finally captured Friedrich, his conniving antagonist who has shown himself thus far to have a love of the suckerpunch and a talent for taking artillery that is most definitely not his. Friedrich, having been conveyed all the way to Charles’s court at Aachen in a circuitous route through northern Germany in the wintertime, tied up and bleeding in the back of a covered wagon, was received as kindly as could be expected in his secure new lodgings.

    Now, let’s be clear. Just like Francis I of France, Friedrich’s confinement would be honorable. There would be no rack, no torture, no question about him getting regular meals. But all the same, when Francis was held by the Emperor Charles V he was an anointed king and a fellow Catholic monarch. Whatever else he was, Friedrich was by contrast a rebel and a heretic, and had made off over the years with a fair amount of Charles’s stuff, including, like we said, artillery, a niece, and, oh yes, Magdeburg, not to mention the other half of Saxony that was not a family heirloom. And while Charles was glad to think of himself as a nice guy, he was determined not to be so nice he didn’t turn out Friedrich’s pockets getting everything back.

    And so we get the very much capitalized Ultimatum of Aachen. Charles told Friedrich, who was maybe brought before him in chains, maybe not, it depends on the source—you are going to convert, you are going to give back every territory you’ve annexed on this little frolic of yours the past year, and you are going to abdicate. Or you can just die. Now, Friedrich was allowed some choice in the matter. His family, the Ernestine House of Wettin, could keep their original lands and the Electoral dignity following Friedrich’s abdication, but only if Friedrich’s infant son Alexander was given into Habsburg care to be brought up a good Catholic. Plainly, this was a sop to Charles’s niece, Dorothea, who was now Friedrich’s wife and mother to the little baby Duke Alexander. If little Alexander was not surrendered, everything the Ernestine Wettins had would go to the head of the Albertine house, Charles’s loyal lieutenant Duke Moritz.

    And of course, because he was just so thoughtful, Charles had already prepared the documents whereby Friedrich could do just this thing. Declare himself a Catholic, renounce his claims to the new lands, abdicate, and give his son to the Habsburgs. Of course, as Charles V explained, none of this meant Friedrich could, even if he did everything as requested, actually go home. Nope, the plan was for Friedrich to spend the rest of his life in Spain, once again, honorable confinement, though not so honorable as a king of France.

    As with so much else about these two, what happens next depends on what national creation myth you happen to be reading. Sources in Charles’ camp report a fair bit of groveling and crying from the victor of Kreuzberg. And not a Lutheran historian of the past five centuries has failed to report the Elector’s bluff answer, referring to the Lutheran practice of the congregation partaking of both parts of the communion, “Why sir, I am well used to taking a bit of drink with it, else a man might choke.”

    In short, Friedrich’s answer was no. No to the conversion, no to the surrender, no to the abdication, and no to little Alexander becoming a proper Habsburg prince educated by Spaniards. Following the example of his mother in a similar argument with his father but with the doctrinal roles reversed, Friedrich informed Charles he’d just have to kill him. Charles, though not especially the vicious sort, was by now well past the point of frustration with Friedrich, by about I would say a decade, was hardly unenthusiastic about that prospect. Moreover, all his advisors were urging him to do just as Friedrich requested and be done with it.

    Friedrich was, they declared a rebel. If Charles wanted to forge Germany into a proper country, he would have to treat a rebel like a rebel. And if he wanted to restore Germany to the proper religion, he had to treat a heretic as a heretic. There were no two ways about it. But as ever, the Germans thought differently. For their part, the representatives of the German princes traveling alongside Charles were shocked at the notion, most particularly the inclusion of the heresy charge.

    Princes like the Elector of Brandenburg or the Duke of Mecklenburg may not have rebelled against the emperor’s lawful authority in their view, but they had certainly committed heresy as the emperor would understand it. Even the agents of Charles’s brother Ferdinand, King of the Romans, King of Bohemia, King of Hungary, objected on the grounds that an execution on the heresy charge would provoke an immediate uprising among the Protestants that might sweep away Habsburg rule in the elective monarchies of the East.

    So then Charles inquired about a compromise: “What if I just kill him on the grounds of rebellion?” Plenty enough of the princes including ones just lately pardoned for their part in the war thus far, like the Elector Palatine and the Duke of Cleves, were guilty of that too, so it was not met with the unabashed enthusiasm Charles wanted. Moreover, by then Friedrich was beginning to give ground on the religion question.

    From the dungeons came a counter-offer: “what if I become a Catholic, and my son becomes a Catholic, and I abdicate in his favor, and even spend the rest of my life in a traveling road show promoting Catholicism, but in addition to the electoral dignity, we keep the lands of the Albertines?” Charles ultimately turned down his prisoner, but not before an enraged Duke Moritz, who had, let us remember, in fighting for Charles lost all his lands, become a de facto exile, suffered some pretty vicious slanders, and been made to swim a literal river of blood at Kreuzberg, left Aachen in outrage. This was the first real sign Friedrich still thought in earnest he had a role to play, and that role was nothing short of taking a flensing knife to the alliance against him.

    His move had demonstrated for the assembled German princes and their representatives just how large the restoration of Catholicism loomed in the thought of Charles, enough so that the Emperor was willing to consider slighting one of his most loyal and effective lieutenants to strengthen the hand of the Church. This left Charles’ Lutheran adherents and the neutral princes wondering just how secure they would be if the only party that had emerged to effectively oppose Charles’s designs on the country was eliminated outright. At Aachen in spring 1547 the reality of what Habsburg domination meant was beginning to dawn on some of the gray heads of the empire, and they were not pleased.

    Moreover, murmurings in the halls and at the tables began to take an even darker turn. Friedrich’s insistence, Juelich aside, on not breaching the peace when faced with provocations in the Wurzener lands, in Naumburg, in Goslar, now gave him a saintly glow. It was Charles who now seemed the aggressor against a poor, peace-loving electorate where they just wanted to to drink some blood alongside the body of Christ. Even Saxony’s annexations in 1546 seemed far from unreasonable: Friedrich had moved against the lands of the princes who had moved against him, which seemed to originate more in prudence than a burning lust for conquest. Even now, Brandenburg, Bohemia, and even tiny little Anhalt, which would have been little more than a snack for the Saxon army, lay intact on the borders of Saxony.

    So as the truce of the previous year near its end, and the time approached for the Imperial Army to retake the field, Charles V could not help but notice the dirty looks he was getting from the same princes who the previous year were rushing to reassure him of their undying loyalty.

    But now let’s cut to Saxony, which since the capture of the Elector was verified sometime in early February had been under the regency of Friedrich’s brother Johann.

    Johann had taken the situation as only a man could, when he was asked to begin a regency for his somewhat indisposed elder brother and that brother's sickly two year-old, whose only advocates in the court was one woman, who half-delusionally demanded she be called the Queen of Denmark, and another who was basically thought of as running the local branch office for the Anti-Christ himself. In short, Johann was warm, and snug, and happy, in his new position. And when the plainly distraught Elizabeth of England began making inquiries about raising a cash ransom to help grease the wheels for getting her first-born back, the response had been noncommittal, somewhere between a “hey, let’s see how this all plays out” and “that’s a lot of silver you’re talking about for the one who made me eat sand when we were kids.”

    Now, this is as good a time as any for us to chat a bit about the personality of Mr. Johann the Younger, who is going to play a big part of our story for the next bit. He was born in 1515, late enough that while he was raised up on all the same bedtime stories about the fun times of the Houses of Lancaster and York that Friedrich was, and bore some of those same influences on his character, he did not have the same traumatic response to his mother’s exile in 1520 Friedrich did. Instead, Johann the Younger was much more his Daddy’s boy, growing up with a fervent love of the hunt and the tiltyard and the six-hour ordeal the Germans called supper.

    And so, whereas Friedrich was weird, willful, unpredictable and dishonest, Johann was affable, plainspoken, and utterly, boringly conventional. Whereas Friedrich had weighed the various theological arguments of the era with a jeweler’s eye, Johann had the attitude that if Martin Luther said it, that was enough for him, and if it wasn’t enough for you, the problem is with you. You will recall how, back in episode 59 when Friedrich went to England to meet his beloved Onkel Henry, part of the arrangements was that Johann’s first-born would reside with Philip of Hesse while they were gone. This is the firmest early evidence we have that the trust and affection between the two brothers had its limits.

    Of course, Friedrich had never shied away from laying significant responsibilities on Johann, as well as even more significant gifts. Word is, for instance, he wanted to turn Magdeburg and Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel into a hereditary duchy for him. At any point, if Johann had wanted to betray Friedrich to the emperor, Friedrich would have been well and truly screwed. But Friedrich knew his brother, and understood well beyond even questions of personal honor the fact that Johann was, for all the obvious reasons, more fiercely opposed to the rule of Charles V, and more ready to throw off the Habsburg yoke, than he would ever be.

    Thus what quickly became apparent in early 1547 was that, the good badge being taken off the board, the bad badge was free to do as he wilt. You will recall the arrangement, dating all the way back to 1534, by which Friedrich had granted tolerance to his Catholic subjects in exchange for Ferdinand’s agreement to do the same with the Lutherans of Bohemia. Well, Johann had little patience for that nonsense in the first place, and even less so with the Habsburgs sending armies after him and kidnapping his brother. So the word went out: everyone still loyal to the pope and the emperor had until Michaelmas to convert or leave, and literally they could only take the clothes on their backs with them as they left. They could not even pile their belongings on a horse or mule.

    When, finally, the embassy of Charles V arrived under flag of truce, announced officially the capture of the outlaw Friedrich, and explained the terms by which the Ernestines could continue as princes of a much-reduced dominion, Johann laughed it all off. Whether Johann was indeed certain his brother would rather die than him surrender to the emperor, he certainly had no less reluctance than big brother when it came to calling the Emperor’s bluff. He even went further, and declared any documents the Habsburgs might produce with Friedrich’s name attesting to any peace terms would be the result of forgery, torture, or abominable duress, and that “he would know no such devilish instruments.”

    So, as the delegation returned to Charles’ traveling court, the message was loud and clear: nothing was resolved, nothing was over, and whether Saxony would fight to the last man, it would certainly fight past the end of the one sitting in stir at Aachen.

    Next on Resignations Privatcast, more war. Lots more.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  2. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

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    That was honestly one of the most entertaining things I have read in the last year. Kudos, and thanks for continuing to explore this era - it is absolutely fantastic.
     
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  3. Unknown Member

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    Corpus Christi, TX
    This keeps getting better and better. Like the in-universe hints (that shaving ad made me chuckle)...

    This will be up for next year's Turtledoves, you can say that much...
     
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  4. Threadmarks: The Life of Elizabeth of England, 1542-7

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    From The Habsburg Struggle for Europe (1940) by Perez Wolfman

    On August 29, 1544, the Electress Elizabeth knew triumph, love, and for one fleeting moment something like real joy. In 1542 while her son the Elector had been holed up at the western frontier of the empire, engaged in a desperate effort to keep the lands of Juelich-Cleves-Berg from vanishing down the Habsburg maw, the electoral court had been plunged into crisis when it was believed his young wife had come very close to fleeing Saxony and willingly placing herself in the hands of her Habsburg relatives. Friedrich’s response had been to grant his lady mother control over the disposition of his household, with the singular brief of making his wife happy enough that when he returned they could reconcile, not only for the narrow purpose of making heirs, but experiencing in some form the marital happiness that thus far had proved fleeting for the 31-year old elector and his 22-year old wife.

    It had been years since Elizabeth had been so entrusted by a close family member, but she set to work at the task with her characteristic tenacity, and with it the determination to prove her son’s faith well-founded. So when in the autumn of 1544 Dorothea had finally given birth to a healthy boy after ten years of marriage, Elizabeth received almost as much credit as her daughter-in-law. The gold saltcellar Friedrich gave her in gratitude, depicting Venus and Aeneas (a running motif in his gifts to her) is still in the collection of the Kaiserresidenz. Suddenly as well, the electresses were inseparable, the elder finally after thirty years no longer reputed to be an enemy of the state, the younger enjoying that fullness of power that always attends a consort producing an heir to her prince. And together they quite eclipsed their longstanding rival at court, the Duchess Sybille, wife to Elizabeth’s younger son.

    Even as war became more inevitable for Saxony, Elizabeth’s life, focused now more than ever on her grandson, was indifferent to its threat. There were apartments to furnish, nurses to hire, tutors to select, and she was certain she would be more thorough with respect to these responsibilities now than she had been in the last generation. She had hoped the child would be named Heinrich, after her father, and thought naming him thus would allow her son some well-timed flattery of her royal brother. Alternately, she advised, Karl might be a prudent choice, making a certain emperor less likely to make at them like Zeus wielding his lightning bolts. But Friedrich himself chose the name Alexander.

    Though the Saxons reveled in the historical allegory they thought surely Friedrich had made, and there were no end to the poems and songs featuring Spanish Dariuses for the newborn to vanquish, in fact Friedrich had named him for a penurious Scottish maternal cousin who had entered Saxon military service and distinguished himself at Dueren. That had done little to diminish the enthusiasm for the name, though, and anxiously the workmen of Cranach’s painting the infant’s nursery had sent for visual references as to what an elephant might look like. Faced with such small troubles as these, Elizabeth knew happiness. Even the decline of her health, and the intransigence of her whole family against a faith she felt to be true, were as far out of mind as she could make them. Neither Friedrich’s march to Regensburg, nor the unsuccessful Riebeck campaign, nor the long flight culminating in the surprise at Kreuzberg, had shaken her that much. Her years with her son and her long experience of these matters had given her a calm that was not easily disturbed. Her confidence was rewarded with the news of Kreuzberg, and the triumphant welcome she herself organized at the castle of Altenburg when he returned to her, bearing captured Imperial standards like a new Arminius.

    Thus, the news of his capture by the emperor came very hard to her. However, Elizabeth of England was not the sort of royal woman to meet misfortune with just idle tears or prayer. She pleaded first to begin collecting a ransom by which the emperor could be persuaded to return her Friedrich. When Johann, the obstinate younger son with whom she had the more distant relationship, refused her, she next begged that she be allowed to go see the Emperor in person to make her case for the Elector’s release, or failing that, see him in person and ascertain his condition. But Johann had a long memory, and did not trust Elizabeth to best represent the interests of Saxony or the Lutherans to the Habsburgs.

    At the same time, Johann’s elevation to a regency (the military situation almost precluded a woman in the situation in the conventions of the time) meant that his wife, the hated Sybille, was once again in fact if not in title the first woman of Saxony. As such, a distinct series of slights and embarrassments directed against Dorothea began. That she had apparently conceived during the Elector’s time at home in the winter of 1546-7 made little difference.

    These worsened as Johann took the field to prosecute the war with the emperor. Months went by, and the unhappiness and uncertainty of the electresses increased. Finally, Elizabeth hit upon an idea: they would retire away from Torgau, where they were staying at Johann’s court, back to either Wittenberg or Elizabeth’s dower residence at Lochau. In that day, and for a long time after, the safest route for travel between the official residences was the river. Elizabeth decided that she and her daughter-in-law would take the luxurious bark that had been one of the final gifts of her husband, decorated in all the symbols of her adored homeland, with roses, fleur-de-lis and portcullises for the house of Beaufort.

    So in July 1547 they boarded Elizabeth’s bark at Torgau, the enceinte Dorothea bringing with her the little prince. But immediately Dorothea realized the oarsmen were rowing in the wrong direction. Elizabeth drew close, and explained that instead they were going to Dresden, the site of the abandoned court of the Albertine Saxons. Dorothea recoiled, frightened that she had been lured onto the bark under false pretenses, and that the truth was still something else than what she had been told. More unnerving still, it turned out the guards and rowers were all of Elizabeth’s household at Lochau, close confidantes, who had not been part of the elector’s court. At length, Elizabeth’s story began to break down, and the Electress became more upset.

    Finally, she began to hail startled ships passing them by on the river. Neither Elizabeth nor her rowers took any steps to silence or restrain her, until finally, a grain barge bound for Magdeburg stopped. Dorothea first handed to the surprised bargeman and the itinerant laborers on his boat that day a frightened three year-old Saxon prince across the water, then hopped between the two boats herself. When guards regiments of Torgau finally caught up to them, Dorothea told them her story. The wily electress made as if her daughter-in-law’s spirits had been overcome by pregnancy and the strain of her husband’s time in the emperor’s captivity. But when Chancellor Brueck and the Duchess Sybille found out, these efforts at misdirection were for naught.

    The Electress’s residence at Lochau was searched, and under a random rock in the curtilage was found correspondence with Ferdinand, King of the Romans. At Pirna, the Electress Elizabeth was to meet agents of the Habsburgs. There she would turn over Alexander, and if she could be persuaded to accompany him, Dorothea too. They would then vanish across the border into Bohemia. In return for Alexander, who would then be raised in the Catholic Church by the Habsburgs to succeed to the electoral dignity, Elizabeth would be guaranteed the life of her son Friedrich, who would be held in a secure confinement within Saxony, not in any foreign country.

    Of course it cannot be known whether the promises made Elizabeth were earnest. Perhaps, with Friedrich’s wife in their grasp, the agents would take her whether she willed it or not. Perhaps, having secured the heir to Saxony, the Habsburgs would be content to keep or kill the present holder of the electoral dignity. The one ameliorating detail in the incriminating letters was that they made it seem as if the possibility she might intervene on the side of saving her son from the intransigence of the regent was the one thing that had prevented the emperor from executing him as a heretic so far. She did actually believe failure, or inaction, might seal his death.

    It was thus just as plain that Elizabeth had been cruelly manipulated as it was she had betrayed country and family. Brought before her younger son she was stripped of her properties, rents and privileges, to be kept in close confinement, not in some distant house—too often already she had proven herself ingenious at finding ways to do in such places just as she wished—but in the electoral court, under the watchful eye of hostile guards, and an even more hostile daughter-in-law, Sybille. However, such measures would not prove necessary long. The debacle and the resulting stress destroyed Elizabeth’s health. Having already outlived Mary (1533), Margaret (1541) and Henry (1547), she was already the last living child of Henry VII. Soon, she would trade the confines of the terms of her imprisonment for those stricter still, those of a sick bed and a wheeled chair.

    The one uncertainty, as Chancellor Brueck noted in his letter relating all these events to the Electress Elizabeth’s other child, the Duchess of Suffolk, was how she had been able to get so far in her plans without the connivance of other people at court. It was possible she had help, though not to fulfill the Electress’s misguided purpose, but their own. His implication was the duke regent, or persons close to him. For it is one thing to kill, imprison, or usurp a young child. It is quite another to hand him over to be raised in the hated religion and unfamiliar customs of a foreign nation, and thus render him unsuitable to exercise the power he was born for, thus leaving oneself and one’s own heirs to wear the coronet, without reservation.

    The Coat of Arms of the Elector Johann Friedrich of Saxony, with his full title, by Lucas Cranach the Elder


    395px-Coat_of_Arms_of_John_Frederick_I,_Elector_of_Saxony.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  5. Neptune IN BAD TASTE

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    Singapore
    Okay, I haven't read the previous timeline yet (is it this?), but can you tell me if the Habsburgs actually manage to retain a position of power in the modern day? It seems to me that if you have a book called "The Habsburg Struggle for Europe", that means that the dynasty in question is no longer in any position to complain about its depiction therein.
     
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  6. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Hmmm... Well, past performance is no indication of future result. Now, in the previous timeline, the Austrian Habsburgs get whittled down a bit in the latter half of the seventeenth century. They are still around at the point the timeline stopped in the early nineteenth, and even rebound a bit through adventures in the Balkans and Mediterranean. Although, now, there are two parts of that I'm very much unsure about, having to do actually not with our main characters here but with the other enemy against which the Habsburgs define themselves in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Ottomans. Part of the problem there is I don't think I really understood the dynamic of the Austro-Ottoman wars, thinking of them as I did not on their proper scale, importance and drama. Since then I've read a few books, had a few thoughts, and at least one or two things are going to change in the east. I'm not pretty sure quite how yet.

    As to the title of Mr. Wolfman's book. Well, yes, there is a bias there. But of course at the same time there's a bit of a bias in the title of the title of the actual source, The Age of Charles V and the Supremacy of the House of Habsburg. Charles did spend enough time trying to do things like partition France and solidify his power as holy roman emperor I would think calling that a struggle for Europe would be not be that controversial an idea. I mean, I would say Louis XIV's quest for a Bourbon Spain is also a struggle for Europe in a sense.

    But at the same time something I'm trying to do this round is not make the Habsburgs cardboard villains. They're trying to preserve the unity of Christianity in a time of a desperate outward threat. And in an age of boundless cynicism and self-interest*, under Charles they have a near absolute commitment to their idea of what's right.


    *Always helpful on this point is the comparison of Charles to Francis. Think especially of the scene where the French king is released from his own captivity by Charles. Crossing the river, Francis is heading one direction out of Spain and into his freedom, and he meets the boat taking his sons the opposite way, to serve as hostages. I can imagine trembling faces, maybe a few tears. But once he's back on French soil, he gallops off, overjoyed, yelling "I am a king again!" Nope, no shame. No shame at all.
     
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  7. Tamar of the Tamar tribe Well-Known Member

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    Jul 26, 2017
    I know this is going to sound completely random but please can the Boleyn family survive and thrive in this timeline? Specially the line of George Boleyn! Please think about it??
     
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  8. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    Jan 4, 2004
    I'm glad to see this back!
     
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  9. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Welllllll... I've always thought The King's Great Matter gets a bit too much attention relative to everything going on around it. So, though Anne is, and will continue to be, a character in the novels, and I think I've actually found a way to approach her relationship with Henry that both doesn't feel like it's been done 10,000 times before, and doesn't come off as silly or untrue to the real life of the character, the "alternate" part of the alternate history is not really going to touch her.

    One reason for this is that I really love the character of Elizabeth I, so doing a timeline without her, or where the influences on her early life are so different she's not the same, feels like sacrilege. I have by the way a similar problem with Louis XIV. I want Francis, Duke of Brittany to survive, rule France and beget an alternate line of French kings so bad it gives me physical pain. But erasing Louis feels wrong. I dunno.

    As to George, yah, he gets as raw a deal as it comes. Writing a timeline in which Anne survives, or even better, where Anne doesn't but he makes it by not being implicated in her troubles, and then looks to have a similar relationship with Anne's son or daughter as the Seymours did with Edward, could be really delicious.

    But then what do I know? The closest I really would come to a timeline scenario focusing on Henry VIII's marital troubles would be having one of his really gonzo ideas for marriages from late in the reign actually go through. Queen Catherine de Medici, everyone! That would go well.

    EDIT: Also this does remind me, we are at some point going to have to check in on events in England.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
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  10. minifidel Well-Known Member

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    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Louis XIV was such an amazing character in the first version of this TL, I can't wait to see him show up!
     
  11. QueCosa! Member

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    May 10, 2018
    Louis XIV never fails to be larger than life in all these stories, it’s where the esteemed Dr. W had full creative license that he shined, specifically with the Stuarts where he had a primer, but filled out the rest nicely. The Empress Sophie character seemed like the anti-Maria Teresa though.
     
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  12. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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    Nov 12, 2008
    Thank you both for the kind words. At the rate we're going, Louis is a long ways off. But I'll try to do him justice. As to the Stuarts, to a certain extent they really do write themselves. I actually have some ideas for how I want to (1) reduce Henry's scale a bit for realism purposes, and (2) jack up the drama between he and James, since that is already a part of the historical record. To that purpose I'm definitely going to be making one Robert Carr a significant presence in that period of the timeline. So hopefully when the Scotland leg of our journey gets going in earnest, it'll be fun.
     
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  13. Threadmarks: The Life of the Elector Friedrich IV, Holy Roman Empire, 1547

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    August.jpg

    August, Duke of Saxony by Lucas Cranach the Younger


    "No Outlet" from Outlaw Saxony: New Perspectives on the Sechszentes Jahrhundert Empire by Louis Hadrami

    In early 1547, with the truce nearing its expiration and the parties nowhere near the peace Charles earnestly believed was his when the Saxon elector was placed in his custody, planning began on both sides for the summer campaigns. At the Imperial court, the necessity of satisfying his allies dictated that Charles undertake to free ducal Saxony before anything else. To this end he attempted to enlist his brother Ferdinand, who was going to involve himself by invading Saxony from the east, in the Elbe river valley towards Dresden, while Charles attempted to penetrate from the west via Vogtland.

    However, it quickly became apparent no such assistance would be possible. Ferdinand's standing forces had been exhausted by the disaster at Werdau the previous December, and his attempts to convert Bohemia's elective monarchy into an hereditary one triggered public outrage in Bohemia. Worse still, the Saxon printing presses had done their work. Efforts to raise infantry for the king's service in Prague was a miserable failure. At Leitmeritz, where feudal affinities were set to gather, only a handful of Catholics appeared. Instead, there were widespread demonstrations in favor of the Lutherans. Worst of all, the rhetoric of Friedrich's denunciations of Charles were transposed to that of the rebellious Bohemians toward Ferdinand: rather than Bohemian forces going to Germany, they should stay to fight "the foreign and unchristian Spaniards." For Ferdinand, the situation was so unsteady that rather than sending assistance to Charles, he was forced to ask for it out of fear of losing his crown.

    The Saxons for their part undertook to wage a defensive war built around a strategy of forcing the emperor into sieges, dragging out the war and extracting from the Habsburgs the greatest possible cost in the hopes the burghers of the Netherlands and the grandees of Spain would finally bridle at the flow of their taxes into Germany. Simultaneously, plans were laid for an attack from the south. With Saxony ringed by princes either hostile, or indifferent to the exercise of imperial agents in their territory, it was too great a risk to send money overland to the Swiss Cantons to hire mercenaries. Instead, before the Elector Friedrich had been captured, he and Johann had hit on the idea of making use of their English allies to this purpose. Instead of sending the usual subsidy directly to Wittenberg, the court of the young Edward VI would dispatch its agents through France to the Cantons and there recruit for the Saxons.

    This project ran into some trouble, and not due to the influence of the Empire or any hostile power. Instead, Henry Brandon, the new Duke of Suffolk, wanted this mission for himself, and with it the command of the landsknechts to be thus raised. The problem was, he had heretofore shown himself much unlike his father in his lack of talent for war. But he insisted though, precisely because his prestige at court now rested disproportionately on his “German connection”, his relation by marriage to Friedrich and Johann, whose accomplishments were being lauded by the Protestant intellectuals of the court. Henry believed, and his wife Katherine was certain, that he was but one defeat of an imperial army away from pre-eminence. These notions rendered the Saxon ambassadors horrified, because even meager military skill aside, Suffolk was entirely without the subtlety necessary to travel into the Cantons and do the necessary work there without attracting the unwanted attention of Charles’s agents. Thankfully for the Saxon ambassadors, Edward's regent the Duke of Somerset for his own obvious reasons, agreed to their request and Suffolk was denied the mission.

    When the armies began to muster for the campaign in late April, Charles found himself unhappily surprised. Contributions from his provinces in the Netherlands, from Italy including the papal lands, and from Spain totaled only some 30,000 troops. Contributions in addition to that from the German princes were negligible. Even more than the military problems these numbers posed for waging a successful war of conquest in the east, they threatened to validate Friedrich’s longstanding characterization of Charles’s efforts as one of invasion and occupation by an outside power cloaked in the threadbare legalism of the imperial office. What was worse, Ferdinand once again failed to persuade the Bohemian nobility to move against Saxony, partly out of fear that they would only provoke an uprising among their own evangelical subjects. The decade of the “Reciprocal License” had done its work: the Lutherans and Sacramentarians of Bohemia had spread, and were bold in denouncing efforts to wage a crusade the next country over, which they said would inevitably target themselves immediately after.

    This is not to say the Schmalkaldic League did not face similar problems. The Palatinate and the South German powers in the League whose separate negotiations in 1546 had resulted in the truce now ending expressed little interest in returning to the field and risking Charles’s pardon of their princes. They were willing to offer their own contributions toward raising mercenaries, and some Protestant powers within the empire like Juelich-Cleves-Berg, which were technically outside the League, were willing to help raise mercenaries. But compared to the year before, the native German armies arrayed against the emperor were now primarily those of Philip of Hesse and the Duke Johann of Saxony, and no one else. Of course, a countervailing factor was that both these states had now been fed by annexations, so that men of Fulda and Eichsfeld now marched for Hesse, while Johann made liberal use of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg’s treasury for his purposes. Devout traditionalist papists in northern and central Germany that year had a ready supply of saint’s relics, offered sometimes at steep discount.

    Eventually, the time came to take the field. Charles, vexed by the flow of dispossessed Catholics now streaming out of Saxony, decided that if he could not execute Friedrich without doubling his problems in Germany, he could at least move the captive elector to Spain. He announced this measure from Mainz, hoping to cripple the Saxons’ morale, but found this not to be the case. Finally on June 22 the Imperial Army crossed the border into Vogtland from the lands of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, with Charles certain now that no timed second invasion in the east from Bohemia could be expected. On June 26, the Saxon and Imperial armies engaged at Weischlitz. The numerical advantage was almost prohibitively in favor of the Imperial forces, their 32,000 soldiers facing 18,000 Saxons. While Philip of Hesse was marching to face the Emperor's army, he was still several days away when the Imperial forces under Moritz of Saxony forced the battle. The Saxons lost 6,000, to an equal number of the Imperials. To his credit, Johann withdrew before his defeat became a rout.

    Moritz and the Imperial commanders were puzzled however by the absence of the Saxon longbowmen, for whom they had gone to some trouble to find defenses and countermeasures, including a more liberal application of helmets and cuirasses to the regular infantry. Johann divided his forces between Plauen, Zwickau and Gera, distributing them among the three cities on the plan that whichever one became the target, the other two would counterattack and attempt to lift the siege. He himself shut himself up behind the walls of Plauen, the closest, and due to his presence, now the most likely target. The Imperial Army proceeded north. Due to the long time the Elector Friedrich had anticipated war, much work had been sunk into modernizing the walls of Plauen, and no doubt Charles when he came into view of the city could recognize some of the guns that lined those walls as his own.

    Immediately, those guns began pummeling the Imperial Army as it began to set up a siege camp and begin the process of investing the city. On June 29, Philip of Hesse reached Gera with his own force of 10,000, to which he added the Saxon force of 3,000 that had retreated there. 5,000 Saxon forces under separate banner marched south from Zwickau.

    Inside Plauen meanwhile, the atmosphere was confident, almost festive. Duke Johann was effortlessly cheerful in the face of adversity, and was frequently present in the town market, rallying public spirit and developing the public impression of his character that would long survive him in historical memory. There he regaled townspeople with stories about playing on the knee of Martin Luther and pulling on the beard of Friedrich the Wise while a little boy. He drank beer constantly, in extraordinary quantities even by the standards of the time, and kept little ceremony.

    On July 2, with the counterlines not yet begun, Philip attacked the Imperial positions from the northwest, while the force from Zwickau attacked from the north. Not wanting to be caught between the town of Plauen and the river, remembering well the Saxon tactics at Dueren and Kreuzberg, the Imperials were in the hills west of the city. Pushed downhill by the initial press of pike, the Imperial forces were careful to stay out of range of the artillery ringing the city walls. What they forgot however, was that longbows had a longer range than guns. All the Saxon longbowmen had been placed for their safety in Plauen before the battle of Weischlitz, and now, with the imperial army drawn to the town, and then literally pushed into their range, they were free to use the fixed position of the city wall from which to attack. Though the Imperial army did have the advantage of more armor this time, for obvious reasons this was less in use at its rear, the side exposed to the archers. Moreover, the effect of the surprise was to ruin the concentration of the men at the oncoming push of pike, with the result that the Imperials were steadily pushed back toward the walls, being fed to the longbowmen on the walls like meat to a sausage grinder.

    Eventually, the Imperials rallied sufficiently to pull themselves out of the fire raining on them from the walls. Knowing the usefulness of the longbowmen for the day was done, Duke Johann led the reinforcements out the gates of Plauen, riding west. Coming as it did at the end of a long day’s fighting, and with Johann still wearing the drool from an apparent mid-afternoon nap on his beard, this was enough to finally break the resolve of the imperials. Of the imperial army of 32,000, 10,000 lay dead, more than half of them killed in the first hour after the army was pushed before the walls. Of the 22,000 Saxons, 5,000 had died. The casualties included several important commanders and persons of high birth, including Duke August, Moritz’s heir and younger brother. This was dynastically significant because it meant that if Moritz died, the Albertine line of dukes would go extinct, and by the terms of the Partition of Leipzig (which of course the Ernestine Wettins no longer recognized anyway) ducal Saxony would revert to the more senior Ernestine branch.

    If there was a silver lining in the defeat for the Imperial Army, it was that Charles had been stung often enough by the loss of his artillery that the Imperials had been careful to render it more mobile, and so this time it was not lost in the retreat.

    Six days later, as the Imperial army regrouped in the far west of Thuringia, word came of another embarrassment: the Saxon force assembled at the Festung Konigstein to guard against an invasion across the frontier from Bohemia had marched east, and taken with hardly any struggle the Sagan exclave, the last set of lands in the Empire held in fact rather than empty title by the Albertine Wettins. The villages of rural Lusatia lining the route of their march there and back had welcomed them with hymns and flowers.

    Morale had even before then been especially low among the Albertines because they believed, with some reason, that August had been targeted at Plauen, and that the Saxon army had killed him rather than take him prisoner, mindful that it would make their masters more secure in their rule over the whole country. This made, in turn, the mercy the emperor had shown the Elector Friedrich IV seem obnoxious to them. And so Moritz, joined by his friend and lieutenant Albrecht Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, demanded the immediate execution of the Elector Friedrich, whose departure for, and confinement in, Spain was still being arranged. And they made dark threats as to what they might do if the Elector was still alive at the end of the campaign season.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  14. Unknown Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
    If they execute the Elector Friedrich now, methinks it'll be right up there with Napoleon's invading Russia and Japan's deciding to attack Pearl Harbor as a dumb decision...

    Good update, BTW...

    I don't know where you're going next, but I'm subscribed...
     
  15. Threadmarks: Supplemental on German Space Exploration, Twentieth Century

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Why Sagan?

    When the Kaiserliche Luftfahrtforschungdienst was looking for sites at which to develop Germany's civilian space research program, several factors were considered. Locations in the tropics, especially in the German colonies of the era, were at first favored because of lower construction costs, the advantages offered by year-round warm weather, and distance from home country population centers and the safety problems that might present. And for some European countries, these factors proved decisive.

    However, in the German context, it was believed that placement of strategic technological assets far outside the home realm would invite aggression by hostile powers, either against the site itself or assets in transit to or from the facilities. Likewise, advantages in labor costs would be offset by the costs of transportation of persons or assets to or from the facilities.

    Proximity and isolation made Heligoland the preferred site in several preliminary surveys and reports. However, ecological groups, fishing interests, and the Heligolanders themselves all registered their opposition. The Imperial Navy also worried its presence on the tiny islands would be displaced. Denmark and other neighboring countries lodged protests. And decisively, it was believed that once again hostile powers could menace traffic to or from an island research station.

    Tourism interests staged dramatic protests opposing the selection of sites in Bavaria, Frisia or Mecklenburg. Sites in Prussia were disallowed, once again for the obvious security reasons.

    In the end, the finalists for the German raumhafen were two relatively isolated, rural communities where the presence of a new large-scale employer would be welcomed: Berlin, in the old Mittelmark of Brandenburg, and Sagan, in Lower Silesia. But it was feared historical structures in Berlin related to the old margraviate would be damaged by the vibrations from test launches, and so Sagan was selected.

    It was also believed that in the event of an airborne aggressive act by a hostile power against the capital, Sagan would lie along the most likely axis of attack and could double as an installation for emergency last-minute defense efforts.

    Construction was begun in 1898 and finished in 1907. The first launch from the Sagan Raumhafen came in 1910. Several milestones in the history of human spaceflight occurred in the decades thereafter, most famously of course the successful launch of the Bonifaz. Anyone alive who has stepped inside a German schoolroom has seen the pictures!


    Sagan.jpg

    Following the development of the kernelsplitter, and after that, the possibility of space-borne attack, the former air defense facilities were expanded and became the focus of some of the most sensitive German military technological research. This increasing military dimension to the raumhafen led to the most controversial aspects of its history, with calls for neutral-power inspections and surveillance to prevent either its use in developing prohibited weaponry, or as a staging ground for offensive military operations against points east.

    In 1972 an imperial expert committee (fachausschuss) recommended the decommissioning of the facility and its conversion into a museum, partly to open more of the vicinity to residential development. Today of course Germany is not the space-faring country it was formerly, partly because of the commitment of the government to pursuing only safe and ecologically appropriate extro-atmospheric propulsion, in contrast to some other "schnell billig und dreckig" powers.

    Eventually, in 1989, the former dart test facilities were converted into a youth camp. In 1997 the last security restrictions, including those with respect to international visitors' nation-of-origin, were ended, and in 2005 an official friendship and exchange program began with the Peter the Great Cosmodrome.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  16. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Launches in 1910?
     
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  17. Unknown Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
    I like the hints you keep dropping about what's to come...

    Berlin ain't the capital of Germany ITTL?!?

    In any TL, it seems, Germany and Russia will be rivals...:D

    Waiting for more, of course...
     
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  18. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Let's see, the first launches from OTL Cape Canaveral is in 1949, so that seems about right. One theme from the old timeline that will carry over is that for various reasons, not least of which being a shorter and less damaging Thirty Years' War (The First General War), we get accelerating technological change. Some of that is going to be scaled back: I think the airship stuff from the old timeline is probably going to end up being indefensible (I know, I hate it too). But other parts I feel really confident about, for instance that for us railroads are an 18th, not a 19th century phenomenon. One thing that means is that there is a different interface between the technological and the cultural and the political. For example, the first private railroad cars will be in-period rococo. Also, I'm not quite willing to commit to this, but I have an idea one of the first color photographs taken from outer space of the surface of the planet will be around the time the colonial empires are overthrown. It'll be of the continent of Africa at night, outlined in burning ports and colonial depots. The dying of the old world, and its old ways
     
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  19. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Re Wittenberg. Yep. Here, the first clue is in the quiz in the reference to "Haupstadtbezirk Wittenberg" or the "Wittenberg Capital District." Formerly it would have been "Kaizerstadtbezirk Wittenberg." While the monarchy has been maintained, certain names and terms have been modernized.

    Re Russia. What gives you that idea? ;) Twentieth century political history is so far ahead of where we are at this point it's really quite notional, but, yes. And more to the point, I hope you detect the tone that's implied about that rivalry.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  20. minifidel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    The amount of backstory hinted at in these two paragraphs is amazing! I'm assuming that the kernelsplitter is TTL's equivalent of the fission reactor/bomb, and it also seems like Germany is subject to inspections by a "neutral power" (which, if I'm making an educated guess based on what I can still remember from the old TL, may be one of the alt-American nations or an Asian power).

    The bolded part however, gives me the strong feeling that kernelsplitter engines are, uh, worryingly common ITTL, although it seems to imply that there are different methods of reaching orbit, they're just not as common.
     
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