The Story of a Party 2.0

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Utgard96, Nov 29, 2011.

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  1. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    You shall have to guess. It's not that dramatic, actually.

    Oh, and would you mind answering a few questions about Prussia post-war, when the time comes round?
     
  2. Iserlohn Amateur Cartographer

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    ope tth
    No problem, I will do my best.

    I hope that I don't get the reputation of being the go-to guy for this topic. While I'm glad to help I am also too lazy and partly lack the expertise (at least when compared to people like Jonathan Edelstein regarding West Africa)... ;)
     
  3. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Thanks, it'll really help. Expect the PM by war's end. :p
     
  4. galileo-034 Extreme Centrist Conspirator

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    IOTL, despite the occupation of Rome, the Italians were still allied to the French (they allied with Prussia in 1866 after having asked the 'authorization' of Napoleon III). But during the Franco-Prussian War, the Prussians had signed a secret agreement with Russia: if Austria went at war to support France, Russia should attack it.
    I guess that the Russians could intervene as allies of Prussia. A Russian intervention would make this war looking more like a 'First European War'.
     
  5. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Well, the Italians will be divided, I'll say that much. As for the Russians, шш!
     
  6. Terranoso Hopeful, but pessimistic Donor

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    The reference to All Quiet on the Western Front makes me smile. I need to go buy a dead tree version of that book sometime.

    Anyway, another lovely update. Keep up the good work!
     
  7. LordCalner Well-Known Member

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    Varsågod!:)
     
  8. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    A fun thought I've just had: Bismarck and Seward were really a lot alike, and even more so in TTL's context. They were both diplomatic masterminds, controlled (indirectly) the best war machines on their respective continents (excluding the navy), but grew hated within their own countries. That, and they were both red-haired.
     
  9. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Story of a Party - Chapter XX
    The Trial of Trier

    "It is well that war is so terrible - otherwise we would grow too fond of it."
    - Robert E. Lee

    ***

    From "Political and Military Encyclopaedia of the 19th Century"
    Harvard University Press, 1947

    "HUNSRÜCK, 1ST BATTLE OF THE: Offensive undertaken by French forces in April 1870, during the First European War. The offensive was undertaken by the French generals Mac-Mahon and Forey, intended to capture Trier and force the Prussians out of their defensive postures and into the harder-to-defend Mosel Valley. It was launched on April 2, initially involving Corps III, V, and VI, but expanding to include Corps II and IV later on. The defending Prussians were divided into the Third Army, under Crown Prince Friedrich, and the Fourth Army, under General von Blumenthal."

    ***

    Outside Hermeskeil
    Rhineland Province, Kingdom of Prussia
    April 2, 1870

    The sun was rising over the town of Hermeskeil, as the French readied themselves to change stations. Sergeant Adrien Delchamps was readying his artillery platoon to man the La Hitte gun [1]; when he looked out across the lines, Delchamps could make out the Prussian trenches across the valley. We'll get them this time, he thought. Looking over to his men, he called them to attention, and started reading General Forey's proclamation to them.

    "Soldiers of France," Delchamps bellowed as only sergeants do, "now is the time for victory! The boche [2] may have kept us at bay through the winter, but they don't have the numbers to keep the soldiers of France away for much longer. By the end of the week, we'll be in Trier, and by Easter [3], the victorious armies of France will be marching through the streets of Koblenz!"

    The soldiers went back to preparing the gun, Delchamps directing and watching intently. Today, he thought, we'll make history.

    ***

    [​IMG]
    A French artillery unit on the Mosel front, May 1870

    From "Die Wacht am Rhein: A History of German unification, 1815-1916" by Dr. Prof. Heinrich Dorfmann
    Translated into English by Roland O'Malley
    Harper & Bros. Publishing Company, New York City, 1984

    "The French offensive was proving problematic for the Prussians, with the French overrunning the defensive lines in several places; however, Moltke quickly sprang to work on bolstering the 235,000 Prussians facing nearly twice that number of Frenchmen across the Hunsrück. The troops that had invaded Saxony, along with a number of veterans from Austria, were moved over to the west, along with 50,000 new recruits provided by Roon. The Prussians now numbered 340,000; this, while still not equal to the French army, was still a major improvement, and with the new recruits came 300 more of the venerable "Kruppstahl" cannons, the best artillery pieces in the world at the time. This served to aid the Prussians greatly, with numbers being more equal than before (though the French still outnumbered them by a factor of 3:2), and superior Prussian equipment and leadership bridging the difference.

    On the night to the 9th, the Prussians began shelling the advancing French positions, and the casualties among the French spiked. For two days and two nights, the shelling went on, and eventually, on the 12th, the Prussians sent in the infantry to counterattack. This proved successful, and by the Good Friday the front had been stabilised, largely at where it was before the offensive."

    ***

    Saarburg
    Rhineland Province, Kingdom of Prussia
    April 21, 1870

    It was an average day - insofar as any day can be average in war. The sun shone, the guns sounded, the shells screeched, the horses whinnied, the sergeants bellowed and the soldiers grumbled. It was bizarre how anything so loud could be described that way, but all was quiet on the Mosel front as the troop train carrying Paul Bäumer and his company rolled into Saarburg's railway station. An officer arrived in the car as the train came to a stop.

    "Welcome to the Mosel, gentlemen," the officer said. "Upon leaving the train, you will proceed to the front and report to your regiments. You will receive further orders there."

    The soldiers all rose, reaching for their bags. Paul felt slightly nervous at the thought of going into battle at the Mosel. Though the war was still young, the Mosel was proving to be a meat grinder; from what Paul remembered of the official figures as published, about half of the war's dead so far had been here; since the new year, over three-quarters of all killed Prussians had been killed at the Mosel. Still, he thought, no war can go on forever.

    A couple of hours later, and Paul was standing in a trench with his Dreyse gun loaded and ready. The lieutenant who he'd reported to earlier had been deeply callous; he wrote Paul's name into the ledgers and gave him his marching orders, in a manner that was cold and distant even for the military [4]. That was all over now, however, as Paul had got his new rifle and gone on duty as per his orders. At least the Mosel has one advantage over Austria, he thought, as the sun shone brightly on him. The weather's better.

    "You new here?" a voice said, from behind him. Paul turned around to see a burly man, probably in his early forties, with a large goatee.

    "Yeah," he answered. The man extended his hand, and Paul took it. "Paul Bäumer."

    "Stanislaw Katczynski," the man said.

    "You from the east?" Paul asked, noting the man's Polish-sounding name.

    "Yep. Just outside Deutsch Krone. My father's Polish; that's where the name's from. Welcome to Slaughterhouse Three, by the way."

    ***

    From "Die Wacht am Rhein: A History of German unification, 1815-1916" by Dr. Prof. Heinrich Dorfmann

    "The Austrian front, while increasingly taking secondary importance to the Mosel during the spring of 1870, was the site of significantly more movement. The Austrians, spurred on by the removal of men from the Prussian lines, attacked in early May across a broad front. Their superior numbers managed to overcome the disparity in equipment and organisation, and they were able to push the Prussians back by over fifty kilometers, ending the direct threat to Vienna, and setting up a new front line running from Dobersberg to Geyen, coming within ten kilometers of Brünn [5], across from where the Prussians had dug a secondary line of trenches during the winter; the defensive works on both sides of this line were improved throughout the summer, as the front settled into bloody stalemate.

    [​IMG]
    Prussian soldiers heading to the front, July 1870.

    In mid-June, the Elector of Hessen-Kassel, having had many grievances, personal as well as political, against Prussia over the years, joined the war on Austria's side; the Prussians, fearful of being cut in two, sent two divisions on their way to the Mosel across the border, while striking a deal with the Duchy of Hessen-Darmstadt to the south, to the effect that if they occupied the country for the increasingly overextended Prussians, they would get the southern parts of it, as well as the area around Marburg, at war's end (the rest going to Prussia). Darmstadt accepted, and moved their own troops across the border, taking Hanau and approaching Marburg by the time the Elector surrendered.

    Soon after, the Thuringian states nearly all joined on one side or another, only Weimar-Eisenach, Rudolstadt and Reuß Younger Line staying neutral. Of the other duchies, Meiningen and Reuß Older Line declared for Austria, Altenburg, Coburg-Gotha and Sondershausen joining Prussia [6]. Oldenburg declared for Prussia soon after, as did both Lippe states. Only Hannover, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Bavaria, Baden and the aforementioned Thuringian states stayed neutral through the summer of 1870. It was then that distaster struck…"

    ***

    [1] These guns were designed in 1859, used extensively in Italy, and are still by-and-large used by the French Army ten years after their design; the Prussian Krupp cannons are superior in nearly every way. IOTL, they were superseded by the Reffye guns, the first French field guns that were breech-loaded, in 1870; we can expect that something similar is in the making ITTL.
    [2] I couldn't find any dates for this term; if there's a more fitting one to use for the time period, let me know.
    [3] Easter Sunday, in 1870, is April 17.
    [4] Yes, even for the Prussian military.
    [5] Geyen is called Kyjov in Czech, and Brünn is Brno.
    [6] This is the same as OTL during the Austro-Prussian War.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  10. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    I finished the map of the Danish war, which has now replaced the placeholder in the update.
     
  11. Kitiem3000 Donor

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    You always leave such tantalizing cliffhangers.
     
  12. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    [​IMG]

    I finished the map of the US as of currently (the election of 1868). The election map proper will be up in the update post shortly.
     
  13. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    Just discovered this TL and I'd like to say that I'd love to see more.:)
     
  14. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Story of a Party - Chapter XXI
    Drang nach Osten

    "The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia."
    - Otto von Bismarck

    ***

    From "Die Wacht am Rhein: A History of German unification, 1815-1916" by Dr. Prof. Heinrich Dorfmann
    Translated into English by Roland O'Malley
    Harper & Bros. Publishing Company, New York City, 1984

    "The Austrian front in September of 1870 was turning out worse and worse for Prussia, with the troop movements to the Mosel in response to First Hunsrück. The front had been pushed back by the Austrians in May, with the Prussian lines coming dangerously close to Brünn, and in the summer, the French had sold the Austrians the blueprints to their Chassepot rifles, arguably the best infantry design in the world at the time, as well as significant numbers of the actual guns. These were being equipped among the Austrians in August, with the result that the biggest disparity in technology between the two armies was being bridged [1]. In September, the Austrians attacked again, this time focusing on the area around Brünn, despite the risk of creating a salient in the lines."

    [​IMG]
    Brünn, circa 1850.

    ***

    Brünn, Moravia
    Austrian Empire (recognised)
    Kingdom of Prussia (occupation)
    September 20, 1870

    As the sun set on the city of Brünn, Heinz Müller was still running through the streets, carrying his trusty Dreyse gun, and looking out for Austrians around him. They'd been doing this all day, ever since the Austrians entered the city, but Heinz knew instinctively that the Prussian army could beat them back. He'd read Moltke's loud-worded proclamation of the day before, and though he'd rolled his eyes at some of it, he still believed in the superiority of Prussian arms over Austrian. That was the problem, too; ever since the Austrians had been getting French guns, they were much harder to hit.

    As Heinz mused on about the coming victory and going into the history books, he failed to notice the Austrian soldiers going through the streets. He took two bullets to the chest, and one to the back of the head as he fell.

    ***

    From "Die Wacht am Rhein: A History of German unification, 1815-1916" by Dr. Prof. Heinrich Dorfmann
    Translated into English by Roland O'Malley
    Harper & Bros. Publishing Company, New York City, 1984

    "The fighting within Brünn went on, the Prussians increasingly fighting a losing battle, until the 27th, when Prince Friedrich Karl, in command of the centre of the front, ordered the general retreat. A week of urban fighting had caused severe casualties on both sides, the Prussians losing some 9,000 of the 55,000 they had committed to the battle. Morale on the Austrian front sunk deep after the battle, as it became understood that the "superiority of Prussian arms" spoken of by the generals did not always negate weaknesses in numbers. As the Prussians were pushed back on other sections of the front, Bismarck was quick to act."

    ***

    From "The Tsar Liberator: A Biography of Alexander II" by Vladimir Radzinsky
    Translated into English by Dmitri Malenkov
    Herschel Krustofski Memorial Press, New York City, 1994

    "Bismarck's offer of alliance was met with different feelings by the Russian government. The Tsar was hardly a friend of Prussia, but he despised the French ever since the incident in Paris [2], and the relations to Austria were cold after the Crimean War. Gorchakov, who, though disliking Bismarck personally, supported Prussia's ambitions against the powers hostile to Russia, urged the Tsar to accept; however, Alexander remained ambivalent until November 4, when he finally decided to accept Prussia's offer.

    [​IMG]
    Alexander II, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias. Portrait taken in 1870.

    The secret treaty, signed in Tilsit on November 21, stipulated that Russia would join the war fully on Prussia's side, under the conditions that Prussia make it a war goal to reverse the Treaty of Paris [3], and that they would be allowed to annex land from Austria. Bismarck bitterly refused the second point to begin with, not wanting to alienate Austria overly; however, he realised that the Austrians were alienated enough already. The Russians and the Prussians also agreed on several other matters, such as standardising rail gauges between the two countries and setting up telegraph lines between Berlin and St. Petersburg.

    On December 7, in accordance with the terms of the alliance, the Tsar ordered his generals to mobilise half a million troops along the Galizian [4] border. This force was divided between the Army of the Vistula, led by Nicholas Nikolaevich, the Tsar's brother, and the Army of the Bug, under Count Iosif Gurko. As Russia was big and mostly undeveloped, it took time to mobilise the army, and so Russia stayed formally neutral until January, when the war became European in earnest."

    ***

    From "Die Wacht am Rhein: A History of German unification, 1815-1916" by Dr. Prof. Heinrich Dorfmann
    Translated into English by Roland O'Malley
    Harper & Bros. Publishing Company, New York City, 1984

    "In February of 1871, 500,000 Russians crossed the border into Austrian Galizia. The Prussians sent a token force, much of it artillery, to aid in the capture of Krakow, which held out into March, at which point all of Galizia and Bukovina up to the Carpathians had fallen to the Russian advance. The Austrians were still reluctant to surrender; however, when the Prussians were able to recapture Brünn and break through the front lines in April, they reconsidered their position. When the call for cease-fire came, the Prussians were at the gates of Vienna.

    [​IMG]
    Austrian and Russian forces fighting in Galizia, March 1871.

    The armistice, signed on May 2 by all three powers, brought Austria out of the war and allowed Prussia to focus on France. It stipulated that Prussia would occupy Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia until war's end, with Russia occupying Galizia and Bukovina. The Prussians left 150,000 men in these areas as garrison troops, with the rest going to the Mosel. The French were about to feel the full onslaught of the entire Prussian army [5]."

    ***

    [1] As I've mentioned before, the old Austrian rifles, the Lorentz model, were muzzle-loaders, which made the Austrian soldiers easy meat for Prussian marksmen in the OTL war, leading Austria to adopt breech-loading rifles for their infantry post-war.
    [2] When visiting Paris sometime in the early 1860s (or thereabouts; I've honestly forgotten), Alexander II suffered an assassination attempt by a disgruntled Pole; however, Alexander II being Alexander II, he probably simply shrugged off the bullets and went about his business. The French not only refused to apologise, but their press even openly siding with the assassin with the Tsar still in the country; they wrote of him as "the tyrant of the north", and the Polish situation as "a nation being choked". Naturally, Alexander was outraged, and hated the French ever since.
    [3] The Treaty of Paris ended the Crimean War, in Russian defeat, and severely limited the Russian military presence in and around the Black Sea (along with ceding a completely insignificant strip of land to Moldavia to give it symbolic sea access). The Russians felt this was a limitation of their sovereignty, and worked to reverse the treaty almost from the moment it was signed.
    [4] This is the preferred (American) spelling ITTL; as with Serbia/Servia and Romania/Rumania, there was a dispute for some time.
    [5] Prussia's got well over 700,000 men mobilised by this point; although some will be sent home, the French will still be outnumbered and outgunned, and then there's the Russians…
     
  15. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

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    Prussian-Russian alliance? If it lasts a while that could totally change the balance of Europe. Still, looks more viable than a Russian-French alliance.

    Other than that, i am really enjoying this TL. Some of it is better than DoD, IMO.
     
  16. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Historians will speak of this as a Second Diplomatic Revolution. Although I did come up with the idea myself, I'm going to turn out as a bit of a Gottlieb Daimler to Mac Gregor's Karl Benz, as he's got basically the same developments in his TL (though there's no Franco-Prussian War there, so Germany remains disunited).

    That's high praise indeed. Which bits do you mean?
     
  17. PariahNihil Well-Known Member

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    Finished reading this timeline, lovely Ares, lovely!

    ATS from deviantART, btw.
     
  18. Kuamong Well-Known Member

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    I thought that MacGregor's TL had Germany remain disunited. From from TL, I'm getting the impression that you're going to unite Germany following this war.
     
  19. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Well, to some extent that's true, but I was really referring to the alliances (with Prussia substituting Germany and the South German states being generally within the Franco-Austrian orbit) and the politics of the other countries.
     
  20. thekingsguard Founder of Korsgaardianism

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    I'm ashamed that I haven't read this splendid TL until now! Magnificent work, consider me sub'd!

    Also - you never did explain the Colorado territory. How did it come to be?
     
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