Victoria II

In HPM, how the fuck do you even keep your clay as Mexico? Even if you beat Texas and prevent all those revolts from firing, it railroads you to sell your northern territories to the USA and if you refuse, they declare war on you.
I've done it in HFM many times, the war is tough, but doable. Pretty sure the same strategy will work in HPM.

I usually White Peace with Texas while mobilizing and preparing my armies. Then I truce-break and reconquer of all Texas.

Initial tech path is Basic Chem --> Medicine --> Muzzle-Loaded Rifles --> Artillery.

After initially encouraging a few Bureaucrats, I switch to Encourage Soldiers for national foci for my populous states, and do this until the USA declares war on me. Build up a standard army (even infantry/artillery with occasional cuirs), unless you're hardcore and want to minmax your army with mobilization, but I'm too lazy to do that. Anyways, you should not be encouraging Intellectuals until after you fend off the Americans, you need all the men you can get.

Build up forts in Greater Texas, this is where you will set up your defensive line. When the war starts, bait the Americans into attacking a weak stack (bonus points if you have a School of Defense general), then dogpile them and score a victory. Do this several times, and you can score a White Peace. Then if you control all your cores, you can Refute Manifest Destiny, so the Americans won't bother you again.


Word of advice for the lategame, Latin American countries have horrible RGOs. If you want to build up a solid industry, you need an exogenous source of Coal and Steel. I usually get this by gouging the Coal and Steel-rich states out of France, a typically floundering European power. Also, avoid passing the Social Reforms that decrease RGO output if you can, though this is really only a lategame issue.
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A new Update for my UK Game:

The French War of British Containment, 1838 ~ ?
If I wrote an AAR on this it might make for quite interesting reading.


Hmm...not looking good for my Belgian friends, is it? I Guess that's my Plan to Land Troops in Belgium out of the Window, so how on Earth am I going to "Persuade" the French to leave Belgium alone?


The Situation in Sindh; the War began here with the British Invasion of Sindh, and the Brits did not Attempt to disguise the Fact that this was another Imperialist War of Aggression to gain yet more Land. France Objected and Responded with a Declaration of War.


The French however left their only Colony in Mainland India ~ Pondicherry ~ Undefended, and, Quickly, Indian Soldiers in the Service of Britain Entered the Region, Accompanied by their Allies from Mysore.
Playing HPM, I never realized how dramatically you can turn around your country if you're in the Americas and learn to love the socialist party.
FRCA 1836:
population: 1.68 million
literacy rate: 6.3%
0 industry
4 divisions
FRCA 1936:
population: 37.4 million
literacy rate: 86.6% (would've been over 90% if it weren't for those stupid illiterate cubans)
664 industry
100 divisions(!)
I didn't conquer that much, just central America+cuba and a couple random islands. Real reason I'm posting the map is because I wasn't even the MVP of this game. Norway's gone from being a Swedish puppet with a million people tops to a transcontinental empire of 111 million souls stretching from the Caribbean to West Africa to Indonesia and Cambodia. Really made me feel less special.
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Recently got back into Victoria 2, and rekindled my interest with an obligatory Greater Germany game. At first I was going to go with a Greater Austrian empire (which is far more entertaining with the GSGVickyMod, which tries to add a bit of flavour to the game in Germany and boosts the number of events for the Habsburgs). As I did with my Russian playthrough - see page 342 - I took notes as I went along, mainly because building up the political situation keeps me interested in the game. However, it was a bit frustrating given that the amount of information easily available for the political situation of the Austrian Empire in the mid-game is a bit sparse. Still, I had fun. I deliberately stayed within Europe because I couldn't be bothered to colonize. I am planning on a French playthrough next, which should leave me able to embellish the political situation a bit more.

I just thought I'd publish it here so anybody can have a read if they want, as a mini-AAR if you will.


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Recently got back into Victoria 2, and rekindled my interest with an obligatory Greater Germany game. At first I was going to go with a Greater Austrian empire (which is far more entertaining with the GSGVickyMod, which tries to add a bit of flavour to the game in Germany and boosts the number of events for the Habsburgs). As I did with my Russian playthrough - see page 342 - I took notes as I went along, mainly because building up the political situation keeps me interested in the game. However, it was a bit frustrating given that the amount of information easily available for the political situation of the Austrian Empire in the mid-game is a bit sparse. Still, I had fun. I deliberately stayed within Europe because I couldn't be bothered to colonize. I am planning on a French playthrough next, which should leave me able to embellish the political situation a bit more.

I just thought I'd publish it here so anybody can have a read if they want, as a mini-AAR if you will.
Very specific request and I apologize but could you please post it in the thread as my laptop is a mess and I too wish to se eblessed Habsburg domination timeline
I apologize, but could you please post it in the thread?
Here we are; I had to edit it a little to get it to work on here, but as I did so I fixed a few errors and refined it a bit. As I say, I have more of an interest in carving out a political scene in the game rather than just blob over the screen.


1835-1848: Ferdinand I/V (Habsburg-Lorraine)
1821-1848: Klemens von Metternich (Nonpartisan)
1821: [Independent, appointed by previous Emperor Francis I, served as part of Regent's Council]

Metternich had served as Chancellor of the Austrian Empire since 1821, and at the coronation of Ferdinand I/V he was at the height of his power. Metternich sought to maintain the status quo (upon which he himself had been a major influence), both politically in Austria and in the sphere of international relations. Metternich advocated conservatism during the Vormärz period, and by forcing through military spending increases in 1836 consolidated his position against his liberal-minded rival Franz Anton von Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky. The Prussian efforts of the Zollverein customs union continued to undermine Austrian influence across the German states; Saxony, long desired by the Prussians, briefly fell out of the Austrian camp between 1838 and 1840, while tensions in Krakow threatened relations with Russia. Throughout his government Metternich reluctantly granted the Hungarian Diet further powers, including their Language Law of 1842 – primarily because he sought support from Hungarian conservatives for his increasingly heavy-handed methods to restrict liberalism and nationalism. He was disappointed when the Congress System, that had preserved peace in Europe since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, came to an end in 1841. However, after Russia attempted to force the Concert to support her expansionist intentions in the east - having long-sought an opportunity to further weaken Istanbul after the First Russo-Turkish War (1828–1829) - it was clear that something had to be done. The outbreak of war in Anatolia in September resulted in a defensive Austro-French diplomatic pact which, by the First Treaty of Sarajevo, secured concessions from the Turks in exchange for tacit opposition to Nicholas I. The resulting alliance between Paris and Vienna upset the delicate balance of European power, pushed the British towards the Prussians, and completely alienated the Romanovs. Metternich nevertheless spent the next few years trying to reach a diplomatic solution, but in February 1843 the Bessarabian War finally broke out against Russia. Austria quickly advanced into Poland and towards the Black Sea; Warsaw and Kiev fell by July, and in August two well-disciplined Austrian armies defeated the Russians at Pervomaisk and Chisinau. With the Russians unable to sustain the war on three fronts (Poland, Bessarabia and the Caucasus), the Treaty of Odessa in November formally forced the Tsar to surrender to the Austro-French armies. Utterly humiliated, the Russians were also forced to allow the Austrians to preside over a semi-independent condominium in Bessarabia, enabling the Austrian-led unification of Romania in 1844.

Victory against Russia was the first action of the 1840s that cemented the collapse of the Congressional system. The second came in 1844 when the Ottomans – over-confident from their ‘victory’ outlined at Odessa – renegaded from their obligations to Austria and France and launched new repressions against the Greek minority. With Russia neutered Metternich no longer needed a buffer in the Balkans, and in a rapid change of policy the returning Austro-French armies forced the Turks to abandon Southern Macedonia to Greece and pay in full their wartime indemnities. (This bankrupted the Ottomans entirely and left them vulnerable to further political chaos). By the end of 1845 Metternich had recalled the Austrian forces home with the rapidly growing threat of liberal uprisings and Italian unrest looming over the Empire. He was further alarmed by the so-called Russian Revolution in 1847, in which Nicholas I was forced to abdicate in favour of his second son Constantine I at the head of a liberal constitutional monarchy. This merely validated the claims that liberalism would lead to the destabilization of Habsburg rule in Austria and, indeed, the Russian Revolution would go on to inspire the political chaos in Europe the following year. Dalmatian separatists would be crushed by imperial forces, but of far greater import was the beginning of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Inspired by the general success of the Russian rebellions, the Hungarians rallied. Metternich preemptively attempted to dissolve the Hungarian Diet, but they refused - violently resisted Habsburg attempts to restore order, and igniting civil war. Although the Hungarians would only be able to hold out for five months, their attempted revolution had a significant impact on Austrian politics. While Metternich was still held in high regard and autocracy remained the central policy of the Austrian government, the events of 1848 severely dented his credibility. It also led to the abdication of Ferdinand I, who had long been struggling with his mental deficiencies, at the urging of the Regent's Council.

1848-1876: Franz Karl I (Habsburg-Lorraine)
1848-1850: Klemens von Metternich (Nonpartisan)
1821: [Independent, appointed by previous Emperor Francis I]

1850-1854: Karl Ludwig von Ficquelmont (Nonpartisan)
1850: [Independent, appointed]
1854-1862: Theodor Franz von Latour (Nonpartisan)
1854: [Independent, appointed]
1862-1863: Anton von Schmerling (Grossdeutschenpartei)
1862: [Grossdeutschenpartei, appointed]
1863-1872: Agenor Gołuchowski (Majestätischkonservativ)
1863: [Majestätischkonservativ, appointed]
1872-1876: Alexander Mensdorff-Pouilly (Majestätischkonservativ)
1872: [Majestätischkonservativ, appointed]

Franz Karl unexpectedly took the throne, given that it had been assumed his eldest son Franz Joseph would take the throne. Metternich was ageing badly, and his continuing blackouts were a cause for concern. Perhaps fortunately, matters came to a head in 1850 when he died (suddenly but unexpectedly) at the age of 77. He had been a generation-defining figure in Austria, having guided his country through the trauma of the Napoleonic Age. Nevertheless, his final abandonment of the Congress system and the heavy-handed conservatism of his later ministry continued to remain controversial. His successor - Karl Ludwig von Ficquelmont – was nevertheless an ideological ally and committed to the ‘Metternich cause’ that had seen Austria shakily endure the troubles of the developing liberal era. He only remained in power for four years, but led Austria into a second war against the Ottomans; conducted against a background of waning Turkish power in the Balkans, a swift Austrian campaign resulted in the Second Treaty of Sarajevo which widened the borders of Austrian-aligned Montenegro, brought Serbia under Austrian suzerainty, and annexed Bosnia. It was a major success for the Habsburgs, and re-established an imperial optimism somewhat lost during the Russian Revolution and the troubles in Hungary. The war also elevated the Minister of War, Theodor Franz von Latour, to the State Chancellorship after Ficquelmont retired in 1854.

A distinct asserter of conservatism, Latour especially sought to give the public no cause for unrest. Unfortunately, his elevation to office accompanied a small liberal uprising in Slovakia and then - more alarmingly - the Hungarian problem once again reared up. The growing strength of the Austro-French alliance had not gone unnoticed, and with the Dortmund Declaration the Prussians (diplomatically reinforced by the British) declared their support for an independent Hungary. In August Prussia brought Schleswig-Holstein under their control, resolving the status within the German Confederation but further enraging the Austrians. Indeed Vienna could not tolerate any further provocations from the Prussians, and sought to address the matter directly. Supported by the French and (perhaps surprisingly) the Russians, the Empire mobilized for war – which finally came in December 1854. For the first time since the Napoleonic Wars, the major powers of Europe fell into conflict. The Habsburgs opened with a major offensive into Silesia, while the French fell upon Belgium – resulting in the complete occupation of the latter by February 1855. The first major Austro-Prussian clash came at the Second Battle of Leipzig, as the Austrians successfully continued their push to Berlin. The city came under siege in June, although the landing of the British at Antwerp required the French to rapidly redeploy westwards. Despite a minor Austrian setback at Kustrin, Berlin fell in August 1855 – a significant strategic victory for Latour and his forces. With their government decapitated and supply lines struggling to reach the front, the Prussians completely collapsed, and by 1856 had been completely neutered as a military power. Revolution broke out across Northern Germany - Frederick William III sought to cling onto power with the reinstatement of absolute monarchism, he was eventually forced to capitulate to radical demands and abdicated. The Treaty of Munich formally ended the war, with Prussia abandoning her hegemony over the northern German states. The so-called First German War revolutionized the balance of power in Europe, with France and Austria emerging as the two dominant powers. Britain would retreat into isolationism - with the Palace Coup establishing an absolute monarchy under Emperor Augustus Frederick I - while Belgium fractured after the Flemish declaration of independence. Prussia would be wracked by political and economic instability, leading to a period of unchallenged Austrian strength in Central Europe that would become known as the Vorherrschaft.

A rapid deterioration of relations in 1858 resulted in an Austro-French intervention in Sardinia-Piedmont, with Austrian troops occupying the port city of Genoa in October. The quick intrusion was the first action of modernized Austrian corps, and the continuing investment in the army seemed to be yielding results. With a highly-trained South German majority infantry, additional roles were filled by minority troops – primarily with Hungarians and Polish as cavalry, and Slavic artillery. The navy also doubled in size in the late-1850s, with major works for naval bases on the Adriatic funded primarily by an increase in tariffs. Tensions between the two powers quickly became strained, however, as the hawkish Bonapartists took a firmer hold upon French politics. With Austria a potential obstacle to French expansionism, the Austro-French alliance broke down in 1861. Combined with a sizeable Hungarian and Slovak rebellion later that year, Latour felt his position under threat. Although the nationalists were beaten, a further liberal rebellion in May 1862 sealed his fate; he was replaced by the liberal-leaning Schmerling, who immediately sought to strengthen the already-dominant Austrian position among the German states - as well as address the constitutional problems facing the Empire. Schmerling led the Grossdeutschenpartei faction, which had emerged as a largely bipartisan force of both conservatives and liberals who advocated the unification of the German Confederation into a single nation state. With Prussia recovering from the terms of the Treaty of Munich and once again acting provocatively, Berlin refused to co-operate, resulting in the outbreak of the Second German War in late-1862. A simple German affair (with both France and Russia now wary of Austrian intentions), by April 1864 Prussia was forced to surrender, and Vienna emerged as the undisputed hegemon of Germany. Immediately negotiations began to unite into a single empire, although the means by which to do divided Austrian politics. Some wanted a basic confederation of largely sovereign states, while Schmerling and his faction sought the formal creation of a Habsburg-led German Empire with autocratic control. Ultimately, he was able to persuade the Emperor to endorse the ideas of the Grossdeutschenpartei (over the top of Bach and the absolutists) and came to a constitutional arrangement with the largely-disenfranchised princes - and, occasionally, Kings - of the new Austrian sphere in Germany. Franz Karl became the first Emperor of Germany – overnight elevating his status to the most powerful ruler in Europe, and with the new Empire on-track to becoming the largest industrial economy in the world.

Despite the triumph of the German unification, the perceived liberalism of the Schmerling ministry continued to warrant suspicion by the absolutists, and by the minority populations that were now dominated by a German majority. In December 1863 the government attempted to force through the Commission of Health and Hygiene, summoned to investigate the living standards of the Austrian poor, and institute a basic form of healthcare provision. The Majestätischkonservativ faction, led by Agenor Gołuchowski, refused to accept the demotion of the Catholic Church in the social welfare structure of the Empire, while Hungarians took to the streets to protest at the devaluing of the Hungarian Diet in the new Empire. Similar demonstrations took place in Prague (still the largest city of the Empire) and in Milan, with the Czechs and Italians also highly-alarmed at the strengthening of German influence. Unable to get the State Council to authorize his plans and with the minority populations rioting, Schmerling lost the support of the Emperor and was removed from office in early-1864. The Majestätischkonservativ government ushered in a conservative zeitgeist in the German government, with Franz Karl more than happy to continue autocracy and surrounded by sympathetic advisors. This did little to ease the political concerns, though, and much of the Empire fell into outright revolt in 1864. Hungarians, Italians and liberals all rebelled against Vienna, and with the imperial military in a state of reconstruction following German unification in many cases it proved a hard fight. Franz Karl offered to abdicate in a bid to relieve tensions, but the Majestätischkonservativ resisted this effort and forced through the continuation of autocracy.

The mid-1860s saw another geopolitical realignment in Europe. With the Two Sicilies a growing power in the Mediterranean, some were surprised when Austria signed an alliance in 1867. Conservatives opposed the strengthening of a rival in Italy, but Gołuchowski sought another friend amid worsening relations with Russia. The following year a border skirmish resulted in a quick action against Sardinia-Piedmont, with Germany forcing the House of Savoy to embrace the German sphere in Northern Italy for a second time. Further negotiations brought an alliance with the Pope in Rome, with the Vatican all too keen to associate itself with the prominent Catholicism of the Habsburgs. Germany was somewhat in a diplomatic crisis – surrounded by suspicious rivals and alarmingly facing the prospect of a Franco-Russian détente. However, this shattered with the outbreak of the colonial Franco-Russian War in Korea. Gołuchowski hoped to restore the Concert of Europe (in the traditional Austrian spirit), using German strength to maintain peace in Europe and restrict conflict between the great powers to colonial affairs. He would achieve this with only limited success. Upon his retirement in 1872 Gołuchowski was succeeded as State Chancellor by Alexander Mensdorff-Pouilly – a prominent member of the Majestätischkonservativ faction. Military spending continued, with the formal creation of a Northern Fleet later that year. In 1874 Germany called for a Conference to address the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and to address the calls for Albanian independence following their abortive but bloody uprising in 1873. At the Conference, Germany called for her stewardship of the Balkans (and especially of the Bosnians, formally annexed by Austria by the Second Treaty of Sarajevo in 1854). When German troops moved into Serbia to reinforce their negotiating position, the Ottomans unwisely responded with a declaration of war.

German troops poured into Albania and through Bulgaria (which had served as an Ottoman puppet since the mid-1860s). In January 1875 the German navy saw action for the first time at the Battle of the Sea of Marmara, engaging a similarly sized Ottoman fleet but inflicting a humiliating and crushing defeat upon the Turks. The Third Treaty of Sarajevo, in November 1875, was a stunning victory for Germany; the Ottomans were forced to acknowledge the independence of greater Albania (under German protection) and pay indemnities for the conflict, while Britain was forced to concede German de-facto control of Heligoland following the amphibious assault in August. Indeed, the Third Treaty prevented any further military threat from the Ottomans and the empire began to collapse. The Germans continued to clean up in the Balkans; a brief action against Bucharest in 1876 united the duchies of Romania and Moldavia under the German sphere. (Negotiations continued as to the handover of Romanian-majority lands currently controlled by Germany, but the Majestätischkonservativ were hostile to any such action). However, the celebrations were muted by the death of Emperor Franz Karl I shortly afterwards.

1876-1881: Karl Ludwig I (Habsburg-Lorraine)
1876-1880: Alexander Mensdorff-Pouilly (Majestätischkonservativ)
1872: [Majestätischkonservativ, appointed by previous Emperor Franz Karl I]
1880-1881: Josef von Philippovich (Autokratischepartei)
1880: [Autokratischepartei, appointed]

Mensdorff-Pouilly remained in power after the coronation of Karl Ludwig I (the third son of Franz Karl). Karl Ludwig had at first not been tremendously interested in politics, but after becoming Emperor the Majestätischkonservativ found his interventionism frustrating and his limited understanding of state procedure infuriating. Their efforts in the Balkans continued largely unabated, however, as Germany established diplomatic control over the Bulgarians in 1877. Furthermore, although the nations of Italy had been under German protection for over a decade the Italian Confederation was formed in 1878, formally establishing a partnership of independent states similar to the former German Confederation. Naples took a leading role in this, although this inevitably led to rifts with Vienna. The popularity of the Majestätischkonservativ rapidly declined during the late-1870s, as liberal and even socialists figures began to rise in prominence. The ministry of Mensdorff-Pouilly came under growing criticism, as many anticipated another major uprising of those seeking the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. Sure enough, in August 1879 Lombard nationalists staged the Milan Uprising. The German Sixth Army, stationed in the city, easily defeated the rebellion – but it was another wounding blow for the government, as political opposition mounted. The Bosnian and Serb rebellions throughout the following year settled the deal, and Karl Ludwig finally dismissed Mensdorff-Pouilly. Many were hopeful that a liberal or nonpartisan ministry would be formed to unite the Empire behind calls for change, but to the great surprise and consternation of the constitutionalists the Emperor appointed the reactionary Josef von Philippovich as State Chancellor. By doing so the Emperor sought to entrench his own power and surround himself with sympathetic hawks and autocrats, given that Philippovich had proven himself as a loyal and unflinching autocrat in the Balkans. The establishment of the Autokratischepartei ministry enraged even moderate figures – and in May 1880 the entire country erupted in an attempted revolution. Easily the largest demonstration against Habsburg rule, much of the German army was deployed to quell urban riots and rural protests. After pitched battles in streets of Berlin, Budapest and Sarajevo Philippovich secured imperial rule. The ministry survived with mass arrests, and Karl Ludwig believed his position was secure. The implementation of a strict dictatorial regime was approved by the State Council, but on July 16th 1881, the Emperor was shockingly assassinated by an armed intruder in the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace.

1881-1922: Ludwig Joseph I (Habsburg-Lorraine)
1881-1883: Josef von Philippovich (Autokratischepartei)
1880: [Autokratischepartei, appointed by previous Emperor Karl Ludwig I]
1883-1884: Ludwig von Benedek (Autokratischepartei)
1883: [Autokratischepartei, appointed]
1884-1889: Alajos Károlyi de Nagykároly (Majestätischkonservativ)
1884: [Majestätischkonservativ, appointed]

1889-1903: Kasimir Felix Badeni (Majestätischkonservativ)
1884: [Majestätischkonservativ, appointed]
1903-1916: Richard von Bienerth-Schmerling (Majestätischkonservativ)
1903: [Majestätischkonservativ, appointed]
1916-1922: Stephan von Rajecz (Majestätischkonservativ)
1916: [Majestätischkonservativ, appointed]

Ludwig Joseph, the only son of Karl Ludwig, took the throne at the young age of 20. Philippovich remained in office, but the young Emperor was more sympathetic to the liberalism of his citizenry. After further rioting in the Balkans he was more than willing to accept the resignation of his Chancellor (with many suspecting that Philippovich had also been held accountable for the death of Karl Ludwig). Ludwig von Benedek stepped up to lead the autocratic faction but was pressured by the Emperor to support the creation of an imperial minimum wage to prevent more rebellions. This divided the Autokratischepartei, which generally opposed concessions to appease the rioters. However, Benedek died in 1884 and by appointing the Hungarian Nagykároly Ludwig Joseph re-established the Majestätischkonservativ in office. (They would govern uninterrupted until 1923 and the implementation of limited constitutionalism). The move towards political conciliation was well-received internationally and portrayed the Habsburg throne in a new light at home, and in 1884 relations had improved with France enough for the restoration of the Franco-German Alliance – a major diplomatic coup for Vienna. On top of this success, the German-aligned Italian Confederation united into the Kingdom of Italy in 1885. Allied to Germany but with her capital in the southern city of Naples, Italy did not include the Papal States (which were reduced in size but remained independent at the behest of the Pope). Italy almost immediately emerged as a major power, and while it opposed German control of Venetia and Lombardy it remained on largely positive terms with the Empire. Germany had positive relations with most of her neighbouring states, and represented the cutting-edge in European industry and technology. In 1886 negotiations with the Netherlands brought Luxembourg within the German orbit. Throughout the 1880s socialist causes garnered much favour upon the aristocratic elite of the Empire, with some hoping to create an ‘absolutist welfare state,’ establishing an irenic benevolent autocracy in Germany. Reforms to the education and healthcare systems followed, mainly to strengthen the role of the Church.

The successes of the domestic reforms were evident and accompanied some major achievements in foreign policy. Luxembourg formally joined the Empire in 1889, while early in 1890 Germany finally managed to persuade the Greeks to abandon their long-standing agreements with the British. (German firms began work on a new Greek railway system, hoping to turn the country into an important southern hub for Viennese interests). Later that year, a treaty of friendship was signed between Germany and the United States (the ‘Fourth Power’ in international affairs). Finally, Germany wrested Denmark from the British sphere in 1891, cutting off the Royal Navy from the Baltic with the substantially strengthened Second Fleet, based in Kiel. However, Italy began to emerge as a concern after it continued to suppress the power of the Papal States and provoke confrontation with Germany regarding her territories in the north. Pope Leo XIII sought German aid, and although Ludwig Joseph sought to avoid confrontation, he was also prepared to suppress a potential threat to the Empire in the south. When German and French businesses were attacked by Italian nationalists, both chose to act. Citing the concerns of the Pope, a Franco-German offensive rapidly pushed into the Po valley. The war was a reluctant but necessary one, but by November 1893 the Italians had been forced to capitulate. (The German intervention in Italy meant that the Empire did not reinforce Romania after the Russians occupied Bessarabia, significantly worsening already-hostile relations between the two). Italy was forced to partially disarm and pay reparations to Germany, but relations between the two states would continue to worsen in following decades.

The first German battleships entered service in 1895, putting Germany at the forefront of naval technology. However, domestic issues once again rose to the surface. Hungarian figureheads demanded the formation of a new Hungarian parliament to offset the German-dominated autocracy. This was flat-out refused by the government, who sought to deflect attention by sponsoring the creation of basic ‘state schools’ and the Kiel Canal (which broke ground in 1898). The intervention in Romania in 1899 was also successful in distracting attention away from the Hungarians; Romania, which had defaulted, was forced to pay her debts in full and accept the installation of a German puppet government in Bucharest. The country was in the middle of a second railway boom, and companies were building factories for a whole variety of new and exciting products. In May, German explorers (with a team composed partly of Swedes and Poles) reached the North Pole – a week of celebration was held in Vienna. Everything seemed to be going well, but in August Anglo-French relations finally snapped. War broke out between the two empires, bringing in the Russians on behalf of London and Germany on behalf of the French. Even before the first bullet had been fired it was known as the ‘Century War' (or simply the Jahrhundertkrieg in Germany). The Anglo-Russian partnership, known as the London Pact, rallied against the imperial Allies of Germany, France and Sweden.

Upon the outbreak of war Germany immediately launched a vast invasion of Russia, stretching from the Baltic all the way to the border with Romania. Highly professional and well-supplied, the Germans made quick progress against the Russian garrisons, hoping to push into Poland as they had in 1843. Similarly, large armies pushed into the lightly defended Netherlands in a bid to deny the British any potential landing ground. At the Battle of the Rigan Gulf the united German fleet destroyed the Russians, freeing up the Baltic for Allied shipping. Warsaw came under siege in early October, and soon it became clear that Russia would not be able to maintain the rate of her losses. The Allies continued to push on, hoping to the force Russia to drop out of the war and the surrender of the London Pact. This came in December, when the tsarist forces completely collapsed following the Great Mutiny. The peace terms, the Treaty of Saint Petersburg, were surprisingly light on the Pact – but apart from economic concessions France was able to consolidate her colonial rule in Africa, while Germany forced Russia to abandon her puppetry over Finland. The Jahrhundertkrieg had shown that the combined forces of Germany and France were somewhat unstoppable, although it was speculated that had there been a separate front in Italy the Allies would have been under greater pressure. Nevertheless, it was a spectacular victory – made all more the astonishing given that Germany did not even authorize a mobilization to prop up her conventional forces. The war did wonders for the German economy, and in August 1902 – the same month the Kiel Canal opened for domestic traffic - the imperial economy overtook that of France. The Worlds’ Fair held in Hamburg that year was a great success for Germany, and in January 1903 the Empire surpassed the British to become the largest global economy. The Imperial Bank of Germany (IBG) was then founded in 1907.

In 1904 Germany annexed Montenegro, ending the independence of one of her longest-serving allies, but Ludwig Joseph was in Stockholm – celebrating the formation of Scandinavia (which had been formed with German blessings). The unification of the north brought Sweden into the European Allies, which – via the Berlin Conference – became the Alliance of the Three Emperors. However, this closer partnership with Scandinavia and the German intervention in Italy in 1905 pushed a wedge between Vienna and Paris – France left the Alliance shortly afterwards, to much consternation in Germany. The crisis almost resulted in the dismissal of the Bienerth-Schmerling ministry, and it was only avoided by the successful re-emergence of the Two Sicilies under German protection. German military planners now believed that a war on two fronts (the French and Russian) would be unwinnable, especially with complications in Lombardy. The next two years were feverishly spent in diplomacy, and in 1907 the French finally recommitted themselves to the Alliance in exchange for major economic concessions and a new series of advantageous loans. The late-1900s were known for a rise in political violence, as the growing forces of fascism and communism began to fight in the streets. As traditional imperial conservationism gave way to the ‘Third Way’ the Emperor sought to limit their influence by embracing some of their ilk into the State Council. However, this merely increased their visibility and increased their support upon the disaffected working classes. As supremacist views continued to rise, the British Empire and Russia once again began to rattle sabres (ostensibly in response to German support for an independent Kurdistan).

Unfortunately, the clash of the great powers became inevitable and in January 1913 a second major war broke out. Unlike the previous conflict almost every nation in Europe was brought into the fight, with Germany (and her Balkan states) leading the Alliance of the Three Emperors against the London Pact. Germany knew that Russia was her weakest enemy, and as before concentrated her assaults into Poland and through Bessarabia into the Ukraine. German quickly established a blockade in the Black Sea, after the German Navy forced through the Dardanelles and defeated a small Russo-Ottoman squadron. In a similar manner to the first war the Netherlands and Warsaw fell quickly, with major German victories at Kovel and Arnhem, while British landings on the northern coast of France were bloodily repelled. Scandinavian troops, pushing down largely unchallenged from Finland, captured Saint Petersburg by the end of April. Into the autumn of 1913, however, the front-lines in the west ground to a halt – and although it looked likely that Russia would continue to struggle against the Germans the French also faced a difficult task in suppressing the British, now landing in great numbers through the Normandy Beachhead. It was only after the capture of the Baltic states and the final defeat of the Russian counterattack in Romania that Germany sent troops to help – the Battle of Arras, fought for ten months, was the largest battle in European history. It resulted in a devastating victory for the Imperial Alliance, although at a great cost. Over one million men died, mainly in futile attacks to break the deadlock. It proved the turning point on the western front, given that the arriving German recruits alleviated the pressure on the embattled French armies. Moscow fell in October, with Germany then ordering many troops westwards to flee the oncoming Russian winter. However, both the Pact and the Alliance were horrified with their losses. In early-1915 the German fleet was narrowly defeated at the Battle of the Dogger Bank, with the British managing to seize a scrappy victory. Public opinion began to turn against the war, but before Germany had a chance to present a peace plan to the Pact London gave way. The Labour government was removed from office by the King, and the Pact surrendered. The Baltic states declared their independence from Russia (under German protection), while the United States – which had had a quiet war – annexed Canada, uniting all of North America. The Treaty of London ended the Great War, but all acknowledged it had been a bloodier and harsher affair than the First.

Although Germany had been the primary victor of the Second Great War, the nation emerged from the conflict in a pessimistic mood. It had been a brutal conflict, and many Germans had died. The mood was similar across Europe, contributing to much social upheaval. In Italy (which had not even taken part in the war), the old monarchist order was replaced by the fascist Italian Social Republic. In 1917 the London Pact collapsed completely, as Turkish nationalists abolished the Ottoman Empire and the Russian tsar was overthrown – establishing a leftist democracy under the Social Revolutionary regime. Finally, on the first day of 1918 the centuries-old British democracy came to end with the Westminster Coup, establishing an absolutist empire built on fascist and supremacist ideals. The rapid collapse of the London Pact alarmed the Imperial Alliance, especially given the extreme nature of the replacement regimes, but there was some cause for optimism in the post-war world. In 1919 the United Baltic Duchy petitioned (successfully) to become a direct member state of the German Empire, bringing the imperial borders as far northeast as the Estonian border town of Narva (and lengthening the border with hostile Russia by several hundred miles). This had immediate repercussions, as Scandinavia launched an offensive to claim Karelia from the struggling Russian Republic. It was a quick war – beginning in June, it took barely a month before Saint Petersburg, Kiev and Warsaw had all fallen. Unmolested by the Russian army the Germans reached Moscow in September 1920, and in October the Republic surrendered. The Treaty of Borodino was a modest peace, however, as Germany did not seek to further destabilize the Russians. Bessarabia (annexed by Russia in 1893) was returned to Romania, while the Scandinavians were granted their gains in the north.

1922-1939: Karl Ludwig II (Habsburg-Lorraine)
1922-1923: Stephan von Rajecz (Majestätischkonservativ)
1916: [Majestätischkonservativ, appointed by previous Emperor Ludwig Joseph I]
1922-1930: Maximilian Hussarek von Heinlein (Vereinigte Deutsche Linke)
1916: [Vereinigte Deutsche Linke, appointed]
1926: [Vereinigte Deutsche Linke] Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein/Karl von Auersperg (MK/Z), Otto Kanitz (S)
1929: [Vereinigte Deutsche Linke] Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein/Karl von Auersperg (MK/Z), Max Adler (S)
1930-1931: Ernst Streeruwitz (Majestätischkonservativ)
1916: [Majestätischkonservativ, appointed]
1931-1933: Maximilian Hussarek von Heinlein (Vereinigte Deutsche Linke)
1931: [Vereinigte Deutsche Linke] Karl von Auersperg (Z), Ernst Streeruwitz (MK), Otto Glöckel (S), Anton Reinthaller (LL)
1933-1935: Carl Vaugoin (Vereinigte Deutsche Linke)
1933: [Vereinigte Deutsche Linke] Leopold Figl (Z), Ludwig Hülgerth (MK), Adolf Schärf (S), Edmund Glaise-Horstenau (LL)

Ludwig Joseph died, quite suddenly, in 1922 – his eldest son took the throne as Karl Ludwig II, at the helm of a country that had changed beyond comprehension since the coronation of his father. Rajecz remained as State Chancellor and continued to oversee the mechanization of the armed forces (as well as the introduction of new aircraft to the Imperial Aeronautical Corps). However, in October a series of large socialist riots shook the country to use the ascension of the new Emperor as a new opportunity to petition for democratic rights. (The suppression of the rioters in Kattowitz was notable for being the first offensive use of aircraft by the Army). In response to the uprising, the new Emperor appointed Max von Heinlein to lead his government – it was the first time that an Austrian liberal faction had been granted control of the Empire. Heinlein was instructed to devise a programme by which the demands for constitutionalism could be addressed or, ideally, stopped. However, Heinlein faced a Council dominated by conservatives and imperialists and struggled to make headway. He founded the United German Left (Vereinigte Deutsche Linke) to try and rally public support for his policies. He would also be responsible for the Chisinau Conference, where German pressure forced the Russians to abandon support for Ruthenian separatists in Romania and grant Scandinavia her claims on the Kola peninsula. Heinlein was largely successful in his goals; by unifying the liberal factions he enabled enough political support in the State Council to institute the Constitution Law of 1924 (which implemented a limited suffrage for the Empire). The first elections in imperial history were held over two months, and unsurprisingly Heinlein was rewarded with a majority government for the VDL. Two months later German troops entered the city of Krakow following a period of political instability, ending the (perhaps astonishing) 111-year independence of the city state. Heinlein was also extremely popular for the Two-Month Action against the Russians at the end of 1928, where the Germans took advantage of Russian weakness and diplomatic isolation to annex the province of Masovia and establish a renewed ‘Congressional Poland’ (briefly) in Galicia. (The Russo-German border had stood unchanged since the Partitions of Poland). The VDL went on win the 1929 election comfortably, and although German fascists protested his re-election the government was in a strong position going into 1930.

However, it would quickly go wrong for Heinlein. Relations with the newly emancipated Congressional Poland were dire, as the city of Lublin became an immediate centre for Poles petitioning for greater freedoms from Germany. In January, the Empire re-entered the city and annexed the whole of West Galicia. More seriously, though, the same week Italy sponsored an intervention against the Pope to unify the entire peninsula and annex the Papal States. Germany failed to respond, resulting in a vote of no-confidence in the Catholic-dominated Imperial Parliament. The Majestätischkonservativ, under Ernst Streeruwitz, formed a ministry surprisingly reinforced by the socialist factions. It was too late – the capital of the Italian Social Republic moved to Rome in July. The conservatives did intervene to prevent revolution in Romania, but the loss of an independent Pope – traditionally a German ally - was a big blow. However, in the 1931 election the Liberals (popular for their domestic reforms) were returned to government, and Heinlein was restored as State Chancellor.

The Heligoland Incident in April 1931, in which a British warship engaged trawlermen off the German island, led to the rapid deterioration of Anglo-German relations. Many, on both sides, called for war. It was to the credit of Heinlein that he was able to dilute the anger in the Chamber and avoided another costly war with the British Empire. However, it was not the only war scare that his government had to address. In early-1932 provocations between Italy and Germany reached a new high, as Italy continued to use Switzerland (theoretically a neutral state) as a staging ground for espionage and aggravation. The tensions finally split over in March, and a Franco-German intervention was launched to finally suppress the Social Republic – which by now was widely regarded within the Imperial Pact as a rogue state. The Italians never really stood a chance, with France quickly occupying the west while German troops rapidly pushed down the spine to capture Rome in the early autumn. At the Battle of Apulia, the Italians were resoundingly defeated, and over the winter the regime collapsed. The neutrality of Switzerland was affirmed, and the Italians were effectively disarmed as a military power. However, upon the conclusion of hostilities Heinlein retired from office, and was replaced by Carl Vaugoin. Vaugoin originally had broad support, but in late-1935 radical liberals defected to support the socialists – becoming the largest parliamentary grouping in the process. This undermined the VDL ministry, and at the 1935 election the party lost much ground to the opposition parties.
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How'd you manage to unify Germany without war with France?
The GSGVickyMod removes the German cores on the Rhineland at the start, in contrast to vanilla, so it isn't necessary to slug-match France early-on. (It also removes the dumb core in Switzerland). However, there are events that I believe replicate the Franco-Prussian War if relations are too low. I also tried to make it a policy of the playthrough to keep France on board, because a Franco-Grossgerman compact in Europe stomps everything.