Author Topic: For Want of a Nail  (Read 936 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
For Want of a Nail
« on: May 28, 2021, 06:17:43 AM »
This thread is the beginning of something a little different.  I've been developing an alternate history scenario set in a world where the Axis Powers emerged victorious in World War II, leading to a completely different Cold War.  This will be a series of vignettes and news articles focused on various events taking place in this alternate world.

This post, of course, will serve as an index.



Wet - 27 Dec 1958
Darkest Before Dawn - 27 Dec 1958
National Pride - 31 Dec 1958
Gunfire - 2 Mar 1985
Live and Let Die - 27 Jun 1973
Winds of Change? - 19 Aug 1991
Ring of Fire - 13 Jun 1975
Bulldog of the Lord - 6 Apr 1963
Not With a Bang, But a Whimper - 25 Dec 1991
The World Turned Upside Down - 7 Aug 1974
Quagmire - 15 Jan 1968
The Winter of Our Discontent - 13 Feb 1965
One False Step - 20 Feb 1965
« Last Edit: May 19, 2022, 04:06:03 AM by Tytor »
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2021, 06:18:32 AM »
Wet

London, England, UK
27 December 1958
10:22 AM GMT


The crowd roared its approval as Gunther Tamaschke, jointly Schutzstaffel Commandant and German ambassador in the United Kingdom, was stripped of his uniform, piece by piece.  First the hat went, flying off over the assembled mob.  It was caught and ripped in half by two spectators eager for souvenirs.  Next went the jacket, ripped into pieces on its way off the man's body and further shredded as it disappeared into the throng.  The boots went next, followed by the trousers, until finally Tamaschke was left standing in his underwear, humiliated and shivering in the late December air.  The crowd, however, was not done with him.  Ambassador Tamaschke was lifted off the ground and carried bodily out of Piccadilly Circus toward the Thames.  On several occasions a lone German soldier on the outskirts of the mass of jeering Brits tried to push his way to the struggling official, but to no avail.  Each time he was shoved back or otherwise assaulted, and the raucous procession continued making its way to the riverbank.  Upon arrival at the water, Tamaschke was moved to its edge and shoved in headlong with an almighty splash.

"And stay out!" one man shouted at him, "And take the rest of your Kraut friends with you!"  The crowd roared with approval once again, and continued jeering at the now soaked German as he treaded water.  Slowly, they dispersed, and at last it was safe for the soldier to hurry forward and drag the ambassador out of the river.  All up and down the country, the German garrison had been facing similar riots.  Mobs grabbed SS men, soldiers, embassy workers, even suspected Gestapo informants, and humiliated them at best.  In some cases, there had even been lynchings.  The ambassador figured he was probably lucky in that regard.  He hadn't even been supposed to be in Piccadilly that morning in the first place; his driver had taken a wrong turn, and the situation had rapidly gotten out of hand almost immediately thereafter.

"Danke," Tamaschke muttered to the soldier now standing at his side.  The soldier nodded in acknowledgement, but said nothing.  Tamaschke sighed.  Germany, in all its righteous might, had won the war well over a decade ago, and yet here were these defeated civilians, acting as the Fatherland itself had been the loser.  Fuehrer Hitler had been exactly what the Reich had needed to lead it through that most glorious of conflicts; sure, the Speer administration had distanced itself from him and his cult of personality after his death, but he had still been Germany's savior.  Why couldn't this rabble see that?  Why couldn't any of the rabble all over Britain see that?  And to add to that the fact that the Abwehr had got wind that the Americans were somehow involved in the uprisings.

The Foreign Office in Germania would hear of this indignity... just as soon as he could get himself back to the embassy and into a fresh change of clothes.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 06:41:04 AM by Tytor »
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2021, 08:05:43 AM »
Darkest Before Dawn

Washington, DC, USA
December 27th, 1958
6:04 AM EST


"...And our sources in Berlin say that there's chatter about simply pulling German troops out of Britain altogether.  It appears to be growing too expensive to keep them there, what with the next best thing to guerrilla warfare going on in the streets of London, not to mention tacit approval coming from Buckingham Palace."

William Harding Jackson, Director of Central Intelligence, looked up from his notes.  His report, such as it was, was finished.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower nodded thoughtfully, nursing his cup of coffee.  The situation was a far cry from the way Hitler had handled the abortive Norwegian uprisings ten years earlier.  Sure, the protesters had managed to drive Quisling from Oslo temporarily, but when the Wehrmacht hammer came down in response, it came down hard.  The president sighed.

"Do we know if these reports are accurate?" he asked, wishing once again that he didn't have to be up this early.

"Not for certain, no, sir," Jackson admitted, shifting slightly, "But we are confident.  It seems too convoluted an event to be an intelligence ploy or anything like that."

"Well, see if you can't get confirmation," Eisenhower said, "I don't want to act hastily if all we're doing is getting ourselves lured into a trap.  Do the Canadians know about all this?"

"Probably, sir," Jackson replied, "This does seem like the kind of thing they'd pay attention to.  I'll check with them right away, see if they know anything we don't."

"Good man," Eisenhower said approvingly, "That's all."

As Jackson left the room, Eisenhower stared into his cup at the brown liquid within.  News from beyond the Iron Curtain was notoriously unreliable, but it really did seem out of character for the Speer regime to make something up that made Hitler's vain successor look bad.  In all likelihood, it was probably true, which meant there could be an opening for Queen Elizabeth to return.  And if that happened, then the UN might suddenly have a foothold in Europe beyond anything they could have imagined only a year ago.  And that would be far too great an opportunity to miss.  Eisenhower made up his mind; Jackson was going to be getting in touch with CBNRC's liaison officer here in Washington, but that didn't mean...

Eisenhower stood up and quickly found the nearest telephone.  "This is the president," he told the White House operator when she answered, "Get me Prime Minister Diefenbaker of Canada."
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2021, 09:19:43 AM »
National Pride

London, England, UK
31 December 1958
2:11 PM GMT


His Majesty Edward VIII, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India, gazed out one of the windows of Buckingham Palace at the busy street below.  The people outside likely couldn't see him, dreary as it was, as there were no lights on in this room.  The King was waiting, as he so often did, for word of the arrival of the German ambassador, Herr Tamaschke, who had so recently found himself a guest of the boisterous British public.  The King, the ambassador, and the prime minister were scheduled to hold a meeting, which Edward had insisted would occur at Buckingham Palace, regarding the ongoing protests, and it seemed like Tamaschke was going to be late once again.

Prime Minister Mosley was already in the building.  Edward had watched his arrival twenty minutes ago from this very room, with all the pomp and circumstance that accompanied such a visit to the royal residence.  The two had even spoken briefly shortly thereafter, but Mosley was now almost certainly holed up in the ballroom turned ad hoc conference room this meeting was bound to occupy.  Edward had not deigned to accompany the younger man.  There were very few places left in Britain where he could fully control his movements and timing, and Buckingham Palace was one; he was not about to miss an opportunity.  Besides, Mosley was an unbearably dull conversationalist.

The King looked up from the street to gaze instead at the skyline beyond it.  The reconstruction of London was making good progress now, and only a handful of obviously war-damaged buildings remained in his line of sight.  It had taken an awful long while to begin the process, courtesy of the war reparations the Reich had demanded in the Treaty of Bristol at the end of Operation Sealion, but now British construction crews seemed to be making up for lost time with gusto.  Repairs to Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral had been completed only last month, just in time for the Christmas celebrations each had missed for almost a decade and a half.

A knock on the door interrupted the King's thoughts.  "Your Majesty, Ambassador Tamaschke has arrived," a servant said from across the room.

"Show him to the conference room, and inform him that I shall be joining him and the prime minister shortly," Edward replied without turning around.

He was a little annoyed, though not at all surprised, to discover that Tamaschke had made his journey from the embassy to the palace without attracting attention.  Edward himself had not seen his arrival.  Not that it mattered, of course; Edward might be king, and Mosley might lead his government, but each man knew who really called the shots in Westminster.  Nothing happened in the United Kingdom without Tamaschke's knowledge and approval; though of course that was supposed to imply approval from Germania, Edward suspected Tamaschke often chose not to bother his superiors in the German capital with what he labeled "petty" matters.  The man was as thoroughly corrupt as any ambassador the Germans had ever sent to London, though perhaps he hid it better.  And speaking of the man himself...

"Your Majesty," Tamaschke's voice said irritably, in that persistently thick German accent of his, "I am afraid I must insist that you join Prime Minster Mosley and myself at once.  This meeting is of great importance."

It registered with Edward that the ambassador had not knocked, and he elected to react accordingly.  "Mr. Ambassador," he said, still not turning around, "While I realize you may be unaccustomed to respecting the privacy of my subjects, I feel it my duty to remind you that I am king here, not you.  This is Buckingham Palace, which is my residence, not yours.  You will return to the conference room, and I will join you shortly."

Tamaschke did not respond, but Edward watched his reflection in the window as he stood indecisively for a moment before backing out of the room and heading out of sight.  Edward sighed, and watched the people below his window for a few more minutes before finally turning to leave.  His inclusion in meetings such as this one was a mere formality, as he would have had no authority to act on the information discussed within even if the country hadn't been swarming with German soldiers.  He was merely an observer in the relaying of instructions by the ambassador to Mosley, who would carry them out like the dutiful fascist he was.  Still, that inclusion did have its perks, including the fact that they technically couldn't start until he arrived.

Mosley and Tamaschke rose to their feet as the King entered the room.  He waved irritably at them to sit as he assumed his own seat at the head of the short, rectangular table.  "Proceed, gentlemen," he said, leaning back as far as the rigid chair would allow.

"Very well, sire," Mosley said, and turning to the ambassador he continued, "What does Germania want this dreary afternoon?"

"It is simple, really," Tamaschke said, gazing at the prime minister with thinly-veiled contempt, "We want you to do your job and calm the people of this island.  Great Britain is a valuable strategic asset in Europe's struggle with the decadent capitalists of America.  It is time for the defense forces you have reformed under the terms of the Treaty of Bristol to be put to use in maintaining that advantage in pursuit of our common goals."

Edward knew that the game was up.  Among the many things Mosley was, a committed fascist was one of them.  The man would go along with Germany's instructions because he believed it to be in the best interest of British fascism, and all of Edward's efforts to preserve the British people from the worst of Nazism's excesses would be for naught.  There was no way--

"I don't think I can do that, Mr. Ambassador," Mosley said quietly.

Edward froze, not quite believing his ears.  Tamaschke looked as if he had been slapped in the face.  "What?" he spat, his accent becoming if possible even thicker than it already was, "Must I remind you of the obligations owed by your country under the terms of the Treaty of--"

Mosley cut him off smoothly.  "No, see, the treaty is no longer relevant," he said, with a dangerous note entering his still calm voice, "The British people have spoken, and their voice is clear.  The... services of your garrison are no longer needed here.  We will be happy to assist your government in undergoing a full withdrawal from the British Isles, but rest assured that any attempt to overstay your welcome will be received very poorly indeed.  In the meantime, Mr. Ambassador, this meeting is over.  I look forward to hearing from you with a definitive plan from Germania for an end to the occupation."

Tamaschke rose to his feet; he had been dismissed, which had never happened here before, and he clearly didn't know how to handle this development.  Edward and Mosley looked at him for a moment or two, and then Edward stood up, essentially requiring that Mosley do the same.

"You are excused, Mr. Ambassador," Edward said, feeling a rush of vindictive pleasure as he spoke, "You have been invited to leave."

Tamaschke cocked his head, like a dog trying to comprehend some strange sound, and gave a mirthless chuckle.  "And so I shall, Your Majesty," he said, "Rest assured that Germania will hear of this.  Good day to both of you."

And with that, the German ambassador backed out of the room and was on his way.
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2021, 09:24:58 AM »
Gunfire

Hamburg, Germany
2 March 1985
11:42 AM CET


The motorcade wound its way slowly through the streets of the Reich's largest port city.  The aging Fuehrer, Adolf Eichmann, waved to the crowd of patriotic Germans as if he hadn't a care in the world beyond basking in the warm glow of his people's adulation.  And the people practically worshipped him, or so the Party said.  Never mind that the Reich was in decline, and had been for years.  Never mind that faltering crops in the Ukraine and in Muscovy were leading to shortages and a reliance on the "decadent" West for grain.  Never mind the agitation in occupied Poland that continued unabated despite literally decades of reprisals and crackdowns.  No, never mind all that.  The German people, Eichmann's beloved "Aryans", just adored their Fuehrer.  Franz couldn't stand it.  It was... perverse.

Eichmann's limousine was still about half a block from where Franz was standing.  He caressed the Walther P5 in his coat pocket.  Only a matter of time now, and it would all be over.  The Fuehrer had the car's top down, foolishly refusing to learn from the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II not even four years ago, let alone the outright assassination of the American president, Richard Nixon, twenty years before that.  Of course, this suited Franz just fine.  He wasn't certain if his gun would have been able to shoot through a standard government limousine's side, but with the top down, that was irrelevant.

Franz thought back to the last meeting his cell of the Red Army Faction had held that night, months ago now, when the Gestapo had raided it.  He had already loathed the Nazi regime with its single party, its secret police, its thugs, and its corrupt fascist leaders.  The raid had not changed any of that.  No, it had merely made the crusade that much more personal for him.  The sound of the boots stomping through the hallway outside, the shouting of the Gestapo agents, the breaking of glass, and the screams of his friends...  The memory made him shudder even now, and he glanced behind him just in case.  Nobody was paying him the slightest attention; the whole crowd was watching the approaching Fuehrer with desperate longing.  Sycophants all.

The car drew nearer, and Franz took a deep, steadying breath.  The moment was nearly upon him.

The car drew level with him, and in one swift movement, he pulled the gun from his pocket, took aim, and fired once, twice, three times into the vehicle before bystanders realized what was happening and seized hold of him.  All was chaos, though the Fuehrer still lived in the aftermath of the gunshots that shook the world.

Franz spoke not a word as he was dragged away by Gestapo agents, nor yet as he was questioned, tortured, and questioned again.  Only when an interrogation session eight days after the shooting was interrupted by a junior officer sharing the news that Eichmann had died of a heart attack while in recovery did he finally speak, and then he said but three words.

"Es ist fertig."

It is finished.
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2021, 11:00:48 PM »
Live and Let Die

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
27 June 1973
8:51 PM EDT


The queue was moving very slowly, Laura thought somewhat miserably.  The newest James Bond movie had been talked up extensively in the Toronto Star ahead of release, so Laura and her friends had been very thoroughly hyped for it.  Sure, by all accounts Richard Starkey was no Sean Connery, but for heaven's sake, he was a native son - a Canadian!  And if the press photos were to be believed, he was gorgeous.  There were even rumors that Martin Bormann, the German Fuehrer, had arranged a covert showing for himself, despite the fact that the film (like most Western media) was banned across most of continental Europe, though Laura wasn't sure how much to believe that.

"Can this line take any longer?"

Laura glanced over at Sally, her roommate and companion in this moviegoing excursion, who had just said what Laura was thinking.  Laura grinned.  "Probably," she said, "I mean, we're only, what, one time around the building away from the ticket counter?  Could be worse."

"Sure," Sally said, sounding unconvinced, "But I want to be in the theater now."

"You and me both," Laura shot back, "Doesn't change the fact that we got here too late to be inside already."

"I suppose," Sally said slowly.

"In fact," Laura went on good-naturedly, "Maybe if somebody hadn't needed to take so much time on her hair, we'd have arrived earlier."

"Shut up," Sally laughed, "You spent at least ten minutes trying to decide which pair of shoes to wear yourself!"

With that, the pair of them started laughing uncontrollably.  The laughter lasted a minute or two, as the line continued inching its way toward the front of the cinema.

"Oh, I just remembered!" Laura said suddenly, "Did you see the Star yesterday?"

"No, I didn't," Sally answered, "Why?"

"There was something in there about the Watergate hearings in the States," Laura elaborated, "Something about someone in the Kennedy administration testifying.  Oh, what was his name?  Temple, I think.  Larry Temple.  An attorney for the president or something like that."

"Yeah?" Sally said, "What about him?"

"Well, the article I read claims that he was involved in the coverup the US Congress is investigating," Laura said, "It's like he's an important advisor to JFK who's turned tattletale for the prosecution.  You know, for a reduced sentence or something."

"Really?" Sally said, "Huh.  So there's something to it after all?  I thought this was just the other side not liking his policies or something.  I mean, the Republicans didn't really like his trip to Italy last year, did they?"

"Trudeau didn't like it much either, remember," Laura said, "What was it he called it?  'Shamelessly kowtowing to Mussolini', or something like that?"

"Oh, it's been too long," Sally said, grimacing, "But that sounds like him.  I mean, I appreciate how anti-fascist he is - it's a large part of why I voted for him last year - but surely the fact that Mussolini's distancing himself from Germany means that we can potentially get him on our side, right?"

"I dunno," Laura said, "Maybe."

The pair lapsed into silence for a few more minutes until they passed a poster for American Graffiti, and then they spent the rest of the wait chatting happily about film, Ron Howard, and other aspects of culture in 1973 Canada.
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2021, 09:27:56 AM »
Winds of Change?

New York City, New York, USA
August 19th, 1991
7:30 AM EDT






MOCK IS OUSTED IN AN APPARENT COUP BY GERMAN ARMED FORCES AND NAZI HARD-LINERS; ACCUSED OF STEERING INTO A 'BLIND ALLEY'

By Francis X. Clines

BERLIN, Monday, Aug. 19 -- Alois Mock was apparently ousted from power today by military and Gestapo authorities while he was on vacation in the Austrian Alps.

The announcement by "the German leadership" came as Herr Mock was about to proceed into a new era of liberalization for the Reich's citizenry.

The sudden announcement this morning stunned the nation and left it groping for information as Reich officials declared a state of emergency.

Coup Had Been Predicted

The apparent removal of Herr Mock, six years into his "Wiederaufbau" reform program, came three days after his former confidant and reform adviser, Alfred Dregger, left the Nazi Party, warning of a coming coup d'etat.

The German news agency DNB cited Herr Mock's "inability for health reasons" to perform his duties as Fuehrer.

Deputy Fuehrer Gerhard Stoltenberg was assuming presidential powers under a new entity called a State Committee for the State of Emergency. Its members include Theodor Dannecker, chief of the Gestapo, and Rupert Scholz, the Defense Minister.

'A Mortal Danger'

The shocking announcement said the committee, in assuming powers, had found that "a mortal danger had come to loom large" in the nation and that Herr Mock's reform program has gone into a "blind alley."

The committee contended the reforms had caused "extremist forces" to threaten the nation and leave it "just a step from mass manifestations of spontaneous discontent."

The scene on the streets of Berlin was calm at the hour of 6 A.M. when the announcement was made. Later in the morning, as the city approached a new work week, Berliners heading downtown could see 10 armored personnel carriers moving a few miles north of Wilhelmplatz toward the Reich Chancellery. But there were no crowds or other signs of public reaction.

In fact, the public has been noticeably calm, even passive, in recent weeks as Herr Mock and the state and Gau leaders prepared fresh plans to speed the nation to greater constitutional and democratic reforms.

Shades of Cold War

The emergency committee's announcement contended that increasing domestic instability in the Third Reich was "undercutting its position in the world."

"We are a peace-loving nation and will unfailingly honor all assumed commitments," the emergency committee declared. "Any attempts at talking to our country in the language of diktat, no matter by whom, will be decisively cut short," the committee added in language reminiscent of the Cold War.

The DNB announcement insisted the state of emergency would be "temporary."

It said that Herr Stoltenberg stated that "all power in the country" had been transferred to the committee.

No Renunciation of Course

Reich leadership announcements said that Herr Stoltenberg issued a statement vowing that "in no way" did the removal of Herr Mock mean "renunciation of the course towards profound reform" in German life.

However, the shift in power to central party authorities came after days of complaint from central government authorities over what was to have been a new phase in Herr Mock's democratization program. On Tuesday, the leaders of the nation's 20 states were scheduled to begin signing a new federalization treaty to shift considerable power away from the central government and into the states.

Party authorities, including Kurt Biedenkopf, criticized the text of the federalization treaty, citing "how dangerous" the draft treaty could prove unless if were further amended.

Herr Mock was last seen two weeks ago, shortly after his meeting with President Cuomo at the start of his vacation.

Herr Dregger, the former colleague and strategist, said in his announcement Friday that while the party was losing influence, it was still making "preparations for social revenge, a party and state coup."

Trappings of the Past

Today's announcement, made through the traditional means of the government-controlled news media, stunned the German public. It signaled that an attempt was being made to bring under heel Herr Mock's historic series of democratization reforms.

The occasion was eerie with the trappings of past party intrigues: classical music flooding the airwaves, interrupted by periodic readings by a monotoned announcer of the attempted change in power.

In the first hours following the emergency announcement, armed guards outside the state broadcasting studio here were denying entry to news professionals working at Radio Deutschland, one of the new Offenheit-era independent news-gathering outlets.

This indicated that the government committee that announced emergency powers might try and curtail independent information and open debate about their move.

There was no immediate means of estimating the chances of success of the party hard-liners' move to re-solidify central powers. The largest open question was whether the states, so intent lately on gaining greater self-rule, might resist in some fashion.

Minister-President Helmut Kohl of the Prussian state was certain to be highly critical opposed in his role as the populist leader of the political opposition.

No immediate comment was available from Herr Kohl, who had led the latest compromise agreement with Herr Mock to further democratize the nation.

No details were offered on Herr Mock's alleged failing health, nor was there any comment permitted in government-controlled press accounts from the democratic opposition groups that had taken root in the past two years.

Beyond Fuehrer Mock, the announcement was a particular blow to the leaders of the states who have been intent on securing greater local authority from the central government through the pending federalization treaty.

Chief among these was Herr Kohl, an avid supporter of the federalization treaty who had warned last weekend that the current "archaic" party-dominated government in Berlin had to be removed if the treaty were to succeed or else the party would "continue to crush us."

Fuehrer Mock had thought to appease hard-liners last winter by retreating somewhat from his reform agenda and turning back toward traditional central controls to deal with the nation's economic and political crisis.

With the crisis only deepening, however, he cast himself more fully with the reformers last April and reached a sweeping compromise to share the nation's powers more fully with the sovereignty-hungry states. He thereby indicated his resolve to try and rebuff the hard liners and diminish the Nazi Party's still dominant authority through fresh constitutional reform.

Some of his own cabinet ministers, most notably Chancellor Bernhard Vogel, was strongly resistant and complaining about the alleged dangers to the nation presented by the union treaty's program for decentralizing party authority.





(OOC: Credit is due to both Francis X. Clines and The New York Times for the original article, which I have adapted under the principles of fair use.)
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2021, 06:29:20 PM »
Ring of Fire

Germania, Freistaat Preussen, Germany
13 June 1975
4:19 AM CEST


Karl hid in the shadows behind a phone booth as the Kripo patrol passed by, the flat parcel hidden carefully under his overcoat.  There wasn't technically a curfew, but even so, Karl still didn't want to bump into the police, especially not this early in the morning.  It was a good thing this particular job was a well-paid one, or he would have turned it down flat for the sheer danger of infiltrating the very capital of the Reich.  Sure, smuggling was already dangerous in port cities like Bremen or Hamburg, but Germania was a whole other story entirely.  If he was caught, Karl fully expected to be treated like a foreign spy, even though he could prove that he'd been born in Leipzig.

The Kripo officers disappeared around the corner, and Karl emerged from his hiding place.  In the heat of the moment, he had forgotten exactly where he was.  Germania was a big city, and not one he was intimately familiar with.  No street signs were immediately forthcoming, so he set off in the direction he had been traveling when the Kripo goons had appeared.  After a little while, Karl found himself walking past the Volksbad Germania - the Germania People's Pool, the huge public swimming pool built in the unfinished foundation of Hitler's long-since-canceled Volkshalle.  Good, then he knew where he was.  He sped up.  It should only be a few more blocks, and then... ah, there it was.  The Reich Chancellery, right where it was supposed to be.

Karl gave the front of the building a wide berth, as he had no need for the guards and security cameras to see him.  But... there was an alley off to the left that would get him around back, where his instructions said he needed to go.  He checked his watch; good, he was practically right on time.  He crept around the building, keeping to the shadows as much as possible.  No spotlights wheeled around in his direction, no voices shouted out challenges.  He got to the designated door in the back of the building without trouble, and knocked quietly.  After a moment's wait, he heard the sound of a bolt being turned, and the door opened a crack.  A shaft of light poured into the alleyway, illuminating Karl so thoroughly that he couldn't have escaped detection if he'd wanted to.  There was a man he didn't recognize on the other side of the door.

"Sie sind Karl Heidrich?" the man demanded, somewhat harshly.

"Ja," Karl replied, nodding once.

"Hast du das paket?" the man asked, a little less harshly.

"Ja, ich habe es hier," Karl answered, patting his coat where the package was concealed.

There was a pause.  Then the door closed, a chain rattled, and the door was flung open again.  "Komm rein," the strange man said, waving Karl over the threshold.

The door led into a small room that looked like a pantry of sorts, but Karl didn't have much time to take in his surroundings.  The strange man beckoned him forward, and the two of them left the room and headed upstairs.  It took Karl a few moments to fully grasp the fact that he was inside the Chancellery, and by then they had begun climbing a flight of stairs to the second floor.  Karl was too busy taking in the sights to notice where they were heading, and so almost walked into the other man when he stopped in front of a particular door.  The other man knocked and entered, and Karl followed automatically.  Then he realized that he had just walked into the Führer's office.

Martin Bormann, Führer und Reichskanzler of the Greater German Reich, was sitting behind his desk, doing paperwork.  The older man looked up expectantly when the pair entered his office, and Karl suddenly found himself completely lost for words.

"Ah," Bormann said, standing up quickly and rounding the desk, ignoring his visitors' salutes, "Du hast was für mich."  It was a statement, not a question, so Karl did not answer.  "Ist es nicht so?" Bormann prompted.

Karl nodded mutely, then put one hand into his coat to withdraw the package.  He hadn't realized that his package was for the Führer.  For that matter, Karl didn't even know what the package was.  Bormann reached out and took it from him.  The older man ripped the package open with an almost eager look on his face, and pulled out... a phonograph record.  Karl was nonplussed.  The Fuehrer turned and fiddled with a record player in a back corner of the office.  Karl half expected some secret code or other, but what came from the phonograph was clearly the sound of... trumpets?  Trumpets, yes, and other musical instruments, and as it dawned on Karl that he had been smuggling not state secrets or some other sort of sensitive information, but rather banned Western music, a deep voice began issuing forth from the phonograph as well.

"Love... is a burning thing... And it makes... a fiery ring.  Bound... by wild desire... I fell into a ring of fire..."





OOC note: My apologies to any native German speakers if the German spoken in this post is mangled beyond belief; if it is, you can blame Google Translate for that.  Listed below is the intended translation of each line:

Unidentified man: "You are Karl Heidrich?"

Karl: "Yes."

Unidentified man: "Do you have the package?"

Karl: "Yes, I have it here."

Unidentified man: "Get inside."

Bormann: "Ah, you have something for me."

Bormann again: "Is it not so?"

As an additional note, the song that begins at the end of the story is Johnny Cash's 1963 rendition of Ring of Fire, which can be listened to here.
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2022, 06:38:09 AM »
Bulldog of the Lord

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
April 6, 1963
11:55 AM, MST


"...And so, my beloved brothers and sisters, I repeat once again my conviction that national socialism and other forms of fascist doctrine must be resisted in those parts of the world that yet remain outside the grasp of the heirs of Hitler and his ilk.  To those within Nazi-controlled Europe, I say, keep the faith and be of good courage, for the Lord will, in His own due time, bring down any who oppress His children in these latter days.  Of this I bear a most solemn testimony, in the most sacred name of our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ.  Amen."

A murmured "Amen" rose in response from the congregation in the Tabernacle as Elder Spencer W. Kimball concluded his remarks.  Elder Kimball's topic came as no surprise to Dale, seated about seven rows back from the pulpit; he'd heard the same message repeated in General Conference many times before.  Elder Kimball had been sent to the United Kingdom after its revolt against fascism in 1959, in order to visit with and minister to the faithful Saints there.  When he'd returned, he had had absolutely nothing good to say about fascism, and seemed to have made it his mission in life to tell as many people as possible about its evils.  Dale wasn't complaining, mind; he too had had occasion to visit Europe, and it wasn't a pretty sight, even now.

"You know how they say that Brigham Young was 'the lion of the Lord'?" he whispered to his wife, Betty, as the choir rose from their seats for the Saturday morning session's closing hymn.

"Yes, I do," Betty whispered back, "Why?"

"Well, I figure that if Brigham was the lion of the Lord, then Spencer W. Kimball is His bulldog."

Betty looked at him sharply.  "How do you mean?"

"Well, I've been thinking about it.  You know the Fredericksens, down the street?  And their dog, Jeeves?"

"Of course."

"Well, Jeeves is a bulldog, right?  And he's the sweetest animal you ever did meet, right up until you threaten someone he loves - or at least make him think you're threatening them.  And then he'll sink his teeth into you and by golly, he won't let go for any reason until the threat's been removed."

"Why, have you tested this out?"

Dale laughed.  "No, not me personally.  But you remember that break-in the Fredericksens had a couple years back?  When the cops got there, they were greeted by Jeeves, still holding on to what looked like half the burglar's trousers.  Anyway, my point is that I think Elder Kimball's the same way with the Nazis.  He loves the people of Europe, Saints and nonmembers alike, and darned if he hasn't decided to take a huge chunk out of the rear of the folks who're threatening them."

Now Betty was laughing too.  "I see your point, Dale," she whispered, "Now shush, I think it's about time for the closing prayer."
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2022, 05:56:52 PM »
Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

Germania, Friestaat Preussen, Germany
25 December 1991
6:49 PM CET


Alois Mock gazed out the window of his office in the Reich Chancellery as the snow fell thick and fast.  The fact that it was Christmas Day scarcely registered with him, even as he listened to a long, obviously memorized speech from Helmut Kohl, Minister-President of the Free State of Prussia.  The Reich was coming down; that much was certain.  In fact, Mock intended to formally resign as Fuehrer before the night was over, though that was technically a formality.

In the months since Kohl had played such a large part in foiling the August Coup, Mock had found his own power rapidly declining.  Kohl was determined to have his way, after all.  Initially, he'd been content to follow along with Mock's New Reich proposal, federating the German states into a union not dissimilar to the United States, but that had changed.  As of this morning, only Bavaria and Hamburg had not yet formally declared independence from the Third Reich - even Prussia herself had announced her intention to split from Germany, leaving the Chancellery a lone, dismal island of old Nazi "grandeur", surrounded by a bustling modern city that no longer cared for such things.

Mock thought back on his six years in power, since the death of his short-lived predecessor, Adolf Eichmann.  He'd tried so hard to reform German society with his programs of Offenheit and Wiederaufbau.  It wasn't supposed to end this way at all.  Openness and restructuring were supposed to bring the Reich together, to forge it anew and further recover from the dangerous stagnation that marked the Bormann years, not to end the dream of German unity which Bismarck had made reality well over a century ago.

Ah, Bismarck.  Mock wished the Iron Chancellor could see him now, presiding over the final end of Germany as one country.  It was fitting, perhaps, that the one to formally end the dream was an Austrian, after all the issues Bismarck himself had had with the Habsburg empire.

With a start, Mock realized that Kohl was wrapping up.  What would Kohl do with an independent Prussia?  It was clear he intended to claim the Reich's place as a permanent member of the League of Nations Security Council, and he likely also intended to assert control over Germany's outdated nuclear arsenal.  How would he address territorial claims by the Poles and the Czechs?  Oh, the Czechs had more issues than just Prussia, but they were bound to try to get the Sudetenland back, after all was said and done.

Whatever Kohl intended, and however he planned to address the challenges ahead for his newly independent country, his speech was about done.  Mock was scheduled to appear on... well, German national TV in only a half hour or so.  He would announce his resignation as Fuehrer, and leave what was left of the Reichstag to formally disband the Reich.  A vote to that effect was already scheduled for tomorrow.  As Mock began gathering himself in preparation for his address, he found himself longing for Euratsfeld, the Austrian town of his birth, and he could almost hear the words of T. S. Eliot, as shared with him by former US President Schweiker on one occasion:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends...
« Last Edit: February 05, 2022, 07:14:09 PM by Tytor »
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2022, 05:42:31 AM »
The World Turned Upside Down

Washington, DC, USA
August 7, 1974
8:44 PM EDT


President John F. Kennedy stared at the three men standing in front of him in the Oval Office.  So that was it.  The gig was up.  Carl Albert, the House Minority Leader, looked grim.  Mike Mansfield, the Senate Majority Leader, was shaking his head.  Senator Mansfield had just got through telling the president that he did not have the votes to prevent a conviction in an impeachment trial.  The Republicans were furious, of course, but this... this was ridiculous.  The Democratic Party controlled the Senate, for goodness' sake!  What good was controlling the Senate if the party couldn't even keep its own senators in line?

The third congressman in the room still hadn't said anything, but Kennedy knew why he was there.  Senator Lyndon Johnson might be getting old, and he might not be the Democratic caucus leader anymore, but he was widely respected in Congress as a man who could get things done.  Even now, at the age of 65, the man had an undeniable presence in the room.  The Johnson Treatment was legendary; if he couldn't stop this from happening, perhaps nobody could.

"Well," Kennedy said at last, "I guess this means I'm pretty much screwed."

"Yes, Mr. President," Albert replied, "I'd say you are."

"Isn't there anything you folks can do?" Kennedy pressed, not really wanting to accept this.

Mansfield started to respond, but Johnson broke his silence at last and cut across him.  "President Kennedy," he drawled slowly, "If I thought there was any way to save your presidency, I wouldn't have agreed to come along.  And there is no way.  These two can't stop it, and I can't stop it.  If you're determined to stick this out, we can have the impeachment fight, but you'll lose, and you'll damage far more than your own reputation in the process.  So go ahead and fight it, but remember this.  If you do, I'll be voting in favor of conviction too."

President Kennedy slumped back in his chair, defeated.  He gazed at Johnson, his last hope in the world, the only person who could possibly prevent his administration from going down in flames.  It was over.  It was most definitely over.  Not even Johnson was willing to stick by his president.  "Well, gentlemen," he said, "What should I do, then?"

"Resign," Johnson said simply.

"Step down from the presidency," Mansfield put in, "Let McCarthy take the oath of office, and hope he pardons you.  We can put this whole business behind us and let it blow over, but first you need to leave."

"Mr. President," Albert said kindly, "This is for the good of the country.  The longer you stay in office, the further divided Americans will become.  I'm sorry, but you're going to have to go."

"And what if I don't care?" Kennedy demanded mutinously, "I can swear I didn't do anything actually illegal."

"Nobody believes that," Johnson reminded him, "Not even you.  You'll be impeached and removed, and McCarthy will become president anyway.  You'll simply destroy the Democratic Party in the process, and you'll probably go to prison."

Kennedy sighed.  There really was no other way out, was there?  "Fine," he said, "You win.  I'll resign.  I'll announce it tomorrow, and leave office on Friday."

The three Democratic congressmen nodded, and began filing out.

"Lyndon," Kennedy called after the elder statesman's retreating back, "Where did it all go wrong?"

Johnson turned back to the crumpled-looking man behind the Resolute Desk, a hard anger in his eyes.  "Mr. President," he said, "It all went wrong the moment you got yourself caught with your hand in the cookie jar."

And with that, the tall, brash Texan turned on his heel and left the room.
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2022, 07:58:22 AM »
Quagmire

Touggourt, Algeria
15 January 1968
10:44 AM CET


It was overcast, which, for a small city deep in the Sahara, was fairly unusual.  Less so, perhaps, was the sound of gunfire growing ever closer.  Jens stared bleakly out of his rudimentary cover, which had, once upon a time, been a market stall.  Though the carpet merchant had long since been chased off, his wares were still scattered across the square.  This was a fine way to start a tour of duty, Jens thought, pinned down by partisans thousands of kilometers from home.  The partisans weren't the worst of it either.  Based on the way regular people here treated him, you'd think Jens had personally killed their favorite camel.

If he was honest with himself, Jens supposed it wasn't really all that surprising.  Here he was, a foreigner in their country, propping up a minority government that nobody liked (well, aside from the Pied-Noirs, but they were the minority in question).  Worse, he was a German, and evidently everyone knew all Germans considered non-Aryans subhuman.  Jens was too young to have been directly influenced by that particular part of Nazi philosophy, which had been largely trimmed out of the Party's rhetoric after Hitler died.  Still, it wasn't like he wasn't aware of it, as silly as it seemed now.

Next to Jens behind the makeshift bunker was Oberleutnant Goebbels, who was serving his third tour in Algeria.  He was the son of some major Party leader who had fallen out of favor after Hitler's death, but you wouldn't have guessed based on Goebbels' demeanor.  The man was generally pretty quiet, almost as if he was just another shell-shocked veteran, but rumor had it that he'd always been that way.  Still, if you could get through his outer shell, Goebbels was as talkative and friendly as anyone.

"Looks like rain, sir," Jens commented, in German.  The soldiers under Goebbels' command had been practicing Arabic, the local tongue, but the OKH had passed down orders only the previous week banning such "extracurricular activities".  Perhaps some hint of the old Aryan supremacist theories still lurked in high command.

"Ja, it does at that," Goebbels replied, "Ironic, wouldn't you say?"

"My first time out in the real desert, and it rains on me," Jens chuckled, "Yes, definitely ironic."

Silence fell for a moment, and then more gunfire broke out.  A couple of stray bullets struck the stall, and Jens ducked momentarily before returning fire down the street.  He didn't hit anything, but the fighters he was aiming at were forced back under cover.  Then, all of a sudden, there was a flash of fire from the partisans, and a split second later, Goebbels was shouting and pulling Jens down.  A loud explosion, and then... darkness.

When Jens came to, it was to hear a medic he didn't recognize yelling at him, demanding to know if he was all right.  Dazed, Jens nodded weakly and looked around.  The overturned stall was unrecognizable, charred, and shattered into splinters.  Pieces of broken wood were scattered everywhere.  Jens realized, almost as an afterthought, that he couldn't move his left arm, and he looked at it.  It was bent unnaturally outward, and he decided it must be broken.

Glancing around with a bit more purpose, Jens saw a body draped in a white cloth not far from him.  The medic noticed the direction of his gaze.  "The Oberleutnant did not make it," he said gruffly.

"B-but... how?" Jens stammered.

"You blind, kid?" the medic laughed, "Your position got hit by an RPG.  Huge, jagged splinters everywhere.  It's a miracle you didn't snuff it too.  Heck, we found the Oberleutnant's body on top of you, so I suppose you have him to thank."

Jens stared once more at Goebbels' body.  So that was it.  The unassumingly quiet man had given his life to save Jens.  Jens had to blink back tears at the thought.  "What happened with the rest of the firefight?" he asked, trying to distract himself from the pain welling up inside him.  Surely they'd won, if there were medics here now.

"Oh, it was hit-and-run," the medic said, nonchalantly, "By the time my group got here, the rebels had gone.  Faded back into the city's population, probably."

It began to rain lightly.  Jens had been wrong; they hadn't won.  They'd simply not lost.  If anything, that made the loss of Oberleutnant Goebbels worse, because his death was, aside from Jens's survival, entirely in vain.  Jens couldn't hold back any longer, and tears began streaming down his face in earnest.

This was such a stupid war.
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2022, 07:28:36 AM »
The Winter of Our Discontent

Tokyo, Japan
1965 February 13
2:19 PM JST


General Kuribayashi Tadamichi listened to the elderly Prime Minister of Japan as he went on yet another rant about the Germans and their evil desire for world domination.  Honestly, he'd heard the same rant on at least a dozen prior occasions, usually at briefings for the Emperor like this one.  Tojo Hideki had been Prime Minister on and off for twenty four years, including for almost all of the Pacific War with the United States, but he was eighty years old now, and it showed.  There were rumors in the General Staff Office that Tojo was becoming senile; Kuribayashi didn't exactly encourage the rumors, but he did more or less agree with them.  Secretly, of course.

His Majesty the Emperor sat quietly at the head of the table, looking for all the world like a man who was totally engrossed in Tojo's rambling impromptu speech (or, at least, as impromptu as a speech written out on several pages got), but Kuribayashi knew the Emperor had heard it all far more often than he himself.  Kuribayashi was the Chief of the Army General Staff, as he'd been since Tojo named him to that post in 1962 (something the Prime Minister had been able to do since the enactment of 1951's Military Control Law), but naturally Tojo had been around much longer.

Kuribayashi glanced at the admirals sitting on the other side of the table - Nagumo Chuichi, the Navy Minister; Mikawa Gunichi, the Chief of Naval Operations; and the venerable Yamamoto Isoroku, the Chief of the Navy General Staff - and realized with a start that the emperor was the youngest man in the room.  Kuribayashi himself was in his sixties, and yet was the youngest officer present.  Because Tojo was concurrently serving as Army Minister, General Ushijima Mitsuru, the Chief of Army Operations, was the only member of the General Headquarters not present - the man was home sick with the flu - but he wasn't exactly young either.  No, Tojo evidently wasn't looking for young talent; he was carefully crafting a gerentocracy centered on the so-called "heroes" of the Second World War.

As Kuribayashi completed this analysis, Tojo finished a sentence, and Admiral Nagumo spoke up.  "Mr. Prime Minister," he said slowly, "Excuse me, but I distinctly remember this speech.  I do believe you delivered it to this council just last week."  Tojo bristled, but Nagumo wasn't finished.  "In fact," he continued, "According to my notes, I believe the next line is, 'With the incessant danger presented by the German dogs, it is imperative that we continue to bolster our nuclear arsenal.  There is otherwise nothing to stop the villains in Germany from wiping Japan from the face of the globe.'  It was a powerful line last week, but I fear it will seem rather repetitive today."

Tojo glared at Nagumo, but then put down his speech, which was something.  "I shall conclude my remarks, then," he said, a note of forced calm in his voice, "This is a dangerous world, and the Japanese people must-"

The Emperor abruptly stood up, and Tojo shut up at once.  The other officers present rose to their feet as well, aside from Nagumo, who was wheelchair-bound.  "We are thirsty," His Majesty said softly, "This meeting shall have a fifteen minute recess, beginning now."  And with that, the Emperor left the room.

Tojo stood stock still, looking as if he'd been slapped.  Nagumo and Mikawa resumed a conversation they had been engaged in when the meeting started twenty minutes earlier.  Yamamoto met Kuribayashi's gaze, and nodded slightly at the door the Emperor had just used.  Kuribayashi's eyes widened despite himself, and he nodded slowly in acknowledgement.  Yamamoto strolled out of the room, and Kuribayashi followed.  Once in the hall outside the council room, Yamamoto turned to face the younger general.  Kuribayashi bowed in deference to his elder.

"Oh, stand up, General," the admiral said impatiently.  Kuribayashi straightened immediately.  "We likely do not have much time, so I will make this quick," Yamamoto continued, that same note of impatience remaining in his voice, "Tojo is endangering not just the Empire, but the world, with his rhetoric and his aggressive behavior.  Surely you have noticed this."

Kuriyabashi said nothing.  He wondered if Yamamoto, hero of Pearl Harbor, Midway, and the Coral Sea, was saying what he thought he was saying.

"He must be removed," the admiral went on, a touch of desperation joining the impatience in his tone, "He will become suspicious at our collective absence, so we will say nothing more at present.  I will find you after; do not go too far."

"How do I know this is not just a ploy to expose disloyal officers?" Kuribayashi asked, breaking his silence at last, hardly able to believe his ears.

Yamamoto's eyes flashed dangerously.  "I have heard rumors that you are trustworthy," he said, "That you are discontented with the present regime.  If this is not true, I promise that I will deny anything you say about this discussion, and because I have seniority, you will not be believed."

"I merely wanted assurance that I was not walking into a trap," Kuribayashi said steadily, "I feel my concerns have now been addressed.  Perhaps we-"

He broke off suddenly as the Emperor appeared around the corner at the end of the hall.  The two senior military officers bowed deeply, but His Majesty merely gestured at the door into the conference room.  Kuribayashi and Yamamoto glanced at each other.  This would have to wait, then, until after the meeting concluded.  There was nothing else for it.
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

  • Roleplay Manager
  • Regional Power
  • ***
  • Posts: 409
  • All the world's a stage...
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Tytor
Re: For Want of a Nail
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2022, 04:04:59 AM »
One False Step

Tokyo, Japan
1965 February 20
1:54 PM JST


General Kuribayashi took a deep breath to steady his nerves.  It was almost amusing, really, how much he felt like a disobedient schoolboy waiting for his father to return home.  The feeling wasn't going away, though, so he took another breath and walked into the meeting.  The Emperor hadn't yet arrived, so most of the attending officers and their staff were huddled in a few small groups in different parts of the room, chatting about fairly regular, everyday stuff.  Only Tojo himself was alone, seated in his usual place to the right of the Emperor's seat.  Kuribayashi spotted General Ushijima, evidently over his flu, engaged in an animated discussion with Admiral Mikawa; and Admiral Nagumo, off in one corner of the room, sullenly listening to something being whispered to him by an aide.

However, he did not see Admiral Yamamoto.

This surprised him somewhat, because the Chief of the Navy General Staff was usually the first or second person to arrive to these meetings, often alongside Admiral Nagumo.  But he wasn't present.  Kuribayashi thought back to the discussions the two of them had had over the past week.  He'd seen the old admiral just last night at his residence, and they'd confirmed their plans for today.  His curiosity and apprehension got the better of him, and he walked over to Admiral Nagumo's corner.  Nagumo's aide straightened at once and offered Kuribayashi a bow as he approached, which served the convenient purpose of alerting the partially paralyzed Navy Minister of his presence.

"Sir," Kuribayashi murmured, offering Nagumo a bow of his own, "I was wondering if you had heard from Admiral Yamamoto today.  He is normally here by now, is he not?"

A brief flicker of emotion crossed Nagumo's face before he responded.  "You have not heard, then?" he queried solemnly, "Admiral Yamamoto experienced a fatal heart attack early this morning.  The Prime Minister plans to issue a public statement honoring his memory after the meeting is over."

Kuribayashi felt the bottom drop out of his stomach.  Yamamoto, dead?  And on the very morning... no, he must not let his determination waver.  Yamamoto had made that very clear.  But without him, how...?

Some of what Kuribayashi was thinking must have shown on his face, because Nagumo reached out a fatherly hand and patted his arm.  "We all miss him," Nagumo said quietly, "Some of us more than others, admittedly," he went on, with a glance at the now obviously arguing Mikawa and Ushijima, "He was a national hero, and I imagine the people will mourn along with us."

Kuribayashi shook his head experimentally, trying to clear it.  This changed everything.  Or... did it?  It certainly explained the greater than usual number of staff, and Kuribayahi now spotted Admiral Ito Seiichi in the back of the room.  Was he to be Yamamoto's successor, on the very day he died?  But he didn't say any of this.  "This is sad news," he said instead, "It also comes as something of a shock to me; I spoke to him just yesterday."

"As did I," Nagumo said, nodding, "I too was surprised by the suddenness of his passing.  But there is nothing we can do to change the dictates of death."

"Too true," Kuribayashi said, nodding in his turn, and then fell silent.  A moment later, the door at the far side of the room opened, and the Emperor walked in.  Tojo stood at once, and the other senior officers moved to their positions around the table.

Kuriyabashi glanced at the Emperor's face, looking for some sign of his feelings, but his expression was impassive.  The Emperor seated himself, and all of the officers followed suit, aside from Nagumo, by virtue of his wheelchair, and Tojo, who remained standing.  And so one more weekly meeting of the General Headquarters began.  Sure enough, Ito was present as Tojo's choice to replace Yamamoto, who had been "taken from us in the very peak of his honor".  Kuribayashi wasn't quite sure what that was supposed to mean, but it certainly sounded impressive.

Of course, if his discussions with the man over the past week were any guide, it was also untrue.

Kuriyabashi waited until Tojo launched into yet another rant against Germany, then guestured surreptitiously behind his back, giving his prearranged signal.  He felt rather than heard his aide, Colonel Takeda Goro, leave his place along the wall behind him, and leave the room.  He met Nagumo's gaze just in time to catch a fleeting look of dawning comprehension, which the Hero of Midway quickly suppressed.  Kuribayashi knew that now was the time, especially if Nagumo suspected something, and stood up before his own self-doubts could stop him.

"...And that is why-" Tojo broke off suddenly, mid-sentence, and stared at Kuribayashi.  "What are you doing, General?" he demanded harshly, evidently still seething from Nagumo's interruption the previous meeting.

Confident that he had the attention of everyone in the room, Kuribayashi locked eyes with the irate Tojo.  "Mr. Prime Minister," he said, loudly and clearly, as the door Colonel Takeda had left through opened and soldiers began filing in, "Your plans, your aggression, and your constant paranoia have brought this proud country to the brink of ruin.  We spend far too much of Japan's wealth on your foreign adventures, decades after the end of the Greater East Asia War, and with little to show for it in terms of solid results."

"How dare-" Tojo began, but Kuribayashi cut smoothly across him.

"How many more Japanese youths must die in pursuit of unattainable glory for your empire-building experiment before you are satisfied?" Kuribayashi continued, "Enough is enough.  You have betrayed our nation's values, and His Majesty's trust.  You are no longer fit to lead Japan, and so it is my duty to relieve you from the responsibility of your office.  To put it plainly, this is a coup."

There was immediate uproar in the conference room.  The Emperor looked on with what seemed to be mild interest.  Tojo spluttered incoherently, and Mikawa, Ito, and Ushijima sat stock-still in shock.  The assembled aides and staff officers began shouting and struggling against the soldiers Kuribayashi had brought along to restrain them, obviously except for those loyal to himself and the late Yamamoto.  And still the Emperor watched dispassionately, which was a problem, because without Imperial assent, Kuribayashi's coup would fail the moment he left the room.

But Nagumo tore Kuribayashi's attention away from the Emperor by smiling and raising his left hand.  At his guesture, his aides and staff fell silent in evident confusion, and suddenly Kuribayashi understood.  Yamamoto must have recruited him too.  Quite abruptly, the balance of power was shifting away from Tojo.  Ito turned in his seat toward the few of his own staffers that he had brought with him and silenced them with a look.  Gradually, the din in the room ended, and all eyes turned toward the Emperor.  For his part, the Emperor locked his gaze with Kuribayashi's, and and just looked at him for what seemed like an eternity.

Then he nodded once.

And with that simple motion, the entire course of Japanese history changed.

Tojo stood silently for a moment, and then collapsed into his chair, looking for all the world like an ancient and broken man.  Mikawa and Ushijima stared at the Emperor, evidently unable to believe what had just happened.  Ito wore an expression of relief, evidently in response to his split-second decision being validated.  Nagumo grinned vindictively at Tojo.  And Kuribayashi set to work transitioning Japan finally into the post-Tojo era.  It was going to be a long day, and there would be many more even longer days ahead, but the deed was done.

Japan would see morning once more.
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

Factbook -- News -- Press Office

Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
Former Ambassador to Albion and the Global Right Alliance
Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
Professional Procrastinator

Non-partisan and proud of it

"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire