Author Topic: For Want of a Nail  (Read 281 times)

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Offline Tytor

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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
Darkest Before Dawn
National Pride
Gunfire
Live and Let Die
Winds of Change?
« Last Edit: August 22, 2021, 09:28:41 AM by Tytor »
His Majesty Michael the First, by the Grace of God, King of Tytor and her Colonies, and Lord Protector of Floodwater

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Offline Tytor

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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

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Offline Tytor

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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

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Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
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"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

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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

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Former Governor-General of The Infinite Alliance
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Former Vice Premier and Speaker of the Senate of the Independent Order
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Offline Tytor

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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

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"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire

Offline Tytor

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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

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Offline Tytor

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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