The Gathering Storm, Redux - Gameplay Thread (WW2 - Early 1940)
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  The Gathering Storm, Redux - Gameplay Thread (WW2 - Early 1940)
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Author Topic: The Gathering Storm, Redux - Gameplay Thread (WW2 - Early 1940)  (Read 21895 times)
President Spiral
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« Reply #250 on: August 30, 2022, 11:14:27 PM »

The Republic of Turkey will be sending a delegation to the Berlin Olympics. President Atatürk will not be attending in-person, although Prime Minister Ismet Inonu shall take his place in leading the Turkish delegation at the ceremony. Atatürk communicated to Olympic players prior to the event that "the rich Turkish spirit lives in each and every one of you, and this will shine through in Berlin this year."
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« Reply #251 on: August 30, 2022, 11:16:17 PM »

Final Declaration of the Stresa Conference


The Governments of the Kingdom of Italy, French Republic, and United Kingdom, so resolve

That the independence of Austria will continue to inspire their common policy

That the governments will agree to coordinate to defend the sovereignty of Austria from foreign intrusion

That the independence of Austria is key to the stability and peace of central Europe

That Austria is a historic and independent nation with a unique and sovereign people

Benito Mussolini, Duce of Italy and Head of Government




X, Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister
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YPestis25
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« Reply #252 on: August 30, 2022, 11:36:15 PM »

Quote
Viénot Accords
I . The Syrian Arab Republic will be granted independence in 1937.
II . France shall have use of air and land bases in Latakia until 1940, with the option for renewal that year and should renewal take place, every five years after that.
III .France shall have use of a naval base in Latakia until 1942, with the option for renewal that year and should renewal take place, every five years after that.
IV . France and Syria shall enter into a customs union until 1947, with the option for renewal that year.
   A . The customs union will be governed by a six member board of three French members and three Syrian members.
V . Syria and the Turkish province of Hatay will enter into a customs union.
   A . The customs union will permit the free travel and commerce between Syria and the province of Hatay.
x Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister
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« Reply #253 on: August 30, 2022, 11:36:54 PM »

Quote
Viénot Accords
I . The Syrian Arab Republic will be granted independence in 1937.
II . France shall have use of air and land bases in Latakia until 1940, with the option for renewal that year and should renewal take place, every five years after that.
III .France shall have use of a naval base in Latakia until 1942, with the option for renewal that year and should renewal take place, every five years after that.
IV . France and Syria shall enter into a customs union until 1947, with the option for renewal that year.
   A . The customs union will be governed by a six member board of three French members and three Syrian members.
V . Syria and the Turkish province of Hatay will enter into a customs union.
   A . The customs union will permit the free travel and commerce between Syria and the province of Hatay.
x Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister

x Hashim al-Atassi, in representation of the people of Syria
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President Spiral
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« Reply #254 on: August 30, 2022, 11:37:38 PM »

Quote
Viénot Accords
I . The Syrian Arab Republic will be granted independence in 1937.
II . France shall have use of air and land bases in Latakia until 1940, with the option for renewal that year and should renewal take place, every five years after that.
III .France shall have use of a naval base in Latakia until 1942, with the option for renewal that year and should renewal take place, every five years after that.
IV . France and Syria shall enter into a customs union until 1947, with the option for renewal that year.
   A . The customs union will be governed by a six member board of three French members and three Syrian members.
V . Syria and the Turkish province of Hatay will enter into a customs union.
   A . The customs union will permit the free travel and commerce between Syria and the province of Hatay.
x Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister

X President Kemal Atatürk, Republic of Turkey
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RGM2609
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« Reply #255 on: August 31, 2022, 02:44:28 AM »

Hugenberg's address at the funeral of President Dolfuss

These are dark times. Times in which heads of state can perish, killed by vigillantes. Times in which there is no certainty on what comes tomorrow. Times in which an insidious enemy, coming from the tundras of the Far East, descending upon us through vile, terrorist acts, an enemy which wants to end our way of life, is let off roaming free by infighting among us, Europeans. If the death of President Dolfuss, an extraordinary man with a boundless love for his country and people, a man who has given it all for Austria, can teach us anything, is that when facing this enemy, the price of strife is much too high. These are dark times.

But we can make them better, each and everyone of us, through our actions. I call on the people of Austria. Honor President Dolfuss's memory. Give it all for your country, just like this great man ascending today to the heavens did. Think not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Never forget because of whom today is a funeral, instead of a happy celebration of the many accomplishments of President Dolfuss.

It will be hard. But Austria owes it to him to stand up and fight back. Germany is ready to stand up for Austria, as I am sure many other countries are, and help it secure a prosperous and secure future for itself. We are not enemies. We are brothers. We are all Sons of the same God. And when we fight for common goals together, we are stronger.

Today, we weep for him. Tommorrow, we must continue to fight back, in his memory.
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« Reply #256 on: August 31, 2022, 11:46:17 AM »

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Treaty of Warsaw

The Kingdom of Romania and the Republic of Poland hereby agree to the following:

1. The Kingdom of Romania and the Republic of Poland agree to sharply reduce tariffs on trade between our two nations in order to fight against inflation and to promote growth to both of our nations.


X President Koc
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DKrol
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« Reply #257 on: August 31, 2022, 01:45:25 PM »

Final Declaration of the Stresa Conference


The Governments of the Kingdom of Italy, French Republic, and United Kingdom, so resolve

That the independence of Austria will continue to inspire their common policy

That the governments will agree to coordinate to defend the sovereignty of Austria from foreign intrusion

That the independence of Austria is key to the stability and peace of central Europe

That Austria is a historic and independent nation with a unique and sovereign people

Benito Mussolini, Duce of Italy and Head of Government




X, Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister

Per discussion with Il Duce, Prime Minister Bennett will also sign the Final Declaration of the Stresa Conference.

x RB Bennett, Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada
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Deep Dixieland Senator, Muad'dib (OSR MSR)
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« Reply #258 on: August 31, 2022, 05:44:52 PM »

Quote
Treaty of Warsaw

The Kingdom of Romania and the Republic of Poland hereby agree to the following:

1. The Kingdom of Romania and the Republic of Poland agree to sharply reduce tariffs on trade between our two nations in order to fight against inflation and to promote growth to both of our nations.


X President Koc
  X King Carol II of Rumania
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« Reply #259 on: August 31, 2022, 07:26:51 PM »

Quote
Treaty of Paris
I. The belligerent states of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Kingdom of Romania, Czechoslovak Republic, and the Kingdom of Hungary agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
II. The belligerent states of the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Croatia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
III. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the independence of the Republics of Slovenia and Croatia.
IV. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the following as the new borders of the region:

III . The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to demilitarize the region within 50km of its border.
VI. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to relinquish any and all claims on Transylvania.
VII. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to pay reparations to the Czechoslovak Republic.
Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister
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« Reply #260 on: August 31, 2022, 07:29:33 PM »

Quote
Treaty of Paris
I. The belligerent states of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Kingdom of Romania, Czechoslovak Republic, and the Kingdom of Hungary agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
II. The belligerent states of the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Croatia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
III. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the independence of the Republics of Slovenia and Croatia.
IV. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the following as the new borders of the region:

III . The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to demilitarize the region within 50km of its border.
VI. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to relinquish any and all claims on Transylvania.
VII. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to pay reparations to the Czechoslovak Republic.
Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister
  X King Carol II of Rumania
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« Reply #261 on: August 31, 2022, 07:29:51 PM »

Quote
Treaty of Paris
I. The belligerent states of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Kingdom of Romania, Czechoslovak Republic, and the Kingdom of Hungary agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
II. The belligerent states of the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Croatia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
III. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the independence of the Republics of Slovenia and Croatia.
IV. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the following as the new borders of the region:

III . The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to demilitarize the region within 50km of its border.
VI. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to relinquish any and all claims on Transylvania.
VII. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to pay reparations to the Czechoslovak Republic.
Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister
  X King Carol II of Rumania

x Paul Karadordevic, Prince Regent of Yugoslavia
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« Reply #262 on: August 31, 2022, 08:10:15 PM »

Quote
Treaty of Paris
I. The belligerent states of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Kingdom of Romania, Czechoslovak Republic, and the Kingdom of Hungary agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
II. The belligerent states of the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Croatia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
III. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the independence of the Republics of Slovenia and Croatia.
IV. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the following as the new borders of the region:

III . The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to demilitarize the region within 50km of its border.
VI. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to relinquish any and all claims on Transylvania.
VII. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to pay reparations to the Czechoslovak Republic.
Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister
  X King Carol II of Rumania

x Paul Karadordevic, Prince Regent of Yugoslavia

x President Majarzyek
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« Reply #263 on: August 31, 2022, 09:06:05 PM »

Quote
Treaty of Paris
I. The belligerent states of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Kingdom of Romania, Czechoslovak Republic, and the Kingdom of Hungary agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
II. The belligerent states of the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Croatia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
III. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the independence of the Republics of Slovenia and Croatia.
IV. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the following as the new borders of the region:

III . The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to demilitarize the region within 50km of its border.
VI. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to relinquish any and all claims on Transylvania.
VII. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to pay reparations to the Czechoslovak Republic.
Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister
  X King Carol II of Rumania

x Paul Karadordevic, Prince Regent of Yugoslavia

x President Majarzyek

x Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini, Duce and Head of Government
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« Reply #264 on: August 31, 2022, 09:22:58 PM »

Quote
Treaty of Paris
I. The belligerent states of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Kingdom of Romania, Czechoslovak Republic, and the Kingdom of Hungary agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
II. The belligerent states of the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Croatia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
III. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the independence of the Republics of Slovenia and Croatia.
IV. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the following as the new borders of the region:

III . The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to demilitarize the region within 50km of its border.
VI. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to relinquish any and all claims on Transylvania.
VII. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to pay reparations to the Czechoslovak Republic.
Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister
  X King Carol II of Rumania

x Paul Karadordevic, Prince Regent of Yugoslavia

x President Majarzyek

x Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini, Duce and Head of Government

X President Kemal Atatürk, Republic of Turkey
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« Reply #265 on: August 31, 2022, 09:23:23 PM »

Quote
Indian-Turkish Agricultural Trade Treaty

The Dominion of India and Republic of Turkey mutually agree to the following:

1. The Dominion of India shall direct twenty percent of their total exports of wheat and flour products to the Republic of Turkey.

2. The Republic of Turkey shall devote twenty percent of their fruit and nut products to the Dominion of India.

3. This treaty is open to future additions and revisions depending on the economic needs of the two nations.

X President Kemal Atatürk, Republic of Turkey
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« Reply #266 on: August 31, 2022, 09:51:18 PM »

Quote
Treaty of Paris
I. The belligerent states of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Kingdom of Romania, Czechoslovak Republic, and the Kingdom of Hungary agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
II. The belligerent states of the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Croatia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the terms below.
III. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the independence of the Republics of Slovenia and Croatia.
IV. All belligerent nations, as well as the French Republic and the Kingdom of Italy recognize the following as the new borders of the region:

III . The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to demilitarize the region within 50km of its border.
VI. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to relinquish any and all claims on Transylvania.
VII. The Kingdom of Hungary agrees to pay reparations to the Czechoslovak Republic.
Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister
 X King Carol II of Rumania

x Paul Karadordevic, Prince Regent of Yugoslavia

x President Majarzyek

x Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini, Duce and Head of Government

X President Kemal Atatürk, Republic of Turkey

X Miklós Horthy, Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary
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« Reply #267 on: August 31, 2022, 10:02:56 PM »

Quote
Indian-Turkish Agricultural Trade Treaty

The Dominion of India and Republic of Turkey mutually agree to the following:

1. The Dominion of India shall direct twenty percent of their total exports of wheat and flour products to the Republic of Turkey.

2. The Republic of Turkey shall devote twenty percent of their fruit and nut products to the Dominion of India.

3. This treaty is open to future additions and revisions depending on the economic needs of the two nations.

X President Kemal Atatürk, Republic of Turkey

X Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
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« Reply #268 on: September 04, 2022, 05:21:27 PM »

End of 1936



In the News:

TIME PERSON OF THE YEAR: Westbrook Pegler
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Pierre de Coubertin

FDR Impeached!
Hearst Press uncovers evidence of corrupt bargain with Argentina,
Vice President Garner and Southern Democrats revolt,
Roosevelt becomes second impeached President, first removed from office

In otherwise normal circumstances, the announcement that American troops were to leave the battlefields of the Chaco would have most certainly reduced some of the political fallout experienced by the beleaguered Roosevelt Administration. Indeed, the intervention had managed to aid Paraguay to crush the Bolivian forces and storm the country, leading the government in La Paz – amidst protests from South American nations – to sue for peace and accept terms dictated by Asunción, granting the entire Chaco region to Paraguay. The Chaco War was over, and Bolivia had been soundly defeated. The withdrawal, however, was followed by unprecedented events in Washington, courtesy of a man many thought defeated. Once the nation’s most prominent media baron, William Randolph Hearst had seen hard times due to the Great Depression, and his previous support of FDR had turned to bitter opposition.

Finding political threats from the Argentine government – should a promised aid package not be granted – suspicious, Hearst had his reporters dig deep. It did not take long for sources to reveal a beyond explosive story, which Hearst – via his outspoken, fiercely anti-Roosevelt columnist Westbrook Pegler – was only too happy to break. In the aftermath of the Democratic National Convention, the Hearst Press shouted the apparent truth across America: the Roosevelt administration had secured passage of US troops through Argentina via bribery, with astoundingly large payments promised to the Argentinian President. The mood in Washington D.C. and in Congress, already restless due to the President’s alarming threats concerning the Neutrality Acts, turned positively mutinous. Secretary of State Hull resigned in protest, and the Republican Party immediately started impeachment proceedings in the House.

Whereas, in a different context, the Democratic majorities and the proximity to the election would have ensured the survival of the President, he had made too many enemies. Southern Democrats, thoroughly alienated by the Wallace/Sinclair ticket, severed ties to the White House, with Senator Walter George leading the charge. Against all expectations, enough Democrats defected to allow impeachment to sail through the House – making FDR the second President to be impeached after Andrew Johnson – on charges of bribery. The Senate trial, despite a bitter defense from many FDR supporters, also attained sufficient support for conviction on a joint Republican-Southern Democrat coalition, so sudden and yet so firm in its determination that many suspected – or outright stated – that Vice President Garner, likely alienated from FDR as well, was behind the political coup.

With only a few weeks to go until the Presidential Election, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was convicted and removed from office, leaving the White House in the cover of night, bitterly disappointed. John Nance Garner took the oath of office as the next President, with some of his first acts of office being to sign the Neutrality Acts passed by Congress, and to put an end – with Congress providing the votes - to FDR’s previous embargoes against a number of European states. In Argentina, the resulting political scandal – involving mass opposition riots and internal jockeying for power – led to the forced resignation of military-backed President Agustin Justo. His replacement, Vice President Julio Roca, is widely expected to be a puppet of the military establishment, now left to pick up the pieces after the scandal.

America Elects: 1936
Borah/Roosevelt Jr. narrowly prevail, Democrats retain control over Congress,
Southern Democrat revolt leads to unpledged elector movement,
Long’s progressive appeal squeezed by Borah and Wallace


In the aftermath of the RNC and DNC, perhaps the candidate most undermined by their outcome was none other than Huey Long himself. Having expected to battle more conservative nominees, he found himself directly challenged over the progressive vote by the Democratic ticket, with Secretary Wallace’s selection of Governor Sinclair – problems with the South notwithstanding – directly cutting into much of Long and Murray’s base of support outside their personal fiefdoms of Louisiana and Oklahoma. To make matters worse, the Republican selection of another progressive in William Borah – despite Roosevelt Jr.’s presence to somewhat moderate the ticket – furthermore restricted his ability to make a serious play for the West and Midwest. Despite some hopes of making inroads within the South, local party bosses proved too distrustful of Long – whom they saw as overtly friendly to African Americans in his state -, and successfully kept the insurgent out of their Solid South.

Those party bosses, having allegedly conspired with Vice President Garner to impeach and remove FDR – by then seen as a liability – faced a further dilemma on where to move forward. Having expected an olive branch from Wallace, the selection of a self-avowed socialist as his running mate took things too far. However, Garner had been elevated to the White House too late to enter the ballot, which made fulfilling the ambitions of “Cactus Jack” a significant challenge. Once the so-called “Justo-Roosevelt affair” played out, the Southern Democrat rebels promptly introduced slates of nominally “unpledged electors”, meant to shut Long and Wallace out of the south and deadlock the election, in the hopes of installing Garner via Congress. Wallace was thus left with only the remaining FDR diehards and progressives seduced by Sinclair, having to rely on northern states to keep Borah at bay. Despite a clever campaign strategy focusing on economics instead of foreign policy, Wallace was to be kept in a defensive stance through the campaign.

Which left Borah. Despite the deep distrust of conservative Republicans and even the bulk of the party establishment, the Senator consistently remained the most credible of the available alternatives, preventing efforts at deposing him from the ticket. Alas, even the utter collapse of the FDR administration did not prevent Borah from finding much hostility, with voters remembering the Hoover years all too well. Not even Borah’s known anti-Hoover credentials were enough to prevent a number of embarrassing campaign stops, in which both Borah and Roosevelt Jr. were hurled abuse and thrown enough rotten fruit to last for a lifetime. Borah’s platform, a combination of staunch isolationism and vaguely progressive economics, was undoubtedly well received, but the GOP consistently struggled to overcome resentment within the electorate.

In the end, the Democratic split in the vote proved too much to overcome. With less than 43% of the vote Borah prevailed in enough states to secure 291 electoral votes, enough to elect him President outright. While undoubtedly impressive given the utter collapse of the Republican Party since 1930, many noted that the election would have been sent to the House of Representatives had Borah lost New York, a state in which Wallace showed surprising resilience and almost captured. Secretary Wallace came a very distant second in the electoral college despite a narrow gap in the popular vote, the Southern Democrat machine sweeping most of the South with large margins. Huey Long, despite a major achievement in terms of the popular vote – almost 11% - only broke through in two competitive states.

A joyful night for the GOP was coupled with major Congressional gains, fueled by voter anger against the FDR Administration. However, despite a Republican sweep of most competitive races, the hole in which they had been in was just too deep to climb back, a problem enhanced by the utter domination of the South – which provided the bulk of the Senate seats open for election that year – by the Democrats, who weren’t divided in the Congressional vote. Therefore, Borah and Roosevelt Jr. are due to take office in January facing demoralized, but still large Congressional majorities for the Democratic Party. Against all expectations, the GOP is set to return to the White House amidst predictions that it would be locked out of power for a generation, which is likely to force the now ousted party to go through some difficult soul-searching.

1936 US Presidential Election:
Party   Votes (%)   EC
Borah / Roosevelt Jr.43%294
Wallace / Sinclair38%115
Unpledged Electors6%85
Long / Murray11% 38

Incoming President and Vice President:
William Borah and Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (GOP)

1936 US Senate Election:
PartySeats
Democratic Party54 (-7)
Republican Party41 (+7)
Farmer Labor Party1
Total96 Senators

1936 US House Election:
PartySeats
Democratic Party238 (-52)
Republican Party192 (+51)
Farmer Labor Party5 (+1)
Total435 Representatives

Olympic Season in Berlin
Germany successfully hosts event, giving boost to regime,
South Africa, United States and France lead partial or full boycotts,
Hungary, Italy, China and Japan surprise, Germans win medal count

It could be argued that, in many ways, German national prestige was on the line as the hosts of the 1936 Summer Olympics, particularly amidst harsh diplomatic infighting with France and due to the host city of Berlin having been a warzone until a few months ago. It took substantial investment from the Reich’s government to clean up and rebuilt the capital, an investment that, while taxing on the pressured German economy, appeared to have paid off handsomely when the grand event was over. Despite a full boycott of the event by South Africa – enhancing Jan Smuts’ local popularity – and strictly political ones by France and the United States, a record number of nations sent Olympic teams and political delegations, allowing for a veritable parade of European, Asian and American statesmen through the city.

Chancellor Hugenberg and Kaiser Wilhelm III enthusiastically opened up the Olympics with well received speeches, an effort that was equally matched through other well received interventions or speeches by other foreign dignitaries. It was, in effect, a vindication both of the Olympic dream started a few decades ago and a much needed boost for the German Reich’s international standing. Perhaps more decisively, it was also a propaganda triumph by Hugenberg, whose previous and intense unpopularity dramatically softening in the aftermath of the combined Olympics and Rhineland triumphs. For the first time, and in spite of subsequent crackdowns on the trade unions, the new German regime – further embedded to the monarchist cause after the return of all the German princes to symbolic power – appears to have a solid footing.

This success was matched in the medal count, with Germany taking first place – though by less than expected – and leaving the US in a distant second. Italy also surprised many, having come close to surpassing the US. Outside of the new “big three”, other positive surprises involved Hungary and Japan, both with a large medal count; and Spain and China, both of which made significant progress on previously meager or non-existent medal count. The last official act was the selection by the IOC of the 1940 Summer Olympics host. Following a highly competitive vote, which saw Montreal narrowly left behind, Rome defeated Istanbul by a healthy margin, providing Italian Duce Benito Mussolini with a key victory to, in turn, showcase Italian fascism in four years’ time.

Perhaps the clearest sign of the Olympic’ success was the decision of the Nobel Committee – allegedly also influenced by the lack of candidates following events in Belgrade – to award French Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics, with the Nobel Peace Prize.


Soviet Thermidor?
Soviet leader delivers dramatic speech at Party Congress,
Planned crackdown disrupted, rumors of military and NKVD betrayal,
Stalin and leading acolytes missing, a veil of silence covers Russia

After almost fifteen years of political rule and growing supremacy over the Soviet Union, General Secretary Stalin faced a most fateful decision. Following years of inactivity, the various groups comprising the opposition had seemingly resuscitated from the dead to launch an unexpected challenge to Stalin in an emergency Party Congress, an act of defiance motivated either – depending on whom you ask – on a previous easing of political repression or on a nefarious conspiracy that had been years in the making. Whichever the case, the opposition – or parts of it – had seemingly united under figurehead candidate Alexei Rykov, who had dared to stand in opposition to try and replace the thus far invincible General Secretary. Detailed and specific reports on the events that ensued remain scarce due to the usual Soviet veil of silence, only broken by a handful of defectors that have crossed the border into Poland or sought refuge in Istanbul.

Sources claim General Secretary Stalin made extensive preparations for what was to be a St. Bartholomew’s Night for the opposition and for perceived – or real – traitors within his own camp, seeking to exploit the environment of the Party Congress to its maximum. Speeding up the call to the Congress to avoid wasting time, Stalin was full and center on its first day, delivering what many observers called a blistering and effective speech against his critics. Defending his record and recent policies – including what may have been controversial foreign policy stances -, Stalin harangued and belittled his opposition, in what some have called the “Unity speech” (stating that it would come by force if need be). By all indications, Stalin’s forceful challenge to the opposition – and their intimidation – appeared to have won the Congress for him, with unconfirmed reports that any subsequent balloting would, if necessary, be rigged.

What happened next remains unclear. Some blame a failed outreach to the military. Others believe the NKVD caught wind of a supposed purge of its ranks. Others still believe either group made a concerted play for power, or that a foreign power plotted Stalin’s downfall. What is known is that, instead of the mass arrests of opposition leaders planned for that night, gunfire was heard across the streets of Moscow, Lazar Kaganovich and Lavrenti Beria were seen being dragged from the Kremlin and into a truck, and NKVD agents appeared to have swarmed the Kuntsevo Dacha, Stalin’s personal residence. Official silence has followed, alongside unconfirmed reports that Stalin, Kaganovich, Beria and other high-ranking Stalinists are missing. Other than the fact that the Party Congress has been unable to meet, and that figurehead head of state Mikhail Kalinin may be trying to keep government functioning, it is believed a large-scale power struggle is taking place.

With few details to go on other than the apparent and sudden downfall of Josef Stalin, many have drawn direct parallels to the fall of Robespierre, speculating that a “Soviet Thermidor” may be taking place. Until a new government is announced, it remains unclear whether the opposition, the remaining Stalinists, the army or even the NKVD have, at least temporarily, come up on top.
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« Reply #269 on: September 04, 2022, 05:22:10 PM »
« Edited: September 04, 2022, 05:26:39 PM by Lumine »

A Very British Election
PM MacDonald surprises critics by forming new party,
After strong campaign, “Progressives” displace Labour as the opposition,
Neville Chamberlain and the Conservatives

Seemingly left for dead following the collapse of the National Government and the political backlash surrounding the Government of India Act, Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald chose not to accept defeat. Barred from pursuing electoral reform due to an unassailable Conservative majority in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister quickly moved into Plan B. Taking advantage of earlier efforts to reorganize his small National Labour parliamentary grouping, overtures were made to the National Liberal and continuity Liberals, with MacDonald planning to lead a new center-left party with which to prevent a Conservative victory. Despite harboring doubts, former Prime Minister David Lloyd George (cont. Liberal) fell in line first after a series of promises, and then – in a key blow to the Conservatives – John Simon and the National Liberals followed. Due to the pressure from both Liberal groupings opposing an immediate merge, this new group ended up campaigning under a “Progressive banner”.

Despite his terrible health, MacDonald insisted in leading the campaign, a strategic move that was to prove a double-edged sword as the successful touting of his accomplishments was balanced by the limited campaigning the PM could make. Perhaps his biggest gamble was to be a private overture to King Edward, whose intention to marry Wallis Simpson had become increasingly public and raised significant controversy with the Dominions as well as the Conservative-backed establishment. MacDonald successfully persuaded Edward – in what ended up being a course of action actually favored by Mrs. Simpson – to postpone a decision. In the meantime, MacDonald’s Progressive candidates campaigned furiously, defending the PM’s record, turning fire on George Lansbury’s Labour, and trying to keep the Conservatives at bay. By all accounts, a reasonably successful campaign, undermined by the sheer challenge of having to take on a party with over 470 incumbent MP’s.

On the eve of the election, a revolutionary “opinion poll” published by George Gallup gave the Progressive’s an eye-opening 150’s MPs, a notion dismissed as outlandish.

To the shock of many, MacDonald secured a result that was nothing short of a miracle, with a record 194 MP’s and well over 30% of the vote, firmly cementing this new force as the new official Opposition. But, as expected, it was just not enough. Although the Conservatives, by virtue of holding so many vulnerable seats, lost 130 of them – a full quarter – as well as their National Liberal allies, they retained a reasonable yet disappointing majority. By virtue of Stanley Baldwin’s recent resignation, it was Neville Chamberlain’s turn now. As to the other parties, Labour crashed itself in terms of the popular vote, their expectation of dozens of gains turned to ash when it became clear Lansbury – who resigned the next morning – had only been able to hold to the remaining group of ultra-safe seats. Just as surprising were strong performances by the Communists and by Oswald Mosley’s BUF, both of which entered the Commons with over 7 MP’s total.

Almost as old as Baldwin and MacDonald, Mr. Chamberlain is widely expected to serve only for a few years before finding a suitable heir. He enters office with a strong economy – for which he is partly responsible as the former Chancellor -, but facing peril in multiple foreign and domestic fronts.

1936 British General Election:
Party   Votes (%)   Seats
Conservative Party44% (-11)340 (-130)
”Progressive” Coalition32% (NEW)194
Labour Party16% (-13)43 (-9)
British Union of Fascists3% (+3)4 (+4)
Communist Party2% (+2)3 (+2)
Others3% 4
Total615 MP's

Incoming Prime Minister:
Neville Chamberlain (Conservative)

Incoming Government:
Conservative Majority (65 Seats)

A Farewell to Arms
Treaty of Paris ends Third Balkan War, region remains unstable,
Hungary reckons with unlikely survival, Croatians make deal with Mussolini,
Prince Paul deposed in coup d’état, Serbian hardliners take over

Three years of unholy carnage, foreign embargoes and intervention, and the ever rising prospect of an initially localized conflict spiraling into a second Great War finally added enough pressure to the participants to seek a negotiated solution to the war. With King Alexander out of the picture, Prince Paul was forced into a secondary status as the rest of the Little Entente and France negotiated terms with Admiral Horthy and Il Duce, hoping that an arrangement could be found. In the end, the Treaty of Paris – signed under protest by Paul – stopped the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the eradication of Hungary, but only just. The Yugoslavians lost Slovenia and the bulk of the Croatanian Banovinas, a bitter pill to swallow after starting what had promised to be a swift war back in 1933. Hungary, though making a miraculous survival, had to concede to border demilitarization, relinquishing ancestral claims, and issuing reparations.

But the war, at last, was over. Or so it seemed.

Regent Horthy returned to a hollowed-out, shell-shocked Budapest to find a country in utter domestic ruin, likely to require years – as well as substantial foreign investment – to recover. And though he was received as a hero for “saving Hungary from the Entente hordes” – as a newspaper put it -, the Treaty of Paris was nonetheless controversial. Many found the end of the Transylvania claims a humiliation, and others resented a demilitarization scheme that, in their minds, signaled the prospect of another invasion in the future. In Slovenia, the provisional government led by conservative – and former Yugoslavian PM – Anton Korosec celebrated its unexpected independence and quickly consented to closer ties with Rome, including membership of the new Transalpine Economic Community (TEC). The Croatians, also ecstatic after gaining independence, negotiated a treaty with the Duce, entering the TEC and begrudgingly ceding Dalmatian territory in return for substantial concessions. In spite of this, the HSS-backed Macek government in Zagreb and the Ustache forces of Pavelic in Dubrovnik have been unable to form a joint, unity government.

Ultimately, the most dramatic and drastic consequences would be felt in Belgrade. Prince Paul’s signing of the treaty made him something of an international celebrity, with the Nobel committee having allegedly considered the Prince for the Nobel Peace Prize after making peace despite the assassination of his own brother – a notion over which more than a few French diplomats were said to have scoffed at -. In Serbia proper, however, he was seen as a traitor. The Serbian officers, aware enough of the collapsing state of the Yugoslavian Army, yet too embittered by the defeat and the loss of the King, decided to take action. Near the end of the year, army units swiftly mobilized in Belgrade, capturing key government targets and taking custody of the King in a military coup. Prince Paul disappeared from sight, with rumors within the diplomatic community stating he is under house arrest.

Although the coup is said to be the work of a group of young colonels, the need for legitimacy and seniority as led to the appointment of Chief of the General Staff Milan Nedic as the new Regent, presiding over a military-packed Regency Council. Remaining silent thus far on the Peace of Paris – perhaps in a tacit acknowledgement of an inability to overturn it yet -, the new regime, identifying itself with Serbian nationalist, has taken immediate steps. Despite its state, the remnants of the Yugoslav Army have been deployed south, to relieve Skopje and prevent a siege by the Bulgaro-Macedonian forces; and west, to crush Bosnian resistance and – so it is claimed by Zagreb – put any Croatian settlements outside the new borders to the torch. Whatever happens, it is clear ethnic strife will not end in the Balkans for now.

Triumph of the Cinematic Will
Cinema emerges as key propaganda weapon for audiences,
Italy and Japan lead the way in state-backed films, with mixed results,
Insurgents also experiment, including the Chinese Communists

That cinema and motion pictures hold immense potential has been undeniable for years, but thus far, most governments and even political groups have been slow at trying to realize such potential with sufficient economic and logistical support.

In the previous decade, it was the Soviet Union – through the work of men like Eisenstein – that led the way in propaganda films, a success only partially matched by some German directors with a vision or an ideology to promote. Now, both Italy and the Empire of Japan have taken key steps into the world of cinematic propaganda and a national film industry, a concept some insurgents have also proved keen to try. The smaller effort was committed by Italy, which – in 1935 - commissioned a number of films depicting the plight of Croatia and demonizing King Alexander, resulting in several such pictures being released this year. Italian audiences have successfully flocked to see local hits, but European critics have by and large dismissed such productions as too blatant. Audience response outside of Italy has been more divided, but it has certainly stirred feelings of sympathy for the Croatians.

Within Japan, the Empire embarked in a large-scale effort starting in 1935, a joint collaboration with Hollywood – and the White House – encompassing the war epic “Battle of Tsushima”; the Crosby-Burns comedy “The Road to Tokyo”; and the romantic film “Snow Country”, all of which were meant to showcase different aspects of the Empire and to conquer – so to speak – the key American market. Ultimately, the enormous effort and resources invested were nearly derailed following the revelations from Manchukuo and the Kwantung Army, generating much negative publicity and leading American politicians like Governor Sinclair to pursue boycotts and disrupt production as much as possible. The films were even delayed in their release to 1936 to minimize the fallout, alongside a number of careful and/or clever stratagems to maximize success. In all of this, despite their calculations, the Japanese have found decidedly mixed success.

“Battle of Tsushima”, an epic retelling of the 1905 naval battle and the life of Admiral Togo (portrayed by Sessue Hayakawa), proved very successful in Japan, though there were public incidents as the film became exceedingly politically relevant after the September 11th Incident. Conversely, its American release sparked anti-Japanese riots in certain theaters, with Sinclair – who has declared war on the Hollywood Studios – calling it “a disgusting piece of imperialist propaganda”. Others, however, have flocked to its anti-Russian message. “The Road to Tokyo”, a zany Bing Crosby and George Burns comedy, was far more successful with audiences in America – at least up to a point – and also found a niche with staunch anti-communists, all while receiving the exact oppose reaction in Japan.

“Snow Country”, also starring Hayakawa, had to bypass anti-miscegenation restrictions by the Hays Code via casting Asians in order to portray the doomed romance between dilettante Shimamura (Hayakawa), rural geisha Komako (Anna May Wong) and local girl Yoko (Toshia Mori). In spite of having to avoid screenings in the American South – where the film also sparked riots – audiences in both Japan and America proved to be lukewarm, but not hostile. Critics generally praised the film, while taking issue with screenwriter Yasunari Kawabata’s bleak ending. Although the future of Japanese cinema in America remains dubious – particularly as Governor Sinclair wreaks havoc with productions he’s hostile to -, there are rumors of future releases for the European market, in what could be a make or break opportunity for the local industry.

Lastly, insurgent – and non-state – forces have also scored a goal of its own in China through the use of cinema. A number of Communist-aligned directors and actors residing in Shanghai, while mourning the recent crushing defeats experienced by the CCP, took to the medium to criticize and/or humiliated Generalissimo Chiang in any way possible. Although their efforts have been repeatedly and consistently repressed by the government in Nanking, preventing their productions from being screened or sold within Kuomintang-controlled territory, the anti-Chiang films have nonetheless continued to be screened in Shanghai, catapulting little-known actress Lan Ping into icon status after the success of “Red Detachment” and “Wolf Mountain”.

Walkout at the League of Nations
Motion after motion fails at the LON due to multiple vetoes,
Egypt’s bid for membership rejected, King Farouk denounces LON,
Five Latin American nations leave the organization, call it “ineffective”

1936 was not a quiet year for the League of Nations, which took center-stage in 1934-1935 as a number of different conflicts were debated and key motions voted upon, the majority of which were defeated through a lack of unanimity. This phenomenon, a problem for the LON since its foundation, was greatly exacerbated during the year as motions were debated on South West Africa, the remilitarization of the Rhineland, and the assassination of Austrian President Engelbert Dollfuss. All were defeated, sometimes with multiple vetoes. The only one to survive was a motion condemning Dollfuss’ murder, itself a watered down version of a previous failed motion. To make matters worse – for those critical of the LON and its internal functioning -, successful membership bids by Afghanistan and Ecuador were matched with the defeat of Egyptian membership, sunk down after multiple abstentions and opposition from Spain and Poland – among others – kept it from attaining the two-third majority. Young King Farouk reacted bitterly at these news, denouncing the organization and withdrawing the Egyptian application.

Having previously expressed frustration at the organization’s apparent inability to agree on a course of action regarding key events, as well as the general failure of global disarmament, a planned protest by Latin American members soon devolved into a dramatic step. By the end of December, with the year’s session drawing to a close, five Latin American representatives took the main stage at Geneva and announced, one after another, that their respective nations were leaving the LON effective immediately, arguing that it had devolved into an “ineffective” grouping unable to reach consensus. Although one of the five are vital members, the departure of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Chile – with Venezuela cited as a potential sixth drop out – is a significant blow to the League, which has lost seven members in only two years.
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« Reply #270 on: September 05, 2022, 03:02:30 AM »

Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls
As Spain recovers from revolution, the Basques gain autonomy,
PM Lerroux cracks down on the left, calls snap general election,
Hurt by unexpected corruption scandal, Lerroux sees CEDA make gains

The Revolution was over in Spain, but the nation’s political troubles were not. Despite the collapse and swift suppression of separate rebellions before they could form a credible alternative to challenge Prime Minister Lerroux in Madrid, the nation remained filled with embittered leftists, restless trade unions, and a number of hostile deputies still holding onto their seats at the Cortes. Lerroux, determined not to let an opportunity go to waste, nor to risk a further uprising by giving his weakened opposition on the left room to maneuver, decided to act swiftly. In the course of the next few months, the bulk of the trade unions responsible for the Asturias Soviet – particularly the UGT – were banned and then repressed following the inevitable strikes, leading a long list of street battles that, slowly but surely, weakened the trade union movement at – much like in Germany – significant cost to an already vulnerable economy.

The Prime Minister, fully backed by a CEDA out for revenge, followed up by breaking up much of the opposition’s ability to organize, communicate and consolidate it vote, banning or suspending newspapers, outright banning the Esquerra and suspending self-government in Catalonia, limiting the right for local meetings, and a combination of imprisonment and/or exile for prominent Revolution supporters who lacked parliamentary immunity. In this Lerroux finally met with internal dissent from the CEDA, who demanded a systematic and liberal use of the death penalty for traitors and, in a highly publicized debate at the Cortes, openly criticized the fact that only former Catalan President Companys – now living in exile in Paris – was sentenced to death.

Such was the “stick”. The “carrot” – so to speak – consisted on relatively successful attempts to co-opt local political machines, further weakening the PSOE and a number of smaller centrist parties; and finally securing a deal with the PNV to enact an autonomy statue for the Basque Country, with local elections – which the increasingly moderate PNV won resoundingly – taking place at the end of the year. Whilst the government remained divisive in its popularity in large cities, efforts to sway farmers and smallholders also bore fruit, unexpectedly weakening junior government partner PAE -  a conservative and agrarian party – to the benefit of CEDA and Lerroux’s own PRR. Having achieved all this, with the country under an uneasy calm and benefiting from an encouraging performance at the Berlin Olympics, Lerroux chose to gamble. Against the advice of President Alcalá Zamora – who was at the same time critical of Lerroux yet terrified of a CEDA triumph -, the Prime Minister called for a dissolution of the Cortes and a snap election, which the President finally granted.

By all accounts, despite the CEDA’s disappointment and the President’s silent opposition, Lerroux should have sailed to victory in the course of the campaign, a planned victory lap that would easily proper the center and right coalitions to crush the left. The latter part, for all purposes, was accomplished, with the PSOE in free fall, Esquerra banned, the moderate nationalists – the Catalan Lliga and the Basque PNV – gaining ground, and their only silver lining being former PM Azaña’s determined campaign, which allowed his new party Izquierda Republicana (IR) to retain a number of seats for the beleaguered left. What Lerroux could not expect, however, was the campaign being blown wide open by a gambling machine. The Straperlo, a fraudulent roulette created in the Netherlands, had been introduced into Spain by a group of self-proclaimed businessmen looking to make a profit.

In order to do this, the Straperlo partners bribed a number of high ranking officials to obtain the necessary permits, a bribery scheme that, so it was later claimed, reached as high as at least two PRR members of Lerroux’s cabinet. How the story got to the press remains unclear, with suspects ranging from the CEDA (wanting to surpass the PRR), Azaña and the left (wanting revenge) and even the President himself. Whichever the case, even newspapers friendly to the government were unable to bury the story and its lurid details, including gold watches being handed around as bribes, and a subsequent crackdown from PRR officers offended that their bribed – so it was claimed – weren’t high enough. Nothing appeared to link the Straperlo to Lerroux in the slightest, and the suppression of opposition newspapers did much to limit the scope of the scandal, but the harm was done. All the way to election day, the PRR would be at the defensive instead of being able to champion its record.

When the smoke cleared, the government’s electoral triumph was undeniable. The left had been eviscerated, pushing PSOE back as Azaña emerged as the leader of the opposition. The extremist parties, including the vaguely pro-Fascist Falange, had flopped. And the Spanish right, having already won big in 33’, catapulted itself to securing almost half of the Cortes, a fear previously thought impossible. Ultimately, Lerroux’s gamble failed in regards to the CEDA, which catapulted itself further and cemented its role as Spain’s largest and strongest political force. Instead of surpassing CEDA, an accomplishment that would have strengthened his authority over government, Lerroux narrowly staved off disaster through the voters swayed by his earlier successes, a net loss of one seat that, at best, was to be a disappointment.

Despite the President’s dislike of Lerroux, the lack of any alternative to CEDA ensures the Prime Minister will remain in office, now having to decide how to form his next government… and how much to concede to his partners on the right.

1936 Spanish General Election:
Party   Votes (%)   Seats
CEDA (Right)28% (+4)134 (+19)
PRR (Center) 20% (-1)101 (-1)
IR (Left)11% (NEW)53
PSOE (Left)8% (-4)36 (-23)
Lliga (Catalonia)7% (+2)34 (+10)
PAE (Right)5% (-1)27 (-3)
RE (Alfonsism)4% (+2)27 (+7)
PNV (Basque)3% (+1)15 (+4)
CT (Carlism)3% (-1)14 (-6)
PRC (Right)3% (-1)12 (-5)
Falange (Fascist)1%1 (=)
Others7% 34
Total473 MP's

Incoming Prime Minister:
Alejandro Lerroux (PRR)

Incoming Government:
TBD (237 Seats required)

The Grand Survivor
Daladier secures peace in Syria and the Balkans,
Despite SFIO faltering, PM retains position at General Election,
Far-right crackdown leads to backlash and riots

Having already surpassed Poincaré’s record three consecutive years as PM, Prime Minister Édouard Daladier was able to remain the French Republic’s so-called “Grand Survivor”, managing to fight his way – at times only narrowly – across multiple international crises and a dangerous general election. Despite some trouble on the horizon, these developments may well signal a significant shift from the usual short-lived nature of French Premiers. Facing a number of international challenges, Daladier was generally seen as rising to the occasion, helping secure a peace deal in the Balkans – whose future, however, may be uncertain due to events in Belgrade -, maintaining the occupation of the Saar against sustained local opposition, trying to chart the remilitarization of the Rhineland whilst politically boycotting the Olympics, and, in a particularly surprising development, finding an apparent solution to the Syrian crisis.

Following intense negotiations between Daladier and nationalist leader Hashim al-Atassi, the “Vienot Accord” were signed, ending the general strike in Syria and charting a path to independence – with a number of temporary economic and defense caveats – by mid-1937. Aside from the weakening of the Little Entente, perhaps the largest defeat for the Premier, unavoidable in light of rising Franco-German tension, was the surprise announcement by Brussels that Belgium would be abandoning the 1920 Franco-Belgian Accord, with the Benelux country announcing that it would rely on neutrality moving forward. On the bright side, Belgium – as well as a few other European neighbors – signaled some interest in a potential customs and currency union, with their main concerns being the long term stability of the French economy, which – in what would later spell major trouble for Finance Minister Blum – failed to rebound as strongly as hoped.

With all of this, the stage was set for the General Election, in which Daladier’s PRRRS and the SFIO joined forces to fight the first and second legislative rounds in close coordination. What Blum may not have quite foreseen was that his record, impressive enough to warrant a surge for his own party, gave an opening to an already embittered right. While not agreeing amongst themselves, the more moderate AD and the hardline FR took turns drawing fire on Daladier for either not standing up to Berlin enough, for conceding too much to the Syrians, and even of being too friendly to Moscow. And while these criticisms may have not undermined Daladier’s base, they also polarized the election as the right grew in strength as the SFIO, challenged from the left by an insurgent PCF and weakened by virtue of taking responsibility for economic troubles, saw a steady deterioration.

When the votes were counted, Daladier had taken the PRRRS to its best result in almost twenty years… all while the PRRRS-SFIO ticket actually lost seats in total due to major underperformance on behalf of the socialists. As several moderate parties faced decline and multiple independents – roughly split in half between left and right-leaning – got elected, it was the extremes that benefited the most as the Communists broke the 10% barrier – underperforming in seats due to the electoral system – and the FR recover the dominance of the right with a strident anti-Daladier message. With the right nowhere near close to a majority, Daladier – much like Lerroux in Spain – remained the only plausible Premier, with the added benefit of having his main partner weakened. A government was immediately formed, but, due to lacking over 20 seats to command an actual majority, Daladier will have to choose on whether to partner with the Communists, centrist parties, or left-wing independents.

The last act of the year’s political drama was swiftly provided soon after Daladier returned to office, with the government announcing a crackdown on far-right “violent organizations” that combined both police actions and propaganda describing them as treasonous. As the first bans were delivered, paramilitary groups – all too mindful of Hugenberg’s crackdown on the other side of the Rhine – took to the streets, resulting in a number of violent encounters between police and anti-fascist groupings in one side, and the far-right paramilitaries on the other. The nation, as a result, remains polarized and in a tense mood, as newspapers on both sides – and deputies in the National Assembly – deploy increasingly outlandish and violent rhetoric.

1936 French General Election:
Party   Votes (%)   Seats
PRRRS (Center-Left)22% (+3)176 (+16)
FR (Right)19% (+6)92 (+33)
SFIO (Left)16% (-4)108 (-24)
AD (Center-Right)15% (+1)87 (+7)
PCF (Left)10% (+2)26 (+7)
RI (Center)9% (-1)44 (-3)
PDP (Center)2% (-1)11 (-5)
Independents7%56
Total610 MP's

Incoming Prime Minister:
Édouard Daladier (PRRRS)

Incoming Government:
PRRRS-SFIO Coalition minority (22 seats short)

The Post-Purge Election
Voters go to the polls in Japan as nation seeks return to normalcy,
Minseito prevails in contest marked by the rise of new parties,
Government formation deadlock leads to new PM, Prince Higashikuni

In many ways, Japanese society had been shaken to the core. The September 11th Incident, the assassination of yet another premier, the purge of large parts of the nation’s officer corps and the unprecedented intervention of the Emperor had all provoked a deep sense of uncertainty. Thus, the scheduled return to the polls for the first time in four years was something many dreaded rather than hoped about, for which – if any – of the alternatives could guarantee any return to normalcy? During the long, bitter winter of 1935-1936, amidst repeated ritual suicides by disgruntled officers, cadets and pro-Kodoha fanatics, barely repressed reports of infighting across Manchukuo, and continued international hostility resulting from the previous exposé on the Kwantung Army, that sense of uncertainty only deepened.

Perhaps the only sign of stability – other than the ruthless rule of Prince Konoe, the new Premier until the election was held – was provided by His Imperial Majesty himself, and even then many Japanese still found it hard to be used to his growing number of speeches and broadcasts. Reassuring at it was to know that they had a Divine Emperor and that, perhaps, he cared, something in his voice still felt distant from the majestic figure most had pictured sitting on the Chrysanthemum Throne. But the winter came and went, and with it the 1936 Election, held with the recently purged Army stationed at the polls to guarantee safety. Many called it the “election of the headless soldiers”, which a Western journalist would – rather infamously – mistranslate for the wider world.

Expectations that the conservative, pro-military Seiyukai were soon dashed when it became reasonably clear that Japanese voters, shocked that the Kodoha faction would rise against His Imperial Majesty, turned instead to marginally less deferential options. The centrist Minseito, led by veteran old bureaucrat Machida Chuji, delivered a surprise blow against Suzuki Kisaburo’s Seiyukai, crushing Kisaburo’s dreams of being elevated to the premiership. Still, the Minseito was unable to win a majority of its own, the resulting confusion and anger within some voters leading to unprecedented success for the two new, more radical parties: the vaguely leftist Shakai Taishuto, and the fascist-inspired Kokumin Domei. That only a handful of candidates were assassinated by extremists and that Prince Konoe was only shot at once – unsuccessfully – was, given the circumstances, the sign of a calmer election than it was expected.

But Chuji, perhaps the symbol of a potential return to civilian rule, was not to attain the premiership. None of the remaining three parties would back him – either out of principle or, in Kisaburo’s case, outright jealousy -, and the subsequent deadlock was broken by His Imperial Majesty himself. His uncle-in-law, respected military commander Prince Higashikuni, would ascend to the premiership, unofficially backed – in separate issues – by Seiyukai and Minseito in the hopes that continued military rule would end sooner rather than later. During the rest of 1936, Prince Higashikuni set to work, securing deals to invest in Japanese industry – taking advantage of rising imports of key raw materials -, seeing the mixed results of cinema experiments, and generally presiding over the gradual reconstruction of the Army, its discipline and its officer corps with support of the triumphant Toseiha faction.

1936 Japanese General Election:
Party   Votes (%)   Seats
Minseito (Center)41% (+6)222 (+76)
Seiyukai (Right) 35% (-23)143 (-158)
Shakai Taishuto (Left) 8% (NEW)31
Kokumin Domei (Fascist)7% (NEW)28
Others9% 42
Total466 MP's

Incoming Prime Minister:
Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni (Military)

Incoming Government:
Seiyukai/Minseito-backed military majority (264 Seats)
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« Reply #271 on: September 05, 2022, 04:26:07 AM »

The Prague Crash
Despite the welcome arrival of peace, Czechoslovakia faces deadlock,
President Masaryk passes away aged 86, nation has Acting PM and President,
Prague Stock Exchange collapses, fears of new depression spread

Disappointed by high casualty rates, the costly efforts required to conquer Budapest, and rising ethnic tension fueled by opposition to the Third Balkan War, the arrival of peace was initially well-received in the Czechoslovak Republic. Even more so when, in spite of lacking territorial gains, reparations and relative demilitarization was achieved. It was a silver lining to the country’s rising woes, with an economy virtually destroyed by the exorbitant cost of the war and a political system hopeless deadlocked after the moderate Petka parties were unable to secure a new majority in Parliament by reaching some kind of agreement. No matter the nature of their overtures, the ethnic parties would not relent to support a Petka government, and the price for receiving Communist support appeared to be just too high, particularly after the war came to an end.

Amidst all this, aged President Masaryk – who should have been able to step down soon – was found dead in the Presidential Palace in Prague, aged 86. By all indications, the so-called “Grand Old Man of Europe” had died peacefully on his sleep. The nation mourned deeply, even if an uncharacteristic inactivity – which many associated with age – had paralyzed the Czechoslovak government in recent years. Having lost their father of the nation, things were about to get worse. Acting PM Jan Malypetr had to temporarily assume the Presidency, holding both offices despite lacking the necessary legitimacy for them. And as Parliament remained paralyzed, the ticking bomb that was the ailing Czechoslovak economy exploded. The direct source of the disasters remains unclear, but when a number of high-profile moves based on speculation at the Prague Stock Exchange proved faulty… the dam broke.

Matching the events of Wall Street back in 1929 up to a point, investors began selling in a panic, and soon thereafter the Stock Exchanged crashed. Next went the banks, crippled through bank runs from desperate citizens, who had already invested much of their savings on various – often fraudulent – war bonds. And the currency, devalued before solutions could be found. Soon, fears of a repeat of the Depression only fueled a worsening of the situation, to the point in which Parliament – still unable to decide on a course of action – is already counting on Hungarian war reparations and/or substantial foreign investment as the only way to save the once vibrant Czech economy. Already the neighboring economies tremble as the shockwaves start to be felt, with only the Polish economy – whose strength may soon be tested – looking strong enough to weather the first wave of the storm.


Tory split in Canada
R. B. Bennett remakes Conservative Party in the Keynesian mold,
Earl Lawson forms “National Party” after parliamentary revolt,
Followed by five MP’s, Lawson terminates the government’s majority

Upon committing to a far more interventionist course of action in economics than many once thought possible, R. B. Bennett had seemingly saved his premiership from collapse and potentially expanded the Tory voting vote, but it had come as a cost. Internal rumblings and opposition to what was described as “Keynesian” policies had escalated to the point of a revolt, and Bennett’s confrontation of his parliamentary party and cabinet, while successfully securing him the support of the bulk of the party, had lost him two ministers. When one of them, Earl Lawson, dared to oppose the PM’s next School Lunch Act – which, nonetheless, passed with some opposition support - alongside a dozen colleagues, Bennett saw the opportunity to cement his authority, and subsequently made it clear harsh punishment would be delivered.

Half of the rebels, including prominent MP Charles Cahan – one of the ministers who resigned – either accepted the punishment or sought to return to Bennett’s good graces. Six of them, led by Lawson, seeing their future careers in the party dashed, promptly crossed the floor and declared themselves opposition MP’s. In one swift stroke, Lawson erased the small government majority – leaving Bennett four short – and declared his intent to form a new “National Party”, which would “uphold and defend traditional conservative policies”. These developments, potentially ruinous, come at a strange time given additional events. Bennett, now in danger in Parliament, is fresh from another successful tour of the nation, and more importantly, with his international standing increased after a high-profile European tour.

The Prime Minister has thus seemingly achieved a noteworthy transformation of his party, at the cost of immediate, short term vulnerability. And with Lawson declining to give any indication of his future parliamentary tactics, many wonder what will happen.

Austria in Mourning
Austrofascism mourns its fallen leader, reports of internal strife,
Austrian independence championed by Stressa Conference,
Murder investigation leads to press speculation

Just as many Serbians were traumatized by the assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia, seemingly leading to the reactionary coup against Prince Paul’s signing of the Treaty of Paris, so were many Austrians affected by Engelbert Dollfuss’ death. Despite remaining unpopular within the groups he crushed to cement his power, Dollfuss’ funeral in Vienna proved to be a mass attendance event, with Italian Duce Benito Mussolini providing a noteworthy eulogy to his fallen partner and ally. Although Dollfuss’ death has allowed the Austrofascist regime, nominally led by a triumvirate presided by Emil Fey, to present a united front in public, rumor has it that the regime is already undergoing severe internal strife and infighting. With triumvir Kurt Schuschnigg emerging as something of a – failed – peacemaker, it is reported that Fey and other triumvir Prince Stahremberg are increasingly opposed to each other, a rivalry that many believe is likely to escalate.

Other nations reacted strongly to Dollfuss’ death, with Italy taking on a leading role in promoting and defending Austrian autonomy and independence. This has culminated on an unprecedented joint statement by Paris, Rome and London in the so-called Stressa Conference, reiterating support for Austrian independence in a statement many see directed against Germany and pro-unification elements within Austria proper. The murder investigation on Dollfuss has also degenerated into a confusing affair, with unconfirmed reports of foreign agents – from multiple nations – swarming Vienna in search of answers and, perhaps unintentionally, further muddying the waters. Whilst Vienna continues to blame the local Communists and the Soviets – a notion fueled by Stalin’s potential disappearance at the hands of the NKVD -, alternative theories also take hold elsewhere. The Swiss press has begun to speculate on involvement by Berlin on Dollfuss assassination, while American newspapers have done the same with France, neither presenting evidence thus far.

Rumblings in the Middle East
Turkey puts down Kurdish revolt, Dersim occupied,
As Eurasian Alliance consolidates, British businessmen identify Atatürk as a threat,
Egypt, Iran and Iraq grow ever more distant from London

Upon unsuccessfully exploring a diplomatic solution to the most recent Kurdish revolt – not helped by the fact that neighboring countries had their own issues with their own minorities -, the Turkish government in Ankara decided enough was enough. Field Marshal Cakmak, Chief of the General Staff, prevailed upon President Atatürk, resulting in the immediate military occupation of the Dersim region and a crackdown against insurgent that would last through the year. Countless skirmishes and ambushes ensued, steadily whittling down the strength of the Kurdish rebels who, nonetheless, were able to inflict heavy casualties on the Turkish garrisons. By the end of the year, the rebellion had been all but crushed, but efforts to get local inhabitants to cooperate had only been marginally successful, leading Cakmak to use every method available to suppress the enemy.

Despite taking a backseat to more urgent events in Asia and Europe, the Middle East has been gaining on prominence lately, a phenomenon many attribute to the Turkish President himself, Kemal Atatürk. Having founded the Eurasian Alliance whilst taking an active role in the Balkan and Syrian crises, Atatürk has undoubtedly expanded Turkish influence abroad whilst securing a potentially decisive rapprochement with the new Arab nations, a partnership with Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan – in which Iraqi King Faisal plays a key role – that appears to be ever expanding. Thus far, and leaving aside Syrian resentment over the Turkish annexation of the Hatay, this has gone mostly unnoticed, but increasingly assertive moves in Teheran, Cairo and Baghdad have raised the alarm for British officers, for Britain – it being otherwise occupied notwithstanding – still holds a key presence in the region.

Although London seemingly retains a strong partner in Saudi Arabia, the Iraqi and Iranian government – the former of which still has to contend with a British military presence – have started to demand greater participation in the local oil industries, controlled by the British-owned Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) and Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). Young King Farouk of Egypt, embittered by humiliation at the League of Nations, has demanded a renegotiation of the treaty between Egypt and Britain, seeking to diminish British presence in the Arab nation. Thus far, the Ankara-London relationship remains cordial, but a few businessmen linked to IPC and AIOC have already denounced Atatürk to the press, calling the Turkish statesman “a threat to the stability of the region”. A new Prime Minister taking office, many are wondering about the future of the Anglo-Turkish relationship.


China on the brink of war
Conference fails to reach accord, Hu Hanmin survives health scare,
Japanese forces restore partial control in Manchukuo, remain in Shanghai,
Rising pressure from public and warlords to declare war on Tokyo

Amidst hopes that it could lead to a much hoped United Front between Generalissimo Chiang’s KMT and both Northern and Southern coalitions, the conference between warring warlord factions dragged across the year with no firm results, undermined by different expectations on both sides. To their collective credit, all factions managed to keep an unofficial peace, preventing an immediate return to all out civil war. However, neither the South or the North felt Chiang’s promises – in any sense – were sufficient enough, with the warlords increasingly demanding more and more aggressive measures to be taken against Tokyo and the Manchukuo regime. In the end, a health scare for Hu Hanmin – who almost suffered a cerebral hemorrhage – and the appearance of a supposed Japanese missive calling on the warlords to stop fighting Nanjing and Tokyo collapsed the conference, ending in no firm result.

The leak of the missive, seen by many as a provocation – and/or outright insulting – was widely distributed and maximized anti-Japanese sentiment in China proper, resulting in protests, riots in Shanghai, and even attempted boycotts of Japanese and Manchurian goods, an effort which, if it were to grow in size, could well harm the Japanese economy in the long term. In the meantime, and as the Chinese public increasingly called for revenge at all costs, the Japanese maintained a presence in Shanghai, stating that they would not withdraw until mid-1937 due to a number of reasons. Sensing vulnerability in Manchukuo as the vast region became populated with gangs of bandit soldiers and a new pro-Zhang guerrilla forces, General Tojo Hideki quickly emerged as an effective – if ruthless – administrator for the hollowed out Kwantung Army, hunting down and destroying bandit units and pushing them back into more isolated regions.

Perhaps Tojo’s most remarkable accomplishment – other than ensuring the voluntary return of some of the defecting officers – was the voluntary surrender of “Lawrence of Manchuria” himself, as General Kenji Doihara gave himself up, thus preventing the isolated Kodoha remnants from acquiring a valuable leader of their own. In spite of this, violence across Manchukuo remains very much real, and border skirmishes between Northern Coalition troops and the Kwantung Army units has already claimed dozens of casualties without – as of yet – degenerating in any large-scale battles.
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Deep Dixieland Senator, Muad'dib (OSR MSR)
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« Reply #272 on: September 06, 2022, 04:27:12 AM »

His Majesty on behalf of the all people of Rumania, sends his most heartfelt condolences to friends and family of President Engelbert Dollfuß, and to the people of Austria. This is assassination is a heinous crime, loss of a sovereign represents a devastating loss for the people of that nation. His Majesty hopes that righteous judgement comes to those responsible for this most egregious crime against christian civilization. His majesty offers any expert assistance Austria would seek from the Kingdom of Rumania.

On behalf of his majesty, King Carol II of Rumania,
Minister Gheorghe Paulescu
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Lumine
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« Reply #273 on: September 18, 2022, 12:00:28 PM »
« Edited: September 18, 2022, 05:34:22 PM by Lumine »

Turn V: 1937


The Cast:

German Reich: Chancellor Alfred Hugenberg (RGM2609)
United States of America: President William Borah (S019)
Empire of Japan: Emperor Hirohito (Devout Centrist)
British Empire: Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (GoTfan)
Republic of France: Prime Minister Edouard Daladier (YPestis25)
Soviet Union: Acting General Secretary Sergei Kirov (JacksonHitchcock)
Kingdom of Italy: Duce Benito Mussolini (KaiserDave)
Republic of China: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (Kuumo)
Republic of Turkey: President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (Spiral)
Dominion of Canada: Prime Minister R. B. Bennett (DKrol)
Union of South Africa: Prime Minister Jan Smuts (Ishan)
Spanish Republic: Prime Minister Alejandro Lerroux (Dereich)
Kingdom of Hungary: Regent Miklós Horthy (AverageFoodEnthusiast)
Polish Republic: President Adam Koc (Windjammer)
Kingdom of Romania: King Carol II Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (Muaddib)
Kingdom of Bulgaria: Tsar Boris III Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (OBD)
Commonwealth of Australia: Prime Minister Jack Lang (iBizzBee)
Chinese Northern Coalition: Warlord Zhang Xueliang (Carolyn)
Irish Free State: Executive Council President Éamon de Valera (NYE)

Economic Performance:
Empire of Japan: High
British Empire: High
Polish Republic: High

Soviet Union: Moderate
Kingdom of Italy: Moderate
Union of South Africa: Moderate
Dominion of Canada: Moderate
Republic of France: Moderate
German Reich: Moderate

Republic of Turkey: Weak
United States of America: Weak
Kingdom of Bulgaria: Weak
Spanish Republic: Weak
Commonwealth of Australia: Weak
Kingdom of Romania: Weak
Republic of China: Weak
Northern Coalition: Weak
Irish Free State: Weak

Kingdom of Hungary: Very Weak

Popularity:
Tsar Boris III: Very High
President Kemal: Very High
Duce Mussolini: Very High

Warlord Zhang: High
Prime Minister Bennett: High
Regent Horthy: High
Prime Minister Chamberlain: High
Prime Minister Smuts: High
Chancellor Hugenberg: High

President Borah: Moderate
President Koc: Moderate
Emperor Hirohito:  Moderate
Prime Minister Daladier: Moderate
Prime Minister Lang: Moderate
King Carol II: Moderate
Prime Minister Lerroux: Moderate
Executive Council President de Valera: Moderate

Acting General Secretary Kirov: Low
Generalissimo Chiang: Low

Mobilization Level:
Total Mobilization: None
War Mobilization: Republic of China, Northern Coalition
Partial Mobilization: None
Conscription: Republic of France, Empire of Japan, Soviet Union, Spanish Republic, Polish Republic, Kingdom of Bulgaria, German Reich, Republic of Turkey, Kingdom of Italy, Kingdom of Hungary, Kingdom of Romania
Volunteer Army: United States of America, British Empire, Dominion of Canada, Union of South Africa, Commonwealth of Australia, Irish Free State
Demilitarized: None

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Lumine
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« Reply #274 on: September 18, 2022, 12:07:13 PM »

German Reich:


Chancellor,

Having been a rather polarizing – some would dare say unpopular – leader in recent years due to the continuous, yet thus far successful crackdowns against the Reich’s internal enemies, you have enjoyed an unexpected winter of popularity in the aftermath of the Olympics and the success Remilitarization of the Rhineland. And though not all dissent against the government in Berlin has died down, for the eviscerated trade unions resist still, and exiles rage from abroad, Von Papen and most of the Cabinet concur that there is now some available political capital to spend. Thus far you brought back the Monarchy and ended the Weimar Republic, restored the supremacy of the Lutheran Church, and turned the Reich into a one-party state. How much further dare you go? Or, on the contrary, should any concessions or decentralization of power be enacted?

In spite of its significant propaganda benefits, it is undeniable that the costs of rebuilding Berlin for the Olympics have placed strain in an economy that is yet much too shaky for the Reichsbank’s taste. Making matters far more complex is the drastic collapse of the Czech economy, with the effects of the stock market crash in Prague threatening to hit a German market that has already suffered greatly over Franco-German related uncertainty. Opinions on how to proceed, as always, are not unanimous. Some would have you take action to support the beleaguered Czech economy, if only to either spare the Sudeten Germans from potential misery or prevent a Berlin-related crash. Others would prefer to see Czechoslovakia weakened, reasoning they have gained enough after a partial victory in the Third Balkan War. What should be done?

As has become the norm, international affairs continue to demand much attention and effort, particularly in light of the Reich’s relatively disadvantageous position. The Saar enters a second full year of occupation, with internal defiance unable to dislodge the French without risking mass bloodshed. Tensions in Vienna are at an all-time high, and new President Fey remains something of a cypher as Berlin – alongside Moscow, Paris and others – is blamed in some quarters for Dollfuss’ assassination. German influence, while successfully established in a few would-be partners or allies for the future, is still shaky. In terms of the headlines, the old and conservative-leaning German Colonial Society, seemingly emboldened by the return of the monarchy, has started lobbying in the media – and with friendly deputies at the Imperial Diet – for the need to recover the colonies lost after Versailles. How will you handle these affairs? Should the return of Germany’s colonies be sought?

British Empire:


Prime Minister,

Welcome into office. Five years of a National Government now give way to a purely Conservative ministry, elected with a reasonable mandate, yet stung by losses suffered at the hands of Ramsay MacDonald’s new grouping. Now free from Baldwin’s shadow, you are now free to assemble your Cabinet, determine priorities for the new Conservative government, and see how much of the previous government’s policy to retain or to alter. Perhaps the most pressing political affair is that of the Simpson affair, with Wallis Simpson – now Wallis Warfield – now formally divorced and His Majesty, while uncharacteristically cautious, still determined to marry her. The King’s current intent remains bitterly resisted by the bulk of your party – serial rebels like Churchill notwithstanding -, the Church of England and much of the establishment, not helped by the King’s recent public outbursts on political matters. How will you handle this most complex affair?

Over the past couple of years, the British economy has recovered substantially from the depression, fueled by sound management – under your rule as Chancellor of the Exchequer -, a lack of foreign adventures and, to significant public acclaim, by the refusal of MacDonald to pursue rearmament. A small surplus has thus been achieved, and it will be a key test of your premiership to decide how to use it. One alternative it is to maintain focus on expanding the surplus, keeping things steady. Another is to invest it in social programs, in light of your known ambition to be a “domestic PM”. Yet another is to pursue rearmament, leaving Britain more prepared for a crisis while risking domestic backlash. Finally – and perhaps most unpopular -, some Treasury civil servants are pressuring you to bail out the Czech economy with an aid package, to prevent its collapse from spiraling out of control. What will you do?

Having thus far stayed away from most of the meaningful foreign policy conflicts – particularly in the Balkans -, the Foreign and the Colonial Office have sounded the alarm in terms of the Middle East, a key region for Britain’s strategic interests. Aside from violent Arab riots in Palestine, rallying against a Jewish state in the region, King Farouk of Egypt, King Faisal of Iraq and Reza Shah of Iran have all variously challenged British rule and influence lately: Farouk and Faisal by demanding new treaties reducing the British military presence, and Faisal and the Shah by starting to complain about the oil monopoly of the British-controlled, Anglo-Iranian and the Iraqi Petroleum Companies. In these acts many officers have identified Turkey as a rising rival, with the Eurasian Alliance gaining strength as influence while only a handful of previous allies – including Saudi Arabia – remain visibly pro-London. How will you deal with Middle East affairs?

Republic of France:


Prime Minister,

Against the odds – and a close call in light of the SFIO losses – you have maintained yourself in office while also surviving a complex General Election, not an accomplishment to look down on. However, this return to power is somewhat marred by the lack of an outright PRRRS/SFIO majority, forcing you – in spite of being the only plausible PM – to seek allies in order to have a legislative majority. Barring rapprochement with the moderate right, unlikely given rising polarization, at least three alternatives appear possible: the centrist Independent Radicals (RI), who, while aligned with your political goals, demand a more fiscally responsible, conservative approach to economics; the Communists (PCF), in what would signal a further – if not implausible – turn to the left; and the various left-wing independents (almost thirty in total), all of them with local demands likely to be a drain on the treasury. What sort of government majority will you seek?

Political violence is at the forefront after the election, as the crackdown on far-right paramilitaries has devolved in street-fighting, large protests, and the first few casualties. In Paris alone hardly a day goes by without an encounter between the far-right and either the police or anti-fascist organizations, the subsequent tension reaching the media – which, depending on ideology, supports the government or defames the responsible ministers – and the National Assembly as well, with even moderate-right groups now attacking the government and mischaracterizing it as “too left-wing” or “too radical”. It is a most difficult environment to handle, one increasingly fueled by appeals to populism that invoke other foreign experiences or rally against parliamentarism as a whole. What should be done about it? Should the government seek a negotiated political solution to the crisis? Should it follow Hugenberg’s example and push through regardless of the cost?

Once again, internal affairs prove to be a source of trouble and/or dissent, even after the successful handling of several previous crises. There is, for one, the occupation of the Saar, its cost still weighing down in more ways than one. The end of the revolution in Spain and the current succession crisis in the Soviet Union raise the matter of prominent exiles who reside in Paris, including former Catalan President Companys – sentenced to death in absentia – and Soviet political dissident Leon Trotsky, who may well be wanted for extradition by the new General Secretary. Then there is the matter of the Balkans, with the coup in Belgrade and the arrest of Prince Paul – as well as the ongoing Yugoslav-Bulgarian conflict – risking the hard won peace. And finally, the collapse of the Czech economy amidst political deadlock, a vital threat not only to the Little Entente, but potentially to the beleaguered European economies. What should be done?

United States of America


Mr. President,

Though not as large as in 33’, crowds of citizens welcome you to Washington D.C. as you are inaugurated into office. Against all odds, the Republican Party has returned to power only four years after Herbert Hoover’s ignominious defeat, though it has taken impeachment and a divided Democratic Party to bring about this unlikely victory. Politically, you must contend with a Republican Party that is sure to be bitterly divided between progressives and conservatives. You must also deal with a Democratic-controlled Congress, weakened but not humbled by November’s results. Finally, you will also be forced to decide on your own agenda and goals for office, to assemble a Cabinet, and to find a way for the country to move on after the traumatic scandal that resulted in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s removal from office. What are your instructions, Mr. President?

Perhaps one of the keys to the Republican victory in 1936 was the party’s strong shift towards isolationism, ever growing in popularity due to the Roosevelt administration’s unpopular foreign policy. Still, even as Congress successfully passed the Neutrality Acts, removing much of the President’s powers by forcing him to seek congressional approval for a number of actions, there is the question of how far should the Borah Administration go, and how to best exploit the apparent national desire to be uninvolved in foreign matters. Despite FDR and Hoover’s successful withdrawal from Haiti, the Philippines and Nicaragua, the US continues to hold enormous influence – and/or occupy – the Dominican Republic, Panama and Cuba. Senator Gerald Nye (R-ND) is currently chairing a powerful Congressional committee, which calls to curb the US arms industry. And lastly, Congress is now debating a Constitutional Amendment by Rep. Louis Ludlow (D-IN), which would institute a national referendum on any declaration of war barring an attack on the United States. What should be done?

With the economy starting to reverse its partial recovery under the umbrella of FDR’s New Deal, it falls onto you to make urgent and personal decisions on how to best handle the economic situation, particularly given your known progressive roots. Your advisors are already briefing you on the Prague market crash, wondering if Washington should get involved. The Governor of Ohio, Clarence Brown (R-OH), reports that a catastrophic flood by the Ohio River has left more than a million homeless, and urges for help despite the lack of funds. The enormous bureaucracy built to support the New Deal, should it be retained, must be managed. And crucially, with the Supreme Court spared from any FDR appointees, there’s the question of whether its (economically) conservative majority will not try to launch a far more aggressive assault on the New Deal, most of which remains in place despite the abolition of the minimum wage and much of its social and healthcare provisions.

Soviet Union


Comrade (Acting) General Secretary,

You and your deputy Andrei Zhdanov have recently arrived in Moscow via train from your Leningrad stronghold, an arrival not unlike that of Lenin himself back in 1917. The combination of the botched challenged by the joint opposition at the Party Congress and the apparent self-coup by the NKVD and parts of the Army have created an enormous vacuum of power, one that Head of State Kalinin has sought to resolve by making you Acting General Secretary, reasoning you could command support from the Stalinists not yet arrested (Molotov and Khrushchev, both of which have rushed to pledge loyalties and request protection from the NKVD), whilst being in a position to deal with all the various groups currently making a play for power. With Stalin and other key members of the Politburo missing – in what is thought to be the work of NKVD Director Yagoda -, a historic opportunity appears to you, of high risk and high reward. How will you seize it?

Zhdanov takes the liberty to brief you on the various factions as they stand, for the critical task of building alliances and choosing where and how to fight stands at the most crucial point. There’s the Left and Right Oppositions, the collection of old relics like Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin, all of which joined forces behind the abortive Rykov candidacy and which now demand the Party Congress be restarted to reach a consensus. There’s the Red Army, or at least the units that have mobilized in Moscow, thought to be under the influence of Tukhachevsky. There’s those Stalinists who have come to beg for mercy, who could be either relied upon or thrown to the wolves. And, of course, there’s the dangerous NKVD, whose leading Yagoda-Yezhov duo is thought to be behind Stalin’s forceful, seemingly permanent disappearance. It seems unlikely you can bring all of them under the same roof, so who will you deal with? And how will you battle those you deem to be your enemies?

Aside from the eventual outcome of the struggle for the succession, the truth is that many affairs demand decisions, with a number of crisis either flaring up or presenting danger should they be left unattended. The nation-wide industrialization drive, while producing remarkable results, is somewhat stalled due to inefficiency and efforts being directed elsewhere. A softening of Stalin’s policies regarding Soviet Jews and the Orthodox Church has sowed dissent among many in the party, while nonetheless bringing new sources of support elsewhere. Stalin’s foreign policy, thought by many to be too timid, and/or too in line with Western powers, will need reaffirming or an update. And that, of course, is without mentioning what the attitude of treacherous, capitalist – or fascist – power may be given this sudden instability, and whether they’d seek to profit from it. What are your orders?

Kingdom of Italy


Duce,

Despite the somber mood surrounding your return from Dollfuss’ funeral in Vienna, you return to adoring crowds outside the Palazzo Venezia, celebrating the end of the Third Balkan War and, more importantly, the achievement of Italian aspirations in the Adriatic after securing border revisions with the new Croatian state. It is a major success for Italy, but given the fluid, chaotic nature of the region, Count Ciano believes the Balkan situation is far from over: Despite the Italo-Croatian treaty, Pavelic and Macek continue to struggle to form a united government, a situation that many feel could end up in a civil war. The Yugoslavs, having overthrown Prince Paul, could endanger the peace agreement, whilst their military continues to fight the Bosnians and the Bulgarians. King Zog, having recently fallen back in line due to practical reasons, remains a very uneasy partner. Hungary lies in utter ruin, raising the prospect of having to bail out Regent Horthy lest the country collapses. And finally, the uneasy return to power by Venizelos in Greece – with apparent Turkish support – raises the question of just how friendly – or not – Ankara’s eventual aspirations in the Aegean might be.

Thus far, both of Italy’s main African colonies have enjoyed a few years of peace, investment and, perhaps crucially, an increased flow of migration from the mainland, all of which have nonetheless proved insufficient to make the colonies in Libya and Eritrea economically profitable. And now, this peace appears to be threatened according to reports by Riccardo di Lucchesi, the Governor of Eritrea. According to di Lucchesi, Italian troops on patrol in the Italo-Abyssinian border have been recently harassed by the Abyssinians, who have established new border posts and allegedly attacked the Italian ones, accusing them of being inside Abyssinian territory. Although the information is still scarce, there’s even talk of Italian casualties. Many officers in the Royal Italian Army are suggesting a punitive expedition – and/or further escalation – is needed to teach Emperor Halie Selassie a lesson, and others envision an opportunity to further expand Italian influence in East Africa. What should be done?

Years of economic expansion under an innovative economic policy – which has gained approval amongst British economists, including begrudging, reluctant praise from Keynes himself – have allowed the Kingdom to expand its industrial output significantly, though Italy still lags far behind regional rivals in France, Britain and Germany. And while the birth of the Transalpine Economic Community brings the promise of further economic gains, the steady rise of the deficit, the foreign debt, and even inflation – without mentioning the cost of the Croatian adventure - all raise serious questions as to whether the current strategy can truly be sustained for much longer. These questions also come at a time of uncertainty given the recent Czech crash, which could just as well leave Italy destitute as it could leave Central Europe ripe for Italian influence. What should be done on the economic front?
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