The Zenith of Power: Gameplay Thread
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YPestis25
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« Reply #400 on: May 16, 2022, 08:24:20 AM »

Baltic Protocol

Baltic League Flag
(Source:CRWFlags/Me)
Quote
Article I - Preamble
   I . The Kingdom of Scandinavia, the Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of Prussia,  and the Grand Duchy of Mecklenbrug, united by their desire for the peaceful development of the Baltic Sea and mutual military concerns, shall form the Baltic League.

Article II - Responsibilities of the Baltic League
   I . Baltic League members shall undertake all efforts to encourage trade and remove barriers to international commerce and movement among member states.
      A . The Baltisk Investeringbolsag shall be formed to direct funds and efforts for the economic recovery of Baltic League members.
   II . Baltic League members shall undertake all efforts for the maintenance of security in the Baltic Sea and for the maintenance of the League’s territorial integrity.
      A . In pursuit of this, the Prussian Baltic Fleet shall be transferred under the control of the Baltic League and shall serve as the enforcement arm of the League.
   III . The Baltic League members shall enter into a mutual defensive alliance.

Article III - Organization of the Baltic League
   I . The Baltic League shall be headed by the Kingdom of Scandinavia and headquartered in the city of Danzig. The League shall be governed by the Baltic Board.
   II . The Baltic Board shall be composed of one representative from each member state and shall vote on the League’s policy. The Kingdom of Scandinavia shall chair this board. In the case of a tied vote, the Chair’s vote shall break the tie.

Article IV - Membership in the Baltic League
   I . Upon a unanimous vote of the Board, a new member shall be admitted.
   II .Should a League member engage in conduct damaging and offensive to the Baltic League they may be dismissed from the League upon a unanimous vote from the Board, minus the vote of the offending party.
xQueen-Empress Catherine II
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GoTfan
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« Reply #401 on: May 17, 2022, 12:50:36 AM »

Under the authority granted to me by the Constitution of 1872 as the Sovereign, I hereby issue Writs of Election for the year 1877, to take place in June

The current  government will enter caretaker provisions, with a new government to be taking office no later that the 5th of July.


In addition, the King will allow journalists in for interviews with himself. The rest of the Royal Family remains off-limits.
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Spamage
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« Reply #402 on: May 17, 2022, 11:18:22 PM »

Army Strength*:

Kingdom of France
68 division Army of the Netherlands
(68/295 divisions possible raised, max 14% conscription)

Habsburg Monarchy (Excluding HRE)
20 division Army of Italy
39 division Army of the Rhine
61 division Army of Silesia
20 division Army of Transylvania
15 division Army of Illyria
9 division Spanish Expeditionary Force
3 division Army of Madagascar
8 division Chinese Expeditionary Force
3 division Army of the Suez
(173/279 divisions possible raised, max 14% conscription)

Kingdom of Scandinavia
47 division Army of Mecklenburg
48 division Army of Hanover
14 division Army of Estonia
5 division Army of Cyprus
10 division Army of Egypt
(124/124 divisions possible raised, max 18% conscription)

British Union
13 division Army of Ohio
13 division Army of the Cape
27 division Army of the South
33 division Army of New York
5 division Army of Ireland
5 division Home Guard
(96/116 divisions possible raised, max 6% conscription)

Russian Republic
5 division Army of St. Petersburg
10 division Army of Moscow
5 division Army of Crimea
1 division Army of Romania
5 division Army of Trebizond
20 division Army of Konstantingrad
10 division Army of Mongolia
5 division Army of Inner Mongolia
10 division Army of Manchuria
5 division Army of Turkestan
(76/275 divisions possible raised, max 10% conscription)

Ottoman Morocco
22 division Army of Morocco

Divine Republic of Brazil
5 division Army of Spain
10 division Army of Brazil
5 division Army of Taipei
5 division Army of the Congo
2 division Army of Southern Africa
3 division Army of Bahia
(30/70 divisions possible raised, max 22% conscription)

Kingdom of Naples
57 division Army of the North
13 division Army of Sicily
17 division Army of the Balearics
5 division Padanian Rebels
(92/97 divisions possible raised, max 14% conscription)

Kingdom of Prussia
46 division Army of Pommerania
32 division Army of Posen
2 division Army of the Baltic States
(80/80 divisions possible raised, max 14% conscription)

Tokugawa Shogunate
60 division Army of Japan
30 division Army of Niigata
10 division Executive Guard
7 division Army of Kyoto
2 division Army of New Guinea
(109/169 divisions possible raised, max 10% conscription)

United Kingdom of Louisiana
19 division Army of Freetown
10 division Army of Delta
4 division Army of Denver
4 division Army of the Rockies
(27/40 divisions possible raised, max 14% conscription)

Joseon Korea
32 division Army of Beijing
15 division Army of Manchuria
28 division Army of Pyeongyang
12 division Army of Incheon
5 division Army of Sumatra
4 division Army of Borneo
3 division Army of Shanghai
15 division Army of Hokkaido
(116/116 divisions possible raised, max 10% conscription)

Kingdom of Poland
10 division Army of Warsaw
(10/56 divisions possible raised, max 16% conscription)

Qajar Iran
5 division Army of Homorzegan
4 division Army of Gwadar
4 division Army of Mashad
5 division Army of Qatar
18 division Army of Riyadh
29 division Army of Damascus
28 division Army of Ankara
9 division Army of Mecca
(102/124 divisions possible raised, max 20% conscription)

Kingdom of Quebec
5 division Army of the West
5 division Army of the East
5 division Foreign Legion
(15/41 divisions possible raised, max 16% conscription)

Kingdom of Mexico
5 division Royal Guard
5 division Army of Arizona
(10/52 divisions possible raised, max 15% conscription)

Chinese Republic
177 division Great Army of Liberation
20 division Army of Nanjing
(204/286 divisions possible raised, max 3% conscription)

United Provinces of New Holland
6 division Army of Western Australia
4 division Army of Northern Australia
3 division Army of Papua New Guinea
4 division Army of Southern Australia
(17/40 divisions possible raised, max 8% conscription)

Holy Republic of Colombia
11 division Army of Nagasaki
11 division Army of Iwo Jima
2 division Army of Maracaibo
2 division Army of Caracas
3 division Army of Luzon
2 division Army off Taipei
4 division Army of Lima
4 division Army of New Guinea
(39/39 divisions possible raised, max 18% conscription)

Confederation of New England
15 division Army of New York
1 division Army of Boston
(16/16 divisions possible raised, max 17% conscription)

Republic of Patagonia
3 division Army of Cordoba
3 division Army of Paraguay
(6/22 divisions possible raised, max 15% conscription)

Kingdom of Romania
5 division Army of Bucharest
(5/30 divisions possible raised, max 14% conscription)

Kingdom of Portugal
5 division Army of Lisbon
4 division Army of Nagasaki
(9/22 divisions possible raised, max 14% conscription)

Spanish Catholic Republic
10 division Army of Castile
(10/40 divisions possible raised, max 8% conscription)

Durrani Empire
23 division Army of Delhi
43 division Legions of Alp Arslan
2 division Army of Herat
(68/28 divisions possible raised, max 11% conscription)

Sultanate of Mysore
20 division Army of the North
19 division Army of Mysore
(39/39 divisions possible raised, max 11% conscription)

*-Note: This refers to the numbers at the beginning of the turn. Subsequent actions/developments are not considered in this.
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Spamage
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« Reply #403 on: May 18, 2022, 01:07:01 AM »

DAEBOREUM REVOLUTION
Yi Ho Exiled Korea Amid Two Coups

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

   The situation in Korea was tense at the start of the new year. When the Chinese Republic ignored the timid calls for peace from Seoul, instead electing to continue its successful offensive in the north from the previous year, matters came to a head. In the existing political climate, it was obvious that the war was unpopular and actors from a broad cross-section of society saw the opportunity of championing peace.
   The immediate spark was a Chinese capture of Tianjin. Despite a valiant defense by Korean soldiers, the sheer level of firepower was too much to bear. Thousands were killed in the relentless bombardment and, as the smoke cleared, the city was surrendered on January 25th. The Chinese were willing to level one of their own cities, just so the Koreans would be pushed out of their land. Indeed, the loss of Tianjin was seen as a devastating blow to the war effort, given its role in supplying Beijing. While attempts were made to censor the news of the loss at home, Joseon officials were overwhelmed by an upswing in public outrage.
    It was thus quite a contrast as the realm began to celebrate the traditional Daeboreum, noting the first full moon of the Korean year. Enthusiasm for many of the traditions was noticeably lacking. Rabble-rousers took advantage of many community gatherings to rail against Yi Ho for abandoning the Korean people in his bid to build a universal empire. Some called for his abdication, others went to saw as to demand republicanism.
   The emperor attempted to get out ahead of any popular unrest by issuing proclamations promising tax relief, a scaling back of wartime measures, and urging nationalist sentiments. Yet, some wondered, if many hated measures could be scaled back so easily, why had it not been done sooner? The military, which had heretofore supported Yi Ho, was outraged by his moves and warned publicly of supply difficulties. When some of the generals publicly criticizing the regime went unpunished, criticism became louder. On February 7th a coup occurred in Gyeongbokgung, the emperor’s guard being engaged by a battalion of soldiers. Overwhelmed by the sudden assault, the palace fell to the Korean Army. Although the new regime promised the emperor would remain nominal head of the nation, their actions effectively ended the rule of the Joseon Dynasty after centuries. Yi Ho sat under house arrest in the palace, his captors finding inspiration in the arrest of the Ottoman Sultan.
   Yet, the people were not satisfied when the military announced the formation of a provisional government just days later, the safety of Yi Ho being guaranteed by the new regime. Many assumed the military had seized control in order to prevent the emperor from making peace. Led by Jeon Bongjun, a mob of discontented peasants in Jeolla began a march on the capitol from the south, demanding the implementation of a republic and immediate peace. Their numbers swelled, within weeks thousands approaching the city, as sympathetic mobs appeared in the streets of the Korean capital. Seeing the way the winds were blowing, the provisional military government formally negotiated a handover to a select group of civilian leaders, abolishing itself. Better to allow limited civilian rule, many generals believed, than to face full-blown socialist uprisings.
   The Reform Council, established following the handover, appeased the mobs further, ordering an immediate withdrawal from China, establishment of a constitutional convention, and the further scaling back of wartime measures. The new regime promises a republic, attempting to head off any residual loyalty to Emperor Yi Ho by sending him and his family into exile in Vietnam. Peasant leaders seem to have been placated for the time being, though it is unclear if they will take further actions in the coming months.
   The Daeboreum Revolution, as the happenings of early 1877 are becoming known, has much broader implications for the rest of the region. In Japan, while it seems as though Korean commitment to the invasion is now rapidly flagging, events in Seoul also demonstrate the perils of pushing the populace to far. It is unclear how Korea’s ostensible Singapore Pact allies will react to the deposition of Emperor Yi Ho. In China, meanwhile, the revolution and the fall of Tianjin have been met with celebration. The tattered Korean forces have slowly withdrawn from Beijing, the city falling in a whimper rather than a roar. It is unclear what will be the fate of the other Korean outposts on the mainland. The Korean generals seem to have acquiesced to recent developments, but it remains to be seen how loyal they will be to the new government in the longer-term.
   Korea has fallen a long way from the golden age of Empress Sunwon. With the Joseon dynasty now joining many other royal families in exile, domestic strife erupting in the homeland, and the colonial empire collapsing, dark days have descended on the region.

North American Cup Inspires A Continent
First Champions Named!

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

   After years of carnage and bloodshed, the American Allies would seek to move forward in peace. Sport, rather than war, was championed by the Court of New Orleans as a means of friendly national competition. Capitalizing on the momentum of the Football Summit of 1871, the North American Cup was announced in 1876, a four-way tournament pitting New England, Louisiana, Quebec, and Mexico against one another.
   A series of round-robin games set the standings for the eventual bracket. In Game 1, Mexico gained an early lead over New England, winning that round 3-1. Quebec and Louisiana slogged it out in game 2, a Louisianan goal in the closing minutes securing them victory 1-0. In the loser’s bracket Quebec’s victory over New England meant that team was the first eliminated. When Mexico and Louisiana faced each other, it was one of the most dramatic matchups yet in this young sport. When the clock ran out and the game was tied 1-1, it went into two additional shortened periods. Neither side scored, the defense on both teams proving quite remarkable. Much to the chagrin of their fans, Mexico was technically defeated as the game moved into the penalty shoot-out. They would face Quebec, the winner playing the undefeated Louisianans.
   Despite attempts for a comeback, Quebec simply could not outmatch the Mexican team, losing 2-1. Many noted that Mexico had worked diligently to establish local teams and used the best players to assemble the national squad. In Game 6, the first point where Louisiana could end it all and win the North American Cup, the playing was particularly dirty, players on both sides receiving red cards. When Mexico triumphed, 1-0, it was clear the two teams would have to face off again, as Mexico had been previously defeated by Louisiana in Game 3.
   Thousands crowding to watch, the championship game ultimately saw Mexico triumph 2-1. Mexico has become the first winner of the North American Cup, that team being personally awarded their trophy by King Henry-Philippe, an avid fan of the new sport.
   The North American Cup of 1876 has been seen as a tremendous success. Despite the spirit of competition, true bonds have been forged between the allied powers both within their teams and their general public. Fans of teams other than their home nation have emerged as the populace has gotten exposure to the specific players, their personalities, and how they approach the game. Already, local leagues of amateurs have started popping up, even in British America. Many look forward to the next iteration of the North American Cup, some wondering if Mexico should host as the reigning champ. Regardless, this marvelous event no doubt heralds a new day in athletics. It remains to be seen if the rest of the world will follow the example of the American Alliance and exchange their warring bloodshed for some friendly athletic competition.
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YPestis25
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« Reply #404 on: May 18, 2022, 06:48:34 PM »

Quote
Pact of Isfahan
The Kingdom of Scandinavia and the Sublime State of Iran, hereafter the signatories, recognizing their mutual security concerns, have agreed to the following terms:

I . A defensive alliance will be established between the signatories.

II . In the event of an attack on any one signatory, the other will be obligated to come to their defense against the offending state.    

III . The signatories agree to consult one another on relevant security concerns.
xQueen-Empress Catherine II
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« Reply #405 on: May 18, 2022, 06:52:59 PM »

Quote
Pact of Isfahan
The Kingdom of Scandinavia and the Sublime State of Iran, hereafter the signatories, recognizing their mutual security concerns, have agreed to the following terms:

I . A defensive alliance will be established between the signatories.

II . In the event of an attack on any one signatory, the other will be obligated to come to their defense against the offending state.    

III . The signatories agree to consult one another on relevant security concerns.
xQueen-Empress Catherine II

X NSQ
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« Reply #406 on: May 18, 2022, 07:40:17 PM »

Statement from the King

As our people proceed to vote in this year's election, I would express my support for Prime Minister Crispi and his government. Under his administration, we have freed Corsica and Sardinia, increased our ties with North America, and the fact that he has managed to stave off a Catholic Republican takeover is a testament to his skill as a politician.

I urge all good Italians to re-elect the Prime Minister's government.

Avanti Italia!
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« Reply #407 on: May 19, 2022, 02:29:05 AM »
« Edited: May 19, 2022, 05:49:44 AM by GoTfan »

Statement from the King's Court

The King is overjoyed to announce his impending marriage to Princess Bertha of Quebec. This marriage will no doubt be one of great affection and bear many children, as well as reinforcing the ties between the Kingdom of Naples and Empire of Quebec

In addition the two nations have agreed to the following treaty:

Quote
Treaty of Sardinia

1) The Kingdom of Naples and Empire of Quebec are sworn to defend each other in the event of an attack on the North American Continent

2) The Navies of both nations will conduct yearly joint exercises.

3) Selected units from the armies of both nations will travel abroad to train and study with the other nation.

4) Businesses of both nations are permitted to seek opportunities in the other nation, with a 25% reduction in taxes for the first three years of operation

5) Neapolitan and Quebecoise students will be permitted to seek educational opportunities in both nations.

6) Tariffs between both nations are to be reduced by 15%

x Philip of Naples

x Francesco Crispi, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Naples

x Amadeo Melegari, Minister of Foreign and Colonial Affairs of the Kingdom of Naples

x Giovanni Lanza, Minister of War of the Kingdom of Naples

x Francesco Ferrara, Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Naples

x Stefano Castagnola, Minister of Trade of the Kingdom of Naples
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« Reply #408 on: May 19, 2022, 02:03:42 PM »

firman on the construction and maintenance of Twelver Shi’ite shrines and Mosques in the new realms of the Sublime State

The Sublime State shall maintain upkeep and help expand construction of Twelver Shi’ite Mosques and shrines. We are also to ensure that there is ample spaces for Twelver Shia communities to pray by appropriation of mosques or other applicable buildings for the conversion to respectable use.

The Sublime State will also help with the proper exposure and conversion of new citizens to learn about Twelver Shi’ism and choose the right path Allah wishes them to take. It is imperative that aside from special exceptions, most governorate and major city leaders must be Shia unless in rural areas or areas with large amount of People of the Book—Zoroastrians, Christians, Sabians/Mandaeans, Jews.
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« Reply #409 on: May 19, 2022, 06:20:51 PM »
« Edited: May 30, 2022, 08:12:31 PM by A.F.E. 🇺🇸🤝🇺🇦 »


Source: Wikimedia Commons

OFFICIAL FIRMAN FROM THE IMPERIAL COURT IN KABUL

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


Source: From The Medium/Emil Rybitschka, Afghanistan 1915–1920 collection-Stiftung Bibliotheca Afghanica, CH-4416 Bubendorf

Blood for Bengal!

An excerpt from the speech that, Abdul Samad Khan, Padshah of the Durrani Empire, had given on the northern bank of the Yamuna River accompanied by the Durrani high command with the Taj Mahal behind him to an encampment of soldiers, foreign diplomats, and a massive crowd of civilians in the liberated city of Agra.

The excerpt of the speech is to be printed en masse in newspapers both far and near across the globe.

Quote
"...Once again, I would like to humbly congratulate and thank everyone both far and near for their assistance and help with our current war effort. From our valiant fighters on the battlefield to the humblest of peasants. Inshallah, Allah will reward you all in this world and the hereafter for your brave and righteous efforts. We are proud to proclaim that the French tyrants are still being ousted from the subcontinent under the righteous fury of the Durrani and Mysorean armies. It is only a matter of time before true liberation is at hand, but there is still much more work to be done!

But alas, many have fallen in the pursuit of freedom. And unfortunately, the brave people of Bengal had done so in fighting back against their French oppressors. Indeed, speaking in detail about what had occurred is much too painful to speak of. Crimes, horrors, and atrocities not fit for a civilized society had befallen the innocent people of Bengal under the bloodthirsty French. Babies torn from their mothers! Families forced to watch their daughters be sold off to and then violated by the French! The children, the sick, the elderly, and the crippled were savagely killed as if they were animals! People forced to resort to cannibalism because the French took satisfaction in their desperation for nourishment! Even houses of worship were not spared from the savagery! Perhaps, over a thousand masjids and temples were burnt down and destroyed even while people sought refuge inside them!

This is what will befall the fate of Hindustan should we give up and lose this war! But I say NO! We will never surrender to the degenerate tyrants of Paris nor shall we abstain from our Holy duty! Only the complete and utter expulsion of the French will be of minimum suffice! I say to all you out there, let us never forget what the French have done to us! Never forget why we're here fighting! Never forget what we're fighting for! And I say to all abled individuals across Hindustan! Take up arms and join us! And let us shed blood for Bengal!..."
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« Reply #410 on: May 21, 2022, 11:17:16 AM »

From the King

Philip is pleased to announce that after many months of discussion, the Kingdom of Naples can announce its intention further its ties eastward, and the formal declaration of a treaty between the Kingdom of Naples and the Russian Republic, negotiated skilfully by Prime Minister Crispi and his overnment.

Quote
Treaty of Taranto

1: The Kingdom of Naples and the Russian Republic are committed to the defence of the Balkan States in the event of an attack.

2: The signatories agree to embark on a joint venture of a rail network  connecting the Balkan States to Moscow.

3: The signatories agree to establish a joint military academy at a location to be advised.

4: The signatories are agreed on the necessity of a secure Mediterranean.

5: The signatories will undertake joint military exercises to improve their readiness

6: The signatories agree to open their markets to businesses from other signatories, with a 25% reduction in tariffs and a 10% in taxes for three years from initial establishment of a business

x Philip, King of Naples

x Francesco Crispi, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Naples

x Amadeo Melegari, Minister of Foreign and Colonial Affairs of the Kingdom of Naples

x Giovanni Lanza, Minister of War of the Kingdom of Naples

x Francesco Ferrara, Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Naples

x Stefano Castagnola, Minister of Trade of the Kingdom of Naples

On a more personal note, the King looks forward to visiting the liberated Constantinople and meeting with President Suvorin in Moscow.
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« Reply #411 on: May 21, 2022, 07:37:32 PM »

From the King

Philip is pleased to announce that after many months of discussion, the Kingdom of Naples can announce its intention further its ties eastward, and the formal declaration of a treaty between the Kingdom of Naples and the Russian Republic, negotiated skilfully by Prime Minister Crispi and his overnment.

Quote
Treaty of Taranto

1: The Kingdom of Naples and the Russian Republic are committed to the defence of the Balkan States in the event of an attack.

2: The signatories agree to embark on a joint venture of a rail network  connecting the Balkan States to Moscow.

3: The signatories agree to establish a joint military academy at a location to be advised.

4: The signatories are agreed on the necessity of a secure Mediterranean.

5: The signatories will undertake joint military exercises to improve their readiness

6: The signatories agree to open their markets to businesses from other signatories, with a 25% reduction in tariffs and a 10% in taxes for three years from initial establishment of a business

x Philip, King of Naples

x Francesco Crispi, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Naples

x Amadeo Melegari, Minister of Foreign and Colonial Affairs of the Kingdom of Naples

x Giovanni Lanza, Minister of War of the Kingdom of Naples

x Francesco Ferrara, Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Naples

x Stefano Castagnola, Minister of Trade of the Kingdom of Naples

On a more personal note, the King looks forward to visiting the liberated Constantinople and meeting with President Suvorin in Moscow.

A.S. Suvorin, President of All the Russias
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« Reply #412 on: May 21, 2022, 09:47:34 PM »

His Imperial Majesty is pleased to sign the Treaty of Sardinia, reaffirming the mutually benefitial relationship between the Kingdom of Naples and the Empire of Québec. While offering his most sincere condolences to His Majesty over the passing of the late monarch, His Imperial Majesty also celebrates the match between Her Highness Princess Bertha and His Majesty King Philip, and extends his best wishes and blessing to the happy couple.

Quote
Treaty of Sardinia

1) The Kingdom of Naples and Empire of Quebec are sworn to defend each other in the event of an attack on the North American Continent

2) The Navies of both nations will conduct yearly joint exercises.

3) Selected units from the armies of both nations will travel abroad to train and study with the other nation.

4) Businesses of both nations are permitted to seek opportunities in the other nation, with a 25% reduction in taxes for the first three years of operation

5) Neapolitan and Quebecoise students will be permitted to seek educational opportunities in both nations.

6) Tariffs between both nations are to be reduced by 15%

x Philip of Naples

x Francesco Crispi, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Naples

x Amadeo Melegari, Minister of Foreign and Colonial Affairs of the Kingdom of Naples

x Giovanni Lanza, Minister of War of the Kingdom of Naples

x Francesco Ferrara, Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Naples

x Stefano Castagnola, Minister of Trade of the Kingdom of Naples


x Philip I, Emperor and Defender of Québec
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« Reply #413 on: May 27, 2022, 05:09:04 AM »

King Phillip to tour Balkans and Russia!

King Phillip of Naples today announces that in coordination with his government and the various governments of the East, he will be undertaking a tour of Greece and Russian Republic to tighten the friendship between Naples and those nations.

The King will tour the various historical sites of the Ancient Greek city-states, such as Sparta and Macedon, before arriving in Athens itself to speak with King Constantine and express his desire for closer ties with the Greek nation and people, and his support in their ongoing operations in the lawless lands of the former Ottoman Empire.

From there, the King intends to travel to the liberated city of Constantinople. The King will conduct a tour of the city, visiting sites such as where Emperor Constantine made his final stand against the Ottoman hordes and the Hagia Sophia, since restored as a good Christian church. He also intends to meet with Milyutin, liberator of Constantinople while there.

Finally, the King will travel north to Moscow to meet in person with President Suvorin. The two will discuss the need for a secure Mediterranean and the necessity of closer ties between Naples and Moscow.

The King looks forward to his eastern tour, scheduled for the new year, once elections and his wedding to Princess Bertha of Quebec are concluded.
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« Reply #414 on: May 29, 2022, 05:20:53 PM »
« Edited: May 30, 2022, 08:08:51 PM by A.F.E. 🇺🇸🤝🇺🇦 »


Source: Wikimedia Commons

Official Firman from The Imperial Court of Kabul

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Quote
I. The Durrani Empire officially recognizes the Provisional Ottoman Government in Bursa as being the legitimate government of the Turkish people.

II. All present and future diplomatic, commercial, and military matters between the Durrani Empire and the Turkish people will, henceforth, be conducted with the government in Bursa.

III. All Greek diplomatic missions shall be expelled for the time being until they cease their unlawful invasion of Anatolia. All diplomatic missions from the regimes in Sinope and Antalya shall be immediately and permanently expelled from the Durrani Empire.

IV. The House of Osmanoğlu and other assorted muhajir from Rumelia and beyond is granted refuge and asylum throughout the Durrani Empire.

- Abdul Samad Khan, Padshah of the Durrani Empire
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« Reply #415 on: April 22, 2023, 09:54:17 PM »
« Edited: April 22, 2023, 10:01:31 PM by Spamage »

The End (An Abridged History of the World 1877-1900)

Congress of Copenhagen (1880)
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

   By 1879 it was abundantly clear that the situation in East Asia was untenable. Conflict was everywhere and the whole region aflame. In addition to the rebellion of Mysore and Durrani invasion, Chinese intervention in Burma in 1877 had expanded the fighting in the Raj yet further. France, despite extreme difficulties in sending supplies and reinforcements, seemed determined to win in India at any cost. The Habsburgs, Colombians, and Hollanders all feasted on the rotting corpse of the Korean East Indies. Korea proper bravely fended off Russian intervention while Japan was on the brink of full-blown civil war. Britain, despite struggling for control of the Cape, was also embroiled in a frozen conflict with the Hollanders in Australia. The Philippines stood independent, but unrecognized by all save for the Catholic-Republicans. In order to settle the situation, restore normal trade, and bring about lasting peace, it became increasingly evident that some sort of broader settlement was necessary. It would be the ever-pragmatic Scandinavians who would employ their complex web of diplomatic connections in order to establish some sort of peace.
   Under the initiative of Queen Catherine, initial feelers were sent to Vienna, London, and Moscow in order to force a settlement. Eventually the four powers, despite tensions elsewhere, agreed to call the Congress of Copenhagen with the sole aim of restoring peace in Asia. In a notable shift, several Asian countries were allowed to send representatives. Ultimately Austria, Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, China, the Philippines, New Holland, Colombia, France, Japan, the Durrani, Mysore, Siam, and Korea were all represented directly. Quebec, Portugal, Spain, Iran, and Dai Viet all sent observers.
   France initially showed itself disinclined to participate, but was forced to cooperate by the tacit threat that the terms agreed would be enforced by all other participants. Rather than risk open war with Scandinavia, Britain, Russia, and Austria at once (especially given the spread-out nature of the French military) Queen Mother Charlotte decided it would be better to bide her time and agree to some sort of limited peace. She would not forgive the other powers for intervening in what she saw as internal French affairs, but had little choice.
   This mass diplomatic gathering finally occurred in April 1880. The overall agenda of Copenhagen proved an initial sticking point. Attempts by Russia to involve Anatolia or by Britain to include the war in Southern Africa in the Copenhagen Congress proved unsuccessful, other powers largely agreeing that these matters fell outside the scope of the meeting. It was determined that the Congress would cover five main areas: India, the East Indies, Oceania, China, and the unstable former regional hegemons of Korea and Japan.
   It took two months, but the ultimate result of the Congress of Copenhagen was a broad settlement of affairs in the region. No power could express itself fully satisfied with the terms, but neither were they too harsh on any individual realm, save perhaps for the Koreans. Despite an effort by the Chinese delegation to forge some sort of Pan-Asian working group, typically the European factions pitted the various local powers against one another in order to protect their colonial gains.
   Peace was restored to India. Mysore was officially recognized by France, granted independence, and had its holdings enlarged. Still, it was forced to give vast tracts of occupied land to the north back to France. Similarly, the Durrani were given Gujarat and broader gains along the border, but were compelled to retreat out of much of the Ganges Plain. France insisted on having Delhi restored to its rule (well-aware of the city’s symbolic significance), a term the Durrani were forced to accept when it became clear that they were outvoted by the various European powers. In Burma, the independence of the Shan people under Chinese protection was recognized, while the Christianized coastal Lower Burma remained under French control. Chinese diplomats also forced France to recognize the independence of Nepal and Sikkim, creating a nice buffer between the subcontinent and Chinese-backed Tibet. French India emerged from the war battered and reduced, but far stronger than many observers would have assumed just months earlier. The return of territory gave Paris the leverage it needed to buy off some domestic opposition and regroup ahead of any secondary onslaughts.
   The East Indies were partitioned between the various powers present in the region. The Habsburgs, in exchange for renouncing any substantial territorial ambitions, were recognized as controllers of Singapore and Brunei. The Japanese surrender of Papua New Guinea to Colombia and New Holland was confirmed, as were most of the Hollander gains in the region. France, not to be left in the cold, insisted on the restoration of its holdings on Sumatra and Borneo. While the Hollanders were able to maintain an outpost in the south of Sumatra, the remainder of the island was ceded to French control. While Aceh remained independent, France now had a claim to the sultanate on paper. The remainder of Malaya beyond Singapore was partitioned between the Colombians and Hollanders. In a victory for the Catholic Republicans, the Congress of Copenhagen recognized the independence of the Philippines.
   In Oceania the conflict between the British and Hollanders was at long last brought to an end after six years. New Holland’s borders were pushed a good deal west, London being willing to cede what it viewed to be sparsely populated wastelands in return for the survival of the Australian colony. Given the region had been the site of an uneasy truce for most of the war, the conclusion of the conflict was largely overshadowed for all but the inhabitants of the region.
   The Tokugawa Shogunate was confirmed in its control of what remained of the former Japanese Pacific, as well as overlordship over the Republic of Formosa. Still, it was forced to make concessions, formally renouncing its claims to any of its Chinese territories that had been lost in the regional chaos of the past several years. Many observers, both inside and outside Japan could see the growing gulf in tensions within the realm. As foreign powers succored the two factions, the incumbent government merely sought to leave the Congress of Copenhagen with as little disruption as possible.
   Korea, meanwhile, was punished the most. Russian annexation of the Transamur Region was confirmed by the Congress, as was the loss of all territories in the Pacific. The weak republican government in Seoul felt it had little power to disagree. In a role reversal, the Chinese would demonstrate their influence over the Koreans, the diplomatic assembly recognizing a “Chinese interest” in the affairs of that nation. Long gone were the days of Sunwon's glory, the new republic standing on unstable ground.
   While the Congress of Copenhagen demonstrated the benefits of diplomatic cooperation, and brought peace back to East Asia, some questioned whether the new order would endure. Paris simmered with resentment over the Durrani and Mysore gains at their expense, let alone the Chinese intervention. In China proper, many had hoped that the Congress would see Scandinavian and Habsburg holdings eliminated, a prospect soon dashed. Many in China resented the fact that their joint claim to the Korean colonies had been usurped by the Catholic Republican seizure of said territories. The Koreans and Japanese both yearned for revenge and a reassertion of their position. Yet, for its imperfections, the order established would endure for the next two decades, the borders of the region looking fairly stable come 1900.
  
Ottoman Empire: A Monarchy Restored?
Battle of Kuthaya, 1880
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Turkish Civil War (1877-1882)
   The situation in Turkey at the beginning of 1877 was chaotic and complicated. With three factions vying for control of the country, rapacious neighbors infringing on the nation’s sovereignty, and newly-created fragile states from the Ottoman corpse merely trying to survive, anything seemed possible. Ultimately, the conflict to some extent came to represent a proxy fight between the great powers, each jostling for influence in Anatolia. In addition to the various domestic factions Russia, France, Iran, and Greece would all have a role to play in the fighting.
   The Turkish Socialists would be the first faction to fall, Nuri using the fact that his constitutionalist rivals in the west were focused on fending off the Greeks to crush dissent on the Anatolian plain. While Ankara was fairly easily subdued, Sinope and Antalya proved thorns in the side of the Republicans. The Siege of Sinope lasted until 1879, thousands of civilians perishing as a result of starvation and the steady bombardment of the Republican guns.
   To the west, the Greeks achieved a major victory over the Constitutionalists on June 8th, 1878 at the Battle of Balikesir, breaking the stalemate that had existed and putting the Executive Regency Council on the back foot. Rather than continue north to destroy their initial foes though, the Greeks instead focused their attention to the south, a region with more ethnic Greeks, where significant gains were made against the Republicans.
   The initial stages of the conflict demonstrated that all factions suffered from poor supply and lax discipline. Anatolia was in desperate shape. The fighting expanded the famine in the region and caused refugees to flee into the surrounding realms. Given Russia and Trebizond had outright discriminatory policies against Turks, most fled east towards Iran and Cilicia, seeking stability and safety. Among the armies, repeated attempts by the various leaders to organize offensives were undermined by a lack of cohesiveness. Disobedient soldiers found desertion to be rather easy and the recruitment bonuses were easily exploited.
   The most important development in the Turkish Civil War would take place well outside of Anatolia. In 1880 General Abdülkerim Nadir Pasha reached an agreement with Queen Charlotte in the Treaty of Rabat. In exchange for transit to Anatolia provided by the French fleet and armaments, the Ottoman Royalist forces would cede Morocco to France and allow for a French military port in the Eastern Mediterranean should they triumph. Nadir had conquered Morocco in 1874 but still struggled to govern it with local resistance simmering, so the agreement seemed a bargain to him. Low scale resistance continued in the Atlas Mountains and the populace showed little willingness to embrace their Turkish government. Queen Charlotte saw benefit in establishing a French outpost in Morocco to counter the Habsburgs at Gibraltar and increasing French presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, given Russia’s seizure of Konstantingrad and Scandinavian bases on Cyprus.
   On April 11th, 1880 the Sultan’s Brigades (as the Royalist cause dubbed themselves) landed on the coast of Anatolia and captured the city of Attalia. Nadir Pasha declared himself a “friend of the House of Osman” and determined that the “wretched fiends who have feasted upon our nation” would pay. Fresh, compared to the demoralized factions that had battled for control for years at this point, the Royalist cause showed great promise. Shipments from France brought both food and weapons in ample supply, Paris seeking to buy itself a loyal friend.
   The Royalists and Constitutionalists reached a compromise with the Treaty of Gemlik in late 1880. Seeing their cause as all but lost, and determining that a restored absolute monarchy was preferable to a republic under Nuri, the Constitutionalists formally aligned themselves with Nadir, further increasing his strength. The Executive Regency formally dissolved itself, transferring all command to the Royalist leadership.
   Nuri was not idle, using the French backing of the Royalists to court Russian support. Suvorin had already tried to establish cordial relations with whomever it seemed would win the Turkish Civil War and, given Nuri’s success since 1877, Russian-Republican ties were fairly strong at this point. Yet, Suvorin’s willingness to provide aid was undermined by Nuri’s refusal to recognize Trebizond and Greek Anatolia. Thus, Russia limited its involvement, not wanting to alienate the Royalists too much as well.
   French intervention in Turkey was a clear slight towards Russia. While Paris could plausibly deny direct involvement, no French troops taking part in the fighting, it was clear who they were supporting. With French weaponry, including excess supply left over from the War of the Regency, being funneled to the Royalists, Nadir was able to field the most well-equipped force. 1880 saw Nadir successfully unite his southern territories to the former Constitutionalist holdings on the Sea of Marmara. The Greeks, beset by supply difficulties and guerilla resistance were smashed at the Battle of Kutahya on August 5th, 1880. Despite harassment from Nuri in his rear, Nadir followed up this victory with a rapid rollback of Greek gains in Anatolia. Vasileios Sapountzakis and the Greek Expeditionary Force found themselves holed up in Smyrna.  
   Constantine of Greece was conscious that the war could likely not be won. Ever since France had made its position clear, and with Russia fairly disengaged, the Greek government had decreased resources being sent to the front. The defeat at Kutahya gave the King the excuse he needed to seek peace. With Scandinavian mediation, the parties settled their differences in the Treaty of Rhodes. Greece agreed to recognize Nadir Pasha and the Royalists as the legitimate government of Anatolia and cede most of their holdings in Anatolia except for Smyrna. In return, the Ottoman government provided assurances for the Anatolian Greeks, reaffirmed its territorial concessions to Athens in the Treaty of Limassol, and agreed to not construct any naval ports on the Aegean.
   Peace with Greece allowed Nadir to close out the conflict. By early 1882 the Republican cause was spent, five years of fighting having decimated its forces. Osman Nuri attempted to resist the final onslaught in March 1882, but the fall of Sinope and Ankara cemented that the cause was lost. As his forces disintegrated, Nuri fled across the border into Trebizond.
   It would be this flight to Trebizond that would give Nadir the causus belli he needed to attack that realm. Most Turks had never fully accepted the carving out of that state and saw it as wholly illegitimate. Denouncing King Alexios VI de Bourbon-Trebizond as a harborer of fugitives, the Ottoman Royalist forces pushed past the Halys River into Trebizondian territory. The Trebizondian force was token, having not yet been fully organized in its short life and the result was a rapid rout.
   This, naturally, caused panic in the region. The Bourbons of Romania denounced the invasion and threatened to intervene to protect their close relations. Iran stood back, watching carefully, curious for the implications to Cilicia. Only Russia would formally act. President Suvorin condemned any attempts to rewrite the Treaty of Limassol, deploying Russian soldiers into the small realm after Alexios VI formally requested aid. While this did bring the fighting to a standstill, it underscored how tenuous the situation remained in the region. Osman Nuri, meanwhile, was treated as a “guest” of the Russian Republic, being sent to exile in distant St. Petersburg.

Turkish Civil War is Declared Over, 1882
(Source: Wikimedia)

Restoration of the House of Osman (1882-1887)
   Abdülkerim Nadir Pasha declared Turkish Civil War at a formal end on June 3rd, 1882. After six years of fighting and an incalculable amount of devastation, none of the initial war goals of the various combatants had been achieved. The Constitution of 1876 was abandoned as a political program, republicans were persecuted or shunned, and Cilicia (the whole initial spark of the civil war) remained an independent realm. The Empire, meanwhile, had been permanently transformed, an old order shattered in the process.
   Sultan Ahmed IV formally took up residence in Bursa, the new capital of the Ottoman Empire and one of the few cities that had not been leveled. In flagrant violation of the Treaty of Limassol, he reassumed the title of Caliph on behalf of the sultanate. Yet, he wielded little power as all looked to Nadir Pasha for leadership. Once peace had been settled, Nadir coerced the young sultan into declaring him the Grand Vizier. He immediately set about repairing the Ottoman state. Modelling himself somewhat on the late Süleyman Hüsnü, he hoped to reverse at least some of the Ottoman collapse over the previous decade and a half.
   France was dutifully rewarded for its support of the Royalists with the transfer of Morocco in August 1882. Nadir Pasha also ceded the city of Attalia to Paris as had been agreed in the Treaty of Rabat. It seemed the Franco-Ottoman alliance of 1536 yet lived, Charlotte and Louis XX pouring millions of francs into the Ottoman Empire in return. France was initially used by the government in Bursa as a means of keeping the Russians and Iranian at bay.
   This aid was used for a wide variety of purposes. Infrastructure projects saw the various cities of Asia Minor linked by improved road and rail networks. Housing construction and resettlement saw the thousands of Turkish refugees from both the civil war and the forced resettlements of Trebizond and Konstaningrad integrated into Anatolian life. A new administrative system was set up, as the eyalets were abolished and replaced with vilayets. Higher salaries and foreign training were used to establish a whole network of civil servants to replace the old system that had been disrupted by the Treaty of Limassol and the Turkish Civil War. Public schooling was encouraged. Finally, new agricultural technologies were imported from France, expanding both output and profits.
   Most important to Nadir Pasha though, was the reconstruction of the Ottoman military. Rather than demobilize with the wind-down of fighting, instead the Grand Vizier sought to expand the armed forces, French subsidies helping to achieve this. Lessons from the civil war were used to develop new doctrines for fighting in mountainous regions. Former Republican officers were offered a pardon and commission in the armed forces if they would pledge loyalty to Sultan Ahmed IV. National conscription policies were gradually rolled out, young men aged 18-25 being compelled to spend a week training at various military camps. The Ottoman Army was given a further chance to gain experience with the pacification of Tripolitania in 1885, the last sparks of rebellion in that province being snuffed out.
   Yet, the good times could not last forever. The reconstituted Ottoman Empire would be jolted severely by the sudden death of Grand Vizier Abdülkerim Nadir Pasha on January 15th, 1886. The “Savior of the House of Osman” was honored with a tremendous state funeral in Bursa, the public showing a mass display of mourning for the man who had stopped the fighting. His direct rule had been brief but extremely significant in driving the trajectory of the Ottoman Empire moving forward.
   With no figure of much stature waiting in the wings, Sultan Ahmed IV was at long last able to take control of his own government. After years under the control of the Second Executive Regency Council and then forced to obey Nadir Pasha, he was eager to assert himself, but not well-versed in the actual act of governing, as would soon become evident. The sultan removed many of Nadir’s allies throughout his first year of direct rule, replacing them with loyalists and sycophants.
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« Reply #416 on: April 22, 2023, 09:54:32 PM »
« Edited: April 30, 2023, 02:12:51 PM by Spamage »

Turkish Soldiers Under Arms, 1887
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Qajar-Ottoman War (1887-1893)
   The United Kingdom of Cilicia had faced peril from the day of its proclamation in 1876. King Mar'i al-Mallah had wisely invited Iranian soldiers to stabilize the situation in that same year, a move that ensured his survival but also indirectly led to the Turkish Civil War. The Qajars had withdrawn their men in 1878, as it became clear Turkey was too engulfed in the civil war to pose any real threat. By the time Cilicia’s much larger neighbor returned to a state of peace in 1882, the Ottomans were still seen as too weak to act against the Cilicians. It was only with the military reforms advanced by Nadir Pasha in 1883-1885, that Adana became wary once more of potential Ottoman reconquest.
   In late 1886, King Mar’i once more requested aid from Tehran. Yet, this time, he was willing to go further than in the past. Rather than merely inviting the Iranians to support his government with the presence of troops, he was fully willing to pledge fealty to the Qajar Dynasty along similar lines to the Kurds, Alawites, and Armenians. Naturally, the offer was too good for Shah to ignore and he consented on February 17th, 1887 with the Submission of Adana.
   To Sultan Ahmed IV, the Submission of Adana was a humiliation and one that could not be allowed to stand. Despite some of his advisors urging caution, the headstrong Sultan was egged on to confrontation by the Russian ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Aleksandr Nelidov. Russia had taken a decidedly anti-Iranian turn after the Treaty of Limassol, President Suvorin seeing the Qajars and not the Ottomans as the largest threat to his interests in the region. Despite both France and the Habsburg Monarchy urging calm, Russia’s scheming won the day. The Ottoman government issued the Cilician Ultimatum on February 20th, demanding a Qajar renunciation of the Submission of Adana, temporary Ottoman occupation of Cilicia, and a renegotiation of the Ottoman-Qajar frontier. The terms were deliberately provocative, despite almost all Ottoman factions panicking and urging restraint.
   Iran, naturally, felt it could not accept the Cilician Ultimatum and believed that the Ottomans were utterly suicidal in issuing it. After all, the Turks had just endured a terrible civil war while Iran had prospered. The shah was unaware that Russia was decidedly hostile, convincing himself that any disagreements were merely temporary. He openly refused Ahmed IV’s demands on February 23rd, the Ottomans declaring war later than day.
   The Qajar-Ottoman War proved to be both larger and longer than either of the combatants had expected. The Ottomans opened up the fighting with a massive offensive, aimed at knocking out Cilicia and ejecting Iran from the rest of Asia Minor. Initial gains were impressive, the Iranian generals underestimating the Ottoman military reforms of the previous five years. Kayseri fell, as did Mersin, Turkish soldiers reaching as far east as Malatya by the end of the campaign season in October 1887. Adana itself was placed under siege in August 1887 but stubbornly resisted surrender, forcing the Ottomans to refrain from further advances in Cilicia.
   The initial stage of the war had been nothing less than a humiliation for the Iranians, who some felt had grown complacent of their dominance over the region. Determined to see better results in 1888, the Naser al-Din fired his aged uncle Bahman Mirza Qajar and appointed his son Mass'oud Mirza Zell-e Soltan to command, demanding offensive action to reverse the losses. Indeed, if 1887 had been the year of Turkish gains, 1888 proved to be Iran’s time.
   The Iranian assault began in March 1888. While the first few weeks were frustratingly slow, the Ottomans occupying entrenched positions from over the winter, a series of breakthroughs were achieved with the use of chemical weapons. These bridgeheads broke Ottoman resistance temporarily, causing a mass retreat to the west. Unfortunately for the Turks, supply would become an issue. Russia, which had promised and provided extensive military aid to the Ottomans in 1887 and early 1888, saw itself forced to curtail this assistance with the onset of the Panic of 1888. Thus, by the end of the campaign season in 1889, Iranians occupied Ottoman land, a total reversal of the past year.
   The military disasters of 1888-89 saw a coup in the Ottoman Empire, the military seizing control of the government from Sultan Ahmed IV, who was blamed for the predicament. Ahmed Muhtar Pasha, the Field Marshall, was given overall command, purging the government proper of those loyal to the Sultan. The Coup of April 14th proved to be a tremendous benefit in the long run, the whole state being reformed into a military apparatus for the duration of the war. No longer would Ottoman strategy be determined by a proud but incompetent royal with little real-life experience. Military strategic consideration instead would drive policy moving forward.
   In 1890, with Algiers conquered and alarmed by the Iranian gains, France stepped in to fill the vacuum left by Russia’s curtailing of support. Like the Russians, Paris had no love for the Iranian Shah, who was seen as complicit in the Durrani Invasion of India. Once again modern weaponry and military advisors poured out of Attalia. King Louis had no scruples about extensive shipments of gas cannisters and shells as well. Yet, for the Ottomans, there would be no repeat of 1887. While they did push the Iranians out of Anatolia, fighting bogged down frustratingly close to the old borders. In Cilicia, meanwhile, Adana was placed under siege once more. It was at this point that the fairly mobile war began to grow entrenched. Despite efforts from both sides to break out and restore a war of movement, the end result seemed to only be further death and destruction. Gas attacks caused the deaths of thousands, yet proved to be ineffective at achieving more than temporary breakthroughs.
   Seeking to expand the conflict and relieve pressure on the front line, the Ottomans and their nominal French allies released the Saudis back into Arabia in 1891, igniting yet another Wahabi Revolt and undermining the stability of Rashidi Arabia. The Saudis called on the Sunni to rise up against the Shah, their declarations seconded by the captive Ahmed IV, who as caliph was used to call for resistance to the Shi’ites. While Arabia proper would descend into crisis, the response from Sunnis on other parts of Qajar Iran was extremely limited.
   This situation endured for the next two years, minor gains for either power coming at the cost of thousands of lives. Yet, the two combatants stubbornly continued to fight. While Muhtar Pasha and the Ottoman military leadership consistently offered negotiations, seeking to exit the conflict as soon as possible, Iran’s demands were deemed unacceptable. Naser al-Din Shah was utterly convinced that continued pressure would break the Turkish resistance if given more time. He ignored the extensive foreign aid to his enemies and was too proud to seek backing from Vienna or Stockholm. Only growing war-weariness among the populace began to change the shah’s opinion. The Mutiny at Antioch in late 1892 shook the Qajar Dynasty to its core and finally convinced him that peace was necessary.
   The Treaty of Newcastle was brokered by King George IV of Britain in 1893, the United Kingdom seen as a relatively neutral arbiter by both sides. Cilicia would become a protectorate of Iran, though Tehran was prohibited from basing troops in the kingdom. As compensation for the loss of claims on Cilicia, the Ottomans instead would be granted most of the Sivas Vilayet and Kayseri by the Iranians, a move that increased the security of Anatolia and pushed the borders further east. In Arabia, the Saudis were recognized as the leaders of Nejd and were forced to accept a ten-year truce with the Qajars. Though neither power expressed themselves excited by the agreement, especially given the tens of thousands that had died to achieve it, both the Qajars and Ottomans felt they needed to lick their wounds and recover. Britain was named as the guarantor of the treaty, London deliberately sidelining both Moscow and Paris in a bid to establish a presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.    

Ahmed Muhtar Pasha, Grand Vizier for Life
(Source: Wikimedia)

The Grandest of Viziers (1893-1900)
   Ahmed Muhtar Pasha had effectively seized control of the government from Sultan Ahmed IV in 1889 with the Coup of April 14th, as it became clear the sultan was well out of his depth. For the remainder of the Qajar-Ottoman War, the Empire had functioned effectively as a military dictatorship, Ahmed IV sidelined to ceremonial appearances and propaganda uses. With the Treaty of Newcastle restoring peace, Muhtar felt comfortable handing Ahmed IV once and for all. The headstrong sultan was forced to commit suicide on June 20th, 1893, his death presented to the public as a tragic accident. Şehzade Ibrahim Tevfik, one of the few remaining Ottoman princelings after the Massacre of the Princes in 1876, was proclaimed Ibrahim II. Aged just 19, he was effectively a prisoner in his own palace, Muhtar keeping him isolated from the public.
   Backed by the military for his leadership and the populace for his nationalist sentiments during the war, Muhtar faced no opposition when he declared himself Grand Vizier for Life in 1894. Inspired by Louis XX, internal dissent was utterly crushed. The state of emergency for the war was extended indefinitely. Following up on his earlier purges of the government of monarchists during the war, the Grand Vizier expanded this to society as a whole, eliminating dozens of perceived opponents. Freedom of speech was stifled, the Ottoman government instead focused on uniformity and compliance. Muhtar portrayed the Empire’s difficulties as stemming from many ethnic and religious minorities who refused to bend to the will of the government, a situation he vowed to rectify. Meanwhile, a cult of personality was also fashioned around himself, the Grand Vizier being portrayed as the Savior of the Nation. Ibrahim II, while still honored, was relegated to a secondary and ceremonial propaganda role. Islam was deemphasized, the government pivoting solely to a focus on Turkish nationalism and militarism. With the empire’s mass-conscription system, it became very clear that the Ottomans remained a force to be reckoned with.
   Muhtar would distance himself from picking any single major foreign partner, keeping the Ottomans as an aloof, neutral power. In particular, his government sought to play French and Russian interests against one another, extracting concessions from both sides without having to surrender much. The Qajar-Ottoman war had demonstrated that no power would go out of their way to aid the Ottomans unless something could be gained from it. Russia had withdrawn funding at the first convenient opportunity, while France had only aided the Turks after they had concluded their mischief in North Africa. Scandinavia was viewed with particular distaste, many remembering its betrayal of the Ottoman cause and invasion of Egypt, while the Habsburgs were still seen through the lens of the historic rivalry.
   At the turn of the century the Ottoman Empire yet endured, though it had been utterly transformed by the events of the past thirty years. The sultan by now was powerless, a sidelined figurehead, as the military dictatorship of Muhtar Pasha thrived. Militarism on a scale only seen before in Prussia has seized society, a siege mentality emerging among the beleaguered Turkish people. No more would they be pushed a side and dictated to. If the nation was to survive, it needed strength.

Habsburg Monarchy: Reform on the Dabube

Streets of Vienna, 1900
(Source: Wikimedia)

Later Reign of Charles VIII (1877-1894)
Agram Decrees and Internal Reform (1877-1881)
   No power epitomized the old order more than the Habsburg Monarchy, yet even the noble House of Austria was not immune to the changing of the times. Sandwiched between destabilizing influences in both France and Russia, the need for reform became evident. On May 5, 1880 Emperor Charles VIII proposed the Agram Decrees. While the creation of the Ministry of Petitions had bought the dynasty time, the emperor became convinced that more drastic reform was needed. Unilaterally, he announced a great reformation of the imperial government, essentially expanding the Triune system of government to the other constituent parts of the monarchy. New assemblies, partially elected and partially appointed, were to be convened in the various capitols of the realm. No longer would the local constituent diets be controlled solely by the nobles and clergy of the given regions. Suffrage would be open to men 35 years of age and older, those who had entered Imperial service, and unmarried female landholders. Hungary alone was given latitude to slightly alter the arrangements within their own realm.
   Given the Emperor’s existing obligations to the Habsburg military, the Church, and the diplomatic corps, each constituent realm would be headed by a viceroy to act as the emperor’s representative in executive decisions. Hungary would be headed by the Palatine, Croatia by the Ban, Bohemia by the Burgrave, Bavaria by the Prince Regent, Ruthenia by the Hetman, Italy by the Viceroy, and Austria proper by Archduke-President. Most of these positions were filled by members of the Imperial family, Charles hoping to prevent decadent idleness among his relations by giving them duties. Typically, it was understood that the heir to the throne would act as the Archduke-President in Austria, while the broader family governed the rest. In a return to Habsburg tradition, female members of the dynasty would be appointed to some of these executive posts. For example, Charles VIII named his unmarried niece Maria Amalia of Habsburg-Ansbach as Princess Regent of Bavaria in 1889, a post she would dutifully fill for years.
   Each assembly, in addition to continuing the administration of the constituent realms, would also select five delegates to serve on the Geheimrat. While lacking legislative authority, the 35-member Geheimrat would serve as an advisory body for the emperor. Charles VIII made it clear in the Agram Decrees that he would appoint his ministers primarily from the Geheimrat, a means of vesting the constituent realms into the broader fate of the Empire. Thus, on paper at least, ministers would be reliant on both the emperor’s favor and the approval of their local diet. Though the union of all the realms was technically a confederation, Charles VIII was clear that there would be united economic, trade, military, diplomatic, and judicial systems under his personal supervision. The diets would have control over some taxation, local governance, education, and other more provincial matters.
   Reaction within the Habsburg monarchy ran the whole spectrum. Generally, the common classes approved the expansion of suffrage, although some said it did not go far enough. Nobles, threatened by being outvoted, were confident that they would be able to maintain their positions as appointed delegates. On a more regional basis, despite the emperor having crushed a nationalist uprising in 1872, most subjects in Bohemia were overjoyed with the Agram Decrees. Czech nationalists portrayed it as a restoration of the historic role of the Bohemian Kingdom centuries after the Battle of the White Mountain. No longer would a small clique of German elites have sole control over the legislature in Prague. The Bohemian Germans were a bit less enthusiastic, but remained optimistic that the imperial appointees would help block Czech majoritarianism. In Bavaria, which had largely enjoyed fairly unbroken autonomy since the union of the crowns under Emperor Maximilian III in 1801, and the Triune Kingdom, where the reforms had already been implemented, the Agram Decrees attracted little notice. While some in Austria proper expressed disappointment that no larger assembly would be created, the public proper reaffirmed its support for Charles VIII and the Habsburg Dynasty, at this point central to Austrian identity.


Emperor Charles VIII signs the Agram Decrees, 1880
(Source: Made by Me via Midjourney)

   No group was as alarmed over these developments as the Hungarians, especially the elites. First their claimed Croatian territories had been removed from their control with the stroke of an imperial pen. Now, many felt their traditional rights had been undermined with the Agram Decrees. While Charles VIII had gone to great lengths to placate them, granting them wide latitude in the implementation of reform in Hungary proper, the nobility felt they had been backed against a wall. How long would the common classes or the ethnic minorities consent to the existing order when their neighbors in Ruthenia or Bohemia enjoyed far greater rights? It was felt as though Charles VIII was playing them off against the substantial Romanian and Slovakian minorities who would be able to flex a powerful electoral muscle. Indeed, if the Agram Decrees were implemented in Hungary unaltered, between the expected Slavic delegates and those appointed by the emperor, it was clear the Magyar nobility would likely find itself a legislative minority in its own realm.
   In order to be fully implemented, Charles VIII stated the Agram Decrees had to be ratified by the existing diets, essentially forcing the old establishment to consent to the weakening of its authority. He expected public pressure would force the diets to comply, a sentiment that seemed to be confirmed when Ruthenia, Austria, Bavaria, and Bohemia all complied by passing resolutions endorsing the reforms by the end of 1880. Lombardy-Venetia and Hungary proved to be the two obstinate realms.
   Lombardy-Venetia was won over by formal compromise with the emperor, Charles VIII formally decreeing that all the appointed members of the Lombardian Senate (as their local diet would be known) who have to have been born within the borders of the current kingdom. The sole exception would be the Viceroy, who would either have to be a member of the Imperial family or born within Lombardy-Venezia. This was specifically aimed at preventing the sort of dominance by German-speaking officials that had become all too prevalent in the past. Satisfied, they too adopted a resolution of approval of the Agram Decrees on February 10th, 1881.
   While the willingness to compromise had won over the Italians, it also showed the Hungarians that they too had leverage. Aggrieved over the Agram Decrees, they intended to slow-walk the proposal through the assembly. In Hungary proper, the nobles who had governed the kingdom for centuries at long last turned to the masses in an attempt to whip up nationalist fervor. Ignoring the fact they had excluded the common classes from government for centuries, the existing Hungarian Diet sought to portray far-off Charles VIII in Vienna as usurping the natural rights of the Hungarian people. Their tirades found a willing and eager audience in the region, Magyars becoming agitated.
   Protests against the Agram Decrees erupted in several regions. Yet the Magyar nobility, who had encouraged the initial expression of discontent through vitriolic statements, found themselves outflanked by the populace, which was drifting in a republican direction. The Hungarian Protests of 1881 demanded the freedom of the Hungarian people from both monarchical and noble subjugation. Budapest became unfriendly, the Diet fleeing to Sopron after weeks of growing unrest in the hopes that tensions would abate after a particularly violent week in April.
   It was at this juncture Charles VIII demonstrated his authority. Mobilizing the Habsburg Army, he intended to calm the situation before it got out of hand. Russia, in particular, was vocal in decrying the instability in the Habsburg Monarchy and Suvorin vocally threatened to handle the situation himself in mid-1881, a move that made him no friends in Vienna. Charles overruled the Diet of Hungary and, some would say illegally, invaded his own lands. Armed forces occupied all the major cities of Hungary in May 1881. Hostile presses were destroyed, nationalist republicans arrested, and order restored. The emperor personally oversaw the crackdown in Budapest, eliminating sources of opposition. Magyarism was decried while the Slavs were cultivated as imperial allies.
   Cowed by the instability and their own inability to handle the situation, the Hungarian Diet reluctantly adopted approval of the Agram Decrees unaltered on May 22nd, 1881. The events had shown both that the nobility lacked sway over the populace and there was an underlying republican current in Hungary. In such circumstances most elites decided it was better to cling to the hem of the monarch’s cloak that try to stand alone after such an embarrassment.
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« Reply #417 on: April 30, 2023, 02:13:05 PM »
« Edited: April 30, 2023, 02:18:06 PM by Spamage »


Crushing of Budapest, 1881
(Source: Made by Me via Midjourney)

Katona Affair and Diplomatic Implications (1881)
   The most significant development of the Hungarian Crackdown of 1881 was the Katona Affair. Ervin Katona was one of the Magyar Republicans captured in the emperor’s crackdown. As authorities investigated his background and connections, it soon became clear why the republican movement in Hungary had been so strong. A vast network of Russian funding for the Hungarian nationalist and republican movements was uncovered, the plot implicating dozens upon further investigation. The Russian government proper had both been supplying financial aid and cultivating connections with those that would see Hungary stand as an independent state.
   Indeed, according to the evidence presented to Charles VIII, the responsibility stretched all the way towards President Suvorin himself, who had allegedly made the first moves towards supporting Hungarian nationalism in the 1870s. Early on the Russians allegedly cultivated Hungarian resentment over the creation of the Triune Kingdom, before expanding their aims. Vienna issued an official protest to Moscow, who denied any involvement, and relations between the two powers chilled yet further after reluctant cooperation during the Congress of Copenhagen.
   The Katona Affair seemed to confirm all the latent suspicions the Habsburg elites had towards the Russian Republic and its designs on Europe. All the while, given events in France, it was clear the Habsburg Monarchy would have to reaffirm its alliance with Scandinavia. It was for this reason Charles VIII arranged for the marriage of his grandson and eventual heir Archduke Charles to Princess Christina of Britain, one of Henry X’s daughters, seeking to cement ties with the family that ruled Britain and would one day rule Scandinavia.  

A New Day on the Danube (1881-1894)
   With the Agram Decrees approved by the various constituent realms, elections were organized for March 1882, to be followed by subsequent votes every four years in the future. While much was made of the new novel campaign, unprecedented in Habsburg history, suffrage was still rather limited. As could be expected in such circumstances, it would generally be the conservative parties of the respective regions that triumphed in the various votes. Only in Lombardy, Hungary, and Bohemia would some nationalist groups establish a sizable presence in the diet. The liberals had a particularly poor showing, their best results coming in Austria proper, but even there they were in the minority. Once the addition of the appointed delegates was considered, it was evident that Charles VIII would oversee numerous loyal and pliant assemblies.
   The 1880s were a time of peace and growth in the Habsburg Monarchy. Particularly pronounced were the improvements in the standards of living in Ruthenia and in the mountainous regions of Hungary. Electrification, improved sanitation, and continued industrialization were present in most of the major cities. New suburbs expanded the borders of Vienna, Prague, Budapest, and Munich and thousands poured out of the rural regions, seeking a new life in the cities.
   The Family Pact of 1877 culminated in the formation of the Central European Common Market in 1884. The Habsburg Monarchy, Prussia, Poland, and Serbia agreed essentially to free trade within their shared borders. It was a notable shift for the normally protectionist Vienna, but a reform that brought major economic activity to the region. Saxony, due to its position on the Elbe, was seen as a potential future partner. They were incorporated into both the Family Pact and the Central European Common Market with the wedding of King John of Saxony to Archduchess Maria Petronella (granddaughter of Charles VIII) in 1888.
   Politically, the establishment breathed easy. Charles VIII, exhausted by his early reign, was content to step back from any major reforms after the Agram Decrees. Though some whispered of political stagnation, the elections in 1886 saw the conservatives continue their dominance. It was only as the after-effects of the Panic of 1888 sunk in that liberals would achieve electoral majorities in Austria and Bohemia as well as a plurality in Lombardy during the vote in 1890. While most overlook the seemingly placid political culture of the Habsburg Monarchy during the 1880s, it is still notable that any sort of political culture existed at all. This underscored how much the realm truly had evolved in the past few decades.
   1888 was also the year the Habsburg Monarchy faced its major economic crisis in 16 years, with the Russian economic contagion spreading into the Viennese stock exchange. While the government had invested little with Russia and had sought minimal contact with that nation in the aftermath of the Katona Affair, many speculators had seen tremendous potential in that economy. With investors losing wealth, forced to liquidate Austrian securities to cover their losses, the situation witnessed growing unemployment. Total economic disaster was averted by the Convention of Bern yet, as a result of that economic unrest, the Habsburg Trade Bloc would begin to enact rather steep trade barriers to external markets, hoping to protect itself from future financial contagion.
   Further afield, the later years of Charles VIII’s reign oversaw increasing involvement in Africa. Eager to enforce his claims, but unwilling to wage a full-blown war over it, the Habsburgs incrementally expanded their holdings in the Sahel and Ethiopia. Among the East Africans a concerted effort was made to pull off some of the Abyssinian vassals from their sovereigns, to limited success. Further gains were achieved in the Sahara, but the region was sparsely populated and some questioned the value of holding onto it. The crown jewels of the Austrian colonial empire would remain the Suez, Singapore, and Ningbo. Madagascar too proved to be a prized possession, though one that yielded less value than some of the others, primarily used for cash crops and an extraction-based economy.


Meeting of the Geheimrat, 1888
(Source: Wikimedia)

A Monarchy Distressed (1894-1900)
Year of the Three Emperors (1894)
   The 1890’s would prove to be perilous for the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, 1894 itself being known as the Year of the Three Emperors. Charles VIII, the beloved sovereign of the Habsburg Monarchy for 35 years, passed away peacefully in Vienna on July 19th, 1894. His son succeeded him as Maximilian IV. No heir had perhaps been better prepared to assume power than a crown prince who had served as the Archduke-President in Vienna for the better part of a decade and a half.
   Maximilian IV being a conservative work-horse, a smooth transition seemed all but guaranteed until the new emperor fell ill quite rapidly in a Typhoid outbreak in Vienna. The court could only watch in horror as the 56-year-old sovereign deteriorated swiftly and died on December 20, 1894. His reign had lasted just a mere five months, both brief and forgettable. His sole son and heir became Emperor Charles IX at 38. The new emperor dutifully led the mourning for his father and vowed to govern in the spirit of his respected grandfather.


Launching of the First Zeppelin Over Vienna, 1896
(Source: Wikimedia)

The Great Reformer (1894-1897)
   Charles entered his reign as a relatively unknown and untested sovereign. During his grandfather’s reign he had served as the Hetman of Ruthenia on the emperor’s behalf during the early 1890s, a region of the realm that seldom attracted the attention of Vienna. As emperor, he proved to have a reforming and modernizing energy unseen since the days of Joseph II more than a century prior. Convinced that stagnation would mean defeat at the hands of either the French or Russians, Charles was determined that the Habsburg Monarchy maintain its power under his watch.  
   1895-1897 saw the enactment of further reforms seeking to prepare the Empire for the coming century. Charles IX launched a broad overhaul of the military, sacking many elderly officers who had first seen action in the First Great Eastern War. While this undoubtedly did dilute the level of experience in the general’s staff, it also allowed for younger, ambitious men to fill the posts. The launching of the first Zeppelin on June 17th, 1896 demonstrated that the Habsburg Monarchy remained one of the key players in the development of military technology. While outwardly the emperor expressed the desire of peace and stability, he was determined to not demonstrate weakness and invite attacks.
   In the same spirit of modernization, the emperor proposed the boldest step of reform for the Holy Roman Empire since the Great Re-Mediatization of 1849 half a century prior. While it was generally accepted that Francis II had been more than justified in breaking down the Empire into numerous microstates, some wondered if perhaps it was limiting imperial potential. Many foreign observers had a dim view of the Empire, one dubbing it a “fleshy corpse, used by Vienna to shield itself from French pressure.” The Reichstag and other institutions were seen to be anachronistic and toothless, unable to stem the crisis along the Rhine in the 1870s. While the Habsburg emperors retained great authority, especially under the re-mediatized lands, they lack sovereign power of Prussia, Saxony, and the Scandinavian holdings. Charles sought to change this.
   On February 6, 1897 Charles IX publicly proposed the Third Imperial Reform. In effect, this was an effort to bring a modified form of the Agram Decrees to the Empire. Under the framework he established, the Imperial Diet would be completely remodeled. Two thirds of the lower house of the body would be elected, while the remaining third would consist of the various imperial knights who currently filled the College of Princes. Imperial Free Cities would have no more special representation beyond their elected delegates.
   Of his personal holdings Austria, Bavaria, and Bohemia would all elect members to the Diet, while the remainder, that technically lay outside of the Empire, would not. The Former Electoral College, which had been taken over by the Six Major Principalities following the Great Eastern War, would likewise be remodeled. Each major prince, save for Wurzburg, was now instead to represent a respective region in the upper house, joined by the foreign sovereigns who likewise held land in the Empire. Hanover was represented by Scandinavia, Pomerania by Scandinavia, Brandenburg by Prussia, Albertine Saxony by Saxony, Ernestine Saxony by Habsburg Bayreuth, Westphalia by the Palatinate, Thuringia by Hesse, Baden and Württemberg by Habsburg Ansbach, and Mecklenburg by Mecklenburg. Charles IX, as sovereign, would meanwhile cast the votes of Bavaria, Austria, and Bohemia. Thus, it was assumed, the emperor would control three votes directly, the Scandinavians would control two and have sway over one, and the remainder would be theoretically independent, though there was little illusion as to how Bayreuth and Ansbach would vote. With 11 members, the reformed Upper House would serve as a moderating influence against the publicly elected Lower House.
   As in the hereditary lands with the Agram Decrees, the Third Imperial Reform was lauded by the German common classes. Still, it could not go into effect until it was ratified by the existing Diet in Regensburg. This proved to be complicated. Among the nobility there was a sense of resentment. Many felt their positions as local leaders was undermined by the promise of public elections, especially ones with expanded suffrage. Prussia and Saxony, which had a more limited suffrage than the proposal for the Empire believed their sovereignty was violated by the proposition. Scandinavia, an ally of the Habsburgs, found itself caught off-guard by Charles IX’s proposals. Unlike Saxony and Prussia, Scandinavian suffrage was greater than that proposed by the Third Imperial Reform, so there would be potential Scandinavian voters unable to participate in Imperial elections. The press portrayed the new emperor as a young, headstrong man determined to press through with reforms no matter the cost.


Emperor Charles IX, "The Great Reformer"
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

June Crisis (1897)
   Further afield, the move caused great concern in both Paris and Moscow. The Third Imperial Reform would essentially make the remainder of the Empire into yet another constituent piece of the Habsburg Monarchy in the eyes of foreign powers. Indeed, Europe seemed on the cusp of a diplomatic crisis heading into the spring of 1897. From Paris, Louis XX declared on June 2nd, 1897 that he fully intended to resume the French position as guardian of the German liberties guaranteed by the Peace of Westphalia and announced he would not recognize the Third Imperial Reform even if it was adopted. Moscow likewise expressed opposition on June 5th, though far less strong, and remained aloof as tensions began to expand. President Mikhaylovsky and his social democratic government were privately against military action, given the weakness of their governing coalition, but felt expressing pacifist sentiments would be interpreted as Russian weakness. The lack of clarity on Russian goals further complicated the diplomatic situation and caused ever-greater suspicion among the various powers.
   Louis’ announcement of French opposition to the Third Imperial Reform just pushed the German public more in favor of its adoption. Riots occurred in Cologne, Frankfurt, and other Rhenish cities throughout the first few weeks of June, the populace attempting to pressure the Imperial Diet, which had scheduled a vote in the second half of the month. In the face of France’s perceived meddling, Prussia and Saxony largely fell in line, the two sovereigns announcing that they would abide by the Reform if it passed the College of Princes.
   Charles IX, meanwhile, expressed strong opposition to French interference in the German constitutional process and argued that the Great Re-Mediatization under his great-grandfather had nullified the Peace of Westphalia. Yet, he was wary about escalating tensions with France for fear that the Russians would cause unrest in Hungary. Habsburg diplomats sought guarantees of neutrality from Moscow but remained empty-handed. At the same time, Scandinavia seemed fairly distant. While condemning French interference, Catherine II didn’t go further and express her support for the reforms. Indeed, she herself was skeptical of the Third Imperial Reform and the threat it posed for Scandinavian control over Hanover. This, naturally, damaged the close ties between Vienna and Stockholm.
   The spell was broken on June 20th, 1897, just days before the Diet was set to take up debate on the measure, by the shocking assassination of Emperor Charles IX. Returning home from the opera in an open car, the emperor was gunned down by a young man on the streets of Vienna. His death was quick, his wife Christina of Britain looking on in horror as her husband died in her lap. In a moment the diplomatic calculus of Europe was thrown into the air once more.

The Regency (1897-1900)
   The death of Emperor Charles brought about a massive wave of mourning in the Habsburg Monarchy. For a moment, it seemed internal divisions were patched over as the people united under the banner of the late “Great Reformer”. Charles and his brief reign were romanticized as a period of Habsburg dynamism. The new sovereign was a child. Christina of Britain, his mother, and Vittoria of Bourbon-Savoie, his grandmother, initially presented a united front in protecting the imperial dignity. It was decided they would form a three-person regency council alongside Archduke Louis-Henry, who had prior experience serving as the regent in Poland.
   The new regents were united in their belief that the empire needed stability. With its fourth sovereign in as many years, the reforms could wait. While not formally withdrawn, debate on the Third Imperial Reform was postponed indefinitely.
   The assassin was Reinhard Kofler, a self-professed anarchist. He had operated with a clique of like-minded individuals in the imperial capitol, his plans predating the announcement of the Third Imperial Reform. The Viennese police were brutal in their crackdown on the local anarchist and socialist undergrounds in the aftermath of Charles IX’s death. Kofler himself was tortured before being executed on April 5th, 1898. Roundups and mass arrests ensnared dozens of potential co-conspirators. Many in Vienna could not shake the feeling that the emperor’s death had been perhaps a bit too convenient. Suspicions were obviously directed as Paris and Moscow, though other theories also included the Austrian general’s staff, Naples, and even Scandinavia.
   Regardless, the death of Charles IX brought stability back to Europe. Louis XX, rather than pounce on the situation, restrained France at this juncture, believing any further saber-rattling would only provoke a united German front. Russia meanwhile sent condolences to the young Emperor Maximilian V and President Mikhaylovsky personally attended the funeral in Vienna. It seemed for the time being that tensions had abated as Europe was able to breathe easy once more.
  The united front in the regency council would be undermined by growing feuding between Christina of Britain and Vittoria of Bourbon-Savoie. The two had very different attitudes towards governance, diplomacy, and the upbringing of Maximilian V. While Louis-Henry sought to balance the two as a swing vote, the situation has made the whole empire uneasy at the end of the 1800s. All the while the elected assemblies waited in the background, perhaps determining how best to win further powers for themselves…
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« Reply #418 on: May 07, 2023, 12:35:41 PM »
« Edited: May 07, 2023, 02:08:53 PM by Spamage »

Russia: A Young Republic Finds Its Feet
Streets of St. Petersburg, late 1800s
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Suvorin Years (1877-1888)
Pinnacle of Glory (1877-1882)
   Russia emerged from the 1870s as one of the preeminent global powers. Just four decades after the humiliating defeat in the Great Eastern War, the cause had been avenged. Indeed, the rise was dizzying, the Ottoman collapse having proven far more rapid than had been hoped. The Hagia Sophia was a church once more, Russia’s position on the Pacific had been expanded, and the republic had endured.
   The 1876 election underscored how politically dominant Suvorin had become. While both Menshikov and Gorchakov had experienced electoral landslides as well, there was little doubt this time that there was genuine popular enthusiasm behind the result. From Konstantingrad to Novosibirsk, the President was seen as the “Great Redeemer.” Domestically Suvorin and his allies would use the victory as a means of sidelining the exiled Romanovs further. Friendly papers portrayed Suvorin as undoing the “Romanov humiliation” and for the first time since the death of Menshikov, the future of the republic seemed all but guaranteed.
   Despite Russia’s domestic tranquility, conflicts on the borders demanded intervention and action. With revolution in Korea, civil war in Turkey, and fighting all throughout Asia, the republic could not stand idle. Suvorin sought to extend Russia’s gains in East Asia, following up on his earlier seizure of the Korean Amur with the outright occupation and annexation of Haishenwai, the last major port city in the hands of that state. While ethnic Korean militias resisted, and would continue to harass the Russians in the countryside for the next several years, political chaos to the south meant Seoul could do little but issue a formal protest. The city was renamed Vladivostok, becoming a major hub of Russian influence in the East.
   Having focused on demobilization, and wary of the cost of its extensive military engagements over the past decade, Russia did little in the Turkish Civil War other than play the factions off against one another and seek to be a friendly arbiter. Only when their interests were directly threatened did Moscow step in. Following the victory of the Royalists, the subsequent Ottoman assault on Trebizond demanded Russian intervention. With the Bourbon king’s invitation Russian soldiers occupied the parts of the principality that had not come under Ottoman occupation in 1882. It soon became clear they would not be leaving, effectively turning that state into yet another Russian protectorate. Yet, Suvorin did not seek to regain the Trebizondian territory already lost, a deliberate effort aimed at soothing relations with the Turks.
   Suvorin began to wind down the mobilization of the 1870s as the decade came to a close, seeking to reduce military expenditures in order to implement social reforms (see below). Yet, Russia would not be wholly idle. The president believed that the American War and scuffles over the British blockade had demonstrated the continued importance of naval power. Seeking to ensure Russia was not left behind, especially now that at long last it possessed a warm-water port at Konstantingrad, Suvorin embarked on a concerted policy of naval expansion. Comparing his aims to those of Peter the Great two centuries prior, he declared that three major fleets were to be constructed: a Baltic fleet at St. Petersburg, a Black Sea/Mediterranean Fleet at Konstantingrad, and a Pacific Fleet at Vladivostok. While this required a massive investment into shipbuilding facilities, in particular in far-off Vladivostok, Suvorin saw this as more than a worthy investment. Internationally, the Russian announcement was met with unease. Scandinavia in particular was vocal in criticizing the policy, the issue becoming just one of many demonstrating the growing gulf between the Baltic neighbors.
   Domestically, Suvorin spent his second term primarily focused on rolling out social policies aimed at alleviating poverty and supporting a growing middle class. State-backed pension and insurance programs were implemented in 1880 and 1881, respectively. Vast housing projects in Moscow and St. Petersburg saw slums demolished and replaced with middle-class housing, the government seeking to both improve sanitation and standards of living. While many on the right would decry the ensuing expenditure, and seek to undermine these social programs in the future, they enjoyed broad support among the urban population.

Reform and Liberalization (1882-1888)
      Suvorin used his mandate to declare the Emancipation of the Jews in 1882. This was a significant development, coming on the heels of more than a century of Tsarist persecution and then subsequent Republican neglect of that social group. It was a stunning decision. Subsequent analysts have argued that only Suvorin could have emancipated the Jews, as no other politician held the trust of the electorate like he did. Yet, even popular Suvorin saw backlash. The Orthodox Church issued pointed criticism of the Emancipation and there were attempted pogroms all throughout Belarus and Malorussia, though under Suvorin’s orders the local police were commanded to suppress violence. Though order would be restored, it would take years for Jews to be wholly accepted by the Russian mainstream society, and in some quarters they never would be.
   1882 saw Suvorin elected once more for a third term, winning the vote with 60.4%. While still an overwhelming victory, it was clear the “Great Redeemer” was no longer above criticism as he had seemed just 6 years prior. Disgust over the emancipation of the Jews propelled the reactionary, tsarist Konstantin Pobedonostev into a distant second place in the 1882 Presidential election with 20.4% of the vote.
   Under Suvorin’s leadership the political culture in Russia continued to mature during his third term. Though there was little question that he was in command and enjoyed genuine popular support, alternatives began to make themselves known. Unlike in the early days of the Republic, when the government had functioned as a sort of quasi-military dictatorship, Suvorin allowed for a generally free public discourse. Russia was a relatively open republic, it was just that the incumbents used their systemic power to rig the system in their favor. During Suvorin’s third term the proliferation of newspapers, party programs, satires, and philosophy took the Russian Republic by storm.
   Naturally, this maturation of Russian political culture coincided with an increase in literacy and greater electoral turnout. In later years many Russians would view the early 1880s as a golden age where everything seemed to be going right for Russia, liberalization accompanying domestic peace. Extremists remained marginalized as society coalesced around a consensus of Suvorinist moderation. Indeed, compared to the economic and political developments of the remainder of the decade and 1890s, these years would seem rather quaint.
   Suvorin primarily focused on diplomacy during his third term, leaving the day-to-day governance of Russia to the Duma. Russian friendship with Scandinavia gradually chilled. Not only had Catherine II seen the marriage of her heir to the deposed Romanov’s, but Stockholm increasingly pivoted towards the Baltic as a means of countering Russia, a move Suvorin saw as greatly insulting. Yet, this did not prevent him from turning against his former Qajar allies in the south, acting to instigate trouble between Iran and the Turks as a means of keeping the Persians in line. Indeed, it was Russian instigating that encouraged the outbreak of the Qajar-Ottoman War in 1887. China, despite shared republican principles, likewise was increasingly framed as a threat, their autonomous regions seen as bolstering nationalist sentiment in Russian Mongolia and Manchuria.

President Suvorin during the last months of his administration, 1887
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Chicherin Administration (1888-1894)
Panic of 1888
   Russia had been a land of tremendous economic growth for decades prior to the Panic of 1888. The advent of the republic had invited foreign investment and domestic reform. The nation had been largely unscathed in the Panic of 1872 in part due to the tremendous untapped economic potential. With a rapidly exploding population, numerous avenues for modernization, and far from the carnage seen in Western and Central Europe, it was no wonder that the influx of foreign capital continued throughout the 1870s.
   Yet, this growth masked growing inefficiencies. Capitalizing on the sentiment of republican equality, creditors were eager to advance loans to all sorts of Russians, including many with little financial literacy. With the rapid growth seen during the 1870s and early 1880s, it had almost become a maxim that Russia offered guaranteed financial returns. Suvorin was all too happy to present this image to the rest of the world, loosening up rules on foreign investment in order to continue the good times. Russia itself went into drastic levels of debt due to the simultaneous commitments to building three world-class fleets, military aid to the Ottomans, expanded social programs, and infrastructure improvements. This was all on top of existing obligations related to both the Second Great Eastern War and the subsequent Great Turkish War.
   The harvest of 1887 would bring an end to the party, the music stopping rather abruptly. Despite efforts to encourage industrial production and numerous improvements in infrastructure, Russia remained a predominantly agricultural country. When crop yields were substantially reduced by a terrible growing season, hundreds of thousands found their sources of income threatened. Bills went unpaid, farms went bankrupt, and agricultural workers were laid off. Rising food prices in one of the breadbaskets at the same time as such financial loss was a recipe for even further malaise.
   April 17th, 1888 saw the panic reach the Moscow Stock exchange. It started in the banking and agricultural sectors but spread throughout the whole market. Many wealthy investors saw their portfolios evaporate rapidly, the loss of their disposable income only serving to further expand the crisis. Attempts by Suvorin, now in his final days in office, to quell the crisis did little to soothe the markets. A 24% loss on April 18th was followed by another terrible 18% loss on April 19th and 11% on the 25th. More than half of the aggregate market value had been wiped out, though this included dozens of firms which were now worthless. Foreign creditors, including powers as far afield as New Holland and Quebec, were jolted by the economic chaos.
   The disaster on the stock exchange had cascading effects as consumption declined causing numerous businesses operating on the thinnest of margins to go bankrupt. Runs on banks occurred in Moscow and St. Petersburg as the financial panic spread throughout Russia. Unemployment soaring, firms enacted wage cuts, confident that they could always find other employees willing to work for less. Infrastructure projects, seen as a stable and safe means of employment in the time of chaos, found themselves halted and private construction firms saw the evaporation of both their capital and finance. The spiraling crisis grew out of control. Foreign creditors were faced with the horrific realization of their losses as the panic spread. Banks that survived initial runs found themselves insolvent by later financial jitters. Russia, despite standing strong geopolitically, was now beset by economic unease.
   Despite having enacted social safety nets, the government was overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis. Faced with cutting military expenditures, thereby showing weakness against the French and Austrians, or limiting the social services, Suvorin elected to maintain military readiness at the expense of the needs of the populace. The ‘Great Redeemer’ was accused of loving his boats more than his people, naval construction continuing apace while pension payouts were frozen and capped. Chicherin would maintain this stance somewhat, afraid of the consequences that simultaneous economic and diplomatic turmoil could bring.

First Open Election (1888)
   The full scale of the Panic of 1888 had not been realized when the Russian people went to the polls in May 1888, but the seriousness was evident. Occurring right after the stock market catastrophes of April, what had seemed a boring coronation turned into a surprisingly competitive vote.
   Aleksey Suvorin had toyed with the idea of running for a fourth term in office, but decided in late 1887 that he would instead return to private life. After more than a decade and a half in command, he was satisfied most of his goals had been achieved. Boris Chicherin, having served as Prime Minister under President Suvorin during the peak of Russian fortunes, received the blessing of his mentor to seek the Presidency as his anointed successor. Indeed, upon Chicherin’s announcement of his candidacy and Suvorin’s endorsement, no other Suvorinist candidate would declare a campaign. More liberal than his patron, Suvorin still essentially commanded a broad coalition at the center of the political spectrum.
   Waiting in the wings were the Social Democrats under Nikolay Mikhaylovsky and the Reactionaries led by Pobedonostev. Mikhaylovsky attracted a broad left-wing coalition, ranging from communist and socialist factions to the pragmatic social democratic wing of his own party. Focusing on the soaring unemployment, he appealed to the working classes and those disillusioned with the growing economic crisis. This was coupled with condemnation of the authoritarian nature of the Suvorin Regime which, while allowing for free speech and seemingly free votes, was not above abusing the system to achieve its goals. Pobedonostev, leading the reactionary cause for the third election in a row, continued to harp on antisemitic conspiracies and demanded the restoration of the House of Romanov.
   When the votes had been cast, Chicherin did in fact emerge victorious, though with a mere 50.21% of the vote, the lowest received for any president dating back to the acclamation of Mikhail Gorchakov back in 1846. Mikhaylovsky carried 30.45%, a stunning improvement for the left-wing parties and an open demonstration that the economic malaise and growing fatigue with Suvorinism were sapping support. Pobedonostev came in a distant third with 13.81%, voters tiring of his tirades while radical Peter Kropotkin won 4.31% of the votes despite his exile in Scandinavia for alleged subversion.

Unemployed Poor Russian Family, 1890
(Source: Jacobin)

Chicherin Administration (1888-1894)
   Chicherin, despite good intentions and a reforming mind, found himself in dire straits from the outset of his term. The first few months consisted of increasing economic panic. Determined to stabilize the situation, the new president pursued a wide variety of executive actions. First, government expenditure was to be curbed. Aid to the Ottomans in the Qajar-Ottoman War was more than halved, much to Bursa’s consternation. The public housing construction was ceased, while projects in progress were sold off, often at a substantial loss. Pension payouts were cut. The government publicly decreed that bank deposits for Russian citizens would be protected up to a certain amount, though pointedly refused to issue the same assurances for foreigners (a move that led to a substantial amount of anger among foreign investors). Tariffs were substantially raised, the hope being that the elimination of foreign competition would spur Russian industrial development.
   The overwhelming issue though, was the Russian national debt. The deteriorating economic situation greatly decreased tax revenue, with both private investors and other governments expressing concern over the security of their holdings. To his credit, Chicherin refused to print his way out of the crisis, believing the economic effects of inflation would be far more damaging to the Russian Republic than a shorter period of hard times. On February 5th, 1889, Chicherin formally announced, with the concurrence of the Duma, a suspension to the servicing of Russian debt, effectively declaring bankruptcy.
   The reaction was immediate, the stock market imploding further and foreign powers issuing statements of protest. New Holland and Quebec both saw massive slumps, the two powers having provided ample finance to Russia in the past. Closer to home, Vienna and Stockholm rattled their sabers and threatened to extract concessions from Russia if their holdings were not repaid. All the while another wave of domestic bankruptcies hit and the strength of the ruble deteriorated greatly against other currencies. Unemployment was well above 20%, the middle class established with such effort by Suvorin seeming to dissipate back into poverty.
   Yet, early 1889 proved to be the deepest of the abyss. The Swiss Republic stepped in to mediate the situation in March, using its financial acumen and largely nonaligned status to present itself as an honest broker. The Convention of Bern in April 1889 saw a wide variety of reforms implemented to stabilize the situation. In return for debt reduction, Russian tariffs were lowered back to their previous levels with Scandinavia and the Habsburg Trade Bloc. Chicherin agreed to service the remaining Russian debt to the effective immediately, thereby assuaging the concerns of further off powers. Domestically, to calm the situation, a State Bank of the Republic was established in Moscow, which would take over control of the currency and handling of Russia’s debt. The Russian deficit was to be eliminated through the establishment of an income tax for most middle-income earners and higher. The satellite states were also extorted, made to pay for the garrisoning of Russian soldiers in their region.
   By late 1890 it seemed the crisis was no longer expanding and the situation began to stabilize. For all the outrage, Russia also held a supply of food. Certainly, the harvest of 1887 had been lackluster, bringing down the house of cards that was the Russian economy, but numerous other powers absolutely needed the supply of Russian grain. This increased the demand for rubles and, when coupled with the Convention of Bern, restored confidence in the Russian monetary system. Relative to other currencies, the ruble showed remarkable resilience in the coming decade.
   While unemployment continued to plague the economy, and vast impoverished hordes existed on the edges of all major cities, no longer were they increasing in number. Efforts by the government to get the populace back to work proved to have limited effect. While unemployment did decrease from 1891-1894, it was a sluggish recovery and many expected better results. Chicherin himself was criticized as indifferent to the plight of the poor, especially by the Russian left. It was a testament to the strength of the republic that, despite growing discontent, little effort was made to topple the political system. For all the hardship, many Russians still bought into the republican ideals, for they had seen their nation at the pinnacle of success just a decade prior.
   Still, the economic effects of 1888 would be long lasting. The collapse of so many small businesses left oligopolies in charge of many industries, the wealthier firms having been able to absorb the worst shocks and then purchase their opponents at bargain prices. Chicherin saw little to be done on this, arguing it was the natural evolution of the market. He was helped by the fact that many of these new oligarchs proved to be supporters of the status quo.
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« Reply #419 on: May 07, 2023, 12:36:12 PM »

Breakthrough of the Left (1894-1900)
Feud of the Presidents (1894)
   Less than enamored with the performance of his successor, and finding the political sidelines to be rather dull, Aleksey Suvorin publicly announced he would be making another run for the presidency in 1894. Given his former popularity and role as the Great Redeemer, both the ex-President and most observers expected him to win easily and clear the field of any potential opponents.
   This would not be the case. Chicherin, enraged by the betrayal of his former patron, announced he too would be running for another term. The Suvorin movement, which had dominated Russian politics for decades, split. While most supporters remained with Suvorin, Chicherin drew off a sizable chunk of liberals and centrists. Many Russians, despite their admiration for former president, felt it was time to turn the page to new leadership. By 1894 Suvorin had been a major figure on the political scene for a quarter century, dating all the way back to when he had been appointed as President following the death of Menshikov in 1870. Coupled with the fact his last campaign had been twelve years prior in 1882, he was not the ironclad candidate that had been assumed. Indeed, a not insignificant portion of the electorate had never voted for him and reached voting age after his retirement.
   Without the state apparatus to support his campaign, Suvorin could do little as his legacy was questioned and savaged by all parties in relatively free discourse for the first time. Pobedonostev continued his anti-Semitic tirades and condemned Suvorin for his liberalization of Mother Russia. Mikhaylovsky and Chicherin placed the blame for the Panic of 1888 on Suvorin. Suvorin, for his part, denounced Chicherin as an incompetent failure, Mikhaylovsky as a radical ideologue, and Pobedonostev an old fossil unwilling to move on from the past. This last line of attack backfired though, reactionary newspapers openly asking if it was not Suvorin who was unable to move on, too addicted to power to contemplate a quiet retirement? The raucous and spirited campaign demonstrated how much Russia had liberalized over the past few decades. By 1894 very few had memories of the Empire, most citizens having been raised in the republican tradition.
   It became clear on election day that the unthinkable had occurred, Mikhaylovsky and the Leftist Alliance had achieved an extremely narrow victory over Suvorin, 33.17% of the vote against 32.84%. Chicherin mustered a mere 16.41% of the vote, Pobedonostev 12.34%, and Tolstoy 3.38%. With no constitutional rules regarding runoffs, victory merely went to the candidate with the most votes. For the first time since the birth of the republic, a left-wing social democrat would hold the reins of power. Whereas earlier in the Russian Republic, when the system was still fragile, this result likely would have been nullified, Chicherin demonstrated the new republican ethos by conceding and aiming to ensure a stable transition of government. Many cynical observers noted that he was likely unwilling to rig the close election in Suvorin’s favor due to the feud between the two.

President Nikolay Mikhaylovsky
(Source: Wikimedia)

Mikhaylovsky’s Years: Political Paralysis
   Mikhaylovsky entered office with an ambitious program of policy goals and a wave of optimism. It seemed like finally the reformers would have a true impact on the Russian Republic. Yet, the long-sought left-wing victory proved to be a hollow one for several reasons. First, without a majority in the Duma, Mikhaylovsky was left to rule through executive decree, somewhat curtailing his bid to establish lasting governmental reform. Second, within his left-wing coalition there was almost as much disagreement as there was in the political spectrum as a whole, meaning his ministers were prone to scheming, infighting, and frequent bickering. Still, even his rule through executive decree proved to leave a permanent mark on the Russian Republic.
   The governing coalition ranged from committed communists to moderate social-democrats. Even then, it had only won with a plurality of the vote and was deemed illegitimate in the eyes of many on the right. During the entire term, Mikhaylovsky himself would often face criticism from the left as much as the right. The more radical communist and syndicalist factions believed him to be a weak leader unwilling to take on the oligarchs and too beholden to the concept of private property. Social democrats meanwhile decried his extensive executive powers and sidelining of the unwieldy Duma.
   One of the primary avenues Mikhaylovsky could use to implement his agenda without control of the Duma was through funding of various government apparatuses. One of his first moves, in late 1894, was to drastically curtail spending on the municipal police forces in major cities. As a onetime candidate, he had been often on the receiving end of brutality on the part of Suvorinist-aligned police forces throughout the country. Even during the 1894 campaign, social-democratic and other left-wing rallies were often dispersed while right-wing ones went fairly undisturbed.
   Seeing the police force as a den of right-wing thought and potential subversives, the mass layoffs were accompanied by a reshuffling of leadership, left-wing allies replacing Suvorin and Chicherin’s appointees. The poor, seen as another victim of Suvorinist policing, were often hired as replacements for the removed officers, conveniently at cheaper wages. This whole reform of policing was portrayed by the president as an effort to further open up the Russian political system by restraining those who had used force to manipulate it in the past. Of course, it was not realized how much stability the sometimes-heavy-handed conservative police establishment brought to the republic, as would be demonstrated in the coming years.
   Mikhaylovsky himself was concerned with the poor masses, particularly the peasantry and urban paupers. Indeed, most of the funds cut off from the police or the freezing of the military budget were redirected unilaterally to restarting and expanding Suvorin’s old social programs. Many would rightfully credit the government for expanding public sanitation in Moscow, Kiev, Konstantingrad, and other cities. Electrical grids brought light to the darkness, demonstrating Russia would not be left behind. Likewise, the government pivoted once more into the credit business, using other funds to give low-interest loans to the rural poor, with the aim of expanding land ownership and weakening yet further the hold of the old elites.
   Diplomatically, the right and center would criticize Mikhaylovsky for perceived weakness. He stood idly by as Charles IX attempted to push through the Third Imperial Reform in 1897, even attending the emperor’s funeral in Vienna, causing widespread criticism from the right. As with the police, and especially without the support of the legislature, funds were redirected from the military to fund further social programs. This served a double purpose. Ever suspicious of the armed forces, which he feared would be the source of a coup against him, Mikhaylovsky used their money to try and but the loyalty of the masses. While Russia still maintained perhaps the single strongest military force, officers would be frustrated by with funding freezes and greater oversight. This truly represented a reversal for the standard role of the military in Russian politics, as all the way back to the days of Menshikov its dominant role had gone unquestioned.

Meeting of Nevsky Front, 1897
(Source: Wikimedia)

Escalating Rhetoric (1896-1900)
   The victory of Mikhaylovsky had longer term implications for the future of the Russian right-wing. For decades, those on the right had the choice of the reactionary monarchism of Pobedonostev and the mainstream established Suvorinist movement. To the upcoming generations neither movement elicited much excitement. Suvorinism, having long been the institutional power, saw itself shut out and marginalized by the very authoritarian system it had created. The movement looked weak as the neutered courts could do little to restrain Mikhaylovsky from his unilateralism. Pobedonostev meanwhile was seen as a Romanov fossil. Though undoubtedly there were those who shared his dreams of a restoration, most people had moved on.
   Instead, a newer and more assertive ideological strain emerged to challenge the consensus. Rabble-rouser Vladimir Purishkevich shocked the city of Moscow on June 5th, 1896 with the “Death of a Nation” speech, denouncing not only the incumbent government, but the Suvorinists as well for the state of Russia.
   Purishkevich portrayed the Russian nation as weakened by enemies within and without, condemning the elites for enriching themselves and playing politics while the Russian people suffered. There was a tacit of all things non-Russian, modernity and a relaxation of traditional values being blamed for the malaise. No topic was off limits. The socialists and communists were painted as internationalist graspers corrupted by Germanic thinking. The Romanovs were denounced as an inbred, incapable, and by this point a wholly non-Slavic family. Suvorin, the once sacrosanct ‘Great Redeemer’ was deemed a senile old conservative, well past his prime. Chicherin was a traitor to the working people, while Mikhaylovsky was weak. Purishkevich’s tirades elicited enthusiastic responses from those who felt ignored by the Russian government and had pent up their anger for years. Hundreds crowded into halls to hear him speak, electrifying the seemingly stagnant Russian right-wing.
   Purishkevich dubbed his movement the “Nevsky Front,” registering as an official political party in October 1896. This new movement had a wide variety of inspirations, both from within Russian history and around the world. Beyond the namesake Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible, Frederick IV of Prussia, Ahmed Muhtar Pasha were some of those who had the most decisive impact on the comportment and outlook of this new ideological strain. Looking back to an almost wholly mythological ideal Russian society, a muscular government was required both at home and abroad. In Russia, he condemned the socialists and liberals, arguing that their focus on petty issues such as free speech and constitutionalism had left Russia vulnerable to economic chaos. Further denunciations were reserved for the minority nationalities, who were condemned for resisting Russification. Diplomatically, he expressed great disdain for the Germanic powers of Austria, Scandinavia, Britain, and France (derisively called the ‘Frankish Realm’). They were seen as the subjugators of Slavs, home of subversive thinkers, and sources of Russian suffering in the past.
   This heated rhetoric only served to escalate the tense Russian political situation. Purishkevich found a strong opponent in Andrei Argunov, a member of the Duma who defended the government and often criticized Mikhaylovsky for not going far enough. Just as the right had grown more assertive as a result of the political reforms, so too did the left. Argunov led competing rallies and speeches, calling for the collectivization of rural lands, the institution of total suffrage for women and the other nationalities, and the breaking up of the corrupt oligarchies. He portrayed the Nevsky Front as a gang of failed brutes who knew only how to destroy.
   Scuffles at some of Purishkevich’s rallies saw an arms-race on the streets between various political gangs. By mid-1898, “Nevsky’s Sword” had been formed as an informal apparatus of Purishkevich’s movement, leading mob violence against leftists and disrupting rallies of political opponents. The left would not be silenced however, with Argunov himself tacitly organizing the creation of the “Red Guard.” With the police force throughout Russia weakened as a result of the 1894 reforms, many could do little but watch in horror as street fighting erupted during heated political periods.
   “Bloody Wednesday” in Konstantingrad on August 4th, 1897 illustrated the general tenor of the situation, though this incident was influenced by the unique situation in that city. Nevsky’s Sword interrupted a Greek nationalist political meeting in the morning, storming the political gathering in a pub and beating many attendees. The Greeks, denouncing the Russians as invaders fought back, blood in the streets. The police emerged trying to calm the situation, but found themselves overwhelmed by midday as tensions simmered. When the Red Front got involved with the factories breaking for lunch, the situation spiraled yet further. In Konstantingrad many members of the Red Front were Bulgarian immigrants who had migrated for the labor opportunities in the factories, looked down on by both the Greeks and Russians. Three-way street fighting only finally was brought to a halt in the mid-afternoon, the local garrison finally stirring itself and forcing the combatants to separate. By the time the fighting was concluded, at least a dozen were dead, most young men in their 20s. The worst perpetrators were arrested and most combatants returned home, ready to return to the struggle at the next sign of trouble. Whole neighborhoods identified themselves with one or the other various factions as tensions in the city continued to simmer.
   This situation was mirrored to a greater or lesser extent throughout most major cities in the republic. Though the standard of living in Russia had overall seldom been better, the political temperature was running hot in the 1890s. Political infighting and street battles would see vigilante justice and petty feuds erupt throughout the country. All the while Mikhaylovsky did little, himself committed to the ideals of free expression and wary of repressing political movements after having been on the receiving end of such suppression himself.

"Bloody Wednesday" in Konstantingrad, 1897
(Source: Made by Me, Via Midjourney)

1899: Russia at a Crossroads
   As Mikhaylovsky’s term wound down, Russia stood at a crossroads. Recognizing his unpopularity and fed up with the difficulty of governing, the president was quick to announce he would not be seeking reelection. His term had been controversial. While the economy was better than 1894 and social reforms had been restored, little legislative work had been achieved. Rival gangs terrorized political gatherings and the future looked uncertain. Both the right and left had assertive leaders aiming to disrupt the status quo, while the Suvorinists sought to reverse the error of 1894. With no incumbent on the ballot for the first time since the 1864 election, the world watched closely as the 1900 campaign began in earnest. From the far-right to the far-left, Russia never had experienced such an active and dynamic political situation.
   Among the mainstream Suvorinists, some initially whispered of a comeback for President Suvorin. Yet, by 1900 the ‘Great Redeemer’ had instead transferred his ambition onto his son Mikhail, who he hoped would ensure both a familial and political legacy. Campaigning on a mix of nostalgia, rationalism, and stability, Mikhail Suvorin emphasized restoring normalcy, punishing the extremists, and reasserting Russia’s republican role worldwide. Yet, he was also extremely close to many of the oligarchs who drew so much public ire.
   Yet, this Suvorinist movement was no longer the monolith it was in the past. Most of Chicherin’s embittered supporters, unable to forgive Suvorin for running in 1894, decided to back a more mainstream liberal candidate. Chicherin himself declined a chance to run, preferring a quiet retirement to more hectic governance. Pavel Milyukov, the former Finance Minister under Chicherin would prove to be the liberal candidate. Milyukov argued for rational political reforms aimed at creating a more sustainable political situation, including the weakening of the Presidency and transfer of some of the extensive executive powers to the Duma and the judiciary. He wanted progressive domestic reforms, including the elimination of the literacy requirement for suffrage and greater civilian participation in government.
   To little surprise Purishkevich launched a bid for the Russian presidency as well, vowing to sort out the Russian Republic once and for all. He claimed to have plans that would get the people working, eliminate domestic poverty, and bring even greater glory than Suvorin to the nation. Fiery speeches denounced the Jews, conservatives, Germans, and the capitalist elites. He vowed a crackdown on all subversives should he be elected and vowed to bring politics in Russia back into line.
   Those reactionaries who could not stomach the Nevsky Front put forth their own long-shot candidate. Yet again perennial candidate Pobedonostev put his hat in the ring, arguing the instability plaguing Russia was the natural conclusion of the anti-Theist Russian Republic. Only be restoring the natural political order and the czar could Russia prosper once more.
   With Mikhaylovsky choosing retirement, Argunov easily swept up most of the left. Denouncing Purishkevich and Suvorin in visceral language, he pushed for a leftward turn in Russia. Promising to implement his total program if elected, regardless of the status of the Duma, Argunov aimed to complete what Mikhaylovsky had so tepidly started. No amount of establishment resistance or complacency would get in his way. While this alienated many social democrats, it re-energized further left elements. Argunov called for a Second Russian Revolution to finish the work of the first. Whereas the toppling of the Romanovs had created political openness and reform, Argunov sought to topple the establishment to enact social reform. Only by remaking and reforming Russian society did he believe it could function in the modern world.
   With such a wide potential of outcomes, the world waited with bated breath for the upcoming 1900 election, convinced it would be crucial in determining the future direction of the Republic.
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« Reply #420 on: May 12, 2023, 10:24:29 PM »
« Edited: May 12, 2023, 10:35:20 PM by Spamage »

France: An Autocratic Drift
Versailles, the Heart of the French Monarchy, 1900
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Later Regency (1877-1880)
   With the conclusion of the War of the Regency, many Frenchmen expected society to return to normal. This would not be the case. Emboldened by her victory over the Blues, Charlotte as regent gained confidence in the autocratic system of government she had fashioned. Though she would not make any constitutional changes herself, it was clear the direction she wanted to go. The volatile reactionary-socialist alliance that had seen her through the war would continue. The elections of 1877 were delayed with the approval of the National Assembly, the Queen Regent using the ongoing war in India as an excuse.
   People were not blind to what was occurring and the heavy-handed nature of the government did receive pushback. Adolphe Thiers, who had been an instrumental liberal Prime Minister back in the days of Marie Fernandina’s regency for Louis XIX, penned a public critique of the government in 1878, signed by dozens of former ministers across the political spectrum. He urged for new elections, stating that the state of emergency had passed. Indeed, not holding the vote was seen by Thiers as a betrayal of the Peace of Sevres. While the conflict in India was dire, the former Prime Minister correctly pointed out that the subcontinent had never held the right to suffrage, so the vote ought to be able to proceed unmolested in France proper. Thiers was particularly frank in his analysis of the current situation. Charlotte’s policies were publicly denounced as “ideologically incoherent” while the legislature was “filled by brutes, idiots, and lickspittles.”
   Thiers’ dramatic statement did attract broad attention in France, with many former Blues tacitly voicing their support of his analysis. Yet, Charlotte and the government refused to bend. In response to “unpatriotic drivel issued by cheap rags,” the assembly drafted and enacted the “Sedition Act” prohibiting statements hostile to either the Crown or itself, a sign that old rights were slowly eroding. Charlotte was all too happy to sign the bill into law in her role as regent. When protests erupted against the Sedition Act, they were brutally suppressed, demonstrators framed as foreign subversives under the employ of republican Russia. Given the Katona Affair, it was not a wholly unbelievable claim. These claims would be used to bolster the size and strength of the French police forces, now used to keep the subjects in line.
   In any case, men such as Thiers found themselves on the outside looking in. Charlotte and later Louis XX had no intention of returning to the ‘Golden Days’ of Maria Fernandina. In defiance of public opinion, the general state of emergency was extended further. The vote was postponed again in 1878, before being halted indefinitely in 1879. Even after peace had been restored in the Congress of Copenhagen, still the elections remained for an indeterminate time in the future. While the promise of an eventual vote was maintained, Charlotte argued that it would only be suitable to do so after her son had reached his majority.
   The government sought to overshadow the trampling of suffrage with a massive investment in reconstruction and domestic improvement. In papers loyal to Charlotte, her actions were portrayed as those of a loving regent trying to restore the French nation both physically and spiritually. Any damage in France proper from the War of the Regency was quickly repaired. Indeed, oftentimes the new constructions employed modern methods, resulting in more efficient and durable infrastructure in some locations that prior to the war. Still, while buildings could easily be repaired, it would take far longer to reconcile the two feuding halves of the French nation.  

King Louis XX, 1889
(Made by me via Midjourney)

The Most Christian King (1880-1900)
The Eclipse of Charlotte (1880-1885)
    Louis XX’s early years after he was declared of age in 1880 were largely ones of continuity. Indeed, it seemed to most observers that France yet again would have a weak king beholden to the wishes of his strongest advisors. Charlotte, as a fiercely protective and loving mother, was loathe to give up her control over the government. Yet, young Louis XX was rather different than his father. He would increasingly grow more assertive in politics and diplomacy, cultivating his own style and policies as sovereign. For the first time in forty years, back when King Louis XVIII had been assassinated, France would have a powerful and politically active king. The young Louis would leave his mark on the realm, inspired by none other than Louis XIV, his distant progenitor.
   Louis was tutored as a child by Jean-Joseph Gaume, an ultra-conservative theologian who argued that the Renaissance as the primary source of evil in the modern world. Gaume instilled both a religious fervor and a sense of destiny in his young ward. Coupled with Charlotte’s example of ruling with an iron will, the new sovereign developed absolutist tendencies wedded to Catholic fanaticism. These had only been cemented further when the moderates had attempted to supplant his mother during the War of the Regency. His philosophy was not too dissimilar to King Antonio II of Portugal in the 1830s, though Louis was far less inclined to the quasi-republican displays used by that king. Fundamentally, the political outlook of Louis was of a glorious sovereign leading a good people. It was his responsibility to ensure the well-being and happy lives of his subjects against the conniving intermediaries such as the noble, capitalist, and mercantile classes.
  In the early 1880s, the King continued to generally govern in line with his mother’s views, though he gradually incorporated other advisors so he could get alternative opinions. Charlotte’s policies in regards to Anatolia and Africa were implemented from 1880-1882. Yet, her first failure would be the King’s temporary decision to dismiss her close ally and Minister of War Georges Ernest Boulanger in May 1883 over a heated cabinet debate where the King felt insulted. Though Boulanger was reinstated by the midsummer with the connivance of Charlotte, the King had shown he was not to be defied.
   The eclipse of Charlotte as the primary political force in France occurred in 1885. The eighteen-year-old sovereign determined it was time to find a wife. Charlotte pushed for Louis to marry her niece, Princess Wilhelmina of Quebec. The King was reluctant however, privately noting that the marriage would just serve to prolong his mother’s control at Court. Instead, he sent private feelers to Vienna in order to do the unthinkable.
   In a bid to unite the feuding Blues and Whites once and for all, young Louis XX decided to wed his second cousin Anna of Bourbon-Savoie, the daughter of Amadeus and granddaughter of the late Prince Xavier. The House of Bourbon-Savoie had lived in a de facto state of exile following the conclusion of the War of the Regency, enjoying the hospitality of their relations in Vienna. Yet, Amadeus yearned for home. Despite their sympathies, it was clear the Habsburg Court was willing to do little to advance his cause. The prospect of mending ties with the senior branch of the royal family at this point was just too tempting to resist. Louis promised the Blues reintegration into French society, and even the return of confiscated estates, in exchange for the marriage and a public affirmation of loyalty.
   The announcement of the betrothal on March 15th, 1885 jolted the realm. In a public address distributed throughout France, Louis pledged his undying love to his fiancée. Vowing that their wedding would reconcile France and heal the wounds of the past, he concluded by stating, “Today we are all Whites, today we are all Blues. We must stand united as one People before God.”
   None was more shocked than the Queen Mother, who had been unaware of her son’s negotiating. In one fell stroke, Louis XX demonstrated Charlotte no longer was in command. Despite reportedly falling into a rage upon hearing of the announcement, she knew her authority had been irretrievably undermined. That very afternoon Charlotte made a show of deference to her son, congratulating him on his proposal and reaffirming her loyalty to him. She would no longer be an independent source of authority in French politics, but remained determined to be one of her son’s closest advisors, a role she would take to quite easily. Charlotte stood by her son’s side with unswerving loyalty throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century.
   The formal marriage on July 15th, 1885 was celebrated in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, a mass show of royal pomp accompanied with grand ceremonies. It was a propaganda victory for the young sovereign, crowds cheering both Louis and his wife Anna of Bourbon-Savoie. Though Charlotte and Amadeus eyed one another warily throughout the ceremony, they were forced by the King to formally join hands during the wedding banquet, a sign of mended ties. Unlike as had been the case with Charlotte, there would be no fertility issues for the new queen. Anna gave birth to the Dauphin Louis in 1886, followed by three other surviving children through 1895. Though many commoners who backed the Blue cause remained wary of King Louis XX, the royal wedding had eliminated most of the Blue noble leadership, who now fell in line and compromised with the regime.

Marriage of Louis XX and Anna de Bourbon-Savoie, 1885
(Made by Me via Midjourney)

Colonial Ventures (1882-1889)
   In India, after the Congress of Copenhagen, the most important policy was reform. The reoccupation of Delhi saw King Louis proclaimed the ‘Emperor of India’. The newly-minted King-Emperor was convinced that previous French rulers had been too soft on the subcontinent. What had French leniency to the Princely States achieved? Most Indians had stood aside during the Durrani invasion, refusing to involve themselves in the hope that French India would crumble on its own.
   Several new policies were instituted. Some of the former Princely States that had been occupied in their entirety by the Durrani but returned to France in the Congress of Copenhagen (Jodphur and Pune) would not be reconstituted. Instead, their lands were absorbed into direct Crown ownership. Louis then used this new influx of Crown territories to win back over the loyalty of the reintegrated Blues. Former rebel leaders were offered vast estates in India, potential sources of great wealth, tying them to the regime and system they had fought to overthrow. In the surviving Princely States, France was given expanded economic and taxation rights. All polities had to agree to abide by France’s diplomatic direction in the future and to sever trade with external powers.
   Within the regions that had been untouched by the war, the King ordered a general confiscation of lands from anyone who had shown disloyalty to his government during the War of the Regency and the Durrani-Mysore invasion. Locals who had remained indifferent or supportive of the regime were allowed to continue unmolested. While there was undoubtedly extensive abuse, neighbor accusing neighbor in an attempt to expand their own holdings, the overall result severely weakened any separatist cause in India. The French Raj had endured.
   French Africa meanwhile had largely been a theoretical concept for decades. Beyond outposts at Senegal and Dahomey, Paris had for decades shown itself uninterested in the continent dating back to the 18th century. While that seemed to have changed with the Stockholm Conference in 1871, granting France claims on Algiers, the War of the Regency and subsequent Durrani-Mysore War had distracted the government and prevented any follow up on instituting French rule in Africa. Yet, the disruption of the Suez and the ensuing difficulties of supply in India had underscored the importance of having alternative modes of transport.
   Charlotte took the first step in making good on French claims with the Treaty of Rabat, gaining title to former Ottoman Morocco on the condition that Nadir Pasha’s soldiers emerged victorious in the Turkish Civil War. When this proved to be the case in 1882, Morocco passed formally to French rule on August 16th. Louis XX, conscious of the extended local resistance and seeking to channel the image of the ‘benevolent Emperor’, elected to restore the deposed Alawi dynasty as Kings of Morocco under a French protectorate. Arafa bin Muhammad, the son of the slain Muhammad IV, was reinstated as leader in the region, simultaneously pledging his fealty to King Louis XX, declaring his realm fell under French jurisdiction, and ceding diplomatic and political functions to France. France also extracted most of the Mediterranean coast from its new puppet, using the strip of land to clearly counter the Habsburgs stationed at Gibraltar.
   While the most zealous Moroccan nationalists continued to express themselves outraged, the majority of Moroccan society at this point saw French rule as preferable to life as either a Turkish or Prussian colony. It was clear their state could no longer survive on its own given the imperialistic bent of nearby powers. More than a decade of military invasion and occupation made many merely desire to be left in peace, France’s fairly light hand in domestic affairs being appreciated.
   Yet, events in Morocco were merely a prelude to Louis’ designs. When the Qajar-Ottoman War erupted in 1887, thereby distracting the two major Islamic powers, France decided to make good on its claims to Algiers. Denouncing that state as a “den of pirates, heathens, and slavery,” Louis declared war on the Regency of Algiers and launched a well-prepared strike.
   Lacking any foreign backing, and overwhelmed by a substantial pre-planned French campaign, the Algerian army stood no chance. Their token navy was swept from the Mediterranean within the first month, allowing for French bombardment of their primarily coastal cities. Within weeks the capital had fallen to a landing party, while Tlemcen and Oran collapsed in the face of a French offensive from Morocco. There were allegations on the ground that the French forces had employed poison gas against the Algerians, though there could not be corroborated in the chaotic invasion.
   The initial French Conquest of Algeria lasted until 1889, when the Dey surrendered. Although resistance continued to simmer further out into the Sahara, for the most part fighting ceased and Paris pivoted to sending aid to the Ottomans. The relatively rapid collapse of the Regency of Algiers was greeted with praise among many Christian powers, even the Habsburgs reluctantly sending congratulations through gritted teeth. The last of the old Barbary States had fallen, North Africa in its entirety colonized by France, Naples, the Ottomans, and Scandinavia.
   Domestically, Louis used his victory to further cement his control over France. The King was portrayed as a military genius, one who would bring back France’s golden age as sole superpower. Those who had questioned his decision-making in the leadup to the Algerian War were fired or sidelined, loyalists filling the ranks of the general’s staff. Looking further afield, Louis ordered his generals to use the lessons of the conflict for any potential reconquest of Mysore or operations against the Durrani, though no action would be taken on neither front before the turn of the century.

Catholic Services of Thanksgiving Celebrated in Conquered Algiers, 1889
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)


Forging a New France (1885-1899)
Further Reform (1885-1890)
   The 1880s would also see continued encroachment on the traditional rights of the French that had been guaranteed by Louis XVIII. Newspapers were forced to register with the government in 1883, with those seen as hostile being denied licenses. This was extended to publishing houses the following year. Political debate and frank discussion gradually gave way to a general parroting of the royal line.
   Charlotte’s government, especially after the eruption of the War of the Regency, had been extremely authoritarian. Yet, not the sovereign herself, the Queen Regent was always somewhat personally hesitant to make any permanent lasting alterations to the constitutional order of France. Her son had no such compunctions. As King, Louis saw himself as uniquely suited to reorganizing both the French political and social systems. French from his victory in the Algerian War, the King finally felt he had the domestic authority to push through another round of reforms to the system.
   The Crown interfered further in the schools, injecting a hyper-royalist curriculum into the parochial education system. Students were taught that they owed utter obedience to the king, who had been appointed to rule by God himself. It was the duty of the King to protect the common classes from intermediaries seeking to do them harm, such as cruel nobles and lazy capitalists. Louis XX incorporated many of his own tutor Gaume’s teachings, the Renaissance and Enlightenment being portrayed as evil perversions of Christendom. In the long run, the radical teachings would instill a good deal of loyalty to the regime and its ideology among the French youth. Though, as always, there was dissent among some, a majority seemed convinced by the doctrine. These would be the young men who would start to staff the army and fill administrative roles in the government.
   Economically, the War of the Regency had been a convenient excuse for expanding government control over industry. In order to appease the socialist factions in the coalition, Louis XX formally codified and expanded this in 1885 with the Loyalty Act, forcing new companies to give the government a significant stake in ownership. Operations deemed more essential, such as coal mining and weapons manufacturing, were wholly nationalized. It was war on the capitalist class, who objected fiercely to the laws passed one after another through the rump, rubber-stamp assembly. Workers were granted rights to unionize and extensive safety regulations were implemented, though in practice these lofty rights were not always put into full effect. While private economic activity still continued in most industries, it was a significant step away from the previous capitalist outlook of the French state.
   Keen to underscore his virtues, and resettle the Netherlands while he was at it, Louis XX also undermined the religious situation in that conquered region. France had generally become a more tolerant state during the reign of Louis XVIII earlier in the 19th century, but now there was a fierce Catholic backlash. The King formally banned the construction of new Calvinist churches in 1889, following it up with mandatory Catholic education for the Dutch youth in 1891. French settlers were brought into the cities, taking up administrative jobs as well as positions in the universities. Every effort was made to bring the Dutch to heel.
   Many Dutchmen, proud of their nation’s historical Calvinist resistance, chose to emigrate to New Holland or North America rather than suffer such indignities. The Dutch countryside was gradually sapped of manpower in many areas due to so many numerous departures, population stagnating or even mildly declining. Anti-French protests that erupted in many cities were brutally suppressed, rebel leaders facing imprisonment or summary execution. Only the continued heavy military occupation prevented the situation from escalating. The King ruled by terror in the Netherlands, hoping that such policies would finally end the perennial unrest in that area.
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« Reply #421 on: May 12, 2023, 10:24:57 PM »
« Edited: May 12, 2023, 10:52:34 PM by Spamage »

Erosion of the Constitutional Charter of the French (1885-1888)
   The Assembly elected in 1872 had been seated for 14 years by the time Louis XX felt he had a free hand in regards to government reform. It was a rump body; the liberals and conservatives having exited at the start of the War of the Regency and not been allowed back after peace had been declared. Without any moderating influence, the reactionary-socialist National Assembly had been cowed first by the Queen Regent, then by her son. It had been this group of legislators that had stifled free speech with the Sedition Act in 1877 and Registration Act of 1883, combated capitalist ownership with the Loyalty Act in 1885, and force-fed the children of France propaganda from 1886 on. The reactionaries tended to find themselves inclined to heed royal leadership, while the socialists were given just enough concessions to keep them in line. Yet, by 1886 it was clear the situation was becoming untenable. Resignations and deaths had created numerous vacancies in the body with no mechanic for replacing vacancies other than new elections, which the Crown continued to delay. This was coming at the same time ideological debates threatened at long last to rupture the governing coalition.
   Dating back to the War of the Regency and the Reactionary-Socialist engineered by Queen Charlotte, there had been two lines of thought among French socialists. Some saw cooperation with the Crown as a necessary evil, yet remained republican in essence. Their support for Charlotte, and later Louis, was predicated on social concessions but remained at its core an alliance of convenience. The Republican Socialist faction in France pointed to ample criticism of Charlotte’s ideological program by Marx himself before his death in 1883. Marx had decried Charlotte’s rule as what he saw as “bastardized, feudal socialism” as an attempt by the ruling class to co-opt the proletariat against the bourgeoise for their own self-preservation. By the turn of the century Georges Clemenceau was seen by many as the most prominent members in the republican socialist camp.
   Yet, other socialists saw the monarchy itself as the sole unifying source in France and believed that only through it could true, lasting social revolution be achieved. Wedding ultra-monarchism to socialist thought, they enthusiastically backed the Crown, so long as reform seemed on the table. Under the guidance of Louis Blanqui, who served loyally on the Conseil du Roi, the royalist socialists remained firmly behind the King. It was their support for a strong, unquestioned sovereign that led the Blanquists to become fervent defenders of Louis and rivals of the Republican Socialists, who they viewed as impractical idealists.
   Charlotte kept both factions in line, even during times of turbulence such as the invasion of the Netherlands, through concerted concessions in favor of worker’s rights. These won her time and ensured fundamental difference of opinion had remained merely theoretical given the turbulence of the civil war. Yet, as the years passed, many Republican Socialists began to openly question and condemn the continuing cooperation with Louis and Charlotte, especially so long after the crisis had ceased. The Queen Regent’s redistribution of Indian lands to noble families, along with the continued colonialism, undermined their support for her government. So too were various factions disgusted over the repeated delay of elections, given the crisis had clearly passed. The Loyalty Act of 1885 proved to be the last major piece of legislation backed by both socialist camps.
   The Socialist Divorce, as the events of 1889 were dubbed, saw a lasting break in that bloc that would endure the remainder of the century. It would also prove to be the first step in utterly destroying the old constitutional order in France.
   The spark was minor. When Jean Jaurès, a republican socialist, was denied a renewal of his newspaper license over veiled critiques of the government, he continued to print illicitly. His critiques of the government became far less tacit in the new publications. It was only a matter of time before the police caught on. His arrest and subsequent trial in 1887 attracted widespread attention, even if the coverage of them was slanted by the pro-government bent of his fellow journalists. Clemenceau felt honor-bound to defend one of his ideological allies, privately urging for leniency and publicly calling for a fair trial. This contrasted greatly with the attitude of the Blanquist faction, which called on harsh punishment for one who would question the crown’s authority to carry out reform. When Jaurès saw himself imprisoned for 10 years, Clemenceau was furious. Enough was enough.
   The fact that there was a break in the socialist faction of the National Assembly was apparent almost immediately, the blocs beginning to meet separately in the fallout of the Jaurès Affair in 1889. Louis XX was initially pleased by this, believing that if the ideologues were debating each other, they would be less inclined to challenge royal authority. What he hadn’t realized was how far Clemenceau planned to go. The republican socialist leader resolved to challenge to the royal dictatorship from within, privately maneuvering his supporters in the assembly. He would rally his faction behind a plan to force through new elections, in the belief that Louis would back down if the Nation Assembly proved defiant. Given the fact that the mainstream liberals and conservatives still found themselves locked out of power, it was believed that the extensive public pressure would be too much for the young king to oppose. Not trusting the Blanquists, he decided instead to cultivate ties among similarly disaffected legislators from the reactionary side of the coalition.
   Discontent with the reactionary-socialist system existed on the right as well. While many reactionaries felt a divine sense of duty to follow the whims of the king, the degree to which social reforms had been pushed through caused alarm in some circles. As with the left, by the late 1880s the reactionary cause was fracturing between governmental loyalists and those willing to push back against the regime, though the dividing line was far less clear. Of those loyal to the government, men such as Henri Vaugeois, Georges Boulanger, and George de Villebois-Mareuil led the more ideological, loyalist camp. Though they may have disagreed with some of the Crown’s socialist leanings, they fully supported the established government and its role in preserving order.
   The less loyal reactionaries generally came from the nobility, including some of the Princes of the Blood. These men, independently wealthy, disliked the vilification they had received on the part of the government’s propaganda. Those that had used their wealth to invest in business activities likewise felt their livelihood was under threat by a greedy sovereign. Despite having remained loyal to Charlotte during the War of the Regency, it was agreed by the less zealous reactionaries that she had turned on them in victory. Philip de Bourbon-Brittany, the Duke of Brittany and grandson of the beloved Marie Fernandina, was the most publicly dissatisfied. Despite the cowed nature of the National Assembly, he had loudly voted in opposition to the Loyalty Act of 1885. He was joined by many others who, despite their far-right political leanings, could only stomach so much royal absolutism when they disagreed with it.

Georges Clemenceau and Philip de Bourbon-Brittany
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Coup of 1890
   It was to the lukewarm reactionaries Clemenceau extended an olive branch in early 1890. Following private negotiations with Philip of Brittany, it was agreed that return for reactionary support of new elections, the Republican Socialists would support a repeal of the detested Loyalty Act. According to the private counts of the plotters, they had a clear majority. In essence the two sides had fully committed to humiliating the King and bringing an end to the by now 18-year-old legislative session. Not wholly naïve, privately former caches of Blue weapons throughout France were distributed among those deemed loyal to their cause. It was hoped that between a legislative majority and an armed force, the extremists would be brought to heel.
   Yet, this juncture proved to be fatal for the attempted coup. As previously stated, the reactionaries were less concretely divided than the socialists and all it took was one defector to bring down the whole conspiracy. It was Charles François Marie, the Duke of Harcourt, that ratted out the conspiracy to Charlotte several weeks in advance. The Queen Mother naturally informed the King, who decided to act preemptively. A week before the plotters planned to introduce the Electoral Act in the National Assembly, Louis pounced.
   Extremely early in the morning of June 5th, 1890 a wave of mass arrests erupted throughout France. The streets of Paris were filled with clamor as major supporters of the plot were dragged from their homes. King Louis was personally present at the arrest of the Duke of Brittany, condemning his cousin for his disloyalty and lack of faith. In other cities throughout the country, those in possession of the Blue weapons were either arrested or, in the event they resisted, summarily executed. Publicly Louis announced that he had thwarted a “Satanic Coup”. The plotters, he stated, were attempting to topple the age-old French monarchy and replace it with an oligarchic republic run by the well-to-do. Despite their aims having been technically legal, Louis ignored this and argued the plotters had committed “treason of the heart.”
   Clemenceau himself managed to escape, his servants having held the door closed long enough to allow him to sneak out the side and into the city. He quietly crossed the Imperial frontier the next day, resurfacing in Cologne where he vocally condemned the tyranny of the King. Eventually he made his way to Britain, where he would smuggle tacit denunciations of Louis XX into France from across the Channel.

Suppression of the Coup of 1890
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Purge of the Traitors (1890-1893)
   The National Assembly, now numbering merely in the dozens after the king had crushed the Coup of 1890, convened the very next day. It was the rump of a rump. Louis himself took charge of the proceedings, using the Royal Guard to seal the deputies in the chamber until his whole agenda had been enacted. The King went yet further in his pursuit of the reactionary-socialist ideology. Issuing a tirade against “traitors” and “agents of Satan”, he demanded action. A siege mentality took hold. Louis portrayed himself at war with the irreconcilable Republican Socialists and the traditionalist capitalist nobles at once. In essence, Reactionary Socialism was under siege from both the right and the left. Ignored was the fact that the “traitors” had hitherto fore bought into the government’s program.
   Determined to end the attrition in the National Assembly without having to hold an election, the body adopted the “Royal Appointment Act,” which allowed the King to fill any vacancies. This was coupled with a simultaneous expulsion of all those caught up in the Coup of 1890. Within hours more than a hundred new deputies were sworn in, filling not only the recently vacated seats, but those that had been emptied at the start of the War of the Regency in 1872 as well. What had been a technically independent body overnight became yet another royal apparatus. Notably, some former Blue delegates who had since come into the royal fold found themselves instated, a move meant to demonstrate that the old dividing lines in French society were no longer relevant. Now there was no question of elections being held anytime soon.
    Punishment was the next order of business. All nobles that had been arrested had their lands seized and broken up and the affected bourgeoise saw their companies handed over to their workers. Republicanism meanwhile was formally outlawed, the government expanding “Sedition Act” yet further to encompass all sorts of speech deemed disloyal or treacherous. The courts were circumvented, the National Assembly instead officially proscribing those that had just been arrested with arbitrary sentences. Clemenceau was sentenced to death in absentia, while Philip de Bourbon-Brittany was stripped of the title, removed as a noble, and imprisoned for life.
   Public reaction was mixed. The opposition now not only consisted of the former Blues, but now republican socialists and moderate reactionaries as well. Yet, in the face of the Crown’s authority many found themselves powerless. The initial wave of arrests to preempt the Coup of 1890 was followed by a broader sweep through society. Professors critical of the King, nobles, bad managers, and former Blue veterans were among those caught up in following crackdowns. The opposition was driven underground, a tacit resistance network quietly establishing itself in many cities. Some, like Clemenceau, fled the country, surfacing in Britain, Scandinavia, or Naples, where they spewed hate against the King. Others, deep in hopelessness, made peace with the regime. Filled with apathy, a good portion of French society found it simply safer to become apolitical. They followed the example of the king’s in-laws in the House of Bourbon-Savoie, who stood silent during the crackdowns, a tacit endorsement of the king’s methods.
   This is not to say the King was without genuine support. Louis’ enforcement of his social reforms endeared him to the urban workers, while his further breaking up of noble estates won friends in the countryside. The French Church had by at this point become fully in-tune with the Crown’s goal, using the Catholic message to promote anti-capitalist sentiment and yet simultaneously emphasize the divine right of the King. The upcoming generation that had been force-fed royalist propaganda largely fell in line, as did radicals in the intelligentsia either on the right or left. The police and armed forces were kept loyal by pay increases.

Absolute Rule (1893-1899)
   Louis initially seemed content to halt his authoritarian creep there, but his hand was forced to go yet further. The French Resistance, as an underground, diverse network of opponents to the regime dubbed itself, demonstrated its strength with a wave of successful assassinations in 1893. Georges Boulanger, long instrumental in both Charlotte’s and Louis’ governments, was killed by a thrown explosive. Eugene Baudin, a socialist serving as Minister of the Interior, was found dead in the Seine. Reports emerged midyear of an aborted attempt on the life of the King himself, causing a genuine groundswell of public support for the sovereign.
   Exploiting his support and feeling secure in his position, the King at long last announced the withdrawal of the Constitutional Charter of the French. While showing reverence to his great-grandfather King Louis XVIII, in a public statement Louis XX declared that the previous century had only shown how much damage constitutional experiments could cause. France had become riven with politicking, while those unwilling to accept electoral defeat resorted to violence and assassination. “A document cannot be the basis of the French Nation, that role is solely reserved for the King and for God himself.” The National Assembly was renamed the “Royal Council,” halved in size, and any shred of legislative power in it was nullified.
  Unshackled domestically, the king also spent the 1890s settling old scores. Within France, the “Sons of St. Louis” was established, effectively a paramilitary domestic force for enacting the will of the King. Thousands of loyal Frenchmen were given military training, generous stipends, and ideological instruction. Well-armed and feared even by the local police, the group became quite violent. Numerous prisons were stormed, leading to the murder of many of those arrested after the Coup of 1890. The most notorious instance was the brutal killing of Philip of Brittany, an act condemned all through Europe. The King professed himself shocked, giving himself the veneer of innocence, all the while allowing the group to operate unmolested. There were several attempts on the life of the exiled Clemenceau, though they were ultimately unsuccessful.
   Their actions extended further, however. Employers deemed to be abusive found themselves targeted, as did nobles who chose to remain on their estates rather than serve the King in Versailles. The Sons of St. Louis acted as a surveillance system, their presence on streetcorners throughout the realm ensuring compliance. When faced with open or subtle resistance, they often resorted to extrajudicial beatings or killings. Vocal conservatives, liberals, and even committed Catholic-Republicans ofttimes would go missing. In instances where murder was deemed too radical a solution, many deemed sympathetic to the resistance were shipped off to labor camps in the countryside where they worked the fields held in the public trust.
   Yet, the realm seemed seldom economically more stable. For in addition to the campaign of terror, France found itself unscathed by the Panic of 1888, which it denounced as the result of ‘capitalist excess.’ Propaganda emphasized extensive French support for the downtrodden at the same time Suvorin and Chicherin were cutting benefits in the east. Through a combination of colonial exploitation (pro-socialist legislation almost always excluded India and the other French colonies), planned economic activity, and economic engagement with Brazil, the French economy showed great resilience through the 1890s.
   Europe as a whole looked at developments in France with unease. Despite a shared monarchical bent, the populace of Britain, Scandinavia, and the Habsburg Monarchy were all shocked by the radical agenda championed by the French Crown. Republics, such as Russia and Switzerland, were appalled at the curtailing of suffrage. While most would have preferred to isolate France and allow its domestic developments to operate in a vacuum, King Louis demonstrated his realm was not to be ignored. Convinced of domestic support he nearly entered war with the Habsburg Monarchy during the June Crisis in 1897. An able diplomatic player, thousands of hours were spent wondering about the king’s motives.

Sons of Saint Louis Patrol Streets of Paris, 1898
(Source: Made by me via Midjourney)

France at the Turn of the Century
   By the end of the nineteenth century, Louis rules absolute, any formal political opposition to his rule having been eliminated. While the kingdom entered the nineteenth century on the cusp of constitutional monarchism, it exits having revered back to the divine right of kings. Yet, this is not the France of Louis XIV or XV. A vast web of surveillance and repression rules the day, chilling the opposition. The Sons of Saint Louis stalk the streets, an omnipresent demonstration of royal authority. France seems stable to most observers, though with no electoral outlet like Scandinavia, Russia, or the Habsburg Monarchy, the true opinion of the public is an enigma. Many wonder whether the populace genuinely buys into the King’s reactionary-socialist agenda, or is merely parroting the King’s pronouncements so they can be left alone?
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« Reply #422 on: May 15, 2023, 11:46:51 PM »
« Edited: May 15, 2023, 11:58:39 PM by Spamage »

Republic of Brazil: Spreading the Good Word

Catholic Procession on the Streets of São Paulo, 1892
(Source: Wikimedia)

Antônio de Macedo Costa (1878-1891)
Triumph of the Hardliners (1878-1885)
   Archbishop-President Manuel Joaquim da Silveira died on February 5th, 1878 after a rule lasting a decade. Under his leadership Brazil had eliminated the last remnants of the old Spanish Empire from South America, expanded the influence of Catholic Republicanism through direct intervention in Spain, and formalized Brazilian control over Central Africa. It was a respectable legacy, placing him among the likes of Andrade in the Brazilian national mythos.
   With the bishops converging on Sao Paolo, the two camps of Reformists and Andradist Hardliners yet again struggled for the Archbishop-Presidency. Yet, after a decade of Silveira and the appointment of loyalist bishops, the Reformists found themselves on the backfoot. Bishop Antônio de Macedo Costa of Bahia was elected on the third ballot with a majority. Costa had been a relatively minor in Silveira’s government, but was noted for his rigid enforcement of Catholic-Republican doctrine. Thus, the new government would be portrayed as a fresh start, even if it was doubling down on the same old policies.

Schism of the Catholic Republics (1882-1900)
   It was perhaps inevitable, given the victory of the Brazilian Andradists following the death of Silveira, that tensions with Bogota would only continue to increase. Many Brazilian officials looked on the liberalization of that state with disdain and refused to entertain the possibility of reform in Brazil proper. An open breach did not occur until 1884, though, with the death of Colombian Archbishop-President Vicente Arbeláez Gómez. His prior cooperation with Brazil in both the Spanish Civil War and the Conquest of Spanish South America had been enough to preserve the semblance of unity.
   His successor, Archbishop-President Críspulo Uzcátegui of Colombia, officially ended any military cooperation with Brazil on August 7th, 1885, denouncing the authoritarianism of Costa and the Brazilian clergy. Brazil responded in kind by denouncing Uzcátegui as a heretic, withdrawing all ambassadorial staff, and placing an embargo on Colombian goods. Colombia followed with its own counter-embargo just days later. This open breach, unprecedented in the history of the Catholic Republican movement, would see the ideological bloc shatter due to the infighting.
   The other Catholic-Republican powers rushed to take sides. Colombia was backed by the Philippines, Haiti, and the Spanish Union. These were the regimes that tended to have a less doctrinaire approach to Catholic Republicanism, either due to secular leadership (Spain, Haiti) or liberalization (Colombia, the Philippines). They united under the banner of the ‘Holy League’, an intercontinental defensive alliance. Brazil, besides its two sister republics of Cisplatina and the Parana, was backed by the ultra-hardline La Plata and the Braganza radical monarchy in Portugal. This grouping dubbed themselves the ‘Divine Union’ in order to contrast with their onetime allies.
   The external world reacted with surprise to the schism, but foreign powers rushed to respond. Colombian overtures to Quebec and Louisiana were rebuffed, Montreal focused on their rivalry in the Pacific. Britain however, still hostile to the Francophone powers in North America, offered expanded economic ties and a pact of non-aggression. British mediation later would see the Holy League’s ties restored with both Scandinavia and the Habsburg Monarchy. Colombia was often portrayed as the ‘safe’ Catholic-Republican faction compared to the more doctrinaire Brazil.
   Louis XX used the split to cultivate a friendship with Brazil. The two powers had little areas where they were in direct competition and a friendly Brazil was seen as a needed ally for an increasingly isolated France. Paris and Sao Paulo signed the Treaty of Bahia in 1886, which saw tariffs lowered and a general pact of cooperation. Brazilian timber and rubber would prove crucial in supplying French factories in the coming years. France was willing to overlook Brazil’s anti-monarchist bent and vice versa, the two powers emphasizing their shared Catholicism in the Treaty of Bahia.

Antônio de Macedo Costa, 1885
(Source: Wikimedia)

Expansion of the Mission States (1878-1891)
   Despite preaching a utopian ideology at home and implementing numerous protections of the common people, the Brazilian government was rapacious towards its African colonies, perhaps moreso than any other power. Archbishop-President Costa branded the holdings as “Mission-States” shortly after his election, arguing that the eventual goal was the total conversion of the population to Catholicism. In the meantime, though, the government felt no compunction about abuse of the so-called ‘heathens.’ If conversion was the eventual goal, profit was a more immediate necessity, given the raw goods of Central Africa were seen as necessary for fueling Brazil’s nascent industry.
   ‘Missionaries’ as the foreign exploiters were dubbed, often took advantage of legal loopholes to abuse the native Congolese, Khoisan, and Ndebele people. Communities were forced to provide laborers, relocate on the whims of colonial officials, or suffer brutal repression. While the ostensible purpose of the missionaries was to convert the populace, ofttimes in reality they were merely Brazilians with important political connections given free reign to exploit the natives.
   The loophole in question was a stipulation in Brazilian law signed by Costa that decreed Catholic converts in the Congo would gain exemption from the forced labor duties and be treated along the same lines as other Brazilian citizens. Missionaries, unwilling to lose their sources of wealth, ofttimes utterly neglected conversion. Even when Africans did convert to Catholicism, thanks to a clandestine network of genuine proselytizers, the missionary class would force them to take theological exams in Portuguese, a non-native language, or would declare outright that the conversion was ungenuine.
   Sao Paolo did nothing because of how profitable the African holdings proved to be. Given the brutal actions of the government domestically, there was also little revulsion among the Brazilian clerics over the aggressive punishments meted out. So long as the goods flowed into Brazilian factories, who cared how they were procured? Colonial subjects were subjected to sermons telling them to be obedient to the Divine Republic and that even thinking negative thoughts to the regime was a form of treason.
   This is not to say there was no resistance. Indeed, many of the various ethnic groups have fought back. By the turn of the century the Luba people of the Congo remained outside of colonial authority due to low-level resistance. Actual rebellions of the Congolese and Nama people were put down in the late 1880s. The indigenous people too outgunned when faced with direct confrontation by the Army of Brazil. Though it has occupied most of the areas that it won at the Stockholm Conference, several remote patches have yet to see a trace of the Divine Republic’s control. Even in areas firmly held by Sao Paolo, many administrators and missionaries warn visitors to not travel alone, lest one be found dead at the hands of a resentful populace.
   The world as a whole was largely ignorant of the happenings in the mission-states until a series of publications by the exiled Brazilian opposition began to circulate in Europe and North America. Even then, ofttimes the plight of the native Africans under Brazilian rule was overshadowed by more dramatic occurrences elsewhere, likely due to existing prejudice among many other fellow colonial powers.


Scene from the Congo Mission-State, 1884
(Source: Wikimedia)

A People’s Catholicism (1885-1899)
   Archbishop-President Costa oversaw a period of significant growth in Brazil. The country continued to industrialize apace; a concerted effort being made by the clergy to place the Divine Republic on a more solid economic footing. Exports in coffee and rubber exploded, while manufactories for textiles, food products, and weapons were cultivated in southeast Brazil. The opening of the French market with the Treaty of Bahia further expanded demand for Brazilian goods.
   Yet, this explosion in economic activity was top-down. Faithful to Catholic-Republican doctrine, anti-capitalism was the order of the day. External critics and foreign potential investors argued the regime hampered potential further economic gains by insisting on a heavy-handed approach. All manufactories were government-run. The coffee, rubber, and sugar plantations were staffed by worker’s councils and many believed output was only a fraction of its potential. Indeed, more than one would remark that the average Brazilian worker seemed work-shy.
   Costa himself ignored the critics, branding the developments in Brazil as a result of “People’s Catholicism.” He argued that market forces would have left the Divine Republic as a backwards, extraction-based fief of European manufacturers. Instead, Costa championed forced industrialization. Unlike his predecessors, he was more focused on the economic rather than social implications of Catholic-Republican doctrine. The faithful were to have protected worker’s rights and a planned economy would be the only way to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. Costa deliberately contrasted Brazil’s responsible economic management and protection of worker’s rights with what he framed as the satanic proliferation of capitalism and private enterprise in neighboring Colombia. Advertising in Europe promised a better life, a free stake in a communal homestead, and a place to live. A not insignificant number of people took the Divine Republic up on the offer, particular dissatisfied Catholic-Republicans from southern Naples, who poured into Brazil in the 1880s and 1890s.
   With this shift towards emphasizing People’s Catholicism, the more frightening social aspects of Andrade’s and Silveira’s regimes were scaled back. While freedom of speech remained strictly prohibited, and overall authoritarianism continued to rule, any sort of terror-tactics against the populace were largely discontinued. There would be no more public executions and mass-arrests under Costa’s watch. Work camps and prisons would be gradually emptied of all but the worst offenders. So long as one was outwardly a faithful Catholic, kept their head down, and did their duty, they would be left alone for the most part. The Eyes of God was not disbanded, but redirected to only pursuing the most radical opponents of the regime.
   This easing up may not have satisfied the most vociferous hardliners, those that would have had the government emulate the tactics of Louis XX in France or Archbishop-President Toro in La Plata, but the general public seemed receptive. Costa was clear that this was no liberalization, which he condemned as the root of modern evil, but rather a pragmatic show of mercy to the Brazilian people. The Catholic-Republican movement could not survive fully on terror, but needed admiration as well. Notably, there would be no easing up of harsh practices in Africa and other Brazilian colonies. Likewise, a greater degree of surveillance and occupation was continued in the Andean territories.

Joaquim Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti (1891-1899)
The Next Generation Takes Control (1891-1895)
   Costa died in 1891 at the age of 61 after a rule of thirteen years, the longest of any Archbishop-President. His tenure had seen tremendous economic growth and advances in industrialization. The easing up on social control was enough to satisfy moderate Reformists without alienating hardline Andradists, finally seeming to put an end to the age-old feud by uniting most of the government under a consensus.
   Yet, this domestic stability did not prevent the election of the next Archbishop-President from being an exciting affair. The various bishops convening in Sao Paolo, there was no clear candidate to succeed the respected leader. Most of those in positions of power were viewed as tired old men, having served as young revolutionaries back when the Brazilian Republic under Lima and Vasconcelos had been toppled almost fifty years prior. These clerics were dwindling in number but had managed to control every election since Araujo had succeeded Andrade back in 1847.
   Against them stood the next generation of upcoming Brazilian bishops. These were men without any memory of the liberal years under Lisboa and who had been raised in the shadow of the deepest terrors of the Divine Republic. Most had creative ideas about how to govern within the existing Catholic-Republican system, not bound by rigid, fixed outlooks like their elders. This group saw Costa’s People’s Catholicism as a blueprint of how to move Brazil forward into the next century and ensure that the Catholic-Republican ideology was not victim to the passage of time. While still hardliners, especially compared to the borderline liberal Araujoist faction that had once been in control, theirs was an ideology seeking to make the movement adapt to the changing world. Expanded social programs, mandatory public service, and modernizing the Brazilian military were among the policies promoted by the younger clergy.
   The election was deadlocked for more than a week. Debate reportedly got heated at times, many elders feeling disrespected by the tacit criticism of their tenure. Yet, in the end sheer numbers carried it for the youth. Bishop Joaquim Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti won the election on the ninth day, becoming the first Archbishop-President born after the declaration of the Divine Republic. Cavalcanti spent his first few years in office seeking to implement the aims of his generation. Indeed, his attempt to mandate public service would be part of what caused the Andean Crisis to erupt in Upper Peru.


Joaquim Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti, 1891
(Source: Wikimedia)

Andean Crisis (1895-1900)
   It would be in the Andes that hardline Catholic-Republicanism would meet its most formidable foe. Conquered in the 1870s from the collapsing Spanish Monarchy, the people of the region had never truly embraced the doctrine of their ‘liberators’. In the major cities many of the elites were the children or grandchildren of former Spanish colonists who had fled the Catholic Republicans during the population exchanges of the 1830s. Outside of the urban areas, many of the indigenous people resented the domineering attitude of the Church and officials, which contrasted sharply with the relatively lax rule of the Spanish Bourbons.
   Brazil was not the initial source of chaos however, but La Plata. The most hardline Catholic-Republican realm in the world, for decades the government of Archbishop-President Reginaldo Toro had been particularly brutal in its handling of dissent. There were numerous internment camps for alleged opponents of the regime, while religious police enforced public decency in most cities. Mandatory education saw the youth indoctrinated into not only intense zealotry, but doctrinaire and extremist Catholic-Republicanism. Many were taught it was their divinely-sanctioned duty to eradicate opposition and reform the world along La Platan lines. Indeed, it would be La Platan policies that would serve as inspiration for similar reforms from Louis XX.
   These lofty messages contrasted starkly with the lived experience of poverty and neglect experienced by most La Platans. The economy was weak, collectivist farming implemented by the government leading often to famine. Many resented or felt little loyalty to an Archbishop-President that preferred to spend time in his grand palaces and cathedrals rather than with his citizens. In Chile, most looked back to the Spanish period as a time of prosperity and order, especially compared to life under occupation. La Plata was an isolated pariah state, even moreso after the Catholic Republican split of 1884, with only Brazil as an active partner.
   The Mapuche People were the first to ignite the spark of rebellion against the central government in 1895 after several chiefs were unjustly murdered under the orders of Toro. La Platan soldiers were massacred in a series of low-level skirmishes in Araucania. Poorly-equipped and untrained, the Catholic-Republicans found themselves easy pickings for rebel guns. The ‘Massacre of the Maule’ in late 1895 saw soldiers from the government slaughtered by the residents of the region.
   News of the defeat emboldened others who were fed up with Toro’s regime. On the morning of April 12th, 1896, the city of Santiago erupted into a massive pre-planned revolt. The city’s garrison was surrounded as the rebels took control of key points. An assembly of notables hastily declared the “Kingdom of Chile” and dubbed themselves the “Regency of Santiago.” Any royal of suitable pedigree was invited to take the throne, so long as they were able to provide suitable aid to the cause. Many still nurtured sympathies for the Spanish Bourbons exiled in far-off Quebec. Their forces were called the “Caroline Army” in honor of Prince Charles of Spain who had been executed during the fall of Santiago in 1872.


Santiago Rebels, 1896
(Source: Wikimedia)

   The Chilean rebellion spread rapidly through the region. A key issue for the La Platan government was the unwillingness of its soldiers to actually fight. Many sympathized with the rebels and often switched sides. Others were insubordinate, refusing orders or deserting. A substantial force sent to pacify Chile in late 1896 melted away, those that stayed under arms being humiliated with the unsuccessful Siege of Coquimbo. La Platan intervention only served to unite the separate rebellions, the Mapuche and Chileans signing a declaration of friendship in early 1897.
   Archbishop-President Toro grew increasingly panicked in Cordoba, fearing the spread of dissent into the La Platan heartlands or Paraguay proper, some of his critics alleging that he was more focused on maintain the territories he still held over reconquering Chile. While a growing faction in the government urged to call on Cavalcanti for aid, Toro refused, suspicious of La Plata becoming a Brazilian puppet along the lines of the two sister-republics to the northeast.
   Further to the north, news of the Chilean and Mapuche Rebellions emboldened dissidents in Brazil, specifically the ‘irreconcilables’ (descendants of pro-Spanish colonists) and the indigenous population of the region. The groups had different reasons for opposing the continued Brazilian occupation, but were united in their opinion that they ought to be free from the rule of Sao Paolo. Shared between them was a classist resentment against the haughty Portuguese administrators and opposition to proposed mandatory public service for the youth. Likewise, the continued harsher treatment than other regions of Brazil exacerbated frustrations. Settling their disagreements in the trilingual Compact of Tiwanaku, the parties declared the birth of the Andean Free State and pledged to birth a liberal, democratic, federation from the ashes of Brazilian tyranny.
   Aymara and Quechua towns throughout the Andes began to eject their Brazilian garrisons and burn images of Archbishop-President Cavalcanti in March 1897. Indigenous leaders specifically emphasized elements of their syncretism of native beliefs and Catholicism, a style of ritual the Brazilian Catholic Church had intently tried to stamp out. Initially it seemed the major cities would be safe for the Brazilians, but mass uprisings, such as one in La Paz, saw the garrisons drug out and brutally murdered. As in the south, the movement spread rapidly and outpaced the government’s response to it. By the time Cavalcanti got ahold of the situation in late 1897, most of the Andean lands had been lost, only an isolated and hard to supply strip along the Peruvian coast remaining in the control of the government.
   Many Brazilian observers took note of how the indigenous unrest seemed to cease at the Colombian border, Peru proving to be far less restive than its southern neighbor. Naturally, many to believe that the Colombians either instigated or aided the rebellion, though no formal proof surfaced by the turn of the century. Indeed, Bogota walked a fine line with the Andean Crisis, not recognizing any of the breakaway states but notably also refusing Brazilian demands for military access and fleet basing in order to supply their operations.
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