1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 22

Finally. [Whew!]

1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 22

Chapter 11

Magdeburg

After he entered the mansion, Ed Piazza took a moment to examine the huge vestibule. Then, he whistled softly.

“Wow. You guys have sure come up in the world.”

Rebecca got a long-suffering look on her face. “Just once, I would enjoy hearing someone come up with a different remark, the first time they come here.”

Piazza grinned. “You’ve got to admit, it’s impressive. Especially for a simple country boy like me.”

Rebecca’s look got more long-suffering. “‘Simple country boy,'” she mimicked. “I doubt you were ever that, Mr. Piazza, even as a toddler. I am firmly convinced you had mastered Machiavelli’s The Prince by the age of nine. Judging from the evidence.”

“Fourteen, actually — and I wouldn’t say I ‘mastered’ it. The truth is, I found it pretty boring.”

“Why did you read it, then?”

“I was on my Italian ethnic identity phase at the time. I worked my way through a bunch of stuff. I started with Dante. I read the whole trilogy, too, not just the Inferno. Damn near turned me into a lapsed Catholic. Heaven seemed deadly dull. Then I read Boccaccio’s Decameron, which I enjoyed a lot. Then I read Petrarch, which killed my interest in poetry for almost a decade. Then I plowed into Machiavelli. By then, though, I was pretty much going on stubborn determination and The Prince did me in. After that, I pursued the search for my cultural roots through the movies. El Cid, The Fall of the Roman Empire, Marriage Italian Style, Arabesque, The Countess From Hong Kong, stuff like that.”

Rebecca frowned. “Except for the marriage film — and I suppose the one about the Roman Empire — what is their relevance to Italian heritage?”

Piazza grinned. “Sophia Loren. She’s in all of them. I delved into quite a few Gina Lollobrigida classics too, although she was a bit before my time. Then I discovered Claudia Cardinale and Monica Vitti and my devotion to Italian culture became boundless. I even watched Red Desert three times, and that’s some ethnic solidarity, let me tell you. God, that movie’s dull. Except for Monica Vitti, of course.”

“I think I will not pursue this matter any further. Lest my image of you as an urbane and genteel man of the world suffers terminal harm.” Rebecca gestured toward a far door. “This way, please. The others are already here.”

****

Ed could hear Constantin Ableidinger when he was still twenty feet away from the door — which was closed, and thick. The former schoolteacher who’d been the central leader of the Ram Rebellion and was now Bamberg’s representative in the USE House of Commons was one of the loudest men Piazza had ever met. Ableidinger seemed to find it impossible to speak in any tone of voice softer than a fog horn.

“– he mad?” were the first two words Ed understood, followed by: “What would possess him to do such a thing?”

Melissa Mailey’s much softer response was muffled until Rebecca began opening the door. Ed caught the rest of it:

“– a shame, it really is. Wilhelm always seemed much shrewder than that.”

The discussion broke off as Piazza and Rebecca entered the room. The eight people already present turned to look at them. They were sitting at a meeting table made up of four separate tables arranged in a shallow “U” formation. The open end of the “U” was facing away from the door, allowing the participants to look out of a wall of windows which gave a view of Magdeburg’s scenery.

Ed wondered why they’d bothered. There was a lot to be said for the capital city of the United States of Europe. It was certainly dynamic — and not just in terms of the booming industries which produced the smoke and soot that turned the sky gray except after a rainfall. Under Mary Simpson’s leadership, Magdeburg was becoming the cultural center of the nation, as well. She and Otto Gericke were also been pushing hard to have a major university founded in the city.

Scenic, though, Magdeburg was not. The view through the windows was mostly that of blocks of the functional but dull apartment buildings which housed most of the city’s working class; with, in the distance, the ubiquitous smokestacks from Magdeburg’s many factories, mills, forges and foundries. It was probably the ugliest urban landscape Piazza had ever seen, except the mills lining the Monongahela southeast of Pittsburgh when he’d been a teenager.

Then again, those same working class districts were what gave the Fourth of July Party a political hammerlock over the city and province of Magdeburg. So there was a certain logic to the seating arrangement.

“Where’s Helene?” asked Charlotte Kienitz, one of the leaders of the Fourth of July Party from the province of Mecklenburg. She was referring to Helene Gundelfinger, the vice-president of the State of Thuringia-Franconia.

“She should be here by mid-afternoon. She had to sort something out with the Abbess of Quedlinburg.” Ed got a wry smile on his face. “Who’s here visiting Mary Simpson and Veronica Richter, so Helene has to deal with them too.”

Melissa, seated at the far end of the tables, barked a little laugh. “I swear, I’ve never seen anything that generates more wrangling over details than schools do. That’s one thing the two worlds on either side of the Ring of Fire have in common.”

There was an empty seat next to the mayor of Luebeck, Dieterich Matthesen. After removing a notepad and placing it on the desk, Ed set his briefcase on the floor, leaning it against one of the table legs. Then, pulled out the chair and sat down.

By the time he did so, Rebecca had resumed her own seat. “To bring Ed up to date on what everyone was discussing when he came in, we have received word from reliable sources that Wilhelm Wettin and his Crown Loyalists plan to impose the most sweeping possible variation of their citizenship program. What is sometimes colloquially referred to as Plan B.”

James Nichols, sitting next to Melissa, grunted sourly. “Otherwise known as The Bürgermeister’s Wet Dream.”

“Or the Hochadel Folly,” added Anselm Keller. He was an MP from the Province of the Main, and was sitting next to Albert Bugenhagen, the young newly-elected mayor of Hamburg. To their right, on the table that form the left end of the U, sat the two remaining attendees at the meeting: Matthias Strigel, the governor of Magdeburg province, and Werner von Dalberg.

Von Dalberg, like Melissa Mailey and James Nichols and Charlotte Kienitz, held no governmental position. His prominence in the Fourth of July Party stemmed from the fact that he was universally acknowledged as the central figure for the party in the Upper Palatinate. Given that he’d had to maneuver with the provincial administrator, Ernst Wettin, and — much worse — the Swedish general Johan Banér, he’d had to be a skilled politician as well as organizer. The political situation for the Fourth of July Party — every political party in the USE, actually — was always tricky in those area which were still under direct imperial administration.

As of July, 1635, there were eleven established provinces in the United States of Europe. The heads of state of each of those provinces, whether elected or appointed by the emperor or established by traditional custom, sat in the USE’s upper house, the House of Lords. (“The Senate,” in the stubborn parlance of the CoCs.) As such, all eleven of them added the official rank of Senator to whatever other posts and positions and titles they held.

Those eleven provinces were:

Magdeburg, which was the name of the province as well as the capital city. The province’s head of state was an elected governor.

The State of Thuringia-Franconia, whose capital had formerly been Grantville and was now Bamberg. Like Magdeburg, this state elected its own governor, although the title of the post — President — remained that of its predecessor, the New United States.

Those were the only two provinces which had a fully republican structure and elected their own heads of state. Not coincidentally, they were the strongholds of the Fourth of July Party and the Committees of Correspondence.

There were three provinces whose heads of state, while not elected, were established by the provinces themselves. Like Magdeburg and the SoTF, these provinces were entirely self-governing within the overall federal structure and laws of the USE. They were no longer, or had never been, under direct imperial administration.

They were:

Hesse-Kassel, still governed by its traditional ruler, Landgrave Wilhelm V. The Landgrave, along with his wife Amalie Elizabeth, were prominent leaders of the moderate wing of the Crown Loyalist Party that now controlled the USE Parliament and whose leader, Wilhelm Wettin, was the newly-elected prime minister.

Brunswick was also governed by its traditional ruler, Duke George of Brunswick-Lüneburg. However, since the duke was now serving as the commander of the USE army’s Second Division and was marching this very moment into Saxony, the province was being managed by one of his subordinates, Loring Schultz.

Most recently, the Tyrol had voluntarily joined the United States of Europe. The agreement made between the Tyrol’s regent Claudia de Medici and the USE’s envoy Philipp Sattler was that a regency council would be set up under Dr. Wilhelm Bienner, the chancellor of Tyrol, for Claudia’s two minor sons. Under the new constitution of the province, they and their heirs would be “hereditary governors.”

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Comments

18 Responses to 1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 22

  1. robert says:

    What a political mish-mosh. Will they ever get the various polities in the USE normalized?

    This is turning into a very juicy book, lots going on.

  2. Summertime says:

    What will Wettin’s citizenship program involve? Nothing good, I presume. Enough to get him ousted, I hope.

  3. robert says:

    @2 CoC inspired protests, thrown eggs, pie in the face–the usual peaceful political dissent.

  4. wombatcombat says:

    It will no doubt determine that to be a voter ie citzen you have to be owners of freehold property or land worth at least a certain amount say, literate etc.

  5. saladin says:

    so i live now in the use (tirol/austria – in our timeline)
    is there somewhere a story written ?
    (this is important news ´cause tirol is important for its roads theough the alps)

  6. Papertiger says:

    Is Wettin that dumb or is he so indebted to special intrests?

    However, don’t confuse today with tomorrwo or tomorrow with the day after. What were the requirements for voting in 1800 in the USA?

  7. ronzo says:

    I can’t wait to see this citizenship plan B that the loyalist have cooked up. I’m begining to think the big fight will actually be domestic.

  8. Mike says:

    The Tyrol is joining the USE? Interesting. Details on that negotiation would be worth reading! That gives the USE a direct border with Venice, flanks Bavaria on another side, and now establishes more of a potential front for Austria proper to attack the USE. The timing for this seems off – wouldn’t Claudia want to join the USE _after_ any potential war between the USE and Austria and not before? This seems to put her son’s lands directly in harm’s way. What does Ferdinand III think of this? Maximillian?

    I wonder what happens now to the Bishopric of Trent? Given the campaigning of the last few years, most of the bishropics, abbeys and what not seem to have been incorporated into larger political units. Does Trent go with Tyrol? Or does Trent go to Venice? Precarious independence? Trent is important as that was an OTL chunk of territory that Italy fought on Allied Powers side in WW1 to get from Austria. If Trent does go to USE, that’s a definite non-German majority entity inside the borders.

  9. DougL says:

    In 1800 the requirements for the franchise in the USA were entirely up to the states, with the sole exception that the franchise for the House of Representatives had to be identical to the franchise for the larger house of the state’s legislature.

    That’s it. States had different franchise rules, and inside a state there could be multiple franchise rules for different elections. I believe most states at that time restricted the franchise to white males who were a head of household and at least 21 years old with a minimum property qualification.

    Various constitutional ammendments forbid states to DENY the franchise on various specific grounds, but other than those ammendments it’s still a state matter and a state could extend the franchise to a group not protected (those under 18 or even non-citizens) or deny it to a group not protected (convicted felons or even those actually serving time) and it’s perfectly legal as long as the USSC doesn’t decide you’ve violated the equal protection clause or something.

  10. robert says:

    @9 Right. The most recent amendment is the 26th which enfranchises 18 year olds. Prior to that, the 15th Amendment extended suffrage so as to preclude denial of the franchise based on race, color or previous condition of servitude, and the 19th Amendment gave woman the vote, although some states, notably Wyoming, had already done so. And of almost equal import is the 24th Amendment abolishing the poll tax.

    It is always interesting to read some SF writers who advocate military service as a requirement for voting. Many of their favorite politicians would not have the right to vote, nor would a majority of the nation’s citizens since compulsory military service was abolished by then President Nixon and mandatory registration (burn those cards) was abolished by President Ford, but reinstated by President Carter. We are already very nearly a nation of minority rule based on the poll numbers, and nobody really thinks that that is a good thing…or do they? Maybe Wettin would.

  11. James says:

    @10 When I was young, my employer required a voting receipt. I tried taking the case to the ACLU, but they weren’t interested. My point was that if a person didn’t know the issues, or candidates then he shouldn’t vote. Recently Zogby did a survey using definitive economic facts. The more liberal the respondent, the worse the score, and it didn’t matter what the education level was.

    Since FDR, we have had political parties that deliberately try to buy votes, or use voters that don’t have a clue regarding economics, foreign policy, or history. Hopefully in 2010 we will have a smaller turnout of voters that know what they are doing.

    Voting should be open to all non-felon citizens, but citizens have a responsibility know what they are doing before they vote.

  12. Sean Maxwell says:

    I ask the keeper of the blue pencil to note “on the table that form[ED] the left end of the U” for correction.

    In 1634_THE_GALILEO_AFFAIR, “a long and arduous trip from Germany that had taken them up the Rhine by Constance, cross-country through the Graubu[e]nden to the Valtelline, and from there down toward Lake Como” was required to reach Venice. Is there a new shortcut to Bozen/Bolzano, or is the province an exclave of the USE? If so, defense of the territory requires crossing hostile territory, or antagonizing the Swiss. I think a “Bozener Luftbruecke” is out of the question.

  13. robert says:

    @11 So one hopes that a new map is included in the endpapers of this book. From Locarno to Venice to Rome (and back to Venice, it seems), is not an easy E-road trip yet in 1635. Sharon & company were very brave. Even now, the last bit of road from Milan to Florence is a bit hellish with car feathers all over the autostrada.

  14. ET1swaw says:

    @8 Tyrol and Swabia will probably be better covered in forthcoming ‘1635: War on the Rhine’ and others.
    11 provinces ATT: 2 electoral, 3 noble lands, 2 G2A’s dukedoms, and 4 appointed-by-G2A governors. And 7 imperial cities (some of their mayors mentioned) – electoral. Adding Brandenburg and Saxony – as appointed, and splitting Swabia – appointed / electoral skews Senate even further Crown Loyalist. Commons may go FoJP, but G2A and his appointees are CL. If count imperial cities equal to provinces (supposedly they are), then at end of 1635 3 provinces and 9 cities are electoral, 3 provinces noble (probable CL), and 9 provinces are G2A owned or appointed .
    Looks like Wettin may have a pretty free hand in Senate and somewhat in Commons as long as he doesn’t irk G2A.
    Then again, Krystalnacht isn’t too long in the past and the follow-on to this book is working titled ‘Saxon Uprising’! Looks like interesting times ahead!!

  15. saladin says:

    count about german princes to quarrel
    if this continues there might be a short civil war
    or a longer one
    there already was the ramrebellion
    and now the coc has its own regiments
    so interesting times ahead
    so many different ways things may go

  16. Mike says:

    @14 – I agree with your count of the constituent parts of the USE. The big question is on the administrated areas. Upper Palatinate looks like it will remain mostly one entity. (Or does some of it become “USE Bavaria” much like there is a “USE Brandenburg” on the current map?) USE Swabia on the other hand – that’s a mess waiting to explode. As referenced in an earlier snippet, Wurtemburg was left “to the people of the Duchy” by its recently deceased Duke. That would likely pose a problem for the entire area being incorporated into one entity.

    Another sticking point on having Tyrol become part of the USE is Claudia’s sons were also the underage lords of Further Austria. That includes a huge chunk that Bernhard is occuping, but also a bunch that is occupied by Horn in “USE Swabia”. So, did they lose all right to those lands, were they compenstaed in some way, keep just land rights but not political authority? All things that can’t just be steamrolled over.

  17. Mike says:

    @9, 10, 11 – The issue of citizenship that is likely to cause problems deals with residency. All the exiles from everywhere in central Europe since 1618, plus any of the various exiles for religious reasons going back to the Reformation – very few of them are citizens of where they currently reside. Even if they own property, have sufficient income, are of age, etc. That’s the sticking point. Athens had the same problem in Pericles age – citizens were limited to people that both parents were citizens. For the USE, the distinction between who is a citizen and who is just a resident makes a big deal. They might very well be “citizens of the USE” but not “citizens of Hesse-Kassel” or “citizens of Westphalia”.

    Eric Krenz for instance is from Saxony itself. He’s definitely a committed CoC member, and is now an officer in the USE army. He’s not described as a mercernary. Krenz would make a good test of whether the citizenship issue is likely to pose problems. If it makes it so Krenz is not able to vote as he’s not a citizen – that’s bad. If he’s able to vote in Magdeburg, but only local not national issues – still bad. Is he still listed as “Saxon resident in Magdeburg”, citizen of whatever-Saxony-becomes, citizen of Magdeburg, etc.

    Keep in mind, whether the individual USE states have the leeway to make these decisions for themselves or it is decided at national level is also important. If it’s a states rights issue – you’d likely have two very different trajectories going on simultaneously.

    Speaking of which – in 1635 Dreeson incident, someone in Grantville asked why they were still granting people citizenship now that they were no longer an fully/quasi independent nation. Would any of their citizenship grants be revoked? Like say the former garbage worker? The russian noble? Any country of origin with whom the USE is currently at war? Who makes final decision – Legislature or Courts?

  18. ronzo says:

    It really does get sticky fast from here on doesn’t it? But no matter how they try to slice it legislatively, it ultimately is going to come down to how the COC, the Ram party, and the other democratic movements react to the situation and just about everything stated about his going to raise their ire. @14 Krystalnacht is Fresh on both sides minds but, for the CL’s it’s going to be seen is we need to establish a way to curb that behavior. So there going to try to limit the franchise. Which in turn means limiting the rights of the majority of the troops in the most modern fighting force in the world, not something I would even remotely consider doing given that they where all more thaan willing to take down nobles during Krystalnacht.

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