1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 24

1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 24

Chapter 12

Magdeburg

“Wilhelm, this course of action is very reckless.” The Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel set down his glass of wine and leaned forward in his chair. That took a bit of effort, since Wilhelm V was a portly man and the armchair in Wilhelm Wettin’s salon was plush and deep. “What could have possessed you to decide this?”

Standing behind her husband, with her hand on his shoulder, Amalie Elizabeth knew the argument was futile. Wilhelm had that stubborn, grumpy expression that she’d come to know all too well in the three days since she and her husband had returned to the capital. He seemed to have aged a year for every week in office, too.

She wondered what had happened to the charming, gracious, intelligent man who’d been a close friend and confidant of the ruling family of Hesse-Kassel for decades. Had a troll from legend abducted him and left an impostor in his place? This — this — pigheaded, sullen blockhead whom she could barely recognize.

That was just a fancy, though. She knew the real explanation was prosaic, and shied away from it simply because she hated to admit that even people as acute and perceptive as Wilhelm Wettin — as herself also, she imagined, in the wrong circumstances — could behave so foolishly.

It was a matter of poise. Wilhelm had been mentally off-balance and staggering for at least a year, ever since he smelled the scent of victory and began making short-sighted bargains and compromises in order to gain the support of everyone he could. Being fair, Amalie Elizabeth and her husband had initially inclined in that direction themselves. But once they recognized the danger involved, they’d tried to restrain Wilhelm.

To no avail, unfortunately. They were bystanders, to a degree, where he was the man at the very center of the maelstrom. What they’d been able to see — as would Wilhelm himself, had he retained his normally judicious temperament — was that the petty obsessions of the average aristocrat and the most prosperous burghers was driving the Crown Loyalist Party off a cliff. Their insistence on retaining all possible privileges was blinding them to the need to abandon many of them if they were to survive at all.

And blinding Wilhelm too — or, at least, putting so much pressure on him that he refused to look.

“If you have to throw these dogs a bone,” her husband continued, “then make it the established church. But whatever you do, stay away from trying to impose a uniform solution upon the citizenship problem.”

Wettin was sunk far back into his own chair, his hands gripping the armrests tightly. “I’ve already told you, I can’t. Our coalition — which is what it is, never think otherwise — has too many factions which are adamant on both issues. And if they were willing to compromise, it’d be over the established church. They won’t budge on citizenship.”

It was all Amalie Elizabeth could do not to grind her teeth.

There were two central issues roiling the United States of Europe. It was their differences on these two points that had so sharply distinguished Wilhelm and his opponent Mike Stearns in the recent election.

The first was the matter of an established church. Basically, there were four possible positions:

The position of Stearns and his Fourth of July Party was simple: complete separation of church and state. They wanted no established church of any kind.

On the far opposite side of the political spectrum, some figures in the Crown Loyalist Party — a relatively small minority, thankfully — wanted a single established church for the entire nation. That would have to be Lutheranism, of course. One could hardly do otherwise, given that the emperor was a Lutheran.

Most members of the Crown Loyalist Party, however, took a more moderate stance. They agreed that an established church was a necessary basis for any stable polity, but they felt it would be impossible to impose a single church on the entire country. The USE simply had too many denominations, even leaving aside the issue of the Jews. Those moderate Crown Loyalists had no desire to repeat the century of instability caused by excluding the Calvinists from the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.

Instead, they favored separate established churches in each province. With some exceptions — the only really important one being the State of Thuringia-Franconia, and those people could be counted on to be obstreperous no matter what — the provinces were relatively uniform, in religious terms. Where an established church for the entire USE would be an endless source of conflict, established churches for each separate province should be stable enough.

Within that broad agreement, however, another division existed: One camp, led by Hesse-Kassel, argued that the issue of an established church should be settled entirely on a provincial level. That would allow some of the more free-thinking provinces, like the SoTF and Magdeburg, to opt for separation of church and state.

But most of the Crown Loyalists, pigheaded as usual, would not accept that compromise. They wanted an established church to be mandatory for every province, whether that province wanted one or not. In effect, they insisted on picking a fight with the Committees of Correspondence in their own strongholds, which the ruling couple of Hesse-Kassel thought was about as smart as picking a fight with a bear in its own den.

Still, despite the heat that had been generated over the question of an established church during the campaign, almost nobody thought it was really a critical matter. The reason was simple. With the exception of a very small number of reactionary diehards, who were considered blockheads even by most Crown Loyalists, every prominent figure in the political life of the USE agreed that religious persecution was dead and buried. No one would be required to join the established church, nor would any member of any other denomination be penalized for not belonging — except, of course, that some of the taxes they paid would be used to support a church they didn’t belong to.

In private discussions, Mike Stearns had told Amalie Elizabeth and her husband that he would be willing to accept an established church as a compromise solution, if need be. He’d even accept a nation-wide established Lutheran church, provided it was set up the way established churches had been set up in some of the nations from the universe he’d come from, like England and Denmark.

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13 Responses to 1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 24

  1. Sean Maxwell says:

    Granted, the Ring-of-Fire event took place in 2000 AD. But news reports from 2009-2010 indicate that British Catholics, Jews, and Muslims are not happy with the status quo. One must “suspect Dr. Nichols won’t be quite as complacent as everyone else about the received wisdom of the ages.” (_1632_, chapter 8)

  2. Jason says:

    Once again you see short term goals colliding with long term goals. Sadly Wilhelm Wettin couldn’t remember that and his fall will be hard and decisive.

  3. Sean Maxwell says:

    Obviously, I accidentally keyed in a metacommand to this board. The citation should have been 1632, chapter eight, not chapter smiley-face.

  4. Virgil says:

    How bad is the government fall going to effect the Eastern War, and how will Gustav going to take it when he in the middle of a ware to find his empire in the middle of a civil war.

  5. Sounour says:

    The best case would be that Gustav an Stearns defeat Brandenburg and Saxony and are kept from invading Poland by the fall of the Wettin government.
    I believe Gustav will be outraged that “mere politics” keep him from his victories ( outrageed at Wetting AND the CoC ) and probably there will be some fallout in his short-term relationship to Stearns, but I think he’s to pragmatic to affect it long-term.

  6. ET1swaw says:

    I wonder if a ‘vote of no confidence’ is included in the USE constitution!
    If Wettin P.O.s G2A, he’s screwed. G2A will directly/indirectly control 7 of the 13 provinces by end of 1635. 3 will be solidly FoJP. And the noble controlled provinces won’t follow him down in flames, even if Hesse-Kassel is a longtime friend of his. That’s the whole House of Lords/Senate! And at election he only had 40-some percent of Commons. That number will reduce if courts rule for re-election in Mecklinberg. And if Oxenstierna’s ringers (MPs chosen by him in G2A controlled provinces) vote against CL policies? A big part of Wettin’s CL coalition depends on the ‘grace’ of Sweden and G2A.
    And remember what Hesse-Kassel did during ‘Krystalnacht’!! He took care of it himself rather than the CoC armies did in ALL the other provinces. Friendship caan only stretch so far. He may actually join the Lord of Rudolstadt as a moderate conservative in FoJP.
    Looks like Wettin’s owed-favors and Oxenstierna’s polital puppet CLs are going to make this interesting. Remember that OTL Oxenstierna wrote the ‘1634 Instrument of Government’ for the Swedish Empire that made Lutheranism mandatory for all(with additional taxation, mandatory church attendance, and/or restrictions), codified serfdom in Swedish owned territories outside the boundaries of Sweden proper (original Finnish and Scandinavian territories) and denied some citizenship rights to them.

  7. Mike S says:

    Does the Emperor have the power to appoint his ministers? Note that in the current English Constitution (unwritten as it is), the Soveriegn appoints the Prime Minister from the Party or coalition able to dominate the House of Commons. This has not always been the case. For some time after 1688, the Sovereign could still appoint his ministers from among his supporters, though they would have to still work to get their (and his/her) program through the Lords and Commons. Think George III, the ministries and Parliment from 1763 to 1781.

    I doubt the Emperor is unaware of the building political crisis and the impact it can have on his military planning. Trying to fight Saxony and Brandenburg while a civil war rages in his rear and with the Hapsburgs and France (and Saxe-Weimar) able to take advantage of the situation? Or is he depending on his new alliance with the Netherlands (Holland and Wallonia) to keep an eye on France and Wallenstein to keep an eye on the Hapsburgs?

    If the CoCs are invovled in a civil war to displace and cow the nobles, they won’t be able to recruit and forward replacements to the USE army, no?

  8. Dave O says:

    I’m waiting for the snippet about citizenship. From what we have so far, CL’s plan is to limit it to nobles and town oligarchs, the people in the saddle before the ROF. If they try to limit voting rights to citizens, then they’ll end up like the anti-semites and witch-burners in short order. Has anyone else noticed that Flint is introducing the federalism theme? CL is in favor of states (provincial) rights, unless they can use the national gov’t to get their way.

    Mike S: I think that there are enough COC followers that they can run a quick civil war, without affecting the Saxony/Brandenburg war. I expect both to be crushed in one campaigning season.

  9. Alan says:

    The USE is described as having a parliamentary constitution. In parliamentary governments the lower house (or occasionally both houses together) can sack the government by a vote of no confidence. The fall of the Wettin government would not be a civil war. The Rudd government fell in Australia (although by the majority party changing leader not by a parliamentary vote) on 24 June. The process took 15 and a half hours. We did not have a civil war.

    The mechanics vary a bit. Westminster countries (the Uk and the Commonwealth realms) don’t make the process explicit and the Crown has some latitude appointing the new government. If the USE constitution was cu-and-pasted from Canada or Australia then GA decides who he invites to form a government if Wettin loses office, subject to the numbers in the house of commons. If they cut-and-pasted Germany there is an election for prime minister in the house of commons and GA has to appoint whoever is elected. If Wettin gets defeated in parliament and tries to stay in office anyway, GA can almost certainly sack him and find a prime minister who does have a majority in parliament.

  10. wombatcombat says:

    Perhaps its not about denying people the right to vote but more about not hurrying to give them the vote i.e. giving some the vote now and others in ten years etc.

  11. Mike says:

    If the franchise is restricted due to residency – Stearns went for almost no time delay (six weeks?) and swearing an oath in the original N.U.S in 1632 – it can be a big issue and one that will garner support from more than just the noblity and guild leaders. There are lots of refugees, transients and exiles from nearly 100 years of religious conflict – very few of them have citizenship in their current places of residence in 1635. (OTL or NTL) Lots of areas might not want to assimilate them for religious, economic or other reasons. To many people (not just in the CL) it isn’t a matter of restricting the franchise but keeping it the way it has been. While I agree it seems a really foolish politic move to support, it’s not quite as crack-brained as some of the characters are making it out to be.

    That’s not even raising the issue of non-Germans gaining citizenship. For all the hype, the USE is at the moment nothing more than “the Germanies” (minus a few border-areas) plus Tyrol. Agreeing to some more immigrant/transient friendly citizenship is several centuries ahead of schedule. Even the United States in OTL plus most other immigrant-destination countries have quotas. Does the USE have one? Is it strictly numbers-based? Country of origin weighted? Does citizenship get granted to Saxony, Brandenburg and other conquered areas immediately, delayed en masse, or by individual determination? What about for areas that join the USE (like Tyrol) after this point?

  12. laclongquan says:

    This is nothing more than the stupidity of German nobles at work. The joke of the whole Europe. Since Gustavus is planning on smashing 2 small fries in one lightning campaign, then pile on Poland later, he doesnt really want domestic trouble on his plate. With this, domestic trouble become a certainty and certainly will lower his capability for the eastern front. he will get mired in Poland for sure.

    “To many people (not just in the CL) it isn’t a matter of restricting the franchise but keeping it the way it has been. While I agree it seems a really foolish politic move to support, it’s not quite as crack-brained as some of the characters are making it out to be.” Which people? The guild masters who have been steadily losing power to lord over apprentice and townpeople? The local nobles who just cant behave like almighty god in his domain? The landlord who refuse to treat his tenants any better or pour money into new investment, and then complain of hardship, uppity tenants and losing money? You mean them, right?

    Dont forget this is still Germany 17th century, not America, or Europe 20th century.

  13. Mike says:

    @12 – as to which people: Since as you put it, “this is still Germany 17th century, not America, or Europe 20th Century” keep in mind that nearly everyone still views people that come from more than a day’s journey away as a “foreigner”. Why make people that don’t live “nearby” be a citizen that can vote on what happens locally?
    Religious differences are still an issue even if they won’t result in persecution. Doubt me? Read over the Rudolstadt colloquy again – that was within a faith. Maybe toleration will extend to Lutherans, Calvinists and Catholics. That’s still not everybody. Why make an Anabaptist, a Moravian, or other “fringe” denominations allowed to become a citizen? The Jews look to receive a pass after Kristalnacht. What about any Orthodox refugees? What about Muslims? What about future immigrants from further afield with religions only somewhat familiar to the uptimers?
    Exiles are a big issue. They are residents in many cities and areas throughout “the Germanies” but not citizens. Veronica Dreeson’s extended family living in Nuremburg is a great example. Current citizens there might not want to allow exiles to become citizens as it enables them to gain jobs. Not every clerk or government official is a guildmaster, but pretty sure they’d realize what happens when a limited number of jobs is opened up to a greater number of people for their own chances of moving up the ladder.
    Farmers might not be so keen for new citizens to have a chance to live anywhere. For most farmers in 1635 (OTL and NTL) they still did farming with labor intensive methods that aren’t industrialized. While that is changing, it’s still largely done communally. That means working with people you know. Bring in new people and there are grudges and differences of opinion. Look at Birdie’s Farm stories from Ram Rebellion. Not all of the other farmers were keen on doing things a new way. Some wanted to keep their 99year/3 generation leases.
    So are these exiles now citizens where they currently reside? Or are they citizens of where they originated? Take all of the exiles from the Palatinate. If they were from the Rhenish Palatinate – that’s now split up between USE Mainze and USE Upper Rhenish (and possibly “USE Swabia”). What about the Bohemian exiles? Do they get USE citizenship? Or are they encouraged to go back to Wallenstein? (Somewhat doubt Wallenstein will give up the land he gained at their expense)
    How about the Protestant exiles from the Austrian lands? (Keep in mind, aside from Bohemia, the Austrian lands lost almost as many people to emigration as it did to military conflict in the 30YW) Is the USE going to nationalize all of them as well?

    Summing this up then, you’ve got: 1)anyone that doesn’t want a “foreigner” to gain citizenship in their area, 2)anyone that still has religious non-toleration issues and doesn’t want to grant citizenship for current residents that believe otherwise (or exiles that come back and fight in legal system for property confiscated, sold on the cheap, etc) 3)anyone that doesn’t want to grant an exile citizenship as it may keep the local job market thinner to their advantage, 4)anyone living in, owning, or using property obtained through this war (or previous ones) that might not want to see heirs with equal citizenship coming with legal challenges regardles of whether they were the ones who obtained it some shady fashion. 5) Anybody who is shortsighted and didn’t comprehend what Kristalnacht entailed for the strength of the CoCs, 6)Anybody who has a grudge from family members, friends or others getting caught up in Kristalnacht by mistake (Nasi’s notes on the Rhineland in particular weren’t perfect) whether the mistake is real or imagined.

    Keep in mind, I’m not advocating for them. I’m saying I see why this might extend to others beyond the nobles and the guildmasters. There are plenty that will support this. There are probably plenty MORE who will let it happen as they might not see the BENEFIT TO THEM of doing things the FoJP’s way.

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