1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 45

1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 45


“Good news, finally,” said Matthias Strigel, as soon as he entered the room. The governor of Magdeburg province closed the door behind him and came over to the large table in the center. Rebecca, Constantin Ableidinger, Helene Gundelfinger and Werner von Dalberg were already seated there.

Strigel pulled out a chair and sat down. “I have it on good authority that Wilhelm Wettin has decided to postpone introducing the new legislation his allies have been demanding. Specifically, the bills dealing with citizenship and an established church.”

Rebecca leaned back, her eyes widening a little. “That is good news.”

Ableidinger was more skeptical. “What ‘good authority’? And postpone for how long?”

“As for the first, as good as such authority gets.” Matthias’ expression was on the smug side. “I heard it directly from Amalie Elisabeth von Hanau-Munzenberg.”

“The landgravine herself?” von Dalberg asked sharply.

“Yes. Herself.”

Now, all five people in the room leaned back in their chairs. The Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel was, along with her husband Wilhelm V, the recognized national leader of what the people in that room thought of as the moderate wing of the Crown Loyalist Party. Nowadays, in fact, Amalie Elisabeth held that position alone, for all immediate purposes. Wilhelm V had taken the army of Hesse-Kassel to join Gustav Adolf’s Swedish forces and would presumably be marching into Poland soon. No doubt he and his wife stayed in touch using the emperor’s radio resources, but those resources were still limited enough that the landgravine would be operating on her own for the most part.

That was fine with the leaders of the Fourth of July Party, certainly. No one would be so impolitic as to say so aloud, but it was the private opinion of all the people sitting in that room that Amalie Elisabeth was considerably more astute than her husband.

The ramifications were… interesting, to say the least. If Amalie Elisabeth was prepared to go so far as to impart such delicate information to one of the central figures in the opposition…

“She’s trying to keep the peace,” said Rebecca. “She must be quite worried.”

Ableidinger snorted. Like every sound issued by the former Franconian teacher, it was loud. “No shit, Sherlock, as you up-timers say.”

Rebecca looked serene, as she could do so very well. Helene Gundelfinger issued her own snort, which was a far gentler and more ladylike thing. “There is not a single up-timer in the room, Constantin.”

“Well…” Ableidinger might have been slightly — oh, so very slightly — abashed. He waved his hand in a vague sort of gesture. “Well. Rebecca, you know. She always seems…”

“I was born in London, actually, and spent most of my life in Amsterdam. All of that, moreover, in this century. Not –” Her own gesture was equally vague. “That other, much later one.”

Then, just as serenely, she added: “However, as you say, no shit. It is obvious that the landgravine thinks it unwise to risk stirring up unrest –”

Ableidinger snorted again. “Say better, riot, rebellion and revolution.”

Rebecca ignored him. “– while most of the reliable military forces available in the USE are off fighting the Poles and what is left of Brandenburg. And she must have persuaded Wettin of that, as well.”

She cocked her head slightly. “As for the question of ‘how long,’ I think the answer is the same. Wilhelm will stall his allies until he feels he has a secure military force at his disposal.”

Werner von Dalberg grimaced skeptically. “I don’t know, Rebecca. Given the realities of the USE’s own army, ‘secure military force’ means Gustav Adolf and his Swedes. And I need hardly remind anyone here that the” — he took a dramatically deep breath — “King of Sweden, Emperor of the United States of Europe and High King of the Union of Kalmar does not take orders from Wilhelm Wettin. His chancellor Axel Oxenstierna may be a resolute supporter of aristocratic privileges and power, but Gustav Adolf himself is not.”

Helene made a little face. “It would probably be more accurate to say that while Gustav Adolf agrees with Oxenstierna in the abstract, he is far more flexible in the concrete.”

Ableidinger looked back and forth between them. “Meaning? Please remember, I’m a simple country boy.”

“What it means,” Rebecca interjected, “is that the king, emperor, high king etc. etc. is far more interested in maintaining his position as the pre-eminent monarch in Europe — which he certainly is today, even if the Habsburgs might shriek to hear it — than he is in supporting the petty perquisites of every nobleman and patrician in the Germanies.”

“Not so petty as all that,” said Ableidinger.

“They’re petty from Gustav Adolf’s standpoint, Constantin,” said Dalberg. “He simply doesn’t have Oxenstierna’s rigidity on the matter. It’s obvious, especially if you watch what he does rather that what he says. Is Gustav Adolf going to risk losing his control over the USE — which is now the heart of his power, don’t forget, not Sweden and certainly not Denmark — because a pack of Hochadel and Niederadel and city and town patricians can’t bear to lose their right to lord it over their lessers? I don’t think so.”

For all his frequent claims of being a rural bumpkin, Ableidinger was just as politically astute as anyone else in the room. “What you’re suggesting, in short, is that the Crown Loyalists are at an impasse. Tied up in knots, as I believe the up-timers say.” He smiled. “None of whom, of course, are in the room to correct my possible misquotation.”

. “That has always been the logic of the situation,” said Rebecca. “But it is nice to see that the landgravine has apparently been able to get the prime minister to finally see it.”

“To put it another way,” said Strigel, “you think there will be no major changes in the political equation until something gets resolved on the military front.”


Rebecca’s normal serenity seemed perhaps a bit frayed at the edges. Her hands were now clasped on the table in front of her.

“I understand that congratulations are in order,” said Constantin. “With regard to your husband’s exploits at Zwenkau.”

“Hardly that.” She unclasped her hands long enough to make a little wiggling gesture with the fingers of her right. “Michael tells me he did very little except to avoid doing anything stupid.”

Ableidinger studied her, for a moment. He didn’t miss the speed at which the hands got reclasped. “Perhaps so. But I suspect being a successful general is not as simple as it seems.”

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9 Responses to 1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 45

  1. ET1swaw says:

    It’s out: G2A and Oxenstierna are pulling in different directions. NTL Oxenstierna seems to be following a similar path to OTL enhancing noble’s rights and properties at expense of the crown. OTL after G2A’s death, he with 4 others (2 his relatives and the other 2 illegitimate relatives of G2A (High Marshal de la Gardie (son of G2A’s first cousin(Sigismund’s half-sister)) and High Admiral Gyllenhielm (G2A’s half-brother))) basically ruled Sweden Proper and the Dominions as regents for Christina and as the 5 Great Officers of the realm. His OTL 1634 Instrument of Government and issues already passed by the Riksdag (i.e. Lutheran not only state church, but only church (no other open worship allowed, non-Lutherans restricted and taxed and in the Dominions force-converted); officers of the state must be Lutheran and noble; in Dominions serfdom enforced and had no representation in Riksdag; etc.) were a major declaration of his priorities. Enough crown lands were disbursed to the nobility that Christina’s successors undertook the Reductions to enable the crown to fiscally survive.
    G2A, even OTL, eased serfdom conditions and was willing to allow private worship by non-Lutheran Protestants (Goteborg, a city he chartered, was basically Dutch and Scots Calvinists). NTL in the USE he is allowing religious toleration and not rigidly enforcing Edict of Augsburg (Lutheran and RC are the only religions, whichever the ruler is so are the people, etc.).
    NTL he has 3 maybe 4 separate realms: the USE (where of 15 provinces (after adding Saxony and Brandenburg) he rules 2 outright and appoints the administrator in 7 others), the Union of Kalmar (Denmark-Norway-Iceland and including Danish lands on Swedish peninsula), Sweden Proper (all non-DNI Scandinavia, Finland, and Vyborg area of Karellian Isthmus), and possibly (ruled jointly with Sweden Proper, but no Riksdag representation) the Swedish Dominions and Possessions (the Karellias, Ingria, Estonia, Livonia, and parts of Prussia (Truce of Altmark), possibly by this time Lauenburg and Butow). That’s not counting whatever he might gain from the PLC in this war he’s insisting on having.
    And Amalie Elizabeth is coming to the forefront. Even OTL Hesse-Kassel was one of the less anti-Semmitic rulers and area of the Germanies and Augsberg was enforced, but not rigidly (see GG 30 ‘And the Moon…’ for update).

  2. dave o says:

    Interesting. Rebecca and 4th of July party people are negotiating with Ableidenger.Is he there representing the COC or the Brillo movement. Prior snippets suggested that their goals were not identical. Similar, but not the same.

    Oxentierna is unlikely to do much more than object to whatever GA does vis-a-vis nobility. With GA alive, and no regency, he’s in a much weaker position than up-time.

    Napoleon has been criticized by several historians for refusing to abolish serfdom in Poland and Russia. It probably wouldn’t have done him a lot of good in Russia, but maybe a lot in Poland. I don’t think GA will feel any loyalty or compassion with the Polish nobility. On the whole, he knows they’re even worse than the German nobility.

  3. Blackmoore says:

    We’ve also seen that G2A is a savvy political manipulator, and none to enthused about the princelings of the germanies. It would be in his best interests to have a number of those thorns removed from the landscape. a revolution would strike those from the board, and he could still come back in to restore peace (providing he has enough forces left)

  4. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @2 Re Ableidinger, 4th of July is growing from a narrow-base, regional (basically Grantville and Thuringia) movement to a broad-based “federal”-level political party. Unlike Wettin, Stearns the politico knows what he has to build to get up-time principles broadly adopted, and Rebecca is just as smart (if not smarter). Since universal franchise and freedom of worship are basically yes/no questions, everybody on the yes side (4th of July, Ram, CoCs, potential moderates like Rudolstadt) will all get together in one bunch.

    It will be interesting to see if Eric makes that end up as a parliamentary coalition or turns it into a US style broad base political party. Since it looks like the opposition Crown Loyalits are slated to break up after failing to restrict the franchise, my guess is parliamentary coalitions for now, but remember in the US a 2 party system really did not take permanent hold until the 1830’s, about 40-50 years after the Consititutional Convention, and under conditions where communication over distance was more difficult than it will be in NTL Germany

  5. Blackmoore says:

    hey, they are going to need more than two parties to get a government to function. I’m convinced by the here and now that a two party system is the wrong way to go.

  6. robert says:

    @5 Gee, would you prefer a gazillion party system like the Israelis have. Nothing happens in the Knesset. The cabinet runs the government.

    There is nothing stopping the US from having more than two parties. And there would be more if the cabinet were selected from members of Congress instead of just being approved by the Senate. Think about how having elected members running the day-to-day operations of government and having direct input to policy decisions would encourage more parties and make for coalitions instead of collisions. But as the French discovered, an elected President is absolutely required or government will get Knessitized.

  7. saladin says:

    look at germany or austria
    parlamentary systems
    multi-party-systems (always at least 3 parties, but sometimes 4,5 or even 6)
    what you need (in a pr-system) is a cut of point; meaning you only get mp´s if you have at least 4 or 5 % of the general vote (or else you get israel)

    you can also see a way that the us system breaks up (does it really work right now?)
    lets break up the republicans into a southern rumpparty
    and a more liberal conservative party in the ne
    lets create a nationalistic texas first party
    lets create a mormon-party
    and a “city-first”-party (and also a farmersparty)
    (or look at canada with its regional parties)
    its less the system and more the tradition of the system that makes it work (or not)

  8. robert says:

    @7 Or Italy during the 1950s and 60s and France during the 1950s? Yes, it is tradition that makes England work and Israel not work. But the tradition of not working is interesting, isn’t it? Especially since they keep doing it. I think national character has something to with it…that is, the Germany and Austria example.

    In the US we have had 3rd parties that lasted for a couple of election cycles, but never caught on. That’s because they just draw votes away from the natural “home” of those votes like Ross Perot did in the 1990s. Local 3rd parties like the old Liberal party in NY State and the Farmer-Labor Party in Minn. pretty much stuck to endorsing the Democratic candidate, after influencing a selection they could live with. But they faded after a while, as well.

    I agree that there will be at least three and probably four parties in the USE when the dust finally settles. Question is will the CofC become a political party or remain a revolutionary NGO (kidding)?

  9. We shall have to see how long Wettin can keep the bill bottled up, and still survive votes of no confidence. People who think there is a deal sometimes are a might annoyed when the deal is not kept.

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