1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 48

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 48

The naval enlisted man returned shortly with a tray bearing the various refreshments ordered. The admiral himself, like Platzer, had ordered coffee. Simpson waited politely until everyone else had sipped from their cups, and then took a sip from his own.

From the slight grimace, he found the coffee still too hot. He set down the cup and said: “I need to ask — my apologies, but this is an awkward position you’ve put me in — what your intentions are.”

Ulrik had expected the question, and had given careful consideration to the right answer. He thought he’d come up with one that would be suitably vague without being transparently vacuous.

Kristina made it all a moot point, however. “We’re going to Magdeburg!” she exclaimed cheerfully.

Simpson stared at her for a moment. Then, at Ulrik. Then, at Platzer. He gave Baldur no more than a glance.

That wasn’t an indication of anyone’s status in the admiral’s eyes, just his judgment of who was immediately critical. Quite good judgment, it turned out.

“Your Highness” — this was said directly to Kristina — “with your permission, I would like to speak privately to Prince Ulrik.”

She frowned. “Well…”

“Of course, Admiral,” said Platzer. She rose and extended her hand to the princess. “Come on, Kristina.” Seeing the girl’s stubborn expression, Caroline added gently: “It’s a perfectly reasonable request on the admiral’s part.”

Kristina was still looking stubborn.

“Now, Kristina.”

The girl pouted, but rose. After giving Ulrik a sharp glance — you’d better not try to keep any secrets from me! — she took Caroline’s hand and followed her out of the room. Baldur came right behind them.

After the door closed, Simpson smiled. “I have to say I am deeply impressed.”

Ulrik shook his head. The gesture was simultaneously admiring and rueful. “No one else can do it. I certainly can’t. Caroline’s come to be something close to the mother Kristina never had. Well… more like a very respected governess crossed with a favorite aunt. We’re quite fortunate to have found her.”

“Yes, I think you are.” Simpson leaned forward and picked up his cup. This time, he took a full drink from it.

“I need to know your intentions, Your Highness. Frankly, and in full. This is not a situation into which I can afford to steam blindly.”

Ulrik had been thinking quickly ever since Kristina blurted out the truth. More precisely, he’d been trying to discipline his will after figuring out what to do. That much had taken no more than ten seconds, since he really had no alternatives.

Unfortunately — or not; it could be argued either way — speaking frankly and in full came as unnaturally to a prince as dancing to a bear. Not… impossible, as it would have been for a fish. Just difficult to do, much less to do well.

Where to start?

“I’d like to avert a civil war, if possible.”

Simpson shook his head. “So would I — but I think that time has passed.”

Yes, difficult to do well. Ulrik had exactly the same opinion as the admiral, so why had he wasted their time with pious platitudes?

“Well, yes, I agree. I should have said that I hope to limit the damages produced by the coming civil war.”

“Limit them, how? I’m sorry, Your Highness –”

“I think you’d better call me Ulrik,” the prince interrupted brusquely. Informality came no easier than speaking frankly or fully. But under these circumstances, he needed to adopt — accept, at least — another up-time custom.

Simpson paused, then nodded. “Probably a good idea, given what we face. And please call me John.”

“Not ‘John Chandler’?”

The admiral smiled — quite widely, this time. “Not unless you’re announcing me to a crowd of rich people whom my wife is planning to fleece for one of her charities. Or you’re my mother about to give me a scolding.”

Ulrik laughed. So the fearsome admiral had a sense of humor? Who would have guessed? He’d sooner expected to see a dancing fish.

“To be honest, John, I’m feeling my way here. Operating by instinct, as I once heard an American say. If that’s too vague for you, my apologies. But it’s the simple truth.”

“I can accept that. I’ve done the same myself, at times. Still, you must have a sense of the parameters within which your instincts are operating.”

“Oh, yes. There are three such parameters, I think. The first is that Oxenstierna’s goal, regardless of its intrinsic merits — I’m simply not interested in that issue any longer — is impossible. For good or ill, monarchical rule and aristocratic privilege is crumbling. ‘Privilege,’ at least, insofar as it pertains to wielding political influence.”

The admiral nodded. “That’s the critical issue. We still had plenty of noblemen in the world I came from, and a high percentage of them were still wealthy. But you were far more likely to find them gambling in the casinos in Monaco than playing for stakes on the fields of power. Go on.”

“The second parameter is military. Neither side has a clear advantage there. The provincial armies are fairly evenly matched. I think that of the SoTF is probably better than any of the others, even the highly-regarded forces of Hesse-Kassel. But the provinces that will naturally lean toward Oxenstierna and Wettin can place more soldiers on the field.”


“So it will come down to the Swedish mercenaries against whatever forces the democratic movement can muster.”

“You’re overlooking the city and town militias,” said Simpson. “They’ll mostly side with Oxenstierna. Well, Wettin — they’re no fans of the chancellor. But Wettin is giving the Swedes the needed cover.”

“That… depends a great deal on how the Fourth of July Party and the CoCs conduct themselves, John. If they’re belligerent and provocative, then yes, certainly. By and large the town militias are instruments of the patricianate, who are even less fond of the CoCs than they are of the Swedes. But if Oxenstierna is seen as the aggressor, then I think you might be surprised at how many militias will choose to stand aside. There’s a great deal of resentment toward the Swedes, although the dynasty itself is rather popular.”

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28 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 48

  1. ET1swaw says:

    Ulrich is yet unaware of the SoTF need to protect Oberpfalz, thus taking IHO the best state militia/army off the playing field. He is aware of Von Thurn’s and the remains of G2A’s attack columns (about 30,000 mercenaries) still in Brandenburg and available to Oxenstierna as well as the retainers and mercenaries hired by the reactionaries in Berlin. The Admiral has yet to brief him, if needed, on Baner and his march on Dresden. Oxenstierna’s political statement (foreshadowed in earlier snippets) has yet to be published/announced, but Simpson and Ulrich both have a pretty good guess. Another emphasis that the CoCs have to rein in their hotheads and —not— give Axel an incident he can propagandize. It seems Ulrich’s opinion is the majority will stand neutral without inflammatory incidents.

  2. VernonNemitz says:

    I see the third parameter is not mentioned in this snippet. If I was to guess, then actually I would have to talk about four parameters, not three. A long time ago I was studying “broad pictures” and came up with the idea that most situations have four aspects to them: A physical aspect, a psychological aspect, a social aspect, and an economic aspect. (Nitpickers should note that “spiritual” or religious stuff tends to combine social and psychological stuff.) Ulrik has covered the social (political) aspect and the physical (military) aspect. I could say that he has entwined a bit of the psychological aspect into his military parameter, since perception of belligerence and provocation is certainly a psychological thing. But there is more, since propaganda could play a big part in the civil war –and Magdeburg, the capital, certainly has the resources to create and spread a huge propaganda campaign. And the princess is popular there…. Nevertheless, the economic aspect remains. To what extent, being in Madgeburg, can Ulrik encourage the revenues of uppity German aristocrats to be blocked? (Swedish aristocrats, of course, are less susceptible to this.) What will the mercenaries that those aristocrats hired think, when the propaganda reaches them that their paychests will be empty?

  3. dave o says:

    #1 I agree that the COC has to rein in their hotheads. So far as I can see, Gretchen has that well in hand. And Wilhelm Wettin is again shown to be a critical actor. He’s been described as not completely enthusiastic about Ox’s program-Ox thinks he’s a weakling. So it comes down to: does he support his brother or Baner and Ox when things blow up at Dresden. I don’t think he would have founded his party if he were whole-heartedly on the side of reaction. But he’s already sold out so many of his principles that he may be stuck.

    If Bavaria invades Oberpfalz there may well be a rebellion in Bavaria. There’s already plenty of unrest, and taking troops out of the country doesn’t sound like a good idea. It will take a while for SOTF to react, but when they do, no more Bavarian army. And Bavaria’s treacherous attack will look like Pearl Harbor to a lot of fence sitters.

  4. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Vernon, the third parameter will be covered in the next snippet.

    As for the economic aspect, those uppity German aristocrats have revenues from their “lands” that can’t be blocked from Magdeburg.

    To block their revenues, you’d have to *capture* their territories.

    In addition, while some of their troops may be mercenaries, many of their troops will be “household” troops raised from their own territories.

    While household troops like to paid, their ‘status’ is more tightly connected with their “lord” than mercenary troops would be.

  5. PeterZ says:

    @2 Also, recall Ulrik’s estimate of how the patricianate will react if open conflict erupts. Trying to cut the revenues prior to open warfare would be seen as very disruptive to trade and disruptive to the existing legal/economic relationships. So, you are correct in that the economic aspects of this conflict will be important. However, it may be that whoever secures the continuation of predictable economic activity and not the resources/capital/revenues themselves will see the largest gains in this war.

    Think about it as he who causes the most disruption will not get the support of the cities’ patricianate. No gaurantee that the other side will get that support unless the level of disruption really gets extreme.

  6. VernonNemitz says:

    Just as propaganda is “more” –another part– of a psychological aspect, there are more parts to an economic aspect than merely the guess I made. Obviously the USE needs its own revenues to be made as stable as possible, during a civil war. And yet another part to the psychological aspect is the idea of “total war” that was bandied about in the 20th century. Only any old-timers from Grantville will have experienced that, though of course people like Ulrik will have read about it. Destroying the ability of an enemy to make war is a thing that encompasses all four broad-picture aspects (see Sun Tzu’s writings for the psychological aspect), and the economic-aspect thing I mentioned in my previous message is, in the 17th Century, one of the few really effective things that MIGHT be done (because the enemy doesn’t have big factories to target, see?). So, to the extent that the workers on the lands of those aristocrats can understand that the aristocrats want to strip them of their political rights in the USE, they might be encouraged to hamper revenue-collection by those aristocrats (the workers ARE receiving news-sheets printed by CoC recipients of broadcast radio, right?). Whoever controls the source of broad communications (Magdeburg!) will have a LOT of possibilities available to him. Or her.

  7. PeterZ says:

    @6 Vernon, you miss my point. Assuming Mike, et al. win this civil war, they still have to govern in the aftermath. Total war tends to leave the metaphorical fields charred and burned for the victor. Germans have seen the results of ravaged economies and disrupted societies war can bring. In recent years they have begun seeing peace and prosperity. Do you think they will be happy with anyone disrupting that peace? Not likely.

    Those urban patricians will stay out of it until they have no choice. They will also enter any civil war not to support one side so much as to oppose the other while remaining angry with both sides that it came down to this in the first place. In that context attacking/disrupting the social and economic activities in the opposition areas will only recruit more support for the enemy.

    BTW, that includes encouraging the plebs that witholding taxes as a form of protest is acceptible. Its one thing to not pay taxes and then suffer the legal consequences of your actions, its quite another to say the laws do not apply at all to this particular action. Opening that can of worms will guarantee the fence sitters will enter the conflict in opposition to the can opener.

  8. robert says:

    @4 Drak, how are the “household” troops armed? I suspect that they do NOT have much in the way of up-to-date arms, and especially do not have artillery worth the name. Even if numbers count, they can be routed with effective modern weaponry. And with an effective strategy, they can be tied to home and defeated in detail, if necessary.

  9. Drak Bibliophile says:

    “Household” troops may be the incorrect term on my part.

    These would be forces raised by the Noblity from their territory.

    You might reread Eastern Front.

    Some of the forces lead by GA2 into Poland were not mercenaries or USE army forces.

    They were provincial armies not necessarily mercenaries.

    Some of these provincial armies may be just as up-to-date as the CoC forces and are likely better trained.

  10. Greg says:

    “patricianate” isn’t in the dictionary. Did you mean “patricate”?

  11. Mario says:

    Neither. Patrician goes with patriciate. Strictly it applies to the upper level of the Roman aristocracy and to the Venetian patricians inscribed in the Golden Book of the Republic, who were not nobles in the proper sense.

  12. dave o says:

    It seems to me that the discussion of economic factors above largely miss the point. The towns and cities are run by a patrician class which consists for the most part of large merchants and locally important guilds. These are people who depend on trade for their living. Trade is carried out using some kind of currency, which in the USE is either dollars or guilders. Precious metals, in this period silver for the most part, are really mostly used for local purchases. The patrician class hates the Swedes, and hates the COC’s rather more. They are predicted to remain neutral in this snippet, but interfering with trade or especially the currency will get them off the fence.

    I doubt that more than a two or three nobles are capable of raising an army out of their current income. Typically they borrow the money, and promise to repay out of future revenue. I believe that no German state had a standing army until after the second siege of Vienna (1684). What they have in 1636 is more like a cadre crossed with a police force.

  13. ET1swaw says:

    Hesse-Kassel provincial troops are mostly returning home. SoTF provincial troops are on standby to protect Oberpfalz. Baner took all but one regiment of Oberpfalz troops with him to Dresden. Main, Upper Rhine, Swabia, Wurtemmburg?sp?, and Tyrol troops held in check by Brahe and Horn or busy along the Rhine. Westphalia troops held in check by Prince Frederich. Madgeburg, Mecklenburg, and Brunswick (whose Duke is at Poznan with Tortensson) troops fairly nonexistant outside internal forces. Von Arnim holed up in Liepzig with remains of Saxony troops. Von Thurn in Brandenburg with his column and remains of G2A’s Swedish column (available to Axel). Retainers and mercenaries hired by reactionaries also in Brandenburg (Berlin). 1st and 2nd USE Divisions beseiging Poznan under Tortensson, Brunswick, and Dodo. PLC forces mostly beseiged in Poznan. 3rd USE in Bohemia. Kresse and his irregulars near Dresden. Gretchen, CoC, Dresden City Forces, and 3rd USE recovered WIAs manning Dresden’s Walls. Baner and his mercenaries approaching Dresden like Sherman towards Atlanta. And in Ulrich’s stated opinion and in my own, most city militias, Guilds, and Burghers will stay neutral with no causitive or immflammatory events to swing them off the fence. Even Kresse, so far, has plausible deniability for his actions against Baner. Ernst Wettin’s letter / instructions to Baner has given Gretchen et.al. political justification for the closing of the gates to Baner’s forces. The ball is in Ox’s court. He has the gathered (Von Thurn et.al) and attacking (Baner and possibly Von Arnim) forces.

  14. Alex says:

    #3 touched on this but I believe the key factor to swinging these various economic classes will utilize the accelerated German nationalism of this timeline. Baner’s troops besieging a city largely controlled by the CoCs will not have the same effect as, say, Ox/Wettin refusing to assist SoTF against Duke Max. The other states, provinces, and imperial cities must see the SoTF as an asset, even if they dislike many or most of the uptimer ideals they propagate, and if the Prime Minister is willing to use foreign armies to solve domestic problems and bow to the alien overlords who’s so say he won’t do it to them?

    I’m really looking forward to whatever regency/co-ruler constitutional monarchy Ulrich and Kristina are going to set up and how Stearns, Torstenson, and Simpson can influence events without setting a precedent of military intercession. Furthermore, Stearns isn’t an MP so I look forward to the Julyist’s PM selection whenever Wettin is cast out.

  15. Peter says:

    In a parliamentary system anyone can become an MP with a simple action of the party. This is because voters don’t vote for a person, they vote for a party. There are usually several party members appointed to various safe Party-held seats simply to keep them occupied; one of these people resigns and the party appoints Stearns to his place, so now he can be PM.

  16. Greg Eatroff says:

    @ 15: That’s assuming there are no residency requirements for the House of Commons. I don’t remember if the text ever clarified that — if someone can point me to a reference, that would be good.

    There’s also the issue of whether the Emperor has the power to prorogue the legislature, and if a vote of no-confidence in the prime minister would trigger new elections.

  17. robert says:

    @14 A regency is premature. First, his cousin will smuggle GA to Magdeburg, then he will likely recover like an angry bear.

  18. Ian Chapman says:

    I believe it was establised some time ago that there was no specific residency requirement to hold an elected seat in the USE (and certainly not in the SOTF). Indeed that is one issue the Crown Loyalists take issue with the 4JP on as I recall.

    Also I seem to recall that Michael Stearns was elected to a seat in Magdeburg by an overwhelming margin. Just because he hasn’t been able to physically fill that seat doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one (and serving as a Maj Gen in the Army is certainly sufficient reason to be excused from his normal legislative duties).

    I might be mistaken on these points, but I don’t think I am.

  19. Ian Chapman says:

    I tend to agree with some of the commentary above. I think that Duke Max’s invasion of Oberplatz (sp?) is ultimately going to be the straw that breaks Wettin’s back. It’s one thing to have an internal disputer between Baner and a CoC stronghold Desden. It’s quite another to permit an armed invasion by a stated foe and leave one of your provinces hung out to dry to try to stop it!

    Whever the praticianate thinks of the CoC, they won’t stand for that. For that matter, I don’t think the moderates such as Hesse-Kassel will either because the precedence is a very bad one.

  20. Stanley Leghorn says:

    I have to agree that Bavaria’s invasion will tip things in favor of the Americans. Indeed, Max will push so many buttons that he may end up run out of Bavaria all together. People who might decide pitching him is better than another witch hunt with random arrests. Wonder who he could take refuge with?

    And there is whatever is going on in Italy. Which impacts Spain, Venice, and the Turks.

  21. ET1swaw says:

    Baner and Ernst Wettin were assigned to Saxony by G2A. But I don’t know if Baner stripping Oberpfalz of troops was authorized before G2A’s injury or not. Blame for hanging Oberpfalz out to dry in the first place might rightfully belong to G2A, not Axel and PM Wilhelm Wettin. The actions of Axel’s agent in abetting Mad Max, if discovered, would be majorly detrimental to the reactionary cause. Letting SoTF alone support Oberpfalz against Bavaria may count against Axel and Wilhelm, but is not a death knell. Baner’s attack against Dresden could be spun as anti-revolutionary, but use of Swedish troops to attack friendly German civilians (and USE citizens) will still not sit well.

  22. laclongquan says:

    Dont forget that this is only 1636, 3 years from 1632. It means that Swedish troops are still foreign occupation forces to most of German lands. Gustav and Vasa dynasty may enjoy some good will from German peoples but the Swedish forces does not. Since Ox plan to use mostly Swedish troops, it will be seen as a foreign hostile action.

    Force in Dresden is mostly Germans: local boyz!!!

    The army, infantry branch, is mostly Germans: local boyz!!! There’s some foreigners, of course, mostly ex-merc rejoined, but Germans dominate that branch.

    That’s one factor the revolutionary must factor in their equation of options to act.

  23. Willem Meijer says:

    @6 Witholding taxes? Most of the taxes paid by ordinary people (not owning land or other property) were indirect taxes. Exises on beer, wine, spirits, various foodstuffs, salt.

  24. Ian Chapman says:

    21.Baner and Ernst Wettin were assigned to Saxony by G2A. But I don’t know if Baner stripping Oberpfalz of troops was authorized before G2A’s injury or not. Blame for hanging Oberpfalz out to dry in the first place might rightfully belong to G2A, not Axel and PM Wilhelm Wettin.

    I don’t think it will go down like that politically. Remember that in policis perception is vastly more important that actual fact. Sure G2A may have initially ordered it, but he did so in the sure knowledge that there was no way in Hades that Duke Max was going to try G2A’s patience. In fact from earlier we see that Duke Max is terribly worried about what the USE regular army would do and for good reason…..becuase say what you will about Gustav Adolphus, he would send Mad Max to St Peter straight away if he even contemplated doing something about the Oberpfalz….and everyone knows it.

    If it comes out that Ox not only allowed but abbetted a Bavarian invasion of the USE leaving the SoTF out to dry, the recurcussions in the moderate Patricianate and moderate-Crown Loyalist ranks (such as Hesse-Kassel) would be severe.

  25. Alex says:

    @18: I seem to remember Becky shocked at the suggestion she be nominated for an M-City seat. “But I’ve only just moved here!” or something of the like. It’s my understanding that the UK and Canada don’t require residency but I suspect that Stearns, when he adapted the later British system, would have none of that. The effect seems to be a first past the post party system rather than the more proportional rep ones that necessitate MPs represent a place they’ve never lived.

    @15: Parliaments are the most popular form of representative government in the world and reflect that diversity. The USE is a federated state with an Emperor and a parliament with an upper and lower house and as yet clearly defined powers. Since this parliament was modeled after an American interpretation of the yet-to-be British system, I don’t think you can generalize like that.

    One of the reasons I enjoy DeMarce’s books is that, in addition to the human (American) element that gets buried under the geopolitics, she answers many of these lingering questions. We need another map room moment like in Eastern Front where they clarified the citizenship/statehood questions.

  26. Ian Chapman says:

    #25 Actually for most elected offices in the US anyway, residency is required. It was Stearns that thought it was silly in light of the highly densely populated (and transient population because of war refugees and others) of 1632 Thuringia. It as a major point of disagreement between him and Simpson who ran against him for President of the NUS. This lack of residency confirmed by that election was to my knowledge carried over into SoTF and the USE.

    I suspect that some residency requirement will eventually be instated and I think this is a bone that will be tossed to the Crown Loyalists in the not so distant future after the Civil War is settled, but AFAIK, in the USE, there isn’t a specific residency requirement (Stearns would have none of it).

    In the RL US, there is at least for most elected offices. See Emanuel Rahm and his problems in running for Mayor of Chicago. Also (while it was dismissed) there were 12th amendment issues with Cheney serving as VP with Bush because of residency laws and constitutional mandates (from a compromise more than 200 years old).

  27. Alex says:

    @26: I’ve never thought I would submit three posts to these but I must clarify something: In our US, states set their own residency requirements for running for office. These can be weeks or years, for what it matters, and a boom town like M-City would probably have low residency requirements. I was referring to the practice in Canada, the only country I know for certain and suspect is true for the UK, where MPs can fill a seat representing a district they’ve never lived in. I recall that Stephen Harper broke routine and represented a non-Quebec seat vs. his native Ontario and adoptive Alberta.

    But even if M-City has low residency requirements, it is still a departure from the British/Canadian model which grants proportional representation based on party rather than plurality. It’s like the two-party system but parliamentary.

    Perhaps someone familiar with parliamentary political science of Canada or Britain can enlighten us all? America’s is frakked up enough for me to remember and I have little capacity for others but I LOVE to learn.

  28. Ian Chapman says:

    #27 Yeah, it’s a US/American custom to have some residency requirement no matter how minimal (and yes it’s generally set locally), but I really seem to recall that Stearns did away with that for the NUS in the first election of 1632 when he ran against Simpson (it was one of many things Simpson was running on) and it hasn’t been reintroduced into the SoTF or USE to my knowledge since. If that’s not true in the lore, then I certainly would welcome the correction. My point was to my knowledge the USE was more like Canada and the UK in this regard….but I DO think that what’s left of the Crown Loyalists will want some sort of residency requirements, and I expect (given uptimer traditions on this) that this is a bone the 4JP can throw to them without too much heartburn.

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