1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 55

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 55

Oxenstierna’s assessment proved quite accurate. He began the assembly by making the announcement that Wilhelm Wettin had been discovered plotting with seditious elements and been placed under arrest. Following the laws of the USE, his successor would be whatever person was chosen by the party in power, the Crown Loyalists. The Swedish chancellor elided over the fact that he had no authority in the USE to be arresting anyone and that he was planning to discard those same laws as soon as possible.

“If you will allow me to offer my advice, I would recommend that you choose Johann Wilhelm Neumair von Ramsla.” He pointed to an elderly man seated in the front row.

Von Ramsla stared back at him, his mouth agape. The chancellor’s proposal came as a complete surprise to the man. He’d played no part in the dealings with Bavaria, of course. Johann Wilhelm was a political theorist, full to the brim with axiomatic principles — hardly the sort of man you wanted to use for such gray purposes. However, he’d be splendid as the new prime minister. The combination of his age — he was in his mid-sixties — and his ineffectual temperament would make him a pliant tool for the eventual destruction of his own office.

There was silence in the room for a few seconds. Then, a few more seconds in which the room was filled with quiet hubbub, as people hastily consulted with each other in whispers. Then, not more than ten seconds after the Swedish chancellor stopped speaking, a man toward the back of the huge chamber climbed onto his chair and shouted:

“Hurrah for the new prime minister! I vote for Johann Wilhelm!”

That was Johann Schweikhard, Freiherr von Sickingen. As a nobleman, he had no business casting a vote for the leader of the Crown Loyalists in the House of Commons, but no one in that chamber cared very much about such legal niceties any more. At least a third of the crowd were also noblemen, after all.

Not more than two seconds later, a roar of approval erupted. If not from the entire crowd, certainly from its majority.

Given that he was ignoring all rules anyway, Oxenstierna decided he could safely accept that roar as a vote of approval by acclamation. He stepped down onto the floor of the assembly hall, took Johann Wilhelm by the arm, and hauled him onto the dais. Von Ramsla made no resistance, even if he was not exactly active in his so-very-rapid rise to power.

Oxenstierna saw no point in giving the old man the speaker’s podium, however. Von Ramsla was a fig leaf, and the sooner he learned that fig leaves were mute, the better.

“And now, my friends, let us move on to the purpose of this assembly. The first order of business is to adopt our new Charter of Rights and Duties.” He swept the crowd with his forefinger. “You’ve all had time to read the Charter, by now, so I will move to a vote by acclamation of each point in order.”

He paused just long enough to allow everyone to take their copy of the charter in hand, if they didn’t have it in hand already.

“Point One. The capital and seat of government of the United States of Europe is henceforth to be located in Berlin.”

Huge roar of approval.

“Point Two. For purposes of determining citizenship –”


Colonel Erik Haakansson Hand found out about Wilhelm Wettin’s arrest at the same time everyone else did, from Oxenstierna’s announcement at the assembly. (The “convention,” they were calling it — and never mind that the event was more in the nature of a staged political rally than anything you could reasonably call a deliberative undertaking.) He wasn’t quite as surprised as most people present, because the tensions between the USE prime minister and the Swedish chancellor had become quite obvious to him. Still; Erik certainly hadn’t expected the development.

Why? he wondered. Oxenstierna’s terse explanation didn’t make a lot of sense to him. “Plotting with seditious elements.” Which elements, and what was the nature of the plot?

A thought suddenly occurred to him. He left the assembly hall and made his way hurriedly to the nearest of the city’s gates. Fortunately, the sky was clear and there was still at least an hour of daylight left.

Nothing. The guards said no one of any significance had left the city within the past few days.

He then made his way to the southwestern gate, the Leipziger Thor.

Again, nothing. And the same at Cöpenicker Thor.

By now, evening had come. He was about to give up the project but decided to make one last effort at the southeastern gate, the Stralower Thor.

Finally, success. A result, at least. Whether it was significant or not was still to be determined.

“Yesterday, around this time,” the guard said, nodding firmly. “I remember them because they were unpleasant. Both of them.”

“Hard to pick between the two,” chimed in one of the other guards. “Baron Shithead and Ritter Asshole.”

Erik chuckled. “I know the type. But do you remember their actual names?”

“It’ll be in the record book,” said a third soldier, standing in the entrance to the guardhouse. “I’ll go check.”

He was back with the names in short order. Hand knew both of the men, although not particularly well. One of them was a baron, in point of fact, a Freiherr from the Province of the Main. His companion was not a nobleman at all, on the other hand. He was a guildmaster and one of the leaders of the Crown Loyalist party in Frankfurt.

The Freiherr had certainly not been close to Wettin. He’d been one of the prime minister’s more vociferous critics, in fact. Erik didn’t know about the guildmaster, but what he did know was that the Crown Loyalists of Frankfort were a particularly reactionary bunch. That was probably a reaction to the city’s very influential and prominent Committee of Correspondence.

The point being that neither man was likely to have feared repercussions if Wettin was arrested — and they’d left the city a day earlier, in any event.

Was there any connection between these two men and the prime minister’s fall from power? Or was their departure simply a coincidence?

But if it was a coincidence, why did they leave Berlin now — literally, on the eve of their triumph? Hand would double-check with his many contacts and agents, but he was almost certain that both men had been members of the faction which had been most critical of Wettin.

Slowly, thinking as he walked, the colonel made his way back to the palace. While serving with Duke Ernst in the Oberpfalz, Erik had come to know an American officer named Jake Ebeling. The two had become something in the way of friends. When Ebeling learned that Hand could read English, he lent him a copy of what he said was one of his three favorite books. Alice in Wonderland, by a certain Lewis Carroll.

Colonel Hand had found the book quite charming and remembered a bit of it.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” he murmured. “Curiouser and curiouser.”

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36 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 55

  1. G Bayrit says:

    Okay, I’m changing my mind, because in real life Oxensternia was not that dang dumb.

    This version of Ox should know that he doesn’t have any legal right to have a group of noblemen changing things as important as the site of government or the charter of rights. I thought Wettin’s party just squeaked into power by a minimal margin in the first place, does he even have a quorum and if not, where are the other members of parliament — Oh yeah, EF’s version of Ox doesn’t think they’re important.

    Sorry, but Ox isn’t acting true to character.

  2. John Cowan says:

    Before the wave of comments descends, let me point out that treason in this day and age is personal against one’s monarch, not institutional against one’s country. See the Wikipedia writeup at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treason_Act_1351 (it’s still in effect). Note especially this provision:

    “[It is high treason] if a Man do levy War against our Lord the King in his Realm, or be adherent to the King’s Enemies in his Realm, giving to them Aid and Comfort in the Realm, or elsewhere.”

    You’ll note that actions of adherence to the King’s enemies committed “elsewhere” (in the USE) are just as much treason as if the act is committed in the “Realm”, which in Oxenstierna’s case would be Sweden. National citizenship doesn’t enter into it. And of course in the 17th century the King’s enemies are still whoever he says they are.

  3. robert says:

    @1 Not dumb. Just caught up in the throes of Power.

  4. Ian Chapman says:

    #2 Sorry but as I said in the prior snippet, he seems dumb to me. Remember we know what he was like OTL in “the throes of power” since he was the effective King of Sweden for most of Kristina’s minority, and this isn’t the same guy.

  5. ET1swaw says:

    @1 G Bayrit; @3 Ian Chapman: Axel didn’t always act so well OTL either. His machinations entrenched his family (a brother and 1st cousin were 2 of the other 4 Great Officers of Sweden (including as President of the Riksdag), the other 2 were half-brother (LH Admiral Carl Carlsson Gyllenheilm) and 2nd cousin (1st cousin of PLC king) of G2A (LH Constable (Army Head) Jacob de La Gardie)) in government and as Governors and Governor-Generals of many of the Dominions and districts of Sweden (Estonia not held and Finland lost to Per Brahe). His son (who succeeded him) and he were unable to hold anything but Swedish Livonia of the 1629 Truce of Altmark concessions (which included Swedish Prussia and a toll on PLC ports)at the 1635 Treaty of Stuhmsdorf. Nobles went from holding just over 20$ of Swedish lands to over 70% (major alienation of Crown assets). He basically hired Sweden’s army out to the French during the TYW. In 1629 (with G2A alive) he managed the Truce of Altmark between mutually bloodied PLC and Sweden, after G2A’s death his political/diplomatic efforts were mediocre (IMO) at best. Sweden’s gains seemed despite him (as Koniecpolski’s in the PLC despite the Sejm). Even his famous 1634 IoG seemed to weaken the ties of the Dominions to Sweden. Any missteps he made were laid on Kristina or the absentee governance of G2A. He was occasionally able to get money from the nobility, though their tax exemption remained strong. Only after his death were the 3rd and 4th Estates able to partially curb the rampant noble and Lutheran clergy (–ONLY– clergy in Sweden) excesses. By Axel’s machinations only nobles were eligible for most offices in Sweden and all officeholders must be Lutheran (not sure if there is a disparity between OTL and NTL). And only to nobles can Crown assets be alienated (and IIRC –ALL– mineral rights are crown assets).
    As G2A (IMO) seems to have done against Koniecpolski, Axel seems convinced of his great Historic reputation.
    He has no –legal– right to anything he has done (he does however have von Thurn’s troops and the survivor’s of G2A’s column). He holds his soveriegn hostage (coincidentally the head of state for the USE and Kalmar Union as well). He (with PM WW as a beard/fig-leaf) has dispensed USE Army troops and called a convention of selected USE nobles, officials, and citizens. He (as noted in the snippet) has arrested a sitting head of government, put forward a successor, and confirmed him by vote of a private cabal (no representation from the USE House of Lords/Senate is present AFAIK and I doubt there is a quorem of the USE House of Commons (just CLs and only the reactionaries, who despite their vocality are a –minority– even in their own party)). He has conspired with an enemy power (Bavaria) to attack the USE He has most probably given Baner orders to reduce a major city of the USE (Dresden). He has pre-written a new Instrument of Government (that majorly contradicts the current and ratified USE Constitution) for a foriegn nation and is encouraging acceptance by a private cabal. He has declared himself sole Regent for G2A given orders to the Heir of all three crowns (actually his only –treasonable– offense so far ( his hostage taking can be spun as in G2A’s best interest). —NONE— of that is legal!!! He is a foriegn national formenting a change of government/coup within an allied state!!!
    He assumes his Swedish troops can handle CoC militia or even USE troops with ease (G2A’s domination over German opposition both OTL and NTL gives an extreme assumed superiority of Swedish forces over German).
    His apparent dismissal of the 2nd Estate (Clergy) may be due to ‘curius regio’ and the dependence implied of the clergy upon the nobility as well as the multitudes of non-Lutheran sects.
    His dismissal of the 3rd Estate is not as easy to swallow. Then again the USE’s middle class is –much– more prevalent than in Sweden. His dismissal of the 4th Estate sadly rings true. OTL he opposed G2A’s easing of serfdom within the Dominions and never did allow its abolishment (before the Dominions were lost after his death (except his loss of Swedish Prussia)).
    He is making major mistakes, but they are not inconsistent with his –complete– OTL persona. As Kristina stated earlier (paraphrased): he basically runs Sweden. His OTL tenure in a country he had 20 years (in conjunction with a greater-than-life monarch) to put into shape can not be compared to his attempts to set the Germanies straight on political realities.

  6. Jason says:

    I think some problems with what we read in the book and the RL Axel is most people probably read his blurb in wikpedia and go no further.For example while yes his is lauded for being the starter of the Swedish Meritocracy program it was only because there were not enough noblemen to fill the government posts that could only be filled by Noblemen.

  7. dave o says:

    To get back to the snippet. Hand suspects that the arrest of Wettin was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. The two guys who left Berlin before the arrest suggest that he’s right. My guess is that they left to arrange Wettin’s imprisonment in a castle in Finland. My further guess is that Hand is going to intervene and rescue Wettin. Possibly arrange with Simpson to intercept him crossing the Baltic. This would involve Hand leaving G2A, but that’s probably safe as long as Ox doesn’t have his paws on Kristina.

    Question: In England, all crown offices became automatically vacant on the death of a king. Is the same true in Swedish law? Or something similar?

  8. ET1swaw says:

    @6 dave o: Why Finland? In OTL sometime in 1635-37 is when his cousin lost the Governor-Generalship of Finland to Per Brahe (Nils Brahe’s brother), who opposed Axel on many issues. Another cousin OTL gained the Governor-Generalship of Swedish Livonia, Swedish Ingria, and Swedish Karelia in 1634. OTL his brother was LH Justicar and cousin (who had been G-G of Finland) was LH Treasurer. And Ingria, or Karelia if they really wanted them disposed of, were the Axel-preferred exiles AFAIK. And don’t forget at this time of year the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic are storm- and ice- ridden and the Bythnian Gulf is iced over in its northern reaches (Ulrik(I finally got it right, my apologies for before) and Kristina were LUCKY in their crossing on the ‘Union of Kalmar’ though the Baltic is better than either of the Gulfs).
    The two guys left the day before the announcement of Wettin’s arrrest, but probably after the fact. WW didn’t shoot off his mouth in public, only to Axel. Immediately after WW was detained, Axel probably dispatched them. Hand may also catch wind of Axel’s deal with Mad Max. After all he is basically G2A’s Head of Intelligence.
    AFAIK Swedish officials of the time retained their positions until replaced or the position was disbanded (happened even back then!). The Riksdag and the Great Officers (even before their permanence laid out in the 1634 IoG) maintained the continuity. AFAIK unlike England ATT where Parliment must be called by the King, the Riksdag was a permanent body (just not nearly so much so as the USE Senate and House of Commons).

  9. Mike says:

    @6 Dave O – from the phrasing of the snippet, that the two individuals left the gate “yesterday, about this time” and Hand’s musings indicate he leaves the assembly hall the same night as Ox’s speech – so the two left prior to Wettin’s arrest. The previous snippet seemed to convey that Ox did not have a preplanned arrest in order so it doesn’t make sense for the timeline of events presented thus far. Further, why would you leave Berlin by the the South-East gate to head to the Baltic? Quickest route would be along the Havel to the Elbe and then either through Lubeck or up the Schwerin canals, correct? Are they taking the roundabout way by heading to the Oder instead?

    Doesn’t seem like Flint would write in a red herring just to throw off Hand by sending him after two unimportant characters that truly did leave by coincidence at the right time.

    Could they perhaps be evidence of a second act of treason by being sent towards Poznan? Perhaps to encourage the Polish defenders to keep the USE Army busy for just a bit longer?

  10. Mike says:

    @7 ETT1swaw – your post wasn’t up until after I started typing. I still tend to disagree with timing and Hand’s internal thoughts seem to imply to me that he left the Assembly hall the same day as the speech and that these had departed the previous day. Perhaps I’m wrong though.

  11. WCG says:

    I have no problem with Oxenstierna’s actions, myself. This is alternate history, and there have been several years of completely different experiences for him. He’s not going to be the same person he was, not entirely, and he’s facing a different situation than what he ever faced in OTL.

    Our experiences change us. I’m not the same man I was years ago, and if my experiences had been different, I wouldn’t expect to be the same person today – not wildly different, of course, but I might well make some different decisions.

    Re. the two guys leaving the city, I think it’s pretty clear they had nothing to do with Wettin’s arrest. However, I suspect that they were involved in that incident of treason Oxenstierna had managed (without, note, being directly a party himself), and that they were leaving so Wettin wouldn’t discover what had happened. If Oxenstierna had already been planning to arrest Wettin, that probably wouldn’t have been necessary.

    This is just a guess, of course. I’m sure we’ll find out the truth soon enough.

  12. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @1 — G Bayrit

    I think what has happened is that Ox is, as Ulrik stated to Simpson, acting stupidly because he is so focused on his goal of restoring the rights and privileges of the nobility that he is blind to everyting else. In addition, I suspect that Wettin’s arrest was a mental trigger for Ox to go for the brass rings now rather than bide his time patiently. Time is running out for Ox, and he knows it, so rather than stumble and fall he is going to try running faster. That’s just a guess, though.

    @11 — WCG

    I agree with you that Oxenstierna has been changed somewhat by the RoF and the Americans and all that has transpired since, but I also think that ET1swaw (@5) also has the right of it by pointing out that Oxenstierna’s reputation is greater than his real behavior and results OTL would warrant. In other words, Ox is bright — no Dumb Ox he! — but he isn’t as bright as the uptime encyclopedias make him out to be. However, if Ox has bought his own advertising slogans, he may be convinced of his ability to pull off anything he wants, even when he is in way over his head, as is the case here.

  13. Doug Lampert says:

    @1, Can’t change something as important as the seat of government? In what system is changing that hard to do? Name one please, I’m curious.

    Rights and charters and definition of citizenship may or may not exceed the legislature’s authority, without knowing what’s in the charter and what exactly the government’s authority is we can’t say. But the seat of government? Really?

    In a monarchial system (which the USE is) the capital is typically whereever the monarch summons the government. GA is in Berlin, there’s no particular reason to think it even takes an act of the legislature to make Berlin the capital. GA is there, if a quorum of the legislature is there then it’s exceedingly unlikely that they can’t pass laws.

    OTOH Mike may have coppied parts of the USA constitution, so maybe Magdenburg is like DC in the USA.

    But wait! That DOESN’T MATTER! Because there’s NOTHING in the US constitution that says where congress meets! The constitution specifies that congress may accept a gift of up to 10 square miles from a state as the seat of government, but all it says about that district is that congress can govern it. There’s also the 23rd ammendment granting congress the power to give district residents a voice in presidential elections. But that’s it. Our constitution NOWHERE specifies that the congress must meet in DC, that the president must ever go there at all, that the Supreme Court must meet there, or in fact that any other action of the government must be there, just that IF we have a capital district as the seat of government then congress can regulate it.

    If the USA Congress wants to, then baring legislation to the contrary congress can assemble a quorum anywhere they want to and pass laws. I do not know of any such law, and given the risk that someone might drop a nuke on DC I’d be shocked if there were any such law. Congress HAS in fact met in NYC and passed laws while there, and it can do so again if it feels the urge.

    So while moving the capital is a big deal propaganda wise, it’s probably legally meaningless.

  14. ET1swaw says:

    @12 Robert H. Woodman: G2A got bit in a very tender portion (IMO anyway) by believing his historical reputation, so why not Axel?
    @9, @10 Mike: the timing would be tight for my version, and I like your idea of a second ‘treason’ (John Cowan’s post (@2) was not up yet when I posted). I also forgot the possible signifigance of the SouthEast gate.
    Axel seem to be pulling out all the stops now. He seems to have crossed his ‘Rubicon’.

  15. Howard T. Map-addict says:

    I note that Frankfort-on-Main (river) is within or very near Main Province.
    I conclude that the two messengers are colleagues.

    They might be going home to Frankfort, to act as Ox’s agents there.
    Or, as Mike suggested, they might be Ox’s trusted messengers.

    I doubt that Ox had planned to arrest Wettin at this time.
    He possibly had it in mind as something maybe necesssary,
    a Plan B rather than a part of Plan A.

    OTOH, his giving Wettin *that* information, at *this* time, does seem
    like a Test, with a Plan for whichever response Wettin makes.

    One more Note: in this group, Wettin has little or no support.

    Howard T. Map-addict

  16. hank says:

    I suspect that the two (un-named, did ya’ll notice?) departees of the previous day somehow, either on purpose or by accident (Loose Lips Sink Ships,) tipped off Wettin to the Mad Max Plot. Might checking up on them be how Hand uncovers it? They *might* have tipped Wettin, even though opposed to him from his right, because the Oberpfalz is too close to their own places of power for comfort. Or, who knows, maybe they found out and the plot was too much for them to stomach so they tipped Wettin and blew town?

  17. dave o says:

    #8 ET1swaw. In the previous snippet, Oxenstierna considers imprisoning Wettin in Sweden, no in Finland. As far as I can tell from this snippet, it takes place the same day as Wettin’s arrest. In fact, just after the arrest. As for the southwest gate, Berlin at this period was a large town or small city. Once outside the gate, they could go where they pleased. If the gate is meaningful, it’s the most direct route to Dresden and Baner, and more or less in the direction of Bavaria. But that’s a long way off. It’s somewhat out of the way for Poznan,

    I think arguments about legality are waste of time. The USE is too new, and there are too many things which are still unsettled for most people to have firm opinions. What Ox is doing here is presenting a facade, which will be believed by the people who favor what he’s doing anyway. Moving the capital won’t persuade anyone that he’s doing something wrong. The rest of his agenda is another matter entirely.

  18. ET1swaw says:

    @17 dave o: missed it. Thanks! And my apologies.

  19. Terranovan says:

    @16 hank: It was probably by accident – Flint’s careful to say that those two were apart from Wettin in the Crown Loyalists, an already loose and tenuous coalition to begin with.

  20. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @13 The “constituional” problem isn’t moving the seat of government. The “Constitutional” problem is that Oxenstierna doesn’t have a quorum.

    Of course, neither does the part of the legislature still meeting in Magdeburg — but they aren’t doing stuff like deposing Prime Ministers and passing legislation that changes the government.

    Since it is a civil war type situation, the actions of either “rump” parliament can be ratified by the winner afterward. But Rump parliaments are ‘rump’ by vitrue of the fact that the side they support doesn’t have a majority (= hasn’t won yet.)

    Overall ‘legality’ or ‘constitutionality’ are problems only if the neutrals (Moderate CLs, city authorities, the politically influential part of the clergy and third estate) say that they are. Ox’s continued escalation should push more and more moderates away from him. Ox probably counted on the CoC radicals going nuts with violence and rebellion, a la some of the peasant uprisings of previous centuries or the ‘Kristallnacht’ in NTL.

    Since the CoCs have instead maintained discipline and have continued to maintain public order (even in Dresden), Ox is completely out of his reckoning — he doesn’t have an alternative strategy and feels he has to double-down in hopes of getting the CoCs to react with violence. It’s not surprising to me that his actions appear more stupid than are on record for the OTL Oxenstierna — in OTL OXenstierna never had his fundamental assumptions overturned like this. Very few people can pull back from the brink and re-evaluate when something like that happens.

  21. Ian Chapman says:

    #5 I object to being characterized as someone who “just read a Wikipedia article” before objecting about Oxensternia’s character in the book. I won’t bother to dispute the historical record. It is what it is, but IMHO you are putting an unfair slant on it. I never claimed that Axel was the world’s genius leader. In fact he was not (as you show), and that was one of his big problems. Sure Axel made mistakes, and sure it’s fair to call him a huge proproponent of noble privledge. It’s even fair to say this colours his perceptions, but Axel was never stupid.

    Failing to account for Strean’s leadership and generalship is understandable. Mike seems to be one of those rare people that really are geniuses even if it was never fully developed up time (esp in the political Arena) and Stearn’s acumen should be measured against Richelieu and Mazarin (and this by Richelieu’s own accounting!) Likewise it’s understandable that he’d fail to account for the grassroots strength of the CoCs and what that fully means. However, it does not excuse him of misreading Torenttsen (sp?) so badly, a fellow Swedish General he’s campaigned with for years. He should know better than anyone, how Torrenttsen (sp?) will react to his troops being hung out to dry and being asked to die slowly. Given the lack of character in his chosen tool, he should have had a contingency plan for how to handle the situation should Wettin find out (and he clearly did not), and for that matter, he needs to have a much cleaner way (such as kill and blame on CoC) of ridding himself of Wettin as he clearly intended to do all along.

    My point is that these are basic mistakes that Oxensternia has no business making if he’s supposed to be anything like the OTL version. Contrast him with Richelieu who (IMHO) has been characterized brilliantly. Richelieu has made mistakes, plenty of them, but never stupid ones…always one that make sense given what he knows and his PoV, and Richelieu learns from those mistakes.

    As an aside (which would be really ironic), I can easily see Cardinal Richelieu becoming the father of Republican France (since Richelieu cares about the Glory of France first and foremost).

  22. Ian Chapman says:

    From #20

    he doesn’t have an alternative strategy and feels he has to double-down in hopes of getting the CoCs to react with violence.

    This is precisely the reason why I am having issues with how Axel is being protrayed. It’s basic polics and palance intrique to always have an alternative strategy if your political opponents don’t gracefully do what you expect them to do. It’s fundamental common sense both politically and militarily (and Axel is an expert at both).

    Again, did the ring of fire knock 20pts off of Axel’s IQ?

  23. summertime says:

    Posts on this site should be BRIEF commentary on developments in the story. It is foolish to get bent out of shape over how the characters are portrayed vis-a-vis the actual historical persons, as well as the content of the posts of others. Suggest to all to simmer down. This is supposed to be fun and entertainment, not convoluted diatribes. Really, this is all imaginary, not actual history. People can be portrayed as differing from their inspirations for fictional purposes.

  24. Ian Chapman says:

    #23 Character in an ATL that have OTL and well recorded OTL counterparts should at least be strongly informed by real history though.

  25. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @23 — summertime

    Oh my gosh! This is imaginary. I’m crushed! Crushed, I tell you. I’ve completely invested myself emotionally in these characters! They’re fiction? Really? Oh, the despair!


  26. ET1swaw says:

    I get long-winded, regurgitating limited understanding. MY APOLOGIES TO ALL!!!

  27. PeterZ says:

    @Ian Chapman, Oxenstierna is assuming several things that are incorrect. I would argue that he had made the correct assumptions, he would not have executed his plan. If he believed that the CoCs could be anything other than unruly thugs, that they could be civilized as he would expect his own class to be civilized, HE WOULD NOT HAVE WALKED SO CLOSE TO BETRAYING HIS KING.

    He sees his options for saving civilization dissipating. In OTL, religion has lost its centrality in law and life in general. How is this better for anyone (his opinion here)? How is it just when those with very little at stake in society have as much voice in the society’s governance as one with very much to lose? If the CoC’s don’t pose a threat to everything he holds dear, he would have tried to hold things together. Unfortunately, the history as it could have been has shown him that the CoCs are nothing but the agents of the deep seated corruption of everything he holds dear. He is too idealistic to stand by and watch it happen.

    He can’t view the CoCs as anything other than an unthinking mob without admitting his entire course of action is one single act of montrous selfishness without a grain of nobility in its ideals. So he isn’t being stupid as much as he is blinded by his own prejudice.

  28. Ian Chapman says:

    #26 Likewise I am sorry for beating a dead horse….or Ox in this case. Moving on to the next snippet…….

  29. G Bayrit says:

    I’m sorry to be upset by all this and I didn’t mean to upset others, but you see the historical Axel Oxensternia was an ancestor. So I’ve made a study of the family and dug up all the historical references I can find, going as far as traveling to Sweden, Denmark and Germany to find answers where I can.

    Axel Oxensternia was no angel and he wasn’t as much of a genius as some have portrayed him, but he wasn’t a fool. As a result I can’t understand why the fictional character could be making so many obvious errors.
    Actually the only reason I’ve been reading this series of stories is that I’ve been able to judge many of the characters to seem relatively accurate in their characterizations – up until now!

  30. Stanley Leghorn says:

    WW found out about the Bavarian deal and Hand did not? I am curious as to how that happened. Unless the two who left were the ones who informed WW and then skipped to avoid the repercussions. Hand seems to have been caught too much off guard here.

  31. Daryl says:

    In OTL I’ve known many highly intelligent people who generally make wise decisions, but on occasion go completely wrong. A couple of ways this can happen is that they want something to happen so badly that they convince themselves that a false world view is valid, and another is the Basil Fawlty situation where you make one stupid mistake then continue digging the hole deeper rather than fessing up and backtracking. For an example look at Hitler, yes he was a totally evil person but he had to be a genius to rise from a Corporal to being absolute dictator of a powerful country, yet in the latter part of WW2 he made bad decision after bad decision.

  32. B Taylor says:

    @31 Daryl – look at Montgomery (sp?) – he was quite a successful officer, but he launched Opperation Market-Garden, which failed due to the glaring problems in it (“those two SS Panzer divisions are broken,” “those troops from that broken field army are still shaken,” “a one-tank wide front is fine,” “we don’t need to talk to the local resistance, British Intelligence is better,” etc). No one spoke up, because they wanted the opperation to work (even the British First Airborn, which was functually destroyed by the opperation).

  33. Cobbler says:

    Is there a single individual most responsible for winning the Hitler war? I would say Winston Churchill. His leadership kept Brittan and Ireland out of Hitler’s hands. Could America have invaded successfully without Brittan as a staging ground? That would have been tough. I think well of Churchill. But I don’t confuse him with superman.

    Winston Churchill’s formative military experience was nineteenth century. He participated in “the last meaningful British cavalry charge, at the Battle of Omdurman. His career in the Boer war was full of daring-do, particularly his escape from POW prison. He retired from the army in 1900. He came away with some prejudices. He loved small group, Special Forces type operations. This led to Quixotic ventures like squandering men and material—badly needed elsewhere—on raising the Greeks against Hitler’s troops.

    OTOH, he was unwavering in his resistance to Hitler. In the wake of Dunkirk, by any sane appraisal, the Germans had won the war. They would have, if Churchill hadn’t been to stubborn to give in. After he finished his “we shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender” speech, he told a colleague, “When they do come we’ll have to hit them over the head with beer bottles because that’s all we have.” He led Brittan past the crisis and through the war. Thereby saving the world from Nazi conquest.

    Okay, Churchill had some weird ideas. Okay, he was stupid about them. Yes, he wasted lives with no useful result. He is still the one man most responsible for defeating Hitler. I’ll ignore a lot of foibles for that.

  34. tim says:

    After all, it is fictional . . . there is an alternate history short story in which Neville Chamberlain does not sign the Munich Accord with Hitler . . . that said, I do think Axel Oxenstierna is being far too much the villain here . . . problem is, Mr. Flint needed somebody to play the part, the practical choices he had are Wilhelm Wettin, Axel Oxenstierna, Gustav Adolf II (the brain injury creating a new persona–do brain injuries ever [in real life] leave the person afterwards in better shape?) and . . . well, that’s about it. Frankly, John George would have made the best villain of the lot, claiming that as GA2’s brother-in-law and uncle of Kristina he was the logical Regent, alas it wasn’t ‘meant’ to be.

  35. Mike says:

    @17 – dave O: while I take your comment about the two notable departures leaving from the stated gate being able to go around the city and leave in a different direction entirely, you misread the passage. The gate they actually departed from was the southEAST gate, not the southwest gate. (checked immediately prior) That being the case, leaving towards the southeast points away from their home provinces, away from bavaria and away from Dresden. There isn’t a real reason to go to the southeast. It doesn’t make sense from a travel standpoint and nothing is going on in that direction …. unless as I indicated, it’s a second act of treason related to Poznan.

    Besides, trying to circumnavigate a walled city like Berlin at night (they left about the same time as Hand was checking the previous day, i.e. right before the gates close) seems rather foolish given the comments in 1635:EF about the condition of roads throughout Brandenburg.

  36. Jason says:

    @29 I can understand why your having problems seeing Axel act the way he is and been so far out of his characters and you can say that also you can say hes made some fundamental errors of judgement that probably are not his fault. Since the League of Ostend declared war and the Ram Rebellion the CoC’s have undergone a transformation. If this was the Same CoCs from before the siege of Amsterdam id say 100% Axel would have been right in expecting them to use violence when he made his play. But in the writing they started to change for example Gretchen realized that not all nobleman are sadistic thugs and not all problems need to be beaten with a sword. If I’m remembering right he was in Sweden for untill the congress of Copenhaugen, so he wasnt around to watch it. BUT he was there for operation Krystalnaucht and that reinforced what he already thought of the CoCs as thugs easily goated into doing what he wanted.

    And lets not ignore the fact that he didn’t have a plot ready to go and all he was waiting for was for g2a to die. So we have a character who in the writing going back to 1632 was disdainful of commoners thinking they could set up a republic. Who looked at the CoCs and decided they weren’t a significant opponet. Went to Sweden to keep it for G2A when they League of Ostend came about. Came back to see that he was has been right all along about the CoCs, and finnaly had a opportunity the udue it when G2A got brained. Sun Tzu would chide Axel for not knowing his enemy because the findamental assumption is this is a movement of not too bright overzealous German peasents who are being led around by the nose by certain Uptimers namely Mike Stearns and the FoJP.

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