1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 62

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 62

He had none at all. At least, none beyond the common judgment of all heterosexually-inclined males between the ages of twelve and dead that the woman was extraordinarily attractive.

He’d met her during the course of the Congress of Copenhagen, which she’d attended. Several times, in fact. Once, he’d even been seated next to her at a formal banquet and had discovered, a bit to his surprise, that she was a charming conversationalist as well as a great beauty.

But he’d never thought much about her in any other terms, and certainly not in terms of her qualities as a political leader. Without even really thinking about the matter, he took it for granted that she was a cipher. A wife — hardly the first in history — who was able to attend affairs of state and pose as an important figure solely and simply because of the status of her husband.

Strigel, Spartacus, Achterhof — those were his enemies, now that Stearns himself had been shipped off to Bohemia. And Piazza, of course, but Piazza was tied down in Thuringia-Franconia thanks to the shrewd maneuver with the Bavarians.

Strigel was an administrator, Spartacus was a propagandist, and Achterhof was a thug. A very capable administrator, an often dazzling essayist, and a dangerous thug, to be sure — none of them were men you wanted to take lightly. Still, they moved within certain limits.

Those being, of course, the inherent limits of their anarchic rule.

So, the chancellor of Sweden was frustrated. How was it that chaos had not already spread across the Germanies, as the wild men of the CoCs erupted in fury? Chaos which would require a strong hand to suppress. How was it that entire provinces seemed to have remained perfectly calm and orderly?

Even under the pressure of the Bavarian assault, the SoTF was apparently quite stable. Hesse-Kassel had already announced it was maintaining neutrality in what the landgravine — a most aggravating woman, despite her high birth — chose to call “the current turbulence.” As if the situation was the product of the weather instead of anarchy!

She was influencing Brunswick in that direction, too. That was not particularly surprising, any more than it was surprising that Prince Frederik of Denmark was keeping his province of Westphalia on the sidelines. What Oxenstierna hadn’t expected, though, was to see her attitudes beginning to spread further south. It was as if the Rhine was an infected vein carrying a female disease. Now the acting administrator of the Upper Rhine, Johann Moritz of Nassau-Siegen, was starting to coo like a dove!

Nils Brahe, the Swedish general who doubled as the administrator for the Province of the Main, was insisting that he needed to keep all his troops rather than sending some of them to Banér on the grounds that the French were behaving “suspiciously.” While, at the same time, reporting that his province was orderly and undisturbed by CoC agitators.

Oxenstierna was doubtful that Brahe was telling him the truth. But what was worse was that he didn’t know whether he preferred the truth in the first place. The thought that Brahe might be reporting accurately when he said the CoC was quiescent in the Main was in some ways more disturbing than if they’d been running amok.

Finally, there was the ongoing aggravation produced by General Horn in Swabia. What in the world had possessed Oxenstierna, that he’d ever agreed to let his daughter marry that wretched man? Christina’s death four years earlier had had one beneficial effect: at least her father no longer had to associate socially with his ex-son-in-law. But that wasn’t any help under these circumstances, when the association was necessitated by political and — above all — military realities. Except for Banér’s army at the gates of Dresden and the army Oxenstierna was keeping in reserve here in Berlin, Gustav Horn commanded the most powerful Swedish force in the USE. Being fair, Horn’s claims that he needed them to counter the ever-ambitious Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar had a great deal more substance than the similar claims made by Brahe about the French. Oxenstierna was dubious that the French were behaving “suspiciously,” but he didn’t doubt for a moment that Bernhard was.

Horn, moreover, could also argue that he needed some of his troops to maintain order in Württemberg, which had been restive ever since the dying Duke Eberhard had bequeathed his territory to its people. Oxenstierna took a moment, again, to curse the young man’s shade. Eberhard had been filled with a treasonous spirit, obviously. It was reliably reported that the duke’s former concubine was now one of the leading figures among the Dresden rebels. The chancellor wondered from time to time which of them had infected the other with sedition.

Then there was the Tyrol, about which the less said, the better.

Darmstadt, Province of the Main

Upon the conclusion of the meeting, the delegation from Darmstadt’s Committee of Correspondence was politely ushered to the door by the mayor, the head of the city’s militia and three members of the city council. When they’d left the Rathaus, the militia’s commander finally exploded.

“I hate dealing with those radical swine!”

One of the council members made a face, indicating his full agreement with the sentiment. But the expressions on the faces of the other two councilmen indicated a much more skeptical attitude.

The mayor agreed with them, too. He put a friendly hand on the commander’s shoulder — no feigning involved; the two men were good friends, and cousins to boot — and said: “Look, Gerlach, no one likes having to deal with them. But it’s better than the alternative.”

“I could drive them out of the city — entirely out — inside of a day.” He worked his jaw for a moment. “All right, two days. Maybe three.”

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66 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 62

  1. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Johan, it is not unlikely that Austria will become part of the USE, it won’t happen by the Word Of Eric Flint. [Wink]

    Eric has said elsewhere that the USE will never control all of Europe (or even most of Europe).

  2. dave o says:

    #48 Ed: You are probably right vis-a-vis Austria and the Turks. I have one caveat; Austria currently has a lot of troops deployed in the west, and might decide to knock over Bavaria before they redeploy. But this is relatively unlikely.

    As for the Turks beating Austria, I hope for the opposite. The USE will have enough trouble unifying what they have. And Ferdinand has already decided that his future is in the Balkans. Austria already controls parts of what became Yugoslavia, and they can hardly do much worse in that area than what happened before and after WWI. I would hope they end up controlling the northern part of the western balkans, and perhaps the adriatic littoral and Greece, although Venice could end up with the latter. I can’t even guess what happens to the Danubian principalities (not yet Rumania) and Bulgaria.

  3. Johan says:

    @51 Drak

    Way to snerk there, Drak. ;)

    As I said it’s just something of a fantasy of mine, much in the same way that I want the new Kalmar Union to succeed in becoming a single unified nation somewhere down the line, even though that likely won’t happen within the lifetime of the characters in the 163x-verse.
    I’m not interested in seeing the USE do a French Empire either, that would cross into territory that the Alternate History forums would call “USE wank”. It would just be interesting to see a Germany that is actually completely unified, mainly because it failed to do so in our history. Not counting seven years of Nazi rule of course. Seeing the USE annexing Austria’s Slavonian, Slovakian, Croatian or Hungarian territories is not what I mean when I talk about incorporating Austria. Just the German parts. (And I’m fully aware how much this reasoning sounds like Hitler’s. I take it on faith that people don’t misinterpret it that way.)

    @50 Alan

    I’d also say that Urraca is one the coolest names ever. :)
    And wasn’t the Byzantine Empress Zoë a Regnant? Though I don’t remember the exact years of her rule it was somewhere around the same time as Urraca I believe.

  4. Alan says:

    Urraca was the daughter of Alfonso the Brave, aka Alfonso the Magnanimous, aka Alfonso the Conqueror (fairly well-deserved nicknames) who gets such a rotten press in El poema de mío Cid and the film based on it.

    There were several ruling empresses beginning with Irene the Iconodule, but I was thinking more of Western Europe. I think the Zöe you’re thinking of was one of the regrettable sisters of Basil II Bulgaraktonos (Bulgar-slayer). In Byzantium where an emperor died without male heirs, as Basil did, his widow or sister usually married (sometimes even at her own choice) some important man who then became emperor. Nevertheless several imperial mothers and widows did manage to reign in their own right.

    I could just see the German territories of Austria as a USE province and the non-German lands as Austrian rather than USE possessions, something that had regularly happened in the HRE anyway.

  5. johan says:

    @54 Alan

    That’s one of the scenarios I considered. As with basically all possible scenarios the big variable would be Ferdinand and the Austrian Habsburgs. I just can’t see them acccepting a subservient position to an upstart Protestant Swedish monarch. One other scenario would be that the USE robs Ferdie of all Austrian lands outright and he remains just King of Hungary. The problem there would be irredentist sentiments from the Habsburgs. Though in that scenario the USE would most likely have to prop up the kingdom in defense from the Turks. Perhaps it would be best if the Habsburgs were completely ousted, though I don’t see Spain and the Netherlands being okay with this. Slovakia could then be annexed by Bohemia and Hungary and Slovenia would become either independent or highly autonomous provinces within the USE, sort of like the NUS in the old CPE. When/if the lands of Eastern Europe are “liberated”, shall we say, from the Turks these provinces could join the rest of their regions in new nations.

    @52 dave o

    I don’t know how the ethnic and religious composition of Yugoslavia looks like in 1635 but if the area was unified before separate national sentiments could evolve so that the national identity could evolve to be thoroughly connected with a single state, that could take care of one problem. BTW does anyone know how many muslims live in the region at this time?

    The Danubian principalities are very threatened without the protection of the Turks. The large oil reserves there will only become more important as time passes. There could be a whole lot of fighting over them unless the Voivodes play it smart with their much larger neighbours.

  6. Bret Hooper says:

    @29 Johan: I felt a minor but nagging discomfort with your use of ‘romantization,’ so I checked dictionary.reference.com and found no entry. I think you meant ‘romanticizing.’ But you are to be congratulated: Other than your express statement that Swedish is your native language, that is the first clue that I have found in your writing that you are not a native speaker of English!

    @43 Drak: Thank you.

  7. dave o says:

    #55 The national sentiments in Yugoslavia were always subordinate to the religious ones. Serbia was Othodox, Croatia and Slovenia were Catholic. Before Ferdinand I, I think a fair number of Slovenes were Protestant. I don’t know what Bosnia-Herzegovinia or Montenegro were. Yugoslav nationalism historically derived from Pan-Slavism, which was pushed by imperial russia in a (largely successful) attempt to weaken Austro-Hungary. As nearly as I can tell, none of southern slavs liked any of the others much, pretty much throughout their history.

    The Danubian Principalities look to be surrounded by Poland, if it survives, Russia, or maybe Ruthenia if Wallenstein’s plan works, Turkey, and Austria. Bulgaria the same at one remove. Given that Ruthenia is entirely hypothetical, of the remaining three, domination by Austria seems to me the least toxic. Some of my ancestors came from Poland, others from Russia and none of them had a good word to say about either.

    The real problem for Austria would be if Magyar nationalism followed the same path as after the 1848 revolution,
    But if Austria were oriented eastward, France and Prussia would have no motivation to meddle in Hungary.

  8. johan says:

    @56 Bret Hooper: Thanks for the compliment! I thought I checked “romantization” out on google, but I’ll take your word for it that it’s wrong. I wanted a noun version, there’s a word for it in swedish: “romantisering”, and I thought romanticizing sounds like a verb and the swedish equivalent would then be “romantisera”. Or something. I’m not exactly comfortable talking grammar rules and definitions, language have always been more intuitive to me.

    @57 dave o: That’s what I was afraid of. IIRC the creation of Yugoslavia was more a consequence of territorial promises during WWI and the main Entente members wanting to balance Italian expansion in the region. Maybe it’s better if the Catholics and Orthodox each have their own nation. Perhaps Serbia could merge with the Bulgarian lands. I’ve seen Bulgaria mentioned in wishes to create a “Greater Yugoslavia”, though I don’t know how closely related they are in culture, language etc. AFAIK Bulgaria is directly ruled from Constantinople and not a semi-autonomous principality like the Romanian ones in 1635.
    Ultimately it all depends on Austria’s plans on how to create a lasting multi-ethnic empire. Ferdinand and Janos Drugeth seem acutely aware of what made Austria fail in OTL. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, many of France’s reason for their alliance with the Turks vanish aswell. And with the creation of the KLC and Burgundy France no longer have a direct border with the USE. That combined with the absence of the whole “Rhein is our natural eastern border” from France really frees them up to focus on other things than central and eastern Europe.

  9. Bret Hooper says:

    @58 Johan: In English, the -ing form can be either a verb or a noun, or even an adjective. Verb: “Paula is drinking a soft drink.” Noun, adjective: “drinking is the curse of the working class.” (or “Working is the curse of the drinking class.”
    Linguistics is a particular interest of mine, and altho it is not in my major field (math) I have taken enough graduate linguistics courses to be qualified to teach it at the undergraduate level.

  10. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @52 dave o, you want to give johan credit for the comments about Austria and the Turks, he was responding to me. I wouldn’t mind seeing a general peace between USE, Poland, and Wallensteein sealed by a Sobieski-style crusade to save Austria from the Turks.

    On the prior issue, it wasn’t about who mekes Austrian policy me or the author, of course the author does. It was that (possibly) mixing in Austria *at all*, regardless of what Ferdinand decides, is a complication the USE can do without. One reason (among *several*), I think it unlikely Duke Max will get his by an invasion from Tirol, especailly when the Dresden thing will subside soon (in relative terms) side and then USE has many better options for getting their claws on Max. Sorry if I seemed to be getting dogmatic about it.

    Johan, I quite understand the yen for USE = Greater Germany, but from the beginning it seems that Eric has been writing the alternative history of Bismarck’s ‘little’ Germany, hopefully in a way that does not include all the internal contradictions that turned the Wilhelmine state so readily toward general war. It looks (so far) like this is not the alternate history where we will see a ‘greater germeny solution — I think that one might require intervention a rew centuries earlier, say around 1200.

    Finally, if we are cheering ruling queens (or at least ruling women) I’ll raise one for Aehelflaed of the Mercians and Adelheid of Burgundy and Italy. Just saying the tenth century was a marvellous time. :-)

  11. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    I menat to write ‘a few centuries earlier’

  12. johan says:

    @60 Ed Schoenfeld: I too thought that I would be the “kleindeutsche lösung” until Tyrol joined, which for me came completely out of left field. And my cartophiliac tendency screams at me that right now a “Grossdeutschland” would look good from a purely aesthetic perspective. A big C-shape right in central Europe. That’s the thing with Imperial Germany and Europe back in say 1910. The maps looked so neat und tidy. Very politically incorrect to say, I know. My strategy gaming hobby shines through.

  13. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @62 Strategy gaming indeed. Eric’s timeline is already worth a Diplomacy module, or the obsessive among us could maybe do something with Empires at Arms. :-)

    You are right that the 16xx Tirol differs from OTL Kleindeutschland, but I can see where the borders were already not exact even before Tirol joined — no commission redrawing the Danish/German border, Oldenburg become part of the Netherlands, the Rhine frontier different in a hundred picky ways (though that isn’t over yet), keeping the old provincial borders for Pommern, Wallenstein’s Bohemia, etc.

    The best I can think about Tirol is that Eric somehow wants a contiguous territory between USE and Italy (or whatever will come out of the current mess of multiple popes, Spanish backstabbing, and CoC revolutionary ardor). That would mean Eric is re-doing Garibaldi as well as Bismarck.

    Austria looks like it is going to be much more oriented toward the Balkans, at least if it gets big. I wonder if an early annexation of Bosnia or even Serbia and Bulgaria is in the works if the Turkish war breaks favorably. But my instincts stay with Prinz Eugen in saying Sarajevo is one minaret too far. Are the Habsburg dreams of a Balkan Empire in NTL just so much hot air, and Austria becomes the small country we know now three centuries ahead of schedule?

  14. johan says:

    @63 Ed Schoenfeld: As Ed Piazza said; it doesn’t matter what universe, the Balkans will always be a powderkeg. That’s why I think it best that they get their own nations that can be firmly consolidated before Slavic romanticism rears it’s head. Though this scenario runs the risk of creating a new splintered region replacing the Holy Roman Empire as a playground for the larger powers around it. Thus setting the stage for WWI much earlier ;)

  15. ET1swaw says:

    OTL the Hapsburgs managed to take a chunk of Romania (anti-Hapsburg sentiment partial reason for Ottoman ties), but in the 1630s both Bulgaria and the Odessa area are part of Silstra Eyalet (Ottoman province). Romania is also less than 40 years past conjunction under Michael the Brave. A distinct minority of Germans are present in both.
    I would like to see Ducal Prussia, Swedish Prussia, and A. of Warmia (OTL later included in East Prussia) coalesce into one with a different cultural thrust than in OTL. It could preferably join the USE or remain as an expanded Swedish Dominion. If Wallenstein manages to swallow Ukraine and part of Little Poland, a much diminished PLC may not suffer ‘the Deluge’ and subsequent partitioning (though losses to USE and Bohemia may seem almost as bad).

  16. ET1swaw says:

    The Transdanubian (Romanian) states and Crimean Khanate are vassal states (not part of any eyalet) somewhat comparable to Ducal Prussia (Elector of Brandenburg), Lauenberg and Butowland (willed to G2A), and Duchy of Courland-Semigallia (Kettler dukes) relationship to PLC; probably more comparable to A. of Warmia (younger brother of PLC king) or Duchy of Samogitia (elected Eldership reporting to Grand Duke of Lithuania)relationship.

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