Sunday, July 03, 2011

Progress at Alcazia

Well. It's nearly 11pm on Sunday night, the weekend is almost done, and I'm not launching my Alcazian venture as I had optimistically thought I might be. It's not that I haven't done anything on the project, I have actually done quite a bit. It's just that there's so much to do!

I've started the new blog but not published any posts beyond a 'test post' while I was playing around with the initial graphic settings (it sure is fun to dive back into that exciting moment of the birth of a blog, with a few year's experience under the belt and a bit more of an idea of what I want to achieve than I had when I started Adelaide Gamer).

I decided to use 'pages' for ready reference materials on the imagined world of Alcazia and its times. I started with a patched 'Alcazia in the Thirties', putting down a brief thematic history of the political geography of the nation. From this, was able to deliniate in two separate pages the basic 'types' of the forces available to the principal factions. From this, a fourth page to outline the broader European scene. Then, a fifth page to act as a political gazeteer, and a sixth to act as glossary and guide to the burgeoning number of groups, individuals, parties, nations and organisations that will interact when the big day comes. As there are only ten pages one can use on the blog (and, face it, ten is a lot), I thought I'd stop at six and allow myself the luxury of keeping four up my sleeve against future needs.

The difficulty I was having was imagineering a location for Alcazia in the 'real' world that didn't push the 'disbelief meter' too high. I was also having a few problems breaking away from the determinism that a reasonably detailed knowledge of the period gives me. Eventually it 'clicked', and I created a 'what if' scenario of continental proportions, elevating the creative principle to the point of creating a new 'Europa' similar to, but not the same as, the Europe of our own 'real' time line.


- The Germanian Revolution of 1919 succeeded and Germania is a Socialist Dictatorship,
- Stalin was not paranoid, there was a right wing coup in Ruska. The monarchy was restored and now international capital is basically in charge of the slave factories, and
- The King did not abdicate in Engaland. Mosley looks certain to win the general election.

Some things haven't changed, however, such as:

- Italia has a long term national front government bent on imperial expansionism,
- Frankia has a weak popular front government and tries to not get involved.

Needless to say, I had great fun thinking up the names of various political parties and international organisations (often so that their acronyms match those historically used so that I can use 'real' photos from the time and paint up roughly historical models).

As I put the finishing touches on the glossary at 3 in the morning, I reflected that I had a lot of work still to do before setting the wheels in motion. Once I get to actually posting onto the Interbellum site I want to spend my time directing the motion, rather than generating it. So there's a bit more work to do. So today I took a breather and went to the football.


Oh, and I've sent off my third turn in the East Front scenario, 'Bloody Odessa', that I am playing pbem. It's been too long since I last played this great game!


I have altered the blogscroll on the left sidebar so that it only shows the blogs with the ten most recent posts. Ironically, this way I can add more blogs to it, without generating a list that is ridiculously long. I have added the following blogs to it:

Defiant Principality - an impressively worked imagi-nation based on the 'what if' scenario that the Catalans gained and kept independence during the Spanish War of Succession.
Campaigns of General William Augustus Pettygree - dashing colonial campaigns.
The Scattergun Gamer - a little like me in that this guy is into lots of things. At present, starting off a late thirties fascist England campaign (this time, Welsh, with cameo role promised for the Anglican League).


John McLintock said...

"- The Germanian Revolution of 1919 succeeded and Germania is a Socialist Dictatorship,
- Stalin was not paranoid, there was a right wing coup in Ruska. The monarchy was restored and now international capital is basically in charge of the slave factories, and
- The King did not abdicate in Engaland. Mosley looks certain to win the general election.

... are interesting.

Some comments for you to mull over as possible tweaks:
1. If by "Socialist Dictatorship" you mean something akin to what happened in the USSR, why did this happen? If the 1919 revolution enjoyed mass popular support then pretty much by defintion it wouldn't be a dictatorship. I'll leave this can of worms here just now.
2. When was the coup in Ruska? This question is all about the Civil War, because the coup strikes me as more plausible before the Bolshevik victory in 1923. There is a handy wee window of opportunity in the period of Lenin's slow decline after his paralysing stroke of March 1923, and before his death in January 1924. Thus there is a short period in which Stalin was effectively at the helm while the Civil War was unresolved.

Like I said, I'm just throwing in some ideas which might help you flesh out your setting. Hope this helps. ;)

Adelaide Gamer said...

Thanks mate. I've been mulling over similar questions myself since I put in my all-nighter but sadly have a head full of snot at the moment so can't think too clearly. The short answers would be as follows, but the long version will have to wait...

1) I'd imagine something like the Spartakas uprising in 1919 actually succeeding, followed of course by reactionary attempt at countercoup and massive repression on behalf of 'the people' to prevent this. From there, standard five year plan set up economically along with bolshevik-like concentration of power into a committee's hands, then the committee games which lead to Der Kamerad becoming the Big Brother of all good socialist germans.

2) I'd like to think that Stalin grabbed the reins much as he did irl, but that Tukachevsky, Kirov and Co managed to somehow get rid of him in pre-emptive strike before the purge of the early thirties. And that's when Anastasia is brought back from her secret exile...

In narrative terms, the idea was to shake things up with the international factors in my SCW analog of the Alcazian Civil War, basically with Russia and Germany swapping roles.

When my head has cleared of snot I'll put a bit more thought into it. Interesting questions though...

Adelaide Gamer said...

Hmmmm. A few more thoughts present themselves to my dazed brain.

Tukachevsky was born into a noble family irl so is a realistic possibilty for aristocratic revivalist on this front (executed irl by stalin in 1937). Kirov irl was assassinated in 1934, was a centre for opposition to Stalinist monopoly on power. Would therefore need to put the coup date before that. Thus, somewhere between (say) 1927 and 1934.

Which would mean that we had a revolutionary leftist state in both Ruska AND Germania in the timelines of the world of Alcazia, at least between 1919 and 1927. This could open up a zillion questions about intervening events, which as interesting as it might be would distract from my ultimate purpose if taken to far. So, I boil it down to one question and, in resolving that, hopefully will set the tone for the other years - and thus explain why, with both a communistic Ruska and Germania, Europa did not go red.

The issue I will use as my 'litmus event' will be the failed invasion of Poland in 1920(?) - (in which Tukachevsky was Ruska's lead general, btw). For argument's sake, I'll say that Germania is in either a state of occupation or revolutionary civil war (I'm not sure how these things will interact) throughout the early twenties so not in the picture. The germanic forces that fought the reds through the revolutionary period will be busy at home, in Alcazia's timeline and all supplies to the white armies through germanian territory will be cut off. Which means that support for the whites will need to be increased through at least one other main route. For arguments sake, I'll say that the Trans-Siberian route is secured by the Czeck Legion, at least sufficiently for intermittent transport of supplies by train.

Bottom line, the civil war ends up roughly as it did irl and, until the coup, things in Ruska go much as they did in Russia.

To keep the Ruskan history flowing, if the NEP (New Economic Plan) was put in place in 1928(?), then it would be nice to have the rightist coup fall somewhere before the next five year plan (ie. pre 1933) so that the new government could actually just roll with the Five Year Plan concept - and thus keep up the trend of heavy industrialisation and production of heavy armour and advanced avionics.

Hmmm. All getting pretty obscure ;)

I'll copy all of this comment thread to the Alcazian blog at some point methinks, once I've worked it a bit more.

Thanks John.

Adelaide Gamer said...

More thoughts on Germania...

The Germanian revolution of 1919 succeeds, but is eventually squashed by intervention of occupation forces in german affairs. At roughly the time of the Ruska-Polish War, however, the peacekeeping role of the occupying allies (ie. their quelling of the people) is becoming soooo unpopular at home that an election is staged shortly after, with a consitution so designed that there are at least annual elections for much of the following decade. Left and Right can battle in the parliament and on the streets much as they did irl.

The difference can be that the Leftists stage the constitutional coup. The resulting dictatorship will be of the 'socialism in one state' variety, rather than the 'liebensraum' type. Basically, I'll dress up the irl national socialists as germanian socialists and, with a few differences, have them act much the same.

I think the key thing will be the reichstag elections of 1931, when I'll have the national socialists support the socialist candidate for chancellor in a move to outflank the conservative and social democratic parties of the centre.

I'm not sure what Germania's equivalent of the burning of the reichstag will be (the point at which dictatorial power is seized). It's relative timing, however, is clear - just after the rightist coup in Ruska. It would fit well.

So, the coup in Ruska should happen 1931-33.

John McLintock said...

Some nice ideas there AG. You're definitely on the right track with rewriting the real-world interaction between events in Germania and Ruska. Making the Polish invasion crucial is also smart. It was one of the Bolsheviks' biggest blunders IMO: "Of course we respect your independence, we're no Great Russian nationalists after all. Oh, BTW, feel the might of our Red Army." Dumb-ass move and no mistake.

You could play Germania out as per Nicaragua in the 80s. That is to say: a successful revolution which builds a popular power base thanks to an alliance between the various Communist factions and the SPD. But the Polish fiasco (whatever Germania's role in that might be, you could make it a fiasco), general instability, and low-level fascist 'insurgency' weary the population, while the SPD shifts right (they can see the way things are shifting elsewhere, eg. with Mosely on the rise in the UK?).

In the end the SPD stage a 'constitutional coup' (again, cf. Nicaragua), form a coalition government with the centre-right, and proceed to restore market confidence. Meanwhile any surviving Reds go into exile. This would be a neat option because then you could have a lot of interesting personalities still hanging around; eg. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, to name but two. The end result would thus be similar to that which actually occured in the USSR: the insurrectionary regime survives in outward form, but is gutted of its radical content.

Just some more off-the-cuff brainstorming for your snot-befuddled noggin. :-D

Adelaide Gamer said...

Phew. I couldn't follow that yesterday, but did today (I'm feeling a lot better after yesterday's nadir). The model you propose would tend to fit, in some ways quite reflective of the post war period (eg, coalition governments, freikorps, etc). I particularly like the idea of the outside sponsored insurgency and will try and work it into the backstory.

Again, I just have to remind myself of the purpose for all of this, which is to provide the backstory to my Alcazian adventure, for fear of getting lost in the ever expanding world(s) of alternate history.

So I perhaps should be directing my attention to the international scenario I want to exist in 1936 and reverse engineer it from there?

John McLintock said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better; sounds like it was a bad 'un.

Reverse-engineering sounds like a good idea, yes. What is the 1936 situation you're after? And I hope you don't feel that I'm being too interfering with all this. It's just that I have a longstanding interest in this period and am hoping that some input will prove helpful to you. Also, I must confess that I'm giving this period some thought because I've got a game idea set in the interwar years. ;)

Adelaide Gamer said...

Hey, no dramas. If it was 'interfering' that would be against the principle of imagi-nations and I'd probably just ignore it. I enjoy the discussion for its own sake. Especially now that I'm on the upwards curve regarding health.

To get a grip on the '36 situation' I'm brewing, perhaps click onto the 'Trouble in Alcazia' link in top of screen and have a look at 'Alcazia in the thirties' and 'Europa in the thirties' page links that I have.

Pardon the unconstructed nature of the site. And aye, it's an interesting period which has a growing following 'out there'.