Friday, October 17, 2014

What Started Here?


Madame Padre and I just got back from a week in West Virginia, where we rented a place and visited with her in-laws, which was surprisingly pleasant.   We managed a few day trips.   I am off to a conference in Ottawa in minutes and I have more photos of this place which I’ll post when I get back.  For extra marks, can you identify this place, the event represented by this marker, and the significance of it all?  Clue:  regular readers of this blog will know it’s a period close to my heart (and will infer that it’s somewhere within driving distance of W. Virginia).


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Daily Dissembler, Spring 1903: Your Trusted Source For News From An Imaginary Europe

The Daily Dissembler, Special European Gazette Issue, August 15, 1903

We make sense of a complicated, far-off world so you, dear reader, can enjoy the Gilded Age.



General Sir John Monash, Answering the Call

A second British Army has now landed on the Continent, challenging ideas that England is content to be just a naval power.  The Imperial Expeditionary Force, commanded by Australia’s Sir John Monash, consists of soldiers from Canada, South Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand.   As we go to press, news arrives that they have successfully landed in Oslo and secured Norway, with detachments on their way by dog-sled and elk-drawn sleighs to the northern border with Russia.  While some of these soldiers from warmer climes were surprised to be finding themselves in frigid Norway, they have accepted their duty with the sturdy, simple, dog-like devotion that characterizes the best scions of England’s far-flung domains.   As Colonel Sterling Moose, the commander of the Strathcona Mounted Rifles (Alberta’s Best), some with snow still on their boots, told the Dissembler, “It’s all rather complicated for Colonials to discuss, but it’s much too high and mighty to ignore.  If it’s good enough for England, it’s good enough for us, so we colonial boys are lining up for war."


The Russian government today issued a statement on the recent happenings in Rumania.
"This was a carefully planned relocation of our forces in line with a long standing agreement with Turkey.  As as well known in the world, the Czar never goes back on a promise."

When asked for comments, a number of European governments expressed doubts about the second part of this statement.
The Czar went on to claim that "our forces are being moved further north to deal with the real enemy...."

By “Franz Ferdinand"


All calm in the Balkans!  Our on-location reporter 'Elgar' tells us that all is now quiet in the Balkan territories of the apparently resurgent Ottoman Empire.  According to sources in the Turkish Military, the battle for Romania was sparked off by a "popular uprising" amount the local population who requested the support of the Sultan's Armies in "throwing off the shackles of the Russian occupation."

Several eyewitnesses reported Russian troops "fleeing in terror" as the Sultan's forces advanced almost unapposed.

Russian prisoners of war taken near Bucharest by Turkish forces.


Our Man Ernest Harrison reports.

[Note to Ed – Bill if things don’t turn out this way run my other article ‘Ministry Calls for Inquiry as Navy Lets Italy Down Again!”]

Sources close to the Foreign Ministry [Bill, send £5,000 dollars, establish an account for me with the best Parisian milliners and a set up subscription to the Boston Woman’s Weekly] tell me that a dossier reputing to contain secret negotiations between the Ottoman and Russian Empires recently arrived in Rome.  The aim of these negotiations was supposedly to establish a cease-fire between the Empires, so that the Turks might attack Italy.  

Despite initial consternation (readers will remember that the Foreign Minister suddenly cancelled his visit to the Bey of Tunis), the reports were quickly dismissed by the Admiralty.  One recently retired admiral told this reporter “This is a load of nonsense!  Those dimwits in the War Ministry might believe such things, but we have a good relationship with the Ottomans – I’ve had my share of Turkish Delight, if you know what I mean, narf, narf!”

Bolstered by naval assurances, the dodgy dossier was immediately dispatched to Constantinople.  “You see” my Foreign Ministry source pointed out, “the fact that the Russians have done this plays into our hands: if it’s true, we can show the Sultan that he has been betrayed; if it’s not it just goes to show the Sultan that the Ruskies are a load of bungling bodgers.”

Wider Implications?

 The real concern in the Ministry is who else the Russians might have sent dossiers to, and what they contained.  “We have good reason to believe that London is receiving this stuff, but what about Paris?  If the Czar is behind the deployment of a fresh fleet in Marseilles, it could mean trouble – after all if we and the French start facing off he has less competition in Central Europe.  No, the sooner the Czar stops playing at puppet-master the better!  Someone might just have to go and cut his strings!”



Story filed by the Daily Dissember’s own Miss Amelia Roosevelt, Intrepid Girl Reporter and niece of the Vice President.

It was not without adventure that I made my way from St. Petersburg to London this fall. My first hurdle was a request from the Italian authorities to detain me, since Count de Graspi, who my sources tell me may soon be Italy’s Commander in Chief, had informed the Russians that I was wanted for “extensive close questioning” with regard to “unfinished business”.   However, thanks to my acquaintance with the young wife of the Tsar’s chief of intelligence, Duchess Molotova Smoulderina, I was able to have this request delayed until I was safely on a British steamer.   Apparently the Duchess is more than familiar with Count de Graspi, and her acquaintance with him dates from when she was an actress in Rome.  She was thus able to persuade her husband that the Count’s request had more to do with matters of the heart than with matters of state.
A further hurdle was an encounter with the Russian Fleet as we were making our way through the Baltic.   A Russian destroyer came alongside, and despite our Captain’s protests, insisted on sending a boarding party aboard to make sure that all papers and cargo were in order.  A Royal Navy officer aboard my steamer, Captain Clive Whickker-Baskett, returning to England after his duty as a military attache, told me that he feared relations between England and Russia might be taking a turn for the worse.  It was a relief to arrive in Copenhagen, where the British flag was flying, and to find the city prosperous and orderly.  From Copenhagen an American steamer took me safely to London, where the newspapers are confident in future British successes on the continent.
Sadly the King was unable to meet with me, and expressed his regret.  The Palace did however give me an interview with Lord Lansdowne, the British Foreign Secretary.  He was a most courteous and knowledgeable gentleman.  I thanked him for his time and he told me that “All of England followed my adventures with great interest.  In fact, young lady, a popular novelist has published an ongoing series of stories in the weekly papers, loosely based on your adventures and entitled "The Perils of Amelia".   While I do not read themselves myself, due to their somewhat risqué character, they are said to be popular with the working classes."
I asked Lord Lansdowne about the role of the King in the current crisis.
"King Edward VII's main interests are in the fields of foreign affairs and naval and military matters.  He is fluent in French and German, and has made a number of visits abroad.  While he usually takes his annual holidays in Biarritz and Marienbad recently he has been looking at visiting his brother-in-law, King Frederick VIII, in Denmark and his son-in-law, King Haakon VII, in Norway who have recently placed themselves under British protection.   One of his most important foreign trips was an official visit to France in May 1903 as the guest of President Émile Loubet. Later he hopes to visit the Pope in Rome to further create a cordial atmosphere for the European powers and seek an agreement delineating colonies in North Africa, and hopefully ruling out any future war between affected countries.
What of King Edward’s special relationship with the German Kaiser?    King Edward likes to think of himself as the "Uncle of Europe" and has been trying to resolve difficulties faced by his dear nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm.  A key aspect of this has been fleet modernisation and his majesty was most pleased to see the Kaiser embrace the first step in modernising his fleet by the recent scrapping of a number of obsolete battleships in the Baltic.  Some Russian scrap iron dealers, the King understands, have made a late bid for the ships, but are believed to be dismayed that the iron had already been acquired by German munitions factories."
What troubles the King about the current situation?  "The King is troubled by the Russo-Japanese War and its unsettling effect on the colonies, past and present.  This coming so soon after the unpleasant business with the Boers has been resolved is most unfortunate.   The King feels the colonies are often over looked and indeed cannot even be found on the map these days."
A week after my interview with Lord Lansdowne, I was invited by a friend in the War Office to travel to Plymouth, where a large contingent of soldiers from the Colonies were arriving to swell the British forces.    I was thrilled to see many strapping Sikhs, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders arriving, and to note their patriotic reception by the local populace.  As I finish this dispatch, I have been informed that the Commander of the Imperial Expeditionary Force, General Monash, has asked me to join the Force as an “embedded reporter” (I am not sure what that term means, exactly) to come and “see how we colonial boys do things.”  I expect that my next dispatch will be from Scandinavia.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Diplomacy Game: Spring 1903 Results

Some interesting developments occurred in the fifth turn of our Diplomacy game.

Russia’s position has taken a turn for the worse as Turkey has turned its cannons north.   The Russian Army in Rumania has been forced out by three Turkish units and has to retreat north to Ukraine (or be disbanded - Russian player’s choice but the retreat seems a no-brainer.  

Germany’s enigmatic foreign policy has contributed to Russia’s setbacks as the German army in Bohemia tips the balance in giving Italy the keys to Vienna.   England’s second army now makes its appearance on the continent.   France and Italy continue to advance their interests in the south of Europe.    

More analysis coming in the next Daily Dissembler.

Results for Spring, 1903 (Movement)
General Notices:
Order resolution completed on 13-Oct-2014 at 08:11:07 EDT

Order Results:

Austria: The Army in Vienna cannot retreat; unit destroyed.

No order for unit at Vienna. Hold order assigned.  Austria:
A vie Holds  Dislodged from tyr (3 against 1). 


England:  England: A den Holds   England: F hel Supports A den  England: A lon -nwy

Convoy path taken: lon- nth- nwy. 
England: F nth Convoys A lon - nwy  England: F ska Supports A lon -nwy


France: A bel Holds  France: A bur Holds  France: F hol Holds  

France: F mar - lyo  France: A par - pic;  France: A por - spa


Germany: A boh Supports A tyr -vie;  Germany: A kie - ber;

Germany: A sil - gal;  Failed because Russia: A gal - vie failed. 


Italy: A tri Supports A tyr - vie;  Italy: F tun -tys;  Italy: A tus -pie;

Italy: A tyr -vie;  Italy: A ven -tyr


Russia: A bud Supports A gal - vie; Russia: A gal -vie Failed. 

Russia: A mos -war; Failed because Russia: A war -sil failed. 

Russia: A rum Holds; Dislodged from bul (3 against 1).  A Gal has only one retreat option, to Ukr.

Russia: F sev Holds; Russia: F swe - bal;  

Russia: A war -sil  Failed because Germany: A sil - gal failed. 


Turkey: F aeg - con; Turkey: A ank - arm;  

Turkey: F bla  Supports A bul - rum; Turkey: A bul -rum;

Turkey: F gre Holds; Turkey: A ser Supports A bul - rum


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Men of Gondor

“Men of Gondor” makes me think of a patriotic song in an ancient tongue of Men to the tune of “Men of Harlech”, to be sung from the ramparts of Osgiliath while the hordes of Mordor approach.   But I digress.
I’m on holiday with Madame Padre this week, but have some images on iCloud that I haven’t posted yet.   Here are four figures from GW’s LOTR range.  The middle two are from the “Gondorian Command” blister, and the two identical fellows with bows and swords are the “Beregond” figure, who will make a great captain of archers figure.   One is a prize from my blog competition this spring, which is for Baconfat if he ever wants to tell me how to get it to him.  Since I was painting one Gondorian, I thought I might as well paint the others in my lead pile.

A very simple palette, really.    I used Citadel Chainmail for the armour, then a wash of black ink, then picked out the highlights, edges and embossed tree on the breastplates with Citadel Mithril Silver.  I simply used a dark blue for the cloaks and tunics, with a medium blue dry brush.

 And here’s the sum total of my Gondorian army to date:  the command group, one Beregond figure, and the three figures from the Osgiliiath veterans blister.   I have a whack of plastic Gondorians still to paint, but this is a start.

These figures bring my 2014 totals to:
28mm Mounted: 13, 28mm Foot: 42, 28mm Artillery: 1; 28mm terrain pieces: 9.
20mm Foot: 33, 20mm Artillery: 2, 20mm Vehicles: 2, 20mm Terrain Pieces: 2
15mm Vehicles: 5, 15mm Foot: 26, 15mm Terrain Pieces: 3
6mm Foot:  120, 6mm vehicles: 4, 6mm Terrain Pieces: 2
Kilometres Run: 946

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On His Way To Sweden

Back in late April I announced some prizes and I am slowly delivering on them.   I’m not proud of my tardiness, but I note in my defence that I didn’t promise a delivery date.  I know, what a weasel I am.
This rugged adventurer from Bob Murch’s Pulp Figures is on his way to Joakim Strom, the Miniatures Man.  Joakim is just starting a pulp project, so I am sure this fellow will get some two-fisted action before too long.  Enjoy him, Joakim.

Diplomacy Game: Fall 1902 Adjustments Are Complete

Here are the results at the end of the F1902 Adjustment Phase, with a summary of builds:


Results for Fall, 1902 (Adjustment)

General Notices:
Order resolution completed on 08-Oct-2014 at 10:30:02 EDT

Order Results:  Austria:

England: England: Builds A lon

France: France: Builds F marFrance: Builds A par

Germany: Germany: Removes F bal

Italy: Italy: Builds A ven

Russia:Russia: Builds A war

Turkey: Turkey: Builds A ank

.General Erasmus Blatt is a better judge of these things than I am, but here are some quick comments.

England surprised me by building an Army rather than a Fleet.

France is hedging its bets between naval and land policy and holds the balance of power in the West.  

Turkey’s new Army in Ankara should give the Russians pause for though, although Sev is safe for the moment.  On the other hand, Russia’s build of an Army in Warsaw shows that it wants to be a serious player in the battle for the remnants of the Austrian empire and for a share of the Balkans.   I don’t see how long-term peace between Russia and Turkey is possible at this rate.

Italy’s build of an Army in Venice is also surprising and shows that it has, with some justification, trust in France and Turkey, though with only one fleet in Tunis,  Italy has to be watching the waters east and west with some trepidation.

While Germany bids adieu to being a sea power, it has two armies concentrated in the east and could be a definite spoiler.

Let the Spring 1903 turn begin!  Hopefully we can get all orders in by Saturday midnight my time, but I want to leave some time for diplomacy.   I’m sure there will be a lot of it.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall 1902 Daily Dissembler: Your Trusted Source For News Of An Imaginary Europe

The Daily Dissembler, Special European Gazette Issue, October 15, 1902
We make sense of a complicated, far-off world so you, dear reader, can enjoy the Gilded Age.

Shocking news has reached us of the collapse of civil order in Austria.    Following the Siege of Budapest by the Russian Armies of General Samsonov, secret documents were captured confirming the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne and commander of the Austrian army.   The Archduke was killed this spring during fighting in Galicia and his death was kept secret by the Hapsburg regime.   However, as the Emperor brooded on his son’s death, his interest in affairs of state grew less, and his seclusion increased, leaving his generals and diplomats without direction.   Reports from Vienna indicate that the city is divided, with some neighbourhoods under control of workers' committees while others are still controlled by loyal army regiments.   The acting mayor of Vienna, Dr. Sigmund Freud, has appealed to the various European powers to treat Vienna as an Open City.  “To violate this innocent city,” Mayor Freud told the press, “would be an act showing primal aggression and unresolved conflicts from childhood.”  When asked if Count de Graspi, the Lion of Trieste, was being asked to come to the rescue of the Viennese, Acting Mayor Freud merely said, “De Graspi is indeed a fascinating case."


Austrian naval units moored in Athens and other Greek harbours have run up the red flag of revolt.   Some captains and more detested officers have reportedly been thrown overboard and have had to swim for it.   When the Turkish flagship Mejidye anchored off Athens last week, there was no resistance.   When news of the mutiny first broke, the Greek government of national liberation assumed control of the Austrian ships , but shortly relinquished them to the Turkish Governor, along with everything else, and then were escorted to prison after the Governor’s swearing-in ceremony.  If anyone in Greece saw anything positive about the arrival of the new masters, it was the head of the Greek Olympic Committee, who said “Well, at least now we don’t have to worry about the bills for Franz Joseph Stadplatz (since renamed Sultan And-al-Hamid II Stadium - eds) we’ve just completed.  You can send the bills to the Sultan."

The Austrian fleet at anchor off Athens, just before the mutiny.


General Samsonov is Russia’s hero of the hour after Austria’s Army of the Vistula surrendered to his forces after a one month siege of Budapest.   Here we see a photograph of Austrian prisoners of war beginning their long journey to Siberia.   General Rennenkampf, commander of Army Group Warsaw, complained publicly that his soldiers deserve credit for the victory.   “That dolt Samsonov couldn’t encircle a chamberpot with his fat arse without his staff to help him.   I should receive the Order of St. Michael, not him.”  Possibly General Rennenkampf will have the good fotune to secure Vienna, if the Italians do not beat him to it, but will the Turks let this be merely a two-man race or do they harbour their ancient memories of once besieging Vienna?


For the last month, rumours have been circulating in Berlin about the Kaiser.  The German government has vigorously denied the “scurrilous lies in the socialist press that His Excellency was recently seen wandering through Austria in his undergarments”.  
  Our Berlin correspondent, Maxwell von Haus, sends this report, which we consider trustworthy.  "On hearing of the collapse of Austria, Kaiser Wilhelm was heard to shout "Nein, nein, nein, nein, nein!"  Later that morning he was photographed on the steps of Marienburg Castle dressed in full medieval plate  with the surcoat of the Teutonic Order.  He mounted a white charger and rode off in an easterly direction. Shortly thereafter he was followed by a long supply train loaded with the finest food wine and beer as well as luxury field accommodations."
This news may explain something that has baffled military commentators, namely the sudden eastward turn of the Germany armies.

Our staff cartoonist’s view of the Kaiser’s “pivot to the east”.


Troops of the Royal Marines were the first to land in Copenhagen earlier this month.    In a complex operation supported by overwhelming firepower from the Royal Navy, the Marines led the way, taking the major points of the city without a shot being fired.   Expected resistance from the German High Seas Fleet melted away as Admiral Tirpitz had raised steam and sailed eastwards into the Baltic the week before.  Martin Munk, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, breathed a sigh of relief.   “I’ve been assured that they’re just here for the football.   German, English, it’s all the same to us, they’re all good for business.  Not as good as the French navy is to the Dutch, I hear, but pretty good.”  In the weeks since, the rest of the British Expeditionary Force landed and moved south, taking up positions on the border of Schleswig-Holstein.  Will that mean a fight with Germany?

Danish crowds cheer the arrival of the Royal Marines in Copenhagen. 

In other news from London, the British Foreign Office cabled today that it announces the end of the Boer War and acknowledges the role and support given by the Dutch in achieving this settlement and wishes them well for the future.  Shelling commences in five minutes.  (Ed - are you sure about that last bit?)

 By Our Man in Rome – Ernest Harrington

With the situation in Central Europe deteriorating it seems certain that di Rossi, the current Foreign Minister, will accede to the premiership.  What then of de Graspi, his father-in-law, who for many has come to personalise the War Party?  Many are calling for him to be appointed Minister for War.  My sources, however [Note to ed – send more cigars, tinned pineapples and maple syrup], tell me that di Rossi is likely to bow to de Graspi’s own desire for a field command -possibly as Commando .  How this will affect policy or not, is uncertain, but what is clear is that we are headed for a Great Northern War.

 Count De Graspi
De Graspi himself has refused to comment on the likely change of government.  Currently on a ‘popular lecture tour’ of the Eastern United States he recently gave the following statement to the Boston Women’s Weekly – “Whatever position I adopt, I assure you my resolve will be stiff.  Italy calls and I shall return!”
There is wind in the old warhorse yet, it seems...

A Journey to St. Petersburg and a Meeting With The Tsar

Story filed by the Daily Dissember’s own Miss Amelia Roosevelt, Intrepid Girl Reporter and niece of the Vice President.
It proved very difficult for me to leave the Hotel Trieste this spring.   While my charming host, Count di Graspi, did not tell me in so many words that I was a prisoner, I came to feel that I was under a kind of house arrest.  It was with thanks to the Maitre d’Hotel, Monsieur Gustave, that I was able to “check out” by means of being hidden in a laundry van, thus eluding the charming (and rather familiar) officer appointed by the Count as “my minder”.  Thanks to M. Gustave, I was able to travel in the company of a cheese importer, Herr Finkel (by appointment to the House of Hapsburg), who had received permission to travel through the lines to Vienna, and was able to disguise myself as a young land in his employ.  From there, after some choice words with the assistant to the US ambassador in Vienna, who did not perceive my true identity, I was able to secure assistance, new clothes, and a visa to Germany and from there a train to St. Petersburg.    Most Russian trains, and there are relatively few of them, are employed on the Galician Front, and so my car was crowded with soldiers, old women, chickens in crates, sacks of onions and clouds of mahorka tobacco.  Two Cossack officers appointed themselves as my bodyguards and were very gallant.   One told me he has a cousin in Chicago, but sad to say, I had to inform him that I did not have the honour of this gentleman’s appearance.
After several months of repeated visits to various Ministries, Equerries, Aides de Camp, and other dignitaries, I finally secured an appointment for an audience with Tsar Nicholas.   I prepared a list of questions, and submitted them to somebody (a Grand Chamberlain, perhaps?) to have them checked for “protocol”.  The day came and I presented myself at the Alexander Palace, passing through a series of ornate rooms, and waited in a type of salon for at least an hour before I was shown into the Tsar’s study.   Tsar Nicholas is a slight man, not tall by the standards of American men, but possessed of large and piercing blue eyes, which stared at me for some time and blinked, owlishly, as he stroke his luxuriant moustache, somewhat nervously, I thought.   I stammered through my questions, which were I believe translated to the Tsar, who remained silent.   Finally, he said something which was translated as a question, “Had I seen any American red Indians?”  A few, I mentioned, while travelling in the West with my uncle.  The Tsar nodded, then stood, bowed, and left the room.  I confess I know nothing more about Russian policy and ambitions than I did before, but after speaking to several military attaches in the city, I gather that I am no more ignorant on this subject than anyone else.  Russia’s ambitions will continue to be a mystery until they are revealed.
I hope to file again after I take ship for England and speak, I hope, to the King about the British view of things.

Insightful commentary on the European situation by General Sir Erasmus Blatt (ret), geo-political and military correspondent for the Rioters News Agency, on contract to the Daily Dissembler..

The Demise of the House of Hapsburg.

A commentary by General Sir Erasmus Blatt, geo-political and military correspondent for the Rioters News Agency.

It was not long in coming: the last of the Hapsburg Emperors, his Imperium reduced to the environs of Vienna itself; his fleet scuttled, captured or interned; his armies reduced to little more than a personal bodyguard; is no longer Emperor. A rump government remains in Vienna barely retaining any governance over the street mobs.

The main beneficiaries have been Russia and Italy, who have carved up the Empire between them. Which of the two will take Vienna? One thing is certain: the Kaiser will not be sharing the spoils. And how is Turkey placed?

The crumbs at the feast have certainly been plentiful and sustaining, for the Sultan is now master of the Balkans, barring Romania, and has a very considerable naval presence in the eastern half of the Mediterranean Sea into the bargain. But it is becoming clear to your correspondent that as the Hapsburg provinces are to be shared between Victor-Emmanuel and Nikolai II, Abdul Hamid will find himself with no further expansion possible without he attacks one or other of his erstwhile allies. That is supposing, of course, that there was an alliance between Italy, Turkey and Russia.

So expect a "falling out among thieves" by at least the Fall of 1903, as Turkey joins with Italy against Russia, or with Russia against Italy. At that, I should not be astonished if in the coming months the Grand Vizier of the Porte were to pay court to the Queen in London, with the view to securing a long-term deal with the United Kingdom.

In the West the Anglo-French detente has reaped rich rewards for both partners, and this looks likely to continue. As Spain will fall like ripe fruit into its own lap, the Republic can afford to see England capture the German main naval base at Kiel. At the end of 1903, the 13 units the Detente can command between them will be poised to sweep past Switzerland into eastern Europe. The Kaiser is on borrowed time - borrowed at a heavy rate of interest, at that.

Such a prospect - caught between an eastward expanding Detente, and the Porte seeking to expand westward, must give the King of Italy and the Tsar some pause (The Kaiser must know already that the game is up for him - if he can swing any kind of lasting deal at all, it would be would be a master-stroke of diplomacy. Some fast talking with Russia and Italy might yet give him hope to survive a little longer, though even then it would be as Uriah the Hittite, in the forefront of the battle). Powerful in the south, the Russian Empire is looking decidedly vulnerable in the north. Placed as it is, Italy has for the moment little to fear from France (though the recent commissioning of the Mediterranean Fleet in Marseille must surely be making Victor-Emmanuel feel a little bit thoughtful), but the powerful Turkish Navy might well be very concerning.

Quite what the future holds, this writer hesitates to state with absolute certainty. But if it transpires that a Triple Alliance of Britain, France and Turkey develops against Russia and Italy together, this should surprise no one. Germany will be dismembered 'en passant.' But an alternative, if much less likely, scenario is possible: South against North. That would be an alliance of France, Italy and Turkey, possibly with Germany as hostage, against Russia and England. As I say: unlikely, for such an alliance would necessarily be a fragile one. For one thing, the Anglo-Gallican Detente is so obviously in the interests of both partners, for the coming year or two at least, that it would be more than a bold decision to forego it in pursuit of more tenuous accords.

31 December 1902.

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