Tuesday, November 4, 2014

News From The Diplomacy Game: Daily Dissembler, Fall 1903 Edition

The Daily Dissembler, Special European Gazette Issue, January 15, 1904

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

A Note to Our Readers
The editorial board of the Daily Dissembler regrets that this edition of our quality journal is published later than we would like.   Unfortunately our attentions were diverted by a sudden need to audit the books of our office in Rome.

 The status of forces in Europe at the end of 1903.

The salons of Rome are agog with the latest developments in ‘De Graspi’s Great Push Northward’!

Rioters in the streets of Vienna in the days before the Communards seized power after the Italian army inexplicably withdrew.

Following the capture of Vienna, it was expected that the former capital of Austro-Hungary would be held as a great prize, but instead de Graspi pushed on to Budapest, leaving only a token garrison.  No surprise then that insurgents have been able to wrest control of the city and pronounced it a Republic under the Red Flag.  These Communards are reported to have declared Dr Freud the former mayor ‘an Enemy of the People’ and executed him.

Along with calls for de Graspi’s replacement following this humiliation, wild rumours are circulating about his reasons for leaving Vienna so prematurely.  Some talk darkly about a lust for conquest and glory, but evidence has come to me of a stranger truth.

A highly-place papal official has confirmed that he was recently contacted by de Graspi regarding certain artefacts held in repositories of the former Holy Roman Empire.  Apparently, among the Czarist spies rounded up in Vienna was a peasant monk, well-known as a mystic in his native Siberia.  Rather than being packed back to St Petersberg in chains, he has become an intimate advisor to de Graspi.   The Monsignor tells me that de Graspi’s letter contained ramblings about the ‘Lance of Longinus’ and the advent of  ‘a New Charlemange who will establish a Truly Holy Roman Empire’.  

De Graspi - Off His Rocker??

The Old Warhorse is finally in his dotage and amazingly, it seems that this madness may also have been behind the Kaiser’s ‘Tuetonic Dash’.  How many find Italian boys will die because of this?  Peace must come now!


The King wishes to announces his deep regrets at the Bolshevik uprisings that are occurring across the great Russian Empire.  The King had thought to warn the Czar, his dear nephew-in-law, of the dangers of his autocratic ways and had felt that the continued abuse of the peasants and serfs would lead to trouble in the long run.  Excessive politeness precluded this advice, but when things became all too obvious, the path to the Czar was blocked by a most unpleasant individual called Rasputin.

The King called upon his nephew the Kaiser to see if he could get through.  The King understands that the Kaiser dispatched Messrs Lenin and Stalin, disciples of the leading social reform thinker, Mr Marx, late of London.  Their efforts seem only to have made things worse.

 As a result it has been necessary for forces of the King to occupy St Petersburg to protect the city from the ravages of the mob and save his niece, Empress Alexandra.  The King was also happy to help protect Sweden, the home of his niece Crown Princess Margaret.

All this protecting has stretched the home resources and the King has called on his loyal subjects in his considerable colonies for further assistance in keeping the peace and the Bolshevik scourge at bay.


Legionaries of the New Roman Empire?

A highly placed source within the Italian Government has claimed that the country’s military is set to recreate the Roman Empire.  Our source indicated that the Civil Government has effectively lost control of the Army and Navy to extremist elements.  “The Generals have become very unpredictable” he told us, “no nation is safe – not even our oldest allies!”

One of the consequences of this great armed expansion is a tight squeeze on the Italian economy.  Posters advertising War Bonds are everywhere one looks.  One wonders how much longer this can go on.

By our Special Correspendent ‘Vlad the Impaled’.


The Russian Royal Family in Happier Times

News just in from Moscow:  In a statement issued yesterday, Czar Nicolas II made it clear that he is still in full control of the country.  “All this nonsense about revolutions is just enemy propaganda” he claimed, adding that “I can’t think of a country where a revolution is less likely!”
We canvassed opinion in the streets of several European cities.

“The Tsar is not treacherous but he is weak. Weakness is not treachery, but it fulfils all its functions.” – W Hohenzollern, Berlin
“There is no justice among men.” – Mr N Romanov, Moscow


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

It has been two months since General Monash’s Colonial Expeditionary Force traced its long and arduous route from Norway across the frozen steppes and into Russia and I have only lately started to feel warm again.   I have travelled on Arctic expeditions with the likes of Perry and Amundsen, and have never been as cold as I was on that long trek.  The sepoys and soldiers from Down Under suffered terribly on the march, but their spirits were indomitable  We were fortunate that the Imperial troops included Canadians from the wilds of the Rockies and trappers from Quebec, who together with our Finnish and Lapplander guides were able to handle the sleds and dog teams that led the way into the Tsar’s capital.   

General Monash’s headquarters have been established in the Winter Palace, which were empty and undefended.   The Imperial Court was gone, though an aged Duchess told us that they were believed to have taken train for the Urals.   It is a pity that the Tsar was gone, for in my meeting with him last year, he expressed an interest in meeting Red Indians.   My bodyguards, courtesy of General Monash, included an Albertan Blackfoot and an American Mohawk, both accomplished marksmen and trackers.   

Of late two dashing cavalry officers of my acquaintance, an Australian major and a Canadian captain, left the capital with an escort of mounted rifles headed south “to talk to some gentlemen”.   When I inquired as to their mission, they winked and merely said “Chaps with turbans.”  I remain mystified by these comments but expect that events will soon reveal their purpose.
I expect shortly to take train for Berlin, in the hopes of getting an interview with another elusive and cryptic leader of Europe, Kaiser Wilhelm. 

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..

taly at the Crossroads.

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

Where to now for Italy? Europe has undergone a major transformation in the last twelvemonth, and Italy has been a major beneficiary of the collapse of the Two Teutonic Reichs. But Italy's besetting strategic problem appears the more starkly. Between even more burgeoning States of France and Turkey, Italy looks set to become... not so much the meat in the sandwich, as the sandwich between the teeth.

Without taking into account the friendships, treaties, alliances, promises and other contractual obligations Italy might feel towards its neighbours, I might make these suggestions to King Victor-Immanuel. First, cement as concrete (if not cast iron) a deal with France as you can to keep the Republic off your back. Guarantee Marseille, promise support in her ambitions in Northern Europe - anything. Then, at once to seize Vienna, and conquer Serbia as well. Do not wait until the fall season: do it now, in the New Years' spring, and then hang on through to the autumn and the end of the year. 

If Germany remains passive (or if she is led to believe French forces might after all invade the Rhinelands and Bavaria (Munich)), an Italian army might simply march into the erstwhile Imperial capital. Meanwhile, the Turkish army in Serbia is completely isolated from all possible support. So the combined operation between the armies in Hungary (Budapest) and Croatia (Trieste) ought to be able without undue difficulty to wrest from the Porte that most valuable Balkan province.

But even such a coup might not be sufficient to place Italy in the position to resist the likely Turkish wrath to come. The Porte's Mediterranean naval presence is enough to give pause to give any potential enemy. So a round of summit talks with Germany and Russia are certainly indicated, but, probably of even greater import, an earnest conversation with England is just about mandatory with the view to a long-term military alliance. It will have to be that strong - a 'non-aggression' deal will simply be meaningless to Italy, and impose no obligation upon England to do anything to Italy's advantage.

As already noted, these observations are contextless except insofar as they might be inferred from the present geopolitical map. Suppose the Vizier and the Prime Minister have already agreed a Treaty of Alliance? Neither will have any present reason to dishonour it. So Italy might find a working alliance with Britain simply unreachable. So much is uncertain.

Equally uncertain is the attitude of France. Nevertheless, it seems to this writer that the time has come for Italy to choose its course, choose it now, and pursue it with all vigour. There will be no going back. Like many observers, punits and commentators, I shall be watching with interest the future fortunes of the Italian Kingdom.

This day: 1 January, 1904.

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