Sunday, November 9, 2014

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

The Daily Dissembler, Special European Gazette Issue, September 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 continues to regret that this edition of our quality journal is published later than we would like.   We ask that anyone aware of the whereabouts of Mr. Ernest Harrington, former manager of our Rome Bureau, please contact your local constabulary.


 General Paul Von Rennenkapmf, Commander of some Russian Army or another

The Russian War Ministry, which is reported to be in the back of a lorry near Warsaw, reports that the Army Of Romania has recaptured the port and region of Sevastapol, decisively routing Turkish forces in the area.  General Paul Von Rennenkapmf, who masterminded this brilliant stroke, is to be personally awarded the Order of St. Michael and St. George by the Tsar himself, as soon as the Tsar can be moved from his safe location.  The General has also been named Field Marshal of Hoiy Mother Russia.  While autographing copies of his memoir and self-help book, Knout and Lash: A Commander On The Art of Motivation, the Field Marshall boasted that building on this success, he will soon be across the Black Sea and into Constantinople, just as soon as the Black Sea Fleet can be refloated.

Elements , or is it remnants? of the Black Sea Fleet after the Russian liberation of Sevastapol - soon to be refloated?

General Samsonov, currently commander of the Grand Army of Livonia, was asked by our Moscow Bureau Chief if it was true that he would soon cut through Anglo-Turkish lines to link up with General Rennenkampf.  “Hah!” the General exclaimed, spraying our reported with a pieces of caviar.   “I can’t march anywhere until my men get bread.  We’re starving here, the supply chain is a shambles!  Besides, the only thing that fat oaf Rennenkampf wants to link up with is his latest mistress!   Say, you wouldn’t know if any other countries are hiring generals, would you?" 


Sources in Constantiple’s Ministry of Economics report that Italians are forsaking their homelands and heading over the Alps to the more robust economies of Germany and Switzerland, as economies contract across the Mediterranean.

Communiqué from the British and Colonial Home Office

The King is happy to announce the occupation of Moscow by the ANZAC Corps after a successful landing at Gallipoli and subsequent travel by the Orient Express before continuing on a Contiki Bus Tour that lead them to the very doors of the Kremlin.  Unfortunately their luggage was lost in transit and they had to obtain some substitute clothing from a passing retailer of Turkish carpets who did them a good deal in farquary rugs among other things.  Slightly embarrassing, the ANZAC's had to borrow a flag.  It features a white pacman about to swallow a star on a field of red.   
However the King very much regrets the embarrassing rivalry between his Royal Navy and his Royal Army over whether to attend the Kiel Regatta or the at home match of the Holstein Kiel football team.


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

It took some work to find the court of Kaiser Wilhelm.  After getting lost in a series of seemingly identical Silesian villages, my driver was stopped by a patrol of Uhlans, who were none too friendly.  In fact, it rather looked like they were ready to put us up against a tree and shoot us, when a stern voice cried out “Was its los?”   A German officer on a fine bay rescued us from the Uhlans and soon delivered us to the Kaiser’s court, a small table under a grove of trees where the Emperor of the Germans and his generals were plotting their strategy.

Kaiser Wilhelm was a most charming host, and after offering me schnapps and some excellent bratwust and black bread (Ach, madchen, mere soldier’s rations, for I am but a humble soldier, ja?”, I proceeded with the interview.

Q: There are rumours about the Kaiser’s mental health?  Are you quite well, sire?

A: Rumours of ill health concerning the Kaiser be they mental or physical are completely unfounded.  The Kaiser is under treatment by the finest homeopaths in Europe and heartily recommends Oscillococcinum (made only from the finest German duck liver harvested from the banks of the upper Rhine of course) to increase one's manly fortitude.

Q; Some have accused the Kaiser of being a lap dog of Great Britain? How do you respond to these accusations?
A: Corgis rarely make good lap dogs as they are rather too heavy to sit comfortably on one's lap.  The Kaiser recommends a good Dachshund for such purposes.   
Q: Sire, if you are not in league with the British, can you explain the reason why a British Fleet and Army both tried to enter Kiel and bumped each other?

A: Socialist unioinizing trouble makers have been interfering with Britain's compass manufacturing sector,  creating continuing navigational problems for the Royal Navy. Our continued fight against the forces of Bolshevism will only hasten the end of these socialist saboteurs.
Q: What will happen to the German homeland?  Will you try to defend it, or try to build a new Germany in what used to be Russia?
A: The rumours that Kaiser has put an offer in on a small bungalow in Berlin Ontario are completely unfounded as are rumours that he has been approaching other European crown heads for the loan of a pickup-wagon and a few peasants next Saturday in exchange for a keg and bratwurst to be provided for the moving crew.
Q: What are your thoughts on the current balance of power?  Will Italy go to war with Turkey?  Will France come off the fence?

A: Like counting the number of angels on the head of a pin, balancing power is best left to philosophers and theologians.  What happens between Italy and Turkey in the privacy of the Balkans is their own business.  The Kaiser has heard of this new variation on the strange practice of planking.  He considers it, as all things French, to be a silly practice and advises France to stop lazing around on fences and look to her borders.  

To ensure my safety, the Kaiser detailed a handsome young staff officer, Count Seigfried von Seyfried, to escort us on the road to Berlin.  The Count entertained me with his fine baritone voice (who knew Wagner wrote so much!). Fortunately we found a biergarten where I was able to employ a young barmaid to distract the Count while my driver and I hightailed it westwards. I hope soon to be in Paris and to report on the French view of the current hostilities.  Wish me luck! 


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..

Emerging Patterns?

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

The fog of bellicosity that has descended upon Europe these last three and a half years is beginning to clear, as two distinct alliances reveal themselves. I had earlier indicated that Turkey and England might well seek each other out across the war-torn subcontinent. So apparently it has transpired, with the two combining to achieve the fall of Moscow.

That the Turkish captors have been cut off from their supports by a Russian army, defeated in Romania, slinking back into Sevastopol would seem at first sight something of a setback to the Porte - or at least an outcome that would make the capture of Moscow lose some of its savour. Not so. It will not come as any surprise to this writer if by the end of the 1904 year, a stateless Czar will be sojourning in what remains of his empire in Siberia. With help from England and a compliant Germany, Turkey can keep Moscow, and Russia surely can not hold its other possessions. 

Still, miracles have already happened: look at Germany! The peculiar Kiel incident raises some questions. Was England seriously attempting to seize Kiel? Or was it all a pretence? Unopposed, the English army or fleet ought to have strolled into the place, and expanded thereby its hold upon the North European coastline. Mistaken orders, or a ruse? Both are equally possible.

It would seem that otherwise, the accord between England and France is likely to hold for quite some time to come. Neither can really afford a break with the other with central Europe still in a state of flux.

But it must be nearing the time for England and France to pluck the low-hanging fruit that German supply bases so ripely resemble right now. The Kaiser could be offered as a sop the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, at the expense of Russia. The situation around the Baltic and the Rhinelands is looking very tense. The restraints upon the Western powers can not last much longer. France and England resemble right now a pair of salivating Rottweilers, forbidden yet to touch that meat lying under their noses. 

Meanwhile, the accord between Italy and France seems to be holding well. This certainly benefits the Republic, who can devote its energies north of Switzerland. Its Mediterranean fleet may be required,. though, to help Italy against the Turkish fleet, should the Sultan prove - or turn - hostile.

So far, Italy and Turkey have coexisted - even cooperated - amicably enough, but there has been little contention in their aims. One feels that the time must be near that the Sultan will begin to cast his eye towards the Western Mediterranean. But perhaps not yet. I believe that having acquired the Emperor's capital at last, Italy will be commissioning a new unit - my guess would be a fleet - in Rome or Naples. 

For the time being, half of Turkey's fleet is committed to the Black Sea. On the other hand, it appears that the Constantinople Army was not left there for nothing. A seaborne operation could be directed almost anywhere...

I should not be too surprised if great maritime events occur in the Mediterranean during the latter half of 1904. But the fog has not yet dissipated completely...

This day, 1st July 1904

1 comment:

  1. Classic stuff! But what's come of Harrington (and the petty cash)?


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