The Three Kings; a Serbian Kaiserreich AAR

Published: 2017-06-16, edited: 2017-06-16
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"Austrian forces only managed to occupy Serbia itself in late 1915 and only then because of the entrance of Bulgaria in the war. After the war, Serbia’s southern territories were handed over to Bulgaria whilst the remainder was kept under Austrian occupation until 1926 when the Austrians were forced to withdraw their troops due to ethnic tensions elsewhere in the Empire - but only after setting up a new government formed from ex-collaborators. Since then Serbia has struggled to survive keeping a low profile in light of the knowledge that she could not stand up to any sort of military attack. Over time however the government has become increasingly anti-Austrian and jingoistic and knowing that they could not hope to defeat Austria they have instead turned their attentions southwards towards the lands occupied by Bulgaria. Several diplomatic talks have already been conducted with the Romanian and Greek governments (who also lost territory to Bulgaria) with a view to undermining Bulgarian hegemony in the region and some say talk of a formal alliance is not far off. Can Serbia successfully steer a course to triumph in the ‘Bulgarian Matter’? And if so can she finally defeat the old enemy Austria and realise her dream of a pan-Slavic Union?" - Taken directly from Kaiserreich

Part of the campaign:

The Three Kings; a Serbian Kaiserreich AAR

In which we attempt to restore something resembling pride to our ruined nation.
It has now been 15 years since the Weltkrieg ended in a victory for the Central Powers. More than ten million people lost their lives in the war and its shadow still lingers over Europe today. The European political landscape is dominated by two major power blocs; Mitteleuropa and the International.
The German Empire is the world's sole superpower and it leads Mitteleuropa, an alliance of German puppet states that are economically dependent on their Hohenzollern masters. Germany controls enormous swaths of land in Africa and Asia and it has essentially usurped the old British Empire's Place in the Sun. Germany's new world order has meant that almost all independent states are part of Germany's sphere of influence. Regardless of this, German hegemony has brought a great deal of stability to the world but stability naturally prevents change which puts some at odds with them...
Following their defeat, the Triple Entente fell into revolution leading to France and Britain falling to Syndicalist revolution. Feelings of revanchism run high in both the Union of Britain and the French Commune leading to many to speculate that the war-mongerers will cast Europe into yet another Weltkrieg.
Russia almost also fell to revolution however a quick intervention by the German Empire saved the Empire from collapse. Now Russia is a very unstable democracy.
Despite their victory in the Weltkrieg, the oppressive Habsburg Empire almost fell into civil war due to ethnic strife and gross incompetence. Following German mediation, the Empire agreed to heavily decentralise itself in the 1927 Ausgleich leading to Austria losing its position as a Great Power.
But make no mistake; Austria is still a formidable regional power with a large degree of control over its puppet states. Some suspect that next year's 1937 Ausgleich will attempt to reunify the Empire and permit it to oppress the minor powers of Europe yet again.
This leaves our ruined state, Serbia. In the Weltkrieg we endured over 700,000 casualties representing 57% of our pre-war male population and 25% of our overall population. We were forced to transfer a substantial amount of our territory to our neighbours and we had to accept sole blame for starting the war. As a final humiliation, we were placed under Austrian occupation until 1926 where then ex-collaborators were given control over our rump state. Despite all this the flame of Serbian pride still flickers in the darkness as we shall never give up on our dream of liberating the Slavic peoples of the Balkans from foreign oppression in order to bring them into a unitary, pan-Slavic state. When you have hit rock bottom, things can only improve.
Our state is led by the old field marshal Petar Bojovic who was put into power by our Austrian enemies. Bojovic is a pragmatic leader who has kept Serbia from falling into further conflict with her neighbours. He is also well aware of his illegitimacy however for the foreseeable future, he shall be the man that will guide our state.
We are one of the most backward states in Europe with most of our agricultural and industrial practices being outdated by nearly a decade. Our initial priority for the new year is to improve agricultural and industrial production.
Our small military is in no better of a state. We lag behind in almost all new military developments but most importantly in artillery. Artillery was what won the Weltkrieg so we most improve in this area if we want to modernise our army. Some nations have begun to develop increasingly powerful armoured vehicles however such contraptions are far beyond our industrial capacity.
Currently we field 8 divisions which have all been assembled in our Capital. They all are in dire need of modernising and many are under strength. There is a long road ahead to reasserting our might in the region.
Our main enemy in the Balkans is the Kingdom of Bulgaria ruled by Czar Boris III. Bulgaria backstabbed us during the Weltkrieg which led to our defeat at the hands of the Austrians. Bulgaria annexed numerous provinces from its neighbours after its victory in the Weltkrieg with the most important being the region of South Serbia around the city of Skopje. Our greatest wish is vengeance against the Bulgarian warmongers!
South of Bulgaria lies our good friend the Kingdom of Greece under the rule of George II. Greece was forced to give Macedonia to the Bulgarians and Korfu to the Austrians. Finally Crete was given to the German Empire and various small islands were given to the Ottoman Empire. Greece finds itself in a very similar position to ourselves which has led to a budding friendship between our two states.
To our east is the totalitarian state of Romania. Romania has found itself under the firm control of the Iron Guard Legion led by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu. The Iron Guard are an extremist nationalist, antisemitic and xenophobic party that seized control from the legitimate King of Romania in 1929. While they claim to not hate us as much as other foreigners, we have some major reservations regarding the brutality of their regime.
The Iron Guard publicly claim Transylvania and other parts of Hungary as their rightful territory. They also share our hatred against the Bulgarians to the south due to their annexation of the once Romanian province of Dobrich.
Lastly there is our oldest enemy the Ottoman Empire to the East. Nicknamed "The Terminally Ill Man of Europe", the Empire was brought to its knees by the Weltkrieg. Now, recent developments in Arab nationalism have further crippled the Empire.
In an effort to improve our pitiful military, we focus our industry on upgrading our army's equipment to more modern standards.
Many divisions are using weaponry from the Weltkrieg or even older so this is an early priority for us.
Kicking off the new year our Romanian neighbours break the Bucharest Treaty of 1918 which forbids them from occupying Oltenia near the Hungarian border. If the Romanians keep this up, we could face a German crackdown in the Balkans which is the last thing we need.
Six days into the new year, a military coup takes place in Russia, our old ally. Capitalising on the assassination of the president, Kornilov seizes control and makes his second in command the ultra-nationalistic Savinkov. Russia is becoming highly nationalistic, so perhaps they will be willing to help out their follow Slavs over here in Serbia?
Bosnia is home to a significant number of our Slavic brothers which we had planned to unify with had we won the Weltkrieg. In Bosnia all agricultural land is owned by a Muslim elite, leaving Serbs and Croats to work as landless day labourers. The Bosnian government today refused to reform this system after mass protests which we may be able to capitalise on in due time.
The World's economy has been in a slump for a while now, but on the 3rd of February, disaster struck. The German Berlin Stock exchange went into a freefall as investors began to panic sell. This could be really, really bad...
The wave of economic chaos soon hits the Habsburg empire to the north...
But most importantly, Bosnia becomes crippled by the economic crisis. Combined with their refusal to reform fairly distribute land in the country, we may see increased Serbian separatism in the country...
On the 9th of March we are contacted by a major separatist group in Bosnia requesting military aid in their fight against their Bosnian overlords. Without hesitation, we agree to aid our brothers in hope that we may one day reunite with them. We do however order them to refrain from killing any Archdukes that happen to visit Bosnia. We don't need a repeat of that mess again.
Our spies report that Germany attempted to assassinate the leader of the Iron Guard government in Romania in response to their increasingly aggressive foreign policy. The Iron Guard government itself has blamed all foreigners for the attack.
This subsequently leads to a wave of violence against foreigners in Romania which includes our own fellow Serbs near the border. Jews and foreign merchants are also attacked and killed en masse.
Codreanu's second in command Cuza raises his voice against the violence and is executed without hesitation. The Iron Guard are making enemies with all of their neighbours and the civilised world at large.
As Black Monday begins to destroy the economies of Europe we preemptively begin to fund a Public Works program. Thankfully the Serbian economy was already crippled so Black Monday is having less of an effect on us than it has had on other nations.
One issue however is that our coal imports have dried up and now we're suffering from an energy shortage. We will try to reach out to other potential trade partners...
We end up making a deal with the Socialist Union of Britain far off in the Atlantic. We will trade various military supplies such as blankets, rations and gunpowder in exchange for coal. We would rather not cooperate with the left wing lunatics but desperate times call for desperate measures.
The surge in Serbian separatist activity has not gone unnoticed by the Habsburg Empire. Now they accuse us of supporting the nationalist factions in Bosnia and demand that we cease all support of the groups. They are unstable enough as it is though, due to Black Monday and mass separatism across the Empire hence we believe that the Austrians are in no position to invade us. Due to this we reject the Austrian demands. We will be lap dogs to our Habsburg oppressors no longer!
Following Cuza's execution, the Iron Guard nationalise the oil fields of Ploiesti which had been leased to the German Empire for 100 years. For as long as the Iron Guard are in power in Romania, any attempt to cooperate with them will put us in a bad light in the eyes of the German Empire...
Our assumption was correct and the Austrians refrain from invading our proud nation! They have however cut off all contact and trade with our state leaving us economically worse off. A small price to pay for potentially uniting with our brothers in Bosnia!
By the end of March we have made significant strides in modernising our agriculture. We now begin to also modernise our infantry divisions. It will be a tough road ahead though, since as we have no powerful friends in Europe we will have to manufacture all of our equipment domestically.
Savinkov begins to cement his control in Russia by bringing all sectors of society under the control of the nationalistic government. Is this the third way between Socialism and Democracy?
Rumours reach us of a secret society in Romania that aims to overthrow the Iron Guard. We shall secretly wish them luck.
Our publics work program yields us brand new industries that offset the effect of both Black Monday and the Austrian Embargo.
Wishing to capitalise on the Ottoman's weakness, the Egyptians and Arabs ally with the intent of one day freeing the Middle East from Ottoman control. We wish them luck with their endeavour as an enemy of our enemy, is our friend.
At the May Day conference, the International announces its intent to "liberate the world from the international Bourgeoisie". We are tucked away in the
far corner of Europe so we doubt that we will draw the ire of the International for a long time yet. Hopefully the Germans will put these
lunatics in their place before long.
Still reeling from the impact of Black Monday, the German Empire begins to sell off it's more expensive colonial possessions, with one being the island of Crete. The Ottomans refused to buy the island so instead the Greeks bought it and reunited with the Greeks living there. We hope to one day reunite with our brother Serbs...
On the 28th of June we celebrate Vidovdan. While there is nothing in the present to be proud of, at least we have our great history to look fondly back upon...
Off in our far neighbour Ukraine, we recive disturbing news that the King there has let the radical Khrushchev take power in government. We don't need Syndicalists anywhere near the Balkans!
Six months after Black Monday the world economy is still in a slump. It may be too early to tell but this crisis may pave the way for great change the world over.
The Iron Guard attempt to massacre the Bucharest Circle, a secret resistance group that aims to overthrow the Guard and restore the Romanian monarchy under the rule of Carol II, the previous monarch who was forced into exile. The brutality of the Iron Guard never ceases to disgust us.
The Bucharest Circle catches wind of the crackdown which prompts them to launch their uprising and attempt to restore Carol II to his rightful throne. The Monarchists control the North of the country whereas the Iron Guard mantain control over the South.
The Austrian Empire sends military aid to the Monarchists. They likely feel that a Monarchical government will be less inclined to try and conquer Transylvania from the empire.
Ukraine also sends military aid to assist the Monarchists. It seems that the neighbours of the Iron Guard have finally tired of their warmongering ways.
With it clear that the tides of history are turning against the Iron Guard, we also decide to intervene on the side of the Monarchists. Unlike Ukraine and Austria, we shall intervene directly by allying with the Monarchists and invading the Iron Guard ourselves. A successful war here will put the legitimate Romanian government in our debt, which we will take full advantage of in due time.
The Monarchists agree to ally with us ...
....and with that, our men cross the Danube and begin their march into Romania. This marks the first step on our long journey of restoring our nation's honour and becoming a regional power once again!

Next chapter:

Game: Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

The Three Kings; a Serbian Kaiserreich AAR Part 2

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