God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR - Part 8

Author: ElvenAshwin
Published: 2017-02-06

Part of the campaign:

God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR

Previous part:

Game: Victoria 2

God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR - Part 7

Images: 64, author: ElvenAshwin, published: 2017-02-06

Facing the storm, battered and torn
"Fraud! Fraud! He's not my Consul!"

Almost as soon as the existential crisis facing the Grand Republic withdraws beyond the border, the unity disperses. Whilst Consul Grifeo managed to fend off the French far better than his predecessor, his controversial decision to run the Roman Elections during the war, as the northern half remained occupied and unable to vote, has triggered outrage across the political spectrum.

Restorationists, losing their position as part of the Moralist Alliance in the previous Consul term, are angered by the lack of cooperation. The Liberals are angry about them being cut out from the vote. Grifeo, with a meagre 27% of the popular vote, has somehow managed to win the Consulship.

The Republic, which emerged from its last war united and resolute, is splintered along party lines.
The Maghreb Strikes back?
Tunisia sends a delegation to Rome, where they congratulate us on our victory against the French. This is a stinging remark, as we had avoided defending them when they called us to arm so as to avoid conflict with France.

But that same conflict continues, with French Algeria now attacked by a Tunisian-Moroccan force. By the terms of our truce, however, we are unable to declare war in support of our North African partners.

Back in the capital the Roman Senate holds its first formal gathering in Rome since the outbreak of war. Genoroso Primo, the 42-year old two-time Socialist candidate, now a Senator from Foggia, challenges Grifeo for not having destroyed the Savoyard state in entirety.

Grifeo attempts to seek Filangieri and Molinelli's support to convince the Roman public that ending the war was the right decision. He awards Dominus Molinelli the title Hero of Rome and the Gold Crown, hoping to sway him. Neither cave in to Grifeo's demands - Molinelli remains a liberal sympathizer whilst Filangieri aligns with the Socialist Party.
A Spanish Delight
A Roman delegation to Spain announces a new series of trade deals between Spain and Rome, with the Romans taking on part of the Spanish debt in a bit to buy influence. Furthermore, the Roman delegation has made some progress in persuading the Spanish to consider some sort of anti-French alliance between Spain, Rome and Austria-Hungary.
Burn!
France it at war for some reason. They have the audacity to ask for passage through our territory. Grifeo strikes them down.

Meanwhile, Senator Primo begins a series of reforms within the Socialist Party. Aware of widespread anger in the North after Grifeo failed to push back the election, Primo hoped to build his powerbase in the South (who would need to be convinced) and easily sway Northern voters during the next elections. In order to be able to implement his campaign strategy without the Supreme Socialist Council bogging down affairs, he creates the position of General-Secretary and awards it to himself, moving the party away from Council rule.
The Red Rebellion
In the next few months, with significant contention over the 1881 elections and calls for Grifeo to stand down growing louder, the South grows restless. Inspired by violent communist doctrine - nominally opposed by the Socialist Party- workers take to violent riots and fighting. Other, more moderate supporters of the Socialist Party stage peaceful protests.

On October 22, on the lead up to Revolution Day, several peaceful socialists are shot in Brindisi in unknown circumstances. This causes a violent uprising that spreads through the Southern provinces.

Grifeo deems the incident the "red rebellion", removing any ties it might have with growing and problematic regionalism within the Republic, and instead associating it with the Socialist Party.
The Child Labour Debate
Grifeo had, in his earliest days, secured support as Consul via his harsh restrictions on child labour. Recognizing that the moderate would not be able to publicly reject further legislation on the matter, and that it would make the liberals look heartless as they once again spasm over the "invisible hand" that would better solve their problem, Senator Primo instructs the Socialist Party to push for an outright ban on child labour.

This so-called "Primo Amendment" to the Grifeo bill removes all special cases in which the use of children in the workforce was acceptable.
The Suez Canal
In late 1881, France makes history as they announce the conclusion of the Suez Canal project, which had been suspended during the Roman occupation of the region in the war. There is considerable anger among Roman citizens upon hearing this news, with many regarding the French parts of Africa as rightfully Rome's.
The Tripartite Struggle
1881 would come to a close as one of the most crucial in Roman history. Grifeo's Moderate Party fails to capitalize on anti-French sentiments, instead the opportunity is picked up by Senator Primo. Grifeo aims to spend his next term with a renewed focus on Africa - the acquisition of Roman Egypt is already his greatest accomplishment. As Grifeo turns to the Dark Continent, it seems that only the Socialists have their eyes on destroying Savoy.

The Eleventh Roman Senate begins with the Senate almost equally divided between all three major parties, with the socialists on the verge of reaching a plurality. Senator Primo exclusively focuses on gearing his party not towards proper, ideologically sound policy - but to electoral victory. Populism, after all, has never hurt anyone.
The Ethiopian War
In February of 1882, after a month of lobbying, the Senate passes a bill confirming the annexation of Ethiopia into a new Ethiopian protectorate. The Roman Embassy informs the Emperor of Ethiopia Menelik II of Rome's intention to annex the Empire.

Melenik responds with unexpected violence - despite noting the far greater Roman Army, he orders his men to attack the embassy, expelling the diplomats and all Roman nationals. He intends to defeat any invading force.

Right off the bat, our prime colonial competitor Britain urges Rome to stand down. Grifeo issues the declaration of war.
The Hellfire of Massawa
At the outbreak of war, the entirety of the Roman army was stationed in Italy. Grifeo orders a legion to Ethiopia, expecting to defeat the Ethiopians with ease once they arrive.

The Ethiopians make fairly quick gains until April, when our force arrives to end their rebellion. We land in Massawa, where the Ethiopians attack us without artillery support, leading to them being crushed en masse by the raining fire.
The Socialist Agenda
Keeping in line with their party's desire to be tone-deaf and linking everything to income inequality, Senator Primo and the Socialists spend the first few months campaigning for a rather novel idea in Europe - unemployment subsidies.

Harkening back to the Republic of old, Primo proposes a system similar to the grain quotas - food stamps (no one said his analogy was accurate). The notion of free food for no work is very popular among voters across the nation, drawing out protests in major cities when the conservatives attempt to hamper the bill on budget concerns.

The bill passes in April, as war rages on in Africa.
Advance halted
After annihilating the army at Massawa, we receive reports of the Ethiopians heading deep into Sudanese territory to the west, approaching the Nile. Our armies head over, defeating the last major Ethiopian force. Only a few thousand losses are sustained.

Grifeo now orders for the army to march on the capital - at the same time he orders another legion from Rome to reinforce the effort.

This, however, prompts the British to issue an ultimatum, demanding we do not attempt to annex Ethiopia and instead proposes a return of the status quo, with the Ethiopian-Roman alliance restored. Grifeo, in a show of force, ignores the British demands.
The British Declare War
By July, most of the Ethiopian advances have been cancelled, and our forces enter Ethiopia itself, prompting backlash from Britain. Our advances are halted in the face of guerilla warfare waged by resisting Ethiopian forces, and we suffer significant losses as we attempt to maintain supply lines in the harsh terrain.

Realizing that the Ethiopians cannot hold out forever and looking to contain Roman expansionism, Britain declares war.
The Hermit Kingdom
The initial declaration of war results in a spread of panic across the Republic. The Senate urges Grifeo to surrender, lest the British alter their terms. Grifeo, however, hopes to rapidly annex Ethiopia then establish a strong defensive front to protect his gains.

These hopes are utterly shattered on August 15, when the Anglo-Roman Blockade begins. In one of the biggest naval blockades established in history, the entire peninsula is surrounded. Savoy, cleverly, cuts off trade at the border, forcing Grifeo to purchase emergency supplies from Austria-Hungary.

The citizens of Rome are now afraid of starvation, and Primo demands that the Consul abide by the Senatorial Request.
Perhaps this is a shitty gamble
It is conventional wisdom in the Republic that colonial wars have to end quickly. Because whilst the Romans may enjoy the expansion of the Empire, they don't like it when foreign wars strike home.

Britain, by establishing the blockade, does exactly that. With half the Roman army stuck in Africa, there is now a legitimate danger of a British invasion of Italy, for which the Romans are wholly ill-prepared for. Furthermore, in the ten days since the start of the blockade, there are already fears of rising food prices.

Initially convinced he could weather the storm by acting quickly, Grifeo is now under attack from all angles. The Ethiopians advance once again to the Nile, and we struggle to make any progress in their homeland.
A Republic Humiliated
Seeing the risk of escalating or prolonging the conflict any further, Grifeo surrenders before the first British gun goes off.

Almost as soon as he agrees to meet the British to discuss terms, the poor Consul is accused of having walked the Republic into humiliation, hampering international prestige accrued by the sacrifice of the people in the First and Second Roman-Savoyard Wars.
The Anglo-Roman Treaty of 1882
The British agree to end the blockade on 26 August, and the Romans agree to the entirety of the British ultimatum on 29 August. This includes their full retreat from Ethiopia, the termination of Roman-Ethiopian trade deals and that the Roman state give up any claims they had on assets seized by Ethiopian authorities. Furthermore, it guarantees that Rome will not attempt to take Ethiopia ever again.

The final provision comes under a concerted socialist attack who accuse Grifeo of intentionally "sabotaging" attempts by future Consuls to expand the Empire, to make up for his person failure.
Econ 101
As the units are recalled from Egypt, economists back in the Roman Republic begin to understand why the industry with one company in it isn't behaving as efficiently as their models predict.
The Unironic Cairo Convention
Only a week pass the end of the Blockade, Grifeo realizes the importance of securing the Roman sphere of influence in Africa through diplomatic means. He proposes the Cairo Convention to take place in a few weeks, where the Republic will show off her protectorates and their administration, as well as obtain international recognition of their right to "all of Egypt and Sudan".
In the name of Liberty
With constant visits by our top diplomats as well as numerous free trade agreements signed, the Spanish formally enter our sphere of influence, with the signing of the Pact of Madrid - guaranteeing that the Roman Republic will intervene against France in order guarantee Spanish sovereignty.

This, combined with the Anti-British Proclamation which granted significant penalties to British-owned companies operating in Spain, effectively aligns Spain against France and Britain and with Rome. Issues with regards to North Africa are resolved in the Maghreb Compromise, where Rome drops Morocco's claim to the land annexed from them by Spain and Spain agrees to avoid further expansionism, except in the Western Sahara and regions south of that.

The Spanish Republic, a new centre of freedom and liberty in Europe, now stands together with us in defiance of autocracy.
The Annexation of the Shilluk Kingdom
Following the convention, Grifeo establishes the offices of Governor of Egypt and Governor of Sudan, overthrowing the Egyptian Sultan but maintaining the local lords. The first Governor of Sudan aborbs the Shilluk Kingdom into the Sudanese protectorate as an autonomous kingdom under his domain.
The Tunisian War
After several years of fighting in North Africa, the French finally reverse Tunisian gains in late 1882 and their expeditionary force makes great inroads into Tunis, occupying their coast and hence trapping the rest of the country in a pocket with insufficient supplies. The war will finally end.
Sluggish Industrial Growth
One of the key points behind the Socialist economic message is greatly increased government intervention in the economy - with central planning dictating the creation of factories within the Republic. Senator Primo notes how much of the Roman industrial machine is concentrated in Sicily - whereas Campania, the state with the greatest population, lags behind the rest of the country. In doing so, he simultaneously criticizes the Moderate policy of allowing private enterprise to flourish, and also adds a regionalist tone to the conversation, appealing to Southern voters.

The Senate votes to introduce new subsidies for the latest in automization technologies, hoping to promote the efficiency of factories in the Republic and spearhead an industrial boom.
Wait, Sweden what?
The British allow Swedish forces to occupy the northern Ethiopian shore, triggering a war between Ethiopian and Swedish forces that is resolved in favour of Sweden.

Rome issues a complaint, arguing that having other hostile powers carve up Ethiopia triggered "instability questions". Senator Primo, in a speech about the state of the Socialist Party in Naples, argues that Grifeo's colonial policy was not "aggressive enough" and that his "pacifism" is reflected in his failure to destroy Savoy at the end of the Second war.
The Second Spanish Civil War
Despite effective suppression of the monarchists and autocrats within Spain in the aftermath of the birth of their Republic, in March of 1883 the execution of a popular nobleman for a plot to restore the monarchy triggers a massive uprising of reactionaries aiming to restore the House of Bourbon to the Spanish throne.

The outbreak of violence results in a debate in the Roman Senate about interventionism. Not realizing that the Socialists were now banking on hyper-aggression against foreign threats, Consul Grifeo makes the politically dubious choice of advising restraint until it was certain that intervention was necessary. Senator Primo and the Socialist Party request that 2 legions be sent to Spain to contain the uprising, warning that it threatens to become worse as time progresses.
The Spanish Recall
Roman military advisors and special operations units are sent to Spain where they learn that the entire Spanish army is situated in the Sahara desert. After informing the Spaniards that placing all your defensive forces in a colony that produces little more than sand is not, in effect, a solid defensive strategy, the Spanish begin shipping troops back to Spain.
Germany is having fun
The Anglo-German Alliance collapses as Germany continues to maintain its claim on some island, resulting in the German Navy approaching it and Germany vowing to restart naval expansion.

After the alliance is decried as "null" by the British Prime Minister, the Germans begin shelling British positions hoping for a quick victory. The arrival of the Royal Navy forces the German Navy back into port and leaves the conflict in a deadlock.
Don't mind me, just exploring
The Governor of Sudan allies himself with a local trading lord allowing for the protectorate to expand further south.
Not sure what that event was actually about, but sure
The new borders of Roman Sudan. The expansion is largely expected - the region it pushes into was granted to Rome (by itself) during the Cairo Convention without protest.
The Art of War
You do not win an election with silk gloves. Sometimes, in the name of the greater good, it is necessary to get your hands dirty. Such is the lesson the socialist leader Senator Genoroso Primo learns as he contemplates how he can dismantle the Reactionary-Moderate moralist base. Having already emerged victorious on foreign policy and in a strong position to contend Grifeo's economic policy, knocking out the religious support of the Moderate party would be a major Socialist victory.

And it then becomes known, in mid-1883, with the campaign season soon to begin, that the Reactionaries have been unfaithful. An article published by an anonymous source alleges that the reactionaries were involved in using church money to push party stances, that numerous reactionary senators attempted to intimidate the Magistrates of the Republic (violating the separation of powers) and that reactionary activists blocked refugees from the northern provinces from voting in the contested 1881 election.

This story, though fairly accurate, is also leaked along other far more dubious allegations of bribery, corruption and gangsterism of specific senators. These more dubious allegations, released through multiple sources, are difficult to refute in the court of public opinion whilst the kernel of truth remains in the original expose. Anger sweeps the Republic, as they decry the Restorationists as having abandoned their philosophy.
The 1883 Benefits Act
The allegations, now thrown wildly about, are the first of their kind. The media spins it up, with talk of the complete collapse of the Restorationist Party. Grifeo, criticized for not speaking out against his political ally, only furthers the issues when he says he's "considering" absorbing the party. The issue becomes so bad right-wing senators are forced to abstain from controversial votes so as to avoid further backlash.
As the right-wing branch of the house lies in paralysis, moderate party senators fearing for their careers must now bow down to challenges from the other parties.
The Liberals attempt to seize the onus, proposing massive constitutional amendments to ensure the secularization of the Republic, whereas Senator Primo submits the suspicious well prepared Benefits Act, expanding unemployment benefits, food stamps and related welfare policies, promising to keep safe the "Christian heart" of the Republic.

The Liberals are defeated by a Socialist-Moderate moralist alliance, whereas Primo pushes through his bill using political capital from the defeat of the liberals.
RIP Tunis
F
Complex black people politics
Ends in us getting land
The new Sudanese Protectorate Borders
We continue our expansion and exploration deeper into Africa. At this point, there is some talk of our great protectorate possibly reaching some European west african protectorates, as the geography of the region is not well known.
Cheers to not hating each other
Whilst the Spaniards still shared some resentment for our cutting of their colonial ambitions and our failure to defend them in their Civil War, the end of the conflict and the surge of Roman investment and aid into the nation help finally put relations into a friendly, positive level.
Mare Nostrum indeed
Hopefully to stay afloat above the Restorationist Scandal, Grifeo does as he does best and focuses on foreign policy proposals - proposing inviting Corsica to joining the Roman Republic as an autonomous member-Republic.

Unfortunately, the pitchfork wielding mob outside the Senate building isn't convinced.
The Expulsion of Southerners
Institutions remnant from the Napoli Revolution are dismantled in Foggia, completing their gradual transformation from a "southern" state to a state that more closely resembles a mixture of northern and southern voting patterns.

This triggers more outrage from the deeply southern provinces, such as Naples. The Socialists and Senator Primo capitalize on this, stoking up anti-Grifeo sentiments. Primo hopes to solidify his loyalty in the South before the campaigning season, and then jump into the north to sway swing provinces during the actual season itself. This would thus force the Moderates into a defensive position, where another "scandal" could be useful.
WHY WONT YOU TAKE MY INCENTIVES
Despite high efficiency in Roman factories, the 100% tax rate on the rich dissuades potential investors in the Republic.
Suprise marxism
You are merely a cog in the machine. Improve my efficiency, damnit.
THE BIG BANKS HAVE BOUGHT US OUT
DEATH TO THE 1%

THE CORPORATIONS CONTROL GRIFEO, THEY CONTROL THE MODERATES, THEY CONTROL THE LIBERALS

THIS NATION DESERVES SOCIALISM! IT IS TIME FOR THE RISE OF THE RED!
Our alliance renewed
Grifeo renews the Pact of Vienna in Vienna, as the 1884 elections approach. He adds additional provisions, expanding the mutual self defense to more than just against France or Russia, but also against Germany and the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, he has Austria guarantee a certain troop presence in the western half of their Empire
The Spanish-Roman Alliance
Soon after the renewing of the Pact of Vienna, Grifeo announces his grand plan of a full Spanish-Roman alliance (rather than the one way promise of intervention outlied in Pact of Madrid).

The terms are quickly agreed to - the Pact is rendered defunct and the alliance replaces it. We are now fully secured against the frog threat.
The Southern Rebellion of 1884
In late January, the Socialist Party organizes a meeting of southern magistrates and socialist senators, where they issue a joint declaration against the government in Rome.

This prompts the arrest of Socialist Party leader Senator Primo on grounds of treason, which immediately causes the southern Senators and Magistrates to resign and announce their secession from the Republic, in imitation of what the revolutions did a mere 5 years prior.

Primo is released by March - but the damage has been done. Hundreds of thousands rise up in support of their Glorious Leader, and the Republic is once more plunged into civil war over the Southern provinces.
The First Two Months
The war sees heavy fighting in the heart of the Republic for two months - a decisive Roman offensive begins on March 15, after the release of Senator Primo, where the demoralized soldiers now find themselves at risk of being crushed en masse.
A Truce
Immediately after his release from prison - Primo offers a truce. He will convince the southern fighters to lay down their arms under the condition that the Roman army retreat to the north and that all rebellious Senators be allowed to return to the Senate. Furthermore, he demands that Grifeo immediately call a Consul Election, to unify the Roman peoples once more. A test of leadership, if you will.

This peace - the Peace of April, is accepted on April 1, beginning the Fourth Roman Consul Elections in chaos.
The Vote of No Confidence
In order to live up to the spirit of the Socialist request, the Moderates field Cesare Grifeo. The Socialists field Senator Primo and the Liberals field Carlo de Vitis, who served in 1882 and 1883 as liberal senator from Rome.

The election is marked with the Socialists immediately heading north, confident of their utter victory in the South. The moderates now struggle to form a coalition with the Liberals on economic basis, and de Vitis and Grifeo both attempt to fend off Socialist attacks on their strongholds.

In the South, moralism wins an ultimate victory.
An Ever Closer Union
Corsica enters a submissive relationship with the Roman Republic, effectively functioning as a part of the Republic that can't vote.
Wait they're at war
The french respond to the Corsican pull to Rome with a declaration of war. Locked in internal conflict, Rome cannot respond.
Death to Savoy!
Primo, which polls place at 46% of the vote in Campania, wins a massive victory in a public debate where he attacks Grifeo's war record, de Vitis' "diplomacy over war approach" and proposes a total annihilation of Savoy and a "neutering" of France if he is elected.
Fuk off m8
A French Navy fleet, consisting of 8 ships, attempts to use one of our ports in their war against Corsica. The fleet, consisting of 6 ships, leaves soon after.
Riches to the South!
The Socialist message of spreading wealth to the populated south via government programs wins big.
Choo choo, the industrialization train
All aboard to the 20th Century!
THE RED FLAG RISES OVER ROME
In the wake of an aggressive Socialist campaign that actually references Marx's views instead of avoiding ties to the hard core communists, his manifesto achieves amazing sales numbers.

The people of the Republic want a Republic in Red.
Fuck the foreigners!
The Socialists promise to create a special "Southern Citizenship" that grants the Southerners special privileges in their states that the northerners would not enjoy, as an affirmative action program. In industrialized Sicily, additional worker rights granted as part of this "Southern Citizenship" help push the state out of Moderate hands and into Socialist hands.
The End is Near
As October drags on, the loss of Sicily is now lamented among Moderate circles as irreversible. Mediocre Socialist support in the North and divisions along religious lines between the Moderates and the Liberals leave them floundering in what should be their strongest base.

And as a final disaster to add to the perfect storm, in late October a Roman police chief fires on Southern protestors, an act which they claim violated the Peace of April, triggering an uprising throughout the southern provinces.

Primo, surprisingly, calls for them to stand down (worrying about them blocking out the Southern vote), but the media turns against Consul Grifeo, with alleged conspiracies to nullify their great deficit in the South. The revolutionaries agree to let the elections proceed, but warn the Roman Army not to head south.
The Proletariat Rises
On the morning on the day after the elections, the great narrative that has been pushed by the newspapers has finally paid off.

Overwhelmed by strong support for Senator Primo, the Moderates seize 23% of the delegates. The Liberals, in what may signify a fatal blow, sink below a fifth of the delegates. The Restorationist delegates, who could have coalesced and voted for Grifeo are hit badly by the scandal in May, and are too few in numbers.

Senator Primo rides to victory with almost 38% of the vote, and with the largest victory margin in terms of delegates since the founding of the Republic.

Under the red banner, Rome is united once more.

Next chapter:

Game: Victoria 2

God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR - Part 9

Images: 76, author: ElvenAshwin, published: 2017-02-06

Check out another AAR:

Game: Europa Universalis IV

The Golden Empire. Part 1 The Disaster Years

Images: 40, author: lokigtvarre, published: 2019-03-13