The Occitan War - A /gsg/ Germany AAR

Author: AchillesSC2
Published: 2017-01-31, edited: 1970-01-01
The Kaiser's Speech
April 12, 1874

The Reichstag was abuzz with energy. The news had reached Berlin quickly, sending the city into a rage. The Germanian Union had grown considerably over the past decade since the War of Austrian Unification. Although the governments in the Netherlands and Denmark paved the way for the model of political systems heavily dependent on Germany itself, the addition of Occitania to the German-administered regions was a massive shift in European politics. Following France's audacity to challenge Germany's rightful claims to Western Switzerland, the nation was cleaved in two, with the southern half becoming the constitutional monarchy of Occitania. They, Switzerland, Savoy, and Wallonia (Until Flanders elected to reunite with Wallonia under Germanian Union administration, becoming Belgium once again) joined the puppet governments of Denmark and the Netherlands in being part of the massive Germanian Union, the most powerful political entity in Europe.

After nearly a decade of administration by a German appointed government, Occitania graduated from being an Administered State member of the Union and joined Sweden and Spain as Allied State members of the Union. It had risen to enough prominence in international affairs that Germany could no longer properly maintain their administration over the state. There were concerns that the parting could lead to tension, but Germany considered the Occitans like children growing up and leaving the home, maintaining positive relations between the two.

Even still, the German Empire considered itself strong enough to deter an attack against either itself or Occitania from France, especially considering its weakened state. That's why, in early April, 1874, it was a shock to the German public that France declared war on Occitania in order to restore those provinces to French administration. Not only that, but they were also joined by Germany's two other great enemies, Russia and Hungary. Over the past decade, the Union had fought both multiple times, advancing it's empire, but never both at the same time, and certainly not with France coming from the west. Neither Hungary or Russia would be able to reasonably assist in the subjugation of Occitania, they were much too geographically disparate for that. Rather, they were a clear challenge to Germany, meant to either overwhelm the Union or draw enough of its attention to allow France a successful invasion.

The Reichstag knew that this was a challenge they would eagerly meet. They gathered in Berlin a few days after the news from Occitania arrived, and after the troops had begun moving towards the borders with the belligerents. War was an inevitability, but this speech was just a formality.

Under the constitution, the Kaiser had the ability to declare war, but traditionally he appeared before the Reichstag and requested their permission. It had never been denied, and no one expected that to change today. The room fell to a hushed silence the moment the chamber doors swung open, Reichstag president Maximilian Franz August von Forckenbeck as well as the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck enterring. Maximilian was met with rapt attention as he announced the entrance of the Kaiser, Wilhelm I, who was met with thunderous applause as he entered into the assembly chambers. Shaking hands with a number of representatives as he made his way to the podium, many would later remark seeing Bismarck behind him with a wry grin as patriotic chants rang out. It took a few minutes for them to calm down enough to allow Wilhelm to begin.

"The natural enemy of the German is the Frenchman. Though we share a heritage centuries old, he is a prodigal brother. His occupation of our rightly held lands in Elsaß-Lothringen has only recently been broken, and time and time a
The State of European Affairs - 1874
Upon annexing the Bavarian states, Germany become one of the most powerful nations in the world. Their territorial expansion was extensive, and yet not complete. They would begin with Austria-Hungary. It had simply been Austria prior to the formation of Germany, but the war of dominance had seen Austria reduced to a pathetic state, and the agitation of the Magyars had led to the formation of the dual monarchy. Not long after however, Germany invaded, claiming the Austrian territories as rightly theirs, and reunited the South German population of Austria with the North Germans in the German Empire. The Dual Monarchy quickly collapsed, leaving a vengeful Hungary remaining.

Next would be Switzerland. Germany violated Swiss neutrality, infuriating their Italian allies, but aside from them, France, and Hungary, the world turned a blind eye. It was in this war that Germany expanded its dominion by taking direct control of what many believed to be its rightful lands in West Switzerland, with East Switzerland becoming a puppet of Germany, and Occitania being cut off from France to provide another puppet for Germany and to cripple the French.

Shortly thereafter, Belgium found itself cut in two as well as Wallonia was added as a puppet to Germany's Union. Flanders would carry on, but eventually would petition to join the Germanian Union as a unified Belgium, a request that was granted.

Other puppets of Germany include Venice, taken from the Hungarians, and a key ally in the war against Italy, and Savoy, the most recent addition to the list of German puppet states, taken in that war.

Germany's primary allies are Spain (A great power), Occitania (A great power), and Sweden (A secondary power). The Germans have great affinity for the Spanish on account of their valiant service during the war against Italy. They have a bit of disdain for the Swedish, who have repeatedly rejected calls for aid during Germany's wars, only to join in at a later date.

Germany's enemies include France, Hungary, Russia, and Greece. Greece is considered a non-factor in the war. France is in a considerably weakened state, but can still pose a formidable threat when it conscripts its youth. The Russians remain the largest military in the world, although they are technologically behind the Germans. The Polish have frequently petitioned the world for independence from the Russians, a movement supported by Germany. Germany has not actively made any movements to actually free Poland yet, being unwilling to risk a war on unfavorable terms. The Hungarians have fallen prey to the Germans many times, but that was without Russian aid. The two combined pose the most formidable challenge the Germanian Union has ever faced.
The Western Front
The house of the Chief of Staff of the German military, Marshall Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke, was unassuming for one of his rank. He lived a quiet, comfortable life, having not seen combat himself in quite some time. He was, however, perhaps the world's greatest military mind. It was in his private study that the plans for the wars that had grown Germany were written.

Bismarck did not enjoy coming here, as he had done too often for his tastes. He and von Moltke didn't often see eye to eye, but still, they needed to often work together. He was joined by a few other members of the General Staff, most notably Albrecht von Roon, who had recently resigned from his post as Minister-President due to illness, taking an advisory role on the General Staff instead. Also in attendance was von Moltke's nephew, Helmuth von Moltke the younger. He was rapidly rising through the ranks of the German military, poised to lead the nation during the early 20th century.

The study was not large to begin with, and the meeting had to be moved to the dining room, as the study became too hot to bear, and the window could not be opened for fear of spies listening. As they gathered around the table, von Moltke first turned everyone's attention to France.

He was confident about the German's chances in the French theater. Not only did they already have a sizable force on the French border, but the French were naturally surrounded from both the North and the South. As the Occitans came from the south, with the Spaniards and Savoyans not long behind them, there should be more than enough manpower to deal with any French pushes to the South. The Belgians, the Dutch, and the Danish would come from the north, providing enough chaos for the Germans to do a lot of the heavy lifting. A stable front would be created from the east, and advance quickly enough to easily pacify the French.

The goals for this area of the theater would be to provide Savoy with some of its core provinces in the area between Germany and Occitania (Annecy and Chambery), as well as cutting France down to size (Slashing the size of the army France is allowed to build as well as sending some of their tax revenue to France). Should these be all the goals that Germany had for this war, then it could be ended quickly. However, Germany had much greater ambitions, and that was where the complications arose.
The Eastern Front
Whenever Germany had fought Russia or Hungary in the past, their biggest problem was forming a strong front without any holes. Fighting both of them together required Germany to create a line of soldiers covering most of the continent. Germany had most of its army located on the Eastern front, but not in a proportion high enough to reduce the complications that were about to arise. Neither the Huns or the Russians tended to attack into an entrenched German position, so if Germany could take away any holes in their defense, then they would be able to advance at their discretion. The problem would be the initial advance more than anything else. Wilhelm had issued an order of conscription, bringing in massive amounts of manpower for the upcoming fight, but the reserves would not be ready for a while.
The Eastern Front - Hungarian Theater
Hungary had preemptively predicted the German declaration of war, and some troops had already begun to cross the border. They would be quickly repelled, and Germany would begin to push in. The Italian garrison would relocate and push in through Ljubljana. The most complicated area to deal with would be the regions around Krakow. There were a number of areas where a Hungarian garrison would be able to sneak through the lines. Germany would try and smash that army at the beginning of the engagement, in order to push them back and keep them from getting into Germany. The armies in Prague and Vienna would begin their push into central Hungary, going towards Budapest.

The end goal of this theater was to puppet Hungary. When that is complete, a number of smaller puppet states would be formed from Hungary, each of which would also join the Germanian Union and help keep the weakened Hungary in check.
The Eastern Front - Russian Theater
Poland would be easier to manage than Hungary. Germany planned to keep its Baltic armies in place, they were already in strong fortifications and could withstand assault long enough for reinforcements. Meanwhile, the Polish invasion forces would push forward to line up with the Baltic armies, skipping over the provinces closer to the border if necessary in order to form the solid line, leaving those provinces for the advancing conscript armies.

The end goal of this theater is to free Congress Poland. Germany wants the ability to form a solid front against Russia at the start of the next war against them, as well as encourage a state for the Poles. A number of Poles have fought in German armed forces before, engendering a lot of support for a Polish state in the Germanian Union.

Telegrams went out shortly thereafter, confirming the plans for all the armies waiting to invade. The wheels were in motion. The Occitan war had begun.
The Battle of Eisenstadt
April 13, 1874

Eisenstadt was a strange city. Though within the bounds of historical Austrian territory, during the Austrian reign over Hungary it was on the border with a large number of other ethnicities. This made it one of the most diverse parts of the German empire, despite still having a German majority population. A large number of Croatians and Hungarians lived here, who were none too happy about German rule, though rarely amounted to any action to change it. When the Hungarian general Theodor von Kirbach made his way into some of the border towns, he was initially gladly accepted by the foreign ethnicities living there, but once he began to push furtherr into Germany, he received less favorable treatment. A few local militias gave him trouble, but those were rebuffed, with most Germans waiting in their homes for the arrival of the 19. Wehrmacht, led by Bernhard von Spee. The Hungarians had moved in before the war was officially declared, and Spee didn't arrive until the day after it had begun, but once he entered Eisenstadt, he set to rebuffing Kirbach and cleaning German borders of enemy troops.
Invasion of France begins
April 14, 1874

Two days after war was declared in Berlin, the invasion of France was truly begun, as two armies, the 1. Wehrmacht (Led by Leonhard von Fritsch) and the 5. Wehrmacht (Led by Wolfgang von Halkett) entered Verdun and Epinal respectively. The messages they relayed back to western command in Nuremburg confirmed what something that had only come in rumors to the Germans - The French armies were nowhere near the border. There hadn't been any resistance to speak of from French forces, baffling German commanders.
April 15, 1874
A day later, the invasion continued, as the 7. Wehrmacht, led by Georg Herwarth von Bittenfeld, the 9. Wehrmacht, led by Hugo von Schwarzburg, and the 10. Wehrmacht, led by August von Braunschweig, all entered Southern France. Braunschweig's army was backed up by the Savoyan general Camillo di Borbone di Parma, both of whom were greeted by throngs of Nothern Italians, looking upon the generals as liberators. Annecy was difficult enough territory to move through, and the minority French population didn't help matters, but this was one of the easier advances that would be made during the war.

Nuremburg also recieved its first report of French movements this day, as a massive French force under the command of Hubert de Saint Arnaud revealed itself moving towards Occitan territory. German commanders agreed that once the inital phase of the invasion was complete, they would swing south and engage the French as reserve armies filled in the holes in the lines.
Battle of Tarnow
Bernhard von Spee was not the only accomplished military man in his family. His brother Adelbert also commanded, leading the 15. Wehrmacht. His would be the privilege of being the first to engage the enemy in enemy territory.

Tarnow was a region which had frustrated German strategists for years. Both it and Nowy Sacz could allow for quick access to German territory, and each required its own army in order to defend properly. It stretched German lines in ways that shouldn't have happened for such a narrow geographic region. Adolf von Blumenthal's 16. Wehrmach was to hold onto Sacz as the invasion line formed, but he was a ways away.

Meanwhile, German eastern command in Vienna realized that perhaps it had been a bit to quick to engage in Hungary. The battle in Eisenstadt was going poorly, and initial reports from Tarnow wern't favorable either. The Germans simply hadn't had enough time to mobilize quickly before beginning the invasion, and as such, troops were in a low state of readiness. Leopold von Wettin's 18. Wehrmacht was redirected towards Eisenstadt to reinforce the assault, as was Pascal von Bulow's army, who was to move south upon arriving in Kielce. In the meantime, it was up to the second von Spee brother to fight in Tarnow.
Invasion of Russia
April 16, 1874

The battle in Tarnow continued to go poorly, with Germany quickly falling behind their Hungarian opponents. Their reinforcements were still two days away, but in the meantime, the Russian invasion was proceeding smoothly. Like with the French invasion, the Germans found no sign of resistance as they entered into Poland. The first to begin the siege of Russian bases was Pascal von Hindenburg and his 12. Wehrmacht.
Completion of the French invasion line
On the same day, the French invasion force finished its battle line, as Theodor von Arentschildt arrived in Nancy.
Liberation of Warsaw
April 17, 1874

The Congress Poland Liberation movement had always generally had two homes - Warsaw and Kattowitz. Though a number of German states had a majority Polish population, Kattowitz was where most of the activists living in German territory gathered. They would frequently send representatives to Berlin to lobby for support for Polish independence, but the movement's heart was in Kattowitz.

Warsaw was a little less politically active, and a lot more violently active. The Poles there often found themselves with rocks in their hands facing down a line of Russian soldiers, prepared to deface or burn down Russian buildings. These were the militants who, although never before rising to full rebellion, joined forces with the Germans as they began to assault the Russian garrisons in and around the city.

A few hundred kilometers south, Bernhard von Spee stood in his tent, surrounded by advisors. The gains being made in Eisenstadt were slow and coming at too high a price. Sooner rather than later, Kirbach was going to repel a German assault, and the tide would turn against him. He grimaced, struggling to find something to exploit in their lines, before a messenger raced into his tent. The young boy wore German colors, yet rather than the XIX he bore on his own right arm, the lad's uniform had a XVIII sown in.

"Sir, permission to speak?"

"Granted. Name and rank?"

"Jäger Schmidt, sir. I am here to report that General von Wettin has arrived from the north, and has begun pushing southward into the city."

von Spee added a few more figures to the map that lay on his table. He smiled, the Hungarians in a pincer with the East being his only escape route.

"Please inform the General that his arrival is most timely and welcome. It seems the Viennese garrison is not so useless as the rumors once suggested."
Siege of Åland
April 18, 1874

The Treaty of Fredrikshamn handed Åland over to the Russians 65 years ago. 42 years ago, the Russians finished the great fortress of Bomarsund. Today, Didrik Strom was going to take it back. He stood on board the Swedish flagship overlooking the fortress as Swedish forces starved the garrison out. This was the reason the Swedish had joined the war so quickly, they had never quite forgiven the Russians for taking it and Finland from them. Ambitions to reclaim Finland had dwindled over the years, but Åland was as desired as ever. Strom smiled, it was his army that would bring back Sweden's lost child. He would be hailed as a hero upon returning to Stockholm, and he'd surely make a home there when he became a member of parliament. The French act of aggression would lead to suffering for many, but Strom was sure that at least for him, it would bring about power and riches. He turned to his lieutenant, and ordered a cannon assault.
The Russian Invasion Line
The Berliner Tageblatt made waves throughout the capital with a scathing editorial against the von Spee brothers. A relatively new publication, the Tageblatt condemned both men for putting the lives of German youth in harms way for their own glory, given how poorly both their engagements had gone. The editorial itself wouldn't reach Adelbert until about a month later, but he had been struggling to gain any sort of a foothold to be concerned with how he was perceived back home. It wasn't until Pascal von Bulow burst into his tent, a train of lieutenants at his heels, that he realized just how angry Eastern Command was with him. Pascal was furious, sending out everyone but the two generals from he HQ as he gave von Spee a massive tounge lashing. von Bulow left the room twenty minutes later, and announced he had assumed command of the battle, and prepared to fight.
Attack on Vienna
April 23, 1874

von Bulow held his hat in his hands as he entered into Adelbert von Spee's tent. He was rather apologetic, humbling himself. Tarnow continued to be a disaster for the German forces, the Hungarians continuing to blast away all Germans who approached. The two began to work on new plans, trying to figure out how to break the Hungarian defenses, but it was mostly just hope until the 16. Wehrmacht of Adolf von Blumenthal arrived with even more reinforcements.

In the meantime, Vienna fell under attack to a small Hungarian force. The German fort was under no threat of falling any time soon, but it did need to be dealt with. The 20. Wehrmacht, led by Albrecht von Knorr was about to arrive in Eisenstadt from its Italian base. It was to be the southern most point on the line of defense against the Hungarians, but they were given orders to detour up towards Vienna after that battle ended and clear out the Hungarian menace.
Victory in Eisenstadt
April 23, 1874

Bernhard smiled, shaking hands with von Wettin. The two were walking towards the Hungarian border, preparing to finally enter into enemy territory. As they walked along the road into enemy territory, their soldiers began to enter the homes of those who had been reported to have assisted the Hungarians as they entered Germany. Random possessions were taken out, one or two homes were burned. Not enough to truly persecute the ethnic minorities, but enough to scare them into behaving in the future.
French Counterattack against Belgium
April 23, 1874

Although their German border had been almost abandoned, the French had no intentions of lying down and quitting. French General Thibaut di Castellane led his forces into Bruges, attacking the city uncontested, and taking advantage of a delayed Dutch force. At the same time, Pierre di Montaignac assaulted a Belgian invasion force in Cambrai. Though the Belgian army was superior and number, the French command in Paris felt confident enough in di Montaignac to allow him to attack into the defended position.

Belgian reinforcements were coming, and the Dutch army was about finished with preparations, but Nuremburg decided that it was time to send in assistance. Beat the French now, and they'd be on their heels the rest of the way. As such, the 2. Wehrmacht, led by Pascal von Blomberg, which had been kept in reserve, was redeployed to Belgium to assist in Cambrai.
Battle of Sopron
April 26, 1874

Bernhard von Spee was not quite yet finished with Kirbach. Sopron and Eisenstadt were very similar ethnically, with sizable German populations but notable minority populations. Now Spee was able to use the friendly population in order to work against the Hungarian defenses, as he moved to finish Kirbach off.
Battle of Vienna
April 27, 1874

One day later, Albrecht von Knorr, the commander of the 20. Wehrmacht, entered into Vienna. The German Eastern command had briefly relocated to Sankt Polten, trying to stay away from the attacking conscripts trying to make a name for themselves. von Knorr would have to face against more conscript reinforcments, and was attacking into suboptimal conditions, but believed that he would be more than up to the task at hand.
Tarnow Crisis
April 28, 1874

Unfortunately, although the battle in Tarnow had begun to turn, the battle was far from over. Hungary had marshalled a most fearsome force under one of its most notable generals, Gerhard von Baden. He'd been performing a dance with the 17. Wehrmacht, making it appear as though he was going to strike into German territory, but after forcing General Maximilian von Tirpitz out of position to respond, von Baden made a sharp turn east, towards Bielsko. His goal was clear - Tarnow.
Or so it would seem
May 1, 1874

Or so it would seem indeed. von Baden made a shrewd move to remain in Bielsko, and begin a siege of Gerrman forts in the region. At this point, the 17. Wehrmacht had a number of choices - firstly to assault Bielsko and the army of von Baden head on, which would surely lead to disaster. Secondly, to head to Kielce, and hopefully head off the Russian army making its way towards the hole in the German line. But to do so would then leave the forces in Tarnow open to a brutal assault from von Baden. The best choice was to continue to head to Tarnow, and try to finish the fight as quickly as possible. Also notable was the arrival of the first of the conscript forces in Breslau. Soon enough the Germans would be able to field massive numbers of men against the Russian and the Hun.
Reinforcements to Sopron
von Spee was holding up well against Kirbach, but his Hungarian counterpart was gaining ground, with reinforcements flooding into Sopron. With even more on the way, once again von Wettin would need to rush to his rescue, heading south to give the Germans the advantage once more.
Victory in Tarnow
May 2, 1874

von Bulow rested in his own tent, attended by a single nurse. He had initially refused treatment, insisting that all medical resources be directed towards the wounded, but as he began to lose consciousness, his subordinates brought a nurse to work on his leg. It was broken, and the bone had pierced the skin in one spot. The blood loss was not too severe, but it had left von Bulow out of commission for the final days of the battle, as von Spee took command once again.

As von Bulow emerged from his tent, a crutch under his right arm, an attendant under his left, he gazed upon the scorched landscape of Tarnow. The husks of buildings still smoldered with the fires that gutted them. The earth was charred and devoid of the beauty that once covered the landscape. And bloody German uniforms were strewn about with corpses contained within.

The term Tarnow was already being used in the Reichstag as shorthand for "disaster." The Hungarians had finally ceded the region after eighteen days of fighting, and after inflicting nearly six times the casualties on the invaders than they suffered. There would be a price to pay, and von Bulow did not look forward for when the Vienna command came to collect.
The Fall of Warsaw
May 4, 1874

Fourteen fallen fortresses circled Warsaw. Fourteen flags of the Czar were taken down, and flags of Germany and Congress Poland rose in their place. As German forces began to march out of the city, their General met with a few of the leaders of the Polish political resistance, and ceremonially handed over the city to their control.
Victory in Cambrai
May 5, 1874

The Belgians didn't need von Blomberg's help in securing victory over the French in Cambrai, but it certainly didn't hurt. This one ended up being a simple numbers game, as the huge Union army simply overwhelmed the French forces. von Blomberg received orders to bolster the northern advance and continue towards the Atlantic until the Dutch arrived.
Resistance in Nancy
May 6, 1874

The fighting in Nancy was not due to an assault from French held territory, but rather from conscripts rising up to join larger French armies. At first it wasn't a large issue for the Germans, but over time, the French became more and more of a threat as more and more divisions sprang into action. The Germans still had the upper hand, but if more resistance spread throughout Nancy, it could get out of hand.
Victory in Vienna
May 8, 1874

The overly ambitious Huns were dealt a humiliating blow as von Knorr repelled them from Vienna. They hadn't even been able to make it past the city's outer defenses before the German army arrived to repel them. Though reinforcements made it a little difficult at times, in the end victory was inevitable. As Eastern Command returned to the city, they joined von Knorr in a brief celebration as the army headed out of the city.
Northern-Hungarian Front
Worth noting at this point was the armies that had retreated from the battle at Tarnow. Although the day had been won there, most of the armies were not fit to continue combat. While von Tirpitz's 17. Wehrmacht had been going towards the fight, when it ended before he arrived he redirected his troops into Poland, beginning the seige of Kielce and dissuading the advancing Russian army from continuing. Though von Blumenthal's 16. Wehrmacht was in a strong state, both von Spee and von Pascal needed to regroup. The 15. and 6. Wehrmacht retreated into Germany, and holed up waiting until they would be ready to banish the Hungarian invaders from their borders.

Also worthy of note was the strengthening of the German conscripts in Breslau. The city was abuzz with the incoming troops, who would soon be shipped out to the front lines to join the regulars. Their first priority would be to help fix the mess that was the Hungarian front, their second would be to plug the holes in the Russian line that were beginning to form, and their third was to begin the advance east.
Occitan Ambitions
May 9, 1874

When Occitania was formed, not all its citizens were particularly favorable towards the new state of affairs. The Occitan separatist movement was never terribly volatile, and many of the Occitan were mostly upset at being under German rule. But with this most recent turn of events, it seems the Occitan had very much separated themselves from their French brethren. With the demand of Poiters from France, Occitania sought to make gains over the North, crippling them in revenge for the assault.
Victory in Nancy
The French dogs couldn't run fast enough.
Victory in Sopron
May 10, 1874

Kirbach was a good general, but the Hungarians thought it best to replace him with von Benedek as the battle wore on and the reinforcements kept rolling in. Yet, von Spee continued undaunted, rolling over the Hungarian forces with von Wettin's support. von Wetting would stay behind and siege Sopron as Kirbach followed the Hungarians to finish the job.
Battle of Suwalki
May 12, 1874

Alfred Heppendorf had been one of the heroes of the Italian war. Though not a noble, he had been promoted slowly over the course of his career, eventually earning his commission during the liberation of Savoy. It was he who would face the first assault from the Russians, in Suwalki, Poland. The Russian force was massive, and he was forced to call down reinforcements from Ostpreußen, leaving the northern flank of the Russian line very exposed. The conscripts couldn't arrive fast enough.
T+1 Month - Western Front
The French strategy was twofold. Firstly, they would make one concentrated strike into Occitania, hoping to take the capital quickly and force a diplomatic end in their favor. Secondly, they would try and flank the Germans by striking at what they thought would be a much weaker northern front. Though the southern army was strong, once the Germans moved on it it would likely meet a swift demise. As for the north, the French were moving slowly, and the fighting was heavy. Germany felt it had the advantage up there as well. The orders from Nuremburg and Berlin were simple - Stay the course.
T+1 Month - Eastern Front
Russia and Poland were preceding both well and on schedule. The front was secure, and though the Russians were trying to break through, Germany believed it could handle them.

Hungary, by contrast, was chaos. This was the enemy the Germans expected to have the easiest time against, and instead they faced great resistance from. Although they had won every battle, the specter of Tarnow shadowed the entire theater. Though the south was stabilizing, and both Venetian and Swiss forces were arriving to assist, Hungary needed an influx of conscripts and fast.
Deployment of the 1. Volksarmee
May 13, 1874

What a day it was in Breslau. The streets lined with the citizens who had gathered to see their husbands, brothers, friends off to war. Flags wove in the streets, women offered trophies of their affection to the travelling soldiers, and many young men emerged from whorehouses to rush into the parade, having been boys just the day before. Under the command of Erich von Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the 1. Volksarmee stood 87,000 strong, and was the first of what would be many conscript armies heading towards the front lines of Hungary.

The 1. Volksarmee was under orders to provide assistance where the German army needed it most - the northern Hungarian front. As von Wettin and the more successful von Spee brother found themselves gaining ground and stabilizing the front in southern Hungary. The Volksarmee would move first into Olomouc, and from there would deploy as appropriate, likely backing up von Blumenthal as the 16. Wehrmacht cleaned out the invading Hungarian armies.
Battle of Gyor
May 15, 1874

von Spee gave his troops a bit of a rest, sitting to siege in Sopron as von Wettin pursued Kirbach, who had been given the lead again in command of the fleeing Hungarian armies. They engaged in Gyor, the battle quickly turning chaotic, as the retreating Hungarian forces struggled to compose a defense that would repel the advancing Germans.
Battle of Lomza
May 19, 1874

Alexei Badanov didn't want to attack into Lomza, and yet, here he was, German flags and troops on the horizon. These were not ideal circumstances, advancing into defensive positions with nothing but conscripts. Badanov had a numbers advantage, but it was slight. He shuddered, fearing not only the guns at his front, but the bayonets at his back.
Conquest of Epinal
May 22, 1874

Wolfgang von Halkett's 5. Wehrmacht took over a month to finally take the border province from the French, but it was won nonetheless.
Conquest of Lons
May 23, 1874

Lons would follow the next day.
Operation - Rückgewinnung
The reclamation would begin with Tesin. The Hungarian forces had placed the bulk of their remaining forces on their northern front, primarily in Tesin, and in Bielsko, where the Hungarian fiend von Baden waited. As additional Volksarmee units gathered, the 16. Wehrmacht would take the field once more and strike to enforce order in the North, joining with the 1. Volksarmee. Should the operation be successful, it would spell doom for the Hungarians.
Victory in Chaumont
May 25, 1874

Following his victory in Epinal, von Halkett deployed his armies in Chaumont to assist the Dutch armied engaging a French conscript force. They were unnecessary in the long run, but it helped to end the battle sooner, paving the way for a faster advancement into the French heartland.
Battle of Tesin
Budapest feared the German eagle, and had for many years. But after the victory in Tarnow, and their comparative success juxtaposed to their allies to the north and by the Atlantic, they felt confident. At Tarnow they slew six Germans to every one of their own men. If they redeployed von Baden to Tesin, a fight where he would be fighting alongside Hungarian regulars against a force comprised primarily of conscripts, Budapest believed they could recreate the magic. They believed they could break the German spear a second time, and push their own front further into German territory against the still broken armies from Tarnow.

Hungary had faith in Tesin. The dice fell.
Victory in Suwalki
May 26, 1874

The People's Champion, Alfred Heppendorf, stood tall atop a church tower, surveying the field. His men had suffered heavy casualties, just under 20% of his forces either dead or wounded. But that was nothing, nothing next to what had happened to the Russian. Their survivors numbered just slightly more than the casualties of the Germans. And for every fleeing, vodka drinking, worthless Russian leaving Suwalki with cheering Poles at their heels, there lay eight corpses in Russian uniforms soaking the ground of what would be a future sacred site for the Polish nation. St. Petersburg would tremble in fear at the news when it arrived, and soon after it would burn.
The Coward's Offer
May 28, 1874

In Berlin and in St. Petersburg, ambassadors met. The German Embassy in a city sitting on the Finnish border was to relay an offer from the Winter Palace. The Russian Embassy in Berlin relayed it to a waiting Wilhelm, Bismarck, and von Moltke in the Reichstag. Russia spoke on behalf of France and Hungary. They saw the writing on the wall, especially after their disastrous attempt to attack into the invading wave of Germans in Suwalki leading to every dead German killing eight Russians before he gave his final breath.

As Germany's diplomats had not yet actually issued their formal demands from their enemies, the Russians addressed the ones issued from Occitania. For Poitou, the Russians pleaded for peace. In his memoirs, Otto would write about this moment, how he looked towards Wilhelm, who waited for a few seconds to hear the rest of what the Russians were offering, and when nothing else came forward, Wilhem rose from his seat. He walked towards the map on the wall, picking up a knife along the way. He sliced from the image Russia, taking a few minutes to get a solid outline in. Once it was clean off, he walked over to a candle, held it so that the flame was just under where St. Petersburg was marked, and let the paper ignite. He set it into Otto's hands, and said simply. "This is your order."
Reinforcement to Gyor
von Wettin found himself in a position that von Spee had been before - under the threat of Hungarian reinforcements. With Budapest throwing men to try and keep the Germans away from the Hungarian capital, the advance was again under threat. And now, it was up to von Spee to save his von Wettin from the Hun, hopefully for the final time. With token forces left behind, the battle was joined by two more German armies.
Conquest of Verdun
June 1, 1874

48 days, and now the 1. Wehrmacht began its advance towards Laon.
Victory in Radom
June 2, 1874

Radom had primarily a fight against conscripts rising up in the province itself, but some other Russian armies had come in as well. Those forces bolted from the fight early when they saw an opening, and bolted through the German lines. It would be a threat, but would be dealt with accordingly, through the new conscript armies.
The Volk on the move
The 2. Volksarmee would be assigned to clean up the provinces behind the German line in Russia, handling the forces that had escaped from Radom. The 3. Volksarmee would strike towards Bielsko, hoping to be the hammer that destroyed the Hun's back.

At the same time, though they were making progress, the armies in Tesin were suffering heavy losses. With two dead Germans for every dead Hungarian, von Baden was fighting well, but not well enough. That city would break soon enough.
Battle of Lille
June 5, 1874

von Blomberg was...audacious. Attacking, when not at full strength, into a defended and larger French force was a bold and near suicidal move, yet it seemed that he was having some success. He was slaying more French soldiers than he was losing Germans, but it was time for him to call in reinforcements.
Victory in Gyor
June 7, 1874

Reinforcements kept coming, and they remained ineffective. The Germans kept throwing them back, in halved amounts. With a crippled Hungarian force fleeing Gyor, Budapest lay open to Germany. The end was fast approaching, even if it would take a while for Hungary to really accept it.
First in Paris
June 2, 1874

Berlin and Nuremburg was furious. Livid. Western command and the Reichstag were on the telegraph with Spain, exploding with rage. Paris was to be theirs, a German conquest, the German pride. But now, the Spaniards were pushing towards the Eifel tower to raise their colors above it. This was an affront to Germans in the eyes of many in the Union. And in the future, it would refocus the eyes of German foreign policy, setting up Spain to be the next European nation to be broken up.
Victory in Tesin
June 11, 1874

Bielsko had fallen. It was the first, it would be the last. The enemy Germany thought would be the weakest in the war had become the one that had actually pushed back. Now, with Tesin secured, it would be the place where the final great battle against the Hungarians occurred, and Bielsko would be where von Baden would fall for the last time. Two months of war had led to this, the last stand of the Hungarians, against the 16. Wehrmacht and two Volksarmees.
Conquest in Sopron
June 14, 1874

Though Gyor had been won, von Wettin needed to retreat in order to return to full strength. The 18. Wehrmacht stationed itself in Vienna, and left Gyor for a time. But now, with Sopron flying German colors, von Spee moved into Gyor to take the region.
Victory in Dijon
June 14, 1874

General Hugo von Schwarzburg of the 9. Wehrmacht strode through the mud of Dijon. The rains were heavy, and only a small detachment of his aides were with him. He had requested that Jan Engels of the Netherlands and Berot Pujol of Occitania join him in his tent to discuss next steps after defeating the French army here. With Jean Calliard killed in action by a Dutch cannon, French leadership was in disarray, and the time had come to figure out how to neutralize the threat for good.

But the two men had not met von Schwarzburg under a German tarp. von Schwarzburg threw open the flaps to the Occitan tent and demanded that all of the French and Dutch aides vacate. As those men stepped out into the downpour, the German and his lieutenants stood around the table where the accomplished Dutch commander and the upstart Occitan general sat quietly with coffee on the table. He first turned to Engels.

"You are skilled and commanding men, at manipulating a battlefield. I commend you on your victory here. But though you led the troops that fought on this field, you must remember that your orders come from Nuremburg. And it is from Nuremburg that my authority comes from. When I say to come to me, you come, and you will wait in the rain until I give you permission to enter my presence. Now Nuremburg commands you to take Dijon and raise Red, White, and Black above it. I shall remain to oversee." He then turned to Pujol.

"Berlin may believe that your uniform makes you special, that the patch on the sleeve excuses you of your crimes against the Germans, but I know the truth. I know your true nature. You are still nothing but a French dog, so follow your sick and twisted brothers to Moulins, and deal with them. Get out of my sight." von Schwarzburg stormed back into the storm, and Pujol sipped his coffee once more.
Croatian Treachery
June 16, 1874

Ljubljana found itself under siege, the new occupying German forces facing part of the axis set against them. But these men flew not French colors, not Hungarian colors, not Russian colors, but Greek colors. It seemed as though Croatia had decided to allow a backdoor into German-controlled Hungary through its borders, allowing the Greeks and Hungarians to sneak past the German lines. This deciet would not be forgotten by Berlin, not at all, but in the mean time, Germany had to come up with a plan to reverse this invasion. It was decided that the next Volksarmee would be deployed to the south, to close this gap up.
Conquest in Laon
von Blomberg seemed to be exceeding expectations in Lille, but not to the degree which was really needed to achieve victory in the region. With Laon secured, von Fritsch was to lead the 1. Wehrmacht into the fray to turn the tide towards the Germans.
Redeployment of the 6. Wehrmacht and the 15. Wehrmacht
June 17, 1874

Tarnow had done a number on Adelbert von Spee and Pascal von Bulow's forces, but they were nearing effective strength once more. They were given orders to move back south into Hungarian territory, plugging the hole in between the Northern Hungarian and Southern Hungarian fronts. In doing so, they would expel the armies back in Tesin, and moving from Trencin.
The Second Offer
June 18, 1874

With the formal puppeting of Hungary on the table, the Russians thought perhaps the German's domination of the Hun would be enough to sate the Reich. The Kaiser did not even attend this meeting, he had told Bismarck only to come to him when his terms were met in absolute.
The Battle of Bielsko
June 19, 1874

It was only a matter of time for von Blumenthal, but von Baden was making matters complicated. Germans were dying, and dying quickly. The violence was brutal and the German commander found himself hard pressed to advance. Fortunately, another Volksarmee was making its way south, ready to ensure the demise of the Hungarian menace.
Victory in Plock
June 20, 1874

The Russian soldiers running around behind the lines in Poland were a nuisance indeed, but the Volk saw fit to tame them. von Ravensberg lost more men than his Russian counterpart, yet he remained standing strong. The campaign in Poland continued, as Germany once again humiliated its Slavic foe.
Conquest in Nancy
At the border states continued to be mopped up, Theodor von Arentschildt completed his domination of Nancy. He was redeployed to Laon to fill in the gap in that section of the line, not that there was much concern about it being exploited.
Second Battle of Tesin
June 22, 1874

Originally, the plan to plug the hole was for von Bulow to rebuff the army in Tesin quickly, and Adelbert von Spee to begin to assault the force in Trencin as he waited for von Bulow to back him up. But a large part of that Trencin force moved north when von Bulow committed, led by none other than the thorn in the side of the other von Spee brother, Theodor von Kirbach. von Spee would need to move to assist von Bulow immediately lest he quickly be overrun.
Polish Declaration of Statehood
Further north, Warsaw celebrated at a public signing. The crowds were gigantic, spreading far out of eyeshot of the event and spilling into excited parties throughout the city. Flags flew from every window, except for those that couldn't buy them before they ran out. But at Sigismund's Column, a few men wrote, in front of German, Swedish, Spanish, American, Occitan, and even British representatives, their names upon to a delcaration of statehood, declaring Congress Poland to be a nation to the rest of the world.
Victory in Bielsko
June 23, 1874

von Baden, heavily injured, was on his way to a hospital in Budapest. But a Russian general in his stead led the fleeing troops trying to escape Bielsko. von Blumenthal set to restoring German control to the region, while trying to deal with the Russians rushing north in the gap created by von Blumethal and a Volksarmee moving south to fight in Bielsko. That Volksarmee would move back north, while the other one would remain with von Blumenthal to back it up as it secured Bielsko.
Second Battle of Gyor
As his brother fought against Kirbach in the north, Bernhard von Spee sought to repel another Hungarian assault in Gyor. Once again, Budapest sought to buy time and keep the Gerrmans away from the capital.
Conquest in Dijon
June 25, 1874

Dijon had been won, but St Etienne had not. The French army attacking into the region was throwing back every German that it had been facing. Multiple German, Occitan, and Savoyan stacks tried to conquer the southward moving French, and were being slaughtered. With Dijon secured and dry at last, von Schwarzburg began the trek south to try and turn the tide.
Occitan Domination
Here, see the waste that the Occitan forces had laid along the Atlantic. The Occitan armies has been largely unapposed, but no one had expected them to be so dominant, already sieging territory in Brittany. The world would not quickly forget this show of force from the independent nation in Southern France.
Plans of the 3. Volksarmee
von Rauch's conscript army was to move north, taking out the Russian armies that were keeping German territory under siege, before assisting the other Volksarmee in Poland clearing out Russian forces.
Deployment of the 5. Volksarmee
June 30, 1874

von Mecklenburg-Strelitz would not reach Ljubljana in time to stop the Greeks from removing the German presence, but they would be able to beat the Greeks shortly after.
The Machine Gun
July 1, 1874

Germans had used the machine gun in experimental engagements before, but never for sustained combat operations. That was about to change. Now, any charge against the Germans would be just about a death sentence, a suicide mission, like running right into a hundred spears. The future of warfare was here.
The Saddle Orders
Another development in military technology were the saddle orders. No longer would runners be deployed from one spot and go straight to another, but checkpoints for communication would be set on larger battlefields, to allow for quick sprints on horseback between the points to relay orders quickly.
von Wettin returns to the fray
Greek men had not been the only ones to invade through Croatia. Hungarians also made that move, trying to take back Sopron. With his troops refreshed, von Wettin made his move to knock out the enemy before they could undo any German gains in the theater.
Reinforcements to St. Etienne
July 2, 1874

The fight in Occittania continued to proceed poorly. German lives were being lost at an alarming rate, and were actually being pushed back at this point. In response, Wolfgang von Halkett's 5. Wehrmacht was told to leave the subjugation of Troyes and move south to try and reverse the tide of the fight.
Victoy in the 2nd Battle of Gyor
July 3, 1874

Bernhard von Spee walked through his field hospital, visiting his wounded men. He remarked at how few of them there seemed to be. He exited the tent, and looked out upon the swarms of vultures plucking at the once-Hungarian soldiers. He had stood tall against the attackers, thriving under the combat.

In Berlin, Bernhard von Spee was becoming something of a national hero. Crowds cheered his name, and he had recieved a number of letters from political parties interested in him joining them after the war. von Spee considered it, and maybe when all was said and done he would go to his successful life in politics. But for now, Gyor demanded his attention. And after, it would be Budapest.
Victory in the 2nd Battle of Tesin
July 6, 1874

"Vindication...I needed this." Pascal von Bulow smoked inside a small church, not very well kept at all. Butit kept out the rain. Tesin was an odd place, such a tiny border town, and yet so much seemed to revolve around it. With Kirbach fleeing with heavy casualties, he took a few hours to himself to let the pace of the war slow down around him. His men would move south plugging a hole in Trencin.

Vienna was growing concerned about the new hole in Tarnow. The Hungarian remnant forces that hadn't joined the fight in Tesin from Trencin had moved into Olomouc, then to Troppau and soon Kattowitz. Hungarian forces could join them through Tarnow, Krakow, and then into Kattowitz. The German army in Kielce would eventually move south to plug the hole, but couldn't do so without either opening up another hole or starting a fight it didn't want to fight.
Conflict between Enemies
The German foreign ministry never had had much invested in Greece diplomatically, but they did still have an embassy there, and from time to time that embassy would hear things. Things about the battle for influence among some of the great powers who did have ambitions in the nation. Namely, France and Russia. Apparently, the two seemed to be bickering about who would hold the most sway over their mutual ally. When the news was published in the German papers, it quickly became an international laughing point, further condemning the chances of the makeshift alliance against the Germans.
Second Battle of Sopron
July 7, 1874

von Wettin had the numbers, he had the military composition...but beyond that, his men were definitely less composed than the Hungarian conscripts in Sopron. Time would tell which would emerge on top.
The hole in Kattowitz
July 8, 1874

The soldiers in Bielsko were still trying to liberate the region, and that meant Kattowitz was wide open. It continued to be flooded with enemy troops. This would be the focus of the next Volksamree.
Reinforcements to Sopron
July 10, 1874

The decision would leave Trencin a bit vulnerable, but Sopron needed the reinforcements. von Bulow left Adelbert in charge of the subjugation to move south and assist von Wettin.
Battle of Klagenfurt
July 12, 1874

In a similar situation to what was happening in Sopron, the German attack had one major advantage (Numbers) But was attacking into a very strong defensive position. Perhaps here, the numbers would be overwhelming enough to bring victory.
Deployment of the 6. Volksarmee
Led by Adolf von Manteuffel, the 6. Volksarmee would move into fill the gap alongside the army in Kielce to plug the hole by siezing Tarnow. They would clear out a lot of the invading forces along the way.
T+3 Months - Europe
France, almost completely fallen. Russia, steadily losing ground. Hungary, only a little less chaotic.
Battle of Laon
July 15, 1874

Georg Herwarth von Bittenfeld glanced through his spyglass on the field of battle arrayed before him.

"This is all of them, you say?"

"Yes sir, the scouts are very sure, these are the only French troops for a hundred kilometers around."

"But that can't be right." He set down the spyglass for a moment, turning to the servant boy at his right, taking the water the child held for him. "Call this the Summer war, more like, with this sweltering heat. Almost makes me wish for Poland." He turned to his lieutenant. "Almost, I would never drag us all to that hell."

von Bittenfeld sipped from the glass, giving it back to the boy after a few moments, and raised the spyglass to his eye again. "These troops can't be all there is. They've got smaller unit leadership, but I see no command tents. No observation towers. An army has to be led, who is leading this one?"

"We don't believe anyone sir. These are conscripts, and most of the French leadership corp appears to be dead or occupied elsewhere in the country. They're out there without a clue of what to do." von Bittenfeld sat back, and thought to himself for a moment.

"Well, that should make killing them rather easy, wouldn't it?"
The Eastern Line is Completed
This had been the plan since day 1. It wasn't completed until day 95. From the Baltic sea down to the Croatian border, a complete line of German troops now stood, slowly advancing into the accursed lands of the Russian and the Hun. The final piece came with Tarnow, the region that had frustrated the Germans for so long. With the Croatian treachery, the Germans still had a part of their southern border to secure, but the big part was done, and the advance would surely go much more smoothly now. Maximilian von Tirpitz would have the honors here, leading the 17. Wehrmacht into the treacherous region.
Battle of Kattowitz
von Benedek had been the man commanding when the battle in Sopron had ended. The Hungarians regarded him well for the losses he incurred on the Germans there. Budapest hoped that he would be able to do the same against a rookie von Rauch and the 3. Volksarmee in Kattowitz.
Victory in Sopron
July 17, 1874

Venetian General Oreste Cagni had once fought under the Hungarian banner. Back before Venice was granted independence by the Germans and added into the Germanian Union, he was a general for Austria, Austria-Hungary, and then just Hungary. He believed that the Germans were deceitful, that their claims of "Liberation" was just imperialism in disguise. He'd talk about Savoy, a nation that had been torn away from the Italian union it had joined in on of its own accord. He had no love for his new masters in Berlin.

But alas. He had no stomach for politics, that was for someone else. He would just follow orders. Under new banners, he would fight, and perhaps one day under different banners again. He always did like the way red, white, and green went together.
Battle of Warsaw
The streets of Warsaw ran busy. For the past week, the city had been under siege, with the German garrison holding off the Russian army that had made it behind German lines. They had waited for the arrival of a German army, and finally it had arrived. With almost three times the numbers, the battle looked strongly in favor of von Ravenberg, who had already driven another army out from behind the German lines.
Battle of Troppau
Theodor von Kirbach had fled from the south, having been shamed by Bernhard von Spee multiple times, and was shamed again by Adelbert in Tesin. Budapest was not pleased with him, but they needed some leadership, and their corps was not very deep. So now he fought again in Germany as the Eastern Command kept pushing to destroy the remaining Hungarian resistance in the center of the Eastern Line.
Victory in Lille
July 18, 1874

London would receive word of the end of the Battle of Lille the day after the final shot was fired. Parliament would be horrified by the news. 92,000 Frenchmen, who they had no love for, had entered into Lille, and now, the reports were that only 5,000 had been taken as prisoners. 87,000 dead men would take weeks to bury, and even the Occitans were ashamed when they heard the news. There was some who would say that the French refused to surrender, fighting to the last man, and some who would say that the Germans ignored offers of surrender, preferring to slaughter. It would become one of the most contentious points in the circles of European politics, with those against Germany condemning them for Lille, and those for Germany defending the actions of the Germans officers.
Victory in Laon
July 26, 1874

A little ways south, the battle in Laon had been raging. It ended more quickly than Lille had, but was not quite as disastrous for the French
Pyyrhic Victory in St. Etienne
A series of German generals marched into St. Etienne, in the end numbering four. They were led by General Wolfgang von Halkett of the 5. Wehrmacht. And when this war was over, he would return to Berlin to resign in shame. St. Etienne would share the spotlight with Lille for a time, though without the connotations of massacre in the former.

This was without a doubt the most devastating battle for the Germans of the entire war, and they still won it. The Germans lost around two-thirds of their troops, while only killing around half of the French soldiers under General Pierre Dubois. Given the incredibly heavy numbers advantage the Germans had, this was even more embarassing. Although the 5 to 1 ratio of Germans killed to French killed was not as high as the ratio in Tarnow, the deaths of 160,000 young men under von Halkett's command shocked Europe. France had been forced to leave the field, but not after crippling four Wehrmacht units.
Conquest of Gyor
July 27, 1874

Bernhard sighed, sipping on a cup of coffee as he looked at the reports from his scouts returning from Budapest. The city was in a state of panic. With the capital now finally exposed, Bernhard was poised to crush the heart of the Hungarians, and the fearful in the city knew it.

But it was not quite time for that, not yet. Bernhard would need the assistance of some more armies in order to fill in the hole that advancing into Budapest would create. Vienna was demanding that no more armies make it past the line, even in the south, which was soon to be plugged on the Croatian line. But Bernhard would have his crowning glory. He for one was very glad to be taking part in this war. His prospects seemed to improve by the day.
Third Battle of Tesin
July 31, 1874

Troppau had been won, and the enemy armies scattered. The Russians would surge north, while the Hungarians would go south. A new Volksarmee would end up cleaning up the Russians, but it was up to Adolf von Manteuffel's 6. Volksarmee to drive von Baden from Germany for good. Baden was better equipped, but with numbers on the side of Germany, and the unit officers of the Hungarians cut in half since the start of the war, leading to a very disorganized Hungarian army, it seemed Hungary's mastermind had his days numbered short.
Conquest of St. Petersburg
August 1, 1874

Didrik Strom had made his way from Åland. After being blockaded on the island for months, the Russian navy finally sailed off to fight elsewhere. After the war, the admiral that made that decision would be beheaded. Strom made his way through Finland straight to the Russian capital, St. Petersburg. When it fell, the man became a national hero, one who would retire from the military immediately once the war ended and he could enter politics.
Victory in Klagenfurt
August 5, 1874

Erich von Mecklenburg had succeeded in Klagenfurt, despite horrible combat conditions. He had to endure heavy losses in order to succeed, but succeed he did. He would be among the leading voices in Berlin to re-examine the doctrine of engagement, claiming that even the German military needed to check its hubris when attacking. Too many men had died due to forced assaults.
The French Surrender
When Paris fell, finally, completely, fell, the President of the Council approached the German diplomatic attache that had been assigned to the army in Paris. Negotiations lasted for two hours, time which was mostly spent as the translators went back and forth for the two men. When it ended, they both emerged, articles of surrender signed.

Paris had fallen. All of France either was occupied or on its way. There really was no hope for the French, and at this point, no token defense was worth the effort.
The Disgrace of Paris
The deal was heavily favored for the Occitan, as they received the border regions Poitou and Bourgogne from France. This satisfied the Germans in terms of crippling France's future military capability. There was a pocket surrounded by Savoy, Occitania, and Germany that tthe Germans had been hoping to give to Savoy, but unfortunately, the Swedish and Occitan governments had both threatened to nullify their alliances with Germany were that to go through. Germany would make that the focus of their next war with France.

This was Occitania's prize for taking France, but now, they would need to assist Germany in the east in order to pay for it.
The Croatian Front
August 9, 1874

With victory in Graz, the Germans would move south and finally close up the Croatian back door. With Cagni leading the assisting Venetians, the battle would likely go smoothly, but there was still the issue of the Hungarians and Greeks already behind the line to deal with. Fortunately, the Spaniards, Dutch, Belgians, Occitan, and Germans rushing east from France would make short work of these enemies.
T+4 Months - The Eastern Front
August 12, 1874

The Eastern front was stable, and slowly moving East. The remaining months of the war looked to be slow and steady. In Russia, the Germans didn't need to continue pushing during the war, as that could wait until Spring as the more temparate Hungary was subdued The armies behind the line were slowly being mopped up. German diplomats were beginning to sue Hungary for a separate peace, before leaving Russia alone and forcing the freedom of Poland. As Hungarian hopes continued to dry up, it was just a matter of time.
Conquest in Tarnow
August 17, 1874

The victory in Tarnow was a cause for celebration in Germany. Over the weeks of the war when it had sat unoccupied after the victory had been won there (at great cost), it represented the biggest hurdle to victory in Hungary to the average citizen. Despite the very minor strategic value the region had, this was the victory that finally shook off the last dregs of societal depression that had hung over Germany since St. Etienne, even after the French surrender.
The Battle of Nitra
August 19, 1874

von Bulow found himself on a horse when he much rather would have been in bed. Trotting along to the outer sentry posts alongside a lieutenant and a small detachment of guards, he was hoping that all that had been seen was a patch of deer. But he didn't make it to the spotting station before he knew that that wasn't the case. Rifle fire began to blare out, and von Bulow cleared a hill to look out at a sea of torches, showing an advancing army. Russian or Hungarian, he couldn't make out...but there was a lot of them. They outnumbered his men, not by much, but they did. As he mounted his horse to return to camp, he shouted to his aide to begin the artillery fire.

If the enemy wanted Nitra, they'd have to die for it.
Battle of Salzburg
August 20, 1874

Adamantios Plapoutas was Greece's finest. A man who had just slaughtered tens of thousand of German troops, despite being forced to flee the field. And now he was set on going as far into German territory as he could. He knew the war was hopeless in the long run, the Germans were just too big and better set to fight against the east, but perhaps he could earn himself some glory along the way. Next stop on his quest? Salzburg.

His men had set to starving out the forts and garrisons over the past few days, before he had been informed about rumors of an advancing army. A few hours later, scouts returned, many fewer than had been sent. One of the survivors, his leg broken and hastily splinted together, presented him with half of a flag, torn down the middle, with a golden cross on a red banner.

The Occitans had taken Plapoutas by surprise. The Greeks hadn't even heard that the French had surrendered by this point - the news often was slow going to southern Germany, and Plapoutas himself had been far too embedded for the Greek government to inform him.

This army was bigger, better equipped, and high off victory. But Plapoutas had seen bigger, and he had the high ground. If these fake French wanted to die on his bayonets, they were more than welcome.
The Italian Breach
August 23, 1874

Germany had secured the Croatian border, or so it thought. Where the Croatians could feed directly into Hungary, there were German guns prepared to stop them. But Hungary was not Croatia's only neighbor. It seems the Italians still had an axe to grind with the Germans after the loss of Savoy. Slovenia was still under Italian occupation, despite German plans for that to change. And it was through Postojna in Italian Slovenia that the Hungarians hoped to send another army behind German lines. At least one would make it through, though it would likely be cleaned up by one of the armies advancing from France. In the mean time, a German force would be redirected after coming into contact with Eastern command in Vienna to Klagenfurt, where it would hold the hole in the German defenses.
Victory in Maribor
August 24, 1874

Cagni sighed. He was a career soldier, as had been his father. But there came times when war weighed on him, where he was just disgusted by the violence, ideas of honor washed away in rains of blood and dismemberment. Maribor was one of those times. He'd had the misfortune to be watching as a Venetian shell landed in a Hungarian bunker. The one survivor was overcome, maddened by the death of his four friends, and even he didn't last much longer before he bled out.

He was looking forward to the war's end now, and very glad to be sitting in Maribor. He'd be needed here for a while, likely till everything came to an end. With the Croatian border so unstable, someone had to sit here until the Hungarian access to the country was removed, and every Hun left in there was flushed out.
Liberation of Bielsko
Two months after Bielsko had been taken by Hungarian forces, it was finally free. The Hungarian garrison installed right before the 1. Volksarmee drove them out of the region held out longer than they should have. The men weren't truly in condition to man the bases they had taken over, but the Germans weren't going to risk sending their men over the walls. They waited, and patiently, finally, the only occupied German territory of the war was free.
Victory in Salzburg
August 28, 1874

Plapoutas rushed east, desperate to reach the Hungarians who had snuck in through Italian Slovenia. When the Germans had arrived, and von Blomberg had begun the slaughter of the Greek forces, Plapoutas pleaded for reinforcements, but the Hungarian general thought to match his goals, and strive for his own glory. Little did either realize that they would be imminently surrounded, but it was too late soon enough.
Victory in Nitra
August 30, 1874

von Bulow and Cagni would never actually meet, but the two would have never gotten along. Whereas Cagni had grown disgusted by the slaughter in the war, von Bulow was reveling in it. After the disgrace from the failure in Tarnow, the German was glad to be clearing his name at last. The Russians had come, tried to take the hills where red, white, and black flew, but instead white, yellow, and black lay trampled in the mud. Alongside 23,000 Russian corpses.

In terms of larger strategy though, this battle had major implications. As the front advanced, it generally did so in a southward direction. An army in the north would secure some territory, which would allow southern armies to advance without breaking the line. Bernhard had been waiting to move from Gyor because someone needed to be able to block from the north. A Spanish army had him secure from the south, but Nitra allowed von Bulow to give von Spee the space he needed to move to the Hungarian capital.
The Siege of Budapest
September 3, 1874

"What do you mean the bridge is out?"

"They've blown up a section in the middle sir. Small enough that they can repair it after the war, but big enough that we can't cross."

"Any chance of fixing it?"

"No sir, our men would be sitting ducks. We think the other bridges are wired as well. They've got their side of the river fairly well secured."

"And that includes Margaret island as well?"

"Yes sir."

"Well, at the least, their spotters won't be able to get to their artillery fast enough as we take it. We'll lose men, but fewer than if we try to cross anywhere else. That island is a staging point and a jumping off ground to take the other side." Bernhard von Spee stood, his officers before him at the table. "This city is mine, they just won't admit it yet."
Deployment of the 9. and 10. Volksarmee
September 4, 1874

More and more conscripts were making their way to Breslau. The next two Volksarmees would be set to help clearing out the enemy territory still behind enemy lines. One would head to Krakow, the other would go to Poland, to assist in the subjugation of the remaining Russian armies, who were beginning to employ guerrilla tactics.
Assault in Galica-Lodomeria - Battle of Lvov
September 7, 1874

The war in Hungary was moving the quickest in the north, along the Northern ridge of the Carpathian mountains. If it continued the quick advance, Russia would no longer be able to move troops into Hungary without a fight. The Germans sought to make a major advance, sending three armies out of Przemysl to take Lvov, Stryi, and Uzhgorod all at once. This involved taking on two Russian armies in the way.

In Lvov, Wilhellm von Gebser's 14. Wehrmacht took the field. von Gebser had spent most of the war in Russia, advancing along the Hungarian border before finally being shifted down once the Hungarian advance began to speed up.
Assault in Galica-Lodomeria - Battle of Stryi
In Stryi, Adolf ovn Blumenthal continued his campaign of success. He was beginning to form quite a name for himself back in Berlin. Not as big as Bernhard von Spee, but one nonetheless. His victories up and down the front were well noted, especially the one in Bielsko. He too, had begun to receive offers to join political parties after the war, which his aide had kept aside and out of sight, not wanting to distract the General during the conflict.
Victory in Judenburg
September 13, 1874

"Is this all that remains?" Hungarian General Franz Eisner glanced at the wounded, beaten, and exhausted men around him. No more Greeks stood in their number, they had all perish as soon as the damned Dutchman Engels took the field. Plapoutas was dead, struck down by a marksman. Now, among a small crowd of mostly Russian soldiers, Eisner felt more alone than he ever had before. Among the other 374 men, he felt as helpless as a child.

He got a good look at the crowd as a bolt of lightning smote the cloudy sky. A few seconds later, a peal of thunder followed, and then another. It left Eisner clueless for a few moments, before a cannonball struck a tree nearby. It left him shocked with horror and sorrow.

"I have seen my final sunrise..."
The Venetian Push
September 14, 1874

Klagenfurt had been secured, but Venice was still exposed to the Hungarians and Russians travelling what had colloquially become known as the Taboo Railway, the territories in Italy and Croatia that Germans couldn't enter but provided free access to their enemies. In response, Savoyan and Belgian forces had been deployed to Venice to repel the oncoming Huns.
Battle of Pecs
Girard Dardier was an old general, having been born during the original French revolution. A child during the reign of Napoleon, he also had a very quick rise to prominence in the French military. He was an old fashioned man with a tendency towards a bit of military dignity. He requested a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Igor Vorontsov, to offer some formal terms of surrender, just as a formality. The meeting was cut short by lack of translators. The battle would not be blessed with the same fate.
Battle of Treviso
September 16, 1874

The first battle in the Venetian campaign saw Belgian Werner Dreze take on a reduced force in Treviso. The bulk of the army that had been stationed there fell back with a larger group in Udine. Interestingly enough though, a Russian force was planning to head towards Venice, and possibly continuing on through Italy proper into Germany, Savoy, or Switzerland. A Belgian force under Ignace Cauvin was racing to Box them in, but likely wouldn't arrive in time.
Victory in Stryi
September 17, 1874

The first major battle in the Galica-Lodomerian campaign to end was Stryi. This was one of the most successful assaults the Germans had had in the war, given the heavy losses that they had been taking in many of their battles so far. Stryi saw 6,000 soldiers flee the field before the fight was finished, which ended with a final 391 men racing away from their deaths. The engineer corps of Blumenthal's army remained in Stryi to begin the siege, while the bulk of the army returned to Przemysl to finish off the deserters.
Conquest of Budapest
Bernhard von Spee sat at the top of Buda Castle, looking out over the Danube. A collection of wine bottles were arrayed before him, diffracting the morning sunlight that shone through them. They were slowly being narrowed down, and he finally settled on one that he shared with two of his aides.

"There are reports that the Diet has fled, we're not sure where they've gone to."

"Ah, they're welcome to continue to watch as their country is slowly eaten. I'm in no rush to finish this meal, I'd prefer to savor the taste."
Deployment of the 11. Volksarmee
September 21, 1874

The Russian front had stalled out. Poland was finally being mopped up, but since that was where the majority of reinforcements were being sent, the front advancing into Russia could not advance without becoming stretched too thin. The 11. Volksarmee would head to Pinsk in order to be that extra army needed to help push the line forward.
Victory in Lvov
September 22, 1874

The Galica-Lodomerian campaign saw it's second battle go the way of the Germans in Lvov. von Gebser sent the Russians running, though not quite with the ruthlessness that was seen in Stryi.
The Third Romanian Liberation of Eastern Transylvania
September 23, 1874

During the past war with Hungary, Romania made a move to prey on the weakened Hungarian state. They sought to do so again in 1874. The French would offer their support, but they were a paper tiger, both isolated from Hungary, and weakened from their defeat a few months ago. For the Germans, this meant getting into Eastern Transylvania before the Romanians could steal the province.
Victory in Pecs
September 24, 1874

von Spee had made his name in the Hungarian theater, but he was not the only hero to be raised up by the German people for his accomplishments in the war. Pascal von Blomberg's heroics in Lille had raised him up to near immortal status among the masses. It was he who descended upon Pecs to bring that fight to an end. In fact, it wasn't so much any fighting he did as it was his presence. The Russians and Hungarians had been taking down a large number of German soldiers until he arrived, at which point they all promptly fled the arena of combat.
Victory in Tesin
September 27, 1874

The Third battle of Tesin had lasted almost two months, and yet it was one of the least bloody battles of the whole war. The Germans had suffered most of the casualties, but at least von Baden would be on the run once again.
The Nachschub-Verkehr Organisation
October 1, 1874

At the start of October, the Germans began to utilize a new supply and logistics system, actively setting up and restocking supply depots as the fight advanced further and further into enemy territory. The Nachschub-Verkehr Organisation was responsible to helping keep the advancing soldiers fed and armed.
The Battle of Lucerne
One army had escaped the line that had finally encircled the enemy troops in Venice. Kirill Badanov's Russian army had made it into Italian territory, and then moved north into Switzerland. One of the armies that had been stationed in St. Etienne and had been recuperating in Wurttemburg, von Halkett's 5. Wehrmacht, made its way to meet the Russians in the peaks of Lucerne. Though not at full strength, von Halkett was a veteran in his prime against a fool who was absolutely mentally outmatched. Badanov would live to tell the tale of this war, and he would remark on how when he saw the superior numbers he faced, he knew his luck had run out, and it was time to pay his debts.
The Deployment of the 12. Volksarmee
October 4, 1874

The Russians in Poland simply refused to die. They would lose fight after fight, and dwindle more and more, but they would not be defeated fully. The Germans were tired of Polish territory being left untaken, and so they ordered the newest Volksarmee, the 12., to take out the stragglers as the other German armies handled the unsubdued provinces in Poland.
von Baden's Surrender in Olomouc
October 6, 1874

The final few days of the battle in Olomouc were primarily negotiations from a von Baden holding out in a bunker. The Germans had him surrounded, there was no way out this time. von Baden had negotiated that his men would be placed in some of the more reputable prison camps, while he would be personally taken to a cell in Berlin. The Eastern Command in Vienna themselves made the trip to Olomouc to witness the surrender of the Hungarian general, and a pageant it turned out to be. von Baden was all but paraded around as he was finally taken captive.
Victory in Lucerne
October 12, 1874

Badanov continued the recent trend of Russian generals making it out of fights with barely any remaining men. He made haste to Zurich, hoping to be able to make his way back to friendly territory, or at least run until the war ended, but with von Halkett hot on his heels, that was rather unlikely.
The Battle of Baronovichi
As the 11. Volksarmee arrived on the Russian front, and the Germans began their advance further into Russia, one primary issue remained - Baronovichi. A very large army had been parked there, one that would need to be moved Wehrmacht if he wanted a good chance of winning. The Germans were confident, they had been matching up well against the Russians in the field over the past month, especially with the positive results of the Galica-Lodomeria campaign.
T+6 Months - Half a Year of German Progress
What had changed in the past two months? The Russian front had moved a bit, but not by much. Hungary had all but collapsed and finished its final throes of resistance, with von Baden's surrender and the advance into Eastern Hungary being met with almost no resistance. The fighting had spilled into the south, with Italy and Croatia becoming major focal points for the war. Perhaps most importantly the troops from the French theater had arrived, and were actively supporting the Hungarian advance. The front broke in favor of the Germans right as they arrived, making the advancing wave almost unstoppable.
Romanian Outreach
October 12, 1874

It's understandable that the Romanians would try and reach out to the Germans. They were both at war with the Hungarians, and like the Germans, Romania was a union state, from when Wallachia and Moldavia entered a union together, which led the Romanians to look up to the Germans. For them, this war was their war for Elsaß-Lothringen.

The Germans, however, had no interest in the ambitions of the burgeoning Romanian state. Their interest was in expanding their influence and power as much as possible, and that included Eastern Transylvania. So when the Romanians came knocking for Military Access, Berlin summarily turned them down.
The Deep Defense System
October 16, 1874

The Occitan War had taught the Germans a number of lessons. These lessons were colloquially referred to as Tarnow, St. Etienne, and Klagenfurt. In each of those battles, the Germans had emerged victorious, but at great cost. And so, the Germans learned, taking the chaos of those battlefields and turning it into formula for their own future defenses. Thus began the Deep Defense System.

Rather than defeating an attacker with a single, strong defensive line, the Deep Defence system relied on the tendency of an attack to lose momentum over a period of time or as it covers a larger area. The Germans could thus yield lightly defended territory in an effort to stress an attacker's logistics or spread out a numerically superior attacking force. Once an attacker had lost momentum or became forced to spread out to pacify a large area, defensive counter-attacks can be mounted on the attacker's weak points, with the goal being to cause attrition warfare or drive the attacker back to its original starting position.
The Repairs of the Russian Front
October 24, 1874

When attacking into Baronovichi, the Germans moved the army that was supposed to go into Lida south to support the attack. That, unfortunately, left a hole in the Russian line that was almost immediately exploited. One large Russian force went through, followed by a few smaller armies. Another had already come down from the north through Estonia and some of the Baltic islands. Either way, the Baltic theater was becoming chaotic.

There were three tasks that the Germans needed to accomplish. Firstly, they needed to plug the hole in the Russian line. Adolf von Manteuffel's 6. Volksarmee would be sent to Lida for that task. Secondly, the 12. Volksarmee would clear out the armies that were trying to cause chaos in the occupied Baltic regions. Finally, Eduard Hoffman's 7. Wehrmacht would go to assist in Baronovichi.
The Battle of Daugavpils
October 26, 1874

A little bit further to the north, Alexi Badanov sought to restore a bit of his honor. After Lozma, he needed another victory in order to get back into the good graces of the Russian Czar. So he led his force against Alfred Heppendorf, the People's Champion. Daugavpils hadn't fallen yet, but it was along the way, and if Heppendorf could hold off the Russians here, that would end up a certainty.
The Battle of Marijampole
October 31, 1874

Viktor Konstantinov was a member of the Imperial Russian Army General Staff. A good man, if a bit behind the times. Across from him on the field was the upstart Paul von Zieten, one of the newest German Generals. Marjiampole would be a hard fight, against a mass of artillery that were heavily dug in, but von Zieten was ready to make a name for himself.
Victory in Baronovichi
November 1, 1874

Pascal von Hindenburg was almost dead, just like his army. But he was only almost dead. Baronovichi was won, and it didn't even need the reinforcements that were still on the way. The 12. Wehrmacht wouldn't see anymore combat for a while, definitely none for the rest of the war. A Volksarmee would come in from the rear to reinforce the occupation, and once again, the line was complete, Daugavpils pending.
Reinforcements to Daugavpils
And with another Russian army rushing into Daugavpils, that battle started to look in doubt. Eduard Hoffman was redirected north to go and clear out the Russian invaders. He'd have to fight through Wilno to get there, but hopefully he'd break through the weak army there and be able to reach Daugavpils in time.
Victory in Daugavpils
November 6, 1874

But Heppendorf pulled through regardless. Russia could have kept pushing, and perhaps if another army was sent in they could have broken Heppendorf, but they fell back. The Russians were finally giving up hope. They were finally realizing that they couldn't escape by giving up the Hungarians, that they couldn't stall through the winter. Snow was beginning to fall, but Russia would fall before it's greatest tool of war would be used to its true extent.
Hungarian Surrender
November 8, 1874

From September onward, every German army had a diplomatic attache assigned to it. They had the authority to make treaties on behalf of the Reichstag and the Kaiser. The demands were simple, and if they could secure them, then the war would end. For the Hungarians, they would have to accept a government appointed by and loyal to the Germans. For the Russians, they would have to release the nation that would become known as Congress Poland (Which would be given a German appointed government, just like Hungary), and release Åland, which would return to Swedish control.

The diplomatic proceedings which would lead to the surrender of the Hungarians began in Gyulafehérvár on November 5th. The Attache was approached by a representative of the Hungarian Diet. They had been in hiding somewhere in the east, but had been difficult to track down. A meeting was set up for the night of the 7th, and was held at the German camp. There was no concern about the Diet being taken captive, they were ready to give the Germans everything they wanted, there were only the details of how it would go down.

The two big issues that the Diet wanted addressed were the partition plans, and the Romanian situation. Hungary understood that at the end of this war, they would collapse in their international standing, but they hoped to retain some dignity. When it came to the partition, the issue that the Hungarians were most concerned about was Banat. The Banat German population had a sizable lobby, with two small, independently run newspapers in Berlin (Circulation wasn't much, only about 10,000 readers for each, but a few notable Reichstag members were among those readers). Hungary was open to releasing some of the territories next to Romania, but wanted to hold onto Novi Sad, which a portion of the Banat Germans wanted added to the future nation. The decision was fought over at length, but eventually decided in favor of the Hungarians. Hungary was to be made weaker through the partition to prevent future betrayal against Germany, but it still needed to be an effective member of the Germanian Union. As such, it was granted Novi Sad. In terms of the Romanian question, the Germans and Hungarians were on a much easier accord. General von Baden would be released from German custody and allowed to begin the rebuilding of the Hungarian army, now fighting alongside the Red, White, and Black. In the meantime, the Germans would take the fight to the Romanians, keeping Eastern Transylvania under German control. The Diet had been hearing mixed reports, confused while being attacked from the east and the west, and thought that Romania had simply been a late entrant into the Occitan War. They were more than glad to hear that Germany had no intention of allowing Eastern Transylvania to slip away.

The negotiations went through until morning, and when they were finished, the message was sent out - Hungary had surrendered. The time for rest had not come quite yet, but the greatest challenge of the last decade had been overcome at last.
Russian Surrender
November 9, 1874

The Czar's letter was stained with tears as he signed the letter. A German representative had been in Moscow since the fall of St. Petersburg. Discussions had been taking place about whether or not to move the capital to Moscow permanently, but it was thought that Russia would simply impose severe punishment on the Finnish for allowing the Swedes through, and work to ensure that the Finns would fight in the future, which would allow the capital to remain in St. Petersburg. The city was well on its way to being freed, with the Swedish army being nearly defeated. But the Czar knew the game was almost up regardless. Even before he had heard of the Hungarian surrender, he knew that their complete occupation was imminent. He had offered to shelter the Diet, but that offer came through either too late, with the Germans closing off access to Hungary, or was rejected outright, with the Diet not wanteing to abandon their countrymen. Either was possible, he just didn't know.

But when the news came through, it came with an ultimatum - Surrender Poland and Åland, or nothing would stop the Germans. They had started the war fighting on three fronts, and without the force of a mobilized public behind them. Imagine what they could do going in just one direction, and with the full weight of Germany pushing on it. Even this late into the war, the bulk of German troops were in Hungary, Russia was a secondary thought. And still the Germans had been able to crush the Bear in under seven months.

It had been five months and twelve days since the first offer of surrender had come from the Czar. The Russians had sent more and more offers throughout the war. They wanted an end, but they wanted it on their terms. They wanted to sell out their allies in France and Hungary. Maybe that's why the Diet was so cooperative with the Germans, because they were sick the the Russians. But with no one left to fall back on, the Russians had no choice but to comply with the demand. The paper ripped as the pen traced over a part which had been stained with saline, but that proved no issue. The Russians had finally surrendered. The Occitan War was over.
Epilogue - The German Mobilization
The mobilization of German conscripts was generally viewed as a great failure. Though the sheer numbers the Germans were able to field was incredibly impressive, the speed at which they tried to do so was absolutely unacceptable. By the end of the war the Office of Mobilization was still getting new recruits to the front. This would be a large focus for the Germans going forward.
Epilogue - War of Hungarian Domination
The war ended, and yet, peace did not come. Peace was not the consequence of a war ending, it was the consequence of the mission being accomplished. And that mission was the domination of Hungary. As long as Romania tried to take Eastern Transylvania, there could be no peace, and so, Germany declared war, taking over leadership in the conflict.
Epilogue - War of Hungarian Domination (Battle of Brasso)
November 12, 1874

Adelbert von Spee was the closest to the Romanian army in Brasso. The Romanians were bigger, were entrenched, and the Germans didn't have much faith in Adelbert, but they needed someone to intervene before it was too late, and the Germans were at least better equipped to fight. Adelbert rushed in, anxious to restore his dignity. It was an...ill-advised decision. This was the only Romanian army, but Gheorghe Ionitiu was a tactical mastermind. He needed reinforcements and quickly.
Epilogue - War of Hungarian Domination (The von Spee Brothers united)
November 18, 1874

The camp was abuzz, those not on the front lines holding against the Romanian masses rushed to the camp's western entrance. They all wanted to meet the conquerer of Hungary, the man who planted a German flag in Budapest. Bernhard von Spee was here, and an army or two awaited his arrival anxiously.

Bernhard didn't stick around for long, he quickly made his way towards his brother. The two embraced in the privacy of their tent, before Adelbert broke down in tears, crying onto his brother's shoulder.

"I have shamed us, time and time again. Our father weeps in his grave, I am sure of it. I am to be stripped of my rank when this is all said and done." Bernhard did not speak, for he knew he could not deny it, and to confirm it would only bring more grief. The General Staff was furious with what had occurred in a number of places throughout the war, and the chaos caused by Tarnow was the first thing on their list. It likely set the invasion back by about two months at least, and Adelbert was on the chopping block. Someone had to go, changes had to be made, even after defeating half of Europe in seven months.

"This is not the time to be concerned about that. No one will fault you for Brasso, the General Staff knew you were going into awful conditions. Tarnow is a differrent story, but for now we need to subdue Ionitiu. We're unlucky here, but we can come out on top. We've got the numbers now. Let us set to work."
Epilogue - The German-Polish Treaty of Brotherhood
November 21, 1874

Twelve days following the recognition of the Polish state by the Russians, the Poles had done quite a bit to get their bureaucracy going. And though their alliance had been informally understood, both sides were eager to get it down on paper. The ceremony was spectacular, coinciding with the victory parade in Berlin. The representatives of each side came in on the final two floats, and signed the alliance in front of a massive crowd outside the Reichstag building.
Epilogue - War of Hungarian Domination (Cowardice of France)
December 5, 1874

When Germany entered the war, it was oddly enough alongside France, who had been allied with Hungary when the war began. But France was as weak and as cowardly as ever, and in their isolation, their participation in the war was fairly pointless, especially now that Germany had taken over war leadership. Still, this separate peace would eliminate any respect the Germans may still have had for the French.
Epilogue - War of Hungarian Domination (Treaty of Bucharest)
December 10, 1874

Just over a month after Germany's entrance into the war, Germany had occupied over half of Romania, with Bucharest on the way. The battle in Brasso was still well underway, but had turned in favor of the Germans. Occitania, Sweden, and Spain warned against Germany overextending her expansion, perhaps in fear that they would be the next to be targeted by the juggernaut, but Germany heeded anyways, not wanting to incur too much wrath at the moment. They did not impose the terms that they imposed on Hungary, rather accepting the end of the war and ambitions in Transylvania proposed by a scared Diet emerging from the Romanian capital building in Bucharest.

Peace had come at last.
Epilogue - Partition of Hungary (Slovenia)
December 11, 1874

The mood in Hungary during the final month of the war with Romania was best described as melancholy. They knew that they would emerge victorious over Romania with Germany at the helm, but they also knew the partition was coming. They felt the shame of the defeat, doubled by the shame of having to cooperate, even depend on their conquerors, who they still had no love for, given the past decade.

When the war ended, there was a mix of relief and horror - relief that the partition was finally here, horror that it was happening. The first nation to be freed was Slovenia. Germany had plans for the nation, mostly taking away the territory that belonged to Italy and adding it to the tiny country.
Epilogue - Partition of Hungary (Banat)
December 13, 1874

Two days later came Banat. Banat was a strange nation - notable for being particularly diverse. Plenty of Germans, Romanians, and Serbs made their home here, and fairly peacefully. They were one of the states the Germans were particularly optimistic about. This was a state that could rather easily become a cultural beacon in Europe.
Epilogue - Partition of Hungary (The Ruthenian Question)
December 15, 1874

Galica-Lodomeria had been poised to benefit greatly and become a rather large state after the partition, but the Ruthenians posed an interesting conundrum. They wanted their own state, claiming a large section of northern Hungary. They could still be considered part of Galica-Lodomeria, and were definitely within the geographical bounds of the region, but the Ruthenians didn't want to end up dominated by Krakow. The question became how much to give whom, with the line eventually being decided at Przemysl.
Epilogue - Partition of Hungary (The Free Bohemian State)
December 19, 1874

When the Bohemians in Austria joined the German Empire through the War of Austrian Unification, many of them were rather upset. They weren't necessarily opposed to the idea of German unification, they just preferred to not deal with most of the others in the Union. And although Germany would not give up any of their own territory for a Bohemian state, they would create the "Free" Bohemian State (Still just a puppet of the Germanian Union), for those objectors to go to.
Epilogue - Partition of Hungary (Slovakia)
December 21, 1874

The Slovaks had been agitating inside Hungary for years, and the Hungarians were almost glad to see them go after all the problems they had caused over the years. The Germans were curious to see what the Slovaks would do with their semi-independence, given the mountainous terrain of their nation.
Epilogue - Partition of Hunngary (Moldavia)
December 23, 1874

The formation of the new Royal Nation of Moldavia (Full name) was simply an affront to Romania. It declared the intent of the Hungarians to break apart the nation they had just defeated. It would not come today, but eventually.
Epilogue - Partition of Hungary
Here is a map of the new partition. Hungary mostly lost territory in the north, and with the exception of Banat, was cleaved of its territory that just jutted out into other nations.
Epilogue - German Sphere of Influence
Germany's new sphere of influence extended out through the old Hungarian borders, as to be expected. Outside of Europe, it mostly focused on the Middle East, with the Ottoman Empire, Persia, and Arabian nations. Germany was anxious to sphere Hedjaz, and then unify the nations into Arabia.
Epilogue - European Political Map
Germany's border with Russia was tiny, but given the satellite states that needed to be manned as well, this was a massive region that had to be addressed. Italy was properly surrounded from the north, and would need to be guarded against as they surely planned to take Savoy back, and perhaps Venice too. France was a mess, both in general and geographically. Germany would make one problem worse and one problem better in the coming years.
Epilogue - German Diplomatic Relations
Germany stood dominant in Europe. With 15 satellite states, it commanded perhaps the largest army in all the world, close to tied with Russia and China. Given their concentration, they certainly could not be beaten. This war had proved that much, and they had emerged stronger and their enemies weaker.
Epilogue - The State of the World (December 23, 1874)
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Europe in December was drastically different from where it was in January. France had collapsed, with a great deal of territory being handed to their southern neighbor, the price they paid for trying to take back what they thought was theirs. In the east, what was once a simple set of borders between Germany, Hungary, and Russian was now a mass of states, creating a huge buffer between Germany and its greatest enemy, save for the northern tip of the Baltic regions. But that still wasn't really the case, considering the governments of all these new states. It really was a lot simpler - With Hungary along the way, it was just one long line between Germany and Russia. The two would definitely fight again, as Germany sought to keep pushing that line further and further back, freeing Lithuania, Ukraine, Estonia, and more and more states.

Across the channel sat Great Britain. Both they and Italy abstained from the war, neither of them had any alliances that would have called them into it. But had they made a move to either side, it would have been against the Germans. Great Britain had no false beliefs about what the Germans were doing in the east - Thinly-veiled expansionism. They were as close too an enforcer of world order that there was. That said, they still were barely capable of enforcing anything against the Germans, and they were the ones who the Germans would soon target. Germany sought to dismantle the British, creating a free Canada, a free India, and even dissolving the Union on the isles. Soon, the Germans hoped to have Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and someday perhaps England herself as puppets within the Germanian Union. In terms of Italy, Germany had made it clear before that they would be the only Union in Europe. If they had to return Italy to its form in 1836, then they would, piece by piece.

In the middle east, Germany found itself in a position of great influence. Their relations with the Ottomans were rocky, but Germany still held sway over that vast empire. Arabia was close to being united, loyal to the Germans, which would allow them to challenge the British influence on the tip of the peninsula and on the horn. Persia too sent great riches back to Berlin.

In the far east, Japan was proving its worth on the world stage. United by the Shogunate, Japan was beginning to siege the rest of the pacific. The only nation that had a chance of stopping them was China, who had consumed Mongolia, and was finally on the way to properly civilizing itself. Russia's fears of Germany were matched only by their fear of the Dragon.

In the Americas, the United States had firmly positioned itself as the superpower of the continent. Canada remained a British possession, but America was a leading world power, they could handle the Canucks if it came to it. Given the relations between the two countries, it most certainly could. Brazil to the south had begun to have some very positive dialogues with the Germans, and although the Germans hadn't attempted to sphere the nation, they might soon, with the intention of bringing the Brazilians to the international stage as a great world power.

Europe had spent its time as the area of great international focus for a while. For now, everyone turned their attention to Africa. Europe looked upon the continent with great desire, including Germany. Germany began to spread its influence among the Equatorial nations, especially along the gold coast. Most importantly, they eyed Portugal's colonies in southern Africa, and believed them to be perfect targets for beginning expansion and colonization. The scramble was on the horizon. Would Africa use the calendar of the German century?
Epilogue - The German Empire (December 23, 1874)
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Alone, Germany was already the second biggest nation in Europe, following Russia. That said, they were undoubtedly the most powerful, able to defeat three other powerhouses simultaneously. With the combined strength of their puppet states, however, there was almost no challenge that could oppose them, save perhaps Great Britain, or maybe the United States. But Great Britain had no intention of dealing with Germany after the debacle that occurred when the two nations last fought, and the United States was half a world away.

Germany was not quite where it wanted to be in terms of partitioning all of Europe just yet, but it was most definitely on schedule. The Kaiser's prediction of a German century certainly seemed to be coming true.

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Images: 92, author: detectivekr, published: 2017-02-03, edited: 1970-01-01