God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR - Part 12

Author: ElvenAshwin
Published: 2017-02-06, edited: 1970-01-01

Part of the campaign:

God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR

Previous part:

Game: Victoria 2

God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR - Part 11

Images: 83, author: ElvenAshwin, published: 2017-02-06, edited: 1970-01-01

Senātus Populusque Rōmānus
As the 20th century dawns upon the world, the Republic emerges mightier than ever. We have spent close to two decades at peace, barring overseas adventurism that's harmed no one (besides the countries we invaded, presumably). And of course, through it all we have been a shining and spectacular example of democracy, ignoring that one fellow who's dead now.

Control over the colonies and the state of the Roman political establishment are key questions as Rome heads into the new century. Since the Primo scandal, many are distrustful of veterans of the ruling Socialist Party. Furthermore, many feel as though their complaints: about liberalism, about foreigners are unanswered by candidates focused exclusively on high brow questions of how to run an economy and balance a budget.

Through this disenfranchisement, one Claudio Alescio, former Socialist and leader of the hyper nationalistic Roman Front party, rises to the forefront of Roman politics. In his speeches deriding the establishment, the weakness of the state, and the need to destroy and humiliate the French, the Austro-Hungarians and the Ottoman Empire, his reach and influence grows with the day.
The Roman Economy
Effective economic policy through the last few decades of continuous Socialist rule has placed the Roman industry in excellent shape. However, even as things are going well, there will always be flaws that the electorate will pick out.
The Roman Communist Revolution Continues!
After the defeat of the last of the communist forces in late 1903, numerous former members of the Radical Socialists flee underground where they reorganize. A successful second wave of uprisings is staged in May of 1904.

Claudio Alescio attacks this as proof that the Roman government is not doing enough to destroy the evils of Marxism, and combined with its failure to ban the Radical Socialist Party shows the influence of the marxists who have "infiltrated" the government.
The war rages on
The rebellion in Italy is quickly squashed by the capable Roman Army, and fighting in Roman Africa continues for several months but ultimately results in a final victory for the Romans.

The damage has largely been done, however, as Alescio and the Roman Front pounce on Consul Nero as being unable to control his colonial empire.

Alescio advocates for mass executions of the family members of the communists - a proposal that meets intense condemnation from Nero, who now begins directly addressing the loud man in the room. Nero accuses Alescio of being a "war criminal" with no empathy. Alescio, however, claims that the communists and rebels in the colonies are monsters themselves - and there is no way to defeat them with conventional tactics.
A modern army
The Roman Army, one of the most well funded armies in the world and a major black hole in the Roman budget, secures funding to begin developing better rifles.
Go away Poland
A revolt breaks in Warsaw once again, and the Poles manage to seize the city and hold a national congress. They hope to finally break free of their Russian captors. In an open address to the nations of the world, the Poles directly address Consul Nero, calling him to their side, and against the "tyrants" in the rest of Europe.

Nero turns down this offer.
Poland is alone
The Germans also refuse to back the Polish congress, as part of their deal in the Moscow Peace Accords.

With that, Warsaw is left alone and without allies. The Russian army soon closes in.
Penal Reform
A debate fires up in the Senate over a policy that the majority of citizens are concerned about: the punishment of criminals. Nero, in typical Christian Socialist fashion, disavows the liberal use of capital punishment, intending hoping to ship criminals off into the Congo colony, where they can rot with the rest of their ilk.

This bill proves to be very popular within the small, 16% of the population that supported it, but the vast majority are largely apathetic. They instead continue to enjoy jingoistic speeches by the stout man on his podium.
The collapse of the Roman position in Somalia
(I suck at noticing occupied territories)

Our land in Somalia is seized by communists for long enough, leading to them finally declaring the Socialist Republic of Warsangali, setting up the institutions of state and breaking away from Roman Africa, in yet another major source of humiliation for the Nero administration.

Consul Nero decides against invading and reclaiming Warsangali, believing it to be worthless and a waste of time.

The headlines for the next day are expected, with Alescio deriding the weakness of Nero, who "does not care for Roman prestige and international standing".
The Spanish Civil War
1905 sees another headache break out for the Roman administration with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, as monarchists for some reason decide that the time is now to restore Spain.

Alescio now advocates for intervention in Spain as part of the importance of maintaining our "commitment" to spreading democracy in Europe.

Nero instead judges, logically, that the Spaniards will be able to put down the reactionaries by themselves.
Circumventing laws
With the factories no longer able to enslave their craftsmen and keep them in the factories for 24 hours a day, thanks to powerful unions, they do the next best thing and grab two people for twelve hours a day, allowing continuous production at maximum productivity.
The Rome Summit
The German Kaiser Wilhelm II and his Chancellor arrange a summit with the Roman government in Rome. Here, the two nations plan on discussing the future of the German axis and how they can combat the Triple Entente and Britain, which have solidly formed in opposition to the German axis.

As a testament to the rising influence of Claudio Alescio, the Germans demand an end to his calls for the "destruction of the Ottoman Empire", believing them to be useful in combating the Tripl Entente. Nero assures Wilhelm that Alescio is no more than a clown; that his extreme views do not resonate with the Roman people.
The Spanish wrap it up
As expected, within several months, the civil war turns sharply in the favor of the Spanish democracy, removing any need for a Roman intervention. Nero is praised within the Roman Senate for exercising restraint.
Fascist Gains
In a surprise move, Alescio announces his candidacy for Senator of Rome in the 1906 Senatorial Elections. Alescio's popularity, assumed to only consist of backwater degenerates, takes the establishment by shock as he finishes first among contestants in the elections in Rome.

Nero, however, considers 1906 a victory, pointing out the closing of the gap with the Liberal Party. He largely ignores Alescio's new position as a Roman Front Senator.
Who cares about the women?
Social progressives continue deserting the Socialist Party en masse as they refuse to condemn the passage of the "Cat and Mouse Act" in the Roman province of Ravenna.
... Jacobins?
Angered with the present state of Roman politics, an extreme revolutionary group known as the October Revolutionary Front begins organizing, aiming to overthrow and replace the existing Roman Republic with a new one that better adheres to the ideals of the Republic as it was forged in 1871.
Let there be light!
We learn the secret of generating power: something fancy involving magnets and turbines. I don't know, I just control the budget.
The Roman Navy Expands
In August 1906, the Roman Navy begins the construction of its first two modern battleships - the RNS Molinelli and the RNS Augustus.
"You can't change a party corrupt to the core"

Less than a decade after the Primo scandal, the Socialist party is rocked again with only a year to go till elections. Senator Alescio of the Roman Front alleges that Consul Nero and the rest of the Socialist Supreme Council had funded the communist movement in Africa during Grifeo's consulship in the hope of discrediting the Moderate Party. This allegation leads to a raid of the Socialist headquarters in Rome where evidence is obtained suggesting that the Socialists had purchased large "gifts" for various influential newspaper executives and editors, harming their neutrality. This leads to a criminal investigation and the arrest of numerous Socialist party members for corruption within a month.

Early testimonies given by Socialist party members attempting to reduce their sentences confirm Alescio's allegation, and in the process Grifeo's son uses the media storm to sue the entire Socialist Party for libel, and demands a re-opening of the investigation into the "suicide" of Dominus Grifeo in the 1880s.

Nero, however, is not personally linked to the wide-reaching scandal, outside of his involvement in the murder of Molinelli, for which he was pardoned for. Nonetheless, Molinelli's son sues Nero for damages, which is ultimately settled out of court.
The Revolutionaries Gather
The wake of scandal breathes further life into the October Revolutionaries, who now call for a total overthrow of the state.

Senator Alescio opts for a more diplomatic approach, decrying the Socialist Party and "all establishment politicians" as enemies of state. He calls for Nero to be hung for treason.
The Cairo Uprising
The October Front strikes in late December 1906, hoping to influence the upcoming Senatorial elections. They plan on seizing Cairo and all of Egypt, from where they can raise an army large enough to invade Italy on their own.

Needless to say, the plan is a bit of a pipe dream.
The Liberal Party Goes Forth!
The scandal tarnishes the Socialist Party in the Senatorial elections: they lose a significant number of seats simply because their Senators were arrested or resigned under pressure. Furthermore, several Senators under suspicion are driven out by their constituents.

The Liberal Party makes the biggest gains, winning most of the lost seats, and gaining 38% of the Senate, the largest plurality ever achieved by a Roman party. The Socialists sink below the Moderates in terms of control of the Senate.

The Roman Front makes a slight gain, but ultimately support for Alescio as a person does not translate into support for the crazies in his party at the local level.
Victory in the Battle of Cairo
The October Front's revolution is put down as they are gassed by the Roman Army, resulting in over 51 000 combatant deaths and tens of thousand more civilians dying in the heavy handed approach.
RIP Finland
Finnish revolutionaries take power in Finland and attempt to liberate themselves from Russian rule: this prompts the Czar to authorize an invasion to restore order.
Naples finally falls
As the Roman Elections approach, Naples is finally fully integrated into the Republic. The former strongly Southern province, destined to swing to the Socialist Party, is now up in the air. For two decades, the demographic advantages that the Socialist Party has coasted on has finally come crumbling down, just as it has its most experienced blood taken out by a scandal.
Keep the fascist out of office!
The Socialist Party is now in a desperate position. Whilst many of its remaining leadership are certain of their defeat in the upcoming elections, they also do not want Senator Alescio to win, believing him to be the death of both the Republic and themselves. They do not think Nero can drive votes away from Alescio's populist campaign, and they turn instead to Nicola Filangieri to run "for the sake of the Republic".

The Liberal Party has all the more reason to be terrified of Alescio's rise, and hence fields Senator Ciervo, who now chooses to directly engage Alescio's xenophobic and militaristic rhetoric, arguing that he would destroy Rome's standing internationally and bring an end to the Republic. Furthermore, he decries him as an "autocrat" and a tyrant, words that only make his supporters, who believe him to be a victim of an unfair media, dig their heels in deeper.

The Socialists and the Liberals meet in private and agree to try to simultaneously bring down Alescio, in exchange for the Socialists made part of a "ruling coalition" in the Senate for the next consulship.
Campania votes
The South is one of the strongest hotbeds of Alescio support. Many members of the Socialist party who are sick and tired of the establishment coalesce with other, formerly apathetic voters who enjoy voting for someone the main parties hate. Finally, the nationalists, who had deserted the Socialists following the pacifism after the capture of Savoy, now have a candidate to rally around.

In an early debate in Campania, Alescio is tag teamed by Nicola Filangieri and Ciervo who attack his policy of syndicalism and corporatism, giving corporations a say in government rulership. The attack works somewhat well, but is ultimately a tad bit too weak as very few voting for Alescio are concerned about economics.
The "Forgotten isle" of Roman politics has been a staunchly liberal voting base and is an area where Alescio stands little chance of making headway.

Alescio makes a strong case for protectionism, swaying the opinion of some in the state, but ultimately free trade remains strong in the yellow state.
RIP Finland
So much for a Winter War.
Alescio makes his war policy loud and clear in Campania, campaigning for the utter annihilation of the Ottoman Empire and the seizure of the Middle-East as part of the "restoration of the Roman Empire" and as part of vengeance for 1453.

The Socialists and Liberals divide on this issue, with Filangieri arguing against "plunging Rome into the apocalypse" whereas Ciervo agrees that "more can be done" to showcase Roman power on the European continent, but disagrees with the means Alescio proposes.
A Liberal Victory in Puglia
Ciervo scores a minor victory in Puglia where he points to the greater success of factories less regulated by the government. However, his call for an end to subsidies to factories leads to cries of "job loss", limiting his influence.
No matter what
At least the trains will run on time
God Wills It!
The Socialists and the Liberals fall apart in their anti-Alescio strategy when, in a Campania debate, the Socialists promote a moralistic agenda whereas Ciervo pushes for a secular state and an acceptance of all faiths. Alescio flies off the deep end as he proposes the deportation of all minority groups, and ends his speech with a rallying cry of "God Wills It!"

The Pope is pressured to speak out against Alescio by Filangieri and the Socialist Party, but as per the terms of the 1871 Treaty, he is not allowed to influence the political process.
We can't win Campania any harder, you know
Alescio proposes drastically driving up the miltiary budget, which an increasingly bitter Filangieri opposes due to concerns over stability in Europe.

Alescio attack Filangieri, the living embodiment of the Roman Army, the greatest war hero in the history of Rome and the man who has saved the city on multiple occasions during its earliest hours, as a "coward" who is unwilling to fight. The papers talk about the "massive gaffe" and how it will topple his campaign, and are shocked when it doesn't.

Instead,Nicola Filangieri Francicus Maximus, Hero of Rome, holder of two Grass Crowns and once the receiver of a Triumph, is successfully maligned as having lost his touch.
The Liberal Stranglehold falls
No stronghold lasts forever.

Alescio's incredibly charisma, oratorical skills and pro-war rhetoric resonate among and inspire residents of Sardinia. His ability to use simple, uneloquent Italian words in an effective manner allow him to draw out the support of the lesser educated; people who would have never voted before.

Holding on to Sardinia is crucial, and will likely single handedly win or lose the Liberal Party this election.
Fuel to the fire
And, in one of many complete disasters for the establishment parties, a major crisis breaks out in Poland yet again, in the midst of the campaign season, making war rhetoric the focus of the election, an area where Alescio wins decisively.
The lines are set
The emergence of a major crisis now allows Alescio to claim he is vindicated for promoting a "stronger" Roman Republic. In response to fears of handing the election to Alescio, Consul Nero quickly aligns himself with Germany and commits himself to joining a war if need be.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Party and the Socialist Party utterly fall out as the Socialists refuse to withdraw from the ballot in areas where the Liberals are suffering, instead demanding the Liberals withdraw. The Socialists now threaten to "get Alescio elected" to malign liberal interests.
Rome: the final stand
Rome, the province with the most delegates, is now only 2% away from flipping to Claudio Alescio. The Liberals prepare to mount their final defense, going all out to promote free trade, and deride anyone who states otherwise.

Meanwhile, Alescio privately agrees to cooperate with the Socialist party if he gets elected, in order to make up for his lack of Senatorial control. The Socialists now have an active interest in getting the clown into the Consulship.
The 1907 Roman Convention
Ding dong, the fascist is dead! Or so you hope.

In one of the closest electoral results in history, Caludio Alescio emerges with 0.2% more delegates than the Senator Ciervo, who then turns things around at the convention by getting the delegates assigned to anarchist Republican Party to vote for him to keep Alescio out of office.

Almost immediately after news of the election result hits the papers, major cities across the Republic see mass rioting, with clashes reported between supporters of Alescio and supporters of the Liberal Party.

A major political crisis is triggered when Consul Nero refuses to resign and hand the Consulship over to Ciervo.
The Fascists Gather
Nero heads to the Senate where he attempts to get the right to proclaim himself dictator, which under the post-Primo laws now need Senate approval, but not a war. He defends his request on the basis on there presently being a major crisis over Poland.

Despite strong Socialist attempts to court the moderates needed for a simple majority, they do not budge, and the bill fails in the Senate.

In November, after three months of Rome being left with an illegitimate consul, Nero resigns and willingly hands it over. Consul Ciervo orders Nero arrested for abuse of power almost immediately.

Senator Alescio now refuses to attend Ciervo's swearing-in ceremony, and his supporters continue to instigate violence every few weeks. The Republic goes into lockdown as it struggles to appoint a new leader under the electoral crisis.
Violent Fascists Gather
Several supporters of the Roman Front, planning on taking matters into their own hands, gather in the hopes of sparking a revolution in the future.
The Roman Electoral Crisis
As December approaches a close and the next Senatorial elections are up for grabs, Senator Alescio alleges voter fraud on the part of Consul Ciervo, and demands that Rome cast their vote once more in order to clearly unite the Roman people behind one leader.

Ciervo is informed by his advisory that he would decisively win such an election.

Meanwhile, the Roman Senate is stuck in deadlock as the Socialists refuse to vote on any bill and use their share, combined with the Fascists, to filibuster new bills. The Senate fails to meet the deadline for a budget which the Consul can approve.
Hey, grats!
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to a prominent critic of Senator Alescio, in the international community's first major stance against the Senator.
The Polish crisis cools down
The Germans stand down from their demands, ending the international crisis over Poland. Meanwhile, the new Roman Senate manages to pass a budget but has been slowed down to a near-halt under heavy socialist pressure. Moralist Moderates begin to support the Socialist side.

Consul Ciervo, despite the regular protests and the ineffectual Senate, refuses to stand down. Several magistrates now disobey his command and recognize Alescio as Consul (supposedly because of clever Magistrate Capture practices Alescio pulled before being Senator). Some threaten to secede.

Finally, sick and tired, Ciervo strings together a Moderate-Liberal coalition and requests a Senatus Consultum declaring himself Dictator of the Roman Republic. This - the third request for dictatorship in less than a decade - is granted. Ciervo, using the extraordinary powers of the dictatorship, replaces magistrates with appointed ones loyal to his rule, and threatens to remove Alescio from his post.
The factories are running better
We've got that going for us.
Ciervo Assassinated!
In April, after four months of failed government, massive Alescio rallies and near constant protests, the hammer finally falls.

Dictator Ciervo, ruling by decree, is assassinated as he walks in the halls of the Senate building. His assailants, believed to be extreme supporters of Senator Alescio, are caught. Alescio, shockingly, promises them pardons for "standing up to undemocratic forces".

The assassination casts the Senate into chaos, and new elections are called for November 1938.

The Liberal Party now has a headache on its hands, having lost one of their best men, and puts forth Fabio de Vitis, son of the revolutionary thinker Carlo de Vitis. He claims his father, Grifeo and Molinelli (all veterans of the Roman Revolution) would disapprove of Alescio, and that his rise is only possible because the "Revolutionary Generation" is finally dead.

The Socialists field Nicola Filangieri once more, hoping to snatch away the Consulship from Alescio, but simultaneously also willing to burn down the Republic if it means dragging the Liberals down with them.
The Young Turk Revolution
Over in the Ottoman Empire, in April of that year the Empire is overthrown entirely in a massive Communist uprising, which successfully establishes the first ever major Communist state. The newly proclaimed Turkish Socialist Republic now directly plays into Alescio's rhetoric of a "looming Marxist conspiracy" aimed at taking over the world. Furthermore, it lends credence to his plan to take over and destroy the Turks, and seize its lands for Roman use. A strong leader, Alescio says, is necessary to stop the Marxists from pulling the completely surprise revolution that occurred in Constantinople.
The Clash of Titans
The Roman Elections are now a clash between the Liberal Party and Alescio, a battle of extremes. No where is there more apparent than in Sicily, where Alescio's rhetoric has divided the populace. Alescio once more advocates for the stripping of rights from foreigners, arguing that it is "natural" for a nation to care for its own people.
To Arms!
In former Socialist bases, the numbers flock over to Alescio despite the murder of Ciervo. Alescio is, in a widely publicized event, given a mass Roman Salute while in Campania. Alescio, now successfully having painted himself a victim of a vast media and establishment conspiracy (having been screwed out of the 07 elections), has successfully planted the seeds of a personality cult.

Alescio endorses the Roman Salute, and formally makes it part of his rallies.
Stormtroopers here we come!
Advances in military technology continue. The nation's top generals are placed on high alert in the event of an attempted coup - though many are friends with Filangieri, and follow his advice not to overthrow Alescio lest things get worse.
God is Great!
In a reactionary move to Alescio's popularity in the South, the Liberal North and Sicily push strongly in the opposite direction, as Roman politics stratifies to its extreme.
Long Live the King
All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.

And the people have spoken. On November 16 1908, delegates gather at the Roman Convention. Once a young, idealistic man in the Socialist Party, Consul Alescio has taken charge of the entire Republic, to steer it in the direction he so desires.

As he turns to address the crowd of people gathered for his swearing in as Consul for the next four years - or perhaps more - he utters the words that will define his Consulship:

"Rome will be great: or it will not be at all"

Next chapter:

Game: Victoria 2

God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR - Part 13

Images: 79, author: ElvenAshwin, published: 2017-02-06, edited: 1970-01-01

Check out another AAR:

Game: Civilization V, Sid Meier's

CHG Mark Eleven: Big Asian Map Boogaloo

Images: 12, author: MrKlonam, published: 2019-09-22, edited: 2019-09-23