The Great War in 1905
by D Fowler
WWI in 1905: Part X - 1925A
The Germans attacked France with full force on New Year’s Day, 1925, driving against them with all their might. The lack of an Eastern front aided them greatly, and the French military was clearly outmanned. It took Britain several days just to muster up the start of an Expeditionary Force, and they quickly declared war, even though no neutral nations had been invaded. Then, the Kaiser did something mroe shrewd than imagined. He refused to declare it back until he saw British forces actually in France.
"We have no quarrel with England," the Kaiser was quoted as saying, "we simply wish a small parcel of land, and after that I will be most satisfied with my grand empire." Soon after, one of the most famous Vaudeville jokes began to appear in many varieties in America - someone would state that they wanted only a small gift, or token, or some such, and after a suitable pause the punch line "France" would be delivered.
The British sent a convoy of ships to intercept any German naval ships aiding in the attack, and also landed thousands of troops in France. However, within four months, the mighty German war machine had reached the gates of Paris. One otherwise undistinguished major, a man named Hitler, had led a large group of troops on a blitz toward Paris before, only to run far ahead of their supply lines, which enabled the regimient to be captured easily. Major Hitler died in the ensuing battle, in his last breath muttering something about "Jews and other non-Aryans foiling German plans."
Japan sees the rapidly advancing German troops, and knows there is no better time than the present. While feigning exercises in the South China Sea, a large contingent of Japanese vessels rapidly sails toward Hanoi, dispensing of the tiny French fleet in Vietnamese ports and landing troops in northern Indochina. France having called troops home from there to defend France, the sparse remaining troops can do little but retreat into the jungles. They may lose Indochina, but they will not surrender without a fight, albeit a small one.
The Japanese are savage fighters, however. If they had known enough to act as liberators, they might have fared even better than they had. However, they massacre not only French troops, but civilians as well. The Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians are all fighting valiantly, along with the French. However, it appears that by year’s end, Indochina will be almost fully Japanese.
Britain now faces a quandary. They are fighting an opponent in Europe which does not want to fight, but in what to them is a more important theater. Japan seems to want to fight, and may eventually prove the bigger adversary, if the kaiser’s statements about only wanting to be another Charlemegne hold water. Japan could threaten India, after all.
The British choose to simply denounce Japanese "aggression" in Indochina, while sending troops from Burma into the northern part of the region, in order to "protect French interests." They decided they would pull the Kaiser’s trick - refuse to declare war even if the Japanese do. They are mistaken on one point - while Germany’s move irked voters in Britain, the British government did have to take that into consideration. The Japanese government was clearly not going to listen to its voters, no matter what.
Stalin, meanwhile, not only supports the final Kurdish uprising in March, annexing the territory without Persian consent, but he also engineers a coup in Persia. British troops pour into the south from the east and west as Caucasian troops stream into the north, the British hoping to prevent Stalin from gaining control of the Persian Gulf. The level of bickering at the League of Nations is now overwhelming with the furious actions of the warring parties, and the year isn’t even half over.
He also considers what to do with French Syria. He knows he must be cautious about fighting too many fronts at once, as the Caucasian military is still not at the level of European nations. Still, he craves oil, as well as fertile land. This leads to his next dilemma.
Stalin has been waiting for a long time for a total Communist revolt in Russia. He feels it long overdue. Hence, he has maintained troops ready to launch into the Ukraine, and the rich crop-growing expanse there. If a civil war occurred in Russia, he could easily grab it.
On the other hand, France’s survival is at stake, and with the French bogged down in their own land, he has no better opportunity than now to take Syria - perhaps even the rest of Turkey, though that will be a much harder task, even if the British and French don’t intervene. To take even Syria, however, he must pull his troops away from Ukraine, leaving the region thinly protected and leaving no forces to take fertile farmland in the event of a Russian civil war. With Trotsky hanging on by his fingernails, it seems, as Russian Prime Minister, now seems like the best time for him to move - but will the cautious Trotsky make such a move? Stalin has only a few months to decide.
Trotsky is acutely aware of Stalin’s dilemma. He knows Stalin would love dearly to stab him in the back if he launches a rebellion. He realizes even if successful, part of the Ukraine could become Caucasian, and there will still be a split in Communist parties. On the other hand, he desparately needs something to further his cause. For a time, he even considers launching a war against Stalin, but he realizes that is the same thing imperial nations would do, and he does not wish to be an imperial leader. He wants workers to revolt.
Trotsky and Stalin play a waiting game throughout the spring and into the summer. Finally, on July 8, 1925, one side makes a move...
And now those words you all hate...TO BE CONTINUED
WWI in 1905: Part XI - 1925B
Stalin considered that while Ukraine was helpful, it wasn’t vital. What he hungered for was India, where more than adequate agriculture and - once he broke the people of their religious habits - food products existed. At least Syria would be self-suficient. He also could access much more oil through that land. Not only that, but he could grab the warm-water port of Latakia, and henceforth have an opening onto the Mediterranean - a little something to thumb his nose at Trotsky’s Russia.
He commenced his invasion in early July, pulling the needed troops out of Ukraine and shipping them on the many railroads he’d built to the front lines. He spoke, of course, of "liberating" Syria from French control, but the Arabs who at first rejoiced soon found that they were under a far worse dictator.
With France, whose capital was relocated to Bourdeaux in June, the German military slowed thanks to British help but didn’t stop. With the French unable to protect its colony, Britain could have done so. However, while the Germans were acting extra friendly by not trying to push through the Straits of Gibraltar, they also were not allowing British ships through into the Med. British forces from their Middle East possessions helped, but by the time naval ships sailed up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal, Stalin’s forces were seiging Latakia, and could threaten Beirut within a few days if they got lucky.
Stalin then decides to offer the British a treaty. Britain will keep Lebanon and souther Syria, Caucasus will keep northern Syria, including the port. It is a tempting offer.
Trotsky, meanwhile, decides Stalin is so preoccupied in the south that he can afford to try and take the government by force. Western powers are involved in their own machinations, so he organizes his troops and announces a coup de tat. He has been preparing thsi for several weeks, ever since Stalin pulled his troops back from the Caucasus-Ukraine border. The workers in Russia had seen the benefits of a Socialist state - now he would go one step further. He suspended the Constitution "due to national crisis." The crisis, of course, was his own doing. He hopes that workers in other nations, now angered by yet more war, will follow this lead.
At the same time, riots break out in London, Budapest, and a number of German cities, all of which are suppressed. The British ones continue for longer than the others, however, and British officials feel they know who is behind this - Trotsky. The rioting takes weeks to put down in the United Kingdom, and by the time it is squelched, the British begin thinking seriously about fighting wars against Germany and Caucasus when the other sides are requesting peace.
The Japanese, meanwhile, are deep into the jungles of Vietnam, and are meeting a small, but steadily growing, opposition. This is somewhat difficult, as the supply lines are long and the Japanese military is more interested in naval conquest than in land battles, and is thus more readily equipped for naval combat. Numerous military leaders, however, are only concerned with expanding Japan’s military to increase power for them and give them something to do.
The next step is a little dicier. The Caucasians have been unable to get to the Persian Gulf, which is now successfully blocked by the British. Even if they succeed in capturing a Mediterranean port, they can’t be assured of getting oil through the Suez, down the Red Sea, and out into the Indian Ocean as readily as if they had simply captured a Gulf port. Therefore, oil could be a problem for Japan. Already, discussion ensued over their next step, and more and more, that next step appeared to be the Dutch East Indies, not India as Stalin had hoped.
Trotsky’s forces, thanks to returning Siberian exiles, are gathering strength, but he is disappointed that workers throughout the world have failed to rise up in revolt. He’d felt sure that the little push against British workers would be unneeded, but aides convinced hm to at least funnel some money that way. However, even those workers wanted peace far more than they wanted Communism, and workers in other nations were hardly lifting a finger, except for a few scattered places. Those in France weren’t blaming capitalism for their present mess, and American workers were ignoring his movement altogether. All told, the riots in Europe would be said to be "a notch below 1848" in intensity.
Not only were Trotsky’s hopes crushed overseas, but he had troubles at home as well. Yes, he was the leader of a Communist government, one which had taken steps such as outlawing money and banking in an attempt to make everything communal. However, the Czar’s forces, from his base in Kiev, Ukraine (a region which quickly declared for the royalists against the "new Russia", were more formidable than expected. Neither army had immense amounts of fuel, but Romania and Hungary quickly rose to the Czar’s aid and supplied them with enough to fight off Soviet forces which were attack Mikhail’s Ukranians.
So now, as summer wore on, Trotsky is in another bind. The Russian people, without any resentment over foreign intervention on royalists’ side, are fighting back, not willing to roll over and give up everything. Farmers are especially unwilling to give up anything; this is why they are willing to declare for the Czar, and against the Soviets.
However, while Ukranians are belligerent toward Trotsky and the "Communist coup", they are terrified of Stalin. They have heard many stories - some true, some propaganda - concerning forced collectivization in Caucasus. They would do anything, even undergo a mild form of collectivization, to avoid what Trotsky claimed Stalin was up to.
Hence, in the crazy world that was Russia politics, Trotsky found himself hoping Stalin invaded Ukraine, something which would force Ukranians to perhaps run to the Soviet Union for protection.
In October, 1925, Britain accepted the peace terms offered by Stalin’s Caucasus. They also vowed to beef up the borders between their colonies and Caucasus, leaving them with a very sad and sobering realization.
The British, losing slowly in France, were losing money fighting this war, and losing it fast. They simply could not continue fighting all the time. If they persisted, there ws a very good chance Germany would win, anyway. They could fight for a while longer, but France was being carved into smaller kingdoms by the Kaiser, the better to control it; the smaller kingdoms, still somewhat large areas, would be governed by princes as part of the German Confederation. Germany attempted to even find Borbons or descendants of other French nobility who would swear allegiance to the German Kaiser in return for dukedoms within Germany. Several were considering it, meaning that in a short while, France could cease to exist.
WW I in 1905, Part XII: Alliance(s) Offered
In February, 1926, Britain had formerly ceased its war against Germany. German forces had pushed their way through much of France, and now controlled over 3/4 of the territory. The entire nation was being devastated, and even the French were considering departing for Algeria, to set up government there.
By May of 1926, the French had had enough; with British escorts, the government fled the rapidly shrinking land space, and landed in Algeirs. Some in the Reichstag wished to pursue them and take Algeria, but the Kaiser refused. "I am emperor of a region not claimed since Charlemegne’s time, why should I try for more. Future rulers may wish to revive the Roman Empire, but as for me, I have all I need."
To prove to the British his good intentions, Kaiser Wilhelm II - soon to request the title "Holy Roman Emperor" - has just offered the British, in June of 1926, an alliance "against the worthless Communists in the Soviet Union."
Kaiser Wilhelm’s suggestion is met with reservation in London, but he explains that "Stalin is only looking for self-aggrandizement, and is using Communism to do that. He is just a dictator. Trotsky, however, is a real threat. He has tried to foment rebellion in many places, and I believe he will continue to do so."
Indeed, Trotsky has been trying to put Soviet funds into supporting further rebellions, but he’s been hampered by the loss of much of the Ukraine - in which there is intense fighting right now - and by the terrible Civil War which is ravaging Russia. Stalin, meanwhile, is waiting for the Soviets and Ukranians to tire themselves out, then he will try and take them both. His success has meant that even when Trotsky does send money, Communist parties sometimes refuse it, claiming that Stalin is the "true voice" of Communism.
It is with this latter in mind that the British argue that if the Kaiser is sincere, he would also turn against his old friends, the Caucasians. In the meantime, Britain has begun to seek allies to form the European Perimeter Defense Organization (EPDO), whose goal is to ensure that an attack against one nation would be an attack against all. The concept is to ensure that Germany does not gobble up still more of Europe, for despite the Kaiser’s promises, British leaders know a man who loves to conquer doesn’t lie dormant for long.
Poland is the first member of EPDO after Britain, and Belgium quickly joins, too. Serbia, Romania, Greece, Holland, Portugal, Spain, and Denmark also join during the summer months.
Germany proposes an alliance which will actively fight the Soviets, claiming that they are trying to wage war against them through revolutionary means. Stalin, they argue, "does not need the same measures against him because he believes not in revolutionaries, but in out and out conquest, given his approach to governing," that being to control everything directly himself.
The French government-in-exile, meanwhile, is watching as the British gobble up French West Africa and other territories, except for Algeria, which is their headquarters. They are pressing the British for some kind of military buildup which will defeat the Germans, but their calls are falling on deaf ears. While they are happy that the rest of Europe is preparing to unite against Germany should the need arise, the French want thosenations to go on the offensive.
Britain, however, is concerned about the Soviets. They are also worried about Stalin, and insist that Germany stop selling weapons to his government. They sense a growing danger to India from Caucasus and Japan. While that danger hasn’t manifested itself in war yet, it soon could.
Therefore, Britain contacts Japan about an alliance, one where Britain would "grudgingly" allow the Japanese to keep Indochina if the Japanese would take on the Soviets and cancel their agreements with Caucasus. Great Britain has therefore shown the Germans that they will side with Japan before they side with Berlin. This keeps them in good standing with the French, while at the same time making Stalin nervous.
Stalin, sensing English mistrust, offers his own plan for taking on the Soviets; he will actively wage war against Trotsky’s Communists if he is allowed to keep any land captured (including that in the Ukraine) and if the British promise not to complain about his territorial grabs in the Mideast. In return, Stalin promises not to attack India. The British say "no thanks" very quickly to this agreement.
Stalin next approaches Germany with a similar agreement, but promises the Kaiser land in the Middle East. The Kaiser’s Germany has already been funneling massive amounts of weapons to Ukraine to "protect German interests," and his advisors urge him to accept.
However, the Kaiser, at this point, is not willing to do this. He sees Stalin as a man who wishes Trotsky out of power at whatever cost. Why would such a man need Germany to fight alongside him? Because he knows he can’t win alone. Yes, they could still sell Caucasus weapons, but unless the Kaiser had the British on his side, there was no point sending a massive number of troops. If Stalin is so powerless as to ask another nation before he considers waging war, soon he could let them also do 100% of the fighting, and simply pick up the remnants.
The British, however, are worried about something else. They know that the Ukranians will run to Trotsky if they see Stalin coming - as will quite a few other ethnic groups inside the Soviet Union. Trotsky’s propaganda machine has done a superb job, and the scary part is, most of it is true. During the early months of 1927, sentiment grows for a war to "end the Communist threat in Russia," even if that meant fighting Trotsky and Stalin at once. Suddenly, the British turn to Japan once more, asking if they would break their deals with Stalin. They refuse.
America, by this time, is worrying about Communism; so much so that the Republicans, pushed by elder statesman Theodore Roosevelt [his son doesn’t die in WW I in TTL, so I assume he doesn’t die of a broken heart, as some say he did], have recaptured the Senate and are close to a majority in the House, because they campaigned to get America more involved "before the Communists are at our doorstep." The quick dismantling of France, though done by Germany, provided an excellent symbol of how such a thing could spread quickly.
President Cox therefore signs a bill sending aid to Czarist factions. A small buildup is planned, and troops are allowed to go to Britain to join European regiments if they wish to fight.
In October of 1927, the Japanese attack the Dutch East Indies, in an effort to secure a more ready supply of oil. The Caucasus has been a good trading partner, but it is still difficult for Stalin to get oil to them.
EPDO had been formed to halt German aggression. However, the peace treaty maintained that "an attack against one is an attack against all." Therefore, most member nations declare war on Japan.
Germany condemns the attack, but does nothing. They are more concerned about Trotsky’s Soviets.
Stalin looks for a chance to attack the British in India and southern Persia. He remains neutral as well.
Trotsky, meanwhile, is happy the Japanese have been concentrating so much on the south that they’ve ignored Siberia. There is little animosity on either side, He feels now is the time to take a big gamble.
WWI in 1905, Part XIII - The War Gets Weirder
As the European forces - mostly British and Dutch - sailed to the Dutch East Indies, Trotsky prepared to send troops into Romania. The liberal premier of that nation had been under fire by conservatives for several years, and a minor rebellion had begun. Early in 1928, Trotsky’s Soviet forces rolled into Romania. Kaiser Wilhelm, knowing that the British were in decline and couldn’t afford very well to fight on two fronts at once, offered massive aid to Romania. No nation was willing to let German forces cross into their borders, however.
Britain, bound by treaty, declares war on the Soviet Union, as well. Faced with alliance offers from Germany and Caucasus, they determine that the Germans are the least of the two evils. However, for now they and other EPDO nations will only permit German forces to attack via sea, if they wish to join in the Baltic fleet.
Kaiser Wilhelm decides to only offer financial aid, however, because Communists are protesting in German, and the Kaiser correctly determines that a quick declaration of war would lead to a Communist revolt in Germany.
It is the summer of 1928. The Soviets have captured virtually all of Romania, and are marching into Hungary and Poland, with the Germans beginning a major buildup should the Soviets attempt to incite revolt or invade directly. Trotsky’s Red Army is huge, but the Germans, who were able to conquer France, have build an even more efficient force. The beauty is, most of their top soldiers have great experience on the French battlefield.
Kaiser Wilhelm, recalling the "Hun" language used to denounce Germany in World War One, uses a similar analogy here. He tells the German people in his first-ever live radio address: "Like days of old, when the civilized Europeans united to fight the Mongol hordes, that great scourge of God, Europe has now been forced to unite against another great pagan, atheistic force, that of Soviet Russia! They seek to destroy God-fearing nations and replace the force of the Almighty with the force of humanistic pride. We cannot, we must not, and we will not, let that happen. That is why we must fight them with the great Prussian might which God has granted us!"
"If he keeps talking like that," the British Prime Minister announces, "our opposition to the title Holy Roman Emperor may be moot; he may earn it by default."
With Communist revolts forced upon the peoples of Hungary, and with Poland almost overrun by September, 1928, EPDO is very nervous. They continually press the Germans for entry into the war, but Wilhelm is waiting. He know that too aggressive a move could cause even more protests than are occurring now. He wants to keep Germany out of a civil war if he can.
Meanwhile, Stalin is watching with bemusement. The Japanese have taken a good number of islands in the East Indies. He has two choices - he can force himself into the Allied camp by attacking the Soviets, or he can attack the British. Considering the options, he determines that with sufficient force, he can cut off Britain from their greatest supply of oil, and teir beloved Suez Canal, thereby forcing them to talk peace, and give him a sizeable chunk of India.
Therefore, in September of 1928, Caucasus launches a major assault southward, in an attempt to control the entire Middle East.
Britain quickly declares war on Stalin, but they are being spread very thin. Not only that, but Stalin’s call to Indians to "be liberated from the British yoke," while not as convincing as before because of what escapees have said of Stalin’s tyrannical reign, are still somewhat effective. Britain sweats the possibility of losing either Europe or its crown jewel, maybe both.
In November of 1928, Herbert Hoover sweeps into office with the internationalist Republicans. He has promised he won’t go to war right away, but will "clearly examine our options when it comes to supplying much greater aid." This is a Godsend to the British, who in March begin to see massive amounts of food and weapons flowing in just when they are most needed.
The British throw their own government out in December, thanks to some embarrassing losses in Asia and in the Pacific. The Labour Party lost its majority to the Conservatives, who favored a quick alliance with the Germans and a co-ordinated effort in stopping the "red menace." The Germans quickly agreed in a meeting between the Kaiser and British PM, but only as far as the Soviets went. They would not declare war on Caucasus or on Japan. The German navy instantly began increasing their naval presence in the Baltic and Black Seas, in the hopes of goading the Soviets into striking first.
That first strike came in February, 1929; or so it was said. A German battleship was blown up, purportedly by Soviet troops, in a Bulgarian harbor. Rumors persisted in diplomatic circles - though people didn’t hear of this until years later - that Germans had sabotaged their own ship. However, much more sinister rumors floated, too.
Stalin was happy fighting British troops near the Persian Gulf. However, he also expected a quick end to that portion of the war. What he yearned for most was to dispose of his archenemy, Trotsky. The only way to do that was to get rid of him in Russia. For him to do that, he needed to ensure that the Soviets lost. Therefore, it was rumored - though never confirmed - that he ordered the ship blown up at a time when the Germans would not suspect it. He quietly paid off the Germans for the ship - there had been no loss of life - and promised to enter the war on the German and British side if Germany struck first and quickly in the USSR.
Therefore, President Hoover of the US took office at a time when Britain and other European nations outside Germany fought the Soviets and Japan, Britain and most other European nations outside Germany fought Caucasus, while Germany fought only the Soviets, and Caucasus fought only Britain. Add to that a civil war being sponsored by the Soviets in China, with Chinese Communists and Nationalists fighting in the streets, and World War Two was under way.
WWI in 1905, Part XIV: Holy Roman Emperor
The quick marriage of several of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s younger children to French women had eased the blow of France being under German rule. The Kaiser’s grandson, though only 12 in 1929, was quickly married off to a young (10) girl who was a distant relative of the last Borbon King of France. A French woman "will one day be Empress," he proudly told people.
However, though French discontent was someone quelled, it wasn’t totally. Even worse now, as the summer of 1929 moves along, is that the Soviets have burst through the German lines at the Oders, withstood a major assault by German forces, and was now pushing toward Berlin. Germans needed to do something fast.
Wilhelm ponders his options. German troops are losing their morale, as the Soviets have built up a surprisingly strong military. Once we go on the offensive, he reasons, we can probably accomplish quite a bit. However, our last offensive was limited. What could I do to inspire them
Believing himself divinely appointed as a monarch, he fretted that he could lose that position. Already, some were calling for a much more liberal government. How would that stop the Soviets? They wanted nothing less that atheistic, totalitarian government, he told himself. I need to do something to show I’m capable, that the slippery slope toward liberalism, which he felt would lead to Communism, doesn’t have to begin, he considered.
Then, he pondered what others had done in the past. Though he’d seen himself as Holy Roman Emperor in theory, if not in name, he began to wonder what good it was to have such great power. What good was Charlemegne’s Empire when invaders could crush it and him? If only the British had supported...no, he shouldn’t blame them. He should take action himself. Only he could inspire them, other nations’ actions couldn’t do it. Only he could inspire the French, the Italians, his own people, to win..
And, there was only one way to inspire them.
Kaiser Wilhelm and Crown Prince Wilhelm appeared near Heidelburg in late September, 1929, having snuck in undetected. To a sergeant - every man, even one this obese, was usable somewhere in the German military - he ordered "teach us how to run the equipment, and fast!".
The training sergeant, named Schultz, obeyed the men - both in German officers’ uniforms - and pondered what had prompted the German military to choose such an elderly man. Suddenly, several minutes into the lesson, his eyes widened as he looked at the 70-year-old man. He thought for sure he recognized the face. "B-b-but...you...you are our Kaiser!"
"I know I am the Kaiser, our troops need a morale boost, now we want trained in everything, and not a word to anyone. This must be kept a secret so the enemy doesn’t try to stop us, until we are adequately trained to go out and fight for our glorious Fatherland!"
Schultz considered reporting this breach of protocol, but did nothing - who would he report this to, anyway? He simply shuddered and exclaimed "I know nothing, I see noth-ing!" and went about his business of training them.
On the Kaisers’ orders, Schultz had put them through intense and rigorous training. Now, weeks later, with the Soviets on the outskirts of Berlin, the Kaiser’s "personal trainer" was sent home on leave several miles away and told to "tell everyone you know that we are going to the front." The kaiser had promised the family man a week’s leave in exchange for the help, knowing that this fellow had been drafted, and not wanted to be a soldier. He knew someone who wished to be a soldier would insist on staying and fighting, and yet he needed someone to spread such news and cause it to go throughout the countryside, as well, so even the peasants would rise up and fight harder. Meanwhile, word was sent to troops all along the front. Hence, while it seemed quite odd, there was method to the Kaiser’s madness.
Soon, rumors of Kaiser Wilhelm’s sudden appearance from ‘seclusion and prayer" had spread throughout Germany. From Berlin to Vienna to the Black and Baltic Sea fleets, news of the Kaiser’s appearance on the battlefield - something not done by a head of state in centuries - was spreading like wildfire. Troops who wondered if it was worth it were suddenly fighting with renewed vigor. Average citizens were running out with simple handguns to fight. More important, those in the Kaiser’s unit, near Berlin, began marching like a rampaging firestorm.
The Kaiser’s son was killed in battle, leaving his 12-year-old grandson as crown prince. Kaiser Wilhelm, however, continued to fight, though with reaction time down he was not quite as skilled as he could have been. Others offered him much help, however, and troops all over bent over backwards to win. After all, word never spread about where Wilhelm had himself placed; for all anyone knew, they could be fighting very near the Kaiser.
By February, 1930, the Germans had pushed the Soviets back to the Vistula, thanks to greater reinforcements, aid from the US, and the Kaiser’s work, in that order. Of course, to the Germans, it was all Wilhelm’s doing. However, that month, fighting near Warsaw, Kaiser Wilhelm was gravely injured. He’d planned to fight for three months, and he was several days short of leaving to go back to running the government. A medical team patched him up and rushed him via rail to Berlin. He still suffered from internal problems, though, and suffered a stroke March 5, 1930. It was expected he would not live, and his grandson was rushed to his side in Berlin.
The British felt saddened by the injuries to Kaiser Wilhelm. They’d been so reluctant to turn to him at first, and yet now, he’d probably saved Europe with his massive buildup and his herioc efforts. The French and Italians might not have come on board until it was too late to save the continent. Not only that, but their militaries, without German buildups, would have had little chance of blocking the massive Soviet army.
As members of Parliament spoke of these things some mentioned that they wished there was a way to thank him. Then, one man hit upon an idea, one the British had managed to squelch thanks to immense diplomatic efforts, fearing it would give Wilhelm too much pride. Now, however, they realized it was deserved.
The Pope generally would not have flown, air travel being somewhat risky in those days. However, this was, as an ambassador had put it, "an emergency." He sped to the Kaiser’s bedside in Berlin. Energetic, 12-year-old grandson Karl Frederick at his side, quite curious as to what was about to take place, the Kaiser asked the pontiff "are you here to read me my last rights? But I feel better now than I have in days."
The Pope smiled, pulling out his staff. "No, I am here on a special mission." He began to read from a scroll handed him by an assistant as tears welled up in Wilhelm’s eyes, the realization of what was about to take place hitting him. "The office was abolished over a hundred years ago. I doubt it shall be used again; this is a one-time thing. However, it is with great pride that I anoint you, Wilhelm,, the defender of Europe from the atheistic Communists, Holy Roman Emperor!"
The Kaiser wept tears of joy. He remarked to an aide "I had given up on this title, realized that perhaps it was not meant to be. I surrendered completely to the Lord, all of my Divine Right, when I went out on that battlefield." He sighed and faced the soon-to-be Kaiser. "It is when you are willing to give of yourself completely, to surrender all your selfish motives and desires, that Christ will bless you. Never forget that, Karl; never, ever forget that."
Wilhelm passed to his eternal reward several days later. Karl’s first action as emperor was to commission Richard Strauss to create the great opera on which the smash Broadway hit of the same name is based - "Divine Emperor"