1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 13

Rebecca looked back to Piazza. “I interrupted you. My apologies.”

Ed waved his hand in a small gesture, dismissing the matter. There hadn’t really been much danger that Hesse-Kassel’s party members would go off half-cocked, but it never hurt to make sure.

“The point I was working my way around to was that while I think it’s true that the SoTF’s provincial military is the most powerful such force in the USE today, I also think it’s mostly irrelevant to the equation when it comes to a possible civil war.”

The young mayor of Hamburg looked surprised. “Why is that?”

Before Piazza could answer, Werner von Dalberg did it for him. “Bavaria,” he said tersely.

Von Dalberg was the FoJP’s central leader in the Oberpfalz — or the Upper Palatinate, as it was known in English. His expression was grim. “Gustav Adolf pulled Báner and his army out of the Oberpfalz in order to send him to stabilize Saxony. Well, and good, so long as the emperor himself was still alert and functional. After the beating Báner gave them last year — the man’s a swine and a brute, but he’s also a very capable general — there wasn’t much chance that the Bavarians would start anything again soon. Duke Maximilian has a lot of wounds to lick.”

He shook his head. “But with Gustav Adolf incapacitated, and if a civil war breaks out, I think it’s quite likely that Maximilian will attack the Oberpfalz again. And all we have to resist them is a single regiment under the command of Colonel Simpson — he’s the admiral’s son — and some artillery units.” Her glanced at Piazza. “If Maximilian does invade, we’ll have to call on the State of Thuringia-Franconia to send troops to drive him back.”

“Which we’ll have to do for a lot of reasons,” Piazza chimed in, “and defeating the Bavarian army will require just about everything we’ve got.”

The president of the SoTF looked around the table. “The point being, ladies and gentlemen, that if Oxenstierna does launch a civil war, you’re on your own as far as military forces go. I doubt very much if I’ll be able to do more than hold my own province solid and defend the Oberpfalz.”

Von Dalberg smiled. “On the positive side, the Oberpfalz is already leaning toward us. Rest assured that if the Bavarians attack because the Swedes pulled out their troops and Mr. Piazza comes to the rescue, the prospects for our party thereafter will be splendid. Assuming we’ve survived the civil war, of course.”

A little laugh went around the table. There wasn’t much humor in it, though. The implications if the SoTF’s army was neutralized by the Bavarians were…

Not good. The Fourth of July Party also controlled Magdeburg province, but its military forces were quite small. The dominance of the Committees of Correspondence in that province, especially in the capital, meant that there was no real need for a powerful provincial military to maintain order. Magdeburg province was quite homogenous, too, both in social as well as geographical terms. In that respect, it was quite unlike the sprawling SoTF, with its variegated terrain and social mosaic.

Given that reality, those CoC activists in the province inclined to join the military volunteered for the USE’s national army. On a per capita basis, Magdeburg province provided a larger percentage of the USE army’s enlisted ranks than any other province in the nation.

The relationship between the Fourth of July Party and the Committees of Correspondence was complex, and varied some from one region to another. Taken as a whole, the relationship was quite close. Almost unanimously, CoC members voted for the FoJP candidates in any election except in those few places where they ran candidates of their own. In return, once elected to office FoJP politicians were generally supportive of those programs and initiatives desired by the CoCs of their area.

But there were always some frictions, also. As a very rough rule of thumb, CoC activists tended to view their FoJP counterparts as shaky-kneed moderates prone to excessive compromise, and FoJP members looked upon the CoCs as being often impractical and unrealistic firebrands.

Both views were stereotypes, but like many stereotypes they contained some kernels of truth.

“The thing that worries me the most,” said Rebecca, “is that the CoC success in crushing the anti-Semites after the Dreeson murder, especially combined with the events in Mecklenburg –”

The populace of that hardscrabble Baltic province had rebelled during the post-Dreeson Incident period, and driven out its aristocracy.

“– has made them over-confident of their own military strength. It is one thing to defeat the sort of disorganized or hastily organized para-military forces they encountered during Operation Krystalnacht. It is another thing entirely to confront regular military forces. Even leaving aside the Swedish army under Oxenstierna’s direct control, there are a number of significant provincial forces which we can assume will support the chancellor’s counter-revolution.”

“Can you summarize?” asked Helene Gundelfinger.

“If I may,” interjected Ed Piazza, looking at Rebecca. “I’ve just finished examining the question.”

She nodded and leaned back, trying not to smile. She was quite sure that the president and vice-president of the SoTF were operating in tandem here and that Helene’s question has been pre-arranged.

Piazza and Gundelfinger got along very well.