An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Yeah the Plantagenet flag makes perfect sense for the Triunes however there could be some sort of representation for the Irish crown as well
I honestly think it would be the Irish Harp since it's treated as a Kingdom rather a colony/lordship.
I tried modifying the banner of James VI/I so the Irish Harp is on opposite quarters alongside the general Plantagenet flag, which makes for a very beautiful flag for Henri II, in my opinion. Not too sure how the general flags of England/France/Ireland could be combined but I think the Royal Banner takes precedence since the Triple Monarchy consists of multiple different kingdoms under a single monarch.
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Since the kingdom of France wears the pants in the union perhaps the harp and the fleur de lis should switch places.
 

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For the Triunes,
I'm thinking that it will be a civil war during an uprising. Northern England is more culturally and economically tied to Scotland than King's Landing. With trade focused on the channel area, Northerners might try to revolt and ask for annexation to the EoTN.

Some English would support their northern neighbors while others could be bought off with concessions. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns into a Kingdom of Britannia if the Triunes win (England + parts of Southern Scotland). Traitors might be sent to the North where it will slowly be anglicized.
 
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Here's an alternate version of the Spanish flag I made Inspired by Denliner's comment and I think this one is a whole lot prettier
Spain flag.png
 
For the Triunes,
I'm thinking that it will be a civil war during an uprising. Northern England is more culturally and economically tied to Scotland than King's Landing. With trade focused on the channel area, Northerners might try to revolt and ask for annexation to the EoTN.

Some English would support their northern neighbors while others could be bought off with concessions. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns into a Kingdom of Britannia if the Triunes win (England + parts of Southern Scotland). Traitors might be sent to the North where it will slowly be anglicized.
If Henri's grandson, or even son gets bogged down in a real War, not the subjection of the Lowlands that we saw, North England could make a move. It would take the Irish to not want to help, and the French being indifferent while fighting Germans, Accordians (I don't care, I'm calling them that), or whoever while the English Navy is at sea.

It could really show the biggest problems, as I could see both the French and Irish almost want to see England knocked down a peg with even just losing the Scottish Matches.

The shoes that H2 is going to leave, could trip up those following, and put the Triunes in an uglier ToT than what Andreas left behind.
 

Cryostorm

Monthly Donor
I'm curious as to when slovakia became a polish vassal perhaps it was taken from Hungary during the Mohacs war
Pretty sure Slovakia has been passed around between Hungary, Poland, and the HRE since the start. I remember the first time Poland gained it it was the catalyst to the strengthening of the monarchy.
 
I understand that take, and to be honest, it's what I expected - but I find it odd, if you don't mind me unpacking my reasoning.

Lotharingia, before all of their current history were pressed between the HRE and Triunes, being surrounded by two large powers that are allied is a scary position to be in, and unless I'm mistaken, Henry II has never been subtle about wanting to secure all lands west of the Rhine, in which case the Lotharigians must have known that the Triunes are a threat - so whilst I can understand the distinction between the immediate interest (we need the Reichsarmee) and geopolitical interest (not having a conflict of interest in the middle of their defensive diplomatic strategy) I still find it odd that they'd be happy with their ally in the HRE essentially partnering with the Triunes when if a war broke out, they'd expect the HRE to assist them (as we saw) . To me that betrays a lack of forethought in Lotharingia, or potentially that I am expecting too much of them - short-termism is realistic.

Regardless, I'll find Lotharingian-Roman relations interesting in the future, because they do still have some very similar diplomatic interests - with the main point of conflict being RitE. If that can be resolved (don't know how), or at least looked past - they both want a HRE that won't attack them, and both have reasons to see the Triunes taken down a peg. But if the grudge is held then Lotharingia would be hard pressed to find another power that could be persuaded to help them.

I’m pretty sure there are some comments buried somewhere in the war-arc about the Lotharingians being frustrated with Theodor and his strategic focus, but there was bugger-all they could do about it and they still needed to stay on his good side. And the Lotharingians can have justifiable reasons to be angry with the Germans, while simultaneously having justifiable reasons to be angry with the Romans.

The only alternative is for Russia to help the Lothariginians in land battles. The Romans can't do much on that theater, only naval stuff that isn't too big of a threat against the Triunes. With the exception of course on the far east where they can actually contest and destroy them there. If the Romans finally destroy the Ottomans then I guess that can help their geopolitical situation.

The Romans couldn’t help the Lotharingians even if they wanted to do so. A Roman fleet sent to the Channel to fight the Triunes would fare as well as a Triune fleet sent to fight the Romans in the Aegean. Land forces aren’t an option; Henri was willing to provide teeth to the intervention in Italy if needed to keep the old Spanish Road from turning into a Roman Road.

I mean really if anyone was to bring in the Head Roundhead himself in a useful way, this would be it.

Well and to scare absolute rulers and strengthen the parliament. But really, more the former, than these latter.

Scaring absolute rulers is good, but I’d prefer using ITTL groups/persons that are less brazenly self-righteous hypocrites and literally murderous religious fanatics.

This actually made me curious about whether we'll see Levellers ITTL. Whilst they were uh... "sidelined" by Cromwell IOTL, it could be quite cool to see a Leveller England.

The Levellers would be considered socially extreme today by many. There’s no way they’d get a sustained chance at power back in the 1600s.

I'm curious as to when slovakia became a polish vassal perhaps it was taken from Hungary during the Mohacs war

Pretty sure Slovakia has been passed around between Hungary, Poland, and the HRE since the start. I remember the first time Poland gained it it was the catalyst to the strengthening of the monarchy.

The Slovakia bit ITTL dates back to sometime in the early 1400s.
 
Look to the West: What is Learned in the End
Posting a day early because of the holidays.

Look to the West: What is Learned in the End

The Holy Roman Empire at the beginning of 1636 was, to use a technical term, a hot mess. Its military power had been smashed, its political leadership was suffering a massive crisis of legitimacy, and the overstrained economy was in complete collapse. What had been arguably the dominant power player in Christendom a decade earlier had transformed into a power vacuum in which other power players fished.

An angler conspicuous for its absence was the Roman Empire, ironic considering it was they who’d created the power vacuum in the first place. There are several reasons for this. The Roman withdrawal from European affairs, particularly after its poor handling of Italy, to focus on Asia as well as its own economic problems starting in late 1638 are the main ones. These partially explain Roman actions (or lack thereof) regarding Europe, but considering the political chaos and vacuum in Germany, even these are not enough to explain Roman absence. Between the Treaty of Buda that ended the war between the Romans and the Wittelsbachs and the Treaty of Westphalia which finally settles all the dust kicked up in Central Europe, the Prussians are a more important player than the Romans. (There is one brief moment where the Romans are active, but their presence is extremely minimal, the contribution not one that only the Romans could’ve provided, and even then the Roman activity was minimized even as it was happening.)

Despite its commitments, distractions, and economic issues Rhomania had the forces to intervene in Germany in the late 1630s and 40s. In the short term militarily Rhomania may even have enjoyed some success from local tactical superiority. However in the long-term, in the form of achieving political and diplomatic goals, any Roman intervention would’ve been doomed to be a failure. Demetrios III recognized this; according to Athena, one of the last pieces of political advice her father gave was ‘never get involved in the German lands’.

Demetrios III was a writer, so he knew that the most important part of the story is the ending. After that the most important is the beginning. The middle, in contrast, is the part that most people forget (jokes about middle children also aim at the same concept). As shown by his writings in The Wars of Latin Aggression, he had wanted the war to ‘tell a story’, delivering a historical message for the Latins. However this ran into the issue that what the teacher teaches is not necessarily what the student learns. The Latins got a message from the war story, but it wasn’t exactly what Demetrios III had in mind.

The battle of Thessaloniki had been meant to be the message, a message that the Romans were intimidatingly strong and powerful and that facing them in battle meant destruction, meaning that as a matter of survival leaving them alone was for the best. However Thessaloniki was not the end of the story; it ended up being in the middle of the story, and thereby overshadowed by the actual end of the story, the part that created the message the Germans heard and remembered.

The end of the story was the ravages of the 1635 campaign in southern Germany that culminated in the massacre at Ulm and the battle of Wennenden. These had been brutal and cruel, but that the Germans understand and accept. It was war, and the Germans, while favoring their side, acknowledge that it was Theodor, not Demetrios III, that started the fighting. What the Germans do not understand and do not accept is that the brutality and cruelty had been completely and utterly pointless.

This is in contrast to the suffering inflicted on the German countryside in the 1634 raid. That had a military purpose, to damage the reinforcement base for the Germany army in Macedonia/Bulgaria and perhaps even draw part of said army away to defend Bavaria. But the 1635 campaign had been strategically bankrupt. The peace terms of the Treaty of Buda in early 1636 could’ve been gained a year earlier by the Romans. There was no strategic need for the whole campaign, and the Germans know it.

The Romans had reasons for fighting on and fighting the way they did in 1635. The reasons were retributions for the devastation in Bulgaria and Macedonia, or to put fear in the heart of the Germans, or as recompense for previous Latin attacks on Rhomania. The Germans may not be aware of these reasons. Or, more probably, they are aware of those reasons and just don’t care. After all, they are not obligated to take the Romans’ arguments as writ. That the Romans have reasons for what they do does not mean those reasons are justified or right. War is an activity to fulfill political goals with military means; at least that is what it is supposed to be, not breaking things and killing people just for the sake of breaking things and killing people.

Another point underlines how the Germans view 1635 differently from the German depredations in Bulgaria and Macedonia and the Roman raid in 1634. Both had been cruel and brutal, but those had been side effects of military objectives, either the need to secure supplies in the former or to damage the resource base of the enemy in the latter. Cruelty had been a means, not an end. But in 1635, Roman cruelty had not been a means. It had been the ends. The cruelty was the point. What the Romans did in 1635 was not war, but savagery.

That is the end of the story. That is what the Germans remember. Not the great battle and clash of arms that was Thessaloniki. That is forgotten in the pointless butchery of Ulm, of the thousands dying for no other reason than Roman bloodlust. German children had been murdered for literally no other reason than that the Romans wanted to murder them. Thessaloniki might’ve taught the Germans to fear the Romans, but Ulm does not.

Ulm teaches the Germans to despise the Romans.

As early as mid-1636 the song is making the rounds across Germany. Even as Triune armies march across the Rhine, the arch-fiend is the Greek.

‘Sleep, my child, don’t cry,
The Greek’s going by,
He killed your father at his door,
He made your wretched mother poor,
Keep very still, if you’d be wise,
Or he’ll find ways to shut your eyes.
Sleep, my child, don’t cry,
The Greek’s going by.’ [1]

Some Romans, both then and now, have protested at the prioritization. After all, focusing on the Romans when the Triunes are actively in the process of invading German lands does seem rather unfair. However the behavior of Triune armies in Germany is, to be blunt, overwhelmingly better than that of Roman armies. While invading armies are never tidy and cannot help but make a mess, it is clear Triune commanders and officers work to minimize it. Supplies are requisitioned but they are at least paid for (provided they are presented upon demand). Triune soldiers commit outrages and crimes, but if a Triune soldier rapes a German, odds are he is soon hung from the nearest tree.

The same could hardly said for Roman soldiers when they were in Germany. An intensive historical study of the period later determined that if one was a German peasant in the 1630s and a foreign army invaded your district, statistically your odds of getting murdered are seven times higher if the army is Roman instead of Triune. In that case, who really is the enemy of the German people?

Some have pointed out that for a variety of factors Triune behavior in Germany in the 1640s deteriorates from the standard of the mid-1630s, which are the basis of comparison with the Roman army. However the 1640s were climatically far more severe than the 1630s, seriously damaging logistics, so a comparison between Triunes then and the Romans in the more benign 1630s is not a fair analysis. Furthermore, even if one did so, the Triunes still come out looking better, albeit not to the extent of the 1630s comparison.

That is why any Roman intervention in Germany would inevitably be a failure, regardless of any short-term accomplishments. The Romans could not impose their will by force alone; all conquerors need at least some collaborators. But any prince willing to collaborate with the Romans, by the very act of doing so, would forfeit all legitimacy in the eyes of the German elites and intelligentsia, and the princes would know that. Furthermore a Roman intervention would immediately rally the German princes to the banner of Henri II, as the only sovereign able to defend them against a renewed onslaught of the Butchers of Ulm.

As early as 1638 words are being spoken about striking against the Romans. The allied intervention in Italy in 1638 is viewed as an ideal moment to destroy the base from which the Romans initially launched their assault on Germany. A pan-German crusade against the Butchers of Ulm would be, it is argued by Manfred von Nimitz, the German noble and philosopher, an ideal way to forge German unity, a prerequisite for then pushing back the Triunes. Nothing comes of this proposal in 1638 because Germany lacks the means, but a lot of Germans think von Nimitz is on to something.

Considering German attitudes, it was a good thing for peace that Rhomania withdrew from Salzburg and northern Italy (minus the Venetian lagoon). If the Romans remained there, it seems inevitable that there would have been war once the Germans renewed their strength.

In the Treaty of Belgrade, the Romans put a two thousand strong garrison in Vienna as part of the defense of Hungarian-ruled Austria. In 1641 the Hungarians request the removal of this garrison, a request granted by the Romans partly because that eliminates an extra expense but also because of the need to win Hungarian goodwill after favoring the Vlachs in various disputes regarding the Székelys. The Hungarians want the Romans gone because by simply having the Roman garrison there, they are de-legitimizing Hungarian rule in Vienna and Austria in the eyes of the Viennese, Austrians, and all of Germany. As early as 1641 it is clear that having a Roman garrison in Vienna, rather than deterring a German attack, is actually encouraging one. The Germans may lack the strength to launch said attack now, but best to get rid of the provocation sooner rather than later.

That same year Manfred von Nimitz returns to the theme of a pan-German crusade against the Butchers of Ulm. He doesn’t want a straight repeat of Theodor. But he has found a way to pursue his strategy but without his shortcomings. He has little animus for the Hungarians, even though they switched sides at Thessaloniki. That is in the middle of the story, the part that is most easily forgotten. The memory of Ulm puts that into the shade.

Furthermore, despite all the bloody history, it is a simple fact that the Hungarians have more in common with the Germans than the Romans. They are both Catholic, not Orthodox. Culturally and economically, the Hungarians are oriented westward, not to the southeast. The provisions of the 1634 Treaty of Belgrade encouraging trade down the Danube are not nearly enough to change that. The inclusion of Austria within the Hungarian framework is also a massive pull westward, which makes Germany even more proximate in contrast to Rhomania which doesn’t even share a land border with Hungary. (The closest Roman post is the citadel of Belgrade, ‘leased’ from the Serbs. The Serbs, for their part, view the presence of the Roman ‘renters’ as a national humiliation and insult, one they swallow only so long as they must.)

Von Nimitz also supports winning over the Vlachs, ‘most of whom are bent to the yoke feeding the insatiable appetite of Constantinople’. He doesn’t believe in social leveling and is appalled by the Ravens’ Rebellion, but like most of the intelligentsia of Christendom, he found the imposition of second serfdom in Vlachia also appalling. In von Nimitz’s mind having nobles and peasants is the natural order, but degrading the peasantry to such a level not only degrades the peasant but also the noble whose mind is twisted by the relationship. One can just look at the slave-owners in the Caribbean as another example. Even the most Romanophile intellectual found the Roman government’s involvement in the imposition of Vlach second serfdom to be outrageous.

Finally he favors getting the support of the Russians. In his treatise to them he writes: ‘To those who live in the forests and frozen wastes of the north, you are indeed made safe by distance and climate. But your brothers to the south are not so fortunate. The farmers of Scythia provide grain for Constantinople as do the wretches of Vlachia. The terrible fate that befell the Vlachs may yet come to the Scythians if the danger is not driven back.’ It’s doubtful many Russians read von Nimitz’s work but he did speak to the fears of many in southern Russia who had seen what had transpired in Vlachia and wanted nothing to do with it.

Von Nimitz would not see a pan-German crusade against the Romans; the Germans lacked the strength to wage one, much as he and others wished otherwise. But his attitude, coming so quickly after the war, shows that the Germans had not been intimidated. Thessaloniki had been overwritten by Ulm.

Bardas Amirales, the famous eighteenth century Roman diplomat and diplomatic historian, wrote the following in his work on Roman diplomacy in the mid-1600s. ‘Roman intervention in Germany benefitted neither the Romans nor the Germans. The only ones aided by it were the Triunes. Further intervention on the part of the Romans would only have aided the Triunes more’.

Bardas further compares Rhomania in the mid and late 1630s as like Sparta after the end of the Peloponnesian War. After a long and brutal and costly conflict, Sparta had emerged victorious and was in a position to possibly establish a hegemony over Hellas. The Spartans proceeded to waste that opportunity through arrogance and heavy-handedness, alienating former and potential allies. Despite efforts to restore it, that opportunity, once wasted, would never return.

After the battle of Thessaloniki, Rhomania was well-placed as the most powerful state in Christendom to set a post-war arrangement as it saw fit. But like Sparta in 400 BCE, while it was (momentarily) the greatest power, it was not the only great power. It could not dictate and expect to be obeyed; it was not that dominant. In 1635 the Romans seized Genoa and butchered Ulm. Both actions stirred up opposition to the Romans, opposition that could’ve been avoided.

By stirring up that opposition, Rhomania’s window of opportunity of hegemony was closed. It would not come again. Rhomania would be an important player in deciding the future of post-war Italy, but Rhomania was one of the players, not the game master. In Germany the picture was quite different, and far less accommodating to Roman pride. In the great Westphalian settlement that would end the fighting, the Romans would have absolutely no say in the proceedings. They would not even be invited.


[1] From OTL, a song from Baden regarding the harsh Prussian repression of the Revolution of 1848-49. Replace ‘Greek’ with ‘Prussian’. See 1848: Year of Revolution by Mike Rapport, pg. 347.
 
Oh joy. German nationalism arrayed against the Romans for a war they started. I do hate revanchism. I'm getting serious "this was all for naught" vibes. Admittedly that is this arc but urgh. Still distressing.

The Serbian attitude was odd though. I thought they were still very fond of the Romans since they were given independence and weren't happy with Lazar? turning on the Romans.

Interesting update to end the year on nonetheless. It certainly cements the Latin-Roman mutual hostility, but I hope that ends in time. Hopefully in a moment where turning to the Romans is the best option for Germany.

I'm curious to see if the Nile Germans dispute or will dispute this narrative. To my understanding the Romans have been good to them, and could be ripe ground for a rival philosopher to rise from.

Heck, whatever we've had forshadowed for a while might well be it. Or an entrenchment. I hope it isn't an entrenchment.

Merry Xmas @Basileus444 hope its a good one!
 
Good, Romans have learned a hard lesson on the dangers of revanchism and extreme nationalism. They'll be more measured from now on. With a defensible frontier and an introverted stance on the geopolitical sphere, the Romans will quietly become giants.

I love that future Romans are going to look funny at all these Germans who are angry for no discernable reason, since the Roman education probably glosses over Roman faults in this time period. It's like the Korean-Japanese animosity IRL, though with justifiable arguments on the Roman side.

EDIT: That von Nimitz, I hope his writing doesn't get put into actual action by the Germans. That's such a grandiose and farcical revenge plot that it'll burn Germany very, very badly if they actually try to play it out.
EDIT2: Kinda poetic that the Romans lost their rage-hate for the West by branding it on the Germans' souls instead. The Cycle of Hatred continues.
 
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So the Germans start a war, burn everything from Skopje to Thessaloniki, but because the Romans return the favor the Germans think the Romans are the bad guys?

800,000 Romans died because the German emperor got delusions of grandeur. Not all those died because of the Germans of course, but I'd be shocked if half that many Germans died because of Roman action.

All that being said, all of us and all nations, OTL and ITTL, have blind spots, so the German backlash (great comparison @Lascaris to post-WWI) is all too realistic.

Thanks for a great update @Basileus444 and Happy Holidays/Happy New Year to you and all the other readers. This timeline remains a great read and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes in 2021 and hopefully beyond.
 
I think this new status quo is a good thing because:
  1. The Germans can fume all they want and uninvite the Romans to any number of conferences, the Romans already got what they want from it. It just reinforces that the East should be the priority.
  2. I don't think any German outreach will be accepted by the Orthodox nations (i.e., Vlachia, Russia). At the end of the day, there is too much institutional and cultural exchange for those nations to break.
  3. The weak links seem too weak or exhausted (i.e., Hungary), or only have very petty concerns that are outweighed by benefits with an alignment with Rhomania (i.e., Serbia). I'd expect that once things cool down, Hungary will start seeing more eastern linkages while the Serbians may eventually see themselves as another Wallachia without any muscle.
 
I hope we soon move on from this a bit preachy "don't be jingoistic" story arc and move into an era of 18th century style cabinet wars (which I really like).
 
The Germans do have a point though. They invaded Rhomania and despoiled Macedonia and Bulgaria for a specific objective: making dat Wittelsbach lady Empress in her own right.

What was the point of Ulm and Wenneden? The Romans were clearly uninterested in the actual situation in Germany, so long as Rhomania was made safe from further German attacks. That could have been achieved in 1634 itself, Germany was already beaten. The events of 1635 were, in the Germans' eyes, Romans punching Germany despite its near-collapse just to make the Triunes' desires even easier.

To the Germans, the Triunes at least had some kind of honour in their war for Lotharingia.
The Romans had none, beating the Germans even when it was clear that they had lost, for no reason other than to perpetrate the very barbarities the Romans say they despise.
 
The Germans do have a point though. They invaded Rhomania and despoiled Macedonia and Bulgaria for a specific objective: making dat Wittelsbach lady Empress in her own right.

What was the point of Ulm and Wenneden? The Romans were clearly uninterested in the actual situation in Germany, so long as Rhomania was made safe from further German attacks. That could have been achieved in 1634 itself, Germany was already beaten. The events of 1635 were, in the Germans' eyes, Romans punching Germany despite its near-collapse just to make the Triunes' desires even easier.

To the Germans, the Triunes at least had some kind of honour in their war for Lotharingia.
The Romans had none, beating the Germans even when it was clear that they had lost, for no reason other than to perpetrate the very barbarities the Romans say they despise.
"But... But we invaded you and killed nearly a million of you because we wanted to conquer you! So there was reason for us burning half your country, you were failing to surrender! You had no right to return the favour! After all when our invasion failed we offered you a peace that would let us walk away scot free. Why you refused that? It's all you Greeks fault! First you damn schismatics fight back instead of surrendering as you self evidently should and then bring the war back to us! Completely unreasonable!

Instead Henry II was such a jolly good fellow compared to you barbarians! He merely signed a separate peace with you and invaded his own ally, us! But he had reason to invade us, he could conquer the richest part of Germany if he just turned on his allies! Why we should hate someone merely for trying to conquer several millions of us?"
 
"But... But we invaded you and killed nearly a million of you because we wanted to conquer you! So there was reason for us burning half your country, you were failing to surrender! You had no right to return the favour! After all when our invasion failed we offered you a peace that would let us walk away scot free. Why you refused that? It's all you Greeks fault! First you damn schismatics fight back instead of surrendering as you self evidently should and then bring the war back to us! Completely unreasonable!

Instead Henry II was such a jolly good fellow compared to you barbarians! He merely signed a separate peace with you and invaded his own ally, us! But he had reason to invade us, he could conquer the richest part of Germany if he just turned on his allies! Why we should hate someone merely for trying to conquer several millions of us?"
Yep. German moralizing is over the top. And how would uneducated German masses understand that invasion of Macedonia and slaughter of much greater number of civilians was a legitimate military operation while Roman raid that killed much less men was an unnecessary slaughter? After all, loot and burn is pretty good way to weaken the powerbase of your rival.

EDIT: To be honest greek hate for latins (pre-this last war) also seemed a bit too much for me. Perhaps this is simply a more focused part of this narrative arc (which is very good, even though I don't care about moralizing aspects that much).
 
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Yep. German moralizing is over the top. And how would uneducated German masses understand that invasion of Macedonia and slaughter of much greater number of civilians was a legitimate military operation while Roman raid that killed much less men was an unnecessary slaughter? After all, loot and burn is pretty good way to weaken the powerbase of your rival.

EDIT: To be honest greek hate for latins (pre-this last war) also seemed a bit too much for me. Perhaps this is simply a more focused part of this narrative arc.
Let me note here that over the top and implausible are entirely different beasts. I'm finding the German reaction perhaps not rational but entirely plausible.
 
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