The Lands of Germany (and Neighbors), 1649:
Elizabeth has been promised Russian military aid but there is still the matter of marshalling and getting it to Germany, plus the need for more and particularly German allies. If she comes marching in alongside a wholly foreign army, it will do much to discredit her. Philip Sigismund is already using that approach to condemn her in propaganda. There is a large and clear element of hypocrisy here considering how much his position owes to Henri II, but the Holy Roman Emperor can still point to German supporters to go alongside him.
Henri II’s information network quickly (by the period’s standards) gets word to him of the Russian support, which alarms him. From his perspective, the invasion of Germany has become a tiresome and expensive quagmire. The social and environmental issues affecting Rhomania and other Mediterranean countries are also afflicting the Triple Monarchy and the war itself is exacerbating tensions between France and England. Many English are tiring of the expenses while the fruits of victory mainly seem to go to French hands. The iconoclastic behavior of ultra-Bohmanist and Puritan troops, mostly although not exclusively English, in parts of Germany have drawn condemnation from Triune officials seeking to remain on good terms with the locals. However Puritan preachers respond with counter-condemnations of those Triune officials for their so-called persecution of the true religion.
Henri wants out, but he wants out with his goals achieved. These are simple to outline. Everything up to the Rhine is to become French. That is easy; it is de facto the case already and everyone recognizes that it is just a matter of signing the right paperwork to make it official. That is unlikely to change. But Henri also wants compliant buffer and puppet states on the east bank of the Rhine to guard his new acquisitions. That is what makes it complicated, as that leads to questions of compensation to dispossessed princes (already an issue due to the loss of the left bank) and there is only so much a Holy Roman Emperor can sign away before crippling his position.
Philip Sigismund is not capable of doing that. His position is already weak and unpopular; giving Henri II officially all that he wants would completely and probably fatally undermine Philip’s position, so he won’t do it. Henri needs a Holy Roman Emperor that is strong enough that he can survive making the concession, yet simultaneously weak enough that he would do so. Philip doesn’t fall into the sweet spot. And any attempts by Henri II to strengthen Philip so that he could hit that sweet spot are counterproductive as it only draws attention to the ‘foreign puppet’ aspect, making it even less likely that Philip Sigismund could survive making an official peace on Henri’s terms.
The Lady Elizabeth with a Russian army is hardly likely to simplify things from Henri’s perspective, but there is the not inconsiderable matter of how she is to get back to Germany. The last Russian intervention in Germany on the behalf of the House of Wittelsbach a century earlier had been by sea, which is impossible now considering the Triune and Scandinavian dominance of the Baltic.
It will have to come by land, which means via Poland. The official ruler of Poland is Aleksander III, soon to turn twenty-five. Although he rules in his own right, a major power player is his former regent, Queen Mother Alexandra. She is Lithuanian and generally pro-Russian in her sympathies, disliking Henri II and distrustful of Philip Sigismund.
However, that does not mean that she advocates just letting Russian armies march through her son’s kingdom. A united Russia is a clear danger to Polish security and letting Russian armies get into the habit of filing through the area is a bad precedent. Elizabeth expends much time and effort wining and dining the Polish ambassador to Russia and corresponding with the Queen Mother in an effort to allay her concerns.
The price of passage ends up harkening back to the beginning of Aleksander’s reign, just after the death of his father King Casimir at the battle of Thessaloniki. Then Queen Regent Alexandra had been forced to sign away Galicia to the Vlachs, Demetrios III’s way of rewarding his ally. That concession, while unavoidable at the time, has been a constant source of festering resentment.
The Polish price is a formal Russian recognition of the rightful Polish claim to Galicia and the illegitimacy of the current Vlach occupation. This does not oblige the Russians to make any effort to remove the Vlachs or the Roman power behind them, but legally and diplomatically this means that the Russians support the Polish position on to whom the territory belongs. This is a first step for the Poles to reclaim the territory; Galicia had been seized by a joint Vlach and Scythian army and signed away under the possibility of a direct Russian invasion of Poland. Now that potential complication is removed.
The Russian Tsar and Grand Veche agree to pay this price. The initial pledge to support Elizabeth was made without serious consideration of the transit question, but to back out now so quickly after such a public pronouncement would be humiliating and make the Russians look weak and fickle. That is unacceptable. From the Russian perspective too, it doesn’t cost them anything. The White Palace might protest, but can’t do anything more substantial; Scythian grain is vital for feeding Constantinople.
King Stephan of Hungary and Bohemia also exacts a similar price. Although most of the transit would go through Poland, there is Bohemian Silesia that covers the last leg to Saxony, so his support is also necessary for that alone, but having him onside would be valuable for the military and economic might he can bring to the table. The loss of the Banat and Transylvania to Vlachia has similarly rankled those in the halls of power in Hungary, and so Moscow also formally recognizes the Hungarian position on where that particular border should also be placed.
The fruits of these diplomatic wrangling are slow to ripen. The attentions of Moscow, Krakow, Buda, and Prague are focused to the west, in Germany. But by seriously weakening the possibility of Russian intervention to defend Vlachia’s expanded borders, it encourages those in Hungary and Poland who look forward to a future time when it will be possible to redress these grievances.
King Stephen, since he also rules Austria, is a prince of the Holy Roman Empire, but he is a Magyar. Having him on board Elizabeth’s coalition thus doesn’t do much to discredit Philip Sigismund’s propaganda of her being a foreign stooge. She needs support from unequivocally German sources. (That she is backed by the Duke of Pomerania, Wartislaw X, is similarly unhelpful in this regard. Another Imperial prince, his name is distinctly foreign to a German speaker.)
The need for German-ness illustrates a growing sense of a specific German identity, crystallizing under the recent blows from foreigners. There are strong regional differences between Austrians and Lubeckers, Saxons and Thuringians, but a recognized commonality overlaying these. It mirrors Roman identity of the time. Local and regional identities are foremost in the minds of most individuals, but there is a recognized common heritage with certain other groups, and a much stronger sense that many other groups absolutely do not belong in this common heritage.
It must absolutely be stressed that this idea of a common German identity is not based on ethnicity or racial or biological categories. It is linguistic (speakers of some form of German) and religious (Catholic). This is due to the context of its origins, in a reaction to the assaults of firstly Greek-speaking Orthodox and now French and English-speaking Bohmanists. It is also political, in that this German identity is predicated on the ultimate suzerain being the Holy Roman Emperor and not some other lord. However, said Holy Roman Emperor is supposed to defend the German body from foreign bodies, which clearly Philip Sigismund is failing to do.
Ironically, considering that much of this budded in response to Roman raids in southern Germany in the mid-30s, these features continue the similarity with Roman identity. That is also based on linguistic (Greek-speaking), religious (Orthodox), and political allegiance (loyalty to the Basileus in Constantinople). Notably, even the most devout and fluent Roman, if they take up service to a foreign potentate, such as in Mexico or Vijayanagar, are henceforth referred to as Greeks, not Romans, in Roman sources. But if they return to Rhomania, they become Roman again without missing a beat.
This appeal to a common German-ness is manifest in the title of a work by a German scholar that is published just as Elizabeth is recruiting support in Moscow. This is An Address to the German Empire and People
by Ludwig von Puttkammer. It is intended to be a call to arms to the Germans, to rise up and expel the interloping foreign heretics in their midst. As an exemplar he holds up the Sicilians of the Sicilian Vespers, who by their own arms rose up and slew their French oppressors. 
“If the Sicilians, who at that time numbered only one million, could have done such great and noble deeds, and who defended their liberties against all comers, no matter their strength and no matter the cost, for near four centuries, what can twenty million Germans, united in arms and determined to be free, accomplish?
“The Sicilians, in their hour, performed marvels, and the world honors them. Now it is our turn. Now is our hour. We must seize it, or we will instead be damned. For the Bulgarians and Syrians failed to act, and where are they now? That is the choice before us Germans, life or death, so choose life. Let us take up the battle cry of the Sicilians at the hour of Vespers, and use it for our own purpose.
“Death to the French! Death to the English! For the liberty of Germany!”
The short pamphlet, easily printed and distributed, strikes a chord across the German lands. They are tired of paying contributions to support Triune garrisons. They are tired of French soldiers sexually pressuring their womenfolk. They are tired of English soldiers fouling their churches.
Yet for Elizabeth’s purposes this is not enough. It would be hard to harness this German-ness at the head of a foreign army, and given her experience with the Ravens she is wary of any popular movements. Plus, at this stage, the popular discontent while widespread is vague, unfocused, and unorganized. It cannot produce armies by itself, and she needs armies.
But there is another who is willing to both support Elizabeth and utilize this German-ness for their own political ends. Leopold von Habsburg, Duke of Saxony, has ambitions of his own, to the surprise of many like Henri II who are familiar with the history of his family. He is willing to back Elizabeth, now that she has an army, support Karl Manfred’s rights to the lands of Bavaria and Wurttemberg, and challenge Philip Sigismund and Henri II. In exchange he wants the Imperial Crown for the House of Habsburg. Now Elizabeth does not have the power to give that, but Karl Manfred is coming of age and thus a possible contender should Philip Sigismund be removed. Elizabeth, recognizing the limits of her position and prioritizing the reestablishment of the dynastic Wittelsbach patrimony over everything else, including the Imperial title, agrees to Leopold’s terms.
 Ludwig’s account gives all credit to the Sicilians, none to the Aragonese or Romans. But in fairness to Ludwig, it should be noted that while Roman gold funded the Sicilian rebels, there was no Roman military aid in 1282. And the Aragonese fleet deliberately did not arrive until after the Sicilians had bottled up Angevin forces in Messina.