Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

King Albrecht's propaganda machine... ahem the Bavarian tourist office must be one of the most potent propaganda machines of all time, if after all the Kaiser and the different German imperial governments have achieved and done, the thing that springs to the mind of the average USians when hearing Germany is southern Bavaria.😉
 
Ok, total and utter left field thought: Mathilda is looked after by Maria Von Holz. Emil develops her fieldcraft, Maria develops her curiosity and literacy. Then she meets Zella.
Give it 15 years and Mathilda becomes a world renowned wildlife photographer, getting the shots no one else can get, because no one else can get as close to the animals as she can.
 
August is going to be a crowded month as the Republican National Convention starts on the 21st, the Olympics on the 26th.
Germany should pull out all the stops in honoring the visit by the President of the United States as sort of a troll job on the Americans by showing how great Germany is at treating visiting dignitaries and Heads of State, after all Germany and the previous incarnations of the various Kingdoms had centuries of practice of doing such things.
Having President Rockefeller meeting Princess Kristina is very logical as she is very popular in America and meeting King Albrecht won't hurt Rockefeller in the Midwest even through he won't be on the ballot but will be campaigning for the GOP ticket from President to Dog Catcher across the country.
 
Ok, total and utter left field thought: Mathilda is looked after by Maria Von Holz. Emil develops her fieldcraft, Maria develops her curiosity and literacy. Then she meets Zella.
Give it 15 years and Mathilda becomes a world renowned wildlife photographer, getting the shots no one else can get, because no one else can get as close to the animals as she can.
I mean, Manny could come around the Graf's place in the nearer term and take her around on a hunt, too. Just hand Mathilda some binoculars as she learns the ropes & apprentices as a spotter. Getting used to holding binoculars steady enough to call out adjustments is creating a basic muscle memory to holding a camera, particularly while prone.

If Mathilda gets sick of the killing, she'll already know how to hold a camera. It'll be awhile until TTL gets to OTL 2005-ish digital cameras, so preserving shots in a roll of film will need practice.
 
The one thing we don't have to worry about Mathilda is that she is going to have one of the best support systems around.
From "Opa" von Richthofen down to Niko, Bas, and Gretchen there are going to be a lot of people helping her in one way or another.
Kat will probably keep the overall watch over what happens to Mathilda but I can see Tilo and Nancy opening their home to her when Bas and Gretchen go home, Opa will greatly enjoy her company along side the other Grandchildren during the longer breaks, Albrecht and Ilse will be a part of the growing family that is building around Mathilda, and Ilse will be completely fascinated by Mathilda's knowledge of the forest plants and animals and will do everything she can to further her education about it.
 
Do we now see the Secret Service politely asked to place all waepons in a box prior to a meeting with the Kaiser? Would be carmic if instead of geeking out on them, the German agents deride them as anacronistic museum pieces.
 
To most Americans, that is the entirety of Germany.
The Lederhosen bit at least is a post WWII addition to the stereotypes in the US. That one was down to the occupation zone they held.

Not so sure about Beer and Sausage, those might or might not be down to contact with immigrants or similar too.

Also not too sure what TTL stereotypes would be, since a lot of what predates the PoD that I know about is behavioural - the ones existing today still: order and rule bound, efficient, somewhat stand-offish and humourless.

But on the other hand, beloved old tropes will possibly not exist: no German super-science without both the brain drain prior to WW2 under Nazi rule and after the war through Paperclip, German nationalism will be perceived different, etc.

I'd expect that a lot of TTL current 'new' stereotypes are actually bound up in the experience of the Mexican War. (Down to large scale exposure and the film industry too.) So tanks will likely feature heavily (from what I remember of that one), maybe food wise the German rations? Maybe the beer stereotype gets reinforced there, since I can't imagine the German Army to be fully dry (let alone the beer thieves, eh, sorry Marines), while the US military would at best (glances at the Navy) be influenced by a spell of prohibition where they have access to beer.
 
I doubt that Lederhosen would play such an important role in how the USA views Germany ITTL, No occupation of Bavaria and Bavaria being much less important ITTL might change this completely.

And for everybody not ever being to Germany but having seen Disney‘s version in Florida… that‘‚ is how we make money on US tourists but it is not us.
 
Part 128, Chapter 2164
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Sixty-Four



11th August 1972

Potsdam

The guards in blue coats did their best to stay unobtrusive, but it was hard to ignore the fact that they looked like they were armed to the teeth and never more than a few paces away. Still, they didn’t bother the Secret Service more than the men in black who surrounded Kaiser Friedrich IV himself. According to the Agent-in-Charge, those were the men of the First Foot Guard Regiment who had volunteered for further training after the first eighteen-month stint in the Regiment was complete. They were the personal bodyguards of the Kaiser and reputed to be the most dangerous men in an outfit that was filled with decorated combat veterans. In a few hours, Rockefeller was set to meet the woman who had set that unit up when she had been the Operations Officer of the First Foot.

To the German’s credit, they had gone all out for this morning’s State Visit. Everywhere Rockefeller looked he saw American Flags as well as the Red, White, Black of the German Empire, the Red, Black, and Gold of the Reichstag and the Federation as well as the State flags of Berlin and Brandenburg. It seemed to call out that they were all friends here. The trouble was that relations between the two nations had been anything but cordial since SMS Moltke had mistaken the USS Des Moines for a British Cruiser off Ireland during the First World War. The Germans had stubbornly clung to their position that the findings of their own investigation into incident had been correct. The fact that the reputations of Franz von Hipper and Jacob von Schmidt, both regarded as heroes of the Reich, were bound up in that incident didn’t help matters.

Talking with Friedrich himself was just as difficult as Rockefeller figured it would be. The Kaiser was a relatively young man and frequently it felt like he was talking past Rockefeller. Things like the need for greater cooperation in International Arms Reduction or preventing future tragedies like Argentine-Chilean War from happening again. The brutal truth was that war had been a proxy fight between Germany and the United States. The idea had been to get the Germans to spend blood and treasure in a pointless expedition in what was considered a wasteland. It remained to be seen what that plan would look like in the fullness of time. As soon as Rockefeller had that thought, he saw one of the soldiers, a Staff Sergeant of the First Foot if he was reading their rank correctly. He was highly decorated though he had to still be in his early twenties. Something about the look in the eyes of that young man… This was someone who had been sent through the meatgrinder.

“I understand that you are going to be meeting with Tante Kat after this” Friedrich said with a smile, “Good luck with that.”

“You just referred to that woman as your Auntie” Rockefeller asked in disbelief.

“She always joked that it comes from how she spent a great deal of time around me and my brothers and sisters back when she was the Royal Assassin” Friedrich replied.

He had to know that was not a joke, Rockefeller thought to himself. The CIA had uncovered a lot of the details left out of her biography, the ones that involved her going places on the order of Friedrich’s father and solving a problem. If that problem had a name, then that person vanished as if they had never existed. Then there were the rumors of what she had done while fighting the Soviets, a red-haired girl coming out of the night and begging Russian soldiers for help to get them to lower their guard, then she killed them.

“Try talking to her directly” Friedrich said, “If you try to bullshit her then you are going to have a bad afternoon.”

It was odd to hear that term spoken by the Kaiser, if made Rockefeller wonder where he had picked it up from.



Silesia

Watching the forest had long been a pastime of Ilse’s. Back when she had been recovering from her bout with agoraphobia, she had found that the hunting blinds set up by her eventual father-in-law had been a means of observing nature while not allowing the fear that had gripped her to cripple her. One of the side benefits was that she had gotten to watch Nikolaus, Sabastian, Marie Alexandra, Anna, and Gretchen grow up here. She figured that Ingrid would do the same thing in time, she was still much too young to play in the forest with her older brother or cousins. So, it was wonderful that Izabella had agreed to watch Ingrid while Ilse was out here doing this today. As a Biologist, Ilse found that spending time in nature was helpful as opposed to what she had to contend with in Breslau.

What happens when a jagged little line was recognized as an upward trajectory? A world of trouble, that was what.

However, this time when Ilse came home, she discovered that Manfred the Elder had decided that a statement needed to be made about what he regarded as excessive secrecy by the Military. It was something that she had listened to him complain about dozens of times. “How are they supposed to be heroes if no one can know their damned names?” being typical of the sort of thing he said. In seemed that he had decided to take in a girl who had snuck into a military installation. The girl herself, Mathilda, was certainly an odd child.

Ilse had watched as Mathilda had run circles around Nikolaus and Sabastian. What was odd was that the two dresses she wore, one purple and one burgundy, were colors that should have stood out more. Ilse figured that Mathilda only was seen if she wanted to be seen and that Ilse desperately needed the take the girl clothes shopping.

Mathilda was wearing the burgundy dress as she drifted through Ilse’s field of view. She was singing a song about the Oak King and the Holly King as they vied for the affections their Mistress. It told the story about the Oak King was at his greatest strength during the height of summer, then came the decline in the autumn. Finally, the Oak King “died” in the winter. That was when his mistress came to him, and he was reborn in the springtime. It was a pretty song and Ilse knew that she would need to ask about the song when she got the chance.
 
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So much to unpack here:
Of course President Rockefeller thinks Young Kaiser Friedrich is talking past him, he doesn't have the experience or gravitas that his father had and no doubt the Kaiser has been extensively prepared and told to stick to the Talking Points that the Foreign Ministry has given him.
IOTL the CIA are paying off journalists and opinion columnists to spread disinformation about the Soviet Union and communism and ITTL it makes sense that they are doing the same thing about Germany and "Langism" in countries that both Germany and the United States are trying to gain influence in.
As for arm controls right now IOTL the United States is building the Nimitz class nuclear power aircraft carriers and they aren't cheap and if Germany is building them also it is in both of their best interests to put limits on numbers and to age before they both bankrupt themselves.
Ilse may be on to something with the songs that Mathilda is singing because if they are authentic they may tell the stories that coincide with certain climate conditions and animals that are only considered to be mythical today but may really existed a long time before civilization existed in Germany.
Ilse best bet is to record Mathilda and send the tapes to scholars at the University of Breslau who study folklore and try to to match the songs to the physical evidence.
 
Okay, AFAIK the Oak King and the Holly King are figures of Celtic mythology representing the seasons. Oak for the warm season and Holly the cold.
Seems Mathilda's father was proficient at cobbling any mythos together that fits his narrative.
 
As a Biologist, Ilse found that spending time in nature was helpful as opposed to what she had to contend with in Breslau.

What happens when a jagged little line was recognized as an upward trajectory? A world of trouble, that was what.
Gaia just stopped dropping the subtle hints about climate change and decided to start using the elbows. This is something that scientists have been discussing since the 1870s with, AFAIK, the first newspaper articles raising concerns over fossil fuel use appearing between 1907 and 1912.
Ilse had watched as Mathilda had run circles around Nikolaus and Sabastian. What was odd was that the two dresses she wore, one purple and one burgundy, were colors that should have stood out more. Ilse figured that Mathilda only was seen if she wanted to be seen and that Ilse desperately needed the take the girl clothes shopping.
Ilse may have found a successor. If so, the military & intelligence services will have mixed feelings over this; on the one hand, they could see a potential asset walk away and on the other hand, they could avoid the excrement impacting the rotary air impeller considering the impressive list of patrons Mathilda has innocently stumbled into.

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As for Friedrich 'speaking past' Rockefeller, how much of that is due to the age difference between the two? Rockefeller isn't young, after all, and his prejudices could be at play here, seeing Friedrich's relative youth as inexperience, in addition to seeing him as the head of the 'duplicitous' German Empire that has thwarted US ambitions around the world. The Kaiser may be young, but he isn't an inexperienced, or an idiot. He's been trained for years for this role and had to negotiate alongside his father to definitively secure his claim to the Imperial throne.

It would also seem as if Rockefeller didn't like hearing the subtext re: Chile vs. Argentina. Something along the lines of "We know what you did. You know that we know what you did. We know that you know that we know what you did. So listen up, if we stay on this damned carousel, things could get... bad. That would not be in anyone's best interests. So let's back it up a little and let things cool down."

Which is also why Kaiser Freddy was definitely talking past Rockefeller at times. Because he was also addressing Rockefeller's potential successor, who would be briefed on the summit (eventually).
 
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In real life right now this is the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World and one of the major inspiration for Cinderella Castle was the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.
If in ITTL Walt Disney World opened in 1971 one of the honored guests would have been King Albrecht I of Bavaria or someone designated by him to represent the Kingdom of Bavaria.
Apparently Albrecht has embraced both the traditional look of Germany that the tourists expect while making Munich and Bavaria as a whole a place for research and technology to thrive in.
Hopefully with a much shorter American participation in ITTL Great War Walt Disney as part of the IOTL Ambulance Corp doesn't take up smoking and still be alive ITTL which is in it self brings massive butterflies to the culture.

As for the meeting of President Rockefeller and Kaiser Friedrich IV that wad more of a show for the media as the real discussion would be between the President and the Chancellor.
 
Part 128, Chapter 2165
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Sixty-Five



13th August 1972

Hohenzollern Castle

This place reminded President Rockefeller of Disneyland, but not in a good way. When he had pointed that out to Princess Kristina, she had looked amused. She said that he should see Neuschwanstein Castle before reaching that conclusion. He figured that Kristina must have misunderstood what he had actually meant.

This place felt like it was detached from the real world, and it was like looking in a distorted funhouse mirror. It was as if life had been frozen in place since the Late Medieval Period. Frank Church, the National Security Advisor had warned him that looks were deceiving. The principal industries in this region were technology related with Zuse, Sony, and the European division of IBM being among the largest employers. It was whispered that one of the key installations of the German Nuclear Weapons program had been located in or near Hechingen during the Soviet War before the whole thing had been moved to Kempten, Bavaria.

That was in keeping with the rumors that there were secrets buried deep under the German Countryside that made what they did to Kure look like pleasant Sunday picknick. Just the implications of having had nuclear weapons on standby but had opted for a thermobaric-chemical attack as a measured response was chilling. Who had that sort of control during what had been a retaliatory strike? Rockefeller figured that the American response in such a situation would have been to reduce every major city in Japan to irradiated ash. It suggested that Plan Quartum had been made years earlier and the Germans had stuck to it. The CIA had heard about Contingency Operation Sextum from the inside source that they had developed in the German Government. Considering the reality of Quartum Rockefeller could only pray for the sake of humanity that whatever those plans were, they never saw the light of day.

That was where diplomacy came into the picture. The meetings with the Kaiser Friedrich and the Chancellor Brandt had been productive but not to the degree that Rockefeller might have liked. The two meetings that had followed with Katherine von Mischner and Albrecht of Bavaria stood in stark contrast with each other. Katherine clearly felt the meeting was an obligation and had done nothing to hide her legendary misanthropic attitude. Rockefeller had realized that she didn’t even like the role that she had been thrust into, positively hated it in fact and he was a part of that as she made little effort to hide her disdain for him personally. When he had asked her about that, she had given him the only smile she had during the entire conversation. She said that normally if you ask around enough you will find someone willing to do anything, but she had been ordered by Louis Ferdinand to become the Princess of Berlin as a reward for a lifetime of service and be gracious about it. Rockefeller was reminded of this the next day in Munich when meeting with King Albrecht. The Bavarian King was regaling him with a well-practiced sales pitch for the Kingdom of Bavaria and by extension the Munich Olympics that were going to start in just a couple weeks. Rockefeller had gotten the impression that what Katherine had said had been a backhanded slap at King Albrecht.

Finally, there was today’s event in the Province of Hohenzollern. There were a large number of minor German Royals present and Princess Kristine and her husband Benjamin were playing host. They came from places like Alsace-Lorraine to Estonia and points in between from Kingdoms, Principalities, and Duchies. There was a complex order that had to be observed with Princess Royal Kristine herself and her brother, King Michael of Bohemia at the top of it. That included where they sat at the table and which of the guest quarters they occupied. They had concerns that ranged from international trade and fishing rights to exactly what would happen if official Berlin ever made a hatchet job of foreign affairs. It seemed that memories ran long with this crowd and the issues raised by the two World Wars were at the forefront of their minds. There were also centuries of history that these people shared and that many of them had at one point or another had quite literally gone to war with each other was just beneath the surface.

Kristina had said little as things had progressed. Presiding over the meetings as the participants had frequently started shouting at each other. Rockefeller found that she was a tall, boyish woman with a face that was impossible to read, aspects that were not readily apparent when photographs of her appeared in the tabloids. He was reminded of how she was a Medical Doctor by training and a mother of a small child when she said that all the shouting that they did was healthy. If they were silent, it meant that were up to something that she might not like. She said that poison in wine glasses, daggers hidden up coat-sleeves and bloody duels had been fashionable up until fairly recently. At least far more recently than most people realized. These days, according to her, the Law made no allowances for the title that one was born with. While Rockefeller took her word for it, there was a pretext that she seemed to have missed. Fear of going to prison was the only thing keeping these people from killing each other over grudges whose origins were lost in antiquity.
 
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The Great Hall of Hohenzollern Castle where the meeting depicted took place.

Inside Hohenzollern2.jpg
 
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