The Sons of Raghnall: The Final Peace

The campaign ended rather abruptly in an agreement of the Great-Power players that neither side could win, and they’d rather do something else. Which is a pity, quite honestly, because I was having fun with the African campaign. But such is life.

The war has ended.

In Asia they believe it is victory; they think that their armoured columns breaking through the Russian lines in Central Asia finally convinced the mad Europeans that the war was unwinnable, and forced them to the peace table. They ignore the distance from the Oxus to Moscow; ignore the Norwegian spearheads closing on the Red Sea, the Incan infantry besieging Ad Dammam, hinge and supply-port of the entire Arabian campaign. They are perhaps unaware of the ten modern carriers that British shipyards will finish in the first quarter of 1944, and can likewise be forgiven for not considering the new Norwegian navy that will shortly take the seas – and, more to the point, the air. They believe in their military prowess, believe that their sons’ sacrifice has counted for something – and why shouldn’t they? Beliefs are cheap.

Lives are not; nor is power. It isn’t the prospect of Indian armour on the north shore of the Aral Sea that has driven the Northern Powers to the bargaining table. It is the prospect of cutting off those armoured columns – running on the thin fumes that can get through a Russian rocket bombardment – and finding the food for another half-a-million prisoners, and nonetheless having to fight through the Iranian mountains, the Hindu Kush, the Ganges Plain, the Rajputana badlands that killed a hundred thousand men in the Indian War, and the Burmese swamps that killed half a million – just to get to the point of occupying a nation with half a billion citizens, while still at war with the largest navy and air force in the world. The leaders of the Powers of the North are ambitious, perhaps, but they are neither idiots nor vicious madmen. They have collectively taken a look at what would be required merely to keep India pacified while the Malayan navy and air force was supplying its inhabitants with cheap guns and explosives – and have quailed. Bavaria and Italy are quite bad enough, and their guerrillas are at least not easy to supply from EastAsia.

Secret policemen don’t stay safely in occupied territory; even now, the stench of the OkPol (Okkupasjons-Politi) and the MinAdmOccTerr (Ministry for Administration of Occupied Territory) seeps insidiously across the Baltic and the Channel. Worse, such ministries take on a life, and a power base, of their own. The MacRaghnalls run a military state, often in opposition to their own citizens who would prefer a democratic one; but precisely because they know what their rule rests on, they are not eager to create another power in their land – one with access to force more focused and targetable than the blunt instrument of calling in the army, or calling out the mob. When all’s said and done, the MacRaghnall dynasty, as such, consists of no more than a hundred men; a number which is not beyond the power of an ambitious security officer to arrest for high treason in a single night.

An uncertain victory is one thing; the MacRaghnalls would keep fighting, if it were only that victory looked difficult, or far-off, or unsure. But a victory that would, in itself, carry the seeds of sure defeat – why bother? The purpose of war is to attain a better peace than the one you broke; territory is no gain, and even hegemony is a poisoned prize, if to acquire it you must distort your state to the point where even its rulers begin to fear their security services.

The MacRaghnalls have not survived a millennium of intrigue and war by refusing to see reason, or to negotiate when negotiation is called for. Had they achieved a quick victory – well, then history would be different; why not wish for a decisive victory in the Indian War, while you’re at it? But it is one thing to say “better a peace with concessions than a poisoned victory”; it is another to define what your genuinely minimal war aims are. The treaty of Grenada is a masterpiece in that respect.

The Baltic remains a Norwegian lake, a MacRaghnall ambition since the North Sea Empire was first proclaimed, finally achieved as late as 1938 and now enshrined in international law. Bavaria, it is true, is restored to nominal independence; but it is no longer the sole German state, being joined by Bohemia – anciently an ally of Norway, now restored to sovereignty five hundred years after its partition – and Prussia. Better still, all three German thrones are held by MacRaghnall dynasts; and while they are not formally part of the Empire, the long tradition of having multiple kings serving a single Emperor – a tradition not well understood outside Norway, or the Asians would not have so readily agreed to this apparently-minor clause – will tie them to Copenhagen more closely than formal treaties would bind independent republics.

Dominion over the Baltic, hegemony in the fractious Germanies that have absorbed so much Scandinavian blood over the centuries – in truth, as war outcomes go, Norway may be said to be a victor if anyone is. After all, even if the North had won decisively, who would have called the shots in the resulting triumvirate? Not the least-industrialised partner, with vast occupation zones to hold down, a land border with the victorious Russian Army, and a navy much smaller than Britain’s. It may be said that the Norwegian delegates at Grenada did not struggle quite so strenuously as they might, to maintain Russian gains; it might even be said that they were fairly generous with the territory of an ally struggling with internal dissension and military defeats. If the Indians insist on the restoration of Greece and Romania, Italy and Hungary, even Nejd – what is that to the MacRaghnalls? They got the worst parts of Greece, the godsforsaken jungles that even the restored state doesn’t much care for; their share of Nejd was a sandy desert that, as it turned out, didn’t have a drop of the promised oil. As for Romania and Hungary – why, some counterweights to Russian power, some courts that will look for a balancer against the colossus of the East, are just what the smallest of the surviving European Powers needs.

Curiously, the greatest sticking point at the Conference was control of the Suez and the Dardanelles; but as Norway wasn’t going to get either one, the MacRaghnalls concerned themselves little with either. Let the Indians have the Suez, why not? They had it in 1936, and no ill came of it; nor did it do them any good when war broke out. Far-flung dependencies are not easily defended; and the MacRaghnalls always look to defense, not to treaties. If Indian control becomes intolerable – why, it need not stand while there are Norwegian naval bases in the Mediterranean.

Here, then, is the New Order as established by the Peace of Grenada. First Europe:

Europe, 1943

Three German states with MacRaghnall kings; for symbolic reasons, Lake Stuttgart is the Bavarian capital. The Baltic a Norwegian lake, with the minor exception of Russian St. Petersburg. Restored Italy and Hungary; a Balkan Greece and an independent formerly-Greek Africa – while North Africa was part of Greece before the Great War, that was always a case of a thin ruling elite atop the native Arab population. Since the said elite was all wiped out in the Great War, we thought it better to make a separate state ruled by the actual people who live there. We’re still calling it “Greco-Africa”, though; that’s Eurocentrism for you! Romania is restored with something like its prewar borders – pre-Danubian War, that is. The Suez Zone is an Indian exclave, while Britain is granted control of the Dardanelles. Norway retains its naval bases on Sardinia and Crete, Britain retains Cyprus. Spain profits from its early war exit by keeping its Alpine conquests; we wish them much joy of it.

Next, the Middle East:

Middle East, 1943

Nejd and Sind are restored to their former – territory. Glory will have to wait until they’re done rebuilding; there was heavy fighting all through this area, although as the saying goes, “when is there no war in these lands”? Both have governments friendly to EastAsia, though no doubt they can be relied upon to sell their oil to the highest bidder.

Then, Asia:

Asia 1943

We restored China to existence, and it retains its industrial and demographic core; the Han would be well advised to stick to being the Middle Kingdom, however, and not try to occupy their imperial marches. But the Han are used to that; all Chinese history is a series of expansions and contractions, as they attempt to keep the barbarians from their heartlands and the barbarians push right back. No doubt whoever ends up with the Mandate of Heaven will take the long view, and plan for a restoration of Chinese empire sometime around 2020. Barbarians are known to be impatient.

Finally, of course, for a really lasting peace we could not be having with a powerful nation espousing international socialism and the worldwide dictatorship of the proletariat; evangelical ideologies are just too dangerous, even without considering nuclear weapons. So we partitioned the Workers’ Republic of Malaya to avoid future friction.

Malaya 1

Malaya 2

Gentlemen, it has been a Great Game, and it ended in a fine war, and a peace which nobody can call bitter. I look forward to meeting you again in a new history.

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