Part 35: XXXIV. King Baldwin XVI 1936-1937 A.D.
In 1936, tensions were high across the world. Storm clouds were gathering, and the world teetered on the brink of a terrible war. The fascist Scots Union dreamed of remaking the world in the image of the Scottish Police state, the ancient Kingdom of Jerusalem had withdrawn within its own borders, and to the east the Chinese led Pacific Prosperity Pact plotted its own rise to power.
The conquered peoples of Europe yearn to be free of the Scottish yoke.
China and their puppet Manchu state dominate eastern Asia.
The F.R.N. and C.S.N. arm themselves for what may be their last showdown. Harsh words fly as both sides dream of uniting the North Nicholian continent under one flag. The Confederates also plot to free the territory taken from them by Leon, while the Federals nurse a grudge against the Scots for seizing the Yucatan and central Nicholia.
Jerusalem's industry is in good shape at the beginning of 1936. Her biggest weaknesses are a very slim surplus of rare materials, an anemic airforce, and a severe shortage of modern naval bases.
King Balwin first task in 1936 is to mandate the production of a much stronger airforce. Several new infantry divisions are also commissioned.
The Kingdom's scientists spread their efforts out, but one of the King's priorities is to focus on industrial and logistics, both which he hopes will pay off in the long run. He also takes a risk by allowing the brilliant young Gautier d'Adhemar to begin experimental rocket research in the Arabian desert.
In the spring of 1936, the King of Orleans requests a military alliance with Jerusalem. Although many in the High Council are hesitant, King Baldwin XVI pushes the alliance through. Although the last thing that King Baldwin wanted was war, it was becoming increasingly clear that the Scots Union would stop at nothing less then the total domination of western Europe. If Orleans fell to the Union, the weak Kingdom of Leon would likely follow and the Scots might very well turn their greedy eyes on Jerusalem's African territories.
It was best therefore, to try and forge a strong coalition against the Scots, one that would make them hesitate to start a general war in Europe.
Orleans in 1936
One benefit was access to blueprints for various research fields from Orleans' scientists. These would help Jerusalem develop these technologies more quickly.
That summer a war of words broke out between Italy and the Byzantine Empire, with the Emperor in Constantinople threatening war over the supposed repression of the Orthodox minority in the province of Gyor. For a short while, the international community feared that war would break out, but Italy finally folded, ceding the contested province the to the Byzantines.
In May the Kingdom of Jerusalem's first full strength air combat divisions were deployed north of Baghdad. Although the Kingdom had long had airplanes, before now they had mostly been deployed in small groups with individual divisions in a primarily reconnaissance roll. Now, at last, Jerusalem had begun to adopt a more aggressive aerial doctrine.
The population of Antipodea, which had largely been settled by convicts, heretics, and disaffected minorities, had begun to grow restive and rebellious. Military Police Garrison divisions were constructed and shipped off to keep the island continent under control.
Work was also done to lay the hulls of new carriers and improve the Kingdom's fleet and naval facilities. Jerusalem had never been strong on the ocean, but by now the fleet had fallen into embarrassing disrepair and obsolescence.
In the fall of 1936 the Kingdom also began research into the controversial field of atomic energy. Some said this new science could create enormous amounts of electricity. Others said it could be used to make apocalyptic weaponry. King Baldwin XVI had little patience for such science-fiction stories, and the Basra Atomic Research Lab was largely (under)funded by a few forward thinking generals in the Army's Weapons Research Division.
In Africa, meanwhile, rebellious natives rose up in Orleans' holdings and marched into the Kingdom.
Several divisions were rushed to combat the rebel threat, but they were found to no match for the Kingdom's organized troops, collapsing within a few days of fighting beginning. By the end of 1936, Jerusalem found herself occupying the wild territories that Orleans was apparently unable to police. This caused some tension between the new allies, but Orleans had more important things to worry about than Africa.