‘International Jewry has neglected nothing that can contribute to a German defeat in the next war, and has made an unspeakable attempt to put a rifle in the hands of German soldiers that must be almost less dangerous to the enemy than to the user….’Hermann Ahlwardt writing about the Commission 88 repeater rifle and Spandau nitro full metal jackets which were being rushed into the hands of every German soldier facing the Western Front of French Alsace Lorraine in 89 and 90 despite rumors that were rapidly being confirmed to be fact that the gun and ammo was blowing up and maiming, blinding, and killing shooters…..
While this sensational Jew baiting article was published after Rudolph’s death at Mayerling it is the real cause for his death at Mayerling.
How could Bismarck prepare an imperial order for Kaiser Wilhelm II to sign to mass produce defective guns and ammo shortly after the 88 War Games which now directly endangered the Imperial Second Reich in a war set to occur in 89 or 90? A war which Bismarck manufactured and Willy openly boasted of during his coronation in 88? How could events have come to such a plight that the Imperial Second Reich faced a war which they now could only lose?
Both a defective repeater rifle and a defective full metal jacket bullet filled with defective nitro powder! And this occurred after the latest Krupp Heavy Artillery piece also failed! With the Mauser 71 repeater embarrassingly obsolete as well as defective! Leaving the Imperial Second Reich virtually defenseless! The Hohenzollern Eagle all but de-fanged and de-clawed! And how did this lead to Inspector General of Infantry Crown Prince Rudolph’s death? Read and discover!
But lets backup a few years!
Rudolph was ordered at the age of eighteen to enter the military instead of going to university as he desperately wished. But when the Emperor Francis Joseph commanded all must obey!
In Prague Rudolph industriously write long articles dissecting modern battles to analyze how modern warfare was waged. He eagerly hoped to inspire exciting debates with his fellow officers. The First Estate ‘Reds’ of the Hochadel ignored the twit.
The Third Estate ‘Blues’ were sons of self made men, professionals, industrialists, Jews, Protestants, Freemasons, as well as university graduates. The ‘Blues’ welcomed someone from the Habsburg Hofburg who actually acknowledged the dismal military string of defeats as a crisis. A crisis which only modernization could solve. Soon Rudolph was a dedicated ‘Blue’: a modernist. A reformer. A follower of Benedek.
Supreme Commander Albrecht was enraged. After all, it was Albrecht who framed the Protestant Third Estate General Benedek after Koniggratz.The ‘Reds’ and ‘Blues’ were feuding over the old concept of the military as a gentleman’s club of aristocrats buying their commissions while commanding cowering drafts of humble citizens of the Empire who were forced to serve for two years under brutal abuse. All while the aristocratic ‘Reds’ paraded on their expensive race horses in their gaudy red hussar togs before partying all night. Rape and Flogging were perks among many perks the ‘Reds’ expected to enjoy. The military was a lifestyle which their upper class status expected to enjoy even if their unraveling income made it ever harder to afford their expensive kit.
The ‘Blues’ on the other hand were infantry and artillery which required modern education and training and expertise. They hated horses and parade ground strutting. In the age of the Maxim Machine Gun and Heavy Artillery that was suicidal.
And the disastrous Italian Defeat and the even more disastrous Prussian victory at Koniggratz left the moldering empire all but on the ropes. Something had to give. Something had to be done. Unless the army modernized the Austro Hungarian Empire would be destroyed.
But the aging Supreme Commander Archduke Albrecht was implacable. He refused to modernize the antiquated army or stop the exploitation by the Corrupt Camarilla with its tentacles of insider corruption sucking out the life blood of the all but bankrupt army. All while aristocratic debauchery by arrogant, First Estate Hochadel twits alternated with grandstanding in suicidal parade ground pomp and circumstances exercises. Albrecht refused to entertain any use of modern technology such as modern communications like the sophisticated use of the mobile telegraph or modern transportation like the use of trains as transport. He refused to adopt modern field tactics in the light of the prototypes of repeater rifles or the Maxim Machine Gun or heavy artillery. He refused reforms of the dreadful lack of sanitation which spawned disease and killed more soldiers than any battle or the creation of modern field hospitals which used Pasteur’s radical anti-germ sterilization. He refused to outlaw war profiteers who ripped out the supplies intended for the common soldiers. He refused to entertain a bike corp for the infantry and artillery who could not afford to maintain mounts. Even the issue of the mess hall for poor recruits was controversial.
Officers could afford to finance their mess clubs. The poor draftees were expected to pay for their food out of pocket which was prohibitively expensive. Rudolph developed a scheme with wealthy Jews and his friend Carl Menger of the Vienna School of Economics to finance a sort of ‘trust’ to pay for food for the common soldier. He even secured the money to launch it. Albrecht nixed it. Anything dirty Jews offered to facilitate out of patriotism was too foul to contemplate! It was better that the draftees go hungry! And bootless! And weld obsolete guns without proper ammo! Or enjoy proper tents and barracks or field hospitals! Or face winter in proper overcoats! It was Koniggratz all over again! Men expected to fight modern armies expressed delivered to the front by train and fully supplied with the best modern gunnery — while welding obsolete muskets with neither food or boots!
Rudolph soon personified the ‘Blues’. Rudolph’s attempt to meet Benedek under genteel house arrest after a kangaroo court rigged court martial to cover up the gross royal incompetence of the Hofburg in general and Francis Joseph in particular only frosted the cake of Albrecht’s fury.
Albrecht was going blind and senile which made the ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburgs’ only more dangerous. Francis Joseph dare not confront his uncle so Albrecht ruled the army with an iron fist and senile brain. Increasingly Albrecht and Rudolph clashed over modernization of the army.
Meanwhile Francis Joseph contented himself writing long reforms how to polish brass buttons or how to revise fancy uniforms while hugging his beloved Red Book of Military Regulations to his chest. He let the powerless Rudolph take on the ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburgs’ in the desperate need to modernize his army. It was an despicable act of cowardice. The first of many.
Rudolph put in long hours in the military. On the job by seven AM and working past five PM before squeezing in a little hunting mostly to get exercise and clear his mind from the mounting frustration of clashing repeatedly with Albrecht and his reactionary minions the ‘Reds’.
Then Rudolph squeezed in evenings writing academic, technological, scientific, or modern reforms articles or else ornithology (Bird) articles. Rudolph also squeezed in books on his travels in Spain and the Near East and his scientific trip down the Danube to prove Darwin’s theory of Evolution. As a member of a ‘Blue’ regiment of Infantry he enjoyed a mess club of fellow modernists and reformers. But increasingly Rudolph was the face of modern reform of the army which meant he was the face in the bull’s eye of Albrecht’s wrath.
Taking on the ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburg’s when even his father Francis Joseph feared to do was increasingly dangerous for Rudolph as Albrecht became ever more senile and therefore paranoid.
Albrecht increasingly saw Rudolph as a potential traitor because of his adoration of Benedek The Martyr and also for his friendship with Andrassy the flamboyant Magyar who Albrecht hung in effigy for treason in 48 . Ditto Rudolph’s ‘Blue’ association with Jews, Protestants, Freemasons, Progressives, and Reformers. Albrecht considered ‘Blues’ to all be potential traitors. So Rudolph was damned by guilt of association with all such suspected traitors. And Rudolph friendship with famous Jews like Carl Menger and Szeps who ran a syndicate of progressive European reformist newspapers and Baron Hirsch a brilliant self made billionaire and philanthropist only increased Albrecht’s rage.
Rudolph was promoted to Captain and then Colonel and then Brigadier and therefore reasonably expected to quality for an opening to command the Third Wing of the Imperial Army. Then Rudolph could introduce modern reforms which the ‘Blues’ wanted.
All the while Rudolph followed the revolution in gunnery as the Mannlicher Repeater Rifle and Rubin style full metal jacket bullet were tested in Steyr. Koniggratz won the war for Prussia and demoted the Habsburg Empire to the jumble table of history because of a gun. The Pin Rifle. The best or worst gun can win or lose wars with terrible consequences.
So like all ‘Blues’ Rudolph developed an obsession with modern gunnery. And a revolution in modern gunnery was occurring right now! And as an Infantryman and a ‘Blue’ Rudolph was bound to be right in the center of it! How could he not? His obsession with Koniggratz, with modernization, with technology, and his hands -on OCD fixation on details would compel Rudolph to plunge right into the exciting revolution in gunnery which was occurring. Fortunately Steyr was the largest gunnery manufacturer in the world — and located so conveniently in industrial Bohemia!
Steyr chemists were tickering with black powder to ratchet up its potential to 1610 fps — the best in the world. Of course everyone was experimenting with nitro but nitro was dangerously unstable despite its potential to achieve 2000 fps (feet per second) velocity. The revolutionary Mannlicher Repeater Rifle was ready to be mass produced which would amaze the world! Much of the amazement coming from Berlin because no one expected the fuddy duddy antiquated and all but bankrupt Habsburg Imperial Army to produce the first successful repeater! And a repeater that was absolutely revolutionary!
But what to shoot in it? Inspector of Infantry Archduke Leopold along with Rudolph and every single ‘Blue’ knew that Rubin the Genius of the Alps not only invented the first full metal jacket bullet for a rifle but advocated 8 mm —- soon to be a spritzer pointed bullet — soon to be rimless —- and ideally soon to be filed by nitro!
But nitro was still dangerously unstable. Steyr advocated their 1610 custom black powder in a 8 mm Rubin style full metal jacket bullet. That would make the Mannlicher Repeater Rifle the BEST IN THE WORLD! Done! Settled! Happy days! Then Rudolph got sick and almost died of gonorrhea but at least he consoled himself as he writhed in agony that the Imperial Army had done something right at last!
Rudolph recovered from his nasty bout with the lessor STD of the Victorian age (which infected about 30% of the army including his own father) to find out that Albrecht and Francis Joseph ordered the state of the art revolutionary repeater rifle to shoot obsolete 11 mm bullets! Why? Because the army had a stockpile of 11 mm! Waste not! Want not! Admire the picture of Rudolph in acute pain —- not just from gonorrhea but from that disastrous decision! The 11 mm Blunder would soon become the 11 mm Debacle!
Late in 86 the French announced the Meille Miracle! Their mediocre Lebel Repeater would shoot 8 mm Vielle nitro in Rubin style full metal jackets! Please read the Gun Crisis for the full details!
Albrecht and Francis Joseph ordered Inspector of Infantry Archduke Leopold to take the fall for royal incompetence. It was an exact repeat of General Benedek. Leopold was ‘spared’ a kangaroo court martial if he resigned. He did. His replacement was named in 87: Inspector General of Infantry Archduke Crown Prince Rudolph.
On hearing the news of the Meille Miracle Bismarck bellowed ‘The inferiority of our armaments would be sufficient to encourage France or Russia to fall upon us!’ Mr. Commanding Heights panicked and immediately ordered Spandau to cut corners and do whatever it took to develop the same gunnery superiority as the French — or else! In one year! To be unveiled by the War Games in 88! Well! When Mr. Commanding Heights bellowed everyone jumped!
But back at Steyr everyone paused. Rudolph is always described as a hysteric but isn’t it interesting how Bismarck and Rudolph reacted to the same announcement by the French! Bismarck’s high pitched tenor shriek could be heard across the Imperial Second Reich.
That panic straight from the Commanding Heights would lead directly to the last act of a gun crisis where defective gunnery and defective ammo would be shoved too hastily into the shaking hands of German soldiers facing the Western Front with France late in 89 and into early 90. Meanwhile Rudolph, Leopold, Mannlicher, and Steyr —- paused. Then they inhaled. Exhaled. Inhaled. And then calmly —paused.
Was the Meille Miracle even true? Was the French nitro real? Or was it all a bluff to panic Bismarck who was manufacturing another war in either 89 or 90 to finally and at last conquer and destroy France? Bismarck did react with amazing panic to be sure. But was it true? Or was it a trick to stampede Bismarck? Was it real? Or mind games? A desperate bluff? A devious con?
So Rudolph, Leopold, Mannlicher, and Steyr inhaled. Exhaled. Inhaled. And then they reacted very intriguingly. They concentrated on salvaging the 11 mm Debacle instead of panicking and rushing into nitro. Think about it! It is very intriguing!
The Lebel was such a mediocre repeater rifle it nullified the brilliance of the supposed 2000 fps nitro. The Mannlicher was a brilliant repeater rifle. In fact the Mannlicher was the best repeater rifle in the world. So if it fired the second best bullet in the world then mano y mano the Steyr Miracle would equal the Meille Miracle. The moldy old Habsburg Imperial Army would still be tied in first place!
So Rudolph, Leopold, Mannlicher, and Steyr concentrated on salvaging the 11 mm Debacle. They threw the full force of the salvage into ordering back the rifles already manufactured and then retooling and re-engineering them to shoot 8 mm full metal jackets. Then the rest of the revolutionary guns could be mass produced. The Steyr Rubin style 8 mm full metal jacket bullet would use the second best 1610 fps powder. And the salvage would be done in time to have a revolutionary repeater rifle that shot the 8 mm full metal jacket bullet filled by 1610 fps power in the hands of every soldier for the 88 war games.
The men did not panic or rush or allow themselves to be stampeded. They concentrated and precisely salvaged the situation. It was the same response in Britain where the Enfield Armory inhaled, exhaled, inhaled, and then kept to their development schedule for the release of the revolutionary Lee Metford Repeater Rifle (soon to become the Lee Enfield Repeater Rifle the longest running success story in modern gunnery since the Pin Rifle). The British likewise refused to be stampeded into nitro hysterically. Nitro was unstable. Nitro was tricky. Were the French bluffing? Why rush three revolutionary but still entirely untested technologies into a 100 miles an hour collision because of panic? Develop the Repeater. Make sure your grasp of the small bore & caliber full metal jacket is solid. Evolve into nitro.
So instead of panicking Steyr pragmatically kept to its research program to evolve into a hybrid nitro by 90 and full nitro by 95 (it was actually achieved by 92). Leopold limped away in disgrace as the latest royal scapegoat as Rudolph signed off on the Steyr R & D while standing by the decision to use the second best bullet in the best gun in the world.
Of course the salvage of the 11 mm Debacle was not easy! Every element of both the gun and 8 mm full metal jacket bullet and 1610 fps powder had to be retested. The caliber and fps had to be fully tested. The repeater rifle and magazine and repeater mechanism and barrel rifling and straight bolt all had to be compatible with the 8 mm 1610 fps full metal jacket bullet. Otherwise the gun could blow up. Everyone went to work. It was painstaking and expensive. It meant cost overruns. But Rudolph was an anal OCD fussbudget so this was exactly what his mindset was brilliant at doing. He even had the time to attend Victoria’s Jubilee.
There Rudolph watched as Willy grandstanded to the shock of absolutely everyone as dying Frederick and grieving Vicky made desperate apologies for their son as Willy boasted of conquering the world in general and Great Britain in particular! And oh yes! Marching into Vienna and showing Francis Joseph how a real kasier ruled! And oh yes! Disinheriting Rudolph! While cannibalizing Austro Hungary!
Everyone prayed that Frederick would recover from his cancer because the idea of Willy on the throne of the Imperial Second Reich gave everyone the ‘Willies’ . And now you know where that piece of old slang came from! Well! Guess what happened next?
Yep! You guessed it! Meanwhile Bismarck was still manufacturing his war slated for 89 or 90 while assuming that Spandau could and would do whatever it took to rush the development of a repeater rifle, 8 mm full metal jacket bullet, and nitro —– despite having absolutely no R & D whatsoever! In fact leading into late 86 Spandau had exactly Zip! Zero! Nada! Nil! Nothing! Nothing whatsoever! In fact Spandau was running all but dead last! Never mind! ‘We are the best!’ Everyone was confident that the Spandau Miracle would be amazing! How could the decadent French and batty British and effete Austro Hungarians produce such things first! Impossible! The Triumph of the German Genius will prevail and amaze the world! The projected war was on schedule and on time!
Willy’s coronation all but bellowed the coming war from the roof tops! His warmongering was as over the top as his kitsch couture!
Leading into the 88 War Games Bismarck assured everyone the Imperial Second Reich was ‘sated’ with war and he was a ‘Peacemaker’ now — with ‘Peacemaker guns’ in both hands!
Well! Not ‘Peacemaker’ Colts but lethal enough! Better! German! But Willy’s war mongering and the panic in world stock markets said no one believe that the Imperial Second Reich was not preparing for another one of its notorious wars.
A ‘peaceful’ nation does not devote over 50% of GNP to war or keep its economy on a full time war basis. Heck! The Imperial Second Reich all but invented Military Keynesian Economics and built the first Military Industrial Complex Nation in the Industrial World!
So no one was surprised when it was announced that Spandau had amazingly achieved the impossible: a revolutionary repeater rifle to replace the obsolete and embarrassing inferior Mauser 71 and a dazzling full metal jacket bullet packed with revolutionary nitro! Spandau now declared itself in FIRST PLACE IN THE ARMS RACE! All in time for the 88 War Games! Drum Roll Please!
But what was the rush? The big rush? It was obvious what the rush was. Gun parity was projected to be achieved by 95 as every modern army perfected their versions of the repeater rifle, Rubin style full metal jacket bullet, and ultimately nitro. So to win a guaranteed war Bismarck had to attack France now.
And to finance his future wars Bismarck needed to attack France now to pay for the next war against Britain. Bismarck paid for all of his wars with gigantic war reparations. The last war netted five billion to finance his military and naval build up. But now despite a 50% GNP devoted to war Bismarck’s Imperial Second Reich was running serious deficits. Hemorrhaging deficits. Bismarck desperately needed another war and fast. Both to be ahead of the curve of modern gunnery parity and to score fresh war reparations — ten billion — from France while cannibalizing Belgiums’ coal fields, massive industry, crucial railroad network, needful ports, and all of the riches of Leopold’s ‘Wedding Cake’ ie the Congo with its ivory, gold, mineral deposits, and rubber as well as forcing the Dutch to surrender oil rich Java and crucial ports. Only that could pay down the out of control deficit and finance future wars as well as lay the foundation for a war against Britain. Otherwise Willy’s wish list of military and naval warmonger toys would reach an unsustainable 70% plus percent of the national GNP. (In fact it reached an unsustainable 72% by 1914. But the ‘Wilhelm Canal’ was a watery road block. Until it was expanded twice to unleash the dreadnoughts and submarines Willy could not wage his war. That is why after the window to wage war closed after 95 the window to wage war did not open again until after 1910.)
So Bismarck was planning his next war and that war was slated for later in 89 or else 90 depending on the timetable to hand out blueprints to manufacturers, retool the factory floors of not only Spandau but Loewe and Steyr who were the largest private gunnery manufacturers capable of arming the one million man standing German Army, and then manufacture the gunnery and launch at least some field training before waging the actual war. So you see for Bismarck to keep to his schedule for a war later in 89 or else 90 he had to not only rush production of the prototypes but rush testing before handing out the manufacturing specs to rush mass production. Why all of this rushing? Bismarck was manufacturing another war.
‘The Chancellor regards war as inevitable… Bismarck is able to look into the future with confidence …. We are agreed that in the event of war we must immediately take the offense to the east [Austrian Poland and Galicia]…’ Count von Waldersee ex Ambassador to Paris and soon head of the Germany Army in 1888.
Obviously that meant that the Spandau Miracle was true and after a rushed testing of the prototypes the gunnery and ammo would be mass produced and handed out to the amazed soldiery to destroy France once and for all! Drum Roll Please! Another domino in world conquest was about to fall! And the fall of that domino would topple Belgium and Italy and the Dutch and leave the Imperial Second Reich in defacto control of Europe.
Once Europe submitted to the Pax Germanica (please google September Program) then dreadnoughts and submarines could directly access the militarized North Sea and Chanel to prepare to devour Britain while Willy drew up plans to attack Boston and New York. Drum Roll Please! All courtesy of a revolutionary gun and bullet and nitro! That and superior German engineering of course!
But that meant that Berlin would no longer need fuddy duddy old Austro Hungary to guard its tender flank. Oh dear! Then Willy’s grandstanding in London could commence: to dissect the moldering empire and take the tasty bits while tossing the Hinterland to Russia to buy off Russian aggression on Germany’s East Flank. Clearly the not -so-secret Prussian Russian Treaty always intended to trump the Prussian Austrian Treaty. Oh dear. Poor Francis Joseph. So much for that security ‘blanket’ he has been clutching to his chest since Koniggratz!
The state of the art German Modern Gunnery and Ammo was ready! The war slated for 89 or else 90 was green lighted! Quick testing of the glorious prototypes before the 88 War Games. Then hand out the manufacturing specs to Loewe and Steyr! Mass production to commence in January 89. So those 88 War Games was going to be really interesting! And potentially nasty! And Austro Hungary was caught right in the middle like an after dinner mint! Because the Spandau Miracle was under a mysterious ‘Veil of Secrecy so the spotlight would be on the 88 War Games to be held between the ‘Allies’ the Imperial Second Reich and Austro Hungary in Godollo Hungary.
The 88 War Games between the Imperial Second Reich and Austro Hungary commenced testy and prickly accordingly. Rudolph refused to let his ‘Blues’ humiliate themselves by goose stepping before arrogant Willy.
Howbeit that was also part of a running feud Rudolph had with Albrecht. Rudolph had prepared a modern drill manual and Albrecht buried that modern drill manual under mounds of dusty folders on his dusty desk and refused to even so much as read it.
The 88 War Games unrolled with tense hostility as Willy, Herbert Bismarck (the scion of Bismarck) and other assorted Junkers grandstanded while insulting Francis Joseph, Sisi, the Austrian General Staff, Mannlicher, Steyr, Austro Hungarian soldiers, the state of the art Mannlicher Repeater Rifle, the state of the art Steyr 8 mm full metal jacket bullet, the ‘sloppy’ parade ground performance of the none goose stepping soldiers, the lack of a modern drill manual, and Inspector General of Infantry Archduke Crown Prince Rudolph in PARTICULAR.
The Russian Minister Lamsdorff expressed amazement that Willy was grandstanding before Francis Joseph to fire his own son (which incidentally required Rudolph to resign per military protocols) after Rudolph salvaged the 11 mm Debacle so well.
‘The German Emperor made his inspection not as a guest Monarch but as an inspector assigned the task of carrying out a most careful review. The results of the inspection proved unfavorable and His Majesty did not conceal his displeasure: he particularly criticized the infantry, the chief inspector of which at the time was the Archduke Rudolph. Wilhelm II did not spare the heir to the throne and expressed his opinion to the Emperor and Empress with extreme openness. The latter was offended and declared that she did not wish to remain in the presence of the German Emperor…… On his return to Berlin His Majesty wrote a long letter [drafted by Bismarck] to the Emperor Francis Joseph in which he explained that he had the right and was obligated to draw the attention of his ally to the state of affairs in his army because they must defend their common interests, shoulder to shoulder, and asked that a more experienced person than Archduke Rudolph should be appointed to the post of Chief Inspector of the Infantry.’
Albrecht and his aide de camp Beck Rzikowsky also lied and blamed Rudolph for the 11 mm Debacle and also for the lack of a drilling manual. In fact Rudolph had submitted his proposed drilling manual and it sat gathering dust on Albrecht’s desk. Post Mayerling Francis Joseph ordered Albrecht to produce a better drill manual or else use Rudolph’s . Albrecht grudgingly used Rudolph’s . It was the only known time that Francis Joseph ever dared to challenge his uncle’s dictatorial rule of the army. But during the war games Francis Joseph believed Willy and Albrecht.
.’ A result of this letter was a violent scene between Francis Joseph and his son, who refused to retire voluntarily.’ recounted Russian Minister Lamsdorff.
Part of Willy’s complaint also included the fact the Austrian Army used Mannlichers instead of the superior Mauser 71 repeater and used Steyr ammo instead of Spandau ammo. Willy also apparently mixed up the sudden decision by Spandau to change the Rubin 8mm full metal jacket to 7.92 and declared that the 8 mm Rubin style full metal jacket used by Steyr was the wrong caliber.
Clearly Willy was one of those opinionated sorts who are never in doubt but seldom right. The Mauser 71 repeater was actually an embarrassment to the great master which was why Mauser was taking so long to produce his masterpiece (which appeared in 95 for release in 96). The surprised move by Spandau to change the Rubin 8 mm full metal jacket to 7.92 was a mystery no one could understand. Why change a bullet caliber created by the brilliant Rubin — the inventor of the first successful full metal jacket for rifles? Willy was also grossly prejudiced against anything coming from Mannlicher and from Steyr (which was ironic as Spandau needed Steyr to mass produce the gunnery for Bismarck’s next war). And Willy was grossly prejudiced in favor of anything coming from Spandau. He assumed that German Engineering was naturally the best so anything else could only be the worst. Likewise Willy sneered the Lee Metford (soon to be the Lee Enfield ) and anything coming from Browning or any American. But Willy was especially contemptuous of Austrians!
And like all Junkers, Willy profoundly loathed and despised the Austrian Germans as clownish doppelgangers of the superior Prussian Germans. And of course Magyars had to be even worse! And Czechs had to be even worse! And Slavs had to even worse! And don’t even mention Jews and Freemasons! Austro Hungary was a land of muddy blood mongrels! If something originated in Austro Hungary it could only be bad! Hopelessly inferior! Contemptible! Beyond the pale! Scarcely to be endured! It was like someone scratching a blackboard with their fingernails! Just seeing anything Austrian was sheer pain! The only reason Willy ever visited Austro Hungary was to be patronizing (while using Vienna as his brothel while expecting Rudolph and the Hofburg to pay for it).
The irony was that Willy’ grandstanding was also telegraphing in letters the size of the Hollywood Sign that he had absolutely no idea whatsoever what was really happening back at Spandau! And …..there was something happening back at Spandau under that Bismarck ordered ‘Veil of Secrecy’ ……
After the War Games sputtered to a close Rudolph tenaciously refused to resign as Inspector General of Infantry. He demanded that his modern drill manual be adopted. He dug in and refused to take the blame for the 11 mm Debacle. But Rudolph especially dug in about gunnery.
Willy released a volley of ultimatums demanding that Francis Joseph junk the ‘inferior’ Mannlicher Repeater Rifle in favor of the ‘superior’ Commission Spandau Repeater Rifle. Likewise Willy demanded that Francis Joseph junk the ‘inferior’ Steyr 8 mm bullet in favor of the ‘superior ‘ Spandau nitro 7:92 mm full metal jacket bullet. The Spandau gun and bullet were masterpieces! Therefore the Mannlicher Repeater Rifle and Steyr bullet were obsolete! In fact Willy bellowed that the entire Steyr R & D into nitro should be junked as obsolete and redundant!
Rudolph dug in and stubbornly protected the Mannlicher Repeater Rifle and Steyr 1610 fps 8 mm full metal jacket bullet and the Steyr R & D to develop its own nitro which was on schedule to deliver a hybrid nitro by 90 and full nitro by 95. Rudolph point blank refused to resign or junk the army’s gunnery achieved at great cost to blindly adopt any Spandau products whatsoever! And despite the ‘Veil of Secrecy’ rumors were starting to leak out of Spandau of guns ……. blowing up.
The hellish Autumn War Games climaxed with Rudolph sustaining a terrible fall from a horse in late October. He sustained a concussion with dreadful symptoms which persisted well into the rest of 88. This included the original symptoms of partial loss of consciousness from the original fall in the middle of nowhere requiring his ADCs to haul the concussed Rudolph with great pain over a long distance to his train before training (painfully) to a town with medical facilities. Other symptoms included nausea, blinding headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, and even worse insomnia. Because much of this represented simply a worse type of Rudolph’s normal ailments it was initially dangerously ignored. But there were other symptoms such as a ‘flattening’ of the senses, difficulty concentrating, the complete inability to read for any extended period, a further deterioration of his hand writing style, more brittle flashes of anger and irritability, as well as an intensification of pre-existing conditions which in Rudolph’s case were Anxiety Depression with PTSD and probable OCD. And the symptoms did not go away. They persisted dangerously.
Concussions are called ‘Walking Wounded’ because other than the classic symptom of pupils of two different sizes there is no obvious evidence of a wound. But concussions are serious. This was Rudolph’s second or third (depending on the extent of his abuse sustained as a child which resulted in a total emotional and physical breakdown resulting in a brush with death). Concussions not only aggravate pre-existing conditions, concussions are intensified by stressors like job stress. Stressors include recent stressful events, emotional stress, and can lead to a cascade of symptoms and syndromes in between 38 and 80% of all cases. If a concussion does not go away in ten days it is by definition Post Concussion Syndrome (which in WW 1 was called ‘Shell Shock’).
Incredibly, Rudolph tried to keep the concussion a secret as he persevered in his high stress job —- all while absolutely refusing to resign in disgrace even as Albrecht and Bismarck and Willy racketed up the ultimatums to Francis Joseph.
Even more incredibly, Stephanie callously reported Rudolph’s concussion symptoms of evidence not only of his ‘Decline and Fall’ but as madness. She reported that Rudolph’s brain was so damaged by the fall he was going insane. Thanks Stephanie! And around this time Stephanie also signed out a drug from the Nov/Dec Court Pharmacy Ledger which she did not want anyone to know about Post Mayerling while whispering to her lover Lonyay that something bad was going to happen to Rudolph which would allow her to marry him at last. Stephanie! Everyone’s Definition of The Loyal Wife!
Why did Rudolph incredibly continued to work long hours, frantically trying to cover up a serious concussion, having his ADCs read everything to him as he dictated. This was proven by the evidence of many reports signed off by Rudolph which were coherent and precise and hard hitting while continuing to display his brilliant style of composition. But it had to be achieved despite the fact he was unable to read for any sustained period or even see for blurry vision and painful concussive headaches which aggravated his notorious volcanic temper. Why cover up his serious injury? Why persist in working despite being ‘Walking Wounded’? Why continue to do a high stress job when a concussion is aggravated by stressors?
Why didn’t Rudolph want Francis Joseph to know how bad his concussion was? Why doesn’t the Hofburg appear to care how badly Rudolph was injured? Why were Rudolph’s symptoms callously sneered at? Some officers were outraged when Rudolph bellowed at them when gripped by a concussive headache. Why were Rudolph’s struggles to keep to his seven to five job six days a week (often featuring up to 200 events or meetings a week) labeled slacking off and debauchery and laziness and evidence of losing interest in life and even being suicidal? Why is an obviously workaholic ‘Walking Wounded’ soldier still at work at all?
Because Rudolph refused to quit or resign from his job. Per the military protocols in the Red Book of Regulations that forced Francis Joseph and Albrecht to remove him by only one way: Court Martial . And unlike his poor predecessor Leopold or General Benedek, Rudolph refused take the fall or play the mute swan. Rudolph vowed to defend himself in an open court martial unlike Benedek who was tricked into promising to say and do NOTHING TO DEFEND HIMSELF.
So the only way to remove the unmovable Rudolph was by a public court martial —- which Albrecht would not be able to rig into another of his famous kangaroo court lynchings. Unless of course Francis Joseph can find an alternative way other than demanding that Rudolph shoot himself as an officer and a gentleman: poor health. If Rudolph physically cannot do the job of Inspector General of Infantry then he can be removed. So that was why Rudolph was ‘Walking Wounded’ while refusing to quit.
Why? Why is Rudolph bothering? Why not quit like Leopold before him? Why is Rudolph digging in his heels even while all but dying from a concussion? It all comes down to guns!
In November Berlin commenced a brutal newspaper war against Rudolph as Willy delivers more ultimatums (many written by Bismarck) to Francis Joseph to demand that Rudolph be terminated as Inspector General of Infantry. Why? The core of the job description is of course gunnery. Rudolph replaced Leopold and most of Leopold’s job was presiding over gunnery. To be exact to preside over the development of modern gunnery. It all comes down to guns and a REVOLUTION IN MODERN GUNNERY WHICH WOULD WITH ONLY MINOR MODIFICATIONS BECOME THE GUNS USED IN WWI.
But Rudolph brilliantly salvaged the 11 mm Debacle and placed into the hands of every soldier the best state of the art repeater rifle bar none which shot the second best bullet in the world which put Austro Hungary in first place with France —- at least until Spandau raised its ‘Veil of Secrecy’ and produced its brilliant Commission Repeater Rifle and dazzling full metal jacket bullet filled with gloriously stable nitro.
And Austro Hungary would go into WW I welding Mannlicher Repeaters and Steyr ammo. And the Mannlicher Repeater continued to be the lightest, most elegant, fastest to load, fastest to shoot, and easiest to weld gun on par with Mauser and Browning and the Lee Enfield. And today no modern gun uses the Mauser stripper or Enfield charger. They use preloaded enbloc packet clip magazines first pioneered by Mannlicher. So the gunnery Leopold and Rudolph ushered into general use has been proven to be sound. (Please read the Gun Crisis for more details). So why throughout the rest of 88 and into January of 89 are four powerful men pressuring Rudolph to resign his military job in disgrace?
And please note that during all this tense standoff Mary has yet to formally invade Rudolph’s garret office. In fact they have not met except superficially for mere moments. Mary is not even on Rudolph’s radar. So for most of 88 and leading into 89 the crisis facing Rudolph is not Mary who is not even a blimp on Rudolph’s radar. Rudolph’s entire being is focused on this stand off over his refusal to resign his military job in disgrace and for his refusal to abandon the Mannlicher Repeater Rifle and Steyr 1610 fps 8 mm full metal jacket bullet as well as a drill manual Albrecht kept buried on his desk. So Why does every Mayerling Movie ignore all of this to drool over Mary?
Albrecht and his ADC Beck Rzikowsky join the ultimatums of Bismarck and Willy. Albrecht has always wanted Rudolph removed for years. Albrecht’s previous attempts to remove Rudolph because of modernization, his loyalty to Benedek, his friendship with Andrassy, rumors of Rudolph’s connections to devilish Jews and Freemasons, his Anglophile and Francophile and Americanophile inclinations, and his momentary wiliness to entertain a perfectly legal offer by Andrassy to accept the role of ‘Junior Monarch of Hungary’ before refusing it out of idealism all made Rudolph the ULTIMATE TRAITOR in the eyes of senile and paranoid Albrecht. Albrecht saw Hungarian conspiracies the way Joe McCarthy saw ‘Reds’. Since the death of Benedek Rudolph had come to fill the shoes of Benedek as the most dangerous military officer in Albrecht’s Army. Albrecht, the Gravedigger of the Habsburgs, wanted Rudolph terminated.
Albrecht now plunged the stiletto right into Rudolph’s back. Albrecht and his ADC Beck Rzikowsky wrote to Francis Joseph claiming that not only had Rudolph failed to produce a modern drill manual timely —- he had failed utterly to produce one at all because of gross incompetence which exemplified Rudolph’s entire tenure as Inspector General of Infantry. Albrecht’s broadside declared that ‘With regard to the revision of the drill Book of the Imperial Infantry proposed in this report , has been under consideration for some time, and I have already expressed my opinion thereon to the Chief of the General staff…..I cannot conceal, in conclusion, the fact, as I have since his appointment endeavored as far as possible to make up for the deficiencies of the Inspector General of Infantry, I think I am justified in claiming the chairmanship of the proposed Commission …’
This broadside all but demanded that Francis Joseph terminate his son from not only the job of Inspector General of Infantry but any job in the military. At the same time Albrecht started to prevent Rudolph from attending any military staff meetings while Beck Rzikowsky started to boast that he was about to become the new Inspector General of Infantry. Rudolph’s entire military career was threatened.
Up to now Francis Joseph had carefully resisted the ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburg’s while leaving Rudolph twisting in the wind before Albrecht’s relentless hounding. Now Albrecht joined the ultimatums of Bismarck and Willy to terminate Rudolph while all but digging Rudolph’s professional grave . And increasingly the word ‘Termination’ was meant literally. Not just professionally. Literally. TERMINATION.
Francis Joseph was being pushed by two men he pathologically feared, Albrecht and Bismarck, as well as a bully he endued, Willy, toward crossing the Rubicon: terminating Rudolph. TERMINATION OF RUDOLPH.
And it is remarkable how callously Francis Joseph abandoned his son as Albrecht and his minion Beck Rzikowsky savaged Rudolph’s career and libeled his achievements while lying about the Drill Manual and ratcheting up every rumor of treason as well as incompetence. All while Berlin waged a vicious newspaper war against Rudolph while Pan Germans accused Rudolph of treason to the German People. Francis Joseph does not order Taaffe to silence this shocking vilifying of Rudolph which no other Habsburg has ever had to endure. Francis Joseph makes no attempt before Rudolph’s death to confirm or deny the accusations or calamities being hurled at Rudolph. Francis Joseph does not offer to give Rudolph a legal platform (court martial) to defend himself. Other than testy confrontations in the Inner Sanctum Francis Joseph does not even attempt to converse with his son. Francis Joseph simply allowed men he feared to professionally crucify his son with impunity .
After Rudolph’s death Francis Joseph would continue to let men he feared destroy his dead son’s honor and reputation without lifting a finger —- except to order Taaffe to lock all exonerating evidence away forever in that notorious metal box. (Please read Taaffe’s Metal Box for more details.)
Unless Rudolph resigned in disgrace or else ill health he had to be terminated. Why? Because if Rudolph was publically court martialed Rudolph would defend himself in public. And Rudolph knew too much that could embarrass too many men. What did Rudolph know? Well the real culprit for Koniggratz for one thing. The real culprit for the 11 mm Debacle for another thing. And Rudolph also knew what no one else except Bismarck knew: That the Spandau Miracle was actually the Spandau Mirage. There was no miracle Commission Repeater Rifle and fabulous full metal jacket bullet filled with nitro. But more about Bismarck’s terrible secret later!
Unless Francis Joseph could make Rudolph resign in disgrace or else resign for poor health because of a concussion Francis Joseph would be caught between the rock of public court martial exposing the sins of everyone and the hard place of ordering some sort of paralegal star chamber court martial to condemn Rudolph in absentia which could only lead to one thing: TERMINATION. TRANSLATON: EXECUTION. Unless of course Rudolph would agree to shoot himself as an officer and a gentleman to ease Francis Joseph’s conscience.
So Francis again confronted Rudolph as the clock ticked down to Doomsday. Francis Joseph’s stressed the need to preserve the Prussian Austrian Alliance with their ‘Ally’ the Imperial Second Reich. Francis Joseph stressed the wrath of Bismarck, a man known for boasting of enjoying the amazing good luck of seeing his enemies disappearing at exactly the right time. Francis Joseph stressed the need to appease Willy The Warmonger. Francis Joseph stressed that Albrecht earned his nickname ‘Gravedigger of the Habsburgs’ through his pure ruthlessness. Francis Joseph stressed that he expected all of his citizens and especially his soldiers to be willing to blindly sacrifice themselves for their King & Country. Then Francis Joseph point blank orders Rudolph to resign in disgrace or else poor health. Rudolph point blank refuses.
Wales later told Victoria that this ‘Led directly to the catastrophe.’
Why is Rudolph digging in and all but forcing Francis Joseph to unleash Albrecht’s Roll Commandos?
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO GUNS.
In late November Kaiser Wilhelm II signed with much fanfare the imperial degree to mass produce the brilliant Commission Repeater Rifle and spectacular Spandau 7.92 full metal jacket bullet and amazing nitro —- even as more rumors oozed out from Bismarck’s ‘Veil of Secrecy’ about guns blowing up. About guns so dangerous the test shooters were starting to call them a ‘Jew’s musket’, a hexed gun, because they were blowing off hands of the shooters or blinding the shooters or even…… killing them……
Why was this Veil of Secrecy even necessary if the gun and full metal nitro bullet was as wonderful as Bismarck claimed? And Spandau could not manufacture all of the guns or ammo by itself. Loewe Manufacturing (who manufactured for Mauser) and Steyr Industries (who manufactured for Mannlicher) had to be drafted to put a spectacular gun into the hands of every German soldier in time for that projected war. And the front lines German soldiers in the Western Front facing France were slated to get the rushed guns first. Manufacturing specs had to be handed out to Loewe and Steyr pretty much now. So why was Bismarck stalling the unveiling even as Willy strutted and bellowed?
Finally Loewe and Steyr were contacted as Bismarck pushed the due date to hand out manufacturing specs to the last moment. Then in late November Bismarck suddenly materialized in the parlor of Rudolph in the wee hours of dark night, coming by way of a secret train, arriving unannounced, to confront Rudolph in his night clothes and dressing gown as the towering titan held his military overcoat over his sagging belly, his military cap covering a bald head fringed with white while that famous walrus mustache framed a less than arrogant face. Or was it an over compensating and bellowing face? We will never know. So two enemies went mano y mano in a top secret meeting neither ever discussed with anyone else.
What was it about? Oh well. Let’s guess shall we? Mary? Nah! What about rumors of guns blowing up? Spandau guns blowing up? Bad guns badly designed blowing up? Frankenstein guns cobbled together from stolen patents and copyrights stolen from Mauser and Mannlicher and Lebel blowing up? Blowing up because of bad engineering and bad full metal jackets that were hopelessly defective which shot a lousy knock off of the French Vielle nitro? All blowing up? ALL BLOWING UP! (Please see the Gun Crisis for full details.) The Spandau Miracle was the Spandau Mirage! A fake! A charade! A boondoggle! A Frankenstein Monster created by Bismarck’s panic!
‘Teething Pains’? ‘Preproduction hiccups’? Rudolph was a gun expert. That bird won’t fly!
Bismarck was the sort who just snapped his fingers and expected gun engineers to magically produce a brilliant gun and full metal jacket bullet and nitro on demand! But great gunnery can’t be produced as if Diana from the brow of Zeus. Great gunnery comes from R & D. Research and development. Like what Steyr always prided itself on. Solid R & D. Integrity. Quality. Reputation. Hard Work. Ethics. Everything that Spandau betrayed when it cut corners to score the gunnery Bismarck demanded no matter what it took. The end justifies any means!
But committing industrial espionage while pilfering patents from Mauser and Mannlicher and copyrights from Loewe and Steyr just left Spandau wide open to not only reverse industrial espionage but a debacle which now Spandau simply could not fix. Spandau could not go back to the drawing board because there was no drawing board. There was no R & D. There was only thievery cobbled together like Frankenstein’s Monster out of disjointed patents that were not even compatible. The only thing Spandau could do was literally go back to the blank drawing board and develop a genuine repeater rifle and full metal jacket and nitro from scratch. That would take years. In fact it took Spandau well past 1895 and into 1900 while Steyr’s R & D produced their genuine nitro by 92. The ‘Fatal Gift’ would confound and taint Spandau ‘s R & D for decades.
Sure. The French very likely pulled a ‘Fatal Gift’ reverse industrial espionage on Spandau’s spies when they sold the conceited Junkers a mediocre Lebel Repeater Rifle and a fake example of a French full metal jacket bullet loaded with fake nitro. The ‘Fatal Gift’ now fatally poisoned the well of Spandau’s entire development of their own full metal jacket nitro bullet. The entire monstrosity had to be tossed and Spandau had to start from scratch all over again. Salvage simply wasn’t possible in time for a war in 89 or 90 or before gunnery parity was achieved in 95.
Rudolph probably was very fussily painstaking in his analysis of the extent of the disaster which he had known about for some time. But Rudolph still demanded that Spandau pay patent and copyright infringement penalties and cut Steyr a sweetheart deal to mass produce the defective gun. Steyr could probably fix it —- down the road — -but not on time for Bismarck’s projected war in 89 or 90. But Rudolph probably twisted the metaphorical knife in Bismarck’s fat belly by suggesting that to save his scheduled war Bismarck could and should simply junk the entire mess and simply buy off the shelf: buy the Mannlicher Repeater Rifle and Steyr 1610 fps 8 mm full metal jacket bullet.
Steyr was the largest producer of gunnery in the world. Steyr and Loewe could mass produce the proven best to supply the German Army in time for a war in 89. Piece of cake. All Bismarck had to do was eat crow and confess to Willy that the imperial degree he just signed was not worth using in a latrine and that Willy had to apologize to Francis Joseph and Rudolph and Mannlicher and Steyr and Austro Hungary and then beg his ally to save his Imperial Second Reich arse from sure defeat.
Bismarck stormed out of Rudolph’s parlor without getting what he wanted. The disastrous imperial degree to mass produce a defective gun and bullet went ahead as Berlin and Albrecht crucified Rudolph for being —- right.
Over New Years it became too late for Bismarck to change course 180 degrees and salvage his war by simply buying off the shelf. To save Junker face he allowed Spandau, Loewe, and Steyr (in a sweetheart deal in leu of paying royalties) to mass produce a defective gun and ammo. The defective guns and ammo were rushed into the hands of German soldiers on the Western Front facing France throughout late 89 and into 90.
Meanwhile some sort of secret paralegal star chamber court martial held in absentia judged and condemned Inspector General of Infantry Archduke Crown Prince Rudolph for incompetence, mutiny, and treason .Rudolph was condemned. Albrecht circled a date on the calendar: January 30th at 6:30 AM for Rudolph to either shoot himself or else be shot.
The execution site was picked: Mayerling. Rudolph’s small and shabby hunting lodge was in a bedroom suburb, remote, easily surrounded by Roll Commandos, and could be easily monitored by Prussian officers dressed up in hunting togs. The executioners were picked. Five. Two to do the hit. All ‘Reds’. Possibly featuring a young cavalry officer: Lieutenant Vetsera. An insider at Mayerling was bribed: the part time cook who was a notoriously greedy sort of female. Countess Wimpffen, a creature of von Holstein the Spy Master of Bismarck was briefed to deliver the merchandise to the train station to be delivered to Mayerling after a change off from another bribed player: Countess Larisch who was desperately in need of money. Helen Vetsera who was all but bankrupt was contacted to rent out her insane and suicidal younger daughter Mary who had just lost her only chance for a rich marriage after revealing the extent of her erotic mania and crazed obsession with Crown Prince Rudolph.
Von Holstein and Smutty Petri was planning to highjack Albrecht’s military hit and turn it into another one of their patented sexual scandal/suicides frosted with phony suicide letters such as dispatched so many other enemies of Bismarck.
Albrecht probably did not care if his military hit was highjacked into a sordid murder. In Albrecht’s senile and paranoid eyes Rudolph was not an officer and a gentlemen to be entitled to a honorable death to preserve his reputation as a military officer.
Francis Joseph found the death warrant on his desk which per his own beloved Red Book of Regulations he was compelled to signed off on as required by the chain of military command. Taaffe assured the old man he would use all of the machinery of state to tidy up the military hit.
Rudolph confounded everyone by materializing at the first military staff meeting of the New Year defiant. Albrecht told his Roll Commandos he did not anticipate Rudolph going quietly. But Rudolph had to be somehow compelled to go to Mayerling. The military hit could not occur in the Hofburg or Rudolph’s military offices or even the flat he shared with Mizzi Caspar. The Laxenburg Castle was too difficult and would reveal that it was an insider hit.
But known double agents working for both Taaffe’s Spies and von Holstein’s Spies now started to hound MC. The screws started to be ratcheted down tighter and tighter on Rudolph as Stephanie paid her lover Lonyay to a six weeks luxury vacation in Egypt to get him out of the way of suspicion when something bad went down.
Meanwhile Stephanie passed a poison she signed out of the court pharmacy ledger to Larisch who was feeding Mary’s erotic mania. After all, a girl openly talking of suicide would not be able to get any legal pharmacy to sell her poison. Likewise Larisch or else Wimpffen acquired an unregistered civilian gun for Mary.
Diverse rumors started to be manufactured to create a paper trail to explain why something bad was going to go down in order that no one would link it to Rudolph’s job so no one would suspect that Mayerling would be anything other than a military hit.
Francis Joseph stalled until the week of Mayerling. The end of the month and the final date for the death of Rudolph, January 30th, was fast approaching. There was yet another blistering confrontation in the Inner Sanctum just like all of the other confrontations. What were the other confrontations about? Resigning in disgrace. Ultimatums of powerful men. Rudolph’s job. Gunnery. What was this confrontation about? What every other confrontation was about. Meanwhile Willy surprised everyone by suddenly announcing that he decided to celebrate his birthday in Vienna, a city he utterly despised.
Finally during the German Embassy Ball as Willy smirked Rudolph quietly grasped the gloved hand of his father Francis Joseph and kissed it. The next day Rudolph finally prepared to go to Mayerling despite a civic and academic and military calendar full of future dates including a meeting in Berlin Rudolph scheduled to piss off Bismarck.
Rudolph spent his last hours of night in Vienna with MC and atypically of a hardened agnostic drew the sign of the cross on her forehead before saying ‘It must be so’. Typically, Rudolph put several hours of military work in on the morning before departing for Mayerling. He calendared more appointments before kissing his beloved daughter Erzsi goodbye. Seeing a servant of his oddly upset he said ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ before vanishing from Vienna forever.
On January 30th five Prussians disguised as hunters loitered outside the gates of Mayering at around 7:00 AM as if waiting for a cue. Inside an upset Bratfisch snapped at a local hunter called Wodiczka that there would be no predawn hunt that day because Rudolph was already dead.
Coburg of the famous 24 hour missing alibi materialized to preside over the unveiling of Rudolph’s corpse at 8:30 AM with Mary’s bludgeoned au natural corpse garnishing the murder suicide scene just like so many other victims of Bismarck. Before February was over Rudolph’s honor and reputation would be totally destroyed forever. His entire military career would be obliterated. Francis Joseph would order all reminders of Rudolph to be removed forever. Taaffe’s infamous metal box would lock away every speck of evidence and Francis Joseph would even order every single ‘suicide’ letter except one, the ‘Stephanie Letter written two years previously when Rudolph was about to tour the Balkans despite threats to his life, to be locked away forever. Francis Joseph hunted jovially. Albrecht was forced to use Rudolph’s Drill Manual but otherwise stonewalled all modern reforms until his senile death.
Before 89 ended more guns were blowing up. Leading into 90 Bismarck faced the repercussions of a scandal over more guns blowing up. In fact even rabid Pan Germans were lambasting the dangerously defective gunnery, the equally defective full metal jacket bullets, and the unreliable nitro.
‘International Jewry has neglected nothing that can contribute to a German defeat in the next war, and has made an unspeakable attempt to put a rifle in the hands of German soldiers that must be almost less dangerous to the enemy than to the user….’Hermann Ahlwardt writing about the Commission Repeater Rifle and the Spandau bullet.
Bismarck was forced to cancel his war. Willy terminated him.
In the end it all came down to guns……