Mannlicher was one of Europe’s best gun makers and Steyr Manufacturing was one of the world’s best and largest gun manufacturers. Lucky Austro Hungary. Though not well known today he actually produced more patents than Mauser and Browning. The American Garand proved that the Mannlicher packet loading clip cartridge system was better than the Mauser stripper or the Lee Enfield charger. Watch any movie about a man dramatically shoving a box magazine clip into his machine gun to shoot people and you understand the revolutionary idea. Mannlicher even wanted to preload his packet cartridges but Albrecht thought it too wasteful. While other gun makers were tiptoeing timidly into the repeater rifle Mannlicher was galloping. Mannlicher was so good Browning would wait for the patents to expire to exploit the genius of Mannlicher. Even Browning thought Mannlicher was the best.
Going into the 1888 war games Austro Hungary had the best proven gun already in mass production —- despite stupid blunders over obsolete caliber of bullets ordered by Archduke Albrecht and Francis Joseph which Rudolph had to salvage at much cost overruns. If revealed that would have embarrassed both royals as incompetents. It was so embarrassing Archduke Leopold took the fall and Rudolph inherited his job as inspector general. The Steyr custom 1610 fps black powder full metal jacket bullet belated converted from 11mm to the Rubin 8 mm bullet was likewise proven and in mass production. Only the unseen and untested French nitro bullet was better —- but no one had it but the French. This meant that by the war games the Austro Hungarian Army was armed with the best and were training with the best.
So during the war games Rudolph and Mannlicher were shocked to see the Spandau Commission repeater rifle. The Spandau Miracle. The greatest and most revolutionary repeater in the world. It was a knock off of Mannlicher with a Mauser straight bolt and French Lebel rifling. And it shot a knock off of the French nitro powder full metal jacket designed and patented by the Swiss Rubin. In sort Bismarck signed off on Spandau looting the patents of everyone! At one point Spandau even has a Lee patent widget on the gun! Only the prickly Browning was spared the indignity of being looted! Worse– the Frankenstein Gun was blowing up!
Mannlicher and Steyr protested. Such looting threatened Steyr which was the crown jewel of Bohemia Austro Hungary. Such looting would destroy Steyr and ruin Mannlicher. Willy’s grandstanding meant he was not even aware of the mess— yet. Francis Joseph and Albrecht were barely aware if it. But Francis Joseph was pathologically afraid of Bismarck.
He told Rudolph to ignore it after Rudolph painstakingly explained it to him. All the while Willy strutted and bragged and bellowed and insulted everyone .
Rudolph backed Mannlicher and Steyr and demanded that Spandau pay patent infringement or else cut Steyr a sweetheart deal to manufacture the Frankenstein gun. Mauser was strangely quiet. He knew why the Frankenstein gun was blowing up. His pilfered ninety degree bolt applied the most pressure to the pilfered Mannlicher mechanism .
The Mannlicher straight bolt applied the least pressure for the fastest shooting. The bolt was fatally incompatible. So was the French rifle pattern. The Frankenstein parts were all fatally incompatible with each other. And the Frankenstein gun was likewise incompatible to the Frankenstein nitro powder full metal jacket bullet. Mauser was just sitting back and enjoying the sight of guns blowing up. In two years he would finally produce his masterpiece. Then Spandau would have to crawl to him and beg. But Steyr did not have that luxury.
Rudolph’s support of Mannlicher and Steyr placed him at direct odds with Francis Joseph, Albrecht, Willy, and Bismarck.
And Willy then ordered Francis Joseph to use the Frankenstein gun as the superior gun! Likewise the knock off bullet which was also contributing to the blowing up of the guns! And use only Spandau products! And pay through the nose! Like the incompetent lackey client state inferiors they were! And abandon the Steyr Research into their own nitro powder bullet which was on schedule to produce a nitro powder bullet to rival anyone! Willy did not just have a withered hand! He had a withered brain!
And Bismarck and Spandau were lying to him. That was embarrassingly obvious to everyone except Willy. And while Willy might have a phallus fetish about gunnery he clearly was proving that he was grossly lacking in both manhood ability ( as was rumored by Mrs. Wolfe’s courtesans) and in gunnery ability.
1889 or else 1890 was suppose to see a major European War. Everyone expert said so.
France was already drawing up reserves and drafting in preparation. England wished it could. But a draft was illegal until war was declared. Germany boasted of the largest standing army in the industrial world plus the largest reserves in the world. It’s economy was on perpetual war time footing. The Reich all but invented Military Keynesian Economics!
But suddenly Germany was fatally unprepared for a war it was manufacturing.
Bismarck needed that war to get fresh war reparations to pay down the deficit which its war economy was recklessly racking up. It was seriously in the red and the rash embrace of a gold standard was not helping. ‘Deficits don’t manner!’ Well! Actually sooner or later they do manner. Bismarck was hiding the extent of the deficit. And Willy now wanted an one billion mark dreadnought navy! Which needed a one million mark retrofit of the Kiel Canal! The German GNP being plowed into war was over 60% and fast raising toward 70% plus . Unsustainable!
In fact, as everyone waited for the war to happen, only Austro Hungary actually had a gun and bullet which worked. It was tested. It was proven. It was being manufactured. It was in the field. It was in the hands of every soldier. Every single Austrian Hungarian soldier had the best gun and all but the best bullet in the world.
Only Austro Hungary was prepared for war. Drum roll please! Rudolph should have gotten a metal. Instead, Rudolph was ordered to resign in disgrace. Why?
Because Bismarck and Willy and Albrecht were demanding it! Why? Did it manner? During the heights of the 88 War Games Francis Joseph caved in and ordered Rudolph to take the fall and resign his post in disgrace.
Count Lamsdorff would report that ‘A result of this letter [drafted by Bismarck and signed by Kaiser Wilhelm II to Francis Joseph demanding Rudolph’s removal as Inspector General Of Infantry ] was a violent scene between Francis Joseph and his son who refused to retire voluntarily’. Wales later wrote that this directly resulted in events that climaxed at Mayerling.
Even after the War Games of 88 ended Berlin sent ultimatum after ultimatum to Francis Joseph demanding the removal of Rudolph. Albrecht and his ADC Beck Rzikowsky likewise ratcheted up their attacks on Rudolph while also lying about the none-existence of a modern drill manual which Rudolph had prepared —- which was collecting dust on Albrecht’s desk.
Rudolph’s professionalism and competence was questioned. His entire military career was put at risk. Then Albrecht demanded to preside over the committee to develop a modern drill manual because of Rudolph’s supposed gross incompetence. Albecht brazenly insisted he was forced to cover up for the ‘deficiencies’ of the present Inspector General of Infantry Archduke Rudolph.The gun crisis now reached critical mass.
The Inner Sanctum echoed with harsh words as the man who once famously bellowed ‘I command to be obeyed!’ now commanded that his son Rudolph resign his post as Inspector General of Infantry in disgrace for gross incompetence.
Rudolph point blank refused. He refused to take the fall for the 11 mm Debacle which he was not responsible for. He demanded that his modern drill manual be used. He pressed for other modernization reforms advocated by the ‘Blues’ ie modern Third Estate Reformers. He refused to be the scapegoat. He refused to quit. He demanded a venue to defend himself from Albrecht’s accusations —- a venue that could only be a public court martial. Rudolph forced his way into general staff meetings which Albrecht deliberately declined to announce beforehand to Rudolph. Rudolph refused to be cowered by Albrecht’s swaggering ADC Beck Rzikowsky who was all but boasting he was soon to be appointed Inspector General instead of Rudolph. Rudolph even booked a future meeting in Berlin to piss off Bismarck and Willy who were bombarding Francis Joseph with ultimatums to terminate Rudolph.
Francis Joseph ordered Rudolph to resign. Albrecht demanded that Rudolph resign. Bismarck and Willy threatened Francis Joseph if Rudolph did not resign. Rudolph refused to resign. The 88 War Games might have ended but the crisis continued.
Berlin and Pan German newspapers now crucified Rudolph in vicious newspaper wars of shockingly rabid intensity such as no Habsburg ever before endured. The Hofburg declined to use its censorship powers or diplomatic powers as Rudolph was vilified as a traitor. Between the end of the war games and January of 89 Rudolph would be hammered on the anvil between the blows of Albrecht, Beck Rzikowsky, Bismarck, Willy, and Francis Joseph. All the while Stephanie took advantage of the crisis to attack Rudolph behind his back with accusations of both depravity and debauchery and drunkenness and drug addiction and insanity based on symptoms Rudolph suffered from a serious concussion.
Berlin delivered ultimatum after ultimatum.
So did Albrecht.
Officers noted how Rudolph was publically humiliated at military events and meetings. Albrecht ordered Rudolph to stay away from crucial staff meetings. Officers noted how the Hofburg allowed Rudolph to be undercut and humiliated with apparent impunity. It was as if ‘open season’ was declared on the Crown Prince who as Inspector General of Infantry had just presided over a spectacular rollout of modern gunnery. The Austro Hungarian Army had the best repeater and all but the best ammo of any industrial army and Rudolph was being crucified.
Rudolph snarled haggard and nervy but tenaciously dug in despite symptoms of a concussion. He defied medical advice and continued his 10 hour work days and full calendar of events both military and civil and academic. People started to document Rudolph’s Decline & Fall with amazing viciousness. Stephanie was especially vicious while signing out a mysterious drug on the Nov/Dec Court Pharmacy Ledger which she crudely backdated post Mayerling. She whispered to her lover Lonyay that in January 30th or else 31th that drug would feature in a tragic event at Mayerling. Then she suggested that Lonyay take an all expenses paid vacation in Egypt in January so he would not be implicated when something fatal happened to Rudolph. (Please read the Paramatta Mystery).
Despite universal assumptions by one and all that a gutless and cowardly Rudolph would shatter like glass, Rudolph dug in throughout the autumn and winter of 88 and into January of 89. Post Mayerling revisionists would say how doomed Rudolph looked—- in the face of accusations of gross incompetence and treason. How depressed he was—- as no one in his family defended him. How he cried like a girl during the farce of a Christmas at the Hofburg —-as Sisi shoved him away when he tried to kiss her while cursing him — all while Francis Joseph blandly smoked a cheap cigar. How Valerie complained that Rudolph was spitefully harming the non career of her chocolate soldier fiancée —as Rudolph’ own ten year military career came crashing down despite presiding over an amazingly successful roll out of state of the art modern gunnery. How bitter and snappish he was —- as he shoved his way into the first staff meeting of the year which Albrecht deliberately did not tell him about which shocked absolutely everyone because everyone naturally assumed that Rudolph would not dare to attend after a top secret star chamber court martial over new years . How wearily and dispirited he worked —-during ten hour days while sometimes holding up to 200 events or meetings or pomp and circumstance events a week. How gutless and dispirited he was —- as he booked another meeting in Berlin to piss off Bismarck and Willy who were delivering ultimatums to get Rudolph terminated. How gutlessly he wilted under the savage newspaper wars which accused him of every sort of crime and even treason —- as he founded a new newspaper and continued work on his 20 volume ‘Words & Pictures’ project. How dreadful his symptoms of madness and despair was —while listing classic symptoms of concussion which Rudolph stubbornly worked despite of. How he lost weight and looked hollow eyed — as he defied the ultimatums of four powerful men. A gutless coward giving up on life and crumbling into a self dug grave— as he booked a future meeting in Berlin and booked future meetings for civic and academic as well as military inspections while demanding that Albrecht pony up an alternative drill manual if he refused to adopt Rudolph’s finished drill manual.
One: the symptoms listed by Stephanie and Willy and other critics of Rudolph are always rumors of continuing drug abuse despite the fact the 87 court pharmacy ledger documents a withdrawal program by Dr. Widerhofer who caused Rudolph’s addiction by his reckless overmedicating of Rudolph’s insomnia and migraines and asthmatic panic attacks. And the same ledger only documents a fresh scrip of morphine ‘after a long absence’ after the Oct fall from a horse which caused the concussion. And the symptoms listed are always the symptoms of a serious concussion.
Rudolph did suffer from Anxiety Depression and PTSD from child abuse (please read Rudolph The Man And His Demons). He was an ‘addictive personality’. He struggled with court issued morphine and a culture of heavy drinking. And his father and mother considered Rudolph’s Anxiety Depression and PTSD to be ‘cowardice’ and evidence of the ‘Wittelsbach Bane’. But simply declaring Rudolph a cowardly and defective weakling because he suffered from Anxiety Depression and PTSD is unfair unless all of the factual evidence is considered rather than myths and accusations sans evidence.
Two: why would a supposed gutless coward work ten hour days six days a week despite a serious concussion? That question really needs to be asked. Why isn’t anyone asking that crucial question? Why did Rudolph ask his ADCs to conceal the fact he sustained a concussion after falling from his horse which he specifically asked no one to tell Francis Joseph about? And why did Stephanie maliciously use the symptoms of concussion to broadcast Rudolph’s alleged Decline & Fall while telling her lover Lonyay that on January 30 or 31 Rudolph would die of poison at Mayerling? A supposed suicide —- six weeks before it happened? A supposed morbid suicide by cowardly poison ‘proved’ by his alleged Decline & Fall which Stephanie was manufacturing with symptoms of a concussion? A supposed morbid suicide by poison (aquired by Stephanie) ‘proved’ by Stephanie by broadcasting Rudolph’s symptoms of a concussion despite the fact Rudolph stubbornly persisted in working despite of the symptoms which were symptoms of a concussion? And Willy repeated Stephanie broadcasting of Rudolph’s Decline & Fall to everyone who did not get the broadcast of Rudolph’s Decline & Fall from Stephanie?
And all of this occurred during the climax of the Gun Crisis as Bismarck, Willy, and Albrecht issued relentless ultimatums to Francis Joseph to force Rudolph to resign as Inspector General of Infantry. A job which primarily oversaw the highly successful development of modern gunnery for Austro Hungary as the Spandau Miracle turned into the Spandau Mirage as rumors of guns blowing up percolated out of Spandau. Is it just me or does this all sound more than slightly suspicious?
What are the symptoms of concussion which are listed by Post Mayerling critics as evidence of Rudolph’s suicidal decline and fall? The concussion symptoms Rudolph is documented to have suffered from after that serious fall from his horse in late October (Rudolph was a competent but mediocre and unenthusiastic rider) featured nausea which escalated his worsening gastritis and early ulcers, prolonged concussive headaches, irritability and snappishness from the sheer pain caused by certain smells and light which concussed victims suffer from, dizziness, blurred vision so bad Rudolph could not read or write and had to dictate reports and have everything read to him by his ADCs (confirmed by the fact his finished reports continued to be precise, hard hitting, and feature his distinctive composition style), further deterioration of his handwriting style indicating wrist damage, fatigue, exhaustion, acute insomnia, and escalation of preexisting conditions because of clinical stressors which in Rudolph’s case were Anxiety Depression and PTSD (originating in child abuse). These symptoms used by Stephanie and now Post Mayerling critics to prove Rudolph’s alleged suicidal decline and fall are all clinical symptoms of concussion which because of stressors such as a stressful job, stressful environment, and no family support would cause concussion symptoms to persist and escalate into clinical Post Concussion Syndrome.
This is not rocket science. Nor is it movie romance or Mayerling mythology. It is simply the factual medical study of the symptoms. It is a pity that the last photographs of Rudolph are low quality because a modern photograph would have captured the classic tell tale sign of concussion: pupils of two different sizes.
Concussion is called ‘Walking Wounded’ for a reason. It is an apparently invisible injury that can cause severe symptoms and even endanger a sufferer’s life. Rudolph was actually endangering his health by working through a concussion. Every medical review of concussion says the worst thing a sufferer can do is continued to work through a concussion.Would a gutless coward endanger his health to work through a concussion? And why would Rudolph risk his health to work through a concussion? And why did Stephanie, Francis Joseph, Willy, even Valerie and minions of Albrecht and Beck Rzikowsky jeer Rudolph’s Decline & Fall based on symptoms of a concussion while Rudolph continued to work a highly stressful job despite being walking wounded? And why didn’t even Dr. Widerhofer properly treat Rudolph or warn his parents that Rudolph was suffering from a concussion which became Post Concussion Syndrome (which in WW 1 was called Shell Shock and in WW 2 was called Battle Fatigue)? Any concussion which does not go away after ten days but rather persists and gets worse is Post Concussion Syndrome. Rudolph’s symptoms persisted and get worse. Post Concussion Syndrome is a serious medical condition. And everyone ignored or else jeered Rudolph’s Post Concussion Syndrome. Why? And all Francis Joseph said rarely dryly was that Rudolph persisted in working too hard. That was a jab at the fact Rudolph absolutely refused to resign his job despite endless ultimatums by everyone including Francis Joseph even when he sustained a concussion which might have allowed him to resign for health reasons rather than gross incompetence.
By late December and early January the concussion symptoms slowly receded but not the relentless demands by Francis Joseph, Albrecht, Bismarck, and Willy for Rudolph to resign from his job. Why didn’t Rudolph simply quit and crawl away? What was so important that Rudolph would defy four powerful men and work despite a serious concussion? And why did everyone just ratchet up the attacks relentlessly even during the concussion? Without mercy or compassion? Without pity? With contempt? With scorn?
Even as Stephanie signed out a certain drug which she told her lover Lonyay would soon feature in Rudolph’s cowardly suicide by poison at Mayerling on January 30th or else 31th. And PS: over new years Albrecht held some sort of paralegal star chamber court martial and then circled a date for Rudolph’s execution by Roll Commandos: January 30th at 6:30 AM if Rudolph did not do the right thing and shoot himself first. The Gravedigger of the Habsburgs and Prime Minister Taaffe then measured Rudolph for his grave while the top secret death warrant moved up the chain of command per the Red Book of Regulations to the man required by military law to sign off on it: Francis Joseph. (Please read Taaffe’s Metal Box).
Rudolph refused to budge. He refused to resign. Francis Joseph would have to court martial him. Per military protocols the only way to remove the unmovable Rudolph was by court martial. But Rudolph said if he was court martialed he would not stand mute as General Benedek did. Oh no! No! No! No! He would not play the mute swan. He would defend himself against charges of gross incompetence, insubordination, and treason. But what could Rudolph say in his defense which would scare four powerful men? Actually ……rather a lot! When Rudolph told a friend that ‘I am going to be assassinated. I know too much….’ he meant it!
Rudolph could spill the beans about everyone and tell the world that Germany was all but totally unarmed and unready for war! With a Krupp heavy artillery piece which had just failed in testing! And a repeater rifle prototype and nitro full metal jacket bullet which together resulted in guns which were blowing up! After pilfering patents and copyrights from Mauser, Loewe, Mannlicher, Steyr, Lebel, Rubin, and Vielle by industrial espionage! And their military industrial complex economy was dangerously in the red! And Albrecht was going senile while causing grossly expensive cost overruns over ordering the wrong and obsolete 11 mm caliber of bullet while defying all attempts to modernize the antiquated army while spending all of his time hunting down mythic Magyar treason conspiracy plots! And Francis Joseph was so scared of The Gravedigger he refused to remove him despite the fact Albrecht’s growing senility and paranoia was endangering the army. And Wily was a bully and technological idiot who insulted Francis Joseph and the entire Austrian Hungarian Army to its collective face! And Francis Joseph allowed Willy to insult him and his army which makes Francis Joseph a coward! And Francis Joseph was pathologically terrified of Bismarck. And Willy was being lied to by Bismarck who was lying about the Spandau Miracle which was really the Spandau Mirage!
And Rudolph warned of the upcoming war. During his recent visits to Berlin Rudolph witnessed mess clubs full of strutting Junkers boasting of the upcoming war and even demonstrations by cheering Germans eager to wage another triumphant war against France. The trouble was everyone assumed another glorious victory but the guns were not yet ready. In fact Spandau was disastrously unprepared for the upcoming war. And if the upcoming war was allowed to happen then the Prussian Austrian Treaty would drag Austro Hungary down to defeat with the Imperial Second Reich.
But Francis Joseph was so scared of Albrecht and Bismarck he was willing to endure Willy insulting him to his face while gutting his own army’s best weapon and gun designer while allowing Steyr to be ruined. If Francis Joseph was so intimidated by Albrecht, Bismarck, and even Willy that he asked his own son to resign in disgrace despite overseeing a spectacularly successful modern gunnery rollout then Francis Joseph was willing to sacrifice his son. Sacrificing his son’s honor and reputation. It is just one more tiny step to sacrificing his son’s life. And a man who bellowed ‘I command to be obeyed!’ would see Rudolph’s defiance of point blank orders to resign as subordination. Mutiny. Even treason.
The Gun Crisis now reached the point of no return. It was now beyond control or salvage. Someone had to die. That someone would have to be Rudolph. By threatening to spill the beans about the Gun Crisis after defying a point blank order from Francis Joseph to resign in disgrace for gross incompetence Rudolph had crossed the Rubicon.
Why is Rudolph digging in and absolutely refusing point blank orders to resign (requiring a court martial) in the face of ultimatums of Albrecht, Willy, and Bismarck and point blank orders from Francis Joseph? Why is Rudolph risking not just his career but his life?
In part this crisis came about because the issue was the development of modern gunnery which would be welded in the next war. That war was projected to occur in 1889 or 1890. But the weapons being unveiled in 1888 thorough 1895 would with only minor modifications be the weapons which would be welded in the first world war. WW 1. Rudolph could not compromise on the gunnery of the future. The cost of defeat was too high.
Paul Scarlata, a gun expert, has written two key books on the Gun Crisis. He declines to place the crisis in the social context because his expertise is solely in gunnery engineering. But the man overseeing the Spandau Debacle was Bismarck. And the man overseeing the Steyr Triumph was first Inspector General Archduke Leopold and then his replacement Inspector General Archduke and Crown Prince Rudolph.
Leopold was ordered to take the blame for Albrecht’s incompetence and Francis Joseph’s penny wise and pound foolish miserly handling of the obsolete caliber of bullet for the revolutionary Mannlicher repeater. (Please read the other chapters of the Gun Crisis for more details.) Archduke Leopold was forced to resign in disgrace. The modus operandi was thus established for scapegoating to cover up the incompetence of Albrecht and Francis Joseph.
The next man to become Inspector General was Archduke and Crown Prince Rudolph. He was overseeing the unveiling of the modern gunnery for the war games. This modern gunnery would be the weaponry which the Austro Hungarian Infantry would use (with only minor revisions primarily in 95) in WW I. That is why Rudolph stubbornly dug in and defied ultimatums of four powerful men.
The last seven months of Rudolph’s life saw endless accusations and disputes and criticism and demands to resign over one issue and one issue alone: his job as Inspector General which primarily oversaw the development of gunnery & bullets which also meant he was extraordinarily aware of the gunnery and bullets of every other country including and especially including —- Spandau.
In fact Rudolph was dangerously in the loop of what was happening in Spandau. In fact Rudolph could probably have given a high tech lecture why Spandau’s guns were blowing up because of its industrial espionage theft of patents and copyrights which when cobbled together could only be disastrously incompatible. A Frankenstein gun shooting a Frankenstein bullet. Rudolph was dangerously ‘in the know’ about the dirty little secrets behind Bismarck’s ‘Veil of Secrecy’ concealing the Spandau Miracle which was rapidly becoming the Spandau Mirage.
And every Junker in Spandau and in Berlin also considered Rudolph a traitor to the Pan German Race and an implacable enemy of the Imperial Second Reich. And it was no secret that Rudolph loathed Junkers in general and Bismarck and Willy in particular. And Rudolph never concealed his icy rage over the Battle of Koniggratz which turned Francis Joseph into the lackey ally of the Reich. When Rudolph sneered of Austro Hungary becoming more and more a mere ‘Prussian Protectorate’ he meant it. And his rage was icy and notorious.
Rudolph’s friends included the anti-Reich Szeps, Clemenceau, and Wales who was still pushing the Entente to cage the Hohenzollern Eagle. So the gun crisis now resulted in Rudolph, a theoretical enemy of the Reich, knowing the Achilles Heel of the Reich: the Spandau Miracle which was turning into the Spandau Mirage.
‘…..the inferiority of our armaments would be sufficient to encourage France or Russia to fall upon us!’ Bismarck shriek in 86 after hearing about the French Meille Miracle. But even as the projected 89/90 war dangerously approaching the terrible secret of Bismarck was this: his panic had panicked Spandau into stampeding into industrial espionage which had produced a repeater rifle and full metal jacket nitro bullet so defective the gunnery was blowing up in test after test. The inferiority of the Reich’s much vaulted and boasted modern gunnery and bullets was still sufficient to encourage France or Russia to fall upon the Reich. All that was needed was for Rudolph to whisper into the ear of Clemenceau or Wales. And Rudolph was publically saying that Austro Hungary should stay neutral in the upcoming war…… very neutral ….. for its own survival……. and not help the Reich ……
Every accusation of Herbert Bismarck ( the son of Bismarck) made during and after the War Games was over Rudolph’s handling of guns & bullets and his treasonous inclinations . Too bad his pater Bismarck Senior’s ‘Veil of Secrecy’ was even sealing off Bismarck Junior from the terrible knowledge of what was really happening back at Spandau. Then maybe Bismarck Junior might not have been quite so contemptuous of Rudolph’s unveiling of his own ultra modern gunnery rollout.
Willy as the newly minted Kaiser and Warlord of Prussian Germany was likewise ridiculing and accusing Rudolph handling of gunnery & bullets. Howbeit, Willy’s main criticism was over Rudolph’s refusal to order his proud ‘Blues’ to goose step and not produce a modern drill manual (buried on Albrecht’s desk). And Willy’s criticism of gunnery mistakes Rudolph supposedly made featured ridiculous statements like the Mauser 71 Repeater being brilliant when it was actually an acute embarrassment to the proud Mauser or else Rudolph’s blunder to pick 8 mm when Spandau picked 7.92. Rubin who invented the full metal jacket rifle bullet picked 8 mm. No gunnery expert in 1888 understood why Spandau suddenly changed to 7.92. Likewise the 11 mm Debacle was ordered by Albrecht and Francis Joseph to use up stockpiles of obsolete 11 mm ammo which in hindsight proved disastrous. But Leopold fell on his sword for that imperial blunder which occurred before Rudolph was assigned to replace him. And Willy’s bellowing bragging about Spandau’s brilliant modern Commission Repeater Rifle and nitro full metal jacket bullet proved Willy was grossly ignorant of how rapidly the Spandau Miracle was turning into the Spandau Mirage. And Willy’s ridicule of the brilliant gun engineer Mannlicher and Steyr Manufacturing as the industrial world’s largest producer of the best gunnery and ammo was likewise embarrassing —- especially as rumors leaked out of Spandau gunnery mysteriously blowing up in top secret tests.
Every gunnery expert was now laughing at Willy’s embarrassing rants and bellowing bragging. Willy was only exposing his own ignorance and incompetence each time he opened his mouth. The trouble was that Francis Joseph and Albrecht were just as ignorant and incompetent about modern gunnery as Willy. And Herbert Bismarck was not much better. Gun experts might side with Rudolph but bigoted Junkers and imperial braggarts and royal fossils don’t commune with gun experts.
Albrecht then used the same modus operandi he used to destroy Inspector of Infantry Archduke Leopold on Rudolph. Albrecht ordered Rudolph to be fired over gunnery & bullets (despite the fact his senile incompetence contributed to the crisis over gunnery & bullets) as well as Rudolph’s supposed failure to produce a modern drill manual (which was buried on Albrecht’s dusty desk).
[The Rudolph Drill Manual would be used post Mayerling on the command of Francis Joseph over Albrecht’s objections and denials after Albrecht failed to produce a drill manual himself . It was the only time Francis Joseph would ever dare override the Gravedigger of the Habsburgs.]
Francis Joseph ordered Rudolph to quit as a scapegoat just like Archduke Leopold. It was the same modus operandi. In fact Francis Joseph and Albrecht used this scapegoating before. After the disaster of the Austro Prussian War which saw Germans at the Gates of Vienna both men ordered General Benedek, the most beloved officer in the country, to fall on his sword and take the blame at a public court martial where he was ordered to stand mute. So this modus operandi for taking scapegoats for imperial sins and royal cowardice was firmly established.
Rudolph was ordered to resign in disgrace and take the blame for the gun crisis over gunnery and bullets. Quit as a scapegoat for sins ordered by Albrecht, Francis Joseph, and also sins committed by Bismarck. The Sins being decisions over gunnery and bullets. The problem was that unlike Leopold and Benedek, Rudolph refused to fall on his sword and take the blame and be the scapegoat. He point blank refused to quit. In a military command structure that meant the only way to remove him would be court martial. Rudolph had just unveiled the gunnery of the future and he needed to protect the gunnery of the future as well as the gun engineer (Mannlicher) and gun manufacturer (Steyr) which would keep the gunnery unveiled at the 88 War Games up to date and the best so Austro Hungary would not suffer another Konoggratz and face horrific defeat because of obsolete gunnery.
The mythical final confrontation between Francis Joseph and Rudolph occurred right smack in the middle of this Gun Crisis. Not Mary. Why? Let me repeat what Count Lamsdorff and Wales both said were the real cause of events that led to Mayerling: ‘A result of this letter [drafted by Bismarck and issued by Willy to Francis Joseph demanding that Rudolph be terminated from his job as Inspector General of Infantry] was a violent scene between Francis Joseph and his son, who refused to retire voluntarily.’
So Mary is a myth. Mary is a lie. Mary is a red herring designed to distract history away from events which directly resulted in the last act of the Gun Crisis being performed at Mayerling when a military hit ordered by Albrecht resulted in two Roll Commandos assassinating Crown Prince Rudolph. (Please read Taaffe’s Metal Box and the Crime Of The Fin De Siecle.)
I know you are wailing ‘But! But! But!’
Do you want me to quote Lamsdorff again? ‘A result of this letter was a violent scene between Francis Joseph and his son, who refused to retire [from his job as Inspector General of Infantry] voluntarily.’
Oh the pain I have just caused you my dear readers! Forgive me! But…..
But you must face the facts! Denial is futile!
Mary is a lie. Mary was always a lie!
Because Francis Joseph never complained about Mary at least until the end as her insanity was manifested despite the fact his secret police watched every move Rudolph made. In a Catholic country a man was expected to have lovers. ‘Sweet Girls. Courtesans. Nights at Mrs. Wolfe. Liaisons as Steven Sondhelm so famously composed for ‘A Little Night Music’ or Lerner and Loewe composed for ‘Gigi’.
Even wives could have lovers after birthing the heir and spare. Francis Joseph had countless lovers. He was even cavalier about Valerie the bed pan miracle supposedly sired by Andrassy. The ‘Only One’ kept Sisi somewhat sane. And dynastically speaking females were a non issue. Both Francis Joseph and Sisi had gonorrhea and were now sterile. No ‘spare’ would join the ‘heir’. So each turned to lovers though Sisi’s lovers were probably figments of her imagination.
Divorce was a non issue. Marriage was for procreation. Love was always expected to be found outside Catholic marriage. There was no option for divorce or annulment other than issues of procreation. If Mary thought divorce and marriage was an option then she was even more insane than she was. She was sterile. Rudolph was sterile. Stephanie was sterile. Procreation or the lack thereof was not an option to justify annulment now. Divorce was not done. Divorce could not be done. Divorce was not needed. Divorce would wreak the monarchy. Divorce achieved absolutely nothing. Divorce was a non issue. So was infidelity.
Infidelity was such a non issue there was no reason why Francis Joseph and Rudolph would be raising voices behind closed doors about it. And Rudolph loved MC. But Rudolph played by the rules. MC was a lover. MC was his ‘Camilla’ but like Charles, Rudolph understood the rules. There is no hard fact to prove he even once fornicated with the delusional Mary while Rudolph was telling everyone up to the morning he left Vienna forever that all he needed as MC. MC was the love of his life and Rudolph told everyone that he loved MC. Not Mary. But like Charles he played by the rules which only middle class Protestants and parvenus find troublesome. The trouble for both Charles and Rudolph came from the parvenu wives be they Diana or Stephanie who could not play by the rules and took lovers and then pouted when they could not marry them.
It was Stephanie who desperately wanted to marry her boy toy Lonyay before he dumped her for someone prettier and younger and richer. Stephanie was running out of time. Rudolph and MC were a stable couple. No problem. Mary was going insane. That was a problem. She might even have written to the Pope. That was a problem —- of insanity. But the supposed quarrel behind closed doors occurred right smack in the middle of the Gun Crisis and insiders like Lamsdorff and Wales said that was what caused the crisis.
Francis Joseph worshiped his Red Book of Regulations and his Imperial Army. The most important military crisis going on for Francis Joseph was the gunnery & bullet crisis. The most important international crisis was Bismarck and Willy demanding the firing of Rudolph because of the gunnery & bullet crisis. The most important crisis of 1889 or else 1890 would be the projected European War.
That meant the gunnery & bullet crisis. It all kept coming back to guns. Guns and bullets and the revolution in modern technology which was radically transforming gunnery and bullets —- and which army would get it right first and win the upcoming war.
Every letter from Willy and Bismarck to Francis Joseph after the war games was over gunnery and bullets and Rudolph’s need to be terminated as Inspector General of Infantry which primarily oversaw gunnery and bullets. Ditto every memorandum from Albrecht as the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Army. Sure there was a brouhaha over Rudolph’s refusal to order his ‘Blues’ to goosestep. Sure. There were accusations over Rudolph’s drill manual which Albrecht kept buried on his desk. But the ultimatums flying between four powerful men were over guns and gunnery and Rudolph’s point blank refusal to resign in disgrace for gross incompetence and insubordination to direct orders to resign in the face of Berlin’s fierce opposition to Inspector General of Infantry Rudolph.
But Berlin’s fierce opposition to Inspector General of Infantry Rudolph only started during the War Games and intensified dramatically as the Spandau Miracle started to turn into the Spandau Mirage.The more the clock ran out on the year 1888 as the Gun Crisis spiraled out of control, the more virulent the acrimony became.
Why? The Austro Hungarian roll out of state of the art modern gunnery shocked and amazed the world. No. the issue between the lines of the accusations and acrimony was that the Spandau roll out of the Reich’s state of the art gunnery was derailing into dangerous disaster as the war everyone assumed was coming approached closer and closer….
The decisions made in 1888 would directly impact the projected war slated for 1889 or else 1890. For a summer war (factoring winter mud and snow) a gun prototype had to be tested in the field (hence war games) and then sent to the three factories able to manufacture it: Spandau, Loewe who manufactured for Mauser, and Streyr which was the largest gun manufacturer in Europe and pretty much the world at that time. Then the factories had to tool to produce the gun. Then the gun could be mass produced. Then the soldiers in the field had to be trained to weld the gun. So you are in fact talking about between six months and a year before war could be waged.
So Bismarck had to get the gun tested and the specifics handed out to the manufacturers by no later than December or else January at the latest. But January of 89 was pushing it. Hence the spectacle of secret tests at Spandau (which alone could not mass produce enough guns) in October and early November under a ‘Veil of Secrecy’. Hence the amazing rushing of those tests of the prototype repeater rifle and nitro powder full metal jacket bullet. The tests had to be done before the autumn war games in Hungary to be held before Francis Joseph and Kaiser Willy. Because those war games would prove who had the best guns and ammo, and who was ready, and who was not ready, and what could go into mass production and what should go into mass production. All of the manufacturers had to get the specs after the war games. And once those manufacturing specs were released then the Veil of Secrecy would start to tatter. Loewe and Mauser would find out the details. So would Mannlicher and Steyr. Everyone gunnery expert would start to sniff out the details. Every industrial nation’s army would start to sniff out the details. Rudolph sure as hell would start to sniff out the details.
And if the details proved embarrassing and if rumors of guns blowing up continued then everyone ‘in the know’ would know that the Spandau Miracle was actually the Spandau Mirage and the rumors of ‘pre-production hiccups’ and ‘pre-production teething pains’ were actually symptoms of ghastly engineering mistakes caused by industrial espionage because Spandau just stole patents and copyrights from everyone and cobbled them together into a Frankenstein gun and Frankenstein full metal jacket nitro bullet. And when the Frankenstein bullet was inserted into the Frankenstein gun the result was lethal: guns blowing up.
And those rushed Spandau tests were a disaster. The Commission Rifle was blowing up and blowing off hands and blowing out eyes and wounding and maiming and killing soldiers. It got so bad the soldiers testing the prototype called it the ‘Jew’s Musket’. That is to say a jinxed gun. Because Loewe was producing some of the prototype bullets everyone also started to blame Loewe. Loewe manufactured for Mauser but Loewe was Jewish.
The resulting anti-Semitic attacks against Loewe would become so bad his life was put in danger. Yet by blaming Loewe Bismarck was shooting himself in the foot. Beside the fact Loewe was not remotely responsible, Loewe manufactured for Mauser who respected him. and Loewe’s company was needed to manufacture the gun and bullet because Spandau was not large enough to manufacture for an one million man standing army and a three million man standing reserves. But the unfolding disaster was so horrific Bismarck not only scapegoated Loewe but looked broader afield to pin the blame on. But Loewe could not be the sole scapegoat. The disaster was so big one scapegoat was not enough.
Because the Frankenstein gun was pilfered from Mauser, Lebel, the French nitro bullet prototype, Rubin, and of course Mannlicher Bismarck then tried to pin the blame on Mannlicher and Steyr and the Austro Hungarian Inspector General (first Leopold and then Rudolph). How dare they dastardly allowing doctored blueprints to be pilfered which were deliberately defective so the resulting Frankenstein gun would blow up! Reverse industrial espionage! After all! The Mannlicher gun was not blowing up! And no Prussian engineered gun could blow up! The Prussians were the best! Who else could compare? No! it had to be sabotage!
Likewise suspicions and accusations soon targeted the spy who sold the top secret French gun and samples of the revolutionary nitro powder bullet to agents for Spandau. What if that spy was not a traitor? What if that spy was in fact working for France? What better way to sabotage the enemy than by tricking them into pilfering a defective product? A ‘Fatal Gift’? Spandau was now reaping the poisoned fruits of the tree of industrial espionage in spades!
So did the French do a tricky counter espionage gambit on Spandau? Those filthy Frogs! Did Rudolph and Steyr likewise do a tricky counter espionage gambit on Spandau? Those effete and debauched has-beens! After all! The Prussian Austrian Treaty did not give Bismarck the right to treat Francis Joseph as his lackey –though he did. Or to pilfer Steyr — though he did. Or for that matter to threaten to confiscate German speaking Austria and industrial Bohemia (which was Czech by the way!) –though he did. But of course Bismarck and Willy both threatened all of this and more!
If Spandau thought they could violate international patents and copyrights and pilfer industrial secrets and loot rival manufacturers then clearly they thought they were entitled as the Best of the Best to do so! The end justified any means! But a more crucial question to ask was why Bismarck ordered Spandau to resort to industrial espionage which left them wide open to reverse industrial espionage to begin with?
Why not let Spandau develop a gun and nitro bullet legitimately? Why cheat? Why steal? Why pilfer? Why loot? The only answer was that Bismarck was so rushed and panicked he could not wait for Spandau to produce something. Mauser was going through a bad patch. The Pin Rifle was how hopelessly absolute. the Mauser 71 was and obsolete embarrassment. Bismarck needed a gun and bullet! Now! He could not wait! So he rushed Spandau to cut corners. So Spandau cut corners. The Result was the Frankenstein Repeater and Frankenstein Nitro Powder Full Metal Jacket Bullet. Both more than earning their names! Frankenstein! Why was Bismarck so panicked? So rushed? Resulting in such an unforgiveable disaster that left Prussian Germany all but undefended and open to attack! (PS the latest Krupp heavy artillery piece had also recently failed ). Wide open to attack!
The answer of course was that Bismarck was manufacturing a war. That was why he was rushed. Unfortunately he manufactured his war before Spandau could manufacture the gun and bullet to wage war with! So as November ticked away into December Bismarck faced a crisis. It was now painfully obvious that his Frankenstein gun and bullet was disasters. So he could do one of three things.
1) Cancel the war. But Willy wanted the war. Willy wanted to be Warlord. Willy was posing in his new uniform for his victory portrait! And the deficits were out of control. Bismarck financed his creation of Prussia Germany on War. Denmark. Austro Hungary. France. Five billion alone from France. But all of that was gone. Bismarck desperately needed another war to fill the coffers. Willy wanted that new toy: a one billion mark dreadnought navy. That meant one million to expand the crucial Kiel (renamed Wilhelm) Canal. Bismarck needed money. Money. Money. Otherwise the GNP devoted to war would reach 72%. Unsustainable!
2) Or ask Francis Joseph’s permission to ask Steyr and Spandau and Loewe to NOT mass produce the Frankenstein Gun & Bullet. Rather to mass produce the Steyr Mannlicher Gun and Bullet. Do the exact opposite than what Willy was demanding. Willy was demanding that Francis Joseph and Steyr junk their own products and mass produce only the Spandau gun and bullet.
That meant a 180 degree turn about. That meant confessing to Willy that the Imperial Order he just signed was a disaster and had to be abandoned. That meant confessing to Willy that the great Spandau gun and bullet were duds. That meant that Germany’s very survival now rested on begging the lackey has-been Francis Joseph to ask Czech Steyr and inferior non Junker Mannlicher to save their collective Junker butts. That also meant that they needed the man who salvaged the wrong caliber disaster for Francis Joseph and Albrecht: Rudolph.
After Leopold was ordered to fall on his sword the man who took over the job of salvaging the disaster was his successor. The next inspector general was Rudolph. And Rudolph salvaged the disaster so well the gun and bullet was in the field by the war games.
Therefore the ideal man to salvage the Spandau Debacle and rush the production of the best product was Rudolph. But Rudolph had been vilified nonstop since the war games. Ordered to resign. Quit. Take the fall. That meant no less than a second 180 degree turn about! And it meant placing a theoretical enemy of the Reich, Rudolph, in charge of salvaging Spandau’s blunder so the Reich could still win the upcoming war!
Or else of course there was option 3) Blackmail Willy when Willy tried to fire Bismarck. Make it impossible for Willy to fire Bismarck after Willy found out how much Bismarck f@#% up.
After the November Depths of Night Secret Meeting With Rudolph failed then Bismarck picked option 1. Abort the war. Without the Gay Scandal Blackmail to protect himself, Bismarck was fired by Willy.
Now lets study the details of the Spandau Debacle which led to the Gun Crisis which led to Rudolph’s top secret court martial and ultimately his death which led to Bismarck being fired which led to Willy’s war being delayed until 1914. Yes. I know this is not a romantic Hollywood movie. Yes. I know everyone just wants to know about Mary. But this is why Rudolph died. Really. John Ford famously said if given the choice between truth and legends people always choose legends. Mayerling is a myth. Mayerling is a legend.
Despite being debunked from the very beginning the Myth and Legend called Mayerling is still embraced today. Everyone loves the Myth of Mayerling. The Legend of Rudolph and Mary. The mystique of Love & Death. But it is a myth. It is a legend. It is a lie. The Big Lie.
It is the Big Lie created to conceal the ugly truth why Rudolph was brutally murdered with Mary’s au natural bludgeoned corpse garnishing a fabricated crime scene.The gun that killed Rudolph was the Spandau Frankenstein Gun & Bullet. So! Back to Scarlata!
Mary’s Madness A Drawing by J E F Rose