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Admiral Gunboat Competition

Countries and Leaders

During adjudications, the following names will appear for each country. If you are lost with the names, those were the leaders for their country, even if England was really the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Countries and Leaders
Austria-Hungary
Franz Joseph
Franz Joseph
England
Marquess of Salisbury
Marques of Salisbury
France
Émile François Loubet
Émile François Loubet
Germany
Wilhelm II
Wilhelm II
Italy
Victor Emmanuel III
Victor Emmanuel III
Russia
Nicholas II
Nicolas II
Turkey
Abd al-Hamid II
Abd al-Hamid II


Franz Joseph

Franz Joseph was born in Vienna on the 18th Aug 1830. His father, Archduke Franz Karl, was the heir to the Austrian throne and his mother was Princess Sophie of Bavaria. Later in life, his youngest brother became the Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. His army career started when he was 13 with his rank being a colonel. For the rest of his life he mainly wore his army uniform and his personality became the same as the military mannerism. Starting in spring 1848, the Habsburg's Empire was threatened by the European Revolutions and on the 2nd December Emperor Ferdinand I abdicated and Archduke Franz Karl renounced his throne. This led to Franz Joseph I of Austria. Austria's international politics did have a number of setbacks and a number of defeats in battles. Due to them doing badly in the Austro-Prussian War, Austria and Hungary compromised and in 1867 formed the Dualism (dual monarchy). One of his youngest brothers, Franz Ferdinand, was heir to the throne and at 11am on 28th June 1914, he and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo. This led to WWI. As known, the Axis lost WWI and amongst other things, this meant that Austria-Hungary dissolved into two separate states. On the 21st Nov 1916, Franz Joseph died but his 68 year reign made his the third-longest monarch of Europe and the longest German-speaking monarch.


Marquess of Salisbury

His name was Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil and his father was the 2nd Marquess of Salisbury. He was born in Hatfield on the 3rd February 1830. He went to Eton College and then to the university Christ Church in Oxford. In 1853, he became a Conservative Member of Parliament (PM). His eldest brother had already died and in 1868, his father died which meant he inherited the Marquessate of Salisbury. By the very nature, he became a member of the House of Lords. He was the chairman of the Great Eastern Railway between 1868 - 1871. The company was already doing badly financially however through his chairmanship the company turned the corner. Salisbury returned to government in 1874 and served under the Prime Minister (PM), Benjamin Disraeli, as India Secretary. After Disraeli's death, he became the leader in the House of Lords. For one reason or another he became the PM three times and currently is the last PM to hold that job whilst being in the House of Lords. In 1889 he set up the London County Council and one of its tasks was to build more houses. The area that most thought he was very good at was his foreign policies. On the 11th July 1902 he resigned through ill health and his nephew, Arthur James Balfour, became the PM. He died on the 22nd August 1903. If you are wondering about why Marquess of Salisbury will be shown in the games as opposed to King Edward VII, it is for the following reason. In the 17th Century, there was an English Civil War (which did involve Scotland and Ireland) between King Charles I and the Royalists (Cavaliers) against the Parliamentarians (Roundheads). The conflict took a few years but the result was that the Roundheads defeated the King and executed him. For a while there was no monarch however for other reasons, Parliament accepted the country to have a monarch however no real power. King Charles II took the re-invented role.


Émile François Loubet

On the 30th December 1838 in Marsanne, Émile François Loubet was born. His father was a peasant proprietor and the mayor of that commune. Wishing to have a legal career and admitted to the Parisian bar, he, in 1863, took his doctorate-in-law. Whilst still being a student Loubet became very aware of the Republican Parties success. In 1870 he moved into politics and became the mayor of Montélimar. His progress continued by him being elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1876. A main area of his energy was working towards secular education. He entered as a senate in 1885 and in 1892; he became a minister and was asked to form a cabinet. Being reluctant to investigate the Panama Canal scandals caused an outrage, which meant he had to resign his premiership even though he remained a minister. It did not take too long for him to be the President of the Senate in 1896 and in 1899 he became the 7th President of the Republic of France. As the President he re-viewed the Dreyfus Affair and did pardon Capt Alfred Dreyfus. He sought to improve the friendship of his country and Britain as well as other countries. In July 1905, the separation of church and state was successfully voted. Loubet's Presidency ended in January 1906 and he retired to a private life. He died in Montélimar on the 20th December 1929.


Wilhelm II

In Berlin on the 27th January 1859, Wilhelm had a breech birth but that caused him a trauma and caused his left arm to be withered. Perhaps due to the disability, his mother, Victoria (Princess Royal of the United Kingdom), was very cold to him and that may have caused him to be the same towards her home country. His strict upbringing was shown in his military training and education. These were held at the Kassel Gymnasium and the University of Bonn. One area that did show itself was that he was very intelligent but had an ill-natured temper and later in life that did affect things. On the 9th March 1888, Wilhelm I, his father died and his brother became Frederick III however, 99 days later his brother died of throat cancer. This meant that Wilhelm took the throne. Wilhelm I had similar views as Otto von Bismarck, Iron Chancellor, and the pair got on fairly well. In his youth Wilhelm II respected Bismarck however in 1890 the pair had a number of quarrels. Wilhelm wanted Germany to expand quickly, whereas Bismarck, being a seasoned politician, took care with things such as the foreign policy. Bismarck's thought of Wilhelm was that he was a lightweight that could be dominated and therefore he barely bothered to look at Wilhelm's policies. The distance between them grew and eventually Wilhelm requested and received Bismarck's letter of resignation. He agreed with Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, State Secretary of the Imperial German Navy, that Germany should build a navy to match the British navy. In return however Britain re-armed the Royal Navy and at the start of WWI, Germany had 29 battleships whereas Britain has 49. Wilhelm II continued to be an autocrat and was opposed to socialism preferring imperialism however in 1908, he had a nervous breakdown and this meant he had a lesser role even though he still was the Kaiser. After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, and Wilhelm did encourage Austria-Hungary to act even though he did not want a World War. As WWI started, Wilhelm was in theory in charge of the German military but in fact, the military was in command. Two days before the Armistice, Wilhelm was forced to abdicate, which meant he fled the country and lived the rest of his life in Holland. He died on the 4th June 1941.


Victor Emmanuel III

Born in Naples on 11th November 1869 he was an only child of King Umberto I and Princess Margrethe of Savoy. He studied history and law together with receiving military training, which led to him taking command in 1887. His reign started when his father was assassinated at Monza in 1900. Whilst on the throne, he saw two world wars and the start of fascism. Prior to WWI, Italy was part of the triple alliance, Austria-Hungary, Germany and themselves. At the same time however he made sure he had relations with France and Britain. At the start of WWI, Italy kept neutral but in 1915 became part of the Allies. Initially Victor Emmanuel's view on government was that it should be constitutional however many things changed his mind. Amongst these was that Italy was unprepared for WWI, that there was a corrupt and disorganised war effort, the economic depression after the war, etc. Due to the economic depression, Mussolini formed a large group of aggressive nationalists, fascists, which led to March of Rome. Even though high-ranking military men felt they could stop the march, Victor Emmanuel disagreed and gave the order that the march should not be stopped. After the march, Mussolini was in a position to force Victor Emmanuel to accept his fascist party and hence government. It appears that the king did prefer the fascist party to socialism. Towards the end of WWII, 1944, he relinquished his power to his son. In May 1946 he finally abdicated and took refuge, with his wife, in Egypt. A year later he died. Regarding his son, a referendum turned Italy into a republic.


Nicholas II

The Russian capital St Petersburg was, on 18th May 1868, the birthplace of Nicholas. He was the eldest son on Alexander III and Maria Fyodorovna however; the pair did not give him a good childhood. His father did not like his shy and sensitive nature so he bullied him. His mother was a possessive person and hence spoiled him. He did travel to many countries and was very lucky when visiting Japan. On the 11th May 1891, Tsuda Sanzō attacked him with a sabre. The first swing cut his forehead but thankfully, his cousin, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, parried the second swing. Prince Philip used his cane and by doing so, he perhaps did save Nicholas' life. Alexander III, aged 49, suffered from a kidney disease and in November 1894, he unexpectedly died. The following May, Nicholas took the throne. At a speech in January 1895, he said that Russia should not move towards the Western style of living and denounced those who wanted democratic changes. In 1902, he appointed Vyacheslav Plehve as the Minister of the Interior. Plehve attempted but failed to stop those trying to create a political change. He did however organise the brutal Jewish Pogroms (mobs of Russians attacking the Jews). There were no health and safety programs, which meant that working in a factory was not only hazardless but a very long day with the average being 11 hours. Many factory workers tried to form trade unions but the owners resisted them. In 1903, the priest, Father Georgi Gapon, formed the Assembly of Russian Workers. A year later, it had more than 9,000 members. Regardless of what Nicholas II claimed to be, he did wish that the Russian Empire would expand. Knowing what was happening, it is claimed that Plehve told him that expansion of the Empire would help resolve current internal difficulties Nicholas subsequently made military plans against Constantinople plus moves against Manchuria and Korea. In the Russo-Japanese War, on 8th February 1904 the Japanese navy did a surprise attack at Port Arthur. To relieve Port Arthur there were two major naval battles but the Russian navy were defeated. On 2nd January 1905, the Japanese captured Port Arthur. The Russian army tried but failed to capture Mukden and suffered 90,000 causalities. At Tsushima, the Russian navy was attacked and 20 ships were sunk with five captured. Only four ships managed to escape. The naval battle did make ship designers, throughout the world, alter the way in which they were built but from the Russian popularity, Nicholas and the government were viewed worse than before. The cost of goods increased in 1904 but wages did not match it, which meant that this was an awful time for Russian workers. The company Putilov Iron Works dismissed four members of the Assembly of Russian Workers and due to that; Father Georgi Gapon called for industrial action. Within a handful of days, over 110,000 workers went on strike in St Petersburg. Father Georgi Gapon decided to make a personal appeal to Nicholas and chose to draw up a petition. It was to ask for the working day to be no longer than eight hours, a wage increase, improvement in working conditions and the end of the Russo-Japanese War. The procession arrived at the Winter Palace and then the police and Cossacks attacked them. As over 100 people were killed and more than 300 wounded, it became known as Bloody Sunday and started what was to become the 1905 Revolution. In June 1905 on the Potemkin battleship some of the sailors rebelled due to rotten meat being served. The captain had them arrested and gave the order for them to be shot. The firing squad refused and instead they joined in with the sailors and captured all of the officers. The officers were thrown over-board. When other sailors and the army heard this, the process was copied. Adding to what the military were doing, many workers in Russia went on strike and in October, the railway workers strike caused the countries network to stop. Nicholas had to take action but only partly did. He published the October Manifesto but many Russians felt this was not good enough and continued to protest. A number of these people were arrested and that allowed Nicholas and the government to take control of the country however, unrest carried on for many years. After the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, Nicholas was advised by his foreign minister, Sergi Sazonov, and supported the Triple Entente. Sazonov felt that being in the Entente would mean that Russia would gain neighbouring countries and Nicholas was equally wishing this would happen. In September 1915, the Tsar took control of the Eastern Front. Russia had a number of military losses and these added to how Russians felt about Nicholas. The Russian High Command suggested to Nicholas that he should abdicate and on the 15th July 1917, he renounced the throne. He and his family were arrested however; communication was taking place so that they could be exiled to another country. The thought of him moving to Britain was very likely however his cousin, George V, asked Lloyd George (Prime Minister and from what I gather, through my Dad's mother he is a distant relative of mine) to remove the offer. George V felt that if Nicholas lived in Britain, his throne might be abdicated. A group of Bolsheviks held Nicholas and his family captive and in July 1918, they executed the royal family.


Abd al-Hamid II

Abd al-Hamid II was born on the 21st September 1842. His father was Sultan Abd al-Majid and his mother was Sevk-Efza Sultana. He was a very good carpenter and constructed many of his own furniture. In addition, he enjoyed opera and was the first to translate some into Turkish together with writing pieces of opera. On 30th May 1876, his brother became Sultan Murad V however; his brother's supporters felt that Murad's indifference towards their enemies was not satisfactory. 93 days after he became the sultan, he was deposed and on the 31st August 1876 the 34th sultan was Abd al-Hamid II. His style of leadership was ruthless but equally cunning. Even though his mother was Armenian he convinced the local Muslims to fight against Armenia. This led to many men, women and children being killed. The death toll is only measured in estimates with them being from 80,000 - 300,000. In 1907, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation wanted revenge and tried, unsuccessfully, to assassinate him. Due to a number of reasons, the Young Turk Revolution broke out in 1908 and this lead to him being deposed on the 27th April 1909. His brother became Sultan Mehmed V. On the 10th February 1918 at Beylerbeyi Palace he died.


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