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YMMV / Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Happens very often to many characters and factions given the Grey-and-Grey Morality setting of the mod. In fact, the player has the ability to ecounter these interpretations and validate them or not via event or focus tree.
    • The Internationale: Are they (if not totalist) a genuinely benevolent socialist alternative to capitalism or are they revenge-seeking totalitarian warmongering dictatorships from the get go, with Totalism being only an extension of an already brutal system. How one feels about the Internationale may be based on how one feels about socialism in the real world and if it can be divorced from Stalinism/Marxism-Leninism, and that's all we'll say on this matter.
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    • The Entente: Are they defenders of democracy banished from their homes by their enemies, or imperialistic sore losers one step away from outright National Populism? Again, as with the Internationale, it may depend on how one feels about actual history, in particular the legacy of British Imperialism.
    • The Reichpakt: Is the order established by Germany a benevolent one shielding Europe from the Syndicalist menace, or is it oppressive and imperialistic on it's own right?
    • The Co-Prosperity Sphere: Are (democratic) Japan and her allies truly a bastion of democracy in Eastern Asia, or are they merely seeking the Entente & Reichspakt's territories for their own imperialistic ends?
    • The Cairo Pact: Are Egypt and the pact's other possible members fighting Ottoman hegemony for virtuous reasons, or are they opportunists just trying to bolster their own political power?
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    • Is Huey Long a well-intentioned visionary taking authoritarian means to fight both Syndicalism and far-right racism while genuinely caring for all Americans, or is he an opportunistic, self-serving demagogue that never cared for racial equality in the first place and is only doing what is necessary to maintain power all for himself?
    • Is the anti-racism of the Brazilian Intergralists genuine, or is it an opportunistic power play to cut into the far-left's support base in Brazil?
  • Ascended Meme: "Break The Chains" is looking to become one, with Europa Universalis including a focus for the Peasant Republic of Dithmarschen by the same name (along with "The Conquest of Bread" and "The Means of Production")
  • Awesome Music: A Kaiserreich-specific soundtrack is available that offers over two hundred songs and pieces. The playlist begins here and may be downloaded here.
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  • Better Than Canon: It's not uncommon to find people claiming the only reason they play Hearts of Iron is to experience the alternate history of Kaiserreich. The fact that the IV version of the mod has more focus trees and events than the base game also helps.
  • Broken Base: One has emerged between fans who like the mod’s more silly/memetic elements and those who want the mod to be more serious and historically plausible. That the devs seem to currently favor the latter view has caused some minor controversy. One of examples include downplaying the character of Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, who can't proclaim himself as Genghis Khan II and seek to create the Second Mongolian Empire in KR4 0.10 and further. While it is more in line with the actual historical person, this decision was proved to be rather contentious among KR players, since silliness of Ungern's character was one of the oldest and beloved parts of Kaiserreich.
    • Many longtime players were royally pissed when the 0.9 update removed the ability to prevent the Second American Civil War. The devs claimed it was because they felt avoiding the civil war was "boring", and that it was much more fun to play the civil war. A massive portion of the playerbase, however, vehemently disagreed, accusing the developers of forcing their own sense of "fun" on them, when many players find the ACW either a waste of time or too hard, and would much rather skip it.
      • The May 22, 2019 update of the unofficial submod "Custom Country Paths" (later replaced with the "Let's Avoid American Civil War Submod") reinstated the ability to skip the war, to much fanfare.
    • The Spinoff mods, especially Führerreich. Supporters are simply enjoying more of the Kaiserreich content. Detractors point out this is just regular HoI/WW2, only with unrecognisable surnames and the fluff being too meta for own good.
  • Complete Monster: William Dudley Pelley is the leader of the far-right Silver Legion faction within Huey Long's America First Party. During the Second American Civil War, Pelley allies with Huey Long as a part of his right-wing American Union State, fighting against the left-wing Combined Syndicates of America and the Federal Government. If the AUS wins the civil war, Pelley will launch a coup if Huey Long rejects measures to enforce Prohibition. If victorious, Pelley purges everyone in the AUS government that's not in his faction and executes Huey Long, turning America into a white supremacist Christian fundamentalist nation. Once in power, Pelley enacts policies such as enforcing Jim Crow laws across all of America, absorbing the Ku Klux Klan into the government and forming a Klan-led Secret Police, and sends dissidents to forced labor camps. Pelley also proposes acts to restrict African-American freedom of movement, cuts African-American education to only focus on labor education, and expands African-American criminalization and penal labor to bring back slavery. Pelley also fosters rabid anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, leading to the biggest polio outbreak in American history.
  • Crazy Awesome: Before the China Update (0.10), Sternberg's Mongolia (with strong emphasis on crazy). Restoring the Mongol Empire, complete with pillaging and the tributary system, as the mad Russian general who believes himself to be the reincarination of Genghis Khan? Why not?
  • Cult Classic: Kaiserreich is definitely not a mainstream game even it is one of the more popular HOI4 mods, but it still has a loyal and active fanbase with its own subculture coming complete with memes and fan nicknames.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Many examples, as the Ensemble Dark Horse entries below can attest. More extremist factions and leaders in general are generally favored by the fandom. Of course, part of this is based on the player’s own politics.
    • Totalist and National Populist leaders often blur the lines between this trope and Love to Hate. Poe's Law can be in full effect in discussions about such leaders.
    • MacArthur, Huey Long, and Jack Reed are harsh dictators and/or start as major instigators of the Civil War, and all of them are far more popular choices for leader of America than any of the potential democratic and more compromisable presidents.
    • The Third Internationale in general, which many players seem to unironically favor, despite them promoting violent global revolution and having a decent chance turning into brutal Totalist dictatorships.
    • Similarly, both the Entente and Reichspakt alliances usually contain a wide range of pro from Authoritarian Democraties to even blatant National Populist, and are formed around colonial powers which don't hold the native populations of their domains in very high regard, to the point of going full Evil Colonialist (though everything of it can be changed during a game process).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Oswald Mosley's Totalist faction in the Union of Britain may as well be considered the canon choice in who gets to end up ruling, largely due the Memetic Mutation shown below, his boosts to military power and the sheer absurdity of an OTL fascist leading an authoritarian socialist state with George Orwell, (called Eric Blair in game) of all people, as an underling.
    • Japan as well, due to the many choices, opportunities and challenging gameplay provided——do you focus on controlling China and carving out puppet states there take the opportunity in the Second American Civil War to seize control of Hawaii and the PSA, or do you take advantage of the chaos in Russia to conquer Mongolia and Siberia? Do you become crazed National Populists similar to OTL Japan, or do you become the bastion of democracy and freedom in Asia?
    • Huey Long is one of the most popular characters in the Second American Civil War, mostly due his Memetic Mutation phrases of E V E R Y M A N A K I N G and S H A R E T H E W E A L T H and despite begin the president of a resurgent Deep South Confederacy Expy, he has surprisingly progressive politics and a wealth redistribution program (The "Share the Wealth" program) that would be easily found by a social democratic government (although one infamous path has segregation in the South enforced even further.)
    • General Douglas MacArthur for being able to turn the Federal government (if Long or Reed are elected) into a military dictatorship which can end in the restoration of democracy or MacArthur crowned as the "American Caesar", plus being an extremely cool (if morally questionable) third option for those who dislike syndicalism or right-wing populism.
    • Though she doesn't actually appear in the mod, Kaiser Wilhelm's daughter, Victoria Louise, has an increasing following among fans. A number of add-ons have been created where she becomes Kaiserin of Germany or (more realistically) the Queen of France after the Commune is defeated. The development team for the core game may have noticed this, as the "Waking The Tiger" expansion includes an alternate-history path that allows the Kaiserreich to be restored and, under a very specific event chain, Victoria Louise to ascend the throne of a new Holy Roman Empire.
    • German East Asia and the Indochinese Union for having highly entertaining focus trees and being able to start The Vietnam War in the 1930s. For the former, they can even deploy napalm and attack helicopters if Mittelafrika's researched them.
    • Kaiser Karl I, the Emperor of Austria. For the longest time, the Austrian A.I. would go for the SocDem path, which would result in the creation of a peaceful and multiethnic empire (namely, the "Danubian Federation"). Contrast that with the generally hellish state of most of Kaiserreich's Europe & Asia along with the Federation being largely founded peacefully and with diplomacy — and including the infamously fractious Balkan states, no less. Combining all that with the historical Karl I being a candidate for sainthood have made Karl I be one of the few nigh-universally beloved characters in the entire mod, and has earned him the Fan Nickname “Blessed Karl”.
    • Brazil and Portugal are minor countries in the grand scope of things, but are very popular meme subjects due to their Integralist Organic Kingdom paths.
    • As of the China update, Chen Jiongming has become the wide favorite among the Chinese warlords. In an era where China is largely divided between petty dictators driven by greed and ambition, Chen Jiongming's Liangguang Clique is the closest to a functioning democracy, with Chen himself being a genuine idealist. Despite starting out as a clear underdog, Chen can potentially unite a broken China and establish a functioning, multi-party federal democracy with extensive civic, political, and workers' rights. He even steps down once the new constitution is ratified, deciding to let China's people pick their next leader.
  • Fanon:
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • A decent chunk of KR's fanbase is made up of Grey Wolves. The CSA armed forces also includes a division nicknamed the "Dry Boys"Explanation .
    • Weirdly enough, with Star vs. the Forces of Evil, with both fandoms' Reddit subs crossposting their own memes for most of 2018.
  • Good Bad Bugs: While playing as Mongolia, this player had the event where Ungern-Sternberg was overthrown and shot as the result of an unrest caused by low stability... But Sternberg's death didn't remove him from the list of generals!
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • An example regarding Russian intervention in Ukraine: Russia has the option of passing out citizenships and passports like candy to create a pretext for intervention by defending "Russian citizens". This was a strategy used by the Russians in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in our own history as well, and several years after the event chain was written, Ukraine and the Crimea.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The setting of the mod is similar to some Vanilla Alternate History content added later by official Hearts of Iron IV DLCs:
    • Waking the Tiger allows an Imperial Germany restoration (one of the potential emperors being Wilhelm II himself) and a restoration of the Empire of China under Puyi's rule.
    • Man the Guns allows a second American Civil War.
    • In Kaiserreich, the alternate version of the Spanish Civil War is a Mêlée à Trois between loyalists of the Spanish monarchy, Catalonia anarchists, and Carlists. La Résistance reworks the conflict by adding events where Catalonia anarchists and Carlists may appear as other players in the conflict (as Renegade Splinter Faction from the Republican and Nationalist side, respectively), turning the Vanilla conflict in a Mêlée à Trois as well. La Résistance also allows a French Monarchy/Empire restoration, one of the potential sovereigns being Napoléon VI.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The Second American Civil War storyline is by far one of the most notable things about the mod and attracts a lot of players compared to even the central Second Weltkrieg. The Kaiser Cat Cinema Youtube channel has even made a large number of music videos and trailers based on the conflict.
  • Longing For Fiction Land: There are those that unironically would prefer to have their history mirror Kaiserreich's timeline. Unlike most examples of this trope, it's less about wanting to go to a fantasy or sci-fi land instead of Earth, but rather an Earth that is better suited to their beliefs and convictions. The fact that there is no canon post 1936 sans a few inevitable events means the Kaiserreich timeline is literally yours to shape in your own image.
  • Love to Hate:
    • Oswald Mosley, for the memes that he and his Totalists generate. It helps that despite being as authoritarian and nationalistic as he was in Real Life, he doesn't seem to be a bigot and is a far easier pill to swallow than playing as say, Hitler or Stalin.
    • William Dudley Pelley for the American Union State, who basically turns the former United States into the Republic of Gilead. Still, people seem to like him in the sense that he helps give moral ambiguity to the AUS while serving as a great potential antagonist to virtually any potential invader of North America in the future.
    • To a even lesser extent, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu in Iron Guard Romania. Virtually no one in the fanbase really likes him, but they see him as a good antagonist to fight against.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Emperor Pedro III is the emperor of Brazil, ascending to power after the way was cleared for his ascent to the throne by the Brazilian Integralists. Upon taking power he launches a massive purge of the Syndicalists and establishes the paramilitary Imperial Green Guards to suppress the far left and enforce religious fundamentalism, while indoctrinating the population through the distribution of Integralist propaganda and the creation of youth movements to indoctrinate the youth. Despite these measures however, Pedro III stands out as one of the more benevolent National Populist dictators in the setting, using his powers to weaken the powers of local governors and oligarchs in order to give the population as much individual rights and freedoms as possible; ruling through charisma and . Emperor Pedro is also noteworthy for his anti-racist policies, as he institutes laws protecting indigenous tribes and Afro-Brazilians from racial discrimination within Brazil in order to create a new cosmopolitian culture blending both Portuguese and Afro-Brazilian traditions.
    • Huey Long—also known as The Kingfish—is a populist from Louisiana who despises syndicalists while also desiring to save the American economy with his "Share the Wealth" program, which he perceives as America's only defense against Syndicalism. Popular in the American South due to his bombastic style, Long allies with the far right Silver Legion and the War Powers Committee in order to create a anti-syndicalist power bloc in the form of the America First Party despite his relatively tolerant views for his time, being so charismatic that his death would mean its dissolution. When the Second American Civil War starts, as either due to him either using Reed's assassination to his advantage, rebelling against either a social democratic Progressive government or a Reed presidency, or due to Douglas MacArthur's military coup against him in office, Long serves as the face of the American Union State. If the AUS wins, Long declares himself President for Life and purges his more despicable allies, while allowing his Minutemen to harass Syndicalists. Despite being a dictator struggling between his own altruism and his growing authoritarianism, Long's charisma and relative benevolence made him stand out from most dictators.
    • John "Jack" Reed is the candidate of the American Socialist Party in the 1936 presidential elections. In the leadup to the elections, Reed takes advantage of the political chaos in the US to consolidate his own support; effectively flipping the state of Minnesota to the Socialist side if the Progressives collapse. Assuming Reed wins the 1936 elections, he either tries to enact his policies via court packing and executive orders or he tries to suppress the American First movement via the use of the national guard before he's ousted by a military coup. If he loses the election however, Reed continues to agitate against the US government; taking advantage of Huey Long's assassination assuming it occurs to turn public opinion against the US government and launch an uprising. Once the Second American Civil War begins, Reed can enact measures such as War Syndicalism as well as enact ruthless means to deal with political opponents in order to bolster the war effort of the Combined Syndicates of America. If the Combined Syndiates are victorious, Reed steps down in favor of the next generation of socialists, content with leading the revolution to victory and letting new leadership decide the future of the a Socialist America.
  • Memetic Badass: John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner. Garner is the least popular of the potential presidents, but that has lead to some people turning him into a Memetic Badass, helped by his awesome Real Life nickname of Cactus Jack, his 400lb hammer (yes, he really had one, it was a gift), a picture of him pointing two revolvers at President Truman while smoking a cigar, and his refusal to compromise with anyone.
  • Memetic Mutation: Now has its own page here
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Many actual syndicalists are fans of the game. Due to the ideology's relative obscurity, the mod's syndie following often praises it for not only the often-fair and balanced portrayal, but its percieved role in helping make the ideology more mainstream.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: John Nance Garner, as a quick look through this page's history will indicate. He went from Memetic Loser to Memetic Badass that will preserve American democracy with no compromise, not even allowing a junta to form.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Once again, this is heavily influenced by a player's real-life politics, but the three major factions often have their negative attributes exaggerated by their opponents.
    • Opponents of the Entente often paint them as a coalition of crypto-Natpop Evil Colonialists obsessed with revenge and privilege, more interested in reclaiming their supposed "birthright" than doing anything constructive.
    • According to their detractors, the Internationale is an alliance of authoritarian Dirty Commies and warmongers, more than willing to plunge the world into the worst conflict in history in the name of achieving world revolution.
    • Enemies of the Reichspakt paint it as The Empire Played Straight, an authoritarian superpower crushing workers rights and political rights alike in the name of German supremacy while exerting draconian measures on it's eastern European satellites in order to extract grain and other resources from them.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • Seriously, compare the entries and memes for authoritarian and radical ideologies compared to the Social Democratic, Social Liberal, Market Liberal and Social Conservative ideologies. Since Kaiserreich is a morally grey universe, people couldn't care less about the liberal factions at times.
    • Despite being the closest thing in the game to Fascism and Nazism in our timeline, National Populist routes are usually the most requested for the various countries with each update.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Niclas y Glais's faction of Autonomists in the Union of Britain pre-0.6 version. If he wins the British elections, he will impose the balkanization of the Union into either puppet or independent states of Wales and Scotland, depending on choices made during the elections. As a result, Britain itself becomes significantly weaker, while the new states don't compensate that and are largely useless, which doesn't help a Internationale player.
    • The AOG (Allgemeine Ostasien-Gesellschaft). The AOG was, prior to the China rework, a German company that ruled almost the entire South of China as its own country, likely modeled after the British East Indian Company that once ruled India. The AOG had always been a bit of a Scrappy that people liked to joke about because its existence made no sense (the East India Company IRL took a long time to consolideate their company rule, unlike AOG in the KR backstory) and its massive amount of Chinese divisions led to almost a third of soldiers on the Western Front of the Second Weltkrieg being Chinese. The sole redeeming feature of the AOG pre-rework was that it had a Chinese Republican path that allowed Chinese revolutionaries to launch a revolution and restore the Republic of China. After the China rework, the AOG became a sidelined lore element and is no longer playable.
  • Tear Jerker: The Second American Civil War, which is now inevitable, descends into a nightmarish bloodbath that usually lasts several years and sees millions dead and swathes of the US reduced to rubble even if you've only managed to get only the AUS or CSA to rise. The fact it is no longer preventable even if none of the parties involved ultimately wanted it to happen only makes it worse. The dev team's own cover of "Which Side Are You On? really helps sell the whole tragedy of the situation. And if whichever side wins goes down a "bad" path like MacArthur as American Caesar, Pelley, Moseley, or Foster, it means all the death, fighting, and suffering was completely and utterly for naught.


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