Freihafen's Diplomacy

By Randy McDonald


Relations with Other Tiranean Colonies
Relations with Interstellar Powers
Freihafen's German Question
The Kafer War


Freihafen’s diplomatic history began almost as soon as the United Colonies of Garten were created, as each of the Bavarian colonies were given a fair degree of autonomy in dealing with neighboring colonies (Bavarian and otherwise) and with immigrant-sending countries. Following the transformation of the colonies into the current kreis, these powers were centralized at Hauptstadt. As Garten gradually acquired a greater interest in Tiranean and interstellar affairs, the Gartener colonial government petitioned München for limited autonomy in foreign affairs. This autonomy was granted in 2236, and the Externe Angelegenheit-Ministerium (Ger: External Affairs Ministry) was founded the same year.

The Externe Angelegenheit-Ministerium was not an accredited diplomatic service, although it cooperated with Bavarian embassies in foreign countries. Rather, by and large the Externe Angelegenheit-Ministerium operated as the public face of Garten through its network of missions, each known individually as Garten Haus. By the 2260s, a Garten Haus had appeared in four dozen cities: in the capitals and major cities of the other Tiranean colonies; in München, Stuttgart, Nürnburg, and Frankfurt in Terran Bavaria; in Essen, Hannover, Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig in the other German states; in Paris and Brussels, Vienna and Budapest, Triest and Zagreb, Prague and Bratislava, Warsaw and Wilno, Austin and Athens elsewhere on Earth; and, on the Bavarian colony worlds of Nibelungen, Beta Canum, Adlerhorst, and Hochbaden. A Garten Haus served as a base for Garten officials, as they entered into cultural agreements with their counterparts, recruited immigrants, and encouraged trade and tourism. Outside of the Bavarian community, a Garten Haus could count on the support of the local Bavarian embassy or consulate. On Tirane, too, Garteners dominated the staff of the Bavarian embassies and consulates, providing four out of six ambassadors and consul-generals, for instance, and the overwhelming majority of staff and business handled by the embassies and consulates.

Verbindung der deutschen Sprache [Ger: Association of the German Language]

German–in the immediate post-Twilight era spoken by just several tens of millions of people–has risen to become one of the major languages of human space, spoken as a first language by more than 450 million people, and as a language of wider communication by almost as many people. Concentrated particularly in the Core and the French Arm, the German language ranks behind only English and French (alongside Manchurian, and comfortably ahead of Japanese and Portuguese) as a major language of human space.

Over the past half-century, Freihafen–home to just under half of humanity’s natively Teutophone population–has recently taken on substantial importance in the wider Teutophone world despite the acrimonious separation from Germany. Freihafener popular musics, literatures, and political ideologies are avidly consumed by Teutophones across human space. The Crailsheim-based journalist Gretchen Czepan was the first (2259) to compare then-Garten’s position in the Teutophone community to that of 19th century Brazil in the Lusophone community–a rich colonial offshoot, rapidly becoming more important than the mother country. Freihafener German differs significantly from Terrestrial or colonial German, with its heavy lexical influence by other colonial and immigrant languages on Tirane and changing vocabulary.

The Freihafener government is quite interested in promoting the status of the German language, on Tirane and elsewhere, both on its own merits and as a vital tool in Freihafen’s cultural diplomacy. Accordingly, it was entirely natural that Freihafen would seek and gain membership in the Verbindung der deutschen Sprache in 2295. Meeting in the Swiss city of Zürich, the Verbindung der deutschen Sprache is the official agency charged with establishing common standards for the German language. The German, Austrovenian, and Freihafener federal governments all are represented, as are their federal units (German and Austrovenian länder, Freihafener kreis) and the Teutophone cantons of Switzerland. The Kolonialgegend von Rho Eridani has not yet sent representatives to the Verbindung der deutschen Sprache; the question of how to respond if the secessionist Bavarian colony does it a topic of lively debate.

Freihafen has sought to promote the normalization of non-Earth German dialects. It has gotten some support from Austrovenian and Swiss delegates, both representing countries which prize their local dialects of German as signs of local identity, but the reaction of Terran Germany has been more hostile. Freihafener proposals to give German colonies representation in the Verbindung der deutschen Sprache  have been vetoed by Germany, ostensibly on the grounds that none of Germany’s war-devastated colonies can afford the distractions, actually because some German officials fear that Freihafen is trying to pry the colonies (the former Bavarian ones, at any rate) away from Germany. Freihafen’s rapidly increasing funding of the Verbindung der deutschen Sprache, undertaken entirely voluntarily by the Freihafen government with the stated intention of ensuring that the Verbindung der deutschen Sprache can actively promote the German language and Teutophone government, will shortly surpass that of Germany. Increasingly, the Verbindung der deutschen Sprache is becoming a forum for quiet Freihafener-German competition; so far, Freihafen seems to be doing well.


The political earthquake that divided the Bavarian community forced the Externe Angelegenheit-Ministerium into an entirely new role. In 2292, Garteners working at the Bavarian embassies on Tirane responded to their government’s appeal by appropriating Bavarian diplomatic outposts in the Alpha Centuari system; only in Provincia do Brasil and Tundukubwa did local governments help Bavarian/German loyalists keep control. In retaliation, the provisional German government closed down each and every Garten Haus on its sovereign territory, deporting their staffs back to Tirane via neutral British transports; on Adlerhorst, staff at the local Garten Haus got drawn into that colony’s multi-sided civil war. The Externe Angelegenheit-Ministerium was forced not only to formulate a coherent foreign policy in the middle of the most radical astropolitical tumult seen since the beginning of humanity’s interstellar era, but it had to forge a moderately functional diplomatic service out of a collection of scattered and often understaffed missions without official diplomatic status or recognition.

The Vereinigte Kolonien von Garten sought, as an autonomous entity unwilling to subordinate itself to unresponsive rule from Earth, first and foremost to have its right to self-determination recognized. This meant, Externe Angelegenheit-Ministerin Katrina Meyer-Ruzic noted in her frequent press meetings that the Vereinigte Kolonien would resist any attempts by any foreign powers to dominate the colony, not just Germany. Only Garteners could decide the future of Garten. This blunt foreign policy won the Externe Angelegenheit-Ministerium a measure of popular respect, while actual success was measured by the establishment of relations with (among other countries) France, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia, and Texas, all countries concerned with German reunification’s destabilization of the astropolitical balance of power. Following the success of the separatists in the referendum, the Externe Angelegenheit-Ministerium, based from its de facto embassies, lobbied local governments to recognize the independence of the new state when (not if) it was declared.

The Third Battle of Alpha Centauri proved decisive moment. In the course of three separate engagements (two ending in exchanges of fire, one of these involving Freihafener Raumwaffe vessels pitted against their opposites from the German Sternkriesgmarine), Freihafen’s determination to maintain its independence from Germany was made more than clear. The subsequent declaration of independence was universally recognized, even (perhaps especially) by Germany. The Externe Angelegenheit-Ministerium now had the hard task of defining and communicating the principles of a foreign policy radically different from anything known under Bavarian rule.

The Vier Punkte (Ger: Four Points) were first enunciated by Bundeskanzler Hartman in his famous broadcast address to the Freihafener nation. The Externe Angelegenheit-Ministerium was charged with:

1. maintaining the independence and freedoms of the Freihafener nation.
2. promoting close and friendly ties between the colonial and post-colonial societies of Tirane.
3. establishing close and friendly ties between Freihafen and the wider Teutophone interstellar community, as well as with as many countries ancestral to Freihafen’s ethnies as possible.
4. expanding Freihafen’s profile in the interstellar community.

The Vier Punkte have remained the guiding principles of Freihafen’s foreign policy to this day.

Following Freihafen’s successful defense against German invaders in the Second Battle of Alpha Centauri and its declaration of independence, the first point was effectively fulfilled by the universal recognition of Freihafener independence. The 2294 Franco-Freihafener Treaty of Mutual Defense, committing each signatory to defending the territories and holdings of the other in the Alpha Centauri against unprovoked attack, is the cornerstone of Freihafen defense policy, and the surest guarantee of its survival. More recently, this first point has been defended by pursuing the other three points of the Vier Punkte.


Relations with Other Tiranean Colonies

Freihafen’s Tiranean diplomacy has concentrated on preserving (where these existed) and creating (where none did) close relations across the board with the other colonial societies on Tirane. This was an initial challenge immediately after Freihafen’s declaration of independence, when there seemed to be a risk that Freihafen could act as a destabilizing force on Tirane much like Élysia on Joi. Fortunately, the easy transition to independence helped efface these fears, while the help lent to Freihafen by the Anglophone colonial societies helped to diversify Freihafen’s options beyond a potentially dangerous concentration on Nouvelle Provence.

Amaterasu: The Japanese Region of Amaterasu long had low-key relations with the Federated Colony of Garten, characterized by relatively small but vital trade and tourist flows. The Japanese were surprised by German reunification and the subsequent war with France, and had feared the extension of Franco-German tensions (and Japanese-German) tensions to Tirane. Freihafener independence fortunately forestalled this, and allowed Tiranean affairs to continue much as before. Amaterasu officialdom is worried by Freihafener tiranista sentiments, but so long as the new country adheres to its klein tirane variant these can be safely overlooked. Fearful that Freihafen influence could encourage the non-Japanese districts of Amaterasu to secede entirely from the Japanese federation, though, the regional government has limited Freihafen’s diplomatic presence to a sub-embassy in Amaterasu-ko; the regional government, in turn, is limited to a mission in Hauptstadt.

New Canberra: Freihafen enjoys good relations with New Canberra, and both countries have long enjoyed a great deal of interaction in both trade and cultural exchanges. It was in New Canberra that Freihafen first emerged as an independent power, when the erstwhile German representative to the Tirane Council was rebuffed in a vote of the Council that depended on New Canberran opposition to German claims to the former Bavarian seats. Recently, several Freihafener wine-growing corporations have invested heavily in New Canberra’s nascent wine industry in the hopes of eventually competing in the wider Tiranean marketplace.

Nouvelle-Provence: Nouvelle-Provence and Freihafen have long shared an intense relationship marked by substantial intercolonial trade and migration, and currently relations between the two societies are as good as they have ever been; indeed, possibly better. Freihafeners have however become concerned by recent signs that Nouvelle-Provence might be destabilizing, as evidenced by the chaos during the junta period, the rise of tiranista sentiment, and the utter failure of the Third French Empire to accommodate Néo-Provençal needs. Freihafen’s decision to support Tirania’s right to decide for independence was badly received by some in Mirambeau, and Freihafen’s recent attempts to develop its interstellar profile are seen as potentially destabilizing. However, as yet Freihafen has not seriously challenged the fact that it is France’s junior partner in the Franco-Freihafener relationship, and despite the storm clouds on the horizon relations are good.  

Provincia do Brasil: Since independence, Freihafen’s relationship with the different estados of Provincia do Brasil has been good, with Greek-Freihafeners being particularly interested in Nova Ostia. Fairly intense exchanges of tourists and trade have been going on between the two societies since the mid-23rd century. Nonetheless, Tiranean Brazilian governments are disturbed by the cultural and religious laxity of Freihafeners, and believe that Freihafen’s declaration of independence (to say nothing of the Third Battle of Alpha Centauri and the ongoing Freihafener support of Heidelsheimat) sets bad precedents for liberal-minded colonial empires. Freihafeners, for their part, are mildly exasperated by Brazil’s refusal to give formerly Bavarian diplomatic properties in Provincia do Brasil to Freihafen, and by the (correct) perception that Brazilians see no differences between Germans and Freihafeners. Still, relations are friendly.  

Saint Tyraine: Until Freihafen gained its independence, Garteners paid little attention to the small Caribe-settled archipelago of the Gulf Islands off the southeastern coast of Tirania, but with the warming of Freihafener-Tiranian nations Freihafen vacationers began to take notice of the tourism-friendly Caribbean enclave. In 2293, Caribe opened a consulate in Hauptstadt. Freihafen has an honorary consul available, but budget constraints have delayed the opening of a full consulate in Beauregarde.  

Tirania: Although Americo-Bavarian relations were always cordial, Bavarian Garten and American Tirania only began to build a relationship in the mid-23rd century, ironically as a byproduct of competing Gartener and Tiranian settlements of islands immediately south of the Tiranian peninsula in the Rocard Straits,  the Inseln Der Königin-Clara (Ger: Queen Clara Islands). Garten was always a major trading partner of the much smaller American colony, and there was a low-key tradition of migration between the two colonial societies; many potential Garten separatists exiled themselves in Tirania, while during the Slump many Tiranians sought work in the country to their south. The dispute over the Inseln Der Königen-Clara was settled peaceably in the 2270s, when Tirania was able to keep those islands that were settled by Tiranians while Freihafen got the remainder, with Tiranian companies and workers being allowed assist in the Friehafenian bridge project which connected these islands to the Freihafener mainland. This peaceful resolution lay the groundwork for the decision of Tirania to instruct its voting representative on the Tirane Council to vote in 2293 in favour of recognizing Freihafen’s independence. Now, the two countries maintain a thriving trade relationship, with Freihafen exporting consumer goods– in particular, personal transport vehicles and construction equipment–and importing minerals and high-tech electronics from Tirania. Freihafeners strongly support Tirania’s gradual movement towards independence.  

Tundukubwa: From the early years of ESA settlement on Tirane, Freihafen has carried on an intense trading relationship with Tundukubwa as part of Akadia continent’s division of labour, importing Tundukubwan mineral exports and exporting local manufactured goods. More recently, several million Tundukubwans have immigrated to Freihafen, providing an important human bond between the two societies. However, the Azanian government’s skepticism of Freihafener independence broken spoiled the previous history of smooth relations between Hauptstadt and Tundukubwa, while the failure of the tiranistas to win support in the Tundukubwan Colonial Parliament for a referendum on independence has disappointed Freihafener tiranistas. Relations can best be described as cordial, but tainted.  

Tunghu: Relations with Manchuria and the Tunghu enclave have been particularly good ever since the foundation of the two colonial societies. During the Central Asian War, Garten and Tunghu colonial authorities took care to avoid armed conflict and limit tension to some opéra bouffe displays of border guards, while Manchurian support and recognition of Freihafen as it moved towards independence was conducted by Tunghu authorities. Today, Freihafen-Tunghu relations are particularly good, and intense. The enclave of Tunghu is well connected to all the major cities of Freihafen by air film and hydrogen road nets, and is a major trade outlet for Freihafen’s goods. Tunghu’s beaches, Chinese cultural events, and shops also attract very large numbers of Freihafener tourists, while there is much migration between the two colonies.  

Wellon: Since the Alpha Centauri War of 2162, the Bavarian and British colonists on Tirane have gotten along excellently despite Britain’s championing of Hanover as its main Terran German ally. Although there has historically been relatively little migration or cultural exchange between Freihafen and Wellon, the two countries now trade quite intensively, exchanging industrial goods to support their sophisticated industrial economies; Freihafener starship components play an important role in Wellon's starship building industry at Hawking Station. Following Freihafen’s 2292 declaration of independence, Wellon supported the ex-Bavarian colony’s declaration, with Wellonese Prime Minister Singh privately offering the Freihafen government military aid in the case of a German assault and instituting a new tradition of annual joint military exercises. Wellonese support for Freihafener independence was partly based on a pragmatic judgement that a strong Terran Germany ruling a restive Garten was much less preferable to a stable independent Freihafen, but mostly based upon excitement at seeing the success of tiranista sentiment. Freihafeners readily accepted that they desperately needed a Wellonese alliance. Trade between the two countries continues to grow, and private and public cultural exchanges–exchange trips paid by students of one nation to the other, for instance, and sending cultural “diplomats” to cultural events–are beginning to create a stronger basis for relations. The only strain in Freihafener-Wellonese relations is the failure of the Freihafener government to dispatch substantial military forces to the French Arm in the Kafer War; Freihafener official statements that the country simply does not have the long-range military strength necessary to intervene are treated skeptically by Wellonese who note Freihafen’s strong industrial economy.

Freihafen strongly supports the Tirane Council as a force for stability on Tirane. Freihafen is opposed to Brazillian attempts to gain a seat on the Council for the Roman Catholic Church, given Freihafener secularism and the Church's lack of sovereign status in the Alpha Centauri system.

Freihafeners are concerned that the growth of radical tiranista sentiment in Anglophone colonial societies on Tirane could destabilize the council by forcing it to take a stance on the legitimacy of tiranista ideology. Klein Tirane tiranistas would generally prefer that a separate organization would be founded to govern a federation of Tiranean colonial states.

The Tiranista Movement and Klein Tirane

Freihafeners are not unnaturally interested in the principles of the Tiranista movement. Tirane, as Freihafeners are well aware, is a prosperous world with all of Earth’s advantages (wealth, high technology, large populations) and very few of its disadvantages (no major wars or atrocities in historical memory, relatively little ecological damage). It would make sense for Tiraneans to unite as a free planet, giving the different Tiranean colonial offshoots a chance to establish superior economies of scale to any of the starfaring powers of Earth, even vast France and Manchuria.

The problem with the Tiranista movement, however, is that most Tiraneans see no reason why the planet should be unified. Freihafeners remember that they themselves barely a decade ago they were content to remain constituents of a Bavarian interstellar community. The arguments of more doctrinaire tiranistas in the Anglophone communities of Tirane as to the necessity of incorporating the entire planet in a tiranista state are seen as insensitive and positively harmful to the cause.

The dominant strain of the tiranista movement in Freihafen is the Klein Tirane movement. As described by Professor Emilie Kovacevic and Neumarkt journalist Ernst Majláth in their 2297 book of the same name, the Klein Tirane tiranistas accept that a union of the entire planet is unlikely. It would be far more profitable, Kovacevic and Majláth argued, to move towards a more practical union of those Tiranean colonial societies interested in independence and union under tiranista principles. A Freihafen-Tirania-Wellon bloc with a combined population in excess of 400 million people and a GDP of more than 2 million Blv would be a formidable entity indeed, with basic underlying cultural and linguistic similarities; including New Canberra (or all of Australia) would create a Klein Tirane easily surpassing the French Empire on Earth.


Relations with Interstellar Powers

Freihafen’s interstellar relationships are characterized by a desire to strengthen existing ties, to establish as broad and inclusive a framework as possible. Whether this means restoring old relationships disrupted by the events of the 2290s or creating entirely new ones, Freihafener diplomats and government officials are single-minded in their desire to make their country a desirable ally in interstellar affairs. As a basically status quo power, Freihafen is uninterested in Élysée’s revolutionary aspirations to reshape colonial space into a collection of free republics; likewise, however, it is skeptical about desires to establish colonial empires centrally directed from Earth, knowing perfectly well from its own experience that these regimes are very fragile. Freihafen’s ideal known space would be centered upon enlightened quasi-confederal colonial regimes which would know when to let go of their maturing offshoots.


America: Though Americo-Freihafener relations have traditionally been cordial, Freihafeners are watching the progress of Tirania’s negotiations for independence carefully. Freihafen’s government has been quite vocal in proclaiming that Tiranians have every right to independence. If the absolute worst ever happened and the United States tried to repress the Tiranians, Freihafen would certainly intervene military on the Tiranians’ side. Moreover, the Reagan Society’s recent efforts to settle the uninhabited continent of Enfer–just across the Nilfheim Sea from Freihafen–in America’s name is also a serious irritant, on geopolitical as well as ecological grounds.

Austrovenia: Austrovenia has long been a leading source of immigrants to Garten/Freihafen, ranking second behind Bavaria. Independent Freihafen has taken care to cultivate friendly relations with Austrovenia, not only because such is what the Austrian- and Slovene-Freihafener wants, but because Freihafener strategists see a friendly Austrovenia as a vital foothold on Earth. The Freihafener government maintains an embassy in Vienna, and consulates in Salzburg and Trieste; the Austrovenian government has a large embassy in Hauptstadt and an office on Lasswitz Station, and the Slovenian republic maintains missions in the Freihafener capital and in the Westgarten city of Neuklagenfurt, home to many Kommunalslovenes.

Argentina: Relations with this INAP power are chilly at best, owing to continued resentment of Argentina’s destabilizing role on Tirane since the Alpha Centauri War of 2162 and dislike by conservative Catholics of the NovoCatolico Church. Freihafeners resent Argentine non-voting membership on the Tirane Council through the INAP outpost at Sheol, and are very hostile to the idea of Argentina reclaiming the Nueva Malvinas. The small Argentine embassy at Haupstadt is infrequently visited by Freihafeners; only slightly more Argentines stop by the Freihafener embassy in Buenos Aires.

Australia: Relations with Terran Australia are polite though distant. Terran Australians are somewhat concerned at the possibility that tiranista sentiments might spread to their largest colony off-Earth, but since Freihafen is a less potent source of tiranista sentiment than Anglophone Wellon or Tirania they take little note. Freihafeners, for their part, are impressed by Australia’s technological society and terribly fond of native Australian fauna. (Kangaroos are particularly popular now.) Australia maintains a full embassy in Hauptstadt, and Freihafen has an embassy in Newcentre. Neither facility is very busy.

Azania: Relations between Azania and Freihafen are polite, but hindered by Freihafener resentment of Azania’s initial opposition to independence. Most contact between the two countries is conducted through Tundukubwa, but recently Freihafener merchant vessels have begun paying visits to the Azanian French Arm colonies of Okavango (Kimanjano) and Lubumbashi (Joi) as part of aid efforts. Azania and Freihafen maintain embassies in each other’s capitals; in addition, Freihafen’s Beta Canum consulate is accredited to the Azanian colonial governments elsewhere on the French Arm.

Brazil: Freihafen and Brazil share cordial relations, but the common Brazilian opinion that Freihafen’s preemptive secession from reunified Germany was a bad move has dampened Freihafener enthusiasm for the relationship. Freihafen and Terran Brazil have only minimal trade and other relations, and their diplomatic representation is limited to embassies in the other’s capital.

Britain: Anglo-Freihafener relations have generally been friendly, in part because of British sentiments that a united Germany which included Bavarian holdings outside of the French Arm would be too powerful. A series of trade agreements signed by Britain and Freihafen (and, in one case, between the Dominion of Alicia and Freihafen) have led to a doubling of Anglo-Freihafener trade, while recent Freihafener aid missions into the French Arm promise a further intensification of relations.

Canada: Canada was quickly to recognize Freihafen after 2994, following the British and Wellonese leads. Canado-Freihafener relations are friendly, and the two countries maintain full diplomatic relations although very little business is really done between the two countries.

Czechoslovakia: Czechoslovakia, like Austrovenia, has friendly relations with Freihafen based on their shared immigration history, although Czechoslovakia’s prosperous industrial economy and strong army makes it a potentially more useful partner than Austrovenia. Freihafen has an embassy in Prague that does double duty as a forum for cultural events, as well as a consulate in Bratislava; Czechoslovakia, in turn, has an embassy in Hauptstadt, a consulate in Neu-Tsingtao, and an office at Lasswitz Station.

Élysée: Although Élysée and Freihafen gained independence from their respective colonial empires at roughly the same time, Freihafeners are very reluctant to agree that there is even that much in common between the two post-colonial numbers. To Frehafenians, Élysée’s revolutionary war of independence, the direct involvement of foreign troops, and the chaotic political climate of post-independence Élysée are perfect examples of how not to gain independence. Élyséens, for their part, see the Freihafeners as bourgeois snobs whose conservative revolution helped slow down colonial emancipation. Their government has been hostile to the idea of Freihafen establishing a colony, either under French protection or independently, on Joi.

Flanders: Less than a month after the Franco‑Freihafener Treaty of Mutual Defense, Freihafen recognized Flanders and sent an embassy there. Although Freihafeners did know that France was sensitive to the Flemish secession in the War of German Reunification, they didn't particularly care; though this was said only quietly, Freihafeners (not only those of Flemish background) felt that the Flemish had as much right to secede from France as they did to secede from Germany. The Flemish welcomed Freihafener interest, since this gave them renewed access to interstellar markets and even (through Freihafener re-exporters) to French markets. Trade between the two countries is growing quickly, while Flemish immigration to Freihafen is beginning to pick up. The Flemish embassy in Hauptstadt is accompanied by consulates in Neumarkt and Crailsheim, while the Freihafener embassy in Antwerp supports smaller consulates in Ghent and embattled Brussels.

France: Freihafeners are quite conscious that their society’s transition to independence could not have gone nearly as smoothly as it did without French diplomatic, economic, and military support against Germany. At all levels, relations between Paris and Hauptstadt are quite friendly and intense. Nonetheless, Freihafeners remain suspicious about the long-term viability of the Third French Empire as well as the French interstellar community, particularly in the wake of the Kafer War which devastated so many French holdings. Some analysts–including Professor Emilie Kovacevic–believe that, strained by the growth of colonial nationalisms and the costs of rebuilding from the Kafer War, the French community beyond the Core could break apart. The French, for their part, are happy that the peaceful pre-Reunification relationship between France and ex-Garten has been maintained, but fear that a powerful Freihafen could be far more destabilizing than any Élysia could be. France has embassies and consulates in the major cities of Freihafen, while Freihafen maintains a large embassy in Paris and consulates in Libreville, Algiers, and Strasbourg.

Freihafen's German Question; Or, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

When Freihafen seceded from the Bavarian interstellar community, it fractured what would otherwise have been the largest interstellar community in human space, rivaling even the French Empire. Before German reunification, Garten's role in the Bavarian interstellar community was relatively predictable; German reunification and the emergence of independent Freihafen put everything in flux. Between German reunification, Freihafener independence, the "Heidelsheimat Question," and the Third Battle of Alpha Centauri, hard feelings were created between the German and Freihafener governments. Only lately have things looked up.

Germany: German-Freihafener relations in the past decade have been complicated by the misunderstandings of one people for the other. German nationalists had expected that Garten, like the entire Bavarian interstellar community, would follow their colonizer into the embrace of a united Germany; when Garten refused on the grounds that its people were not Germans and declared its independence, German sentiments were stung. For their part, Freihafeners resented how "foreign" Germans had appropriated their colony's interstellar future without asking, and how the Bavarian referendum did not take account of the colonial (especially Gartener) electorate. Post-independence German-Freihafener relations have been dominated by disputes over the remains of the Bavarian colonial empire, including the ownership of diplomatic property on Tirane, Bavarian Sternkriegsmarine vessels crewed by Garteners who transferred their ships to Freihafen, trading rights, and profound questions of national identity.

These sterile disputes could have gone on for quite some time had not the Kafer War intervened, suddenly making German-Freihafener disputes look irrelevant. Quickly, most of the remaining disputes were settled, and Freihafen's industrial economy geared up to support first German military efforts then relief efforts generally in the French Arm. Although German-Freihafener sentiments can't be described as warm, for the first time since independence they can be described as promising.

German colonies: Six million people living in the once-Bavarian colonies of Germany were born on Tirane. At one time, Garteners had expected to inherit leadership of the Bavarian interstellar community, given Garten's growing industrial and demographic strength. Instead, Bavaria's merger with Germany forced Garten to become independent Freihafen, and effectively shut out Freihafeners from the German colonial empire, now entirely concentrated in the French Arm. Terran Germany and Neubayern took over most of Freihafen's former market share, and Freihafener migration to the French Arm colonies was cut off sharply. The long-term trend, most Freihafener analysts woefully predicted, was for a disengagement of Freihafener from the former Bavaria's French Arm colonies. This changed sharply with the Kafer War. In the space of a year, all of the former Bavarian colonies save Nibelungen (safely behind the front lines at Queen Alice's Star) and Adlerhorst (secured by the multinational peacekeeping force stationed there) fell to the Kafer hordes. 5.2 million people living in the former Bavarian colonies died, including the near-totality of Hochbaden's population. Germany's industrial and demographic hearts on Earth and Nibelungen remained safely behind the front line at Queen Alice's Star, but beyond that front line the German empire was devastated and in desperate need. This created an opening for Freihafen. 

Eva Mikeska looked over her operations console on board the Vaclav Schultz, with a strange look on her face. The Freihafener vessel she was serving aboard was orbiting Joi running relief supplies, supported by Azanian and French escorts.

Her commander, Kaptain-Leutnant Jerzy Kwiatkowski, saw this concern in her face and asked, 'What's the problem, Mikeska?'

'Good God, Ka-Leun! The devastation! How could anyone have lived through that?'

'Surprisingly, Eva, many did. Joi came out much better than all the others. Hochbaden, well...'

'Well, I hope the people in Halbinsel can bury hard feelings and accept what we have to offer.'

Kwiatkowski grinned, somewhat wolfishly, 'Well, Mikeska, that's what the ND and the diplomatic service are counting on..'"

With much German shipping destroyed, Freihafen's merchant fleet–enjoying the protection not only of Freihafen's Raumwaffe but the French Marine Spatiale–has recently begun to make appearances throughout the French Arm, hauling with them a wide variety of goods and quite frequently the good wishes of Freihafen's people These ships have been in the forefront of relief efforts in the French Arm, often under either ESA or Zapamoga sponsorship. In fact, the Polish relief agency has maintained one of its largest offices off-Earth at Raumhafen due to its longstanding ties to Freihafen's interstellar shipping industry. As many of the non-Bavarian Freihafeners can trace their ancestry to Zapamoga-sponsored emigration programs, Freihafener ships supporting Zapamoga often have crews willing to work for less than the prevailing rate, provided the mission is in support of relief or colonization efforts.

The Freihafener government supports these relief missions strongly, often providing financial subsidies to these ships and supplying food and industrial supplies for aid. German colonies receive particular attention, as the Freihafener government hopes that the donation of much-needed goods and equipment will generate better feelings toward Freihafen among these German colonists. In turn, this could improve relations with the newly-united Bundesrepublik and, should that fail, possibly turn German colonial opinion away from their parent nation towards Freihafen. The Freihafener government has recently established consulates on Nibelungen, Beta Canum, and Adlerhorst to handle the increased volume of commerce.

Heidelsheimat: Whether or not the "Heidelsheimat Question" has a definitive answer has been debated in Hauptstadt and in Freihafen at large just as it has on Earth and on Heidelsheimat itself. Freihafen is the first (and so far, the only) country to explicitly recognize Heidelsheimat's independence as a "Bavarian" colonial society, maintaining an embassy in Steinfurt, cultivating a lucrative trading relationship with the colony, and providing extensive military and economic aid. Contrary to the fears of the smaller colony, there is very little interest on the part of Freihafeners in transforming Heidelsheimat into a colonial protectorate; most Freihafeners, policy-makers and otherwise, would prefer Heidelsheimat to complete the transition to independence, whether as a Bavarian nation-state or not.

Greece: The Greek relationship with Freihafen was cordial long before independence, thanks to the large Greek-Freihafener ethnie and substantial bilateral trade. Greece’s early recognition of Freihafener independence–quickly followed by the rest of the Aimos bloc–set the stage for moder bilateral relations. Freihafen entirely supports the eventual transfer of Nova Ostia to Greek sovereignty. Greece has an embassy in Hauptstadt and consulates in Neumarkt and Neu-Tsingtao, while Freihafen has an embassy in Athens that represents Freihafen to the entire Aimos bloc.

Hungary: Hopes for a rapid expansion of Hungarian-Freihafener trade, in keeping with the Freihafener policy of bolstering its central European allies, have been spoiled by Hungary’s recent nationalization of much of its economy in the hopes of accelerating its economic modernization. Nonetheless, Freihafen has kept the door open for an intensification of relations by keeping liberal immigration quotas and establishing an embassy in Budapest.

Iran: Freihafen is the only non-Terran nation to have an embassy in Iran, established in 2297. The Iranians were greatly impressed by this, though as yet there has been little substantive interaction. The decision to establish an embassy to Teheran–despite Freihafen’s wartime involvement against that country in the Central Asian War–is a consequence of the interest of Freihafener Muslims, either moderates or Shi’ites, in the liberal Shi’ite and Sufi Islam practiced in that country. Rather than look to a religiously conservative Arabia or a nationalistic UAR, Freihafener Muslims–and the Freihafener government–would prefer to look to a liberal Muslim ally as a religious role model.

Indonesia: For a long while, Indonesia has had a bad reputation, in part because of the piracy activities of the Indonesian corporation Singapore Metals in the early 23nd century, in part because it was the Indonesian conquest of Malaysia in the early 21st century which displaced the Polnisches Kantonesisches from their Southeast Asian homeland. Recently, however, Indonesian efforts to passively terraform the moon Atropos in the Proxima Centauri system have received favorable attention in the Freihafener press. In 2301, Freihafen opened an embassy in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, followed by Indonesian reciprocation the following year.

Japan: Freihafen’s declaration of independence relieved many Japanese, as it meant that the Franco-German tensions which posed such a problem for the Japanese colony on Joi would not be transferred to Japan’s second homeworld. Trade between Freihafen and Japanese territories outside of the Alpha Centauri system has grown sharply, particularly after the Kafer War. The Japanese authorities want Freihafen continue to resist the lures of radical tiranista ideology, and that Freihafen support a Japanese-built beanstalk (see SPACE OPERATIONS). Freihafeners are so far willing to indulge Japanese desires. Japan has an embassy in Hauptstadt and consulates in Neumarkt and Neuklagenfurt, while Freihafen has an embassy in Tokyo and a sub-embassy in Aguinaldo City.

Korea: Although Korea has had next to no contact with either Bavarian Garten or independent Freihafen, Korea’s friendly relationships with Manchuria and America have predisposed Freihafeners to look kindly on Korea. In the past, the Raumwaffe has paid friendly visits to the Korean mining outpost at Lachesis in the Proxima Centauri system, while the Agentur has rented base facilities on its infrequent visits. Discussions on establishing full diplomatic relations are currently being conducted between the Freihafener and Korean delegations at the Tirane Council in New Bennelong. Observers on both sides believe that there is much potential for trade between the two emerging “second wave” interstellar powers.

Manchuria: Garten, unlike most of the rest of the Bavarian interstellar community, has traditionally had friendly relations with Manchuria thanks to the long history of Garten-Tunghu interaction. Manchuria supported Freihafen independence on the grounds that it would limit reunified Germany’s potential to completely destabilize human space, and Manchuria and Freihafen maintain embassies aimed largely at the promotion of trade between the two countries. Lately, tensions have been growing over the Provolution issue, as Freihafen’s relative openness to this “transhumanist” ideology–openly and legally represented by the Pro-Entwicklung movement–has been accompanied by Manchurian Provolutionists seeking (and getting) refugee status in Freihafen. So far, this issue has not damaged a genuinely friendly relationship.

Mexico: Mexican-Freihafener relations are almost as cold as Argentine-Freihafener relations, improved only by Mexico’s lack of conflict on Tirane. The two countries do not have diplomatic ties; Mexican-Freihafener relations are either conducted through their delegations at the Tirane Council, or indirectly through Argentina.

Poland: This second-tier European nation-state–one of the most important non-stutterwarp states in Europe–is a time-honored partner of first the Vereinigte Kolonien von Garten, then of independent Freihafen. Common concerns over Germany and the influence of the Polish-Freihafenian ethnie have helped cement a modern alliance. The main problems between the two countries are centered around the activities of terrorist fundraisers in the Lithuanian-Freihafenian ethnie. Freihafen maintains a large embassy in Warsaw and consulates in Krakow, Poznan, and Wilno; Poland, in return, has an embassy in Hauptstadt and consulates in Neuklagenfurt, Crailsheim, and Sternstadt.

Russia: Traditional Bavarian prejudices against Russia dating from the Twilight and Russo-Ukrainian Wars had faded by the 23rd century, and two-way trade and Russian migration to Garten increased steadily as the century passed. Russia followed its Estlandic satellite in recognizing Freihafener independence early on, owing to a desire to maintain its lucrative trade with the former Bavarian colony and its continued anti-colonial sentiment. Modern Russian-Freihafener relations are friendly; ships of the Voyenno‑Kosmicheskiye Sily Rossii and the Freihafener Raumwaffe regularly pay visits to Freihafener orbital facilities at Alpha Centauri and Russian orbital facilities in Sol system, respectively,  while Russia maintains an embassy in Hauptstadt and Freihafen has recently opened an embassy to Russia in Moscow.

Serbia: Although there is a large Serbian community in Freihafen, the relationship between Serbia and independent Freihafen has generally been distant though overtly friendly, with Serbia maintaining an interest section in the Greek embassy in Haupstadt and Freihafen maintaining relations with Serbia through the Athens embassy.

Texas: Texans played a role out of all proportion to their numbers in organizing the settlement of the Südgarten and the creation of Neu-Tsingtao, while Texas was the first country on Earth to recognize Freihafen’s independence. This history has helped create warm and close diplomatic relations between Texas and Freihafen. Recently, Texas and Freihafen have been moving closer together, aided in part by Freihafen’s efforts at encouraging a rapprochement between Heidelsheimat and Texan Fredonia at Rho Eridani. The two “second wave” interstellar powers have many complementarities: Texas has a far-flung colonial empire in the Chinese Arm but a weak industrial base, while Freihafen has no colonies at all but a very strong industrial base. Some forward-looking people in both countries argue that there might be a Texan-Freihafener synthesis. Texas has an embassy in Hauptstadt and a consulate in Neu-Tsingtao, while Freihafen maintains an embassy in Austin and has accredited its embassy to Heidelsheimat (Steinfurt) to the Texan departmental government of Fredonia.

Ukraine: Freihafener relations with this “second wave” interstellar power were friendly but distant until the Kafer attack on Aurore. This created a wave of sympathy for the suffering Ukrainians of Novoa Kiyev, and also encouraged the Ukrainian-Freihafener ethnie to take an active role in lobbying for a Freihafener military commitment against the Kafers. Relations between the two countries are good, though apart from a common policy towards the Kafer they have little in common; Ukraine maintains an embassy in Hauptstadt and a consulate in the Nordost Garten capital of Crailsheim, while Freihafen is represented in Kyiv.

United Arab Republic: Independent Freihafen has followed the Texan lead in remaining hostile towards the UAR, largely out of a desire to cultivate a Texan alliance but also out of sympathy with the Texans (and Heidelsheimaters, who perceive a UAR threat from German armament contracts). The UAR, for its part, is unhappy at Freihafener hostility and would like to develop a trading relationship with the Tiranean state, but its initiatives have been rebuffed.


Finally, the expansion of Freihafener influence outside of the Alpha Centauri trinary system has proceeded apace. Already, after independence Freihafener-registered merchants continued to trade with Earth, compensating for the loss of German French Arm colonial markets by developing alternatives in trade with Earth’s non-stutterwarp powers, as well as with French colonies at Beowulf and Beta Canum. Freihafen’s connection with Heidelsheimat, expanding trade and sending a Freiwehr mission to help train and arm the Bayerische Heer (Heidelsheimat). It would take the Kafer War, though, to help push Freihafen into a more active role in astropolitical affairs.

The Kafer War

After the acrimonious break between Freihafen and Germany, received opinion in Freihafen held that slowly but surely, Freihafeners would lose interest in the other Bavarian colonies. Certainly there were substantial human and economic ties between the French Arm colonies and Freihafen, but as the French Arm colonies became integrated into a mercantilistic German bloc and Freihafen concentrated on intra‑Tiranean trade, these ties would gradually attenuate, and eventually snap.

Like other received opinions, this was disproved by the Kafer War. The genocide committed by the Kafers at Hochbaden in June 2301 was heavily covered in the Freihafen media; almost twenty thousand holders of Freihafener citizenship died during the relentless Kafer campaigns there, and many Freihafener corporations with investments at Hochbaden suffered heavy losses. Other Bavarian colonies fell–Dunkelheim in June 2301, Beta Canum's Deutsche Kontinent in February 2302–though thankfully with much lighter loss of life and wealth than at Hochbaden. The effect on Freihafener morale of the conquest of almost the entire French Arm was shocking. When the Kafer fleet was finally broken at the Battle of Beowulf on 12 July 2302, Freihafeners were relieved; the specter of Kafer warships and soldiers laying waste to Tirane was no longer an immediate threat.

In the wake of the Kafer invasion, however, Freihafeners were quite concerned at the humanitarian catastrophe on the French Arm. There was a great deal of concern for the well‑being of the roughly one million Freihafener expatriates living in the French Arm beyond Neubayern, and indeed for the well‑being of all the German colonists living in the affected areas, Freihafener or non‑Freihafener, Bavarian or Hannoverian. More than this, however, Freihafeners felt touched by the sufferings of all human colonists on the French Arm, and their need for aid: material goods to rebuild damaged colonial economies, food and medicine to nourish medically strained human populations, military aid to defend the colonies against a second Kafer attack and to mop up remnant Kafer forces on the ground and in space.

Freihafen's military contributions have been useful–PanzerGrenadier Gruppe Martel (a two battalion strong formalized demi‑brigade serving with the Division Europa under French command), and PKR 11 serving under German command, eight armed merchanters organized in convoys deployed on the Adlerhost‑Beowulf route, the presence of some Raumwaffe vessels acting in supporting roles for the French and Germans. More important, however, has been the Freihafen aid effort, coordinated with Zapamoga and funded substantially by citizen and government donations of money, food, medicine, and even industrial plant.

For Freihafeners, the devastation caused by the Kafer War provided both practical and moral reasons for expanding their astropolitical role: Freihafen’s participation in the military campaigns against the Kafer might full be the contribution needed to ensure humanity’s survival, and the need to protect other humans from death and suffering was a moral priority. By 2303, in order to meet Freihafen’s commitments to its ally, Freihafener military vehicles could be found in systems as distant from Alpha Centauri as Eta Bootis and Rho Eridani, and Freihafener merchant ships were almost as dispersed as their military counterparts.

Freihafeners are becoming increasingly aware that their young nation-state counts in the wider scheme of things. Industrialized and starfaring, Freihafen is beginning to make notable contributions to the interstellar community. Freihafen’s active interstellar policies are unformed as yet, but now anything seems possible, from the foundation of Freihafener enclaves and colonies (see SPACE) to a Freihafen-led Klein Tirane. Now, in the first years of the 24th century, anything seems possible.