Hello all. While this isn't really festive, the idea popped into my head and would let me go. But I'd still like to wish a Happy Holiday to all of you!
Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock
June 28, 1919
Germany stood, ramrod straight, head held high, and resisted the urge to fold his arms across his chest in disapproval as the voice droned on. His eye twitched a little as the man pronounced the words "Article 231". How dare they make him, a proud nation, sign some document blaming him alone for this terrible war. Did they forget his men had died in the trenches, too?
But he was corned, Germany knew that. The Central Powers had lost, and so he had to make nice with the victors—though he hadn't even been allowed to discuss on what terms. It made him boil inside, but he would wait until out of sight before venting his anger. He was still a proud nation; they could take all the Marks in the world from him, but not his pride.
Then they came to the actual signing of this damn treaty. France, the bastard, smirked as he wrote his name in elegant script, and Germany felt sick signing, in his neat and firm hand, his Alsace-Lorraine away to the other.
At the end of it all he had to shake hands with the so-called Big Three. He wanted to crush France's hand, but Germany felt so exhausted with the thoughts of all the money he would have to pay that he settled for a scowl at the long-haired man. Britain looked about as indifferent as ever, the he certainly held no sympathy for him. And then Germany got to America.
He knew very little about this particular nation. America had been one of Britain's colonies before its revolution, had had a Civil War, and even beat Spain for the Philippines and Cuba. He was practically the sole owner of a massive continent. But Germany had never had much of a reason to interact with him. America was a very isolationist nation, seeming to prefer to stick to his side of the Atlantic, though he traded with Europe and Japan in the Pacific.
A solid fact, however, was that this nation before him was why Germany had lost the Great War. Sure, the trenches had not allowed the Germans to advance as far as he would have liked, but he had not really been losing ground on the West Front until the Americans jumped into the war at the request of their old Mother Country. Perhaps because they were fresh to the fighting, perhaps because they were such a vast nation, perhaps because of that can-do attitude Americans were said to express, the war had been over in right about a year. Leading to this point.
He stood before America, and the other man hesitated, and then held his hand out for the other. It was odd; the American seemed to be almost trying to smile for him, and yet Germany could see very clearly a sort of wetness shining in those blue eyes behind the glasses he wore. A little uncomfortable at these conflicting signs of emotion, Germany shook the other's hand, and stepped away. He was now free to go home and try to explain this farce of a treaty to his people.
He walked down the magnificent steps of the Palace of Versailles, angry at France, angry at himself for losing, and yet still very confused. America's face still appeared in his mind, making him wonder about it.
"Warum sind Amerika traurig?" He hadn't realized he had asked to words out loud until another voice responded.
"Weil Sie böse auf dem Treaty sind."
Germany whirled around in shock; he knew Austria was not present for this signing, so who—?
America himself stood at the top of the stairs and was walking down to meet him. The first question that he could think to ask was "How did you know what I was saying?" The American gave a little half smile and said,
"Well, I grew up speaking English, but there are a lot of German settlers in my country, too. It almost became the official language in some states. I guess I have a little bit of everybody these days, though." He nodded at the sensible answer. There had been a period of mass immigration to the fairly new country when it began to industrialize, so much so many called it a Melting Pot of cultures.
"I see. But, why would you care if I was angry?" They were on opposite sides. The fighting may have stopped, but Germany still had America to blame for his defeat.
America sighed. "I don't know, I mean, treaties are supposed to be compromises, make everybody happy. All that piece of paper is, is France just getting payback. England too, a little." He frowned a little as though in disapproval of his former ruler. "Of course, you totally destroyed a whole generation of French people, which really wasn't cool, but still. It's not going to help anything. What do you have on your mind right now?"
Deciding to be candid, after all the other had just been very open with him, Germany replied, "How angry I am, and how much I'd like to pound France into the ground."
"You see!" America burst out loudly, "That's exactly it! This isn't going to solve anything. My boss—I just thought maybe if I could bring the war to an end then maybe they'd listen to my ideas. That this could really be a lasting peace. But nobody listens; I still get treated like a kid." His shoulders were slumped as though in defeat.
Germany found himself saying, "Well, I'm sure you did your best. It's hard to convince those two of anything, in my opinion. So I must take my punishment for losing."
America winced at the reminder of the reparations. "Hey, I'd like to help you out, but 132 billion Marks? I'm not sure I want to think about how many dollars that i—" He suddenly stopped, before slowly shaking his head with a chuckle. "Listen to me. You must think I'm some kind of jerk."
He wasn't sure what he thought of America. Germany hardly knew him, and yet he spoke so familiarly it didn't seem to matter. "I think perhaps you are tired from a war that had little to do with you." He couldn't help wondering whether he might have won if America had not gotten involved.
"Maybe. Well, this peace effort was a bust. I'm not sure what Congress is going to say, but I should probably just pack my bags and head home. No more Europe for me." America walked past him, heading for the gate that would let him out of Versailles to begin the journey home across an ocean. Before he got twenty paces, however, the nation turned on his heel to face Germany.
"Hey!" His shout was loud enough, Germany thought he probably would have heard it all the way back in the Hall of Mirrors. "If I don't see you for a while—Good luck."
He found that even with all the pressing thoughts of his debt, his loss of territory, his forced taking of the blame for this war, he could still offer a tiny smile. "Danke."
America grinned back, then turned and continued out of sight. Germany felt, even if the other nation had failed to broker a desirable treaty for all parties, he had done far more than either of the other Big Three counties for him. He would not be surprised later, at the heroic-like effort to save his economy.
"Even for an enemy…he smiled."
How was it? To explain some things:
President Wilson went to negotiate the treaty, hoping it would bring World Peace. He had several ideas, called the 14 Points for Peace, which included a League of Nations, a sort of precursor to the United Nations today. Ultimately very few of his ideas were accepted, as France and Britain were more interested in revenge on Germany. This included the war-guilt clause, stating the World War I was all Germany's fault, and the reparations which, incidentally, Germany only finished paying back this last year.
With huge inflation in the 1920s, many Germans started looking to the Nazi party as the answer, but membership dropped midway through the decade. Why? Because American bankers had started to loan money and sort of invest in Germany in an attempt to save the economy. Sadly, this effort ended in failure, as soon after that America experienced the Stock Market crash which plunged everybody into the Great Depression, allowing the Nazi Party to gain popularity once more, and you all know what that led to.
"Warum sind Amerika traurig?" means "Why is America sad?"
"Weil Sie böse auf dem Treaty sind." means "Because you are angry about the treaty."
"Danke." means "Thank you."
Anyway, these things inspired me to write this little one-shot. So, thank you for reading, and please review!