Hearts of Iron III is becoming more interesting.
I decided to start afresh, this time taking control of Ireland. The game begins in 1936, giving you a bit of a run-up to World War II. I set the game controls to easy, because I have no idea what I’m doing, and sat down to have a long hard look at how Ireland was doing in the 1930s.
It seems Ireland has minimal surpluses in almost all the resources in the game, with the notable exclusion of oil. I decided I didn’t want to deal with the perfidious British, seeing as my real goal out of World War II is to retake Northern Ireland anyway, and looked further afield. I’m still not ready to treat Germany as another AI, so I’ve decided to try and turn Ireland to Communism. This involves a lengthy and very gradual shift diplomatically to becoming part of the Soviet Union’s faction. In the meantime, I’m buying oil from the Soviets and selling everything else to the USSR, Mexico, Argentina and latterly the United States. I’m building up cash, though I have no idea what to do with it. I’ve also instigated significant research paths that completely ignore conventional warfare, because right now I have a pretty pathetic army and I don’t see that changing.
I am attempting to turn Ireland into a Communist nuclear power by 1943.
Needless to say, this makes zero sense historically, which conversely makes it lots of fun in the game. Ireland was becoming ever more combative with Britain in the diplomatic arena in the 1930s, but Communism was never an option. For one thing, Ireland was dominated politically by the conservative Catholic hierarchy at this point in its history. The Archbishop John McQuaid was a close advisor of Irish leader Eamon De Valera and had no small input into Ireland’s constitution of 1937. In addition to this, the extremely questionable decision by De Valera to send official condolences to the German embassy on the event of Hitler’s death aside, Ireland was never really going to help the Axis Powers or in any other way attempt to undermine the British war effort. Staying neutral was in large part necessitated by Ireland’s economic and military conditions and a handy way of making it clear to the British that Ireland was no longer a colony. That latter approach earned De Valera specific excoriation in Winston Churchill’s final speech on the war, which really only shows the extent of the British elite’s delusion regarding Ireland. It turns out the Irish really DID want political independence, loosely interpreted by most as not letting governments from other nations make your decisions for you.
Beware my Red and Green legions, Churchill!