Fall 1905 is undoubtedly a key moment on my path to victory. This is when I decided to stab England, with whom I had had a stable and fruitful alliance up to this point. Two reasons that lead me to this decision: stabbing him later would have been virtually impossible, and my position was becoming vulnerable to an attack from him. Before the stab, I had a moderate amount of diplomatic leverage as part of the most feared alliance on the board. I was in good relations with England and Italy, had an ambiguous relationship with Austria, and was not on good terms with Russia. France, on the other hand, faced with annihilation, became my Janissary, another useful strategy always worth considering.
After the resolution of this turn, relationships changed all over the board. I took the lead at England’s expense, while the East became a convoluted mess, with Austria -- attacked by Russia, Italy and Turkey – on the verge of collapse. England tried desperately to rally support against me, but it was clear that a Grand Coalition against me was impossible. Italy was not yet in position to attack me, and Austria and Russia were busily fighting each other. From this moment on, I nurtured a close collaboration with Austria. It was essential for me as Germany to have a viable Austria, but I was also making a long-term investment in a relationship I considered would prove crucial in the endgame.
Following my stab of England, my diplomatic leverage was not as reduced as I had expected, but it wasn’t sufficiently great for major interventions. While Italy joined England against me, and the Austria versus Russia (and Italy) conflict raged on, I waited for the perfect opportunity to consolidate my lead. And it came.