Orwar Posted May 13, 2020 Share Posted May 13, 2020 (edited) There have been many peculiar events, and people, throughout history - some with hilarious consequences, sequenced in ways that you just couldn't invent. Like that one time the Austro-Hungarian Evidenzbureau hastily put a loaded gun in the hands of Colonel Alfred Redl when they discovered that he was working for the Russians, to avoid having any trial which would bring attention to the fact that the man responsible for gathering military intelligence on the Russian Empire was a traitor. After the deed was done, someone realized that it might have been prudent to at least question him, and maybe find out how much information he had leaked, and whether the information they had on the Russians were at all correct. It wasn't. Redl had been sent to Russia early in his career within the Evidenzbureau as a spy, but Russian agents had little trouble discovering the not-too-discreet Austrian, nor discovering the fact that Redl was a homosexual - which wasn't too welcome in the Imperial Habsburgian military's officer corps. Redl was presented with an offer he couldn't refuse; work for the Tsar's , or have his secret uncovered. They also offered him 'a bit' of money to help him make the right choice. He accepted. In 1902, Redl handed over the Austro-Hungarian war plan for the event of a war with Russia. In return, Redl was fed information both true and false by the Russian counter-intelligence, which made him appear an absolute cracker of an agent in the eyes of the Evidenzbureau, earning him his rank of Colonel, as well as responsibility over all the Austro-Hungarian agents working in Russia - whose identities he gave to the Russians, leading to their assassinations; but since their reports all came through Redl, there wasn't any need for any actual agents. False reports from the Russians, as well as reports of Redl's own invention, was all that was needed to keep the Evidenzbureau happy. Even as a colonel of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the salary when working for the Evidenzbureau wasn't anything too spectacular. Despite this, Redl lived a lavish, opulent lifestyle, buying a large house in Vienna, and employing several servants - even bought himself a car and hired a personal driver. In 1913, Redl handed the Austro-Hungarian invasion plans of Serbia to the Russians. By this point, he had also painted a picture of a weak, disorganized, and outdated Russian army. But already in 1912, the Evidenzbureau had begun to investigate him after being tipped off by the Germans and, when it was discovered that he accepted bribes from the Russians, they sent two soldiers to his home with instructions to hand him a loaded pistol. Redl shot himself on May 25th 1913. May 25th 1913 was a Sunday. Soon after his suicide, it was realized that the 'Redl Mess' would need to be straightened out, and fast. But since they could no longer question him they would have to resort to rummaging through his stuff. But since the sturdy door to the study, where he had shot himself, was locked, they'd first have to find a locksmith. Finding a locksmith on a Sunday in 1913 wasn't easy - but they were the Evidenzbureau, so they did manage to track one down. The man was just outside of town, playing football, so they sent two soldiers in a car to pick him up. What they didn't know was that one of the locksmith's football teammates was a journalist, and said journalist became rather suspicious when the army sent a car to pick up a locksmith all willy nilly. The journalist was quick to discover what was going on, and the next day all of Vienna was in the know. The following year, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo. Serbia was under Russia's protection, but the Austro-Hungarians still had Redl's image of a weak and outdated enemy and barely hesitated to mobilize and invade. What they didn't know was that Russia had more than a hundred further military divisions than those they had been informed about, and that the Russians were quick to mobilize their armed forces in response, using a rather modern piece of infrastructure - railroads. The dominoes of militarized European superpowers and their complex treaties began to shift, and one of the bloodiest conflicts in history was about to begin. Obviously, Redl wasn't the cause of the war, but he was a large part of the Austro-Hungarian's view that Russia were totally incapable of defending Serbia. Perhaps if they had been better informed, they wouldn't quite so rashly throw themselves against, at the time, one of the strongest military nations in the world. He also wasn't completely incompetent. Redl innovated many modern techniques of espionage and intelligence within the Evidenzbureau, introducing the use of cameras and audio-recording devices, as well as beginning to build an extensive fingerprints catalogue from persons of interest. So. What historical event or person makes you think we live in a rather bizarre but certainly interesting world? Edited May 13, 2020 by Orwar 2 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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