For All Time Pt. 35
January 10, 1946
Tokyo Bay: - Lieutenant Commander Richard Nixon is in the back row of all the pictures of the various dignitaries aboard the USS Midway; the young naval staff officer will always remember his meetings with Douglas MacArthur and Georgi Zhukov (Nixon is on the staff of Admiral William Halsey) with pride; men like American Secretary of State Fish and British Foreign Minister Atlee will always come up short in his mind.
Nearly a million Japanese civilians are dead. President Taft has turned down Stalin's suggestion of a new conference to deal with the Far East; Korea and Hokkaido are in the Soviet zone, and that's all they're getting.
Berlin:- Albert Speer collapses into his bunk, exhausted as he has never been in his life. In a touch of humor, Stalin had decreed that the Soviet trials for Nazi war criminals will be held in a special auditorium built on the former site of the Brandenburg Gate...built by the labor of those same criminals. Robert Ley has already managed to bash his own brains out with a shovel, Speer, who has lost 100 pounds this winter, wonders if he should do the same...
London:- John Bagot Glubb, known as Glubba Pasha, is meeting personally with the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ernest Bevin. Glubb was rather surprised by the invitation; the Arab Legion fought bravely and well for the Allies during the war; but what would Bevin want with him personally? Bevin tells him a very simple story: The Empire is nearly bankrupt, and Britain needs her troops in Palestine to defend home and the most vital parts of the Empire, not a mandate that will run out in a year or so anyway. Glubb's army, and by extension the Kingdom of Transjordan, can take the place of the British troops, control the mandate themselves.
Glubb, never one to turn down personal empire-building or a challenge, has only one question. "What about the Jews?" "What about the Jews?"
Paris:- Jean-Paul Sarte is awakened from a sound sleep by a knock at his door; he opens it to be shot three times in the chest; the mob bursts in and beats his companion Jeanine de Beauvior to death. Anti-collaborator killings have gotten more violent and more bloody-thirsty since V-E Day, on the 7th fashion designer Coco Chanel was dragged from her car, along with her Gernan lover, and lynched just outside the Swiss border.
Perhaps two thousand people have already been lynched or shot; the Darlan government continues to ride the proverbial whirlwind, doing nothing. Indeed, Darlan's "Tricolor Guards" are often the main culprits behind the civil disorder.
Princeton: - Professor George Kennan's book Caging the Bear , articulating his proposed policy of "containment" of Communism, has earned him nothing but scorn. "Apparantly Professor Kennan's service in the Wallace administration went to ill use; the same government officials who slaughtered sixty thousand American boys in a day in 1943 now want other nations to fight their proxy wars. Well, Professor Kennan, be advised that no more Americans will be killed fighting Democrat wars, and none of our allies, either." says one critic.
Washington: - Treasury Secretary and former President Herbert
Hoover retires. While he enjoyed being an active part of government
again, as he put it: "You can't go home again." President Taft turns
his eye for a replacement on the Treasury Department itself, more specifically
to a dashing young economist named Milton Fri
For All Time Pt. 36
-Despite stories told later by American and European politicians, the American demobilization of the late winter and early spring of 1946 is not a cowardly retreat from global responsibilities. The United States, a nation unaccustomed to violent foreign wars, has lost over 500,000 soldiers and civilians over four years of bloody fighting. The soldiers want to go home, and President Bob Taft, who was elected to bring them home, is determined to do just that.
In the Philippines, for example, after signing treaties assuring a 99 year lease on the naval base at Subic Bay, the US pulls out its troops and ceded sovereignty to the government of Sergio Osmeña on February 7, 1946, though the new President will not declare formal independence until July 4. Osmeña, who had become President in exile after the death of Quezon in 1944, is an old man, though, and tired. People are already talking about the election of 1949.
-For Germany, the situation is a bit more complicated. Taft has pledged to have all American occupation troops home by the end of 1947, but American efforts to negotiate either a British or French takeover of their sector fail, not that the US pressed too enthusastically for that anyway. Thus it is that while beginning deamage control work on the cities of northern Germany (clearing streets and repairing roads, there are lovely wide boulevards with no buildings at all for miles around) the US begins organizing a provisional government for "Westphalia", centered around Erich von Manstein, whose anti-Hitler and anti-Communist credentials are impeccable, and who has managed to parlay that into most of the world forgetting his pretty firmly Nazi roots.
There is an outcry among German nationalists, American Jewish groups angry at the US government's alleged favoritism towards Nazis (it's not entirely a fair charge, but it makes sense, Taft's bill to subsidize Jewish immigration to the US is slowly percolating through Congress, and he has vehemently rejected a proposal by American intelligence called Operation Paperclip.)
-Japan, meanwhile, has kept her Emperor (Douglas MacArthur has warned Washington of the risk of Communist subversion if Hirohito is deposed) and is working toward a new government under the leadership of civilian Japanese officials. As in Germany, the US has spurned war crimes trials, though they do hand over wanted criminals to their former Pacific. Fortunately, men like Tojo, Anami, and Ishii have already taken their own lives.
Friction growns between Taft and MacArthur in March; MacArthur doesn't like the US "abandoning Japan in her hour of greatest need", and doesn't hesitate to share that with the press. Fuming, Taft comes within a hair's breadth of asking for the General's retirement (as he has already quietly done with the US commader in France, George S. Patton.), but finally decides to let MacArthur stick it out in Japan until the end of cleanup and buildup (training the Japanese military and building American bases there.). He is even idly pondering the fellow Midwestern Republican for a Cabinet post.
-On April 2, 1946, a disgruntled military officer throws a hand grenade that nearly kills Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, leader of Iran, before being shot to death himself. While the Shah lies near death at a closely guarded hospital in Tehran, a factional struggle breaks out in Iran between forces loyal to the monarchy and the landed gentry of Iran.
A week later, the first Soviet armored divisions cross the border. Citing the need to restore order in the civil-war wracked nation, Stalin promises to restore full and just order. Americans and Europeans are torn between relief and horror as Soviet troops manage to secure the large cities, at least...but there's not much they can do, outside of protest strongly. Western oil comes from Indonesia, the United States, and South America, not the Middle East, and many Americans haven't even heard of Iran.
If he had to go somewhere, better Iran than Germany, is the general consensus as the initial fighting slows to a stop. Besides, you can't trust those Pahlavis; the Shah's father was almost a Nazi!
For All Time Pt. 37
-For a Stalinist-era production, the Soviet summer campaign in Iran is surprisingly bloodless. There is a distinction between conquest and annexation, after all, one of which Joseph Stalin, annexer of the Baltic States and conqueror of Poland, is acutely aware.
Only particularly vocal or reactionary members of rightist and centrist (and leftist, after all, the most dangerous traitors to the revolution are those that lurk within. Not to mention Trotskyites.) parties are deported to Siberia and remote regions of Central Asia; and the ostentatious respect shown for Iranian mosques (There are a fair number of Central Asian and Caucasian Muslims among the Soviets, that, of course, raises its own problems.) ensures that even the most anti-Communist clerics keep their discontent to a low murmur.
Indeed, in many areas, the Soviet troops are welcomed. The authority of the landed nobility is decidedly broken, as are many of the landed nobles, and they bring food, supplies with labels in German and Czech, and books with similiar authors. The most prominent members of the Iranian officer corps are quite to see forces of law and order restored. Many, those who were most anti-Communist before the invasion, are so glad that they volunteer to work for the Revolution in places with names like Kolyma.
Even Stalin is aware of the good fortune of the invasion, and the Red Army occupation force is gone by August. In its place is the Democratic Republic of Iran, complete with a compliant Tudehist government under Premier Soleiman Mohsen Eskandari, an abdicated Shah, and Soviet military bases. Lots and lots of Soviet military bases, to help keep the peace in the new Autonomous Regions of Azerbijian and Kurdistan.
And engineers; there are new ports being built along the south coast, in places like Chabahar near British India, Bandar Abbas on the Strait of Hormuz, and Bandar-e Taghi Arani near the Iraqi border. They will provide hundreds of new jobs in those cities and environs, and space for big ships.
-Despite their differences, Ernest Bevin and Pierre Darlan are acutely aware of what a perfect time this is to nearly panic. Both men spend the summer of 1946 flying from Paris to London and back again, meeting at Bevin's 10 Downing Street in London and Darlan's palatial estate south of Paris about the issue of the giant Russian bear eating parts of their sphere of influence and interest. (For all that British Oil company representantives have been unmolested by either Soviet or Tudehist government officials, the two men aren't stupid.)
After the initial condemnation of the Soviet invasion, the two men and their respective governments realize there's nothing they can actually do to the Soviets. Military action is out of the question given post-war demobilization fever and the need for soldiers elsewhere (plus the Soviet Union is rather a military powerhouse), and economic embargos from the moribund League of Nations are of dubious impact at this point.
Neither of their economies are in much shape to be embargoing anything; Great Britain is living on what it can get from its Dominions and on heavy rationing and wage/price controls, and France's overseas departments grow ever-more restive under massive taxations outside of metropolitan France. Areas under French military control, like war-torn Indochina and the "District of the Rhineland" in Germany are being quite shamelessly looted.
Finally, both Britain and France agree (in relatively secret negotiations) to supply aid to anti-Tudehist forces in Iran and not to recognize the new Eskandari government, and settle on a defense pact signed by Bevin and Darlan personally on August 1, 1946.
-In the United States, the nation shrugs its collective shoulders. President Taft makes a speech or two condemning imperialism and refuses to recognize the Tudehist government, but life goes on. The US is king in oil in the 1940s; Texan and Oklahoman Congressman lead the fight to not overly condemn the invasion of Iran at the same time their constitutes grow ever richer from the hike in world oil prices.
Most Americans are reading Mickey Spillane instead of the foreign news anyway. For all that the US has backed off from confronting Communism abroad, they've no hesitation in confronting subscribers to Serbian-language newspapers and other such obvious traitors.
Still, anti-Red fever is relatively low at this point. The sheer grey flannel radiance of the Taft administration keeps government corruption low, and Attorney General Jenner has managed to co-op anti-Communist sentiment against holdovers from the Roosevelt and Wallace administrations (there has been almost total turnover between those and Taft's)
The people not reading Spillane are reading Richard Matheson. The Bare-Faced Legends, an account of teenage soldiers in World War Two, has been influenced heavily by his partnership with his hospital mate Rod Serling, though both are new enough writers that they're not quite aware of it yet. (Matheson is 19, Serling is 20.)
"Neville drove the bayonet into the dirt an inch from the SS officer's jugular, just scraping the skin. 'You're about to enter a new dimension, my friend, not of sight and sound, but of pain'..." -But, of course, the story of the summer of 1946 takes place in Baden, where a certain paraplegic takes the stand in his own defense on August 2, 1946. He's chosen to act in his own defense, spurning the efforts of his trialmates, men like von Papen, Sauckel, and Raeder, many of whom have blamed everything on him.
Though he seems utterly mad in his cell, ranting all night except when medicated, he has seemed sane to the many, many teams of psychiatrists who came to evaluate him over the long months since his capture and arrest. Before Prosecutor Bullingham can speak, the madman shouts to the cameras with all of the old fire
"Selbstverständlich bedeuteten wir, die Juden zu beenden!"
For All Time Pt. 38
-September of 1946 sees a new Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. (CJ Harlan Stone died in April and was replaced in June in OTL; with a Republican in the White House he managed to last a little longer, hoping to live until a Democrat became President or they took back Congress, but to no luck.)
President Bob Taft ponders carefully over his replacement; coming within a hairsbreadth of picking former Attorney General Earl Warren, who'd accepted an appointment to the US Senate after California's junior Senator died a few months after taking office. Warren has a good solid reputation as a conservative and law and order man...but in the end, it's just not strong enough for Taft's taste. This is the same job Taft's father William Howard had, the right sort of man needs to hold it.
Taft finally decides the right sort of man is strongly reminscent of the President himself, conservative, a former Senator, and reasonably well-liked by both major American political parties. Thus it is that New Hampshire Senator Styles Bridges becomes the 13th Chief Justice of the United States around September 3, 1946.
-1946 is an election year in the United States, and a surprising number of veterans are in the running. Politics is in something of a mess; a wave has begun to grow among young men who've come back home from fighting for American democracy and capitalism to find empty factories; or worse, jobs filled already by men who came home first.
The Democrats blame the Republicans, Speaker Martin, Treasury Secretary Friedman, and even President Taft himself. While public respect for the man who won the war remains high, confidence in the job he's doing as President has been declining since the first factories started closing. As Winston Churchill could have told him, it's an easy lesson to forget. The man is not the party, and the people know that.
Taft has surprised many, though; general strikes in the coal fields of western Pennsylvania and the steel industry have been met with condemnation from the White House, but no sort of preemptive or even postemptive attempts to stop the strikes from happening. The President's dry "The American worker has a right to strike." would have won a man less hated by labor more than grudging respect, as it is, many have decided to take the President at his word.
When the dust settles on Election Day of 1946, the Republicans have managed to retain both their Congressional and Senatorial majorities, though a closely divided Senate will have Vice-President Aiken using his tie-breaking power quite often in the first few months of the new Congress, in the next year. There are new faces in government, and some absent entire.
Richard Nixon remains a slightly frustrated lawyer in southern California; Jerry Voorhies was defeated soundly in the Republican landslide of 1944. Barry Goldwater is elected to the Arizona Senate in a surprise upset after his earlier primary victory; the aviator was elected while still in uniform. Hubert Humphrey came within a hairsbreadth of the Minneapolis mayorship, and Joseph Kennedy Jr. overcame lingering questions about his father to replace Leverett Saltonstall as Governor of Massachusetts. One younger brother is in the state legislature, another writes regular newspaper columns.
-October sees the creation of a new nation in Europe: "The Republic of Westphalia", governed from Dusseldorf and by President Erich von Manstein, has a Constitution similiar to the American (if with more powers for the executive in a crisis. The men who drew it up were leery of the example of Weimar, but, hey, the Reds are right over the border, not to mention the Frogs and Limeys.) and is a staunch ally, at least on paper, of its patron.
Manstein's first problem in office is, of course, the winter. Great Britain is tottering through on rations, African grain, and prayer, while France has seen another upsurge in political violence (it had been dying down) as Darlan manages, somewhat successfully, to pin the blame for the poor harvest and general poverty through most of France on the fascists and Communists, who clearly need to be lynched, or at least shot.
Without such a resource, Manstein's Treasury Secretary, Hjalmar Schacht, finds himself slowly burning off domestic capitol and even foreign exchange to help feed everyone and make sure the economy runs down on time. Slowly, it begins to look like Westphalia will get through the beginning of winter with head and heart intact.
Indeed, the nations of Europe are in no danger: Just the people; the millions still homeless who already are trying to make it across the border into Spain and Portugal, where it's warm and there was no war, or Italy, where...well, at least it's warm, only to be met by border guards, some reluctant, some not, who shoot to kill to keep out the foreign invader. There's nothing to do then but wander, as the cold winter begins.
-A lot of people wander to Baden; the British German zone is reasonably well supplied, and safer than the French Rhineland. Besides, there's a show: The Grimmest Show on Earth. The Americans and French held none, the Soviets were dull, and a foregone conclusion. (About the only verdict that surprised anyone was the sentence of Albert Speer to a lifetime of hard labor in Siberia. Heydrich, Friesler, Frank, Kaltenbrunner and all the rest go to their deaths on October 19, 1946, blaming Hitler for everything to the last.)
Not that there's any doubt of the fate of Adolf Hitler, of course, or of his principle subordinates on trial with him. But Hitler in the dock is Hitler in the dock; cheerfully describing Goering's efforts in Prussia (the former Luftwaffe head is in Westphalia, under the house arrest he's been in since his American capture), Funk's accepting human teeth at the Reichsbank, roaring at the incompetence of Sauckel and Rosenberg in the East, at the Jews that escaped...
Hitler's testimony actually helps spare Baldur von Schirach, he has so happily told the unvarnished, inescapable truth of so many others on trial that his rosy view of the young man who worshiped him as a King (and helped so many young Germans do the same) keeps von Schirach from conviction (along with former Foreign Minister von Papen) A few more defendants get a long stretch in prisons all over Germany, and Hitler himself is set to receive the noose on November 9, 1946. There will be no cameras as there were at the Berlin Trial hangings, the men who pull the handle won't receive commendations and be publicly lauded. It's just a hanging for Adolf Hitler.
For All Time Pt. 39
Winter of 1946-1947
Adolf Hitler dies on November 9, 1946 just as the dawn rose outside Baden. The gallows room was in a converted gymnasium, his death chair a converted student's desk, the rosy dawn was in his face for a moment as he spoke his last words, "Es ist heute morgen kalt, nicht ist es?" It is cold indeed, the winter of 1946-1947 will be one of the coldest since the 19th century, and the wind is coming from the Alps today. An instant later, the executioner pulled the final lever and the dictator dropped into eternity, unrepentant to the last.
Before the winter is over, Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann will join their spiritual leader; Mengele hanged by Polish partisans and Eichmann frozen to death in a work camp in the Ukraine. The winter is a dark time for former Nazis, more so than most refugees. Few have the money to flee to South America, and attempts to flee into Westphalia, the only state in Europe where former elements of the Third Reich still control the government, are met with a police force headed by Wilhelm Canaris, who remembers all the people who put him under arrest and killed his friends, and frankly isn't happy about it.
Otto Frank dies in a Displaced Person shelter in the French Rhineland on November 18. Hundreds of thousands will join him, there are few places indeed to go on this cold, cold winter. The Benelux countries can barely feed their own citizens, thousands join the fleeing mobs that clog nearly every frozen road through the winter. Darlanist France puts the DPs to work; it's incredibly hard work and hundreds more die in the job of repairing France and stripping Germany, but it's food and shelter, sometimes. (And the occasional nativist mob, full of people who don't have much themselves, except rope.) Great Britain is unaccessible, and the border guards in Spain and Italy shoot to kill. With Communist sentiments growing, both Darlan and Ciano decide that free elections must be postponed again for another few years.
On Christmas Day, 1946, Jimmy Stewart stares blankly into a nameless river in the Sierra Nevadas. Life has been bad for Stewart, two years in a POW camp has broken his health, and the disastrous failure of The Best Years of Our Lives has shattered his Hollywood capital. His wife has left him, but he and the bottle have gotten well-acquainted indeed. Maybe it'd be better to end it all, let the Stewart legacy go out with some class. He puts a foot over the rail-"Stop, son!" The other man is paternal, despite that he's short and could stand to lose some weight. "That's never the way." He extends a hand. "Let me help you." "Who are you?" "My name's Travers, Henry Travers."
Jack Kerouac faces an empty typewriter with grim determination in the early days of 1947. Greater economic disruption in the postwar US in general and rebuilding New York in particular broke up his group of friends a few months back. Ginsberg, the former welder, is writing patriotic pamphlets in Washington for the fund to rebuild the Statue of Liberty, Burroughs and Cassady moved back to Denver together, and Carr mostly drinks and talks about the weather. Not that Jack has a problem with drinking, no, but he has bills to pay, and The Town and the City won't write itself. At least he has a regular job these days, writing for his favorite radio program, and chicks dig it when you can turn to NBC at 6:30 and hear "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"
Harold Stassen is America's first ambassador to independant Japan, the last US occupation troops (as opposed to troops stationed in dozens of military bases over the countryside) pull out by February 1, 1947. Despite Stassen's best efforts, relations with former occupation commander Douglas MacArthur slowly disintegrated as the general saw his personal empire collapsing, blaming a false and weak-willed defense policy under President Taft and Secretaries Fish and Donovan. MacArthur didn't hesitate to say as much, and once the Congressional elections of '46 were over, Taft didn't hesitate to fire the old general. "I am the commander in chief," commented the commander in cheif, "and General MacArthur forgot that."
For All Time Pt. 40
-March 1, 1947 sees the formation of the Amsterdam Pact, a defensive and economic alliance between Belgium, France, Great Britain, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The Benelux nations are desperately poor and a few thousand dollars from bankruptcy from month to month, especially after the terrible winter of 1947, and throwing in with the Anglo-French keeps them alive. The Pact is the brainchild of British Prime Minister Ernest Bevin, a unification of Western Europe against the Communist threat. Soon Belgian and Dutch troops are on the border with Westphalia, carefully watching the situation in Germany and eastward.
Significantly, Westphalia and Italy, the two things closest to successor states to the fascist wartime governments, are excluded from the Pact. Darlanist France and the Benelux countries will enter into no alliance with a de facto and de jure independant German state or a fascist one, despite the non-aggression of the Manstein and Ciano governments.
Bevin and Darlan hit on an inspiration, then: they'll make their own German state! The British and French governments begin working on cooperation between their occupation zones in Germany; first a common legal system, and then a common government by the middle of summer, with a theoretical capitol at Stuttgart. (Though, really, the new German "Pfalzrepublik" is governed from Paris and London.) Great Britain gets their German state as a first line of defense against the Germans, France gets more resources to keep the Darlanist regime afloat.
-In response to the formation of the Amsterdam Pact, Joseph Stalin declares during a grand May Day speech (as all of them are in the Soviet Union) that he will restore full and complete independence to the "People's Republic of Germany" by the summer of 1948, six months ahead of the Anglo-French schedule for the Pfalzrepublik. He makes a similiar pledge for the "Japanese People's Republic.", pledging full independence there by the end of 1947. (There is only the already independent South Japan to mock him with its Westernization there, not an existing competition with the European imperialists.) As the name suggests, the "JPR" is not entirely a pleasant place for non-Japanese, especially Koreans and Ainu, who obviously cause the weakening of the spirit of the Japanese proletariat and defensive spirit by not being Japanese. The fortunate ones manage to slip across the straits to democratic Japan, the really fortunate ones escape the Korea and Ainutowns that have sprung up in every major Japanese city to make it to the United States.
-The United States has taken quite a lot of immigrants in since the end of the war, both those displaced by it directly and those fleeing its consequences. Among these are several hundred thousand Jews, enough to give her an even more substantial Jewish population per OTL. (Very few American Jews have emigrated to the nearly openly anti-Semitic Palestinian Authority, where Britain will formally cede her control in August of 1947.) Gentleman's Agreement will prove even more successful than per OTL, the problems of American and Americanized Jews, as opposed to their European or Palestinian counterparts, are reasonably important to the American public.
Things are going pretty well in the US, they can afford those kinds of humanitarian worries. The recession of 1946 is comig to an end, and the economy is booming. The mass media is full of tales of the horrors of war and what a marvelous thing peace is: the pacifist science fiction stories of a young professor at Columbia named Isacc Asimov are the latest thing in the pulp community. Academic advocates of military interventionism have begun a lively if secretive correspondance, two former Undersecretaries of State named Dean Acheson and George Kennan are working on a magnum opus against isolationism, not that they expect it'll come to much good at the moment. Advertising middle manager Sloan Wilson, whose firm does limited publicity for the White House, has begun writing a biography of President Robert Taft, with the expected title.
-As summer begins, a weather balloon crashes into the central square of the small town of Roswell, New Mexico. Deeply embaressed at the public failure of the Army's attempt at high technology, Secretary of War Donovan and President Taft cut the budget for secret military research for the second year in a row.
-Meanwhile, India is independant! Hooray! Millions are dead in the partition, but that's less good.
For All Time Pt. 41
-The main story of the latter part of 1947 is, of course, the outbreak of the Palestine War. What was first billed as a pan-Arab peacekeeping operation soon devolves into a pan-Arab conflict, and one where everyone is shooting at the Jews.
Menachem Begin is a desperate man by the middle of August, 1947. British authority in the Palestinian Mandate is due to lapse (by governmental decree) on October 1, 1947, when it will be turned over to the Arab Legion in particular and the government of Transjordan in general. Glubb Pasha's troops have been the de facto government in Palestine for a long time, though: it was soldiers of the Arab Legion who arrested Avraham Stern the year before, and they who executed him publicly just before New Year's.
The more moderate Zionist leaders, men like David Ben-Gurion, have chosen to try cooperation with the new authorities, to persuade them to disgorge territories long since promised to a Jewish state and largely useless to the Arab authorities. (Britain's Bevin government has replied to every petition with stern warnings about the consequences of making trouble.)The Irgun Zvai Leumi has been formally outlawed by both the government and the moderate Jewish organizations, driving the members of that already desperate organization (of which Begin is the new leader) to even greater feats of bravery or terrorism, depending on your interpretation.
With word of a new crackdown on the Irgun planned for September, Begin makes his decision. If the weak-willed moderates won't make an Israel, he'll make his own, by God. On August 7, 1947, several hundred Irgun troops, the bulk of their Jerusalem fighting strength, seize control of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, with only a few casualties among the Arab police forces posted to the hotel. (OTL's bombing went elsewhere.) Speaking to a cheering crowd of his supporters, soldiers and those few Zionist civilians in the hotel in the first moments of the crisis, Begin announces the formation of the State of Israel, with himself as its first Prime Minister (and commander of the army at once.) As a sop to the moderates, David Ben-Gurion is named first President. Begin calls for revolution, for the Jewish population of Palestine to take to the streets and take out the hated Arab and (to a lesser extent) British occupiers.
Indeed, in the opening hours of the crisis, mobs consisting of perhaps five thousand in total do briefly roam the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, throwing rocks at passing Arab and British soldiers and demanding a Jewish state for Jewish people. The homes of moderates like Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol are picketed, with cries for them to lead the revolution personally; their attempts to reason with the crowd meet with lukewarm success at best. Still, in a calmer enviroment, the Palestine Crisis would probably have passed with few casualties among the civilian and military populations of Palestine.
But Glubb Pasha's Palestine is anything but calm. Within a few hours of the beginning of the civil disorder, Arab Legion troops have mobilized in every major city in the Mandate, with the reserves called out in cities like Jerusalem with a Jewish majority. (Even with the greatly decreased Jewish migration to Palestine, Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since the mid-19th century.) Several thousand troops surround the King David Hotel, demanding the immediate surrender of the Irgun forces. Both Glubb and Begin are under siege in the hot sun, Glubb's subordinates want to storm the hotel and slaughter all who live within and worship the wrong god, and Begin's most fanatical subordinates like the idea of a second Masada a little too much.
With the two divided camps on the hot afternoon of August 8, (the siege has lasted a day) it's hard to say who throws the hand grenade that detonated near an open window of the hotel at 3 PM, killing two Arab soldiers, a British advisor, and wounding two Irgun fighters. Both sides return fire, and Glubb reluctantly gives the order to storm the hotel, or rather gives his seal of approval to the reserve troops who have already broken the firing line to storm the hotel, adding the well-disciplined Arab Legion troops to their numbers.
By nightfall, over three hundred of Begin's four hundred troops are dead, many shot after attempts to surrender, with 109 Arab Legion and reserve troops in a similiar state. Casualties are heaviest among the reserves, and soon the word sweeps across Palestine about the Jewish terrorists who have killed Arab soldiers, many of them locals, civilians on days they're not in uniform.
Despite half-hearted efforts at peacekeeping by Legion and a smattering of British troops, the mob violence that sweeps Palestine in the next few weeks is mostly Arab on Jew. Both sides are armed and firing at each other; with the Transjordanian troops often openly joining in the fighting against the Zionist troops. Acting under orders from Amman (and possibly London, depending on what conspiracy theory you believe) and blaming the Zionists for the deaths of his men and the violence in Palestine, Glubb finally deploys his troops formally as peacekeepers, with orders to shoot rioters and looters to kill. He makes a distinction between "armed civilians acting in self-defense" and "alien rioters capitalizing on our disorder for their own gain.", with the results one might expect. (Lots of dead Jews, and lots more angry, armed Jews and Arabs on the streets the next day.)
-As August moves on, British Prime Minister Bevin pledges British (and by extension, Amsterdam Pact) neutrality in the "Palestinian Disorder", though he does make many veiled references to "alien trouble-makers stirring up trouble in a peaceful territory" and promises full European support and recognition for the legimate government of Palestine. He accelerates the timetable for a British pullout, and by the first of September, only embassy personnel and Arab liason troops are left.
Despite strong pressure from American Jewish groups, the Taft administration pledges full neutrality in the Palestinian problem; though Taft does echo his post-war promises that Jewish refugees displaced by World War II, even those who temporarily settled in Palestine, will receive succor and aid if they choose to emigrate to the United States.
Meanwhile, the Arab states are horrified at Jordan's weakness. There's a risk of a Jewish republic right there in Palestine (land they want, run by people they hate), and the Jordanian military is only shooting rioters and members of terrorist organizations! The pansy bastards! The Egyptian and Syrian governments begin exerting strong pressure on Jordan's to take real action against the Zionists, to drive them into the sea or slaughter them! (Iraq is distracted by the new Communist Iranian state, and Lebanon is besieged by tens of thousands of Arab refugees from Palestine.) Plus, they all want a piece of Palestine, for faith and for all that land. (Land! Sweet land!)
When Jordan refuses, the Egyptian and Syrian armies mobilize on the Palestinian border, giving Jordan a time limit of October 1 to begin a full crackdown on the Zionists and to hand over the land which they acquired through a back room deal with the British imperialists. (The ten thousand dead or arrested Jews in Palestine might say they already are under crackdown, but neither Egypt nor Syria care.) Jordan refuses without hesitation, it is their territory, to deal with as they please, and so, at high noon on October 1, just as British authority formally lapses in Palestine and the territory becomes de jure part of the Kingdom of Jordan, the first Egyptian and Syrian troops cross their respective borders.
Despite early rapid strides by the Egyptian and Syrian armies, the more professional and fully mobilized Arab Legion (though badly outnumbered) manages to stabilize the battlelines within a month of the invasion, with the lines still frozen there by the end of the year. The Egyptian forces have broken free from the Negev and have seized most of Beersheba in the south, while the Syrian forces have pushed south to lay seige to the city of Nazareth in the north.
As the war's military body count passes 10,000 by the end of 1947, American, European, and Soviet observers notice that if the Jordanians, Egyptians, and Syrians fight each other with moderate ferocity at best, they fight the Irgun with a ferocity indeed. The Irgun cause isn't recognized by any party (even Stalin is in one of his more anti-Semitic moods, and is trying to cozy up to the Islamic world after the whole invasion thing.) in the conflict or world, so they're considered terrorists, and are treated as such.
For All Time Pt. 42
-The biggest story of early 1948 in the United States, despite the ongoing Palestine War with its hundreds of thousands of arriving refugees, is the election of 1948. Despite moderately serious strikes in the coal and rail industries, the American economy has recovered well from the recession of 1946 and much of America's wartime prosperity has been revived and extended to most Americans, at least the white middle class ones. Thus, there really are no challengers for President Robert Taft for the Republican nomination, and his renomination at the June 21-25 convention in Philidelphia is something of a foregone conclusion.
The only real surprise is the nomination of New York Governor Thomas A. Dewey as Taft's Vice-Presidential candidate. Vice-President George Aiken, a firmly liberal Republican, is uncomfortable with the deep conservatism of the Taft administration, but not so much that he'll challenge a sitting President for the nomination. Dewey is liberal too, but far more willing to compromise, especially with an unspoken offer of support in 1952. (In a Lincoln-esque move, no one actually bothered to tell Taft about the deal, knowing he'd refuse on principle, but his staff knows he'll support a loyal confederate like Dewey, especially with somewhat Presidential seasoning.)
Democrats, meanwhile, fight hard through the winter, spring, and early summer. Presidential contestants include 1944 candidate Alben Barkley (who loses out as too old and too discredited), Georgia Senator Richard Russell (who is too conservative even for the newly rightist Democrats) and former President Henry Wallace, whose doomed attempt at the nomination only serves to demonstrate how out of touch he is with both the Democratic Party and the country at large. Not entirely blind, he refuses an offer to revive the '44 Progressive Party, he can see the '48 apparatus is full of Stalinists.
After a tumultous convention from July 12 to July 16, in which Russel and Barkley crush Wallace before turning on and destroying each other, the party settles on a moderate dark horse, but one with a history of leadership and organization in war and peace: former Secretary of the Navy and Indiana Governor Paul McNutt, selecting Nevada Senator Pat McCarran as his running mate.
-Meanwhile, in March, Lebanon declares war on Jordan and, allied to Syria, invades Palestine, its armies greatly enhanced by the thousands of refugees who'd temporarily fled there at the war's outbreak. With Lebanon fighting by their side and with a substantial fifth column of Palestinians already living in the former Mandate, the Syrian army pushes the Nazareth Line south, to the city of Hadera on the coast and including part of the West Bank of the Jordan River.
With the Arab Legion distracted and being slowly bled white, the Egyptian Army in the south manages to drive north to the city of Gaza, only to be stopped by an unwitting and unwilling combination of fanatical Jewish resistance and a successful Jordanian counter-offensive that drove the Egyptians back from the gates of Hebron.
The numbers of their professional military dwindling (the AL was never a large force) and partisan activity getting worse and worse, the government of Jordan sends out peace feelers in May of 1948 and Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, all of whom have suffered their own fair share of casualties, agree to negotiations on the first of June, and by the end of July, the Palestine War is over.
200,000 people are dead, mostly civilians, mostly Jews. (the deaths are concentrated in urban Jews, with refugees and the pogroms severe enough that Jerusalem has lost its Jewish majority, with much of Tel Aviv a virtual ghost town.) Delegates from all over the Arab world meet in semi-neutral Baghdad to settle the new boundaries of Palestine. There are, of course, no Jewish delegates, with the assasination of David Ben-Gurion by a former member of the Jordanian army, the surviving Jewish leadership has died in place or successfully fled to the United States.
-In the Philippines, ailing President Ozmena decides to bolster his equally ailing government by taking the even more ailing Manuel Roxas into his goverment. Roxas had been the favorite to win the Presidency in 1948, but his health makes it impossible to run this year. Roxas is the new Minister of Justice, and begins a crackdown on the Hukbalahap movement (the corruption and moderate attempts at a crackdown under Ozmena have served to make the Huks more powerful than per OTL.)
For All Time Pt. 43
-With the victories of Chester Bowles in Connecticut, Adlai Stevenson in Illinois, and Herbert Lehman in New York, the Democratic Party takes back the Senate in early November of 1944; unfortunately, that's the only concrete Democratic victory of the election of 1948.
The House remains Republican by a half-dozen votes, with the Southern Democrats who have often voted the GOP's line since the Roosevelt administration ensuring a strong majority for the programs of the Taft administration.
The Presidential race is a dull one; Bob Taft's policies have only offended people who'd have voted Democratic anyway (labor and liberals), and while Paul McNutt is deeply interested in the increasingly rapid retreat of Chiang Kai-Shek in China, the beginning of leftist disturbances in the Philippines, the ongoing "culturelle révolution" in France, the end of the Palestine War, the new Red German and Japanese states and the new Anglo-French backed Palantine; America doesn't care very much, and so McNutt mutes his urge towards interventionism.
Thus, with the American economy in very good shape (on the surface at least) and foreign policy not particularly an issue, there's very little reason for people not to vote for Bob Taft, so they mostly do. The Taft-Dewey ticket is elected by over 100 electoral votes and five percent of the popular vote, proving that America is reasonably willing to accept his policies; he can be elected without electoral chicanry. Taft carried New York and most of the Midwest, only losing McNutt's Indiana.
-With his President safely re-elected, Secretary of War William Donovan resigns. The old commander of the 69th New York cannot countenance the dismantling of much of the American military under his watch, despite his personal loyalty to President Taft.
Taft's pick as his replacement is North Dakota Senator Gerald Nye, whose loyalty to the administration (Taft's campaigning and popularity helped save him in 1946) is nearly as fervent as his isolationism and commitment to disarmament. Neither man is willing to touch America's fission program (outside of post-wartime cuts), but as for all the other waste...
September 15, 1948: Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria sign the Treaty of Baghdad, formally ending the Palestine War. Lebanon receives the northern half of the Hula valley, but they don't particularly mind, the government didn't enter the war for territory. Druze and Maronite Christians will receive special rights in the Muslim-controlled Holy Cities, while newly-vacant land in Palestine will be awarded to Muslim refugees in Lebanon; thus getting them out of Lebanon.
Syria receives everything north of the city of Jenin, outside of the Lebanese concession. Many native Palestinians (well, the non-Jewish ones) emigrate north to the Syrian territories, with whom they have a strong ethnic bond. Toward the Jewish population of the area, Syria pursues a similiar policy to the Egyptian government (which has everything south of the city of Gaza, east to the Jordanian border.) Formal discrimination, with strong encouragement for those who fled to not come back, and for those already there to go. By the end of the year, only the poorest or most fanatical Zionists remain in the new Syrian or Egyptian territories, the poorest assimilate or keep their heads down, the fanatical simply die.
Things are a bit better in the Jordanian territories (the remainder of the Mandate), discrimination is less severe and members of the armed mobs that still roam city and country, killing "uppity" Jews and burning out their homes and businesses are occasionally prosecuted, and even occasionally convicted. Still, the war saw heavy guerilla fighting between the Arab Legion and Irgun troops in the major cities, and most of the urban Jewish population has fled to the countryside or fled the country altogether. Jerusalem has lost its Jewish majority, and the ghost town of Tel Aviv is soon filled up with Palestinian returnees.
For All Time Pt. 44
-On March 1, 1949, one of the longest civil wars of the 20th century shifts into an entirely new phase, when Chiang Kai-shek himself steps off the boat at Taipei, well and truly gone from Mainland China. (For the moment, at least, or so he hopes.) Both Chiang himself and Taiwan the island are in bad shape; the Nationalist forces received substantially less aid from the United States during World War II and after, while Taiwan itself was fought over heavily during the American invasion of 1945. With the Kuomintang weakened badly and the Taiwanese population more radicalized (and armed) by the war, the logical solution is clearly to purge the native intellectual and educated classes; if they're not Communists, they're probably Japanese collaborators, which is nearly as bad to Chiang.
-With the independence of the Pfalzrepublik (the former French and British occupation zones in Germany) at the end of 1948 comes people who hate the whole idea of the place. Members of the Volkstag in Düsseldorf blast the Amsterdam Pact for carving up Germany and making them a puppet state, crowds in the street express their agreement by pelting passing Anglo-French troops with rocks and eggs.
The Volkstag delegates can be silenced by impeachment or political pressure, but the Dusseldorf mobs can't be; so the Blumentritt government calls on the Amsterdam Pact for help. Recognizing the propaganda problems that using their own troops would open up, both in their countries and in the Pfalzrepublik, Ernest Bevin and Pierre Darlan pressure the Benelux governments into sending in their military as peacekeepers, so it's young men from Amsterdam and Brussels who tear gas and billy club the anti-government mobs into submission through the spring of 1949.
While the Benelux peacekeepers are largely successful in restoring order, (after the Nazis, the horrors of war, and the occupation, there isn't exactly much spirit left in the German mindset), it is clear now to the world that the Pfalzrepublik government and even the state itself are a creation of and maintained by the Amsterdam Pact nations. Walter Ulbricht and Erich von Manstein condemn both mob violence and the "repression of democratic ideals of the German people", Ulbricht has his orders from Moscow and von Manstein has his basic views about how nifty a large, powerful Germany would be. (Plus he's worried about the elections of 1950, Konrad Adenauer's party looks powerful indeed, the Mayor of Bonn may be the next President. The Constitution does contain clauses about suspending the elections in event of civil disorder, though...)
The repression also serves to finally alienate the Taft administration from any attempts at military cooperation with Europe.
-Influenced by the pleas of the Quirino government in April, President Taft increases the size of the naval and Marine garrison at Subic Bay. The Hukbalahap Rebellion has been growing gradually worse since independence, and the attempts at first cooperation and then repression by the vacillating Ozmena government served mostly to stimulate the growth of the forces of Luis Turac, a former member of Congress. Quirino hopes that a show of force will show the rebels that the United States will defend one of her few remaining formal allies.
Unfortunately, influenced by his own deep reluctance to get involved in the Far East and by the less than reliable reports of Secretary of State Fish and Secretary of War Nye, Taft sends only a token increase in forces, a squadron of destroyer escorts coupled with an extra 400 Marines. The troop increase, which had been trumpeted by the Philipino government as proof of the utility and power of their ally, demonstrates to much of the populace that the government doesn't know what it's talking about and the Americans have gotten far more...spineless than they remember.
-As May dawns, a bitter, angry John Ronald Reuel Tolkien packs his bags, wondering what the University of Bloemfontein will look like. The lawsuit from his publishers nearly impoverished him from the legal fees alone, much less the damages he had to pay, and Oxford decided it didn't need to keep employing such a controversial Rawlingson Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College.
Fortunately, an administrator at Bloemfontein was a fan of both Tolkein's fictional tales and his academic papers and lectures, and the job offer had come in just when he and Edith were contemplating the humilation of moving in with John Jr. or C.S. Lewis while he hunted for work as a lecturer.
Still, even after all the heartache and personal disasters, Tolkein is sure he was in the right with his publishers. The books didn't need editing! A bad economy doesn't mean the populace won't buy a deep series, and it doesn't mean they want unrealistic fantastic stories to distract them. The Hobbit was published in 1936, when the economy was not the strongest, and it didn't exactly fail.
If only he hadn't lost the rights along with the suit...well, there will be more books.
Map of Europe, 1949
Flags of the post-war world
Japanese People's Republic
For All Time Pt. 45
Summer to Fall, 1949
-By June of 1949, George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur have begun a lively correspondance, bridging the gap from Paris to Manila, the distance and the medium of the written word keeping the horns of their gigantic egos from locking too often. Time and the vicissitudes of the post-war American military have driven both men out of the Army they'd devoted their adult lives to, loyalties established during the war have let them both wind up in another army, though.
Patton's France is more stable than MacArthur's Philippines, the isolated Communist guerillas in the Massif Central are far less of a threat to national stability than the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon, and Patton advocates a slightly more consistent course of action than MacArthur's: Just shooting the partisans. On most days, MacArthur advocates a far more moderate course, cooperation and co-option (and shooting those who resist after that ), but his flashes of both bloodthirstiness and sheer pessimism have attracted the attention of the government, enough that he doesn't quite have the policy influence of Patton, not the kind his reputation might suggest.
-On July 4, 1949, ground is broken on newly-renamed "Liberty Island" to build the new Statue of Liberty. The project is a cooperation of the city government of New York, the state government, and truly heroic donations from all across the United States. (A young former welder named Allen Ginsburg wrote most of the advertising posters.)
The Statue herself will be rebuilt as close to the original as possible (even a great deal of the original copper will be recycled), but the Island itself will be totally remodeled, with a museum dedicated to the German raid on New York City and to American warfare and patriotism in general.
Commissioned to design and the museum complex is Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, whose bitter feud with Darlanist France over the rebuilding of French cities has driven his genius from European shores back across the Atlantic to the United States.
-Clark Gable's starring role in Twelve O'Clock High is keeping the actor's reputation high indeed. Gable spent the war organizing war bond drives and making rousing, patriotic speeches alongside his wife Carole Lombard; and with celebrities in uniform like Jimmy Stewart relatively few and far between, to many, Clark Gable simply was the face of patriotic Hollywood at war.
Gable's fame is such that elements of the California Democratic Party have suggested he run for office; that he challenge Governor Frederick Houser in 1950, or even Senator Earl Warren in that same year. Gable is cool to the idea, politics isn't quite his scene, but the always politically active Carole has been urging him on for quite a while: plus he really doesn't like the Taft administration...
-Former Vice-President George Aiken is Robert Taft's latest Supreme Court appointee, replacing the late Frank Murphy, an FDR appointee. Aiken is a liberal Republican, much more so than Taft or any other of the President's judicial appointees, but Taft feels no small loyalty to his former #2 and a healthy respect for the man who stood against the tide of conservatism in his administration for four solid years. (Taft is really familiar with the idea of standing against the tide of history.)
-One of the few men willing to talk publicly (and getting a reasonably good reception at it) about interventionism abroad is a former OSS officer named John Birch, who'd been removed from his post in China after a too-public feud with the local Communists in the Wallace administration.
Birch, a lifelong and deeply commited Southern Baptist, has begun working with former army chaplain Billy Graham, preaching a gospel of godly purity at home and unashamed confrontation with the forces of Hell abroad. Birch and Graham attract only moderate attention, this is before the mobilization of religion in American politics, but a speech in California does appeal to a troubled young teenager named Charles Manson, who rapidly organizes his local Young Republican chapter...
For All Time Pt. 46
Fall to Winter 1949
- Ismet Inönü is a worried man in September of 1949. As per the "requests" of Foreign Minister Molotov: The Soviet Union wants the Dardanelles (Not to keep, mind you, just a major Soviet naval base there and Soviet say over which ships enter the Black Sea and which don't.) It wants Kars, too, and much of the east to be attached to Soviet Georgia, and more still to be attached to the Kurdish autonomous region they carved from their puppet state of Iran. And those, those they want to keep.
Inönü is fully aware of the consequences of resistance: the recent internal coup d'etat and harsh crackdowns in the new "People's Republic of Iran" have sent thousands of Iranians fleeing into Persia with horror stories to tell of just what it is the Soviets mean. Too, caving in will ensure the defeat of his party in the elections of 1950, not to mention national humiliation and even the risk of a military coup d'etat. As he has so often in the past few years, he wishes Kemal hadn't been so ungracious as to simply die eleven years earlier, and leave him to run the show when the monsters began running loose upon the world.
Turkey never entered World War II, Germany's greater apparent strength kept them out in 1945 and its abrupt collapse of strength in 1946 happened too fast for them to act. With no real ties with Europe, (Inönü's efforts at neutrality have succeeded well indeed.) Turkey can depend on no support from the Amsterdam Pact. Support from the United States is so unlikely as to remain unnoticed. The rest of the Muslim world doesn't care overmuch about Turkey, except for Iraq (who mostly cares for Iran) who won't do anything anyway.
Finally, as October slowly dawns, the old soldier and statesman makes his decision. If the choice is between Turkey's life and Turkey's (and his) honor, there's not really a decision to make, anyway. On October 2, 1949, Ismet Inönü signs the Treaty of Istanbul, granting the Soviet Union control of the Dardanelles and the rights to build a naval base and other complexes there, as well as awarding them roughly 90% of the disputed territory in the east of Asia Minor. The Turkish military goes mad (at least in angry barracks discussions), Europe and the US consider Turkey a Soviet satellite (unfairly), but there will be no war in Asia Minor, for now.
-In November, after an unsuccessful Huk attack in Manila wounds President Quirino and kills the Minister of Agriculture, President Bob Taft agrees to step up the American military presence in the Philippines. A full regiment of Marines will be added to the garrison already at Subic Bay, and a US carrier task force will take up permanent station at the various harbors on the major islands, starting in January of 1950.
First to be dispatched will be the modern carrier U.S.S. *David Farragut, completed just before the end of World War II and one of the survivors of the Taft administration's military budget cutbacks, complete with her very own task forces of escort ships and combat aircraft.
December 1, 1949: Freshman Congressman Adam Clayton Powell storms angrily out of the office of House Minority Leader Sam Rayburn. Times aren't very good for blacks in the United States; either politically or economically.
While the wartime social programs of the Wallace administration were successful in raising the economic and political standing of America's African-American population, especially in government-related occupations, the budget cutbacks and economic austerity of Bob Taft and Treasury Secretary Milton Friedman have fallen heavily indeed on America's black population, mostly unintentionally.
A second wave of the Great Migration has begun in the post-war United States, it was newly-emigrated voters recently from Alabama and Mississippi who pushed Powell narrowly into office, after his embaressing defeat in 1944. Elected on a platform of more rights and economic aid to poor blacks, Powell expected help from his seniors in the Democratic Party.
Rayburn is sympathetic, but it's just not a priority for him: He's worried about rebuilding the Democratic Party as a cohesive institution in the South, one that can help elect a President in 1952, and worrying about civil rights and the status of blacks will just hurt that effort.
No little black resentment is beginning to turn against America's newly-growing Jewish population: the government is obviously pro-refugee, and the aid to the new arrivals smacks of blatant racism, helping out the Jewish migrants to court the Jewish vote while ignoring America's black population...
For All Time Pt. 47
January 2, 1950: Benito Mussolini breathes his last on an isolated island in the Adriatic, one of the few in Italian hands. Mussolini had been under house arrest since 1945, when the Ciano regime came to power in Italy. Mussolini's fall was not nearly so hard as per OTL, and he never became a German puppet. Thus, the loyalty of a son-in-law to his father-in-law kept Mussolini alive, despite his bugaboo status as a touchstone for Italian ultra-fascists.
With his death, though, the movement falls apart: Its leaders were "Rosenbergs and Goebbels", able to lead a movement about restoring an exiled il Duce, still popular with some, but with no real ability to lead a movement about themselves. Ciano moves quickly to co-opt them, and by the end of the month, the only former Mussolini backers not in the government camp or out of politics altogether are gangsters who wrap themselves in political clothing, and are recognized as such.
With his right wing well-shored up, Galeazzo Ciano now has a choice to make. While no democrat, he is no Hitler or Mussolini either, and the harsh measures he has had to adopt in the past five years have made him uncomfortable, sometimes. Too, even limited democracy would help him get into the Amsterdam Pact: to get military aid with the border incursions of Austria and Yugoslavia, to get economic aid (though the influx of Jewish refugees has largely solved the labor crisis), and to help get credibility with states abroad, many of whom still don't like the idea of a fascist-descended state.
February 20, 1950: After extensive consulations with King Victor Emmanuel (to make sure both their positions will be well-protected in the new state), Ciano makes the surprise announcement that Italy will hold her first free elections (well, for the legislature at any rate), on September 20, 1950. The Amsterdam Pact is pleased to have a possible new ally who is strong without challenging Britain and France for supremacy, Italian liberals are pleased to have some pretence of democracy, while Josef Stalin is non-plussed. There are ways of dealing with this sort of thing, after all.
March 9, 1950: Hermann Goering is shot to death while walking around his small house-prison. Goering has been under house arrest in various parts of first the American occupation zone and then Westphalia since the end of the war, a victim of his own success.
Goering was liberated from a concentration camp by American troops just before V-E Day, imprisoned for his failure to stop the use of nuclear weapons on German cities, as well as an alleged plot against the Heydrich government. Having lost weight and drugs and gained his political acumen back in prison, the old Field Marshal managed to sell certain gullible or jaded American soldiers on how anti-Nazi he always was, even before the war, reminding them of the half-dozen or so Jews he helped save. He couldn't go free, though, not with his record, and the Americans reluctantly opted against extraditing him, despite the pleas of the other allied powers.
No group claims responsiblity, not formally, but Westphalian intelligence does find an apparant link to a maimed veteran of the British military, who lost an eye in the invasion of Vichy Syria during the war. Moshe Dayan disappears shortly thereafterwards, though, just ahead of Wilhelm Canaris' efficient internal police force.
He's not quite done with Westphalia and Europe, though. From late March through April, a former Polish Jew named Shimon Peres runs a crew of carpenters working on a major refurbishing of the largest hall in Oldenburg. This is Erich von Manstein's planned site for the Solidarität convention of 1950; where he and Dr. Eugen Gerstenmaier will be nominated for a second term, in theory.
Erich von Manstein has a plan, whose only flaw at the moment is that it's not as secret as he imagines....
April 19, 1950: Governor Joseph Kennedy Jr. of Massachusetts addresses a class of political science students at Harvard University, expostulating a theory of government that wasn't entirely ghost-written. His most rewarding contact, though, is with a young physics lecturer who worked on the Manhattan Project named Theodore Hall...
For All Time Pt. 48
May 7, 1950: Canada has its first non-Mackenzie King Prime Minister since 1935: John George Diefenbaker, leader of the Progressive Conservatives. Louis St.Laurent's Liberals ran a good game, but the party had been growing weaker for a while, seen as too arrogant after so many years in power, and too close to a US that remains more unpopular than OTL, with strained relations during the war and after.
Diefenbaker is in something of a dilemma: he badly wants stronger relations with Great Britain and the rest of the Dominions, but their Liberal governments just strike him the wrong way. Ernest Bevin in particular troubles him; whatever the faults of J.G. Diefenbaker, he is neither a bigot nor "an odious little reptile of a man", and Bevin and his Liberals strike him as both.
Well, if Canada can't trust the US and it can't trust Great Britain (Yet, anyway. In his first days in office, the Chief meets often with former British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, and the two become fast friends. Eden even helps suggest a medication for Diefenbaker's back, one that has helped Eden himself many times over the years.), she'll just have to go her own way, in more ways than one.
One of the few non-government members Diefenbaker meets in his first week as Prime Minister is a professor of nuclear physics at the University of Toronto named Walter Zinn. He has a mission for his fellow Canadian; a mission to build a shield to protect the nation, and then to help shield others. After all, he has to do something to get Canadian industry up and running again...
May 12, 1950: Corporal Charles Abrell, USMC, is guarding a side entrance, just outside an enlisted barracks, of the major US naval and marine base at Subic Bay in the Philippines at 08:00 hours. Just before his assigned watch period ends, a large civilian truck pulls up, like many that pass by his post every day, three came by on his current watch alone.
But something makes the young Hoosier suspicious, he stops the truck and orders the driver to open the back, and thus just has time to level his M-1 before the truck driver pulls a jury-rigged lever near the steering wheel, detonating the truck's contents. Abrell's thinking saves several hundred people in the barracks, but kills thirty nearby Marines and a dozen Philippinos.
(The suicide bombing was, of course, not solicited or endorsed by Thorez, Taruc, or any of the other leaders of the Hukbalahap Rebellion. They are soldiers and revolutionaries, not fanatic madmen. (Or, at least, not that fanatically mad.)
Ill luck intervenes, however, with most of the Huk major commanders in the field this day, so the first message sent in response to the bombing doesn't actually bother to declaim responsibility for the attack, merely condemning cowardly attacks on those not involved in fighting, while at the same time praising a blow struck against the imperialists. A perhaps deliberate mistranslation by a government translator renders a clumsy, offensive document into something even worse, and the Huk statement runs next to a picture of the giant crater at Subic Bay in every American newspaper on the 13th. The Huk restatement makes page 3, accompanied with editorials about the hypocritical Communists.
No American is more horrified than Bob Taft. He is the commander and chief, he's the one who chose to deploy those Marines, he's the one who got them killed in a foreign land. His temptation is to simply withdraw, let the eforeignrs settle their own problems: but he can't abandon an ally, not with Quirino rushing aid to the wounded Marines at Subic, and more, he can't let those men die for nothing, not with all those bodies burnt into his mind's eye.
News from the Far East had been bad enough before; Red Chinese "volunteers" are turning the tide in Indochina, Massu's troops are slowly falling back toward the south, fighting hard in the jungle, using some of the same Lewisite the British are using on the Mau Mau, to the same limited effect.
But now it's American boys coming home in body bags, American women made widows, American children left fatherless. If he can't make them alive again, he can at least make sure as few as possible die in the future, by wreaking revenge against the men who attacked America, however indirectly.
May 14, 1950: Robert Taft addresses a packed Congress in what will become the famous "Bitter Duty" speech, easily winning approval for immediate airstrikes against Huk positions in Luzon, with possible use of ground troops alongside the Filipino army. Gerald Nye resigns almost immediately, and Taft retires to the sancity of the White House. (A personally modest man, he can live with the problems in the White House, though he's encouraged the First Lady and his children to move to Blair House while he looks for a good architect. The former Martha Bowers is as tough as her husband, but they're devoted parents, his son's jukebox nearly broke through the floor.)
As the USS David Farragut and her battle group turns toward Luzon, already drawing up plans for airstrikes against the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon, some using the new combat version of the FJ-Fury, Robert Taft begins visiting Blair House almost constantly, even moving his office there. On his short list for the new Secretary of War are New York corporate attorney John Foster Dulles, Ohio Governor John Bricker, and even Harold Stassen; some of the few prominent interventionists in American politics.
May 20, 1950: Taft invites Thomas Dewey over to Blair House; he wants his Vice-President's advice on the next Secretary of War.
For All Time Pt. 49
May 20, 1950: In many ways, the events outside of Blair House were almost anticlimactic. In many ways, however, they most assuredly were not. The island of Puerto Rico had been largely neglected by the last two administrations; though through no malice on either part. Puerto Rican development projects had been on President Henry Wallace's agenda, but he did not submit the relevant bills to Congress until after a solid anti-Wallace majority would block nearly anything with his name on it, and those projects, a new naval base, a national museum that he managed to pass under his authority as President of the United States were largely dismantled by the Taft administration in a spirit of removing governmental interference.
To Albizu Campos and his black-shirted army of liberation, however, the neglect was yet another sign of mainland American racism. Campos had earned his distrust of the Americans as a veteran of WWI, exposed to the casual bigotry of the United States army, many of his followers were motivated by the infamous Rhoads letter, or a simple desire for national independence; like what they'd seen much of the rest of the Caribbean achieve in the past few decades.
Oscar Collazo is motivated by the first, Griselio Torresola by a family history of revolution, together with a long, angry time on relief and a chance to be really useful, since of the two, he's the gun expert. (Collazo has never fired a pistol in his life.) Neither of them are terribly competent, though: they've not bothered to determine President Robert Taft's schedule, nor even his general pattern of movements. Their plan is a rather bold one; Collazo will strike the front door, while Torresola, the skilled gunman, will attack the weakly defended basement door.
Even that plan they abandon in a rush of delight at exactly 16:37, when they walk up together to find, of all things, President Taft greeting Vice-President Dewey at his door. Now is the opportunity to strike, to bring about a revolution in the United States that will let the motherland break free and be independent! The two New Yorkers burst from their car ten yards up the road, Torresola firing with the cool of a professional, Collazo with the mad grace of a fanatic, shouting "¡Puerto Rico Para Siempre!" and slogans of the revolution-
As he picks himself up off the ground a moment later, Thomas Dewey feels rather embarrassed. (Through the not-unreasonable residual terror, that is.) Old mob fighter that he was, he hit the dirt the moment armed men burst from a car; but within a minute or two it was all over; Torresola catching Birdzell's volley in the chest, Collazo actually getting within 15 feet or so before being cut down by the massed fire of five Secret Service agents.
The embarrassment fades, however, when he sees the blood-stained, silent corpse at his side.
-Thomas Dewey knows how to deal with gangsters, though. Showing a verve and drive that shocks a nation that remembers him as the other boring guy from 1948 but is less than surprising to a New York that remembers its governor and an city that remembers its district attorney, the new President takes only time to be sworn in by Chief Justice Bridges and to change into a clean suit before addressing Congress and the nation, live at 5:30 PM. His speech is one of the first major broadcasts of the infant medium of television.
The National Guard is going to Puerto Rico (well, not the Puerto Rican National Guard, but of other states) to act as the new police force, obviously the local cops just aren't doing a good job. To Dewey, Campos and his "band of armed hooligans in an all-too-familiar uniform" must be slapped down and slapped down hard. Rapid deployment of the National Guard means the closest units, and the closest units are from the Southern states, units already radicalized on a basis of race, now with a martyred President to hold up, with the g******s now below the n*****s, at least for the moment. Racism is disgusting and pointless to Thomas Dewey, but if putting racists in Puerto Rico prevents any more assasinations, well, he's willing to do that for law and order, and if he alienates the voters in the South...well, they weren't going to vote for him anyway.
The obvious problem there is numbers; the regular army is relatively small, and with much of the National Guard posted to Puerto Rico, there are a paucity of forces available for operations in the Philippines. (Dewey vows to carry out President Taft's plans there to the last, the "fall of a hero" will not stop America standing up for democracy.) Thus, in an act of supreme irony: the memory of Robert Taft, who bulled through World War II like a horrifed crusader and greeted the return of new conflict with disgust, is used to re-introduce the draft.
It is billed as an emergency measure (even in shock and with a groundswell of popular support, THIS America and THIS Congress will give no President that big a stick), lasting only until 1952, but with an option to renew it later. Thomas Dewey has his strong arm to lay down the American law, for good or ill, and a strong wave of popular support, for the moment. (He picks fellow New Yorker John Foster Dulles as his Secretary of War.)
But he's in a bigger fishbowl now than Albany or Manhattan; the nation is watching him, Congressional Democrats are watching him (if World War II was partisan, why should the "police action" in the Philippines be any different?), Europe is watching him, and, of course, a fellow mustachioed world leader is paying close attention indeed.
-Celâl Bayar is running for President of Turkey and hoping to crush Ismet Inönü, appeaser that he is, like an ant, and all of his military party too. Bayar is a Democrat, hoping to reduce the autocracy of the government and promote free enterprise rather than state-owned governments.
He's delighted when one of the smaller left-of-center party chooses to merge with his, and gladly takes a fair share of the massive amounts of funding they offer, from private backers, and takes lots of pictures with the party leaders. (Bayar's not stupid, of course, he knows the "private backers" are foreigners. As his party is strongly in favor of engagement with the Amsterdam Pact, it's obvious they're interested in electing a candidate friendly to their interests. He has no interest in being their toady, but no objection to taking their money.)
June 6, 1950: At noon exactly, Erich von Manstein ascends the podium in Oldenburg Hall. In his hand is a speech suspending the election and declaring martial law in Westphalia, with harsh crackdowns to follow on suspected terrorists. Manstein will be as hard as he can; the Americans will balk at too much, but he can do much indeed with them distracted in the Pacific.
At 12:13, the clockwork assembly underneath the podium finishes counting down. The subsequent blast kills Manstein, the Vice-President, Head Police Chief Canaris, two Justices of the Supreme Court, and the leaders of Manstein's party in the legislature.
The new President is Attorney-General Reinhard Gehlen.
For All Time Pt. 50
September 20, 1950
Madison, Wisconsin: "And when I looked down into that bottle three years ago today, do you know who I saw staring up at me? Do you?" Joseph Raymond McCarthy stepped back from the podium for a moment to wipe his brow, looking from face to face. Thirty seedy-looking men were here tonight, more than he'd had come to see him speak in a long, long time. Life was going pretty well. "I saw SATAN staring up at me from that bottle, my friends! The Red Devil from his bottle of Red Commie Vodka!" He hefted the bottle of Smirnoff by his side on the podium and smashed it to the ground. "And that's what you have to do with it, my friends! Smash Red Commie Vodka, smash Comrade Whiskey and Comrade Gin, smash the champagne and fancy liquors the refined leftist pinko loves to drink, until we've cleansed America of the curse of Commie booze! Protect our precious bodily fluids!", he shouted in his best preacher-style voice, saying a silent prayer of thanks he'd spent his last dime on watching John Birch speak. His suit wasn't seedy at all. "Drink American drinks! Like beer!"
Manila, Philippines: Major-General Walton Walker has assumed command of Operation COPPER, a wry pun from the Dewey administration and the planned anti-Huk peacekeeping operation in Luzon. Walker himself is not familiar with the Far East, having served in Europe during World War II and in the US after, but he has a strong right arm in his cheif of staff, William Westmoreland, who served with distinction in Formosa and the Philippines during the war, and commanded several offices charged with fighting partisans in that time.
Some say Walker overextends himself in moving his command to Manila before his strong left arm (which is to say, his invasion force of veterans mingled with draftees and volunteers) is assembled in the United States and brought over to the Far East, but Walker is never one to worry about that. He and his boys will move forward, ever forward.
Airstrikes, now in their fifth month, have killed several hundred Huk fighters, several hundred civilians, and 25 American pilots.
New York City, USA: Pierre Boulle sighs irritably as he looks over his income for this month. Emigrating to the States was a good idea; Darlan is no Hitler or Petain, but it's a bit uncomfortable to be an author who's at all political in France these days. Besides, watching the government lose the land in Indochina he endured years in a Japanese POW camp for turned his stomach.
But Hollywood is well-entrenched, and anti-French sentiment combined with his own really bad English drove him back east again: to New York, America's Eternal City, to write plays. Well, outlines for plays anyway; neither M. Hammerstein or M. Rodgers would much like it if he started to write their musical for them. Still, even the idea will pay rent for this week, and food for a month...
Rome, Italy: Palmiro Togliatti has won a narrow majority in the new Italian Senato, making the Italian Communist leader one of the most powerful men in Italy. Togliatti is not in the Moscow camp, of course, very few Euro-Communists of his era are, at least in Western Europe. They saw what happened to their ideological brethern in the East when Stalin cut them loose, after all. To be fair, though, there are a number of Stalinist parties allied to his.
To Galezzo Ciano, however, his experiment in democracy has failed, and failed badly. God, the Communists are this close to taking over the government entirely! He'll stop them, though, and stop them personally, the decorated veteran of Spain is not one to flinch from personal danger. There is a gathering of former Resistance fighters (bunch of Reds) n October 1, Togliatti is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. Ciano will see about introducing something much more interesting.
Istanbul, Turkey: Gaik Ovakimyan is sitting in a cafe, drinking that odd Turkish tea and musing idly that Istanbul is no New York, but hey, what is? Life has been pretty good for him in the past few years, he got a lot of America, and not just huge amounts of military intelligence. He actually got to meet President Henry Wallace in 1944, and if he can just manage to meet Pierre Darlan, his list will be complete.
Once operations here are complete, he'll be behind only Sudoplatov, who is behind only Beria, who is behind only...well, the Great Stalin can't live forever.
For All Time Pt. 51
Fall to Winter, 1950
-Anglo-American military cooperation, something dead and gone since the death of Franklin Roosevelt, begins to flower again in the Philippines. Thomas Dewey hasn't the Anglophobia of Henry Wallace or the ingrained isolationism of Robert Taft, and is acutely conscious that if he must fight the war well and quickly, he daren't simply repeat the mistakes made by the French and British in their colonial, anti-Communist wars, and so he asks Ambassador Wilson for British assistance; for the loan of British advisors, veterans of Malaysia and Burma, to teach Americans how to fight Communist partisans in the Far East.
Whatever his vague amusement at the Americans, so arrogant in their isolationism, having to fight essentially the same war he's been fighting, Ernest Bevin isn't one to flinch from helping another democracy fight Communists, and soon, as one wit puts it, "Americans teach Filipinos how to use the Pershing in the city, while the British teach the Americans how to use their rifles in the jungle."
The Americans are doing more than relearning jungle operations; the British have met the hardness of the Malaysian guerillas with their own (more after the successful Indonesian secession from the Netherlands and the quasi-Communist government established there.), and they teach the tactics of the Emergency to the Americans, an even mix of peacetime soldiers and veterans of the last war.
Most, surprisingly, are not draftees; John Foster Dulles' War Department, now fully settled, has concluded there's not actually a need for a vast number of soldiers to fight the alleged Communist hordes, and it has been applied weakly at best, mostly to ensure the few American military bases in Westphalia, South Japan, and the Panama Canal Zone, now largely emptied as regulars are deployed to the Philippines, remain at full strength. Still, they remain an vague spectre of worry to American men of the right age, though that ground remains largely untapped. After all, despite the presence of 2,000 draftees in the Philippines, none have seen combat, yet.
-President Reinhard Gehlen can't do what he really wants to do in Westphalia; purge the undesirable elements and drive them out into countries with more tolerance for such things. He wasn't the mad anti-Semite of so many of his comrades in Intelligence during the war, but they've certainly not demonstrated their trustworthiness! (While neither Moshe Dayan nor Yitzhak Rabin has been caught, evidence of their organization has been found and linked to the assasination of Manstein and Goering.)
Pondering that Moshe Dayan's organization might not represent all Jews, or that even Dayan's people might have had a legitimate grievance against a former Nazi suspending elections is profitless, so Gehlen, pragmatist that he is, does no such thing. Instead, he acts in a way even Manstein couldn't have.
The election of 1950 is postponed until 1952; and the "Internal Police" begin monitoring Konrad Adenauer and other leaders of the opposition party. Furthermore, several hundred of the most prominent radicals, leaders of the small Communist Party and Jewish activist groups among others, are rounded up and exiled, or else kept in "protective custody", under house arrest, forbidden from politics. Some are involved in Dayan's movement, some in other plots, most are not.
The crackdown plays as well as can be expected; Westphalia does apparantly have a terrorist problem, after all, and the United States, the only nation with a major, politicized Jewish population, has for the moment little sympathy for the assassins of a President, or for Communists. Still, Westphalia slowly slides outside of the mainstream of European society even more, slight odds of joining the Amsterdam Pact pass well away.
-On October 1, Galeazzo Ciano acts. Moving with decisive speed and authority, he makes a multi-part declaration from his palace in Rome that outlaws the Italian Communist Party and "their allies, political and not", fires and arrests all such from the Senato, and declares the Uomo Qualunqu and its official leader, Pietro Badoglio, as head of the legislative branch.
Galezzo Ciano is bold, honest, and decisive, but such qualities in a leader do not necessarily filter down to the rest of the government and military; Italian Intelligence is a leaky sieve during the weeks of preperation, and even Togliatti's cat knows the troops are coming by the first of October. When squads arrive to arrest the canny Stalinist, he and cat are long gone, as are virtually all Communist leaders.
Warnings to the Christian Democrats are less efficient, those Senators and their political allies who join Togliatti in his refuge in and around Turin have many friends in government hands, and perhaps it is this that prompts them to join Togliatti in his "Turin Declaration" of October 5. He and his new-found allies declare the executive, monarchial, and judicial branches of government dissolved, Alcide de Gasperi (one of the Christian Democrats in government hands) and Pietro Togliatti are joint leaders of the "Repubblica Sociale di Italia" and the Army is called on to remove the "Fascists, now revealed in their true colors."
First to join the RSI are the new Jewish migrants, politicized as they are by the horrors of war they've fled and the knowledge of what fascist governments (like Gehlen's, and perhaps like Ciano's) might do to active Jews in wartime; they are joined shortly thereafter by those thousands of Italian officers and men who are tired of fighting for those who, whatever their heroism might have been in past wars, force them to keep the government's boot on the neck of their fellow Italians.
Within a week, low-level fighting, rapidly escalating in intensity, has begun in nearly every major city in the north of Italy, and more than a few in the south...
-In Puerto Rico, conditions slowly simmer. Virtually every officer above the rank of lieutenant in the Puerto Rican National Guard has resigned in anger at their disarmament and deliberate demoblization (all those in uniform at the time of declaration of martial law have been demobilized, and no more have been called), and discontent is high among the civilian population as well. Luis Muñoz Marín, elected governor of the island, has sent repeated petitions to President Dewey, only to be met with polite, even friendly refusal. Marin has made up his mind, he'll just go see the President himself.
Still, despite allegations of brutality from private soldiers and non-commissioned officers, the National Guard administration of the island has been an efficient one. Members of Puerto Rican nationalist organizations have been arrested, most held in prisons off the island, in some of the more isolated Florida Keys.
-In this troubled world atmosphere, Celâl Bayar becomes President and Adnan Menderes Prime Minister of Turkey near the end of the year.
For All Time Pt. 52
-On January 18, 1951, General Jacques Massu hands his broken sword to General Vo Nguyen Giap in a formal ceremony outside the city of Phnom Penh in southwestern Indochina. The long, grueling Indochinese War is finally over. The war has been marked with atrocities on both sides; Massu's artillery bombardment of Hanoi with Lewisite (an incredibly destructive poison gas bought from the British) will remain a textbook case for humanitarian societies after the war, while Giap never hesitated to turn French POWs over to the Chinese (after they entered on the Vietminh side), or to use terroristic tactics of sabotage and bombing of French civilians in Saigon.
When Massu and the tattered remnants of his command arrive back in Paris in February, Francois Darlan's rage is apocalyptic. He has lost face, a colony, and suffered a terrible military defeat. Acting in his capacity as commander in chief of the French armed forces, Darlan instantly cashiers Massu and imprisons him for treason and incompetence. No more French colonies will be lost, he vows, no more humilations before the world. He orders General Raoul Salan and General Paul Aussaresses, commanders-in-chief in Algeria and French West Africa respectively, to "crush all who lie before you; if you must kill every man in the departments to ensure their loyalty, then do not hesitate. There is nothing more cleansing than the blood of traitors."
Darlan also takes the precaution of cashiering some members of the officer corps suspected of disloyalty as well as a few members of his civilian government, along with throwing more money and resources at the Anglo-French atomic bomb project, which finally reaches fruition on April 9, 1951, when "William the Conqueror" is detonated in an isolated region of the Sudan near the French colonial border.
-By that time, though, Great Britain has a new government. A combination of ill health, a shaky economy, and a bit of wartime nostalgia have swept Ernest Bevin's Labour Party from power, leaving it with a significant 40-seat minority before the newly-resurgent Conservatives.
Leading the Conservatives to victory and to a second round as Prime Minister is none other than Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill himself; the lion of wartime Britain is now the champion of her peace. Darlan is delighted; for all that he remembers the occasional feud with his old wartime partner, he respects Churchill as an honourable man and a good anti-Communist, something he never really felt about the old trade unionist Ernest Bevin.
In a fit of Anglo-French cooperation, Darlan offers military aid to the British forces fighting in Burma and East Africa. While the offer is more than legal under terms of the Amsterdam Pact, and the British forces there, despite their slow successes against the local Communists/nationalists, certainly could use some help, Churchill is understandably leery of either looking like the United Kingdom needs France to keep her empire, or of relying on the same troops that failed in Indochina. Still, he's never one to turn down aid, and a total of about a division of French troops begin fighting in Burma and Kenya by the end of spring.
-Both governments in Great Britain and the one in France stand staunchly behind the Ciano government in Italy. While neither the British nor French publics will countenance sending in combat troops in a European war in support of a quasi-Fascist government; they have no objection at all to selling war material, especially given the economic boost that provides to both of their industrial sectors.
While this helps the UK and France, it doesn't help Westphalia at all, and despite his strong sympathies with Ciano, Reinhard Gehlen winds up only able to supply large numbers of advisors from the Westphalian military, men very experienced in hunting down Communist partisans.
Speaking of which, Josip Broz Tito recognizes the Togliatti government a few hours before even Moscow, and soon Austrian, Yugoslavian and Soviet "volunteers" in Soviet-made Mig-15s are testing their mettle in aerial combat with Loyalist Italian pilots in surplus Spitfires, and western Europe (and Ciano) are learning a grim lesson indeed in the important lesson of modernization.
Josip Tito is all loyalty to Moscow in these efforts (and he is, after all, acting on Stalin's orders), but the canny old soldier has his own agenda. Markos in Greece remembers it was Yugoslavia who put him on his chair, however shaky it might be, and if he can ensure a similiar grateful Italian government, well, things will get interesting. If only if it weren't for the ever-so-helpful Austrians!
-In February, the first wave of American troops land in northern Luzon and begin the slow march south to Quezon City. This is the British-trained wave (and indeed, a hundred or so advisors land with them) and the patriotic fervour stirred up by the bombing of Subic Bay and the (admittedly unrelated, but dark-skinned Latins blend together in the American mindset of the era) has been focused into a hard, cold professionalism.
Persons and groups suspected of sympathy with the Huk are resettled elsewhere, those who resist are driven out, those who resist violently are simply shot. Battles with Huk forces are common at first and take a relatively heavy toll on both sides; for all that the Americans are well-trained, most have never fought a battle, and those who have haven't in many years.
While control over the media is strict, and the nation hears only of the victories, not so much the body counts that accompany them, a drafted reporter from Indiana vows to find out just what is going in in those classified areas just behind the American lines...
For All Time Pt. 53
-Along with much of the rest of the world, Scandinavia quietly seethes through 1951. (though a bit more quietly than most.) The ruling Social Democratic parties have well and thoroughly expelled their Communist members; they're neutral in the Italian Civil War, but it has sent a grim message to them about cooperation with the Communist parties. Not to mention, of course, the even grimmer message sent by the fairly large Soviet armies to the south of Denmark and the east of Finland, respectively.
Finland is slightly better off than OTL, the various Soviet offensives against them were weaker with the greater resources devoted to Europe, and the border is correspondingly further east. Finland is still bound to the USSR by treaty, but the bonds are weaker and less secure than OTL. Too, Finland can boast with reasonable honesty (though quietly) that they've now beat back the Reds three times, though each time it's been less and less pleasant for them.
Denmark, meanwhile, has the not inconsiderable worry of the Red Army. Unknown at the time, of course, is an abortive Soviet plan to offer Schleswig-Holstein as a trust territory to the Danes; but in the end, priorities went the other way, and a reliable naval base on the North Sea, located in a reliably impuissant Soviet puppet state was deemed more important than keeping Scandinavia sweet. Denmark's attempts to organize a Scandinavian Defense League have foundered on the rock of Norwegian independence and Finnish obligations, and she continues to lean more and more towards the Amsterdam Pact.
-Speaking of secure naval bases: in May of 1951, long-simmering discontent in the Turkish military finally bubbles over and explodes when "anonymous sources" in the government of Celal Bayar's Democrats reveal that Bayar accepted massive campaign contributions not only from foreigners, but from Red foreigners at that!
The Turkish generals, especially one General Cemal Gürsel, nearly foam at the mouth with rage, even as they follow government orders and close the presses. The heir to Ataturk was a spineless pantywaist when it came to dealing with the Reds, and now the civilians are actually taking money from them! Democracy was a worthy experiment, but it obviously can't be trusted for the nonce.
May 14, 1951: Gürsel issues a list of...well, they're somewhere between requests and demands made of the Democratic Party and the Bayar government. The President, Prime Minister, and all of their ministers must step down and a coalition of the various rightist parties will govern until "genuine" free elections can be held. If the DP remains stubborn, the consequences will be on their head. Bayar, who is not actually a Communist himself, angrily refuses, and issues a warrant for the general's arrest.
The Soviet agents carefully worked into the Bayar government remain deliberately silent until just before the cadets from the Ankara and Istanbul arrive on June 7, giving Bayar only time to mobilize the Presidential Guard and attempt to flee Ankara with his government before the shooting starts. It's never quite proved who fires first, some overeager cadet with his head stuffed full of visions of Ataturk or a member of Bayar's bodyguard trying to protect his President, but when it's all over, Bayar, Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, and their families and staff are dead, along with a score of bodyguards and a dozen cadets.
Even as a horrified Gürsel (he wanted Bayar gone, but not like that!) moves to assume office on May 16 , the governments of the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Hungary, and Albania issue a joint condemnation of the military coup in Turkey. Each give Gürsel two months to resign from office along with his government, disarm all elements of the Turkish military except those needed for internal peacekeeping duties, and prepare Turkey for "international occupation and reconstruction as a democracy." A few days later, the People's Republic of China, Iran, Vietnam, and Indonesia chime in agreement.
The oh-so-solid front is the only major mistake in one of the Soviet Union's better intelligence operations.
-The Amsterdam Pact is understandably shocked at the rapidity and violence of the coup. as well as the Soviet response, but a variety of factors paralyze them from acting. Winston Churchill, for all that he has maintained his old fire as an orator, is in worse health than OTL's 1951, his mind wanders easily, he can no longer work his war-era titanic schedule, and his predilection for grandiose schemes (especially retention of the Empire) has multiplied.
The man some call the shadow Prime Minister is Foreign Minister Anthony Eden. Eden, who stood by Churchill's side in the war, feels no strain at all in sheltering his old leader, in keeping the golden lion of wartime from being tarnished by the ravages of old age and growing senility. Eden, unfortunately, has his own problems: methamphetamines, to be precise. While the two respond well to events they have some warning of, the rapidity of events in Turkey paralyzes both, and the British government hesitates at a critical moment.
Admiral Francois Darlan, meanwhile, is in one of his more irritable moods, and has bigger fish to fry; stamping out the Communists in Brittany, Marseilles, and Normandy who dare, dare, DARE to speak their language above French, the mother of all languages. They must be Communists, to be such traitors, and a stay in prison should cure the Red out of them. Turkey? Bah, he hardly cares.
With Britain and France hesitating or uncaring, the Amsterdam Pact does little more than condemn any form of imperialism before the Soviet deadline passes. The United States, of course, takes no notice, busy at it is in the Pacific, Caribbean, and with being very apathetic.
-Spain and Portugal, however, are not apathetic at all. Francisco Franco and António Salazar were upset enough by the civil war in Italy. (Only their own lack of much of anything have kept them from supplying Ciano.) And now, with the demise of another militaristic government looming, well, they both start remembering what they did to their enemies when they came to power, and the shadow of the firing squad or noose looms large.
There's no other choice; for all that they'd resisted falling under the Anglo-French spell, Franco and Salazar both would rather have military help to stay in power and win their various colonial conflicts (along with a bit of economic aid, now and again) than let their foreign policies largely be determined by London and Paris.
Neither Churchill nor Darlan are the type to miss out on a chance for more influence, and so they act quickly indeed on their request, and on June 10, 1951, Spain and Portugal become full-fledged members of the Amsterdam Pact. Spain and Portugal would likely not have been eligible for the Pact before, but with the Italian disaster keen on everyone's mind, pragmatist Churchill and authoritarian Darlan are more than willing to accept the pretense of some sort of governmental change in the indefinite future.
-The admittance of pretty well openly fascist Spain and Portugal sours President Thomas Dewey on the Amsterdam Pact, even more so than before. He'll keep his under the table deal with the British, economic aid for the advisors in Luzon; he is, after all, a practical man. But he watched the coffins from D-Day come home through New York harbor, and he was Governor when the Great Raid hit New York and the Statue of Liberty.
Dewey made deals with gangsters, sure, you have to do that to get by. But if Britain and France are going to betray the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died fighting for their freedom by making more deals with gangsters writ large, well, they're no friends of his, for all that he'll cooperate with them when he must. One man a bit less comfortable with the necessities of the struggle against Communism is Hamilton Fish. Not the Secretary of State, but his son and personal assistant.
Fish was a Harvard freshman when that campus was rioting against Henry Wallace (and had the natural freshman's reaction of hiding), a sophomore when Bob Taft spoke there on the importance of principle in politics. While he remains an Ivy League aristocrat, even resembling his father strongly physically, he has a slight streak of Anglophobia not really present in OTL, and, more, a rather naive view in principle above all else.
He slowly assembles a file of evidence detailing the secret deal of the Dewey administration; pressure on Irish-American groups to cease pressure on the British government to give Ulster to the Free State or supplying Irish groups in Ulster with resources along with hundreds of millions of dollars carefully diverted to needy British industries and tariffs friendly to them. In return, the British will supply the Americans with unlimited training to do...something. He's not sure what.
-That piece of the puzzle is in the hands of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a reporter recently out of his one-year draft enlistment and promptly assigned to cover a rather major story in Puerto Rico, even bigger than Willie Mays signed to play for the Indians next year. Horrified at what he found in the fifth of five Huk-friendly settlements in Luzon, the young Hoosier has written a detailed account, both in a book form and one publishable in major magazines. He's even got pictures.
The situation had been growing grimmer and grimmer in Puerto Rico; the Dewey administration has firmly refused any offers of Puerto Rican self-government or an elected government. He's sympathetic to the arguments of those for it, and is certainly familiar with the notion of plea-bargaining. But he just won't do it; he won't give the assassins of a President what they wanted, even in death.
It begins outside Arecibo on July 1, when a unit of the Georgia National Guard moves to arrest the leader of a cell of Puerto Rican nationalists. Colonel Lester Maddox, a restaurant owner in civilian life, has become one of the more infamous figures on the island, and when "Coronel Hacha" is recognized, the fifty adult members of "Comuna De la Liberación" decide they simply will not surrender.
The shot that takes off Maddox's neatly-ordered officer's cap was aimed to miss, but the volley at the three jeeps he sends tearing across the sugar fields a moment later are not, and the CDL have been training for the day of liberation for a while. (Too, several of their newer members are ex-Puerto Rican National Guard...and they didn't return their weapons.)
When the first day's fighting is over, a dozen of Maddox's men are dead and a half-dozen of the CDL members are, including two women and one small child. As both radio reports of the massacre (though who was massacring who remains to be seen), the Arecibo Siege ends its first day...
For All Time Pt. 54 "Scenes"
((Something a bit different.))
1973, Los Angeles.
"This is going to change everything, you know." said Richard Dreyfuss, playing Kurt Vonnegut in Kubrick's latest. "Dewey, the Philippines...it's all going to be different. We're not just bringing down a President, we're bringing down interventionism, the Republicans...everything." In the premeire audience, Vonnegut watched his onscreen doppleganger turn to Paul Newman. The kid was good, but had he ever been that young? Or so sweaty? "We owe it all to you, Phil."
Newman stared into his whisky glass before looking up with those flashing blue eyes that had made him a heartthrob years before. "Yeah. I stab my President and party in the back for honor...what is honor, anyway? It's..." He twirled the glass. "Bob Taft had honor. And he's dead. Maybe that says something." It was all very magnificent and all a load of crap, Hamilton Fish Jr. had been stone sober from the first minute Vonnegut had seen him walking through the ruins of the CDL compound to the last time; and Newman was decades older than Fish had been in 1951, even older than Fish would be today. Still, he'd kept his description of "Philip of Macedon" deliberately vague for a reason, not even telling Kubrick.
"It's about doing what's right, Philip.", said Robert Redford with determination and a questionable Boston accent. Oh, here we go, thought Vonnegut irritably. Kubrick had got the red-hot, boiling summer, the terrors of the CDL disaster (Robert Duvall had been a terrifying Lester Maddox), he'd even gotten the Luis Riveria, the bar that had been the centerpiece of the conspiracy....but God, had he f***** up Hamilton Fish Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. "And that's what we're doing. If it puts Joe in the White House, that's fine, but it doesn't matter. We have to expose Dewey, Fish, Dulles, and that whole crowd. We need to clean up Washington, so there aren't any more Settlement #5 massacres, Kurt, and there aren't any more under the table deals by American Presidents."
The Robert Kennedy that he remembered, thought Kurt Vonnegut irritably, had been the drinker of the bunch; the Boston Globe reporter had been bemoaning the way his father had shut him out of his brother's administration, pushing him off into journalism. As if his life's work was a sentence of death. Just today some punk kid from the Washington Post had been leaving messages on his machine, asking for advice.
But it didn't do to criticize a Kennedy, or at least that's what Kubrick thought. Whether or not that was true, Kurt wasn't going to speculate. It had been a while, after all. At least the Barrio Riots promised to be interesting; Kubrick had claimed to have hired both actual rioters from back in the day and even old New York policemen. Not to mention Warren Beatty as President Dewey. The humor alone...
For All Time Pt. 55
-Fortunately, the Dewey administration is an efficient one, especially when it comes to potential disasters, and Undersecretary of State Hamilton Fish Jr. arrives along with a direct Presidential order to Colonel Lester Maddox ordering him to not deploy the armored brigade he'd brought up from San Juan, on the second of July, 1951. While the Hispanic vote is nowhere near as important in 1951 as it is today, it is a factor, and President Dewey has no desire to promote a massacre.
Over the next few days, more State Department bureaucrats arrive, along with FBI negotiators personally selected by Director Melvin Purvis, and a horde of reporters, much to the horror of the Georgia National Guard. American public opinion is much divided, a fair majority, while not exactly sympathetic to Gestapo tactics, is all for the arrest at nearly any cost of the same kind of people who murdered President Taft, while a fierce minority, mostly Puerto Ricans or strong leftists, points out that all the CDL actually did was harbor two fugitives from justice for a few weeks, as well as taking possession of proscribed ex-military hardware.
Among the many problems of the initial weeks of the siege is that Melvin Purvis doesn't actually know how to pick hostage negotiators, so said negotiations lead everywhere but to success, and with the Army's counter-espionage units busy on Luzon, efforts to jam the CDL's repeated transmissions proclaiming their innocence and the guilt of "Coronel Hacha" go to naught. As sporadic disturbances erupt in the major cities of Puerto Rico, President Dewey deploys National Guard units from New York City, many of them drawn from the moderate Puerto Rican population in the city itself, hoping they will work better in policing their coethnics.
-In New York City herself, tensions have been building for a long time. The feuding between her black and Jewish populations, burning since the Great Raid drove so many thousands out of Harlem, and burned hot in the years since the arrival of the first waves of refugees from Europe and Palestine has even moved to the realm of organized crime.
If any man can be said to run organized crime in New York, it is Meyer Lansky. Operating in the South and Cuba during the Ness and most of the Purvis years as Director of the FBI, he managed to escape the informers that caught Barbara, Vito Genovese, Bonventre, Frank Costello, Bonnano, and Garofalo, and the subsequent bitter infighting that killed Anastasia, Carlo Gambino, and Sam Giacana. Arriving just in time to subsume Joseph Biondo into his numbers, Lansky has enforced a tough peace on the surviving factions.
The brief mob wars of the late '40s brought public attention on organized crime like no time since the 1920s, and Lansky is acutely concious of what that means. No more open conflicts, nothing more that attracts the eye of Thomas Dewey, for God's sake. And for the most part, Lansky has succeeded; and has even begun approaching his compatriots in neighboring cities about a pact between them as well. They're in business to make money, after all, not go to prison or die.
But the generation of mobsters still in command in the early 1950s is understandably paranoid, and if Lansky's going to start talking about a treaty between everyone, he'd better make **** sure his own house is in order. And he'd done that; relations had been pushed right to the breaking point with the influx of blacks into the South Bronx after the destruction of much of Harlem, but he'd been able to smooth things over with diplomacy that would have been admirable in a cause less, well..criminal.
Until, of course, the sudden arrival of thousands of young, angry Jewish teenagers who've learned both a streak of amorality and an appreciation for a good spot of violence against one's enemies. While Lansky moved quickly to hire most, some literally right off the docks, these are not people to obey orders, and moving into the South Bronx as they do, they soon disentigrate relations between Lansky and Ellsworth Johnson all over again.
There have been several public incidents between young black men angry at the loss of their homes and young Jewish men angry at the loss of theirs; with both of them moving into the same territory. Perhaps a dozen people have died over the years, with the government of Mayor Robert Moses slowly moving to intervene, mostly on the side of Lansky. Moses has no sympathy for any sort of mobster, of course, but the monolithic intolerance that marked his building career has been carried over.
-But New York City's real problem lies in her Puerto Rican community. Like most immigrant communities to countries dissimilar to their own, their relationship with the government has always been rather shaky. With the assasination of President Taft, the declaration of martial law in and the occupation of their homeland, and the subsequent close observation indeed of virtually any Puerto Rican political or social groups by the police and FBI, things have gotten worse yet.
The fact that it's summer never helps, and the mood of the Puerto Rican areas of the South Bronx slowly heats up, along with the mood of those members of New York's Finest patrolling the neighborhoods. The Arecibo Siege only heightens the mood of impending doom. Finally, on July 13, it all comes to a head with the attempted arrest of Arturo Ruiz, late of San Juan. The 17-year-old, in the United States for two years, was wanted for questioning about his friendship with a CDL member from New York who'd been caught in the compound when everything went wrong.
Ruiz runs from the several burly Irish cops who attempt to corral him while leaving high school, and manages to give them a merry chase before being cornered in an alley behind a church, where services have just ended. Someone then fires three shots; sources vary on who. The official word of first the police and then the Moses government is that Ruiz pulled a .22 pistol and fired a shot at Officer Lenny Briscoe, who replied with two shots from his .38, one of which proves fatal.
Two Puerto Rican eyewitnesses, a 14 year old boy and the 9 year old sister he was watching, say that Briscoe fired first and last, planting the .22 on Ruiz after he was dead. As the Puerto Rican communities explode in marches and protest meetings, Robert Moses makes the not unreasonable decision of sending in the police to talk to the young witnesses the next day.
Their families aren't about to give them up, and when the detectives try to force the issue, a crowd of a dozen locals chases them out via stone and stick. A while later, riot troopers arrive, and the first Barrio Riot has begun. (They're not actually IN a Barrio, really, but the name will stick.)
-As the United States convulses in a wave of race riots, as Latinos all over the country join the fun, (The Mexicans and native Hispanics living in the Southwest are not, in fact, Puerto Rican, but their local governments have not bothered to make such a distinction; it is suppertime in Washington D.C, on the second day of major rioting, July 16.
It is nearly midnight, though, for American Ambassador Nelson Rockefeller in Istanbul. The Turkish coup and Red demarche has made his life understandably difficult, helping thousands of Americans get out of Turkey in a hurry. He's only too glad to have his one day of vacation; Istanbul is indeed a beautiful city. Rockefeller is just falling asleep over a copy of Time when he's awakened by a wave of explosions. The "Intervention" has begun.
Istanbul is recieving a visit from virtually the entire Greek Air Force, in an attack coming exactly one minute after the Greek government transmitted the breaking of diplomatic relations. The Turkish fleet is caught at anchor, and while the Greek pilots aren't that well trained in torpedo and dive bombing, they certainly have a salutary effect by weight of numbers and fervor. Within an hour of the attack (which commenced at 11:51 PM Istanbul time), the Turkish fleet is broken; every battleship, even the old Yavuz, is sunk or irreparably damaged, and most of the medium-sized capital ships have similar problems. The Turkish navy has more ports, of course, and its army is undamaged.
Until, that is, the Bulgarian army crosses the border into Turkish Thrace, just in time for the Soviets and Iranians to move west into Anatolia, all before the sun rises over a suddenly-terrifed Ankara. As Greece organizes an amphibious landing force in the Aegean Islands (using landing craft given to the Soviets in World War Two by the Americans and then sold by the Soviets to the Greeks), the Communist bloc broadcasts their intention to "return democracy to Turkey."
For All Time Pt. 56
-By August 1 of 1951, Colonel Lester Maddox has had enough. While FBI negotiations have won the release of several wounded or ill CDL members, they've not won a surrender of the compound itself. An arrogant man, he can't deal with the idea of being humiliated by the "greasers" he holds in contempt nearly as low as black Americans. For that matter, he has political ambitions in Georgia, and if he lets himself be so publicly frustrated for so long, well, that just won't work.
He is still commander of the several thousand Georgia National Guard (virtually the entire Georgia contingent on the island) gathered around the CDL compound, though, and on the night of August 1-2, he rolls the dice. Even if he fails here, he can prove to Georgia and himself that he's just as tough as anyone else, not to mention hurting the enemy.
Sometime after 2 AM on the morning of August 2, a platoon of Georgian rangers slowly crawls up to the edge of the CDL compound, 200 yards from the main building, where they encounter CDL guards. When the sudden, inevitable exchange of fire begins, Maddox moves in. As MPs stall the FBI and State Department representatives, Lester Maddox sends in 12 Sherman tanks, followed by nearly three hundred infantry, with orders to shoot to kill anyone with a weapon, not even bothering with tear gas, just firing and firing.
It's hard to say just what happens next, the initial investigation will last a decade and the follow-ups will last even longer. The best guess, though, is that after the first Sherman reached the main door to the main building (with two dozen soldiers and 6 CDL members dead at this stage, mostly the perimeter guards and unlucky snipers), someone on the first floor of the two-story building threw a surplus Army hand grenade into a mixture of diesel fuel and nitrate fertilizer of about half a ton.
All but one of the seventy-five CDL members die in an instant...or from the essential neglect of the Georgia National Guard, which controls the site until the less-than sympathetic Alabama National Guard moves in. Fifty Georgian soldiers die, mostly in the initial blast.
-The Barrio Riots now explode into a new level of violence, the surrounding, slowly encroaching cordons of police in New York and Los Angeles take on a whole new meaning with the Arecibo Massacre on everyone's mind, the last terrified broadcast of the CDL radio operator was live when it happened, and while few heard it then, everyone has heard it by now.
But as violence explodes in the North, the South goes mad as well: at least Georgia does. White mobs attack black neighborhoods in Atlanta, Macon, and surrounding small communities, and with most of the Georgia National Guard in Puerto Rico, there's very little to stop them.
When Dewey, beset with worries at home and abroad, hesitates in deploying those few Army units at home to keep the peace in Georgia, blacks in the north join Puerto Ricans in the street, and what begins as peaceful protests rapidly become their own riots in turn.
And there are a lot more blacks in the United States than Puerto Ricans or Hispanics, soon Chicago and Philadelphia explode in their own waves of violence. Embattled and horrified, Dewey declares martial law in the rioting cities and sends in the National Guard. His popularity has begun to dip...
-The last few years or so have been downright excellent for Joseph Kennedy Jr. While the war wasn't exactly fun, he managed to win a Silver Star in early 1945 after shooting down a German Me-262 in a fierce battle in the air over Hanover, and the fame he won from that got him an even greater prize: the governor's seat in Massachusetts in 1946, at the age of 31.
Already famous thanks to his father (Joseph Kennedy Sr. served as Henry Wallace's Secretary of State after the Alger Hiss debacle), Joe Jr. has become something of a spokesman for the "New Democrats", the post-Wallace, post-World War II generation. He is to the left of his father, but not by much: a moderate to conservative Democrat who is deeply isolationist, and in favor of a smaller government, especially on the businessman. Until the summer of 1951, he'd been planning to run against Henry Cabot Lodge in 1952, and use a victory there to take the Democratic nomination in 1956. (He is, after all, only 36 in 1951.)
But events have been moving quickly now with the first outbreak of serious civil disturbances in Puerto Rico since the declaration of martial law, the Arecibo Siege and its horrific outcome, and now the Barrio Riots in New York and the Southwest have convinced him otherwise. He is a Catholic, and young, but the second might actually work in his favor; and the Catholic issue, while real, is not as severe a worry as it was in 1928.
If nothing else, there's always the Vice-Presidency. He has been a good governor of Massachusetts; the economy is in as good a shape as any in the United States, and Boston saw only a slight flicker of disturbance. To project an image of maturity and family values, as well as because she's not such a bad girl, he married the former Ethel Skakel in July.
But his campaign needs a hook, something to move him beyond the rather hated sobriquet of "The Boy Bay State Governor" bestowed on him by the Republican press. He finds that on August 23, when he receives the infamous Dewey Papers from his younger brother Robert, who has returned home after the conclusion of affairs in Puerto Rico.
Running to nearly 800 pages of single-spaced, double-sided paper, the Dewey Papers clearly show the differing natures of their two authors; Kurt Vonnegut's account of the behavior of American troops in the Philippines shifts from deep patriotism to a growing horror, fully realized in a closing series of pictures taken by hidden camera; a dozen captured Huk fighters shot in the back of the head and buried in a ditch, terrified civilians being herded into resettlement areas by American troops, the horrifying results of an attempted breakout gone horribly wrong at Settlement #5 (Slaughterhouse #5, Vonnegut has angrily penned in the margin.), culminating in an incredible photograph, the execution of a Huk fighter by a US Army sergeant, just as he pulls the trigger.
Hamilton Fish Jr.'s pseudonymous sections are nearly as horrifying, but in a different way. "Philip of Macedon"'s dry, Ivy-League style pedanticsm as he watches his father and President Dewey work out trade policies to sell out some American companies in favor of their British counterparts and to quietly crush Irish-American groups, as academic Treasury Secretary Milton Friedman is lured into joining the conspiracy and diverting funds, as he hears British officers visiting the White House joke about what they'll be helping the Americans do...it's all well-disguised, of course, Fish's courage balks at formally stabbing his family name in the back, but it's all there.
The Irishman and civil libertarian in Kennedy is shocked at the plans for dealing with radical Irish-American groups and IRA members in the United States, everything from harsh crackdowns on perfectly legal sales of supplies, weapons and otherwise, to the quiet extradition-less removal of various Irish fugitives to the United Kingdom; the hard-headed politician recognizes that the damage to American industry would have been far less than the help given to dying British companies, Dewey was making something close to the right choice. Not that the press will care. The isolationist in him is reinforced a thousand-fold by the pictures from Luzon: this is the kind of thing foreign wars get you into, the kind of deals that make even good men do evil.
As for the Kennedy in him: he keeps the promise Bobby made to Kurt Vonnegut, mailing the "Slaughterhouse Five" set of stories to every major newspaper in Massachusetts, New York City, Washington, and Indiana under Vonnegut's byline on September 1...but makes sure to send it by regular mail, so that his marathon series of speeches denouncing Dewey in early September come at the same time as the breaking of the story.
JPK Jr. may not be President in 1952, but whoever does win will owe him big, is the Democratic consensus as September ends.
For All Time Pt. 57
-While the breaking of the Dewey Papers scandal and the subsequent resignations of the American Secretaries of State, Treasury and War (the first and last are replaced by Ohio Senator John Bricker and the Ambassador to South Japan, Harold Stassen.) makes the papers in Europe and abroad, their attention is focussed for the most part on Turkey, and the slow death struggles of Cemal Gürsel's National Unity Government.
Anatolia is good defensive country, and once the Turkish army and milita units are fully-mobilized, they begin demonstrating this to the invading Bulgarians, Greeks, Soviets, and Iranians. But such moblization takes time, and thus the Communist forces in the west have pushed east to around the 30th parallel by mid-September (the battle for Istanbul, July 25-August 13, was an apocalyptic struggle; the city took massive damage in house to house fighting, the Turkish forces were utterly destroyed, and even the Greco-Bulgarian army there is still recuperating.) and in the east have moved as far west as Elazig.
The brief halt in the fighting through September and October isn't the respite the Turkish government thinks it is; with uncontested control of the Aegean and Dardanelles, hundreds of thousands of Greek and Bulgarian (mostly Greek, for all that Dimitrov stands firmly behind the Moscow line, there are...cultural issues at work here) troops are moving to western Anatolia and preparing a strike against Ankara itself. In the east, Kurds, emboldened by the prospect of a homeland, even a Red one, declare for the Soviets and soon are armed (if with surplus gear) and ready for battle.
With no less a personage than General I.D. Chernyakhovsky in command, a Soviet invasion force leaves Sevastapol on October 15, 1951, a signal for pressure to begin again in western and eastern Anatolia. Gursel deploys more and more of his reserves to the two fronts, gambling that his nerve can outlast the Soviets and their allies. Indeed, enough damage has been done to quell any appietite for adventurism in Moscow for the next few years...but it's not enough to stop this.
When Chernyakhovsky's army lands outside Sinope on October 22, most of even the milita has gone to the two fronts, and there's very little to stop his subsequent race to Ankara. By the middle of December, the formal part of the war is over. Chernyakhovsky is in Ankara, the Greek and Bulgarians are already quarrelling over who gets what (city names are already changing back to Smyrna) and the infant People's Republic of Kurdistan is being born.
-On December 12, Walter Zinn finishes his safety review of the Chalk River facility, especially the NRX and ZEEP reactors. Not at all comfortable with what he's found, the director of Canada's nuclear weapons program orders an upgrade of procedure and equipment. Canada's nuclear program is relatively large and intensive, and he doesn't want a potential disaster, say an accidental control rod removal, damaging his work.
For all that Prime Minister Diefenbaker is delighted to have a Conservative government in power in Great Britain again, and has moved for closer ties with the motherland; he is less of an Anglophile than per OTL. His deep dislike of Ernest Bevin and concerns about the unpleasant regimes the British government is allied to through the Amsterdam Pact have not so much made him turn against Britain, but realize that Canada will need its own shield of defense, whether to stand shoulder to shoulder with Great Britain or go their own way.
There is, of course, not even a whisper of Canadian-American cooperation in matters of defense. Many Canadians blame the American-pressed-for and led invasion of Normandy in 1943 for extending the war into 1945; many Americans blame Canada's "lack of commitment" during the war for that same period and for all that bloody fighting. Relations are correct, but quite cool.
-Meanwhile, in Australia, sales of iron and coke to the Communist regime controlling Java and southern Sumatra have profited both the new government in Jakarta and the government of Prime Minister Herbert Vere Evatt, a small steel industry is already forming on the eastern half of Java. The collapse of the Indonesian state paradoxically drew Australia close to the largest and most doctrinarie Communist successor state, Evatt has no particular problem with Communism or anti-colonialism, but he does have a problem with violent civil wars right off the Australian coast.
Without Australian patronage, the other successor states, places like the Republic of Bali, the Republic of West Malacca, and the Kalimantan states, simply grow poorer and poorer as time goes by, virtually all are military dictatorships by this point. The poorest of all, the Irian Jaya Confederation, finally cannot stand the poverty anymore, and rather than simply collapse into Boschian anarchy, they approach the Evatt government about extending the Australian trust territory west, to encompass the entire island.
-With the Amsterdam Pact behind high tariff barriers and the US moving away from foreign trade, , most of the Scandanavian countries (Sweden, Denmark, and Norway) sign the Scandinavian Coal and Steel Pact Agreement on December 1. The member states of the new Community agree to provide a unified market for their coal and steel-related products, remove trade barriers relating to them, and work on unifing their labor market.
Finland is strongly inclined to join the Community, but the Soviet government is a bit too worried about letting even their least-dominated state (and their domination of Finland is weak indeed) join even an economic alliance. The only voice in favor, perversly enough, is the head of the NKVD, Laverenti Beria. It won't endanger security, really, and as Beria says: "We're not monsters, after all."
For All Time Pt. 58
Late Winter-Early Spring, 1952
-Of all the major candidates for the Democratic nomination in 1952, only Joseph Kennedy Jr. is in a position to exploit the Barrio Riots. While liberal on most other issues, Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright is solid on race, and thus is rather unlikely to successfully appeal to black and Hispanic voters; and Illinois Senator Adlai Stevenson's ill-advised Biblical comparison of the Chicago police department to the Assyrian outside Jerusalem have alienated him from conservative voters, who find themselves far closer to the fifty policemen and National Guardsmen dead in the nation-wide riots than the two hundred civilians who met the same fate.
The lid is back on in New York and the rest of the riot-torn cities; the city governments involved quietly decide not to try any of the rioters who broke the law except the most egregious. The sooner they manage to sweep the whole situation under the rug, the better. There are, of course, no trials for police officers or National Guardsmen suspected of improprieties.
-A new wave of ethnic leaders have emerged from the fires of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, and Atlanta. In New York, young attorney Edward I. Koch has successfully won the acquittal of Leon Maurer, a young ex-serviceman accused of assaulting two alleged rioters on the subway, and the two have become close friends. In Philadelphia, a recent graduate of Crozer Theological Seminary who helped administer to fire victims has turned away from contemporary Protestant theologians and the Mahatma Ghandi, finding solace in the apocalyptic preachings of the 19th century and a life of Michael Collins.
A fair portion of America's black, Hispanic, and Jewish populations have been well-radicalized by the riots and their after-effects. Puerto Ricans have seen the government step firmly on the neck of their homeland (and kill dozens of people) and as firmly as it could on Puerto Ricans in the United States proper, blacks have seen the government hastily back away from the civil rights commitments made by the Wallace administration and then spend all their time putting out fires in Jewish neighborhoods. America's Jewish population, especially the millions of refugees from Europe and Palestine, have seen that if America is to be the homeland where they can live free of persecution, they'll have to buckle down and fight, as well as keep a watchful eye on the blacks and the Hispanics.
(There will be no cooperation between American Jewish groups and blacks on civil rights in the ATL: William Moses Kunstler is a firebrand conservative Republican and colleague of Ed Koch, Ralph Bunche is the troubled President of Howard University, while a young Alabama pastor named Ralph Abernathy has already begun blaming the deaths of so many blacks in the South on an anti-black media controlled by "the Robert Moses' of New York.")
-The Dewey administration is, to say the least, troubled. A Congressional Democrat on the House Judiciary committee introduced articles of impeachment for treason, and while they were defeated by the Republican majority, it was shockingly close, with several Republican defections to the cause of impeachment. His shadow Vice-President, California Senator Earl Warren, has unceremoniously declined to run with him in 1952. A fair number of his Cabinet has resigned with equal vigor, the only Taft-era appointee that remains loyal is the fiercely anti-Communist Attorney General, William Jenner.
Dewey spends a lot of time thinking about the last man in his office to be so unpopular (Henry Wallace) and how his struggle to hang on to the office on the basis of principle and power wrecked his party so badly that now, seven years later, they've barely recovered. He did the right thing, he's sure of that: the disorder in Puerto Rico certainly proves there was some sort of Nationalist conspiracy there, martial law in the major cities was absolutely necessary, and the injury to American industry he allegedly worked out with the British would have existed far more in the mind of Winston Churchill than in the pocketbook of the American consumer.
But good luck convincing the media of that, or the public. His experiment with realpolitk is well and truly over.
-On Luzon, General Walton Walker's nerve has failed him, to a degree. With thousands of his veteran troops pulled out to help keep the peace in the United States and casualty reports reaching levels not seen since the last time the United States was at war, Walker has stalled the American offensive between Bayombong and Palayan. As his chief of staff William Westmoreland comments, "It's as if someone ran him down on the road."
Westmoreland has moved into de facto command of the American forces in the Philippines, and he has begun to reorganize for a planned offensive in the late spring. Despite the horrific reports about civilian and even military casualties in the US, the American offensive has worked, wherever the US forces have gone, the Hukbalahap forces have been broken in twain. Perhaps 1,000 Americans have become casualties, dead or wounded, while several thousand Filipines are dead, and tens of thousands displaced into resettlement areas.
-In Venezuela, Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Delgado Chalbaud has successfully supplated his theoretical colleague in the military junta, Major Marcos Pérez Jiménez. Rather than simply kill his rival, he has given him command of the military post around San Carlos de Rio Negro, in the isolated and remote province of Amazonas. Even if Jiménez does rebel, there's nowhere for him to go.
Venezuela is in better shape than most of South America; the oil boom has happened, and Delgado has spent more of the subsequent revenues on Venezuela as opposed to himself than OTL's government. Too, the influx of half a million and more Jewish refugees from Europe has helped him greatly; he has successfully presented himself as champion of the victims of Communist and Nazi oppression as well as woo the armed forces with carefully private, guarded talks of a South America free of European imperialism.
Anti-Europeanism is popular in South America in the early 1950s. Thanks to ham-handed diplomacy by the Wallace administration and pressure from local fascists, no South American or Latin American nation declared war on Germany or Japan during World War II, though Brazil and Mexico came very close. With no post-war US Lend-Lease and with a reputation as quasi-fascists, South America is poorer and less reputable around the world.
The Taft administration followed a policy far less agressive than his father's, though, and the Western Hemisphere has slowly become more integrated in the past few years.
For All Time Pt. 59
-By April of 1952, Galeazzo Ciano is in trouble. A surprisingly non -Communist rebellion on Sicily has at least partially deprived him of control of that large island, leaving him only Sardinia and Italy south of a line roughly bisecting the province of Abruzzi. Rome fell to his great personal shame on March 4, 1952; though he had personally directed the defense of the city, his escape to Naples earned him the name of coward among the Communists in the North and even, to a lesser degree, his own side. Pius XII's rather hasty state visit to Spain in late February has been extended indefinitely.
The Social Republic of Italy, unlike his own side, controls a reasonably substantial amount of industry in the cities to the north, and what they can't make can be supplied directly from Austria or Yugoslavia by land. Ciano's south is industry-poor, and British and French shipments come slowly, and are usually of equipment that's just not that good.
(Both the United Kingdom and France have dispatched volunteer fighters to fight alongside Ciano's forces, while the lessons they learn about Mig-15s won't help out the Italians much, they're being hurriedly applied to the next generation of Amsterdam Pact jet fighters. There has been, of course, no Comet jet liner in this TL, nor will there be for a long time.)
April 3, 1952: the governments of Bulgaria, Greece, Iran, and the Soviet Union announce the new borders in Asia Minor. Joining them in their "Smyrna Declaration" are two new nations on the map; the People's Republic of Kurdistan and the Democratic United People's Republic of Anatolia. (The Turkish army major found to run the new state is...strange.)
Bulgaria and Greece receive all lands in the former Turkey save Constantinople west to the 30th meridian and north of the 39th parallel for Bulgaria, with the southern territories to Greece. Greeks or their offspring displaced in the wars of the early 1920s will be entitled to take back all that they lost back then, while Bulgaria is free to expel her own Turkish population. (Though many, many of those refugees came from territories still not Greek. It is here that Athens quietly falls in line with Belgrade over Moscow.)
Both Iran and Turkey cede land to form the new Democratic Republic of Kurdistan, Iran is compensated with a corridor stretching to the Syrian border. The Soviet Union annexes everything else east of the 39th meridian, as well as the city of Constantinople and enough territory around it and down the Aegean coast to ensure access to the Mediterranean whenever they please.
The remainder is the new, Communist 'DUPRA.", with about as cheerful social policies as you might expect, given the circumstances.
-As part of political manueverings with Southern Democrats (who are very nervous at nominating a very young, pretty well Catholic northerner), Joseph Kennedy Jr. quietly pledges not to support a civil rights bill in his administration, as well as to take a Southerner as his running mate.
Kennedy feels about as bound by this pledge as any a slightly amoral politician makes, but it does reflect something like his real views. While he is sympathetic to the idea of blacks recieving equitable treatment from the government in terms of, say, voting rights, he has his father's views on the sanctity of businessmen to do as they please. (Indeed, he also plans to cut surviving Wallace-era regulations on industry, while satisfying labor with other amenities.)
As for running mates, well, a moderately conservative northern, eastern politician will need a moderately liberal southerner for his running mate, and he has just the wheeler-dealer in mind for the job. If he can get Stevenson, that is.
April 30, 1952: To his own apparant great surprise (despite a series of swiftly-covered up strokes since the new year.) Joseph Stalin looks at his private secretary in befuddlement before falling over dead.
For All Time Pt. 60
-He wasn't the most prominent of Soviet leaders before, during, or after World War II; most Western governments treated his accession to power with a great deal of surprise. The leaders of the Soviet Union were, after all, survivors of Stalin's purges and of the Great Patriotic War. Surely they wouldn't balk at shedding blood to grab power, even to launch a kind of dynastic war between the various factions?
Western consensus ignored, of course, that these men were survivors of Stalin and the War. They'd seen friends die for no reason in petty struggles, seen their nation struck hammerblow after hammerblow by one madman's struggle for power. Even the month and a half of dynastic struggle after Stalin died killed nearly 10,000 Russians, mostly high-ranking officials. It was small change, of course...but it foretold a future they didn't like, indeed, even feared. If any man could prevent more struggle and not kill lots of the Party hierarchy in paranoid fits, well, they'd unite behind him.
There could be no candidates for leadership from the Red Army, though there were many generals who wished they could. The assassination of Georgi Zhukov and Ivan Koniev during the May Day entombment of Joseph Stalin by "Ukrainian fascist-nationalists" took the heart out the Red Army, and while no one quite dared doubt Rodin Malinovsky's skill and bravery, he was a loose cannon, to say the least. It was he, after all., who personally executed Nikita Krushchev after the surviving assassin (under NKVD interrogation) named the Ukrainian party boss as the leader of the anti-Army conspiracy. No one wanted a madman at the head of the nation, again.
The NKVD forming the government meant, of course, Laverenti Pavolovich Beria as the leader of the Soviet Union...an unpopular idea at best. Future historians will conclude that luring Malinovsky into assassinating Krushchev was a plan to eliminate two feared rivals at once (and that he himself had been behind the assassinations of Zhukov and Koniev.), but whatever the rest of his plans were, he forgot some factor, because on May 26, 1952 sometime around 03:00, a month after the death of Joseph Stalin, a speeding freight truck crossed two lanes to strike his armored limousine at over 100 MPH. Beria and his driver Rapava were killed instantly. While Pavel Sudoplatov would prove to be an effective head of the secret police, he hadn't the caliber to run the country in 1952.
It came down to the Party bureaucrats: Molotov and Bulganin managed to tear each other down to ambassador to the Japanese People's Republic and head of a fairly large coal power plant near Lake Baikal, respectively, while Malenkov was mostly colorless, and his few colors seemed to be in the NKVD shade. MI Kalinin is, of course, dead.
The whistle of the shift change came as a surprise, the way it usually did. There was something relaxing in the repetitiveness of the assembly work. The casings came down the line, you shoved and locked them together, they moved on. In another world, it was boring and unsatisfying, a job that would spur it's holder to better things. In this one, it was better than nothing, and almost an escape from life's dreariness.
Eberhard Boger looked up in a bit of a daze, to see the rest of his fellow factory workers shuffling towards the exit. Laurenz, his co-worker - "friend" might be too strong a word - slapped him on the shoulder as he strolled by. "Off time, Boger. Pay day." Eberhard grunted, and strolled exitwards - being careful to stay a step or two behind Laurenz. He did not want to talk, and Laurenz was a talker.
No such luck. Laurenz realized that Boger was lagging, stopped, and turned around. His face looked downright pink against his dirty grey workshirt, a shirt that had clearly not been washed in far too long. Neither had Boger's, of course - who could afford to waste detergent? "Boger! You seem unexcited at the prospect of receiving our prodigious pay packets!" Boger grunted. Laurenz, being Laurenz, continued, "Yes, of course, we cannot really buy anything with them, but surely you must admit that they are works of art! For all their faults, the French, they are artistique, no?" God only knew if "artistique" was actually a word in French, or if Laurenz's tone even remotely resembled a French accent to a Frenchman, but it worked. For Laurenz. Boger just found it annoying, but why pick a fight with someone you had to see every day? "After all, look at the pretty colors of the bills! And those abstract designs! My, they look more like some sort of Indian serape than real German money, but then again, we must have something to keep us entertained."
The pay station was in a little building on factory grounds, inside the fence but outside the main building. Armed guards blocked the building. Neither Boger nor anyone else could really understand why. It wasn't like Pfalzmarks were real money. Oh, they were real money, if you were from France or Holland or England - but if you were German they wouldn't buy squat without a ration coupon. And for all the pretense that it was their "elected representatives" that determined the rations everyone knew that the decisions were really made somewhere in the bowels of Paris or London.
A flag flew above the factory grounds. Like everything else about the Pfalzrepublik, it was designed to bear not a single trace of Germanness. Of course, it showed a striking lack of imagination. The designers seemed to have thought: The French have a verticle blue-white-and-red tricolor. The Dutch have a horizontal one. Even the Brits use the colors. So lets give the Germans a blue-white-and-red tricolor rotated 45 degrees! Show those kraut bastards who's boss. It looked more like a naval signal than a national flag, and lacked any possible historical significance. But Boger couldn't even bring himself to hate it. Laurenz spit in its direction while they waited on line, but it was habit. It wasn't even clear if he was aware of it.
Boger picked up his pay packet, bright red, white, and blue bills printed on something that felt like cheap wax paper. He was also handed his ration booklet, his name and number printed on every one. Laurenz joked, "Yeah, you know that before the war I had a weight problem? One good thing to come from all this is I don't have to worry about that anymore!" Laurenz had spent the war in a signals unit in Germany. Boger, on the other hand, had been shipped out to the Eastern front in 1943, an ignorant 19-year-old with a young wife back at home. He did not like to talk about the war.
"Well, I'll see you, Boger! I'd invite you to the pub, but the wife is insistent that I spend time with her tonight. Heh heh. Must fulfill my husbandly duties, you know." Boger grunted back at him. "See you, Laurenz." Hopefully not. But he would. The men walked in opposite directions after passing through the factory gates.
The street was desolate. It was lined with factory buildings, more than half of which were empty, stripped of almost anything the French could take. He had heard that things were better in the Saar, now part of France proper - but he didn't believe it. Anyway, the French had enough workers. If they needed more, they would invite in Spaniards, not a bunch of dirty krauts. Boger thought about his daughter. She was the only joy in his life nowadays. He and Petra had thought about having another - but why bring a child into this world?
The trolley was out of order. Typical. Boger sighed, and began to walk. He passed from the factory zone into a residential area. On the surface, it looked like a good German town. Cute little rowhouses, all lined up. No visible war damage. Until you noticed the lack of paint, the taped up windows, the ancient bicycles, the utter lack of cars. And the empty flagpoles. The fucking Dutch or Belgians would arrest anyone who flew a real German flag, but that didn't mean a Pfalzrepublik flag could stay up for more than ten minutes without an armed guard or a fence around it.
As he strolled the grey street, he heard something odd in the distance. It sounded a little like a loudspeaker. Something political? Another pointless election campaign? No, the sound quality was better. It was a block or two away, but Boger could hear every word. The German was accented, but it was no accent that he had ever heard before. It sounded pleasant, almost, the same way a French accent had before the damned war.
"Come to Venezuela! Are you tired of long hours, low pay, and bad weather? Are you sick of a dreary and miserable existance? Come to Venezuela! The United Venezuelan States needs workers. This tropical American paradise needs good German workers! Transport for you and your family is free! Once there, you will be guaranteed a good job, decent wages, a place to support your family, everything that the modern republic of the United Venezuelan States can provide! Come to America!"
It was a block out of his way, but why not? He turned the corner. There was a truck, a large, modern, brand-new French truck, flying a flag even stranger than the Pfalzrepublik's. Boger had half-expected to see the Stars-and-Stripes. Instead there was an odd gold, blue, and red horizontal tricolor, with a half-circle of stars in the middle stripe. There was a crowd around the truck, too. A surprisingly large crowd. Three men - and a shockingly beautiful dark woman - in olive uniforms were handing out thick pamphlets. Boger pushed up to the crowd. Most were gathered around, but he could see four lines already filling up in good German fashion to receive the information the Americans - or Venezuelans, or whatever they were - were handing out.
"What is this?" asked Boger of a young pale man, who was sixteen if he was a day.
"It's a recruiting station!" replied the young man. "I've heard about them. They've been scouring towns all around Pfalz for workers to go to Venezuela, which is someplace in America, I'm not exactly clear. Maybe one of the United States?" Boger shrugged ignorance and asked the young man to continue. "I don't know. What I do know is that they'll pay your way, it's in the tropics, and how could anything be worse than this?" The young man waved around at what had once been prosperous German suburbia.
Boger immediately thought about the Eastern Front - but pushed that out of his mind. He nodded affirmation to the young man. Boger joined the line. The young man continued to chat, but Boger studiously ignored him, and the man eventually shut up.
At the front of the line, one of the recruiters turned to Boger and smiled. It was a dazzling smile. His teeth were absolutely perfect. No one in Germany had perfect teeth. No one in Western Europe had perfect teeth. In fact, Boger hadn't seen even good teeth since, since, since 1942.
The man was also well-fed, but not at all overweight, another thing Boger hadn't seen in a decade, except for in American newsreels. In Pfalz in 1952, you were either rail thin, or obscenely fat. This well-muscled man with the black hair and the olive skin seemed like an alien. And the woman on the other side of the truck. Boger had forgotten, actually forgotten, just how sexually desirous a woman could be!
"Hello!" said the olive-skinned übermensch. Yes, that was the word that popped into Boger's head, unbidden. He reached out to shake Boger's hand. "How are you? My name is Alejandro, Alejandro Santaella Rubio. Please, call me Alex. Are you interested in working in Venezuela?" The man's German was near-flawless, only slightly accented, a slight tendency to leave out the "s" sound.
"I..., I don't know," stammered Boger.
"Well, what do you do?" asked the man, giving Boger his full attention.
"I, uh, I work in the switch assembly plant."
The man smiled again. "That's good, I understand, but what do you really do, uh, what's your name?"
Boger had just wanted the pamphlet's, but he didn't want to be rude. "Boger, Eberhard. Uh, what do you mean, what do I really do?"
"What were you trained for, Eberhard? I understand that around here," the man waved his thick arm around dismissively, "You do what you have to survive, what the occupiers tell you to do. But you look almost thirty. What did you do before?"
Eberhard tried not to think about "before," but he answered anyway. "I was trained as a metalsmith. I worked a lathe."
"A lathe! That's wonderful! Eberhard, the United States of Venezuela needs people like you. We've got wide open spaces to fill. It's not worn out, like here. We need men like you, Eberhard, young men who by rights ought to have a future."
The man stuffed brochures into Eberhard's hand. "A future! In Venezuela, a man like you can own his own house, start a business, prosper. In Venezuela, we have a frontier. We are taming the llanos!" Eberhard didn't know what a llano was, but it sounded like something positive. "There are jobs begging in Venezuela. There are cities to build, and build right. A man can make his own future. Do you have a family?"
"Uh, yes. A wife and daughter."
"That's wonderful!" continued Alejandro. "That's what we want in Venezuela. Young families. Every day, trains leave from this very town, carrying young German families like yours to a new future in paradise. Come by this address on Monday, bring your family, and you can begin a new life." He pounded Eberhard on the back. "It will be good to have you, man. And you deserve it."
Eberhard walked away reeling. What had just happened? He had pushed up out of curiosity, anything to relieve the monotony of life in the Pfalzrepublik. Instead, he had been offered a chance to move to America. He looked through the brochures as he walked home.
August 15, 1952: Lazar Kaganovich becomes leader of the Soviet Union. Malenkov theoretically heads the Party, but with Beria dead, he knows which way to jump, and Malinovsky will obey the orders of his superior. Perhaps for the first time in its history, a Russian government stops a persecution of its Jewish citizens. For all that he has long abandoned the faith, Kaganovich can't kill his fellow Jews. He can oppress and kill Kazakhs, though, and begins to do exactly that.
((In OTL he's remembered as another faceless Stalinist bureaucrat, but Lazar Kaganovich was an interesting figure to say the least. He actually rose to power out of Turkestan, but was head of the Moscow party organization between 1930-35, and ran collectivization with a great deal of enthusiasm. A strong opponent of Kirov's reforms, he and Molotov were comrades and coworkers in Stalin's Politburo after the purges, which he also was enthuastic about. He ran much of Soviet industry before and during World War II, especially oil-related matters. He opposed de-Stalinization and fell from power after Krushchev became leader of the Soviet Union.
He was one of the few Jews that Stalin didn't target during his anti-Semitic purges. Here's his Brittanica bio :
He's second from the left here : - In OTL, he lived until 1991. ))
-In an occasion with less death but just as much violence and turmoil, Joseph Kennedy Jr. is nominated for President by the Democratic party on August 1, 1952. At 37, he is the youngest Presidential candidate nominated by a major party since William Jennings Bryan, and the second youngest in history. To the great surprise of the supporters of Adlai Stevenson, Southern Democrats proved one of his strongest supporters, though the surprise soon faded into political unsurprise when Texas Senator Lyndon Johnson is nominated by a majority nearly equal to Joseph Kennedy Jr.'s. JPK pledges protection of American industries, peace with honor on Luzon, and a final settlement in Puerto Rico, together with a policy of "Fortress America."
Far more violent than that, though, is the Republican National Convention from July 7-17. President Dewey has decided to seek a full term in his own right, but only a divided opposition keeps him from failing. Earl Warren, Gerald Nye, and Henry Cabot Lodge all go up against him, but their failure to unite ensures Dewey's narrow renomination, with Secretary of State John Bricker as his runningmate. Dewey pledges victory in Luzon and a confrontation with Communism abroad.
August 13, 1952: George S. Patton dies quietly in his sleep in Paris. While reasonably saddened at the death of his wartime comrade and close friend, Francois Darlan is glad of the opportunity it offers. Darlan is 71 and his health is in a very gradual decline from what he will discover in a few years is intestinal cancer. Too, the events in the Soviet Union have convinced him that he needs to find a successor now, before his death.
Darlan names General Raoul Salan as Patton's replacement in Paris. He likes what Salan has done in Algeria, he has a high body count among the enemy, a sign of nerve, and has proven successful in his goals, a sign of a good commander. Both Salan and his colleague in French West Africa have proven more successful than their counterparts in Indochina, they've kept the provinces in French hands, and a majority of the casualties have been among the natives.
For All Time Pt. 61
-History will give credit for the Jerusalem League to Gamel Abdel Nasser, and the man himself will do the same. "The man who mastered Egypt has mastered the world!" cry a few government-sponsored authors and poets on October 31 when the treaty is signed, ignoring the fact that Nasser hasn't quite mastered Egypt, and the world extends beyond the Arab Islamic Middle East.
Despite a powerful, powerful urge to drive his collaborationist self from Cairo, Egypt, and even the world, Nasser has been unable to overthrow King Farouk II. With the king's popularity high indeed after the Egyptian "victory" in the Palestine War, and with the grim lessons of Iran and Turkey (military coups that led to Communist takeovers) in mind, he has been unable to muster enough support to actually drive the monarch from the nation.
Still, if he is not the Egyptian Darlan, he is at least its Ciano; Farouk has been stripped of all real authority, and he knows very well how soon the monarchy will suffer an "unfortunate accident" if ever he attempts to exercise even his de jure powers. When Nasser speaks, he, and Egypt, listen. And now, for the moment at least, when he speaks, the world listens.
Even when fighting each other, the Arab states of the Middle East had been watching the north and east with growing concern. The tales told by Iranian refugees who settled in Iraq and points west after the Soviet conquest of Iran were disturbing, the tales told by those who fled the four-way conquest of Turkey were gruesome...and those fleeing Kaganovich's purges are worst yet.
Thus it is in an atmosphere of general concern that Nasser and his fellow heads of government gather in Jerusalem on October 1 to discuss "the future and the protection of the region." Present are representatives from Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and a lone observer from Lebanon. All agree on the need for a mutual defense pact, but none agree at first on just who the pact is needed against! After all, most of the represented countries are only five years from a brutal war with each other. Too, the French in Algeria are committing just as many outrages against fellow Muslims, and there is a nativist suspicion of the foreign Farsi-speaker and the Turk.
It is the ailing Haj Amin al-Husseini who gives Nasser his most famous line from the conference: "First they came for the Iranians, and I said nothing for I was an Arab. Then they came for the Turks, and I said nothing for I was an Arab. Then they came for the Arabs, and there was no one to speak for me." Playing on fears of Communist takeovers and ignoring his own earlier sympathies with the Soviets, Nasser manages to batter together the delegates into an approximation of a treaty.
The Jerusalem League pledges mutual defense against any invading power (they are almost as anti-Western European as they are anti-Communist)...but that's just about it. There is no suggestion of a common market, especially not for oil, not with the profit that makes for the individual countries. Coup d'etats are roudly condemned (signed either by monarchs who look very nervously at their army these days, or by military leaders who don't have an urge to be replaced.) Finally, they pledge a shared policy against "suspicious populations." Which means, of course, the Jews.
-In the United States...it's far, far closer than most people expected. Joseph Kennedy's youth and Catholicism does hurt him badly; he does worse than McNutt in rural areas of the Border States and California, and the usual Democratic victories in the Deep South are merely landslides as opposed to Stalinesque. Against anyone other than a deeply unpopular incumbent, especially in a time of relative economic good times, JPK Jr. might have been far less successful.
Still, he delivered New England, Lyndon Johnson delivered Texas, and when California swung his way in the early morning hours of November 9, it delivered him the Presidency. Both he and Dewey called each other traitors; Dewey was allegedly a sellout to the British and Kennedy a sellout to the Communists, but Kennedy's promises of peace with honor in Luzon play well to the families of soldiers fighting abroad, and the major cities really liked his planned programs to reduce urban violence.
(Even without the Barrio Riots of 1951, urban violence in the United States has been higher than per OTL. With the economy worse off and the racial situation more chaotic, poverty and violence have come together time and again to foment crime and general chaos all over the urban United States.)
Old prosecutor that he is, Thomas Dewey fights hard outside of political rhetoric as well. He orders Edward Almond, the new C-in-C in Luzon to resume Operation COPPER, but overt military successes come too rarely or too quietly to influence public opinion or the election. At the dedication of the finished Liberty Island on September 19, he gives perhaps the greatest speech of his career on what it really meant to be President; the kind of hard choices it required. Finally, as Election Eve dawns with him well behind in the polls, he promised a referendum in Puerto Rico on independence by 1955...only to have Kennedy promise it by the end of 1953. Lester Maddox's acquittal by an all-white Georgia court martial manages to help exactly not at all.
In contrast to the relatively narrow victory of the new President, the Democratic Party sweeps the country, mostly by associating Republicans with Dewey or the war in the Philipines, or with the promise of future wars to come. William Proxmire is Senator from Wisconsin; Clark Gable is Mayor of Los Angeles, and Wayne Morse's re-election seems to have been mostly dependent on his party switch. (Though that switch was ideological rather than political.)
One Republican who emerges as an unabashed victor is California Congressman Ronald Reagan. His televised debates with his challenger, fellow actor Anthony Quinn, saw him battle with and carefully demolish the Democrat, and while Quinn rebounded and came within a few hundred votes of victory, the state and the Republican Party remembers Reagan's masterful performance. Reagan, meanwhile, remembers how well playing up Quinn's Mexican ancestry played in the less likeable parts of his district...
For All Time Pt. 62
-Joseph Kennedy Jr. dives into the Presidency the same way he plunged into combat during World War II. In his inaugural address, he uses the magic words: "Third New Deal," and calls for sweeping changes in policy foreign and domestic. The Third New Deal doesn't resemble the First and Second very much, but the name is magic to Democrats in Congress and the nation, all of whom remember the prosperity, at least, that they had under Roosevelt and Wallace.
Playing on his youthful image, the new President appoints a 34-year old professor from Yale University, James Tobin, as his Treasury Secretary, and his Presidential Science Advisor, Theodore Hall, is in his mid-twenties. (With American intelligence underfunded in the Wallace and Taft administrations, the Venona Telegrams were never intercepted. Hall likes Kennedy, but doesn't quite trust him with high technology. Government funding for Big Science, already low, will be pared to the bone.)
Continuing his campaign promises of bipartisan cooperation, Kennedy names former Wisconson Senator Robert LaFollette Jr. as his Secretary of State, and, rather shockingly, does away with the Departments of War and Navy in swiftly passed legislation. Heading the new combined "Department of Defense" is isolationist former Republican Wayne Morse. (With all of the United States' theoretical allies morally disreputable or with the United States doing disreputable things, many liberals are isolationist.) Most badly hurt is the Navy; Kennedy agrees to finish the Forrestal-class aircraft carriers now under construction, but no more will be built after 1955.
Before the hundred days are up, Morse has supervised the sale of American bases in Westphalia and South Japan to their respective governments, leaving the naval/marine bases in Yokohama and Hamburg as the only American military installations, save for Subic Bay, outside of the Western Hemisphere. In the Philippines themselves, Kennedy orders Edward Almond to pull back to the nearest major civilian concentration and go on the defensive; when Almond refuses, JPK names General William Westmoreland as his replacement.
In Puerto Rico, Kennedy sends his old rival Adlai Stevenson to organize a plebiscite on the status of the Commonwealth. (Although that option will not be offered, only statehood or independence will be on the ballot in July. Kennedy and the country have had enough of the guerilla war. "Either we clutch our brothers to our bosom," he says, "or we bid farewell as they make their own house.")
-In Cleveland, Bill Veeck is a thoroughly content man. The Indians didn't beat the Yankees in the '52 Eastern pennant race...but they came darn close, especially since the Yankees turned out to be the Series winners that year. Willie Mays went through hell, sure, but he got through it with a smile and a home run, and with the barrier broken, it'll be better for the next generation of black ballplayers.
With his eye still on the Negro Leagues and their all-stars (He will sign Roy Campanella as a player and James "Cool Papa Bell" as a coach/manager for the new season, though he will narrowly lose a young man named Hank Aaron to Rickey's Brooklyn Dodgers.), Veeck starts looking at a map of the world. In talking with players who served overseas during the last war, he found out just how big baseball is in Japan. And with the Japanese economy slowly circling the drain, the ballplayers can't be making much...
While Wally Yonamine isn't techically Japanese (his parents were, but he was born an American citizen in Hawaii), he is the first of his kind in modern times as well.
March 1, 1953: Pius XII steps off the runway at Lisbon, blinking into the sun of his (hopefully temporary) Portuguese home. The head of the Catholic Church is leery indeed about staying on in a Communist state; things were bad enough before Mussolini and his predecessor worked out the Vatican...what might matters be like in a Communist country?
France has too many Protestants and has a bad history with Church splits, Franco is a bit too much even for his tastes, while the Americas are too far away and Ireland too unstable. Austria is, of course, far too Red...
-With the Muslims safely quiet, dead, or out of the country, Lazar Kaganovich is beginning his initial programs of reform. Well, they're mostly reforms. Kaganovich helped collective Moscow farms and was a player in the purges of the 1930s, and while he's not about to be doing that sort of thing anytime soon, he's far more Stalinist than the people who ran the Soviet Union in OTL in this era.
He frees a substantial number of former Soviet soldiers in gulag camps in Siberia (including Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn), allowing them a few weeks home with their families before drafting them again and sending them to isolated posts along the Sino-Soviet border or in the most dangerous regions of the newly-conquered Middle Eastern territories. It is quiet, and the soldiers have a chance to visit their Chinese counterparts. Kaganovich also frees almost every German POW whose families live in the DVR, including abortive Führer Heinz Guderian.
-Fittingly, the final days of the Italian Civil War strongly resemble some great opera with its mix of triumph and tragedy at once, for all the sides in the suddenly three-cornered war. Alcide De Gasperi (liberated by Christian Democrat troops after the fall of Rome) has been slowly realizing what a horse he has hooked his wagon to in Pietro Togliatti, and what a Communist-dominated Italy will really mean.
Unfortuately, he and his right-hand man General Ferrucio Parri haven't quite the resources to take on the Communists; they could wage a guerilla war like no other, but neither have any urge to wind up deep in a jail, or dead. The rising in Sicily is more Christian Democratic than anything else, and the leaders there have already offered him the Presidency. If he can get there, that is.
The Communist breakthrough in Campaigna in late March gives him the chance he needs. The armored and aerial portions of the Social Republic's army are the elite troops of the Communists, and as they race south for the Ionian Sea, the northern countryside becomes just unguarded enough for De Gasperi and his quietly-assembled army to leap south! They charge their way to Latina, where the fraction of the fraction of the Italian Navy loyal to Gasperi instead of Ciano or Togliatti sets steam for Sicily with them on board, even as Galeazzo Ciano's reasonably large and modernish navy begins quickly escorted convoys to Cagliari, one of the largest ports on Sardinia.
By the end of April, before they've even finished wiping out the Fascist partisans, the Togliatti government turns its attention to Sicily. Before they kill the fascists, they have to kill the traitor. (Plus, the Italian Red Navy is small enough that any attempt at the rapidly fortifying Sardinia will be a dreadful failure.)
But Winston Churchill isn't about to let that happen. No indeed.
For All Time Pt. 63
-Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his de facto partner in government, Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, have been aiming for a confrontation with the Soviets in Europe for quite some time. This is not unreasonable of them; the losing war in Burma and the winning war in East Africa aren't very popular with the British public. The economy is badly off (more so than OTL), and the government is spending substantially more on defense. Victories and defeats in distant lands blend together in the mind of John Q. Briton; all they notice are the body counts.
A confrontation in Europe, on the other hand, will give them the political satisfaction and success of staring down the Communists, proving to Aneurin Bevan's Labour Party that yes, all that money going to defense and patrolling the Mediterrarean and South Pacific with the French is a good idea! There is the admitted risk of nuclear conflict if Kaganovich doesn't blink, but neither Churchill nor Eden is at their best. Too, nuclear weapons are far less feared than in OTL's 1953; it took three nuclear bombs to take down Germany and Japan each, after all.
It's still a worry, though, so Churchill-Eden make sure when they do take a stand against the Communists; it's not the Soviet Communists, but instead their Italian allies, and over an issue that will ensure moral support, standing up for a non-Fascist government, namely, De Gasperi's infant state in Sicily. They've got a reasonable amount of forces based in the Mediterrean as well; the HERMES carrier battlegroup stationed at Cyprus is actually the largest British naval presence in Europe outside of the United Kingdom itself. There is, of course, France, but Darlan has always backed their anti-Communist moves before.
On May 1, as Pietro Togliatti's Esercito Italiano Di Liberazione begins organizing an amphibious invasion of Sicily in and around Reggio de Calabria at the very tip of Italy's boot, Winston Churchill addresses the nation live by radio and even television (though few British have a television). It is a rare occurance these days. Looking fully in the pink for perhaps the last time in his long, multi-colored life, Churchill boldly condemns the Communist planned attack on the "peaceful and democratic people of Sicily", and announces that the Republic of Sicily is a protectorate of the Amsterdam Pact. "Any aggressive move by the Communist forces in possession of the mainland of Italy shall be met with the full thrust of our might."
Even as he speaks, the HERMES and her escorts steam out of Kyrenia harbor, bound for the Straits of Messina. (There are, of course, nuclear weapons aboard, as there are on every British and French aircraft carrier.) There's not much of a ground force component, but the RN ships outclass their Italian counterparts enough they don't actually need one. Too, the Red Italian Air Force, while skilled, has no training in attacks on ships, and will be facing planes that match theirs.
-Problems begin almost immediatly, though, from an unexpected source. Francois Darlan doesn't care about the "italiens de puer de pensée-garçon." He remembers how "well" they fought in World War I, how quick Mussolini was to stab France in the back when she was falling to the Germans...and he likes the idea of just letting them hang.
At least, those are his public statements. While he has become rather erratic as he moves further into his 70s, he's not so foolish as to let his prejudices run his politics that much. Still, it never hurts to let your enemies think you're rather insane, underestimation is alwas a good idea. Especially when admitting to the truth is virtually impossible, both in the character of Francois Darlan and in the political survival of his regime. France can't fight any stand-up wars right now. Darlan's Peronist policies of purified schools and courts, redistributed revenue, and strong favoritism of industry over agriculture, labor over farmers, has succeeded in preventing a Communist takeover and ensuring the average Frenchman is reasonably loyal to Francois Darlan and his "Tricolor Alliance."
But as the export market dries up along with the stock of looted German goods, the economy dries up too, and relatively quickly. France is richer than the Pfalzrepublik, richer than Westphalia...the wealthiest state in Western Europe save the United Kingdom, as a matter of fact. But they're well below the UK, and falling where most of Europe is in either an irritable mutter of stagnation or a very, very slow rise. France does have a large, modern military, but it's busy in Africa and other colonial wars.
On May 2, Darlan declares moral support for de Gasperi, but says France is neutral in the Italian Civil War, now and forever, and, rather irritably, condemns unilateral action on Britain's part in speaking for the Amsterdam Pact. As they have since joining the Pact, the Dutch follow the British line, while the Belgians and Luxembourgeois break for the French. Spain and Portugal sensibly sit on their hands, they both like Ciano better. A hastily-convened conference of the Pact in Amsterdam produces no results in the first few days, and while they don't take negative action, the lack of AP support amply demonstrates that Churchill is acting alone. Being Churchill, of course, he presses on.
-Meanwhile, Lazar Kaganovich has been sitting back and watching carefully. He isn't as rash as Nikita Khrushchev, isn't about to make any hasty declarations or move nuclear weapons south for no reason. This is a man who survived close proximity to Joseph Stalin for decades, after all. He will wait and see what the British do, and Togliatti will do what he says, unless he likes the idea of losing out to Nenni or one of the other Communist leaders. In many ways, he's just as paranoid
By May 7, though, it's obvious that Britain is acting alone (Kennedy is, of course, neutral, while the Ciano government in Sardinia cordially despises both the Communists and the Christian Democrats), and now he has the chance to slap down the British. He's not exactly an observant Jew, what with the Stalinism and all, but the Bevin government's treatment of Palestine has made the British his least favorite class enemies. Also, agents in the British government have informed him of Churchill's disposition, and he's reasonably confident that his will is stronger than a half-senile elderly man and a speed addict.
In a series of speeches to Party officials in Moscow and Leningrad, Kaganovich condemns "Imperialist interference in a matter of social struggle" and declares that the Soviet Union will back the Social Republic of Italy in the restoration of her "proper borders." (As he has no interest in promoting an actual war, not yet, the old collectivizer sends a vehement personal message to Togliatti, informing of the consequences if so much as a fishing vessel sails from Calabria to Sicily.)
To bolster the sabre he's rattling at the British, he dispatches one of the Soviet Union's newer aircraft carriers (there aren't that many) and its escorts from port at the Soviet naval base in Constantinople. Like most Soviet carriers of the day, the Pavelov is a big ol' target for a good submariner, but it, and its escorts, have nuclear weapons on board, including a large, bulky hydrogen bomb that can just be launched by carrier aircraft on the Pavelov. The Soviets have had thermonuclear weapons since just after Kaganovich came to power, but he hasn't been broadcasting that sort of thing.
-Matters are grim as the Soviet fleet slowly approaches the British, which has now taken station up in the Straits of Messina, between Italy and Sicily. However, they don't turn really dangerous, not yet, until the night of May 13-14, 1953.
The Red Italian cruiser Toscano Operaio isn't very good; a pre-World War II vessel, it spent five years quietly rusting in harbor in the north of Italy before defecting to the anti-Fascists. The steering is balky, navigation is unnerving, if it wasn't for the crew, one of the few veteran bodies to defect en masse, as well as the urgent need to have every ship in the south to support either an invasion or defend against the British, it'd probably still be back in the north.
On the night of the 13th, she's on picket duty off Calabria. The night is dark, the storm is bad, and the seas are rough. A junior navigator is on duty, and the third-in-command has the watch. Based on evidence from the ship's log and from British accounts, apparantly the TO began taking turns too wide, and began to slowly drift towards the British fleet around midnight.
Where a squadron of light patrol boats were, as light patrol boats do, pushing the limits of their patrol area as well. Slowly, the rattletrap old cruiser and the four small ships drift closer and closer, both totally unaware of the other, engine noise lost in the howl of the storm. Until at just before 2 AM on the morning of the 14th, the Toscano Operaio strikes its most accurate shot ever. It rams a British patrol boat and neatly slices the smaller vessel in half, just as the PB squeezes off a volley of machine gun fire.
Instantly realizing what's happened, the young lieutenant on the bridge orders hard about and steam for home at flank speed; just as the British patrol boats, not unreasonably thinking they're under attack, open up with their deck guns. Gunnery crews return fire; they're trained to fire back immediatly when fired upon, but a combination of inexperience, the wild zigzag maneuevers of the four vessels, and the rough seas mean all they do is make a big light show. The captain of the Toscano has come to the bridge by now, and with him at the helm, the big ship barely manages to make its escape (the patrol boats are more interested in saving the crew of the fourth ship in the water, and they know they can't take a cruiser, not with help an hour away.). Eight British sailors are dead, and one Italian.
-Instantly, the world is on the brink. Churchill threatens war and orders the Hermes to arm their nuclear arsenal, while at the same time sending troops bound for East Africa to the Mediterreanean. Toghliatti dares Churchill to do his worst and begins final preperations for an invasion, while an angry, angry Lazar Kaganovich reluctantly backs his ally, accelerating the Soviet task force's journey to Messina. Seriously angry at his erstwhile ally, Francois Darlan mobilizies the French nuclear strike force and sends troops into the Pfalzrepublik, putting them right on the border with the Soviet Union. (Reinhard Gehlen, who recently postponed elections until 1956, proclaims Westphalian neutrality.)
By May 20, the two fleets are only fifty miles apart. Even Joseph Kennedy Jr. has been motivated to call on the Amsterdam Pact and the Soviet Bloc to "keep the fragile peace in Europe, lest we fall into the cauldron of war in this new decade", ignoring that most of Europe fell into the cauldron of war in the decade before last, actually. On the 20th, Winston Churchill summons Parliment into a special session, promising an extraordinary announcement. He has just strode to the podium when he turns bright red, stares at the assembled Members for a moment, and collapses.
Anthony Eden is the first at his side, the first to take the crumpled sheet of paper from his hand, and the one to close his eyes. He strides up to the podium as the crowd realizes that Winston Churchill, the Lion personified, is dead, and here is his likely successor. Eden holds the paper high. "It is a call for peace!"
-By the end of the month, Lazar Kaganovich has his old colleague Molotov back as Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden is Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the new Nenni government has pledged not to attack Sicily, though there will be no diplomatic recognition of the de Gasperi government, or Ciano's, for that matter.
Flags after the Italian Civil War
Reppublica Sociale di Italia
For All Time Pt. 64
-On June 9, 1953, Prime Minister John George Diefenbaker, Defense Minister Dalton Camp, Walter Zinn, and General Henry Crerar are among the crowd of Canadian dignitaries gathered aboard the Canadian destroyer Isacc Brock, currently in the Foxe Basin between Baffin Island and the Melville Peninsula on the mainland of Labrador.
Just before noon, they witness Canada's entry into the nuclear age when the fission bomb "CA-1" detonates on nearby Prince Charles Island. Three years in the making, the bomb detonates with the force of thirty thousand tons of TNT. Canada doesn't have much of a delivery system for the bomb, but B-36s built under license just after WWII, taking off from various parts of Canada (the Yukon, Newfoundland, and Ontario) can carry nuclear weapons to any potential enemies, so Diefenbaker is content.
CA-1 is a propaganda coup for his government; Canada's economy isn't very strong, and the main accomplishments of Diefenbaker's Progressive Conservatives have been the adoption of a new national flag and the emancipation (on a federal level) of Native Canadians. But the newly-named "Atomic Prime Minister" has a monument much like him, big and noisy and impressive, and he begins a new series of programs, including construction of nuclear power plants to replace coal. (Regrettably, like many of Diefenbakers' OTL ideas, he hasn't entirely thought the matter through.)
-President Kennedy congratulates Canada on their technological achievement, but quietly has the American radar bases in North Dakota, Alaska, and New England cast a slightly suspicious electronic eye on the Great White North. Canada is the first nuclear power that the United States shares a hemisphere with, and even the basic good relations between the two can't overcome Joe Kennedy Jr's suspicions, especially given Diefenbaker's unabashed Anglophilia. (Diefenbaker's rhetoric during the Sicilian Crisis even outmatched Churchill's.)
Kennedy privately urges Treasury Secretary Tobin and Commerce Secretary Daley to direct American foreign trade away from Canada; as much as can be done without actually hurting the US, at least, given the tight interconnectedness of the two nation's economies. If Diefenbaker wants nuclear weapons and likes the UK better than the US, fine, that's what he'll get. Kennedy also accelerates the development of federally funded power plants in the Northeast, in a plan to lower American dependence on Canadian electrical power.
-In July, Chiang Kai-Shek barely survives an assasination attempt, losing the sight in his right eye. Taiwan is not at all a pleasant place in the early 1950s. More paranoid after being "betrayed" by the Americans and losing more badly to the Communists, his crackdown and purging of local Taiwanese intellectuals in 1949 was more severe than in OTL, beginning a vicious cycle of repression that has made Taiwan a frightening place indeed for a non-Kuomintag member.
Not that matters are perfect for them, either. With American foreign aid at very low levels and military help nearly non-existent, Taiwanese society is very heavily militarized (mandatory draft and service for all males between 18-45) and quite poor. America's small but powerful "Taiwan Lobby", mostly made up of servicemen who served in Formosa during and after the American invasion, has ensured there will be no increase in American aid until the government lowers the level of repression, and even for foreign aid, that's not going to happen anytime soon.
-Meanwhile, fighting in the Philippines has somewhat stabilized by the end of summer, somewhat to the worry of the Thorez-led Hukabalahap. The American military has switched to, and been successful at, driving the guerillas out of the major cities and away from pro-goverment populations on the coast. There's been a paucity of American raids into the Huk-controlled sectors as well, now that the Huk are surrounded by a largely friendly population.
Even American air raids have largely come to a halt; the most common American airplanes flying overhead these days in central Luzon are high-level reconnaissance aircraft taking pictures. By September, the Communist-controlled areas of Luzon are perhaps the best-photographed areas in the world. There's a reason for this, of course, but no one in the area knows it just yet.
(The isolated Huk presence on other, smaller islands has been well-stamped out by the United States Marine Corps, one of the few unqualified successes of Operation COPPER.. One veteran of those engagements, Lieutenant Daniel Taylor, while giving the commencement address to the class of 1954 at his old Dallas high school, will inspire a young honor student named Lee Harvey Oswald to join the Marine Corps.)
-Lazar Kaganovich is a busy man in September of 1953, what with carefully organizing a plan to ensure tight Soviet control of her satillite states in Eastern Europe, condemning the "cult of the intellectual" surrounding Karl Marx, and arranging for a strong Soviet military presence in the JPR. Still, he always has time to meet with a representative of the other big country with nuclear weapons; especially old Burton Kendall Wheeler, the American ambassador, with a personal message from President Joseph Kennedy Jr.
It's not a message, though; merely a question and comment. How would the Soviet Union react if the United States used nuclear weapons in its ongoing conflict in the Pacific? The Ambassador makes it clear that Kennedy is not asking for permission, he merely wants to warn Kaganovich ahead of time. As he does for every major question, Kaganovich asks for time to think matters over, and promises to call Wheeler back in a week or two.
He has a lot to think about. The most obvious problem, coming so soon after the apparant Soviet victory in the Sicilian Crisis (both the Amsterdam Pact and the USSR claimed victory), is loss of face. The American defeat of a Communist insurgency might make other insurgencies in East Asia, specifically Burma, lose heart. However, neither the Huk nor the Burmese Communists are Soviet-backed; the Filipino Communists are very home-grown and supported, and whatever limited Soviet aid they got ended with the American blockade.
Only Mao Tse-Tung knows it was Joseph Stalin and now himself who urged the Chinese government to intervene on behalf of the Indochinese and to supply such massive aid to the Burmese and Indonesians, and Mao isn't talking. Too, the Americans and Amsterdam Pact are well-seperated in the minds of even the most ignorant partisan, an American victory over her local Communists won't suggest an Amsterdam Pact victory over Soviet or Chinese-backed Communists.
Another obvious problem is, of course, that the Americans might inspire the Amsterdam Pact to use weapons of a similar nature in Burma or East Africa. It doesn't seem as if they will, though. Darlan's attention is on French colonial wars in Africa, where the insurgents are nationalist rather than Communist. (They are very non-Communist in Algeria, in fact.) As for the United Kingdom, the Sicilian Crisis has not left Kaganovich with a great respect for the willpower of Anthony Eden. Even if Eden can work up the nerve, he has his opposition to worry about.
The main risk, then, is an abstract one, a mode of thinking the old industrialist isn't used to using. Even if the Amsterdam Pact doesn't pick up on the use of nuclear weapons right away, Kaganovich himself will certainly use nuclear weapons if, say, Rokovossosky in Poland or Tito in Yugoslavia get too uppity. And that road is reasonably likely to lead to some sort of nuclear exchange at some point. Still, the USSR has lots more nuclear weapons than their primary enemy at the moment, the Amsterdam Pact.
In fact, Soviet-American cooperation on this issue might lead to more. While a formal alliance, or even particularly good relations between the heart of industrial capitalism and the world's most powerful Communist state is almost certainly not going to happen, if sufficient detente is achieved by the time of that possible war between the Amsterdam Pact and the Soviet Union...the United States just might stay out of it.
And when he puts it that way...Kaganovich doesn't hesitate to tell Ambassador Wheeler that the Philippines fall into the American sphere of influence, they can do as they please there, right down to nuclear weapons on the heads of local Communists.
For All Time Pt. 65
October 1-19 1953
-The attacks come north of Palayan on October 3, 1953, by carrier aircraft launched from the U.S.S. David Farragut. There are three of them, all clustered within a triangle ten miles on a side, a radio communications center, a munitions depot, and a road junction. All are actually well away from the front, in territory easily accesible and inspectable by the Huk forces. The attacks come within an hour of each other between 5:40 and 6:56 PM (EST), and the bombs detonated are 1 10-kiloton warhead per target. All are shattered beyond repair.
By 10 AM (EST) on the 4th, after the senior Huk leadership has had time to either inspect or receive reports of the damage, Joseph Kennedy Jr. addresses the United States and the Philippines live by particularly powerful and relayed radio. (The US gets the TV broadcast as well.) Kennedy announces the use of nuclear weapons in Luzon and promises destruction of all enemy targets, by nuclear weapons, by the end of 1953, until and unless the Hukabulahap surrenders.
He goes on: "There are those watching or listening to this broadcast, in Moscow or London, Beijing or Paris who may compare this to the unprovoked atrocities of the past administration. However, let me make one thing perfectly clear. The United States is no longer in the business of killing civilians without cause or purpose. The nuclear weapons used last night on the Communist bases in Luzon were used for the same purpose as the nuclear weapons used on Germany and Japan in the last war; to destroy the military might of the enemy and to show him the strength of our resolve. If you are prepared to call our actions on Luzon an atrocity, if you are prepared to call myself, Secretary Morse, or General Westmoreland warmongers or butchers, then you must call the destruction of Hitler and Tojo an atrocity, you must call Robert Taft, Secretary William Donovan, and General Omar Bradley warmongering butchers. I have seen the face of war, as have many of my viewers and listeners. It is a hideous, ugly thing, something no man, whatever his creed or color, should face. But if war must come, it must be fought with every weapon available, and it must end quickly."
-Shortly after Kennedy's broadcast, American carrier bombers and ground artillery begin a large-scale bombardment of Huk-controlled territory with chemical weapons, mostly mustard gas. Chemical weapons are nothing new in warfare in the mid-20th century, they saw moderate use in WWII and heavy use in the Indochine War, the Italian Civil War, Operation COPPER, and essentially every major conflict since 1945.
The US has never used them to this extent, however, and they're actually outrunning existing stocks, they've only six months of heavy fighting's worth left in the entire American arsenal. Kennedy's government isn't being stupid; they have to show force ...because they're running one of the larger bluffs in American military history.
While JPK Jr. promised "peace with honor" during the campaign, he knows what will happen if American armies come home with a Communist guerilla movement still around in significant numbers in Luzon. He'll be a laughing-stock, again, the boy governor elected as a war hero who couldn't beat a bunch of mud hut guerillas. Unfortunately, if he's to end the war quickly, as he must, he needs to hit the Huk hard , harder than even Dewey's army did...but that would mean casualties, and far too many of those to boot.
But even the Quirino government, made an American puppet state by dint of the sheer numbers of American troops occupying Manila and parts near, won't stand for massive use of weapons of mass destruction so close to his capitol, and American public opinion won't stand for a coup d'etat, even a well-mannered one. It all comes down to a question of nerves, then.
-Luis Turac has been fighting for 11 years. First it was the Japanese (the Hukabalahap formed in 1942), in a long, bitter campaign that seemed to last forever. Then it was the government, when Quezon stabbed the peasants in the back time and time again, and now the Americans with their odd ways, necessary brutality condemned as a monstrosity. The government has been getting smarter too, General Magsaysay has successfully pulled so many of his old comrades away with pardons and promises of cooperation. (Madmen. Don't they know of Bismark?)
And now this. Turac is one of the first senior officers on the scene of the Triune Attack; he pulls bodies out of ruined bunkers himself, stares in horror at the image of a soldier burnt forever into the concrete near ground zero. (It is probably here that he acquires the cancer that will kill him in 1965.) No more of this. Eleven years, three different opponents, and now all fighting means is death, death not just for him but for the brave boys who first took up his banner against the Japanese.
No more, no more. On October 19, 1953, Luis Turac surrenders the Hukabalahap. The Luzon War is over, in the sense that the Philippine Insurrection ended when TR declared so. Perhaps 50,000 Filipinos are dead, perhaps 4,000 Americans have become casualties.
For All Time Pt. 66
December 1953-May 1954
-With the end of the Luzon War and the formal abolishing of the draft, Joseph Kennedy Jr. finds himself riding a wave of popularity like no President since Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. To maintain both his own popularity and the strong Democratic Congressional majority, he passes a large package of economic programs in early 1954: a high protectionist tariff (30% on steel alone), cuts on the last surviving Wallace-era regulations on industry, synchronizing the Federal Reserve Director's term with the President's, and giving Secretary of theTreasury Tobin a vote on the Federal Reserve's board.
The President is what most Americans like to imagine they are: the young war hero returned home, with a young wife and new family. Even his brothers seem likeable: John Fitzgerald is speaker of the Massachusetts state legislature and author of several best-selling history books, Robert is the famous investigative reporter, and Edward is the bright young college boy. (Joseph's infidelity, John's problem with methamphetamines, Robert's and especially Edward's alcoholism are, of course, swept under the rug. The Kennedy political machine combined with the gentlemanly press of the early 1950s (rebounded from the nastiness of the '40s) works just as well as for John's administration in OTL.)
-In February, an mid-level British diplomat named Guy Burgess finds a fascinating piece of carbon paper that somehow wound up in the back files of the foreign Ministry. It's a communique sent by the Prime Minister's office to RAF bases in Malta and Scotland (the order would only be read by very high-level officers), confirming that "Order 11" has been rescinded. The date is in May of 1953, just after the end of the Sicilian Crisis.
He's not quite sure what it means, but he does pass it on to his superiors, carefully. (A colleague, Donald MacLean, threw himself in front of a bus when suspected of espionage three years before.) When said superiors find out the exact meaning of Order 11, Lazar Kaganovich has a fascinating picture indeed of "The Matter of Britain."
(Contrary to stories told by rightists in Europe and America, the Soviet Union does not prefer leftist governments in Western Europe and the US to right-wing ones. Indeed, Kaganovich likes Anthony Eden in charge of Great Britain quite a bit. Still, he's not one to turn down such information.)
-Kennedy's popularity goes up even more in March of 1954, when Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz appropiates and begins redistributing the seriously vast amounts of land owned by the United Fruit corporation in his company. United Fruit is a fair bit richer than the government itself, as well as being the largest landowner and employer.
As per OTL, Arbenz is no Communist stooge, he really is just taking a risky step to help the impoverished peasants and workers of his country. Also as per OTL, though, he certainly does have the support of Guatemala's Communists, and more to the point, no American President, especially not a son of Joe Kennedy Sr., is going to let an American corporation be inconvienced by a Latin American government.
With America's intelligence community small and underfunded, centered around the OIS, he can't organize a local coup d'etat, and while it wouldn't require much military force to drive out Arbenz, an actual military invasion is out of the question with the Luzon War just barely over. Instead, he compromises.
Government-sponsored public relations companies blather about Reds in Latin America as Kennedy sends the U.S.S Intrepid south from San Diego, where it's been refitting since October. The Intrepid is fresh from the Philippines, full of veteran bomber pilots with planes full of bombs. The American ambassador gets a meeting with Arbenz and tells him in black terms of the fate of those who oppose the US, intimating that nuclear or chemical attack will be launched against Guatemala City if Arbenz does not surrender.
His attempts to mobilize the army fail when rumors that the Americans are coming in strength and bent on slaughter and conquest rip through Guatemala; when Kennedy persuades El Salvador to mobilize its military, the already fragile structure of Guatemalan society gets weaker and weaker.
By April 9, when American airplanes from the Intrepid destroy most of Guatemala City's bridges and all of her power plants, it's almost an anti-climaz, Arbenz is already quickly packing his bags and fleeing into the British-controlled Belize. (They're more inclined to give refuge to a politician seen as anti-American.) The new government isn't so much in the pocket of United Fruit as it is United Fruit with a Guatemalan face. With no American deaths and American industry protected, the United States and, more specifically, Joseph Kennedy Jr, look very good indeed.
-During his annual May Day address, Premier Lazar Kaganovich stuns the world with a surprise announcement. "The democratic and peace-loving states" of Eastern Europe friendly to the Soviet Union will be organized into a unified defense and economic structure, tentatively called "The Alliance of People's Democracies."
On the surface, nothing much has changed. The APD would only formalize arrangements that have existed since the late 1940s (namely, that Eastern Europe jumps when Moscow says so), but it's still a formal, public statement of the authority the Soviet Union has over its satiellite states. Oddly enough, one government official deeply discomfited at the notion is Mao Tse-Tung. The APD's name doesn't preclude expansion to every Soviet-backed state, and he has no desire to have Moscow start to tell him what to do. He's not strong enough to resist them quite yet...but he's not that worried. Moscow isn't strong enough to push him around either, and he's got his own little friends in Indochina, Burma, and bits and pieces of Indonesia.
Joseph Broz Tito's situation is a bit different. He knows the Markos government feels as he does and Nenni might; the Italian General Secretary is far less Stalinist than the man he replaced, and the fate of his predecessor did a good job of teaching him what happens to puppet leaders who fall off their strings.
But none of them can even trust their own house completely, especially Nenni. Nagy in Hungary might go his way, too, and Rokovossoky is relatively unpopular. Dimitrov in Bulgaria will be against him, of course, not to mention Hoxha in Albania or the Romanians. And, of course, Lazar Kaganovich at the head of the great Soviet bear.
He fences on the night of May 2-3, even as the Yugoslavian army begins mobilization. Parry, thrust, parry, advance...well, now he'll have a chance to thrust at the heart of the Bear itself. Time to see just how tough the industrialist really is.
For All Time Pt. 67
May 1954-August 1954
-With two great European crises happening in May one year apart, fringe social theorists will talk seriously of a yearly cycle of social unrest. It's about as true as most social theories, but will entertain some for several months. The summer of 1954 will inspire more than just social theories; it will have plays, movies, songs, and several best-selling spy novels. Too, it will begin the long, slow road towards the awakening of the American ostrich.
But all that's in the future on May 3, 1954, when Yugoslavian leader Josif Broz Tito announces that Yugoslavia will take no part in the Alliance of People's Democracies "or any other infringement of a foreign power upon her national sovereignty." Instead, he invites Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Italy to join him in a "Mediterranean Federation" of non-aligned states: "To steer our own path, not devoured by Russian imperialism on the left or pulled under and drowned by the capitalist whirlpool on the right."
Within a day, after Greek President Markos Vafiades declared his support for the Yugoslavian initiative, long-simmering sentiments of ill-will explode through Eastern Europe. Oppressed citizens of Berlin and Munich storm through the city after meeting in Atomic Square; where the damage caused by the final American atomic bomb has been preserved. Crowds of students gather around the office of liberal Hungarian Premier Imre Nagy, calling on him to mobilize the Army and expel the Soviet presence. In Poland, elements of the Polish Army (mobilized for a nation-wide civil defense drill) actually assault the Warsaw military base where the "Russian" Konstantin Rokossovski is reviewing his troops. (Czechoslovakia and Austria stay quiet thanks to a quick and merciless clampdown by the efficient local governments.)
Even in relatively stable Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania, suddenly thousands of people are on the streets, marching for liberty. A surprising number aren't actually Communists, and would likely find Josif Tito's Yugoslavia an unappetizing place...but repression breeds strange bedfellows, and a great deal of cognitive dissonance is at work on both sides, though Yugoslavia and Greece are careful to accept the support only of Communist organizations abroad. (Both Yugoslavia and Greece, by preemptive army deployments, manage to keep down their own Stalinists.)
Pietro Nenni likely would have joined Markos and Tito in their rebellion; but Italy is the only place where Soviet, Yugoslavian, Greek, and Bulgarian troops are side by side and armed (for the moment.) The Soviet commanders on the ground move first and best, and soon they're chasing the rebels into the hills while Pietro Nenni is rather nervously going on the radio and announcing his full support for the Kaganovich government and Soviet policy in Europe.
Meanwhile, in Moscow, Lazar Kaganovich, forced to do the one thing he hates (move quickly) gives a rather surprising order. Limited Soviet troops will be moved into Eastern Europe, if the local governments request it...but outside of Italy, no Soviet troops or troops from the Soviet Bloc will cross Yugoslavian or Greek soil. Indeed, Kaganovich proclaims his friendship to all the Yugoslavian and Greek peoples, urging them to overthrow their "capitalists in Leninist-Stalinist clothing" leaders.
-Cautious of tangling with the Communists so soon after the embarrassment and terror of the Sicilian Crisis, the Amsterdam Pact pledges support for "democratic movements" everywhere. Anthony Eden has begun to sink into a fugue of depression from some unidentified source, and Darlan is busy in Africa, where his whirlwind tour of Algeria is actually very safe, mostly because there are a paucity of non-assimilated Muslims in the major cities. They've been forcibly driven into the deep interior, many heading into Libya.
Joseph Kennedy Jr. doesn't pay much attention, though he makes similar statements that don't actually say anything at all. His America is listening to a 19-year old white from Florida belt out covers of songs by more gifted artists of the wrong skin color; he personally has decided which Southern Senator he'll appoint to the Supreme Court to satisfy the Southern Democrats who helped put him into office.
In July of 1954, Puerto Rico votes, by a razor-thin margin, for independence from the United States in 1956.
-As she has since the beginning of history, Poland becomes the fulcrum on which Europe turns. It will be events in Warsaw in the last half of May, that will shape all that comes next, in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Much of it will turn on the character of Konstantin Rokossovski, the son of a Pole and Russian who became a Red Army general and rose to the highest rank, even while speaking his Russian with a marked Polish accent.
Had his nerve broken between May 4-11, things might have been very different in the summer of 1954, and after. Had he surrended his base, the largest Red Army base in Poland, and surrendered his title as Premier, perhaps the rising power of the Soviet Union might have been checked right there, on that day.
But, of course, it didn't. Personally leading a column of T-34s, the old Marshal broke the siege of Stalinsk Base between May 11 and May 14, finally battering his way out to a radio transmitter, where he signalled for help from Moscow before returning to the fray. Within a day, Soviet troops were pouring across the border to aid loyal Polish troops and the embattled Russians already in Poland, and by the end of the month, the Red Army boot was busy tramping out any resistance beyond a nuisance level.
With Poland crushed, Imre Nagy comes down on the side of not getting shot to death by the Soviets, and is soon directing the destruction of those who'd begged for his help and pledged alliegance only a few short weeks before in the middle of June. As fighting continues in Italy through July, the governments of Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania calmly and brutally shoot down their protestors in the streets, even as they invite Moscow in to help too.
Tito and Markos fight hard and well, but by the beginning of August, both can tell they've lost. Despite inflicting terrific casualties, the Yugoslavian and Greek troops in Italy have been pushed back over the border (rather ominously, over the border the Italians claim), and all their attempted offensives to assist Poland, Hungary, or the rest of the Communist world in breaking free of the Soviet yoke have met with bloody reverses. In Albania and Anatolia, the slightly mad Envers Hoxha and his even madder Turkish counterpart have mobilized their armies, perched on the border and ready to swoop down on the foe. The more stable Communist states await Moscow's orders. But Lazar Kaganovich has another plan. Another plan entirely.
On August 1, 1954, he makes a rare move; a televised address, from his office, to the people of Yugoslavia and Greece. If they do not remove their leaders by the middle of the month, he will do it for them, by the most terrible means known to man. Tito and Markos take their gamble and bet that if Joseph Stalin only used nuclear weapons once in wartime, the old shoemaker from Kiev and Turkestan will do no such thing. And if the Red Army does invade, well, they've won guerilla wars before. They issue a blistering reply.
-Kaganovich knows that for all Sudoplatov's security services are good, they're not that good, and anything the Soviet Union has will eventually get out to the West. Better to release the information publicly, and in a way to impress the other Soviet client states: this is what happens when you go up against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, when you break treaty and cause a war. Too, he has to prove to the world that he's as tough as Joseph Kennedy Jr....and more power. Markos is next on his list, if he resists, but Tito is the center, the focal point of the conspiracy.
Two weeks after Tito and Markos dare him to do his worst, he does. At 8:45 AM local time, a high-level Soviet bomber detonates a 10-megaton hydrogen bomb in the skies over Zagreb, Yugoslavia. Roughly 500,000 people live in the relatively densely packed Croat city. Much of it is on the flat flood plain of the Savo River. Most people are on the street, going to work.
For All Time Pt. 68
August 1954-December 1954
-Despite countless romatic ballads penned by Yugoslav refugees afterwards (many who would have spat in the eye of Josif Tito while he was alive), Josif Broz Tito does not escape from his besieged capital during the battle for Belgrade. (August 21-30.) While his death in an artillery barrage just as the pro-Soviet forces push their way into the capitol district proper may lack Hollywood impact, the old partisan leader does die at the head of his men in a reasonably noble last stand. The new government tamely asks for Soviet help during reconstruction.
His Greek colleague is not so lucky; the things Markos Vafiades's secret police chief does to him after the coup on August 25 aren't pretty, and what the Athens mob does to his body(most of them acting out of fear for their lives, trying to impress the new government) after he's tossed to them are even worse. Just as their colleagues in Belgrade do, the new Greek government invites in the Soviets before the first of September.
With no more than 5,000 Soviet military casualties, (and perhaps 1000 dead), Lazar Kaganovich has restored order to Eastern Europe. (The remaining activists in the Soviet Bloc, not unreasonably afraid for their lives, quiet down very quickly indeed.) The occupation forces in Greece and Yugoslavia are multi-ethnic; Russian and Albanian, Bulgarian and Austrian, a grand solidarity of Communist countries and a good image for the infant CPSD.
There are, of course, over half a million civilian casualties; mostly in Greece and Poland. That excludes, of course, the apocalypse of Croatia. Three hundred and fifty thousand people died in Zagreb in the initial blast; another hundred thousand died within a week. The survivors joined the hundreds of thousands of Yugoslavians roaming Croatia and the nation, looking for...somewhere. Anywhere.
-In the United States, President Kennedy appoints no less a person than Theodore Hall to head the American thermonuclear bomb project. The former Presidential Science Advisor almost immediately finds himself at war with his old Manhattan Project comrade, Dr. Edward Teller. (Teller, who has been teaching at Berkely since Taft dismantled much of America's nuclear research program, had become something of a pariah in American nuclear circles thanks to his repeated letters urging the development of a hydrogen bomb. Now he's back in the government's good graces...but Kennedy still doesn't trust the Hungarian loose cannon quite enough to let him run the project.)
Hall was badly shaken by the nuclear destruction of Zagreb; it seemed to show that the Soviets were no better than the Americans. Still, the convictions of a lifetime are hard to overcome. He will build Joe Kennedy his hydrogen bomb...and he'll tell the Soviets every last detail. If there must be a balance of terror in the world, at least there'll a balance of power as well.
-His health in fragile shape from stress and methaphetamines, Prime Minister Anthony Eden takes the opportunity of the disorder in Eastern Europe to retire in early October. With foreign affairs and the military on everyone's mind, he hands power over to his defense minister, a stalwart fellow named Harold MacMillan. The new Prime Minister moves quickly to clean house once in office, arm-twisting Cabinet members and government officials around until he has a body of men around him he can trust.
Replacing MacMillan at Defense is John Prumufo, a decorated veteran of World War II and a former high commissioner in the British portion of the Pfalzrepublik. The new foreign Minister is Guy Burgess, while rounding out the trio of new blood is the new director of MI6; the former head of the Soviet Divison: Kim Philby. Much like his quasi-counterpart in Stalin's era, security concerns give Philby direct supervision of the British portion of the Amsterdam Pact's hastily-inaugurated thermonuclear project in the deserts of Sudan. Darlan appoints an actual nuclear scientist with a famous name, Irene Curie, to head the French contingent.
Shortly thereafterwards, both Burgess and Philby notice a shift in the behavior of their handlers; most are actually replaced all together, the new people look like junior operatives. Too, they shift more towards dead drops and other techniques where neither can quite give the game away. Both dismiss it; it's a logical tightening of security now that they're both in far more high profile positions than before.
-The Great Powers aren't the only nations to be rather alarmed by the Soviet destruction of Zagreb. The Evatt government in Australia approaches their Antipodean neighbor about a joint program to be carried out in the Australian desert. (Evatt is more worried about an aggressive Amsterdam Pact or America than the Soviets at the moment, but it's a good story to tell more conservative governments when trying to cooperate.
Mao Tse-Tung throws more and more bodies at the A-bomb question; while the members of the Scandanavian Coal and Steel Community (very, very quietly) agree to cooperate on any program they establish, at any time in the future. The Delgado government in Venezuela adds inquiries in university physics and engineering departments to its prioties in operations in the Pfalzrepublik.
-In November, John George Diefenbaker vows to continue his government's program of public works. Already there is a causeway under construction from the mainland to Prince Edward Island along with Canada's program of nuclear power plant construction, and now he promises a system of federally-funded highways to connect "Whitehorse to Victoria, Victoria to Toronto, and Toronto to Charlottetown." It's a nice idea, and one that might help Canada's troubled economy (the A-bomb project was expensive indeed, and the greater defense spending doesn't help matters much either.), except that he hasn't actually bothered to ponder putting a four-lane highway down in the Yukon, or, for that matter, mention the idea to the provincal premiers, who might have some slight interest in the matter.
Still, he is Dief the Chief, the Atomic Prime Minister, and plans are quickly drawn up for major "interprovincial highways" all across the continent...a lot of people just aren't happy about it. Construction will begin first in Ontario and the Maritimes, both of whom have slipped into a slight economic depression in the past year thanks to the questionable trade relations with the Americans.
-Joseph Kennedy Jr. is mildly irritated at Diefenbaker's stealing his thunder on the power plant issue, but not that much. After all, Canada gets relatively little coverage in the United States, and those who did hear much about the announcement were in New England and the upper tier of the Midwest, people not inclined to think much of Canada deconnecting itself from the American power grid and local industry.
In his address celebrating the Democratic Party's retaining control of Congress, Kennedy pledges a (simplified and smaller over OTL) national interstate system, as well as at least one federally-funded power plant (presumably nuclear) in every state by 1961. To that end, he asks Congress to set up a Department of Energy as a full cabinet-level post.
For All Time Pt. 69
-On January 1, 1955, an American chemist named Linus Pauling, famous for winning the Nobel Prize a year before, announces that he has discovered the secret of life! Well, the building blocks of it anyway: the Oregon State grad has found the double helix structure of DNA using X-ray diffraction. Pauling follows up his paper in February with the publication of a book describing his discovery: The Staff of Life. Pauling, as modest as most research scientists, thoroughly enjoys the subsequent academic reaction, most of which is praise for the already famous and respected scientist.
The biggest surprise for him, though, is a very generous offer from the government to act as a consultant to a new biological research labratory they're setting up in Puget Sound. It's a grand deal; a salary that seems obscene to even an experienced academic, a chance to be his own boss and tell others what to do without the responsibility of leadership, and the government will even pay for his commute! It's a grand suggestion and he happily accepts.
Unknown to Pauling, while the American laboratory does have a significant civilian sector, funding research into polio among other things, the primary purpose of the Puget Sound National Medical Laboratory is weapons, specifically bio-weapons, molecular biology, and even the near-fetal science of genetic engineering. Pauling's personal isolationism (he protested the Luzon War and the occupation of Puerto Rico) was at first mistaken for just that, rather than a dislike of war in general, but the government agents on the scene, mostly military in civilian clothes, are quick to realize this. For the moment, at least, Pauling will know nothing of what he's helping to build.
(With the massive increase for military-related science funding in the US after the destruction of Zagreb, a substantial amount of money was left unassigned even beyond the Hall-Teller Super Project. Max Faget has his EHLB program in Nevada, and now there's the biological research division in Puget Sound. It's a new science, and thus hopefully one the Communists don't have a lead in.)
-In February, Lazar Kaganovich, speaking for the Council of People's and Socialist Democracies, announces the preliminary division of the former state of Yugoslavia. "Experience having proven that the unfortunate peoples of the traitor Tito's empire cannot be led united into world socialism, we shall assist their journey seperately."
Some of the new borders are nibbles by the former Yugoslavia's Communist neighbors. Nenni's Social Republic of Italy gets her claimed border near Trieste back, as well as a few islands off the coast of Dalmatia. Hoxha's Albania gets the Albanian-rich region of Kosovo, while Nagy receives the Hungarian-populated Vojvodina. The rest of the former Yugoslavia is divided up along ethnic lines; Serb, Slovene, and Montenegran. Significantly, Croats and Bosnian Muslims get no territory, areas with a Croatian or Muslim population are simply divided up among their neighbors.
The new states will receive full theoretical independence sometime in 1956...theoretically. All are, of course, members of the CPSD. Greece is a bit more lucky; it surrendered instead of fighting and the West would object far more strongly to the carving up of a historical state. (Not to mention the historical Greco-Russian ties.) Still, the new People's Republic of Greece gives their share of the former Turkey to Bulgaria and the Anatolian People's Republic.
-In the People's Republic of Korea, Kim il-Jong is a frustrated man. He has dreams...dreams of an imperial Korea that can take revenge on all of her old rivals; Japan and China and the rest. But there are problems; Japan is either an ally or protected by the United States, and an invasion of China would...not be a very good idea.
The obvious solution is an atomic bomb, and his scientists are already feverishly at work on that. But he needs something greater, something to knock Korea ahead of the game above all the Great Powers at once. Sure, it will take time, but he's got nothing but.
-In April, Chief Justice Styles Bridges announces that the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case arising out of the state of Kansas in their October session. Named for the first plaintiff in alphabetical order, the case is one of several that began in 1953-1954 and are only now reaching the highest level of the American judicial system.
It will be, however, only "Andrews vs. Wichita Board of Education" that students of the future will remember.
Map of Europe, 1955
For All Time Pt. 70
June-October 1955 -The execution of Fidel Castro on June 2 marks the culmination of a series of crackdowns by the government of General Fulgencio Batista. Castro had been a member of the Cuban Parliment before the Batista takeover, and had allegedly been trying to restore the civilian government overthrown in 1952.
Castro has organized his movement in a rather messaniac fashion; his capture came while leading an invasion of seventy-four men from the Oriente the year before, and without him, the truly radical phase of the anti-Batista movement comes to an end. (Not that the movement itself comes to an end. No indeed.)
The few surviving members of his inner circle scatter to the four winds: his brother Raul Castro Ruz hides in plain sight, falling deeper and deeper into the vast world of organized crime in Havana. Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, embittered at both South American fascists and Americans, slips south through the Caribbean and South America, finally returning to his native Argentina just before the end of the year.
-The primary story of the summer of 1955 in the US is the murder of political activist and lay minister John Birch. Birch had won a great deal of fame in the late 1940s and early 50s with his preaching of anti-Communism as a fundamental part of the Word of God, but after a public break with his partner the Reverend Billy Graham (who decided religion was more important than anti-Communism, while Birch thought that anti-Communism WAS religion.), Birch's influence declined outside of his weekly radio show and many books.
When the murder is connected to George L. Rockwell, a naval officer who read Karl Marx while recovering from wounds incurred at Sicily, a fair number of Birch's closest friends come to the conclusion that the Communists (or the Europeans; Birch's rhetoric was very nationalistic indeed.) took down America and God's great spokesman as his hour of triumph dawned. Clearly, they must band together in this time of need, in a society in the fallen leader's name.
They are a curious crew, this first generation of the John Birch Society. Manson, the UCLA junior; LaRouche, the former Trotskyite from New Hampshire, and Robert Welch, the Connecticut millionaire whose funds make everything possible. They're all quite mad, of course, but this is a season for madness in politics, it seems.
In Philadelphia, a charismatic minister with a concern for social justice exceeded only by his gigantic, gigantic ego named Jim Jones has won a special election to the city council.
-In Australia, Robert Menzies has been swept back to power, finally displacing the government of Herbert Evatt that he has despised for so long. Always of deep emotional resonance in Australia, the issue of emigration is crucial in the campaign: Evatt's government had been quite friendly to the thousands of Indonesians who fled their country's multi-sided civil war, while Menzies was a bit more sensitive to all those Communists.
Menzies quickly begins pouring funds into the joint Australian-New Zealand atomic program and offers the MacMillan government assistance in the ongoing Burmese War. Macmillan is a bit reluctant at first, but good sense soon prevails. The British are losing, bit by bit, and maybe with Australia's help, they won't have to nuke the place.
For All Time Pt. 71
October 1955-February 1956
-In the end, it all comes down to Robert Jackson. One of the last Roosevelt appointees to the Supreme Court, Jackson's record since has been mixed; at times he's sided with the liberal wing led by Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, at times he's sided with the conservatives under Styles Bridges and Alfred Landon.
Andrews vs. Witchita will test the "Swinging Judge" (not named for his lifestyle or stance on capital punishment) like no other. The pro-Plessy side lacks its most articulate spokesman of OTL (John W. Davis) but has a more receptive audience; more civil libertarians and segregationists, and a more convincing argument in comparing a hasty Court-ordered desegregation to the Wallace-ordered desegregation of the US military that allegedly led to the failure of D-Day.
Not all the insinuations about black soldiers in the world will convince Hugo Black or William O. Douglas, though. Nor, for that matter, will the admittedly brilliant arguments of Thurgood Marshall convince Felix Frankfurter or Alfred Landon that the Court should overstep its bounds. Both are deeply opposed to segregation (especially Frankfurter), but their judicial scruples are stronger than their moral scruples.
Richard Russell and Stanley Reed are largely typical Southern Democrats with the racial attitudes one might expect, and not all the persuasive arguments in the world will convince them that the good order and peace in the South will be helped by desegregation, not to mention all that unfortunate race-mixing that is likely to go on.
Chief Justice Styles Bridges and former Vice-President George Aiken were largely non-commital during the presentation of the case, but as the Justices begin meeting and debating to decide their opinion, it's clear that Bridges, the old Yankee conservative, sides with no one but himself, believing that while desegregation is probably a good idea, it is a state issue only.
George Aiken, liberal rebel from the Taft administration, rebels again from the conservativish majority, and sides with Hugo Black and William O. Douglas in the best traditions of New England liberalism. Thus, the judge from New York is suddenly asked to judge the nation itself, not just now, but for all time.
It's a tour of New York City that reminds him of the riots that killed so many, and of just how volatile the racial situation in America is. Too, without his experiences as chief prosecutor at the Nuremburg Trials, Jackson hasn't seen the dark face of human intolerance up close and personal. In the end, he just doesn't care enough.
On February 2, 1955, the Supreme Court hands down a decision. 3-3-2-1: Aiken, Black, and Douglas in favor of striking down Plessy and ensuring desegregation everywhere the federal and state governments reach; Frankfurter, Landon, and Jackson condemning segregation as a blight on the American landscape, but saying it is an issue for Congress, not the courts. Reed and Russel have their stirringly white supremacist defense of segregation, and Bridges has his lone, angry dissent.
Bridges is irritated at being left out in the cold, again, so irritated that he up and retires just after the decision is delivered. He's not the only one unhappy.
For All Time Pt. 72
-In contrast to the Barrio Riots of a few years before, the post-Andrews civil disturbances are a mutual affair. While blacks, Hispanics and whites both rioted in the aftermath of the Arecibo Siege, neither did so at the same time. Northern blacks and Hispanics rioted into white neighborhoods in the major cities, while Southern whites attacked black and Hispanic areas in the rural areas.
February of 1956 is, however, a different story. Peaceful and less-than-peaceful black protests take to the streets in nearly every major American city, with the more violent winning out rapidly. After all, all the peaceful gradualism of the NAACP has earned is three votes for liberty on the Supreme Court...while a majority simply made the same kind of white liberal whining they've heard for decades. "It's a state issue." "It's a Congressional issue."
In those same cities, though, (especially in the South) suddenly whites burst onto the streets, some celebrating the maintenance of white supremacy, some simply aiming to "take back our cities!" from the distrusted minority groups that have now rioted violently in the past five years. Whatever their motivations, degrees of moderation fade as quickly as in their black counterparts, and soon there is nothing but violence in America.
Lynchings are rare outside the South (where a young minister named Ralph Abernathy is hung outside his church), but there are enough fatal beatings and shootings to go around in all sections of the country. Lester Maddox is shot and left paralyzed in late February; only the presence of Marine guards saves Hugo Black from a white Alabaman determined to get the traitor.
As the death toll mounts (fifty are dead by the end of February, and that's only the beginning), President Joseph Kennedy Jr. is horrified. Dozens of Americans are dying in bloody racial strife, the CPSD and Amsterdam Pact are mockingly sympathetic...and re-election is now looking risky. Civil disorder, after all, was a big reason the Republicans lost in 1952, and now they just might be back.
Very carefully, he sends the National Guard into the major cities, and down into the South. (The regular army knows how to repress civil disorder from Luzon, but it wouldn't be a very good idea to do that.) Kennedy makes sure to deploy experienced veterans; men who know the right way to pacify a city without simply adding to the violence. It works partially.
Gambling black votes in the North vs. white votes in the South; he appoints liberal Southerner Estes Kefauver to replace Styles Bridges as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and introduces a Full Rights Bill into Congress. It is a heavily watered down combination of OTL's Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts; mostly desegregating state facilities (as opposed to state-funded facilities), anything funded by the federal government, and automatically transferring lawsuits based around voting rights to the federal courts. (No one in the South is worried about Attorney General Thurmond exercising the power to investigate such lawsuits.)
It satisfies a surprising number of moderates on both sides; but then, moderates aren't the ones rioting, beating, burning, and lynching. Still, Kennedy's moves win him support among the majority of the United States; though the most extreme on the left and right aren't pleased at all, and they make their opinions known. Most of them are driven well away from the rioters, however. There will be no revolutions for either side.
But there will be deaths. Deaths indeed. By the end of May, when the riots have finally died down, there are over a thousand dead Americans, mostly civilians killed by civilians, mostly killed in the major cities of the North and South. As the government begins re-examining very old plans about policing the inner cities with the military, the country stands behind the government, to an extent.
-Meanwhile, the Soviet Union makes a bit of a mistake. Aneurin Bevan indignantly refuses an offer tended to him by an unofficial representative of a rather large state east of Poland. He may have led the Labour Party rather sharply to left since beating Hugh Gaitskell for the Party leadership, but he is not a Communist stooge, and neither is anyone else in the Party. Or so he hopes, anyway.
The offer was intriguing, though; information to bring down the MacMillan government, including exposure of highly-placed spies and friends of spies, if Bevan agreed to support nuclear disarmament and take steps to withdraw from the Amsterdam Pact upon taking office. If there are Communist spies in the Government, something must be done, and unofficially to boot.
-On May 2, 1956, Admiral Francois Darlan dons his full dress uniform. Commander of the French armed forces, head of state, head of government, hero of World War II, he shines with medals like the sun as he watches it set over Paris. His family is in Tahiti; they've been vacationing there for quite some time. It's safe, after all, and he takes care of his own.
And himself. His intestinal cancer (oddly one of the few diseases safer for the elderly than the young) has been getting worse and worse; the drugs have begun to impair his faculties, but the constant pain does so even worse. There are no treatments, and he thinks of old friends who died slow, painful deaths. No, that's not for him. No one will humiliate l'admiral.
Just before sunset, Admiral Francois Darlan puts his service pistol in his mouth and blows the back of his head off.
For All Time Pt. 73
-Admiral Francois Darlan's government, built on efficiency and order as it is, survives him easily. His chief of staff and designated successor, General Raoul Salan, alleged hero of Algeria, takes the reigns of power by the end of the week; May 9, 1956. Conscious of his image, he addresses the nation live on the radio and infant television, announcing "A New Hundred Days, but these shall last forever, for the glory of France."
Salan knows full well that Darlan's death was a suicide; he'd been close to the old admiral and knew of his despair over his failing health. The remnants of the French free press is calling for new elections, though, and there's only one way to silence them. Hunt the murderers of the National Hero.
Beniot Franchon is dragged from his prison cell and guillotined publicly on May 12, while Maurice Thorez (in his Romanian exile) says a prayer of thanks that he got out when the getting was good. In Salan's first 100 days, perhaps five thousand opposition politicians, newspapermen, anyone who had too noisily criticized the government are publicly executed, all in the central square of whatever city they live in, most of them after public trials by Jo Ortiz, Salan's favorite civilian.
Some would call it a Second Reign of Terror, if they weren't dead or terrified for their lives. Even after the Hundred Days are over, Salan still moves, but now abroad. He detonates three atomic bombs in Algeria and French West Africa each, concentrating them against civilian targets, specifically food distribution centers. (This is a bit of a risk, France's specifically-controlled nuclear arsenal is only a dozen bombs and the half-finished "Charles II" in the Sudan desert.)
-In London, Harold MacMillian does the Prime Minister equivalent of banging his head on the wall. If it wasn't for the urgent necessity of cooperation against the Soviets; he'd cut France loose so fast...Salan is anti-Communist, and they need that right now. But it's just so nauseating.
Aneurin Bevan isn't just nauseated, he's horrified as he watches a film of . He didn't get where he is without friends, especially in the press, and fortunately his friend kept quiet about what they discovered about John Prufumo...after all, they found more, especially after that bureaucrat from the foreignMinistry got a bit too drunk.
By now, it's moved beyond politics, beyond getting Labour back in power. It's about doing to Harold MacMillan what those reporters did to Thomas Dewey. Bad enough making deals with Fascists; what nest does he have clutched against his bosom?
-Almost as an afterthought, Joseph Kennedy Jr. is renominated for a second term in August, retaining Lyndon Johnson as his running mate. The Republicans, meanwhile, nominate John Bricker, a deeply conservative internationalist from Ohio and a former political ally of Robert Taft, and war hero Harold Stassen to go with him.
Things have settled down in the United States; there are no more than a few racially motivated murders a week in a typical major city or large state. Attorney General Thurmond has been quietly pushed aside in favor of another Southerner who seems reliable on race, Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright, who is "safeish" on race at this point.
As America moves into an election season, her shattered nerves are soothed by the melodious strains of "Love Me Tender", as sung by the undisputed King of Rock and Roll (though the young man from Florida hates the title), Mr. Pat Boone.
For All Time Pt. 74
October 1956-February 1957
-In October of 1956, Reinhard Gehlen and the German Liberty Party win re-election by a relatively overwhelming majority. (He ensures the elections are partially fair, enough that the opposition Christian Democrat party under the ailing Konrad Adenauer wins 40% of the popular vote and retains nearly a third of the seats in Congress. The Social Democrat party, quite small, has only a handful of seats.) Gehlen's running mate is Heinz Guderian; well-liked as the man who brought down Hitler, and damaged enough by nearly a decade in Soviet captivity that he'll pretty much say anything.
Gehlen's anti-French and anti-Communist paranoia has driven hundreds of educators, authors, businessmen, and other intelligentsia right out of the country. (While he'd sorely like to kill a lot of them; pressure from the United States and the whole "Germans are evil" thing has kept him from being as repressive as either Darlan or Salan.) A surprising number have wound up in South America; the rest of Europe is nativist, the United States is rapidly closing the Golden Door, but it's Venezuela that needs engineers and physicists, Brazil that needs industrialists. With her relatively low trade barriers (at least to the US), there's nothing much to stop Ford's acquisition of Volkswagen near the end of the month.
-November sees Joseph P. Kennedy Jr's re-election by a fair margin; his victory over the Bricker/Warren ticket isn't a landslide; but it's much better than his squeaker over Thomas Dewey four years earlier. Emboldened by his victory, Kennedy moves quickly. At the dedication of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in January, he reaffirms his pledge for a nuclear power plant in every state. "America must be built on the atom!" he cries.
Privately he throws even more money at the American hydrogen bomb program; (Ted Hall now promises a working bomb by the middle of the year, to both his masters), and the EHLB program in Nevada. Max Faget promises a successful test by 1958; and to that end, Kennedy begins a program of expanded airports along the East Coast. Trans-atlantic jets are rare indeed, but internal American air travel has expanded greatly in the 1950s, so the program makes sense on a variety of levels.
Too, it's about this time that he decides for a third term in 1960. He's young, popular, and doesn't trust his own party to carry out the Kennedy agenda. He'll have to do something about his Vice-President, though, not to mention his own party.
-In January, the Progressive Conservative government of John George Diefenbaker finally falls. Diefenbaker has real accomplishments to point to, the atomic bomb, the major roads through Ontario, Quebec, and into the Maritimes, but his opponents; Lester Pearson's Liberals, can also point to just how much those grand projects cost; and the disastrous failures of the Yukon and Northwest Highways tell a gripping tale.
Too, Diefenbaker just isn't a very good Prime Minister, and that often tells against a politician. His fall is softer than OTL's 1963, though. Pearson will be heading a minority government with the Liberals allied to the Social Credit Party in the West, Diefenbaker will have a great deal of power in Parliment. Pearson makes an attempt at reconcilation with the US, but nerves are too frayed on both sides, and the growing trade war between the two largest English-speaking democracies in North America continues to the detriment of both; but especially Canada. In Newfoundland, Joseph Smallwood looks around him and decides he'd like to play his particular game on a bigger stage.
-Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, Harold MacMillan makes his decision. He's resisted use of nuclear weapons in Burma; more out of a desire for economy than a horror of the moral consequences. Still, he is a moral man, old-fashioned gentleman that he is, and the deaths of nearly twenty thousand National Servicemen in Burma weigh far more on his conscience than the millions of pounds each atomic bomb costs.
Too, he's in harness with the Salanist beast, and he has to show everyone; his own people; France, the United States, and the Soviet Union, that Britain is not to be trifled with; she'll fight for her allies as she would herself. He's trying to win over Scandanavia as well, but they won't join an alliance dominated by Salanist France, no indeed.
A few miles away, just as MacMillan signs the order to ship three atomic weapons from their storehouses in Malta to Rangoon, "Nye" Bevan is meeting with a highly-placed official in British intelligence; with a fascinating story to tell (and lots of evidence to back it up) about a variety of his coworkers.
For All Time Pt. 75 - Notes on the State of Virginia, and elsewhere
March 1, 1957
-Things are all right in Virginia; racial violence there was less severe than most of the South. The Byrd family continues to dominate politics, a young ex-naval officer named John Warner has been elected District Attorney of Fredericksburg. Now, for elsewhere.
-Plastics aren't the wave of the future. Postwar patent licensing arrangements (downright monkey business, in fact) between I.G. Farben, ICI, Dupont, and Standard Oil were pretty much the foundation of the plastics industry as it exists today. With the different American and German cultural and economic climates, that whole arrangement has been knocked for a loop. I.G. Farben's been all but removed from the equation with Germany impoverished and the US behind high trade barriers; and Taft's Department of Justice didn't pursue an anti-trust lawsuit against ICI, so they've yet to license their polyethlene patents to Dupont. Advances have been slow and costs to consumers high.
-Speaking of anti-trust lawsuits, AT remained a cheerful monopoly through 1949, not breathing a word of transistors until 1955 (there will be, of course, no licensing of technology in 1959.) With transistors sole property of a nearly competition-free industrial giant in the United States and with the European countries that might be tempted to pirate it with a serious lack of high-level technological research, the kind of research that led to the integrated circuit in OTL's 1960s will take a while longer indeed; until 1965, or later.
-With no Anglo-American cooperation on aircraft, there's no Comet and won't be for the longest time. The jet industry in general has been slower to develop. Boeing's working on a jet liner, but it won't be ready in 1958 as it was per OTL, with no British techonology and no government subsidies from the development of the KC-135 tanker. Aerial travel has concentrated on short-range commuter hops and airport development has reflected this.
-Cars are awful, pretty well all over. With the various nations of the Amsterdam Pact hiding behind high tariff barriers, Pfalzrepublik coal and steel can't get together with French coal and steel, and no European producer has been able to work up to real profits since the end of World War Two. Many companies (such as Volkswagen) have gone under, mostly to be purchased by their American counterparts. The Italian car companies are, of course, well and truly buggered. Most surviving European companies stagger along on producing licensed copies of American cars. (And the problem there is that American cars are really awful. Ford Fairlanes compete with Edsels, which are moderately competitive in the ATL.) The various manufacturers compete with each other; General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, all of them seeking to do to the other what they've already done to Nash and Hudson, Tucker and Packard.
-Tensions are higher in the Far East what with the Red Hordes everywhere. Malaysia is theoretically independant and a relatively peaceful British puppet state; Burma is theoretically independant and not at all peaceful. India and China don't like each other much; India is more militarized after the more successful Japanese invasion during World War Two and more worried about the expansion of Chinese Communism. Still, both of them are poor, and most of China's military is elsewhere, in Burma and even still in Indochina.
For All Time Pt. 76
-The passage of the Full Rights Bill is marked with unsurprising sectionalism and surprising nationalism. With even civil libertarian Republicans like Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater supporting the lukewarm civil rights legislation, (Goldwater's support is a bit reluctant, he hates the idea of giving the federal government any kind of power on internal matters like this, but even he thinks the national government should have the power to regulate itself and its subsidiaries.), the main opposition to the President's program comes from Southern Democrats.
Removing the clause giving the Attorney General the power to intervene in Full Rights cases satisfies Southern moderates; and while James Eastland and Theodore Bilbo will break records in filibustering, in the end it is the votes of men like Yarborough and Gore, Folsom and Long, that pass the votes for cloture and for the bill itself.
The new Act satisfies moderates in both sections; Southern liberals can hope it will end pro-black agitation in the North and "return our own Negroes to a state of content solemscence."; Northern liberals are satisfied that they've done something to ensure equal rights for minorities while at the same time not giving into pressure from men like former Congressman Adam Clayton Powell or African Ecumenical Council President Martin L. King Jr.
Radicals are, of course, incensed (James Eastland spends September 1, the day President Kennedy signs the Full Rights Act into law, making speeches against the Red-Negro menace in his home state of Mississippi.), Southern conservatives by the shameless "kowtowing and salaaming to the forces of violent Negro radicalism; must an African assasinate a white for all his hasty and false desires?", civil rights leaders by the fact that the bill won't actually change anything, everything short of the desegregation of the federal government itself will require suits in federal courts.
A generation of young blacks; Angela Davis and Cassius Clay, Medgar Evers and Julian Bond, watch Kennedy's triumphal speech on 9/1/1957: "We have solved the problems of Negro rights in America!" and shake their heads. They're not buying it anymore than their white counterparts a few miles away are.
-On May 16, 1957, Harold MacMillian's Tory government suddenly fails to pass a vote of no confidence introduced by Labour Party members. The shocking lack of coordination among Tory floor managers (the vote was a routine jab at a government with a slim majority, several like it had been introduced every year since the death of Winston Churchill.) remains a mystery for decades, and the truth is a slightly sordid one.
Nye Bevan had been geniunely sympathetic during his meeting with the Prime Minister two weeks before, but firm at the same time. John Prufumo's affair with Gerda Munsinger (who was also "employed" by the Soviet naval attache for matters not particularly nautical) is depressing but not particularly shocking; the old Tory gentleman knew his Minister for Defence was incorrigible, but the Prime Minister had thought he wasn't quite so stupid as to boff the wrong tart.
The rest of Bevan's information is shocking, shocking to MacMillan's very core. Using a carefully organized series of files organized by the new head of MI6, Bevan shows a pattern of Soviet espionage among very high-placed officials in the foreign Ministery (Burgess), MI5 (Percy Sillitoe), and various other officials in nearly every major department of the British government. Bevan is sympathetic; having been a socialist before and during World War II, he knows all about subversive Communists sneaking in and subverting your cause...but he can't allow a government full of spies to continue in power. If MacMillan doesn't ensure an election by the end of the month, Nye Bevan will release the information he and Kim Philby have gathered, and see that "instead of falling as the Cavaliers did, the Tories will fall as did mighty Carthage." To his own surprise, Bevan hopes for the first; he'd rather win an election fairly instead of tarring good men with the brush of the bad.
For Harold MacMillan, it's a hard choice indeed; most of the spies exposed aren't actually people he or his predecessors appointed; of his Cabinet, only John Prufumo is implicated in anything, and that having no sense in women as opposed to espionage. He could quietly push all of the Civil Service men out of office and fight like a lion...but the party would be forever tainted by the whisper of espionage, Conservative men who betrayed their country. Not to mention what it would do to the Amsterdam Pact; to the national reputation of Britain abroad, and the morale of British servicemen abroad (the nuclear destruction of Maymyo has driven the Communists back, but the war isn't at all over).
In the end, it's imagining those men; those British boys dying outside Mandalay and Rangoon, imagining them learning their leaders are full of Reds, that motivates MacMillan. He puts up a fight in the election, but his heart just isn't in it, and in July of 1957, Aneriun "Nye" Bevan (to the great confusion of future generations of school children), becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
His first crisis comes quickly, and in a very unusual place. For All Time Pt. 77 September 1, 1957 (Okay, so it's not really on vacation. But we are from the plot.) "Exiles"
Richard Wright has stirred from New Zealand only a very few times since 1948; and only once to the United States, for the funeral of his friend Langston Hughes in 1952. Hughes had been badly burned during the Harlem Raid in 1945, and an addiction to morphine and pneumonia ended his life 15 years earlier than OTL. Wright has preferred to become a slightly more articulate version of his hero W.E.B. DuBois (A meeting with Wright managed to get DuBois out of West Africa in 1955.), "crouching in his Antipodean fastness," writing hundreds of articles and stories condemning the racism of the United States, calling on blacks to either liberate themselves by emigration to less benighted shores or by the sword. His African Spartacus was outlawed for obscenity in several Southern states, but bootleg printings are common in black communities.
If any man can be called the "Poet of the Resistance" in France and her territories, Alber Camus is that man. Shocked out of the killing frenzy that shook post-war France by the murder of his friend Satre, Camus emigrated to St. Pierre, a French island off the coast of Canada. (St. Pierre and Miquelon, its nearest neighbor, have fallen by the wayside in the African and Asian-oriented Darlanist and Salanist government, Charles De Gaulle has even been allowed to criticize the government relatively freely.) Camus returned to his native Algeria only once, to write a depressing, methodical account of, oddly enough, the effect on French troops of the appalling brutality of the Algerian War. Both Camus and De Gaulle have been quiet since Salan came to power, at least .publicly
Slobodan Milosevic's parents left the Serbia he was born in to return to their native Montenegro shortly after the collapse of Yugoslavia, seeking something better than the chaos that is Serbo-Croatia. The 16 year old is a troublemaker in school, often teased for his Serbian accent, and was thrown out of the Young Communists of Montenegro organization. He is a bleak young man in a bleak place.
Koral Wotjla is a member of the ersatz Polish delegation to the equally ersatz Vactican in Toledo. An articulate and fiery survivor of the bloody battles in and around Warsaw that accompanied the restoration of the Stalinist government to power; the young bishop was instrumental in persuading his superior in the Church to vote for something truly unprecedented in recent times after the death of Pope Pius XII a month before: a non-Italian pope! Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty, briefly papal secretary of state and a fiery anti-Communist, narrowly defeated Angelo Roncalli, a de facto prisoner of the IRS) and the archbishop of Milan. (The new Pope has taken the name of Gregory XVII.)
Edward Kennedy is cultural attache to the American embassy in Mongolia (Kennedy recognized the People's Republic after the end of the Luzon War) and drunk to beat the band. Robert Kennedy was able to control his alcoholism and his womanizing for the 1956 campaign, but Teddy failed at the same effort, and his older brother patched him off to Ulaan Bator. To his own surprise, Kennedy has started dating a local girl religiously.
For All Time Pt. 78
-On September 8, 1957, Charles De Gaulle, in the full uniform of a general in the French Army, stands on a decrepit wooden stage in downtown Saint-Pierre (the largest city in the island of the same name) and cries "Revolution!" Rather than eliminate his most popular rival, Francois Darlan had dispatched him to the isolated French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon as commander of the forces stationed there, preferring to concentrate on Africa and Asia. De Gaulle took great advantage of this fact; every officer down to the level of lieutenant is personally loyal to Charles De Gaulle (the vast majority are veterans of the De Gaullist resistance, in fact), and the vast majority of men love their general like a father.
Too, De Gaulle has taken steps to remain popular with the civilians; the islands have perhaps the last free press and free schools in all of France and her departments, and his agents in France have helped dissidents settle there under assumed names and new identities. Isolated as the Breton fishermen are (DeGaulle has learned to speak the language fluently), his blaming of Paris for the slowly grinding economic hard times has worked well indeed.
There are questions, of course: How will the islands' economies stay viable without aid from France, what will France do now...but these questions are lost in the rush of a man driven slightly mad by isolation and a people willing to follow him where he leads. "To gain all, we must risk all.", he says in his declaration of the Republic, paraphrasing a wartime enemy.
Even as De Gaulle makes his speech, a graying unit of French marines helps the second officer of the destroyer Calais seize control in the name of Charles De Gaulle! Suddenly, French naval power in the northwest Atlantic is cut in half. De Gaulle sends representatives to Ottawa, Washington, and London before the day is out, demanding recognition as an independant state (but not, carefully, as the legitimate government of France.)
-All three nations respond with moderation; all would dearly love a chance to stick France in the eye, especially Nye Bevan's government in Great Britain, but none are willing to risk fracturing their de jure or de facto alliance with France over two windswept rocks and one mad general. The United States, with the least to lose from fractured relations with France, (since relations are already pretty fractured) dispatches a "Special Presidential Envoy" in the person of Adlai Stevenson, aboard the U.S.S. Iowa, an old US battleship due for retirement in 1958.
What none of them count on, of course, is that Raoul Salan is not a stable man. Without being kept on a leash by a civilian government in his military career (and on the loose himself), Salan is even more stable than in OTL, and he will not stand for this kind of insolence from a pack of parvenu foreigners. To the American ambassador, he is intemperate in the extreme, demanding that President Kennedy withdraw his "ambassador" and "military aid" lest they feel the full wrath of an outraged, united France. To the British, he demands Amsterdam Pact assistance to reclaim the "rebellious provinces", while he himself begins organizing an expeditionary force of 3,000 veterans of Algeria and West Africa with orders to "leave no brick atop another." (He also dispatches the Louis XIV, the largest carrier in the French navy equipped with nuclear weapons, to observe the situation.) To the Canadian, he warns them blackly to stay out of the business of big countries.
-Raoul Salan's contempt for democracy (earned from interacting with jailed dissidents and the puppet civilian government of France, both of whom strike him as utter pansies) doesn't play very well with Canada, the United Kingdom, or the United States. Lester "Mike" Pearson is the first to act; the bow-tied Liberal has been underestimated before (his nickname comes from a WWI sergeant who thought "Lester" was a wussy name) and will be again. He sends the largest ship in the Canadian navy, the cruiser Vancouver, to take up station-keeping alongside the U.S.S. Iowa, and roaringly condemns imperialism.
Never one to let the Canadians move toward a major sphere of influence in the Americas, President Kennedy echoes Prime Minister's Pearson's declaration, and dispatches elements of the US Atlantic fleet to that large area of ocean bounded roughly by Newfoundland, mainland Canada, and the rebellious islands. The American fleet, like the Canadian and French, is, of course, armed with nuclear weapons.
For Nye Bevan, the dawning St. Pierre Crisis is both a blessing and a curse. He can buck Great Britain's fascist yokemake and make the Amsterdam Pact what it was founded to be; a union of non-Communist states standing up against the Red Menace. (There are, of course, Spain and Portugal, but at least Franco and Salazar know when to shut up, both personally and politically. Neither government is half as expansionist as Salan's.) But he will pay a price for driving out the Butcher of Bayeaux; France is one of the strongest states in Europe, Britain's only real rival on the Continent, and her most powerful ally. The hydrogen bomb will take years instead of months; the slow deployment of the jet bomber will be well and truly snarled.
The French pillar is rotten, but strong. Just to be safe, of course, he sends the carrier Hermes on a goodwill tour of first Gothaub, and then...
-In the end, though, it's not really his decision. Raoul Salan is a veteran of several wars, and he knows doubtful allies. Better to throw them overboard now, to purge the moneychangers from the temple, than to be dragged down by the dead weight of Britain. For that matter, he's never once liked the idea of being an ally with nigh-on an out and out socialist like Bevan.
On September 31, even as Bevan's Amsterdam Pact ambassador (Harold Wilson) is introducing a motion for the Pact to recognize the "Free Republic of St. Pierre", the French representatives are already leaving the Netherlands, and the next day, Raoul Salan announces that "France shall no more walk in the shadow of the Socialists of London."
The Western world shudders a bit as it moves toward war (Lazar Kaganovich has his first real belly-laugh in decades, recognizing De Gaulle even before Kennedy), with the people of the various nations solidly united behind their leadership...with the exception of France. Most of Francois Darlan's inner circle is far more reasonable than Salan, none of them have an urge to get into a nuclear war with anyone else over a few thousand Breton fishermen living across the ocean.
After all, in the event the regime falls, their lives will be short, to say the least.
-As it happens, war doesn't come...but dozens of French sailors might wish it had. In the dead of night on October 14, 1957, the flight crew of the Louis XIV are loading ammunition aboard a flight of scout aircraft, off to buzz the ABC forces off St. Pierre, when one drops a signal rocket, which immediately ignites.
A quick-witted French sailor grabs the rocket and throws it inside a sealed locker before it can detonate, lest it fry half the men on the deck. Unfortunately, it's a fuel locker. Fortunately, the blast is confined to the locker itself and the compartment directly below. Unfortunately, thanks to a rather ill-concieved design (the Louis is a WWII-era battleship with the top sliced off), the compartment directly below is loaded with Lewisite, which leaks.
As a hundred French sailors die gruesomely and hundreds more envy them considerably over the next few days, Raoul Salan declares privately that it was an attack by the hated British, and orders the French nuclear forces to go onto high alert. It's not entirely certain what happened next, Salanist era records are very sketchy, but apparantly Salan boarded a flight from Paris to Caen to supervise the organization of the cross-Channel attack on the morning of October 19.
Paris is shockingly silent through the 20th, at least on the radio, though things are quite noisy in the city herself, what with the purges and all. The city police force is very busy manning roadblocks that completely seal the city off from the rest of France.
On October 21, Maurice Challe announces the assasination of Raoul Salan by "fascist elements of the Army.", and by the end of the month, his purge of people who knew about the bomb outside Caen or the planned nuclear strike on Great Britain is over. There'll be no war, but no Amsterdam Pact, either.
-Veteran's Day 1957 (November 11) dawns quite bright indeed in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska; Edward Teller's Super has come to fruition at last.
For All Time Pt. 79
Finishing the 1950s, photographs
1/1/1958 Aarhus, Denmark - Larry Burrows for the New York Post
-Andrei Gromyko's presence alongside the Prime Ministers of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden will forever contaminate the infant Nordic Council in Western eyes, but that's not a particularly fair impression. The political and economic Scandanavian association genuinely is neutral, the relevant treaties strongly resemble those formerly in place for Finland.
Scandanavian solidarity had been growing for years, ever since all the Great Powers proved themselves either uninterested in an alliance (Kennedy's America, Bevan's United Kingdom) or unworthy of an alliance (Challe's France, Kaganovich's Soviet Union.), ever since nuclear fire rose over the Philippines, Croatia, Algeria, West Africa, and Burma.
1/18/1958 In the Channel - David Bailey for the Times
-One of the worst maritime disasters of the late 20th century is the collision of the cross-Channel ferry and the Norwegian icebreaker Trondheim, hundreds drown, hundreds more freeze to death in the icy January waters. Indeed, only rapid action by a passing Romanian destroyer helps rescue those fortunates who do survive.
Amid the mass funerals and backbencher calls for revenge is the death of a prominent Briton, no less a personage than the head of MI6 himself. Only a very few will make any kind of connection between a shadowing vessel from a Soviet ally and the late H.A.R. Philby, no one wants to be associated with the drunken sodomite Burgess.
11/5/1958 Coro, Venezuela - Henry Huet for the Associated Press
- As Carlos Delgado Chalbaud reviews the newest additions to Venezuela's navy, he can thank Roy Jenkins for his trouble. Great Britain's defense establishment is rather strapped for cash with the sudden collapse of the Amsterdam Pact and the rather messy demise of the joint thermonuclear and jet projects. Even with the Low Countries siding with Great Britain in the Channel Union, even with the excellent new relations with Canada, the government needs money. (The adoption of a nuclear policy similar to the American, nukes first, brigades second, has helped a bit, but not much.)
Thus the selling of the RN; dozens of old battleships, heavy cruisers, and other archiac vessels (mostly WWI-era craft that had been refitted to fight in the Second World War) have been auctioned off to friendly countries. Charges that the Empire will be unprotectable have been met with a Welsh shrug and "What Empire?" The Bevan government presides over independence for Guina and the Rhodesian-South Africa merger, and the final withdrawal of troops from a Burma that is at least theoretically free for now.
7/4/1959 Yokohama, Japan - Various
Certainly the most famous photograph of the late 1950s is Frank G. Powers' Rex coming in for a landing at the last American base in the Far East, the engines that carried her on her flight of thousands of miles at an altitude just above sub-orbital still glowing with a kind of nuclear fire. The Extremely High-Level Bomber project has succeeded, somewhat. The Rex and her three compatriots can carry a bomb-load of a ton on a good day...that is, if bombs suitable had been built.
The picture, of course, does not include the radiation plume that followed the Rex from Nevada to Japan, nor the dead fish, nor the upswing in cancer patients in California and Japan. Still, for better or for worse, the world has entered the Space Age, sort of.
Of course, a variety of events that would prove important later aren't caught on film. In late 1959, an anonymous Soviet advisor to rebel forces in the Congo returns home, broken in health after being badly wounded in an ambush. Only a blood donation from a clinic deep in the jungle saved his life, and so even as he descends into morphine addiction and alcoholism he (he will be transferred through several posts in Poland and Bulgaria before finally recieving a Kremlin desk job) donates a pint every three weeks to his local blood bank.
Map of Europe, 1960
Back to World War II
On to the Sixties