A More Perfect Union: An Alternate History of the Land of the Free

The girl I like, while definitely a nerd, is not one for history, I don't think. She's more of a math and science person, while I like writing and history. But hey, she's also just about the only girl I've met IRL who likes 90% of the stuff I do, from Star Wars to Marvel, so I'm not too worried about that.
I prefer D.C. Comics. Btw, that would be cool to put in this TL
 
Is Henry Ford in this world still as much of a bigot?
Definitely not. Ford still had some labor issues, though, enough to cause him to flee Detroit during the Falcon Uprising. He's back now, though, and his company is one of the biggest to return to the Great Lakes region after the war.
 
I also never figured you were still a teenager, given how detailed and researched this timeline was. Though in retrospect, it does sort of explain the relentless optimism.
 
Good luck out there, HeX. Always glad to read from you. I love this timeline.
Sorry to detract from the thread, but I had some ideas of a timeline of my own and I would like some help. Remember back in the single digit pages where Jefferson's anti-slavery language made it in to the Declaration of Independence and later into the Constitution? Well, in my experiment, GA and the Carolinas chickened out due to that. Britain still loses the American Revolution, so the US still forms. I'd like help for that. PM me if you're interested.
 
The Greatest Generation, Part Twelve: Yin, Meet Yang New

Japanese propaganda to inspire patriotism in the Asian Front, ca. 1916

As far as rivalries went, no theater of the Grand War had older or stronger conflicts than Asia. For centuries, millennia, even, the Japanese Tiger and the Chinese Dragon had squared off for domination in isolation. Both were prideful of their cultures which, though similar, were very distinct, and the two had played a tug-of-war over the Yellow Sea and Korea for quite some time. In the modern era, this rivalry became inflamed as both Asian nations sought to consolidate their power through friendships with the new kids on the block, Europe and the Americas. The Entente quickly torpedoed any chance of an alliance with China when they came in guns blazing in the two unjust Opium Wars, their brief dominance over the Middle Kingdom coming to an abrupt close when it allied with the United States, industrialized, and threw off the shackles of treaty ports and trade deals. In the process, though, an Anglo-Japanese, and therefore Entene-Japanese, alliance formed. This alliance was not built upon similar ideological practices (for the rest of the Entente was far more brutal and racist), but realpolitik. After all, the enemy of one's enemy is their friend. Though the alliance was initially strong, during the Great Depression things only went downhill. In the decades to come, the alliance would come to be viewed as the most regrettable period in Japanese history, contributing heavily to the modern, playful stereotype of the "apologetic Japanese."

The Asian Front was perplexing. Though the massive continent was a complex web of League-Entente relations, most of the actual fighting was constrained to the eastern half of the continent. A massive rebellion in the British Raj never began due to the crushing defeat of the Indian Revolt of 1894, no matter how much the US wished it would. Just as well, the vast majority of the war would be fought almost via proxy, as China and Japan knew full well that invading the other's homeland would be suicide. Therefore, just like the last climactic episode between the two empires, the war at sea and the front in Korea would make up the majority of the fighting, though Russia would strike at Manchuria as well.

Battle began in earnest the instant the Japanese caught wind of the Anglo-American declarations of war on July 4, 1916. Flexing their naval superiority even without full aid from Mother Britain, Tokyo was raring to send their mighty fleet into the Yellow Sea once more. But the Qing had been preparing. Though nowhere near Japan's strength, China had built up its navy to a considerable degree over the past few decades. This war, as well, was lacking in the provisions of the War of Honor that had almost singlehandedly given Japan the victory; the full brunt of the Chinese and Japanese armed forces could be used, as well as all of the new technologies and tactics developed to better let nations slaughter each other. The first shots in Asia were fired when a few ships of Japan drifted into Chinese territorial waters in the northeast. Caught off-guard, numerous Qing ships were lost to the Rising Sun.

And so it began.

Japan hardly even entertained the concept of a seaborne invasion of mainland China, an idea about as wise as invading Russia in the winter. Instead, coastal Qing metropolises were bombarded and besieged for the war in the East's duration. Their land forces, meanwhile, were reserved for the real challenge: the invasion of Korea. The Land of the Morning Calm had been caught between the rock of China and the hard place of Japan for eons, but had always favored the former over the latter, a relationship made solid with both of their ascendancies to the League. But Japan wanted the peninsula, which they saw as the next stepping stone on their trip to Pacific domination that had gone unchecked since the 1890s. On August 14, 1916, Japanese armies made the harrowing journey across the Korea Strait from Hiroshima to Pusan, supplemented by a boisterous IJN and a few aircraft. They landed on the beaches guns blazing, taking the nearby detachment of the Korean Imperial Army, still awaiting the Chinese forces bolstering their own to trickle that far south, by surprise. Pusan held, however, in a large part due to the effort put forth by the local Korean population, and the battle continued.


The Battle of Pusan

As the battle there raged, the Japanese were sending a strike team to another coveted spot, the nearby Korean island of Cheju-do. The closest League territory to Japanese home soil, Tokyo worried endlessly that if a hypothetical Sino-Korean invasion came, it would be from that speck of land in the Yellow Sea. On August 30, as fighting raged in Pusan, more troops landed on the island. The battle was fierce, but Cheju-do caved to the Japanese onslaught after a week of fighting.

Japan wasn't the only one doing the attacking. Like Korea, the island of Taiwan was a recent addition to the great Asian tug-of-war, with most of its inhabitants ethnically Chinese yet perfectly content under Japanese rule, and the island's culture having metamorphosed into a strange mixture of both. Throughout the end of summer and into the autumn of 1916, China launched numerous naval raids on the island, though things didn't go anywhere for the time being. Back in Korea, a devastating counterattack was launched against the Japanese in Pusan, but the Entente held on by the skin of their teeth and managed to remain. Luckily, further penetrations into the peninsula, including an attempted landing at Masan, were defeated and thrown back.

China, Korea, and Japan may have dominated the headlines in Asia, but they were not the only countries there. The Entente had the Qing surrounded on all sides: Russia to the north and west, Britain to the southwest, and France to the south. Now, this wasn't as debilitating as it sounds, because China was largely protected from these threats by the wastes of Siberia, the vast Gobi Desert, the peaks of the Himalayas, and the jungles of Indochina. The Entente nations were not idiots. A direct assault through any of those avenues would lead to nothing but disaster. So, as autumn turned to winter, just two options were open: Russian incursion from the north, and French invasion from the south. They selected both.

Russia was a nation chronically starved for ports. Despite sporting one of the longest coastlines in the world, only a fraction of it was accessible by boat, for the ice and snow of the hypothermic North Pole froze the sea solid. As such, only a few coastal cities west of the Urals held any significant value. Head further east, and there was but one: Vladivostok, the critical link between Saint Petersburg and the surprisingly profitable colony of Alyeska. Lose Vladivostok, lose the gold and natural resources that flooded into the mainland each year. To protect such a valuable port, Tsar Nikolai II had, in 1914, sent an absurdly large force to garrison Vladivostok, larger than any Russian city other than the imperial capital itself, strictly instructed to only fire when fired upon and to hold the line to the last man. A siege of the city would be a costly, extended affair.


Japanese forces sent to protect their allies in eastern Russia, ca. 1917

France's foothold in Asia was solely located in Indochina. Though they had taken their sweet time in colonizing the region, King Louis-Philippe II had made it clear that the land was France's and would remain France's for the foreseeable future. Unlike how they handled their African colonies, Indochina was given a relatively light hand, most likely due to the extreme difficulty that would result from a native rebellion--the Philippines times ten, Paris reasoned. When war had broken out with the League, though, something interesting had happened: the Vietnamese and their contemporaries wanted to join the fight on the side of the Entente. To a Western viewer, this seemed both insane and impossible, but a mutual hatred ran deep between the Chinese and the Vietnamese, the product of centuries of antagonism between the two peoples.


Vietnamese soldiers stand awaiting orders near the Chinese border, December 1916

The Qing decided their best course of action was a simultaneous strike both north and south. If they attacked either the Russians or the French first, then surely the other would launch their own deadly push. It was best to get both out of the way at once--they certainly had the manpower for it. On the morning of December 3, 1916, a joint Sino-Korean force began a surprise assault on Vladivostok. A few hours later, the first Chinese troops stepped across the Indochinese border on the long drive to Hanoi and the Mekong. The American Pacific Fleet joined the Imperial Chinese Navy in their coastal bombardment of French Indochina, now forced to split their time between there and the other side of the South China Sea, the Japanese Philippines. Neither initial land offensive went well, a premonition of things to come…

The winter of 1916 was a winter of guerrilla activity in Asia. Korean nationals scraped away at Japanese military might in Pusan. Russian troops held strong against Chinese attempts at taking the metropolitan holy grail of Vladivostok. Taiwan weathered the storm of League naval operations, which would soon spiral into the most titanic seafaring battles in history. And the Chinese boots on the ground in Indochina would later be recognized as the catalyst for one of the longest, most important, most polarizing conflicts of the twentieth century.

As it stood, though, it was just a few shots fired in the jungle.
 
Interesting times afoot.

Seems like my call about Japan being the "good guy" of the Entente was right.

And Vietnam being an ulcer in the future for an occupier? Foreboding...
 
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