A Red Dawn: American Revolution and Rebirth

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Jello_Biafra, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Nov 10, 2008
    Earth, to my misfortune
    Continued from Reds: A Revolutionary Timeline; this thread will cover the historical period from the end of the Second American Revolution (February, 1934), to the end of this timeline's Second World War. I'd like to humbly ask that any comments on material from before this date be kept in the first thread. That said, without further adieu, I present to you A Red Dawn.

    The First Cultural Revolution

    The first updates in this timeline will consist of an in character examination of the dimensions of what would later be known as the First Cultural Revolution, a period roughly from 1934 to 1940 that would herald dramatic changes in all facets of American culture and society, from politics, economics and religion to recreation, art and even personal relationships. To begin, I offer you excerpts from Murray Bookchin's foreword to Paul Avrich's seminal work on the period, A Return to Eden: A Social History of the Cultural Revolution (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1984).
    We often never realize just how vastly different our own epoch is from past epochs. Events that we celebrate, cherish and immortalize become we removed from the time and circumstances of their own epoch. Disconnected from their own circumstances, events of history become the free floating ideological debris of our own age, constantly filtered and re-filtered through the discriminating lens of the historian. But as a result, our sense of history is impoverished. It becomes the burden of those of us who had born witness, as well as those who consider themselves to be proper students of history, to cut back the veil of time, and breath life into the dead past so that we may fend the cycle of historical tragedy and farce.

    The great centers of learning in our Union must prepare the students of today to continue the battles of yesterday. And I'm sure they do not need an old man such as me to tell them this. But if I may offer my own experiences to help light the way, I am more than happy to my duty for the great human brotherhood. While it may depress the modern reader to learn that America has not always not been on the right side of the World Revolution, and has failed in her duty to her international comrades many times since her own revolution, it is patent absurdity to even entertain the conservative charge that to teach these truths is anti-American and counter-revolutionary. If that is indeed the case, then we have already lost.

    In my own lifetime, I have seen world capitalism brought to its knees by a crisis of its own making. I have lived through the counter-revolutionary junta of the American master class, and manned the barricades during the revolution. I've watched fascism cover the whole of Europe in a terror never before seen in the world. I, like everyone else of my generation, took up arms to defend the country of my birth as well as the country of my mother's birth. I saw first hand the results Stalin's wanton betrayal of the revolutionary movement. I too gasped in awe and horror upon seeing the news reels of the harnessing of the power of the atom, and the liberation of Nazi death camps in Central Europe. Had these tragedies alone been our legacy as a species, we would have already had our share of blood spilt.

    But new horrors would follow the Second World War. The world evermore divided itself into three bitterly opposed hostile camps. America and the Soviet Union both in turn betrayed the World Revolution in their rush to divide the world into zones of control. The last of the Imperialist powers, the Franco-British Union, recovered its strength, and clutched onto its colonies ever tighter, while Dewey and Bulganin brought the world to the brink of thermonuclear war in their struggle to control the Comintern and the path that international communism would follow. The only way to go was down. Each passing year brought more warheads, more powerful nuclear weapons and deadlier means of delivery. Our collective race to suicide was sad and terrifying. The world over, we saw the end of the classical worker's movement, it's revolutionary potential negated by the march of history.

    ...At some point, we must ask, where did this all begin? We hear often of the good that came from the Revolution. Where did it come from? And how?

    This is where Avrich's book comes in. As his own words show (see Preface), Paul began writing this book seeking to answer exactly these questions for the high school history students of America. Like many of the great history texts, a commission from the People's Secretariat for Education set the ball rolling, but hundreds, perhaps thousands of individuals devoted their time and effort to making this book possible. I am proud to have contributed in my own way to this project. As Karl Marx noted, "History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this."​
    Politics After the Revolution: An Overview

    Membership of the Central Committee, Foster Government 1933-1938

    The Central Committee serves as the collective executive body for the UASR. It consists of the head of government and his deputy, the heads of the government secretariats, and the chairmen of important union committees and commissions. Some offices, such as the political head of the People's Secretariat for Justice, have an atypical title, in this case Attorney General. "*" denotes a position added in April of 1934.

    Premier:William Z. Foster
    Deputy Premier: Earl Browder*
    People's Secretary for Foreign Affairs: John Reed
    Attorney General: Crystal Eastman
    People's Secretary for Defense: Martin Abern
    People's Secretary for Labor: Emma Goldman
    People's Secretary for Finance: Thomas G. Corcoran
    People's Secretary for Foreign Trade: Walter Lippmann*
    People's Secretary for Agriculture: Henry A. Wallace
    People's Secretary for Education: John Dewey
    People's Secretary for Public Safety: J. Edgar Hoover*
    People's Secretary for Railways: James P. Cannon
    People's Secretary for Communication: Max Eastman*
    People's Secretary for Maritime Transport: Joseph Ryan*
    People's Secretary for Energy: Farrell Dobbs*
    People's Secretary for Heavy Industry: W.E.B. Du Bois*
    People's Secretary for Light Industry: Sidney Hillman*
    People's Secretary for Construction and Housing: Clarence Senior*
    Chairman, State Planning Commission: Albert Kahn*
    Chairman, Academy of Arts and Sciences: Eugene O'Neill*
    Chairman, Union Bank: William Truant Foster*

    Membership of the Council of the Union, 1934-1938.

    The Council of the Union, as per the Basic Law, consists of one representative from each Union Republic, and an equal number of national representatives, elected to 10 year terms by the Congress of People's Deputies. For the first election, representatives were selected in rough proportion to the number of people's deputies each pro-socialist political party had.

    President of the Union: Upton Sinclair (re-elected 1936)
    Deputy President: Louis C. Fraina
    Provincial representatives: 36 Workers Party, 12 Left Democrats
    National representatives: 34 Workers Party, 14 Left Democrats

    Next installment: the functions and policies of the People's Secretariats during the Cultural Revolution
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  2. DSS Foreign Minister

    May 20, 2009
    Where the hell am I?
    Looks great JB! Looking forward to seeing more of the UASR!
  3. Aero Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2009
    Northern California
    So the Union of American Socialist Republics still retains some democratic elements, such as an elected legislature that can pass laws? Or is it mostly symbolic and possess no real power?

    Very interesting timeline so far. :)
  4. TNF Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2008
    I get the feeling that the First Five Year Plan for the UASR is going to be a lot like the New Deal, but on steroids, so to speak. Premier Foster isn't going to have any qualms about spending money (unlike Roosevelt), which means that the country is probably going to be heading out the Depression somewhere around 36-37, depending on how stimulative the plan itself is.

    The cultural projects that OTL's WPA incorporated did a lot to change the American landscape in their own era, and I get the feeling that the UASR's program will do the same. Interestingly enough, programs like Federal One are probably going to be a lot more successful than they were in IOTL, when you had Congressmen censoring projects that had radical leanings.
  5. Kate Truly ,the People's Princess!

    May 31, 2008

    I enjoy this a lot. I look forward to seeing what happens with China and Japan. The Second World War should be interesting. Decolonization might go differently. Revolution in India?

    ITTL postwar France is allied with Britain. IOTL the French and Italian CPs were powerful, the biggest part of the anti-Nazi resistance. My understanding is that these CPs were basically defanged by Stalin and the US. (there's a scene in the Bertulluci film "1900" that has a CP leader telling the peasants to give recently seized land back to the landowners)Otherwise it would be likely that France and Italy would "go Communist" after the war.

    This is great!
  6. Kate Truly ,the People's Princess!

    May 31, 2008
    Something like a cross between "Working" by Studs Terkel and "A People's History of the United States" by the late Howard Zinn?

    To begin, I offer you excerpts from Murray Bookchin's foreword to Paul Avrich's seminal work on the period, A Return to Eden: A Social History of the Cultural Revolution (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1984).

    Pathfinder Press,

    The SWP publishing house?
  7. President Al Bundy Banned

    Jun 26, 2008
    I'm afraid that the government will steal christmas away from the people :(
  8. Kate Truly ,the People's Princess!

    May 31, 2008
    Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

    I hope not! Christmas is my favorite holiday. It is known that Marx, Lenin, and Rosa Luxembourg all had Christmas trees. Lenin celebrated Christmas "in the German fashion". There's a story that in 1919 he was driving a Model T full of Xmas presents for the family. He parked in the Kremlin somewhere and in the chaos of the Revolution he was robbed.
  9. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Nov 10, 2008
    Earth, to my misfortune
    The First Five Year Plan

    Policies of the Foster Government during the Cultural Revolution

    Premier Foster first outlined the basic plans for what would be the First Cultural Revolution at a closed Central Committee meeting on May 6, 1934. With the Workers (Communist) Party commanding a supermajority of 3/4ths of the Congress, and the firm control of the vast majority of provincial governments, he argued that now was the time to surge forward.

    The Party had promised economic recovery, he noted, and they would deliver on this promise. But if the Revolution was to endure, and America become the shining city on the hill that everyone hoped it could be, then tradition's chains could no longer bind the movement. Many things would have to be turned upside down.

    The Central Committee largely agreed: now was the time to seize the initiative. Where to proceed, however, remained controversial. The government's political process in crafting the First Five Year Plan and the Cultural Revolution would set the precedent for the decades to come. The Premier would step back, and refrain from interfering with the autonomy of any of the People's Secretaries. At all meetings, he would be merely the first-among-equals. The government's policy would be decided by democratic centralism. Any Secretary who felt that he or she could not abide by the decision of the majority would be expected to promptly and quietly resign.

    People's Secretariat for Foreign Affairs

    Foreign policy during the Cultural Revolution represented the tension between revolutionary idealism and political pragmatism, mirroring the friendly rivalry between the two arguably most important members of the Central Committee, Foreign Secretary John Reed and Premier Foster, respectively. At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, the new nation could only count on two states as allies and friends in the international arena, Mexico under the social democratic Revolutionary Party, and the Soviet Union.

    In June of 1934, Reed would return to Leningrad after almost sixteen years of absence to meet with the Soviet Foreign Commissar, Maxim Litvinov. Reed, fluent in Russian, made a great impression upon his Soviet counterpart. After meeting Stalin for a state dinner, Reed and his delegation set about drafting the Leningrad Treaty with Litvinov. The Leningrad Treaty would define Soviet-American relations for the next decade.

    The Treaty crafted a permanent strategic alliance between the two socialist states, created a mutual defense pact, opened up avenues for foreign trade and technical exchange, set up cultural exchange programs, and defined both American and Soviet foreign policy towards the European capitalist powers. Under the Treaty's terms, American engineers and scientists would be given full diplomatic privilege when working in the Soviet Union. And Soviet students and academics could apply to study in America, and learn more advanced techniques in all fields of practical science to enrich the Soviet Academy. Among the first Soviet citizens to take advantage of this opportunity were the constructivist architects Yakov Cherikhinov and the Vesnin brothers Leonid, Victor and Aleksander, who applied to study advanced architecture methods at the Albert Kahn Design Bureau.

    That fall, Reed was also meet the French Foreign Minister, who, as part of the newly formed Popular Front coalition, welcomed closer relations with the American state. A trade agreement was reached, but neither state saw the necessary interest in signing a defensive pact at this time. But, in essence, both Reed and Yvon Delbos agreed that Fascism was an evil in dire need of being contained.

    The period of the Foster-Reed Doctrine would continue along this tack, with the UASR, while publically maintaining an ultra-left, anti-imperialist persona, would negotiate with capitalist powers with the hope of isolating Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Friendly relations were made with the center-left governments of Sweden and Norway. Center-right governments in the Netherlands, Belgium and the Spanish Republic were also courted, with the hope of reducing tensions and encouraging the formation of a European wide Popular Front against fascism.

    The policy had little to show for it by the summer of 1936. Negotiations and trade concessions had not done enough to weaken the perception of a global Bolshevik conspiracy knocking at Europe's door. However, the anti-Fascist cause won one of its greatest symbolic victories that very same year. At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, the American national team, a multi-ethnic team, narrowly edged out Germany in total medal count.

    People's Secretariat for Justice

    The primary policy of Attorney-General Crystal Eastman during her tenure was a two front war against racial and sexual discrimination within the UASR. Working in close cooperation with a consortium of artists from diverse fields, from film and radio to print and visual arts, the Justice Secretariat would fund a propaganda campaign against racism and sexism. Simultaneously, the government would seek new laws, both at the Union and provincial level, to punish overt acts.

    The propaganda campaign, Americans Against Fascism, produced a wealth of media that would seek to associate racism, ethnic bigotry and sexism with counter-revolution and fascism. Artists painted murals, carved sculptures and produced plays and radio skits, across the nation, all depicting men and women, Caucasion, African, Asian and Jewish alike, struggling together for freedom and democracy. As one popular leaflet put it, "To be against brotherhood among all races is to be against liberty and democracy."

    As ambitious as Eastman's plans were, it ultimately caved to practical politics. The full weight of the campaign was only felt in the Northern and Western provinces of the UASR. The South, the calls for white men to treat their African brothers as equals were few and far between. Enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in the South was often ignored to avoid ruffling the feathers of the Southern commissars. The truth of the matter was that the elected manager of the collective farm of today was most likely a plantation owner before the revolution. The Southern establishment had very quickly adapted itself to the new economic and political order.

    For all of its faults, the campaigns for racial equality would spark their own revolution, one that would be decades in the making, but would shake the very foundations of the earth.

    There were plenty of other pressing concerns as well. First on everyone's mind was rather simple: what was to be done with the traitors such as Longworth. Eastman's second major policy was far less bleeding-heart: the Red Terror.

    America's Red Terror was mild in comparison. But the scale of the campaign was unlike anything ever before seen in American law. Thousands of individuals would be tried for treason or other lesser crimes for their role in the military junta and the Civil War. And the Union's ostensibly independent judiciary complied at every step of the way.

    One of the first acts of Foster's government after the ratification of the Basic Law was the enactment of the Judiciary Omnibus Act, which would set up the structure of the All-Union Court system. The new People's Tribunals established by the Act would mirror many of the functions of the old Federal district courts. However, during this period, it was very clear that these trial courts, at least in counterrevolution trials, were verging on being kangaroo courts. In most cases, judges were either cowed into compliance by political pressure, or actively agreed with the Red Terror. The juries were out for blood as well. While it cannot be denied that many of the men who found themselves in front of the People's Tribunals during the Red Terror were guilty as sin, the Red Terror remains a black stain on the country's record.

    The first man to be tried in the People's Tribunals was Brigadier General George C. Marshall. As a member of the military junta, Marshall was charged with treason, war crimes, desertion and murder. The trial, covered in news reels across the country, became a quick and flashy show trial. His trial, beginning on September 3, 1934, concluded just three weeks later. The jury delivered its verdict: death by firing squad. Two weeks later, Marshall would join First Secretary Longworth and a number of other military officers and government administrators at Haymarket Square, Chicago. The men were offered blindfolds and cigarettes, which Marshall and the other military officers refused, lined up against a brick wall, and shot by soldiers from the Illinois Red Guard.

    In the three years of the Red Terror, close to six thousand men were executed by firing squad. The ranks of the executed included nearly every Republican political leader who had not gone into exile, dozens of government administrators connected with the junta, the leaders of the KKK and other paramilitary groups captured at the end of the Civil War, and military officers accused of committing war crimes during the Civil War. Tends of thousands of others received lengthy prison terms for lesser offenses.

    People's Secretariat for Defense

    On July 11, 1934, the sectors of the American armed forces loyal to the UASR were officially reorganized into the Revolutionary Defense Forces, consisting of three branches: the Army, Navy and Air Force. The RDF would be headed by Stavka(1). Stavka's central executive committee would be chaired by the People's Secretary for Defense. The leading officers of all three branches of the RDF, the head civilian administrators for each branch, and the heads of each of Stavka's departments would sit on the CEC.

    Stavka would coordinate the combined military and logistical operations of the armed forces. It would be responsible for promotions and assigning officer commands, organizing military policy, and drafting the specifications for all military weapon systems.

    The RDF itself would undergo a major reform of its military traditions during the 30s. The rank structure was modified; all officers would now have to serve a standard term of service as an enlisted man before entering the military academy to become officers. The roles of NCOs, already a strong tradition in the American military, were further strengthened.

    The UASR would undertake a major rearmament program as part of the First Five Year Plan. As part of the United Against Fascism Act, the Red Army would be expanded to peacetime strength of 750,000 men by 1939. The whole military would begin a mechanization process, and an independent Armor Corps was established, taking tanks away from their previous role of infantry support. John Garand's 7.62x64mm semi-automatic service rifle, in development since 1932, would be adopted as the universal infantry rifle.(2) Designs for a new medium tank, with a 75mm main gun, Christie suspension and sloped armor, were commissioned at the Ford Design Bureau. The tank chassis would also serve as a platform for which armored infantry carriers, self-propelled artillery and anti-air systems would be developed.

    The Red Air Force would also be greatly expanded. New designs for fighter aircraft, long range transports, medium and heavy bombers were commissioned in all of the aviation bureaus. The goal would be to have a top of the line fighter-interceptor, and a tactical medium bomber in service by 1941, and have a line of long range, strategic bombers in service by 1943.

    The Red Navy would undergo a modest expansion during the 30s. While the UASR held on to the majority of major surface combatants and submarines, it was the role of the Navy's lone carrier, the former USS Langley (now RDF Haymarket) during one of the few naval engagements of the Civil War that would determine the future role of the Navy. The sinking of a heavy cruiser at sea by naval aviation made the aircraft carrier a major American priority. Following Japanese innovation in carrier aviation, three American aircraft carriers were laid down in late 1934. Displacing 24,000 tonnes, and able to carry over 80 of the planned next generation carrier-borne aircraft, the three ships of the Lenin-class would form the nucleus of the navy's future.

    1934 would also mark two landmark policies. Army, Air Force and Naval units would be totally desegregated by race, and the officer corps was finally opened up to black men. Though there was significant opposition within the military and from conservative elements, those dissenting voices were swiftly ignored, and the policy was carried out with all deliberate speed. Racism within the ranks would be punished with the utmost severity.

    That same year, women were offered combat roles within the Army and Air Force. Three all-women regiments would be raised in the Red Army, and the military academies were all ordered to allow a select number of qualified women to join. A recruitment drive was organized and government sponsored propaganda urged young women to "Be All You Can Be". These new units, nicknamed the Amazon Regiments, would go on to serve with distinction in the Second World War. In the Air Force, a female fighter-wing was organized, and many young women were recruited as pilots and mechanics. Amelia Earhart, the famed aviatrix, would join the feminist campaign. On December 8, 1934, Ensign Amelia Earhart was formally commissioned as an officer in the Red Air Force.

    (1) Stavka is a Russian loanword, appropriated expressly for this purpose.

    (2) As you might guess, America has gone metric. The 7.62x64mm cartridge is the redesignation of the 30-06 Springfield cartridge.

    Next installment will cover Labor, Finance and Foreign Trade
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
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  10. RCAF Brat Vanguard of your destruction

    Sep 16, 2006
    Dark Space
    The British Empire's reaction to this could probably be summed up in three words: "Ah", "Shit", and "Whatthefuckdowedonow?"...
  11. TNF Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2008
    Oh, I'm definitely loving this. I especially love Eastman's anti-racism and anti-sexism campaign. It's good to see that it's starting to have a modest effect, even in my home region of the South. :D

    I also like that re-armament is happening much earlier than IOTL. It doesn't look like, in that regard, that the U.S. is going to be caught completely off guard when the Second World War starts, and that might mean an earlier end to the war itself (here's hoping for a trial for Hitler at Nuremberg, if those trials still occur ITTL).

    I'm very interested in seeing how Emma Goldman is going to handle the labor department in your next update. Cheers, JB. This is definitely off to a great start.
  12. RCAF Brat Vanguard of your destruction

    Sep 16, 2006
    Dark Space
    Early rearmament could also be a bad thing, if it means that the *US Army gets stuck with large quantities of obsolete equipment in the way that the Italians did IOTL.

    Hitler going up in a mushroom cloud would make for a better, more spectacular end to the European War. (Especially if it were to somehow not to be the Yanks who nuke the Nazis...)
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  13. TNF Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2008
    That's a good point, I suppose. Though I get the feeling that that probably won't be the case with the UASR.

    And yes, that would definitely make for a spectacular ending to the European War, though I think there's some poetic justice in putting Hitler before the world one last time, beggared and weary from the war he plunged the planet into. And then of course, the inevitable ruling from the court itself. :cool:

    Speaking of a mushroom cloud, JB, how quick is the UASR going to pick up the idea of a Manhattan Project?
  14. Douglas Restored

    Sep 12, 2004
    Probably as soon as Teller, Fermi, and...

    Oh wait. Why would they come to the United States now?
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  15. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Nov 10, 2008
    Earth, to my misfortune
    I myself am torn on how to give the Second World War a dramatic end. Oh, to put Hitler in front of a trial at Nuremburg, or have him incinerated in a nuclear firestorm. It's an unenviable decision :)

    More or less the same as IOTL. Though, as later updates will show, the UASR is going to have a bit of a technocratic tinge to it, and SCIENCE! is going play an even bigger role than it did IOTL. Futurism is fun, and if you get rid of those pesky corporate CEOs wondering when their investment in research will make a return, you can do all sorts of fun stuff that may or may not have any practical use :cool:
  16. Orville_third Banned

    Mar 3, 2009
    Piedmont Socialist Republic
    One woman you should include (with potential future implications for race relations) is Willa Brown, an African-American female pilot (Alas, Bessie Coleman died before the Revolution). She founded a flying school, became a mechanic as well as a pilot, lobbied the AAF and others to train African-American and Female pilots and served in the Civil Air Patrol.

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  17. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Nov 10, 2008
    Earth, to my misfortune
    That is excellent. You can definitely bet on her showing up in later updates
  18. manofsteelwool Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2007
    I'm picturing Moses parting the Red Sea as to what the Imperialist powers believe themselves to be:

    "Between the Red Tides that will destroy the world, we must, as Moses did millennia ago, part the Red Sea, keeping the Soviets and Americans from destroying the planet in their uncontrolled rampage. We must be the ones who protect this world of ours from utter destruction."

    Will the creation of the Franco-British Union mean an earlier Chunnel?

    Will China go Communist as OTL? If it does, will it follow the American or Soviet model?

    If there is a Vietnam War analogue, it would be very entertaining to see the North Vietnamese Army and Vietcong analogues fighting alongside American troops against the Franco-British forces.

    Once butterflies begin to greatly affect the world, could we also see a map of the world you created?
  19. RCAF Brat Vanguard of your destruction

    Sep 16, 2006
    Dark Space
    Teller and a couple of others definitely won't go to the US, as they hated communism as much as they hated fascism and other totalitarian ideologies. Anglo-American cooperation on the bomb project is certain to be non-existent, with an outside chance of the two "allies" actively sabotaging one another on that front.

    OTOH, Fuchs and a handful of others will be torn on whether or not to give information on the bomb to the USSR or just to help the US get the bomb and be done with it. The pack of traitors knowns at the "Cambridge Five" (maybe JB can have the bastards exposed and shot (or better yet, turned) in his TL) might also find that their ideological allegiances are somewhat "conflicted" now that there are two communist states out there.
  20. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Nov 10, 2008
    Earth, to my misfortune
    Where would Teller go? As I recall, he came to the US because of an invite of a friend, a Russian defector and physicist. Before that he was in Brussels. Would he have just remained there? Or would he flee Europe once war broke out, fearing it would come to Belgium along with Nazi totalitarianism?

    Given the historical developments, I think it's pretty clear that Fuchs would end up going straight to America instead of Britain.

    As for Fermi, I can't see why he wouldn't come to America. There will be plenty of enticements for European refugees with any sort of skill to come to America.