The original thread was launched on December 17th, 2008, at 09:56 AM, and ran until being closed today. A link to the original thread is provided in Post #3 below. Before continuing with the story, we shall have A Look at the World in the Spring of 1949. Europe Continental Europe west of Russia is clearly dominated by the German Empire. The German economy, powered by 105 million inhabitants, casts a pall over all other nations. German scientists are leading in almost every field of research; German is the accepted language of the world’s scientific community. The European countries, with the exception of Ireland, Great Britain, Switzerland, Poland and Greece, are part of the Common European Economy (COMECON), which seals up the market against products from the outside. As a result, foodstuffs and consumer goods are relatively expensive, yet there is almost full employment everywhere and farmers generally can live from what they produce. The ubiquitous socialist welfare states in the COMECON levy high taxes, but in return pamper their citizens with wraparound services. There is no overarching military alliance, but rather a network of bilateral or multilateral agreements and treaties. At the core, however, any military attack on a COMECON country from the outside will immediately solicit a German military response. Until today, Germany is the only nuclear armed power in the COMECON and operates large stocks of modern chemical weapons. France, Italy and Hungary have nuclear programmes of their own, but these have not yet produced atomic bombs. The only violent conflict smouldering at the moment is that in the FOM (France d’outre mer – overseas France, the Mediterranean coastline between Morocco and Tunisia). This is officially treated as an internal French affair. Greece is a special case. Her population, far too large to be supported by the Greek economy alone, is sustained with the aid of a permanent COMECON mission. Many Greeks have already emigrated to other countries – and the situation in Greece is less tense than it used to be, nevertheless, the country is not yet capable to subsist without external support. Poland forms another abnormality. Created by the Central Powers in 1916, the country was not allowed to unite all Poles inside its borders. This led to frictions with Germany and the purposeful decision to stay out of the entity preceding the COMECON. Further reduced in size by the creation of the Heymshtot, Poland remains a source of revisionism and unrest, but is too small and too vulnerable to pose a threat to anyone. As a source of cheap labour, however, the country has some friends inside the COMECON. If one follows the official German view, Great Britain is not part of Europe, but a separate entity altogether. Ruled by a communist regime, the country is characterised by the abolition of private property beyond the sphere of housewares and personal needs. Great Britain is a nuclear power and entertains large armed forces. She resolutely clings to the remnants of her colonial empire, which have to produce the natural resources required by the British economy. The most important colony is Canada, followed by Nigeria, where Britain’s crude oil supply comes from. The Socialist Unity Party (SUP) rule in Britain has long been benevolently tolerated by the German socialists, even if the COMECON was eventually closed for cheap British merchandise. The recent national-conservative government in Berlin took a more distanced stance, but its actors were too old to bestir to decisive action. Generally, continental Europe has arrived at the awareness that Britain has ceased to be a nation under the rule of law and has become a kind of despotism. But – following German lead – there is a strong tendency to block the country out of Europe and leave it to its destiny. Ireland is on friendly terms with the COMECON and the US and profits greatly from her place in-between. Relations to Britain are strained because of Irish smuggling and British dissidents frequently fleeing to Eire, but the strong US presence in country dissuades Britain from actions that might put Canada into peril. One trait found all over Europe is the proclivity to constitutional monarchism – in combination with socialist welfare regimes. Even the Hetman of the Ukraine qualifies as monarch. Only Ireland, Switzerland, Czecho-Slovakia, Poland, the Heymshtot, the Baltic Countries and Finland do not possess a royalty as head of state.