America's Silver Era, The Story of William Jennings Bryan

Norwood Settles In
When Ryan Norwood suddenly became President, he was without a Vice President or a Secretary of State. Filling these two positions was a top priority. Congress soon passed a law that required a new Vice President to be appointed within 45 days in the case of a vacancy. As for the new Vice President, Norwood was looking for someone who would help him win reelection in two years’ time. Since he figured that his most formidable opponent would be the Republican governor of New York, he wanted a Northeasterner to balance the ticket. He chose Senator Brendan O’Reilly of Massachusetts as the next Vice President. It seemed like a good move at the time, though it led to Republicans winning the special election for his replacement. For Secretary of State, he wanted to be sure to select someone with similar foreign policy views. For that position, he chose Chris Rivera, a Representative from Texas. Some speculated that his choice of a Hispanic cabinet member was a way to prove he was not a racist.


(Brendan O'Reilly)

Norwood had a great interest in Texas. He especially had a great interest in Texas’ governor, Eric Harrison. Harrison was a polarizing figure. Some remember him fondly as a man willing to put the good of Texas over partisan concerns. Others remember him as a political chameleon, changing colors from red to blue depending on which side would give him a better deal. He worked in the oil industry before being elected governor as a Democrat in 1958. He helped Democratic Presidential nominee Al Valenti win the state in 1960, overcoming both the Republicans and the diehard segregationists who had split from the Democratic Party. Valenti turned out to be too liberal for Harrison, and his support for gun control was the final straw. Harrison challenged Valenti for the Democratic nomination in 1964, and when that failed, he supported the Republican nominee, Carl Herman. While Herman lost Texas, he came close in the state while losing the country in a landslide. And Texas had traditionally been a solid Democratic state.

This did not endear Harrison to the Democratic establishment or the donors. Nevertheless, he was able to outspend his Republican opponent and win a comfortable reelection victory in the 1966 midterms. These midterms saw moderate gains in both houses for Republicans, but Democrats maintained their majorities. Since Texas was a populous state, Norwood was going to need Harrison’s support. Fortunately for Norwood, Harrison liked him better than Valenti. In exchange for Harrison’s support, the federal government would build new roads and military bases in the Lonestar state. Texas would also benefit from Norwood’s massive expansion of US intelligence agencies. A training center for US agents assigned to Latin America would be built in San Antonio. Norwood was able to secure the support of the other power brokers within the Democratic Party. Unlike Valenti or Peterson, Norwood had the support of the vast majority of the party as the year 1967 began.
Treaty of Oslo
Delegates from all the belligerent nations in Europe met in Oslo to discuss peace terms. Germany wanted to retain all its territory. They were willing to give up on their puppet government in Poland, however. They were also willing to accede to Russia’s demands on Austria-Hungary. Russia had told the Poles that their nation would be expanded in the case of a Russian victory, but Russia was willing to break their promise in exchange for a badly needed peace in Europe. While many nations were invited, the only ones with any real bargaining power were Russia and Germany. During the peace conference, Serbia and Bosnia resumed hostilities (with Serbia as the aggressor). Serbian troops fired upon Austro-Hungarian troops as well, but that conflict remained between those three nations. Austria-Hungary continued fighting against Croatian, Hungarian, and Czech rebels, but Germany and Russia refused to get involved. In a meeting in December 1966, Chancellor Joachim Linden was on record saying that Germany should seek to maintain good relations with the nations that might break away from the dual monarchy.

In the end, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Italy all came to an agreement. Germany would not cede any territory to Russia. It would, however, recognize the new Polish and Lithuanian governments (at the beginning of the war, both countries had pro-German monarchs and were German puppet states). Poland wanted Danzig, and the leadership of the new Polish government thought they would get it, and they felt betrayed. Poland, as well as Finland would be free of German and Russian troops, acting as buffer zones. Austria-Hungary fared much worse. It’s satellite kingdom of Ukraine would break free and become the Republic of Ukraine. Land would be lost to Serbia and Italy as well. Finally, Transylvania would be annexed by Romania. The Austro-Hungarian government’s reluctant agreement to this part of the treaty led to thousands of ethnically Hungarian soldiers joining the rebels. The peace treaty was signed on February 2, 1967. Germany began to disband the majority of its forces, but other soldiers were sent to fight in Africa. Russia began transporting millions of troops to Siberia and Central Asia.
The War in the East Continues
In March 1967, Russian troop numbers in the East were bolstered by over two million Russian soldiers being transferred there from the now quiet Western front. Now that Germany’s blockade on Russia had ended, the port of Saint Petersburg was now open to American, British, and French shipping. In addition, planes carrying supplies to aid Russia’s war effort could take a direct flight from major European cities to Moscow. Up until this point, even though they were in unfamiliar territory fighting far from home, the Japanese had two major advantages against the Russians. They had more boots on the ground and more planes in the sky, and it wasn’t even close. Within a matter of months, the situation would be reversed. The month of March saw Russia retake Pavlodar and Oskemen. For the first time since the beginning of the war in 1964, a significant faction within the Japanese government advocated for peace.

In April, Russia recaptured Krasnoyarsk. Bishkek fell soon afterwards. The Japanese military was unsure of what to do. They had counted on Germany staying in the war. And after the atomic bomb was dropped on Russian soldiers, they thought the tide of the war was swinging back in their favor. But Russia had so many men to call upon for war. And Germany’s allies were plagued with ethnic rebellions. Prime Minister Fujimoto Yuuto met with the leaders of the Japanese Army and Navy on April 23. With Russia’s advantages over Japan increasing rapidly, Fujimoto said he was open to a negotiated peace, provided that the terms were good for Japan. But the generals were not happy with this suggestion. One general, Korechika Anami, told Fujimoto that he needed to wait. The general had access to intelligence reports that the Prime Minister did not. He claimed that there was something that would happen soon, and if it was successful, it could result in Russia’s defeat. Fujimoto, though skeptical, listened to him.


(General Korechika Anami when he was younger)
In 2022 or after the war is finished (whichever comes first) I will take a break from this TL for a while. I will continue to update my Franklin Pierce TL at least once a month. I will then start a new TL, one that does not focus on America. The PoD will likely be either in early Medieval Egypt or 20th century China. I have a little bit written for both TLs.
The Coup
As German delegates discussed peace terms in Oslo, German nationalists demonstrated to continue the war. They were met by counter-protesters, and the confrontations often turned violent. When the peace terms were agreed to in February, German nationalists were even more outraged. While Germany lost no territory from the peace treaty, German influence was weakened and Russian influence was strengthened. Chancellor Joachim Linden announced a redeployment of German troops to Africa, especially Tanzania, to reassert Germany’s power in Africa. He hoped to bring back the Congo under German control as well. He was willing to recognize Togoland’s independence and make peace with Mali and Nigeria, however. Linden faced opposition from two sides. Of course, the nationalists hated him for ending the war with Russia on bad terms. But now, much of the anti-war movement hated him as well. Anti-colonialists opposed continuing the war in Africa. Many anti-war protesters also believed that Germany should give independence to its colonies. Anti-war and nationalist protests continued, and now they hated Linden almost as much as they hated each other.

Linden was aware that there were those who wanted to take violent action against his regime. Some officers had been arrested in January for plotting to overthrow the government. The chancellor was still convinced that those who wanted to overthrow him were a small percentage of the German military and wouldn’t get very far if they tried. He was sorely mistaken. At 5:00 PM on April 30, 1967, forces under the command of general Herman Zimmerman Stauss entered Berlin. They surrounded the Reichstag and demanded that they be let in. After a few minutes of deliberation, Zimmerman and his soldiers were let in. However, a general who commanded a small force in Brandenberg, Stanislaus Becke, had been notified of the event and was determined to stop what he recognized as a coup. Meanwhile, General Zimmerman announced that Joachim Linden had been removed from his position as chancellor, and that the wrongs inflicted on Germany at Oslo would be righted. Many German officials rushed to condemn Zimmerman’s actions.


(Anti-coup soldiers)

Becke’s men entered Berlin at 8:30 PM. They were, however, outnumbered by the pro-coup soldiers and were pushed back. Then, at 10:00 PM, members of the Reichstag who supported the coup elected Johann Landau, who was chancellor six months earlier, as Germany’s new chancellor. Kaiser Josef, coerced by Zimmerman’s men, swore in the new chancellor. Linden, as a former friend of Landau’s, would not be harmed. Landau made sure that he lived under house arrest. Some elements of the German military resisted the coup, but they were in the minority. Within two days the resistance within Germany was virtually wiped out and Stanislaus Becke died in the fighting. On May 2, Germany declared war on Poland, causing Russia to declare war on Germany. None of Germany’s former allies joined in the war. Belgium, which had been a puppet state of Germany since the end of the First Great War, condemned the coup and ordered all German troops to leave. Germany declared war on Belgium.
After the Coup
Germany had just broken a peace treaty it was a signatory to exactly three months prior. This move was supported by Japan, but condemned by almost everyone else. Even in Germany itself, many were not excited about the news. On May 4, far-left militants launched attacks on government officials, killing some. The Japanese ambassador was seriously wounded in an attack. The captain of the German cruiser, the SMS Bethman-Hollweg, announced that he would not recognize the new German government. It was sunk by a Japanese submarine while trying to reach a port in South Africa. Italy, still at war with Japan, declared war on Germany within hours of Germany declaring war on Russia and Poland. Other Russian allies such as Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Greece, and Romania declared war as well. On May 5, British Parliament began debating a declaration of war on Germany and Japan. Some members of parliament brought up concerns about German nuclear weapons, as they were concerned that they might be used on London or other British cities. Nevertheless, on the 6th, Britain was at war with Germany and Japan.

On the 7th, a pro-German coup attempt in Denmark failed. The Spanish government was considering joining the war on Germany’s side, but protests, riots, and the British declaration of war ended any possibility of that happening. The Austro-Hungarian parliament rejected a declaration of war on Russia, even though it supported Germany. Canada, Australia, and South Africa declared war on Germany and Japan. On the 8th, the France declared war on Germany. France had been rebuilding its military over the past two years and was the most powerful it had been since 1940. Across the country, French Nationalists gleefully signed up for military service in hopes of taking back Alsace-Lorraine, which had been controlled by Germany for nearly a century. New Zealand and Persia entered the war on Britain’s side. On the 9th, Brazil declared war on Germany and Japan, followed by Colombia on the 10th. US President Ryan Norwood called for a declaration of war that same day.

The House of Representatives approved the declaration of war, by a much larger margin than when Valenti called for war in 1965. In the Senate, Glenn Gage once again filibustered the declaration of war. A coalition of progressives and isolationists along with some others tried to stop the war. Senator Rupert Kneller of Kentucky, who was German-American, railed against the war. Both Senators were potential candidates for the Republican nomination in 1968. However, the majority of Republicans as well as Democrats in the Senate supported war. On May 17, the United States declared war on Germany and Japan. On the 18th, Nicaragua, Cuba and the Philippines, US allies, joined the war as well. Denmark, while not going to war, officially condemned the German government. Denmark had been a German ally in less than a year earlier. The German government was also denounced by Mexico, Portugal, Norway, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Niger, and China.
How would a nuclear armed Germany run by militarist radicals respond to an allied invasion of its territory ?
I think a couple more European cities are going to be irradiated by the time this kerfuffle is over.
How would a nuclear armed Germany run by militarist radicals respond to an allied invasion of its territory ?
I think a couple more European cities are going to be irradiated by the time this kerfuffle is over.
They currently have produced a second bomb, though they will now have trouble with producing more as the bombs are being produced and tested in Africa. German military leadership is currently trying to figure out if they should use their bomb against Russia or one of their western enemies.
Hello! This is my second attempt at a TL about William Jennings Bryan. I started the other one while over four years ago and I know a lot more about history now than I did then.

For me, William Jennings Bryan is one the most fascinating figures in American history and I'm surprised he isn't explored in depth on this website. He had some ideas that I think were good, and others that I think were bad. With this timeline I hope to explore what might have been if the election of 1896 had gone differently. While the POD is 1896, most of this timeline will take place during the 20th century, and therefore I am posting this in the After 1900 forum.
[Warning: bad joke follows]

The most surprising consequence of Bryan's victory was a change in the time of presidential inaugurations.

Previously they had been at noon. Bryan insisted that his be at...SIXTEEN TO ONE!

The Invasion of France
In May 1967, Germany invaded both Poland and Belgium. Belgium had been a German puppet for nearly 50 years at this point, and their government had fought on Germany’s side during the first phase of the war. Their army was small, especially compared to the German army. Brussels fell on May 20, and within a few days all of Belgium was occupied. The Belgian government and man Belgian soldiers fled to France. Poland fared a little bit better, as Russian troops were nearby to help them. The Poles fought on into June. Germany launched rocket attacks on France, Britain, and Italy as well as Russia. This was in addition to bombing raids on major cities. German military leadership was undecided on what to do with the one atomic bomb they had in their possession. Some argued that it should be used against the Russians, as they were the most powerful enemy. Others argued that the bomb should be used against France in order to force a surrender and prevent Germany from being invaded from the West. Others even suggested bombing London in order to demoralize the British.

After the coup, Johan Landau was reinstated as Chancellor. However, Herman Zimmerman was the one who really held power. The German government became increasingly authoritarian once he took power. Members of the Reichstag who had opposed the war were arrested. In the days following the coup, far-left militants launched terror attacks against government officials. Zimmerman used these attacks to justify cracking down on opposition to the government. In the weeks that followed, dozens of people who opposed the government disappeared. Swiss Uranium magnate Matteo Gimondi flew to Berlin to personally meet with Zimmerman. Gimondi had pushed for Austria-Hungary and Germany to fight Russia in the first place, as the loss of Ukraine had hurt his business. He was also heavily invested in the German weapons industry, profiting from the war. He had even hired an assassin to kill an anti-war German politician the previous year. He was more than happy to see the war resume.

German high command decided to follow in the footsteps of their First Great War counterparts. France must be subdued first, then Russia can be forced to the peace table. German generals hoped to capture Paris within months. They believed that the fall of France should be easier this time, as France was much weaker than in the previous wars. Britain, Italy, and the United States, enemies of France 30 years earlier, were determined to prevent the fall of France. In May 1967, 80,000 Italian and 30,000 British troops entered France. More would follow. In June, the Germans scored victories at Lille and Amiens in the Northeast as well as at Nancy in the East. Near the end of the month, French and British forces scored a victory at Beauvais. French and Italian forces were defeated at Verdun on June 29. Also in June, former Chancellor and Second Great War hero Erwin Rommel died at the age of 75. While many suspected the government was involved, in reality he had been sick for months and finally died.


(French soldiers)