Decades of Darkness

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Jared, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. Scarecrow Dieudonné

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    ive been working all night on the maps, just redoing yours from the website. except i left them a t home on my laptop

    a few questions though

    is the north boarder of Sonara-Chihuha where the US boarder was before the gladsen purchase?

    in the 1855 map the boader of US New Mexico-Merxico is a straight line, but then becomes the pre-Gladsen purchase. is it flat line or Gladsen?

    in 1850 West and East Flordia are made from an enlarged panhandle, but in 1855 West florida has the entire panhandle, and East Florida is the northern part of the J state.

    is the Maine-Canada boarder modern day or with the northenr bit missing?

    cheers. i think i will just do US maps for now, maybe some global ones later.
     
  2. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Thanks!

    There will probably be more from Fisher's biography in time, although as a 'flashback' piece since the main action is moving into the twentieth century, and there's some things I want to get written which have been waiting for a while. There's an eventful decade coming up, albeit not entirely pleasant.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  3. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Should be pre-Gadsden Purchase, which after all wouldn't happen ITTL. There's some minor variation amongst the maps, largely due to my inability to proof-read properly, although the major details are usually right.

    The 1850 borders (West Florida and East Florida both the panhandle, plus a bit of OTL Louisiana) are correct; they also show up in the 1865 map IIRC.

    The OTL border, more or less - there's some very minor changes but nothing big enough to show up on a map of any scale.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  4. das Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Basically the idea is that some things here are worse, others better. Ofcourse, most people here seem to be Americans, so to them it hardly would seem that things are better, but they are to me (incidentally I'm Russian ;) ).

    About the maps, btw, it would seem that the German (Dutch) border with France isn't right. Netherlands was supposed to gain Arras, from what I remember.
     
  5. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Quite; seeing what the USA becomes ITTL isn't exactly appealling. And also more generally, because the TL describes what happens (i.e. what the USA does), this is a lot more prominent than what has been avoided when compared to OTL (e.g. no Nazis, no Communist Russia), and thus harder to notice.

    Yes, the Netherlands-France border moved a bit. I'll check it out.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  6. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Decades of Darkness #108: How Few Abstain

    Decades of Darkness #108: How Few Abstain

    “Europe’s two great narcotics: alcohol and Christianity, both heartily exported to the world.”
    - Konrad Dahl (Danish writer, philosopher, and psychologist) in “One Thousand Queries”, 1870

    * * *

    2 January 1901
    Cork, Munster Province
    Kingdom of Ireland

    George Yeats hoisted a cup of stout as the Allegro slowly pulled out of Cork Harbour. “Goodbye, land of the unlucky,” he murmured. A new day in a new century, this was, and he hoped that the new century might bring him better times than the old. With no chance to inherit his own land, he had left the family farm moved to Cork, only to discover it was even harder to find work there. In Cork, he was only one of hundreds seeking a job.

    That left him with a regretful choice, but one he had to make. Many Irishmen had fled the land between Malin Head and Mizen Head in search of new opportunities, and mostly they had found them. He had a few distant relatives who had settled in Canada, a country reputedly more welcoming of Catholics than some other places within the Empire [1], and after scraping together the money for the passage, he hoped that this would be what he needed to build a decent life. “Here’s to Kingston Town,” Yeats murmured.

    * * *

    16 June 1901
    Kingston, Ontario
    Kingdom of Canada

    Kingston, capital of Canada.

    Kingston, a well-ordered limestone city between two rivers.

    Kingston, a city where everyone else already seemed to be in work, but no-one had any work to spare, at least not for one increasingly desperate Irishman with no references.

    Yeats had spent months tramping through the wide streets and boulevards of Kingston. He had discovered that the trolley cars made it easy for him to travel around the city. He had discovered myriad architectural wonders, from Frontenac Palace which had seen only one royal occupant since Canada federated, to the towering shapes of the Canadian House of Lords and House of Commons, to the expansive grounds of King’s University, to the much smaller off-limits grounds of the Royal Military College, to the shipyards and locomotive-building factories. He had discovered the large military base at Kingston which was full of young soldiers now that Canada had followed New England in introducing conscription, no matter how much it took away a man’s freedom. As an immigrant Yeats would not be conscripted, though he could volunteer. But if Yeats had wanted to join the Army, he could have done so back in Ireland. He had discovered how to speak a few words of French, which was used in a couple of districts of Kingston. What he had not discovered, sadly, was a job, beyond mindless and back-breaking construction labour which lasted only a few days at a time.

    “There has to be somewhere better,” Yeats murmured. He didn’t have to think of any far-off places for that; New England lay just across the lake. Before leaving Ireland he had decided not to visit that land, thinking that no civilized country would outlaw alcohol. But in Kingston he had heard that every second man seemed to have links to bootleggers bringing whiskey, beer and the other nectars of civilisation to the benighted Yankees. Drinking might be illegal there, but it still carried on.

    “Maybe I should move there,” Yeats said. He would have to find out first if there was more work available there, but it would surely be better than Kingston.

    * * *

    28 July 1903
    The Pineapple Merengue
    New York City, Long Island
    Republic of New England

    Music filled the Pineapple Merengue, a blend of accordion rhythms and guira tones overlying the steady 1-2-3-4 drum beat. Couples danced across the floor, stepping and turning according to the measured pace of the drum beats, while the more vigorous tempo of the music washed over them. Holding his new wife Herminie close, Yeats led her in the limp-step style of the merengue, stepping from side to side and turning. A few of the couples on the floor separated to make individual turns in the new style, but Yeats kept Herminie close as he performed the older style. That was how he had first learned the merengue on his arrival in New York, and he preferred it that way.

    People crowded into the dance club, some on the dance floor but more of them around the edges or sitting in the lounge area. Many of them were Yankees [2], but he saw some blacks, Jews, Russians, and even a few Nipponese. He didn’t see many Irish, apart from himself and his wife, and only a few Dominicans at what was supposedly a Dominican dance club. Of course, while many people did dance while they were here, few of them came only for the dancing.

    “Want a drink?” Yeats said, speaking into his wife’s ear. She nodded, and he led her off the dance floor.

    He ordered an Uncle Henry [3] for himself and a Rum Orange [4] for Herminie. Most of the drinks offered here were made with rum, as in most Dominican dance clubs. They had more exotic choices too, especially other American liquors like mescal, tequila, brandy, grape wine and pineapple wine, but those were more expensive and not to his tastes anyway. In the Irish dance clubs he occasionally visited, they had more gin and whiskey and beer, but he had grown to prefer the taste of rum and its blends. Besides, in the Irish dance clubs people sometimes mistook him for being one of the family men who ran the establishments. Here, he could enjoy the dances more, and no-one mistook him or his wife for Dominicans.

    “Salud!” Herminie said, raising her glass.

    “Cheers,” Yeats replied, and then drank. Prohibition made alcohol more expensive in New England, but it hardly stopped it, and what point to earning money if a man couldn’t spend it on something worthwhile? And he hadn’t expected, before coming here, that he would have found some benefits to the system. He would never have thought to visit a dance club back in Canada, for instance. Drinks usually cost more to get tip-offs before the coppers came raiding, but the increased prices also paid for the visiting bands and the dance floor.

    “George!”

    Yeats turned to find Timothy Anderson, a half-Irish man who worked at the same Worthington arms factory where he worked himself. Maggie Anderson arrived a moment later.

    “Thought you’d be working now,” Anderson said, while Maggie and Herminie shuffled slightly to one side to talk to each other.

    “A man needs time to refuel,” Yeats said. He held up his glass. “To always having work to earn money and somewhere decent to spend it.”

    “I’ll drink to that, by God!’ Anderson said, and did. “Aaah, we’ll always have work, as long as Mitchell heads things up down south.”

    Yeats nodded, reluctantly. Mitchell’s name was on the lips of every second New Englander, it seemed. Loathe him or ignore him, none of them liked him. “He makes a lot of noise, but so do most gringos.”

    “If I thought he were just talking, I wouldn’t mind so much,” Anderson said. “But Mitchell is worrying, in a way Hughes or Mahan or any of the old gringo presidents were.”

    Yeats shrugged. “My uncle met a few gringo soldiers in Spain. He said they were like any jackals – always yapping, but if you stood up to them, they ran away.”

    “I hope so,” Anderson said. “It sounds this one’s a rabid Jackal. What was that thing the paper claimed he said last week...? “I shall go down in history as the greatest statesman of all time, or the greatest criminal.”.”

    Yeats said, “As long as Britain and New England stand up to him, he won’t do anything but talk and talk. Let him go down in history as the greatest windbag of all time.”

    Anderson erupted into laughter. “I’ll drink to that one, too,” he said, and emptied his glass.

    Although Anderson kept talking, apparently relaxed, Yeats himself started to worry. The Worthington factory had been making a lot of bullets. That meant there were buyers, and that mostly meant the New England government. Maybe they were taking Mitchell seriously.

    And if so, did that mean he’d made the right choice in coming to New England? Yeats shrugged mentally. This was his home now, so it was too late to worry about that. “Time for another dance,” he said, and led his wife back to the dance floor while Anderson did the same with Maggie. With a night of drinking and dancing, he could easily forget about the wider world. Only the night mattered.

    * * *

    [1] A belief which is generally inaccurate by 1900, but which lingers in parts of Ireland.

    [2] Within New York of this period, “Yankee” is often used to be synonymous with “white”, or more precisely mostly Protestants of north-west European ethnic heritage who have been living in the country long enough to have no recognisable connection to other ethnicities. For example, the early German immigrants during the 1850s were originally described as “German” rather than as “Yankee”, but by 1900 most of them would simply be considered “Yankees”. This applies in lesser degree to Scandinavians. Irish immigrants, especially Catholic Irish, are usually not considered Yankees, in this sense. (Not looked down so much as viewed as different, although there is a little lingering anti-Irish prejudice in some social circles).

    [3] A cocktail made with rum and lime juice, similar to an OTL daiquiri.

    [4] Naturally, a cocktail including rum and orange juice. And a splash of bitters.

    * * *

    Thoughts?

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
    https://www.alternatehistory.com/decadesofdarkness/
    http://decadesofdarkness.blogspot.com/
     
  7. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Sounds like an interesting premise for an interesting character-

    BTW- the Mitchell fellow is a Pres. of the USA? Could you give me a quick run down on who he is?
     
  8. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Lewis Mitchell is a demagogue, who can deliver a lot of fiery, rabble-rousing speeches about America's destiny, and what needs to be done. He's got about the same general attitude and success with public relations as, say, Josef Goebbels.

    He was elected Vice-President twice, the first time under Mahan (1889-1893) but was not picked to serve a second term as VP, largely because Mahan thought that Mitchell would antagonise relations with Britain and other foreign powers. The second time he was elected was in the 1900 elections, but since the President-elect died of a heart attack before inauguration day, Mitchell became President in 1901. He has spent the couple of years since then making a lot of speeches about how Britain has been always seeking to encircle the USA and deny America's natural rights. He repeats this theme over and over. He also states that he doesn't want war, that any sensible nation wants peace, but that war is being forced upon him because of Britain's denial of America's natural rights.

    Mitchell is, in short, the sort of national leader who makes his neighbours nervous.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  9. RMG Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    “If I thought he were just talking, I wouldn’t mind so much,” Anderson said. “But Mitchell is worrying, in a way Hughes or Mahan or any of the old gringo presidents were.”


    Shouldn't it be "the old gringo presidents weren't"?

    Anyway, good post! I'll never stop giggling at how the New Englanders call the Americans gringos. :)

    Does "yankee" eventually come to refer to non-whites and non-Protestants?
     
  10. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Oops. Yes, it should be "weren't". The last three U.S. Presidents of any note (Corbin, Mahan and Hughes), while they had their flaws, were generally people that New England felt they could co-exist peacefully with. Mitchell... isn't.

    In time, yes, although it varies from place to place, with some people using the word in that sense already. Outside of New England, for instance, Yankee simply means "New Englander" already. In Michigan, Irish are already considered Yankees in the same sense that Germans and Scandinavians are.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  11. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Decades of Darkness #109: The Use Of Forbes

    Decades of Darkness #109: The Use Of Forbes

    “The lie is cast.”
    - “Cleo D. Waters”, American political commentator, describing the U.S. ultimatum to the United Kingdom in 1905, while Waters lived in voluntary exile in Cardiff, UK.

    * * *

    Popular and Electoral Votes for President in 1902
    From “1810-1910: A Century of New England Political History”
    (c) 1912 by William H. Baldwin
    Sandler Publishing Company, Long Island

    The first presidential election of the twentieth century came at a time of increasing national uncertainty. Internal politics were dominated by vigorous disagreements over the morality and effectiveness of Prohibition, and over the social policies of the Radical Hunter and Weaver terms. Externally, however, an even graver issue had arisen, that of relations with the United States. Increasingly strident rhetoric wafted across the American border, as it seemed for the first time since 1881 that war with the United States was not only possible, but likely. The growing strength of the U.S. armed forces, both on land and at sea, only strengthened the unease of the New England electorate. The construction of the Vanguard [1] had been an important symbolic moment, and while New England had its own equivalent ships by 1902, the United States both had more such leviathans of the sea, and was building them faster than New England...

    The Radical presidential convention was more muted than those of 1890 and 1896. With twelve years of national political dominance, most of their political agenda had already been implemented, although the convention adopted a manifesto of continuing Prohibition of alcohol. The two main policies were continued social reform, mostly of industry and working conditions, and expansion of the armed forces. Since all of the leading candidates within the Radicals supported these policies, the convention became a debate largely over the personalities of the individual candidates. Cornelius Vanderbilt, the incumbent Vice-President, had done nothing to disqualify him from the presidential candidacy but nothing much to recommend him either, having managed to avoid most of the public eye for his six years of vice-presidency. Some delegates hoped that he could deliver Connecticut, which had long been a closely-fought state for the presidential nominations, but others argued that his public profile was so insignificant that he could not deliver that state, particularly as anti-prohibitionist sentiment was rising in Connecticut. Vanderbilt could not secure the two-thirds majority required. The convention eventually nominated Governor Eugene Hale of Maine, whose anti-American credentials were impeccable, being particularly remembered for his phrase “I hope that I shall not live many years before I shall see the American Navy where it ought to be, on the sea floor”. Vanderbilt refused the nomination for a second term as Vice-President, and the delegates settled instead on Senator Timothy Pickering Diamond of New Hampshire, another of the key presidential swing states [2].

    The Federalist convention had its own divisions. The main question was over whether repealing Prohibition should be a main plank of the party’s manifesto, as it was still popular in many sections of the electorate. At first the decision was not to adopt an explicit policy on Prohibition, but then Senator Nicholas Forbes of Hudson delivered a memorable speech to the convention. “A government’s duty is to protect its citizens from those dangers from which they cannot protect themselves. Why should we spend money uselessly trying to rid consumption of alcohol – something which our Lord Himself created in his first miracle? Each man and woman of New England can protect himself from alcohol as they wish, but they cannot choose on their own to buy the arms and ships which our nation needs to defend itself. The Radicals have wasted New England’s hard-earned tax dollars on futile prohibition, when they should have been buying guns and ships to defend our sacred soil. We need soldiers and sailors to protect our borders, not liquor inspectors.” Forbes’s tactic of blaming Prohibition for the apparent falling behind in the naval race with the United States proved popular at the convention. He won the presidential nomination, with John Lowell Lodge of Vermont chosen as the vice-presidential candidate.

    The presidential campaigning was less frenzied than in previous years. While Forbes continued to blame Prohibition for the failure to provide for ‘adequate’ national defence, he did not make vigorous attacks on the institution itself, to avoid alienating too many prohibitionist voters. Hale conducted a similarly gentlemanly campaign, making some favourable statements regarding Prohibition but he did not attack his opponents for lacking moral character, as Weaver had done in the previous election. The most contentious point during the campaign proved to be something which had been delivered almost an afterthought. Dominica had already been accepted as ready for admission as the 14th state, but in congressional representation it had been assumed that it would receive only one Representative [3]. However, the Dominican observers in Congress had successfully argued that it should be awarded congressional representation according to its effective population, since to be without adequate Congressional representation for so long would deprive them of their political rights. Since Congress expected to expand its numbers in 1910, as it had in the previous two reapportionments, this would not deprive any other states of future representatives, and so the proposal was accepted. However, it meant that a state which was expected to go Federalist [4] now had additional electoral votes, leading Hale to make an ill-advised protest, which changed nothing and eliminated whatever chance he had had for carrying Dominica...

    Popular Votes Electoral Votes
    State For. Hal. For. Hal.
    Connecticut 198,991 176,457 10 0
    Dominica 116,472 74,466 6 0
    Hudson 587,391 564,117 26 0
    Long Island 435,623 601,215 0 23
    Maine 140,946 135,388 8 0
    Massachusetts 797,641 325,797 25 0
    Michigan 400,522 626,458 0 23
    New Brunswick 79,318 48,614 4 0
    New Hampshire 90,530 87,992 6 0
    New Jersey 290,905 341,497 0 15
    Niagara 416,176 469,318 0 20
    Nova Scotia 140,597 72,429 6 0
    Rhode Island 58,981 72,088 0 5
    Vermont 98,521 87,390 6 0
    Total 3,852,615 3,683,224 97 86

    The returns in the electoral college were close, despite Forbes’s clear lead in the popular vote, but sufficient to deliver him the presidency. In his inauguration speech, Forbes announced a commitment to increase the military strength of New England both at land and at sea. His other main policy was not announced, but became gradually apparent over the next few months. Federal funding for agencies to enforce Prohibition was reduced to insignificant levels, and Forbes encouraged the states to do the same...

    * * *

    Excerpts from the State of the Union Address
    Delivered by U.S. President Mitchell to Congress on 22 February 1904 [5]

    Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

    The Nation continues to enjoy noteworthy prosperity. Such prosperity is of course primarily due to the diligent labour of our citizenship, taken together with our great natural resources; but an important factor therein is the working of our long-continued governmental policies. The people have emphatically expressed their approval of the principles underlying these policies, and their desire that these principles be kept substantially unchanged, although of course applied in a forethoughtful spirit to meet changing conditions.

    The enlargement of scope of the National Government required by our development as a nation involves, of course, increase of expense; and the period of prosperity through which the country is passing justifies expenditures for permanent improvements far greater than would be wise in hard times. Battleships and forts, public buildings, and improved waterways are investments in the security of the Nation; but abundant revenues and a large surplus always invite extravagance, and constant care should be taken to guard against unnecessary increase of the ordinary expenses of government...

    In internal affairs, the Nation continues to enjoy the same prosperity that Almighty God has blessed us with for decades. But ours is not a Nation that can consider only what happens within our own borders. It is beyond them we must look, to the dangers which surround us and to the enemies who would seek to deny the Nation the rights and claims to which she is entitled both in honour and in law.

    For the truth is that the Nation is, and has for long been, besieged. To our north and to our south, across the oceans to the east and the west, dwell nations who have harmed us in the past and who would seek to do us harm again if they could. I do not deny to any of our neighbours the right to organise their own affairs in peace and in justice. But I do not believe that the United States should bow down on bended knee and allow her neighbours to band together to deny her the natural rights to which she is entitled.

    If our neighbours should wish to form alliances, that is their right as sovereign nations. An alliance formed for the defence of one’s own nation, or that of one’s friends, is a worthy thing. Our own Nation has forged such alliances with Brazil and Portugal, and when those nations were attacked by their neighbours, the United States gladly and honourably came to their aid. But when a defensive alliance is transformed to allow one group of nations to threaten another, then honour has left it. When our neighbours act jointly to weaken the United States and to deny her legitimate claims, then their pacts are no longer alliances of honour, but an attack on the sovereignty and prosperity of the United States.

    For the United States has long held a historic claim to the region which is now miscalled British Honduras. During colonial times, that region belonged to Spain, and while the Spanish Crown granted Britain the right to establish logging camps in that area, they retained sovereignty over the region, and specifically forbade Britain from creating a colony there. And when Guatemala won independence from Spain, then that nation also inherited the sovereignty over that region. While that nation lacked the strength to pursue its rights, Guatemala never abandoned its just claims over that area. In time, Guatemala fell under the rule of the former Mexican dictator Salas, and its claims had to be delayed, but when Guatemala was liberated from Mexican rule and joined the United States, then our Nation also inherited the legal sovereignty to this region. It is a violation of American sovereignty that Britain continues to occupy this region, for no better reason than to extend their encirclement of us.

    Yet even this unjust occupation of what is rightfully American soil has not been the end of Britain’s mistreatment of our Nation. For centuries, Britain has sought to weaken the United States, even since before we won our freedom as an independent Nation. It was long the policy of Britain to arm peoples hostile to the United States, and to stir up revolts against us. They did this with the Indians during the Revolution, they did this again in the War of 1811, and they continued to aid and abet the Indians of the Old Northwest and the Great Plains in their futile armed revolt against the United States. The Nation has long defeated those enemies, but Britain has not abandoned her old ways. Not content merely to illegally hold American soil, she has used this region of ‘British Honduras’ as a base to smuggle arms to the enemies of the United States for more than half a century. British agents continue to violate American territory in the Yucatan to bring guns to the rebels there. Britain is giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. The deaths of American citizens in that state, and the revenues which we must spend to protect and avenge them, are the responsibility of Britain.

    This state of injustice must not be allowed to continue. Britain cannot be permitted to shelter behind her alliances with our near neighbours. She cannot be permitted to shed the blood of American citizens, and then threaten our Nation by saying that if we seek recompense, we will face war not just with Britain but with her lick-spittle Canada, and her lackeys in New England, Colombia, Venezuela and Costa Rica.

    Every day that Britain continues to occupy American soil and smuggle arms is an affront to natural justice, an affront to the sovereignty of our Nation. Britain must concede that region back to its lawful owners. I believe that we should be willing to pay a fair price, not to purchase territory which is lawfully ours, but to compensate Britain for the monies they have spent in internal improvements there. I am willing to negotiate peacefully and honourably with Britain for the return of the region. But our just claims cannot be ignored, here and elsewhere. Britain cannot continue to hide behind a dishonourable alliance. When Britain and her vassals confiscate the property of American citizens without cause and without even the offer of compensation, when they harbour fugitives who have fled our shores to evade meeting their obligations to their employers, when they encourage our nation’s inhabitants to break the inviolable contract between employer and labourer, then they are not acting as honourable nations attending to their own affairs, but as enemies of the United States and of its citizens [6]. I do not want war with Britain. But I would be failing to uphold my oath to defend the United States if I do not act to preserve the sovereignty of our Nation.

    * * *

    29 March 1904
    New England Embassy
    Columbia, Federal District
    United States of America

    These days, Robert Connery was not a happy man. The role of New England’s ambassador to the United States had always been important, but until recently it had been a relatively calm job. Hughes and Mahan before him had reportedly been quite cooperative with New England, caring little beyond keeping commerce running. They had their flaws as men – as all Americans did – but they were still men one could do business with.

    That had changed, first when Mitchell took control of the New White House, and again when Forbes took up residence in Pickering’s Cottage [7]. Mitchell was a man who seemed to think that if he told a lie big enough and repeated it often enough, that people would eventually believe it. Worse, he appeared to be right, at least for the American people. They did believe him when he called Britain the grand enemy which had been out to ruin the United States since before it became a nation, and that New England was its running dog. That made Connery’s job much more difficult. But when Forbes took office last year, he had demanded that Connery push back hard, issuing protests to the United States over the worst speeches. If that wasn’t enough, Forbes insisted that Connery complain privately about from America’s growing naval strength and whatever other matter had Forbes worried on a given day, from fishing disputes to bootlegging to any military exercises which the USA staged within two hundred miles of the New England border.

    Connery supposed that something had to be done about the United States, but Forbes’s methods were unlikely to achieve anything besides angering Mitchell. Connery had seen that firsthand on several occasions, when he watched the American president try to hold on to his temper. Mitchell made a polite host most of the time – as did most upper-class Americans, despite their other myriad faults – but if he were sufficiently angered, he lost control. That would hardly make him listen to New England’s concerns, or so Connery believed.

    President Forbes saw things differently. Connery had sent letters back to Hartford arguing against such tactics, but Forbes’s written reply had been blunt: “Americans recognise only strength. If we do not challenge all their actions, they will think they are weak, and then nothing will stop war”. Connery had been tempted to reply that challenging all the Americans’ actions would drive them to war, but he had refrained. Forbes would simply replace him as ambassador with an appointee who would aggravate the United States even more.

    “Is there anything I can do?” Connery asked the air, but he received no answer. He would have to steer a middle course between Mitchell’s demands over British Honduras, and Forbes’s instructions to provoke the United States, and he didn’t know whether he could find a safe course between those twin dangers.

    * * *

    9 November 1904
    Federal House
    Hartford, Connecticut
    Republic of New England

    “Four men, gathered in one room to determine the fate of the world,” murmured Flavio Vergara, Colombian ambassador to New England.

    “I wouldn’t quite go that far,” said President Forbes, although Vergara noted the man’s pleased smile, all the same. Pablo Herrera, Venezuela’s ambassador to New England, also smiled. Oscar Shaw, the British ambassador, was a man much harder to fathom, and he said nothing.

    “I think so,” Vergara said. “Now that we know that Mitchell has won re-election-”

    “Was there ever any doubt of that?” Shaw said.

    “Perhaps not,” Vergara said. Certainly election results announced in Bogotá often had little resemblance to the ballots cast, and rather more to what the Army wanted. Why should the United States be any different? “But he has won it, and now he will be even more, mm, vigorous.”

    “He’s going to demand British Honduras or war, I expect,” Forbes said.

    “If it were only a case of British Honduras, I would say let the United States buy it,” Vergara said.

    That got him a round of stares, even from the usually imperturbable Shaw. “You would do what?” Shaw said.

    “Let the USA buy it, with suitable provisions and payment for the cost of evacuating your citizens,” Vergara said.

    “Concede Britain’s prestige to American threats?” Shaw said.

    “Mitchell has never directly threatened war, you will note,” Vergara replied. “And how would it cost you prestige to make a voluntary sale of territory to the United Sates? Certainly better than the cost of a major war. Win or lose, it would be horrendous.” Shaw could talk more readily of prestige, when even a lost war would still leave Britain intact in her homeland. The same would unlikely be true of Colombia.

    “Some things are worth the price,” Forbes said.

    “And some aren’t,” Vergara said. “As I said, if it were only British Honduras, I would say sell it to Mitchell. But it won’t stop there. If you sell that colony to the Americans, Mitchell will next claim that Costa Ricans are sabotaging his precious Canal, or accuse Britain of not handing slaves back when they escape to Guyana. Men like Mitchell just will not stop.”

    Shaw and Forbes both nodded. Herrera looked less convinced. He had also been noticeably silent so far, Vergara noticed, and wondered why.

    “I fear things could be even worse,” Forbes said. “My ambassador in Columbia has reported that Mitchell has been having secret conversations with the Russian ambassador. Several of them. I don’t know what they’ve discussed, but it can hardly be good, especially if Mitchell would take time out before an election.”

    “Indeed. We may have to do something about Russia,” Shaw said, but he refused to elaborate. Vergara doubted Russia was an important problem, anyway. If Russia threatened Britain in Europe, surely Germany would join in. That would keep them busy fighting each other, far away from Colombia. It was the enemy closer to home who needed to be dealt with.

    “We must do something about Mitchell,” Forbes said. “No matter what stories that man tells about British Honduras, if we do not stand together now, then we will fall one by one.”

    Vergara said, “That is undeniable.” Shaw said the same thing, but did Herrera take too long before he agreed as well? Vergara hoped not.

    Shaw said, “As a first step, I’d suggest a new formal alliance with all of our nations – and Costa Rica too. A formal pact to replace the Halifax and Bogotá Pacts. Let the United States have absolutely no doubt that they will face war with all of us if he takes any military action.”

    “That’ll give him even more excuses to make speeches about ‘encircling’ him,” Herrera said.

    “True, but so what?” Forbes said. “We need to convince him that we will stand up to him. Without that, he’ll keep on pushing.”

    “Best to draw up the defensive treaty at once,” Vergara said. The sooner, the better.

    * * *

    Extracts from a letter written by U.S. President Mitchell to his cousin Victoria Mitchell Jamison, dated 16 January 1905

    This latest pact between all our neighbours is proof for all Americans to see that our neighbours are conspiring against us, something I can highlight at the next State of the Union Adress. Britain has always opposed us, but now they have a leader who will stand up to them [8]. I have long known that war with Britain will become necessary – nothing else will make them stop interfering with America’s rightful destiny. But until now, the time has not been ripe. I had to make sure that the American people are ready for a great struggle. This war will be harder than previous wars, as we will be fighting white men this time. Being Americans, of course we will triumph in the end, but there may be setbacks along the way.

    I have made all the necessary preparations, though. Our foreign relations have been settled. I waited long enough after the construction of Vanguard and its sister ships. They have made all old ships useless against them, cancelling our enemies’ naval lead at a stroke, and we have built enough of new ships to defend our shores. I am only awaiting confirmation that the British are smuggling guns to the Maya rebels, and then I will have all the proof I need.

    * * *

    4 April 1905
    New White House
    Columbia, Federal District
    United States of America

    “Mr President, we haven’t managed to capture the British agents in the Yucatan,” Samuel Palmer, Secretary of the Interior [9] said. “I presume they’ve slipped back over the border by now. But the Indian rebels have been captured with Yankee repeaters, and admitted that a Briton sold the weapons to them.” Palmer knew exactly how those Indians had come by the weapons too, but some things the President would not want to know. “I’ve allowed a few foreign reporters to see them.”

    “Good. They can carry the story to the world,” the President said. “And now I have indisputable cause to issue demands to Britain: enter into negotiations to sell ‘British Honduras’ to us, or face war. This violation of America’s sovereignty and historic claims has gone on for far too long.”

    Palmer coughed. “Mr President... I also read in the newspaper that the Empress of Brazil has declared that any attack we make over that place would be an offensive war, and that she would not be bound by the alliance. She says Brazil would be neutral unless other powers attack us.”

    The President smiled. “Excellent.”

    “Mr President?” Palmer asked, unsure what to make of that comment.

    The President said, “The board is set. The pieces are moving. Thank you for your time, Samuel.”

    Perplexed, but recognising the dismissal, Palmer bowed, rose and left.

    * * *

    The U.S. Secretary of State, to the Ambassador at London, Mr. Jefferson

    Columbia, April 24, 1905

    Your Excellency will present the following note to the British Government on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 25:

    On the 31st of March, 1905, officers of the United States National Guard captured armed Indian rebels in Yucatan with imminent intent to attack American property. Under interrogation, the rebels confessed that they had been supplied firearms by a British citizen, who had entered U.S. soil from the British-controlled colony of British Honduras.

    Now the history of the past years, of which this event is merely the latest of many painful incidents, has proven that Britain is either complicit in the smuggling of such weapons into American soil, or that it has taken no action to prevent its private citizens from doing so. These actions have found expression in acts of rebellion, in the destruction of property, and in murders of American citizens. Further, these actions have been perpetrated from territory to which the United States has a legal claim, and to which she has never surrendered sovereignty.

    Far from fulfilling the obligations borne by a temporary occupier of sovereign American soil, Britain has tolerated or supported the criminal activities of individuals who give aid and comfort to the internal enemies of the United States. Britain has proclaimed an unhealthy propaganda in its condemnation of America’s domestic institutions, in further encouragement of insurrection within the United States.

    These results impose upon the United States Government the obligation to put an end to those intrigues, which constitute a standing menace to the peace of the Union. In order to attain this end, the United States Government finds itself compelled to demand that the British Government give official assurance that it will immediately cease any support for such individuals or any associations of individuals who seek to disturb the domestic tranquillity of the Union through illegal arms smuggling or insurrectionary activities on American soil; and further that the British government will enter into negotiations in good faith for the return to the United States of the territory of British Honduras. The United States Government pledges that it will pay fair compensation for the internal improvements which Britain has made during its use of this territory, this price to be set by negotiation between the two Governments or through international arbitration by the King of Sweden.

    The United States Government awaits the reply of the British Government by Saturday, the twenty-ninth instant, at 6 p.m., at the latest.

    On the occasion of handing over this note, would Your Excellency please also add orally that - in the event that no unconditionally positive answer of the British government might be received in the meantime - after the course of the 96-hour deadline referred to in this note, as measured from the day and hour of your announcing it, you are commissioned to leave the United States Embassy of London together with your personnel.

    * * *

    [1] Vanguard is the first *Dreadnought, built in the USA.

    [2] The closest swing states in the last few New England elections had been Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Hudson. Maine had not been as close, but the delegates hoped that Hale’s personal following could deliver that state too.

    [3] The precedent is that new states send only one Representative (and two Senators) until the next reapportionment, which would be in 1910 in this case.

    [4] As in OTL, areas with higher Catholic populations tend to be opposed to Prohibition, and Dominica is substantially majority-Catholic.

    [5] In the *USA, the traditional date for the State of the Union Address is 22 February, George Washington’s birthday.

    [6] i.e. Mitchell wants Britain et al to return escaped slaves and peons.

    [7] The informal name for the N.E. President’s residence; formally it is called Federal House.

    [8] Historians have long debated whether Mitchell’s statements in a private letter representative of his true views of Britain, or whether he did not believe this but kept on repeating the same reason which he had provided for public consumption, perhaps because he feared that his correspondence might be publicly revealed.

    [9] The ATL U.S. Department of the Interior has little relation to its OTL counterpart, being mostly concerned with internal security which is not deemed to require military mobilization. It also regulates the peonage and slavery systems, insofar as these are monitored at a federal level.

    * * *

    Thoughts?

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
    https://www.alternatehistory.com/decadesofdarkness/
    http://decadesofdarkness.blogspot.com/
     
  12. G.Bone lurks

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hon., HI
    Great- another war.

    I hope the other countries are prepared for it-
     
  13. Vince Optimistic Pessimist

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Utica, NY
    Nice to see everyone stood up to the U.S. and no appeasment took place. Of course the *US probably isn't seen by the world as trying to reverse unfair demands ala Hitler and the Versailles Treaty.

    While I'll root for New England, I get this nagging feeling that since Mitchell is considered one of the greatest presidents in history the US is going to win. Also it seems Russia may get involved short of war (you've been hinting on SHWI about an embargo on foodstuffs) and this could tie into the fact that Peter IV abdicates in 1906. Maybe the Duma forces a showdown because they don't agree with the Czar and win?

    As always great post KWIII. I'm looking foward to how things play out.
     
  14. Nicole Parallel Universe Imajin

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I have a sinking feeling that Costa Rica is doomed...
    Nice update, as usual...
     
  15. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    I don't enjoy wars, but I thought that in the circumstances it would be unrealistic if the alt-USA didn't go to war with Britain et al sooner or later.

    As best they can be, yes.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  16. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    True, although the irony is that the USA can actually make a valid case for being entitled to British Honduras - he's more or less telling the truth when he says that Spain had the rights to the territory and Britain didn't actually have the right to turn it into a colony. Not that this excuses his attempts to take over the region by force, but he can say with a straight face that he's reasserting a historic claim.

    Could well be... the events of 1905 onwards are going to have broad ramifications, regardless of who wins or loses.

    More is coming, once I've finished reading up on a few key areas.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
    jjstraub4 likes this.
  17. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Their prospects are, sadly, not all that bright.

    Gracias.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  18. Scarecrow Dieudonné

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    hey Kaiser, here is the 1850 map for north America

    USA 1850-Text.GIF
     
  19. Scarecrow Dieudonné

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    and here is 1855

    USA 1855-Text.GIF
     
  20. Scarecrow Dieudonné

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    1865 maparoo...

    USA 1865-Text.GIF