Decades of Darkness

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

  1. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Unfortunately not, particularly given that they would also be facing an enemy with superior air power.

    They didn't steal the name; they just borrowed it until the time has come to return it. :D

    It's now up and progressing steadily (next update will be posted later this morning).
     
  2. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Location:
    Up yonder
    With Jared's permission, reposting a few election maps I made of the *US. I will be carrying this on as far as the data in the TL document will allow me to, so watch this space.

     
    Kovalenko, Vornado, Plumber and 5 others like this.
  3. Admiral Matt Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2004
    Love the maps. But then I always do. &p
     
  4. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    Thanks for doing these! Looking forward to more. :)
     
  5. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Location:
    Up yonder
    And continuing with the 1880s:

     
    HistLover, Kovalenko and Plumber like this.
  6. Garbageman Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Jared, I do have another question about the timeline, if you don't mind me asking: but I'm wondering what Russia's goal was in the Great War towards India?
     
  7. Dominic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    I have another question too, actually, about the population growth Down Under. A cursory glance at some of the figures during the 19th century gives 2.85 million for 1865, 6 million for 1885, and something like 11 million for 1900, I think. This translates to a growth rate of something like 4% a year, consistently held for decades. The 1900's boom is even more spectacular, 11 odd million to about 18 by 1910, which is about 5% a year. These are some truly enormous growth rates, held up for a very long time. My question is how the Australian economy was able to sustain such an incredible boom for such a long time? OTL the much lesser 1870's-80's boom led to the terrible 1890's depression, during which time the country languished and missed out completely on the immigration boom that was occurring in North America. Even a very modest share in this migration would have led to a population at least a million stronger by 1905-10 OTL. But here the economy does not seem to have suffered any set backs at all. It's not that the immigrants wouldn't exist ITTL, thanks to the changes to North America, but how did the economy down under continue to absorb a high level of immigration for what appears to be more than half a century?

    Also, the original kick off of the boom was if memory serves an early gold rush, in the 1830's. This was however without the California rush as inspiration. How were the structural/cultural barriers overcome ITTL, which OTL held strong until after California?
     
    xsampa likes this.
  8. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Location:
    Up yonder
    The final *US election map, 1892.

     
  9. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    The vaguely-formed goals were "break it out of the British orbit" and "grab some strategic border territory". Which goal was stronger depended on which government figure you were speaking about. The Russian government had rather contradictory objectives in the leadup to and during the Great War - which is why they vacillated before entering - but no serious government figures thought that they could actually conquer India on top of the other fronts, even setting aside the horrible logistics.

    It's not that there were no economic setbacks, but they were shorter and less severe than the 1890s depression, which was extremely bad because of a confluence of circumstances. There was a very large speculation boom, and an influx of foreign capital which supported that boom, and resultant high land prices. What followed was what can be expected for such a post-bubble bust: foreign capital withdrawn, balance of payments problems (in the gold standard era), banking collapses, and serious economic malaise.

    ITTL, the higher local population means that in turn, the reliance on foreign capital is lower, and the domestic market is larger. This means that economic downturns are less severe (not as much foreign capital being pulled out), and the recovery is correspondingly quicker. It also helps that what's been set up has been a lot of family-chain migration (people calling relatives out) which continues even during relative economic downturns. In turn, this creates an ongoing construction/infrastructure demand (houses, roads, railways etc) which provide their own economic booster. Some of this is due to higher natural population growth than OTL; there's more people there before the demographic transition, and immigrants tend to have higher birth rates for the first generation, too.

    The technological barriers were the development of clipper ships, which in OTL were more or less a product of the Australian gold rush, and so are developed sooner here with the need. The cultural barriers were lowered because there was already higher immigration before the gold rush (basically redirected from the USA), which meant that gold discoveries were publicised which were kept quiet in OTL. (More immigrants who wanted to make money, rather than a government which had an interest in keeping things quiet.)
     
    Max Sinister and Dominic like this.
  10. jmberry Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    I have a question. Looking back after what would have to be over 12 years, is there anything about this timeline you would have done differently?
     
  11. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    The broad picture would be similar, but there's quite a few details I would tweak if I were redoing it. Some of them I even had plans to do a big retcon for and rewrite of the whole timeline, but the scale of the task was a bit off-putting, and the rewards limited, so I moved on to other projects.

    A few of the planned changes:
    - Retcon the history of the Canadian Maritimes. On reflection, it was implausible that both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick joined New England so early. I would have had the first plebiscite for Nova Scotia to go ahead more or less on schedule, figuring that it would be something which Britain would allow in the interests of good Yankee relations since they wouldn't expect it to ever succeed. Once lost there, though, they would not allow the same in New Brunswick. NB would not join New England until after the North American War.
    - Make Germany less overwhelming in Europe before the Great War, with its previous territorial gains (particularly in the Second Napoleonic Wars) much less. On the whole, I think it was actually too overwhelmingly strong; while there were reasons which still allowed the Bouclier to hold out for so long, it was still pushing the bounds of plausibility a bit. A correspondingly weaker Germany (though still strong) would have made the course of the Great War in Europe less one-sided.
    - Introduce an *American analogue to Sir Clifford Sifton in the 1840s-1860s timeframe. He would be setting an immigration policy designed to fill the "Empty Northwest" - the non-attractive areas to slaveowners, and which were near to Canada - along the same lines as Sifton encouraged settlement of the Canadian West. This would also involve setting up rules to clarify the process for citizenship for (white) immigrants, and recruitment drives in some disaffected areas of Europe, principally the Slavic subjects of the Habsburgs, and to a lesser degree some Russian subjects. This would boost the citizenship population of the US of A a bit, and also tidy up some of the history of citizenship changes in the *USA. (And at a minor level, also slightly reduce the population disparity in Europe during the Great War, since more recruits would be from the future German side than the Bouclier).
    - Introduce a low-level border war breaking out between the *USA and Peru a couple of years before the Great War, over an outgrwoth of campaigns against guerrillas who were sheltering in Peruvian territory. This would lead to a gradual build-up of U.S. militarisation, expansion in shipping capacity, power projection etc, but not in a way which would teach the *USA any lessons in terms of Europe. The war would be limited deliberately because neither the *USA nor Peru are interested in making it any bigger and involving other countries, and the European powers have other things to interest them by then (mostly in Europe). But it would mean that some of the logistical lessons which the *USA needed to learn would have been learned sooner - I felt that the timeframes were a bit too compressed within the Great War.
    - Rewrite pretty much the whole Canadian post-Great War arc. On reflection, Canada was much more unstable than it should plausibly have ended up being. I had a few alternatives in mind for how this would have turned out, but never needed to settle on one before I dropped the whole planned rewrite.
    - Flesh out the "betrayal" of Britain by New England in the Great War, which would give more context to why the Vitalist government decided to pull out at the crucial time, and how the military effects played out. By that stage of writing the timeline, I think I was in too much of a rush to finish it, and didn't give enough depiction of the details about why things made sense.

    There were other changes planned - including a few I'm sure I've forgotten about - but those were some of the bigger ones.
     
  12. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Location:
    Up yonder
    You're definitely on to something with these ideas - New England's withdrawal and Mullins' fall in particular felt like they came out of the blue first time I read it through, and the Great War may have been a bit too much of a lopsided German/*American slog through Europe/South America with no one except Rodney Ironfist seeming to put up a fight. I will say I loved the Canada storyline, but in hindsight you're probably right that they wouldn't go that far south that fast.
     
    Eluvatar likes this.
  13. DanMcCollum P-WI

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Wauwatosa, WI
    Glad you liked the Canada story line. I wrote much of it, all those years ago (With complete oversight by Jared, of course) :)
     
  14. teg The Worst Unionist

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Aberystwyth
    How different was the timeline going to be if the Allies had won the Battle of Long Island, or did you not extrapolate that much?

    teg
     
  15. Grand Prince Paul II. Xenophobic Russian Agent, pro-Europa

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    Spa├črepublik, EuroReich, Western Eurasia
    IIRC there was an alternate map which showed North America & the Caribbean after the USA lost battle and war.
    In the long term, it would not really matter.
    Rather than helping the Bouclier alliance in Europe against Germany, the USA would crush their allies in the Americas when they are distracted by the war against Germany and become the hegemon of the Americas.
     
  16. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    Kingdom of Australia
    I didn't flesh out all of the details, but in essence, *America would lose the war, have a peace imposed with a whopping great indemnity, loss of some border territory, some attempted military restrictions, etc (sound familiar?). That would go predictably wrong in all of the obvious ways, with *America ending up quasi-fascist, extremely revanchist, and at war with New England, Canada, and parts of South America, right when Britain and other European powers would prefer to have no distractions outside of the Continent, because they still faced problems with Germany.

    Life would have been better for Brazil, Argentina and maybe Chile, but everywhere else in South America would have ended up as American vassals, although not as much territory under direct control.
     
  17. Alias Lord of Tanuki

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
    So in this alternate alternate timeline what would generally happen to Canada and New England after they lost the war against the revanchist USA?
     
  18. Dominic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    You know a timeline has been successful when it spawns its own what ifs.
     
    Jared likes this.
  19. Kevin R. Naked Florida Man

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Liquordale, Florida
    Honestly, I think that might be even more dystopic than the actual DoD. When the story ended in 1933, the *US still had some measure of democracy, even if it was a white supremacist one and it looked like Alvar O'Brien was a dictator in the making, while New England had endured a bout of fascism but had just seen democracy restored, and it looked ready to prosper in the future as a neutral, social democratic state. A revanchist *US, though, is gonna turn very nasty very quick.

    That said, I think an alt-Maginot Line along the border of Niagara, Hudson, and New Jersey might work better with the geography of New England than it did for OTL's France, especially if New England cleaves off parts of northern Pennsylvania/Westsylvania in the North American War settlement. OTL's Maginot Line was designed to funnel the German army through Belgium, which it did; the only reason it failed was because of a strategic blunder by the French and British in underestimating the Germans' ability to send an army through the Ardennes and outflank them. In New England, though? A similar defensive line would run from the Atlantic Ocean to Lakes Erie and Ontario. A very short secondary fortification line could also be established in Ontario around the St. Clair River to protect eastern Canada and cover that flank. There's absolutely no other route around the line like there was in OTL's Ardennes; the only way into the New England heartland is the hard way. The only alternative is an amphibious landing, either across Lake Erie to invade from the west through Ontario, or across a stretch of the Atlantic to land in Long Island and Cape Cod, and either of those would take strategic planning and resources on the order of OTL's D-Day -- meaning that it's more likely to wind up an alt-Sealion or Market Garden instead, a catastrophic blunder that does more harm than good to the *US war effort.

    All told, I think it's likely that, in this scenario, we see western Canada and Michigan overrun quickly, but with eastern Canada and the New England heartland holding out like OTL's Britain. They'd get the shit bombed out of them, and without help they'd probably fold in a couple of years, but they won't get overrun in six weeks like France was in OTL. And that's if they don't get assistance. They're likely co-belligerents against the *US with several Latin American nations, who are either fielding armies and fleets or engaging in guerrilla warfare, so they won't have the *US military's undivided attention. And in Europe, even if it looks like Britain and France are losing, New England could very well turn to Germany for assistance.
     
    Eluvatar likes this.
  20. Dominic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    We know that NE was going to survive in either scenario, my guess is that however it occurs NE ends up surrendering conditionally after it is obvious that Canada is toast. They probably lose Michigan, New Jersey in full, and anything in the Caribbean. I do wonder how Germany would be able to win in Europe to the same extent with Russia actually fighting against them though. Massive US assistance after finishing off New England/Canada? It would certainly make for some entertaining scenes - Britain sandwiched between the US and German navies... I do wonder at the relations between Russia and the alt-Restored Empire though. If there's a Russian betrayal a la OTL DoD then it's probably not that different, but if Russia and the RE are on the same side the entire war and there's no major tensions in China then that could possibly lead to quite good relations between the two. That would be an extremely potent bloc, even after losing the Great War.