Decades of Darkness

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

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

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    Why would Russia fight Germany?
    A less outmatched Bouclier that is not willing to offer Russia a better deal would lead to the same outcome as in the original DoD.
     
  2. Dominic Well-Known Member

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    I just recall reading once that the alternative to the Great War we had would have included an Anglo-Russian detente to tick off the Germans. Sans Russia though the Bouclier would be utterly walloped in Europe as NE wouldn't be around to help. Russia's entry did seem more influenced by domestic politics than anything else as well.
     
  3. Kevin R. Naked Florida Man

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    Regarding Canada, I recall that they were actually beating the *US black and blue in the North American War, pushing deep into Illinois and Indiana while holding their own on the prairie, and that the only reason they fell apart was because New England surrendered, meaning that the *US could now focus its undivided attention on the Canadian front. With this in mind, one plausible idea would be to have the Canadians turn to vitalism, perhaps even instead of the Yankees. "We were winning until the gutless bastards in Hartford sold us out! And now look, they're enslaving our countrymen in British Columbia! Death to America!" Given the socialist leanings of TTL's Canada (as revealed in their civil war), as well as the lack of an obvious racist or anti-Semitic component to the Canadian dolchstoßlegende, I can see Canadian vitalism resembling a mix of Mussolini and Strasserism, with enough socialist components that many observers might consider it simply a nationalist strain of socialism rather than a different beast entirely. Hell, when it comes to culture, I can see it making appeals to both anglophones and francophones, viewing France and the UK as "Canada's two founding nations" and the indemnities as having hurt both groups equally. Vitalist Canada would likely have frosty (though not overtly hostile) relations with New England, blaming them for losing the war; the issue of Michigan being separated from the New England heartland by Canada would especially cause tensions over open borders and movement of troops and equipment.

    As for New England's own politics in this scenario? The Canadian vitalists' attitudes towards New England are likely to be reciprocated, especially if New England becomes a popular destination for Canadian exiles, which might well push New England away from vitalism. Furthermore, there's less room for a "stab in the back" myth in New England as opposed to Canada. Historically, OTL's fascists were driven by a sense of national betrayal -- the Germans had the Dolchstoßlegende, the Italians and the Japanese felt that they got robbed of their "rightful gains" at the Treaty of Versailles, and TTL's Canada is blaming New England. New England, however, lost because the *Americans were marching through Jersey City and sailing off the coast of Long Island ready to shell Manhattan. The war was fought on Yankee soil the entire time, so there was no illusion that they were ever winning. The politicians started the war, the generals and admirals failed to protect the nation, and they only surrendered when they saw the writing on the wall. They could've taken the agreement that would've sold out South America but ended the war with a white peace on the northern front, but they had to keep on fighting, and they lost everything. The prevailing mindset might well be that pacifism and coexistence with the *US, not militarism, is the way forward. Couple that with the general poor opinion of Canada's vitalists, and New England would likely be governed by a mix of social democrats, progressive capitalists, and old-school conservatives, and while there would undoubtedly exist minor vitalist parties, they'd have trouble gaining traction.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  4. Lord Saladin Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of Canada, was their fate ever published?
     
  5. Analytical Engine Monarchist Collectivist Federalist

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    I made a draft map of it. I don't think I even posted it, though, as the actual text hadn't been posted for me to finalise.
     
  6. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Nothing pleasant, is the short version.

    Think quasi-fascist in a domestic sense, although not with the same sense of there being a strong sense of revanchism being a meaningful possibility. Where in the core TL post-Great War Canada and New England were basically "finlandised" [1] - i.e. left alone in their domestic politics so long as they didn't meaningfully threaten the *USA - ITTL there would be regular, repeated U.S. interventions in domestic politics.

    [1] Not that the usual sense of the term reliably translates to what actually happened in OTL post-WW2 Finland, but that's a topic for its own thread.

    What if DoD did not spawn any what-ifs?

    I never worked out everything in detail, but I'd operated under the assumption that New England's core territory would be more or less starved into submission: effective naval blockade and strategic bombing campaign, until they just capitulated. Long, bloody and difficult on the *USA's part, but nothing that they can't manage.

    Germany, unfortunately, would be of no help in this scenario, since it is on the *USA's side. It won't necessarily take active steps to help the *USA invade New England, but it's not going to turn on them in the short term either.

    The short version of what I had in mind with Germany and Russia is that Russia tries to launch a two-front war against Germany, but is bogged down in trying to invade Poland and never quite manages to get to core German territory. France bears the brunt of the initial German assault (as per the core TL), and while it does not fall in 6 weeks, is the first major Bouclier member to fall. Britain is a much tougher nut to crack, but eventually falls. Russia and Germany more or less stalemate (Courland still falls to Russia).

    Russia also launches a determined effort later in the war and post-war in China where it still tries to move into the power vacuum caused by the fall of Britain.

    Russia and Germany are still old enemies, and the threat of a post-war world dominated by a U.S.-German alliance is sufficient to bring Russia in against Germany to try to limit German power.

    Russian domestic politics is complicated, but there was always both an anti-German and anti-British streak. In the alt-timeline, the anti-German streak came out on top because of the fear that a post-war Germany would be too strong once it finished with the Bouclier.

    Canada was doing all right for itself in the North American War, but would be facing a much tougher task during the *Great War, where logistics (trucks, tanks etc) had improved to the point that most of western Canada would be overrun fairly quickly. Ontario and Quebec provinces would probably hold out for a lot longer, but this would not be a recipe for success.

    not in detail. It was intended to be depicted separately, after the conclusion of the main TL, but a variety of problems got in the way, and then the planned rewrite meant that I shelved writing anything further on it. Canada's fate will eventually be the subject of a future DoD novel, so I figured better to leave things vague in the meantime.
     
  7. Dominic Well-Known Member

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    "What if Jared never told everyone that there was a specific ATL of the ATL?" I think that one's been on the back of my mind since I was 12 or 13 (I think that part of DoD came out in '06?) - years before I actually made an account here.

    On the subject of the other possible direction that DoD could have taken, I actually think that the version we got played to DoD's narrative better than the other possibility would have. To my mind at least, the main narrative theme explored in DoD (distinct from AH themes) was a combination of "road to hell/best of good intentions" and the old "all it takes for evil to prevail in this world is for enough good men to do nothing". This was of course the main theme in the Draka series, which if memory serves was the initial inspiration for DoD, 'plausible Draka'. I think that a world in which the "good guys" ruin each other better represents this than one in which the narrative focus is on North America, where the fairly straightforward dystopia of total American victory is bad, but doesn't have quite the same sense of tragedy as it was not the (direct) result of good people failing, but bad people succeeding.

    The *US had plenty interesting about it from an academic perspective in DoD with the exploration of industrial slavery and the incorporation of Anglo and Latin cultures in the Americas being probably the two biggest, with plenty of secondary features being present as well. From a narrative perspective however I always found the US a little less interesting compared to the other nations, as they did seem to just serve as straight up villains in the overall story. That's not to say that all Americans or American actions were actually villainous, but "as a character", if a country could be described as such, the US was not particular complicated.

    The other nations however, in particular in Europe, seemed far more interesting in their character and actions. Britain, France, Germany, and Russia were all to varying degrees flawed, but fundamentally were not bad countries, at least by the standards of the time. They all shared democratic values to varying degrees, pursued essentially egalitarian in theory if not necessary in practice policies, and at times opposed genuine evil where they found it (usually in the Americas). In other words, they all roughly corresponded to the Western Allies of our WW2 in their character, nations we tend to associate with being on the side of "good", at least when compared to the sheer horror of the Axis Powers - or the *USA.

    As such, I think that the Great War's focus being on Europe and not North America is more compelling. For people from a world where the democratic powers all found themselves on one side, a cursory glance at DoD's Europe would suggest that there was no cause for war, and that these nations would work together to defeat the US. Watching then these countries destroy each other while the US takes advantage of their distraction to conquer South America is more than a little heartbreaking. The aftermath is equally upsetting. Germany and Russia are largely friendless, having killed most of their potential allies and partners while alienating the rest (Australia's antagonism with Germany and Russia in very is unfortunate, given that it is the most direct opponent of the US after 1906). The fate of the British Empire is particularly bleak, being ultimately defeated not by the Americans, but by their own blunders and former allies. New England's betrayal of Britain is a great example of this. It is telling I think that arguably the best chapters and writing in the timeline occur in the end game of the war in Europe, despite this being principally a timeline about North America.

    If the ATL had been written instead, I don't think this aspect of the story would have been lost, but I do think it would have been a little muted. Up until the end of the North American War the main narrative thrust had been the competition between the US and New England/Britain/Canada. This largely faded into the background after the North American War, but here it would absolutely still be centre stage. The battle in North America would certainly have been interesting to read. In particular I have often thought a chapter depicting the Black Fox running amok in Maryland or Virginia early in the war freeing slaves and humiliating the Americans would have been great, with the subsequent defeat there being equally compelling (depressing). Ultimately though given that the outcome would never have been in doubt what we would be seeing is good people trying to do good but failing against insurmountable odds, not good people failing to even try and do good at all. We still would have seen a version of this occur in Europe, from an AH perspective the difference is perhaps cosmetic at best, but I think there would be a distinct change in tone due to the focus on North America. For me personally, I prefer the tone of the world in which the focus is on those who may have done better than on those who intended to do bad.

    Part of what sets DoD apart from most of works on this site, and indeed the whole genre is the combination of a well researched and well written AH with a clear and compelling narrative. We knew from very early in the story that something terrible would happen to Britain, that the US would succeed in maintaining slavery, and that the world the ATL history books were being written in was a troubled and unhappy one. It's rare for AH to have literary themes, but so enjoyable when it is pulled off like this.
     
  8. 245 Well-Known Member

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    is there an map of what this timeline look like in 2016 or 2015.
     
  9. Analytical Engine Monarchist Collectivist Federalist

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    There are a few fan-made ones (one by myself, @B_Munro and I think some other posters), but I don't think @Jared ever released enough information to make a definitive one.
     
  10. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Sorry for the rather belated reply, but yes, there's no official map of 2015 DoDverse because I haven't written that far. A sequel to DoD will happen eventually, but it keeps getting rewritten and/or delayed due to other life commitments.
     
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  11. CaliBoy1990 A bright future is still possible! =)

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    Well, hmm......Been a long while since I've commented here, but I thought I'd stop by again.

    This is a generally well-thought out and insightful comment, IMHO. ;) While DoD may not have exactly amongst the hardest of TLs plausibility wise, for a large variety of reasons(which have already been discussed on a number of occasions elsewhere, so I don't feel it's necessary to go into any detail here)-it fell almost squarely in between the middle of Type II and Type III-it's also quite true that this was, in fact, one of the most detailed and arguably well-constructed TLs of the Internet era, in many respects.....and because of the latter, one could in fact argue that it is a classic work that would have impressed even Robert Sobel(author of one of my top 5 favorite AH stories, For Want of a Nail). As for any spinoffs, though(perhaps along the lines of For All Nails, the well-known and much loved FWoAN spinoff), unless Jared himself decides to take a crack at such, they will most likely be relegated to unofficial stuff, etc., like some of the map/scenarios that were posted both here and on the old Oneshot Scenarios thread.

    I'm sorry to hear about the difficulty, Jared. If/when you do get around to finally publishing the official (first?) sequel, The Fox and the Jackal, I'd certainly be interested to see what you decided to go with. :cool:
     
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  12. NiGHTS BMC-14

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    What's the status of the Dutch language and identify by the 21st century after being in Germany for so long? Do many people still speak and see themselves as Dutch commonly or do they see themselves as being German? What happened to Belgium cuisine? Does it still exist ,but under the German/Dutch cuisine umbrella or was it butterflied away like Belgium was? Sorry, if I am breaking a rule, but I would really like to know how different the culture and identity if the low countries are from OTL, even though they technically don't exist anymore.
     
  13. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    What's happened to the Dutch identity is a very slow, gradual shift from where they see themselves as Dutch who just happen to be in a pact with Germany, to Dutch Germans, with the emphasis on the Dutch, to Dutch Germans, with the emphasis on the German. It's a case of growing cultural and commercial links, the sense of fighting in several wars together, and so on brings about a slow shift. There's never been a point when they stopped thinking of themselves entirely as Dutch, but it's become more of a regional identity somewhat, though not exactly, like there are regional identities in parts of modern Germany (such as Bavarian).

    The Dutch language has not vanished, but is regarded as a dialect of German (albeit a more extreme one). Most Dutch speakers will be fluent in both, though there's a similar very slow shift where the unified German "standard" language - which does have significant Dutch influence - is spoken more.

    Belgian cuisine still exists in the sense that it's a regional cuisine where people still cook in the same way, but they similarly think of themselves as a "region" of Germany, although there is still not an entire sense of satisfaction on the part of French-speaking "Belgians".
     
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  14. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member Banned

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    Also, your Neudeutsch sometimes sounds quite Dutch.
     
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  15. Dominic Well-Known Member

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    Actually speaking of the Walloons, how did they fair during the Great War and before? Was there any significant sympathy for France, or alternatively, oppression from the Germans? Also, how were they treated during the brief period that chunks of Wallonia were occupied by the Bouclier?
     
  16. Cool-Eh At The 80th Meridian, Where Lake Nipissing Begins!

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    Links?
     
  17. Umbric Man Umbric Manned

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    Eh, I might as well ask if Michigan and Niagara, and Long Island and New Jersey, have regional identities parallel to their OTL ones of "Great Lakes" culture for the first two and "Mid-Atlantic" or at least "New York, New York" for the latter two as compared to OTL New England and TTL's New England Proper, or if they're considered as Yankee as Massachusetts or New Hampshire or whatnot. Basically, if there's a Yankee parallel to the Dutch example WalterWilliams asked above.

    I'm also curious on Hudson, since if there's one region in America that would probably be able to slide into being considered OTL New England without anyone blinking an eye, it's the Hudson Valley.
     
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  18. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Deliberately so at times, since part of the ATL language creation was the inclusion of some Dutch vocabulary in the new "standard" German. Not being very (read: at all) fluent in German or Dutch, it's possible that it sounded excessively Dutch at times.

    On the whole, there wasn't much problem with the Walloons from the German side. After all, the Walloons were French-speaking, but barring the brief period during the French Revolutionary Wars / Napoleonic Wars, had not been part of France for many centuries. By the time the Great War rolled around, there wasn't much in the way of common feeling with France. The brief period of Bouclier occupation didn't do much damage precisely because it was so brief and the Bouclier had bigger things to worry about.

    There are kind of regional identities in New England, but the biggest is Michigan, by virtue of its geographic separation and greater engagement with *Canada than anywhere else. The idea of a common "New England" identity - meaning the states which in OTL are considered part of New England - isn't really that strong because they're not part of as great a whole as the USA of OTL. Offhand, I'd suspect that Niagara, Hudson and Vermont would have gradually slid into one sense of regional identity, Massachussets/Rhode Island/New Hampshire/Maine into another.

    I certainly expect it and Vermont to slide together, with Niagara less certain but still probable.
     
  19. Kevin R. Naked Florida Man

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    I'd imagine New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and parts of southern Hudson (depending on how far south the Hudson/LI border is; the North America map has it in the Hudson Highlands, but the world map has it up almost near Albany) being the third big regional group in the New England "mainland". Picturing the suburban infill between New York and Hartford, I can see Connecticut being far more densely populated, with suburban sprawl ballooning out from the nation's financial/trade capital (with the Erie Canal, New York's still likely to develop as such, even if it's not the Center of the Universe) and its political capital. TTL's New Jersey, basically, or New England's Essex. On a similar note, I can also see New York and Hartford being bitter rivals, especially in sports, much like New York and Boston in OTL. (A New York/Hartford rivalry doesn't preclude a New York/Boston rivalry from existing, mind. It could be three-way between them, even.) And given that Connecticut and western Massachusetts are pretty closely connected even in OTL, with Hartford and Springfield being seen almost as twin cities, western Massachusetts is likely to have even more affinity with Connecticut/Hartford ITTL, especially as Springfield grows, Hartford's sprawl starts to spill over the state line, and government workers start buying cottages in the Berkshires. It may be seen as "western New England" initially, but by the mid-20th century it's likely grown increasingly connected to the south. Either way, there's likely to be a pretty big western Massachusetts statehood movement, much like how OTL's New York has seen countless proposals to split it into two states.

    I'd imagine "southern New England" (New York/Hartford) being identified with the nation's elite, both political and economic, while "western New England" (Niagara, Hudson, and Vermont) is a stronghold of rural politics. Eastern New England would be the swing region; Boston and Providence would have a lot in common with New York and Hartford, but further north, you'd get a nation more resembling the rural west. Politically, this could go either way. On one hand, you could get a situation similar to OTL, where the rural areas are more conservative and the cities more liberal, with rural voters viewing the cities as decadent and city voters viewing the countryside as backwards. This happens a lot in OTL, throughout the world, so there is precedent. On the other hand, I remember Vermont and New Hampshire retaining socialist governments opposed to Hartford during the vitalist era, implying that there is a progressive streak in rural New England both economically and socially, while the cities could be identified with upper-class conservatism. Again, not without precedent for New England; OTL's Vermont and western Massachusetts are probably more left-wing than the Boston suburbs nowadays, and New Hampshire has long been associated with libertarianism. It also wouldn't be the first flip from OTL's politics I've seen ITTL; I remember one update suggesting that the Catholics were identified with Prohibition, while the Protestants were against it. (Still trying to wrap my head around how that one works, given how much of OTL's American temperance movement was intertwined with anti-Catholic nativist politics. That said, there were some Prohibitionist sentiments in OTL among Catholics.) The different Prohibition movement could be a clue for political leanings; the cities and later suburbs where Catholics are presumably concentrated could have strong streaks of moralism and social reform, while the mostly Protestant countryside (especially farmers who grow the crops used to make alcohol) could lean towards "keeping big government out of your liquor cabinet" libertarianism. That said, a lot can change between 1933 and even, say, 1973, let alone 2013.
     
  20. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member Banned

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    I don't know whether I ever mentioned this, but even from looking at a map, I'd guess that all the big cities in the NE (except Boston) will be smaller than IOTL. The border cuts through economic connections that exist IOTL, not to mention the danger of war.
     
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