Decades of Darkness

xsampa

Banned
I wonder how capitalistic the states of South India are. OTL’s Dravidian nationalism actually favored capitalism, although the popularity of Social Democrats in Travancore and the association of capitalism with British methods may increase the rate of government control. Perhaps ties with the Restored Enpire can extend to economics, and maybe even something like how OTL American investment helped develop mainly agricultural South Korea, but for Madras or Mysore.

politically speaking, many of the princely states like Travancore and Cochin are simply too small to survive, especially with the Silent War’s continued Annexation of Small Countries, Bharati revanchism, and dependence on (eventually) Madras, although successful annexation would be as probable as OTL India invading and annexing Pakistan.

Also Tamil-language *anime.
 
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xsampa

Banned
If Bharat and South China remain democratic and in China’s case truly federal, and Germany and Russia can accommodate losing power relative to the rest of Europe, and sorting out which vassals to retain, federate and lose, respectively, then it seems that democracy is more successful than IOTL, not less.
 

xsampa

Banned
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xsampa

Banned
Ironically enough, the loudest voices condemning any mistreatment of the North African population will come out of the United States, which will not pass up on any chance to embarass Germany.

This and the reference toJaguars being deployed for desert use overseas actually hints at an American intervention in backing rebels in German North Africa. Where else can it interfere?

the Russian occupied-Middle East is not really of concern to America, although they allowed Turkish academics to escape to the U.S in order to paint Russia’s invasion of Turkey in bad light, and it shares a land border with Russia, unlike German North Africa, which would make intervention more difficult, although OTL’s experience with backing what later became the Mujhadeen shows that it is possible

the US will be unwilling to back decolonization in Black/sub Saharan Africa for obvious reasons, not the least that it could inspire slave revolts back home.
 
With Jared's permission, and having recently reread DoD, I figured I'd throw my hat into the ring regarding general speculation of the timeline's future...

The United States has always been a bit of a chimera and I think it's generally hard to predict one way or the other the way in which the chips fall by the time of The Fox and the Jackal. Despite no mention of it in the Tales posts, my likely thought after reading Oliver Bird's gloomy attitude regarding the advancement of cotton threshing is that it was heading for a possible economic depression; indeed, though we had no mention of such a thing during the discussion of O'Brien's role in admitting the parts of South America acquired during the Great War, it seemed to me that adding stars to the flag would be an easy distraction from domestic woes. Paradoxically, it's both a great power and yet is, arguably, in certain matters seemingly one of the weakest participants in the Silent War, at least from outside observation. Its economy is not as dynamic as its enemies (a fact likely to widen in the coming decades I feel), there are ever increasing byzantine classifications of who is free vs. held in some form of bondage, and while it's unlikely to be dislodged in the long term from the areas it sinks its fangs into, public goodwill is still an important part of American policy making. This is not to say the country is doomed; indeed, I suspect that it will continue on in some form for the duration of the TL, come what may, but it's in a unique position as the world's pariah that means pretty much every country except the Nephi Free State, Portugal, and probably the Empire of the Equator - I doubt the French statelets are going to be much help - hates them and will do whatever is within their powers to do to make life hell for Columbia. The world will eventually enter into an age of mass communication and, assuming nothing has changed by the present day, other countries are sure to trumpet the cause of abolitionism over and over again.

Which is not to say the Americans don't have options, because they almost certainly do. The United States can't really be harmed anymore by the time nukes are developed, not in the traditional ways. It borders either friendly countries (Nephi Free State, the Empire of the Equator), terrified 3rd parties (Argentina, Jamaica, Uruguay), cowed enemies (the Republic of Brazil, Commonwealth of New England), or the outright basket case which the Kingdom of Canada is seemingly destined to devolve into. It would be, to my knowledge, pretty much self-sufficient either through internal trade or with its vassals/few remaining allies. Increasing levels of authoritarianism are a given in American society in some capacity, I feel, even if never quite reaches vitalist levels; Plutarco Bautista was almost certainly correct in his analysis that once the country is acclimated to certain kinds of devastation that it will learn to accept them as necessary to protect itself from its enemies and will introduce others to complement them (such as the possibility of something like, say, weaponized lobotomies like I discussed months ago or even worse given that the state security apparatus ITTL doesn't even have to pretend to care about certain peoples' rights). If they're condemned for it, well, what else is new? It's not like the rest of the world could ever hope to understand such an exceptional country anyway.

It's interesting to note that Germany and Russia have similar problems that are also inverses of one another. For Germany, it's a colossus that bestrides a good chunk of continental Europe and controls to varying degrees most of what's west of the Urals these days. From an economic standpoint, I imagine the GEEU is probably the wealthiest out of all of the superpowers but with severely reduced power projection capabilities outside of its direct sphere of influence at the cost of not having to maintain its former colonies. Not as big of a deal once missiles become commonplace and the targeting technology becomes more and more improved but it's at a noticeable disadvantage when it comes to intervention compared to the Russians, Americans, or even the Restored Empire. I suspect that Germany's confidence in itself will one day outpace its ability to react to certain events, perhaps like the mysterious Abyssinian Crisis in 1941 or the almost certain failure to stop the bleeding of the open wound that will be the sundered France (sure, the last Tales post claimed that the successor countries joined the GEEU at varying points up to 1953 but it is a major geopolitical interest for the Americans, Russians, Australians et al, to invest in keeping German armed forces as distracted as they can and it's one of Germany's most obvious weaknesses).

Russia, on the other hand, has a decent approach to its minority populations that has seemingly paid off with its federal system, at least on its surface, but I imagine that there will be many, many arguments to come regarding just how much Russification is due to these places. Sure, there will be laws put in place to ensure that Russians moving in won't dominate local politics more than the locals but will it be a long term strategy the Duma pursues? A major issue that's already reared its head in the timeline is the fact that there are often severe disagreements between the government and the tsar - or even members within the Duma itself. With Germany, there is at least an ideological drive to make the system that's been cobbled together in Frankfurt work but with St. Petersburg it always seems to meet one crisis at a time. Furthermore, Russia currently has an absolutely enormous border - even larger than America's - that it must defend from both its enemies and the nations it wants to keep under its thumb. Even allowing for the much, much greater population it's sure to have ITTL one certainly wonders how effective it will be in enforcing its will. When push comes to shove, one imagines Germany is an attractive trading partner and the Restored Empire too far away to be much of a bother no matter if each of them won't mind a few overlapping spheres of influence here or there.

The Restored Empire seems like they'll have the best time of things. They've played it smart by keeping themselves a military and customs union rather than a political one; more importantly, the fact much of their constituent members have chosen to enter into the pact willingly gives a democratic legitimacy to the proceedings that they'd otherwise be forced to answer if direct colonies were still applicable. It's a smart way to cool off the nationalists that are sure to be part of every party currently involved wondering why they should be willing to fight for the successor to a dead imperial state (though I do wonder what this means in the long term for Liberia... will they take it upon themselves to stir up trouble in European-owned or -aligned places in Africa to try to liberate them?). They, too, are likely to be quite rich and especially so once (South) China begins to finally, properly become a global participant since it seems the two of them are quite close for the time being. It's interesting that they seem to be described as a minor power in comparison to the Big Three but I suppose that would be the limitations inherent to their system.

In particular, I'm really curious what the incident in 1947 that results in the collapse of diplomacy between the U.S. and Australia. The Tales posts seem to hint that at least in part whatever this is may have been aggravated by the Americans' laissez faire attitude towards the international drug trade and how they don't care if their citizens bring hard substances like superin into places where they're illegal. Danielle, the history student in the lecture segments, more or less states that her sister is trapped (made into a serf or peon?) because she tried to bring freedom to the country... which could really mean anything from trying to distribute abolitionist literature to covertly being a part of some kind of slave uprising.

Despite what I wrote above I think there are avenues for expansion for the United States' friends abroad. The most obvious one, and something that seems to be hinted at in the form of the Turkish expat waxing about Russia bullying his former homeland as well as intervention somewhere in North Africa in the '40s, would be the MENA region. There isn't much pre-existing bad blood between the U.S. and the places there, nothing to really fight over, and I imagine that many, many people in those countries are yearning to be free of the German, Russian, or R.E. yolks. It is one of the few places the U.S. could rightfully call the other major powers out as hypocrites where the label would stick. Such an alliance of some, or many, of the places here is also very, very dangerous given how much oil that would put in the hands of a country that actively hates most everyone else and is hated by most of the planet. Germany, in particular, I could see as being rather vulnerable given its limited options if cut off from a chunk of the global oil supply. Iran, too, is sure to be chafing under the tsar's thumb since it's almost certainly a position taken under duress.

Bharat and South China are also possibilities as well. Both have large irredentist claims (definitively in the latter's case but I imagine the fact that the southern half of the subcontinent is out of their control is absolutely vexing to certain parties in the National Congress), none of them directly compete with the United States, and they all have reason to either dislike the other powers or could possibly come to blows with them in some fashion, though admittedly Germany is much less likely than either Russia or the Restored Empire. Bharat and the R.E. aren't necessarily enemies but they're somewhat estranged from one another. I imagine Bharat doesn't want to be the junior partner in an organization that's just a rehearsal for their old oppressors, even if things turned out somewhat better for them ITTL, while Russia has attempted to poke their noses directly in in living memory looking to carve off chunks for themselves. In the Republic of China's case, there's no way that they're going to ally themselves with a country that they'll see as holding their countrymen hostage and I could see their patience with the Restored Empire's likely refusal to escalate things to give them back the north as being a possible fracture point along which their alliance could break.

Immigration from these regions is also a possible explanation for how the U.S. might further stave off questions about how to deal with the ever increasing fact that so many American citizens will have at least some amount of non-white ancestry that would otherwise require them to retool, at least to some extent, citizenship laws (think something similar to the OTL Union of South Africa's granting of 'honorary white' status to east Asians and Indians who came to the country during apartheid) and it is likely north African and Middle Easterners are still seen as white ITTL by Americans as they were for a long time IOTL. If the drafts of The Fox and the Jackal on AH.com are anything to go by, the fact that white people seem to be coming less and less to American shores, then it only makes sense that its rhetoric will begin to revolve less around white supremacy and more about American supremacy - however that ends up being defined.

I do wonder where and when leftism will arise ITTL in some fashion to challenge the established power structures. Overall, DoD is a very liberal (in the non-American sense of the word) place; Russia, Germany, and the Restored Empire are better than the U.S., and have to varying degrees adopted civic nationalism as guiding principles for their nations, but it is still very much conservative vs. outright reactionary forces on the world stage. If anything, I expect vitalism to be a consistent specter on the world's political stage given that it was not apocalyptically vanquished ITTL (and even IOTL, it hasn't stopped its intellectual kin from sticking around or even spreading). Canada's revolution has a shot at succeeding, but in either scenario, whether it tosses out the monarchy or becomes an increasingly paranoid police state, the Americans will win due to the disruption its civil war will cause it. Until or if the newly branded Commonwealth of New England gets its own nuclear arsenal to defend itself - or resurrects its old defensive pact with Canada and/or the Restored Empire - then it will likely stay the implied social democracy it evolves into after the vitalists were kicked out of power that almost certainly does what it can to not run afoul of its southern neighbor.

---

Apologies for writing all that, but I do have some lingering questions for Jared when he finds the time to answer them:

1) Technologically, where is DoD overall? In certain respects, like aircraft and tanks, it seems to be about 10-15 years ahead of where it was IOTL at the timeline's end but in others it seems to have lagged somewhat (the fact radio technology is apparently roughly 1920s level in the '30s, the mention that radar is, by the mid '50s, something of a secret weapon the superpowers have but haven't been unveiled to the public at large in The Fox and the Jackal). but in others it seems to be roughly on pace with our world, such as developing machinery to take humanity into space by the end of the '60s - or, at least, that was the apparent promise of the reigning tsar.

2) I'm fascinated by Neudeutsch and it's a shame that it never became a focus of the TL in an update. Has there ever been any thought put into what its grammar is like, how it differs from OTL German and Dutch, what Italian (and now French in certain parts of the country, one imagines) loan words have made their way into its vernacular, etc.?

3) Will there be a focus in The Fox and the Jackal, or whatever it ends up being called, on how the Commonwealth of New England is different than the old republic? First and foremost one supposes that far right political parties will be banned by the new constitution as well as making clear the powers of the governor-general. The fact that it was the army that ultimately stepped in to restore democracy makes me think that there are probably provisions as well for their role in keeping the government in check...

4) Speaking of vitalism, will the rump England's relationship with the Restored Empire be something that will crop up in the novels? The impression that I got from the main narrative was that Winchester is liable to find itself estranged given what it did to quash its rebellions and the fact it is active in silencing political dissent within its borders. Certainly, the fact that it wasn't even invited to the table speaks volumes going forward for what relations might be like, but it may not matter much with German backing.

5) Something I also wish would've been expanded on a bit more is the status of South Jersey. Following the Great War, I imagine resentment runs very high against the government in Columbia, especially since it's so close to the old border. Has there been any discussion of admission as a state post-1935? The fact it didn't get an update as part of the post with O'Brien admitting the latest batch of South American states makes me think that while relatively quiet it's still seen as far too untrustworthy to be let in.

6) Pretty sure this may have actually come up before in the thread, but how bad, comparatively, is environmental degradation in the Kingdom of Australia (and its various territories) compared to OTL? I think Australia's trajectory ITTL is fairly realistic given the circumstances but I imagine that the strain of the larger population will be a chronic problem it will be difficult for the government to solve. The fact that environmentalism has a head start of OTL with the terramicitian movement seems like it will bode well for dealing with climate change, or at least mitigating it a little better, but the Silent War makes it rather difficult to judge how successful it might be given that I imagine the destruction that can be wrought on the planet won't be as readily apparent as it is in our OTL present.

7) Given that Abyssinia and Liberia are the only African nations to have not been colonized ITTL, what are diplomatic relations like between the two countries? The distance between the two makes me think cooperation in any meaningful way would be quite difficult but I imagine that Duvalier's Liberia has tried to increase it as much as he can. He seems to be heading towards an anti-European stance in foreign affairs so something like that would make a lot of sense.

8) Russia's periphery territories did not get much time in the spotlight, so I'm curious: which parts of the country are seen as likely to not cause St. Petersburg much trouble and which are those that the military and other powers that might be are most concerned about? The obvious answer would be "any of the new acquisitions into the new Russian Federation," but I imagine even places that have been tied to their collective hip for a long time also might pose a threat.

9) Similarly, what of Nippon's relation to its empire? There hasn't been much in the way of describing how it treats them, but given the lack of information about widespread rebellions outside of its former Chinese possessions, I imagine that means it either puts them down pretty ruthlessly or the answer is "it could be much worse." Has there been a concerted effort to have Japanese nobility marry into local aristocracies?

10) The thought struck me the other day about the strange fact that there are likely two different American Englishes ITTL or, rather, American English and, er, New English (?). Unless I'm mistaken, much of the U.S.' early spelling reformers were in New England, such as Daniel Webster, but I imagine that the impulse to try to reform the language in varying ways was probably still around in both countries regardless. On the other hand, I imagine the strong relationship with the U.K. and Canada might mean that English in New England might bear a greater resemblance to OTL's Commonwealth English than what the U.S. has in OTL. On the other hand, I could see a much earlier attempt on the U.S.' part to break away from its old home country by simplifying certain aspects for both nationalistic reasons - the impetus to hate the U.K. is much, much stronger ITTL than it was in our world for various reasons - and, perhaps, to make it somewhat easier for new collaborative classes in the places it absorbs to make communication easier when bringing them into the fold (a relic of this being the Spanish influence on certain words, like hurricane becoming huracane). Is that an accurate assessment or have they gone with different attempts to standardize or even not at all for whatever reason?

11) Also out of curiosity: have the U.S. or New England adopted metrication? The heightened distaste for the UK makes me think that an official adoption of it by the U.S. might be possible ITTL on a nationwide level (as well as being a possible influence from one of its few friends, France). Less sure about New England, again, given it tied itself to the UK for so many things.

12) One of the things I found a bit odd while reading was that there never seemed to be a major scandal regarding politicians sleeping with their peons, slaves, etc. and possibly having illegitimate children from doing so. It definitely strikes me as the kind of underhanded, ruthless strategy that some might employ to get ahead in Congress, regardless of whether or not such a thing is true. Not that such a thing is all that hard to imagine either given that slavery was rife with sexual abuse IOTL in places where it was extant in America and that the power of the plantation class has more or less continued in a straight line from the American Revolutionary War to the present. Obviously, doing so is a pretty dangerous game since it would possibly bring to light any accuser's own possible affairs (and I imagine that it's a societal fact that is tacticly accepted but not acknowledged in any way, much like the apparent domestic partnerships/common law marriages that some are effectively in with their slaves, peons, etc. that was alluded to in this thread's discussion ages ago). Was this something that was intentionally left out as perhaps it would've been too obvious to include? Might it crop up in the novels' narratives?
 
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xsampa

Banned
The US defining itself as “we’re not white supremacist, we’re White-Arab-Oriental-Hindu[1] supremacist” is interesting
[1] Hindu being the common term for Indian
 
One of the things that struck me as odd while reading was that there never seemed to be a major scandal regarding politicians sleeping with their peons, slaves, etc. and possibly having illegitimate children from doing so.
???
Why on earth would that be a scandal?
It's 'what everyone does'. The scandal would be if someone actually tried marrying their sex slave.
 
???
Why on earth would that be a scandal?
It's 'what everyone does'. The scandal would be if someone actually tried marrying their sex slave.
reminder we got a whole chapter than some white americans did where outrage about the idea of 'dance instructor' ie female brown latinas prostitutes..

And that the legendary Jaguar did have the issue of a bastard child with one of his parents peon too
 
???
Why on earth would that be a scandal?
It's 'what everyone does'. The scandal would be if someone actually tried marrying their sex slave.

That sex between the various members of a plantation and its slave population was a fact of life both OTL and ITTL. It was not, however, something that was openly discussed in polite society ("don't ask, don't tell" in an extremely perverse way). The United States in DoD is an explicitly white supremacist state; it abhors the idea of miscegenation publicly even as those in power almost certainly do what they wish with those in their 'care' because it is continuing up to the present such a monstrous system as slavery and related forms of forced labor. It is the extension of a culture that saw nothing wrong with a slave master having an affair with the women that he 'owned' in private, but would string up black men in trees for alleged impropriety against white women. A very quick, easy way to destroy an American politician's political career here would be, to me, to insinuate that said person had a child or children with someone of significant non-white ancestry. It doesn't matter if the person in question doing so probably would've had their own affair or not because it disrupts the very foundations of the delicate social order that American society has cultivated for itself here.
 
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Thank you for your very thoughtful post @Nevermore . Like you, I continue to be fascinated with this timeline. I do hope sometime in the future Jared returns to it and it's continuation works.
 
Thank you for your very thoughtful post @Nevermore . Like you, I continue to be fascinated with this timeline. I do hope sometime in the future Jared returns to it and it's continuation works.
On that matter, it's possible that DoD will return at some point. As I've referred to several times in this thread over the years, I've got some ideas for polishing the timeline, and some possible novels to follow, although for a variety of life reasons I've never had the time to complete such a project.

That said, even if it happens, it won't be soon. My available writing time is more focused on converting and expanding Lands of Red and Gold into a series of novels (first volume called Walking Through Dreams available on Amazon here, for those who missed this news earlier), together with some smaller non-AH writing projects. Those will take a while. Even an 18 month timeframe from now would be optimistic. But it's possible that there might be a series of DoD novels at some point.
 
5) Something I also wish would've been expanded on a bit more is the status of South Jersey. Following the Great War, I imagine resentment runs very high against the government in Columbia, especially since it's so close to the old border. Has there been any discussion of admission as a state post-1935? The fact it didn't get an update as part of the post with O'Brien admitting the latest batch of South American states makes me think that while relatively quiet it's still seen as far too untrustworthy to be let in.

In OTL Southern New Jersey is by far the least densely populated part of the state, and much of the development is either vacation towns on the coast, or in Camden and its suburbs. Historically, south NJ developed outwards from Philadelphia, not from the northern part of the state. Since Philadelphia is now in a separate country, I'd see southern NJ prior to the NAW being a bit of a backwater. If Philadelphia is a smaller city, so would Camden- and more-so since Philadelphia is also in a different country, indeed Camden would not develop as a suburb of Philadelphia and may just be a sleepy riverside town. Industrialization along the entire Delaware would be slower, because improvements which happened in OTL would not happen. The coastal towns which also have a large population in OTL south NJ only took off after railways expanded from Philadelphia. Again this wouldn't happen in DoD. Southern New Jersey would be a long way from the big cities in the north and I think it would have a very small population. In OTL it had a population of 600,000 in 1940, roughly 15% of the states population, I think it had about 300,000 in 1900 in OTL. In DoD I think it would be much less than 100,000, maybe closer to 50,000. When occupied by the US, I think most people would just leave or some might stay on their farms.
 
That sex between the various members of a plantation and its slave population was a fact of life both OTL and ITTL. It was not, however, something that was openly discussed in polite society ("don't ask, don't tell" in an extremely perverse way). The United States in DoD is an explicitly white supremacist state; it abhors the idea of miscegenation publicly even as those in power almost certainly do what they wish with those in their 'care' because it is continuing up to the present such a monstrous system as slavery and related forms of forced labor. It is the extension of a culture that saw nothing wrong with a slave master having an affair with the women that he 'owned' in private, but would string up black men in trees for alleged impropriety against white women. A very quick, easy way to destroy an American politician's political career here would be, to me, to insinuate that said person had a child or children with someone of significant non-white ancestry. It doesn't matter if the person in question doing so probably would've had their own affair or not because it disrupts the very foundations of the delicate social order that American society has cultivated for itself here.

I suspect not, the problem is such insinuation or accusation only work if they attack a rare sin, I suspect it’s the far rarer that a slave owner have never had sex with their slaves than the other way around. It‘s also pretty obvious how common it is by simply looking at how many relative fair slaves there are. The average slave is likely almost biracial by the mid 20th century.
 

Rivercat893

Banned
This is the longest-running alternate history thread on this forum. It's been around for 16 years and not even moderators have locked it long after the story is kind of finished.
 
I suspect not, the problem is such insinuation or accusation only work if they attack a rare sin, I suspect it’s the far rarer that a slave owner have never had sex with their slaves than the other way around. It‘s also pretty obvious how common it is by simply looking at how many relative fair slaves there are. The average slave is likely almost biracial by the mid 20th century.

I actually think that @Nevermore has the right of it here. The fact that sex between 'owners' and slaves is so common that the average slave is likely to appear mixed-race is likely to make the situation more acute. You have a society which, publically, extolls its strength as resulting from it's pure blood, yet there is a good possibility that a large percentage of that same population has heritage that is, less then 'pure' is going to instill a great cultural anxiety. Then add to that that the group that these quote, unquote 'superior' people rule over are harder and harder to differentiate just by looking at them. There is going to be a very real fear that some of the slaves could potentially pass and 'infiltrate' the nation.

I suspect that *American popular literature is full of taut thrillers about some major political or business figure really being a secret slave who is trying to undermine the country. Which is, of course, gag inducing from our point of view, but it sounds about right for DoD pulp fiction.
 
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