Decades of Darkness

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

  1. Chrispi Byzantine Logothete

    Feb 11, 2004
    Constantinople, Capital of the World
    I'm not sure that I buy into the "Decades of Darkness" schema, Herr Kaiser. :( Wouldn't the USA be beset on all sides by enemies (Britain, Canada, New England, Mexico, Spain?)
  2. Jared first one to PM me gets a bonus chapter of LoRaG

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    By the 1890s, the *USA is best on all sides by enemies (except for Brazil), but not throughout all of its history. It always had Canada and New England as enemies in the north, which is why those places are still free.

    But going southward, not really, at least not for a while. Mexico got hammered once by the USA in OTL and the rest of the world did nothing, and the second time it got hammered ITTL was due to a (rogue) Mexican assassination of the U.S. President, so the rest of the world did nothing. Spain had internal troubles throughout the nineteenth century and was unable to do much of anything to stop the USA in either OTL or TTL.

    Central America was easy pickings for any imperialist power (it wasn't ruled by the USA in OTL because the USA chose not to for internal reasons, not because it couldn't have doen so), although the *USA expanded into the Caribbean at the times when Britain was otherwise occupied.

    Realistically, Britain is the only power who could stop the USA. Other European powers might have been able to, but lacked the motivation, since the USA wasn't endangering any of their interests (except for Spain, who could do nothing about it). And it's been Britain's influence which has constrained the U.S.'s growth in several directions. The USA is checked in the north (Britain backing up New England and Canada), checked in the Pacific (Britain keeping Hawai'i free), checked in the Caribbean (the remaining free Caribbean is British or New England protectected) and, eventually, checked in the south. But the southern alliance took the longest to form, since the USA was furthest away and because those nations also had rivalries with each other. There is a solid alliance in place in the south (Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, all allied with Britain) which has the USA pretty much surrounded.

    Now, as to whether the USA breaks out of this containment, well, that's still in the future... :)

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
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  3. Jared first one to PM me gets a bonus chapter of LoRaG

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Decades of Darkness #92: Age of Reason

    Decades of Darkness #92: Age of Reason

    “The question is this: Is man an ape or an angel? My Lord, I am on the side of the angels. I repudiate with indignation and abhorrence these new fanged theories.â€
    -- Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister

    * * *

    Excerpts from: “Design and Evolution: The Natural Selection of Speciesâ€
    Original author: Patrick Matthew
    First published in 1832
    This edition (c) 1948 by Haviland Press, Adelaide, Australia
    Introduced by Prof. Robert Hutton, University of Adelaide

    From the introduction:

    Patrick Matthew is viewed, with considerable justification, as the father of modern evolutionary theory. He was not the first modern thinker to propose theories of evolution, being preceded among other by Erasmus Darwin and Chevalier de Lamarck. But he was the first to articulate the crucial mechanism of natural selection, without which evolution and common descent made little sense. Matthew’s theory of evolution provided that vital concept, and had a revolutionary impact on biology.

    While his theory faces considerable revision from modern authorities, particularly over his emphasis on stasis over graduated change, his inclusion of theological concepts, and his failure to recognise natural selection as a major constructive mechanism for new adaptations, his essential insight remains [1]...

    From the book:

    “As nature, in all her modifications of life, has a power of increase far beyond what is needed to supply the place of what falls by Time's decay, those individuals who possess not the requisite strength, swiftness, hardihood, or cunning, fall prematurely without reproducing - either a prey to their natural devourers, or sinking under disease, generally induced by want of nourishment, their place being occupied by the more perfect of their own kind, who are pressing on the means of subsistence...

    “There is more beauty and unity of design in this continual balancing of life to circumstance, and greater conformity to those dispositions of nature which are manifest to us, than in total destruction and new creation. It is improbable that much of this diversification is owing to commixture of species nearly allied, all change by this appears very limited, and confined within the bounds of what is called species; the progeny of the same parents, under great differences of circumstance, might, in several generations, even become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction...

    “Geology has shown us that the earth is from time to time rocked by upheavals, which leave an unoccupied field for new diverging ramifications of life... In the time of upheaval, the modifications of life come to the fore, and in these differences of circumstances the bounds of species are relinquished, as new forms appear on the earth. After the time of crisis, each new form will prosper, fit to endure. A particular conformity, each after its own kind, no doubt exists to a considerable degree. This conformity has existed during the last forty centuries. Geologists discover a like particular conformity - fossil species - through the deep deposition of each great epoch, but they also discover an almost complete difference to exist between the species or stamp of life on one epoch from that of every other...

    “It is indubitable that there is a sentiment of beauty pervading Nature, which affords evidence of intellect and benevolence in the scheme of Nature...

    * * *

    Taken from: “Emigration Fieldsâ€
    (c) 1840 by Patrick Matthew
    Walker & Son Publishing Company
    Edinburgh: Scotland, UK

    “The current human condition, where the growth of the populace is unchecked but the food which must sustain them cannot grow to match, presents the human race with its own time of upheaval. The struggle for existence will lead only to poverty and death within these lands, unless a solution be found. The whole of the unpeopled regions of the earth may now be said to be British ground, and emigration presents the true opportunity to solve this upheaval. In the agitation which accompanies emigration, the ablest in mind and body - the most powerful varieties of the race will be thrown into their natural positions as leaders, impressing the stamp of their character on the people at large, and constituting the more reproductive part; while the feebler or more improvident varieties will generally sink under incidental hardship [2]...

    * * *

    Excerpts from: “A Different Flesh: The Hireling and the Slaveâ€
    Written in 1851 by William John Grayson [3]
    Charleston, South Carolina, USA
    Published by John Russell & Associates

    Science has shown that after a time of upheaval, each race is thrown into crisis, with a form more perfect to their locale arising in each circumstance. In our long-lost antiquity such a shaping formed the present races of mankind...

    In the tropics of Africa, amidst the jungles and rivers of that warm land, were shaped the African race. Of the darkness of his skin, to suit the harsh sun of the tropics, no more need be said. There also was formed a difference in character. To endure in the warmest and most disease-ridden parts of the world, the Negro race was gifted in fortitude, resilience, vigour in heat, but at the expense of wit and aggression, and thus shaped in docility. In this manner the Negro became perfected in survival, but at the same time his mind and body moving at a lesser pace to survive the heat of the tropics. This lesser mind, while well-suited for the locale in which the Negro lived, permitted him not the advances of the civilized arts, as can be proven by the failure of any native civilization to arise in all the vastness of Africa [4].

    In the colder lands of Europe, with its more rugged mountains, in its greater challenges of Nature, where food was harder to find, the winters harsher, were shaped the white race. Here stood not the enemies of heat and disease, but the challenges of survival itself, where the greatest danger to a man’s survival was not the plague of malaria or exhaustion from heat, but that he might lack subsistence because a man more vigorous had taken in from him. Thus arose a race white in hue, sharp of mind, aggressive and vigorous in pursuit of individual interests, the better shaped to survive and prosper in a harsh world. Here, created in adversity, arose our ancestors, and civilization advanced under the leadership of the white race...

    But it came to pass that the white race discovered the New World which we now inhabit. The vigour and drive of the white race was well-served in exploring and settling the Americas, but the fortitude and resilience of the Negro were also valued, and thus the African race came also to the New World. With these races in collision, there could have arisen a time of upheaval, which in time would have led only to the extinction of one race. But Nature demands only that in time of crisis that a new stability be established, and then natural selection will act to hold and perfect each race within its new status. Thus was forged a new relationship, with the superior wit and vigour of the white race to be placed above, and the docility and fortitude of the African to be placed beneath, where he could endure, labour and be protected by his master’s benevolent hand...

    When transferred to the New World, the Negro’s fortitude in the heat meant that he became indolent by degree – a natural response to the heat of his homeland, but ill-suited to the New World and in a new society where their old methods would not prevail. For the rectification of this status, the white race has relied on the long-sanctioned institution of slavery.

    Slavery is that system of labour which exchanges subsistence for work, which secures a life-maintenance from the master to the slave, and gives a life-labour from the slave to the master. The slave is an apprentice for life, and owes his labour to his master; the master owes support, during life, to the slave. Slavery is the Negro system of labour. Slavery makes all work, and it ensures homes, food and clothing for all. It permits no idleness, and it provides for sickness, infancy and old age. It allows no tramping or skulking, and it knows no pauperism.

    If Slavery is subject to abuses, it has its advantages also. It establishes more permanent, and, therefore, kinder relations between capital and labour. It removes what Stuart ill calls "the widening and embittering feud between the class of labour and the class of capital." It draws the relation closer between master and servant. It is not an engagement for days or weeks, but for life. There is no such thing, with slavery, as a labourer for whom nobody cares or provides. The most wretched feature, in hireling labour, is the isolated miserable creature who has no home, no work, no food, and in whom no one is particularly interested. This is seen among hirelings only, in New England and in other northern states.

    I do not say that slavery is the best system of labour for all men and for all time, but only that it is the best, for the Negro, in this country. In a nation composed of the same race or similar races, where the labourer is intelligent, industrious and provident, money wages may be better than subsistence. Even under all advantages, there are great defects in the hireling labour system, for which, hitherto, no foreigner has discovered an adequate remedy. In hireling nations such as New England there are thousands of idlers, trampers, poachers, smugglers, drunkards and thieves, who make theft a profession. There are thousands who suffer for want of food and clothing, from inability to obtain them. For these two classes - those who will not work, and those who cannot - there is no sufficient provision. Among slaves there are no trampers, idlers, smugglers, poachers, and none suffer from want. Every one is made to work, and no one is permitted to starve. Slavery does for the Negro what European schemers in vain attempt to do for the hireling. It secures work and subsistence for all. It secures ore order and subordination also. The master is a Commissioner of the Poor, on every plantation, to provide food, clothing, medicine, houses, for his people. He is a police officer to prevent idleness, drunkenness, theft, or disorder. I do not mean by formal appointment of law, but by virtue of his relation to his slaves. There is, therefore, no starvation among slaves. There are, comparatively, few crimes. If there are paupers in the United States, they are the hirelings of other countries, who have run away fro their homes. Pauperism began, with them, when serfage was abolished...

    What more can be required of slavery, in reference to the Negro, than has been done? It has made him, from a savage in crisis in a new world, to an orderly and efficient labourer. It supports him in comfort and peace. It restrains his vices. It improves his mind, orals and manners. It instructs him in Christian knowledge...

    All Christians believe that the affairs of the world are directed by Providence for wise and good purposes. The coming of the Negro to North America makes no exception to the rule. His transportation was a rude mode of emigration; the only practicable one in his case; not attended with more wretchedness than the emigrant ship often exhibits even now, notwithstanding the passenger law. What the purpose of his coming is, we may not presume to judge. But we can see much good already resulting from it - good to the Negro, in his improved condition; to the country whose rich fields he has cleared of the forest and made productive in climates unfit for the labour of the white man; to the continent of Africa in furnishing, as it may ultimately, the only means for civilizing its people...

    * * *

    From: “America In Upheaval: The Dawn of a New Epoch†[5]
    (c) 1867 by WR Yancey [6]
    Published by JM Bertrand, New Orleans, Louisiana

    The mingling of races in has placed these continents, and mankind’s place on them, in upheaval. For in the old order each race had its place in the world, bound by geography and perfected for its environment, but the old order was cast down by Columbus and his followers. Men of both European and African stock were transplanted to the New World, taking their place alongside the Indians who dwelt here formerly.

    From this time of upheaval, a new order would inevitably form, one perfected to its new situation, but this new order inevitably takes time before it has formed. The creation of the new order has been hindered by the division amongst the white races. For there arose in what was then British North America those men of white blood who kept clear boundaries between the races, and thus each race could be perfected within its own kind and within its new world. But to the south lay the lands of Spanish-ruled America, where men of white blood ruled, but where few then understood the danger of allowing blood to mix between the races. It must be further said that such a mixing of blood, white to Indian, Indian to African and even, though it rarely be said, but must be admitted, white to African, has happened to a lesser degree even in the lands of North America.

    This mixing of bloods does but prolong the upheaval which faces the Americas. If the races be kept separate, then those same qualities which are favoured in the white race will be perfected, and any qualities from other races will be eradicated. Amongst the Negroes, even those who have received some small dose of white blood will find that it is diluted and eradicated from their lineage with the passage of time, as they become perfected to their environment of inevitable servitude. In a brief span of years, the upheaval amongst white and black will thus be ended.

    But this situation is different in the lands of former Mexico and Cuba, which were ruled by men whose blood is the same European one from which has sprung our own American stock. Here, the blood of the races has been mixed, with white and Indian, a race who are less worthy than white men but still stronger than the African race, and here, the question remains of how to end this upheaval and restore to each race its proper place, so that it may be perfected within its own environment. Those who have proven themselves the most perfect to thrive in this environment [7] have assuredly shown that their European blood is predominant. But for those who are beneath, it is not clear which heritage shall be favoured. In the new environment created in the United States, these men must remain in a more modest lot, not servitude as the Negro enjoys, but less than that of men of European stock. Over generations those with European blood will find those qualities are perfected, and they will grow until they are treated as white men like any other...

    * * *

    Extract taken from a speech delivered by Governor Charles Ramsey of North Carolina, during his unsuccessful vice-presidential campaign in 1888

    “No man can doubt that the present century has seen a Matthist crisis, a time of catastrophe and change when all that was has been weakened, and a new order is being fashioned. Those nations who possess not the requisite strength, hardihood or cunning shall fall prematurely.

    “The old borders have crumbled. It was said in the first days of Our Lord’s message that his followers had turned the world upside down. So in modern times the Christian nations of Europe have broken the world and reshaped it in their image. The weaker races are being cast down, and the superior races of Europe have taken possession of the globe. The Indies [i.e. both Indian and the East Indies] have long been ruled by men of European stock. Now the advance of civilization has allowed men of white blood to take possession of Africa. That continent has been divided by the two greatest races of Europe, the British race and the German race, with a few scraps left for the other Powers.

    “All this bodes well for Europe. They have expanded their domains, as part of the struggle for existence. To grow is to thrive; not to grow is to stagnate and be left behind in the time of crisis. The American race must not be allowed to fall behind in this struggle. We too must expand, we too must grow, or we too shall fall during the time of upheaval...

    * * *

    Taken from the editorial of the Columbia Register
    4 March 1937

    It used to be said that there were only four races in the world: African, European, Mongolian and Indian. But this was the old state of the world, when Europeans lived in Europe, Africans in Africa, Indians in the Americas and Mongolians in the Orient. The migration of the European peoples to the Americas created a new environment, and a new race has arisen to suit this.

    This is the American race. Better evolved than its ancestors, better suited to this new world, shaped by new crises, and fashioned into the qualities of leadership and wit required by its rulership over the other races of the New World. Superior not only to those of African and Indian blood, over whom American blood has proven the stronger, but also superior to those of European blood who have settled North America but who have not yet perfected themselves to suit the new environment. They have mixed themselves with African blood, and by keeping their races together they have not allowed the qualities of the lesser race to breed out, as they would have done over time. These Europeans in America are thus of inferior stock to the American race, and deserve to have proper order and status enforced on them until their own blood can be allowed to breed true...

    * * *

    [1] In OTL, Patrick Matthew published an obscure and largely unnoticed precursor to Darwin and Wallace’s theory of natural selection. Matthew’s theory of natural selection had much in common with Darwin’s and Wallace’s, including the idea of a struggle for existence, but it also had some important differences. In particular, he emphasised the action of natural selection as an agent of stasis, viewed extinctions as happening only during catastrophes, and thus keeping populations where they are now. He also remained convinced for the importance of keeping a divine being in the process. His theory of natural selection is thus more acceptable to the religious sections of the United States, and can be readily converted to an ideology of being a God-favoured race which deserves to dominate the other, fixed inferior races of humanity.

    [2] Even in OTL, Patrick Matthew became a social reformer who advocated emigration as a means of avoiding what he saw as a Malthusian population catastrophe. He saw this as a positive step, i.e. that it would prevent human misery. However, this doesn’t stop other people taking his concepts and taking them in directions he would never have approved of.

    [3] In OTL, William Grayson published an account of slavery titled “The Hireling and the Slaveâ€, justifying slavery in terms of it being a good system when dealing with people of different races. ITTL, I have him expanding such views to take into account some of the pseudo-scientific aspects of Matthism (the social proponents of the theory, not the scientific aspects, much like Social Darwinism arose in OTL).

    [4] There are several flaws in this pseudoscientific babble, of course, but Graydon has not forgotten the Egyptians or other civilizations which arose within Africa. He just defines “African†to mean those residents of Africa with darker skin, and he would regard Egyptians as closer to Europeans than to “Africansâ€.

    [5] This book was written at a time when the United States had just conquered much of Mexico, and was trying to sort out what to do with Cuba and Puerto Rico. This required some adjustments to their old views of a simple racial hierarchy (i.e. you’re white or you’re black).

    [6] An ATL “brother†of William Lowndes Yancey (born in Georgia but an Alabama legislator). This TL’s Yancey is even more pro-slavery than our history.

    [7] i.e. those who are wealthy and powerful, even if they are actually of Indian heritage.

    * * *


    Kaiser Wilhelm III

    P.S. This post was originally intended to show some of the other philosophies developing in the DoD world, including this timeline’s version of socialism and social democracy, and some of the anti-slavery movement. Space and time considerations mean that I’ve postponed those sections to a subsequent post; I’m not sure how long it will take to finalise.
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  4. cow defender Knight of Beef

    Jan 26, 2004
    sad and scary.

    good job
  5. G.Bone lurks

    Jan 1, 2004
    Hon., HI
    Ah...racism. Never a stronger social tool to oppress than that. I do hope that the U.S. is knocked down a peg or two for all the cruelty that it has done to others. Of course, it isn't much different from OTL's USA. :(
  6. Chrispi Byzantine Logothete

    Feb 11, 2004
    Constantinople, Capital of the World
    Thanks for the reply. Even so, such a far-flung empire is bound to have its problems. I can see the US taking northern Mexico all the way to the Tropic of Cancer (as well as Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico), but southern Mexico would be biting off more than the US can chew. More likely than not there would be an insurgency there that would make the Philippines' look tame in comparison. And I'm sure that Britain would want to fund it...

    No, what I see is if the US goes tropic that it would own smaller territories at strategic points in the Caribbean (most likely the remaining bits of the Spanish West Indies,) the Yucatan, Nicaragua and Panama, as well as similar points on the Pacific coast. The bulk of Central America, though, would be controlled through puppet states (we don't want Jose in the Senate, after all!) like the British Raj.

    Now for South America. For all intents and purposes the South is lost to the US. Brazil, if anything, would consider the US a threat as much as a friend due to slavery. Britain, too, would meddle (Chile is a swift sail downwind from New Zealand.)

    Another sticking point is westward expansion. The short of it: I see the Canadian border moved down from 49 degrees to 40 degrees north.
  7. Jared first one to PM me gets a bonus chapter of LoRaG

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Thanks; this wasn't pleasant to write, but I think it helps to show how attitudes are changing in the *USA.

    The *USA is still a going concern for quite a while - it's been confirmed to still exist in the 1950s, and still be a strong nation then. However, things may well be changing both within the USA and outside by then.

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
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  8. Jared first one to PM me gets a bonus chapter of LoRaG

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Problems, yes, but not insurmountable ones. A militaristically inclined USA with mostly 1880s technology (plus some slightly more advanced medicine, particularly a yellow fever vaccine) could hold down all of the Caribbean, except for the British portions, without any real trouble, barring a major war with another strong naval power. Which means Britain, in this context, and for various reasons Britain hasn't had a shooting war with the USA for quite a while (see below).

    Also, there's a big US desire to hold a lot of land. This is partly the same Manifest Destiny which showed up in OTL, but also due to the circumstances of losing the Second American Revolution and the humiliating loss of territory to New England and Britain, there has been a sense of, with every President, "so, how many stars have YOU added to the flag". This encourages them to take direct territory rather than puppet states.

    Mexico's history vis a vis the USA ITTL is complicated, but for various reasons the USA ends up (trying) to take all of it.

    To simplify things, there were four military struggles between Mexico and the *USA.

    1: Struggle for Texan independence (1833-1834). Texas had a higher population ITTL, due to more migration southward since the north was less accessible due to the presence of the Indian Confederation for a while. It revolted, and asked for U.S. aid, which was actually rather minor, and Texas went into the USA in 1834.

    2. First Mexican War (1850-1852). This started over the desire of American settlers in California to join the USA, which they did in OTL too (Bear Flag Republic) but the USA was already at war with Mexico over Texas. Broadly speaking, this war is similar to the Mexican-American War of OTL, except that the more land-hungry USA presses for a border further south - 25th
    parallel, plus Baja California en toto and Tamaulipas. This border, and one even further south, was considered in OTL, but rejected for various complicated reasons. In a separate move, the USA also picks up the Yucatan. In OTL, the Yucatan tried to get annexed by the USA, but the USA wasn't interested. ITTL, they are, and get a rather nasty lesson in jungle warfare for most of the next decade. By the end of it, though, the USA has figured out both jungle warfare and also more effective tactics for getting a population onside. Viz, support and arm a wealthy elite, and hangers on, who are quite loyal to you and who will keep the lid on things for you, plus use good counter-insurgency tactics.

    2. Second Mexican War (1863-1864). This started over the assassination of U.S. President Jefferson Davis, by some Mexicans. The USA chose to believe that this was on the orders of the Mexican government (it was actually by a member of the Mexican government, but not the Mexican President or legislature). In circumstances like these, the rest of the world is unlikely to intervene against you. The USA was explicit that they were not trying to annex all of Mexico, and ended up taking the next tier of states (Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Veracruz and Tobasco). This left Mexico gravely weakened, but still around. Insurgency problems here were limited, partly because Mexican nationalism in the period wasn't actually all
    that strong (Mexican states were known to invade each other, although the imposition of Maximillian on *all* of Mexico in OTL changed that a lot), and partly because the USA was quite effective at getting the local elites onside. Disaffected Mexicans were free to emigrate back to what remained of Mexico, and indeed encouraged to do so.

    3. Third Mexican War (1881-ongoing, although officially declared over in 1888). This was the war of naked aggression which saw the USA seek to annex all that remained of Mexico. Ostensibly declared over Mexican sabotage of U.S. rail lines in Veracruz, which were in fact damaged by a combination of Mexicans bribed to sabotage it, and actual sabotage by the employees of a railroad baron (Brutus Clay) who wanted war. The USA doesn't explicitly say up front that they are going to annex all of Mexico, but it's pretty clear that they plan to do so, or take so much of it that what's left will be a complete U.S. puppet. The USA feels by this point that it is its natural destiny to rule all of Central America and Mexico (and vague noises about further south, but very strong feelings about Mexico), and thus I can see the USA having the motivation to do so.

    The question is, of course, *can* they do so? Personally, I think yes. It would be bloody, and as you point out the insurgency would be quite bad, but if the USA has the will to persist, they could do so, barring direct foreign intervention. And I don't see direct foreign intervention at this point. Britain's strategy has been to contain the USA, rather than get into a very long and bloody war which risks losing most of Canada to the USA's much superior logistics in that part of the world. (Eastern Canada could be defended readily enough, but the western portions are quite another matter). New England is also rather leery of a direct war with a larger immediate neighbour, and won't do it without British backing. Britain is also having nightmares about the recent Franco-Russian "Axis" alliance, which is arguably a bigger threat to their interests, particularly the illogical but persistent British vision of hordes of Russians streaming through the Khyber Pass into India. (This was a logistical impossibility, but the British were worried about it throughout the nineteenth century).

    So, given those circumstances, I don't see foreign intervention in Mexico. Which leaves the USA with a bitter insurgency on their hands, with no doubt a fair amount of British gun running, but this would be limited in time due to U.S. naval patrols and other border patrols, not to mention that the British don't want to get the USA *too* aggravated, due to the aforementioned border with Canada, a Britain busy in Europe and the military cooperation both nations had during the Second Napoleonic Wars. This leaves the USA to deal with the insurgency, but they have experience with fighting guerrillas and with getting some of the local population onside. I've figured that it would take them seven years to mostly get things under control, with flareups continuing as of 1888 at a lower pace. I would expect some minor to moderate guerrilla resistance for most of another decade before things are really "normal".

    The USA has been able, through a combination of purchase and filibusters, to gain most of the Caribbean. The purchases are arguable in their probability, but in my opinion possible if you have an autocratic leader (viz, Napoleon III) who is willing to sell unprofitable New World territory for advantage elsewhere (to fund colonial expansion in Africa, in this case). I really don't see Britain selling their portions of the Caribbean in any way shape or form, but the other purchases are possible, I think.

    In practical terms, holding down any of the Lesser Antilles or the various small Dutch possessions is trivial; local militias could take care of most of it, with armed forces only required in an emergency. The larger islands such as Cuba and Puerto Rico are another story, but the *USA has significant local support on those islands, viz, most of the planters who still want to keep their slaves. (The USA filibustered them before slavery was abolished). The USA doesn't have Hispaniola or Jamaica, the two islands which would be more difficult to hold. (Especially Haiti).

    Yucatan has been covered above, and the USA picked up Nicaragua due to filibusters and subsequent support of the regime. I actually believe that once the USA got a foothold in Central America, it would almost inevitably be drawn into the rest, by a combination of border struggles and local adventurers (although Costa Rica was stable enough to mostly hold out. I also don't see the USA as setting up puppet states. Throughout most of the nineteenth century it was assumed that any land conquered by the USA would eventually become a state - anything else would have smacked of colonialism. They changed that a bit in the twentieth century, e.g. turning Panama into a satellite state, and of course the Philippines, but during the 1850s-1860s, I don't see them doing that. And of course there's also the desire to add more stars to the flag.

    As to keeping out Jose, the USA has slowly come around to the view that *rich* Mexicans/Latin Americans are fine, and should be considered white. Which it actually had pretty much in OTL anyway, actually. The USA does take care to keep the majority of the local population off the franchise, but not all of it, until enough anglos had moved in and the upper classes had Americanized enough to be ready for statehood.

    At the moment, the USA doesn't have anything much of South America to speak of, barring a small fringe in Suriname and *French Guiana. As to if and when it acquires any more, well, for this part I'll have to say wait and see. I can certainly see circumstances where the US border could move further south, and also circumstances where it stays put indefinitely.

    This part I'm not sure I follow. Some elements within Brazil, mostly the lower classes, yes, I can see that. But the governing classes? The USA supports them in slavery when no-one else in the world will, the USA has supported them in war (Uruguay, Venezeula). I'm not sure how Brazilians in the 1880s would see the USA as a threat rather than an ally (and indeed, they are allies). The USA would find swallowing Brazil a ridiculous challenge, and why would they turn on their only reliable ally in the entire world?

    Britain would definitely meddle, but the chances of the USA even contemplating war with Chile for the foreseeable future are, well, kinda low. As I mentioned in the last post, Britain has a defensive alliance with Colombia, Venezeula and Costa Rica. If the USA attacks any of those, Britain is going to respond. Unless Britain is busy elsewhere, but that's another story. And even then, a hypothetical U.S. invasion of Colombia and Venezuela would be quite a logistical challenge.

    Hmm, why so far south? The USA had bought the Louisiana Purchase in 1804, pre-POD, and this extended quite a way north. I already have Britain ripping large chunks of land off the USA (Detroit, Michigan, half of Illinois and Indiana, Wisconsin) as part of the independence of New England. But the USA has the access through the Mississippi to reach much of the west more readily than the British (who didn't have the same population base of frontiersmen pushing further west every year). The trans-Mississippian border is at the 46th parallel rather than the 49th, and Britain also has OTL's Washington state, but I'm not sure why the border would be even further south than that.

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
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  9. Jared first one to PM me gets a bonus chapter of LoRaG

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Decades of Darkness #93: It's Just Not Cricket

    Decades of Darkness #93: It’s Just Not Cricket

    Taken from: “Gold and Flame: The History of the Modern Olympiadâ€
    (c) 1949 by Henry McLaughlin
    St Giles Press: Edinburgh, Commonwealth of Scotland


    The modern Olympiad is essentially the brainchild of three men: the English aristocrat William Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Salisbury; the German industrialist and philanthropist Willem van Gogh; and Mikhail Korsakov [1], the first Chief Minister of Russia, although Korsakov did not live to see the first modern Olympiad celebrated. Lord Salisbury believed that sending the world’s young men to compete in international sporting events would strengthen the brotherhood of nations, and incidentally repair British relations with Europe, particularly Germany, which had been strained since the Boer War. Van Gogh reportedly believed that the younger generation of Germany were growing lazy and that organised sport would enhance their physical condition. Korsakov believed that victories in sport would help to enhance Russia’s international prestige and pride, which had been gravely weakened by the Second Napoleonic Wars. From these three men were drawn the ideals of the Olympic movement: peace; apolitical international cooperation; the pursuit of physical prowess; and prestige through participation, not just victory. These ideals have sometimes honoured more in the breach than the observance, but they remain the standard to which all Olympic athletes aspire...

    Chapter 1: Birth of the Olympic Movement

    Several practical questions arose during the early phases of the movement, such as what languages the Olympiad would be conducted in. Given the patrons, and the dedication of the first Olympiad to the memory of Mikhail Korsakov, the International Olympic Committee settled on having three official languages of the Olympiad: Russian, English and German. The languages would rotate in order of precedence at each Olympiad, and also using any local languages of the host nation.

    More questions arose about which nations should be represented in the Olympiad, and in which form. It had been determined that teams should be organised by nations [2], but despite the commitment to international cooperation, it was recognised that some nations in the Americas and the colonial world would not be invited. The United States and Brazil were the most conspicuous of the nations who did not receive such invitations.

    Even for those nations invited, questions still remained about how they should be represented. For Britain, how should the various nations within the Empire be represented? Initially Lord Salisbury wished all the subjects of the King-Emperor to compete under one flag, but for reasons of distance and national pride, the various Kingdoms (Canada, Ireland, and Australia), were represented separately. The other colonies could compete under the British flag, although in practice no such athletes came to the first Olympiad. There were some calls for the Celtic nations within the United Kingdom to compete separately, but these were denied.

    Similar questions arose about how to represent the sprawling nations within the Reich and associated to it. In theory the Reich had over 40 sovereign member states, but in practice only the largest of those states had more than vestigial national identity by the time of the first Olympiad, and the Reich sent a united German team. But Hungary, Poland and Croatia elected to send their own national teams...

    Chapter 2: Athens, the First Modern Olympiad

    When the moment came to choose the city which would host the first modern Olympiad, there was no true choice involved, since only Athens was acceptable to continue the long tradition of the ancient Olympiad. The real question was whether Athens would host every Olympiad, although the success of the first games ensured that it would have to move, since so many other nations wished to host it...

    Twenty-two nations participated in the first Olympiad:
    New England
    United Kingdom

    The following sports were included in the First Olympiad:

    100 m, Men
    400 m, Men
    800 m, Men
    1000 m, Men
    1500 m, Men
    Marathon, Men
    110 m Hurdles, Men
    High Jump, Men
    Pole Vault, Men
    Long Jump, Men
    Triple Jump, Men
    Shotput, Men
    Discus Throw, Men

    One lap individual time trial (333 1/3 m), Men
    2000 m sprint, Men
    10000 m, Men
    100 km, Men
    12-hours, Men
    Road Race, Men

    Foil, Men
    Epee, Men
    Sabre, Men

    Parallel bars, Men
    Parallel bars team, Men
    Horizontal bar, Men
    Horizontal bar team, Men
    Horse vault, Men
    Pommel horse, Men
    Rings, Men
    Rope climbing, Men

    Single Sculls, Men
    Coxed Pairs, Men
    Coxed Fours, Men
    Coxed Fours, Men
    Eights, Men

    Military rifle 200 m, Men
    Free rifle 300 m, Men
    Military pistol 25 m, Men
    Pistol 25 m, Men
    Free pistol 30 m, Men

    100 m Freestyle, Men
    200 m Freestyle, Men
    500 m Freestyle, Men
    1200 m Freestyle, Men

    Tennis [3]
    Singles, Men
    Doubles, Men

    Water Polo [4]
    Sevens, Men

    One hand, no weight limit, Men
    Two hands, no weight limit, Men

    Greco-Roman, no weight limit, Men

    * * *

    Excerpts from: “Fifty Not Out: Test Cricket 1872-1922â€
    (c) 1923 by Earle King
    Vanderbilt Press: New York City, New England

    Origins of Test Cricket

    The exact origins of the gentleman’s game, and even of the name cricket, remain uncertain. Surviving manuscripts from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries show drawings of some early sport related to cricket. A sport called ‘creag’ was played in England by Prince Edward, the future King Edward II, around the year 1300. The most likely etymology for the name is from Old French, where the term criquet refers to a kind of club or staff, which later gave its name to the sport croquet, and probably to cricket also. Some authorities believe that the word is derived from some older dialect of German, usually Flemish, where ‘krick’ or ‘kricke’ means a stick. However, this interpretation is usually taken to be a later false etymology, created in the late nineteenth century and only advocated because cricket became popular in Germany but not in France...

    Cricket was banned for several periods in English history. In the Middle Ages several statutes banned ancestral forms of cricket because it interfered with the preferred practice of archery. Cricket was also banned under Oliver Cromwell, and was not finally declared legal until 1748. From that date onward, organised cricket prospered as a sport in England and then in British colonies....

    Development of International Cricket

    The first recorded game of cricket played between teams representing their nations was between New England and Canada in 1844. The teams played at Elysian Field in Hoboken, New Jersey [5]. However, for a few years there was no follow-up on this match.

    The impetus for the development of international cricket happened instead in England. County cricket had been growing in appeal throughout the nineteenth century, and in the 1860s the MCC agreed to establish international matches with the British colonies and New England, where cricket had also developed in popularity.

    In 1872, the MCC organised a team chosen from county players, who were sent on a tour of Australia, where cricket was at the time far more popular than in New England and Canada. The first Test match between any two nations was thus played between England and Australia on 13 March 1872, at the Liverpool Cricket Ground. Australia won by 53 runs.

    On the return tour in 1874, Australia narrowly defeated England by 11 runs in the third and deciding Test match, which prompted the Sporting Times to run an obituary mourning “The Death of English Cricketâ€, with the closing caption, “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. May New England rise to stand where old England perished.†That last wish was premature – cricket had not yet become a major sport in New England – but this led to the creation of “the Ashesâ€. Regular series between England and Australia have been institutions of Test cricket ever since, except for the interruptions of war.

    On 12 March 1882, England and South Africa (although this was not yet formally a separate nation) played their first Test match in Cape Town, which established South Africa as the third Test-playing nation.

    International cricket was one of the few things which benefited from the Second Napoleonic Wars. Soldiers from the Allied powers took up the game, broadening its support base in Canada and New England, and spreading the game to Germany, where it became particularly popular amongst the soldiers from the Dutch provinces. Soon Test matches were being played between England and Germany, commemorated by the “Talons†with an eagle gripping the wickets, a trophy second only to the Ashes in cricketing antiquity. By the end of the decades, Test matches had been played between England, New England, Canada and Germany, where the nations had the advantage that tours could be arranged more frequently than with Australia, where the touring side had to sail around half the world...

    * * *

    From: “Baseball: New England’s National Pastime†[5]
    (c) 1947 by Jonathan Cage
    Vanderbilt Press: New York City, New England

    The true origins of baseball may never be known. More than half a century of argument and historical research has failed to settle the question. Certainly games called baseball, and related games called hardball, rounders, or townball, existed in New England even before it became a nation, and in Europe even earlier. Along with so many other things, a version of baseball was forbidden by the Puritans. The earliest surviving rules of a baseball-type game come, surprisingly enough, from France in 1810. We will probably never know the truth.

    But of one thing we can be certain: in New England, baseball has found a home as in no other nation on earth. While it may lack the international scope of New England’s other great sports, football and cricket, baseball remains the king of sports here...

    * * *

    Taken from: “Football: One Name, Many Gamesâ€
    By David Carmichael, Sally Bunker-Gilmore, and
    (c) 1948 Horizon Publishing Company
    Stirling [OTL Perth, Western Australia], Kingdom of Australia

    Football is a name which is applied to many team sports around the world. By far the most popular is association football (also called soccer), but other sports prominent in individual nations or internationally include Harrow football [7], Australian football (often called Southern football in the United States), Gaelic football, and African football [8]...

    Football in the United States

    Association football and Australian football between them form two of the three most dominant sports in the United States, although with a fairly sharp geographical divide. On the Northwest Coast and much of the rest of the northern states – roughly from the Californias to Ohio, and from Nebraska to Sonora – Australian football is the dominant football code, although ironically enough it is usually referred to as Southern football. In the rest of the country, association football is predominant, although it is usually referred to as soccer.

    Both football codes have had troubled histories in their rise to prominence. Association football was long a popular game with the American lower classes, not least because it required no special equipment to play. It has only relatively recently become more popular with mainstream American society, and even then only with geographical confines. Australian football was introduced to North California with the first Australian migrants during the gold rush days of the mid-1860s, and spread rapidly throughout the Old Midwest. It still follows almost identical rules to the Australian version, but political factors have regularly interfered with sporting links between the two countries, even to the present day...

    * * *

    From The Culiacán Journal [9]
    16 August 1947

    Feature Page

    No sport in the world can quite match ringball for history. The modern version of the game has seen some changes, but in its origins the sport goes back 3,000 years. Back to before any white man set foot in the Americas.

    The oldest versions of ringball, usually called Ulama, are so old they can only be traced properly through archaeology. When the first Spaniards arrived in Mexico, they found a sport already more than 2,500 years old. And one where the losing team were sacrificed to the Aztecs’ old pagan gods. The modern version of ringball does not treat the losing team quite that badly, although many a disappointed fan of the losing team must have been tempted.

    Ringball was nearly wiped out by the Spanish after their defeat of the Aztecs. It was fortunately preserved in Sinaloa through the tyranny of Spanish colonial rule and the chaos of the Mexican era. When American settlers moved into Sinaloa [10], some of their children also adopted the game [11].

    The older forms of ringball were mostly played with the hips, but also with the lower arms, and the aim was to bounce a hard rubber ball through a narrow vertical ring to score points. There were many forms of ringball played in Sinaloa, but the one which became most prominent included five players on a side, a practice which has continued in the modern form. The old hard rubber balls, which were quite costly for the early settlers, were replaced by cheaper air-filled rubber balls, as in the current version.

    The most dramatic change in the play of ringball was courtesy of one child, James Sherman, who had perhaps also learnt Southern football. Rather than throwing the ball, he chose to bounce it against the ground, picking it up again himself and then throwing it to score a point. This innovation (or cheating, as some children called it) became so popular that it was soon adopted universally. Another change quickly followed, with the vertical rings being replaced by horizontal rings, and the modern game of ringball was born... [12]

    * * *

    [1] The name of the first Russian chief minister has been retconned to Mikhail Araslanevich Korsakov (it was formerly Baush Afanasovich Marakushev).

    [2] In the first OTL Olympics, it was possible to have teams of athletes which did not represent a particular nation. This was not initially the case in TTL’s Olympiad, although some later exceptions would be made.

    [3] This is not exactly OTL’s lawn tennis, but a similar game derived from royal tennis.

    [4] Not quite the same as OTL’s game, but a similar fast-paced sport involving a pool and some very busy athletes.

    [5] The OTL equivalent of this match was played in the same year between the USA and Canada, also in New Jersey.

    [6] Although as some pundits are fond of asking, if baseball is New England’s national pastime, why does New England have more babies than baseballs?

    [7] Broadly similar to OTL Rugby (either version); due to butterflies the tradition of running with the ball arose in Harrow Public School rather than Rugby Public School.

    [8] A game which has no close equivalent in OTL, developing in Liberia, but which has some similarities both with American football and rugby league.

    [9] Culiacán is the capital of the American state of Sinaloa.

    [10] i.e. after the USA annexed Sinaloa in 1864 in the aftermath of the Second Mexican War.

    [11] This was in large part because most of the early American settlers in Sinaloa were young men who married local mestizo women, a detail which tends to get glossed over in most modern American sources.

    [12] Ringball is quite similar to basketball, although with a different scoring system (two points, no three-pointers), and different rules for fouls and so forth, and no net beneath the ring.

    * * *


    Kaiser Wilhelm III
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  10. G.Bone lurks

    Jan 1, 2004
    Hon., HI
    Interesting piece Kaiser- I like the detailing on how the Reich is becoming a sum of it's parts rather than parts of a sum. Could you do a bit about music? That would make it even more interesting....
  11. jeff8765 Member

    Jul 24, 2004
    Excellant as always. BTW, what is in store for Haiti and the Dominican Republic? Will they remain protectarates, albiet an informal one in Haiti's case, become states, or be conqured by *USA?
  12. Jared first one to PM me gets a bonus chapter of LoRaG

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    The next post I'm working on (well, working on most, there's 12 posts in varying stages of draft) is a 'cultural' piece describing some of the social and cultural outlooks in Europe (mostly, with maybe a bit in New England) describing the music, literature, art and theatre in Europe in the aftermath of the Second Napoleonic Wars. It includes a few of the more classic operas of the period. That should show some of the music. Music in the Americas isn't really touched on yet, although it will feature during the posts covering the twentieth century when *blues and *jazz get to mix with some of the Mexican styles of music and permeate the American mainstream.

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
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  13. Jared first one to PM me gets a bonus chapter of LoRaG

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Still undefined, but the USA attempting to conquer Dominica would provoke a *major* war with everyone, basically. That sort of attack automatically invokes the British alliance (the USA doesn't recognise the New England protectorate over Dominica, but Britain does). Colombia and Venezuela may not initially come onside, but they would if the USA invaded Canada, which it almost inevitably would in any war. So, the USA is unlikely to invade Dominica. Filibusters in Haiti would have to be very brave indeed, and the main filibuster era has died down anyway.

    Dominica becoming a New England state may happen in the medium-term, but there's a lot of resistance within New England. This includes some of the more racist undertones in society (they're less racist than the *USA, but still have their own attitudes), to the political (the Federalists oppose inclusion of the Dominicans because they expect the Dominicans to vote Radical), to the simple matter of distance involved. Non-contiguous territory in Michigan is one thing, a distant island state is quite another.

    But if Dominica doesn't become a state some other permanent form of association would probably be established.

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
    Matt likes this.
  14. Straha Banned

    Jan 1, 2004
    Cthaco Bell
    maybe the american conquest of dominacana and haiti triggers the *WWI?
  15. Jared first one to PM me gets a bonus chapter of LoRaG

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Could be, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself here. I still need to cover the rest of the 1880s and the early 1890s.

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
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  16. G.Bone lurks

    Jan 1, 2004
    Hon., HI
    Cool. Thanks for the update.
  17. Jared first one to PM me gets a bonus chapter of LoRaG

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Decades of Darkness #94a: Toy Soldiers

    Decades of Darkness #94a: Toy Soldiers

    “Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background of the European war; and it is best they should not. The real war will never get in the books.â€
    -- New England General Harvey Whitman, quoted in the Hartford Sentinel after returning home from the Second Napoleonic Wars

    * * *

    25 May 1889
    Wiener Staatsoper [Vienna Opera House]
    Vienna, Austria, German Reich

    Johannes Georg Shicklgruber had never been a happier man, and doubted that he ever would be so joyful again. Here, on the thirty-fifth anniversary of the opening of the Wiener Staatsoper, literal and metaphorical pinnacle of the operatic world [1], his opera, “The Ship of Phantomsâ€, had its opening performance.

    More pleasing still to him, the Holy Roman Emperor himself, Frederick IV, had elected to attend the first night. That meant a cluster of nobility from throughout the Reich and the Verein [2] had attended also. The King of Courland sat beside the Emperor, amidst a cluster of Austrian aristocrats. Nearby sat a swathe of Magyar nobility and a few Croat and Italian counts who apart from their features could not be distinguished from their German counterparts. Or in accent or language, when they spoke. Beyond them sat Vienna’s finest, industrialists, lesser aristocrats, a handful of artists, and the other wealthy men and women of the “circle of the worldâ€. He even saw a few Frenchmen, come to see how opera should be done properly.

    “Not a bad attendance for a bastard composer from the backwoods,†Shicklgruber murmured. Born illegitimate in Strones amidst the hills and forests of the Waldviertel, and burdened by a family name which reeked of rustic awkwardness, he had often wondered if he could ever amount to anything other than a watcher of sheep’s backsides. Only iron determination had let him push himself so far.

    And now his determination had paid off, as the three acts of “The Ship of Phantoms†unfolded before the audience. The tale was one that Shicklgruber had composed himself, preferring to create plots from his own imagination or from recent history, rather than relying on old legends as his predecessor Wilhelm Richard Wagner had done [3]. The opera told the tale of the ship De Ruyter, which had been sunk during the war [4], but the crew refused to die. Instead, they lived on the ghost of the ship and drifted on the high seas from whale-infested waters near Norway to the icebergs of the South Pole, then to the warmth of the Sandwich Islands and a ghostly passage through the Nicaragua Canal before returning to the waters off Germany. Throughout the voyage, the crew argued with each other, particularly the ship’s captain, Capt. Zimmerman and the doctor, Dr Kampf, and heard fresh news of the war as it drifted to them across the sea. In the final aria, Dr Kampf finally persuaded the captain and the crew to die, using the latest news in a bottle from the war in Europe:

    “Float on the sea forever shall we,
    Ebb and flow on this ghostly tide,
    Fear alone keeps us on these mortal waves,
    Cowardice of inaction, uncertainty of fate,
    To play the harp or face the flame,
    But now we see

    Comes the tale from the sea,
    On mortal soil is unleash’d the damned,
    Hell is naught, the Devil walks this earth,
    Choice face we, not betwixt harp and flame,
    But escape from damnation, to above or to below,
    This life we flee.â€

    * * *

    Taken from: “Yellow’s Notes on Grillparzer’s War of the Clouds†[5]
    (c) 1951 Sovereign Publishing Company: Retief [OTL Pretoria], South Africa

    About The Author

    Ernst Grillparzer had a distinguished German literary pedigree. His grandfather, Franz Grillparzer (1791-1873), was one of Germany’s most accomplished poets and playwrights. His father, Hans Grillparzer (1825-1905), was a distinguished novellist and occasional dramatist, who is best remembered today for his adaptation of many of Shakespeare’s plays into German [more precisely, into Neudeutsch], which some dramatic critics (principally German ones, it must be said) believe are even more powerful than the originals.

    Ernst Grillparzer himself was born in Vienna in 1858, and against his father’s wishes joined the German Army [6] as a Second Lieutenant [German rank Leutnant]. Grillparzer apparently was a competent but not spectacular officer, earning a promotion to First Lieutenant [German rank Oberleutnant] on the eve of the Second Napoleonic Wars in 1884, and earning further promotion to the rank of Major for his leadership in the Italian campaign. Grillparzer’s years in the military produced some evidence of his future literary genius, in the form of extremely articulate letters home, and some love poetry to his absent fiancée.

    The experience of the war apparently left Grillparzer disillusioned with war, and indeed with humanity, and he left the Army to take up a not very successful career as a journalist. In his spare time, he started jotting down ideas for a “scientific romance†in the tradition of Hermann Kraus [7], describing a journey to a fictional South Pacific island which had been created as a scientific experiment breeding humans and animals gone awry. This novel was eventually published, to runaway success despite its gloomy atmosphere of foreboding and anti-science, as “Island of the Lizard-Men†[8].

    Grillparzer published a series of other works describing scientific, fantastical or supernatural themes, usually resulting in disaster or at least a sense of disillusionment. Some of his other noted works are: “The Ghost of Dr Kaufmannâ€, the haunting tale of a medical doctor (Kaufmann) who has been researching souls and tragically separates his soul from his body, leaving all his positive and friendly aspects trapped in the ether while his body becomes a mindless killer which he is powerless to stop; “Beyond the Altarâ€, an eerie tale of Cain, the first son of Adam and Eve, trapped in eternal mortality, forced to drink human blood to survive, and terrified of sunlight; and “Food of the Godsâ€, a curious tale about two scientists who sought to feed the world and developed a new substance, which they name “radiumâ€, which causes living things to grow perpetually and become addicted to it, and ends with the tragic irony that the now-giant scientists are able to grow larger crops but their own hunger has increased proportionately more, and they are thus doomed to starve to death in the midst of unprecedented prosperity. These and Grillparzer’s other works have seem him named one of the two fathers of science fantasy [9].


    War of the Clouds was in large part written in response to the political tensions during the Boer War, when it appeared that wide-scale warfare might return to Europe. The tale was shaped by Grillparzer’s own experience on the Italian front during the Second Napoleonic Wars, and his extensive knowledge of the geography of much of Europe. He depicted a detailed account of place-names and dates during the invasion, which added to the strong sense of realism, such that it has been described as the first modern documentary. The novel was further inspired by the observations of astronomers, who had discovered the thick banks of clouds which completely conceal Venus, and speculated on what hot-blooded civilisations might dwell beneath the cloudcaps.

    Grillparzer has also been labelled a prophet for his depiction of advanced military technology in the novel. The invading Venusians came to Earth in cloud-ships which bridged the gap between worlds and then hid in earth’s clouds while sending their sky-riders to bombard earthly cities. This striking description of aerial warfare was published almost exactly one year before Antonin Messier won the race with British and German inventors and made the first successful heavier-than-air flight in 1896. Messier’s vehicle was soon dubbed a sky-rider by readers familiar with the novel. In this novel, Grillparzer also anticipated panzers, poison gas, and rocket-powered missiles. Of the military technology depicted in this novel, only the “light-rays†which the Venusians used to illuminate and then destroy their targets has not been produced by modern technology.

    The novel has also been noted for its pessimistic view of humanity, a view which matched that of the author. Grillparzer is noted for his bitterness with the future and alarm that as knowledge increased, so would mankind become ever more efficient at slaughtering itself. This pessimism is a common thread in the author’s writings, and has been credited with his retreat later in life into writing about fantastical and supernatural themes depicting an idealised past rather than a depressing future. Yet this did not detract from the popularity of his work, or the slew of imitators who followed with other tales of war, otherworldly invasion and space exploration. However, most of those authors preferred to describe humans venturing into space more than visitors coming to the earth.

    Brief Synopsis

    The War of the Clouds (1895) by HE Grillparzer, an early science fantasy novel, describes the fictional 1906 invasions of Earth by aliens from Venus, who use cloud-ships, sky-riders and chemical weapons in aerial bombardment, then use armoured land-cruisers (panzers) and other armoured horsts, fighting with rockets and cylinder guns as they seek to occupy most of Europe. After defeating the initial resistance and occupying much of Germany, the hot-blooded Venusians are first defeated on the ground with the onset of winter and human troops more familiar with fighting in these conditions, with their poison gas in particular useless. The Venusians are then driven from the skies by the use of gigantic rocket missiles which penetrate the clouds and bring down their cloud-ships. The novel ends with the nations of Europe having acquired many of the alien weapons which they may use on each other, and the warning that the Venusians have been driven back but not ultimately defeated.

    * * *

    Taken from: “Yellow’s Notes on Hanson’s The Chrononaut†[5]
    (c) 1953 Sovereign Publishing Company: Retief [OTL Pretoria], South Africa

    About The Author

    James Earle Hanson (13 August 1860 – 21 September 1931) was an English writer best known for his science fantasy novels such as “The Invisible Manâ€, Voyage To The Moonâ€, and “Journey Beneath The Wavesâ€, as well as “The Chrononautâ€.

    Hanson’s background was not what might be expected for one of the leading authors of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was born the fifth and youngest son of George Hanson, a domestic gardener whom James Earle would later describe as “so illiterate he had to find someone to make an X for himâ€. His mother was a domestic servant and housekeeper, and both his parents worked extremely hard to support their large family.

    An early accident when he was a child left Hanson with a pronounced limp which would follow him all of his life, but he started to read to pass the time, and thus acquired a passion for writing which would remain with him. Although apprenticed as both a draper and a carpenter, he could not sustain either occupation. He travelled to Germany and was caught there during the outbreak of the Second Napoleonic Wars, witnessing the Battle of Roulers before being allowed to leave the city by the French forces. On returning to England, he found employment as a teacher, using his spare time to write a series of letters and articles for magazines. This developed into the release of his first major work, “Expectations: An Experiment in Futurologyâ€, published in 1890, which set forth his predictions for how technology would develop and reform society. He had some notable successes, anticipating the submersible, the airship, commercial mass advertising, the growth of suburbs with the development of urban mass transit and personal horsts, and the development of contraception. He also had some significant failures, including his rejection of practical heavier-than-air flight as impossible.

    Hanson followed the success of “Expectations†with a series of early novels, including his classic “scientific fantasies†(his preferred name for scientific romances) “The Invisible Man†(1892) and “The Chrononaut†(1894). His success led to him being labelled the father of science fantasy, but this was a mantle he would have to share once the works of Ernst Grillparzer began to be translated into English.

    He also wrote a variety of non-fantastical novels, including satires of contemporary politics, and the classic adventure story “Queen of the Orinocoâ€, depicting a daring raid by “the Gringo Captain†AJ Freck, who daringly smuggled a gunboat up the Amazon, along the Rio Negro and then down the Orinoco in a raid on Venezuela in support of Brazil. Hanson also wrote what is usually recognised as the first modern allohistory, “What If Cromwell Had Not Won The Civil Warâ€, written as a scholarly essay which considers what sort of world would have emerged if Cromwell had won the English Civil War, written from the viewpoint of a historian in a world where the Royalists had won [10].

    Yet it is for his science fantasy novels that Hanson is best remembered. His novels were much more optimistic about the potential of future technology than his main contemporary, Ernst Grillparzer, usually expecting a utopian or at least pleasant future. Both were shaped in the cauldron of the Second Napoleonic Wars, but the two men developed contrasting views of the future. Hanson was the more hopeful of the two, and it is the most tragic irony of his life that he was eventually killed during an aerial bombardment from one of the same heavier-than-air flight vehicles which in his youth he had predicted would never be practical...


    Published in 1899, “The Chrononaut†is not in fact Hanson’s original planned title for this work. He had originally named the novel “The Chronic Argonautâ€, after the voyagers who had accompanied Jason in his search for the Golden Fleece, but his wife reportedly suggested the shorter title. The book is usually believed to the first work where chronoportation [time travel] is possible with a machine that allows a traveller to specify a destination.

    The novel is often viewed as the ultimate expression of Hanson’s belief in the benefits of technology, with the Chrononaut voyaging both backwards and forwards in time before ultimately deciding to live in the far future. While Hanson never considered some of the paradoxes and dilemmas of chronoportation which are one of the staples of contemporary science fantasy, it remains the acknowledged classic of the field...

    Brief Synopsis

    The novel’s protagonist is a young scientist who is known only as the Chrononaut. He has calculated that time is another dimension where suitable machinery will allow an explorer “to move backward and forward in time as readily as a steamship moves back and forth across the Atlanticâ€. He is issued with a challenge by his friends to answer a number of historical questions, including the true authorship of the Shakespearean plays, whether Vikings had been the first arrivals in North America, and what Pope Leo I had said to persuade Attila to abandon his conquest of Rome. The Chrononaut answers these questions, and is then challenged to travel into the future and answer the question of what will become of humanity. He travels into the near future, with the date unspecified but a “generation†after the present, and returns to describe a world of airships and trams, advanced medicine, and one where there has been no war amongst the civilised nations. He is then given a final challenge to answer what will happen to mankind. He vanishes, never to be seen again, but the narrator reports that he visits the site of the Chrononaut’s departure, a generation later, and that he finds written in the dust a message that the Chrononaut has decided that he would rather live in the future without war than return to the soot-shrouded memory amidst the echoes of a cannon’s roar.

    * * *

    [1] This timeline’s version of the Vienna Opera House is celebrated for its dome shape ending in a central pinnacle.

    [2] “The Unionâ€, referring to the combined territories of the Reich and its satellites, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, and sometimes Courland, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania as well.

    [3] Being born in 1813, Wagner barely managed to be born ITTL rather than being butterflied out of existence.

    [4] i.e. during the Second Napoleonic Wars.

    [5] Yellow’s Notes are an ATL literature study guide, somewhat reminiscent of Cliff’s Notes in OTL.

    [6] The Austrian armed forces had been integrated into the Deutschleger (Germany Army) since 1864.

    [7] An ATL Dutch author (or more precisely, from the German-speaking Rhine province of the Netherlands) who wrote a number of scientific travelogues in somewhat similar vein to Jules Verne.

    [8] Think “The Island of Dr. Moreau†meets “Jurassic Parkâ€.

    [9] The “science fantasy†genre includes roughly the OTL concept of speculative fiction, including most of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

    [10] With apologies to Winston Churchill.

    * * *


    Kaiser Wilhelm III

    P.S. Part B of this post is coming soon, which will show more of the Gothic literature of the period, some more of the opera and other dramatic arts, and some of the art and other cultural effects on Europe after the Second Napoleonic Wars.
    Matt and jjstraub4 like this.
  18. G.Bone lurks

    Jan 1, 2004
    Hon., HI
    Ooooo! Literature!

    I like the latter bit on alt-hist:

    If only this had a laughing smiley...

    I found it also curious in the same bit that he would write something on a character in favor of Brazil, which is pro-U.S. Care to explain?

    Also, what happened to SWHIF? I seem to notice a distinct lack of posts by other famous posters-
  19. Straha Banned

    Jan 1, 2004
    Cthaco Bell
    this timeline seems scary....
  20. Jared first one to PM me gets a bonus chapter of LoRaG

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    This bit is a bit of a borrowing from Winston Churchill, who wrote something similar in OTL. The two authors mentioned here are mostly composites of OTL authors, although with a few ideas of my own thrown in. Grillparzer is the pessimistic half of HG Wells, with large chunks of Robert Louis Stevenson, parts of Michael Crichton, and a little Lord Dunsany. Hanson is the optimistic half of HG Wells, with some of Jules Verne, and some more general action-adventure and alternate history leanings.

    Sure. :) Hanson is a sucker for a good adventure story, and he told a highly-embellished version of a real raid (there were three gunboats, not one) during the Venezuelan-Brazilian war. He didn't mind writing about a sympathetic American character (the gunboat captain) because the American in question didn't have any slaves himself. Hanson is also of the view that slavery will die out with advancing technology, and thus he thinks isn't a long-term problem. What he does think is that demonising the United States for being slaveholders and holding lesser races in bondage just puts their back up and makes it harder for domestic opponents of slavery within the USA (and Brazil) to weaken the institution. (He's right about this last point, although not necessarily about the others).

    Going through a temporary lull over Christmas-New Year, at a guess. The volume of posts goes up and down fairly often. I expect it'll pick up again in the next few weeks.

    It certainly has some gloomy aspects (quite a few dark moments already, and a few more to follow). But there are some bright spots too: no Nazis, no Stalinesque terror, and some countries do distinctly better than OTL. It's just that the United States is mostly not one of those countries.

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
    Matt likes this.