Decades of Darkness

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

  1. Grimm Reaper Desperate But Not Serious

    Kaiser, please advise the questioners that there will not be a 'World War One' in this ATL. The term would be 'First Global War'. ;)

    Hmm, should we assume from that last bit that bad things may be happening to alternate United States in the 20th?
     
  2. Straha Banned

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    well in this world the alternate version of me is only saved by having ancerstors from a part of mexico taken BEFORE the whole movement to enslave mexicans got super powerfulb.
     
  3. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    I suspect the term 'Great War' will be most favoured. It may be just me, but 'First Global War' always sounds like 'I wanted to use the name World War but that was already taken'. Global War just sounds unnatural, to my ears.

    Of coursee, I may just change my mind...

    It could be argued that the DoD United States surviving into the twentieth century is a bad thing. But it's been referred to in various parts of the TL that the USA in ~1949 can have its inhabitants refer to it as 'the greatest nation on earth' with a straight face. Of course, what happens after that date is another story.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  4. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Ah, yes, that would be extremely unpleasant. :(

    I don't find the DoD USA particularly pleasant either, although since the odds are infinitesmal that I'd be born at all (too many ancestors from too many countries affected), it doesn't have quite the same impact.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  5. davekohlhoff Proud Populist

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    Just out of curiosity what nations might those be?

    My ancestors are all German and have only lived in the US since 1901-02. To add to the chances every eldest son in my family line has been named "David Kohlhoff" since the early 19th century. If you neglect middle names I'm the 11th.
     
  6. Grimm Reaper Desperate But Not Serious

    Hmmm...

    Hmmm...

    In this timeline where everything has gone bad...

    Where the US is apparently doomed to disaster in the late 20th century...

    At least, according to the increasingly unsubtle hints...

    Hmmm...

    And in this timeline the US 'acquired' the famed Straha genes much sooner...

    Hmmm...

    Could there be a connection between these factors...

    Hmmm...


    :p :p :p
     
  7. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Born in Pakistan, raised in New Zealand, live in Australia, with an ethnic heritage so muddled I can't even work out where I'm from half the time. My parents were both Australian-born, but further back its Scots, Irish, English, American, French-Canadian, Iroquois (we think - records on this one are a bit muddled because the authorities helpfully destroyed all records over 100 years old), French, Danish, German, and Swedish, mostly.

    In other words, 100% pure pedigree mongrel. :)

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
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  8. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Oh, minor quibble, but Russia and Central Europe are considerably better off ITTL, as is Australia and much of the Pacific.

    To clarify, I have mapped out the history of this timeline in considerable but not exhaustive detail until the early 1930s, where the timeline proper ends. I have a rough idea of what happens over the next twenty years or so, when the material will hopefully form the background for a couple of novels, set around 1954-1955. What happens after that is less clear - I can see things going either way.

    Well, that part is hard to argue with... ;)
     
  9. G.Bone lurks

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    Minor Quibbles

    Seeing that there's a "Commonwealth" system in place in this TL, when does it break, given the installment you featured in the OTL's Sri Lanka?

    Is Hawaii under British protection in the future, given that it's some distance near California?

    What has happened to the successful Boxer realm? Did it fall apart?

    What has happened to the Blacks whom are in other areas of the world and are "Free"? What is there culture? (Re: Canada, somewhere in Argentina, etc)

    How has the Italians under German rule fared?

    Just how large is the Reich where the TL ends?
     
  10. Straha Banned

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    Heh. The ATL's straja would likely be PURE hispanic instead of 50% due to a distinct lack of late 19th century south german immigration to america..

    Why not continue this until 2005?
     
  11. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    It's still around as of 1953 or so, but how much after that will depend on matters which I will be covering in the novels. Too many imponderables at this stage to say exactly what happens to it, but in general terms I expect that it will gradually drift apart due to the various nations having different interests and different friends.

    A formal British protectorate since 1882, which will probably last for as long as the United Kingdom lasts. (At some as yet unspecified point between 1915 and 1949, the United Kingdom ceases to exist). After that, could go several ways, including USA (bad, although the Hawai'ians would not be seen as targets for perpetual enslavement), Nippon (Japan), who will have strong cultural links in TTL as well, or part of the Restored Empire.

    The *Taipings are likely to crumble sooner or later. Their internal politics were ugly in OTL, and things may get even worse here. I suspect that something like the warlord era in China was highly probable with any nineteenth century POD (not inevitable, by any means, of course).

    In Canada, they are basically Canadians, although there's not that many of them. Not many in Argentina either, but they're similarly integrated. In Africa, well, Liberia does pretty well for itself, but the rest of the continent will still be a colonial target into the twentieth century.

    Quite well, generally speaking, although largely excluded from political participation in mainstream Germany (they do have political power at a provincial level. The Austrian policy is basically that as long as they are non-rebellious subjects, let them do what they like. Learning to speak German often opens up more career paths, but there's no-one much persecuting those who remain speaking Italian.

    In terms of territory under direct sovereignty, not all that much larger than it is in 1885. They've discovered the problems with having too many nationalistic subjects. In terms of territory and nations where the Reich has immense political and economic influence, considerably larger than it is in 1885.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
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  12. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    There was still some German immigration ITTL to the USA, albeit reduced when compared to OTL. The USA continues to received 1-2 million immigrants per decade well into the 1870s, but it doesn't get the huge boost that immigration started to take during the 1880s and onward.

    In the long run, I probably will, in one form or another. The question is what form it's in. The current timeline runs to just under 230,000 words, and has involved an awful lot of research. Writing something this detailed all the way up to 2005 would be an immense undertaking. Even running it to the 1930s will probably involve 350,000+ words. I plan on continuing it through novels more than anything else, but of course depends on finding a publisher. If not, I will still continue it, but I'll have to figure out what format I do it in.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  13. G.Bone lurks

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    Making the thread seem like it's on Google

    1. How much research do you pour into this?

    2. Have you grown attached to any 'author' you've 'quoted' from or character?

    3. Is there any efforts from Russia on stopping the Reich from taking all of Central Europe?

    4. What happened to Romania & Bulgaria?

    5. Was your dad in the military and thus moving around?

    6. Can you give us any hints on why the U.K. discontinues to exist around 1915?

    7. What happened to DoD's analogue to Queen Victoria?

    8. How's life in that Carribbean protectorate of New England? Any efforts on making it a state or too d*mn far away to make it one?
     
  14. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Quite a lot; anywhere up to five hours per post, depending on how familiar I am with the material. Occasionally even more for particularly difficult ones (trying to figure out colonial borders in Africa was quite a busy recent one). Plus there's more general thinking time when it may be in the back of my head and just considering various ideas and the best way to write it.

    Quite a few here and there. U.S. President Hugh Griffin I miss, which was why he got some recent air time. New England President John Adams IV. The death of Jose Ramon Juarez was incredibly hard to write. And although he's a right bastard a lot of the time, James Fisher too. In terms of the modern authors, Michelle Davies/Michelle Kelvin more than any other, but that's mostly because she has a fair amount of backstory, and she will have a small role when I get to writing the novels.

    In practical terms, the Reich already has most of Central Europe, except for Romania and Bulgaria and Greece. Romania is still Russian, Bulgaria is in a delicate position between Russia, British Turkey and Habsburg-dominated Serbia, and Greece is pretty much independent. Russia basically lost all influence outside of Romania when it lost the Second Napoleonic Wars, and for now is in too much internal confusion to get it back. In the longer-term, expect it to push for influence somewhere along its borders, but it may find it more useful to have peaceful coexistence with the Reich while it favours other fronts (China and Persia, for example).


    Both my parents were doctors and worked overseas for a while. Not much military heritage in my family, although my grandfather was in WW2.

    It's some time after 1915, that's just the latest 'source' which is published in the UK (sans Ireland). I don't want to be too specific yet, but there's been a few oblique hints here and there throughout the TL as to the factors. Note the existence of a Commonwealth of Scotland in 1949 and various comments in that section (post #93) about unrest amongst the 'Celtic nations'. Beyond that, I can say that it will be the focus of a major story arc toward the end of the TL.

    He was King Edward VII, and he died in 1881 from head injuries sustained in a fall. He had a productive life, on the whole, and has been replaced by Richard IV, who has not as yet shown any particular signs of competence. Fortunately, he has the government to be competent on his behalf.

    Life is generally okay, with a feeling that if the USA was going to try to invade them, it would have done so already. But efforts about making it a state have a few problems. 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.


    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  15. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Decades of Darkness #95: “On, Wisconsinâ€

    Decades of Darkness #95: “On, Wisconsinâ€

    Credit for this post on the history of Wisconsin in the DoD timeline goes to Daniel McCollum, who wrote all of it apart from some very minor editorial alterations.

    * * *

    “The people of Wisconsin are a proud folk indeed; tempered in the fires of adversity and conflict. We march, ever forward, towards a bright future; and may God have mercy upon that man which tries to stop usâ€
    -- Joseph P. O’Sullivan: founding member of Wisconsin Republican Party, 1881

    * * *

    Excerpts from: “Old World, New Landâ€: A Social History of the Province of Wisconsinâ€
    (c) 1950 by Dr. Daniel D. McCollum
    Boston University Press
    Boston, New England

    Introduction

    Of all of the regions of the Kingdom of Canada, none has attracted quite so much scholarly attention as that of the Province of Wisconsin; only Quebec comes close. Recent years have seen the publication of several scholarly tomes detailing everything from the geology of the province, the region’s incredibly diverse and rich folk music heritage, to a short study of the linguistics inherent in Wisconsin’s unique dialect.

    The cause of this becomes evident when one begins to look into the Province’s past; no other part of North America has seen a dynamic influx of such widely diverse people, since the conquest of the Aztec Empire and the rise of Spanish influence on the continent [1]. The result of this coming together was an incredibly interesting provincial culture which was partially Canadian, but also something else entirely; both a hybrid of the many peoples which came to seek their fortunes, as well as a collection of communities which maintained their unique ethnic identity for generations. The Wisconsin people were both Canadian and entirely separate of Canada; a people whose feet were planted firmly within the soil of the American continent, and yet whose heart still longingly pined for Europe...

    Of the many ethnicities which initially came to Wisconsin, none has dominated the province as much as the Irish. Coming in two strong waves over the course of the 19th century, the Irish struggled to make a home for themselves in the initially Anglo-Protestant dominated province. This struggle of a largely Catholic lower class against a diminishing Anglo-Saxon upper class would brew throughout the first several decades of existence of the Kingdom, reaching its conclusion with the Wisconsin Revolt of 1866.

    The first wave of Irish immigration came with the collapse of the Rising of 1833; the second Republican revolt of the century. Fleeing the oppressive poverty and political conditions of their homeland, the Irish came to Wisconsin to begin a new life. These immigrants came largely from the South and West of the country; most notably the region of Cork, Kerry and Galway. They were a farming people, drawn by promise of cheap if uncultivated land in Wisconsin as well as the relatively weak government of the province.

    The second wave began during the 1840s and became a flood due to the horrors of the Irish Potato Famine which began to ravage the island during these years. The new Irish settled primarily within the city of Dearborn, by this time a growing metropolis, becoming an urban people despite their rural beginnings. Chased from their homeland by poverty as well as by the willing neglect of their own ruling class, these new immigrants were unruly subjects; bringing with them an ingrown dislike of aristocracy, they were one of the motivating forces behind the Wisconsin Revolt of 1866.

    * * *

    Taken from: “Historical Maps of Canada and British North Americaâ€
    (c) 1916 by Randall Flannigan
    Tammany Publishing House
    New York, New England

    As of the census of 1900, Wisconsin is a province which is dominated by immigrants and the children of immigrants. Englishmen, although a sizable part of the population; roughly 25 percent, are not even the largest ethnicity present. This prize falls to the Irish which are centered in the Southern Tier of the province, most notably in Dearborn; Wisconsin’s provincial capital and largest city.

    The center of the Province; which contains much of Wisconsin’s renowned agricultural land is largely settled by German immigrants, although large Scandinavian settlements also exist. The first German immigrants came to the province following the 1849 revolts; fleeing the economic and political chaos which was endemic during the time. As the strength of the Imperium over Germany became stronger, many sympathetic republicans also fled to the province.

    Wisconsin’s Superior Highland and Upper Peninsula, once the site of intense economic activity during the lumber and copper boom, is the home to large numbers of Finnish, Cornish and Scandinavian immigrants as well as French-Canadians from Quebec.

    The industrial zones of the province; most notably Dearborn [OTL Chicago], Belfast [OTL Milwaukee], Green Bay and to a lesser extent, Nicholet [OTL Duluth] are also home to a native Yankee population, many of which have been present in Wisconsin since the earliest days of settlement.

    * * *

    Taken from: “Letters Home: Letters from Settlersâ€
    (c) 1957 compiled by Nancy King
    Weimer, Kristofferson, and Rand Publishing
    New York, New England

    Introduction: The following letter was sent by Robert Zeitland to his brother Karl in Dearborn, Canada. Robert had moved north to the community of Big Bull Falls [OTL Wausau, Wisconsin] several years prior with his wife and three children. In this letter he describes the bustle of new town while attempting to entice his brother to leave Dearborn and come to the city. Karl would eventually move to join his brother, both becoming leading citizens in the city.

    May 16th, 1876

    Dearest Brother,

    You will have to excuse me the long while since I last sat down to write you. It has been my intention to sit down and write to you for some time, but I find that the farm work never stops and every time that I find a second to sit down, Sile finds more chores for me to do. She is a good woman, as fiery as the first day I met her, but I sometimes find myself wishing that I had settled for a nice German girl. At least I could then get a moments rest around my own home!

    I went in to Big Bull Falls the other day to get supplies for the farm, and was surprised by the change of the place since I had moved here. The sheer bustle of the city is amazing; although the saw mills have been seeing less work due to the season, the factories have been able to easily pick up the slack. Now, I don’t have to remind you of the problems we saw while growing up in Dearborn, especially the homeless. I can not remember the last time I saw a homeless man in Big Bull Falls! There is more than enough work here for everyone; in fact there’s a shortage.

    There have been a great many Poles moving in to the county over the past few years although, no doubt, you’ve been seeing more of them in Dearborn than we have. Most of them seem intent upon becoming farmers or lumberjacks, however, and have been staying away from the jobs in the city. They are an odd people; they sound like Russians to me, but they seem to hate those people even more passionately than the Irish who used to rail against the British. Still, those who I have spoken to have been friendly enough, and wish them the best of luck, as long as they do not start to take jobs from those of us who have been here longer.

    Brother, you really should move up here away from Dearborn, I can’t understand why you insist on staying in that place. Bill Bull Falls is where the future lies; the railroad has come and business has exploded around here, there are paper mills, furniture makers and even three good breweries now. You will find it a much more pleasant place than that horrid city of yours.

    With Love,
    Robert

    P.S. How is the old neighborhood Hurling team doing these days? The only problem with this town that I have been able to find is that our league is not nearly as well developed as the one back home. The lumberjacks seem more interested in La Crosse, I fear.

    Introduction: The following letter was sent by Thomas Dombeck, a miner in the city of Calumet, describing the strikes which had racked the town for several months as of writing. He is writing to his sister in the city of Escanaba. Dombeck would eventually become a leader of the labor movement in the Province of Wisconsin, and then a representative to Dearborn as a member of the Labor Party.

    December 19th, 1886

    Dear Lisa,

    Please do not be concerned or worried when I tell you that I am currently writing this letter from a prison cell. It’s not a bad cell; it’s relatively dry and warm for this time of year, and I’m guaranteed three meals a day, which is better than I can say of life on the outside. Besides, I think they will let us out of here pretty soon; they don’t have any evidence that we did anything wrong. After all, what is so wrong about standing up for your rights? For standing tall and acting like men?

    I suppose that it would be redundant to tell you that things have gotten worse in town since you left. The mine owners, those damn jackals [2], tried to cut wages again. There have been so many people coming back from the war and looking for jobs [3], they think they can pay us what ever they want, and we’ll just have to take it! They try to treat us like we’re slaves down in the United States. Well, the Blacks may not stand up for themselves, but we will here; the Owners best remember what happened last time someone tried to push Wisconsinites around [4]!

    Well, some men from the mines and some of the veterans got together and decided to form themselves a Union like the ones they have down in Dearborn, and over in New England. We called ourselves the United Canadian Mine Workers. We told those Jackals that they would either give us a fair pay for an honest day’s work, or we’d shut the mine down. They didn’t and so we did; or at least have tried to.

    It’s gotten pretty nasty though; the company owns most of the houses in town and has threatened to kick out anyone who refuses to work. Some of the miners are talking about burning out anyone who still goes to work at the mine, and the owners have called in strike breakers from New York. Just the other night I heard that there was a huge fight down at one of the pubs and some men were killed [5]. Don’t worry though, I’ve been keeping myself away from the fighting like that; that’s some nasty business and I want no part in it. Besides, I’m no Finn; they seem to be the ones doing most of that.

    Take care of yourself Lisa. I love you and miss you, and will be out of here soon. I just hope that there is much of a town left when I do! We have to stay strong though, or those people in charge are always going to think that they can push us around, and they can not! We won’t allow them!

    With Love and Best Wishes,
    Tommy

    * * *

    From the Wisconsin Historical Archives

    Declaration of the Ideals of the Wisconsin Republican Party.

    Because, the Wisconsin people have been so cruelly betrayed by both the Whig and Torie Parties. And because the industrialists and nobility have joined hands to hold down the good people of this land, to put us all into the cold shackles of wage slavery.

    We, the under signed, do declare that there is a need for a new party in the province of Wisconsin. A party based the ideals of the proud men who cultivated this land, tamed it, and made it sound. A party which will fight for the common man against the powers of aristocracy; who shall battle the greedy railroads which bleed the farmer, the industrialist who treats his worker like so much chattel and the banks who try to crush us all under the pressure of debtage. A Party which will return democracy to this land, which will battle for the rights of all men to vote free of interference, and to rid the political structure of the reeking corruption which seeks to strangle.

    The Republican Party of Wisconsin shall strive to be the party of the people, the defenders of liberty, the proponents of justice. The friend of the weak against the danger of tyranny.

    Signed,

    Joseph P. O’Sullivan Philip Wein Seamus Gilpatrick McCollum

    Donald Callahan Doniel Ostrowski Ladislaus Ostrowski

    John Winthrop Skule Thoreson Dietrich Leinenkugel

    Charles Maki

    * * *

    From “Rebels in our Mist: Radical Politics in the Kingdom of Canadaâ€
    (c) 1943 Matthew T. Dombeck Jr. [6]
    University of Michigan Publishing
    Huron, New England

    ...The most successful of all of the radical parties which began to appear during the course of the late nineteenth century in Canada was the Wisconsin Republican Party. Although many of its proposed reforms were not new, they had appeared in one form or another for well over a decade, the Party saw greater success than any of its predecessors, particularly once it changed its name to the Labor Party. The question is, of course, why?

    Perhaps most important in the success of the party was the place of its birth. Wisconsin, by 1890 the most populous province in the Kingdom, had a longstanding tradition of political radicalism and willingness to revolt. The Wisconsin Revolt of 1866 had proved to many that the people could defeat a corrupt political system if they were resolute and willing to sacrifice for the good of all. Furthermore, the two most populous ethnicities in the province, excluding Anglo-Canadians of course, were the Irish and the Germans. Both of these groups had a long standing republican tradition which was carried over with them from the Old World, and which in the New World readily adapted itself to the new demands for adequate parliamentary representation and justice for the working man.

    The formation of the Wisconsin Republican Party sent shockwaves through the province. Although its first appearance upon the ballot in 1874 was less than amazing, the party began to grow with each subsequent election, feeding off resentment for the corrupt Whig and Torie party as well as popular outrage at the wide spread corruption which had infested nearly every facet of daily life. Their main source of opposition was competition from other organised labour movements, some of whom were reluctant to join a party bearing the name of opposition to the monarchy. In 1887, after some protracted negotiations, a new Labor Party was formed from the merger of the Republicans and some of the leading labor unions. This radical and worker’s alliance led to the election of the first Labor premier of Wisconsin in 1892...

    * * *

    [1] The good doctor is a Wisconsinite himself and is, therefore, willing to embellish a little bit to make his case sound more dramatic.

    [2] The term Jackals has come to be used not just Americans, but anyone who is willing to oppress others in order to meet their ends.

    [3] Much of Canada had an industrial depression in the aftermath of the Second Napoleonic Wars, which was particularly felt in mining, although some other economic sectors were largely unaffected.

    [4] See Wisconsin, 1866, Revolt of (Post #67).

    [5] The term ‘pub’ has become dominant in both New England and Canada, rather than ‘bar’ or ‘saloon’.

    [6] Thomas Dombeck’s grandson.

    * * *

    Thoughts?

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
    https://www.alternatehistory.com/decadesofdarkness/
    http://decadesofdarkness.blogspot.com/
     
  16. eschaton Muckraker & Rabblerouser

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    How are leftist/socialist politics in general developing in TTL? Was Marx butterflied away? Since he was born in 1818, I'm guessing yes, but there still ought to be some of the Utopian Socialists, and I know from reading your briefs from the 1950's that socialism eventually comes about. Is it any different appreciably? Who are its great thinkers?
     
  17. G.Bone lurks

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    Some tidbits:

    Also, is Winsconsin's southern border more fortified due to it hitting the US?

    Is there an influx of escapee Blacks there?

    What happened to the urge for "freedom" in the Black population?

    What has been made in way of letting Winsconsin have it's own militia?

    How was the depression was reversed in Canada?

    How long King John of Canada reign? Who was his successor?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2005
  18. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    There was an *Karl Marx, although no Engels, and there is still a developing socialism, with a Communist Manifesto published by Marx and a fellow named Heinrich Adenauer, who is somewhat akin to Engels. The main initial difference was that *Karl Marx was less anti-religious, and thus that socialism is seen as compatible with Christianity. There is an upcoming post on the major philosophies and schools of thought in Europe, and there will be more on the great thinkers and development of socialist thought in the nineteenth century.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  19. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Yes, it was deliberately chosen with defensible borders (rivers, mostly) and was heavily fortified during the late 1830s and onwards. These defences have been upgraded regularly, although with less vigour recently since the tensions with the USA have been lessened.

    Not all that many. The percentage of runaways was never all that high even in OTL, and it isn't much higher ITTL. But there are some, mostly agrarian farmers.

    It's still there, as it was in OTL, but practical opportunities for escape are limited for most would-be runaways.

    Haven't thought about that point so far, actually. There's a lot of Wisconsinites with guns, this being a frontier place, but I'm not sure how organised the militias are. It'd be similar to OTL's Canada at the same period, but I can't recall offhand how Canada deployed militias during the nineteenth century.

    Booming exports to the United States and New England, basically. The worst of it was over by 1889, and the economy was vigorous by 1891.


    King James is still going vigorously as of 1890; he was born in 1821 and thus hasn't quite reached 70 yet. Given that he comes from a long-lived family, he may even make it to the twentieth century. His son Charles is in line to the throne.

    Cheers,
    Kaiser Wilhelm III
     
  20. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Decades of Darkness #94b: If I Could Turn Back Time

    Decades of Darkness #94b: If I Could Turn Back Time

    “Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home.”
    -- Sir Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626)

    * * *

    Extract from: The Encyclopaedia Recidivus (3rd edition)
    Editor-in-chief Lord Percy Kelvin III
    (c) 1949 New Cambridge University Press
    Sydney, Kingdom of Australia
    Used with permission.

    Gothic Novel

    The gothic novel is a former British literary genre, characterised by dark, terrifying and often gloomy settings and themes. Among the more common tropes are horror, mystery and suspense, doomed or cursed protagonists, especially inherited curses, rot and decay, insanity, and the supernatural, particularly ghosts and other haunted buildings.

    The genre flourished in two major periods, the classic Gothic period and a briefer Gothic revival. The classic period lasted from the publication of Horace Walpole’s “The Castle of Otranto” in 1764, the first Gothic novel, through the genre’s popularisation by Ann Radcliffe, the quintessential Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” in 1818, until the decline of the literary form during the 1830s and 1840s.

    The Gothic novel experienced a renaissance during the late 1880s and 1890s, usually credited to the experience of the Second Napoleonic Wars. The revival developed the familiar themes of gloom and melodrama, but included a greater focus on the supernatural, with tales of ghosts, zombies and vampyres becoming more widespread. Novels of the revival period also shifted the focus from medieval, rural settings such as graveyards to contemporary urban landscapes. The most prominent Gothic revival novels were Mervyn James’s “Diary of a Sinner” (1889), and Alice Peake’s two classics “Lord of the Night” (1893), the defining vampyre novel, and “Beneath Our Feet” (1897), featuring the first modern depiction of a thrall [1].

    In the twentieth century, the Gothic literary genre was largely absorbed into the burgeoning field of science fantasy, where its supernatural themes and terror became accepted convention for the darker novels. Some of the works of Ernst Grillparzer have been considered as Gothic novels, although they were independently conceived, and later pseudo-Gothic authors incorporated some of his themes into their work.

    * * *

    Excerpts from: “From Grotte Chauvet to Grosse Chapman: 30,000 Years of Painting”
    (c) 1948 by Anthony Pollock, Jr.
    Turteltaub Publishing: Jerusalem, Kingdom of Palestine

    France during the late nineteenth century saw the early days of Le Fleuraison, the Flowering, the artistic, musical and literary revival which arose in republican Paris once the conservatism of the Bonapartist days was overthrown. The revival produced many cultural masterpieces, such as the famed operas as “The Emperor Icarus”, composed before Napoleon IV’s death and proclaiming him a vainglorious fool, and “The Days of Blood”, dedicated to the memory of the Battle of Roulers, and released after Napoleon IV’s passing, and which compared him to Hannibal.

    But perhaps no movement depicts the Flowering as aptly as Momentism. Formed as a private school of Parisian painters in 1880, in protest against the conservatism of the Academy of Fine Arts, Momentism remained a fringe movement until after the Second Napoleonic Wars. As people sought new meaning and changes in a France stripped of its backward-looking heritage under the Bonapartes, the Momentists rose in prominence. The Academy of Fine Arts and a more conservative generation of art critics continued to deride them, but their works became increasingly popular with the art-viewing public.

    Momentism was originally distrusted by the establishment, and later beloved by the masses, because it violated the familiar traditions of painting, both in subject and in style. Most previous art had used historical settings, with depictions of contemporary life being rare at best. Artists were encouraged to show ideal beauty, rather than natural settings. The Academy of Fine Arts particularly demanded the use of sombre, conservative colours in paintings. The Momentists, led by Claude Leroy and Liliane Deneuve, broke all of these rules. Their paintings focused on transitory natural beauty in modern settings, especially the interplay of light in all its forms. Their paintings are easy recognisable, even today, by their use of short brush strokes, unmixed colours and smooth blending to depict an overall impression rather than details...

    * * *

    1 January 1890
    Bonn, Grand Duchy of Nassau
    German Reich

    Karl Rudden surreptitiously tried to smoke a cigarette as the long wedding music droned on and on from inside the cathedral. He was here only because one did not turn down an invitation to a royal wedding, with the bond about to be formed between the Grand Duchy of Nassau and the Grand Duchy of Hesse and the Rhine. But he was more interested in finishing the cigarette, rolled from finest American tobacco. He found these ‘little cigars’ much more convenient than the full version, and had thought so ever since his cousin brought the technique home with him from the Spanish war [2].

    Rudden dutifully listened to the recital of Bach’s ‘Wedding Catanta’ as he finished the cigarette, but he had no great interest in it. His main interest was in the bar-musette music from France which had started to reach into the Reich, but no aristocrat would play that here. The main whispered concerns inside had been on what this marriage might mean for the future of both states.

    “Nothing, that’s what,” Rudden murmured, although he would never have answered that inside. All the marriages and personal unions between the minor German states from Schleswig-Holstein to Zurich could have simplified Germany’s internal borders if the government were of a mind to, but it never had in half a century of the Reich. Too many nobles had too much interest in their status in the government, particularly in their representation in the Diet [3]. They wouldn’t change that... just as they wouldn’t change the style of music they had for a royal wedding to something created in the nineteenth century.

    His cigarette finished, Rudden scurried back inside to be seated before the bride arrived.

    * * *

    14 May 1887
    Algiers, French Empire

    Prince Charles Jean Louis Napoleon Bonaparte felt that he should have been celebrating his twenty-first birthday in the style befitting the future Emperor of France. The celebrations had been desultory so far, although there would be more tonight. In the meantime, people seemed more concerned with the news that the rebel government in Paris had sent their navy to blockade Algiers, including their two fearsome new battleships Republique and Democratie [4], which no imperial vessel could match. Or the oft-repeated rumour through the streets of Algiers, that soon there would be republican soldiers landing.

    “Your Highness, your father commands your presence,” a servant murmured in Italian-accented French.

    Charles nodded reluctantly, but followed quickly behind the servant. His father often showed humour, but when he gave a command, he expected it to be obeyed on the instant.

    Sure enough, he found his father sitting alone on a chair, looking east over the bay. The servant mumbled a greeting, then left at the Emperor’s curt wave.

    “If only this didn’t need to happen on your birthday,” the Emperor said.

    “Father?”

    “The Republic chose well, naming this day for their blockade,” the Emperor said, still looking out the window rather than at Charles. “And they will not stop while I am on the throne.”

    His father’s tone let Charles understand. “You cannot abdicate, father. You are the true Emperor of France [5].”

    “By tonight, I will not be,” the Emperor said. Now he turned to look at Charles. “You must go on, my son. I will never be allowed to seize power again... but you might.”

    “We can still fight!” Charles said.

    “To what point? We cannot win, for now. But someday you will have a chance, I am sure.”

    “I don’t understand. If you give up now, why will I have a future opportunity?”

    “Because I have two pieces of advice for you,” the Emperor said. “Democracy will always be weak, both the current republic and democracies everywhere. Democracies are short-sighted, divided, unable to focus, and change direction according to the ephemeral will of the people. They need a strong leader to guide them, and even then a strong leader can often be abandoned. When dealing with the Republic, you must chart a course for yourself to greatness, and adhere to it, wait only for a moment of democratic weakness, and you will have power.”

    “And your other advice?” Charles said, having learned years ago when to cease arguing with his father.

    “Beware the danger of your allies. France’s strength I knew, and Germany’s strength I knew, but Russia’s weakness I knew not. It is this which you must guard against. Know your enemy, and know yourself, but most of all know those who would be your ally. It is them you must guard against.”

    Slowly, Charles nodded. “I will remember that, father.”

    “Good.” The Emperor removed one of his rings, which he had worn since his feigned abdication in Paris. Charles had seen him fiddling with that ring several times before. “Now leave me. Enjoy the rest of your birthday as best you can.”

    * * *

    Taken from: “Words From The Ages: A Collection of Historically Significant French Documents”
    (c) 1946 by Field Marshal Henri Pierre Gascoyne (ret.)
    Revival Press: Adelaide, Australia

    Introduction

    Napoleon IV’s “Dernière lettre au Français” (Final Letter to the French) was found beside his body after he took poison on 14 May 1887. This document, and the relative safety in praising him after his death, led to the tale of Napoleon IV as a martyr.

    To all citizens of France,

    France is indivisible, her glory paramount, her citizens legendary. That this union of France should have been briefly separated wounded me grievously. A separation forced by foreign powers in momentary weakness for France, but which should have been peaceably reconciled. Willing was I to discuss this with the representatives of Paris, yet no discussions would they undertake. With battleship and cannon would they have sought to reunite France. Their goal I admire; their methods I deplore.

    Yet for that I could have defeated them, I believe that never should Frenchmen fight Frenchmen. To have remained in this world would only have brought about that abomination. If I retired from Algiers, the Republic would have pursued me to the ends of the earth. Only my death could have prevented this tragedy of France fighting herself.

    So this world I depart, there to greet, I hope, our risen Lord. Some have claimed this departure a mortal sin, but is it not also written that God is all-merciful? If a man should be damned for taking his own life, in what is claimed a violation of God’s will, would a doctor not also be damned for extending the days of a man’s life? It is, I believe, the heart of a man that God will judge, not his last action, and so I ask that He look into my heart and judge me as He will. Even if I am damned, still this price I would pay to spare uncounted thousands of my countrymen who would otherwise have perished.

    Fare you well in your lives, citizens of France.

    (Signed) Napoleon IV Bonaparte

    * * *

    “He found more triumph in death than he ever did in life.”
    From: “The Life and Times of Napoleon IV”. By Prof. N. Leahy, Trinity College, University of Dublin (Liberty Press, Dublin, 1952)

    * * *

    [1] A thrall is essentially a rat which can shift to human form.

    [2] i.e. from the Spanish front during the Second Napoleonic Wars.

    [3] The Upper House of the German Diet receives representatives per state, and all of these representatives are noble. This means that reducing the number of states within Germany will weaken the merged state’s influence in the Upper House.

    [4] These vessels are roughly equivalent to the OTL French Charles Martel class, although a little inferior in gunnery and armour.

    [5] In fact, Napoleon IV has abdicated that title, calling himself only Emperor of Algeria, but his son isn’t that keen to accept that.

    * * *

    Thoughts?

    Kaiser Wilhelm III
    https://www.alternatehistory.com/decadesofdarkness/
    http://decadesofdarkness.blogspot.com/