Es Geloybte Aretz Continuation Thread

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by carlton_bach, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. carlton_bach Member

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    Though the thread begins in 1908, it is the continuation of the TL Es Geloybte Aretz - A Germanwank with a POD in 1888 which is why I put it here. The format differs, with entries now taken from fictional history books later in the TL rather than 'live' novelistic vignettes. This being a work in progress, comments are very welcome. Me having other projects including a toddler in the house, patience on my readers' part is appreciated.

     
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  2. nlucasm from the Chilean Wallmapu

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    IT'S BACK!!!!! :):):):)
     
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  3. carlton_bach Member

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    ‘Population Exchanges’

    What are Population Exchanges?

    The idea behind the population exchanges of 1908-1911 and later similar projects was to create a more ethnically homogenous population in neighbouring states by moving people of the respective other ethnicity into their country. This was supposed to be a voluntary and orderly process in which relocatees were compensated for the land and homes they left behind and enabled to begin successful new lives in their national home. To date, no population exchange in recorded history has lived up to these expectations.


    What Happened in 1908-1911?

    After the end of the First Russo-German War, Germany and her victorious allies created a number of new states from territory that had once been Russian. First among these were Finland, Poland, Ruthenia and the Baltic states. Ethnic Russians living in these territories were expelled while ethnic Poles, Balts, Ruthenians, Finns, Swedes and Germans living in Russia were offered the opportunity to settle in the new states. An estimated five million people were moved to new homes in the three years following the peace treaty of Baden-Baden, and individual resettlements continued for decades after.


    What were the Problems?

    Population exchanges presume that the states carrying them out can do this on equal terms. In reality, they usually took place between winners and losers after a war. As a result, people were treated neither fairly nor equitably. Especially in the victor countries, members of the defeated ethnicity were often forced to leave their homes with little or nothing and no compensation paid. Expulsions were often violently carried out by soldiers or mobs. Sometimes, expellees were forced to sell their property at artificially low prices or had it confiscated. In extreme cases, they were forced to walk hundreds of kilometres without adequate food or shelter and dumped in a country they had never been in before. The members of victorious nationalities enjoyed better protection, but the experience was often traumatic for them as well.

    Read the following eyewitness accounts:

    “The National Army came into our village on a Sunday. They surrounded the church and had the priest read out a proclamation in Finnish and Russian before they allowed anyone to leave: We had two hours to pack our belongings. Two soldiers followed us to my father’s farmhouse and confiscated our horses and cattle. They wanted to force us to carry everything on our backs, but Papa was able to talk them into letting us pull a wagon. We loaded it with clothes, food, kitchenware and our icons, but they would not let us take the feather beds or my mother’s linen. One of them searched Papa for money and took most he had. At two in the afternoon, all Russian families in the village left on the road to Joensuu and the border. Some were lucky – the soldiers allowed rich people to take one of their horses, and some girls had thought to hide gold roubles in their underclothes. I only had a small necklace that we had to sell so we could buy food on the way. Others had to carry everything on their backs. It was late summer, so it was not terribly cold or muddy, but we had to sleep in the open and walk every day, even when it rained. It took almost a month until we were given help by the Russian government.”

    (Raitsa S., 11 years old in 1908)

    “Our farm was in the Volga region and we had had some problems with the authorities over our name and our religion in the past. German occupation soldiers moved through in 1908, which we all thought very exciting, and in early 1909 an Unteroffizier announced there would be a population transfer station set up. My parents decided to take the chance. Our land and property was assessed and sold to the Russian state for which we were given German paper notes. We were told we could pack suitcases and bags, but not bring either animals or carts. Three weeks later, we and fifteen other families departed to the train station in Pokrovsk under guard by ten German soldiers. They were very friendly, and the train journey was quite comfortable though it took a long time. We changed trains four times before we reached the German border and were brought to a camp in Königshütte where we had to spend weeks being processed, de-loused, and given new papers.

    Papa found out that the paper notes were only good for purchasing land or homes, so we were not as rich as we had thought. We had not known how expensive farmland was in Germany. In the end, he made a deal with one of the brokers who congregated at the camp and bought the farmstead in Silesia where we still live. I am not sure whether leaving Russia was a good idea. I am happy in Germany, but we were much better off back home. Our farm is too small to support a family, and my children will have to look for work in the city.”

    (Paul R., 9 years old in 1909)


    What were ‘Black Reparations’

    Unlike Germany or Austria-Hungary, the newly created states had no legal right to reparations since they had entered the war as provinces in revolt against their ruler. However, the rules for population exchanges provided for compensation payments to relocatees who had left behind more valuable property than they could find at their destination. Especially Poland used this provision to demand large sums from the Russian government. Altogether, Poland, Finland and the Baltic States received an estimated 300 million gold marks in compensation payment. As little as 18 million was paid out to displaced families. Instead, they mostly received their compensation in the form of land the Polish state took over from Russia. This policy proved unwise as it frittered away a precious and finite asset to temporarily solve an immediate fiscal problem.


    Were there Other Population Exchanges?

    After the First Russo-German War, small-scale population exchanges were also implemented by the Ottoman Empire in the Caucasus and by Japan in Manchuria and Sakhalin. In later years, there was a scheme for a population exchange between the Balkan states and the Ottoman Empire that failed due to lack of participation. Further attempts were made in the course of the Ausgleich crisis of 1937-46, but in most cases these, like the purported ‘Armenian exchange’ of 1914, were really just forcible expulsions.

    (Reichszentrale für staatsbürgerliche Bildung, teaching material collection 1997)
     
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  4. InMediasRes Well-Known Member

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    Population exchanges are always messy. And they are not even all that accurate in a lot of cases. If I remember correctly we already saw a post-war update in the old thread were nationality of residents in the new Polish state was determined. The distinction between Poles, White Ruthenians/Belarusians and Russians seemed quite arbitrary. As did the distinction between Catholic and Orthodox. I can imagine the categorizations for these population exchanges are equally confusing. I guess there are bound to be situations like in the Greek-Turkic population exchanges IOTL, where among others Greek Muslims were sent to Turkey, while Turkish Orthodox were sent to Greece.

    And of course we already know that these terrible exchanges don't even prevent the future war. Seems rather pointless to inflict so much suffering for so little gain, but that's history I guess.

    Anyway, I'm stoked to see this TL back in action, even if it is in a different format!
     
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  5. carlton_bach Member

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    The turning point in the historical trajectory of Ottomanism and the its subsequent decline as a governing ideology was reached not so much – as is frequently claimed – with the Russo-German War as with the conflicts that followed it along Russia’s southwestern periphery. Frequently referred to as the Caucasian Wars, the Armenian War, or the Basmachi Revolt, this series of connected, but largely independent regional conflicts created enormous human suffering and economic disruption across large parts of Central Asia from Western Turkestan to the Crimea. It was the initial involvement of the Ottoman government in the hope of securing informal control over Russian territories with majority Muslim populations that produced the political backdrop to the Young Turks’ dramatic shift away from an imperial and towards a simultaneously ethnic and religious nationalist ideology.

    Local risings and revolts often triggered by wartime taxation, conscription, and the high-handed policies of the Integralist government were initially – and ineptly - recast as national liberation struggles by German agents. Their influence remained limited until the entry of the Ottoman Empire into the war opened up supply routes and long-established connections through refugee families resettled in Turkey. National solidarity and the bond that tied all Turkic peoples were invoked in public, yet the most lasting impact was made by the declaration of jihad that both German and Ottoman observers had initially considered a mere formality. Disparate local rebels found a common cause in their Sunni Muslim identity and a champion in the sultan, and what had begun in opposition to the Czar quickly realigned itself along religious lines. As a result, most Christian populations found themselves forced into the Russian camp by default. Georgia especially – initially a hotbed of rebellion against Russian rule – became a centre of resistance against Ottoman power where successive ‘pacification’ efforts bled armies white. Conflicts between several parties simmered for a generation, with a three-party proxy war between Ottomans, British-aligned Persians and Russians tearing apart the Caspian littoral while ethnic cleansing took a heavy toll on both sides of the Russian-Ottoman border. At the height of the confrontation in 1910-11, the Ottoman government infamously issued its Field Order 48/1910 calling for the expulsion of all Armenian and Georgian Christians living in the border provinces. We are still far away from an accurate estimate of the casualties that resulted as field commanders and local authorities took it upon themselves to interpret the intent of the order. The long-term damage it did to the internal stability of the Empire and the trust of its Christian citizens was enormous.

    It was increasingly clear in the light of such events that being a Christian and an Ottoman was a shaky proposition. The government itself never formally adopted any such policy. It embraced the idea, reinforced by post-war German and Austrian policies in the newly independent states, of a nation state composed of ethnic minorities with codified rights and protections. In the relatively peaceful regions of the Levant and the Balkans, this proved feasible, though ethnic jealousies took violent forms here as well. Along the northern border, almost two decades of fighting made it impossible, and the blowback from these conflicts would shape perceptions in Istanbul. Political rhetoric, especially among the so-called Progressive parties favouring a European-style ethnic nation state even at the cost of ceding certain territories, was viciously exclusionary, often embracing Pan-Turkic or Pan-Turanic visions, while a large part of the conservative bloc defined itself through politicised religion, either Orthodox Christian or Sunni Muslim. By the 1930s, the sunny vision of a multi-ethnic Ottomanism was gone, replaced by a competing two-party system of politicised Islam and secular Turkishness that admitted third parties only as tolerated minorities. That it was possible to build a successful modern state on these foundations is owed in equal parts to the windfall of oil profits and the administrative genius of the second generation of Young Turk politicians, and remains one of the untold epics of modern history.

    (D. Lawrence, A History of the Ottoman Empire in the Modern Era, Cambridge University Press 1971)
     
  6. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    This TL continues to wonderfully bring home how much transition to modernity really sucked for a lot of people a lot of times. And this is in a TL where things mostly seem to turn out at least somewhat better than in real history. (Forced expulsion of Armenians is horrible, but a considerable improvement over Metz Yeghern. The Herero Genocide did not happen in this TL. And the carnage of the Russo-German war is not even remotely comparable to what happened in WWI. Of course, ITTL people don't know that).
     
  7. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

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    It's all relative, isn't it?
     
  8. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    Of course.
    We also don't know if the future wars have worse things in store ITTL, though we can at least assume that Russia survived as a modern nation (though, interestingly, not seen as a European one).
     
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  9. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

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    It would make sense for them to partially tack away from European identity, wouldn't it? Since the war shorn them of a lot of their European land, Russia's center of gravity moved quite a bit.
     
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  10. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    Yes, though I would guess that there's also much of a European perception of Russia as despotic, therefore "Asian/Oriental", and similar stereotypes.
     
  11. Perfidious Albion Well-Known Member

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    European Russia would still have most of Russia's population, though. In OTL, where Russia lost Ukraine, Belarus etc, it's more than three quarters. The Russians were, are and will remain a predominantly European people. Asian Russia may loom large on the map but there aren't very many people living in it.
     
  12. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

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    That's why they'd never stop being European. It's just that ITTL the mix of Asian in the brew will get bigger.
     
  13. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    Define "European". ;)
    The Urals are a geographical convention and little else. ITTL, people may ultimately decide that to go back to the Greek geographical approach where Europe ends at the Don, or even wherever the new political border of Russia will happen to end up. I admit it is unlikely, but perhaps "cultural" and "geographical" Europes will be more clearly distinguished ITTL anyway.
     
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  14. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

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    I don't have a praticular definition of 'European' in mind.
    Russia, though, has inarguably (at least since the days of Peter the Great), considered itself at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, Eurasian at heart. Thanks to circumstances ITTL, the European portion of that will shrink, and the Asian portion will increase correspondingly.
     
  15. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    Well, the Eurasianist view is one among several options about Russian identity, though one that was and is quite popular at various times. Most Russians IOTL would probably identify as "European" in some sense, even when living in Siberia. Minorities such as Tatars are another matter however. (Occasionally in the nineteenth century, Hungary was regarded as culturally "Asian").
     
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  16. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

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    Yeah.
    This all goes back to the fact that "European" can mean different things. A definition under which Hungary is culturally Asian must be pretty Western European-centric and narrowly-defined; while a Russian in Chukot seeing herself as "European" is using a wide definition. The thought process she would employ would probably be "I am a Russian>Russia is part of Europe>I am European".
     
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  17. carlton_bach Member

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    "European" is always an ideological term, ITTL even more than IOTL (how else is Israel in the EUROvision Song Contest?) . Russia, though geographically straddling Europe and Asia, is addressed as neither fully European nor fully Asian. China, Japan and India are uncomfortable calling it an Asian country, pointing to its majority-white population, its population centre in Europe, and its historic ties there. Meanwhile, German scholars and propagandists have spent the better part of a century peddling the story that Russia is properly best understood as a 'Eurasian' power like the Ottoman Empire (which ITTL also still straddles Europe and Asia) rather than a 'fully' European one. Some people buy it. ITTL's Russians would mostly consider themselves European.
     
  18. AvatarOfKhaine Eldar God of War

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    Because the Eurovision song contest is based off broadcasting area?

    And I'm interested in how one would think of "unusual Eurovision" entryists and go to Israel before Australia and still also not mention the other "weird" entryist countries like the North African ones.

    I'm also not sure I'd buy Germany wanting to demonise Russia as Eurasian given the German historiography of the Mitteleuropa concept that Germany placed itself as distinct from both Western and Eastern Europe. If anything, it makes a great degree of sense for Germany to depict "Eurasian-ness" as being a peversion of the "Mitteleuropa ideal" and use Russia as a dark mirror of what Germany could have been.

    Still, interesting commentary, though I do think that it is very racist to say that Russia can't be Asian due to whiteness. The Afrikaners and Maghrebi are afterall just as African as those with darker skin. Though obviously the people of TTL can be racist and hold those kind of racist views quite easily.
     
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  19. Stendhal Well-Known Member

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    Foundations ITTL would include Ottoman suzerainty over OTL Turkey, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Sudan. I shall be disappointed not to be told that epic.
     
  20. yboxman Well-Known Member

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    The largest muslim population of the transcauscaus is Shia- the Azeris and related people. It is only in Ajaria, Abkhazia and the North/Cis Cascaus (which I understand remains under Russian rule) that the Muslims are predominantly Sunni. Of course, when the Ottomans/Young Turks advanced on Baku OTL, the Azeris still supported them. But it is worthwhile bearing in mind that the Hamidye masscres were inflicted by Sunni millitas which to a large extent initially targeted Alevis, not Armenians.



    How much did the Ottoman border change following the war? I mean, are we talking about the expulsion of Armenians from The Six Vilayets and Kars, or from the yerevan Guberniya?

    Is this expulsion across the border or "resettlement" in the interior?

    If the Armenians are being expelled and if the Russians regain control of Baku and its oil at some point (did they ever lose it?) then the Azeris could be facing very harsh times indeed. More generally if Armenians are being expelled OUT of the Ottoman Empire and into Transcaucasia Armenians are likely to hold a powerful economic and Demographic condition if things ever settle down.
     
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