Feeble Constitution - A Red-and-Green Russia 1917

Some comments on Germany in May/June 1919:

Baden and Württemberg look entirely different. Württemberg’s King Wilhelm had been skeptical of the Great War from the start, the kingdom had enacted universal male suffrage for the second chamber of the Landstände already in the constitutional reform of 1906, and the monarch enjoyed popularity far into the liberal and social-democratic segments of the population. Once the great wave of reforms (to keep up popular support for the war) has been announced and in part started in Berlin in 1918, I see no reason whatsoever why Württemberg would not have taken a leading position again here. Female suffrage, a reform of the electoral constituencies, the inclusion of social rights in the constitution, and the reduction of the first chamber to a merely ceremonial role all seem plausible effects of the great war and the worldwide political climate of the moment to me, and they would be certainly sufficient to defang any revolutionary elements among Württemberg’s socialists. Therefore, Württemberg shall remain a (now parliamentary) monarchy. Lang läbe d’r König Wilhelm!

Württemberg becomes occupied only for a short period of time, by a very small French presence in the North and another very small Italian presence in the South. If Württemberg fully demobilizes its army, which I have no doubt that it will, then these troops are probably gone sooner rather than later – with the latest point in time probably around when the Württembergian government signs Versailles 2.0.

With regards to national politics, I expect Württemberg’s Landstände to support the Vorparlament, where one of theirs, Matthias Erzberger, is leading the Zentrum’s faction and redrawing the party’s national political agenda, while both Württembergian Zentrum, Demokratische Volkspartei [left-liberal], SPD and USPD will calculate coolly what compliance with which foreign power over matters of how Württemberg should position itself in the questions of a new German constitution and of Versailles 2.0 shall bring for the little kingdom. They will have diverging opinions on these matters, but none of this is approaching the civil war level of their Bavarian neighbors, who are going to serve as the deterring example for our solid Swabians. This also answers the question of Württemberg’s relation to the council movement: worker councils, particularly strong in Stuttgart and Heilbronn, will not be forcibly dispersed and they’re certainly able to send delegates to Elberfeld. But any major disruptive economic transformation in the kingdom is probably going to be negotiated away – which might corroborate Stuttgart’s and Heilbronn’s positions as the cities with the most well-to-do workforce within Germany (which doesn’t mean a lot in 1919, to be fair).

In Baden, a similar development could take place belatedly after the resumption of hostilities. One requirement for saving the monarchy here is removing Friedrich II. in favour of his son Max. This could occur when hostilities resume. Friedrich II. could be in favour of attempting to resist the French – and then be silently pushed to the side by both the Badenblock coalition and the Zentrum in favour of liberal and pragmatic Max. Baden is still going to be overrun by French forces, although probably only towards the very end in this scenario because Baden isn’t high up on the list of military priorities (it’s going to end up French-controlled anyway, everbody knows). Max has good OTL credentials as a reformer, and I’m sure he could have worked well together with the “Badenblock” coalition of Social Democrats and liberals and enacted reforms which go beyond those of 1904. Baden remains a grand duchy, thus. It probably needs to demilitarize completely and let the French rove freely. As for how future Badish governments could develop, I have not yet made up my mind. The council movement is active primarily in Karlsruhe; the rest of the country has been historically dominated by militant liberals, with an electorally strong Zentrum seeing itself shut out of confessionally polarized politics. The proximity to France isn’t going to weaken Baden’s militant stance against the power of the Catholic church, I suppose – although positions with regards to Versailles 2.0 etc. could change this and cause realignments. Like in Bavaria and Württemberg, overtly nationalist parties are going to be forbidden, and the French are certainly going to help in smoking out any pockets of Heimatwehr resistance.

In Saxony, the Revolution had already driven off the Wettin monarchs and installed a Free People’s State. Its USPD-led government has, in turn, been attacked by Prussian forces after the Bundesrat had declared imperial execution against Saxony. But Saxony had never been pacified. It’s seen a several month-long civil war in the spring of 1919, which in the end was decided by Luxemburg’s successful mobilization in neighboring Gotha and invading Czechoslovak forces. Even before Hindenburg’s surrender, the Revolution has triumphed in Eisenach, Erfurt, Dessau, Gera and other industrial cities in the region. In some places, workers’ councils are dominated by the USPD, in others by Luxemburg’s new IRSD (the backbone of which form the remnants of the old Spartakist left wing of the USPD, joined by new radical groups). In spite of differences, the various revolutionaries form a common Workers’ Soviet of Saxony and Thuringia and send delegates to the German Congress of Workers’ Soviets. The supreme soviet of Red Saxony is situated, once again, in Leipzig.

It does not control all Saxon and Thuringian statelets, though, and only parts of the Prussian province of Saxony in addition. At first, anti-socialist opposition is divided and overwhelmed and without a plan. But even spontaneous opposition throws wrenches into the consolidation of Red Mega-Saxony. In Gera, for example, USPD-aligned revolutionaries have forced Heinrich XXVII. to abdicate as prince of both Reuß jüngere Linie and Reuß ältere Linie, and declared that all state functions are temporarily taken over by the councils (aligned to Leipzig) until a constituent assembly is elected. But while they soon manage to keep things running smoothly again in Gera, a centre of textile industry and a beating heart of the labour movement, they have little power projection into even the rural Southern reaches of the two principalities – and in reaction, on June 3rd, the old Landtag in Greiz declared that public administration in the former principality of Reuß ältere Linie would be overseen by them, not by any workers’ council, and they decided to throw in their lot with the Frankfurt Vorparlament to prepare the ground for elections to a constituent assembly, delegating one from among their rank to represent their little statelet in Frankfurt. Similar developments took place in the Duchy of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha, where Gotha is a revolutionary stronghold of Luxemburg’s IRSD, but Duke Carl Eduard was able to flee unobstructedly to Coburg. Likewise, in the Grand Duchy of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, Eisenach and Apolda fell into the hands of the revolutionaries, but in quiet Weimar, Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst still sits unobstructedly and even takes the initiative into his own hands by calling new elections for the grand duchy’s Landtag and seeking contact with the British military administration farther to the North in order to avoid being dethroned and seeing his entire grand duchy slide into radical socialism. Other principalities (both Schwarzburgs, the Duchies of Sachsen-Meiningen and of Sachsen-Altenburg) are also relatively unaffected by the red wave at first – on the other hand, Erfurt, which is legally in Prussia, is completely controlled by socialist revolutionaries.

The British don’t come to the aid of threatened monarchs so far South, though – the Saxon and Thuringian principalities are within the Czechoslovak occupation zone. But Czechoslovak military presence is sparse; they do not have the numbers to occupy a large territory. Nor are they interested in staying indefinitely – Masaryk’s government is desperately short of funds (like most other governments, too). Czechoslovakia’s strategic aims had been a) to remove the threat of a powerful Germany which might reclaim the Sudetenland from them, and b) to appear as a strong and reliable ally and important power in the concert of the EFP. Both of these have been achieved with their “joyful ride” towards Berlin and their formulation of a common new draft with the UoE for a peace treaty with many small Germanies (while the British and Americans still hold on to the idea of one German government which could shoulder this responsibility, which they hope to resuscitate through the Constituent Assembly to be elected). This draft envisions Greater Saxony and Thuringia as an “EFP Mandate Zone for Free Democratic Development” – which combines multi-national oversight, including a smaller Czechoslovak contingent, with explicit openness towards the possibilities of socialist experiments, but also towards a semi-sovereign statelet of their own for the Slavic-speaking Lusatian Sorbs of formerly Royal Saxony and Prussia’s adjacent provinces. (Sorbian rights come in a distant third place on Masaryk’s list of priorities, but still. Remember that while Masaryk is a bourgeois liberal nationalist, the Czechoslovak government overall has no anti-socialist leanings whatsover – they are one of the UoE’s closest allies, and there are moderate socialist parties in the coalition which governs the young country.)

After a few weeks, the Czechoslovaks, and more importantly: their UoE allies, observe with great concern that the non-Leipzig-aligned pockets are serving as bases into which remnants of nationalist Heimatwehren retreat and where they form anew, their ranks swelling with people opposed to Luxemburg’s radical socialist vision. Decisions are taken therefore to orchestrate a “revolutionary wave”, aided by the two EFP powers present in the region, to wash over the last remnants of the old order. In the end, the old tiered parliaments are dissolved everywhere and the Grand Duke of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, the Duke of Sachsen-Meiningen, the Duke of Anhalt, the Duke of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha, the Duke of Sachsen-Altenburg, and the Princes of the two Schwarzburgs and Reuß’ are all removed, and not only their domains and castles, but also those of most other nobles are plundered by revolutionary hordes, partitioned or opened for the public to hunt and poach in, and placed under the military jurisdiction of what, in late July, becomes the Governing Council of the EFP Mandate over Saxony and Thuringia. Saxony and Thuringia have become red strongholds.

Prussia’s old parliament is dissolved. In the place of its resigned government, an Allied Council for the Administration of Prussia is installed. Its provinces begin to unravel: a Rheinische Republik is established with a new constitution (no military, full sovereignty). The Saxon province, as mentioned, is partly controlled by Red Saxony and merged into an EFP Mandate. Another major centre of socialist revolution in former Prussia is the Ruhr region – here, by early June, most cities have come under the soviet control, and here is the beating heart of Germany’s socialist revolution, embodied in the Elberfeld Congress. The Red Ruhr is no monolith, either, though: it has International Communists, USPD, and the anarcho-syndicalist FAU, who can actually mobilise the largest number of militant supporters. In the Kerensky-Benes draft for Versailles 2.0, the Ruhr Industrial Region is marked as an EFP Mandate Zone for Free Democratic Development, too – which means that the council socialists can manage internal affairs for the time being as they see fit, as long as they do not put up any resistance to the military occupation by the French and Belgians.

The same EFP structure is proposed for Hesse, too, from Prussian Bad Karlshafen in the North to Grand Ducal Worms in the South. Here, there is no hegemony of socialist groups – instead, there are ongoing small-scale clashes between a broader revolutionary coalition (left-liberals and various socialists), supported by France, and remnants of the Heimatwehren (the French had been so busy to hurry towards Berlin, too, that they had not been very thorough in capturing, disarming and detaining von Wetter’s army, so some remnants are still left, joined by new voluntaries who oppose the radical change which is gripping Hesse’s Western and Eastern neighbors). Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig is still in Darmstadt, but actual power is exerted mostly by the French. French military occupation in Hesse is playing a duplicitious game: they are hosting and offering safety and protection to the Vorparlament in Frankfurt, while also supporting militant groups who would much rather have the transitional process being overseen by workers’ councils, and while exerting pressure on the Rhenish Republic to take as distanced a stance towards any vision of re-unified Germany as possible and obstruct all processes by which a concentration of the powers now in the hands of the various fission products of the empire could occur. If Versailles 2.0 becomes reality, there will probably be elections for a unified Hessian Landtag (for the Prussian province of Hessen-Nassau together with the former grand duchy of Hessen-Darmstadt), and if this happens, I don’t see it adopting anything other than a republican constitution. Heimatwehr resistance in Hesse is not something which couldn’t be eradicated, or at least reduced to dispersed terrorist cells, in a couple of months.

The security situation is entirely different in the East – i.e. in Pommerania, Silesia, and West and East Prussia. Here, large numbers of armed anti-Russian, anti-Polish, anti-socialist, anti-republican, anti-democratic, ultra-nationalist groups are still roaming. The Vinetabund is just one embodiment of this trend. This is a problem the UoE must deal with with only Polish “help” – and the Poles are only ever really helpful where they are granted full incorporation of a region into their emerging republic. This is going to be one motive why a revised Kerensky-Benes draft for Versailles 2.0 is going to award yet more German territory to Poland than the map I’ve shown you which depicted the negotiations in February/March. We’re talking about all of West Prussia, most of Upper Silesia, and yet more of Pommerania and East Prussia. Only this leaves the UoE with a challenge it can tackle with the limited forces that are politically feasible to maintain in East Germany. Like Danzig, the remaining territories designated not to become Polish are proposed to be fused into one EFP Mandate Zone for Free Democratic Development. Only here, the UoE has very little grassroots structures to build their regime change on. That does not mean they can’t create them – but that would take quite a bit of political genius. To the Russian political eye, “Germany” is an advanced industrialised nation, different from their rural self. It takes a bit to realize that East Elbia is socially and economically not too dissimilar to the former Russian Empire: a landed and military aristocracy ruling over an impoverished peasantry from their manors, producing cash crops with the cheapest available workforce. Once they realize this, the answer is easy: mobilise the dependent peasantry and sharecropping proletariat by enacting a land reform, a process in which peasant councils are formed which can serve as the backbone of a new socialist democracy closely aligned to the UoE. (The towns are more difficult, I admit – but the towns were and would be leaning Social Democratic IOTL, so the big question would be whether such a policy could somehow dissect the SPD from the idea of German unity and sovereignty to which it is quite closely wed. But I haven’t decided whether this course of action is going to take place at all – it would not be bloodless, to be sure, but all alternatives would be the UoE’s early Vietnam. It is vital for them to understand that they must drive a wedge between the German Junkers and their German underlings in East Elba. If they weld them together instead, they’re fried. Handing over territory to the Poles is one recipe for welding the two together in nationalist fervor. The problem is, it’s such a temptingly easy way out. What do you think the UoE will do in East Elbia?

And that’s not all the carving that’s being done to Prussia. Sorbian Lusatia has already been mentioned – most of it lies in Prussia, so if it gets singled out for “national self-determination”, that’s yet more amputations.

Oh, and Berlin. Berlin must be controlled by all Entente powers together, even if their Entente is not too cordial anymore. It’s probably moving towards a status as a free city.

Which leaves those parts of Brandenburg, Hannover, Schleswig-Holstein and Westphalia which are occupied (or earmarked for occupation) by Anglo-American forces. I have finally made up my mind about the US, and I will disclose this and how it affects British policy in the next update, too. Long story short, though: the British will see the writing on the wall and make sure they have some client states in Germany, too. Would they weld Schleswig-Holstein, Hannover, Westphalia, and “their” parts of Brandenburg and Northern Saxony together into a new “rump Western Former Prussia” or perhaps a “Northern German Republic”? I’m not sure – they could just let each province transform into an independent republic. What I’m pretty sure about is that Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck maintain their status as free cities, and that quiet Mecklenburg (both grand duchies unified, Friedrich Franz IV. was administering Strelitz, too, anyway after Adolf Friedrich’s suicide) remains a Grand Duchy, albeit probably with a more parliamentary constitution. Friedrich Franz was neither anti-parliamentary, nor was he particularly happy with the expansionist war plans. Oldenburg, on the other hand, is ripe for republicanisation or absorption into Hannover, even under British control, given its Grand Duke Friedrich August’s militarist stance and his own unpopularity.

Given that even in the British zone of influence, there is a real gore of weird boundaries and tiny statelets like Waldeck-Pyrmont, Lippe, Schaumburg etc., the most logical solution would be some degree of territorial consolidation / clean-up, but I’m not sure how this could be done without dethroning all monarchs, and even then it took the Nazis and another World War to remove these relics of the Medieval HRE from Germany’s map. The alternative is at least a zone of free commerce and travel (a new Zollverein) – ideally, this would be something legislated by a Constituent Assembly…. If not, its absence would be a pestering sore and things would not work out at all for the tiny states as independent entitites.


The little flags indicate which troops are present in which places.
As you can see, I am not yet decided on the exact nature of Brunswick and Hannover (merger? as monarchy or republic?), and while I'm clear on Oldenburg's becoming a Free State even under British influence, I wasn't sure with Schaumburg-Lippe and Lippe-Detmold, either. The British zone of influence is all the pink parts of former Prussia plus the other tiny little parts encircled by the British pink line. As you can see, several PRussian provinces have been split between the British and EFP powers this way: Westphalia, Saxony, and Brandenburg. Here, continuing with the provincial institutions does not look the most logical choice. Oh, and one Hohenzollern branch does get to keep a little principality in their original dynastical base for the time being, which was fairly un-proletarian and non-socialist IOTL.
I've gone for more Polish annexations than negotiated earlier in the spring, also, Danish Schleswig and Belgian Eupen-Malmedy have been marked.
The Saxony and Westphalia EFP mandate zones (as well as Berlin, on whose status I am also not 100 % set) are where the socialist council movement is strongest, and they can count on some degree of support from Bavaria (how the UoE deals with them, i.e. how much support they will lend them we shall find out).
June 1919 - Lloyd George Criticised
London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland): The Times, June 26th, 1919, p. 3:


by Wickham Steed

His Majesty’s Prime Minister, Mr. Lloyd George, has received a resounding slap in the face in the House of Commons’ debate on foreign affairs. In particular, a majority of the parliament does not follow the Premier’s criticisms of his Foreign Secretary. The leader of the Majority, Mr. Law, defended Mr. Balfour’s plans for a separate entendre with France regarding Germany and her former colonies as well as the Ottoman Empire’s former provinces and the oversight over its foreign debt [1]. He admonished every member of the government to fulfill their responsibilities as dutifully as Mr. Balfour; a not-very-covert criticism at the address of the Prime Minister himself, whom many Conservative and Unionist MPs have come to view as weak for his concessions to the labour unions, which have failed to stop the devastating wave of strikes, for his failure to restore order in Ireland, pursue a coherent strategy for Arabia [2], and defend imperial stability in India [3]. Also, except for Mr. Cecil, the faith of leading Conservatives in the wisdom of Mr. Lloyd George’s allegiance to the goals of U.S. President Wilson’s agenda seems to wane. There appears to be some reason to think that Mr. Lloyd George is betting on the wrong horse indeed, when the dominating opinion in America’s Congress apparently has moved away from its ultra-progressive interlude [4], and Russia’s foreign minister, Mr. Kerensky, has already bluntly called Mr. Wilson “castrated by his Senate” [5]. Under these circumstances, many parliamentarians bemoan how the Prime Minister has neglected relations with France, driving Mr. Clemenceau’s government into the arms of the Russians and their socialist project. The pragmatic settlement prepared by Mr. Balfour and Mr. Pichon, which Mr. Lloyd George so quickly excluded from consideration, appears perfectly reasonable to many M.P.s, on the other hand. How long will this Coalition last and sustain Mr. Lloyd George in his position?

[1] The Balfour-Pichon agreement redraws Anglo-French zones of influences in the Middle East, extending the British zone far beyond the Sykes-Picot lines – more on the Middle East in an upcoming update currently written by @Falecius ! – while compensating the French in a pre-arrangement for the division of Germany’s former colonies with all of Togo and Cameroon, and beyond that a scheme for the Ottoman Public Debt Administration which would allow it to be de facto controlled mostly by Britain and France, plus an acceptance of the possibility of both powers to conclude separate peace treaties with individual German states instead of either Wilson’s insistence on peace with a reunified Germany or the Kerensky-Benes plan, which would give the EFP far-reaching control over Germany’s future.

[2] As I said, more on the Middle East by Falecius – but we ought to remember that, just like IOTL, the British are faced with a “revolution” in Egypt, trouble with unreliable Kurds, and of course between the Hashemites and the Saudis, all very much like IOTL.

[3] That’s just an allusion to Afghanistan’s attacks, also very much on OTL’s schedule.

[4] The Senate is as opposed to any League of Nations, World Federation of Peace or any similar proposals. The existence of the latter idea, even more far-reaching the former, associated with socialist internationalism, which begins to appear somewhat scary to some in the US (not as bad as OTL’s Bolshevism, but remember Seattle went worse than IOTL, and there have been more strikes and protests since), has not succeeded in rallying Congress around the more moderate proposal of their President, but rather caused an even more severe isolationist reaction than IOTL. Henry Cabot Lodge’s counter-proposal, ITTL, is therefore to give up on the whole idea of a League of Nations and just strengthen the International War Court in The Hague a little instead.

[5] Kerensky did it. There has been a build-up to this point. The way I envision it, Kerensky doesn’t get along well neither with Foreign Minister Lansing, who was an anti-socialist Anglophile, nor with Wilson, who would lecture the Russians on “Germany’s right to self-determination”, at which Kerensky probably murmured under his breath “What about the Philippines’ right to self-determination?”, but when Wilson would, which he inevitably would have to, make concessions to the British imperialists who were actively oppressing and killing "small nations" like Ireland and colonial populations in various continents at the moment, while still lecturing the Russians on the true rule of law, or on how to write a proper constitution where conflicts like the one the UoE has undergone throughout June on the matter of whether and how to establish more federative republics in Russia’s Muslim South – a key requirement for the formation of the coalition in the Duma, which is on the way to become reality: more on that soon in an update, now only so much: there is intense debate in the Council of the Union as to how to re-calculate the votes of each federative republic, and that is what Wilson referred to when he lectured Kerensky or, more probably, Avksentiev –, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Given how much Wilson wanted the League of Nations, the Senate’s position has indeed politically “castrated” him, but of course that wasn’t a nice thing to say.
June 1919 - The Future of the Arabs, The Future of Egypt
Here is the guest contribution by @Falecius on the Middle East, and I must say, I love it a lot! Thank you so very much for writing it!

The Future of the Arabs, the Future of Egypt

By Muṣṭafà Luṭfī al-Manfalūṭī [1]

al-Mu’ayyad, June 25th, 1919

I write, as news come from the West, of the agreement between the Italian government and the leaders of the peoples of Libya, from the North, of the formation of the new Muslim autonomies in Russia, and from the East, of the Emirate of Syria receiving the recognition of the colonizer.[2]
I write, and here in Cairo itself the streets teem with the sons and daughters of the Homeland, claiming their right as citizens. A right that the English still deny here, despite their retreat of some troops from inland Syria.

Hope, I believe, beckons to our oppressed land, hope that shines in the hearts of all Egyptians. The English have seen their arrogance for what it is worth, across the dreadful bloodshed of the Flemish trenches, and so have the French. More arrogance had the Germans, and behold, what came to be of their once proud realm. The might of their armies shattered facing the will of the freedom-loving peoples.

The subjects of the Russian Empire have broken their chains, and put the power-hungry monster-dream of Empire to rest – they now tend a helping hand to their former Muslim subjects in Turkistan and the Caucasus and in Tartary, to build a true brotherhood of nations [3]. Let us all pray in homes and mosques and churches and synagogues, that they will stay true to such a bold promise, will God that the brotherhood of nations, the very one His Noble Scripture announced, will come for all us to see.

And when Russia sets such a lofty example, and even the greedy Italian colonizers [4] do see reason in their dealings with the Tripolitanian Republic, it stands to us Arab peoples to understand our place in this new world, a world consumed by war and still teeming of promise for the survivors of the onslaught.

I regard with moved heart the Egyptian people now taking pride in their Homeland and demanding the occupier to leave. Let us look at the bright example of our Syrian and Iraqi brethren, let us extend to them our hands and share our struggles.

The English have been keen to support the Syrians and the Iraqis and the Hijazis against the Turks, and they are keeping their word to them so far, in their strange way. A lighthouse shines on us from Damascus, where Amir Faysal has returned from Chantilly with the promise of the national freedom for the Arabs of the Levant.

The promises of Chantilly, the promise of the liberated Russians to the world! Peace for all, freedom for all, justice for all! The promises of Damascus, where the Committee presided by dr Rashid Rida is drafting the Constitution of the Syrian emirate!

Alas, not all words at Chantilly have been so noble. The vices of the powerful have clouded the promise, indeed. Faysal had to concede much to the colonizing greed, that the French can still strangle the Syrian realm from Lebanon and Cilicia, the English from Palestine, the Saudi-led bigoted fools from the Southeast. Nor do we know yet if his brother would be capable enough to bring the Iraqi quarrelling factions to a common table. Basra and Mosul and Baghdad and Deir az-Zor, how different are these provinces and their inhabitants! Yet, Arabs all of them, they are. Let them agree with the Kurds of Sherif Pasha a common border and live in the peace and brotherhood they deserve after the Turkish oppression. [5]

The English themselves are slowly coming to accept, that they cannot lord over us as they used to think they could, as long as France really worries about the Rhine more than the Euphrates. Balfour himself, having granted to other peoples what was not his to give, offering Palestine to the Zionist Jews, has asked France to let the Syrians alone. It is a mutilated Syria that will join the new community of nations, without Lebanon and the land west of the Jordan. But a free Syria for its people will it be nonetheless, and no fault of the Majlis in Damascus that the Lebanese leaders refused to join it. Neither fault of Faysal to have talked to the Jewish leaders, who seem to be proving more reasonable than the English minister trying to please them. [6]

The ultimate fate of Palestine, as well as the matter of the exact borders between the Kurdish lands and Iraq and Syria, will need further finesse, and we cannot pretend that the colonizing Powers will not want to project their interests. Watchful, Arabs, you must be!

For the greed of the capitals of Europe is not exhausted, not the American support to be granted, nor the Turkish threat spent yet[7], nor the Russian help ever so forthcoming.[8]

We will seek, as Egyptians, the inspiration of the Emirate of Syria and the Iraqi Administration, to reclaim our own land for ourselves. If they chart a Constitution in Damascus, we keep calling for one in Cairo, so that our own people can join the brotherhood of Chantilly, that our sons and daughters [9] can live free and take part in the life of their nations.

[1] A prominent Egyptian writer and journalist at the time, although relatively obscure nowadays. He stood usually afloat of actual politics, but sympathized with the Egyptian nationalist cause, Islamic reformism and toyed with utopian socialism. His translations from French (actually not translated by al-Manfalūṭī himself – his mastery of French was poor) were widely read, as were his opinion pieces on the newspaper al-Mu’ayyad. His style was particularly appreciated, and indeed notable at the time. I did my best to try to convey a glimpse of it here.

[2] Basically, both the British and the French have recognized in principle that Faysal and the Syrian National council in Damascus do represent the legitimate, albeit provisional, voice of the inhabitants of Syria. This is not as much as recognizing Syria as a fully independent state yet, though.

[3] [by Salvador79]:The Russian press, both Muslim and not, is a lot more critical of this protracted process in which a lot of high hopes have been dampened and what appears to be the ultimate outcome is somewhat far from what the various groups had initially wanted. I have a little authorial overview on the matter almost finished, and am working on a map, but I'll post this separately. I believe Falecius is preparing a map for TTL's Middle East, too, which should be posted first.

[4] Egyptian opinion was broadly hostile to Italian colonialism in Libya and highly sympathetic to the Libyan resistance. Italy is now trying to reach a peaceful agreement with the Libyan insurgents, exactly as was done IOTL. The Libyan Statutes, that amounted to Libya becoming integral but autonomous part of Italy with the locals enjoying full civil rights, were announced on June 1st historically and the same happens here. The differences are that the Italians operating with better faith: they have not been humiliated by Wilson at Versailles and are not scared by a large Yugoslavia, the Turkish activity in Libya is even less significant than IOTL given how many pressing concerns the Turks have elsewhere, and like everyone else, they have Germany to worry about. This means that the Italian forces in Libya are weaker and both sides have more incentives to reach a fair agreement and stick to it. Clearly, this does not mean that everyone is going to happily dance together in peace thereafter. There are Libyan groups very unhappy about Italian colonialism still, and many in Rome who do not really believe the Arabs to be their equals. However, there’s reason to hope that the bloodbath that “pacification” of Libya turned out historically could be avoided.

[5] al-Manfalūṭī is being optimistic here. The main thing the provisional national council of Iraq can agree upon is that they want the British out, fast. Things are not yet the point of armed insurgency, and the British have plonked Faisal’s brother Abdallah into Baghdad hoping to sort out the mess, but neither are the British going to leave entirely and immediately; things might easily spiral into violence. Also, the Iraqi leaders think that the Ottoman vilayet of Mosul should be part of Iraq, a notion that the Kurds and Assyrians in northern half of said vilayet tend to disagree with, with some vague Union backing. Since this is where known oil reserves are (a point whose importance is lost to al-Manfalūṭī) the definition of borders here is unlikely to turn out a smooth process. Things are still quite in flux in the area. Also note that Deir az-Zor is said to be part of Iraq here. The Iraqis claimed it IOTL, and with Sykes-Picot essentially gone, are likely to keep it.

[6] This is a personal initiative by Faysal (done earlier than IOTL and from a much stronger position) met with general publicly sympathetic noises among the Zionist leaders as well as much irritation among the Syrian nationalist leadership. However, whatever talks are ongoing are not going anywhere clear, except that Faysal hints, in principle, that he might be willing to write off Palestine for time being (not that he controls the area anyway).

[7] The nationalist military council convened in Ankara under Mustafa Kemal; they are evaluating their very limited options. The mess in Germany is a very clear cautionary tale of what happens if you refuse the victor’s peace. Their strategic position is between an extremely hostile Union to the East whose army in the theatre is largely made of angry Armenians, and the hungry Greeks to their West. Chances of military resistance seem very dim. However, alt-Sèvres is shaping as a very unpalatable deal, and they have some troops still.

[8] While Kerensky and Wilson hate each other, in the Middle East their aims broadly align. Both dislike stuff like Sykes-Picot and agree in principle on self-determination, although here Wilson is unwilling to confront the British sending a commission to investigate the local people desires. It does not matter much, since the British themselves are a lot closer to treating the Syrians with something approaching fairness. Also, note that al-Manfalūṭī still thinks in terms of “Russia”, not “Union of Equals”.

[9] The point about daughters is not purely rhetorical. The discussions about Syrian constitution include the idea of voting rights for women, something that the Union of Equals already has, and the Americans and the British are doing as well. It is obviously controversial in Syria, but there’s already a Feminist movement both there and in Egypt that supports the nationalist cause. Al-Manfalūṭī is not a Feminist fellow traveller as such, but he certainly thinks that women have been historically oppressed and that they should have access to better education and public participation.
July 1919 - The Restructuring of the Muslim South
The Restructuring of the Muslim South

The Muslim South had been a thorn in the Revolution’s side from the beginning. 1917’s February Revolution came only a few months after a very widespread popular revolt of Central Asia’s Muslim population had been drowned in the blood of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in 1916. The Tsar had not fallen over these protests, nor over their horrible oppression. He had fallen over the protests of some workers in distant Petrograd. At the beginning, it is not very surprising that the Revolution was, by many Muslim groups in Russia’s South, not perceived to have been “theirs”.

Things changed, but the relation between the new influential revolutionary Russian groups and the various Southern peoples did not improve over the course of 1917 and 1918. There were All-Muslim Congresses, a Congress of Kazakh and Kyrgyz peoples etc., but their relation to the Revolution and to Petrograd (and Moscow) remained ambivalent. The Revolution and the democracy it brought, as well as the national self-determination it implied for various Christian nations like the Finns, Estonians, Latvians, Ukrainians, Georgians, and Armenians, were increasingly seen as signs that a window of opportunity had opened to escape from under the imperial yoke. Autonomist and separatist ideas already had momentum, and they gained more. At the same time, it was difficult for the Constituent Assembly and the groups which dominated it to negotiate with “the Southerners”, to appease them with autonomy and integrate them into the new constitutional framework, for a number of reasons we have already discussed: Petrograd (and Moscow) saw control over the oil fields as vital, and they could not yield power to groups whose agenda contained the expulsion of Russian settlers. Among the various Southern groups, a mixture of Islamist Reformism and Western-inspired nationalism – undoubtedly a consequence at least as much of modernizing influences of the Russian Empire on the region as it was inspired by simultaneous developments in the Ottoman Empire – was strong, and the Russian side often lumped it all together under the suspicion of Young Turkic Ottoman-fifth-columnism. And as long as Enver Pasha was still in control of things, he did try to organize and equip some such fifth columns indeed, though mostly only in geographically close areas South of the Caucasus – hence why political protests for autonomy and/or independence led by the Müsavat in Baku escalated quickly into race riots which, while not killing quite as many people as OTL’s March Days of 1918 (where both Bolsheviks and Dashnaks escalated the situation ruthlessly), nevertheless killed and displaced quite a few people and disrupted dialogic ties in what we call Azerbaijan for a while, while the multi-ethnic cosmopolitan city of Baku has remained under Russian control ever since. Elsewhere, massacres were committed by silent allies of Petrograd (and Moscow), for example in Bukhara where the Emirate, no doubt aided by the VeCheKa and Russian paramilitaries, broke the back of its home-grown reform movement. The culmination point of this neo-imperialist pacification campaign – or the pivotal moment which marked the beginning of a new policy, depending on whose perspective you follow – was the establishment of the Mountainous Federative Republic of the Northern Caucasus, where control was firmly in the hands of local oligarchs and tribal leaders, who organized allegiance to the UoE and the marginalization of any group who opposed this in exchange for the right to exploit their own oil reserves under their own conditions.

Of course, not all non-Russian groups of the South, and not even all Muslim reformers, were opposed to the new system and to the UoE. There were Muslims in the soviets of Baku and Kazan, there were the Muslim Social Democrats (Hömmet), Muslims who voted SR and struggled to establish “pastoral and agricultural toilers’ soviets” in the steppe, conservative groups who were content with a limited, cultural autonomy, and even liberal Jadidist reformers who preferred loyalty to the Union over Pan-Turkic Ottoman support.

The latter would prove to be the most important change of 1918 and into 1919 – caused by the increasing weakness and then collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the replacement of its Young Turkic triumvirate with more moderate politicians in Istanbul who were more pliant to the terms dictated by the Entente. Within the UoE’s South, it was reflected by the wave of electoral success for the Ittifaq al-Muslimin, who also ran a presidential candidate and presented itself as a reformist and autonomist, but loyal and not Ottoman-affiliated alternative and managed to marginalize groups like the Alash Party in the Duma elections, and thanks to its presidential candidate Alimardan Topchubashov even scored a number of victories in the Azeri fiefs of the Müsavat.

This opened the window for the formation of a coalition government of SRs and Kerensky’s PSLP with not only Jewish and Buddhist, but also Muslim minority groups who made autonomy a requirement for their support.

But how?

While the geographically dispersed and politically even more divided Jewish factions were content with a more explicit enshrinement of cultural liberties and rights in the Russian FR’s constitution, the formalization of a separate command structure and organization of (voluntary, tax-financed) Jewish Self-Defense Units within the Republican Guards, and securing good financing and full autonomy for Jewish schools (in all kinds of languages from Yiddish over Russian to various languages of the Caucasus) and respective teacher training institutions, the “Muslim” or “Tatar” groups were more complicated. First of all, in spite of Ittifaq’s electoral success, not all Duma members from these groups really accepted autonomy instead of secession and full independence. Even among the majority which pursued autonomy, two alternative models were hotly debated:

  • one single federative republic for the entire Muslim South, with an additional internal layer of federalism?
  • or many different federative republics?
While the Ittifaq, with its largest Muslim presence in the Duma, favoured the former solution, those who held some degree of power in the respective regions and controlled large potential crowds of rebels or supporters, like the Müsavat in Azerbaijan or the Alash in *Kazakhstan, opposed it and preferred the latter. Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Zenzinov (SR), preferred the latter model, too, for a number of reasons. Firstly, he wanted a solution that would truly pacify the unruly elements. Secondly, he was not exactly fond of the thought of creating a large state with over 15 million people in the South, which would be perfectly capable of coming up with its own solutions with regards to petrol extraction and transportation infrastructure and probably pursue a quasi-independent policy, continually overstepping its boundaries by meddling in the domain of foreign affairs where neighboring fellow Muslim nations from Anatolia to the Tarim Basin were concerned. And thirdly, he hoped that, being able to negotiate boundaries with each would-be federal republic separately would provide him with the greatest amount of leverage and potential for bringing grateful clients into positions of power. These three goals weren’t even very compatible with each other. But it was only with illusions such as these that the pivotal change in Russian policy, towards accepting self-rule for the various Muslims, whom many in Moscow still considered “backwards” and “fanatically religious”, could be initiated.

The biggest obstacle to Zenzinov’s plans only appeared when they were already fairly well developed. In a meeting in late May, the Council of the Union struck down, with the votes of almost all non-Russian members, a first proposal for the establishment of nine new federative republics. This was a problem Zenzinov had not sufficiently anticipated. The governments of the other federative republics, from Helsinki to Erevan, were not amused at what they perceived as the loss of their combined majority of council votes. As Juhan Kukk, Estonia’s third prime minister in this year already (in Update 43, we have seen how the elections had made the formation of any stable coalition difficult), put it: They would not suffer Russia to multiply herself at the expense of everyone else.

The Ukrainian counter-proposal, that the council seats of the new republics should come from Russia’s number, was utterly unacceptable to Zenzinov, too, of course – Russia was already under-represented in the council if one looked at relative population sizes: a Bessarabian council member represented only 400,000 citizens, whereas a Russian council member represented almost four million. Any worsening of this ratio was off the table as far as the Russian government was concerned.

Towards the end of June, the Muslim coalition partners increased the pressure on Zenzinov with an ultimatum: if no acceptable federative statute would be created and passed by the Council of the Union by the end of summer, they would leave the coalition and support one of Trotsky’s many motions of no confidence (more on what else Trotsky does in the next authorial overview).

Under this pressure, Zenzinov would ultimately agree on the solution he liked least: a unified Federative Republic of the Union of Turkic Nations. It would be sub-divided into nine autonomous national republics:

  • the Kyrgyz Republic (which, confusingly for us, comprised mostly what we see as Kazakhstan today),
  • the Idel-Ural Republic of Tatarstan,
  • the Republic of Azerbaijan (which did not include Baku, where non-Azeri had been in the majority long before the race riots and now were even more so, and which was also the last source of oil to which the Russian FR unequivocally clung to without having to share control over it),
  • the Kara-Kyrgyz Republic (roughly today’s Kyrgystan),
  • the Republic of Bashkurdistan,
  • the Chuvash Republic,
  • the Karakalpak Republic,
  • the Khakas Republic,
  • and the Oyrot Republic.
(If you wonder where lots of other Muslim minorities of the Caucasus are, they are most likely in the Mountainous FR of the Caucasus, unless they’re within Georgia’s or Armenia’s borders, in which case they have tough luck if they’re desirous of autonomy, at least in 1919.).

The FR of the Union of Turkic Nations was by far not as centralized as the (also internally pluralist) Mountainous FR of the Northern Caucasus, which only few conservative groups considered a possible model for Turkistan. Its union was, to a great degree, a construction designed to fit the new polity into the framework of the UoE, and accordingly its primary functions were the establishment and pursuit of “foreign” (i.e. federal, on the UoE level, for truly foreign policy was a UoE prerogative) policy, mutual help in case of emergency, arbitration in cases of conflict, and common command and coordination over the FR’s territorial defense forces, who were (in a model not unlike that of pre-WW1 Germany) organized in separate ethnic units, some of which didn’t even number as much as a hundred people. For these ends, a Majles as-Shura was established, and a Union Council with delegates sent and recalled by the member republics’ governments would elect a President.

In all other regards, from the majority of taxes over the judiciary system to the education system, each national republic (all of which were at least formally parliamentarian republics, following the trend of 1917 and 1918, where a Milliyet Majles, elected by universal male and female suffrage, held all the strings) was acting autonomously.

And the differences between the various polities are conspicuous from the beginning. The Karakalpak, Khakas and Oyrot Republics, for example, were underdeveloped, mostly nomadic societies whose (often long-established, if hitherto unrecognized) leaders primarily sought to protect their traditional ways of life from the intrusions of export-oriented settler agriculture, industrial uprooting, infidelity and cultural assimilation pressure. The Kyrgyz Republic could not always rely on them in their valiant political fights with the Russian FR over railroad infrastructure, petrol extraction, and the application of the economic soviet system. In fact, it could not even always count on the Idel-Ural Republic, where socialist groups were considerably stronger than in Kyrgystan, where the Kyrgyz Congress of Muslims – some say, the old Alash Party in a new dress – was hegemonially dominant. Nevertheless, all of these republics would be considerably more stable than Azerbaijan, where an irredentist Müsavat, in turn challenged by even more radical nationalist fringe groups, refused to take the role of loyal democratic opposition against the government which emerged in the republic’s new capital, Ganja, and continued with mass protests, which were accompanied by bouts of violence. (They did not only want Baku, but also Nakhchivan, which ITTL is an integral part of Armenia.) The Azeri government itself was a shaky coalition between the liberal-conservative Ittifaq, the Azerbaijani section of the SRs, and the socialist Hömmet, who had little in common except their acceptance of the autonomy statute and their abhorrence of a potential civil war.

In a compromise with the other FRs, the FR of the Union of Turkic Nations received nine seats in the Council of the Union, for which Russia’s number of seats was reduced from 24 to 21.
July 1919 - League of Nations Fails (and Overview)
Here is one of many telegraphs with similar content sent in many different languages from Paris on July 1st, 1919 into all corners of the world, reaching newspapers, governments, parliaments, colonial administrators etc. on all continents:


and the first of a series of installments with very rough authorial overviews over what has happened in the first half of 1919 before we move on into the second half…

The First Half of 1919 Around the World

In Paris, after half a year of exhausting and divisive debates and negotiations and some results already achieved by some participants and for some parts of the world with the Treaty of Chantilly, the conference ends without an all-encompassing new covenant, and indeed without the US, UK, Japan and other non-European powers having signed any peace treaty with any Central Power (they were not parties to the Treaty of Chantilly), while the Ottoman Empire and the German states are also still without peace treaties with anyone. All other high-flying plans for world peace have been postponed indefinitely, too – TTL’s conference has brought no League of Nations because the conceptions of the Big Six are too incompatible. The Europeans have gone ahead and agreed what they could agree on in Chantilly, and, much to Wilson’s and Cecil’s dismay and to the outcry of the pacifistically minded public across the world, there is no agreement between them and the Anglo-Americans on a much more toothless, self-contradictory Covenant for a League of Nations which does not offer them any advantage, while the British (where the Tories have gained new confidence and speculate on the separate deal with the French) – and even more so their Dominions, especially South Africa and Australia – and Wilson won’t agree on a global version of Chantilly, either, which they (and the French, Belgians, and Italians secretly, too) deem as too dangerous for their colonial and racial policies.

The French maneuvre of "adjourning" the conference without a precise date is nothing but face-saving: all sorts of committees are supposed to discuss and prepare drafts for another conference probably next year. But since the matter of peace and the divisions of the zones of influence is most pressing, all sorts of bi- and trilateral and other such separate treaties can be expected to be concluded in the meantime. How much will be achieved from the rest of the agenda of global peace? Well, perhaps the climate conferences of our own days can give us a hint – or indeed OTL’s interwar conferences of arms control…

So, no Versailles ITTL.

Russian Party Politics

There are some gradual developments in Russian party politics which I haven’t covered yet; concerning both major opposition parties and the governing SRs, too.

The Kadets have continued on their journey towards the very right of the (accepted) political spectrum in the Russian FR under their chairwoman Ariana Tyrkova-Williams. Three topics are at the top of their agenda: opposition to socialism (they want the soviets abolished, the expropriations reversed, they oppose SR plans for a comprehensive tax reform, you know, the full monty), Russian nationalism (they oppose the new federative republics as well as other plans for autonomy), and a scathing criticism of what they (ironically together with the ultra-left opposition beyond the IRSDLP(u)) see as systemic corruption, only the Kadets don’t blame capitalist habits or structures for that and instead target “party nepotism”, “trade union mafias” and “promotion of incompetence” (which is part-true and part classist shorthand for the promotion of people without bourgeois socio-cultural background and manners into management positions). In their position of relative parliamentarian isolation, Tyrkova-Williams has embraced informal alliances with a “civic” movement: the Cherry-Tree Picnickers. (Cherry trees are not only symbols of the aesthetically pleasing; ample orchard-gardens of former manorial estates are also something which the Red-and-Green Repartition has frequently eliminated, with peasant soviets in the revolutionary phase ruling that all that land was “not being put to use” and should therefore be given to landless peasants, who more often than not cut down the dispersed trees to plant more productive crops.) The Cherry-Tree Picknickers are an extra-parliamentarian political movement of former aristocrats, former tsarist officers, and (sometimes former, sometimes still active) higher administrative personnel, led by right-wing intellectuals. Beginning with (very legitimate) criticisms of the violent oppression some of them had been subjected to by the VeCheKa in the period of the Special Powers Act and with criticisms of local mismanagement etc., they have come to include people who reject the whole constitutional system in favour of a return of the tsar and the like. They are dangerous friends for Tyrkova-Williams’ s Kadets because of such positions, but she’s trying to walk this thin line, not openly endorsing them but sending discrete signs and counting on their support. Since they’re lately vaguely associated with the Kadets, more and more industrialists, highly skilled engineers and other people from the industrial sphere are joining, too. Not all Cherry-Tree Picknickers really like the Kadets, though; many of them blame them for the turn things have taken in Russia. Tyrkova-Williams herself is denouncing “mistakes we have undoubtedly made”, “rash decisions”, “false friends” and “cowardice” on the part of her party, signaling that the KD will pursue a more stringently right-wing agenda under her leadership than in Milyukov’s time.

Even though Tyrkova-Williams’s Kadets are solidly on the right of the political spectrum by now, they do not have any problem with voting for the motions of no confidence and other legal maneuvres with which Trotsky and his Social Democrats attempt to obstruct Zenzinov’s SR-led coalition. This is a purely negative alliance, of course, and both sides know it. Well, OTL even the Nazis and KPD both struck down the same measures in the 1932 Reichstag together…

Other than that, Trotsky has led his party on an expansion course after the disappointing elections. Uniting the entire old RSDLP had always been a top priority of his up until the summer of 1917 IOTL, which was a core raison d’ être for the Mezhraionka. With the war concluded, his party anchored in leftist opposition, and the elections having gone a lot worse for the other Social Democratic splinter groups still, Trotsky was able to win back old comrades left and right. In February 1919, Julius Martov and the last Menshevik splinters announced that their party would join the next IRSDLP(u) congress in autumn and merge. In early April, Nikolai Bukharin followed suit, announcing that the last few thousand independent Bolsheviks would join everyone else under the big tent, too. (The latter would not fully materialize – many Bolsheviks in the territory, who were not protected by their parliamentary immunity, had suffered under the VeCheKa’s campaigns against “saboteurs”, and they did not forget so soon. With Lenin touring the revolutionary world – he would visit Italy in the spring, only to return to Germany in June, but depart again after a heavy dispute with Rosa Luxemburg – and Bukharin taking the rest of the upper echelons with him into the IRSLP(u), local uncompromising Bolsheviks, now without intellectual leadership, are beginning to blend into the extra-parliamentarian ultra-left underground, which is heavily dominated by anarchists of various strands.)

These infusions of fresh red blood revitalized the internationalist zeal and the fervor of ideological debate within the IRSLDP(u) again – where the last months of 1918, the wave of strikes and the street protests after the elections had all strengthened other currents in the party, especially the trade unions, who were almost exclusively focused on Russian domestic politics. In particular, Kamenev’s Pravda and the most Trotsky-loyal Rabochy turned, over the spring and early summer of 1919, into opponents in a heated debate over the right kind of internationalism: On the one hand, Pravda upheld a classically anti-imperialist view, lambasting Avksentiev’s and Kerensky’s compromises with the imperialist powers in Paris unrelentingly. Among the Social Democratic politicians formulating the views of this current was not only a returned Karl Radek [1], but also radically Socialist muslims like Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev and even international guest contributors like Manabendra Nath Roy [2]. They actively supported the establishment of sister parties or branches of the party in countries like Persia and India.

The leading newspaper expounding the rivalling internationalist view was Rabochy, in which Adolphe Joffe and other close allies of Trotsky are formulating an updated version of Kautsky’s theory of Ultra-Imperialism. In their view, the emerging European Federation of Peace, and other initiatives for worldwide leagues of peace, demonstrate that ultra-imperialism has become a reality, and that, beyond cartelizing the powers of the imperialist capitalist states, it also went hand in hand with an internal political cartelization which aims not only at the same sort of pacification domestically which Ultra-Imperialism seeks to guarantee on the international scale, but also at an intensification of capitalist accumulation by exploiting hitherto untapped potentials.

Both strands agreed on one thing, though: the current situation in Russia and the UoE was not, in their view, socialist. While the anti-imperialists (many of oppositional Bolshevik extraction) had always viewed things this way, the theoreticians of ultra-imperialism – many of whom had cooperated in the November Coalition – developed a new view on the situation. In their understanding, the parties of the proletariat and potentially also revolutionary pre-proletarian classes like Russia’s subsistence-oriented peasantry are no longer aggressively combatted at this stage of development, instead they’re being politically undermined and divided, with the bourgeoisie aiming to co-opt them into their cartelized political systems (this is their interpretation of widespread reforms like universal suffrage). Economically, the capitalists now amplify their efforts to instruct the proletariat to exploit itself (with many examples drawn from Russian peasant communes which not even Stolypin had been able to break up now being successfully exhorted by SR-led soviets to form market production-oriented cooperatives and indebt themselves in the process of investment beyond the hope of ever repaying their loans back).

Under these circumstances, this generation of Ultraimperialists argue, socialist revolution can only happen simultaneously on a global scale, using the instruments, channels and institutions which the ultra-imperialist cartels are creating and turning them against the bourgeoisie. To prepare the path for that, international ties of the revolutionary labour movement had to be intensified, and political education of the working class should strive to subvert and seize the newly expanded bourgeois institutions of public education.

To this choir, yet more nuanced or creative interpretations of Marxist internationalism were added, e.g. by Gorky in Novaya Zhizn, or by Bukharin (whose take on the matter is too complicated to expound in such an overview). So while the rank and file of the IRSDLP(u) was by no means quite as unequivocally internationalistic, among published opinions, only the Rabochaya Gazeta, who stood on the right wing of Russian Social Democracy and remained critical of the unification process, openly raised questions whether concentrating on bargaining for a decent wage raise wouldn’t perhaps pay more than debating the question of what kind of internationalism to espouse.

But internationalism was not only a theoretic fad – Trotsky and many of his loyal “Petrograders” also expanded quite a lot of energy into convincing social-democratic parties in other countries to join the IRSDLP(u), whose name already gave away the idea that this was not supposed to be only a Russian or UoE party, but a worldwide one. This raised the question of how IRSDLP(u) and the Second Internationale (which, in the eyes of Trotsky and all of the above-mentioned Russian Marxists, except for the Rabochaya Gazeta crowd, need not be dissolved, but also wasn’t a suitable vehicle for the ultra-imperialist revolutionary strategy he had in mind since it was full of nationally-framed reformists, too) should relate to each other. More on the fruits which Trotsky’s efforts bore in the following parts of this authorial update when we deal e.g. with Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy etc. (In Germany, we have already seen that Rosa Luxemburg’s revolutionaries are seriously considering aligning themselves to this emerging formation, while the “old” USPD had rejected the idea on its Leipzig Congress).

Which leaves us with the Socialist Revolutionaries. Minutiae of their ideological currents and how those are developing will be discussed in a separate update (but that’s still a bit in the future) – for the moment, I’ll limit myself to analysing them sociologically. From this perspective, two trends emerge: regionalization and growing signs of transformation into a “state party” [3].

Before the Revolution, democratic “politics” in the territory was a very limited thing, and the zemstwos were not really forums of party politics. After the revolution of 1905, Russian parties were either concentrated on Petrograd and its powerless Duma, or they were exile groups, or underground groups (with many party leaders imprisoned or internally exiled to Siberia, too). Even in the case of the SRs who, as the party of peasantry, had a comparatively broad amount of roots in the territory, these roots were rather shallow before the revolution. With the revolution, and especially with the introduction of the (peasant) soviet system, though, their management of the repartition, the build-up of local militia and their later integration into Republican Guard units etc., ongoing soviet elections on various levels and their organization of many aspects of economic and social life, politics have become something with very local roots in post-Revolutionary Russia. Especially among the SRs, this means that local and regional party leaders who have emerged from the revolutionary turmoil are often developing into powerful heads of patronage networks. This begins to reflect on the national level – in the next conventions, ideological currents may not play quite as much of a role as they did in 1918, being partly replaced by regional allegiances. Who emerges as powerful local “barons” I haven’t decided – this is going to be a bunch of made-up names of people who IOTL didn’t become known, or pursued totally different career paths. When we get to the next election cycle, I’ll have to flesh out a few characters, but until then I’ll leave this open.

This trend is somewhat mitigated or balanced by another trend, which pulls the SRs with a mighty force towards the centre / the middle ground of Russia’s political spectrum: the fact that a great number of skilled and educated people have come to realize that a new administrative apparatus is being built up across the country, and management positions are being filled with new people, and in both cases, it is potentially helpful if you belong to a “Green” union, or are an SR party member. Tens of thousands have begun to join the party and will join the party in the future under such very opportunistic motivations. They may not be very politically active – but still they exert a degree of influence on the party’s agenda, primarily because they’re going to defend their jobs, and secondly because they bring a wide variety of opinions into the party, reducing the relative number of staunch Narodniks of various flavours. Others among these new members are not quite as opportunistic and seek to engage in local and regional politics, doing something worthwhile for the place they live in, and across much of the vast territory and in many small towns, the SRs are the only party around, so unless you really have very clear anti-Narodnik views, you’ll probably end up as an SR. These people, too, weakened the party’s left wing, too. In many cases, people’s motivation to join the SRs was probably a mixture between both (opportunism and genuine engagement).

The party leadership is noticing both these trends who threaten to depoliticise and corrupt the party and strengthen the hands of local power brokers of questionable agendas, and they see how lively the debate among the oppositional Social Democrats, who are still stronger than them in many industrial towns and cities, is. In conclusion, the presidium of the party has decided to found the “Alexander Herzen Institute” in Moscow. Chaired by Victor Chernov, the Herzen Institute grants fellowships to political thinkers from both Russia and abroad and scholarships to young people, holds lectures, publishes pamphlets, organizes political debates across the territory and in other countries, too, invites guest speakers, weaves networks with the press etc. – it comes close to what is called a “think tank” in English, but it comes even closer to what is called a “parteinahe Stiftung” (party political foundation) in German.

In the Duma, none of this reflects yet. The SR faction, the largest in the Duma, is balanced between centrists and left-wingers, but the faction’s charismatic and rhetorically endowed leader, Maria Spiridonova, is a staunch leftist. Although by November 1917 she shared many views with Kamkov and had viewed his accession to the Commissariate and the coalition with the leftist Social Democrats favourably, she had never been a part of the close entourage of the former Supreme Commissioner, the “Kamkov clique”. In December 1918, this turned from a disadvantage into an advantage – she was not part of any back-chamber intrigues of the Kamkov clique which conspired, without success, to keep as many of their men as possible in positions of power and prevent the outright repeal of the Special Powers Act. She was, therefore, an acceptable candidate for the position of Duma faction leader to the Centrists in the party, in exchange for the left wing’s support for Zenzinov as Prime Minister. Spiridonova was, by far, the best orator the SRs had. Her vocal support was crucial to the success of a number of difficult SR initiatives in the Duma, from the expansion of the tax administration – whose necessity she defended as a necessity to enable regional and local soviets to build up modern schools and hospitals worthy of a member of the European Federation of Peace and the vanguard of international socialism and to finance them in a just and equitable way – to the various versions of Concordances with which many, and then only one, Turkistan(s) were supposed to be created.

[1] He parted ways with Lenin before the latter went to Italy, himself going to Paris instead where the atmosphere on the streets was heated in the first weeks of the Peace Conference. Later, Radek returned, via Poland, to Petrograd, where, not having become an elected politician unlike many of his former comrades, he’s earning his money as an editor for Pravda now.

[2] He’s a really interesting person, an Indian independence fighter who had participated in the Mexican Revolution and IOTL went on to become a founding member of India’s Communist Party and an influential Comintern leader.

[3] Not in the sense of “one party state”, but in the sense of the German word “staatstragend”, I found it hard to translate (and various online dictionaries did not solve the problem, either).

Middle East Map:


Some key aspects:
- France is not fighting down Syrian independence movements, meaning the Syrian National Assembly will find whatever constitution they prefer for their country, although the feeling of being somehow dependent on Britain won't go away, and since the secret talks with the French (Sykes-Picot) will leak at some point, they'll be very suspicious of France, too, where the Right is disappointed about the results anyhow.
- And this is not yet carved into stone - it's where multilateral talks in the commission on "Turkey", bilateral talks, and the situation on the ground slowly gravitate towards. When Balfour and Pichon hammered this out, the League of Nations idea was still somehow around, so it was imagined that such an international covenant would entail mandates for Lebanon, Pontos, and the Straits. and possibly Cilicia, too. It's now likely that no such entity will exist to hand out mandates, which means the frontiers on the map are, in some places, agreements between the victorious powers delineating their respective spheres of influence in various degrees of direct or indirect control. Maintaining control over "your" area now also depends on organizing and stabilizing local nuclei of statehood while at the same time keeping them dependent on your support.
- In the case of Lebanon, this means that a National Assembly of Mount Lebanon (or some such like) has already formed, probably under considerable clerical influence. France can secure its influence here for the time being by shipping food to the starved region where a famine has recently killed incredible numbers of people, and keeping a few troops around. If I interpret the map correctly and remember the discussions with @Falecius right, then I think this Lebanese state under French protection does not stretch to the Anti-Lebanese mountains in the East and thus has an undisputable Maronite Christian majority.
- In Cilicia, the French are attempting a similar thing, but it hasn't gone so well so far, with Armenians and Greeks supporting not being ruled by the Ottomans anymore, but no alternative polity emerging yet while the French are still actively engaging in suppressing Turkish nationalist resistance. Obviously, the French zone here includes a lot of Turkish-speaking Muslims, which is in part because it is cut (like IOTL) in such a way as to include relevant treasures of the soil.
- Greek control over the Smyrna zone is more stable than IOTL. Over-extending themselves is not something that looks like a realistic danger in the future because there are other international troops, too, to work towards upholding "the law and peace of the Sultan" against Nationalists in the hinterland.
- While the Straits zone is a truly internationally controlled area, where British, French, Greek, UoE, and Italian troops and ships are making sure this vital artery of international trade (and potential arms supply) as well as the Sultan's government in Istanbul stays out of Turkish Nationalist and instead under their own control, the internationality of the Pontos zone is more of a polite fiction because, to the extent that it is under anyone's control, it's UoE troops who run the show (but their grip is as tenuous as that of the French in the South, and worse than that of the Greek in the West, who have devoted more troops to the task and are being a lot more ruthless). The Pontos zone has Greeks in it, but not as a majority. Their protection is what the zone is theoretically for. The internationality of the zone is a nice fiction for all great powers: the British, French etc. could potentially claim to have say over it, too, without lifting a finger so far; while the UoE is spared the open recognition that it engages in an imperialist endeavour.
- Different from the map, Baku is not part of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the FR of the Union of Turkic Nations, but other than that, the map shows the diverging borders nicely, including Armenian Karabakh and Naxchivan.
- Kurdistan is still the big problem. There are Kurds who have fought on the British side (but are not quite so fond of the British anymore right now), there are Kurds who had co-operated with Tsarist Russia (and are now divided over whether to align with the UoE or not), and then there is the majority of Kurds who are Ottoman loyalists but opposed to Turkish Nationalism, and a minority of Kurds who are fighting alongside Atatürk's rebels. Therefore, a "free Kurdistan" has been proclaimed by many, and the Great Powers (basically only the UoE, France, and Britain, with intermittent and contradictory interventions from different US statesmen) have decided among themselves where the borders of such a Kurdistan could run, which is what the map shows. It would make a nice buffer state between allied great powers who are on the way back to becoming rivals again. The internal rivalries also mean, though, that there is ample space for undermining this status and trying to drag it into one's own camp entirely. So far, there are lots of fights in the region - including Assyrian militia who want autonomy, safety and protection, too (conflicting goals, I know) - and no single Kurdish National Assembly or anything of the like has been established yet.

The First Half of 1919 Overview – Part Two: Romania and Hungary

In March 1919, for the first time in Romania’s history, all adult men and women [1] could vote for the new national parliament, which would be the legislature not only for the Old Kingdom anymore, but also for Transilvania, Eastern Banat, Southern Bucovina, and Northern Dobrugea, too. Its outcome was quite the avalanche all political spectators had anticipated: the National Liberals, who had been the “natural” party of parliamentary hegemony for many decades, were halved and confined to the opposition banks – and it was probably only Brătianu’s shameless and rather hypocritical playing of the nationalist card which prevented the PNL from suffering the fate of its formerly proud rival, the Conservative Party, who was almost reduced to irrelevance with only little more than 6 % of the vote. [2] Brātianu’s unexpected flirt with what today we would call “right-wing populism”, but which did not yet exist as a concept in 1919, also flattened Take Ionescu’s Conservative Democratic Party, who took too much time to redefine their position with regards to their old nemesis PNL, beginning with sharp attacks on PNL hypocrisy and ended up with proposing an electoral alliance, which the PNL, in turn, rejected. While PNL and PC lost large parts of the countryside to Ion Mihalache’s Peasant Party (PŢ), the PCD lost in its urban strongholds to both PNL and the Socialists, who emerged from illegality to a respectable fourth place – behind the electoral alliance of PŢ and the Toilers’ Party (PM) led by Gheorghe Diamandy (a Romanian equivalent of Russia’s PSLP Trudoviks: a labour party with an electoral base mostly among the semi-urban small town/surrounding villages people who mixed wage labour with subsistence agriculture), which scored almost 30 %, the PNL at 23 %, and the Transilvanian-based Romanian National Party (PNR). [3]

Both in the preparatory stages and on election day, too, partisan violence and intimidation attempts overshadowed Romania’s celebration of democracy [4]. As the new parliament gathered, in the midst of mutual reproaches and accusations, primarily between the PNL and PC on one side and the PŢ, PM and PSR on the other side, three centre-to-left lists – PŢ/PM plus PNR plus PSR – conducted negotiations to form a coalition. This was the outcome both the old and the new UoE leadership had hoped for – in terms of foreign policy, the “pro-Russian” camp had won and was coalescing. Domestically, Mihalache, Bujor, Titel Petrescu (PSR) and Alexandru Vaida-Voievod (PNR) committed to an agenda of cautious reform: the land reform law would not be radicalized, but its implementation as well as the formation of voluntary co-operatives juridically and financially facilitated; the duration of compulsory education in the lands of the Old Kingdom would be expanded to that which had been the norm in Transilvania; freedom of coalition was enshrined and a number of labour protection laws were scheduled with which Romania would comply with the standards currently being formulated in the negotiations for the Treaty of Chantilly (at that point in time), with which the European Labour Organization would be founded.

To the left wing of the Socialist Party, this was way too little – especially when they saw how bold an agenda their Hungarian comrades were pursuing. In Mihalache’s coalition, the monarchy was not questioned, the foundations of the budding capitalist economy remained entirely untouched, there was not even a commitment to an encompassing social insurance scheme, which even the moderate wing of the PSR had declared as a central goal in the election campaign. On their party’s congress in Ploieşti, emboldened by the country’s largest May Day demonstrations in history a few days earlier, a group of Maximalists led by Gheorghe Cristescu and Alecu Constantinescu left the party and declared their intention to create regional branches of the IRSLP(u) instead.

Cristescu and Constantinescu took four members of parliament with them – reducing the coalition’s majority to a very narrow margin of three. Nevertheless, on May 23rd, Ion Mihalache was elected. His official commissioning by King Ferdinand took suspiciously long, though – for two long weeks, rumours abounded in Bucharest, rumours about a planned coup, about secret talks between the king and members of the opposition, or between the king and Mihalache. Finally, on June 6th, Ferdinand officialised Mihalache’s premiership, and the leader of the Ţărăniştii succeeded Ion I. C. Brātianu. Mihalache’s cabinet would proceed quickly with the first reform drafts which, when they were submitted to the parliament, dispelled fears among its centre-left parties that Mihalache might have been coerced by the King to moderate his policies too much. [5] Mihalache and Diamandy and their respective parties might even pride themselves before their international political companions with having brought the first of their reforms all the way through all parliamentary procedures by late September 1919, when an international congress of Narodnik and other left-agrarian parties would meet in Bucharest.

In terms of foreign policy, everyone who had expected the new Russophile foreign minister Diamandy to behave either too flamboyantly, or too submissive vis-a-vis the UoE would be positively surprised by a predictable and self-confident agenda: he exhorted the parliament successfully to ratify Chantilly and his cabinet colleagues to cough up ressources for a significant Romanian engagement in the European Federation of Peace's institutions and operations, and his ministry did what it could to strengthen the Romanian cause in the border areas with Hungary and Bulgaria where plebiscites were scheduled to be held in 1924.

There, they came into conflict with other left-aligned governments… Among those, Hungary’s was the more radical. After the failed MOVE coup, the Social Democrats had fared very well in the elections, but they were still two seats short of a parliamentarian majority. Sándor Garbai formed his Social Democrat-only government anyway, and successfully speculated on the lifting of the parliamentarian immunity, and subsequent imprisonment, of all four members of parliaments who had formed the Awakening Hungarians faction, for their suspected involvement in the January coup [6]. After the seats of the Awakening Hungarians were vacated, Garbai was elected, to the outcry of conservative and liberal parties alike. His party was the first governing party outside of the UoE who would take Trotsky up on the offer of a great merger on the October Congress. The Hungarian IRSDLP(u) government implemented the radical socialist agenda many Marxists in Russia and elsewhere dreamed about: not only did it begin a thorough land reform which converted manorial estates into peasant co-operatives. It also socialized all industrial enterprises with more than 50 employees and all domestic financial institutions, and created the Democratic National Council for Economic Planning, or short: DeNeGaTa. [7]

In terms of foreign policy, Garbai’s government hedged all its bets on the UoE, hoping that they would put in a good word for their Hungarian comrades to be allowed to join the EFP quickly, which would ease Hungary’s now largely centralized imports and facilitate any potential exports. For the time being, Kerensky and Hungary’s Foreign Minister Manó Buchinger have concluded a quick agreement on free trade and free movement between Hungary and the UoE – followed by a similar agreement with Austria’s Foreign Minister Otto Bauer. But even an IRSDLP(u) government in Hungary would not abstain from attempting what stood in its powers to counterbalance Romania’s influence in the plebiscite area…

[1] IOTL, franchise was expanded in a 1918 law, too, but there were still qualifications, and there was no female suffrage anyway. ITTL, UoE “influence” has made itself felt quite clearly here (not only in the form of soft power, but also as covert blackmail during the months of war in which Romania direly needed Baluyev’s Fifth Union Army). The different election laws account for various divergences in election outcomes: liberals and conservatives fare worse, while the Peasant Party and the Socialists obtain more votes and seats.

[2] The Conservatives were already sidelined by the new rival in the form of the PCD, then had picked the wrong side in the Great War (rooting for a Romanian alignment with the Central Powers, or at least for neutrality), and they’re still unable to adjust to the new realities of mass democracy – which is not surprising: the land reform is undermining the party’s main support group’s powerbase, and that mobilises its clientele, exhorting its aged leaders to pursue their lone fight against everyone else in opposition to the repartition. IOTL, the Romanian Right was deeply transformed by the appearance of leading military officers on the political stage. I doubt that people like Averescu had been deeply politicized before the Great War – they had grown up in the oligarchic system of the Old Kingdom where politics was mostly the business of a cartel of gentlemen; they had been marked by the war, which IOTL showed them a) Romania’s weakness as a small nation, b) how people from all walks of life became one uniform, determined fighting nation, and c) how socialism had undermined their ally and tried to undermine their own fighting power, too, and ultimately caused their long-term ally Russia to abandon them to their enemies, with its undisciplined soldiers plundering the country on their unorganized retreat after the October Revolution. All of this pointed them in one direction IOTL: Romania had to become a large, united, strong nation, and socialists and the like had to be rooted out. ITTL, the lessons to be learned from the Great War are different ones: the militaristic monarchies have crumbled, democratic revolutions are triumphing everywhere, the new Russians are running the show on the Balkans again, and Romania stands a lot to gain by not opposing them and instead surfing the red/green/orange/whatever wave. This is not a context which compels them – who are of upper and upper-middle class background – onto the political stage. Without them, Romania’s inter-war Right as we know it is basically butterflied. Sure, the reforms will be hated by some; sure, young Codreanu and his ilk will ventilate the same venom they spread IOTL. But a strong, politically powerful Romanian Right? If it emerges, it must come from somewhere else.

[3] Diamandy was a colourful figure of Romanian politics. He was quite fond of Russia's SRs, and visited Russia in 1917. Fleeing from the October Revolution, he died on his voyage. ITTL, maybe without having to flee he doesn't die and instead returns to take back the reigns of his little party.

[4] Elections in OTL interwar Romania were also accompanied by a lot of violence.

[5] IOTL, this was the fate of the first National Peasant Party government – but the political climate was entirely different IOTL’s 1928.

[6] After Gömbös was already eliminated during the coup, the parliamentarian arm of the movement had been led by László Endre https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/László_Endre – now all OTL-known heads of Hungarian fascism are in prison.

[7] The first Marxist party alone in power, and in a situation of utter economic collapse, they implement what we IOTL associate with Soviet Russia, right down to a Hungarian Gosplan. Foreign financial institutions had to be exempted because of obligations Hungary had subscribed to in the Treaty of Chantilly, but that’s not a very serious obstacle since they had not been widely operating in Habsburg Hungary. IOTL, the Hungarian Communists tried this economic system change, too. But the parallels end here. TTL’s IRSLDP(u) is a party who is in opposition in its original country (except for Latvia), nobody in Hungary expects them to lend a military hand (how could they?), so there will be no aggressive campaigns. With regards to political violence and terror, the picture probably differs in nuances. On the one hand, Garbai’s government and its soviet system are really under serious threat of being overthrown, so copying the Kamkov Commission’s Special Power Acts is probably plausible. On the other hand, this role model is still not quite equivalent to OTL’s Red Terror of 1918, so the role model of any potential Hungarian Lenin Boys is also slightly different.

In Bulgaria, the first half of 1919 could have told the story of the consolidation of a young republic, the success of its agrarian reform policies, and the steady hand of Stambolinsky and his coalition of the BANU, the Broad Socialists and the Democrats stabilizing the country again.

In the perception of many, especially influential, Bulgarians, though, the narrative of 1919 Part One was one of Avksentiev’s betrayal of his pan-Yugoslavist promises, and subsequently of the national humiliation suffered at Chantilly. Rumours have it that Stambolisnky had intended to shoot himself after signing it.

It certainly hung like a millstone around his neck now. The opposition from both left and right became increasingly shrill and militant. On the Right, former personnel of the military which Bulgaria had to almost entirely dissolve shook hands with tsarist-restaurationists and, of course, the Macedonian-irredentist IMRO. On the Left, Dimitar Blagoev’s Narrow Socialists had long remained reserved about Trotsky’s offer of joining the IRSDLP(u) – firstly, Blagoev was too proud to play second fiddle to anyone else, and secondly, Trotsky and by association the Union of Equals were too closely associated with the betrayal of the Pan-Yugoslav Socialist project. But when Hungary’s IRSDLP(u) went all-out on its socialist transformation course, Bulgaria’s Narrow Socialists decided without any serious dissent to join the IRSDLP(u) on the October Congress. Within the oppositional Bulgarian IRSDLP(u), particularly Vasil Kolarov developed the position that all Southern Slavic socialists should prepare to overthrow their regimes at once and join forces with Hungary so that their inter-national socialist revolution would re-ignite the fire of proletarian revolution and would help tilt the balance in Russia and other countries with strong Marxist parties towards leaping back into action. Explicitly, Kolarov advocated clandestine political education and the organization of party cells in all South Slavic countries. Implicitly, though, some of the phrases of Kolarov’s manifesto read like exhortations to destabilise Bulgaria’s and Serbia’s (and probably Romania’s and Greece’s, too, as well as the EFP administrations in Albania and Western Yugoslavia) through acts of terrorism and political general strikes.

The “Kolarovite” agenda was not yet officially embraced by the party – so far, the first terrorist attacks under which Bulgaria’s government suffered came from the Right and the IMRO. But it was clear Chantilly had changed the situation for the Bulgarian Far Left: clandestine militant organizations aiming to overthrow Bulgaria’s narodnik-socialist-liberal coalition from the left had, all of a sudden, much greater appeal than before.

While Stambolinsky was still the undisputed leader of the BANU and the government, internal criticism of Chantilly e.g. by Rayko Daskalov from the BANU’s left wing would not be silenced and continued to pose an embarrassment for the leader of the new state who had signed the treaty.

When the EFP administration of Western Yugoslavia began its policy of personal autonomy, Stambolinsky saw his chance for a counter-offensive. He offered material and administrative support to the movement which aimed to create a “Constituent Nation” by the name of “United Toilers of Greater Yugoslavia”.

This is probably a propitious moment to explain the emerging structures of the EFP administration in Western Yugoslavia.

What emerges here is as much a product of the difficult pacification as it is a result of international groups treating the region as a laboratory for their political pet projects. Throughout the winter of 1918/19, two main forces had fought against each other: in much of the North and along the Eastern border with Serbia, the forces of the official Yugoslav Committee, with massive support by the Kingdom of Serbia, had gained the upper hand and oppressed (predominantly leftist) protests. In parts of Bosnia and Dalmatia, a disparate coalition of rebels (from Catholic Croatian nationalists over left-agrarian populists to Muslim groups) held its ground, initially based on the undisciplined but numerous Green Berets, later more and more relying on Italian military (and UoE diplomatic / political) support. Pacifying the region required the international forces involved to compromise and renounce on some of their objectives in the region: the UoE was forced to give up on its project for a Greater Yugoslav Federation for the time being; France had to renounce on the Corfu Declaration and the united Kingdom of Yugoslavia (without Bulgaria) which it envisioned, while Italy had to acknowledge that prying away Southern parts of Western Yugoslavia as a sort of client state would not be viable in the long run. Hence the compromise of a joint EFP mandate. But pacification also required appeasing and/or integrating all the relevant powerful militant groups in the region – or isolating those who opposed any compromise, and then effectively oppressing them. War-weary as they were, the three powers attempted to go down the first road as long as they could. This meant awarding continguous Serbian-majority territories in the East to the Kingdom of Serbia. For all the groups in the rest of the territory, though, a solution seemed difficult.

Bringing them all together at one table in Paris was the beginning. But that only revealed how incompatible their visions really were. It was in this situation of frustration and despair that the Great Powers were willing to lend an ear to the moderate Belgian socialist Jules Destrée. had an idea how complete border gore or unviably small statelets could be avoided and any future political conflicts be solved within a system which enshrined compromise among a potentially infinite number of groups. His idea was inspired by Karl Renner’s and Otto Bauer’s (now obsolete) visions for defusing the national question of the Habsburg Empire through “personal national autonomy” and by similar concepts developed by the anti-Zionist Jewish Bundist thinker Vladimir Medem.

Destrée had modified these conceptions and, in particular, added a cantonal structure to the make-up – which marked the nucleus of the concept of the Dual Constitution – as well as a few unalterable foundational principles to the new constitution for the Mandate Territory. (Destrée’s endgame was to prove that this new brand of federalism could work, so that it could be used to reform his own bitterly divided home country.)

The Dual Constitution consisted of territorial cantons on the one hand, and Constituent Nations on the other hand. (In fact, it was much rather a triple constitution, with the third dimension being the EFP oversight. EFP administration of Western Yugoslavia received, with the Treaty of Chantilly, a central Mandate Commission in Zagreb, in which eleven representatives of various member countries are sitting, but where the three commissars from the UoE, France and Italy have a de facto veto right because anything that pertains to “matters of security” needs to approved by their Command Council for the Mandate’s Protective Forces, which can only take decisions unanimously.)

The mandate territory was divided into eighteen cantons, in six of which UoE forces “kept the peace as long as necessary”, while in six others, the Italians did just that, in five others the French, while the Zagreb canton was occupied jointly. Each canton had an assembly which decided over matters of land and natural resources, infrastructure and other such immobile things, elected a cantonal administration to take care of such things, ran the judicial system which concerned itself with matters pertaining not just to one constituent nation and its members (i.e. almost all matters) and financed all this through levying taxes on land and resource extraction, tolls etc. The cantonal assemblies would consist of delegates elected within the constituent nations, with each constituent nation being apportioned the percentage of delegates which corresponds to their percentage of inhabitants. Decisions require not only an overall majority, but also the absence of a negative majority in any of the constituent nations’ delegate groups. Cantonal administration is headed by a council into which every constituent nation elects one councilor. Likewise, cantonal courts are to be staffed with judges from all constituent nations in rough accordance with their proportion of the population.

The constituent nations were not only tasked with such soft cultural politics like education – they also had full autonomy over their members’ personal registration (citizenship, marriage, death etc.), free reign to tax the movable property, income and consumption of their members as they saw fit, to build social security systems and collect contributions to them, to pass “national laws” pertaining to all these domains of civic and public law and even to some domains of criminal law (which exactly was rather ill-defined as “pertaining to cultural specificity”). They were also free to design their internal political systems as they saw fit, as long as they obeyed the standards of democracy and civil rights enshrined in the EFP Charter (which is, of course, a matter of interpretation). (Newborn babies acquired the national citizenship of their parents at birth. In a patriarchal stroke still typical for the time, it was also decided that in the case of binational parents, the child would acquire the citizenship of the father, unless the couple agreed on it acquiring the citizenship of the mother.)

Oversight over the entire system, as well as military issues, border control, and the currency which took the place of the devalued Krone (I don’t have a name for it, any suggestions anyone?) remained with the Mandate Commission for the time being.

Because the system had to pacify the Mostar rebels, too, many of whom (especially on the left wing) did not identify themselves primarily through an ethno-national lens, groups were initially free to form constituent nations as they liked, with the only prerequisite being that each person could only belong to one constituent nation.

This would have dramatic implications already in the first weeks after Chantilly was signed and the Mandate Commission began to move into its offices. There had been preliminary talks with parliamentarians and extra-parliamentary politicians of the three titulary nations of the “State of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes” which had been proclaimed in September 1918, so that initially, there was only a choice between declaring oneself a Croat, or a Serb, or a Slovene. It took only days until a fourth nation constituted itself: a group around the Džemijet made sure that Bosnian Muslims could form a nation of their own, too, and began to gather declarations of adherence. While Croats and Serbs complained why the Muslims didn’t identify as “Muslim Croats” or “Muslim Serbs”, this fourth constituent nation was accepted without major headaches by the protecting powers and neighbors.

The same cannot be said about the fifth constituent nation, in which many from the left wing of the Mostar rebels united at first, but which also gained traction elsewhere across the territory: the constituent nation of the “United Toilers of Greater Yugoslavia”. Uniting socialists, left-agrarians and pan-Yugoslavists, the Toilers also had some appeal for people in mixed families and among those who did not want to be defined through their confession or dialect.

Their formation was immediately seen with alarm, especially, but not only by Serbia. The Mandate Commission reacted by decreeing a threshold of 100,000 enrolled members for the recognition of a Constituent Nation. While this prevented the officialisation of dozens of religious sects and such creatively fashioned wannabe-constituent nations as “The Free Communion of the Anarchist-Naturists”, it did not stop the Toilers, who would jump the hurdle easily somewhere in late summer. I am getting a little ahead of schedule here, but I’ll write this nonetheless. When this happens, Italy and France are not happy, either, both suspecting the Toilers as an instrument of Bulgarian meddling (Stambolinsky’s government provided important help in setting up the Toilers’ institutions, the collection of signatures and the like) as well as of extending the UoE’s influence beyond its mandate. But the most enraged government was the Serbian one. Nikola Pašić decried what he saw as a violation of the (implicit) agreement not to allow the formation of any sort of pan-Yugoslavia which would include Bulgaria. He was not calmed, either, when the Toilers dropped the adjective “Greater” from their denomination under Italian pressure – Serbia withdrew his commissioner in the Mandate Commission in protest over the recognition of this fifth constituent nation.

Pašić’s government did not only fear encirclement. Over the summer and autumn of 1919, it will become clear that the “United Toilers” are not only forming in the EFP mandate zone, there are also Serbian socialists who openly declare their allegiance to this entity. Even though all members of the Mandate Commission have clarified unanimously that this is an irrelevancy and that the legal framework of personal statehood pertained only to the Mandate zone, the movement would not be stopped. Afflicted by the same harsh economic situation as elsewhere (plus Austro-Hungarian wartime plunderings) and disaffected with a monarchy and a Radical government who had conducted a civil war against a primarily leftist and democratic opposition in Western Yugoslavia (and Bulgaria at first, too), Yugoslav workers and poor peasants took a liking to the idea, and in a wave of strikes in Osijek, Belgrade, Skopje and Niš [1], not only economic improvements were demanded, but also the recognition of their desire for autonomous self-rule and unification with their comrades to the East and West. While this movement was mostly associated with the social democrats, who also decided to become a part of the IRSDLP(u), it also found some support among the Republican and Democratic Party. But Pašić did not only come under fire from the left – his government was, at the same time, lambasted by the (still relatively moderate) Right (the Serbian Progressives and Conservatives) for what they perceived as a string of failures both at home and abroad.

[1] OTL fiefs of the Yugoslav Communists in 1920 in the territory which ITTL is the Kingdom of Serbia.


The overview over the three Scandinavian countries (Finland I will tend to lump in with the rest of the UoE, while Iceland is outside of my focus so far – the Förbundslov has been concluded like IOTL – thus I mean Norway, Sweden, and Denmark) is going to be somewhat short and rough. Butterflies are flying less massively in the peaceful North, but some divergences from OTL are clearly happening here, too.

The three countries have a few things in common: they were all neutral during the Great War, whose limitations on trade brought hardships to many and spectacular profits to a few. In all of them, bourgeois parliamentarian parties had, with or against their will, extended the franchise to the entire citizenry recently. And in all of them, the labour movement and its parties were on the rise.

But the differences also should not be overlooked – and they are slightly more pronounced ITTL than IOTL. It begins with neutrality already: while all three were officially neutral, Norway was commercially tied so closely to Great Britain that the British considered them “our neutral ally”, while Denmark traded predominantly with Germany, and Sweden had vaccilated between both camps.

The political landscape in the three countries differed in nuances, too. ITTL, these differences show themselves quite clearly along the line which divides many European countries’ political spectrums: for or against accession to the EFP?

Norway is not going to join the federation any time soon. Its economic ties with Great Britain are very close, and the governing Liberal Party is of the variety which would rather kill itself than embrace anything that smells like socialism. Prime Minister Gunnar Knudsen (who has made a fortune in the shipping business) is therefore preferring to maintain the special relationship with Britain. Norway’s Labour Party was the most radical of the three countries IOTL (its majority joined the Comintern, and then split again over leaving it) and that probably doesn’t change iTTL). ITTL, there are no signs for such a three-way split yet, but the party is still farther away from power than both its Swedish and its Danish comrades.

In Denmark, the picture is significantly different. Its Prime Minister, Carl Theodor Zahle, has been a staunch pacifist for a long time, and an early supporter of international covenants of peace. He and his party, the Radikale Venstre (literally: Radical Left, in truth left-liberal, like its namesakes in France and Italy), were open towards alliances with the Social Democrats, whose leader Thorvald Stauning is quite the same charismatic and moderate person as IOTL, and they enacted quite a number of tight wartime economic regulations which prevented some of the worst speculative excesses which e.g. Norway experienced. IOTL, King Christian X., the Conservatives and various business interests had developed such a dislike for Zahle (and the social democrats, too, of course) that Christian dismissed Zahle over his moderate stance towards Germany on the Schleswig issue. Under massive public protest, he had to take the measure back, which is widely seen as the last nail in the coffin of a Danish monarchy which is anything more than a figurehead, if we can trust Wikipedia on this matter. ITTL, this exact course of events cannot happen, for Denmark will be awarded all of Schleswig. Instead, Christian could veto the parliament’s ratification of the accession to the EFP – for Zahle would certainly aim to make Denmark a member, and he could count on Social Democratic support in this matter. The reaction would be similar: public protests against the king overstepping his boundaries on a matter where public opinion does not follow him anyway, the king backtracks and becomes sidelined ever after. Denmark’s path towards post-war prosperity, Social Democratic governments and EFP membership would look free of obstacles by mid-1919 then.

Sweden is probably the country where the divergence from OTL is felt most sharply. Sweden’s Social Democrats have a similarly able and moderate leader in Hjalmar Branting, the country has gone through a similarly tight wartime economic regulation and even harsher scarcities, and they have a similarly conciliatory left-liberal premier to deal with in Nils Edén. But Sweden has also absorbed thousands of anti-socialist Finnish refugees linked to Svinhufvud’s Vaasa Senate, who are now loudly clamouring against socialism, the UoE and the EFP in Sweden. This will resonate among the Conservative and Liberal Parties, and even more so as long as relations between the Swedish minority in Finland and Paasivuori’s Senate have not been put back onto a good track, which means that the community of émigrés is going to denounce a marginalization of Swedes in social-democratic Finland. All of this does not yet mean that the future of Swedish Social Democracy as we know it is butterflied. But it means that, for the time being, Edén does not dare propose Swedish accession to the EFP, which only the social democrats are demanding. Whether Sweden, whose elites are still smarting over Norway’s secession, is really going to follow Norway into the British “camp”, remains to be seen. (IOTL, Sweden joined the League of Nations under Edèn’s auspices, but TTL’s EFP is not the same as OTL’s LoN, and, as I said, the political landscape is slightly altered.)

* * *

The Kingdom of Montenegro, the smallest member of the Entente, had been overrun by the Central Powers in 1916, who installed an Austrian military governor there. The Montenegrin Army had already fought in close cooperation with Serbia’s. Discussions about a unification of both countries had gone on for more than half a century already, and they had always been extremely divisive – the kingdom’s two main “political parties”, if we can really call them that, which formed when Montenegro was granted a parliamentary constitution in 1905, were ostensibly divided over the question of unification with Serbia under the House Djordjevic (favoured by the People’s Party) vs. keeping the Petrović-Njegoš dynasty and Montenegrin independence (favoured by the True People’s Party).

There was more to this divide than just the question of dynasties or union vs. confederation. The People’s Party grew out of and amongst political milieus who called for democratic and liberal reforms, and while Prince Nikola had always been a credible fighter for the goal of South Slavic independence, the new Serbia (i.e. after the coup which exchanged one dynasty for another) under the Djordjevic dynasty and Radical Party governments was seen by many in Montenegro as a shining example of democracy and progress, and an even more hopeful vehicle for South Slavic unity and strength. Like the Serbian political forces they idolized, Montengro’s People’s Party was repeatedly associated with violence and political terrorism, and the short pre-war parliamentary history of the country is marked by intense conflict among the two camps, electoral boycotts and the like. As the poor showing of the True People’s Party in 1914 demonstrated, though, opposition to the People’s Party’s militancy and pan-Serbism (but also its promises of social progress) was not very well organized or deep-rooted, and was very much organizationally centered around (now) King Nikola, although this camp, which would evolve into the “Green” faction in Montenegro’s short civil war, was also motivated by other forces than just loyalty to the Petrović-Njegoš dynasty: first and foremost, it was fuelled by caution and conservatism. It also enjoyed comparatively solid support among Muslim Montengrins and the small Italian minority.

The Great War and the Corfu Declaration brought a new dynamic. Now, the pan-Serbists apparently had international backing. Montenegro’s King Nikola I. and his government had fled and were in exile in France when things begin to diverge from OTL. Like IOTL, French, Serbian, and Italian forces take control over Montenegro in autumn 1918 (a few weeks earlier than IOTL). With the end of the war, things begin to diverge massively.

IOTL, the Yugoslav Committee of the SHS state decided almost unanimously to unconditionally merge with Serbia. A few days later, the Podgorica Assembly is called together while Serbian soldiers control the country. Two factions consolidate: the “Whites” (mostly from among the old People’s Party, but also supported by Cetinje’s Serbian-Orthodox bishop Gavrilo Dožić), who support Nikola’s demission and the absorption of Montenegro into Yugoslavia / the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, and the “Greens” (mostly the old True People’s Party) who oppose this unconditional absorption. Seriously rigged indirect elections are held for a new Montenegrin assembly, in which the Whites triumph and declare Montenegro merged into the SHS Kingdom. The Greens, now increasingly supported by Italy (Wikipedia points at the explanation that the Montenegrin Queen is Italian-born, but I think this was of minor political relevance), attempt a rebellion (the Christmas Uprising), which is crushed mostly by the Serbian Army. That was it for Montengro – for a while.

ITTL, the Yugoslav uniters are divided among themselves. There is the faction pursuing the OTL course of submerging into Serbia, after all most Montenegrins saw themselves as Serbs at this point in time and many still do today – but then there is also a Pan-Yugoslavist group (i.e. for the inclusion of Bulgaria), politically supported by the UoE. At least I believe it would be there. In OTL’s 1920 elections, Podgorica had become one of the reddest strongholds of the Communists, which, to me, hints at the fact that there was more to the conflict than just the question of whose family one wanted a king from or whether one considered onself a Serb or a Black Mountaineer primarily. Montenegro’s pre-war party system certainly didn’t transmit the entirety of political opinions, interests and dissent when it focused so much on the Serbia-or-not question, and neither did the White-Green divide. While Montenegro was still mostly rural and had no organized labour movement to speak of, there were still demands for social and economic progress which, it soon transpired, would not feel so much at home with merely transplanting Serbia’s political culture into Montenegro. From among these groups, I believe that support for a third faction – for simplicity’s sake, let’s call them the “Reds” – could emerge.

ITTL, given the strife and then even civil war in Western Yugoslavia, there is considerably less momentum for a unification with Serbia. And when two Yugoslavist factions (Reds and Whites) quarrel, it’s the third (Green) faction which profits: those who support Montenegro’s independence. It is clear that they have Italy’s support ITTL, too – but not only Italy is throwing monkey-wrenches into Serbian and White schemes to gobble up Montenegro. It is quite likely that an alt-Assembly of Podgorica is going to be quite as rigged as IOTL because Serbia has most boots on the ground here and plans for a bilateral unification are, as has been argued, older than most other Yugoslav projects. But this election-rigging is going to be called and criticized by the UoE, too, and so the Assembly of Podgorica is not going to be viewed as having a mandate to simply abolish the state of Montenegro by many. Plus, against all manipulation, the opposition is going to be stronger even within this forum.

That is another disappointment for Nikola Pašić’s Serbian government – they are not getting much for having fought so hard against overwhelming Central Powers and for having suffered under their occupation. But then again, Montenegro fought, too, as best it could, and suffered the same… With Podgorica not sending the clear signal for unification as IOTL, King Nikola returns from his French exile, and the Serbs cannot really oppose the restoration of a separate, independent Montenegrin Army when their Entente allies in the region are all non-accepting of overt annexationism.

As the civil war in Western Yugoslavia drags on and it becomes increasingly clear that the pan-Yugoslav solution is not becoming a reality at this point in time, the UoE and the Reds within Montengro who supported this cause are joining forces with the “Greens” for a short time, i.e. the battle is seen as for or against Serbian hegemony. In Western Yugoslavia, Serbia had a much better position because a greater part of local elites supported Serbian takeover as the lesser evil against the threats of Italian annexation and socialist revolution. In Montengro, the situation is gradually different because of the close Italian alliance with King Nikola, and also the Whites are not really a conservative force.

As a result of all these difficulties and setbacks, Serbia reduces its engagement and treads more carefully. On the last diplomatic meters before Chantilly, Montenegro is part of the deal in which the UoE abandons the Pan-Yugoslavist cause (for the moment – we can see that only months later, the “Toilers” mean that the idea is resurfacing…) in exchange for everybody else abandoning the Corfu Scheme, i.e. a Serbian-dominated Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

After Chantilly, Montenegro stabilizes somewhat. More than ever, it has de facto entered the Italian sphere of influence, but its independence is also recognized and protected by the EFP as a whole, to which the small Kingdom quickly adheres as the alliance’s smallest member (Luxembourg will probably join only later).

But stability is not tranquility. As I have argued, the genie of social change is out of the bottle in Montenegro, too, and the militancy of the conflict in the immediate weeks and months after the armistice has deepened chasms. New parliamentary elections, to which King Nikola invites an EFP oversight committee to demonstrate to everyone that under his reign, fair elections are held in Montenegro, are scheduled for autumn 1919. Not only will they not cover the rifts which have opened - I am positive that new political forces beside the two established opponents will compete, too. Most probably, one or more new voices will appear on the Left, as they have IOTL under very different circumstances, too. For the time being, Montenegro tries to tap the European Reconstruction Fund, but since there are no German payments incoming, there isn’t much to expect from these quarters. With the new and chaotic political situation in Western Yugoslavia, Montenegro’s interim government (led by Jovan Plamenac of the Greens / True People’s Party) probably attempts to establish some sort of ties with the emerging new Constituent Nations, and it might offer its engagement in the EFP Mandate of Albania, too, all the while realizing that it is the larger EFP powers who are calling the shots in the region quite directly now and with whom one needs good relations if one wishes to recover and rebuild fast and exert some sort of influence.

While the EFP mandate in Western Yugoslavia, emboldened by the huge task of stopping a civil war, went unique new ways, the two EFP mandates neighboring Greece – Albania in the West and Eastern Thrace in the East – were treated in a more conservative manner. In Albania, not only under strong US suggestions, the explicit goal was to create a viable and stable nation state and future member of the EFP – but the only powers who were interested in committing troops to keep the various quarrelling factions off each others’ throats here (Italy, Greece, Serbia) were not exactly the best arbiters for this cause. In Eastern Thrace, on the other hand, no such nation-building was intended. The region was very heterogeneous, and the EFP Mandate was a compromise between pro-Greek (France, also Britain in the background) and cautiously pro-Bulgarian (UoE) great powers – the difficult question of how to partition the territory was, more or less, postponed to an unclear future, while in the present, housing, feeding, medically treating and ultimately employing countless refugees was the main task of the EFP Mandate administration here.

Eleftherios Venizelos was otherwise not very happy about the Eastern Thrace situation, but he surely was glad his government did not to have to deal with the refugee crisis all on their own. In Eastern Thrace and Albania, the Greek government did what all Eastern European governments did with regards to the mandate and plebiscite areas – officially, they were neutral, respected the EFP Mandate Status, and fulfilled only the mission of keeping peace and building up democratic structures. Inofficially, everything possible was done to raise the likelihood of favourable partitioning and accession or at least of the creation of new entities who would be friendly to oneself.

Greece adopted the former course in Eastern Thrace, whither teachers were sent in an effort to Hellenise as many of the displaced persons placed in the region (and others, too, if possible) as they could, of course under the banner of respecting the EFP’s commitment to universal access to education, and important people (the 21st century might call them “influencers”) were attempted to be recruited for good jobs in the Greek civil service in order to ensure their loyalty.

In Albania, the project of far-reaching autonomy (reaching as far as de facto independence) for “Northern Epiros” was pursued once again. Local elites had not forgotten how unreliable Greek support had been so far, and the official Greek declarations did not do much to change their minds. The “Yugoslav” model of personal autonomy was discussed among Southern Albanians, and so was the “Swiss” model of Albanian cantons. Both solutions were not particularly popular with the other Albanian politicians, e.g. in the Congress of Durres, who sought the support of the Great Powers for faster elections for a Constituent Assembly for an Albanian Republic. US President Wilson was diplomatically and rhetorically highly supportive, but didn’t commit any US troops to the country, and with his incapacitation, even the former is thrown into doubt now. The UoE, Britain and France, too, support a united Albania in principle, but don’t give much about it, either. Only Italy has committed troops, and while there is some distrust among Muslim Albanians as to the Italian intentions in the region, they are still seen as the lesser evil compared to the Serbs and Greeks. With the political situation in Italy deteriorating fast in the summer, Italy looks both less threatening and less reliable, and might even call back some of its anti-insurgency special units from Albania in order to deploy them at home.

Overall, and even more so with the Nationalists in Turkey being cornered and hunted down in a joint effort of all Entente powers, and a breakthrough in negotiations with the Sultan’s government in sight, things are looking pretty OK for the Venizelist government. But that is only foreign policies. Domestically, Greece is still suffering from the deep chasm which had been called the “National Schism”. King Alexander still lives (probably another year like IOTL), but his father Constantine, like IOTL, is still plotting against Venizelos’ liberal government which had ousted him. But this is not only a fight between a party and a king – while I won’t claim that I have understood the minutiae of the Greek political climate and situation in greater detail (any help from experts on Greece would be more than welcome!!!!), it is quite clear to me that the two camps are fully-formed opposed political movements. The “monarchists” even have their own paramilitary units, the Epistratoi. The fight between conservative and liberal, monarchist and parliamentarian, rural and urban forces, who were both nationalists but with different conceptions of the nation, who had opposed each other over the question of alignment in the Great War and fought bitterly in the Noemvriana, is not going away. None of its causes are altered in comparison to OTL. Neither is the weird electoral system which IOTL caused Venizelos to lose the parliamentary majority in the 1920 elections so clearly when he won the popular vote narrowly. One thing which will influence the outcome of these elections is that Eastern Thracians are not going to participate in TTL’s Greek national elections. But until then, a lot can happen still. Another thing which is still up in the air is the future success of the Avraam Benaroya's socialist SEKE, the only non-nationalist and anti-war party - we'll have to wait for the outcome of the situation in Turkey and for the dust to settle in Greece to see where they're heading.
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July 1919 - Italian Revolution
Rome (Kingdom of Italy): Il Popolo d’Italia, July 2nd, 1919, p. 1:


by Benito Mussolini

The Revolution is spreading, and nobody can stop it. Protests have reached Tuscany and Veneto. Workers have taken over their factories in Genoa and Livorno. The countrymen of the Emilia-Romagna and the Po Valley have joined them. [1] It is really difficult to understand how the PSI and its spineless General Secretary Serrati are failing to see that the Italian Revolution has already begun. In long and boring articles, the leaders of those who still dare calling themselves socialists have pondered and finally adopted the theory of Ultra-Imperialism, another stillborn brainchild of Kautsky’s – it is absolutely enigmatic how they can claim that the proletariat of the entire world will rise together at some point in the distant future, when their own party is too blind to recognize a revolution when it is happening right under their eyes.

It is equally mystifying why Gramsci, Togliatti and the other little boys from the Ordine Nuovo are still riding the dead horse of the Marxist PSI, who prefer theory over action, but whose dogmas they still cling to even when their comrades are failing them in the moment of need.

But Italy’s laboring population of the countryside and the town, and our Nation’s brave heroes who are returning from yet another victory to a country ruled by an ungrateful oligarchy, are losing their interest in the pointless Marxist debates. We have begun to take our future into our own hands, and we will not dawdle and wait for the ponderers.

The workplaces of all types belong by those who work there and know best how to manage them, and the same goes for the land which nourishes our glorious Nation. But all of this shall never hold, if our defense is not taken into the hands of those who have dared their lives and bested our enemies in fierce battles! This is the most important decision which the Assembly of Revolutionary Committees in Parma must take on this weekend. [2] There is a new order emerging, and the old bourgeois regime is crumbling as new ways of working, fighting and living together arise – but it will only finally fall if we boldly stride forwards and seize real power, and pursue the appropriate course by which to expand it and spread the Revolution, instead of having it massacred or corrupted. If the Marxists prefer to sit on the fence – let them! But let them know that the French Revolutionaries did not change our world by perpetuating encyclopaedist debates, but by storming the Bastille. And those who sowed division among the revolutionary nation would ultimately be pushed aside by those who knew that the common enemy was assembling its forces beyond the borders, and who were not afraid to wield Justice’s sword for the welfare of their own offspring and for that of those they vanquished. (3)

This new nation that will soon be born, this new Italy will be worthy of an empire, a fascist [4] empire because it will have the indestructible sign of the will and power of the Roman Littorio. Because this is the goal of all our sufferings and trials, which have brought out in the open the explosive and disciplined energy of the Italian soldier and worker. An empire of peace, civilty and humanity, in the glorious tradition of Rome, which wed the destiny of all peoples to its own after each and every time in which its new order triumphed. [5]

[1] TTL’s Biennio Rosso-like events have begun. What has triggered them are the radical reforms undertaken in Hungary, which, although a smaller country, is viewed by many revolutionary Marxists ITTL the way Soviet Russia was viewed by them IOTL.

[2] This is a gathering of Rossoni’s Union of Italian Workers (UIL), the Fasci Autonomi d’ Azione Rivoluzionaria, various Arditi organizations, and the Contadini Rivoluzionarii Socialisti. The latter is a revolutionary left-agrarian party I have made up. IOTL, dissatisfied agricultural workers either aligned with the PSI-Maximalists in their campaign for repartition, or they set their hope on the fascists and their promises of agricultural improvements. ITTL, there is a movement and a nascent party inspired by the SRs, which operates independently from the PSI and, as seen here, is open to an alliance with Mussolini’s Independent Socialists and other national syndicalists. @lukedalton has opened my eyes to the great divide between Italy’s urban and rural workforce.

By no means the entire spectrum of the revolutionaries meet in Parma. Those affiliated with the PSI – a majority of the revolutionaries – will hold a counter-meeting in Torino.

(3) Yes, Benito will not make any friends or gain influence in the other socialist circles, he know that and so he can freely made this not -so subtle menace towards the Gramsci and Turati groups. Unfortunely for him (and for the ANI), the goverment will have some issue towards any attack towards the second group, after all they are part of the goverment and even if Orlando (and many others) don't like them, they still need them and any open attack to them will mean a direct attack on the state and this will not look well in general. The fascists do not enjoy the protection they had in OTL. The same goes for the ANI when it openly attacks moderate socialist coalition members.

[4] The term "fascist", I think that much is clear by now, will acquire quite a different meaning from OTL. The term has slowly changed its meaning from "any militant league" to "nationalist socialist / syndicalist militant league". Whatever the outcome of Mussolini's adventure here is will stick as the connotations of the term.

[5] The last paragraph is a repurposed and slightly modified Mussolini speech after the Ethiopian War.
* * *

Benito Mussolini and his blackshirts are revolutionaries ITTL – but that doesn’t mean they’re fighting on the same side as the Red revolutionaries affiliated to the Maximalist faction of the PSI, or rather to some more activist parts of it. Reds vs. Blacks vs. the reactionary Blueshirts of the ANI is, instead, a potential three-way battle, if the Congress of Parma really opts for a syndicalist attempt at taking over power, an early March on Rome with a different context as it were. How is the government going to react? One thing to consider here is that not only the reactionary paramilitary side is weakened (by Mussolini’s channeling nationalist veterans for instead of against revolution), but also the revolutionary side is not only split, but also overall protests might not have reached the same depth and breadth they had IOTL where there were fewer top-down social reforms and the food situation was even worse. Under no circumstance can we just lump in OTL’s later fascist strength onto the Black Revolutionary side – they received a lot of support from industrialists and landowners, and recruited heavily among anti-socialist groups which ITTL are more likely to flock to the ANI, if at all.

Before all this hell broke lose, Italy had been well on its way towards stabilization. Given the earlier massive streetfights after the shots on Turati and more moderate socialist “input”, Orlando’s government has finally started to react, in the last months of winter, with a mixture of social reforms (pensions, veteran care, paid sick leave, affordable loans for poor peasants etc.) and measures aimed at restoring law and order (from curfews to recruiting demobilized soldiers into riot police units). The latter drew the ire of General Secretary Serrati, who wanted to have Malverini and other PSI parliamentarians who had agreed to the “repressive” measures, excluded from the party. But the divided PSI cannot agree on this, either, and so it never comes to pass.

Public opinion is also mostly viewing the results of Paris, including Chantilly, as an OK deal, and even the intervention in Germany is still supported from bourgeois political parties over the new Catholic Popular Party to well within the socialist camp. Especially on the Left, there was a lot of support for the protection of Unterleitner’s USPD government against “chauvinistic Great German revanchists” and for making sure that the EFP, whose ratification against conservative resistance needed all the votes from Liberals and the Left together, got some teeth to protect the continental peace in a robust fashion. Among democratic Catholic circles, who often found themselves in Luigi Sturzo’s new party, a robust peacekeeping mission which protected Catholic Bavaria against potential aggressions by a weakened but still dangerous Prussian-controlled German Empire found some support, too. Actually, the only resistance against the Bavarian intervention came from the Extreme Right: the ANI, led by Enrico Corradini and Francesco Coppola, who had made itself a name in brutal attacks on squatting landless peasants and dispersing leftists who wanted to protest in spite of the curfews, now also mobilized marches of thousands of blueshirts who shouted that Italy had no business in Bavaria and nothing to gain by doing the dirty job for international socialism. The great bard of Italian nationalists, Gabriele d`Annunzio, is loosely affiliated with them ITTL.

And then, the Hungarian socialist reforms began in earnest. In contrast to Trotsky’s Russian section of the IRSDLP(u), who was in opposition and thus powerless, the Hungarians provided an attractive blueprint for many Maximalists in the PSI – among them the young faction which led Torino’s PSI after its elected leaders had been apprehended in 1917. Antonio Gramsci, Palmiro Togliatti and others lauded Hungary’s reforms in L’Ordine Nuovo – and when tens of thousands of hungry and dissatisfied workers took their protests from the streets back into their factories and formed soviets there, Torino’s PSI newspaper enthusiastically supported them and let the spark of proletarian revolution fly into other regions, too.

We shall see how it all will turn out…!
July 1919 - Villain Pardoned
Paris (French Republic): L’Humanité, July 21st, 1919, p. 1:


by Anatole France [1]

The President of the Republic has pardoned Raoul Villain, the convicted murderer of Jean Jaurès, and transmuted his death sentence into life-long imprisonment.

From a humanist point of view, every annulled death sentence is a condonable act because the state should not arrogate to itself the right to kill. In this case, though, there is no doubt that M. Poincaré has certainly not been moved by such doubts and thoughts.

Instead, his decision is most certainly driven by the anti-socialist hysteria which has gripped the nation once again in these days. [2] It is this bowing to aggressive chauvinism which deserves the most severe criticism.

Comrade Jean Jaurès has not been the first socialist leader to be murdered by chauvinistic terrorists, and he would not be the last. Two years ago, Max Wexler [3] was illegally executed by chauvinistic officers from Romania’s old guard. Last year, chauvinists made an attempt on the life of Italy’s great Filippo Turati. In the past few months, Francisco Largo Caballero was assassinated in Madrid [4], probably with the consent of Maura’s government [5], and Germany’s loudest, earliest and clearest voice against the war of aggression, Karl Liebknecht, has been shot dead by Prussian chauvinists [6] only a week before the President of our Republic deemed it adequate to send his signal of Villain’s pardon.

What it signals is that the murder of a socialist is less abominable than the murder of another man. That the head of the French Republic sees international socialism as the danger, not the national chauvinisms which in the last years have consumed our lands and our young generations in a horrible conflagrations and which now want to drag us away from peace and back into the marshes of blood.

Even those who have no sympathies for the cause of socialism should realize, though, that such a signal is most unwise. Not only because it will only serve to alienate our country’s socialist movement from the Republic, its laws and institutions [7]. More importantly, because it encourages a scourge which can – and has – turned against ruling elites, too, and because it costs us credibility in insisting on legality in national and international politics. The assassination of a Habsburg prince by Serbian chauvinists had initiated the great bloodbath, and a few weeks after its conclusion, Portugal’s chauvinistic dictator was assassinated by one of his countrymen, too. A few weeks later, our prime minister only escaped with a bullet in his shoulder because his assassin had not been very skillful. Pardoning the assassin of Comrade Jaurès certainly encourages more such deeds. And how can M. Poincaré denounce the Hungarian government for instigating political violence in Italy and sign the government’s trade embargo aimed at strangling this brave little nation [8], when he sends such a calamitous signal to our own chauvinistic rabble-rousers?

[1] France’s laureate writer has criticized OTL’s “Not Guilty” in L’Humanitè. ITTL, Villain has been convicted in March and sentenced to death for murder because French nationalism is not quite as anti-socialist at that point in time, what with the SFIO still rather split on the great war and the UoE being an Entente partner instead of the Bolshevik defeatists of OTL. Now, Anatole France is looking ambivalently at the presidential pardon.

[2] The effects of the Italian Revolution, on top of red banners flying over the Ruhr and (lower) Elbe and on the Hungarian Danube, are clearly showing at this moment.

[3] Like IOTL.

[4] This is different from OTL. As I mentioned very briefly, there are more widespread protests in Spain ITTL, both in Catalunya where IOTL a syndicalist strike was rather successful and in Andalucia, and later in spring / early summer, combinations of strikes and political protests shook Madrid and other Castilian cities, too. The clashes between Left and Right have been violent in Spain for many decades – ITTL, the Left is more encouraged by the formation of the EFP to which its oligarchic Restaurationist government does not want to adhere, and until the IRSDLP(u) question arises, it is also more united. With the assassination of Caballero who at this time IOTL took a moderate position, the PSOE and the general atmosphere among the Spanish Left is changed not quite so subtle ways.

[5] This man is temporarily prime minister of Spain, like IOTL. He had many fanboys who would later form the foundation of various Extreme Right groups, and it is plausible that the assassin comes from among these groups, although I don’t think Maura really ordered Caballero’s assassination.

[6] Even if they don’t have government backing, militant right-wingers running around in Germany with more guns than the Entente wishes means it’s still a dangerous place for their political opponents. Whilst I have Rosa surviving (she has the shelter of UoE and Czechoslovak troops) so far, Karl met his bullet ITTL, too, only a few months later than IOTL.

[7] The SFIO's General Secretary, Ludovic-Oscar Frossard, belongs to the party's radical left wing and has been a staunch pacifist throughout the war. He is not only criticised by Moderates, but also by a ultra-imperialist-theory faction around Boris Souvarine, who want the SFIO to join the IRSLDP,(u) which Frossard opposes. It is not quite clear which faction would be more radical indeed, but the picture that the party has lots of shades of radicalism is probably not wrong.

[8] France and the official Italian government have pushed for an EFP embargo against Hungary in retaliation for its political support for the Reds in Italy. (More on the Italian Revolution a few updates down the line, suffice it to say that three weeks after Mussolini’s call to arms, there has indeed been bloodshed across the country.) The UK and the US support it, too, but the embargo is not really very effective because the UoE is not participating, and Czechoslovakia is trading with Hungary, too, in exchange for the cessation of Hungarian “propaganda” in the plebiscite zones in Southern Slovakia / Northern Hungary. Hungary especially needs coal and fertilizer right now, and the UoE and CZ can provide both in sufficient quantities and buy up Hungarian machinery in exchange.
July 1919 - Syndicalists on the Ruhr
Dortmund [1] (EFP Mandate of Westphalia), July 29th, 1919: Der Syndikalist, p. 1:


by Rudolf Rocker [2]

Last weekend, over a thousand members of the Free German Workers’ Union (FAUD) have steadfastly upheld the principle of voluntary association and triumphed over the temptation of “proletarian” dictatorship. The congress which convened in Elberfeld, the seat of the German Workers’ Council, has rejected the call of a fascist group around Arthur Barthels [3] to form Black Guards, arm themselves, arrogate the state’s monopoly of power for themselves, defy the French and imagine themselves in an alliance with the Black faction in Italy in a hypothetical struggle for continental hegemony. Barthels’ group, numbering some few dozens altogether [4], has left the congress, shouting wild insults and denouncing the FAUD as “lackeys of the French” [5] thereafter.

To them we say “Good riddance!”, and we are grateful for the purification of our movement which is the only guiding light and vanguard of Germany’s workers of the mind and the hand in their struggle towards non-exploitative voluntary association. The congress has sent an encouraging sign. We have understood: STATEHOOD MEANS WAR. We fill the space which the crumbling imperial state has left, we take into our hands what it had monopolized, but we do not become the new state, we do not establish a new monopoly. [6] Even struggling for this aim can only lead to more futile bloodshed and fratricide, as our Italian comrades must witness now. [7]

Statehood and the capitalist monopoly it upholds has perverted our intuition for cooperation into the cadaver obedience of puppets, and our natural feeling of solidarity and infested it with false and venomous strife. Liberating ourselves from under this yoke is not possible by assimilating ourselves to the ruling monopolists. On the other hand, the free associations we are building here in Mengede, in Essen, in Wattenscheid are recuperating our true spirit of brotherhood – it is here that the fruits of technological progress and scientific experiment will come to be enjoyed by all, where the masses will lift themselves from their abject misery and ignorance, where a young generation will unfold their personalities freely and learn to help each other instead of robbing and killing each other.

[1] The then-independent commune of Mengede, close by Dortmund of which it is a part today, was a stronghold of the anarcho-syndicalist FAUD IOTL, too. “The Syndicalist” was published in the namesake publishing house run by Fritz Kater in Berlin IOTL. ITTL, the fractured situation in Germany and the stunning success of the syndicalists along the Ruhr have caused the publishing house and the FAUD party headquarters to move to the West.

[2] Like IOTL, he is the leading thinker of German anarcho-syndicalism. And his name isn’t even a pseudonym! :)

[3] One of the leaders of a schismatic group IOTL, too, the “FAU Gelsenkirchener Richtung” who, in contrast to Rocker, Kater and Oertels, supported immediate engagement in revolutionary actions together with council communists and other Marxists with the aim of overthrowing the Weimar regime, while the party’s leadership in Berlin considered this pointless and emphasized education and propaganda. Barthels and the FAU (G), both IOTL and ITTL, are certainly not fascists in the OTL sense of the word – but ITTL, the term “fascist” has different meanings, as I have alluded to before, because the Italian model has a different character. Here (and increasingly elsewhere, too), it is taken to mean “militant revolutionary syndicalism aimed at taking over state power” – in contast to Rocker’s preferred brand of anarcho-syndicalism which rejects any state-based strategy.

[4] That’s a gross and intentional misrepresentation of a group which is certainly a lot larger.

[5] The recurrent allusions to the syndicalist relations with “the French” need some clarification. The renewed war against imperial Germany in May 1919 has brought various Red Revolutionaries, organized in soviets, into positions of power in the Ruhr Industrial Zone. The French (and Belgian) Army supported them as proxies who fought off Wetter’s Army and kept both monarchist Prussian forces and Heimatwehr militias off the French Rhineland and prevented all the latter from cutting the supply lines of the French as they moved Eastwards in the race for Berlin in the end phase.

After Wilhelm’s flight and Hindenburg’s surrender and suicide, French and Belgian forces have stayed on the right bank of the Rhine, dispersed over a large area which they could never hope to effectively control without either massive increases in troops or the collusion of local power holders. Since the former option was out of the question for political as well as financial reasons, French military leaders acted pragmatically. In the more rural and conservative Eastern parts of Westphalia, from Siegen in the South to Minden in the North, the administrative apparatus of the districts of Arnsberg and Minden were mostly left to function unimpeded. In the Ruhr Industrial Zone, the French arranged themselves with local workers’ councils and entrusted their Red Guards, whom they themselves had armed only weeks before, to police the urban areas while pre-war municipal administrations were told to prepare new elections on the local level and support the workers’ councils in the meantime.

The temporary structural outcome in the area which an EFP Council assumed formal responsibility over as the “Mandate of Westphalia” was a deliberate political void on the upper levels of legislation and jurisdiction. By now, a Mandate Commission has been established in Münster, in which the French (and to a much lesser degree the Belgians) run the whole show, but this commission has not yet taken any steps to remove this political void. The Mandate Commission has assumed legal control over all war-relevant industries (which includes the coal mines, steel plants, and factories for all sorts of machinery of the Ruhr Industrial Zones). This has further consolidated the workers’ councils symbiotic relationship with the occupiers: they’re delivering most of the coal and ore, which isn’t needed directly in the region, exclusively to the Mandate Commission, which is a fig leave for the French and Belgian governments, well below world market prices. The councilised workers still make a better cut than before, given that they haven’t just swapped capitalist profit margins for occupiers’ bargains, but that in the war years, wages had been strictly controlled, too.

This arrangement is not universally embraced on both sides, of course. In the Elberfeld Supreme Soviet, an SPD-aligned faction protests against French imperialism and demands a return to legality and immediate democratic elections in all of Westphalia and Germany. A USPD-aligned faction supports this call for elections, but abstains from anti-French propaganda, given its extremely pro-EFP stance and the chance that even the half-hearted French support means for the emergence of a new democratic polity which really commits to socialism. The local IRSDLP-aligned faction basically shares the same political agenda, but doesn’t merge with the USPD because they’re mostly survivors of the Spartakist uprising who haven’t forgotten the USPD’s betrayal. But neither of these three factions is the strongest among the delegates from workers’ town councils on the Ruhr: like IOTL, syndicalist groups are stronger here, even though they, too, don’t form a majority, either. Among them, many support Rocker’s policy of tacit agreements with the occupation forces. In earlier articles and speeches, Rocker has clad this policy in anarchist terms, interpreting the temporary political void in Westphalia as a first sign of the disappearance of the coercive state apparatus and the triumph of voluntary association. Of course he is aware that “statehood” hasn’t disappeared and that the rule of force is now embodied by the French and Belgian military – but he declares this as merely a temporary situation which will sort itself out when the consequences of the war have been straightened out a little.

This position is not embraced by all syndicalists, though. Some of them – actually, quite a lot – view this tacit arrangement as a betrayal of German workers’ interests and selling out to the French. Now that the Italian Revolution is setting an example of revolutionary workers attempting to take over state power, and Mussolini’s Blacks combine syndicalist and nationalist rhetoric, it’s inevitable that some syndicalists on the Ruhr attempt to imitate this policy – which implies, as a first step, resistance against French rule.

[6] This description is in stark contradiction to how soviet power on the Ruhr actually works: municipal administrations and private companies are coerced to comply because everyone is absolutely reliant on coal and coal-fuelled electricity at this point in time…

[7] The first weeks of the Italian Revolution, or rather: the Italian Civil War, have gone differently than both Reds and Blacks planned. While the assembly of Marxist communes had been paralysed by a schism between those who support a stab at capturing nation-wide state power, led by Amadeo Bordiga, and those who prefer grassroots sovietisation and self-defense (primarily the Torino group), the Black Assembly in Parma has decided overwhelmingly for the revolutionary attempt to take over state power. To this end, revolutionary armies are planned to assemble and arm themselves in six centres of power, and once they consolidated, they are supposed to march on Rome together. Fighting against their Marxist revolutionary rivals was not declared a primary goal – but in the process of consolidation, a subordinate aim of the Blacks had been to infiltrate Marxist-controlled councils and factory groups so that now “Red” areas would join the revolution, too.

This far, gaining weapons has not proved quite as easy as Mussolini had envisioned, and infiltrating Red areas has not been as successful as hoped, either. Quite the opposite: the Reds are reacting with similar counter-measures. As a result, the first weeks have not seen any major takeovers of arsenals or town halls, and instead degenerated into extremely bloody “anti-infiltration fights” between Red Guards and Black Fasci.
August 1919 - Danish Loans
Copenhagen (Kingdom of Denmark): Politiken, August 15th, 1919, p. 1:


by Henrik Cavling

His Majesty’s Minister for Finance, Edvard Brandes, has approved of loans to Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, the Ukraine and the Union of Equals as a whole in the total sum of more than 125 million crowns. [2] Intense parliamentary debates have preceded this decision over the past weeks. The Coalition has pointed out the economic dangers of a domino of state bankruptcies rolling over the continent from East to West [3], and stressed the benefits of close economic ties in the Baltic space. [4] Critics of the measure from among the Opposition have uttered both skepticism with regards to the trustworthiness of the borrowers and considerations of international political strategy.

With the decision now finally taken, the Zahle cabinet has taken an important step towards consolidating Denmark’s stature. Crucial for this decision appears to have been the cautious and conciliatory stance of the Union’s President Avksentiev at the international conference in Nice [5] and the efforts undertaken by his government to promote a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Italy. [6] International political commentators have sought to explain this as a victory of the Khrystiuk faction over the Kerensky faction in the latter’s own domain of cooperating with the other great powers of the world. [7]

Be that as it may – both the outcome of the Nice Conference and the series of loans extended by our government, which will probably be followed by similar such arrangements between other states [8], seem to suggest that, after all the horrors and the turmoil of the last years, the world is now slowly returning onto a more steady path, hopefully one which shall lead us towards a new age of co-operation which brings peace and prosperity to all our nations.

[1] This does not mean “pleasant conference”, but rather a conference taking place in the French coastal city of Nice. The ambiguity would not occur in Danish.

[2] Approximately 25 million US dollars, this may not appear much from our present perspective. Considering that this amounts to a third of the Danish government’s annual budget, though, it is a massive set of loans (which Denmark, although experiencing a bit of inflation during the war, too, can afford to extend, better than many others, its economy having fared comparatively well in the past five years). For the Union of Equals, it is only a slight help, given that in the Great War alone, they have acquired foreign debt of more than 5 billion dollars. But it can help them avoid immediate bankruptcy and buys them a few months of time. For the constituent republics mentioned here, it is groundbreaking, since these (in contrast to Finland and the Union level) have not inherited any precious metal reserves or anything of the sort.

[3] Russia (now the UoE) owes billions to both Britain and France; France owes Britain and the US even more, and much of the British loans have been made possible by US credit in turn.

[4] Or, less carefully put, favourable terms of trade with these countries for the Danish economy, and some degree of political influence as well.

[5] Two topics were on the official agenda of the summit in sunny Nice: the “crisis in Italy” and the Ottoman Question. With regards to the former, a common EFP policy has finally been formulated (more details in footnote 6), which meant that the UoE had to swallow a lot of internationalist socialist pride. With regards to the Ottoman Question, too, a draft has been finalized which is now communicated to the Ottoman government for signature. In exchange for a seat on the Ottoman Public Debt Administration board and on the International Administrative Board of the Straits, the UoE has committed to a long-term stationing of its “International Cossacks” without any gains beyond those which they had obtained in Armenia in the Great War, while other Entente nations would receive additional territorial gains (Greece in Smyrna and Pontos, and after the 1921 Plebiscites probably also in Eastern Thrace) and protectorates (France in Lebanon and Cilicia, Britain in the form of the Hashemite Kingdoms of Syria and Iraq as protected states). Also, the UoE had to accept that combatting “military aggression, chauvinism, terrorism and massacres” are the_only_internationally recognized relevant parameters in the process of finding a new constitution for the Ottoman rump state – with no talk of democracy, civil rights, social equality or the like added.

(Committing to the policing of Turkey implied, under the given circumstances, massively reducing the UoE presence in the Eastern half of Prussia including Berlin. Here, the UoE could find itself between the seats: on the one hand, they must seek to stabilize the Berlin Soviet as much as they can as fast as possible if they want any lasting influence on Germany. On the other hand, keeping all the various leftovers of the old Prussian system from coagulating and forming another aggressive and dangerous entity somewhere in East Elbia without proper military forces means relying on the Poles who consistently pursue the policy of policing and cleansing only those territories they are designated to take over. Selling massive territorial losses in the East to any Prussian / German polity, even to one led by the likes of Rosa Luxemburg, may not be very easy, though, and could destabilize them.)

[6] The Italian Civil War is indeed already nearing the end of its hottest phase. I had intended to describe it in greater detail, but that would have gone way beyond my own possibilities and I did not dare ask so much input from lukedalton or others knowledgeable on the Italian situation. So here goes the very short summary of how things turned out: The Blacks had more weapons and more battle-experienced men on their side, and they had the momentum of the offensive, too, at first. As the infights between Reds and Blacks wore on in July, the latter momentum was lost, and it became evident that the PSI fiefs in many industrial cities on the North would neither join nor fall to the Blacks, especially with Hungarian volunteers with weapons filtering into the Red strongholds and ammunition production there being put to use in the defense of Red strongholds. Orlando’s government did take a wait-and-see approach, as @lukedalton has suggested, and while the Coalition as a whole did not support Blueshirt attacks on Reds and Blacks officially, wealthy individuals with ties to the liberals and conservatives did lend them quite concrete aid.

By early August, the question of a March on Rome had to be forced now, in spite of sub-optimal conditions, or be given up on. In this situation, the Black front turned out to be a rather loose assortment. Crucial for its manpower reservoir and territorial depth was the contribution of the left-agrarian Partito Rivoluzionario dei Contadini Italiani (PRCI), who looked to the Russian SRs as their inspiration and sought to copy their radical land reform. Part of the self-moderating volte in UoE foreign policy, forced upon them by their illiquidity, was how leading Russian and Ukrainian SRs involved themselves in brokering a “pact” among all major Italian parties for social, industrial, and agrarian reform, but also for civil disarmament, a disavowing of partisan political violence, and a strengthening of public law and order infrastructure and personnel after the elections, including higher wages for police staff, and moderate land reform elements, and even more so in convincing the PRCI to join this pact and desert the Black Revolutionary cause. The PRCI split over this issue – I had intended to research and cover this in greater detail, but in the end, it would be me making up all sorts of people and events since IOTL the situation in the Italian countryside was different in terms of which political forces existed, so here’s just the short summary – , but the larger faction went with the pact, and so the Black Revolution is fizzling out, and Benito Mussolini has fled to Switzerland (will he meet Bavaria’s royal family there? …) for the moment. The UoE has also exerted (trade) pressure on the Hungarian government to withdraw its “volunteers” and thus prevent the Red side from filling the void which the collapsing Black front left. This is the moment for ordinary Italian gendarmerie, police, military etc. units to move in and restore the constitutional order city by city, province by province. It’s not yet entirely calm, but by now, everyone is aware that the Revolution in Italy (either of them) has failed, and the constitutional system will survive.

[7] The Ukrainian SR Pavlo Khrystiuk is Minister for Finance in the Union of Equals’ federal government. (The Ukrainian SRs needed an important portfolio, given their pivotal influence both in Avksentiev’s nomination campaign, in his victory over Trotsky, and quite generally Ukraine’s status as the second-largest republic of the union. Since foreign policy, the other major competency of the federal government, has gone to the Russian Popular Socialist Labour Party (i.e. Kerensky), finances was the only other option which made sense. Khrystiuk is a very centrist SR, but that isn’t the root of the dissent with Kerensky hinted at here – it’s their respective ministeries and the logic they follow. Kerensky’s foreign ministry is, every so often, involuntarily (or voluntarily) relapsing into the patterns of an expansionist tsarist Russian foreign policy. Khrystiuk, on the other hand, knows that much of the strong appearance the UoE is making with all its involvements in so many places is built on a very shaky foundation, that the Union is close to the day is in which the UoE government has become unable to repay one of its loans to a foreign creditor. Within the federal government, Khrystiuk has quietly urged for a massive reduction in UoE military presence around the globe and for strategic concessions to the other great powers so that the Union gains time to restructure its debt.

[8] As alluded to above, the UoE is not the only one tetering on the edge of bankruptcy. The fact that this is openly expressed in a newspaper suggests that the situation is serious indeed.
Alternative Currencies

The current economic situation is both a great and a bad time for alternative currencies. It is a great time because traditional national currencies are very inflated anyway, to the point of their having become unreliable and unwieldy (the Rouble, the Romanian Leu, the Italian Lira, the Ottoman Lira, and probably a few others, too), or their issuing national banks have disappeared (the k.u.k. Krone, the German Reichsmark). But it is also a bad time because during the wartime, economies have been oriented to an unprecedented degree on government administration and control, so a reliable and comparatively smooth conversion to peacetime production is expected by almost everyone to be a top-down business, too. This goes hand in hand with the trend in socialist thought, and the dominance of Marxism is just the tip of the iceberg here: while throughout the 19th century, small utopian socialist experiments had blossomed... and withered, the trend in the last third of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th had been to see socialism as something that needed to be addressed at the "commanding heights" of the economy. With the disappointing results of the Soviet experiment, small-scale experiments with alternative conceptions of socialism became more attractive again IOTL in the course of the 1920s. But in 1919, the situation is weirdly ambivalent...

The biggest and most prominent alternative form of currency is the mutual credit through the ISOMA (Inter-Soviet Office of Mutual Aid). I've been thinking about what kind of quantification they'd apply, but labour hours would certainly be a core component, although probably not the only one. This has started on a grassroots level, but now after one and a half years, it is a huge bureaucratic monster administering contracts probably worth hundreds of millions of 2020 US dollars, if not more. With domestic private banks having crashed in Russia and foreign ones withdrawn and the Rouble still losing its value at an unpleasant rate, ISOMA contracts are the no. 1 source of credit for producers, although they're not handing out any loans to private individuals for private matters, and likewise not accepting any deposits from private investors.

Across much of the former Central Powers' territories, there have been prolonged phases of failed statehood and currency chaos. Governments and pseudo-government entitites have created new national currencies and/or relied on foreign currency. Individual market participants have often taken refuge to foreign currencies, too, as well as to barter (after WW2, cigarettes were a kind of pseudo-currency in Germany, so maybe something similar is happening here in many places, too).
In Hungary, there is a new national currency (would it still be called Forint? I'm reflecting...), and with all the central planning going on, its function is mostly equivalent to rationing coupons, but it still works as a regular currency in the few domains in which market structures are still tolerated.
Across much of Germany, the situation is indeed chaotic, and since here, theories of alternative currency are also comparatively popular, I am seriously pondering such solutions, but much of the time, people will probably not feel the trust and security in these troubled times and rather rely on a hard foreign currency.
The syndicalist network on the Ruhr is solving things in a different way, and they're clearly trying to calculate equivalents in their negotiations, and here, too, labour hours will play an important role, but since raw materials play such an important role in this region, their influence on the whole system of exchange must be taken into account, too. Their solution is explicitly non-monetary, but as we know, there's all sorts of pseudo-money and pseudo-finances at work everywhere people try to make do without money. This only concerns the dealings of the syndicates with each other and their members; private individual exchange is probably still trying to use the Mark, where possible, or foreign currencies, where people can get their hands on these, or durable barter goods.

International Policing

The EFP has not yet established any such institution, I think.
But I think there might be another nucleus for an alt-Interpol. When the Paris Peace Conference was dissolved, all sorts of committees were meant to start their work on specific tasks. We've seen that the Ottoman Committee has done its work, and I think so has the commitee on an improved Hague and an International War Crimes Court. The latter is probably going to be ratified along with alt-Sevres, which involves Britain, but probably not the US. It will establish not only a Court for International War Crimes and Atrocities (at the moment only dealing with Central Powers atrocities) in The Hague, but also receive an investigative corps / a sort of Hague police with the aim to track down and apprehend those deemed responsible for war crimes in Russia, Armenia, Belgium, Serbia, and elsewhere.
September 1919 - Avksentiev Assassinated
Helsinki (Finnish Federative Republic): Helsingin Sanomat, September 2nd, 1919, p.1 :


Russian terrorists from a group named “The Golden Cross” have assassinated the President of the Union, Mr Nikolai Avksentiev, in Odessa yesterday, where he had alighted from the ship which had brought him and his staff back from the Constantinople Conference. [1] In the midst of a crowd of spectators and protesters, the assassins successfully brought themselves in immediate proximity of the presidential entourage, where two of them attempted to set off explosive devices which they carried under their clothes. While the bomb of one of the terrorists, one Serghey Bazanov, failed to detonate and could be defused by the president’s guard, another bomb exploded close to Mr Avksentiev. Medical doctors have confirmed the death of the President and one of his bodyguards, as well as of the perpetrator, Konstantin Goremykin. Five other members of Mr Avksentiev’s staff as well as two of the terrorists have been severely wounded and are treated in a hospital in the port city on the Black Sea.

Expressions of condolence have reached the Winter Palace [2] from all over the world. The President of our Senate, Matti Paasivuori, has expressed his shock and grief, and so have Mr Thomas Marshall, acting President of the U.S.A., M. Raymond Poincaré, President of the French Republic, Duke Ernst August of Brunswick, Lüneburg and Hanover [3], and many others.

Undoubtedly, the Union and the entire community of nations has lost a circumspect and thoughtful statesman. Nikolai Avksentiev has managed to steer the big ship of our federation into calmer waters and facilitated a return to orderly politics. Patiently and carefully, he has brought a polity shaken by revolutionary turmoil back into the choir of the leading civilized powers. Across the continent, he will be remembered as one of the founding fathers of the Federation of Peace, which we hope will avert the scourge of war from coming generations. In Finnish politics, his willingness as leader of the PSR faction in the Constituent Assembly to renegotiate the Concordance as well as his admonitions at the address of Boris Kamkov to call Trotsky back from Finland have earned him our respect.

It is almost impossible, though, not to notice the historical irony which lies in the fact that a President and party leader has been murdered by terrorists now, when it was his own party which had so fervently advocated terrorism and assassinations of government officials twenty years ago. This past is not quite so distant – the man who succeeds Mr Avksentiev in the office of President of the Union now, Vice-President Vladimir Volsky [4], has personally participated in such acts. At the turn of the century, Russia’s new Populists opened a can of worms which is now eating into their own flesh. From the entourage of the presidential cabinet meetings held in Petrograd under Volsky’s leadership when Avksentiev had been in Paris, rumours have spread about an allegedly impulsive nature of the vice-president. We can only hope that these rumours will be proven wrong. We can only hope that Mr Volsky has fully understood the responsibility he has inherited now, the frailty of our continental peace and recovery, and that his party as well as the other parties of the Left have fully understood how disastrous their past engagement in political terrorism has been and that an unambiguous rejection of such deeds is necessary.

Our National Assembly Party has issued such a declaration of unambiguous rejection of political terrorism after the assassination of Oskari Tokoi and Kyösti Kallio by the Vihan Veljet. Other parties and movements across the Union must follow this example now. The parties presently in power should realize that this is a goal of utmost national and global importance – and that they can make it easier for national-minded and non-socialist parties to position themselves firmly on this fundament of non-violence if the Left desists in its rhetoric of class warfare and its threats of violence against “the bourgeoisie”. Stating the obvious, namely that a large segment of the population, without whose engagement and loyalty no society can thrive, currently feels existentially threatened, and that such threats and fears are the ferment on which terrorism grows, does not mean to exculpate the terrorists. The manifesto with which the "Golden Cross" has assumed responsibility for the deed is full of the vilest hatred against Jews and others deemed non-Russian, clings to dreams of a mythical past and a glorious czardom, rejects freedom and democracy, and is in every detail utterly unacceptable. Such extremism must be rigorously rejected. All violent and extremist policies must be rejected. This should be the moment in which we all pause and reflect on the value of peaceful and harmonious social relations and on their requirements.

And when we have found the resolve to say no to political violence of any kind, we ought to expand the mandate of the International Attorney in the Hague, so that he can prosecute terrorists across the globe – because political terrorism has become a global scourge. We owe this to Nikolai Avksentiev, and to all other victims of political assassinations.

[1] In Constantinople, an alt-Sevres treaty, along with additional Protocols to the Hague Conventions, establishing a Court for Crimes and Atrocities Committed during the Great War and an International Attorney along with auxiliary (investigative) organs, and also more explicitly banning chemical and biological warfare (akin to the Geneva Protocol of 1925: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Protocol ) was signed by the Ottoman government on the one hand, and the governments of Britain, France, Greece, the UoE and Italy on the other hand. Additional signatories to all three documents were the provisional governments of the Arab Kingdom of Syria, the Kingdom of the Hejaz, the State of Lebanon, the Kingdom of Iraq, and the Kurdish Free State. Signatories to the two protocols added to the Hague Convention only would become the governments of more than 30 countries over the course of the rest of 1919. The United States of America would only sign the protocol banning chemical and bacterial weapons, but not the one which established the Great War Court and International Attorney due to fears that the latter’s function was not formulated explicitly enough in a way which would exclude its prosecuting US military personnel for their conduct in any past or future conflict.

[2] Both the Presidential offices and the Council of the Union are housed in the Winter Palace in Petrograd since the beginning of the year.

[3] Who of what? you may well ask. More on that in an authorial update on Germany. I have decided to go with the idea of a Welf restoration campaign. While it had only limited support as is, significant British meddling could change this. This is part of the Conservative-led turn-around in British policies towards Germany, which is the last nail in the coffin of Prussia.

[4] Vladimir Volsky is the first man from the second row of the SRs who IOTL never became very prominent but of whom more and more will come to the fore ITTL. IOTL and ITTL, Volsky was a regional SR leader in Tambov. Allegedly, he and Maria Spiridonova had been lovers once. In contrast to the latter, though, Volsky did not join the Left SRs IOTL; instead, he shortly played a role in the White movement until the likes of him (i.e. leftist anti-Bolsheviks) became sidelined. What I have gathered about his biography makes me believe that he is a possible candidate for the type of “revolutionary militia-warlord in 1917 turned regional SR strongman”. A politician from the centre of power like Avksentiev would need, in the big coalition which only could have carried him into office in the autumn and winter of 1918, some such regional – well, in today’s Russia such people tend to be called “oligarchs”, but ITTL’s Russia in 1919 the economic circumstances are different, so even if this name might be applied to people like Volsky, it carries slightly different meanings – powerful person is required, too, in order to ensure other regional leaders that a SR-led Union government would not threaten their powerbases. That is why, I think, Avksentiev might well have chosen someone like Vladimir Volsky as his vice-presidential candidate, and have won on this ticket.
Konstantin Goremykin, only 23 years of age, is actually both a student and a veteran. He was born into a noble family and is a distant relative of this man. He served on the South-Western front shortly before being relieved from duty in late 1917 because he was deemed politically unreliable. (He had repeatedly criticised the new government and the land reform, in which his family has lost their large estate.) Unable to attend higher military school as he had planned, he enrolled in the study of Philosophy and History at the Imperial Novorossya University in Odessa. He was among the founding members of the local "Cherry-Tree Picknicker" group at his university, but soon found them to "cowardly" and "liberal" for his tastes. He met the group around Bazanov in a public lecture by a right-leaning professor of Russian history (insert name here, I'm not feeling creative at the moment), a member of the utmost right fringe of the Cherry-Tree Picknickers and not a member of the Golden Cross himself, but a sympathizer. Here, he finally found like-minded people who shared his view that the land reform was a crime, the Ukraine and all other FRs are ridiculous, the labour movement is poisoned by Jewish German ideas, and that the Motherland can only be saved by heroic and drastic action now.

Serghey Bazarov, ten years his comrade's elder, was born into a working-class family of ethnic Russian descent who had migrated to Kiev, where his father had found a job in a factory. Bazarov was a bright young man who was given the chance to acquire some formal education in an Orthodox church school, and he went on and enrolled in a priestly seminary in the late 1900s. He became associated with black hundredist organizations, but was never given a leading role there. One of his violent activities ultimately brought him his exmatriculation from the priests' seminary, and he then took on odd jobs and lived off money from the organization. When the Great War began, he served in various different contexts, and became a non-commissioned officer. He participated in the atttempted coup against Chernov, then went into hiding, but was apprehended by the VeCheKa in December 1917, tortured and detained in a site not far from Petrograd, awaiting a trial for treason and various other crimes, when the Germans overwhelmed the UoE defenses, and soon released anti-socialist political prisoners. Bazarov worked in the political police of Markov's ultra-rightist, anti-semitic, pro-German dictatorship. When the Germans and Markov's regime collapsed, he escaped into Ukraine, where he founded, with both old comrades and new ones from the right fringe of the Cherry-Tree Picknickers, the "Golden Cross".
September 1919 - Whitehall Anxious About Russian Policies
London: The Daily Telegraph, September 6th, 1919:


After the assassination of the President of the Union of Equals by Russian terrorists five days ago, His Majesty’s Foreign Secretary, Earl Curzon [1], has deemed it necessary to express “our hope that the new Union leadership shall honor all our common agreements and continue on the path towards political and economic consolidation of the continent.” Evidently, this betrays the deep anxiety with which Whitehall is observing the transition of power in Petrograd and the first steps of the new Acting President Vladimir Volsky.

The new man at Russia’s helm has not shown any interest at all in international politics so far. While this might betray a beneficial emphasis of his on concentrating on the rebuilding of his own ravaged country, which would be a sensible course of action, it might just as well mean that other forces will determine the colossus’s foreign policies from now on. Kerensky’s pan-Slavism [2], of which we have received more than a mere taste in Paris, might not be the worst among them. Within the radical governing party, anti-British sentiment has flared up in various allegations of conspiracy [3], and vociferous factions in the Russian parliament already see the opportunity for a return to the policy of instigating sedition and insurgencies across the globe. Under such domestic pressures and without an evident foreign policy agenda of his own, will Mr Volsky honor the understandings which have fortunately been recently achieved regarding Germany and Central Asia? [4]

And what of the Union’s frail financial situation? While the late Mr Avksentiev appears to have come to his senses virtually in the last hour, widespread rumours have Volsky as a budgetary Populist. New flamboyant public expenditures and the foreseeable insolvency they might inflict upon Russia [5] could set off a chain reaction in which the world’s financial systems would suffer beyond repair.

[1] IOTL, Balfour resigned after the Paris Peace Conference. ITTL, Paris goes at least as bad as IOTL for the British (arguably a lot worse), so if he resigned IOTL I think he will have resigned ITTL by this time, too. I don’t see a reason why he wouldn’t be replaced by the same fellow Conservative as IOTL.

[2] Kerensky is not a pan-Slavist. This is just a label the Telegraph is sticking on him for his, well, focus on “national interests” of the UoE in international politics and the reputation he has acquired in Paris to be an unpleasant negotiator. (I took this particular bit from various descriptions of Kerensky by very different people who all seemed slightly uncomfortable with the man.)

[3] @dbakes994 was right: there are just a couple of minor Russian former noblemen behind the financial foundation of the Golden Cross. UoE intelligence is currently investigating links which lead to an émigré who lives in England, from where the funds might have flown. Information about these investigations has leaked to the Russian press, where it has been received with righteous fury. Most of it was directed against the anti-republican, anti-socialist émigré community, but there may have been some overt or covert anti-British undertones in some articles, yes.

[4] The agreement spoken about here are not official at this point. So far, what every informed observer can perceive is that the UoE and Britain behave like they have delineated spheres of influence in Germany and in Central Asia. The UoE has not interfered in any way in Afghanistan, where British forces have roundly defeated the Afghan army and concluded the Third Anglo-Afghan War with an unambiguous British victory: Amanullah Khan is deposed by the elders of his own clan, and his brother Nasrullah follows him on the throne. He must accept significant curbing in Afghanistan’s independence as a “protected state”, including the stationing of a British resident in Kabul. On the other hand, no British companies have shown up so far in Khiva and Bukhara, leaving the Railways of the Union of Equals a free hand to negotiate new infrastructural projects in both states.

A similar situation takes places in Germany, or more specifically, in Prussia, where Britain controls much of the Western half, while the UoE controls those parts of the Eastern half which haven’t been taken over by Poland. As already promised in the last update, an authorial sketch over Prussia and the rest of Germany in the summer of 1919 is to follow soon – it has grown out of proportions for a footnote once again… so let me state here only that, at this point in time, we have already reached a situation in which all foreign powers and many Germans, too, are acutely aware that Prussia no longer exists and will probably not re-emerge in the near future, but nobody has openly stated this yet. I have already mentioned that the British have helped in the creation of a re-unified Duchy of Hannover, Lüneburg and Braunschweig (all once Welf possessions), and this new monarchy has already, counselled by the British, negotiated a common space of free trade, free movement and monetary union with the Free and Hanseatic Cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck, with the Free State of Oldenburg, the Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe, the Principality of Lippe (Detmold), and the Self-Administered Provinces of Holstein, Preußisch-Sachsen, and Brandenburg (West), all nominally in preparation of a German unity and for the sake of alleviating the suffering of the starving German population, against whom Britain has finally lifted its blockade. But in fact, this agreement, the “Pinneberg Agreement”, is one of the first steps towards creating new realities in a divided Germany, and implicitly towards accepting it. Similarly, the Free People’s State of Prussia, with its capital in Berlin and controlled by the UoE, has concluded a similar agreement with the Free People’s State of Saxony. In Braunschweig, a fief of the USPD IOTL and ITTL, there have been revolts against the restoration of the Welf monarchy and the dissolution of worker soviets. These protests have been violently dissolved and oppressed by Hannoverian police forces and pro-Welf Heimatwehren, undoubtedly at least with the tacit agreement of the British. On the other side of the occupation line, the Berlin Workers’ Soviet, faced with increasing numbers of pan-German pro-SPD delegates, has decided to become the Prussian Workers’ and Peasants’ Soviet, i.e. to extend the mobilization and sovietisation campaign into the countryside and start a massive (and massively violent, inevitably) land reform, backed on what UoE forces are still in the region. To this behest, there has even been a left-agrarian revolutionary party formed: the “Sozialrevolutionäre Partei in Preußen”, i.e. Social-Revolutionary Party in Prussia”. The whole project is encountering massive difficulties, since many of the landless agrarian workforce who could profit from such a measure have disappeared already – many of them were Polish, and have moved into lands now controlled by Poland where they have been promised their own plots of land long before this repartition came about. Under these circumstances, junkers are putting up resistance here and there – and the UoE-backed Prussian “revolutionaries” are resorting to increasingly violent measures to smoke out this resistance.

British protest about these “excesses” in East Elbia has been very modest. Likewise, Avksentiev and Kerensky had not loudly denounced the “oppression” in Braunschweig, either. Hence the speculations about a secret agreement.

[5] And again, “Russia” may indeed refer to “Russia” or to the UoE as a whole. Both might be right.
Germany in the Summer of 1919
Germany in the Summer of 1919

As @lukedalton has already observed, Germany’s disintegration has started a bit of a “Great Game” in Germany, with the major powers trying to consolidate spheres of influence and install puppet states. This doesn’t happen in a political void at all, and we also can’t compare it to the sort of total political blackout and restart that 1945ff. was in Germany IOTL, or, well, we can compare it, but then the differences clearly show, for this divided Germany doesn’t come out of the most horrible totalitarian genocidal dictatorship in all of history which had banned (and with regards to the Left tried its utmost to physically eliminate) any political parties other than the governing one. TTL’s splintered Germany has a lively party landscape and political movements landscape. Not all of Germany’s old political institutions have crumbled overnight. Therefore, the great powers are not operating in a void, but in a dynamic and heavily contested space. Regional and local differences are an important factor here – who leads which party in which part of Germany has an influence on whether they turn left or right, or pro cooperation with the occupying powers vs. some sort of resistance against them, and of course indudstrialised areas with strong and varied labour movements have a different political landscape than rural regions, and among the rural regions, those with a self-confident, self-reliant and impropertied peasant class will behave differently from regions where large landowners have worked their huge export-oriented estates with landless wage workers. But, of course, as the last update has also alluded to, the question of who is the occupying force is still probably the single most influential factor in the equation of how the dynamics of 1919 in different parts of Germany play out. To illustrate the common background against which all of this happens, Germany has suffered massively from the consecutive waves of the Spanish flu due to shortages of everything that hospitals and doctors needed to tend to the sick, and also from continued malnutrition due to lack of food. Britain maintained its sea blockade until July 1919, but even after that, Germany is not nearly producing enough to buy enough foodstuff from abroad, while its internal production is also even worse than that of OTL 1919 because of the May flare-up of warfare, and even before the war, Germany was not autarkically able to produce enough food for its own population. That plays into the hands of two great powers who are both starting to withdraw their troops from Germany: the US and the UoE. Both are the two biggest exporters of food on the world market – the US has been throughout the war, Russia / the UoE has seen massive slumps from 1916 through 1918, but 1919 has brought a recovery and this year’s harvest is not only enough to bring food prices down a little in Russia’s own cities, but also to export food again. UoE export capacities are still limited mostly by destroyed or deteriorated infrastructure, so the US is the no. 1 food exporting nation clearly in 1919. This lends soft power even when hard power is being scaled back.

The Failure of the Frankfurt Vorparlament and the Fate of the Old Reichstag Parties

In June, after Hindenburg’s unconditional surrender and the dissolution of the Reich, leaders of the traditional Reichstag parties (with the exception of the Conservatives) met to discuss a path towards Germany’s rebirth as a modern parliamentary democracy. (Hence no Conservatives, who did not share this goal.) They agreed that Germany-wide elections for a Constituent Assembly were necessary, but they saw various problems with this plan: who would organize them and safeguard their fair and transparent proceedings? Where exactly would they take place (e.g. also in Posen province and Alsace-Lorraine, or not? What about Austria…)? Which electoral rules would apply, and who would get to decide that? What mandate would the Constituent Assembly have – could it reform the inner structures of the Empire, for example, or sign international treaties, or would this power rest with the individual states now? Etc. To solve these problems, they decided that a Vorparlament (pre-parliament) would be necessary, in which all constitutionally democratic political forces would be represented.

This Vorparlament met in late June in Frankfurt – a city of historical importance for German liberalism and its bourgeois democratic movement: here in the Paulskirche, Germany’s first parliamentary assembly had convened in 1848, likewise tasked with finding a democratic constitution for a new united German state. Well, the parallels to their historical predecessor would go further than the Vorparlament members of 1919 had bargained for...

Conservative monarchist parties were not the only ones who were not present in the Vorparlament – neither was the Radical Left in all its shades and stripes. The Frankfurt Vorparlament had grown out of an agreement between the establishment of four traditionally strong Reichstag parties, and its composition reflected this. Not even the entire breadth of these four parties was represented. The “Frankfurt initiative” had been a common brainchild of the National Liberal Gustav Stresemann, the Catholic Zentrum politician Matthias Erzberger, the ageing Fortschrittler (Progressive) Friedrich Naumann whose health was in critical condition, and the centrist Social Democrats Friedrich Ebert and Philipp Scheidemann. The right wing of the National Liberal Party was not attending and rejected the project. Most Zentrum politicians from the Rhenish Republic and the Bavarian Free State were absent, too, because they pursued secessionist policies. Likewise, the left wing of the SPD was very meagerly represented, too, because Ebert and Scheidemann feared that they would insist in bringing in the USPD, the IRSD and the entire soviet movement, too – which, they knew, would alienate their bourgeois partners and work against the entire spirit of the Frankfurt initiative.

This spirit of the Frankfurt initiative was “to save the German nation, its unity and independence, and the foundations of its restoration and well-being”. The above-mentioned leaders shared a view of the present situation: The militaristic monarchy and the chauvinistic forces had brought Germany to the brink of ruin – they should not have any say in its future, or else they would repeat their same mistakes. But likewise, the defeatist, collaborationist and Revolutionary Left, who had sabotaged Germany’s defense and then openly aided the French, the Italian, and the UoE’s advances and occupation, who did not care for national unity, strength and independence, and who did not feel themselves bound by any law or constitution and would upend all social relations and ruin Germany’s economy to an extent which could be presently observed in Hungary, must not be allowed to play their double game, either. The great leaders who mobilized for the Frankfurt initiative were full of mistrust vis-à-vis the French, British, Belgian, Italian, Czechoslovak, Polish, and UoE occupiers. The only great power some of them looked to with some hope was Wilson’s USA, whom they saw as upholding the ideal of German democratic unity and national self-determination.

The Frankfurt Vorparlament began with heated debates – none of the above-mentioned challenges met with any consensus view. Very soon, though, the intensity of the debates faded and a disheartened atmosphere descended: Wilson’s incapacitation was the first blow to the “Frankfurters”, followed by the news about an Anglo-French understanding concerning not only the Middle East, but also the division of formerly German colonies among the two (and Belgium, see part 4) and of spheres of influence within Germany.

Faced with the realization that none of the great powers would help them, the members of the Frankfurt Vorparlament reacted in different ways. While a handful of Social Democrats sought to reach out to the German Workers’ Council in Elberfeld (a motion immediately struck down by the overwhelming majority, which caused them to leave the Vorparlament), a larger new group heading in a different direction formed across most of the other parties. Delegates from particularly stable states who had been making good experiences with democratic coalitions and reforms on their regional level began to question the wisdom of an independent pan-German national initiative which refused co-operation with the occupying powers, and instead proposed that the Vorparlament passed one final memorandum, in which it laid down procedural standards for the election of a constituent assembly and otherwise left the management of the process in the hands of the member states. This group, which we might label “Decentral Unifiers”, was initially led by Joseph Wirth from the Zentrum in the Grand Duchy of Baden, Fritz Bockius from the Zentrum in Hesse, Konrad Henrich from the Progressives in Hesse, Wilhelm Keil from the SPD in Württemberg, Anton Geiß from the SPD in Baden and Carl Ulrich from the SPD in Hesse.

Their proposition led to furious debates in the Vorparlament. Most of the Prussian delegates, where no comparable functioning state could be counted on to pursue such a strategy, were opposed to it, and almost the entire National Liberal faction opposed this “betrayal of the national cause” furiously. The motion of the Decentral Unifiers might have still won a majority, had not Konrad Adenauer, on behest of the French authorities who did not want any unification, be it centrally or decentrally organized, instructed the Zentrum delegates from the Rhenish Republic (among whom the proposition found large support) to leave the Vorparlament before the vote. Adenauer held a speech in Köln (Cologne) in which he painted a yet more radical departure from the Vorparlament’s initial agenda, one which would only find broader support in other German states much later: the idea of “local consolidation and a later unification as part of European integration”.

As it was, the motion of the Decentral Unifiers was struck down with 173 against 141 votes.

The triumphant “Centralists” soon suffered another serious blow when, with British support (see part 5), the Hannoverian secession and Welf restoration took place. In the debate as to how to react to this fait accompli, a radicalization began to set in, and increasingly shrill nationalist voices began to dominate among the Centralists, with von Papen leading the nationalist radicalization among Prussian Zentrum delegates, Paul Lensch leading the nationalist voices in the SPD, Hjalmar Schacht the nationalists among the Progressives, who had to digest the death of their “Übervater” Friedrich Naumann, too, while almost the National Liberal Party supported this turn, too. They lobbied for a resolution which forbade any “righteous German” to “collaborate with the traitorous anti-German usurpers” in Hannover, the Rhineland, Bavaria and other states. (This was a position which lost contact with reality very quickly, as more and more German states collaborated peacefully with the occupiers, local administration continued regardless of where the directives came from, and while few stated their departure from the aim of German unity as clearly as the Rhenish Zentrum and the Bavarian Zentrum, which even rebranded itself into the “Christlich-Soziale Partei” and prepared the unification with its Austrian sister party.)

Such radical, unrealistic and dangerous rhetoric alienated, in turn, moderate Centralists like Matthias Erzberger from the Württemberg Zentrum and Philipp Scheidemann and Friedrich Ebert from the SPD. They, too, began to distance themselves, increasingly from a Frankfurt project in which nationalist voices were taking over. By the end of August, as political violence haunted Braunschweig and Eastern Prussia, almost half of the initial members of the Frankfurt Vorparlament had left. Those who had remained saw themselves faced with the threat of dissolution and judicial persecution at the behest of the EFP Mandate Council for Hesse, for “instigation of military aggression”. A flight Northwards, perhaps to Detmold, where there were almost no foreign occupying forces (and those who were in the vicinity were British, who were still somewhat lazier in smoking out “German chauvinism” than the other occupying forces, was discussed, but dismissed as futile. And so, on September 7th, 1919, the Frankfurt Vorparlament dissolved itself after having passed a final resolution, in which it demanded from all “provisional governments” (as they termed them) to hold elections for a German-wide constituent assembly within one year, and declared that any government who failed to comply with this “resolution of the German people” had lost their legitimacy, so that none of its decisions, decrees and actions would bind any German citizen any longer.

A hard core of “Frankfurters” stayed in touch in order to prepare for a “national democratic revolution”. But by now, this was but the last sectarian gasp in a comparatively short process of decomposition, in which Germany’s old Reichstag parties had dissolved into increasingly separately acting local branches, pursuing very varying agendas and policies, depending on their local contexts.

Workers’ Councils in Germany

Like IOTL, the concept and strategy of forming workers’ (and soldiers’) councils is one inspired by Russian revolutions – not just those of 1917, but already that of 1905 –, which at the same time fell on a German ground which was somewhat generally fertile. This general fertility, while not quite as marked as in Russia, resulted from an interesting cross-fertilisation between Marxist and non-Marxist views. Of all socialist theories, Marxism had the most pronounced historical and eschatological theory, declaring the proletariat to be destined to take over the reins of power when capitalism would inevitably collapse – and workers’ councils were an outflow of this general feeling that the Great War represented the collapse of capitalism, and now workers would have to take over power. On the other hand, Marxism had a penchant for party organization. It is no wonder, therefore, that the organizational form of “soviets” came about in Russia due to neo-Narodnik infusions which emphasized grassroots self-organization. In Germany, non-Marxist socialism was prominent among the “free unions” (since 1892 organized in the Generalkommission der Gewerkschaften Deutschlands), where reformist views in the Lasallean tradition were still strong, and even though the SPD was consistently led by Marxists for a long time, its lower echelons were always full of post-Lasallean reformists, too, who eventually pushed to the fore in the early 20th century. But these non-Marxist strands were not revolutionary enough to provide a truly fertile ground for the council movement. Anarchist and syndicalist currents, on the other hand, were both revolutionary and operated outside of the party paradigm. Here, the council idea found very fertile ground. Yet, one should not forget that anarchist and syndicalist groups were small minorities in the German labour movement.

IOTL, it was the context of the Great War, the schism between SPD and USPD, and the double revolution in Russia which fuelled and channeled, but also limited the German council movement in this general context. They became omnipresent in the autumn of 1918, and by the spring of 1919, they had almost been entirely suppressed and sidelined again, remaining associated only with a tiny fringe of the Radical Left (the Council Communists).

ITTL, German workers’ councils are a much more heterogeneous phenomenon. They lack not only the association with Bolshevism, but also the monolithic opponent of an SPD who hijacked the movement and pushed it to the side in its alliance with the army leadership and the bourgeois parties. Their fate varies greatly from region to region. And we must differentiate between distinct phases in the history of the German workers’ councils.

In the first phase, from their gradual formation out of strike committees and anti-war action groups around the Revolutionäre Obleute to the ceasefire of Absam and the revolutions in Bavaria, Saxony and Bremen, the workers’ and soldiers’ councils were increasingly broad coalitions with a temporary goal: to halt the war machine, stop the conflagration, bring down the militarist monarchical regime and initiate a democratic socialist new beginning. This phase has a rough equivalent in OTL’S 1918 council movement up to November (although some circumstances are different, e.g. no Bolshevik interpretation of the model in Russia, and no SPD jumping on the bandwagon in the last minute). Even IOTL, these councils were diverse – one anecdote which shows just how diverse they were is that Adolf Hitler, of all people, was asked by the Munich Soldiers’ Council to have a look at the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, and that was at a later stage. ITTL, this diversity is at least as great.

Compared to OTL, the council movement in the first phase is larger than IOTL until October (because it has been clearer before that the war is going badly and that OHL has wasted the chance for peace in the East at Brest-Litwosk), but then never as large as it became IOTL in November when the SPD leadership decided to join in. Like IOTL, the council movement succeeds in stopping the war, but unlike IOTL, it doesn’t immediately inherit much of the political authority to steer the transition process, because the Reich’s old institutions trudge on ITTL’s winter 1918/19. In many places – but not in Prussia – elections for regional re-constituting assemblies are organized, but in most of them, not by the council movement but by the established institutions (member state parliaments or governments or heads of state). When the war is over, therefore, the development of the councils begins to diverge from place to place. In this second phase, councils in some places radicalize, in others, they moderate, and yet other councils go into hibernation, fizzle out or dissolve.

Where councils are strong and radical and the old institutions are weak and discredited, the councils play a leading role in overthrowing the latter and creating new political entities: this is the case in Bremen, Saxony, and Bavaria. Elsewhere, Spartakists try to mobilise the councils for revolutions, too, but they fail, and in Bremen and Saxony, the situation is rolled back over the winter and spring of 1918/19, too.

When Kaiser Wilhelm II. dismisses Ebert, von Seeckt does not sign the *Versailles draft, the Entente marches in, and the “great peace resolution coalition” in the Reichstag adopts it “neither peace nor war” position before they flee, the council movement enters a third phase, which is marked by even more regional divergence. In the Ruhr industrial zone, in the Rhein-Main region of Southern Hesse, in Thuringia / Saxony, in Oldenburg, in Braunschweig, and in Berlin, different radically socialist groups take over control over factories and local administration, form workers’ guards, and co-operate with Entente forces in gaining and keeping control over railroad and other essential infrastructure and defeating and disarming both official military and newly formed anti-socialist, chauvinist Heimatwehren. On the Ruhr, as I have pointed out, syndicalists are strong, but there are all sorts of Marxist groups, too. In Braunschweig and Oldenburg, the USPD dominates the councils, while in the emergent Super-Saxony and Berlin, Luxemburg’s (and Liebknecht’s, before he is assassinated) IRSD is strongest. These councils are triumphant and self-confident now, but they must also tread a thin line of displaying proletarian independence to their support base on the one hand while continuing to co-operate with the Entente forces who could easily overwhelm them militarily on the other hand. While before, experiments with integrating the new councils into political systems in the midst of transformative processes have followed what they have labelled “the Russian model” (councils oversee the revolution and then take on a constitutional role in macro-managing economic matters) or “the Finnish model” (councils become intra-factory arbitration bodies and send delegates into chambers where they meet employers’ delegates with whom they negotiate frameworks for employer-employee relations; a mixture of OTL’s German “Betriebsräte” and Austrian cameralist systems), now, in the third phase, we see increasing experimentation with “the Hungarian model” – workers’ councils forming bottom-up input for a centralized democratic control over the entire economy whose decisions are then communicated top-down, the solution preferred by the IRSD – and with the new “Ruhr model” (for which the last weeks of Red Finland have provided some ideas), where factory councils retain full management and control and communicate and cooperate with each other in a syndicalist manner.

After the dust has settled, this is the situation in which the All-German Congress of Workers’ Councils meets in Elberfeld in June, July, and August. There had been supra-regional congresses of workers’ councils before, from November through spring, but never had they seen themselves truly in a position to assume control over the process of re-constituting the German nation in a socialist manner – which is exactly what the leaders of the Red Ruhr, Red Saxony etc. now have in mind.

Their vision is not universally shared, though, as they are about to find out. The longer the Congress lasts, the more delegates arrive. These late arrivals come from Baden, Hesse, Württemberg, Bavaria, and even Austria, and also from the Prussian periphery where radical Marxist voices were not as strong as in Berlin and Prussian Saxony. Hesse and Bavaria follow the “Russian model”, and in Baden and Württemberg, councils have been assigned roles corresponding to the “Finnish model”. Bavaria, Baden and Württemberg have long established systematic and legal frameworks for the election of delegates in councils – and so the delegates who arrive in Elberfeld from these quarters are way more heterogeneous and predominantly centrist than the revolutionary founders. And more than anything else, these delegates do not align themselves in party factions, but according to the unions they belong to (like it has happened in Russia).

And Germany’s union landscape is very diverse – it was IOTL at this juncture, and it is even more so ITTL. There is the anarcho-syndicalist Freie Vereinigung deutscher Gewerkschaften, the SPD- or at most USPD-leaning Generalkommission der Gewerkschaften Deutschlands and Arbeitsgemeinschaft freier Angestellten-Verbände, the liberal Verband der Deutschen Gewerkvereine , the Christian Gesamtverband der christlichen Gewerkschaften Deutschlands and Gesamtverband deutscher Angestelltengewerkschaften and the nationalist, antisemitic Deutschnationaler Handlungsgehilfen-Verband.

And so Elberfeld does not become what its revolutionary founders had hoped it would become: the leading institution, overshadowing the Frankfurt Vorparlament, in the reconstritutive process of forming a new socialist German Republic. This vision was not only openly combatted by all occupying forces except the UoE (who did not push, under Avksentiev and Kerensky, too much for it, either, opting to uphold the “spheres of influence” doctrine) and subverted by the reform-oriented, but anti-revolutionary local states of the South-West. It was also not on the agenda of many of the delegates who arrived from late June onwards. And so, many of the highly inspired and even utopian discussions of the early days and weeks, where all sorts of new political, social, and economic structures were being heatedly discussed, ultimately became obsolete. In late July, the moderation of the Congress found its clearest symbol in the resolution with which it appealed to “the Italian comrades” to end all factional violence, and to take on a constructive role in the democratic process of reforming their country in the interests of the working masses. (This resolution caused a small group of national syndicalists to leave the Congress under protest, but other radical revolutionaries didn’t like the sound of it, either.)

The reformists in the Congress sought to coordinate their efforts, in the spirit of this Italy Resolution, with the Frankfurt Vorparlament – but when the Frankfurters rebuffed them, this was a serious blow to their self-confidence and zeal, too. The last major initiative still discussed in August, when it had long become clear that the Elberfeld Congress would not lead Germany into a united socialist future, was the project of a common framework for economic and labour legislation, commerce, social security and interaction for all German-speaking states. This last phase was marked by heated debate between the Congress’s left wing, who saw the Elberfeld Congress as the institution who would continue to exert this function in the future, albeit put on solid organizational principles, and take all these decisions by itself, and the right wing, who considered it more realistic and also quite acceptable to form a new All-German Economic Council to which they, as delegates of the employees, would send a certain number of delegates, while the employers’ and farmers’ associations would send an equal number, and the governments of the member states would be represented, too.

Ultimately, the right wing prevailed in a very narrow vote (with 592 over 576), but its conception would not become reality, either: the industrial associations of the North-West, the Rhenish Republic and the South formulated conditions in their various gatherings in the following months, which were not only not mutually compatible, but also primarily aimed at rolling back socialist reforms in the Ruhr and the UoE-controlled regions (because, they argued, all these regions would send socialist or even syndicalist worker representatives as both employers’ and employees’ delegates, reducing the employers’ side to a minority in the council nation-wide, and by such a body they preferred not to be regulated). All sides blamed each other, of course, for wasting the chance for the preservation (or creation, if one counted the option of including Austria in the new zone) of a united German market with a common legal framework for economic activity. To the hopelessly divided Elberfeld Congress, this was the cause for its dissolution. Its founding members and those from the left wing who thought like them left it in order to form new associations of their own, while many on the right wing had long focused on the member state level anyway, where, it appeared, concrete progress could be achieved more realistically.

Thus, while, by September 1919, there are workers’ councils in more than half of Germany, often accompanied by peasants’ councils, too, their role is very different, and limited to their regions. (In the British-controlled zones, workers’ councils are mostly dissolved. In the Rhenish Republic, while they’re not actively combatted, they’re not recognized by Adenauer’s government, either, which seeks to pacify the unions and the workers in general with top-down-implemented social security and labour reforms like the introduction of Unemployment Insurance.

Germany’s Former Colonies

This part was the easiest – most of the decisions are basically railroaded by the outcome of military operations in the first years of the Great War, when Germany’s colonies were occupied by Entente forces. The only significant geographical difference in post-war settlement between the empires has already been mentioned in update 56:

Because Britain gets to sort out most of Arabia / the Levante (in turn, because its Hashemite allies have not been held back in their spring 1918 offensive and have progressed further faster, and Britain has generally entrenched itself more here in the absence of a German Spring Offensive in France and Flanders), German Togoland and Kamerun are not split up between Britain and France, but go to France entirely.

The major difference between OTL and TTL is that these deals do not take place under the umbrella of the League of Nations. Thus, the various empires do not receive the former German colonies as “Mandates”.

Instead, these deals are just that: bi-, tri- or quadrilateral settlements between empires. At a small Conference in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the foreign ministers of Great Britain, France, Belgium and Portugal formalized their deal on Africa and mutually recognized each other’s acquisitions of former German colonies:

  • German Togoland is subsumed entirely into French West Africa and joined with Dahomey into a separate administrative unit subordinated to a Lieutenant Governor now residing in Lomé;
  • German Kamerun is subsumed entirely into French Equatorial Africa and forms its new sixth administrative unit with a Lieutenant Governor in Buéa;
  • German South-East Africa becomes a new province of the Union of South Africa (and Walvis Bay is subsumed into it)
  • German East Africa is split like IOTL: most of it becomes subsumed into the British East Africa Protectorate as the Tanganyika Territory, while Ruanda and Urundi are joined to Belgian Congo and the Kionga Triangle is adjoined to Portuguese East Africa.
Similarly, the British and Japanese Empires have reached the Amery-Shidehara Agreement, in which Japan recognizes the annexation of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Land, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Solomon Islands and Nauru by the Commonwealth of Australia, and the annexation of Samoa by New Zealand, while Britain recognizes the annexation of the Caroline, Mariana, and Marshall Islands as well as Palau and the Kiautschou Bay concession by Japan. (The latter will soon change its status, but for the time being, Japan holds onto it, which is yet another thorn in the side of Duan Qirui’s tenuous hold on power in Beijing. Over the 1920s, Japan will have to retreat, like they did IOTL, but this concession will in all likelihood be ironically given to a Chinese government which is less pro-Japanese than Duan Qirui’s…)

Demilitarization and Entente Policies Regarding German War Crimes

One fundamental difference between OTL’s Weimar Republic and TTL’s German clusterf**k is that IOTL, Germany kept its own military. Not only the official 100,000-strong Reichswehr, but also a much larger number of unofficial forces. The political and social implications of this were massive and have determined Weimar’s fate to a considerable extent.

ITTL, almost all German states are left completely without armed forces of their own – and the few ones which are not: Baden, Württemberg, and Bavaria, only have symbolic forces.

This has very deep repercussions. But before we can speculate on them, let’s take a short look at the way Germany got there.

Up until March / April, Germany was partially demobilizing, in part fulfillment of the requirements of the Armistice of Absam, and to a significant extent keeping its armed forces half-together, both in official “Demobilization Divisions” (which were not demobilizing quite so fast) and, with regards to the (commissioned and non-commissioned) officers, scrambling to find civilian covers-up for their continued military hire. Much of the heavy weaponry had to be left behind at the front lines, but all that could be carried off was carried off (and often ended up declared as “destroyed”, but factually in the hands of Heimatwehren etc.).

So far, this resembles OTL – with minor exceptions, including Bavaria’s government attempting to demobilize and disarm in greater earnest, but even this didn’t really work quite so well, as the events in May showed where armed Heimatwehr corps put up fierce resistance against the Italians, because radical Munich wasn’t able to exert enough control over all of the former kingdom’s territory.

Had an imperial government signed the peace treaty, it is quite probable that this trajectory would have continued into the future, leaving Germany with a similar “Black Reichswehr”, Freikorps-like militias, a humiliated government, vengeful revanchists in positions of considerable influence everywhere etc. Bavaria’s status would have been determined by the peace treaty (which would have secured its independence, too), so that would have been one important divergence from OTL, but other than that, Germany might have entered interwar years under an Ebert chancellorship and Wilhelm II’s continued reign on pretty much a similar trajectory to OTL under an Ebert presidency and changing governments.

The May War has deeply changed this. Now, Germany is not only demobilized, but actually entirely (or almost entirely) demilitarized, at least with regards to German military, and German military materiel and weaponry are to a very great extent captured by the Entente, too. There is no relying on German authorities to comply – the Entente’s occupation armies make sure of it more or less directly.

Now, this “more or less” does leave a bit of a space for differential accomplishments in the different spheres of influence. These differences result not only from the respective occupation policies and numbers, but also from the course of the war and where exactly the last remaining German armies and heavily armed Heimatwehren were at the moment of defeat. This also has a great influence on the extent to which suspected war criminals are apprehended.

Of the many divisions from the Western Front, for example, who had to leave almost all their materiel behind, most were evacuated to the right bank of the Rhine and allegedly demobilized there, while the French (and others) took control of everything left of the Rhine and bridgeheads on the other side. Among this enormous number of soldiers, there was quite a large number of people wanted for war crimes in Belgium and France – only few of them continued in the Heimatwehr corps Wetter and various army groups. Those who did mostly became prisoners of war after Wetter’s defeat – thus, a few military leaders like Oskar von Watter and Walther von Lüttwitz are now in French custody awaiting their trials in the Hague. Many more, though, and especially members of the high aristocracy like the Hohenzollern and Wittelsbacher princes or Grand Duke Friedrich August of Oldenburg have escaped at various times from October through May: the Wittelsbachers into Switzerland, the Hohenzollern into the Netherlands, the Grand Duke of Oldenburg into Norway.

While many wanted persons escaped their apprehension in the West, thus, the Western and North-Western parts of Germany are quite completely devoid of armed German forces now. The Rhenish Republic has no armed forces of its own; the syndicalist defenders of the Red Ruhr have but a number of rifles, Westphalia and Hesse have been mostly combed of Heimatwehr fighters by the French. In the British zone, disarmament and demilitarization have been slightly less rigorously enforced, but there were much fewer military forces in the region to begin with. The defenders of the coast have given themselves in to the British and US, and were treated mildly, most of them already released by September. A few Prussian loyalist militias were disarmed in the conflicts over the establishment of the Grand Duchy of Hannover-Braunschweig-Lüneburg, but in exchange, pro-Welf militia were armed by the British, and while Hannover has now officially limited its military personnel to a grand-ducal guard of a few hundred men plus a few hundred more military police, not all the weapons wielded in the “Welfenputsch” have been collected again.

Generally, the situation in the British sphere of influence is comparatively most relaxed. (This is also why the Frankfurters debated an escape to Detmold.) Especially in comparison to the violent situation in the Eastern half of Prussia, where two whole army groups, who had never even pretended to demobilize, found themselves in a strange situation at the turn of May into June: their supreme commander had ordered them to lay down their arms and surrender, and then he had shot himself. They were fully armed and prepared for combat, and they had not been seen any defeat recently. Also, disarming and surrendering could have, especially many leading Prussian officers feared, severe personal implications for them: their estates could be lost to the Poles or to some Russian-style expropriation, they themselves could lose their freedom and suffer the much-feared Russian captivity (ITTL probably feared because of a mixture of stories about the expulsion of the Baltic Germans and tales about VeCheKa deeds which certainly spread fast among the Junkers, fallen on the fertile ground of alienizing German stereotypes about Russians – in contrast to OTL’s post-WW2 fear of the Russians / the Red Army, this is more of an elite than a mass phenomenon, though), and even if not, they might not be able to return to their homes or find them no longer their homes. Also, surrendering clearly meant giving up large parts of territory which would be lost to “Germany” or “Prussia”, whatever that might come to mean in the future. And in contrast to Alsace-Lorraine, where such a retreat with similar implications went rather smoothly, this was, in many cases, the officers’ own home land.

It was in this context that the Vinetabund, mentioned in Update 55, formed, and such Far-Right underground groups formed in many places. Yet, an outright continuation of the fighting in open battles was no longer an option, von Quast and von der Goltz knew, too. They were encircled, in their respective separate pockets. And so it came that even the leading officers who IOTL were central in maintaining the emergent Weimar Republic’s defense of its Eastern border negotiated, more than a week after Hindenburg’s death, the terms under which they would lay down their arms and surrender.

One consequence of this negotiated surrender, which ended the existence of the Prussian Army after centuries of glorious and inglorious deeds, was that even more military leaders who knew that they were suspected of war crimes and wanted for trials in The Hague would escape. The concrete conditions of the surrender of the Army Groups von Quast and von der Goltz, even though I won’t go into every small detail, also made it possible for thousands of soldiers to leave their demobilization garrisons, often even lightly armed, and blend into a civilian population, where not few of them joined clandestine nationalist groups like new local cells of Winning’s dispersed Heimatwehren or the more aristocratic Vinetabund’s militant network. (This is why Luxemburg’s East Elbian land reform could actually encounter some sort of armed resistance even in August.) The UoE military leadership accepted these terms, although to the political leadership and the politicized public, capturing the war criminals was a top priority. The reason why they accepted them was that, while letting suspected war criminals go free was unpopular, engaging the last pockets of defenders, more than 100,000 men strong altogether, and possibly suffering thousands of new casualties when the war was officially over everywhere else was even more unpopular.

All these developments amounted to the Most Wanted German War Criminals mostly having been able to find their way into exiles: in Scandinavia or the Netherlands, in Switzerland or Spain, or even as far as Latin America or China – across the globe, German military leaders responsible for atrocious acts went into hiding, some of them choosing unconspicuous civilian lives, others re-entering military service. General Max Hoffmann, who had ordered the poison gas attack on Petrograd, had escaped across the Baltic Sea and ended up in the services of Chinese warlord Zhang Zuolin. Hermann von Eichhorn, who had shared the decision, had already died in the last months of the war. General Gustav Wagener, who had overseen the Massacre at Leuwen, had died in the war. General Johan Meister, like many others responsible for the Massacre at Dinant who were nowhere to be found in September 1919, had escaped from Hannoverian territory as late as July 1919 unobstructedly. General Berthold Deimling, who had ordered the first massive use of poison gas in the Battle of Ypres in 1915, escaped from Alsace to Switzerland, while Fritz Haber, the leading chemist in the development of German poisonous gases, left Berlin unnoticed long after the city’s occupation and now lives in Sweden.

All these escapes, together with a similar picture concerning the Ottoman responsibles for the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides, where only middling executing personnel was handed over to the Entente while political and military leaders had found their way into Qajar Iran and elsewhere (IOTL many escaped to Germany, which is not a good option ITTL…), contributed to the pressure public opinion exerted on various governments which facilitated the conclusion of the Nice Agreement, in which the endowment of the Hague War Crimes Court with a prosecutor and his own intelligence force was decided.

One exception to this sad picture of people escaping justice (for the time being) is the situation in Bavaria, where the Heimatwehr corps Epp and other such groups were dealt a fast, bloody and comprehensive defeat at the hands of a coalition of EFP Mandate troops with fresh Italian reinforcements, and leftist militia. The list of casualties and captured suspects of war crimes (which now includes “terrorism”, too, under which rubric the irregular Heimatwehren were often accused and indicted, instead of being treated as regular combatants) reads like a Who is Who of OTL’s Nazi movement and Third Reich leaders:
Franz Ritter von Epp, captured and indicted for the use of poison gas on the Italian front – IOTL, he would become “Reichsstatthalter” in Nazi Bavaria; also, he had participated in the genocide against the Herero… Hans Baumann, IOTL another DAP founder and later one of the Reichsarbeitsdienst leaders, captured and indicted for the destruction of civilian infrastructure in France during the war. Franz von Hörauf, IOTL later SA leader, captured and indicted for war crimes in the last months of the war in Romania.
Adolf Hühnlein, one of the commanders of the corps Epp and IOTL later a Nazi involved in organizing deportations to the death camps, ITTL captured and indicted for terrorism.

In the Battle of Munich alone are killed: Ernst Röhm, Eduard Dietl, Georg Dechant, IOTL active in the Stahlhelm and later SA; Karl Maria Demelhuber, who IOTL would become an SS general, just to name a few. Even before, Hans Frank, OTL one of the founders of the DAP, was killed by anarchists in streetfights in Munich.
Karl Fritsch, IOTL Minister of the Interior in Saxony under the Nazis, is killed in a firefight between his Northern Bavarian Heimatwehr group and a Red militia in the Vogtland (he was involved in fights there IOTL, too, but IOTL his side prevailed).

Also captured about the Battle of Munich, but soon released, was Hans Baur, IOTL HItler's pilot, who ITTL signs a deal to contribute to Italy's aeronaval training programs, and Robert Bergmann, one of Röhm’s closest friends and IOTL later an SS commander. TTL’s Bavarian government releases him from his position as a school teacher, though, due to his Heimatwehr background, which means he returns to his family in Nürnberg and tries to make ends meet in whichever way he can. He remains a radical nationalist, though.

Rudolf Heß has escaped captivity when his Heimatwehr unit, fleeing through the countryside and ultimately making it onto a ship that sailed for South America.
Also escaped has Wilhelm Brückner, IOTL later Hitler’s chief adjutant. ITTL he leaves Germany via Austria and ends up in the US, in both places taking on odd jobs in the film industry. (He did IOTL, too, but in Bavaria.)

This is just a handful - you should really have a look at who was part of the Freikorps Epp IOTL, it's amazing... Two people who IOTL repeatedly claimed to have been members of the Freikorps Epp, but most probably weren't, were Otto and Gregor Strasser. ITTL, they are also not part of it. Instead, they fight elsewhere in the Bavarian territory, as part of a group aligned with Niekisch’s National Social Democrats, who dissolved when the situation was hopelessly lost. In contrast to Niekisch, who escaped and now lies low, Gregor and Otto Strasser have still been captured in a village in the Allgäu by Italian soldiers, though. Gregor Strasser had contracted a serious injury in the fights, and so they weren't particularly mobile. Like many other German insurgents, they are shipped to Libya, and Gregor dies from the consequences of his wounding on the passage. Otto, though, makes the acquaintance of Italian national syndicalists in late August 1919 who, after Mussolini’s failed revolution, are also deported to the same camp.

The Void in the North: What Comes After Prussia?

When the imperial government dissolved, so had automatically Prussia’s, since according the 1871 constitution, the Reichskanzler was also Minister-President of Prussia. Von Seeckt’s flight, together with Wilhelm’s, had therefore beheaded the Prussian state apparatus.

Rosa Luxemburg’s International Revolutionary Social Democrats couldn’t wait to bury the corpse. When “proletarian centuria” (Proletarische Hundertschaften; from Red Saxony) entered the city at the heel of Entente forces and local radicalized workers joined them in wresting control over the offices and garrisons by which the despised militarist state had ruled (and over the course of the past years increasingly oppressed) them, Prussia’s black and white colours with “that hateful bird”, as Heinrich Heine had called the Prussian eagle, were lowered and red flags hoisted everywhere. Berlin’s revolutionaries gathered in a Workers’ Council. They sent delegates to Elberfeld, where, they were certain, the framework for a new socialist Germany was about to be forged. And they declared that they would temporarily exert supreme control over all public institutions in the process of transformation until new political organs of a socialist Prussia and Germany were elected. The old bicameral Prussian Parliament, elected before the Great War on outdated rules (not democratically after the war, like in many Southern German states), was dissolved.

The Berlin Workers’ Council issued enthusiastic “directives” in the first days of its existence: workers should establish councils in every factory and workplace in order to replace capitalist management and militarist dirigisme; higher education was declared free of any kind of tuition, and any barriers of entry (e.g. for girls and women) were declared abolished; all Prussian military units were to disband immediately and hand weapons over to forces of the continental federation of peace to which one hoped to adhere very soon; military production would be transformed “immediately” to peacetime needs (“swords into ploughshares”, as a Christian might put it); all “warmongers” would be handed over to the judiciary; limits on union activities and strikes were declared null and void; and the preparation of elections was announced.

The latter, critics immediately cried out, would be far from free and fair, because Luxemburg, Liebknecht and the IRSD generally were announcing that Reichstag parliamentarians who had consistently voted for the war bonds and other acts which supported the Great War would be treated as “warmongers” and jailed, which meant that most experienced politicians of most parties would never be able to take any seats in a new Prussian parliament. But here, the IRSD’s birth from underground cells of the Spartakists and large parts of the USPD – and the scars of the bitter infights and the bloody repressions of the past two years showed. The large old parties would not be forbidden, but most of their established leadership, which had fled Berlin from von Seeckt’s persecution, did not return under such circumstances, and preferred to either flock to the “Provisional Prussian Government” in Stendal or join the ranks of the Frankfurt Vorparlament.

The revolutionaries, led by Luxemburg as the Spokeswoman of the Berlin Workers’ Council and Liebknecht as the Chairman of the People’s Commission, would soon be disappointed. High representatives of the other Entente forces soon arrived in Berlin, too, and they made it very clear that each Mandate zone would be administered in accordance with its own statute, and while the co-operation of Germany’s workingmen was valued and the new Berlin’s firm stance for peace was very welcome, each Mandate Commission would contact “all responsible forces” in their zone to work out how the administration, economy, demilitarization and democratization could best be facilitated.

In addition to this rebuff, the headless corpse of the Prussian state proved able to stumble on quite a few more steps. Most administrative duties had been concentrated in the districts (Regierungsbezirke) and counties (Kreise) anyway, overseen by provincial councils – and many of these provincial administrations showed no signs of obeying orders from the Berlin Workers’ Council, looking to their respective occupation forces instead or simply continuing business as usual. In the case of the Rhineland, this had long taken the explicitly secessionist turn of the establishment of the Rhenish Republic. Westphalia, Hannover and the British-occupied parts of Saxony and Brandenburg ignored Berlin, too – that is, their old bureaucracy, police, courts etc. did. Here and there, workers’ councils did form. They were few and far between, though, and without the support of their occupying powers, though, they were not able to enforce their, or Berlin’s, “directives” upon anyone.

The Berliners soon realized that the situation in Pommerania, Silesia, Western and Eastern Prussia was not different in the way they hoped. While councilisation was widespread in Lower Silesia as well as in large towns like Königsberg and Stettin, even here, there were many smaller towns where no workers’ councils formed at all, and the vast countryside was not really partaking in the revolution, either. What enabled the social democratic revolutionaries here to impose their socially transformative ideas was the presence of UoE occupation forces sympathetic to their cause.

This dependence on a foreign occupation force, when it could no longer be ignored, was not only hurtful for the IRSD’s self-confidence – it was also beginning to drive a wedge into the young party. Emerged mostly from the Marxist Centre and Left of what had been the pre-war SPD and replenished with more workers alienated from the regime by the horrors of the war, most members endorsed the spirit of the Zimmerwaldian peace agenda and viewed themselves as internationalists. But only few among them were actually OK with Germany ceasing to exist and being entirely ruled by foreign powers – especially without the rest of the world shedding their nationalities and overcoming their imperial boundaries, too.

Among those who had no qualms to depend entirely, for the moment at least, on the support of the Union’s Armies and Republican Guards, now being renamed into “EFP Mandate security forces”, were Luxemburg and Liebknecht themselves, Leo Jogiches, Paul Lange and Paul Levi. To them, breaking with the old monarchist, militarist, imperialist and capitalist institutions was most important – once built solidly on “clean” socialist foundations, the new state would easily gain depth, they argued. Against them, a group led by Hermann Duncker, Ernst Däumig and Ernst Meyer formed. They prioritized broadening and strengthening the administrative base and outreach of the new state immediately, and accepted compromises with broader segments within and supportive of the old Prussian state apparatus, and they even dared to provoke with statements criticizing Polish takeovers and the apprehension and alleged maltreatment of German workers in Upper Silesia, whom the Poles accused of having formed a Heimatwehr, in order to attract more “patriotic” elements of the labour movement to support the new regime, too.

The two factions, soon taunting each other as the “Russians” and the “Prussians” respectively, would vie for the upper hand and the course of the new Free People’s State of Prussia. With Luxemburg and Liebknecht at the helm, the “Russians” were stronger at first, emphasizing the role of the councils, relying on UoE support to extinguish the last anti-socialist pockets of resistance, and quietly vacating territories which the Entente emissaries designated for the new Polish Republic. But when hunger persisted and even aggravated over the course of many weeks, bread riots shook Berlin. In them, various groups came together, from anarchists over national syndicalists to outright reactionary groups. In the context of this unprecedented threat to socialist power, the “Prussians” gained momentum and took over the initiative. Their demand was to restore the old “Kriegsamt”, which had controlled and commanded the German and Prussian economy throughout the war to an unprecedented extent, now rebranded as the “People’s Welfare Office”, the Volkswohlfahrtsamt (VWA). The VWA would centrally take over the responsibility for feeding and clothing the population, restoring its industrial production and foreign trade from workers’ councils and other more spontaneous forms of organization. Only the most outspoken anti-socialists were removed from its boards of oversight and leadership of departments and branches and replaced by left-social democratic and union functionaries; beyond that, a large segment of the institution’s old staff was called back and re-employed. With the VWA taking over, grain supplies for Berlin and other large cities were soon better organized – but there was still too little to distribute.

The restoration of the Kriegsamt in the form of the VWA meant a return to a more authoritarian form of organization. It was also a policy which attempted to restore a more centralized control over the various parts of Prussia which had increasingly fallen to separatism. It was a mere attempt, though: much to the dismay of the “Prussians”, their policy, too, would only work where UoE forces stood. In the British- and US-controlled parts of Prussia (the latter would soon be handed over to the British as Acting President Marshall prioritized bringing US soldiers home and getting America’s allies to commit to repaying their debts instead of seeking direct influence in the reorganization of Europe’s map), provincial administration was torn between those who supported a restoration of the wartime economic measures in order to combat the starvation and industrial disintegration, and those who opposed any such socialist measure. Fortunately for Whitehall, Britain’s commanders in Germany saw the pivotal situation for what it was, and they reacted with a quick combination of initiatives which managed to tip the balance in favour of the anti-socialist faction. The restoration of the Welf monarchy in Hannover and the lifting of the sea blockade were both part of this policy, and so was the promotion of talks between anti-socialist provincial administrations in Holstein, Northern Saxony and Northern Westphalia to form an “Inter-Provincial Commission for Cooperation”, which would pave the ground for the Pinneberg Agreement.

The Hannoverian secession and their own enforced passivity in the face of Polish annexations turned socialist opinions in Berlin against the Prussians, again. With Karl Liebknecht assassinated by right wing extremists, though, the “Russians” around Luxemburg were in a difficult situation, too. Also, more and more non-radical groups pushed into the workers’ councils. Seeing their transformative project threatened, Luxemburg pulled a desperate measure by fostering the widespread councilisation of the countryside, the expropriation of the estates and their transformation into co-operatives. As has already been discussed, this project meets violent resistance in various places. Even if it succeeds, the inclusion of the peasants’ councils in the council system in the wake of parliamentary and provincial elections in the UoE-controlled parts of the Free People’s State of Prussia scheduled for October is going to change the balance of forces within Red Prussia significantly.

Hannover, by the way, is perhaps the prototypical example of a state which nobody really wanted the way it turned out, but which many came to accept as the lesser evil. Britain would have preferred extracting reparations from a unified parliamentary Germany, as has been stated, but they decided that keeping at least their zone of influence free from the tide of “EFP Mandates” and socialist transformations could bring some advantages with its, too. The traditional party of Hannoverian secessionism, the DHP, was unhappy with the amount of British influence and their own dependence on the occupiers – they were a conservative force, and given the choice between having their Hannover restored in the context of a fragmented and foreign-controlled Germany, or having it remain a province of Prussia in a unified German Empire, most of the DHP followers would have preferred the latter, i.e. the status quo ante bellum. But the status quo ante bellum was not an option, and the DHP jumped at the opportunity of the Welf restoration because they saw it as a means to prevent socialist transformations in their lands. The SPD, both liberal parties, and the Zentrum were still clinging to their hopes for German reunification, and half of them preferred a republican over a monarchic constitution. However, except for the National Liberals, all of these parties, whose leadership had been prosecuted and excluded from participation in the Free People’s State of Prussia as “warmongers”, were sprouting branches and wings which came to see the merit of a North-Western nucleus of German statehood which, even if it would be a “protected state” of the Brits, could form the foundation for a restoration of “normal” political structures across all of Germany (by which they meant structures in which they played the leading roles). Especially the Hannoverian SPD was badly torn – into three camps really, one of which supported the secession, the second which supported the “Prussian” wing in the Berlin Council, staying within the Free People’s State and pushing forward state socialism under the VWA, and a third one which turned increasingly nationalistic around the last remaining “Frankfurters”. In Hannover, too, as well as in Oldenburg, Mecklenburg, Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck, Lippe, Detmold, Pyrmont, and in the provinces which had commonly declared not to recognize the Berlin Workers’ Council as the legitimate government of Prussia, elections for provincial and member state parliaments would be held, too, between October and December. What they would bring was difficult to predict even as late as September.

The South and the Cross

Southern Germany had seen conflicts between the institutions of the state and the powerful Catholic church. Rome and its bishoprics had pushed back against the appointment of their bishops by the state and the education of their priests in state universities in the 1850s and 1860s. Later on, schools had become the primary conflict line.

In Baden, for example, this Kulturkampf had festered for decades and even facilitated the formation of the first anti-clerical coalition block which spanned from the National Liberals to the Social Democrats, to the exclusion of the Zentrum, which militated in vain for the self-organization of Church schools and the reversion of the Stabel government’s reforms. In Bavaria, on the other hand, the Church’s position had been comparatively stronger.

The situation in 1919 was in many ways a reversal of this old 19th century dispute. In the Grand Duchy of Baden, the Burgfrieden coalition during the Great War had welded the established parties together. Its Zentrum leader, Joseph Wirth, had played a central role in the formation of the “Peace resolution” coalition with left-liberals and social democrats in the Reichstag in 1917. When he returned to Badenian politics, the old conflicts with the secular parties appeared petty to him – and the experience of members of all Badenian parties having fought together in the trenches had helped foster a spirit of bridging such gaps, too. Wirth led his Zentrum party onto a centre-left course, advocating labour and welfare reforms similar to those in the Rhenish Republic, which did not leave the ground of Catholic social philosophy as outlined in Rerum Novarum, but which also appealed to Baden’s predominantly moderate Social Democrats. Wirth’s Zentrum and Anton Geiß’s SPD, together with Ludwig Haas’s Progressives and Hermann Dietrich’s National Liberals, formed an “Emergency Coalition” early on, kept Baden out of the May War, tacitly accepted French occupation troops but negotiated Baden’s freedom from French meddling into its domestic affairs. This coalition, led by Wirth as the new Minister-President of Baden, forged a historical compromise with regards to the education of clerics the co-existence of church and state schools, and the management of the church’s wealth.

In Bavaria, on the other hand, things were escalating fast between the leftist government and the Church and its supporters in the Christian Social Party (formerly Bavarian Zentrum). In Bavaria, the Church’s privileges had been attacked by a regalist-liberal alliance led by Johann von Lutz in the 1860s to 1880s. They had ultimately failed to widely replace confessional elementary schools with state schools, while compromises had been made by both sides on issues which had lost most of their relevance by 1918/19.

The question of education was addressed by the USPD government soon after their revolution. All schools were brought under immediate state control, religious education would no longer be a compulsory subject, teacher education and school supervision would be carried out only by the state’s institutions, and all teachers would be civil servants and paid after a uniform scheme. (This goes even farther than OTL’s reforms by Johannes Hoffmann of the SPD, but his OTL reforms antagonized the Church and the BVP quite a lot, too. Well, this is a USPD-only government.) The churches (as well as a number of foundations which had run schools for the kids of the bourgeoisie) howled and screeched, and put up loud protests. Like in a number of other fields, these protests fell on Eisner’s (and later Unterleitner’s) deaf ears – the problem with Bavaria and its USPD government was that the government sat in Munich, a city full of radicals, where many thought the USPD was being much too soft on the clerics and the capitalists, and anarchists held public speeches calling for the “abolition of religion”. The countryside, and even many other towns, were not sharing many of these views.

Both the wave of protests, led by the Bavarian Zentrum, and the implementation of the reforms were halted by the impasse after the Bavarian parliamentary elections, the ongoing escalation of the conflict between the government and nationalist Heimatwehren, and then the full-blown military conflict which occurred when all of Germany was engulfed in the May War.

But the conflict was only postponed, not resolved. After the war, both the Bavarian government and its opposition stabilized: the entrance of the SPD and the left-agrarian BBB (Bayerischer Bauernbund) into a coalition with the USPD strengthened the government, which was now led by the SPD leader Johannes Hoffmann (like IOTL; the SPD came out stronger electorally than the USPD, there was no way around that). On the political Right, the Bavarian Zentrum, led by the conservative Georg Heim, who was also a driving force behind the party’s fusion with the (equally predominantly conservative) Austrian Christian Social Party, stood firm as the only acceptable and credible opposition party after various nationalist and ultra-conservative groups had discredited themselves in the futile and extremely bloody revolt of the Heimatwehren and were now outlawed by the government and judicially prosecuted with the aid of the EFP Mandate forces, who also had an interest to eradicate the Heimatwehr menace as completely as possible. (Heim and the Bavarian Zentrum had not welcomed the Italo-French-Czechoslovak occupation, either, but they had always treaded carefully and warned loudly against “violence and bloodshed”. In the summer of 1919, they began to absorb more and more of the right-wing sentiment in Bavaria, even though Heim kept his commitment to Bavarian independence steadfast and uncompromising (and most on the extreme Right in Bavaria were pan-German nationalists). Bavaria’s Christian Socialis mobilized tens of thousands of devout Catholics (and other opponents of the government) weekly in demonstrations which demanded the restoration of “religious freedom” and the Christian school. They were supported by the Roman Curia and the Bavarian bishops. Those few who were nominal Catholics in the Hoffmann government were excommunicated, and in many villages, parish priests preached against the godless socialists and their “anti-Bavarian school dictatorship”.

But Hoffmann’s government did not back down. They went on the counter-offensive. Seeing that the Entente powers, very present in the Mandate Commission in Munich, were bent on extracting some sort of reparations from Bavaria, too, they decided to kill two flies with one blow: they offered the Wittelsbachers’ personal wealth as well as the property of the Catholic church and its monasteries in Bavaria up to the “disposal of the Mandate Commission in order to satisfy any rightful claims against the Bavarian Free State”, arguing that it had been the monarchy who had sent Bavarians into war and its princes had commanded any war crimes, while the church’s military priests had condoned it all and exhorted their “sheep” to let themselves be butchered in the carnages of the Great War.

By the end of September, the Mandate Commission has not yet decided to take Hoffmann’s government up on that offer – while the French and Czechoslovak representatives approved (albeit thinking that they probably couldn’t squeeze out much from this), the Italians were both reluctant to disown a royal dynasty so completely (being a Kingdom themselves) and they opposed such a harsh anti-Catholic policy (being Catholics themselves). But even without the deal becoming a reality, its mere discussion caused the Catholic Church to panic and foam at the mouth. Heim sought to channel all these anti-governmental and anti-socialist sentiments, repeatedly stating that if his party came to power, they would revert “every single one of these godless laws”.

While Bavarian society was not coming to a rest even after the May War, thus, its government took a number of important steps on the way to stabilizing the country: Now that even the 1918 war bonds had been reduced to less than 2 % of their value by an inflation of the Mark at a staggering rate of 5000 %, Hoffmann’s Minister for Finance, Fritz Endres (SPD) planned the reintroduction of the gold-based Bavarian Gulden and the introduction of a comprehensive, modern and very progressive income tax in order to put the Free State’s finances on a solid and socially equitable footing, skim off the profits of those who had not lost their wealth in the inflation, and put an end to the hyperinflation which weighed heavily on Bavaria’s economy. Unterleitner, who was both USPD party chairman in Bavaria and Minister of Foreign Affairs now, conducted mostly successful negotiations with the Free People’s State of Saxony, with the Kingdom of Württemberg and the Grand Duchy of Baden for monetary, fiscal and commercial cooperation, and with the government of Hesse, which was also an EFP Mandate, for unfettered traffic, which was important because Hesse was placed between the main body of Bavaria’s territory and its enclave, the Palatinate. A peace treaty with the Czechoslovak Republic was finished and ratified in this period, too, much to the dismay of the Austrian government, which still protested the annexation of the Sudetenlande.
September 1919 - Congress of the Green Internationale
Oulu (Finnish Federative Republic): Liitto, September 27th, 1919, p.1 and 4f.:


We are printing the speech, with which our Senator for Agriculture and Transportation and Vice-President of the Senate, Santeri Alkio, has captured the trust and support of a majority of delegates from agrarian and popular democratic parties from all across the continent and beyond in his successful bid for the Chairmanship of the Green Internationale, in full:

Dear friends,

Thank you for allowing me to present my offer to you, and thank you in advance for your patience, too! In our dear colleagues, Mr Minor from the Russian Socialist Revolutionaries and Mr Ulmanis from the Latvian Farmers’ Union, you already have two excellent choices at your disposal. I believe a few explanations are in order as to why I believe that a third option, one that is probably situated between the two very different conceptions for the future of our family of parties for which Mr Minor and Mr Ulmanis stand [1], could capture your interest and your confidence.

Who are we, what is our mission and our path at this crucial historical crossroads? I believe that those who have sought to distance themselves here from our roots are misled: we are agrarian parties, we are the voice of the men and women who till the fields and bring in the harvest, who herd the animals and tame the forests, who sow and reap, fish and garden. Just like other parties take pride in standing for the interests of the industrial workers, we, too, should not be ashamed of our pledge to make sure that the legitimate interests of the rural population are not forgotten [2].

But that should not be mistaken to mean that we are merely the parliamentarian arm of a particular interest group. Our background is our inspiration, the source of our vision for the salvation of our continent. The last few years, with its horrible conflagration and the misery which has haunted us in its wake, but also with the great transformations which we have pioneered across our continent, have clearly shown us to be the foundation and the pillars without whose stability the new emerging states especially in the Eastern half of Europe would certainly collapse.

What is this vision, and why is it of such relevance for the entire continent, and not only our continent? We ought to formulate it freely and proudly, without cloaking ourselves with strange feathers or hiding behind the great thinkers of other movements – we have many names for it, in our many beautiful languages: Narodniki, poporanisti, popular parties, toilers’ parties, leagues of the land – they all mean a similar thing: We are the party of the Common Man, we are democrats in the deepest sense of the word. And as such, even when times are extreme and the challenges we are faced with are extremely exigent, we choose the path of sanity and common sense, of self-awareness and personal growth, of balance and integration, and reject any group’s attempts to rule through violence and brutality.

Our path is a third path, neither the reactionary restoration or conservative preservation of unjust privileges of an outdated many-tiered society in which man looked down upon man – nor the bloodlusty, boundless revolution for its own sake which shall always devour itself as the French Jacobins have demonstrated to the world. For many centuries, and in many corners of the world, political movements of the peasantry have struggled for just and equitable societies where man could live and develop freely and his communities could take their fate into their own hands. Today, under conditions which our own actions have helped to reshape, we are continuing this tradition by building up and defending free and fair societies, where the resources are equitably distributed and the peaceful path to universal self-accomplishment [3] is safeguarded by enshrined liberties and widely accepted democratic constitutions.

It is a third path, neither the aggressive chauvinistic nationalism which has dragged our continent into an unpredecented sea of blood, nor the obliteration of national identities in the name of a dictatorship of a proletariat which presumably has no fatherland. Our parties, our movement has been instrumental in forging federations, unions, and confederations in the past few years – as our forerunners, the free countryfolk of the Swiss mountains, have taught us many centuries before –, and we are the only political forces who unequivocally support them and the federal principle and the framework for continental and global peace which can only be built on such a foundation. A foundation in which each nation and each tribe can build their own democratic state based on their traditions, values and aspirations, and even the smallest nation is protected, not by the strength of its arms, but by the community of nations which prevents new aggression by falling into the arm of any aggressor before he can set the continent on fire again, and which establishes justice as a principle not only within a nation’s state, but also among states. Europe will either destroy itself, or unite – we want our continent to unite. Not into an amorphous Napoleonic empire which its neighbors must fear, but into a peaceful league of independent nations, a federation of peace which sets a shining example for the whole world to follow.

Our vision for the continent’s future must also entail a safe and healthy third path forward for our livelihoods, keeping its equal distance from the conceited pseudo-feudalism of many so-called conservatives, from the liberals’ blind faith in industrial progress, and from the Marxists’ naïve utopianism alike. Their false faith has made many liberals blind for the squalor of our towns and cities and their sprawling slums, where men and women from a young age toiled long hours in sooted factories, only to sleep in crammed tenements, eat, drink, work and live in the most unhealthy conditions, from which such horrendous diseases like the ones we are currently experiencing can only spring. Working men and women found themselves with little safety and protection against such and other calamities and little providence for their old age, should they be so lucky as to reach it. The outcry of the working men is righteous. But that does not mean that the socialism pursued by Marxist parties could deliver them – for the Marxists are animated by the same blind faith in industrial progress, and they shall soon find out that they are bitterly deceiving themselves if they believe that the working population’s plight is only caused by their being exploited by a bourgeois class of profiteers, and that if these profits were to fall to the working men, then they would all live in abundance. But of course all this legitimate and fundamental criticism of the way industrial developments have taken over the past century must not lead us onto an equally deceptive path, either: We agrarians know better than anyone else that life and work in the countryside are not idyllic and bucolic at this point in time and have rarely been so in the past. Feudalism, which has lingered much longer in the Eastern half of our continent, was deeply unjust, unproductive, unenlightened and inhumane. Industrial developments have changed it irreversibly, for better and worse.

Many of our parties, often together with reasonable liberal, Christian and radical reformers and moderate socialists, have begun to build social safety nets for the working population of the town and countryside, to provide millions of peasant families with enough land for the first time, and to provide credit for associations of common people to improve their productive activities and uplift their communities. What distinguishes us from other political forces who have engaged in such reforms is that we do not see them as concessions necessary to prevent a revolution, or as half-hearted first steps towards abolishing private property. To us, they belong to a vision for our century – we want these reforms, and we want more of them!

There is a deep longing for the opportunities of urban life in the countryside – and there is a deep longing for the healthiness of rural life and its functioning communities in the cities. Our reform agenda must aim to bridge these two divided spheres, to overcome their stark contrast. And to this end, I propose a new set of ambitious projects which our parties should pursue together:

The progress of technology has created new and more flexible means of transportation – they only need the vigorous support of the state now, who can provide the grid and accessible credit, and then we could have a continent of short distances between town and countryside, between every village and village, every homestead and homestead. Likewise, recent progresses in education show us how the old gaps between classical higher learning of the liberal arts and the acquisition of practical skills, traditionally reserved for the working classes, can be bridged – but they need supportive governments who foster the building of such places of learning even in places which today are branded as “remote”. Similarly, laudable social movements and modern developments in medicine and nursing are providing new and broader approaches for maintaining and improving the health of the entire population – they, too, need both public funds and vigorous state laws against unhealthy habits, poisonous substances, and dangerous vices.

And all these three approaches combine with each other – shortened distances make it easier for everyone to work, learn, nurse, teach, and heal not only in the immediate environment in which we live; or rather: they will broaden the circle of the environment we inhabit so that it comes to include all these opportunities. Comprehensive common education will facilitate our self-perfection, broaden the base for new inventions and popularize new mindful healthy ways of life. And public health, both bodily and spiritually, will rekindle the flame of curiosity and remove the unseen walls of fear, hatred and ignorance that separate man from man, and from accessing the deepest wells of truth.

A continent worth living in, that is our continent of developed, homelike, endowed localities (instead of crammed, dirty metropolises and, worlds apart from them, destitute hamlets), growing and building up their facilities at the same pace in a democratically organized manner, connected with each other and with modern, progressive and healthy places of working, learning, and healing via firmly paved roads and rail roads. Localities imbued with an enlightened community spirit which instills a sense of responsibility, mutual aid, and healthy habits in each individual. This is a future worth striving for and working towards.

Strengthening local communities and helping them to develop structures suited for the new century can also be the bedrock of our common philosophy beyond such practical projects as roads, running water and electricity, schools and universities, hospitals, and laws which protect the young and the old from becoming sickened and killed by poisons of any sort. If we want to prevent this continent from sliding into another abyss of violence and destruction, atrocity and destitution, what better place to start building a brotherly, united, productive, frugal, compassionate, virtuous and civilized continent than where everyone can immediately experience the mutuality and sharedness of such values at first hand in their exchanges with their neighbors?! This is another shared deep wisdom of the popular or agrarian or Narodnik movement: our emphasis on protecting and aiding the development of local communities as the bedrock for a just, peaceful, and democratic society.

We should take pride in the deep roots, in the breadth and the balancedness of our common vision! May it help us to help each other in our daily political struggles, and to let us see where these struggles can lead us! May it prevent us from dividing and squabbling among ourselves over questions of ideological nuance! And may it inspire our cooperation with like-minded partners on all other continents, in the growing worldwide movement for a free and fair world in the dawning century of the Common Man!

[1] Osip Minor, while a moderate SR, is still an SR, and thus rather on the left flank of the Green Internationale, whereas Karlis Ulmanis, leader of the Latvian Farmers’ Union, that Federative Republic’s main opposition party against its IRSDLP government, comes from a conservative party which represents landed agrarian interests. Hence, Santeri Alkio rightly claims to be the candidate standing rather in the centre of this heterogeneous family of parties.

[2] On this level of abstraction, agreement is found easily. The Congress had been rather at odds about more detailed questions, though: On land reform, agreement could be reached only on the minimal compromise of the goal of a countryside of freeholders and that different countries should find different solutions how to get there from their respective situations by democratic universal laws. On tariffs, likewise, agreement proves extremely difficult to reach. That Alkio’s statement about “rural interests” does not sound entirely void is only caused by an ongoing debate in Russia, where both the SRs and the Trudoviks have their “agrarian” and also “generalist” wings, the latter seeking to redefine their parties as abstractly “Narodnik” or left-wing populist, appealing to urban voters, too. In fact, Alkio’s speech goes in the same direction, but his Maahenki ideology (thanks to @Karelian for pointing me towards it, I could not find any good online definition of it, though) views both strands as inextricably interwoven, seeing no alternative between an agrarian emphasis and a general vision for the entire society.

[3] This may seem like a weird choice of words, but “self-development” or “self-accomplishment” has a different ring to it at this point in time and this place in Europe. Alkio’s own religious views come into play here, and they are mirrored by similar strands of thought among un-orthodox Orthodox Christians (forgive my shallow pun): that God has only begun Creation, and that Humankind must continue this creation, perfecting itself (some would even say: making itself divine).
Last Months of 1919 overview
The Last Months of 1919, Part One: Acting President Volsky and the policy of „Inner Stabilization“

When Vice-President Vladimir Volsky took over the highest office in the (territorially) largest state on the planet, the Union of Equals was still in a state of shock. Rumours about the breadth and depth of the reactionary conspiracy were going wild, as anti-socialist hangers-on amateurishly attempted a few more attacks here and there without much success, while the counter-reaction caused horrible events, too, like the Massacre of Drochia in the Bessarabian Federative Republic, where a mob attacked followers of a local religious sect, the Inochentists (who were known to be fervent tsarists who believed that the Romanov dynasty was descended from the Archangel Michael, but who had nothing to do with the terrorist act or in fact any other militant activity lately), and killed dozens.

Volsky was not shocked. He was determined. The world would soon discover that Volsky had quite a different set of priorities than Avksentiev – one which was indeed much more inward-looking than that of his cosmopolitan predecessor. He seized the initiative and the opportunity of the crisis to obtain the assent of the Council of the Union for his first project: A new federal bureau of intelligence would be established and tasked with combatting terrorism, domestic and external non-military threats to national security.

His second project, with which he sought to finance the first, already failed to achieve a majority in the Council, though: Volsky wanted to introduce a steeply progressive union-wide income tax, and task a branch of the new federal intelligence with helping to lay the groundwork for effective tax gathering and combatting tax evasion. While most federative republics agreed with these aims in principle, and in fact were already bringing such projects under way, few of them were OK with these powers being accrued by the federal level. Even the Ukrainian delegation, where fellow SRs governed in a similar coalition to the one which had brought Avkseniev / Volsky to power, voted against such centralistic overreach.

As the political chaos in the aftermath of Avksentiev’s assassination subsided, with hundreds of suspects apprehended, and his tax project was shot down by the Council of the Union, Vladimir Volsky saw that he had no choice but to slash federal spending. With surging agricultural exports, federal customs revenues began to increase, too. But the weight of the war debts was so heavy, not just on the federal level but also threatening the access to international credit for the Union’s largest Russian Federative Republic, where ambitious projects not just for the restoration and extension of the railroad network, but also for huge programs on the oblast and municipal level for the construction of modern housing had already been approved by the Duma but could not begin due to a lack of capital and accessible credit. To Volsky, solving the problem of federal revenue and this credit crunch was of tantamount importance – in part because the network of regional SR strongmen who formed his primary powerbase desperately relied on these construction programmes in order to consolidate their power in these troubled times, but also because Volsky considered the economic welfare of the Russian people, errrr, sorry, of the peoples of the Union of Equals, as more important than games for geopolitical influence.

Volsky made a choice he found easy to take – but which would prove not to be easy at all to push through, even though this time, the Council of the Union could not interfere because the management of the Union’s military forces was the president’s constitutional prerogative. He had his Minister of Defense, Jan Sierada, draft a plan how to reduce the current number of UoE troops deployed to foreign countries to 75 % by the end of next year, and to 50 % by the end of 1921, and how to cut back military spending by a third over the next eighteen months. Sierada sighed and obliged – but he knew that the kind of ideas he would have to develop would severly curb the space of maneuver of the Foreign Ministry, too. Predictably, Kerensky was furious and went on to become Volsky’s most outspoken critic within the federal government. But Kerensky was not Volsky’s most dangerous enemy – that was Pavel Lazimir, the grey eminence of the Union’s military policy. He made sure that military commanders were not held back or reprimanded when they publicly lambasted the president for his plans.

And Volsky’s plans turned out to be drastic. It entailed troop withdrawals from the Balkans which would necessitate earlier referenda in the Dobrugea, Thrace, Banat and other places, troop reductions in Prussia, and the sale of surplus materiel.

But earlier referenda lacked the support of Kerensky’s foreign office, and the sale of surplus materiel depended to a great extent on the course of negotiations in the Naval Disarmament Commission established by the Paris Peace Conference. Kerensky supported a naval disarmament treaty in principle, too, but he did not lend much support to Volsky’s initiatives for unilateral UoE disarmament promises even when the British, the French, the Italians, the Americans and the Japanese were not adequately reciprocating.

And so, until the end of the year, Volsky was not able to score a breakthrough on either of these fronts, negotiations with various international partners still being undertaken without concrete agreements yet. When we look at other countries in the following sub-installments, we’ll see that Volsky was not the only president weakened by internal divisions in his administration. More importantly, though, Volsky’s display of military modesty was not primarily aimed at the real reduction of federal spending – it was intended to convey to the UoE’s international “partners” that the Union was doing its utmost to keep its federal budget under control and was, thus, a frugal and credit-worthy housekeeper.

And indeed, this strategy began to show some of the desired effects. From November 1919 onwards, international newspapers vehiculated rumours about what we would today call a “haircut” on war debt from which the UoE would primarily benefit – often alluded to as being diplomatically and politically tied to the conclusion of the afore-mentioned disarmament and additional trade treaties.

But these were not the only effects which Volsky’s display of military self-restraint had.

The End of 1919, part 2: Calm in Poland, Chaos in Prussia

Volsky’s new course had opposite effects on the young neighboring republics of Poland and Prussia. In Poland, where elections in September 1919 had brought a splintered Sejm with fourteen parties in it, among whom the National Democrats obtained the relatively greatest share of votes (23.5 %) and seats (102 out of 386 seats). [1] The ND continued to seek the support of a “grand national coalition” which spanned from the Right to those parties of the Centre-Left not affiliated with either Pilsudski’s adventurism or the UoE, or representing national minorities. This broad coalition managed to get Wincenty Witos elected as the Polish Republic’s first President [2]. The new President and the Sejm-backed coalition government were relieved to hear of the UoE’s plans to cut back its military spending, since it further reduced the danger Poland saw itself in and allowed the young Second Republic to not divert all its meagre means into building up a large costly army.

UoE troop reduction in Prussia meant that the position of the Red Prussian government was so weakened that it could no longer make any corroborated demands on their Polish neighbors to withdraw from the areas assigned to the them by the Powers. Luxemburg and Liebknecht, and also August Thalheimer, who had succeeded the assassinated Liebknecht as Chairman of the People’s Commission, had never been the staunchest opponents of an unconditional peace with Poland anyway. Several idealistic, and increasingly desperate, initiatives to come to a face-saving agreement had been stonewalled by Warsaw over the past few months. When Volsky’s withdrawal plans became official, Witos met with Thalheimer and Luxemburg in neutral Stockholm, and the two leaders of Red Prussia finally agreed to a peace treaty in which all Polish-occupied territories were officially ceded to the Polish Republic.

When news of the Stockholm Agreement were printed in Germany, riots broke out in Berlin and elsewhere. The Free People’s State of Prussia did not have enough reliable security forces at its disposal to restore order, and so the IRSD leadership decided that mobilization through the workers’ and peasants’ councils was necessary. An extraordinary congress came together on November 27th, 1919, but its outcome was not what Luxemburg’s conciliatory “Russian” faction had hoped for. In Prussia’s Supreme Soviet, a pre-negotiated coalition between “Prussians” and the newly formed “Militants” led by Fritz Wolffheim managed to rally a majority behind a “directive” which rejected the Stockholm Agreement, deposed Luxemburg and Thalheimer, and called all “German workers and peasants in Prussia” to gather for the defense of the “freedom and territorial integrity of our Free People’s State”.

While the returning Luxemburg and Thalheimer were caught by surprise, their rivals had planned and plotted for this moment well in advance. Wolffheim, who was elected as the new Spokesman of the Supreme Soviet, organized the election of Konrad Haenisch, a nationalist SPD member of the defunct pre-war Prussian Chamber of Deputies, as Chairman of the People’s Commission. Quickly, it became evident that “Prussians” and “Militants” had extended their feelers to other potential fellow travellers way beyond the strictly socialist sphere. The new leadership acted quickly: Luxemburg, Thalheimer and the rest of the “Russians” in leading state institutions were apprehended by the police on charges of high treason. With another of Haenisch’s first edicts, all charges against German “war criminals” were declared unlawful, the right of any such suspects to candidate in elections and serve in political offices was restored and all co-operation with The Hague was suspended until a peace treaty restoring Prussian and German independence and territorial integrity and defining the limits of international penal law would be concluded between a “legitimate” Prussian government and the other Hague parties. As far as paramilitary activity was concerned, local authorities were ordered to stop the campaign against “militant anti-repartitionists” and instead work towards a “reconciliation” of all available forces in preparation of the conversion of all and any armed resistance against “excesses of the occupiers” by “flying columns” fashioned after the ones which were emerging in the Irish struggle for independence. A group of mixed aristocratic and bourgeois intellectual composition around Arthur Moeller van den Bruck and Oswald Spengler declared their support for such a “Prussian socialist” agenda, too, and the National Social Democrats joined in as well - it soon became clear that the coup had turned into a rallying call for the dispersed opposition to the partition of Prussia and Germany by the victorious Powers.

The “Prussian conspiracy” caught not only Luxemburg’s faction off guard. The Council for the Mandate of Prussia had been busy discussing troop reduction schemes – and in the other parts of Prussia, which Wolffheim and the new group in power sought to reintegrate, too, British and French occupation forces as well as Hannoverian and Ruhr militia had not anticipated such a turn of events, either. Dozens of town halls, workers’ councils, police stations and arsenals were taken over in the first days, seizing the momentum of the coup.

But it was not enough. When the shock subsided, the commander of the British forces in Germany, Herbert Plumer, ordered an offensive to take back control over a couple of Hannoverian towns which had been lost to the “Prussian restorationists”. The Polish Army was sending over 20,000 reinforcements into Silesia and Pommerania, The security forces of the Prussian Mandate, mostly UoE, were drawn together from the territory in order to free their comrades captured in Berlin and wrestle control over the capital back from the putschists. And along the Ruhr, syndicalist “Red-and-Black Guards” got back on their feet again with French weapons and assistance, and once again proved their value and prevented the formation of a coherent "Western nucleus" of the restorationists in Westphalia. In the Mandate of Saxony, the mostly Czechoslovak security forces were set in motion, too. By Christmas, the situation of the putschists looked hopeless.

[1] IOTL, the Nadeks formed an alliance with “National Unity”, the Christian Workers’ Party and the Polish Progressive Party. This “Popular National Union” list obtained 29 % of the votes and 140 out of 392 seats. ITTL, the four parties combined fare better than IOTL, obtaining almost 35 % of the votes and 170 seats, but they have not formed the electoral alliance beforehand. IOTL, they were united against a strong Pilsudski (while the Centre and Left splintered without fear). ITTL, Pilsudski has been defeated, apprehended and is being put on trial by Ukrainian authorities and his splinter of the PPS is weaker than the pro-coalition schism, so the Polish Right does not feel the pressure it did IOTL and thus remains just as splintered as OTL’s Centre and Left.

[2] The position of the President is more powerful than IOTL where the ND opposed a strong presidency, fearing what Pilsudski could do with such a position.

The End of 1919, part 3: Southern and Western Germany; Czechoslovakia

Throughout December, the streets of Berlin were stained with blood in a veritable civil war between the rivalling Prussian factions. It was the arrival of security forces from the Mandate of Saxony (Czechoslovak contingents and militia of the Free People’s State of Saxony) which tipped the balance against the putschists even before New Year’s Eve [1]. Wolffheim, Haenisch and their entire junta had fled the capital in the last hour when their defeat was becoming undeniable, but they were apprehended in Oranienburg at the outskirts of Berlin by a UoE-staffed Prussian Mandate Security unit and taken into custody. The fate of the leading putschists would be decided in 1920, but in all likelihood, it would not be as grim as that of the predecessors they had couped away: Luxemburg, Thalheimer and dozens of other leading International Revolutionary Social Democrats of the “Russian” faction had been court-martialed by the putschists and summarily shot throughout December in a desperate effort to decapitate the internal resistance against the “restoration”.

In a ceremony of showcase symbolical value, Saxon militiamen and their comrades from the “Russian” faction of Berlin’s IRSD lowered the Prussian Black and White, adorned by the short-lived regime with a hammer and a shovel, and hoisted the simple red flag once again. But beyond such symbolism, it was becoming increasingly clear at least to the Mandate powers and their administrators who would convene in January in Berlin to discuss the future of Prussia, there could not really be a return to the situation of the summer of 1919. Luxemburg and Liebknecht were dead, and although Kerensky’s Foreign Ministry were determined to save soviet power in Prussia, if their Acting President would not be willing to commit enough troops to bring the entire Mandate territory from Jüterbog to Insterburg back in line, extinguish the last holdouts of Restorationism and prevent another destabilization in the future, the other Powers might insist on receiving more influence over the Mandate of Prussia, and possibly install a different constitution. The danger of German chauvinism was lurking on the Far Right and on the Far Left, as the new General Secretary of the EFP, Aristide Briand, remarked, and it was by no means eliminated. To provide for a safe rebuilding of the continent and secure lasting peace, the reasonable and moderate currents in Germany would have to be strengthened, and the EFP members would have to commit themselves to a quantitatively and qualitatively increased presence at least in Prussia over a prolonged period of time.

Elsewhere in Germany, i.e. in its West and South, such “moderate and reasonable” forces achieved greater progress towards stabilizing their governments and co-operating with the Mandate authorities. The chaos in Prussia only reaffirmed the resolution of Adenauer in the Rheinland, Scheidemann in Hesse, Wirth in Baden, and Erzberger in Württemberg to continue their course of co-operation among other and with the EFP powers and hasten the social reforms aimed at draining the swamp of dissatisfaction from which militancy arose. The clearest materially visible sign of this consolidation of a new Southern German bloc of smaller states was the adoption of the new Bavarian Gulden (instead of the practically worthless Reichsmark) by Württemberg, Baden, Hesse, Rhineland and Saxony, too.

Of these five, Baden and Württemberg had gone through the parliamentarisation of their constitutions and formed broad coalition governments as early as a year ago already, and these governments had begun implementing reforms of taxation and social security and at the same time invited foreign investment into the peacetime conversion of their industries with far-reaching guarantees and concessions which would limit their governments‘ powers over industrial matters in the future but which they deemed inevitable in order to instill confidence and emphasise that their part of Germany was stable and reliable indeed.

The Rhenish Republic followed this course, and the extent to which Adenauer succeeded in this endeavour was not only evident in the fact that the Restorationists did not manage to get a foot on the ground in Prussia’s former Rhine Province at all. A look into the new Rhenish Parliament in Cologne, elected in 1919, provided an unambiguous impression, too: it was utterly dominated by an overwhelming majority of Adenauer’s Zentrum members. This had been made possible by the electoral laws which followed the model only recently adopted in France. Because this electoral system is important in understanding the French elections of 1919, too, both IOTL and ITTL, I shall explain it in a few words: Each French département, or Rhenish Kreis, was awarded a number of seats proportionate to its population. Each voter could cast as many votes as there were seats to be filled; he or she could split them on individual candidates or heap them all onto the same list. If a list or candidates received an absolute majority of votes, they would be awarded their seats directly. If this was not the case, then the number of votes would be divided by the number of seats to be allotted, yielding the Quotient, and every list would one seat for every time that their Quotient fit into their number of votes. If there were seats left to be allotted, then they would all go to the list with the most votes.

An example:

  • Bonn has 6 seats.
  • 97,400 votes were cast.
  • No single candidate obtained an absolute majority.
  • The Zentrum list received an average of 39,135 votes per candidate.
  • Two liberal lists received averages of 12,008 and 9,250 votes respectively.
  • The SPD received 13,651 average votes, another socialist list received 4,961 average votes.
  • Three conservative lists received 6,135, 4,681 and 4,432 average votes respectively.
  • A single candidate on a separate list received 2,747 votes.
  • The Quotient is (97,400 / 6 =) 16,333 votes. The Zentrum list receives 2 seats for fulfilling the Quotient twice. No other list reaches the Quotient.
  • 4 seats are left to be allotted, and they all go the Zentrum for being the list with the most average votes relatively.
  • Thus, all 6 seats go to the Zentrum.
As a result of the hegemonial position of the Zentrum, whose diverging wings Adenauer managed to keep together, in combination with the splintering of the socialist, liberal, and conservative camps into various party lists who most of the time were unable to agree on common lists, 192 out of the 240 seats in the Rhenish parliament went to the Zentrum, with the SPD and National Liberals receiving most of the rest.

With such an overwhelming majority, Adenauer pushed through popular (e.g. unemployment insurance), necessary (e.g. tax reform) as well as controversial (a return to mostly church-run schools with little government oversight and a reversion of all other Kulturkampf measures, too, as well as a lopsided free trade agreement with France which compelled the Rhenish Republic to adopt any regulation concerning foreign trade taken in Paris without having a say in it) measures. Even the latter began to show its effects, though: Citroen, France’s premier producer of automobiles decided, in spite of the Prussian troubles of the late autumn of 1919, to build their next factory in the vicinity of Cologne, for example. [2]

Winning the „race to Berlin“ was just another of the many formidable military achievements of the young Czechoslovak Republic. Quite generally, one major difference between OTL’s Czechoslovak nation-building and TTL’s in 1919 is the different role which its military plays. ITTL, the Czechoslovak Legion is spared its odyssey through Civil War Russia and its late return; instead, it arrives together with its UoE allies as liberators of their home country. The Czechoslovak Army, formed with much less French influence and to a very large degree from the former Czechoslovak Legion in Russia, and its leaders have already left their imprint on the young republic. They have quickly repelled a Polish attempt to establish themselves in Těšínské Slezsko, and the Czechoslovak contingents have fought bravely in the May War and ever since managed to keep Saxony calm and stable with only light numbers – and now they even put a quick end to the adventurism which haunted their Northern neighbors again. Whether this was sheer luck and favourable circumstances, or the merit of military leaders like Jan Syrový or the commander of the Mandate Security Forces for Saxony, Josef Šnejdárek is difficult to ascertain objectively. In Czechoslovak public opinion, though, there were no two minds about this: their military was an enormous source of pride for the young nation, and an important force unifying Czechs and Slovaks (and keeping the German and Hungarian minorities away from participating in the inner circle of the organization of the emerging republic).

Czechoslovak nation-building ITTL shares a number of characteristics with the course of OTL: the five largest Czechoslovak (i.e. non-minority) parties still form their great coalition, and there are countless initiatives aimed at fostering Czechoslovak national identity and culture, among them also the establishment of a „Czechoslovak Hussite Church“. At a closer look, differences become evident, though. The increased role of the former Czechoslovak Legion means that Francophile intellectuals do not play quite the dominant role they did IOTL, and while Tomaš Masaryk has still been elected as the first President of the young republic with an overwhelming margin, other groups leaning more towards the UoE and its transformative model, and of course the war heroes themselves are considerably more influential. Speaking of war heroes – one of them who died IOTL in a plane crash and possibly took into his grave a lot of potential for Slovak integration in the new republic was Milan Rastislav Štefánik . ITTL, he lives [3], and he is not only a member of the newly elected parliament, but also the young republic’s Minister of the Defense.

More differences appear in the coalition’s economic policies. Czechoslovakia has inherited the lion’s share of the Habsburg Empire’s industrial production capacities, and a good deal of its natural resources required to run them, too. Most of them are owned and managed by ethnic Germans, though – a situation which was considered politico-strategically unfortunate IOTL, too, but which could not be helped, Masaryk, Beneš & co. thought. Well, ITTL they think differently, what with no relatively strong Germany (nor Austria, but that is OTL, too) disencouraging all too blatant discrimination and with no intense general counter-reaction to Bolshevik transformations. Therefore, ITTL Antonin Němec’s Social Democrats and Edvard Beneš’s Popular Socialists (the latter members of the Green Internationale, like their right-agrarian coalition partners of the Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants) have taken measures which strike a middle course between classical capitalism and the socialism of their Hungarian neighbors: a consultative „Council for Economic Development“ is established which sets a framework for industrial development, and while market economic structures are left in place, the Czechoslovak state has declared itself the owner of 50.1 % of the shares (or other form of property) of all industrial enterprises employing more than 1,000 workers.

In the agricultural sector, too, large estates (mostly held by German/Austrian and Hungarian former nobility) will be repartitioned in a process overseen by local councils (after UoE models), in which compensations are also decided upon.

Both measures have earned them the ire of the former elites among their now numerous German minority as well as of the Austrian government, but solid popularity from Czech and Slovak peasants and workers. Under these circumstances, Bohumir Šmeral’s attempts to form a Czechoslovak section of the IRSDLP have met with very little enthusiasm and drawn only few followers, a development which has stabilised the Coalition Social Democrats greatly.

[1] Getting to Berlin is easy; you can just send your troops there by train, there are no fixed front lines in this civil war. But both the British and the UoE have their hands full controlling vast territories in turmoil with reduced troops, and the Poles, as has been stated before, are merely interesting in pacifying and securing their annexed territories. Therefore, Czechoslovak-occupied Saxony is both a calm and nearby jump-off point for a quick ride to Berlin aimed both at bringing the dangerous Northern neighbor to rest again and at acquiring more political capital. (Also, I enjoyed the idea of a role reversal compared to OTL, where Berlin sent the Reichswehr twice to meddle in Saxony and Thuringia when those lands had governments with communist participation in 1923.)

[2] A similar discussion was conducted IOTL – in the end, it was Ford who built a factory in Cologne.

[3] I’ll go with the hypothesis that his plane was shot down by Czechoslovak anti-aircraft fire by accident, the Italian sign of the plane he flew on having been mistaken for a Hungarian one. ITTL, there is no Czechoslovak-Hungarian war in 1919, so that accident cannot happen.

The End of 1919, part 4: Elections in France and Italy

The elections in France and Italy of November 1919 took place under two very different electoral systems, and in two very different political atmospheres. From a socialist viewpoint, both brought similarly dramatic disasters, though: new and old parties and blocs of the centre and centre-right were strengthened, garnished with a few socialist fig leaves, while principled socialists suffered from divisions and a political atmosphere which was increasingly difficult for them, scoring way worse than they had hoped, and even worse than they had expected.

In France, the last elections of 1914 had brought a parliament dominated by the centre-left PRRRS – and then the Great War came, and with it the Union sacrée, the very broad coalition of conservative, liberal and socialist, monarchist and republican, moderate and radical, Catholic and anticlerical etc. political forces in France. The Great War brought horrible suffering to France, and the Union sacrée showed cracks, of course. Much of these cracks appeared on the grassroots of French politics, and they were transmitted very differentially onto the higher and highest echelons of France’s hetergenously structured political parties. The SFIO left the Union Sacrée under bottom-up pressure, for example, while the Republican Socialists of René Viviani, Paul Painlevé and Aristide Briand continued to stick to it and led many of the short-lived French wartime governments. Within the PRRRS, party leader Joseph Caillaux voiced the popular despair over the sufferings brought about by the war and the desire to find a settlement with Germany, while others supported the quasi-dictatorial government of Independent Radical Georges Clemenceau, who led France victoriously out of the Great War (hence his epithet “Père la Victoire”).

In 1919, as the war was more or less won, and the very last steps, in the form of the May War, had felt easy to take in a generally elated atmosphere of triumph and reborn hope, the pendulum of popular opinion swung back, and it hit France’s nascent mass parties on the Left and Centre-Left fairly hard. Doubts about the war were considered spineless and unpatriotic defeatism now, and those who had argued for an uncompromising course seemed revendicated now by the dissolution of the German arch-enemy into small and unthreatening statelets and France’s leading role in the post-war order and the EFP. Caillaux had become discredited by his reconciliatory stance towards Germany, and Edouard Herriot led the PRRRS into the elections instead.

The SFIO was led by Ludovic-Oscar Frossard
, a pacifist who had moved throughout the war from the Marxist Centre towards the Ultra-Left. He had surfed into office on the desperation of the French labour movement pressed hard by the war, but his opposition to the May War was no longer quite as popular, not even among truly radical socialists (not those who carried that historical label on their party’s badge…), many of whom saw the course of the May War as a triumph of socialism even in Germany over reactionary monarchism and the Prussian mésalliance of the landed aristocracy and industrial steel barons. And then, even the left wing of the SFIO among itself was shaken by the dispute over whether to join the IRSDLP unification or not. Boris Souvarine, Raymond Péricat and Charles Rappoport supported the unification, while Frossard and other fellow pacifists like Louise Saumoneau, François and Marie Mayoux and Albert Bourderon supported Frossard’s skepticism of Trotsky’s “Bonapartist adventurism in ultra-imperialist guise”.

Souvarine led a number of rebels out of the SFIO to found the French branch of the IRSDLP (in French PSIRT, for Parti Socialiste Internationale Révolutionaire du Travail). After the failed Italian Revolution, but also after the lists of candidates for the elections had been handed in, pressure from the remaining SFIO base – now less dominated by the radical left – forced Frossard to resign, and a group of Centrists installed the Parisian André Léon Blum as the new General Secretary of the SFIO.

Socialists all over France were left confused and dispirited by all these schism and disputes, and while the PSIRT only managed to bring together a handful of lists of candidates for the election in large cities, the SFIO was still weakened by PSRIT-leaning radicals not all voting for SFIO lists, and even some of the most moderate SFIO supporters not voting for their own party’s lists where they deemed these too pacifistic (“Germanophile” was the preferred slander), often preferring the common lists of PRRRS and Republican Socialists (“la Gauche radicale”, as opposed to “la Gauche socialiste”).

The parties of the Centre and Centre-Right were extremely heterogeneous, too, and personal rivalries like that between Clemenceau and Poincaré haunted them, too. In contrast to the Centre-Left and Left, though, they felt that the patriotic fervor gripping the French nation in 1919 was wind in their sails, not blowing into their faces. Continuing the wartime tradition of broad alliance-building and attempting to make the most out of the military victory, the patriotic wave, Clemenceau’s popularity [1], and the electoral system which favours larger lists disproportionately over smaller ones, the “Bloc National” was created, spanning from the Republican Federation and the Independents and Conservatives over the Democratic Alliance to the Independent Radicals, to the exclusion only of extreme rightist groups like the Action française.

List formation varied between departments – in some places, IR and DA formed common lists with the Centre-Left instead of the Right; in some places, everyone teamed up against the SFIO list etc. Distinguishing the shares each party received in the popular vote is, therefore, quite impossible. I have tried to calculate the outcome for the three main blocs (Bloc National, Gauche Radicale, Socialists) nevertheless. Here are the figures, and by comparison their OTL results in brackets:

Bloc National: 51.9 % (53.4 %) of the popular vote; 372 (429) seats;

Gauche radicale: 23.4 % (20.9 %) of the popular vote; 137 (112) seats;

Socialists: 20.2 % (21.2 %) of the popular vote; 64 (68) seats.

Like IOTL, the outcome of the election was termed a “blue horizon”, not only because the centre-right parties were associated with that colour, but more importantly because the parliament was so full of former soldiers and officers of the Great War, who proudly attended the assembly in their blue uniforms.

Negotiations began immediately after the results were out. Broad and shifting coalitions would ensue from this outcome, too, as had been the case in the past decades, but the balance between the political forces had moved discernibly rightwards. In the PRRRS, the heated debate about foreign and social policy strategies continued. Among the organized socialist labour movement, though, the message of the 1919 general elections was that a divided house cannot stand. The chaos in Prussia, which happened around the same time and in which the Militant wing of the IRSDLP was involved in a leading position, further added to the combined onslaught of French publicized opinion, trade unions and other socialist parties against the PSIRT, which became ostracized and isolated and lost another portion of their meek followership, who returned into the SFIO’s fold. The new SFIO leadership, led by Blum, humbly drew the conclusion that now was the time to redefine their platform and unite its wings on a Party Congress, and from a more solid foundation seek electoral alliances with the Centre-Left in the future.

[1] He is a lot more popular ITTL without the perception that Germany “got away too easily” in Versailles, which caused the conservative press to deride him as “perds la victorie” = he who loses the victory. ITTL, Clemenceau oversaw the total dismemberment of Germany, French annexation of Alsace-Lorraine and the Saar, puppetisation of the Rhineland and to some extent Bavaria, creation of the EFP as a proxy for French interests all over the continent, presided over by a Frenchman. He might even get elected as the next President when both Chambers come together…?!

The political situation in Italy was dominated by the unsettling experience of the failed Italian Revolution. It had impressed and shaken every layer of society and all political forces. To give this update a focus, though, I shall concentrate on one political party, and one leading and founding figure within it, at first: Luigi Sturzo and his Partito Popolare.

Political Catholicism in Italy, like in various other “classical liberal” political systems of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, had grown in opposition to secularist policies of the aforementioned liberal establishment, and over time increasingly also in rivalry to socialist forces, attempting to organize workers into Catholic instead of Marxist unions and promoting the “Catholic social model” as roughly outlined in the papal encyclical “Rerum novarum”, which demanded fair relations between capital and labour, emphasized the role of families and communities in providing mutual help and solidarity, and condemned socialist attempts to overthrow private property.

Because of the papal boycott of the Italian nation-state and its political system, over a long period of time Italy did not have an equivalent party to the German Zentrum or the Austrian Christian Socials, though. In the absence of such a common platform, political Catholicism in Italy found many different channels and outlets: clerics spoke out on political matters, taking widely diverging positions from very conservative ones to the Catholic socialism of a Romolo Murri. Among the laity, the Azione Cattolica had begun to concentrate various Catholic social groups into a new movement.

As new popes saw the futility of attempting to boycott Italian electoral politics, the Catholic Electoral Union formed in 1906. Its relative lack of success was an important reason for the decision of its leaders to negotiate an electoral alliance with the Liberal Union in the 1913 elections instead, an alliance which became known as the Gentiloni Pact.

Shaken by the experiences of the Great War and caught in the wave of politicization which washed over the entire continent, Italy’s political Catholics made another attempt at forming a political mass party after the war: the Partito Popolare Italiano (PPI). Under its roof, left- and right-wing oriented Catholics, so-called “Modernists” and “anti-Modernists”, those who had opposed the war and those who had not, those who agreed with the general tendency of the European Federation of Peace and those who considered it dangerous, gathered. Its leaders, Luigi Sturzo and Alcide de Gasperi, both came from the party’s centre and attempted to lead the party into the centre stage of the kingdom’s political scene.

To the PPI, the outbreak of the Italian Revolution was a shock. The war between the classes, which the Catholic social movement had attempted to prevent with all their means, had apparently broken out. Both Red and Black revolutionaries were led by militant atheists and vowed to smash the Church’s role in society and the last vestiges of Christianity in the country of the Pope. [1] Among their ranks, there were thousands who, not long ago, had attended mass together with their neighbors on Sundays. Cities burned, men and women were killed in the streets, sectarian violence showing a shocking degree of aggression and dehumanization which certainly owed in no small part to the experiences so many Italians had made in the War. The avowed enemies of the Revolutionaries, in their blue shirts, were no less brutal and bloodthirsty, either, and their radical Integralism, which the Pope had already declared anathema five years ago, was gnawing away at the right wing of organized political Catholicism, just like the new Socialist Revolutionaries were breaking into the left flank of rural and traditionally pious segments of the population on whose electoral support the PPI had counted upon, agitating the peasantry and bringing them close to the verge of rebellion.

As the established parties struggled towards a response to the revolutionary challenge and various PPI leaders panicked, Don Luigi Sturzo kept a cool head. He saw a pivotal opportunity, and he seized it. Sturzo was one of the driving forces behind the negotiations in which very unlikely partners found together and agreed on a political, social, and economic reform agenda for the Kingdom of Italy, which would be the big sweet carrot in the strategy with which the anti-extremist forces sought to combat the Revolution, together with the stick of the use of large numbers of military police against the isolated last pockets of insurgents.

The reform pact behind which rallied Sturzo’s PPI as well as Francesco Nitti’s anti-clerical Radicals, the liberal-conservative Liberal Union of Giovanni Giolitti, Sidney Sonnino, Antonio Salandra and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando as well as the newly formed [2] United Socialists of Filippo Turati and Ivanoe Bonomi and Alessandro Scotti's moderate wing of the Socialist Revolutionaries [3], the Partito dei Contadini Italiani, officially carried the pompous title of “Patto per la Salvezza Nazionale è la Giustizia Sociale”. Popularly, it soon came to be called “Gran Alleanza”, the Great Alliance, for it included almost all Italian political forces, except for Nicola Bombacci’s rump-PSI, Amadeo Bordiga’s PSDRI [4], the Independent Socialists now led by Michele Bianchi after Mussolini’s flight into exile, and the radical right-wingers of the ANI.

The adherents of the Gran Alleanza committed themselves to a shared program of agricultural, labour, economic, electoral, educational, cultural and constitutional reform in the legislative period to come – a great scheme for consensual changes in many different fields of society with which said society could be stabilised (after which everyone expected the members of the alliance to go different ways again). It would only have a chance to become reality if the parties of the Gran Alleanza received a very solid majority and stuck with it, if the majority of the unions and industrial associations, of the clergy, the Catholic Action and many other social groups, and not least of all King Vittorio Emanuele III. himself unanimously, unwaveringly, and persistently supported it.

Whether that will be the case remains to be seen – but the promise, together with the failure of the revolutionary alternative, exerted a massive appeal to the Italian electorate. It, together with the peculiarities of the Italian electoral system [5], caused the new Parliament to be utterly dominated by the parties of the Gran Alleanza, who consistently supported each other’s best-placed candidate in the second round:

  • The PPI obtained 265 seats and became the strongest faction by far. Its undisputed leader and triumphant architect of the alliance, Don Sturzo, was expected to be nominated as the next head of government, tasked with pushing forward the ambitious reform agenda.
  • The Liberal Union fell from 270 seats in 1913, in spite of the creation of new constituencies in the formerly Habsburg territories of the North, to 187 seats in 1919. Yet, this fall was by far not as horrible as many had expected. The electoral system and the Gran Alleanza had bought the grand old party of the Italian bourgeoisie another bit of time, as its equally grand old leader Giolitti well knew. Just like he himself, his party might not have many strong and powerful years ahead of itself. But they could finish their legacy by leaving a lasting imprint on the development of the country in the 20th century through their contribution to and influence of the reform agenda of the Gran Alleanza - and they had managed to stave off the revolution.
  • The Radical Party fell from 62 to 55 seats;
  • The left-agrarians of the Partito dei Contadini scored 47 seats, which wasn't overwhelming, but also not bad for such a young party, and it might just suffice for them to be able to compel their electoral partners to honor their promises of agricultural reform;
  • The United Socialists, finally, obtained 31 seats, most of them only won by popularwell-known personalities, and not few of them only with bourgeois support in the second round against dissident socialist counter-candidates in the industrial cities of the North.
This brought the Gran Alleanza to a common total of 585 out of 654 seats.

Of the opposition, the PSI scored 39 seats, the ANI achieved 11 seats, and the Independent Socialists 3, while the PSDRI failed to get any of their candidates in over three dozen constituencies elected. 16 more parliamentarians were voted as independents or members of small, unaffiliated groups.

Under the given electoral system, the Italian Left paid a hefty price for its inner divisions, the failed revolution and sectarian violence. In the first round, the four major socialist parties (United Socialists, PSI, PSDRI and Independent Socialists) together had scored almost 40 %, but now they were left with less than 15 % of the seats, scattered between the coalition socialists and a bitterly divided opposition.

The Gran Alleanza had triumphed and achieved the super-majority it would need to push through its reforms. Within it, the new parties of the non-revolutionary left were much weaker than the Catholic PPI and the liberals. Italy’s middle classes – even those who did not particularly like the new hegemonial clerical party – sighed with relief.

[1] Just a quick reminder how different TTL’s “Independent Socialists” are from OTL’s Fascists

[2] During the Italian Revolution, Turati’s moderate wing of the Socialists, among them many of the party’s members of parliament, had finally split when the PSI leadership not only refused to distance itself clearly enough from “violent mob rule”, but also wanted no part in the negotiations for a state, social and economic reform in the framework of the Gran Alleanza. Split from their mother party, Turati’s group then united with another group who had split off a few years earlier, Ivanoe Bonomi’s Reformist Socialist Party.

[3] Giuseppe di Vittorio is extremely interesting and I will keep it in mind, but in 1919 he's still too young to lead any of the party factions, I thought.

[4] Given the disagreements between Bordiga and the Torinese IOTL, I suspected another schism might be in order. Bordiga is on the “Militant” wing of the IRSDLP, while Gramsci and Togliatti remain in the PSI because they do not share Bordiga’s rejection of bottom-up leadership by workers’ councils, even if unions exert an influence in them, in favour of paramilitarily organized “flying revolutionary columns”.

[5] All males above 21 as well as even under-21s who had served in the military received the suffrage in 1917 as per OTL. IOTL, though, the PSI and PPI separately pushed for proportional representation which they (rightly) thought would benefit them. ITTL, this is not the case, the PSI’s demands are ignored, and the Gran Alleanza makes the most of its pact’s overwhelming electoral force by keeping the pre-war single-member constitutency two-round voting system in place:

Each constituency elects one member of parliament. If no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first round, then the two candidates with the highest numbers of votes duel in the second round, in which the candidate with more votes is elected.

The End of 1919, part 6: Trouble in America

1919 was a troubled year in the history of the United States of America. Domestically, the Seattle General Strike had marked only the beginning of a long series of strikes (in the coal and steel industries, in railways and, most unsettling to many, among the police) spiraling into violent conflicts between organized labour on the one hand, and the organs of law and order as well as private paramilitary organizations (Pinkertons, Baldwin-Felts etc.) hired by industrialists on the other hand. The violence of these class conflicts only superficially mirrored revolutionary models from Europe – for example when rebellious coal miners in West Virginia formed “workers councils” – but in truth, it had a long autochtonous history in the US. [1] Now they were exacerbated by the economic downturn caused by the conversion from war to peace-time production – and over a million demobilized soldiers returned into a contracting job market.

Segments of the press as well as the US Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, conjured up the spectre of chaos, anarchy and the collapse of the constitutional order in America. [2] Such a collapse and an establishment of socialism in the US was never very probable in 1919, to say the least – one reason for this being the fractured and disorganized state of the American Far Left and massive political divergences among the unions. The Socialist Party of America had never been very successful as a unifying political arm of the labour movement, and with its leader and presidential candidate Eugene Debs imprisoned, it underwent massive factional strife on its National Convention in August and ultimately radicalisation – but we’ll come to that in a minute. The unions were no better, with political enmities between the moderate AFL and the radical IWW, between two splinter products of the IWW, between the IWW and the WFM etc. preventing large solidaric action in protest of anti-labour violence, the curtailing of labour rights and coalition etc., let alone country-wide general strikes.

But on one level, the fears had a foundation in reality: while militant unions were not able to form a united front, their growing impatience caused new spikes in strike-related violence and deaths. And while there was certainly no broad conspiracy to overthrow the constitutional system, there were isolated bouts of political terrorism like the wave of mail bombs targeting politicians and industrialists, which shocked the nation in 1919. A group of Galleanist anarchists claimed responsibility for them, declaring them as “acts of revenge of the oppressed laboring classes”. [3]

Yet more violent than the clashes arising from labour strikes were racist pogroms. As IOTL, the amorphously pre-revolutionary atmosphere, combined with white suprematist racism of the time and the long-standing tradition of lynchings in the country, led to pogroms against African Americans in various places – with the reason varying as widely as striking white workers attacking African American strike-breakers in some places, to reactionary-minded mobs “retaliating” against perceivedly black aggressions behind which not few saw the consequences of “agitation of the negroes to rise up against order and civilization”. IOTL, probably around a thousand people died in the “Red Summer” of 1919. IOTL, most of them were African Americans.

ITTL, things begin to take a slightly different turn during the summer months of 1919. In July, when Italy is gripped by its (ultimately failed) Revolution, Palmer and the young head of his new “General Intelligence Division”, one J. Edgar Hoover, began to refocus their allegations of revolutionary subversion towards “Italian anarchist and syndicalist agitation”. Newspaper took to the new idea fast, and soon there were suspicions of “Galleanists” and “fascists” (which, here, most often meant militant Italian syndicalists) behind every Italian-speaking corner. Ethnically biased police raids and the apprehension of many Italian immigrants suspected of leftist leanings caused protest, of course, and in a massive over-reaction against such a protest, an anti-Italian mob began to target the suspicious minority in Boston, with the ethnic clashes lasting almost a week and killing hundreds. Another anti-Italian pogrom occurred in New Orleans, burning through the city while the state’s governor John M. Parker turned a blind eye.

And Italians would not remain the only Catholic group coming under fire in the heated, chaotic days of 1919. The Irish struggle for independence from Britain had a few socialists involved in it IOTL, too, but ITTL the contribution is more visible, with the emerging International Red Aid of the IRSDLP engaging heavily in the country and the rebels forming council structures inspired by the Russian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Italian and various German Revolutions. This more nuanced “leftist” hue of the Irish revolutionary struggle naturally had implications for Irish Americans and how they were viewed by others, too.

On its Emergency Congress in late August 1919, the Socialist Party of America was taken over, as it has been often claimed, by its radical wing. The “Regular” faction around Adolph Gerner and Julius Gerber, which had led the party hitherto while Eugene Debs was in prison, was replaced by a group whose superficial agenda was affiliation with the IRSDLP and rejection of a continued engagement for the Gorky-Thomas-Addams Plan (for the SPA Left Wing saw itself closer to the “Militant” and “Anti-Imperialist” current than to the theoreticians of Ultra-Imperialism). How little the new leadership from the “Left Wing” truly cared for the IRSDLP transpired only weeks later when delegation negotiations with Trotsky broke down – Trotsky did not want the Americans to tilt the emerging party’s balance towards Anti-Imperialism – and the new SPA leadership simply buried the idea of joining the IRSDLP quietly (contributing greatly to the latter's limitation on Europe in the Riga Congress). The composition of the new SPA leadership clearly showed that the driving force behind the mobilization of a left-wing majority on the convention was a coalition of the “language federations” affiliated with the SPA, first and foremost of the Italian and German language federations, with socialists from Minnesota and New York of Irish background on the other hand. Where the old “Regular” strand of SPA policy – protest marches and an emphasis on electoral strategies – seemed bland and anaemic by 1919, the beleaguered “ethnic” socialists had now risen to the challenge of agitating for the formation of self-defense groups and militia and the “councilisation" of their neighborhoods, and now they were pushing the party towards a more militant stance and a more defiant opposition to the racist attacks like the one to which, in September 1919, the Irish community in the republic’s capital, Washington, was subjected to.

By the end of the year, violence was not subsiding at all, in spite of a wave of detentions and deportations of “anarchists”, “militant syndicalists” and “alien socialist insurgents” based on the prolonged Espionage Act of 1917, Sedition Act of 1918 as well as on the Immigration Act of 1918, and impatience began to grow in Congress. In this situation, Acting President Thomas Marshall chose to withdraw his support for Palmer’s policies, publicly commenting on Palmer “seeing red” [4].Marshall not only feared Palmer’s scheming to position himself in the limelight in the Democratic process of nominating a new presidential candidate in 1920, but also that his raids and his anti-Italian and anti-Irish rhetorics were driving these important constituencies further away from the Democrats and into the arms of the Socialists. He countered Palmer’s “judicial overreach” with a proposal for strengthening the National Guard.

Palmer knew what to do, though. If Marshall attempted to sideline him and sabotage his efforts to build up a strong intelligence agency, then there was a camp with which he could align. Ever since Woodrow Wilson’s stroke in Paris and his near-total incapacitation, the federal government had become split between a faction who supported Marshall as Acting President and a policy shift away from what the leaders of various ministeries considered as failed “Wilsonian” policies on the one hand, and the opposite camp which remained loyal to Wilson and his agenda. Marshall’s closest ally was Foreign Secretary Robert Lansing – together, they had begun to steer US foreign policy away from Wilson’s focus on an international covenant of peace and multilateral free trade agreements, which they saw as having led nowhere and practically only meant continuedly high military expenditures in overseas adventures at the side of a British ally who in turn often openly pursued goals diametrically opposed to American interests (like the new Conservative and Unionist Prime Minister Bonar Law’s tariff policy of “imperial preference” [5]). Instead, Marshall and Lansing sought to conclude bilateral agreements – with Japan on naval limitations, a coordinated China policy and free Pacific trade; with the UoE on a “revised repayment and refinancing scheme” for the Union’s unbearable burden of debt in exchange for US involvement in building up the (legally socialised) oil industry in the UoE's Central Asian republics etc.

Opposition to Marshall within the cabinet came from Treasure Secretary Carter Glass, who denounced the negotiated proposals, even before they were concluded, as “bowing to Asians” and a squandering of American wealth and endangering of the confidence which the young and frail federal financial institutions so dearly needed, but also from War Secretary Baker and Navy Secretary Daniels. Outside the cabinet, William Gibbs McAdoo, by far the most popular “Wilsonian”, fired in the same general direction. As 1919 turned into 1920, they also had Attorney General Palmer on their side now, and this powerful cabbal thwarted Marshall’s counter-proposal for strengthening the National Guard, denouncing it as “infringing on the states’ rights”.

[1] To those unfamiliar with them, I recommend reading up on the Coal Wars, on Haymarket, Coeur d’Alene, the Colorado Labor Wars etc. I, for one, had not been aware of it before I read @Iggies ’ wonderfully written TL “The Glowing Dream” and did some research to contrast and compare his TL to OTL history.

[2] That is different from the spectre they conjured up IOTL. The Bolshevik spectre was supposed to be a centrally organized, quasi-conspiratorial attempt to intentionally overthrow the existing order and replace it with the dictatorship of the vanguard party of the proletariat, and Palmer as well as parts of the press repeatedly suspected that alien Bolshevik elements (primarily recent Eastern European Jewish immigrants) sought to agitate “the negroes”. The perceived danger of TTL is more amorphous, more decentralized, and it is associated with a different minority, as we shall see.

[3] All of which is entirely OTL.

[4] IOTL, those were Wilson’s words, and they have been interpreted in different ways…

[5] I did not mention this one, but I guess you saw it coming: the Coalition has broken apart years earlier than IOTL, and Bonar Law is heading a new all-Tory government.

The End of 1919, part 7: Britain and the Empire

Neither Britain’s geopolitical position, nor the self-concepts of its political elites allowed for a surge of isolationism like the one which washed over the US after the horrible sacrifices of the Great War. But public opinion in Britain, too, developed, over the course of 1919, the view that, while the war had been won, the peace had more or less been lost. Labour unrest was widespread. Violence and anarchy in Ireland were getting worse by the week, in spite of the government’s combined strategies of repression and concessions (the latter still aimed at implementing Home Rule as laid down by the 1914 bill). Apart from Ireland, British and colonial forces were fighting insurgents in as many places as Egypt, Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran, and Afghanistan at once. At the Paris Peace Conference, Britain had obtained nothing – all its gains in colonies, in Germany and in the Middle East had been obtained through separate agreements – and now saw itself excluded from a comprehensive continental alliance in the form of the EFP.

David Lloyd George sought to counterbalance the failure of the Paris Peace Conference by creating a “League for Peace and Prosperity”, which was basically the British Empire and its old and new “protected states” (from Hannover to Arabia) in a fashionable new dress, with the de facto complete independence of the Dominions formalized and balanced by a mutual commitment to come to each other’s defense in case of attacks by outsiders. Close economic co-operation was to be part of the deal, too (which allowed Northern Germany to profit from the lifting of the sea blockade (and from there, the rest of Germany profited, too, as the new inner-German borders were generally open).

While this latter idea was popular on the larger British isle, especially among the Conservatives, too, as it came close to the idea of “imperial preference” which was favoured by a majority of Tory MPs and members of government, the former was generally not. As the war-time censorship of the press was lifted and demobilized soldiers returned to their families with tales of the horrors of Flanders (and Gallipoli, and many other such places), the prospect of frequent military interventions was not popular at all. Neither in England, Scotland and Wales, nor in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or elsewhere.

After initial momentum, Lloyd George’s league idea ran into more and more obstacles as the details were negotiated with the Dominions. At the same time, the violence in Ireland was always present in the national consciousness: the [greater than OTL] parliamentary presence of the Irish Parliamentary Party in Westminster made sure that all the gruesome details of ruthless military and “policing” operations and civilian suffering in Ireland were made public and loudly lamented by the faction led by John Dillon. Ireland was increasingly turning into a millstone around Lloyd George’s neck, dragging down his popularity.

It is not very surprising, thus, that Lloyd George sought to rid himself of this problem as fast as possible. The IPP demanded the immediate enactment of the Home Rule provisions, and Lloyd George was more than willing to grant it. Preparations for elections to separate Southern and Northern Irish Assemblies were begun.

That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The camel was, in this case, specifically Andrew Bonar Law, leader of the House of Commons and the Conservative Party and a particularly fervent Unionist. He, who had sworn in 1912 that “never under any circumstances will we submit to Home Rule!”, now gathered a large number of Conservative MPs with the aim of sabotaging the Home Rule implementation and the league idea as well as bringing down the Coalition government. While various Conservative members of the government and of the party’s leadership around Austen Chamberlain did not consent and would have preferred to continue the Coalition, the refusal of a Conservative majority to support the provisions for the implementation of Irish Home Rule created a fait accompli when Lloyd George stepped down as Prime Minister.

Bonar Law then took the reins and formed a Cabinet of Conservatives and Unionists who supported his envisioned policy changes. Himself, Law summed this shift in the political agenda up as “a new focus”. While he continued the negotiations over “imperial preference” in commerce, the idea of a British-led league was buried and replaced by negotiations for bilateral treaties (Anglo-Syrian, Anglo-Egyptian and renewed Anglo-Iranian and Anglo-Japanese treaties were all prepared, but not concluded yet in 1919). Overall, Law preferred focusing on three crises while reducing British engagement elsewhere: Ireland, India, and the security of British trade routes with India through Arabian countries. In this readjustment of foreign policy, Law found competent assistance in his Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon, who replaced Balfour. Curzon took the deliberations over Egypt’s future out of Milner’s hands and directly into his own; likewise, he urged cautious co-operation by the Zionists with the newly crowned King Faisal and submission to his suzerainty over the emerging Jewish Autonomy.

While Law’s new Arabian policies were less reluctant to leave the Arabians to govern themselves as long as British access to oil and sea trade routes were safeguarded, in Ireland his cabinet turned away from the implementation of Home Rule as long as, as Law put it in a speech, “any election in Southern Ireland would only bring us an assembly of nationalist insurgents, socialists and terrorists, and the permanent rupture of the island”. Instead, military involvement was stepped up with forces from various other theatres (not least from Turkey) being relocated to Ireland in order to suppress the Irish Republican Army’s “flying columns” and smoke out nationalist and socialist rebellion on the smaller British isle for good.

Like many parts of the world, Canada was facing economic contraction, unemployment, social tensions, the return of disillusioned veterans, and labour conflicts. One particularly bloody example of the latter was the Winnipeg General Strike of May 1919. The country was governed by the conservative Arthur Meighen who had formed not only a “Union government” of conscription supporters, but also a united “National Liberal and Conservative Party”. Like IOTL, Meighen’s government and party are losing a lot of popular support throughout 1919, and various Liberal politicians, who had joined the Union government, were returning to the Liberal Party, who chose to maintain its course by electing Willian Lyon Mackenzie King as its new leader on its convention.

Already IOTL, Meighen’s government had raised and introduced new tariffs – among other things – to finance the war effort. Keeping them in place after the war, too, (instead of e.g. more progressive income taxation) was rather unpopular, surprisingly especially among the farming population (also like IOTL). ITTL, even Bonar Law’s new British government’s plans for empire-wide protectionist policies certainly accentuate this conflict. Therefore, the spectacular bashing of Ontario’s conservatives in the provincial elections of 1919 and their replacement in the province’s government by a coalition of the new populist-agrarian United Farmers’ Organization with a handful of elected Labour parliamentarians (Canada’s organized labour became antagonized by Meighen’s bloody crackdown in Winnipeg, just like IOTL) is even more spectacular ITTL. Such left-agrarian groups and parties, who would later form the backbone of the Progressive Party, are springing up across Canada’s provinces. In Quebec, which is a bit of an exemption to this rule, the conservatives (who had always been weak here) are now utterly marginalized in a provincial assembly completely dominated by Liberals and “Independent Liberals”, in which also the first handful of Labour parliamentarians take their seats. (Like IOTL.)

So, altogether not much is changed in Canada. There are still two years before a new national election. What is going to be interesting is how Canada’s emerging agrarian populists, Labour politicians and unions are going to interact – if they form a broad-tent alliance of the centre-left, or if they go separate paths like IOTL, what becomes of the “Ginger Group” etc. … This probably cannot be viewed separately from whether there is a comparable situation in the US and how it develops there.

The situation of agricultural producers at the time, across the globe, was one of abrupt changes indeed, and Australia was no exception. Here, though, 1919 brought new elections, in which the emerging “Country Party” is already contending in various regions. Their overall results are unlikely to be changed: the Nationalist Party, which had been formed during the war as a fusion of the old (conservative) Liberal Party and the pro-war wing of the Labour Party, is still going to win it because there is no new momentum strong enough to propel the independent Labour Party or anybody else into a position to steal this victory from Billy Hughes. Even if Hughes does not come back from Paris triumphantly (Australia gains the same territories, but only through a separate treaty with Japan, and there hasn’t yet been any broad international recognition of it yet, even though there isn’t any outspoken opposition, either), the sheer breadth of the Nationalist Party and its active, interventionist economic policies which helped ease Australia’s economic conversion troubles, are likely to secure it a victory in TTL’s 1919, too.

I only envision one slight change in Australian politics as compared to OTL: ITTL, the various regional Country Parties attended the Green International’s Congress in Bucharest as observers, and various delegates came back with a very positive view on an (economically strong) state supporting infrastructural development projects on a large territorial scale, as they were supported by both the Alkio and the pro-Russian wings of the Internationale. Consequently, I see the Country Party throwing more support behind the 1919 referenda while IOTL it was somewhere between opposed and lukewarm. The margins were very narrow IOTL already, so only a few voters changing their minds compared to OTL should suffice to give the federal government of Australia farther-reaching legislative powers over economic matters and to nationalize various natural monopolies.

The End of 1919 in China

The “Constitutional Protection War” of 1918 left China factually divided into at least two loose blocs: a Northern one where the Anhui clique stayed in the centre of power in Beijing, and the Southern Guangzhou government. Both camps were not at all solid and homogeneous, of course: the course of the war had shown that factual power rested with various armed factions whose loyalty was first and foremost to their respective military leaders (we use to call them “warlords”) and less to either government in Guangzhou or Beijing. In both camps, ambitious politicians held very different ideas about China’s future, and without properly functioning constitutional processes of decision-making, negotiation and compromise have been replaced by military alliance-building. Throughout 1919, a new factor entered the equation (or rather, an already existing one multiplied its importance): a strong urban popular protest movement against the policies of Duan Qirui and his Anhui clique, centered around Beijing, but whose political agenda soon came to encompass a different vision for China’s future, taking inspiration from successful revolutions elsewhere.

So far, all is identical with OTL. If we look closer at what happens in the North and South respectively, though, divergences begin to become apparent by mid-1919: in the North, Duan Qirui has not been able to deflect the nationalist anger of the *May Fourth Movement by invading and conquering Mongolia because of the latter’s pact with the UoE. His position is shakier than IOTL, and the *May Fourth Movement is also slightly stronger because the political impulses which especially its more radical leaders have received from TTL’s Russian Revolution are more inductive of participation in broad-tent revolutionary alliances instead of OTL’s Lenin-inspired insistence on a vanguard party with a uniform but very foreign (and in need of massive “translation”) doctrine. In the South, Sun Yat-Sen’s position as generalissimo versus the various Southern military leaders, especially of the Old Guangxi clique, is slightly stronger because Kerensky’s Foreign Office is providing more and more assistance in various forms. (As so often with Kerensky’s foreign policies ITTL, this is only in part motivated by real or imagined ideological overlaps, and in much larger part by geopolitical considerations. IOTL, all great powers had their “clients” or “pawns” in Warlord China – only Soviet Russia, during its civil war, had neither the nerve nor the means nor the inspiration to meddle in China, too, and only later began its shifting course between supporting a “unitary” KMT and supporting a CCP independent of it. ITTL, the UoE’s absence from the Chinese stage is much shorter, and by 1919, Kerensky has chosen who should owe the UoE a favour.)

As a consequence, Duan Qirui is in more dire need to act quickly in some way which would stabilise his and the Anhui clique’s power. His only secure military powerbase is the War Participation Army. Duan’s move, thus, is almost inevitable: he cuts all negotiations between North and South about a lasting political settlement (or so he thinks!), sets the War Participation Army in march and calls on all loyal Beiyang forces to march against the Southern rebels once again, aiming to finish the job which had been stopped half-way in 1918.

He has miscalculated the amount of power and influence he wields on the various provincial factions, though. Just like Wu Peifu stopped the 1918 campaign in its tracks, now a large conspiratorial alliance emerges with the aim to stop Duan and unseat the Anhui clique. IOTL, a similar anti-Anhui coalition is formed with Cao Kun at its centre, bringing the Zhili clique to prominence in 1920ff. ITTL, it is Cheng Jiongming and two Southern military leaders, Tang Jiyao and Lu Rongting, who took the initiative by offering Wu Peifu, Zhang Zuolin and various other local warlords recognition of their far-reaching autonomy in a new “truly democratic”, federalized Chinese Republic if they turned against Duan Qirui and recognized Sun Yat-Sen’s transitional role as Generalissimo until the conditions for fair elections are restored by eliminating “Anhui corruption”.

And so, all over China, troops are set in motion, but instead of united Beiyang forces crushing the Guangzhou government, virtually everyone turned against Duan Qirui’s War Participation Army, scattering it to the winds. As Duan Qirui’s powerbase evaporated, he fled Beijing with a group of close allies on a ship to Japan.

In Beijing, the temporary power void opened the floodgates for a wide and heterogeneous array of revolutionaries to take control, with “students’ councils” and “workers’ councils” and even “merchants’ councils” forming, defying the authorities of the Beiyang ministeries and forming a “Supreme Council” led by a triumvirate of Cai Yuanpei, Chen Duxiu, and Zhu Qianzhi (socially, this is a very lopsided and academic trio; politically, they cover the breadth from liberal nationalism over the new “Chinese Socialist Revolutionary Party” to anarchism).

Throughout autumn and into the winter of 1919/20, the co-existence of all these various groups, institutions and movements all claiming political authority and legitimacy to oversee the process of reforming the country’s institutions and organizing free and fair elections, turned out to be a growing challenge and a powderkeg. The position of Sun Yat-Sen, who aimed to push forward an agenda of centralization and military as well as agrarian reforms, soon proved paradoxical: almost the entire country overtly bowed to him and his authority as “Generalissimo”. His real power, though, had not grown much. A dangerous threat to the existence of his “Chinese Revolutionary Party” (not to be confused with the above-mentioned, Beijing-centered and more left-leaning new “Chinese SR Party”) had been removed, but China was by no means united under Sun Yat-Sen’s leadership. Even with regards to the processual details of new elections, any proposition was far from being consensually accepted: Sun Yat-Sen and many who were more conservative than him insisted on sticking with the provisions of the 1913 constitutions; the “Beijing Soviet” (if we want to call it this way, perhaps overaccentuating its role with the analogy to the Petrograd Soviet in the early Russian Revolution) suggested to take some inspiration from the UoE’s dual power and revolutionary soviet oversight over the process of reconstitutionalization. And, factually most importantly, the various warlords insisted that they be let alone to organize things their way in “their” regions, finding a legitimatory framework in the propositions of Sun’s formerly close political ally Chen Jiongming, who has proposed a new “federal” outlook for China (also claiming inspiration by the UoE’s constitution).
A Rather Short Story
A Rather Short Story [1]

by Ernest Hemingway

When he realized that the oncoming truck would not slow down, he could only swing around. The bunch in the back were thrown off their stretchers when the bulky vehicle jolted over the ditch. He could hear his heart beat in his ears when they opened the back door to check on them, but Mitch [2] said they seemed no worse than when they had started, except for Anastasia who was shortly unconscious from a concussion. When he lifted her light body, he was surprised at how muscular her arms were.

The motor was damaged. Neither the repair crew nor another ambulance he had radioed for arrived that day. So they stayed together, Mitch was checking on the two bad cases, distributed a bit of the stuff [3] and they watched the stars appear in the dark blue sky through the car’s back doors. Everyone was groping for words. He continued with Nastya and Grigory after Mitch went to sleep, and the other two dozed anyway. In nights that would come, Nastyushka and he would remember how they had talked about travels to the stars then, in that ditch thirty miles East of Smarhon, and about encounters with creatures from other planets. [4] She was sly and deft with her good hand. Grigory could not see them, which was only fair because he could not understand what Grigory told Nastya. Nastya was cool and smooth and made him feel like he never had, while her head was fixed towards the source of those sonorous ramblings.

He came three more times to see Nastyushka in the hospital before he left on the long bumpy chase Westwards. Between kisses, they spoke about where they would live, what they would work, and what they would absolutely avoid as parents.

It was months after the armistice that he could return on a ticket paid for by his newspaper. He inquired his way to the little hamlet mentioned on Nastyushka’s creased slip of paper he had held on to. His stomach somersaulted when he knocked on the wooden door in the spot where the green paint had been rained or snowed off. It was opened, but the wrinkled old face under the rag remained in the murk. All he could make out from what she spat and gestured was “Wizebsk!”

That he found her there, on the academy’s improvised campus, was not sheer luck, but fate, he was certain. Her blond hair had grown and flew as she leapt to hug him with two strong arms. She glowed with pride as she showed him around, all those new works and beginnings! Grisha was in her class, too. They danced on the free concerts in the parks in that spring of theirs, [5] and they went to the exhibitions together and laughed about the meaningless smudges of paint everywhere. [6] They burned the bush [7] and they did not split the soil. [8] In Nastyushka’s eyes, he saw his dreams sparkle back at him.

His newspaper did not print much of what he sent them. When the students poured out of the lecture tents into their long summer break, he wanted to go with her to see her mother, they had talked about this. But he had to return to the States to convince his employers. Nastya and Grisha worked in Novopolye [9] as volunteers, teaching forty-two orphans each.

When they picked him up at the port in Petrograd, the first flakes of snow were swirling around them. He was not a good negotiator and had not achieved much, and now he wanted to surprise her with his proposition to come live there and his resolutions to learn the language properly and probably find something to work, maybe teaching English to diplomats? She had a different idea. “Grishka and I and this whole big group of lovely people that we've come to know, we are going to build a new commune around Novopolye! Come join us, wouldn’t that be galactic?!” [10]

He went to Novopolye, but he found the place mirthless. They had many talks about it, but she would not see his point. They even quarreled when they were among the zealots. [11] Nastya’s eyes had a different glow now. She shared all of Grigory’s beliefs. When he realized that it was all lost, he did not weep. He threw up into a latrine.

Two weeks later, he was back on the ship to New York. The next year, he read in a newspaper about the lunatic sect that had killed all those children and themselves in a village named Novopolye. But then again, there must be hundreds of villages of that name.

[1] Like his OTL piece named “A Very Short Story”, this text has many autobiographical elements. IOTL, Hemingway was stationed in Italy as an ambulance driver and wounded in 1918. ITTL, he is deployed on the Eastern Front, and I have swapped the roles of narrator and main female character: here, it is Nastya / Nastyushka / Anastasia, a female soldier from the Women’s Batallion of Death, who is wounded, while the un-named male character closer to the narrative point of view is the ambulance driver driving her, whereas in Hemingway’s piece, the male character is wounded and hospitalized and Luz is the nurse who tends to him. The OTL text, which my clumsy counterfeit certainly insults, can be read here. It tells about a wounded soldier’s amorous affair with his nurse in Padua, and how his return to the front as well as their unresolved differences of opinion about the foundations of their relation lead to their relationship’s anti-climatic end, in which both end up going different ways and apparently sleep around with other people.

Stylistically, I have attempted to imitate Hemingway’s sparse depictions, which he would later theorise about in his treatise on the “Iceberg Theory”.

[2] In contrast to the very sophisticated, complex, well-integrated and personnel-intensive ambulance system employed IOTL on the Western and Italian fronts, where massive action occurred in geographically relatively limited areas, the Eastern front stretched across a much vaster space, and the rear infrastructure, including medical infrastructure, was much thinner, too. Therefore, this US ambulance (there was a handful of US ambulances at work on the Eastern front IOTL, too, but overall, the Germans on the other side of the front had a lot more ambulances on the Eastern Front and TTL is not really entirely different – this one is from among TTL’s additions when the UoE re-enters the war in 1918 and US-UoE relations are fairly good) is only staffed with the driver and Mitch, a medical assistant. Also, they’re not just en route to a mobile dressing unit (due to the length of the front); they must drive all the way to the next military hospital, which is why Mitch has certainly performed first emergency services to stabilize all patients. Also, as the continuation of the story alludes, none of them is extremely dangerously wounded.

[3] Most likely some form of morphine.

[4] Russian Cosmism was a small intellectual group, but that doesn’t mean their topics weren’t also discussed more widely among the literate segments of the populations, which the passengers in the ambulance evidently belong to.

[5] Like in art (see footnote 6), Russia at the time was also a place full of musicians who shaped the century. ITTL, Prokofiev, Lourié and Stravinsky don’t leave for Paris. Nikolai Roslavets might actually personally profit most from the divergent situation, being an SR.

Either way – many UoE republics’ big cities are full of interesting people who, for a little stipend from the state or the local soviet, might be motivated to hold free concerts in parks etc. for the heroic revolutionary populace who in 1919 has next to no money to pay for concert hall, opera etc. tickets anyway. Some of them are going to be as confusingly modern as the art exhibitions described next, while some others might indeed be “danceable”. Russian music at the time was extremely diverse, and without Bolshevik totalitarian meddling, it is going to stay that way and drift in new directions, interacting with new trends in music from elsewhere around the globe. Russian jazz is only just about to emerge (like IOTL)…

[6] Vitebsk was where Marc Chagall gathered artists and taught IOTL in early 1919. He is never going to leave the UoE for good ITTL. The painters mentioned here are different in style from his Neo-Primitivism, though, but he mentored such “dissenting spirits” IOTL, too. It must not be forgotten that Russia, already in the years before the War and the Revolution, was perhaps the strongest epicenter of modernism in art in the world, at least as far as some of its most abstract tendencies are concerned. Cubo-Futurism, Suprematism, Constructivism, Zaum etc. all originated here, and what is ITTL going to be the Belarussian and the Ukrainian Federative Republics were where many of its leading lights came from. While they will no doubt travel to Western countries ITTL, too, and while Moscow, Petrograd, Minsk and Kyiv will concentrate much of this energy and these creative people in various different, sharply dissenting and rivalling schools, I thought Vitebsk still made sense as a vibrant provincial hub, even if everything is still scarce after the war. Throughout the 1920s, Russia (and Belarus and Ukraine, but to many outsiders, this is all “Russia” especially if the artists in question do speak Russian among each other when they don’t speak French or German or…) is going to remain associated with these abstract modern trends in art, and many artists who left IOTL or who become frustrated having to tiptoe the party line will pursue different trajectories ITTL, all of them within the UoE, making it a huge hub of modernism in art.

At the same time, Kandisnky not emigrating to Germany and teaching at the Bauhaus (and later on to France), Chagall and Larionov not going (permanently) to France, Burlyuk not emigrating to the US, Popova not dying in 1924 from a disease she might never contract in a wealthier Russia, Lissitzky not spending most of his 1920s in Germany and Switzerland etc. mean not only a more vibrant UoE art scene, but also missing or at least weaker impulses from these Russian artists which will make themselves felt in Germany in particular, but also in France and in the US.

[7] I have not been able to research any plausible slang expressions for smoking cannabis which an American might use in English after having heard something similar in Russian, therefore I went with one which is quite certainly anachronistic but on the semantic surface worked well in the sentence. The Belorussian Federative Republic kept wartime prohibition in place, and that prohibition of alcohol certainly made young people creative… especially when Southern regions of the UoE are great producers of hemp products.

[8] This is a raunchy anachronism. “Don’t split the soil!” is going to be a motto of a demographic control campaign in SR Russia from about 1922 onwards, exhorting the rural population not to have too many children for whom the newly gained / allotted land could never suffice. In Russian youth culture, “not splitting the soil” quickly becomes code for all those sexual activities which don’t lead to pregnancy. Hemingway picks up very current Russian slang in his piece published in 1924; his characters can’t have used the expression in 1919 already, nor was there any such initiative aimed at controlling birth rates in 1919.

[9] I took my initial inspiration from this place.

[10] Inventing youth slang terms is often going to end up corny, and this attempt at a Cosmist youth slang term is certainly very, very bad. I am sorry for it. I kept it in the text because its awkwardness might make sense at that point in the story.

[11] The religious undertones of “zealots” are intentional here, as are the allusions of mirthlessness – this is not (or not primarily) a commune of leftist hippies, it is more a very active revivalist sect, as the dramatic last sentences also alludes to.
Religion in Russia 1917-1920s
Religion in Russia 1917-1920s

If OTL’s contemporaries of 1917 had not spoken of a „religious revival“, I would probably not, either. Because it might be misleading – if it is understood to mean that religion in Russia had somehow been „dead“ before.

Because it certainly had not been. This update is going to concentrate on Russian Orthodoxy and religious groups which have splintered from it, and it is going to tell a bit of a background story – those who already know it may skip the parts that are purely OTL, but, as so often, because_I_had not known ANYTHING about most of what I’m writing about in this update until, say, two years ago, I thought maybe the short historical sketch may be useful to others, too. – When I focus this update on Russian Orthodoxy and its environs, there must not be an implicit message that Russian Orthodoxy is a very different, strange planet, far away from all other Christian confessions. In fact, many of the trends that we can observe in Russian Orthodoxy and its environs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries IOTL as well as ITTL’s 1920s (when IOTL all religious groups in the Soviet Union found themselves under surveillance by secret police, politically marginalised by an openly antireligious state) exist in similar forms within Catholicism and Protestantism, too, and other updates will deal specifically with the very different development Catholic culture is going to take ITTL, for example, or with divergences in the Islamic sphere. Today, for coherence’s sake, we’re looking at Russian Orthodoxy and those who broke with it.

Russian Orthodoxy may never have had its Magisterial Reformation. But it certainly had radical reformers galore. From the medieval Strigolniki over the various groups of „Old Believers“, who immediately appeared when the Russian Orthodox Church became more hierarchically organised and attempted even the most insignificant top-down reforms, and the Doukhobors, Molokans and Subbotniks of the 18th and early 19th century to a host of new groups emerging at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries following charismatic leaders like Alexander Dobrulyov, Andrey Cherkassov or John of Kronstadt.

What distinguished the development of reformist and dissenting Christian groups in Russia from that in, say, the US or (in a broad sense) Germany, is that under the Czar, such groups could never establish themselves in the midst of normal society, they could never publish their views through the mass media of their times, they were severely restricted in their missionary efforts, and sometimes outright persecuted. Most of the time, such dissenting groups were sent off to some marginal land (of which the Russian Empire thought it had quite enough of), which fulfilled a double function: the quarrelsome sect was removed from the core of Russian society, its elites and religious discourse, and more Russian colonists were settled in marginal lands of the empire populated mostly by non-Russians. (At least the latter point should not sound utterly unfamiliar from a British/North American perspective – well, the first one actually, neither...)

But religious innovation and diverging, new views were not only held by „schismatics“. In the midst of Russian Orthodoxy, new voices asserted themselves when the lid of autocracy came off. Not only did laymen attempt to assert greater influence – the clergy itself was not at all obedient and harmonious, it turned out when freedom allowed it. Even in the short interlude of religious freedom of OTL, there were calls for deep-reaching reforms. Socially, the conservative rejection of the Revolution shared by the upper echelons of ecclesiastical hierarchy was not endorsed at all by many groups who looked back e.g. to the Brotherhood of Christian Struggle and other Christian socialist groups from the first decade of the century for inspiration. And even theologically, heated debates were going on: even after the Czarist imperial attack on Mount Athos, people like Sergey Bulgakov and Pavel Florensky still upheld „Sophiologist“ views which were officially declared heretical, and they found many supporters among the educated urban classes.

Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the Russian Orthodox Church called together a „local council“ in the Moscow Kremlin in 1917 – the first one in over 300 years. In it, all these and many more questions were vividly discussed. The majority of its members had been elected at the diocesan level (clergy and laity separately) in accordance with new rules set up by a Pre-Council in early July 1917.

So far, this is all OTL.

IOTL, the „Local Council“ came together in mid-August 1917 and was presided over by Kerensky’s Provisional Government. ITTL, things are moving faster because the Constituent Assembly elections are also taking place much earlier – but not by much, since the PoD is too close. Thus, let us say that the Pre-Council convenes at some point in time during the soviet interlude (i.e. in May), so that church elections and state elections take place more or less in parallel in early June 1917. Thus, the Local Council probably convenes in July, only shortly after the Constituent Assembly has convened, too, and elected the People’s Commission chaired by Victor Chernov.

The Council is going to be very divided. Some divisions and debates are the same as IOTL: some (e.g. Bishop Mitrofan, Archbishop Anthony of Kharkov and Archimandrite Hilarion) will argue for the restoration of the Patriarchy; others (Archpriest Nikolai Tsvetkov and many professors of theology: Alexander Brilliantov, Ilya Gromoglasov, Boris Titlinov, Nikolai Kuznetsov) will argue against it. Liberal and reformist laymen and members of the lower („white“) clergy will argue in favour of allowing priests to marry, while conservatives and almost the entire higher clergy will oppose this.

Then, there are divisions and debates which did not take place IOTL, or were not as prominent as they are ITTL. One of them is the question of „unity vs. many autocephalies“, which will initially probably be labelled as the „Ukrainian Question“: Should there be one Orthodox Church for „all the lands of the Rus“, or should the church in the Ukrainian (and maybe even Belarussian) Federative Republic, as it will soon come to be called, establish its own national Council and elect its own Metropolitan (or even Patriarch)? The most fervent supporters of Ukrainian autocephaly, like Vasil Lypkivsky and Volodimir Chekhivsky, will not have even participated in this Council, and instead organised the election and convention of a separate Ukrainian Sobor in Kiev. (They did IOTL, too, but IOTL the Moscow Council had more pressing matters at hand and ignored the issue outright.) Even then, not everyone at the Moscow Council is going to side with Archbishop Anthony Khrapovitsky (of Kharkov/Kharkiv) in his insistence that the unity of the orthodoxy in all the Rus must be preserved under all circumstances and that the separate Ukrainian Sobor has no legitimacy whatsoever. Others, seeing the signs of the time when the Constituent Assembly and the Centralna Rada sign their Concordance / Statute of Autonomy, will prefer not to fight this pointless battle which can only divide the ranks of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine and elsewhere. (In the Balkans, the principle that every independent Orthodox nation state has a co-territorial autocephalous orthodox church has found its precedent. Quite a few among the laity and bishops in Russia could probably live with this. Fiercest resistance probably comes from Russian speakers living in Ukraine...) Since the whole process of decentralisation / federalisation is a peacemeal and unpredictable process, too, the Council will be occupied with this question for quite a long time, though. It certainly changes Anthony’s position, who IOTL was so widely popular that he received more votes than anyone else in the complicated procedure by which the new Patriarch was selected (even though he wasn’t ultimately chosen). ITTL, he is going to be perceived as the leader of a specific, vocal group, and only that.

Another deep division is going to be along (secular) political lines. The Revolution, especially after Vikhliaev’s land reform law, has expropriated a considerable amount of church lands. For the higher clergy, this means a huge loss of power. For many monasteries, it means an existential threat. The vast majority of the clergy and a good portion of the lay delegates will, therefore, have a very hostile general stance towards where the Revolution is drifting. I expect some sort of resolution, of the content that the Council considers the expropriations illegal and illegitimate, emphasises the importance of the institution of property, and demands the restitution of all repartitioned lands, to be adopted by a large majority against a vocal but not very large pro-socialist minority. Will the Council go further in its anti-Revolutionary positioning? I am not sure. Subservience to the political authorities has a long tradition for the Russian Orthodox Church’s higher echelons of hierarchy. If the Council lasts into November, when the realignment and change from Chernov to Kamkov takes place, then any political group on whom the conservatives in the Church might lean in the secular sphere is going to be dissolving, and they might decide to tone down their open criticism so as not to invite VeCheKists looking for „saboteurs“ and „counter-revolutionary terrorists“.

While the Council may not do something as extreme as rejecting the political authority of the Constituent Assembly or excommunicating the People’s Commission, or incite the pious to ignore the order of the „godless administration“, it will still position itself as skeptical towards the socialist revolution, to say the least. The land question is going to be the main bone of contention, but if conservatives and moderate liberals alike feel threatened by the whole direction things are taking in the secular sphere – which I think they will – then I think they will react by closing the ranks, pushing divisive reforms like the marriage of priests off into an undetermined future, and electing a Patriarch in order to have one visible leader to rally behind and unite. (This is what the Council did IOTL, too.)

The eventual choice of one Patriarch from three candidates with the most votes was, according to protocols, by lot-drawing. One can always question whether that process was somehow tampered with or not – but one can also simply assume that a different clergyman gets drawn by lot. Either way, I think I’ll stick with OTL’s candidates: Anthony the Archbishop of Kharkov, Arseny the Metropolitan of Novgorod, and Tikhon the Metropolitan of Moscow. A source I found (but forgot where) said Anthony was the cleverest of all, Arseny the strictest, and Tikhon the most compassionate. It should have become clear at this point that Anthony is not going to be the candidate I am going for because he is too divisive. Whether some backchamber deal or truly the lot – I decide that ITTL, the new Patriarch is not going to be Tikhon, but allegedly strictest Arseny Stadnitsky of Novgorod. Dogmatically, this would fit well with an overall trend towards conservative decisions in the later months of the Council. I’m going with this variant. Apart from the restoration of an independent hierarchy with a self-chosen head and all that comes with that, the Council is not going to pass any significant reforms.

That, of course, is going to leave a plethora of Christian grassroots movements within, at the fringes and outside of the Orthodox Church very dissatisfied, or convinced that the Orthodox Church is unable to reform and must be abandoned for something else. The People’s Commission, and both Marxist and Narodnik parties who support it (this is Kamkov’s Coalition Commission), are going to view this unreformed, hostile and quarrelsome Orthodox Church with equal hostility. The VeCheKa has targeted anti-revolutionary clergymen throughout 1918. The repartitionings have become constitutionally safeguarded. The Constitution of 1918 guarantees the “right to freely enter, adhere to and leave existing religious groups, found new ones, to express one’s views concerning religion freely. Cult, religious service, expression, and practice are free, they only find their limits in the inviolable rights of others and in general laws consistent with this Constitution.” This was far from what the Orthodox Church would have liked – as it turned out, it would not provide any autonomy for church-run schools from state regulations of education, and it would protect the most offensive and “blasphemous” attacks on religious sentiments just as much as it protected religious proselytising.

Among the Marxist Social Democrats, all of this was utterly uncontroversial. At least to those firm in their dogmas, religion was the opium of the people anyway.

In the Socialist Revolutionary Party, there was no open sympathy for the conservative clergy, either, and the confrontational course of the Local Council which aimed to reverse one of the foundational principles and achievements of Russia’s Revolution, certainly left the various governments led by SRs with no incentive to become reconciliatory. But beyond this unanimous rejection of a conservative high clergy, things were not so homogeneous within the SRs. Russian Narodnichestvo had absorbed important antireligious philosophical influences, from Marxism to Neo-Kantianism. But there has always been a different stream of Narodnik tradition, too: from its roots in the Slavophiles’ exaltation of the obshchina as an incarnation of Sobornost, over the entire Tolstoyan tradition to newer tendencies which I shall address in the paragraphs below. And even beyond those who truly harboured Christian thoughts and feelings, not all other SRs thought it was a good idea to copy the stance of some Western Radical governments of the late 19th century and leave the entire political appeal of “Christianity” to the parties of the Right, from the many disorganised conservative and extremist splinter groups to an increasingly church-friendly KD party under the leadership of Tyrkova-Williams, who knew a political opportunity when she saw it.

In this latter camp, a leading figure would emerge in the early 1920s: Vadim Rudnev, the Socialist Revolutionary Mayor of Moscow. He used his persisting influence over the newspaper Trud to provide a forum for a great number of religious reformers from within and outside of the official Orthodox Church like Antonin Granovsky and Boris Titlinov, , and by hosting “Dialogues of a Revolutionary Society”, Rudnev managed to bring together prominent and inspiring voices in public discussions attended by large crowds in Moscow. Atheists like Lunacharsky and mystics like Alexander Dobrulyov, prohibitionist asketics like John Tchurikov and Sophiologist intellectuals like Pavel Florensky, and many others met here. Matters of spirituality and morality in the context of the post-revolutionary society were discussed here as well as views on the future course of Russian and world history, Christianity, philosophy, society, the sciences and technologies. While controversies were heated, the overall atmosphere was one of rapprochement: Many wanted to seize the opportunity for “re-union” (the Russian term vseedinstvo had been coined by Solovyov decades before, but the longing had only grown stronger in the meantime).

And this was only the tip of the iceberg. Everywhere across the Orthodox-dominated regions of the UoE, politically and religiously “moved” people often came together, exchanged ideas and, as often as not, ended up agreeing on more than one thing, sometimes even fusing their various utopian ideas and practices.

The sect that has been described by TTL’s Hemingway is one such group – probably fusing an activist egalitarian political utopianism like that of the God-Builders with asketicism, enthusiastic expectations towards self-deliverance, and some form of spiritualism. Other sects will probably disconnect from the rest of society due to their emphasis on pacifism of various sources. Etc.

Both sides strengthen each other: religious Revolutionaries provide new impulses for the reform movement, which further destabilises the position of the conservative Orthodox clergy and loosens their grip over Russian Christianity somewhat. In turn, the support of such groups strengthens Vadim Rudnev’s right wing in the intra-party rivalries among the SRs.

And the (in a wides sense) progressive camp is not the only one where things are moving in new directions. Among those who are opposed to the Revolution, not everyone is content with sticking to the tame and toothless Orthodox Church, or calm enough to hope that things will move in other directions, too, one day. Apocalyptic and millenarian sects had not been rare in Russia’s Silver Age, and the OTL revolution brought forth new such groups, necessarily small, dispersed and often short-lived in nature. ITTL, state persecution is much less intense and practically ends with 1919, so groups waiting for a very near Judgment Day are probably not few.

And it's not only seclusive sects. The less the Orthodox Church reforms itself, the more "low church" congregations will appear, seek and find recognition, and spread.

The Orthodox Church is going to react to all of this, in the course of the 1920s. It will not be quick in reacting because the resistances which need to be overcome are massive. But orthodox churches everywhere have proven themselves extremely capable at adapting to all sorts of political changes – often preferring to keep their dogma and rite unaltered, but publicly bowing to worldly powers who, in turn, reaffirm their position. Which is why I don’t expect any theological reform of Russian Orthodoxy in the 1920s at all – but at some point, the Holy Synod probably decides to bury its hope to regain its lost possessions and to stop mentioning it, in exchange for some sort of settlement by which the Russian Federative Republic establishes new legal ways for the Church to finance itself, maybe along the lines of Germany’s Kirchensteuer, maybe less statist.... I'm not settled yet.

Over all of this, we ought not forget that the Great War has not made everyone more pious. It has shattered quite a few people’s faith, too, and the ranks of the non-religious are certainly swelling, too, throughout the 1920s. They will find their political home both within the IRSDLP and the left wing of the SRP. Between them, the “new progressive religious reformers”, and the traditional Orthodoxy, there are bound to be intense political and cultural clashes. Unlike IOTL, religion is certainly going to be a major factor and topic in TTL’s post-revolutionary Russia...!
US Elections 1920
New York City: The Sun (July 7th, 1920, p.1): [1]


By Charles Murphy [2]

Many good arguments can be made that the National Convention of the Democratic Party could have chosen better candidates. It could have chosen the successful Governor of our state, Mr Alfred Emanuel Smith, who stands for a functioning and modern public service for all citizens, the protection of children’s rights and the rights of all others who depend on a fair state to defend them, and the promise of supporting efforts at the municipal and state level to improve living and working conditions across our great nation. It could have chosen a young political talent like Mr Franklin Delano Roosevelt, perhaps the most far-sighted Assistant Secretary for the Navy our Republic has ever had, and a man able to muster bipartisan engagement. The Democratic Party certainly has no scarcity in capable statesmen among its ranks. Likewise, its array of ideas for how to shape a yet better future of our country is wide: many well-qualified proposals have been made on the Convention for civilized and equitable collective bargaining processes, for a more effective eradication of crimes related to illegal drinks, and for quick and strong forces able to protect honest citizens from being harried by armed gangs of thugs who have become a plight in many parts of our great country and who do not even shy away from attacking upright men who only two years ago have fought bravely for the protection of our nation and worldwide peace.

The delegates in San Francisco have approved only of some of these good resolutions. And they have chosen two candidates whom we might not consider as perfect. [3]

But we ought not forget how the alternative looks. The Republicans have nominated an old man with a record of subserving national interests to the interests of big steel and fruit businesses, and they have chosen as his – quite likely! – potential replacement an isolationist newspaper tycoon. [4] A Republican victory would undoubtedly threaten all the progress in the protection of children, workers, and consumers achieved over the past few years. It would jeopardise the stability of our partners on all continents, the good standing we have with them as well as our newfound military strength, making this world a place less safe for democracy. It would threaten our public finances and hand over all control to greedy cartels and trusts who already run those parts of our nation richest in natural resources as if they were their private fiefs. And to everyone who criticise Mr McAdoo and Mr Doheny for not standing up firmly enough against the vile hatred directed by bigots against some groups of honest American citizens: do not let yourselves be fooled into thinking that Sleepy Phil cares in the least about the safety of ordinary neighborhoods, for unity and harmony and opportunities for all Americans regardless of wherever their grandparents came from! And for all the envy hurled at Mr Doheny – he is the son of an Irish workingman who has created his fortune all through his own industry, and he has never abused it like some of the Republican bidders for their party’s nomination, [5] who would yet be certain to be play important roles in a Knox administration.

For an honest, peace-loving, progressive, hard-working American, there is no better alternative available than the Democratic Party. If you consider voting for two prison inmates, [6] you might just as well throw your ballot into the paper bin. Luckily, the chances are very slim for our Republic and its brave defenders to become disgraced by a defeatist agitator becoming its 29th President. With Mr William Gibbs McAdoo, the United States would at least have a strong and experienced hand at the helm, a man who has spared our economy from the European disease and who could draw on a great number of able reformers to form his cabinet.

[1] This is one day after the Democratic National Convention closed in San Francisco. I have kept the schedule of the two conventions unchanged from OTL. The Republicans had nominated their candidates three weeks earlier in June.

[2] Charles Murphy, the ward boss of Tammany Hall, is one of the most influential men in the Democratic Party at the time, and from time to time editor for the New York Sun. As transpires here, he and the electoral groups and politicians he stands for – Irish and other Catholic Americans, working class Democratic voters in the industrialised states – do not like the direction their party has taken ever since Wilson suffered from his stroke in Paris. They lost on the National Convention to other groups (nativist, anti-Catholic and anti-socialist Southern and Western segments mostly), but Murphy of course knows he must support the Democratic campaign, even if critically, if his wing of the party doesn’t want to be completely marginalised, its electorate bleeding out too much to the Socialists.

[3] They have chosen William Gibbs McAdoo as candidate for President, and Edward Laurence Doheny as candidate for Vice-President. Here is the background:

As has been described in update 87, after Paris, the Administration is divided between a Wilsonite and a Marshallite camp. With Wilson’s health condition universally known, neither he nor his wife harbor any hope that the Convention might be brought to draft Wilson somehow for a third term candidacy. As has been described, Wilsonites and Marshallites fundamentally quarrel over foreign policy issues (the Wilson camp is angry that Marshall has completely scrapped the idea of an international covenant of peace, its nativist / racist wings in the West and South think that the agreements in which the US have treated Japan as an equal partner are quite a bad idea, and the progressives see the success of their legacy in the form of the Federal Reserve Bank in danger because of the haircuts on inter-Entente debts awarded to Britain, France, Italy, and the UoE; the Marshall camp, in turn, blames Wilson for the failure of the Paris conference and sees international trade and safety, too, on which the fortunes of the US depend, as threatened if key partners cannot be stabilised). After Acting President Marshall has criticised Palmer’s raid-happiness, Palmer has openly sided with Wilson’s camp. With Palmer and McAdoo, thus, there are two Wilsonites in the race. Of the two, McAdoo, the man who has saved the US economy from becoming infected with the troubles caused by the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, is by far the more popular and he is considered the much more reliably “Wilsonite” candidate than Palmer, whose personality many saw as that of a self-important, grandiose political gambler. It was only a matter of time, though, for the “Palmer campaign” to lose steam and collapse, its delegates then falling in line to support McAdoo, which pushes him very close to the necessary margin for a nomination. Marshall’s and Al Smith’s support groups can’t come to an agreement, for quite a number of reasons beside race-baiting, mostly because Smith stands for somewhat more populist-progressive economic policies while Marshall’s cabinet has positioned himself as more classically liberal and business-friendly than Wilson’s. A last-ditch attempt to prevent McAdoo by drawing the dark horse candidate James Cox fails because the McAdoo camp sees itself inches away from victory, which they indeed are, and when those who had supported this “compromise” decide that in the name of party unity, the least evil is to let McAdoo win the presidential nomination and secure the vice-presidential nomination for a Marshallite, then that is what happens.

As Vice-President, in a display of much-needed party unity between the Wilsonite and the Marshallite camp, McAdoo comes out in favour of Edward Doheny, a close friend of Robert Lansing’s. Lucky Luciano has informed about a tendency to nominate wealthy people as vice-presidents in order to secure financial support for (especially rather hopeless) campaigns, like Henry Gassaway Davis in 1904 or Arthur Sewall in 1896. Note that it only displays a feigned harmony between the Wilsonite and the Marshallite camps – the camp which had stood firmly behind Governor Al Smith of New York is left in the rain. Its support base are Irish and other ethnic minority voters (Italians, Eastern Europeans), often from the East Coast or the industrial cities on the Great Lakes. While McAdoo and Palmer are undoubtedly the candidates trumping more loudly into the currently popular anti-Catholic horn, Acting President Marshall has not come out in support of the beleaguered minorities variedly accused of being “the war enemy’s fifth-column” (Germans), “terrorists” (Irish and Italians), “anarchists” (mostly Italians) and “socialists” (all of them), either. Therefore, this camp has remained loyal to Al Smith’s candidacy throughout all ballot rounds, and now it is being ignored by both Wilsonites and Marshallites.

[4] The Republican Convention has nominated Philander Knox as candidate for President, and Warren Harding as candidate for Vice-President. Here is how this went:

In contrast to McAdoo, Knox was a compromise candidate who appeared very late on the ballots and was adopted as a compromise. Throughout the first ballot rounds, Leonard Wood, Frank Lowden, Hiram Johnson, Herbert Hoover and Robert LaFollette were the five candidates with the most votes. LaFollette was the only throroughly populist-progressive candidate among the five, too far to the left of all other candidates and of the mainstream of convention members, too, so while he’s certainly staying in the race until the end like IOTL and coming out of the convention disappointed and disillusioned, he’s not really very relevant to the rest of what’s going on and thus the bigger picture. The other four, on the other hand, disagreed among each other on a great number of issues, and although they all had their progressive and their conservative sides, none of them was considered outstandingly popular and disarmingly capable.

Leonard Wood was, to quote @LuckyLuciano: “considered the heir to Roosevelt and the candidate of the progressives, but many in the Republican party wanted to repudiate the Great War and did not want a military man leading the ticket, and there was a scandal involving the amount of money Wood spent on his campaign, with many accusing him of attempting to buy the nomination.” (This was a comment on OTL but it applies ITTL, too.) On the other hand, Wood has attempted to outcompete the Democrat Palmer as a tough defender of law and order against alien anarchists and rhetorically leaned on the same nativist and anti-Catholic sentiments. Once again @LuckyLuciano: “He'd also have the tacit support of the Klan/anti-Catholic elements of the party, which he could lean into similarly to McAdoo could attempt to propel him to the nomination. IOTL James E. Watson was a Wood supporter, was elected chairman of the Resolutions Committees, and would later be accused of having been a member of the Klan (even if he wasn't, he was still a big time racist/anti-Catholic/bigot).” I hereby decree that Watson is elected into the same function and supports Wood ITTL, too.

The conservative establishment of the party nevertheless preferred Frank Lowden (IOTL and ITTL), who also had a major scandal involving campaign funding, literally buying delegates. (Murphy later alludes to these scandals, see footnote 5.)

Hiram Johnson was IOTL: “the ultra-isolationist candidate, while other candidates wavered between the anti-league and revisionist-league camps, Johnson was the only strong anti-league and progressive candidate, but failed to get the support of Roosevelt's family in his bid and was viewed with distrust by the establishment for his role as Roosevelt's VP pick in 1912. Without a League to strongly oppose, Johnson [...] enters the convention with less support”, so @LuckyLuciano. “There was a lot of overlap between Johnson and Wood's supporters (both progressives) so a weakened Johnson means a strengthened Wood. However, a strengthened Wood does not mean he is able to clinch the nomination.”

Especially not because there is yet another progressive in the race: Herbert Hoover, “who IOTL had a large amount of grass roots support, but little organization, and so entered the convention with few delegates.” Hoover, famous as consecutive director of the US Food Administration and then the American Relief Administration, "openly criticized Palmer’s raids."

Such a division among those who saw themselves as progressives or were viewed as such at the time is ultimately preventing the victory of any of their candidates, especially with Wood probably leading the field but being the least acceptable for both Johnson and Hoover (let alone LaFollette). With each failing ballot round, the search for a compromise is going to gain traction. Again, @Lucky Luciano informed me: “IOTL boss Penroise favored Knox over [William Cameron] Sproul and was the one who got Sproul to take his name out of consideration. The delegates that Sproul gathered could then probably be convinced into voting for Knox. Then you have the fact that Knox was the first dark horse candidate to seriously be considered, due to his close personal friendship with Hiram Johnson.” Another divergence from OTL which works against Sproul, Governor of Pennsylvania, as well as against other governors like Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts and Walther Evans Edge of New Jersey, is the increased intensity of ethnic riots which none of them finds a way to contain and pacify.

Therefore, Philander Knox becomes the compromise candidate who wins the race.

Murphy’s accusations refer to his work for Carnegie and US Steel and his stances as Foreign Minister in favour of the interests of US fruit companies in Latin American countries.

Harding, who was also considered as a compromise candidate and clinched the nomination IOTL, becomes his VP candidate. The Republican Party, thus, like the Democrats three weeks later, comes out of its National Convention looking considerably less progressive than it had entered it.

[5] The scandals in which both Wood and Lowden had been involved have been described. Murphy’s comment is soon going to be disproved by the discovery of Doheny’s involvement in the Teapot Dome Scandal, though...

[6] This refers to the two Socialist candidates for US President and Vice-President respectively, elected by their national convention. Even though the new party leadership is more radical, the nomination still goes once again to Eugene Debs, whose towering moral authority and fame as a national anti-war icon are irresistible. The radical left nevertheless achieves a little triumph which it couldn’t IOTL (because so many left-wingers had defected to the two communist parties) by nominating Kate O’Hare for Vice-President. She’s not only the first woman to run for any such high office, and of Irish descent, too, (like a number of recently Socialist-leaning swing voters appalled by the Democrats’ stance) but also currently in prison, like Debs.

Tokyo (Japanese Empire): Asahi Shimbun, November 7th, 1920, p. 4:


by Sidney L. Gulick [1]

The men – and for the first time, the women, too – of the United States of America have voted for a new President, a new House of Representatives (as the Lower House of Parliament is called) and many new Governors of individual states. This newspaper has reported broadly about the results in yesterday’s issue already. [2] Today, I would like to offer my comment on what these results could mean for the friendship between our two great nations.

Newspapers in this country have reported a victory of conservative challengers over more liberal incumbents. This British-inspired dichotomy is too simplistic for the description of U.S. politics. Just because the elected heads of governments in Tokyo and Washington are both frequently labelled as “liberal conservatives” or “moderate progressives” {3] does not mean that they would pursue similar agendas, be faced with similar challenges, view them similarly, or, what is more, be more likely than others to co-operate internationally in the interest of mutual prosperity, peace, and friendship.

To understand the American political system properly, one must realize that the U.S. are a much more heterogeneous country than Nippon’s Home Islands. Its citizenry is much more divided along lines of race, descent, and religious confession. Preferences and prejudices cut across both major parties, but they inform the agenda of individual men of the state at least as much as general views on the political constitution or the economic system. Acting President Thomas Marshall and his Secretary of State Robert Lansing are in the same party as the defeated candidate William Gibbs McAdoo – but while the former two have strengthened the ties of co-operation between the U.S.A. and the Japanese Empire and mutual respect, the latter has repeatedly criticised these very same treaties and promised to his voters that he would not have felt bound by the agreements made by the old administration, attempting to appeal to sentiments of racial superiority among these voters.

So, is Mr Knox’s victory a fortunate outcome for Japanese-American friendship? It might be – for as a secretary of state, he has strongly advocated increased international economic co-operation and exchange, and so has his shadow Secretary of State, Mr Elihu Root {4], whom previous Japanese diplomats certainly remember as a diligent man and whose engagement for peaceful and ordered relations among nations has rightly earned him the Nobel Prize for Peace.

But it might as well not be – for Knox is a close friend of his party colleague and rival candidate for the Republican nomination, Mr Hiram Johnson, who is using the vilest racial prejudices against Americans of Japanese and generally Asian descent in his populist campaigns for a limitation of immigration from Asian countries to the U.S. Mr Johnson and his successor as Governor of California, Mr William Stephens, have depicted Japan as a dangerous enemy of America. It is only to be hoped that their voices will not find too much influence with the new president. The same goes for many of the President’s party colleagues in Congress, who are bent on restricting imports to the U.S. through increased and allegedly “scientific” tariffs.

Beyond mere hope, it is time for citizens of both our countries who are seeing the benefits of mutual friendship and understanding between nations to organize themselves better and make our voices heard in high places. We, our children and all the generations to come [5] only stand to gain from pacific relations across the ocean which, in my language, bears that very same name, from co-operation and respect, and from broadening our horizons by learning about one another’s rich cultural heritages. Amicable relations should not depend entirely on isolated individuals, and their wonderful initiatives should be carried on as traditions – so that in the future, too, educators and students, workers and cherry trees and much more shall travel across the ocean that connects us, ever streghtening the ties between our two peoples.

[1] Gulick was a lifelong supporter of Japanese-American friendship and general friendship among nations IOTL, too. He has spent years in Japan, teaching at various universities. ITTL, he is just about to return from a large tour of Asia which he never undertook IOTL, ITTL inspired by curiosity about the recent federalist model for the co-existence and co-operation of nations in one democratic polity that is the UoE, and his last stop before returning to America is his old favourite country, Japan.

I don’t know if it is plausible to have him write a contribution for one of the leading liberal newspapers in Japan, but he was certainly someone who had a perspective and knowledge on US politics and could explain it to a Japanese readership. Gulick was a suggestion by @LuckyLuciano given my lack of confidence with regards to faking a newspaper article written by a Japanese without great Western influence. Due to my insecurity here, and because Japanese readers might indeed care for other topics more at the time, I put the article on page four only.

[2] Well, THIS author has not yet reported about them. But @LuckyLuciano is going to post a Wikibox about the Presidential election outcome soon, which is going to increase the graphic sophisticatedness of this thread all of a sudden by quite a lot, accompanied by a few thoughts on how that outcome came about. After that, I’ll come back with a few more details on the House elections in my old poor Excel style.

[3] The May 1920 Japanese general elections went comparatively similar as IOTL, even though butterflies have arrived in Japan in swarms by now. Here is a very short and rough sketch: Because the UoE remains a part of the Entente, there is no Japanese Siberian Intervention. This has a lot of implications – it will mean different experiences of many military men down the road. Immediately, it meant less dramatic rice riots of 1918. They will occur – food prices are inevitably rising due to the increased population, and wartime requisitioning is always a source of controversies. But without having to feed the Siberian army, there are significantly less requisitonings and the situation does not escalate quite that much. As a consequence, Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake does not step down in September 1918 because of the rice riots.

This does not change very much, though, for Terauchi is still going to resign a few months later for health reasons (he dies in 1919 like IOTL), and Japan sends the same people from the same government to the Paris Peace Conference. The éclat of the Western powers refusing Japan’s demand for a “racial equality clause” does not occur ITTL: The Gorky-Thomas-Addams plan has such a clause, more universally phrased, even though it is not adopted. American and British counter-proposals for a League of Nation do not, but they, too, never leave the stage of drafts and proposals, so they don’t incite as much Japanese anger.

Still, Paris means trouble for the Japanese government, and for the government of the same moderately conservative, common-born Prime Minister Hara Takashi, the first Christian in this office, because of the popular reaction in China when Duan Qirui’s deals with Japanese governments concerning Shandong, the Nishihara Loans and all that are unveiled, like IOTL. Another source of OTL-identical trouble is Korea, where rebels have begun their fight for independence and are being suppressed by the Imperial Japanese Army. Domestically, Hara is neither popular with the military leadership, in whose eyes he is by far not nationalist and aggressive enough, nor with the liberal and socialist opposition who demand universal male suffrage now, instead of the meagre extension of the franchise to slightly less wealthy groups than before which is implemented with the 1920 elections IOTL like ITTL.

Still, this electoral system guarantees the victory of the more conservative Rikken Seiyukai in those elections, even though elite discontent with Hara is probably slightly greater than IOTL due to the earlier fall of Duan Qirui’s pro-Japanese government in China. But even if Kenseikai and Rikken Kokuminto can occupy a few more seats, Seiyukai victory is almost inevitable in 1920. Hara is, thus, not challenged by the parliament (which does not have a constitutional right to depose him anyway, but whose opinion would certainly still be taken into account).

In the US, on the other hand, the Republican ticket Knox / Harding has achieved a landslide victory. More, including numbers, soon from @LuckyLuciano.

[4] While Charles Evan Hughes would always be a good and logical choice for the position, Knox had a very good relation with his successor as Secretary of State Root. As a Noble Peace Prize laureate, Root is a presentable choice as well, of course, and not being the youngest person himself, Knox is also not prejudiced against Root for being rather old. Root has actively militated for an international covenant of peace IOTL and ITTL, but since that idea is not polarising the US public like it did IOTL, this is also no argument against his getting the job. Also, to quote @LuckyLuciano once again: "Elihu Root is more reliably conservative and amicable to machine politics, the same that elevated Knox to the presidency, than other candidates for the office (such as Hughes)."

[5] IOTL he would later emphasize the role of children as those who knit friendship between nations.

Here are the results of the US presidential elections in a wikibox:

headcannon feeble constitution v2.jpg

And here are the House elections:

1920 congressional elections wo map.PNG

And here is a map of the results (dark red are Republican gains, light red Republican holds; dark blue Democrat gains, light blue Democrat holds, purple are Socialist gains and holds, light green is the Farmer-Labour gain:


(I have no idea why the background is black.. it wasn't supposed to be, sorry for that.)

Here is the explication - the big picture first, which is reflected in the popular vote:
Mostly, this is the same disaster that afflicted the Democrats in 1920 IOTL, too.
What is slightly worse than IOTL is that the Democrats are also hemorrhaging some of their Italian, Irish and other minority urban workers' voters to the Socialist Party (and in one case also to a Farmer-Labour candidate, J.A. O`Leary in the heart of New York City where there is no farm in sight). In a number of cases, this means that the Republicans can gain additional seats without increasing their popular vote in comparison to OTL. In two other cases, it strengthens the Socialists who do not come out quite as weak as IOTL.

Here are the individual states which - after discussions with @LuckyLuciano - I have altered in comparison to OTL:

  • Tennessee 4 and 8, which IOTL were some of the narrowest Republican gains, are affected by the "McAdoo effect" from the Presidentials which is beneficial to the Democrats here, and thus the Democratic incumbent in Tennesse 4, Cordell Hull (who IOTL would go on to become FDR's Secretary of State), can prevent the Republican candidate Wynne F. Clouse, from replacing him; likewise in Tennesssee 8, the Democrat Gordon Browning (IOTL later Governor of Tennessee) succeeds his party colleague Thetus Sims, instead of Republican Lon A. Scott.
  • Illinois 4 and 5, which IOTL were held by the Democrats, are gained by Republicans ITTL because of Italian and Eastern European voter migration from the Democrats to the Socialists. John Rainey and Adolph Sabath (the later an important opponent of prohibition and vocal critical of the KKK) thus lose their seats to John Golombiewski and Jacob Gartenstein.
  • Across the state of New York, (mostly) Irish and Italian American voter migration to the Socialists cause the Democrats to lose four seats in comparison to OTL. In New York 2 (Queens), this means Republican candidate Rudolph Hantusch's 45 % suffice to gain a narrow upper hand over the Democrat John J. Kindred. In New York 11 (Lower Manhattan), the Republican Wilbur Wakeman wins against the Democrat Daniel Riordan. As mentioned above, in New York 18, J. A. O'Leary is the only Farmer-Labour candidate to win a seat, instead of incumbent John F. Carew (D). In New York 42, on the other edge of the state with the town of Buffalo in it, James M. Mead (D) loses his seat to his Republican challenger C. Hamilton Cook.
  • In New York 20, the Socialist candidate Morris Hillquilt very narrowly wins over the Republican incumbent Isaac Siegel. (This one is probably the most questionable change, as the margin was fairly wide, and a generally more militant Socialist Party would be even less likely to garner an outright majority. Still, I was thinking maybe a more energetic electoral campaign and Italian and Irish voter migrations in this district North of East Harlem might just push the balance enough for this one to become true, too.)
  • Likewise, in Wisconsin 5 Victor Berger (another prison inmate) holds his (illegal and thus not acknowledged) seat instead of losing it to the Republican candidate William H. Stafford. Even if Berger's voters must be exasperated by now by their representative never being able to take his seat for them in the House, a fresh infusion of Milwaukee's Italian voters is probably enough for him to win.
In the big picture, not much changed from OTL. Philander Knox can work with a strong Republican majority in the House, just like Harding IOTL.
For a few individuals, this means changes whose effects I cannot judge yet. (Btw, I did not change any of the candidates as comapred to OTL - which is butterfly massacre, since different people than IOTL might have gotten killed in the Great War or by the Spanish flu or whatever, but since I didn't have any idea as to who might run for some Democratic or Republican candidacy in an electoral district of 1920, I simply kept it all unchanged out of laziness.)
For the Socialist Party, Victor Berger would be its leader if he weren't in prison. Well, as far as a party of 3 needs a leader...
Either way, the three elected Socialist representatives are all very much on the moderate end of things within their party. How the radical leadership around Quinlan gets along with them is an open question.
1920: Serbian Unitarism and Refugee Crisis
Berlin (Self-Governed Province of Brandenburg): Vorwärts, December 16th, 1920, p. 1:


by Friedrich Stampfer [1]

To-day one year ago, Friedrich Ebert has been appointed as Federal High Commissioner for Refugees by the E.F.P.’s General Secretary, Aristide Briand. [2] Since then, comrade Ebert has overseen an admirably fast co-ordination of prior refugee relief administrations of various member states and their massive expansion under the new common administration. On this year’s Christmas Eve, the first refugees – from Königsberg [3] to Adana [4] – will be able to celebrate in warm, clean, and dry buildings instead of tents [5], and all of them can enjoy a good warm meal instead of fearing the spectre of starvation. Tens of thousands of orphans have received schooling in accordance with the new E.O.E.C.W. Charter, and instead of epidemics killing at will, there are doctors of the E.H.O. [6] looking after them.

Comrade Ebert’s institution is, if not the only one of the E.F.P.’s institutions created in Chantilly which works, then certainly the one which works most impressively. It has defined its mission quite clearly as one of immediate relief, and it acts vigorously upon it. Instead of lengthy negotiations with the immature institutions of the National Associations and the Cantonal Administrations, it has freed up direct money and support from the Western Yugoslavian Mandate. In exchange, it has abstained as unambiguously from helping where others are getting along well already, refusing any demands for the allocation of funds by Belgium’s, France’s, Poland’s, Greece’s, Ukraine’s and Russia’s governments for their own return programmes, directing them diplomatically towards the European Recovery Fund.

Now, as our continent faces another horror the likes of which we had thought overcome in the new era of peace, the Victorious Powers and the statesmen they have appointed to preside over the institutions of their covenant are either shamelessly silent, or half-hearted and pussy-footed – all of them, except for Friedrich Ebert and the helpless High Commissioner Jules Destrée {7]. Destrée, whose commission is self-blocked by Serbian vetoes, has repeatedly called on the other mandate powers to step up their presence and uphold the Statute. The EFP may be a toothless tiger without the engagement of its largest members, but over the past months, this tiger has not even roared. General Secretary Briand holds eloquent speeches on democratic principles and virtues, but looks the other way when the Unitarist dictatorship tramples these principles and virtues in the Kingdom of Serbia and the Western Yugoslav territories it occupies [8]. The Hague apparatus has not been tasked with apprehending and indicting Serbian officers and Chetniks responsible for the murder of innocent women and children under the eyes of a petrified continent. Nobody is even considering sending an intervention army to stop the horrors in Belgrade and Osijek, Goražde and Ohrid. [9]

Our upright comrade and honourable High Commissioner for Refugees, though, has found the necessary clarity: “Murder, rape, starvation, mutilation - this human catastrophe has only one culprit: Serbia’s military dictatorship. If it cannot be stopped, not only the poor wretched inhabitants of the Balkans, but our entire continent and its agreements on peace, liberty and co-operation for progress and prosperity will become its victims. The order of peace must hold, and the promises of Paris must not become dead letters. Our continued engagement in Western Yugoslavia is of vital importance to hundreds of thousands, but it only remains possible if the nations of the covenant honour their promises of protecting the free peoples of the Balkans from murderous aggression.” Not a single word needs to be added to this. To let chauvinism and violent oppression of the population triumph in one place means to let it triumph everywhere. It is the responsibility of the continental democracies with the necessary means at hand to prevent it from advancing another single step. Can it be true that a German social democrat has to remind them of this lesson? Comrades, let us help his voice be heard, and join in the marches this weekend to protest against the murdering of our Yugoslavic brethren and the war-mongering of the Serbian chauvinistic tyranny!

[1] An OTL supporter of Ebert’s policies who is, like IOTL, editor-in-chief of the SPD’s party newspaper.

[2] With Germany and Prussia both lacking central governments, Friedrich Ebert has not found his place in the new post-imperial German political landscape. Luxemburg’s council regime in the second half of 1919 looking for him as a “war criminal” because he had voted in favour of the war loans did not help, either. And so, Ebert gladly accepted when Briand extended a hand towards him, in a gesture aimed at reconciling Germans with the EFP and indicating the possibility of Germans participating in it.

[3] In Königsberg in the Self-Governed Province of East Prussia, almost a third of the approximately 60,000 Germans who have fled Latvia and Estonia are sheltered – some seeking to find a new home here, in relative proximity to the regions where they came from; but for most, this was planned as a merely provisional solution until a German, or at least Prussian, government could organise their allotment. Since no such government exists anymore, the provisional stopgap has become more permanent than planed.

[4] Adana is not only the capital of the "Provisional Government of the Free State of Cilicia" and the "Great Assembly of Cilicia", but also hosts a sizable French military presence. Since the former are, as the French high commissioner Louis Franchet d`Espèrey puts it "mere squabbling messes", the French can (unfortunately! but it cannot be helped!) not leave the protectorate, ehm, free state to its own devices (just yet! ...). Here, thus, where the French are running the show, large camps of Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek refugees, some of whom have been on the move for half a decade now, have coalesced.
(Btw, Franchet d'Espèrey taking the place of OTL's French imperial face to the locals, Henri Gouraud, reacts to a suggestion by @Falecius.)

[5] Ebert is interested in the “Atterbury System” (called after a US architect who built the first settlement area out of prefabricated concrete slabs (in Queens), and so his institution has begun experimenting with this possibility of erecting cheap new buildings very fast.

[6] EOECW is the European Organization for Education and Children’s Welfare, while EHO is the European Health Organization, two more institutions of the EFP we have already talked about in Update 52 and which by now have begun working seriously.

[7] If you remember, the Belgian socialist Jules Destrée got to implement his “personal statehood” concept as chairman of the EFP Mandate Commission for Western Yugoslavia.

[8] Time to spell out what happened in Serbia, and what on Earth “Unitarism” is!

So... there has been a coup d´état in Serbia in the spring of 1920, in which not only the elected Prime Minister Nikola Pašić is shot and replaced by his scheming and reckless party colleague Puniša Račić, but also a group of anti-EFP military leaders around the old general Stepa Stepanović and radically nationalist Chetniks led by Kosta Pećanac have taken control of all key institutions, dissolved parliament, outlawed the IRSDLP and the Independent Radical Party, shut down their newspapers and begun dragging political opponents from their homes and shooting them without trial, all with the consent of Prince Regent (soon to be king) Alexander.

“Unitarism”, the new ideology to which many of the conspirators subscribe to some degree, is the brainchild of Jovan Hadži-Vasiljević, leader of the ultra-nationalist Society of Saint Sava, and Jovan Dučić, the poet and leader of the equally ultra-nationalist Narodna Odbrana. “Unitarism” or “Unificationism” - its Serbian name is “Ujedinjenizam” – plays on the double message of a) irredentistically “uniting” the Serbs in the Kingdom of Montenegro, the Vojvodina Plebiscite Zone, and the Western Yugoslavian Mandate into one state, i.e. into the current Kingdom and b) overcoming the internal differences in this state and sharing one will, one opinion, one culture. This culture is understood as Orthodox Christian – and indeed important figures in the church support the new regime – and purely Serbian, united behind its heroic monarchs in its perennial frontier fight against the heathen enemies of Christianity, which today are not only Muslim “Turks” (by which Bosnians and Albanians are also meant), but also secularists of liberal-radical or socialist persuasion, who have only sowed discord among the Serbs and thus brought about its weakening. (Well, in fact Serbia has never been as large and powerful as it was in 1919 since the 14th century, but you know...) As you can probably tell, this ideology owes deeply to Integralist nationalism. @The Ghost of Danton has asked in post #970 already about the emergence of a new post-war “chauvinistic ideology” of the far right... well, here it is. The idea of having it take place in Serbia came to me when @lukedalton reasoned in post #804 that “Mutilated Victory” would be a Serbian coinage ITTL. (“Unakažena pobeda”?)

Račić, as the new “marshall” in this dictatorial Serbia, has remobilised the army and marched a good part of it into Western Yugoslavia, where it ensures that nobody stops extremist Chetniks from inflicting a similar kind of terror to that which is already haunting Serbia onto the heterogenous population of the Serbian-controlled parts of Western Yugoslavia. The “Goražde Bulge” was the first intrusion of Serbian forces into a Western Yugoslav canton which was supposed to be controlled by another power: the UoE, who had but a few dozen soldiers around who quietly surrendered and were left to leave – Kerensky was foaming at the mouth after this incident, but with Volsky excluding any major new military commitment on the Balkans, things were left at political protest and unilateral trade sanctions, which did not impress the Serbs much, so new offensives are prepared.

This “victory” was celebrated e.g. by the new regime’s most prolific journalistic supporter, Krsta Cicvarić of the yellow paper Beogradski dnevnik owned by pro-Unitarist press tycoon Dušan Paranos (at least he is now a tycoon ITTL), who derided “Russia’s” Socialist-Revolutionary political leaders in the most obscene language, consistent with Dučić’s view that the Revolutionaries and Socialists have weakened Russia by allowing it to fall apart and alienating it from its Orthodox Christian character and natural monarchic form of government, so that Serbia must now pick up the orphaned banner of Panslavism.

The atrocities mentioned here and in the following are directed mostly against Catholic Croats, Muslim Bosnians, socialists, supporters of the old parliament-backed government like Ljubomir Davidović, Hungarians, and Macedonians (“Southern Serbs”) who stubbornly refuse to denounce a “Bulgarian” identity and accept a Serb one.

While the system bears many parallels to various fascist regimes of OTL, one important particularity stands out: there is no unifying, all-encompassing and all-controlling state party here, and no cultically venerated leader yet. I believe that these elements, while certainly also connectable to older absolutist reminiscences, were to some extent also inspired by the victorious Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which had turned the Soviet regime into a one-party state where Lenin (and later Stalin even more) enjoyed an almost divine status. Now, I have learned my Frankfurt School Sociology well at uni, and I do believe that the “Authoritarian Personality” tends to look to a strong male leader, but would that always mean one leader for the entire system? Serbia, at the moment, is experimenting with the King, the Marshall, and various generals and Chetnik leaders as such “Führer”. Its aggressively expansionist militancy is also a clear divergence from the Integralism of a Maurras, owing to the geopolitical situation in which little Serbia finds itself.

Thus, in spite of its name, the new Serbian regime still has various heterogeneous pillars of power, and potential rivalries between them are a predictable breaking line of the system. Likewise, there is of course still opposition: while socialist and liberal radical leaders might be killed, their underlying movements undoubtedly prepare underground resistance. Even in the military, there are clear rifts which can be traced back to preceding decades: right now, remnants of the Black Hand network (which had suffered its decapitation in 1917) have gained the upper hand, but their formerly powerful White Hand opponents cannot be entirely removed and eradicated (just like the other way round), so the army certainly isn’t a monolithic factor, either. But, so far, the new regime has pocketed a few easy triumphs, and the opposition is condemned to lie low or operate from a Bulgarian, Hungarian, or Romanian exile.

[9] While Belgrade as the capital is an evident place where violence against the opponents of the new regime takes place, Osijek sees not only Croats, but primarily IRSDLP members and affiliated general-striking unionised workers (which of course sometimes overlap with being ‘Croats’, too) targeted; Goražde has a Muslim majority which is massacred or convinced to flee, and in Ohrid, pro-Unitarist mayor Temko Popov is organising violence against recalcitrant “Bulgarians”.

Alas, this has turned out more into an introduction of Serbian alt-fascism than an update on refugees - so... which refugees have not been mentioned?

There was only a very brief mention of refugees who are able to return home but need help in rebuilding it – that is most certainly the case within France and Belgium, Italy, the Baltic FRs, parts of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.

Then, there are other refugees whose displacement looks more permanent at the moment. That is probably the case of the Greek and Armenian refugees who did not come from areas which the Peace Treaty with the Ottoman Empire has assigned to Greece, the Armenian Federative Republic of the UoE, or French-controlled Cilicia, and also of Turks who have fled from territories now controlled by Greece (not so much in Thrace, where an international force is keeping peace for the moment, but along the Ionian and Pontic coasts) and Armenia. The fate of the Baltic Germans looks similar.

Compared to OTL, though, especially the lower number of displaced Greeks (including virtually no Greeks leaving the UoE as opposed to hundreds of thousands leaving the Soviet Union IOTL) makes for a lower total of this group.

And then there are refugees with which we’re accustomed from OTL’s post-WW1 era but who do not appear at all, or at least only marginal when comapred to OTL: Expelled or fled anti-Bolshevik Russians, Ukrainians etc. Even though Tsar Nikolai II. and his family, who by now have continued their journey and relocated from North America to Britain, are certainly not the only Russians in political exile – some opponents of the Revolutionary regime who have fled the VeCheKist suppression, some collaborators with the Markov regime fleeing from retribution will have joined them dispersed across various countries –, the face of the “immigrants from Russia” in developed Western countries ITTL is not going to be a White Russian political circle, nor the stereotypical “Russian countess”, but that of migrant workers seeking a better life in North America or elsewhere. On the other side of the spectrum, although that was a smaller number IOTL, there are no communists fleeing Hungary after the fall of the soviet regime there, and ending up everywhere from the United States (like he or he) over Germany to, of course, the Soviet Union.