Yes I know I should've done this forever ago but a bunch of stuff came up and I kept forgetting 😅 Anyway, without further ado:
A Lighter Shade of Black- The First Cold War
A Lighter Shade of Black- The Second Cold War
MACHTISM

"Service to the State, Glory to the Race!"
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-The Vajra, a stylized diamond/lightning bolt, is used by Machtists to represent both invulnerability and overwhelming force. The glyph at the bottom is believed to be a Crystal Islands symbol appropriated to represent vril, or life force.

The origins of Machtism are worryingly opaque, though recent scholarship has pieced together clues and pored over records to establish a rough timeline of the development of the ideology. The common consensus is that, through unknown channels, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche came into contact with a representative of the Crystal Islands sometime prior to 1885. While it was commonly held that he entered seclusion in that year, it is believed that he actually journeyed to Antarctica, where he remained a guest in the Crystal Island capital of Zha-Doom for nearly three years. Upon his return to public life he did not discuss the particulars of his absence, though he was noticeably positive regarding Yhriq, describing the founder of the Crystal Islands anti-theocracy as a "true to life Zarathustra". He would devote 1888 to writing his master work, collapsing at the end out of some profound mental break. He would never recover, but his manuscript The Will to Power: A Revaluation of all Values would make him by all accounts the author of the twentieth century, a position that could only credibly be contested by Georges Sorel.

Taking its name from the German title of the text, Machtism was originally a fringe position advocated by his sister and a circle of acolytes in the wake of Nietzsche's mental collapse. The Will to Power synthesized several of Nietzsche's concepts into a coherent whole, arguing that the only real authority was derived from the human will, and that it was the natural place of the ubermensch to rise above the common masses and take dominion of them through the exercise of master morality, a process he called "the triumph of the will". In this framework the only thing that the hoi polloi could provide that was of any intrinsic value was whatever their guiding class of ubermenschen decided was of value, from their talents to their labors to their very bodies. It was not, sufficed to say, a very popular ideology in the waning decades of the Belle Époque.

That would change with the advent of the 20th century, beginning a process of metastasization that would culminate in a massive war and leave a legacy in the form of one of the most noxious rogue states in modern history. The First Cold War (1900-05) would see Machtism spread like syphilis throughout Europe through the vehicle of the so-called Grand Coalition of European states that would cross the Channel toward the end of the conflict to decisively repulse the Tsalal Hegemony that had so effectively destroyed the British Empire and subjected the British Isles themselves to years of small-scale naval invasions and continuous rocket bombardment. The postwar period would see two major developments, namely the movement toward continental European federalization and the spread of Machtism in a Britain still reeling from the loss of Empire, the savagery of near total rocket bombardment, and mass disillusionment with a ruling class that had so thoroughly failed them.

This new political tendency would find expression through Director Alfred Delapore and the Albionic Machtist Front, a political party framing its radically totalitarian utilitarianism in the guise of populist anger at the British elite and a sincere promise that all who gave themselves over to the Machtist project would be protected and provided for in proportion to their contribution, best emphasized by the slogan "From each according to their ability, to each according to the same". A legitimate electoral victory amid the economic doldrums of the 1920s would usher in the Second Glorious Revolution, replacing a decrepit aristocratic system with a ruthlessly pragmatist one. At the same time, alarm would build in the new Directorate of Albion over the increasing militancy of the European Sorelian movement, which stood in stark contrast with their own policy of the nationalist and fiercely meritocratic Guilds. By this point advocating the fullscale genocide of the mainland Tsalal, the Directorate viewed the shift in Europe as an obstacle to that grand goal, sponsoring a series of puppets and finally commiting to an invasion of the Continent that would begin in 1932.

The initial success of the Crystal Pact offensive would be shortlived, even with the Albionic adoption of Tsalal rocketry technology. Even as the Directorate devoted resources to a concentration camp system designed to work its population of ethnic Tsalal and political prisoners to death (and render them into fertilizer and gunpowder in the aftermath), the Second Cold War (1932-39) would ironically mobilize the Sorelians to such a degree that the movement was able to transform and centralize the Grand Coalition, birthing the Marxist-Sorelian Europan Republic in the process. The war would also cause a fatal split in the anti-Tsalal Southern Pact, with the Europans carving out their own Atlantropan Treaty System and the United States (neutral in the European theater) pivoting to Asia and reforging the remnant into the Pacific Pact.

Although the Albionic invasion was successfully repulsed, there was little popular will in Europe for the massive invasion and occupation of the British Isles that would be required to truly vanquish the regime. The ultimate guarantor of the survival of the Machtist regime was the harnessing of the atomic bomb in 1939, the third power to do so after the Hegemony and the United States. Taking the nation into a period it called Glorious Isolation, by all metrics Albion has grown ever more devoted and psychotic with each generation, decade after decade, eighty years on. Although firsthand reporting is understandably rare, glimpses of the nation reveal a surprisingly fluid caste system has developed, with the Directorate proper and military hierarchy at the top, a large competing ecosystem of Guilds in the middle, and a vast underclass at the bottom. Still pining for their dream of a Tsalal-free world, Albion devotes a massive share of its national economy to the military and has by all metrics eliminated the tradition of funerals toward that end, with every person regardless of station rendered upon death to feed the war machine. Rumors that the office of the Director is filled with furniture made from human bones remain unconfirmed.

The First Cold War was unkind to the British Empire. Swollen and overstretched at the turn of the century, it's unsurprising in hindsight that a hard and determined push would be enough to make the whole thing unravel. Even with the loss of India, southern Africa and western Australia perhaps it would've been possible to salvage something, even if only in Canada and the Caribbean, but the British response to the coming of the Starvation Navy was a colossal failure, one born out of arrogance and complacency. Sure, the worst penny dreadful terrors of rape factories and fields of the impaled stretching across the entire country were a pipe dream, but a stalemate of naval bombardment and repeated smallscale invasions and hard-fought repulsions would still prove a fatal blow to the entire concept at the core of British society. The Directorate of Albion became an inevitability.

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-Totally not ominous at all. I've discussed Machtism and the rise of the Albionic Machtist Front in the entry in the lore section for this update, complete with a flag for the ideology.
The Crystal Pact aim for the coming Cold War was a simple one: the Tsalal must be exterminated, at all costs. The recent electoral victory of the anti-Tsalal American Party would ensure at the very least US neutrality toward the Pact, it was believed, as the Directorate invaded Europe to liberate it from the rising Sorelian menace and the Crystal Islands took advantage of the prior dissolution of the Tsalal Hegemony to induce rebellion in the colonies and strife between former member states. So much for best laid plans...

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-I promise they're more benign than they look 😅
Marxist-Sorelianism had been growing on the fringes of the European political landscape for years. Seeing the First Cold War as a mythic moment of crystalized European continental consciousness, the Sorelians had aggressively recruited veterans of the conflict, something that served them well in the Great Depression of the mid-1920s to the hysterical alarm of reactionaries and Machtists throughout Europe. If that was where it ended it's likely the Sorelians wouldn't have stood a chance in the long run, each extrusion of the movement suppressed and snuffed out by psychotic bourgeoisie in turn, but Albion saw the rise of the movement as a threat to their grand goal of a Europe-led cleansing of the southern continent and so they had to go.

The invasion of continental Europe would have the opposite effect, with the Sorelians able to make the case to the conservative lower orders that the European Machtists even now opening the doors for the Directorate ironically represented an alien cultural influence. Able to rally the people behind them, the Sorelians were able to muster and force perfidious Albion out after years of brutal fighting, even yoking the momentum and goodwill of glorious victory to dissolve the Grand Coalition and usher in the centralized Europan Republic.

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-The Europan Revolution would permanently split the anti-Tsalal Southern Pact, with the African members quickly absorbed into the Syndicalist International by force of proletarian arms and the new Pacific Pact absorbing the rest. The two firsts among equals are the United States and the Co-Prosperity Sphere, their "special relationship" founded on a bedrock belief that the Southern Cone is meddling in their rightful spheres of regional influence.
While only the survival of the Directorate regime prevented the European Theater of the Cold War from being labeled a total failure, things were going swimmingly for the Crystal Islands. While the creation of the Second Tsalal Hegemony would be a headache best left for later, from their perspective they'd succeeded even better than they'd hoped, even if some of those victories could prove a monkey's paw:
  1. While the Tsalal colonies were unable to break free, and had in fact sparked the coalescence of the Tsalal polities, they still simmered with bitterness and nationalist unrest that could be stoked later.​
  2. The fracture in the Southern Pact would prove a blessing, with the new Hegemony forced to divide its focus between two equally bellicose existential threats.​
  3. And best of all, the Southron Theater had successfully bled all the parties involved and caused immeasurable damage to infrastructure and populations, all as the Islanders themselves had managed to tie off any loose ends, play at neutrality, and successfully bury any trace of their involvement. At least any trace that could be proved...​
 
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Domain of Japanese Kamchatka
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Domain of Japanese Alaska
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Domain of The Japanese Rockies (read: British Columbia)
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Domain of Japanese Cascadia
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Domain of Japanese California
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Flag of the Confederation of The Alps
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Flag of the Republic of Helvetia
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Flag of the Federal Republic of Rhaetia
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Flag of the Republic of Noria
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(All of them are federally organised.)

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(That Brazilian state that has a huge "NEGO" on its flag)

And why is that an issue?

From Wikipedia:
The word nego on the state flag is Portuguese for "I deny" or "I refuse", referring to the events that led to the Brazilian Revolution of 1930.

Due to Milk Coffee Politics in Brazil, the president of the country always alternated between someone from the state of Minas Gerais and someone from the state of São Paulo. In 1929, the incumbent president from São Paulo, Washington Luís, was supposed to support a politician from Minas Gerais as the next president, but he instead decided to nominate someone from São Paulo for the second time in a row, Júlio Prestes. The state governor of Paraíba, João Pessoa Cavalcânti de Albuquerque, refused to support the appointment of Júlio Prestes, and in 1930, Pessoa joined the alliance for the overthrow of the federal government. The revolution succeeded in toppling the Old Republic and installing Getúlio Vargas—who was from neither Minas Gerais nor São Paulo—as the president of Brazil, however, João Pessoa was assassinated; there is still debate as to whether the motive behind his murder was personal, political, or both. Following these events, the word nego was added to the flag of Paraíba.
 
Hey all - I'm looking for a sci-fi flag for a polity called the Folkric, a loose confederation of English-speaking worlds. Something with the colors red, white and blue, maybe?

(More than a decade ago, I did this request, but I can't find the file and the upload in the old thread is long since gone.)
 
A while back, this map was circulating reddit. It was a map where someone had drawn in wildly wrong flags to fill in a map of Europe. Most posts would lie and claim their kid or partner did it, others claimed the map was made by some troll trying to trigger people (which feels more likely). But looking at how utterly INSANE the map is, I decided that, as a creative exercise, I would try to make a map, flags, and lore for this Dumb Reddit Map. In the efforts of making a semi-coherent TL, it came out feeling more like a full brainrot HOI4 mod, and eventually I decided to just lean into that.

So, all that said, I present the Dumb Reddit Map (DRM) Timeline, AKA "Dreams of Reason and Misery"

This has been a labor of love and foolishness for a while, so I hope everyone enjoys my most laborious and intricate shitpost ever.

Kja9Zlk.png

RIj5LRV.png

wRJqJxK.png

e0mzKzu.png
cPGjFoJ.png


Below is the Map:

 
A while back, this map was circulating reddit. It was a map where someone had drawn in wildly wrong flags to fill in a map of Europe. Most posts would lie and claim their kid or partner did it, others claimed the map was made by some troll trying to trigger people (which feels more likely). But looking at how utterly INSANE the map is, I decided that, as a creative exercise, I would try to make a map, flags, and lore for this Dumb Reddit Map. In the efforts of making a semi-coherent TL, it came out feeling more like a full brainrot HOI4 mod, and eventually I decided to just lean into that.

So, all that said, I present the Dumb Reddit Map (DRM) Timeline, AKA "Dreams of Reason and Misery"

This has been a labor of love and foolishness for a while, so I hope everyone enjoys my most laborious and intricate shitpost ever.

Kja9Zlk.png

RIj5LRV.png

wRJqJxK.png

e0mzKzu.png
cPGjFoJ.png


Below is the Map:

man what

That's brilliant work.
 
A flag I designed myself, in Canva. Behold-- The Empire of Japan-Hawaii!
From the world of my planned TL, The Finite Is The Infinite-- ITTL, Kalakaua's idea of Japan and Hawai'i entering into personal union via a marriage between his daughter and one of the Japanese princes is carried out, hence the bizarre flag you see here.
 

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