Images from the Footprint of Mussolini

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Cover art from an issue of the popular manga Zipang by Kaiji Kawaguchi. A popular example of 'Gun-Manga', Zipang tells the story of a modern Japanese Navy destroyer - the Mirai - being sent back in time to just after the Soviet-Japanese border clashes in Khalkin Gol. After some debate - and some deep soul-searching among the crew - the Mirai's officers ultimately approach the Japanese government of the day, offering to place themselves at the IJN's disposal and help tech Japan up in return for said government listening to their warnings: warning chiefly regarding the impossibility of war with the United States and the true threat to civilisation coming from the Soviet Union. While initially the government are unwilling to abandon their course, the existence of the Mirai is enough to sway a number of IJN officers - including Admiral Yamamoto and the Mirai's down-time liaison, Lieutenant-Commander Kusaka Takumi - into launching a coup that topples the Army-dominated government and instals a more reasonable regime. Ultimately, Japan ceases their war in China and ends up going to war with the USSR, a war which - thanks to the Mirai's missile armament, as well as early jets, helicopters and rocketry developed with input from the Mirai's crew - they're able to win, claiming a large chunk of Siberia, as well as Northern Sakhalin and Kamchatka (and off-shore oil and gas reserves). Their new resources, plus oil in Manchuria that the Mirai's crew assists in developing drilling technology to access, ultimately allows Japan in the Zipang TL to become a self-sufficient power, one that does not suffer defeat by America.

Though on the surface highly triumphalist and nationalistic, Zipang is actually one of the more balanced Gun-Manga to have been published. It demonstrates many of the abuses that the old Empire perpetrated in its colonies - including acknowledging the existence of Korean 'comfort women', something that led to the author receiving death-threats from far-right activists - and shows the modern Japanese crew as being shocked at how their more positive view of pre-war Japan clashes with the reality. Ultimately, of course, with its ending of Japan becoming a 'nation untouched by the shame of defeat' and a major power, it does fulfil many of the Gun-Manga tropes...though in an intelligent way that allows Western audience enjoyment.

Japan is one of the major powerhouses in terms of international comics sales.


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The cover of Issue 50 of Agente Segreto X9, a highly popular Italian comic series that began in 1955 and has continued to run to the present day (albeit with occasional hiatuses). Inspired by the popularity of the novels of British author Ian Fleming, Agent X9 - real name Aurelio Forte - is an agent of the Kingdom of Italy, fighting against the forces of Communism and all other threats to the Roman Alliance and the 'civilised world'. Originally portrayed as a devoted Fascist, later depictions of the character would make him more apolitical - partly as a result of the changing climate within Italy itself, and partly to allow for continued sales overseas, the character having proven popular in the British and American markets particularly. The issue depicted recounted the story of X9's 'most dangerous mission yet' (like all of his missions, as cynical reviewers would note), to kidnap the beautiful yet sinister Communist spy Nadia Ivanova aka Triple-X (hair and clothes colour-coded red for the convenience of the reader, to truly establish that yes, this woman is a Communist).

Italian comics, though containing some superhero-type characters, tend to be highly diverse in subject matter. Historical adventure - particularly set in Roman times, but also involving Renaissance-era swashbuckling - was a highly popular genre during Fascist times, and remains so today. Science-fiction has also proved popular - this was even true during Fascism, albeit under certain restrictions, but it would grow substantially in popularity after the establishment of democracy in Italy - along with detective, espionage and war periodicals. Themes have changed somewhat, with the more jingoistic material of yesteryear being joined (though not replaced) by more subversive and radical works, and the depiction of women has also changed significantly (there have been far more female action protagonists in Italian comics since the 1970s, as one example).

Italy is another major player on the international comics scene.
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A page from Hellman of Hammer Force's 2014 revival special Hellman: Gotterdammerung. Originally created by Pat Mills and John Wagner for their Tempest comic of the early 1970s, the character of Hellman represented an early example of 'Good German' protagonists in British and other war comics - something that was particularly topical given the rise of Germany under the restored Hohenzollerns and its increasing economic and military power in alliance with America and Britain. Subsequent examples of war comics featuring German protagonists would include Kampfgruppe Falken, Iron Annie, Waidmann's Heil and The Grey Wolves, though Hellman of Hammer Force remains probably the most well-regarded despite its initial short lifespan.

Tempest - aka the 'sevenpenny horror' - was perhaps somewhat too much, as witnessed by its cancellation, but it was representative of a trend in British comics that had begun in the 1960s and intensified sharply over the coming decades. The multiple conflicts in the years following World War II - in China, in Arabia, and multiple smaller colonial/post-colonial flareups - had led to the more jingoistic 'Boy's Own' nature of British comics becoming seen by many as past its prime. Consequently, beginning in the 1960s, there was an increasing trend of gritty nihilism in the medium, in particular in war comics with more of an emphasis on the horror of war, a rise in antihero-type characters over outright heroes, and other such developments. (It is worth pointing out at this juncture that Tempest was not cancelled over its war content, but rather over more 'current' content - one football-related strip that delved deep into the then-topical problem of football hooliganism being particularly cited by moral guardians). Despite Tempest being cancelled, this thematic trend would continue in some of the more famous Brit-comics such as Action Picture Weekly, The Year 3000 and other such works that ended up making it big overseas...and, indeed, continues today.

Though Hellman of Hammer Force's original intended run did not get to be completed, the character would be revived in Hellman: Gotterdammerung by Northern Irish comic writer Garth Ennis, who would write a particularly dark yet moving story involving Hellman and the remnants of Hammer Force joining the Free German Army and turning on the Nazi regime. Ennis' story, though highly popular, would prove controversial among Germans for being a far more nuanced look at the FGA and the Wehrmacht than had been the case before - while Hellman and his people join out of genuine conviction, as to the bulk of named FGA members in the story, several FGA characters are shown as having joined up either to avoid punishment for dereliction of duty in their old units, or to avoid being labeled as war criminals themselves for their actions on the Ostfront. Nevertheless, the popularity of the book would lead Ennis to revive the character one more time in Hellman: Children of Israel, a story in which Hellman - having found himself unable to return to civilian life, and heartbroken by the devastation of Germany - travels to Israel to serve as an advisor in armoured warfare (mirroring Erwin Rommel's real-life career as an advisor to the Israelis). Though largely praising of Israel, the book also made a point of showing the Arab enemy as being human rather than a 'faceless mob'...and some eyebrows were raised by Hellman's closing lines: 'Israel. Such a history, yet such a young country. Like Germany... I pray they don't make the same mistakes we did'.

British comics, though not quite at the same level as those of Japan and Italy, enjoy decent sales overseas.

A/N: This one and the Wonder Woman bit in my previous post were inspired by Sorairo 's recent comment that American comics don't do so well because of Japanese and Italian ones. That got me thinking...and also made me think 'British ones would probably do well enough too...'
 
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Famous Italian actor Gerlando “Lando” Buzzanca in 2011, best known for his long-standing role in the “Agente Segreto X9” (Secret Agent X9 or X9) films which are based off the Agente Segreto X9 comic book series, the Italian/Roman Alliance counterpart to the British “James Bond” films.
Like it’s British counterpart, X9 is widely regarded as one of the best spy film franchises albeit its popularity waned in the 1980's after the end of Fascism. Throughout its long history, dating back 1967 up to the present day, X9 has had multiple crossovers with James Bond.

Similarly to Christopher Lee, Buzzanca has held the record for the most roles as Agente Segreto X9 – the deadly and suave OVRA, later OPS, agent dealing with the enemies of Rome whether they be communist agents, nazi/baathist remnants, or terrorists. Buzzanca has gone on record to say that Lee was the most pleasant “Bond” to work with – indeed both men would go on to be close friends after their first film together, “Madness on the Mediterranean”.

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Christopher Lee as 007 in “Madness on the Mediterranean”. Gerlando Buzzanca's X9, real name “Alvaro Pasqualone”, in “Madness on the Mediterranean”.​
 
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Famous Italian actor Gerlando “Lando” Buzzanca in 2011, best known for his long-standing role in the “Agente Segreto X9” (Secret Agent X9 or X9) films which are based off the Agente Segreto X9 comic book series, the Italian/Roman Alliance counterpart to the British “James Bond” films.
Like it’s British counterpart, X9 is widely regarded as one of the best spy film franchises albeit its popularity waned in the 1980's after the end of Fascism. Throughout its long history, dating back 1967 up to the present day, X9 has had multiple crossovers with James Bond.

Similarly to Christopher Lee, Buzzanca has held the record for the most roles as Agente Segreto X9 with being the deadly and suave OVRA, later OPS, agent dealing the enemies of Rome whether they communist agents, nazi/baathist remnants, or terrorists. Buzzanca has gone on record to say that Lee was the most pleasant “Bond” to work with – indeed both men would go on to be close friends after their first film together, “Madness on the Mediterranean”.
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Christopher Lee as 007 in “Madness on the Mediterranean”. Gerlando Buzzanca X9 (real name “Alvaro Pasqualone”).​
Very cool - glad to inspire! :D
 
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Picture of Judy Garland, taken in 1961 on the occasion of her return to London from a brief holiday in Paris. The photograph was taken just before the release of Victim (starring Dirk Bogarde), one of Garland's 'English Renaissance' films.

While the exile a number of American film stars found themselves in the UK would be a time of trials, for Garland it would have certain blessings - she was able, during her time in England, to finally break her dependency on prescription drugs and to limit her alcohol consumption (though she would not give up drinking). She would also work on meet and befriend English star Dirk Bogarde - indeed, so close were they that it was suggested there were wedding bells in their future, though based on what is known now about the truth of both stars' romantic lives at the time, such a marriage would have been 'lavender' in nature. However, both would remain friends, which led to Garland acting in Victim. Though a controversial film at the time of its release, it is still considered a landmark of cinema and in terms of public views of homosexuality, and indeed has been credited with many for helping in the shift in opinion that led to decriminalisation in Great Britain.

Garland's 'English Renaissance' would see her acting in a number of other similarly-serious roles, most notably Whispers (1965), again with Dirk Bogarde, a film that was refused certification in America for over a decade. Whispers, a film in which a number of other American exile stars participated, was an unflinching (albeit allegorical) film in which the lives of a number of people are ruined thanks to rumours, jealousy, their past associations and their actual political views being mis-represented, ending with in effect a comparison between American anti-Communist hysteria of the preceding decades and the ban on dissent seen in Communist nations, and with the final frame being Nietszche's quote regarding the fighting of monsters. While American right-wing pundits and publications would lambaste the picture, it would gain an illicit cult following among film clubs and in underground theatres in America, and would prove to be highly popular in Britain and Europe. Today, it has been re-evaluated in America as being a cautionary tale that was not appreciated at its time.

Garland would retire from film-making in 1969. She would die a decade later, having retired to a cottage in a small village in Hampshire, and was survived by an 'especial friend' as some at the time would have said.

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Richard Attenborough as Regimental Sergeant-Major Lauderdale in the 1964 war film Desert of Bones (also starring Jack Hawkins). The film in question, following the experiences of a British regiment during the Second Arabian War, marked a major swing away from the typical fare of British war films into a more cynical, anti-war path. Initially showing the character of Lauderdale as being a typical British NCO of a type well-known to filmgoers, the film would show him becoming steadily more and more shaken by the brutal nature of the conflict, even while trying to maintain a 'stiff upper lip' and keep his junior NCOs and the rank and file together, before finally snapping upon seeing the damage done by nuclear and chemical weapons. Though the film did not hesitate to underline the ruthlessness of the Aflaq regime, and the danger they posed to their neighbouring countries, neither did it hesitate to show the ruthlessness with which their aggression was met.

Though some more right-leaning critics would deride the film, it was extremely well-received by and large, with many veterans noting the importance of showing what the cost of war could be, so that it should be understood to be an absolute last resort. However, it would be banned in Roman Alliance territory until the end of Fascism in Italy.​



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The cover of Issue 50 of Agente Segreto X9, a highly popular Italian comic series that began in 1955 and has continued to run to the present day (albeit with occasional hiatuses). Inspired by the popularity of the novels of British author Ian Fleming, Agent X9 - real name Aurelio Forte - is an agent of the Kingdom of Italy, fighting against the forces of Communism and all other threats to the Roman Alliance and the 'civilised world'. Originally portrayed as a devoted Fascist, later depictions of the character would make him more apolitical - partly as a result of the changing climate within Italy itself, and partly to allow for continued sales overseas, the character having proven popular in the British and American markets particularly. The issue depicted recounted the story of X9's 'most dangerous mission yet' (like all of his missions, as cynical reviewers would note), to kidnap the beautiful yet sinister Communist spy Nadia Ivanova aka Triple-X (hair and clothes colour-coded red for the convenience of the reader, to truly establish that yes, this woman is a Communist).

Italian comics, though containing some superhero-type characters, tend to be highly diverse in subject matter. Historical adventure - particularly set in Roman times, but also involving Renaissance-era swashbuckling - was a highly popular genre during Fascist times, and remains so today. Science-fiction has also proved popular - this was even true during Fascism, albeit under certain restrictions, but it would grow substantially in popularity after the establishment of democracy in Italy - along with detective, espionage and war periodicals. Themes have changed somewhat, with the more jingoistic material of yesteryear being joined (though not replaced) by more subversive and radical works, and the depiction of women has also changed significantly (there have been far more female action protagonists in Italian comics since the 1970s, as one example).

Italy is another major player on the international comics scene.

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Famous Italian actor Gerlando “Lando” Buzzanca in 2011, best known for his long-standing role in the “Agente Segreto X9” (Secret Agent X9 or X9) films which are based off the Agente Segreto X9 comic book series, the Italian/Roman Alliance counterpart to the British “James Bond” films.
Like it’s British counterpart, X9 is widely regarded as one of the best spy film franchises albeit its popularity waned in the 1980's after the end of Fascism. Throughout its long history, dating back 1967 up to the present day, X9 has had multiple crossovers with James Bond.

Similarly to Christopher Lee, Buzzanca has held the record for the most roles as Agente Segreto X9 – the deadly and suave OVRA, later OPS, agent dealing with the enemies of Rome whether they be communist agents, nazi/baathist remnants, or terrorists. Buzzanca has gone on record to say that Lee was the most pleasant “Bond” to work with – indeed both men would go on to be close friends after their first film together, “Madness on the Mediterranean”.

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Christopher Lee as 007 in “Madness on the Mediterranean”. Gerlando Buzzanca's X9, real name “Alvaro Pasqualone”, in “Madness on the Mediterranean”.​


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Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi, as seen in the X9 film Sull'Orlo Dell'Abisso in which she played the seductive yet sinister Russian spy Nadia Ivanova. Originally having trained in naval engineering at the Scientific University of Milan*, her film career began by random chance thanks to a family friend. Her breakout moment would come in 1958, when she played Pompeia Plotina, wife of Emperor Trajan, in the second of the 'Five Good Emperors' films, a series of epic movies - heavily sponsored by the Fascist Party - about the aforementioned Five Good Emperors of the Roman Empire. This role would see her become in demand as a leading lady, and would ultimately lead to her being approached for Sull'Orlo Dell'Abisso in 1963.

At the time, the Fascist Party's highly 'masculine' nature and preference for women to remain in the home meant that more commercially-minded films of the era tended to have female protagonists being of a more passive nature. As such, Paluzzi's performance in Sull'Orlo Dell'Abisso would become a highly subversive hit. Within the story, the Nadia Ivanova character was shown to be a deadly threat to X9, personally killing four male SIM (Servizio Informazioni Militare) agents and masterminding the deaths of a number of others. Likewise, she was portrayed as being more forthright in...personal matters than was the norm for female characters in mainstream Italian films of the era, and thoroughly confident and in control. This did not get remarked on by censors, since the character was clearly a villain...but she would prove a major hit with male watchers who were drawn far more to her than the film's actual heroine, and would more significantly be a massive attraction to female viewers, who relished seeing a more active and interesting female character (said viewers would be rather upset that the character had to lose, and annoyed that the deadly Ivanova, following her capture by X9, would spend the last act of the film bound, gagged and suddenly unable to do anything other than sit through a rescue attempt by her allies).

While the character would only appear in the X9 setting once, so great was her appeal that Paluzzi would be drawn into making what amounted to a 'spiritual successor' to the character in the espionage television series Per il Regno, in which she played the OVRA operative Maria Catarella (a character highly similar to Ivanova only Italian and not evil). Per il Regno was enjoyed a five-season run from 1965 to 1970, and is still regarded with a fair amount of nostalgia by Italians of a certain age.

*A/N: Truth in television - the real Paluzzi did indeed study naval engineering in Milan. She was the only woman on the course, apparently.
 
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John S. McCain, President of the United States 2000-2008. A former Naval officer, McCain graduated as a naval aviator in 1960, piloting A-1 Skyraiders from the carrier USS Kitty Hawk. He would see his first action not against an overseas enemy, however, but during the American Troubles, being called upon to provide air support for FBI and Army units against a particularly well-equipped Klan safehouse. He would see action on a couple of other, similar occasions, before being deployed in 1964 as part of a wider American commitment to carry out air strikes in support of President Goulart of Brazil, leading to the defeat of the attempted military coup.

At the end of his military career (retiring as a captain in 1981), McCain would enter politics, running as a Republican for a vacant spot in California's first district. He would serve as a Congressman for five years, before running for United States Senator from California in 1986. He would win, and hold his Senatorial position until his election as President in 2000. While in office, he became part of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and would champion a great deal of legislation aimed at the support of the black, Latino and Native American communities. He proved to be a moderate in terms of fiscal policy, supporting a degree of deregulation in the financial sector, while preserving what he saw as 'essential' regulation to 'keep the damn banks honest', as well as advocating for moderate tax cuts. He would, however, support efforts at providing greater access to affordable or free medical care, something that would see him supporting the Freedom Party's introduction of Medicaid during Pat Robertson's presidency as well as the introduction of the free California State Healthcare System. However - while lukewarm on the subject himself - he would be particularly vocal in opposing President Robertson's efforts to ban same-sex marriage federally, declaring that marriage was a matter for the states and that for the Federal Government to try to sway such a subject either way represented 'monstrous federal overreach - I thought the President's party were all about states' rights?'

As President, he would exercise a consistently moderate approach: while he didn't make any moves towards a Federal healthcare system, he would pass legislation that made it easier for individual states to establish free state healthcare systems, as well as adding an additional, regular sum to the money paid to individual states, a sum specifically earmarked for state healthcare needs. The funding in question has been of great assistance to those states who have established free healthcare within their borders, especially in light of the Opioid epidemic. He also increased funding for education, signed into law legislation making college fees tax-deductible (something that helped a great many Americans considerably), while also proving himself a friend to business via certain other laws.

Following his stepping down as President, McCain would retire from politics. He passed away in late 2020, his funeral attended by a large number of former Presidents and political colleagues, in particular former President Powell, who delivered a eulogy, as well as by the serving President.

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Francis Fukuyama, noted political scientist. Fukuyama is chiefly known for his book The Final Era, written in the mid-1990s, in which he posited that mankind was entering its 'final, permanent stage of government'. Noting that, while global rivalries existed, actual reasons for conflict between the major global powers were minor, and noting the tendency for democratic capitalist governments to - to one degree or another - favour a social democratic welfare type route (even laissez-faire Katanga offering state healthcare and various other supports), he posited that humanity had finally 'rejected extremes', noting that with the rejection of extreme leftism (with the fall of the USSR) and the rejection of extreme rightism (with the end of Fascism), humanity had found the 'most equitable system', and would likely remain in that for as long as the human species existed.

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American writer Tom Clancy (1947-2018). Initially coming to fame with his 1984 novel The Hunt for Giulio Cesare, surrounding a fictional Fascist Italian attack submarine and its defection to the United States, Clancy would go on to write a number of thrillers - both set in the present day and during the Cool War, usually involving his main character Pat Ryan - as well as the alternate history novel Sirocco Rising, a novel about a hypothetical Third World War between the European democracies and Fascist Italy. More recently, he was known for Burning Vengeance, a rather unnerving thriller involving Pat Ryan and allies' efforts to stop a fictional South African President - the son of a Klansman who fled to South Africa - from destroying the United States as revenge for the 'betrayal of the white race'. The book ended on an alarming note, with an afterword by Clancy noting that with the number of racist Americans and Europeans who've emigrated to South Africa, one of their children may end up becoming the leader of South Africa and attempting something like Clancy described, while also urging the democratic powers to find some means of 'destroying this monster once and for all'. Unsurprisingly, the book is banned in South Africa.​
 
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Umberto II, king of Italy in 1947 -1983

Umberto II became king after his father Victor Emmanuel III's death. He faced already immediately his first challenge when Mussolini tried abolidh monarchy. But thanks of pro-monarchist fascist politicians Mussolini had give up his plans. Umberto has been long time before fall of fascism supporter of democracy altough publicly him had support the dictatorship.

Umberto's 35 years lasted reign saw Cold War, Cool War, fall of communism and fall of fascism. He too saw Third Italo-Ethiopian War. Speciality after nuking of Addis Ababa him became more sympathic towards Ethiopia. So he strongly supported Ciano's peace plan in Eithiopia. In 1979 the king gave his strong support for transition to democracy.

Umberto II was popular king in Italy and abroad and his death in 1983 was mourned widely.
 
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Photograph taken in 1971 at what was once Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, now Japan Air Force Base, Kadena. The last American forces withdrew from Japan in 1989, though the United States still maintains the right to base ships and aircraft on Japanese bases in the event this becomes necessary.

Japan today can best be described as having many options in its foreign policy. It maintains its alliance with the United States, but has also developed a bilateral alliance and trading agreements with the Philippines - another US ally - and both nations have aligned their economies with the wealthy South-East Asian nations of the 'Francophonie', signing agreements that effectively create a free-trade zone that spans South-East Asia, the Philippines and Japan (as well as committing Japan and the Philippines to assist the Francophonie's SE Asian nations if attacked by a hostile power). It has been theorised that if France did ever abandon its alliance ties, Japan and the Philippines would be more than willing to take its place, making this regional partnership a full alliance (while many in SE Asia have Long Memories involving Japan, they prefer the idea of burying the hatchet to becoming dominated by China). For now, Japan continues to occupy a crossroads position in Asia...something that has benefited US trade no end, as it gives them a greater 'in' with the Francophonie via Japan.

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Renowned Japanese writer Murakami Haruki. Known for his frequently surreal yet deep novels, Murakami is greatly beloved among readers in the West, and has a strong following among Japanese youth. However, he has found himself somewhat of a controversial figure owing to his outspoken pacifism and his insistence that Japan has failed to learn from its past, having commented that 'the Japanese people have not accepted that we were aggressors in the Second World War'. Indeed, his novel Lost Dreams, a typically-surreal novel involving a talking rooster (with a ridiculous Kansai accent) and a man becoming unstuck in time, also delved deeply into the phenomenon of 'Ezo Dreaming Syndrome', something noticed in a number of veterans of the Ezo War who created alarmingly-detailed fantasies to disassociate themselves from the reality of their actions against the Ainu. This would lead to many right-wing parties calling for a boycott on his work, and uyoku dantai burning his books. However, he has remained steadfast in his conviction, continues to write and continues to live in Japan. And, indeed, it should be noted that many of his younger fans are increasingly coming around to his way of thinking.

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Mishima Yukio (1925-2010), the other side of the Japanese literary world. Though a renowned and talented writer and playwright, Mishima was also an extreme Nationalist, opposing not only Communism but also resolute in his belief that Japan should stand apart from the West, claiming that the embrace of Western culture would lead to the loss of Japan's unique culture and of yamato-damashii. It was this belief that led him to - in addition to his writing - become active in politics, first in establishing the Sokoku Bōeitai, a private militia that he wished to complement the Army and which he modelled heavily on the Lehi, then in founding and leading the 'Greater Yamato Party', a political party that while it never became a major force within the Diet, could nevetherless be a small but significant source of votes. Mishima also travelled to Ezo as a war correspondent, and briefly saw action when he took over a light machine-gun - something that he would later claim to be his recompense for not being able to serve his nation as a young man.

Mishima, though a respected writer and a friend of right-wing politicians, was a man of confusing ideas. While he supported the Emperor and the nation, he also claimed that that in many respects Marxism had had some decent ideas, save for its lack of veneration for traditional authority figures (such as the Emperor), and endorsed a number of left-wing ideas as part of his Party's platform, as well as having many friends among Japanese student militants (both left-leaning and Young Fascists)...while also maintaining a highly Fascist-styled aesthetic and cult of masculinity in his militia and his Party, as well as calling for a return to a way of life more rooted in the Edo Period.

An amusing part in his later political career could be seen in Mishima's championing of gay rights in the 90s and 2000s (he himself was certainly bisexual, possibly a closeted homosexual)...except for marriage. Instead, Mishima would call for 'families of mutual understanding' whereby gay men would marry lesbian women, both would produce and raise children for the future of the nation...but would have same-sex partners, indeed, their partners might be married to one another, creating large 'extended families'. He claimed that this idea, so far from being radical, was in fact rooted in Japanese culture and tradition, noting that it was highly common for samurai to have male lovers even when married and that his proposal merely 'updated' this idea so women in such marriages could have female lovers.

Upon Mishima's death, his Party would ultimately fracture.
A/N: Some of this at least is truth in television for Mishima. While a right-winger, he seems to have had sympathy with left-wing student activism, he had some really weird ideas even by Japanese right-winger standards, and he seems to have been either bi or closeted gay. So...yeah, extrapolated for the FoM setting :p


 
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Finnish soldiers on patrol near the Russian border c. 2019. While the Finns dropped a lot of their Communist-era laws and practices, one that they maintained was allowing women to join the military, as seen here (indeed, not merely allowed, but also subject to conscription).

Thanks to a number of factors, including trade with Scandinavia, financial aid from ITO on their joining, and more recently European Union membership, Finland has seen considerable recovery from the Communist era, and today represents one of the more successful post-Communist nations, hosting a number of German businesses in the nation and exporting electronics, machinery, furniture and pharmaceuticals, though it continues to bear scars and face difficulties from its long subjugation. In addition, many have argued that while its economic success has been welcome, it would probably be even more widespread if the nation didn't spend as much as it does on defence. Finnish politicians and government leaders across the political spectrum are quietly determined that their nation will never be vulnerable again, and as such maintain a large conscript military, as well as buying large amounts of the latest weapons, vehicles and aircraft from Germany.

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Dwellings in Finnish Karelia. A major source of tourist revenue for Finland thanks to its natural beauty, the Karelian region remains home to a sizeable number of ethnic Russians. Less than before the fall of the USSR, it must be said - many were 'encouraged' to leave by the ethnic Finnish population and the independent government - but still a not-inconsiderable number.

Russians tend to feel unwelcome in Finland. Both as a result of Finland's occupation, but also as a result of differences: post-independence has seen Finnish society becoming more liberal in many respects (socially in particular, though it should also be noticed that the moderate/increasingly liberal Lutheran Church has seen major growth too as a symbol of Finnish-ness), but also far more Nationalist. Finnish culture, as seen in celebrations of Finland's mythical and real past (the Kalevala is now mandatory studying in all Finnish schools) and in a reframing of Finnish history around a constant struggle for independence from larger neighbours. The Russian population, by contrast, are increasingly Tolstoyist and tend towards being far more conservative...two things that set them apart from ethnic Finns. There has been...trouble, on a number of occasions.

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Soldiers of the Deutsche Heer taking part in an exercise with troops from other EU nations c. 2020.

While Germany and much of Europe remains part of ITO, the EU - embracing Eastern and Central Europe, the Baltics, Scandinavia and Iberia - is increasingly forming a bloc within a bloc. Not only does it represent a major free trade and travel area, but member states' military, intelligence and policing services increasingly train and coordinate together, steps have been made towards a unitary chain of command, and it is increasingly understood that even were ITO to collapse tomorrow, if one EU nation were to be attacked by a hypothetical enemy, all other members would rally to its defence.

With the departure of France from the former EEC, and the EU being increasingly a joint German-Spanish affair (though slanted towards Germany, thanks to their economic and industrial strength), a number of people have commented that while Germany was unable to attain hegemony in Central/Eastern Europe via force of arms, they have managed to do so with money, industrial exports and banking.

 
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Electric buses in Shenzhen, China. Most cities in the developed world have had fully electrified public transport networks - electric buses, electric trains, electric tram systems, even electric taxis in many cases - since 2010, following major international initiatives in both ITO and the CIS. China has long been a leader in this area, and is a major supplier of electrical vehicles to its various alliance and trading partners.

The issue of global warming is one that many scientists and governments are keeping an eye on. However, the heavy push towards electrified public transport, major drives to clean up industry in developed nations since the 1990s, and the widespread use of nuclear power by developed nations (these days primarily molten salt reactors, with the advantage of being able to burn fuel until it's no longer radioactive), all mean that it's seen as a very long-term issue. And, ideally, not an issue at all if technology continues to improve.

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Shenzhen City, Republic of China. Part of the Pearl River Delta, and thus in an ideal position for trade via Hong Kong, Shenzhen has enjoyed continuous growth since the end of the Civil War (or as the West calls it, the 'Chinese War'). Since the growth of China's tech sector in the late 1970s, Shenzhen - or 'Future City' as many dub it - has been a major hub for indigenous tech companies, from computer manufacturers to gaming companies, as well as for 'green' industry such as manufacture of electric vehicles, solar panels and the like.

Shenzhen also has a very young population as a consequence of its 'cutting edge' nature, making it one of the more liberal cities in the Republic. A number of globally-popular Chinese musicians and authors also make their home in the city, adding to this liberal nature.

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Two women getting married in Guangzhou City, Republic of China. Since the Republic's legalisation of same-sex marriage*, not only have such weddings as this become a feature of life in China's major cities, but also the LGBT population in general has grown in visibility, with a number of famous Chinese who'd hitherto kept their personal life quiet now coming out. Attitudes in China regarding this can vary from place to place - in the major cities, the majority of people are either supportive or don't really care one way or the other, while rural China can remain more conservative on the subject. Matchmakers, meanwhile, have found themselves with a great deal more business as long as they're willing to adapt with the times - those who are now do enjoy a busy and lucrative trade either matchmaking for same-sex couples, or, in the case of young people from more conservative families, discreetly matching gay men with lesbian women in what Westerners would call 'lavender marriages' to get their families to stop pestering them to marry while allowing them to continue living their lives. This, of course, in addition to matchmakers' normal line of work.

*A/N: as noted in Sorairo's 2020 round-up in the timeline proper :p
 
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Yuri Gagarin (1934 - 2020)

In 1960's Gagarin was for Soviets national hero who helped Soviets conquer space. Privately Gagarin was anyway bit critical on Soviet Union and speciality its huge spends for space program despite that people literally was starving. A last straw was premier Suslov's idiotic plan to fake moon landing and of course Gagarin had role on that. Gagarin was ordered to fly around Moon so that it would look like that he actually landed there. Gagarin was really frustrated about such plan and recalled that he even wanted punch that KGB agent to face who ordered him to do that.

After space trip Gagarin and his partners anyway landed to neutral East Turkestand and then they managed to flee to United States. Later Gagarin told to people how shamelessly Soviet Union tried fake moon landing. He too met president George Corley in White House. Soviet officials were really enraged and it even tried claim that real Gagarin was killed by Americans and this another guy is just actor who try humiliate Soviet Union. This anyway didn't work any and people quickly lost their faith to the system and communism eventualöly collapsed quickly.

Gagarin and his family later settled to United States. Ggarin woked long time to NASA and even made couple space flight. Later he wrote his memoirs and some other space travel related books.
 
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British actor Sean Connery as Francisco Hernan Scaramanga,​

In the 1968 Bond-Agente Segreto X9 crossover film, “Madness on the Mediterranean”, Connery plays the role of dangerous Spanish communist marksman Francisco Hernan Scaramanga aka “the Man with One Bullet” for it is often said that the Spaniard needs only one bullet from his Mosin-Nagant M1891 bolt-action rifle to kill you. Scaramanga is an individual who fights a one man war against the Roman Alliance (particularly Francoist Spain) with a cabal of radical leftist Spaniards called the “Army for the Restoration of the Spanish Republic/ARSR” and hasn’t gotten over the Spanish Civil War, he is anti-Francoist/anti-fascist to the point of insanity — the ARSR hijacks several nuclear warheads and threatens to glass the entirety of Spain unless Franco steps down and allows for the republic to be restored.

007 (played by Christopher Lee) and X9 (played by Gerlando Buzzanca) join forces to stop the ARSR who have started working with Bond’s nemesis SPECTRE before the radical republicans can unleash the warheads. The movie was noted to have the actual Caudillo of Spain himself Francisco Franco star in the film as himself to give the agents their briefing along with introducing their Spanish counterpart in the Social Investigation Brigade (Franco’s secret police) for the duration of the mission, Yasmina Cedillo (played by Carmen Sevilla).

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Spanish actor Carmen Sevilla in the 1960s.​
 
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Ibn Saud, king of Saudi Arabia in 1932 - 1953

Ibn Saud held long time close relationships with Britain but in 1948 he joined to Arab Alliance and fought against Israel. It was terrible defeat altough Saudi Arabian army was much better than armies of other Arab nations. This caused rise of radical Arab nationalism but Ibn Saud managed to keep situation under congrol. Later he made state treaty with United Arab Republic promising that KSA will join to UAR in 100 years and never make any deals with Israel. During his reign KSA became stable and prosperous but still regarding human rights really backward nation. KSA too adopted harsh anti-Israel and antisemtiic politics.

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Saud ibn Abdulaziz, second and last king of Saudi Arabia in 1953 - 1956

Saud ibn Abdulaziz became king of Saudi Arabia after death of his father in 1953. He continued keeping close relationships with UAR and even made official state visit in 1955. In 1956 Saudi Arabia joined to war against Israel. At end of Second Arabian War capital Riyadh was nuked and it killed the king, his immediate family adn several of his brothers. Saudi Arabia fell to chaos and many other members of Saudi family were killed.

Remaining members of the family fled around the world and lost of their political influence and property. Nowadays most of them live in South America and are pretty much invisible for whole world.
 
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Farouk, last king of Egypt

Farouk has been long time British puppet ruler. But in 1948 he participated to First Arabian War against Israel. It was total failure and Egyptian army was greatly defeated. Furthermore several Egyptian cities like Alexandria and Cairo were bombed by Italians and Brits. Farouk was unpopular already before the war but during the war him became even further unpopular due his incompetense and he held massive celebrations during bominb of Cairo.

Farouk couldn't control post-war situation and his government was deeply corrupt and incompetent. This just increased popularity of Arab nationalism and oppoistion of army. Soon there was formed Arab nationalist and anti-monarchist Free Officers Assosication. On March 1951 in Cairo erupted several riots and finally roters sacked royal palace. Farouk and his wife were killed by assault rifles and then their bodies were thrown from window (altough with Farouk them had broke some wall due passed king's massive size). Farok didn't get honorable funeral but his head was cut off and later some witness claimed that some stray dog was carrying king's head on its jaws. Rest of body was thrown to Nile. The king's wife got some kind of funeral anyway.

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Gamal Abdel Nasser was founder and leader of Free Officers Assosication. He was leader of upriising which ousted monarchy and Nasser became first president of Egypt. Altough Nasser saw himself being true Arab leader not Michel Aflaq he still, probably due pressure of his Arab natiomaöost allies, joined to United Arab Republic. There has been whole time strong rivalry between Nasser and Aflaq but Nasser remained at least publicly loyal to Aflaq. Naturally as part of UAR Egypt had participate to Second Arabian War. It wa even worse disater for Egypt than first one. Cairo was nuked. Altough Nasser and his government managed flee from city, blast made Nasser permanentally blind. But despite that impair Nasser tried take leadership of UAR when he assumed that Aflaq was killed on nuking of Baghdad. Unfortunately for him he was wrong. Aflaq humiliated Nasser further by revealing his blindness. There is not knowledge how Aflaq knew that but it is likely that Nasser's closest ally Anwar Sadat told that for him. Nasser anyway decided continue hopeless war. Finally Sadat assassinated Nasser and took power.

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Anwar Sadat, second president of unified Egypt and first president of Republic of South Egypt.

Sadat participated to ousting of Egyptian monarchy. He was close ally of Nasser but begun to turn against him when Second Arabian War became clearly unwinable. Finally Sadat had to kill Nasser and him became president of Egypt. He declared independence from UAR which wasn't functionally exist anymore. Sadat hoped that Egypt could remain as unified even if him had to give Sinai to Israel. But him had just accept that Egypt was divided. Sinai was given to Israel, Western parts of Egypt was annexed to Italian Libya and rest of Egypt was divided to Christian North Egypt, Muslim South Egypt and city state of Cairo. Sadat was anyway allowed stay as president of South Egypt.

Sadat's presidency wasn't easy. The country hadn't very good relationships with negihboring naitons and Israel. And the country was internally really instable. Whole 1960's and early 1970's the country suffered from Islamic and Ba'athist terrorism and violence. There was too some military coup attempts. Furthermore Sadat faced several assassination attempts. The country too remained really poor and backward. South Egypt too was badly damaged by corruption. Eventually situation stabilised during 1970's. Sadat stepped down from his stressful office in 1979. He died in 1990 from heart attack.

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Yasser Arafat has served long time in Egyptian army. Later him became close aid of Anwar Sadat. Arafat worked later on Sadat's government and in 1979 him became president of South Egypt. During Aragat's presidency relationships with negihbors and Israel improved greatly. Arafat's actions helped to increase tourism and rise economy of South Egypt. The country too experienced further stablisation and some level of liberalisation altough South Egypt is even still nowadays quiet authotarian. Arafat stepped down from his office in 1999 due Parkinson's disease. He died in 2004.

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Hosni Mubarak served on Egyptian air forces during both Arabian Wars. Later he participated to politics of South Egypt and worked long time as minister of defense. In 1999 him became president of South Egypt. During his presidency Egyptian economy was quiet stagnated altough the country remained stable. Him had too good relationships with other nations. But during Mubarak's presidency has begun rise iedeas of unification of old Egypt and even include North Sudan for that. Mubarak has been sympatchic for such ideas but pragmatically he hasn't even tried suggest such things when he knew that foreign nations, speciality Israel, Italy and Britain wouldn't like that. Mubarak had quiet authotarian rule altough he allowed some level of democracy. He ruled South Egypt until his death in 2020.
 
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Hannah Szenes (1921-2006)

Hungarian-Israeli poet, military and diplomat. She emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1939. In 1943 she enlisted in the British Army to train as an SOE agent. After the Nagy Árulás Napja she was sent to Budapest by parachute to coordinate the Hungarian resistance with the Anglo-Jewish army to liberate the capital. She participated in the uprising and liberation of the city, then following the Jewish army to Prague. She participated in the First Arabian War, after which she returned to civilian life, being a renowned poet. She was Israel's ambassador to Hungary between 1981 and 1987, she was awarded the Order of Merit by King Otto for her role in liberating the country, and the Hungarian University of Fine Arts awarded her an a Doctorem Honoris Causa for her contributions to poetry. Szenes died in 2006 in Sechem, she is buried in the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. In Budapest there is a square in her honor.
 
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Abadoned town in Russia

Such things are common sight around the cuntry. Russian population has been declining already many decades and it has just accelerated during 2010's. Biggest reasons are low birth rate and massive immigration. Speciality young highly educated and people and people who don't feel Russia having anything to offer for them are migrating to other nations. Russian population is probably fastest dropping in the world, probably even faster than any other highly developed country. Many have enen begun to talk about Russian Population Crisis and it is estimated that by 2050 some oblasts have so low population hat central government has incorporate them to other oblasts. Some politicians have even suggested that Russia should take more immigrants but most politicions and Russians oppose such thing.
 
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Abadoned town in Russia

Such things are common sight around the cuntry. Russian population has been declining already many decades and it has just accelerated during 2010's. Biggest reasons are low birth rate and massive immigration. Speciality young highly educated and people and people who don't feel Russia having anything to offer for them are migrating to other nations. Russian population is probably fastest dropping in the world, probably even faster than any other highly developed country. Many have enen begun to talk about Russian Population Crisis and it is estimated that by 2050 some oblasts have so low population hat central government has incorporate them to other oblasts. Some politicians have even suggested that Russia should take more immigrants but most politicions and Russians oppose such thing.
I can imagine a lot began moving out after Russia befriended South Africa.
 
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