Kolyma's Shadow: An Alternate Space Race

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by nixonshead, May 11, 2014.

  1. nixonshead Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2013
    I fully agree. For me the stand-out feature of both von Braun and Korolev was their superb man management and political skills. Von Braun is down, but not out.

    Very true, the X-20 IOTL did become a capability looking for a mission, as did its follow-on MOL. But in the period we’ve covered so far, both IOTL and ITTL, the Air Force have their hearts set on it, and as a logical progression from the X-15 you can kind of see their point - unless your name is Max Faget, of course ;)

    In fact from everything I’ve read the creation of NASA was not down to Eisenhower, but rather was an initiative from within Congress (with heavyweight support from Senate Majority leader LBJ) in response to the Sputnik panic and the perception that the Navy were dropping the ball. ITTL, that perception doesn’t exist, so there isn’t the same “Something must be done: This is something, therefore it must be done” response from within Congress, so no NASA.

    I don’t think it’s a case of you being unaware, but rather that the merits were never made clear! The original requirement was for high-speed reconnaissance, but that was picked up by the Blackbird (as far as that aircraft ever fulfilled an operational need), then spysats. Partly I think it was a case of progressing from X-15 and cultural aspects within the Air Force, as discussed above, but I (and Ike, apparently) suspect a lot of it came down to the Military-Industrial Complex wanting a shiney new development project - much as they did over a decade later with the Shuttle. Fact is though, technically justified or not, the decisions outlined in the previous post are fully consistent with what actually happened IOTL, with only a few minor things changed!

    As I understand it, the (hoped-for) advantage of aerodynamic plane changes over launching directly into the desired orbit is firstly that you can launch a heavier payload into a lower inclination orbit, then use the atmosphere to do most of the heavy lifting for the plane change, and secondly the operational responsiveness it gives you to change your orbital track in a way unpredictable to the enemy. If you launch straight to an orbit overflying your target, the bad guys will quickly track you, work out your overflight times, and hide whatever they don’t want you to see. Dyna-Soar would have been able to disappear over the horizon on one orbit, then reappear at an unexpected place and time as it comes up on the other side, taking photos/dropping bombs before you’ve got time for concealment. Of course if as NathanKell the propellant you save on the plane change has to be expended anyway to re-boost the orbit, then you might as well stick to reaction engines, but expect both of these arguments to be made by defenders/apologists of the project in the Air Force!

    Also, it’s cool ;)

    Indeed, this is not a factor that can be ignored. In particular, when mixed with Russia’s historical culture of paranoia and her inferiority complex, a lot of decision makers felt they couldn’t risk being wrong if they assumed something the US was doing was of no value, hence they had to match those capabilities even if they couldn’t explain why. To a lesser extent, this was also the case in reverse.

    I’ve put this down mainly to a clash of cultures, on both sides. The Air Force and Navy both consider (with varying degrees of accuracy) that they have this entire rocket business locked down - no need to pull in some Kraut (and worse, an Army Man) to tell them how to go about their business. Of course this attitude won’t prevail at the top levels or amongst anyone with an ounce of sense, but there will be a general culture that things are going quite well as they are, so no need to rock the boat.

    Similarly on von Braun’s side, he would have no interest in working with the Navy, and whilst the Air Force has some interesting projects, they’ve got a number of large ongoing programmes and probably aren’t interested in taking on new ideas just yet. Plus by this stage he’s pretty sick of the whole military mindset and wants a change. Von Braun’s had a good working relationship with Chrysler from their work as prime contractor on Redstone/Jupiter/Juno, and it lets him keep a foot in the door whilst he considers his next move.

    Not only would the Air Force consider an alternative booster, but IOTL the choice of launcher was a running debate all the way up to its cancellation, with just about every possible combination considered at some point, including most of those you’ve listed here, plus some all-new developments! The configuration they had at cancellation, IIRC, was the Titan-IIIC with a transtage needed to push it all the way to orbit, then staying attached to the glider for orbital manoeuvring.

    To a large extent, the choice of launcher constrains the possible missions, so I guess it makes sense that they weren’t able to settle on one without the other…

    Of course I’m fortunate enough to have a very capable rocket scientist to consult with on this TL to help me wade through all these facets :p

    Indeed, it was a big technological leap to make, and there are many reasons why it was not the most rational technical choice - but just because a project makes no sense and fails by its own standards doesn’t mean it won’t get approved ;)

    Well, these are the guys who were designing space shuttles, Moon landers and Mars missions in the 1940s, so you can bet they were thinking about the next steps in parallel to their work on Redstone - and indeed more than just thinking, given the resources they had access to. Aside from that, and in response to the many other detailed and thoughtful points raised on potential future US launchers, I’m afraid I’m going to be mean and just say wait and see! :D

    I’ve not delved into details, but the general answer is “about the same as IOTL”. Pluto will get cancelled for the same reasons as OTL, i.e. it’s an insane idea with limited value over other weapons systems and no way of actually testing the thing in operational conditions. The only way I could see Pluto ever being deployed is as part of a desperate crash-programme during wartime, which in reply to this point…

    Don’t worry, my one cast-iron rule in writing this TL is: Don’t blow up the world!

    One batsh*t crazy project I will comment on is the Orion nuclear-pulse rocket, which IOTL was dropped by Los Alamos and rejected by the Air Force in the late ‘50s to be picked up by ARPA. ITTL it is also rejected by the Air Force in the late ‘50s and picked up by… no-one! The concept dies before even the “Putt-putt” prototypes are flown, though doubtless the idea will re-surface at some point after declassification, just as IOTL.

    Trying to work out a plausible answer to that question is exactly what attracted me to this PoD in the first place :)

    Well, it has for the US and USSR, but they’re not necessarily the only game in town… ;)

    It does seem odd, doesn’t it? But Chrysler weren’t the only ones. Ford also set up a space division, the strangely-named Ford Aeroneutronic, who also made a bid on MISS and even went on to design a Mars lander. Weird, right?!

    Incidentally, I believe this response post, including the selected quotes, is now longer than every ‘story’ Post I’ve added so far! That record though should be broken on Sunday, as the next Post’s a whopper :)
  2. Michel Van Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Liege Belgium Europe
    in April Studies of a large clustered-engine booster.
    August 15 the rocket is label as Juno V, in september start Redstone Arsenal begins Juno V design studies. the H-1 engine R&D start and Juno V change to multistage carrier vehicle.
    December ABMA Briefing to NASA for use of Juno V as have launch rocket.
    February 2 Juno V relabeled Saturn I
    April, ABMA team were sent back to work on the Jupiter IRBM and its successors. means Saturn I program is stopt.
    May first H-1 ready and test fired.

    So here in TL is political desicion to stop ABMA Saturn program.
    the only build hardware from it is the H-1 engine ready in april 1960. not stage or mock-up from Saturn I were build to 1959.
  3. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

    Apr 13, 2007
    Syracuse, Haudenosaunee, Vinland
    Assuming, and of course this a big assumption, that NASA or equivalent civilian agency is created, then von Braun and Chrysler might be in great position. If the other two majors are locked in with the military, Chysler might just be the ideal 'civilian' rocket maker.

    Not that things would ever be that simpler.
  4. nixonshead Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2013
    You may think that… ;)

    Well, they are building nuclear-armed Jupiter IRBMs for deployment in Europe, so they’re not quite military-free. But IOTL Jupiter’s production run only lasted until 1961, and they didn’t get any more military missile contracts, so they could try to re-brand themselves in the way you suggest - though without the steady stream of military contracts enjoyed by their competitors, they’d have to act fast to prevent a loss of skilled personnel.
    ITTL they no doubt hope to take advantage of von Braun’s connections to win more work, and in fact this is already starting to pay off with the order of additional Redstones in support of Mercury.
  5. Threadmarks: Part I Post #8: Nations Divided

    nixonshead Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2013
    Slightly later than usual since I've been travelling this weekend, this week we take a wider look at the world beyond the space programme in...


    Part I Post #8: Nations Divided

    The Turkish night air was crisp and cool in the small hours of 12th January, 1960, as Flight Lieutenant John MacArthur climbed the ladder into the cockpit of his Lockheed U-2 aircraft. Not that you could tell it was his from its appearance. The aircraft carried no marks to identify its nationality, and neither did the pilot. Officially, John MacArthur was on temporary assignment from the RAF to the Meteorological Office, undertaking a high altitude research flight to better understand the weather.

    Once buttoned into the cockpit, MacArthur started the plane’s single Pratt & Whitney J57 jet engine and taxied carefully to the end of Incirlik Air Base’s runway, guided by the ground lights and followed by a chase car. Once at the end of the runway, ground crew pulled away the safety pins from the “Pogo” outrigger gear that kept the long, delicate wings from dragging on the ground, followed by a quick last-minute check from the Mobile Officer. With a final thumbs-up given, MacArthur released the brakes and pushed the throttle all the way forward. The ungainly aircraft began to move down the runway, gradually building up the speed needed for takeoff. As the wings lifted upwards, the Pogos fell away, and MacArthur rotated the jet off the tarmac, climbing rapidly as he turned to an Easterly course.

    As MacArthur reached his operational altitude of over 70 000 feet, he looked out across a black sky above a curved globe which was just becoming visible as dawn broke ahead of him. This must be what a spaceman would see, he thought. Appropriate, considering his target for this mission. A target personally authorised by the Prime Minister.

    MacArthur crossed into Iranian airspace a little over two hours after take-off. There was no traffic control message to record this. The Iranians were probably completely unaware of his high-altitude passage, and even had they known the good relations between London, Washington and Tehran would have kept the incident hushed up. But MacArthur knew that other, more dangerous watchers would have seen him by now.

    Sure enough, as he crossed the Caspian Sea into Soviet airspace, a distant glittering below him spoke of two Sukhoi Su-11 “Fishpot” interceptors following his flight. With a service ceiling more than 15 000 feet lower than his U-2, MacArthur knew they posed no threat, and he ignored their radio challenges. The U-2’s instruments showed various radars painting him, but again nothing that could harm him at this height.

    After two hours of cat-and-mouse games with various interceptors sent after him, MacArthur finally reached his target: the main Soviet ICBM and space launch complex at Tyuratam. High powered telescopes in the belly of his aircraft began snapping pictures of the launch pads and assembly halls of the cosmodrome, all clearly visible in the mid-morning sunshine. His primary objective achieved, MacArthur turned his aircraft North-West, heading for Bodø in Norway via the Plesetsk missile base and a few tertiary targets in the Urals.

    Unknown to MacArthur or the intelligence chiefs in London and Washington, a new danger lurked in the Ural mountains. A battery of S-75 surface-to-air missiles had become operational just a few months earlier in late 1959. The battery’s commander had never attempted to engage a real target with his missiles, nor any target operating at such high altitude, but when the order came one did not question it. One simply fired.

    A volley of three S-75’s leapt from their guide rails and accelerated rapidly towards MacArthur’s U-2. The British pilot was immediately alerted to their launch and attempted evasive manoeuvres, but the guidance experts at OKB-301 had done their work well. The U-2 was hit by the first missile amidships and rapidly broke in two. MacArthur was hit by shrapnel from the explosion and died instantly as the two halves of his aircraft began the long, long descent to the ground.

    The route of Flt. Lt. John MacArthur’s U-2, showing the position of his shoot-down.

    The shooting down of Flt. Lt. MacArthur’s U-2 would make for an uncomfortable start to the year for both British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, who was already facing controversy following his “Winds of Change” speech in Cape Town earlier in the month, and for President Eisenhower. As had been pre-arranged, the UK government immediately put out a statement that they had lost a “Research aircraft on loan to the Meteorological Office” which had gone missing and was presumed crashed “somewhere over Eastern Turkey” following a “navigation error”.

    In Moscow, Khrushchev was infuriated by this bare-faced lie. Moreover, he knew from the recovered wreckage that whilst the pilot might have been British (MacArthur’s body had no official identification), his aircraft was undoubtedly an American-built U-2. Khrushchev was aware of the close cooperation between the UK and US intelligence agencies, but could not bring himself to believe that Eisenhower would allow overflights of the USSR without giving his own explicit approval.

    Pravda publicly announced the shooting down of the U-2 on Thursday 13th January, following an initial assessment of the wreckage by KGB and GRU experts. Simultaneously, the Soviet ambassador in London delivered a strongly worded rebuke to the British government, condemning the incursion as a blatant violation of Soviet sovereignty and making it clear that future attempts to enter Soviet airspace with spy planes, of any nation, would be met with similarly deadly force. The Soviet embassy in Washington delivered a similar warning to the President through more discrete channels.

    Eisenhower, who had previously been enjoying reasonably good relations with Khrushchev, took the hint and immediately banned further overflights. He also returned operational control of all U-2s to American personnel. On the other side of the Atlantic, Macmillan continued to stick to his cover story that the plane had been a lost meteorological flight, a position repeated when answering questions in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister faced fierce questions from Parliament and in the press, but he would weather the immediate political storm. However, the incident would affect his future relationships with both Eisenhower and Khrushchev.

    The most significant impact was at the Four Power Talks which kicked off on 16th May in Paris. At these talks, Macmillan had hoped to propose a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, both to prevent potential harmful effects from airborne radiation and as a first confidence-building step towards a gradual disarmament. He was dismissed out of hand by a belligerent Khrushchev, who took the opportunity to remind Macmillan exactly how few Soviet hydrogen bombs would be needed to wipe the UK from the map “As you would know, had you been able to count our rockets as you’d planned.”

    Eisenhower was not brushed aside so easily, but still found Khrushchev unreceptive to his proposals for a system of international arms inspections to reassure both sides in the Cold War that the other was not planning a sneak attack. In 1959, with the Soviets barely in space and before the U-2 shootdown, Khrushchev may have been willing to talk about this, but the MacArthur incident had seriously dented any trust he’d previously had in Eisenhower. Also, prototypes of Mishin’s Sammit spy satellites would be starting to fly by mid 1960, allowing Khrushchev to boast that “The Soviet Union has all the means she needs to keep an eye on your forces. We don’t need your permission for this.” French President Charles de Gaulle later suggested in private that “Perhaps M. Khrushchev was referring to reports received from his space dog.” Had he heard these comments it’s doubtful that Khrushchev would have been amused, as he knew what de Gaulle did not: Vega had not actually survived re-entry, and the dog he’d been photographed with at the May Day parade was a substitute.

    As for Khrushchev himself, his priority coming to Paris was the status of Berlin. The city was still officially under joint occupation by the four Allied Powers that had defeated Nazi Germany, with each Power being assigned a Sector within the city. However, the city as a whole was located deep within the former Soviet Occupation Zone, the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR). An attempt by Stalin to seal off the city in 1949 had failed, since which time the Western Allies had maintained access rights to Berlin through dedicated road, rail and air routes crossing Soviet-controlled territory. None of the Western Allies recognised the legitimacy of the DDR, and access to the different zones within Berlin had remained relatively free for civilians and occupation officials alike.

    This freedom of movement within Berlin had become a serious problem for the DDR regime as it became apparent that there were many Germans in the East who did not relish the task of "Building Socialism". Whilst the long Inner German Border between the DDR and the Western Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD) had been largely sealed off since 1952, occupied Berlin wasn’t, and by 1960 over 3 million East Germans - almost 20% of the population - had taken the opportunity to escape to the West. This situation was clearly unsustainable, and Walter Ulbricht, the Chairman of the DDR Socialist Unity Party (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, SED), had been pressuring Khrushchev for some time to hand East Berlin’s border control over to him so he could stem the tide.

    Khrushchev was uneasy with the idea of handing control over to Ulbricht, as it would essentially give the German the ability to create an international incident whenever he felt like it by “squeezing” on what Khrushchev had described as “the testicles of the West”. On the other hand, the Soviet Union couldn’t just stand by and watch as their westernmost Warsaw Pact ally imploded through mass emigration. No, Khrushchev’s preferred solution was for Berlin to be declared a demilitarised Free City and the Western Allies agree to hand control over to a local city authority. This authority, Khrushchev assumed, would quickly fall under the sway of the SED and the escape route would be cut off, whilst simultaneously removing a NATO military presence within the heart of the DDR.

    Needless to say, Eisenhower, Macmillan and de Gaulle had all reached the same conclusion and had no intention of relinquishing their presence in Berlin. So Khrushchev was left with the bargaining position he’d held for the past year: Agree to Free City status, or the USSR will sign a separate peace treaty with the DDR and hand over East Berlin and control of its borders to Ulbricht.

    Thus deadlocked, the summit broke up with no substantial progress having been made. After the meeting, talks were quietly resumed on the test ban proposal, but on Berlin it seemed that no-one was prepared to move.

    Whilst Eisenhower was dealing with these foreign policy issues, his Vice President Richard Nixon was firmly focussed on domestic politics. 1960 was an election year, and with Eisenhower barred from running by the 22nd Amendment, Nixon seized his chance to go for the top job. With the withdrawal of Nelson Rockefeller in late 1959, the field was open for Nixon to claim the Republican candidacy at the National Convention in Chicago on 28th July. The Convention also approved the policy platform that Nixon had, with support from Rockefeller, put forward rather late in the day. This platform focussed on confronting Communism at home and abroad, providing stimulus for businesses and farmers, improving health and education and urging a continued push against segregation. After much consideration, Henry Lodge was announced as the candidate for Vice President, both for his foreign policy expertise and, hopefully, as a way of giving Nixon’s Democratic opponent, John F Kennedy, a strong fight in his home state of Massachusetts.

    The campaign was incredibly close-fought between the two candidates. In particular, the four televised debates held between September and October showed how evenly the fight was split, with polls suggesting radio listeners had taken Nixon as the winner whilst TV viewers thought Kennedy had just done enough to win it. Kennedy came across as youthful and energetic next to the tired, establishment figure of Nixon, but countering this was Nixon’s greater credibility as an experienced hand and tough anti-Communist. Despite Kennedy’s attempts to talk up fears that the Soviets may soon open up a gap in ICBM production, and to exploit the Eisenhower Administration's culpability in the U-2 shoot-down, he was unable to get as much traction as he’d hoped against Nixon’s credentials on defence matters.

    Come November 8th, the polls showed a nation split almost exactly down the middle, but when the final vote came in it gave a razor-thin majority to Nixon with 50.09% of the popular vote compared to Kennedy’s 49.17%. This translated into an electoral college victory of 286 to 243 in Nixon’s favour, with Mississippi’s 8 votes going to Harry Byrd. Richard Milhous Nixon would be the 35th President of the United States.


    The result was keenly watched in the Kremlin and in Berlin. Khrushchev’s May ultimatum giving the West six months to agree to a settlement on Berlin or have the USSR sign a separate treaty had come and gone without fanfare. Despite his threats, Khrushchev was not prepared to hand over border controls to Ulbricht, but the SED leader continued to press for action to restrict the flow of East Germans fleeing to the West. Khrushchev had persuaded Ulbricht to hold off on any action until after the US elections, but with the Nixon's victory the Soviet leader knew that things would not get any easier if he chose to act. He had met Nixon and “looked him in the eye” during the famous Kitchen Debate of 1959, and knew the ex-lawyer would be a tough opponent in any confrontation. If a crisis was coming, the old gambler Khrushchev decided it was better to come sooner rather than later.

    December saw first Ulbricht and then the other Warsaw Pact leaders called to Moscow for consultations. Following these meetings, an agreement was rubber-stamped authorising Ulbricht to act. Having spent the previous two months in secret preparations, the East German leader said he could now be ready to move within weeks. Khrushchev decided that the best time to strike would be before Nixon’s inauguration on 20th January, taking advantage of the handover period to cause confusion in the West’s response.

    Shortly after 1 am on Sunday 15th January, 1961, East German forces began deploying barbed wire through the heart of Berlin. By the time most of the city awoke, the entire border zone was surrounded by armed men of the East German army and border guard, with West Berlin almost entirely fenced off with wire and concrete blocks at the major street intersections.

    President Eisenhower was alerted at around 6am Eastern Time (12 noon in Berlin) and immediately brought Vice President Nixon and his transition team into the loop, whilst making it clear that the final decisions still rested with him as Commander in Chief. The two men quickly agreed that this unilateral abrogation of the Four Power Agreement by East Germany could not go unanswered and so, after conferring with the officer commanding the Berlin forces, US units were deployed to Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate, with the objective of confronting the East German forces and demanding a meeting with a Soviet representative (East German authority not being formally recognised by the US) and a resumption of free access throughout the city. When the East German troops refused, and with no Soviet officials in sight, Eisenhower gave the order at 6pm Berlin Time for American tanks to forcibly clear the barbed wire at Potsdamer Platz. This order was given in clear via telephone through the line running through the DDR, and therefore was fully expected to be intercepted and understood by East German and Soviet eavesdroppers, sending a clear message that the US was prepared to stand up for its rights in Berlin.

    As ordered, a single American tank advanced across the border under floodlights and smashed through the barbed wire and concrete blocks, followed by a small contingent of US soldiers. East German forces withdrew from the area, falling back to the streets one or two blocks back from the border all along the line, not just at Potsdamer Platz. Seeing this, East Berliner civilians who had been watching with growing disbelief and horror throughout the day, began a mass exodus Westwards. Many jumped, crawled or cut their way through the now unguarded wire in the freezing night of the 15th/16th, but by far the greatest number headed for Potsdamer Platz. East German forces attempted to establish a secondary perimeter from their new line behind the border, but more than 6 000 people still managed to get through by midnight, despite shoot-to-kill orders coming down from Ulbricht and his Security Chief Hoennecker.

    With the torrent of refugees quickly becoming unmanageable, Khrushchev authorised Soviet military forces to move in and support the DDR's troops. As in the earlier 1953 uprising, Soviet forces acted with brutal efficiency, clearing a 100 m buffer zone all along the edge of the Soviet Sector, with the entire area between the Brandenburg Gate and the Spree placed under direct Soviet military control. US forces deployed along their own side of the border, but Eisenhower gave strict orders that no more clearances should be undertaken and the Americans should stay in their own Sectors. In the British Sector a similar policy was followed, whilst the French cleared just one street but otherwise made no move Eastwards.

    Fighting continued sporadically in East Berlin throughout the morning of the 16th, whilst at the inter-Sector checkpoints Soviet and NATO troops and tanks watched each other warily, fingers light on their triggers. Despite the orders not to advance, there were a number of instances of small contingents of US troops stepping over the border to assist fleeing East Berliners, and even in one case providing a few shots of covering fire, ratcheting up the tension. A similar heightened state of alertness was being observed worldwide, with bombers on both sides sent airborne and missiles readied for their final flights. Tyuratam reverted to its primary function, with two nuclear-armed R-6 missiles brought to readiness at the site’s ICBM pads, whilst at Plesetsk four more were put on alert. At Vandenberg, the one Atlas missile normally kept at ready status was joined by two more, and Thor missiles based in the UK were armed by their USAF/RAF crews. At the American base in Mannheim, near Frankfurt, a force of 10 000 relief troops, including tanks and artillery, were readied to make passage through the DDR and re-enforce the Berlin army group. In Washington, as the situation threatened to escalate out of control, Vice President (and President-Elect) Nixon was sent to Area B at Mount Weather, from where he would take the reigns of power should Eisenhower be killed in a Soviet strike. The world stood on the brink of war.

    As the enormity of the situation dawned on both sides, cooler heads began to prevail. With a more-or-less stable perimeter established behind the border, on the 19th Soviet tanks began a gradual withdrawal from the Sector border. This pull back was matched by US and allied forces, so that by mid afternoon only light troops remained at the border checkpoints to keep an eye on the situation. East German forces were kept well away from the front line, busying themselves building a new line of wire and checkpoints behind the buffer zone, out of sight of the forces on the border itself, as well as a third line completely encircling Berlin, East and West, with only the access roads used by Allied forces left open. Shortly after Nixon's inauguration on the 20th, direct talks with Khrushchev led to an agreement to keep diplomatic channels open, which eventually led to the Geneva summit on the future of Berlin in June. However, even at the time a shaken Nixon was taking his oath of office, the future shape of the city was already becoming clear from the facts on the ground. Whilst the border between the Eastern and Western Sectors of the city remained ostensibly open, the secondary line behind the border meant that the city was effectively divided in two, with a broad de-militarised zone extending 100 m into the Soviet Sector. The direct Sector border was manned by Soviet personnel, but behind the Line Ulbricht's men held sway. Whilst Allied officials were permitted free access to the East, in the future West Berliners and foreigners would need to apply to the DDR authorities for a special, seldom-granted visa for travel behind the Line. A similar system was instituted for East Berliners, but in their case visas were virtually never granted, and the old practice of people living in the East and working in the West became a thing of the past. Even access to East Berlin from the rest of the DDR was now restricted by the Outer Line surrounding the city, cutting the flow of people attempting to use Berlin as an escape route.

    More than 10 000 people had managed to cross from East to West during the crisis, and a thousand more would make it over by the end of February before the Line was fully fortified and shoot-to-kill made official policy. Estimates of the number of deaths during the three days of the peak of the crisis are difficult to confirm, but certainly exceeded 1 000. However, despite this tragic loss of life, all parties understood that the price had nearly been a lot higher. The world had stared into the nuclear abyss, and lived to tell the tale. On both sides of the Iron Curtain there was a determination that such a close call could never be allowed to happen again.


    A special thanks to Brainbin for his extra support in preparing this Post, above and beyond the fantastic help both he and e of pi give in reviewing and suggesting improvements to every Post. It is no exaggeration to say that without their support and inspiration, Kolyma’s Shadow would not exist.
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
    Dlg123 and pattontank12 like this.
  6. Bahamut-255 Space Lover

    Jul 28, 2010
    Ouch. That U-2 downing is going to hurt in the years down the line.

    But with Nixon securing a 1960 win, that's a 36-year run butterflied away already - check the hair of the challengers from 1960-1996 and you'll see what I mean.

    But it seems that the Berlin Crisis started a whole lot sooner as a result.
  7. Michel Van Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Liege Belgium Europe
    hammer post for Berliner like me.

    i just wonder, has Erich Honecker make a fatal mistake in rush preparation for 15th January, 1961 ?
    in OTL on 13th August 1961, the East german make sure that deploying barbed wire is ONE meter BEHIND the East border, so the Allies not move over border and pull it down.
    Here the US troops pull the barbed wire at Potzdamer Platz, so they are install on Borderline of West/East Berlin.

    With this Error, will Erich Honecker have a future in Politburo of SED ? means will be no putsch against Ulbricht in 1971 ?

    and to see that Berlin is COMPLETE surround by a Berlin Wall to isolate it really thorough.
  8. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

    Aug 20, 2010
    Reno, Nevada USA
    An educational post, since it caused me to take a closer look at what I thought I knew!:p

    One thing I defer to the author enlightening me about--I've never heard of Uncle Sam outsourcing U-2s to allied powers, not in this early timeframe when the things are still brand new anyway. Eventually we passed some on to the Taiwanese I believe. But by and large, while their pilots had scrubbed identities much like your Flight Lieutenant, I gather they were all Yanks. And very much not currently wearing any uniform! Can you tell us more about British or other allied U-2 pilots in this era OTL, or is it wholly an ATL thing?

    But I was prompted to read up on another matter: for many years now I've been accepting as fact the claim that OTL Kennedy owed his 1960 victory to election fraud, in Illinois especially. Looking at your ATL election map I was therefore astonished to see that state on Nixon's side!:confused: Knowing the election was close OTL, I had figured you'd find some way for Nixon to win it without Illinois, but looking at the map it was hard to see which Democratic state ought to be flipped Republican to make up for Illinois staying Democratic despite the stars veering in their courses.

    So, taking a look in more detail than I had before at the OTL election, first of all it seems that while there certainly is evidence of pro-Kennedy irregularities in that state and others in 1960 (OTL) there was also equally dubious activity that benefitted Nixon, and the courts of the day responded to the vigorous Republican challenge against Kennedy by recognizing that the illegalities that could be demonstrated were not enough to flip the result. Thus, it would seem, Kennedy won his narrow victory OTL fair and square (or as fair and square as any election could be with the "Solid South" still in play--indeed OTL the Dixiecrats did split from Kennedy not only in Mississippi but in Alabama and Oklahoma as well--irregular details steamrollered over ITTL).

    And vice versa, looking at the county maps, it is really remarkable that Kennedy did manage to hold on to Illinois at all, Mayor Daly's machine or no---outside of Chicago itself, the state looks very Republican. Well, that's a common illusion that results from looking at maps colored county by county, since most of the counties covering most of the area of the nation do not contain most of the people. Still, Illinois apparently suffered a severe split of sentiments between city and countryside.

    So--the incremental flipping of that state, and a few others (Missouri, New Jersey, Delaware--though the latter two would have a considerably smaller proportion of rural population to be sure--was that a suburban vote then for Nixon?) does seem in line with an incremental flipping of the nation, in a vote that was close in both timelines. In EC terms of course Nixon's victory is even more marginal than JFK's was OTL.

    Despite my doubts Kennedy's election was quite on the up and up (which have been gratefully dispelled, thanks to this post and the questions it raised:D) and despite my understanding that there was a lot wrong with the Kennedy Administration, I fear a Nixon one would be worse. But maybe not.

    Anyway you've wiped the entire political slate for all time to come in the USA quite clean--everything is up for grabs now.:p

    Alternate Berlin crisis--the dust seems to settle much where it did OTL, though perhaps Khrushchev will remember that single tank advancing (however far it had to, Michel, what's an extra meter or two between foes?) to break the wire and think twice about putting missiles in Cuba.

    We don't know after all whether the specific arming of Turkey with Jupiter missiles which were his emotional trigger for the Cuban adventure has happened or will. I'd have to research that to see if putting the Jupiters in Turkey was a Kennedy administration move--but even if it was, it seems one Nixon is likely to make as well. In both cases--Turkey and Cuba--the superpower patron is not doing it mainly for their own security, but rather to reassure a client power that their security interests are taken seriously. So it seems likely to me that sooner or later the Turks will be offered something to be based on their soil that the Kremlin will find offensive. Whereas, despite the grave danger of world nuclear war it precipitated, I wonder if anything short of the Cuban Missile Crisis of OTL can possibly guarantee Cuba's security against a determined USA--without the agreement that we would not invade that came out of that crisis, wouldn't there be a US invasion eventually? And then what?

    Of course we haven't yet heard anything specific about what's going on in Cuba at this point anyway--maybe Castro has not taken over, maybe he's been more careful not to alienate Washington. But it seems reasonable to assume that Cuban affairs have gone much as OTL, including the careers of the Castro brothers, and given Fidel's basic mood and the mood of the majority of Cubans, things have presumably taken an OTL confrontational path. (Unless one wants to suppose that news of the space race had some bearing on Castro's calculations OTL, and the delayed news with the Americans seeming more ahead here means he's more cautious about alienating the Americans and throwing in with the Russians).

    So, despite the fact that the Berlin matter seemed to show that Nixon is more resolute than Kennedy appeared to be OTL, I don't know that Khrushchev's disposition regarding how to support the Cubans would be much changed. American weapons in Turkey would still be offensive; taking the high road of demanding they be withdrawn or he'd openly base Soviet rockets in Cuba--or not even making a quid quo pro, but going ahead with the Cuban base, again openly--both run the risk that the Americans would simply say "no," blockading Cuba (thereby undercutting other forms of Soviet aid to Castro as well and weakening Castro that way, though he'd also benefit from the Yankees bullying Cuba) while remaining unmoved regarding the Turkish bases, thus humiliating the Soviet Union. A plan to secretly install missiles in Cuba thus seems very much in the cards, despite the changed game.

    I suppose if it does happen than Nixon either won't find out until too late (unlikely given American intelligence resources, but perhaps the U-2 crisis of TTL means he will refrain from ordering U-2s over Cuba?) or will bear in mind his side of the Berlin crisis, how close the world came to destruction, and wind up finding a solution along similar lines to JFK's (perhaps by very different means). Or I suppose he might find out sooner, and preemptively invade Cuba already--perhaps follow through on Bay of Pigs despite the failure of the invaders to raise a popular uprising against Castro, so Cuba's a done deal before the question of the Kremlin sending them missiles arises.

    I'd think that if Cuba is invaded and Castro killed or driven into exile, the island will haunt American policy for decades to come, as while there are many Cubans who by now hate Fidel, there are many more who don't and this majority will be embittered and defiant; it will be one thing to break Castro's government in Havana, but quite another to get a Cuba compliant with Yankee wishes. The place would become an infamous police state along the lines of Duvalier Haiti, is my guess, one heavily dependent on Yankee subsidy.
  9. Michel Van Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Liege Belgium Europe
    on Shevek23 post

    simple the wall is ON EAST GERMAN SOIL, what make a attempt by US Army to smash it a act of war and we got World War III
    The Americans and Soviet were aware very well of this!

    on Nixon victory
    there is a interesting side note His wounded knee, in OTL he hit his knee open on car door during state visit in 1960.
    He was hospitalized with nasty infection, what hampers his election campaign.
    on one of his TV duels Nixon hit his knee again on car door on way to studio
    so you got a anguished Nixon, who refused to ware make up and the views got a sick Nixon to see next a wholesomeness JFK
    in realty JFK was seriously ill as Nixon for that moment, but amphetamine and Make up make miracles in those days.
    so if Nixon hit NOT the car door things look very different...

    On Nixon politic for Europe it will be a continuation of Eisenhower administration politic.
    One of option he has, was installation of the Polaris missile in silos on Europe soil. another ALBM Skybold for Brtish

    if the Castro brothers become US baseball player for N.Y. Yankees.
    some one else will lead the revolution in Cuba and Nixon will consider them as Communist and Order the CIA for
    one to kill the loaders what make Cuba in long term a police state
    two start invasion by "free" cubans. (Operation Zapata)

    both projects start under Eisenhower administration and under President Nixon to completion.
    under JFK administration those two project went not very well
    the invasion was modified to new location called "Bay of Pigs" instead of Sancti Spíritus.

    the Political fallout of those Projects is interesting
    German journalist Wilfried Huismann controversial claims in "Rendezvous with Death" that JFK was assassinated by the Cuban intelligent servis, because to the Two projects
    a faith that Nixon could face also in this TL...
  10. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

    Aug 20, 2010
    Reno, Nevada USA
    Well, it was the Soviet position that that was "East German," that is, "German Democratic Republic," soil--but the other three victorious WWII powers did not recognize that the DDR existed, legally. If they had, they'd have had to evacuate all of Berlin, either presiding over a mass exodus of West Berlin Germans or leaving them to whatever fate the DDR had in store for them. The presence of American, British and French troops in the city was premised on the theory that Germany was still under a four-power occupation government. Therefore the agents of the other three powers had some right to assert themselves in the administrative zone assigned to the Soviets.

    All this is legal talk. Everyone knew that there was an East German government in being, and if they doubted its legitimacy and even whether it could hold on to power on its own, they knew it wasn't on its own--no one doubted Soviet power, which was present in the city. Indeed, in symbolically breaking the wall the Americans certainly did risk global war, a fact nixonshead tells us weighed on both Eisenhower and Nixon.

    But legally speaking--they didn't recognize East Germany, so they weren't guilty of violating a border. Not legally. Legally they were restoring the status quo ante of the administration of the city under 4-power occupation.

    Legalities would not matter if the Soviets decided to respond in heavy force, as they might. Just as in the OTL Cuban crisis, the Americans bet that the measure of force (blockade of Cuba was arguably more of an act of war after all, and action necessary to stop a Soviet-flagged ship intent on steaming to Havana at all costs might be deemed either piracy--or an act of war) they were willing to exert would not provoke so desperate and suicidal a response.

    But they could not have been 100 percent sure it wouldn't either.:eek:
    I just first learned about that today! That could be a POD for some other timeline--I'd hate to think it would make all the difference but I suppose it might make enough. Perhaps. Here there's no need for it--the Republicans are stronger just because they aren't undermined by being apparently behind in the Space Race and they have not been buffaloed into panicky acts against their will (such as founding NASA, for instance) demonstrating weakness. AND a trivial, accidental event like this is pretty sure to be butterflied away so for what it's worth, Nixon is probably campaigning healthier.

    OTL, what that accident cost him was in the context of a pledge he'd made to campaign in all 50 states; he was laid up for a couple weeks, losing valuable campaign time, and then had to choose between breaking his promise and focusing on just the states he could hope to win, versus keeping it and cutting the effectiveness of campaigning to win in those winnable states. He chose the latter. Here he won't have to make that choice.

    And who knows, he might not even feel impelled to make the foolhardy promise in the first place!

    It might have made sense for JFK to make such a promise as he had at least a theoretical shot at victory in each state. OTL the election of 1960 was characterized by people who had voted Democratic in prior elections sticking with their party more than Republicans did with theirs; Kennedy won by winning over some people who had voted Republican before. Nixon had zero chance of winning electoral votes from an entire bloc of states (the South--though note that Florida supported Eisenhower in '56 and would vote for him in 1960 OTL--due entirely to expatriate Northern retirees settled in Miami and other southern coast cities). Had he known what we know about OTL he'd recognize he needed to tip those swing states his way, and give states that were reliably Republican enough lip service so they didn't feel abandoned. But it was just a waste of his time to campaign in states like North Carolina. Not so for Kennedy--the Solid South was not sure to deliver its votes to the Democrat, they might vote for some Dixiecrat instead. But they surely would not vote Republican. Well probably not--Louisiana did vote for Ike in '56!

    Perhaps we do need to grasp at every straw of advantage Nixon can get; his ITTL victory is slimmer than JFK's OTL. So--no stupid 50 state promise; no leg injury.

    The number of states in play possible for Nixon was so high it might have been closer to 50 anyway. He needn't hem himself in with technicalities.
    I wrote a whole lot here, but what we must remember is, while it seems likeliest to me that Cuba (and the Castro brothers) are substantially as OTL at this point, we don't know that. The range of possibilities is restricted though; if there is no successful revolution by now, the country is probably simmering. And if there is one, the Americans can try to crush it and probably will succeed in the sense that they destroy a revolutionary government. But they will not be able to leave Cuba without installing a police state that Uncle Sam must subsidize pretty much forever.

    I don't think it's particularly likely Fidel Castro winds up playing for the Yankees (in any sense!:p) Do you really?
  11. nixonshead Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2013
    First up:

    Congratulations to Bahamut-225 in winning a Brainbin-patented No-Prize for deducing that all was not quite as it seemed with Vega the dog (RIP), and for making me very nervous reading last week’s comments!

    So, on to this week’s...

    I’m not aware of this trend, but I’m guessing it’s “The guy with more hair wins”. Certainly there will be consequences to the rebelling young baby-boomers of having old, establishment Nixon in the White House rather than Kennedy’s youthful Camelot.

    Yep. IOTL Ulbricht was pushing Khrushchev to let him take action for some time, but after Kennedy was elected Khrushchev wanted to “look him in the eye” at Vienna before deciding if it was worth taking a chance. Here he feels he already knows Nixon, and doing nothing is not an option if East Germany is to survive - and the rest is (alternate) history :p

    Thanks! I wrote the bulk of this post shortly after a weekend in Berlin, and had picked up a book on the Wall whilst there, so I tried to get it as plausible as possible. It’s nice to know a native of the city finds it enjoyable! Of course we now know that, unlike you, TTL’s Kennedy is definitely not a Berliner :D

    Sorry, I didn’t make this clear in the post, but the initial Line ITTL is also constructed within East Berlin (or “The Soviet Zone” as the allies insist on calling it). So the American tanks did indeed cross the Sector border to unblock Potsdamer Platz. Remember, formally speaking at this point Berlin was under joint occupation with allied forces allowed free access to all Sectors of the city. As the former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and Military Governor of the US Occupation Zone, Eisenhower is very aware of this and not willing to compromise the principles he personally helped to shape. Nixon is also unwilling to compromise the principle of free access, so with no actual Soviet forces on the Platz to oppose them, the Americans chose to make their point far more forcefully than IOTL’s Crisis.

    As for the effects on the 1971 putsch, well, there’s a long way to go until then. I can promise that this is not the last we’ve heard on developments in Germany!

    This was also an option considered IOTL in case establishing the Wall within the city proved impossible. ITTL Ulbricht decides to implement it as a hedge in case the later negotiations between the US and USSR lead to an open border in Berlin (he doesn’t fully trust Khrushchev, just as Khrushchev distrusts Ulbricht). At least with the Outer Line he’ll be able to limit who can get into Berlin to escape, though it would probably mean accepting the effective depopulation of East Berlin. IOTL, with the Wall establishing facts on the ground more quickly and more effectively, this outer ring was limited only to completing the encirclement of West Berlin.

    In fact this is something from OTL that only came to light in the last few years. It apparently came about partly because the CIA was chafing under Eisenhower’s insistence to personally authorise all overflights of the USSR, something he was often reluctant to do. By bringing in the British (with whom US intelligence had very close ties anyway), it gave the CIA an alternative route to authorise missions, via Macmillan’s desk. Flt Lt MacArthur was a real RAF pilot involved in overflights of the USSR from Turkey. This mission I describe above is virtually identical to its OTL equivalent, except for the shoot-down (which is partly a result of Sinilshchikov not poaching guidance specialists from the SAM project, so the S-75 is a more mature system at this point ITTL).

    The election was indeed incredibly close, IOTL and ITTL. When first drafting this post I took the approach of finding out how big a uniform swing would be needed to flip the result. The answer: just 0.3%!! :eek: I figured that was well within the bounds of what a reduced Sputnik Shock could engineer, and this feeling was reinforced when Brainbin did his far more thorough analysis of the results, which gave us the detailed state-by-state results presented in the Post.

    Incidentally, the lack of Sputnik also had a (minor) impact on the 1958 mid-term elections. These infoboxes haven't been as carefully vetted as the 1960 result in the Post, so aren't necessarily 'canon' (i.e. I reserve the right to ignore them if someone points out a stupid error :p), but give you an idea of where things stood in both Houses 1958-1960:



    This is pretty much my line of thought. There’s a legal argument, but then there’s the larger question of just how far each side is willing to go to back that up/knock it down. To quote Jean Rasczak:

    As mentioned above, the wire was set on the Eastern side of the line, but the US tank going over was not considered an automatic act of war since a) they were, from their point of view, simply enforcing their rights under the Four Power agreement to unconstrained access to all of Berlin, and b) East German authority was not recognised in Berlin by the Allies, since the city was still officially under joint Allied occupation (which is for example why West Berlin had no voting rights in the West German Bundestag). This ambiguity is precisely why Khrushchev initially keeps Soviet troops away from the operation, so if things went really tits-up he could claim it was just Ulbright getting over enthusiastic. This is screwed up ITTL by the attempted mass-exodus of civilians after the US breach the wire, necessitating a much stronger Soviet response to support DDR forces in East Berlin and quickly escalating the stand-off.

    As for where the dust settles, the big picture is much as IOTL, with Berlin divided between East and West, but there are a few interesting differences which will be explored more in Part II.

    IOTL the missiles were deployed to Turkey (and Italy) in 1961. TTL’s Berlin Crisis occurs in January 1961, so they’ve not been deployed at the time of the crisis.

    On Cuba, I can confirm that Castro is indeed in control and the CIA does have plans for changing that, but… Nixon has just spent the time he should have been finishing up his inauguration speech in a nuclear bunker contemplating the end of the world. This will have serious repercussions on just how much, where and when he’s willing to gamble in the Cold War. IOTL, at the height of the Berlin Crisis, West German Chancellor Adenauer reportedly told Kennedy “For God’s sake, not for Berlin!”. Similar thoughts will be going through both Nixon and Khrushchev’s minds as they consider Cuba.

    The banged knee has indeed been butterflied. Whether that means he made it to all 50 states… well, I think that’s one for my political advisor to respond to :p

    Given how narrow the OTL result was, I don’t think we necessarily need to stack everything in Nixon’s favour for him to still come out on top. As mentioned in the Post, most TV viewers still felt Kennedy won the debates - just slightly less than IOTL, and with fewer people convinced by Kennedy’s “Potential Missile Gap” arguments.
  12. Michel Van Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Liege Belgium Europe
    captivating reply Nixonhead

    it will be interesting how Nixon deal with Berlin crisis situation and his response to West German

    we got Minister of Defense Franz Josef Strauß still in office
    under him the Bundeswehr strategists came up with this madness proposal.
    in case of crisis the Bundeswehr has to take by assault, a US Nuke stockpile in German soil and use nuclear weapons and it's delivering system, for preventive nuclear strike on the Soviets forces in East Germany.
    this is no joke, during the Cuba Crisis the US force secure there nuclear Depots with extra US forces against the germans, after Henry Kissinger warn the President about this Plan!

    oh that will hell on earth if this strategist plan is discovery by the German magazine Der Spiegel and publish instead of dossier about the West German military's poor state of readiness.
    the Adenauer Government had to resign, making way for Socialist of SPD wining the election with large majority no 17. September 1961, also if Nixon screw up the Berlin crisis.
  13. Astronomo2010 Well-Known Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Well excellent new chapter, the World almost went into the Nuclear War . IT Was averted in a nick of time, thank God cooler heads prevailed . WWIII would have devastated the World, The Staggering number of Billions of dead . Civilization would need hundreds of years to get back on track. Cant Hardly wait for the next chapters .
  14. Patupi Paranoid Android Technician

    Mar 2, 2014
    And what would have been worse? NO MORE ROCKETS! :eek:
  15. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

    Feb 2, 2013
    Warheads OTL
    Date USA USSR UK
    1961 24,173 2,471 50

    There was a bomber and missile gap, all in the US favor

    WWIII in 1961 doesn't go well for the USSR and China. Soviets have a slightly better ICBM program, but the fact remains they have a hard time getting warheads to CONUS in 1961
  16. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Gonna take this to today?

    Wonder how this will affect *Star Trek?
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  17. Ultimate Paragon Banned

    Dec 8, 2013
    Interesting. Very interesting.
  18. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Jul 26, 2009
    The British Empire
    Well, borrowed from Marvel Comics, at any rate ;) Although, if I may, I'd like to label it... the No-Prize for Canine Clairvoyancy!

    That was my guess too, for the record.

    Actually, Nixon is taking office at the age of 48 years, 11 days - making him the fourth-youngest President to take office, behind Teddy Roosevelt (who ITTL also retains the record of being the youngest man elected to the office), Ulysses S. Grant, and (by less than a month) Grover Cleveland. He's less than five years older than JFK, and more than two decades younger than Eisenhower. Sure, he looks older, but probably because he was just one of those guys who looked middle-aged for his whole adult life (see also: Gene Hackman and DeForest Kelley). Consider this: Nixon in 1961 was less than a year older than Barack Obama in 2009.

    Yes, Nixon made it to all fifty states ITTL - in fact, that's how I was able to apply my special "uniform swing" calculation and achieve a Nixon victory.

    I concur wholeheartedly - in fact, all it might take to swing the election to Nixon is Kennedy not making a five-second television appearance! :D
  19. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

    Aug 20, 2010
    Reno, Nevada USA
    Actually appearing in all 50 states is a good move--even in Dixie, even if he has zero chance of winning electoral votes there (and Ike actually had, in Florida and Louisiana, so there's that) it would seem gracious--it would matter for a Republican President trying to cut deals with a Democratic controlled Congress and Senate.

    But wasn't it dumb, OTL, to make the promise to do so? It bit him in the behind. Isn't it smarter to not make the promise and then do it, and force the Kennedy team to either catch on to what he's doing and run Kennedy ragged playing catch-up, or better yet show him up for missing some?

    I'm giving him credit for not letting himself be backed into whatever corner he was OTL that elicited that promise.

    Kennedy as I said could not afford to write off any state--he had a hard fight to try and win and needed to remember that the last Democrat to win the office did so by a crazed wolverine whistle-stop campaign that won him some traditionally Republican states--whereas already Truman could no longer take Dixie votes for granted (despite being a border-Southerner himself, from a family and region that considered themselves completely Confederate in sympathy--it devastated his grandmother when he appeared in a US Army cadet uniform:rolleyes:) As a Catholic Yankee Kennedy needed to fight for all the Southern votes he could get despite his party--and neither he nor Truman got them all.

    OTL Democrats stood fast for their party and it was some-time Republican voters who swung to Kennedy--there was also a stronger Catholic turnout than usual. He surely still got most of that latter ITTL, and while obviously more Republicans supported Nixon than OTL, surely still Nixon lost some of them to JFK anyway--just not enough to put the latter over the top.

    There's another story line where I whined and got what I personally wanted in an election recently (surely not to gratify me or others on my side, but because that's what the numbers delivered) and then it turned to ashes in my mouth--I still think (or anyway feel) it can't be the USA I love without the guy getting in as per OTL who did. I have a squicky feeling about the USA without JFK--despite knowing all the disasters his leadership and Cabinet presided over and set in motion. And figure if anything really good is going to come of this it will be despite Tricky Dick.

    But I certainly have to admire, however grudgingly, certain of his capabilities.

    I'm still with George McGovern on this--"Nixon represents the dark side of the American Dream." But I can only wait and see what comes of this now.

    Anyway it's beyond me to foresee who or what can come out of the American political whirlwind now; all the OTL players are completely out of phase.

    It was most kind of the author to rule out blowing up the world, but it sure puts a crimp on how things can play out now, and detracts from the sense that they will always play out logically.:p:eek:

    I just have to remember that after all, relatively few powerful people on either the US or Soviet side actually want to see that happen.

    Maybe four or eight years of Nixon now is what is needed to keep the ones who might away from the White House for the rest of the century.
  20. nixonshead Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2013
    Franz-Josef Strauss authorised that - and he gets an airport named after him?!! :eek: That would be an unfortunate revelation!

    I agree with marathag on this, an early ‘60s nuclear war would have been much more devastating for the USSR (and China, since the US hadn’t updated their war plans to take the Sino-Soviet split into account) than for the USA. There was a good essay on this in Cold War Hot, based on the US implementing their SIOP in response to Cuba. It wasn’t pretty.

    Well, there might have been one left in a missile base in Montana… ;)

    I refer the Right Honourable Gentleman to the answer I gave some weeks ago ;)

    Your question will be answered… but sorry, not until Part II.

    I’m glad you find it so!

    Huh! It’s such a risk writing Nixon that I tend to think of the later, older, bitter-and-twisted version of OTL (or a cartoon head in a jar…) rather than trying to uncover the man he was in 1960. Thanks for putting me right on this - consider your consultancy No-Fee well-earned ;)

    Well, as they say, “Hindsight is 20-20”, which is very useful for writing AH TLs ;)

    Well, like one of my esteemed advisors:
    I did think about this long and hard, since my initial aim was simply to see where the line of reasoning took me. But in the end I figured avoiding nuclear armageddon isn’t too ASB (we’ve managed it so far IOTL, somehow), and as my main focus is impacts on space exploration, bringing it all to an early, fiery end would be problematic from a narrative point of view.

    Incidentally, I have been expanding the Wiki that Michel Van kindly set up. It now includes sections summarising the key dates, people, and a launch log.