Man-Made Hell: The History of the Great War and Beyond

Is this a good timeline?

  • Yes, it's great!

    Votes: 131 57.7%
  • Yes, it has a few flaws but is still good.

    Votes: 76 33.5%
  • No, it's very implausible.

    Votes: 14 6.2%
  • No, it's boring.

    Votes: 6 2.6%

  • Total voters
    227
I see. A couple of recommendations for you as a writer then: Firstly, please correct the error itself in the chapter. Having something that is usually considered a very rookie mistake is rather unsightly, and jarring compared to the quality of the rest of the TL. Secondly, I recommend you familiarize yourself with the major classes of ship in this era and what they are used for. The naval theater will grow increasingly important as this war goes global.
Thanks for the recommendations. I completely agree that the naval theaters will become a bigger deal later on, so this is absolutely good advice. I always appreciate constructive criticism and I’ll be sure to fix the issues ASAP.


I like the irony too, but the French desperately need to figure out something with a bigger gun. especially since Russia is fielding BT-5 equivalents with a proper cannon.
To be fair, the French are using their own LT model tanks here and there. The French will definitely start to make better tanks sooner or later though, especially when considering that Boris Souvarine is keen on making tanks a centerpiece of the Communard wartime strategy.


By the way, another question for you as a writer: How do you decide what people become the major figures in the various ATL revolutionary regimes and fascist juntas? One reason I don't write timelines myself is because I have no idea how to find people to take roles which didn't exist in OTL.
Good question! I usually first look at historical movements that fit what I’m looking for ITTL. Ludovic-Oscar Frossard and Boris Souvarine, for example, we’re both prominent members of the French Communist Party and SFIO during the early 1920s in OTL and I found out about them by digging up stuff on French socialist movements. Same thing goes for the leadership of the Heilsreich. I found out about Hugenberg by reading up on the precursor to the Nazi Party that existed in the early Weimar Republic and looking at its leadership.


@ETGalaxy you do not need to make a separate post for each person's quotes, and doing so needlessly inflates the reply count. Plus, triple-posting in general is frowned on.
I’d rather not fill up threads with multiple long posts, but I’m answering most of these on my phone and I want to try and get out responses as quickly as possible. I completely understand the frustration with multiple posts though, and I’ll take that into account moving forward. :)
 
You know, this timeline kinda reminds me of the video game Iron Storm, which has the Great War drag on into the 60s.
Reading up on the game’s scenario, there definitely are some similarities between it and Man-Made Hell. The similar thing that really sticks out to me is the American stock market investing in the war effort.
 
Just finished reading through the timeline and I have to say, excellent job! You’ve justified over a decade of continuous war very well and kept the whole story very interesting. When do you think the next chapter will come out?
 
Just finished reading through the timeline and I have to say, excellent job! You’ve justified over a decade of continuous war very well and kept the whole story very interesting. When do you think the next chapter will come out?
Thank you so much! I’m really happy to hear that you find this scenario both plausible and enjoyable!

As for when the next chapter comes out, I’m not sure, as I am currently finishing up a chapter for my other continuously running TL following spending the bulk of March and February working on retcons for said TL. In the meantime, however, I’d be happy to fill in some extra lore tidbits here and there for MMH!
 
Interlude Seven: "He's Liberating Our Isle"
Hey everyone! I'm currently working on Chapter Nine, which will focus on what's been going on in the US and Japan all this time. I'd estimate that I'm a little less than halfway done with the chapter, and while I don't want to jinx it, my cautiously optimistic estimate is that it will be out be the end of this month. In the meantime, I put together a quick propaganda poster for the Workers' Model Army by editing a British WWI propaganda poster. Nothing too impressive, but I think it looks decent and it didn't take too long to make. Let me know if this type of graphic is something you'd like to continue seeing!

WMA Propaganda-MMH.png
 
[QUOTE="ETGalaxy, post: 20671166,Let me know if this type of graphic is something you'd like to continue seeing!
[/QUOTE]
I can only speak for myself but I am willing to wait for a well thought out and written update. As for the poster, art like that adds vivid detail to a story. Please keep it up.
 
Hey everyone! I'm currently working on Chapter Nine, which will focus on what's been going on in the US and Japan all this time. I'd estimate that I'm a little less than halfway done with the chapter, and while I don't want to jinx it, my cautiously optimistic estimate is that it will be out be the end of this month. In the meantime, I put together a quick propaganda poster for the Workers' Model Army by editing a British WWI propaganda poster. Nothing too impressive, but I think it looks decent and it didn't take too long to make. Let me know if this type of graphic is something you'd like to continue seeing!
La Varsovienne intensifies
 
Interlude Eight: Third International Poster
Chapter Nine is about halfway done, so in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to do some posters for MMH, and I plan to do one for each of the factions in the Great War. This first one is for the Third International:


And here's a version without any text:


This was a surprisingly easy and fun graphic to make, so I do hope to get versions for the other factions out ASAP.
 
Nice poster. I'm not sure what factions all the flags are for though. Guessing bottom right is Indochina, Top Center is russia, maybe top right is France?
 
Chapter Nine: The Eagle and the Dragon
Chapter IX: The Eagle and the Dragon

“As the surrounding world is consumed in an apparently endless state of war, let the free nations of the Pacific Ocean uphold the very namesake of the vast body of water upon which they reside; let these free nations collectively reject warfare in favor of peace and prosperity.”

-United States Secretary of State Elihu Root at the Honolulu Conference, circa September 1921.



An American and Japanese diplomat attending the Honolulu Conference.

By the 1920s, the affairs of the entire world seemed to revolve around the Great War. Even if a state was neutral in the conflict, economic relations would force much of the planet into effectively becoming the suppliers of preferred factions, with numerous merchants often going as far as to sell to any of the three factions, as long as the price was right. Often labelled “neo-mercantilism” by retroactive economists due to the trading strategies of neutral nations in regards to the Great War being remarkable similar to the mercantilist practice of maximizing exports and minimizing imports, as the belligerents of a fight to the death would be suicidal to trade away resources to external groups while simultaneously being more than willing to run treasuries dry to acquire desperately needed equipment.

The two exceptions to the neo-mercantilist world order of the Great War were the United States of America and the Empire of Japan, both with their respective spheres of influence. This wasn’t to say that the two powers were above partaking in war profiteering; far from it, in fact, however, due to the economic self-sufficiency of the two states, both the United States and Japan could remain independent of having economic relations be predetermined by whatever affairs were occurring in Europe. US President Hiram Johnson, who sought to avert the idealistic and oftentimes imperialist tendencies of his predecessor, was especially keen on prioritizing domestic affairs whilst maintaining total isolation from the horrors across the Atlantic. In the eyes of the Johnson administration, a second Lusitania crisis had to be avoided at all costs, as plunging the United States into the Great War would most certainly end in mass casualties the likes of which the nation had not seen since the days of its first civil war.

Across the vast Pacific Ocean, the Empire of Japan was also keen on averting intervention in the affairs of the Great War, if not more so than the United States. After all, Japan had once been a belligerent in the war to end all wars in an age that felt eons ago as Phase Two broke out along the Western Front. Furthermore, the Empire of Japan was keen on utilizing its newfound neutrality on the international stage to consolidate authority over East Asia and build up a sphere of influence over the region. The Chinese Civil War had been one such example of this consolidation, and it was the Japanese pursuit for dominance over the Far East that consumed the foreign affairs of the Land of the Rising Sun throughout the 1920s.

Seeing how the United States of America and the Empire of Japan had no interest in repeating the mistakes of Europe, perhaps the Honolulu Conference was not such a surprising development. Regardless of the conference’s predictability, however, it was nonetheless a major development in the geopolitical affairs of the Pacific Ocean and arguably the beginning of the “Special Relationship” that would dominate Japnese-American relations going forward into the tumultuous 1930s. Following the beginning of the Johnson administration circa March 1921, the United States would view peaceful relations with Japan as paramount to the success of continued American neutrality amidst the Great War, not to mention that preserving peace throughout the Pacific Ocean would ultimately be a beneficial thing for both the US and Japan. All the while, domestic pacifist movements would consistently pressure the American government to pursue a policy of promoting peace with its neighbors. Therefore, Secretary of State Elihu Root, who had previously negotiated with the Japanese during his time within the Roosevelt administration, was tasked by President Hiram Johnson in the summer of 1921 to set up a conference with the government of Japan.


Secretary of State Elihu Root of the United States of America.

Once the Japanese government agreed to the American proposal for a conference over Pacific affairs, the two great powers agreed to negotiate in Honolulu, the capital of the American Territory of Hawaii, which was situated directly within the volcanic heart of the Pacific Ocean. The Honolulu Conference would begin on September 30th, 1921 and was attended by the heads of state of both the US and Japan, marking the first time the leadership of the two states both directly met one another. Negotiations were lengthy and covered a number of topics, with several significant agreements being reached between the Americans and the Japanese. While both states were wary of naval demilitarization while the Entente still patrolled the Pacific and socialist revolutions sprouted up throughout neighboring colonial holdings, the US and Japan did agree to annual joint naval exercises as a means of building a relationship of maritime cooperation.

In order to further solidify a situation of peace between the US and Japan, their governments would sign a non-aggression pact at the Honolulu Conference, which would guarantee peace between the two powers for at least the next ten years until the Honolulu non-aggression pact expired in 1931. Furthermore, Japan, which was heavily reliant on the importation of American oil, was keen on utilizing the Honolulu Conference as a means to negotiate lower prices on the vital resource. Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi would consistently arrange personal meetings with President Hiram Johnson to increase the free trade of American oil to the Empire of Japan. This ultimately culminated in the two states agreeing to lift tariffs on major exports to each other, with the United States eliminating all protections on the Japanese importation of domestic oil and the Empire of Japan eliminating all protections on the American importation of raw silk and tea in return. This proved to be a substantial win for both nations, and while Inukai’s foreign economic policy would continue to be focused predominantly on investing in the Tonghua Pact, Japan-US trading ties were greatly strengthened by the Honolulu Conference, and all the while Japan continued to rapidly mechanize via the influx of oil.

The Honolulu Conference would conclude on October 23rd, 1921, and in the subsequent days the American and Japanese governments parted their ways and returned to their isolated corners of the world. While daily news reports in both the war-torn and neutral corners of the world would continue to focus their attention on the affairs of the European chaos, the time in which the eagle and the dragon first directly met one another was an undeniably pivotal move in the game of geopolitics. The Honolulu Conference had not forged an alliance of any kind between the two powers, as both states continued to prioritize local regional affairs for the time being, however, the seed for the Special Relationship had been planted. It would, of course, be many years before this seed would completely blossom, and in the meantime the ever-looming threat of warfare would encroach the realm of the neutral powers. This war would not be the Great War of Europe, but rather another vicious affair, tucked away from the horrors of the trenches.

But for now, the eagle and the dragon would keep to themselves and soar above their realms.


The Golden Twenties

“Women get access to the ballot box, the economy is booming, and you can just about see the lights of Broadway all the way over in San Francisco! Folks, this truly is a golden decade. Let’s make it shine brighter!”

-Louisiana Governor John Milliken Parker speaking at the 1924 Liberal National Convention.



New York City, circa the 1920s.

On March 4th, 1921 Hiram Johnson would become the twenty-ninth president of the United States of America. As he was inaugurated in front of a crowd of cheering supporters in Washington DC, Andres Maginot’s military in France was rioting and initiating the Second French Revolution while the increasingly exhausted Central Powers pushed westwards against the decaying Entente. During the duration of the first term of the Johnson administration, Europe would enter Phase Two of the Great War, Germany would fall to fascism, and both France and Great Britain would burn in the fires of revolution. To Americans, the destruction of Europe couldn’t be any more distant, for in the United States peace on a world stage dominated by violence would bring a decade of vast economic prosperity and social revolution the likes of which Americans had never before seen.

Welcome to the Golden Twenties.

One of the first actions undertaken by the Johnson administration that would define much of the Golden Twenties to an extent was the implementation of the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which would guarantee suffrage for women. Feminism had been gaining much traction in the United States circa the 1910s as suffragist movements mobilized in the name of equal rights. The socially conservative Wilson administration had been extremely reluctant to codify womens’ right to vote, as had numerous Democrats within Congress, which allowed for the generally more socially progressive Republicans to capitalize on the issue in the 1920 presidential election. While Johnson never made suffrage a focal point of his campaign strategy, he would announce his support for suffrage every now and then on the campaign trail when he found it to be advantageous, and the Republican Party, especially the progressive wing of Republicans, was keen to associate with the suffragist movement throughout the US, especially in states where women had already been given the vote.

This would make the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment by the Hiram Johnson administration an apparent inevitability. On March 11th, 1921 the so-called “Susan B Anthony Amendment” was reintroduced to the House of Representatives and Senate after its prior failure in 1914 and 1917 to be ratified. After days of debate and filibustering by southern Democrats, the Susan B Anthony Amendment would pass through Congress, first through the House and then the Senate, on April 2nd, 1921, thus becoming the Eighteenth Amendment of the United States constitution and codifying the right to vote for all women of at least twenty-one years of age within the US. Throughout April 1921, the Eighteenth Amendment would gradually be ratified by the states of the Union, thus ushering in a new age of American politics. With many Americans fearing that the suffragist movement would translate into the formation of a political bloc of women, the subsequent period between the 1920 general election and the 1922 midterms was dominated by the ratification of a slew of feminist legislation, including the expansion of maternity care, the formation of a Women’s Bureau within the Department of Labor, and the preservation of citizenship for women who married foreign men.

In the end, a womens’ bloc would never be formed within the United States, however, the Republican Party sought to consolidate its grip on the new demographic of voters by characterizing itself as the “Party of Suffrage” and encouraging women to exercise their new voting rights. Hoping to expand against the existing authority of the Republicans and Democrats, the Liberal Party would also make attempts to appeal to female voters, with Chairman Franklin D Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, using her connections with prominent women to campaign on behalf of the Liberal Party winning over the female vote. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, which was predominantly popular in the socially conservative southern states that had often opposed suffrage, took the opposite approach. Under the leadership of House Minority Leader John Nance Garner of Texas, the Democrats would appeal to what had once been the anti-suffragist movement and try to portray itself as the guardian of the American way of life in the face of the radical Republicans and Liberals.

The 1922 midterm elections would see the Republican Party maintain its control over the northern states and even extend into previously Democratic territory, such as Kentucky and northern California, but more notable was the continued expansion of the Liberals at the expense of both the Republicans and Democrats, mostly seizing seats from the latter. The Liberal Party performed especially well in Missouri and Virginia, where numerous congressional districts were picked up and the incumbent Virginian Senator Claude A Swanson lost to Liberal candidate and former Secretary of War Lindley Miller Garrison. It is also very important to note that the Socialist Party of America won a handful of seats, mostly in the Midwest but also in New York and Washington, within former Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V Debs even being elected to the House of Representatives from Illinois. The SPA would perform particularly well in Minnesota thanks to the local Farmer-Labor Party having become a Socialist caucus in December 1921, with county attorney Floyd Olson becoming the first ever SPA senator after running on a campaign of social progressivism, unionism, and the promotion of cooperatives.

Despite growing success for the Liberals and Socialists in the 1922 midterms, the Republican Party continued to hold a majority within both houses of Congress, and with progressivism more popular than ever, President Hiram Johnson pushed forward with his back to the wind in the name of his progressive ambitions for the United States. Perhaps most impressive reform was the Nineteenth Amendment (put into effect on March 1st, 1923), which gave Americans the right to recall their elected officials. Throughout his administration, Johnson would push forth with the regulation and trust-busting policies that harkened back to the 1912 Progressive Party campaign of Theodore Roosevelt, with Johnson utilizing antitrust laws to dissolve the US Steel Corporation circa December 1922 and mandating the registration of lobbyists with the Registry Act, which was ratified on February 1st, 1922. All the while, Hiram Johnson advanced his opposition to railroad corporations that he had previously used to get elected to the Californian governorship in 1910 by making attempts to nationalize railroad resources for the sake of public transportation. The fight for public railroad services was an uphill battle and one that Johnson would not finish in his term, but it was nonetheless a priority in the eyes of his administration.

As the United States entered a second age of progressivism, popular culture would also make an unprecedented shift. In the aftermath of the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment, American women gained unprecedented social freedom, which greatly influenced the culture of the Golden Twenties. Feminine clothing trends emphasized more “loose” and “boyish” traits, which became affiliated with the female sub-culture of “frocks” (nicknamed after their stereotypical choice of fashion), who were known for breaking with traditional norms, partaking in the booming consumerism of the 1920s, and attending the lavish parties of America’s vibrant cities. In the northern US, African-Americans would forge the Harlem Renaissance, an intellectual, social, and artistic explosion centered around Harlem, New York. It was via the Harlem Renaissance that the perceived image of African-Americans shifted from one associated with the rural conditions of the American south to one of cosmopolitan and northern sophistication. All the while, African-American intellectuals began to promote increasing self-determination and advocacy for racial equality, with poet and novelist Langston Hughes, the future prominent political and military figure, being amongst these civil rights intellectuals.

One of the products of the Harlem Renaissance was the creation of the genre of jazz music, which became a defining feature of Golden Twenties popular culture. As the genre moved through numerous styles, it became a mainstream staple of the increasingly distinct 1920s youth culture that was emerging throughout the United States, and jazz music was commonplace in clubs, bars, and parties. Alongside the rise of jazz was the rise of dance clubs, with music from sound films (a new invention of the time period) often being turned into music for dancing. As new styles of dancing took off and national dance competitions encompassed the United States, the dance craze of the Golden Twenties was proliferated. With nightclubs taking off as the youth purchased automobiles to enjoy the booming popular culture of the 1920s, one fashion magazine would jokingly declare that “America is not a Sleeping Giant; She’s Just a Night Owl.” As Europe endlessly clashed in the inferno of combat, America danced away as though there had never been a Great War.


An American dance club, circa 1920s.

As the youth of the United States danced away the troubles of a war-torn world and chose to keep the worries of the Great War as distant from their lives as possible, the wealthy American elite chose to embrace the Great War. Simply put, wars are profitable. The Great War, which had multiple frontlines, fierce belligerents who were increasingly exhausted of resources, and governments willing to drain their treasuries on the vast resources of the United States, was the perfect recipe for making a profit in the eyes of Wall Street, where the New York Stock Exchange was flourishing amid the recent boost in the American economy. Numerous American plutocrats would make their fortunes off of the stock exchange in this time period, often taking advantage of poor stock market regulations of the 1920s. And no stocks were more profitable than the stocks investing in corporations that traded with the belligerents of the Great War. The distribution of foreign wholesale war bonds would become another common trend within the New York Stock Exchange of the Golden Twenties as American investors ultimately became prominent financiers of the Great War.

As the affairs of the New York Stock Exchange became increasingly tied to the affairs of Europe, many investors and shareholders would become obsessed with reading the latest reports from the frontlines. After all, much of the American upper class of the Golden Twenties would purchase their mansions off of money acquired from staking a claim in war profiteering that was highly reliant on the daily complexities of the Great War. By the beginning of Phase Two in 1923 (which only further boosted the profitability of wartime trade), much of the New York Stock Exchange was little more than oligarchs placing bets in the form of stocks on who would win the latest battles and offensives. In some cases, these bets were literal, with many night clubs hosting events in which participants could place money on the outcome of events in Europe and many Americans of varying income turning “War Wagering” into a sort of hobby amongst friends. Many states would take action to prohibit War Wagering, but by the mid-1920s it had become a popular and profitable activity, especially within urban centers, and when it did become a crime, organized criminal organizations simply stepped in to fill the void left behind by the fall of legal War Wagering.


New York Stock Exchange during the height of War Wagering, circa February 1923.

What was truly bizarre about War Wagering and broader American war profiteering circa the Golden Twenties was that there were very few federal limitations on which forces in the Great War Americans could finance. While some states would pass laws regulating specific trading practices with specific belligerents (usually members of the Third International), war financing was too profitable for the federal government or even most state governments to be incentivized to levy heavy restrictions regarding sale to any of the factions of the Great War, which created a truly unsettling and unique situation for New York Stock Exchange. While, like most of the neutral world, the United States preferred to trade with the Entente (at least at first), both the Central Powers and the Third International would begin to offer better and better prices to American industry, which gradually created a situation in which the wartime market was partitioned between all belligerents of the Great War.

This meant that men on the floors of the New York Stock Exchange would be funding enemy forces keen on killing each other in Europe. Peers would invest in rival belligerents, and sometimes even the same individuals would invest in rival belligerents depending on the reports coming from across the Atlantic Ocean. On the floors of the New York Stock Exchange, you could find the plutocrats who financed the forces of both Kaiser Auggie and Comrade Trotsky casually exchanging banter with each other. To Wall Street, allegiances in the Great War weren’t anything personal to fight over. To Wall Street, the Great War was just business. There was no war in the United States, instead there was an opportunity to make money. There were no trenches on Wall Street, and the fight for resources was waged with stocks and investments. The fate of human lives in Europe was determined by the affairs of these investments, but the tycoons of Wall Street did not care. In the end, all that mattered to Wall Street was that the Great War would fill pockets with cold hard cash.


The Fall of the Fourth Party System

“Kick the Donkey off Capitol Hill.”

-Popular Liberal Party slogan used in the 1924 general election.



1924 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

The early 1920s had not been kind to the Democratic Party. Once one of the dominant political parties within the United States, the Democrats had faced a number of setbacks throughout its long history, but had ultimately managed stick around throughout the decades, with the landslide election of Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson seemingly the beginning of better days for a party that had faced little national success since the aftermath of the First American Civil War. Of course, this success was short-lived and Wilson was succeeded Republican Hiram Johnson in 1921. But the event that ultimately doomed the Democratic Party was the formation of the Liberal Party by socially liberal Democrats, which effectively split the party in half. While the Liberals were far away from winning the White House, the early 1920s saw a boost in Liberal support and a number of strong victories for the fledgling party in local and Congressional runs in the 1922 midterms.

Two years later, President Hiram Johnson was up for re-election, with the Republican Party easily nominating the popular incumbent president for a second term. Johnson was anticipated by just about all pundits to decisively win his re-election bid come November, but that didn’t stop the 1924 general election from being a turning point in American politics. For the first time since the 1912 presidential election, there would be three major candidates running for the presidency, with the Liberal Party deciding to run its own ticket rather than endorse Johnson like they had in 1920. And unlike Theodore Roosevelt’s short-lived Progressive Party, the Liberals would be here to stay. On top of the rise of the Liberal Party, the Socialist Party of America was continuing to gain support, particularly in the Rust Belt, Minnesota, and urban centers with a substantial labor union presence. This was all moving towards the end of the Republican-Democratic dichotomy that had dominated American politics since 1860 in favor of a dynamic multipolar political arena in which numerous parties would clash for the fate of the Sleeping Giant.

The announcement of an independent Liberal ticket in 1924 caused many members of the new party to jump towards becoming its first presidential candidate, especially after Chairman Roosevelt, who had become permanently paralyzed following his contraction of polio in 1921, stated that he did not have intentions to run for the presidency. One of the first individuals to announce their candidacy was Chicago Mayor William Emmett Dever, who ran on a platform of increasing municipal power, particularly over the management of mass public transit. While Dever did win some decent support from Liberal party bosses, particularly in the Midwest, he was quickly overshadowed by the candidacy of Nebraska Governor Charles W Bryan, the younger brother of famed Democratic populist William Jennings Bryan, with Bryan announcing his presidential aspirations in Lincoln, Nebraska circa December 1924. Bryan would seek to run on a populist platform similar to that of his older brother’s previous presidential bids and would be the preferred candidate of western and rural Liberals.

A handful of other minor Liberal names were tossed around for the presidential nomination, especially once the Liberal National Convention was held in early July 1924, but the campaigns these minor candidates, as well as the campaigns of William E Dever and Charles W Bryan, were all overshadowed by the presidential bid of New York Governor Al Smith, who announced his candidacy in January 1924. A longtime social liberal, popular politician from the northeastern United States, and the preferred candidate of Franklin D Roosevelt, Smith was the ideal Liberal candidate due to his historical support of the bulk of the party’s platform, including female suffrage, improving workers’ compensation, and the regulation of child labor. The only two downsides to Smith’s candidacy was that he would be unable to run for re-election to the governorship of New York in 1924 if he was a presidential candidate and, as the Catholic son of an Irish-American mother, Smith would face substantial discrimination as the Liberal Party’s presidential nominee, especially from socially conservative Democrats. Nonetheless, Governor Al Smith managed to win the 1924 Liberal Party nomination for the presidency, with Governor Charles W Bryan being chosen as his running mate.


Governor Al Smith of New York.

While both the Republicans and Liberals went for social progressives (at least by the standards of the Golden Twenties) to lead their presidential tickets in 1924, the increasingly reactionary Democratic Party took the opposite approach. With the formation of the Liberal Party, the Democrats were left with their conservative southern base to cling onto for support, which meant that the Democratic Party would have to maintain its tight grip over the Deep South if it were to maintain any semblance of relevance in national politics. A handful of candidates would seek the Democratic nomination, but in the end Senator Furnifold McLendel Simmons of North Carolina, a staunch segregationist and white supremacist, would win the 1924 presidential nomination of the declining Democratic Party, with the DNC selecting him as their party’s candidate at the convention in late June 1924. The DNC would select former US Secretary of the Treasury William Gibbs McAdoo of the Wilson administration as Simmons’ running mate.


Senator Furnifold McLendel Simmons of North Carolina.

While the Republicans, Liberals, and Democrats were the three largest political parties contending for the presidency in 1924, the Socialist Party of America (SPA) would make yet another bid for Oval Office, hoping to bring the revolution of the working class that had engulfed France and Great Britain in the years prior to the United States of America via the ballot box. While most anticipated that labor union activist Euguene V Debs (now a congressman upon being elected to the US House of Representatives from Indiana in 1922) would take up the mantle of the SPA’s presidential nomination for the sixth time in history, Congressman Debs instead decided to run for the governorship of Indiana in 1924, thus meaning that the Socialists would have to find a new presidential candidate. They found their new candidate in the form of William Dudley “Big Bill” Haywood, a labor union activist who was a leader and founding member of the syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World revolutionary union. Haywood would select SPA Executive Secretary Bertha Hale White as his running mate, thus marking the first time in history that the Socialists had selected a woman as a part of their presidential ticket.


Industrial Workers of the World labor union activist William Dudley “Big Bill” Haywood.

With the presidency seemingly guaranteed for the incumbent President Johnson, the Liberals, Democrats, and Socialists primarily focused their efforts on funding local elections, with the SPA being especially excited at the prospect of electing Eugene V Debs to the governorship of Indiana. This obviously wasn’t to say that the presidential election was flat-out ignored, with Charles W Bryan being especially keen on campaigning for the Liberal Party in the Great Plains, but the race for the White House was notably quieter than it historically was. While the Liberals and Socialists financed local bigs that would expand their legislative power, the Democrats scrambled to hold onto whatever power they still had. Even the Republican Party invested a substantial amount of money and attention into local elections, fearing that the Liberals and Socialists would snatch away Republican-held offices in the northern US, particularly the Rust Belt.

Once the general election arrived on November 4th, 1924, Americans flocked to the ballot boxes to cast their vote in an election the likes of which hadn’t been seen in years. With many new voters being invested in elections for the first time due to the emergence of a new and dynamic political situation in the United States, turnout in the 1924 general election reached unprecedented heights. On the eve of the 1924 election, some pundits anticipated that no one presidential candidate would secure a majority in the electoral college and the responsibility of electing the president of the United States would be ceded to the House of Representatives. This prediction ultimately failed to come true, but this didn’t prevent the 1924 presidential election from being any less interesting. On November 4th, 1924 the Fourth Party System had died alongside the political dichotomy that had gridlocked the United States since the days of the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. For the first time in its almost century-and-a-half history, the political system of the United States of America could no longer be considered that of two competing major parties.

On November 5th, Americans woke up to the expected result of the 1924 presidential election, with President Hiram Johnson and Vice President Irvine Lenroot being re-elected to a second term. But the electoral college map that had ceded them victory was bizarre. Generally speaking, the Republicans and the Democrats held onto the north and south respectively, but both the Liberals and Socialists managed to win a number of vital states. Repeating their success in the region in 1922, the Liberal Party won over a belt of states spanning from Nebraska to Virginia, with the central United States apparently becoming the new base of Liberal power. More interestingly, however, was the victory of the Liberal Party in New York, the home state of both Al Smith and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. For an organization that had historically never gotten much more than five percent in presidential elections, the Socialist Party of America did impressively well, with Minnesota and Indiana both being allocated to the SPA while Wisconsin, the home state of Republican Vice President Irvine Lenroot, was remarkably close to being won by the Socialists.

In the end, Hiram Johnson managed to win his re-election and would serve as the president of the United States for a subsequent four years, but he did not win in the landslide victory that the Republican Party had hoped for. Congress was even more fragmented, with the Socialists expanding their seats in the House of Representatives by winning a number of seats in the Rust Belt while the Liberals picked up a handful of seats here and there. Furthermore, Eugene V Debs narrowly secured a plurality of votes and succeeded Republican Emmett Forest Branch as the governor of Indiana, a victory that made the SPA ecstatic. The rise of political parties like the Liberals and Socialists that promoted socially egalitarian policies indicated to the Republican Party that this ideology would have to be supported if the Republicans were to maintain a majority in a government increasingly partitioned between four political parties, something that President Johnson and his fellow progressive Republicans were more than fine with.

As Hiram Johnson started his second term in March 1925, the beginning of this increased progressivism would start with the passage of a groundbreaking amendment. Initially proposed in 1921 by the National Woman’s Party as the “Equal Rights Amendment,” what would become the 19th Amendment four years later was written to guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex within the United States, an idea that picked up support following the implementation of the 18th Amendment and the swell in support for feminist proposals by the Republicans and Liberals. The Equal Rights Amendment was introduced to the House of Representatives shortly after the beginning of President Johnson’s second term by Representative John Mandt Nelson of Wisconsin due to pressure from his constituents of a progressive stronghold state. While the Democratic Party stuck by its increasingly staunch social conservative platform and almost unanimously rejected the Equal Rights Amendment, the proposal won support from the Republicans, Liberals, and Socialists, with the latter even having newly elected female representatives, such as Juliet Stuart Poyntz and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, passionately advocate for the bill’s approval on the floor of the House of Representatives.

After being pushed through both houses of Congress, the Equal Rights Amendment went through the process of approval by the US states, which took a handful of months, but the amendment was ultimately approved by a sufficient amount of states and became the 19th Amendment to the United States constitution on July 2nd, 1925 upon being approved by Oklahoma. In June 1925, Socialist Representative Victor L Berger of Wisconsin would introduce the National Labor Relations Act to the House of Representatives, which would guarantee the right for private sector employees within the United States to form labor unions, collectively bargain, and strike. The bill split Congress in half, with the Socialists unanimously supporting the bill whereas the three major parties came to no unified consensus, although the Democrats were generally opposed and the Liberals were generally in support. Nonetheless, the National Labor Relations Act would pass through both houses of Congress and be signed into effect by President Johnson on June 9th, 1925.

The subtle yet undeniably rising tide of socialism within the United States during the Johnson administration was not just reserved to the theatrics of politics. The formation of numerous socialist republics in Europe, especially libertarian socialist republics, such as the Workers’ Commonwealth and Socialist Republic of Ireland, where industrial democracy was commonplace, fueled the flames of the American socialist movement. In the early 1920s, the size of the Socialist Party of America dramatically grew in the aftermath of the western relations, with the proclamation of socialist democracies across the Atlantic Ocean being given constant attention by SPA propaganda. This rise in support for the Socialist Party of America and its subsequent election to numerous public offices in the Golden Twenties, which some pundits nicknamed the “Red Wave,” was only further boosted by the general rise in social progressivism within the United States at the time, an ideal that was already strongly reflected by the values of the SPA. And of course, the integration of the Farmer-Labor Party, an extremely popular populist party within Minnesota, allowed for the Socialists to dominate the state and use success within Minnesota to proliferate further victories across the Midwest.

Alongside the rise of electoral socialism was the rise of revolutionary unionism, and labor unionism in general. The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a syndicalist labor organization with a history strongly interconnected to that of the Socialist Party of America, grew at an especially impressive rate that coincided with the rise of the SPA. Membership of the IWW soared within the early 1920s alone and would continue to rise in the aftermath of the Red Wave of 1924. By the time the 1926 midterms rolled around, the Industrial Workers of the World was the largest labor union within the United States, boasting over three million members at this point and just barely surpassing the more moderate American Federation of Labor in membership. This dramatic boost in membership was due to a number of factors, including increased publicity, enthusiasm following the European revolutions, merging with local revolutionary unions, and heavy campaigning throughout the Rust Belt.


IWW workers on strike in Detroit, Michigan, circa August 1926.

As could be expected, the growth of socialism within the United States led to an increased interest in the affairs of the Third International from these new revolutionaries, which often grew into avid support and investment in the war effort of their European comrades. This was only further exaggerated by the fact that many American socialists were immigrants from the European states now plunged into the Great War as well the IWW’s role as an international union, with sects of the union being part of the revolutionary governments of the Workers’ Commonwealth and SRI. As a consequence, millions of Americans were literally part of an organization represented within the governments of foreign socialist states.

This understandably led to a strong interest in the war effort of the Third International amongst American socialists and IWW members in particular. For some Americans, this meant the purchasing of Third International war bonds or the donation of personal resources to the frontlines of the numerous revolutions burning across the European continent. But for some American socialists, the avid enthusiasm for the revolutions of Europe led to a desire to participate in the Proletarian liberation abroad, thus causing thousands of wannabe revolutionary heroes to leave the streets of the United States to partake in the Great War itself. For these select thousands of Great War was not a distant foreign affair, but rather a war that they were personally involved in the middle of, with them leaving their homes and crossing the Atlantic Ocean to partake directly in the revolutions of their comrades.

This is the story of the Americnas of the international brigades.

Foreign volunteers in the Great War were not a new thing for Phase Two, with a handful of volunteer militias from the United States and other nations having fought on the behalf of the Entente and the Central Powers, but this was substantially more rare than the volunteer militias of the Third International (called the international brigade), whose internationalist and ideological appeal meant that volunteer forces were both common within the ranks of the crimson war effort, with the increasingly depleted French Commune especially encouraging the introduction of foreign volunteers to the trenches of the Western Front. The arrival of foreign volunteers on the frontlines of the Great War was incredibly morale-boosting for the exhausted socialist forces of Europe, and even if the international brigades only made up a mere fraction of the ranks of the Third International’s war effort, they were often touted in war propaganda to assert that help from comrades abroad was arriving and that the workers of the world were on the side of Third International.

No neutral nation contributed more foreign volunteer forces to the Third International war effort than the United States, which was more of a testament to the size of the American population and the US’ accessibility to Europe than anything else. Many volunteer forces were working-class migrants who had evaded brutal socioeconomic conditions of their nations, only to return across the Atlantic Ocean to fight to make their homelands a better place for the masses alongside their comrades. This was incredibly prominent in the revolution of Ireland, where working-class Irish-Americans of the northeastern states returned to break the chains of the British imperialism that the Emerald Isle had detested for centuries. The largest international brigade of the Irish Revolutionary War was the John Barry Brigade (named after the American Revolutionary War naval officer who was originally from Ireland), which was led by Patrick L Quinlan, an Irish-American socialist journalist who had actually arrived in Dublin shortly after the declaration of the Socialist Republic of Ireland and had used connections to Irish Socialist Federation and the Industrial Workers of the World to construct his John Barry Brigade, which was prominent in numerous major battles of the Irish Revolutionary War.

While a large number of American international brigades fought in defense of the Crimson Emerald, the vast majority of international brigades, both American and otherwise, were shipped off to the French Commune, which desperately needed as many soldiers as possible. In fact, in order to ensure the preservation of Third International defenses on the Western Front as much as possible, the British and French would come to an agreement in March 1926 that the Workers’ Commonwealth would refuse to accept any international brigades into its ranks and reallocate all foreign forces within its ranks to the Western Front to fight on behalf of the French Commune. Thus, the bulk of the international brigades from the United States arrived in France, which included, alongside numerous other militias from around the world, the De Leon Brigade, the Lafayette Socialist Brigade, and the New York Workers’ Brigade.

In the latter brigade, one particular soldier would rise through its ranks. This young volunteer of the New York Workers’ Brigade was Alphonse Capone, the son of American immigrants who was twenty-four upon arriving on the Western Front in 1923. As the Great War began in Europe, Capone was a teenager stumbling between a number of odd jobs in Brooklyn with little care about the affairs of the distant conflict. This changed when Capone’s older brother, Vincenzo Capone, enlisted as a volunteer for the French war effort in 1916 and was subsequently killed during the Nivelle Offensive, which shocked the Capone family and caused Alphonse in particular to become more personally invested in the affairs of Europe. Over time, Alphonse Capone began affiliating with socialist tendencies and was further attracted to the ideology following the revolutions of Russia and France, which caused the young revolutionary, tired of his mundane jobs in Brooklyn, to join the New York Workers’ Brigade shortly after the beginning of Phase Two.

As a young volunteer soldier in a foreign nation, Capone entered the trenches of the French Civil War (the New York Workers’ Brigade was originally assigned to fighting the French Third Republic) with no experience in armed combat. Nonetheless, Private Capone proved to be a formidable, if not often reckless, combatant. Capone’s stubborn recklessness would eventually get the better of him at the Battle of Cheverny, when the young soldier rushed in a charge through the city’s streets towards a Republican soldier, confident that he would lead the New York Workers’ Brigade to victory alongside their Communard comrades. While Private Capone did lead a breakthrough that allowed for his brigade to advance through the war-torn streets of Cheverny, he would confront a Republican soldier in the process, who managed to slash Capone’s face thrice, thus earning the soldier three permanent scars and the nickname “Scarface,” which he would proudly adorn for the rest of his life. From that point onwards, Alphonse “Scarface” Capone would rise through the ranks of the New York Workers’ Brigade, eventually becoming its commanding officer by the time the international brigades were assigned to the Western Front in November 1924, with Major General Capone leading the New York Workers’ Brigade to many victories as one of the mightiest international brigades fighting for the French Commune.


Soldiers of the New York Workers’ Brigade at the Battle of Beuvardes, circa May 1926.


House of the Rising Sun

“If only we followed the example of the Japanese and left this cursed war when we had the chance. If that had been the case, perhaps I would still be living in the comfort of my home back across the Atlantic.”

-Former Prime Minister Victor Bulwer-Lytton of the United Kingdom.




Tokyo, the capital of the Empire of Japan, circa the 1920s.

Perhaps the Empire of Japan was the only true victor of the Great War. As one of the few nations to ever prematurely leave the conflict via a separate peace treaty with the German Empire in 1919, in which the Kaiserreich’s colonial territory in East Asia was ceded to the Empire of the Rising Sun, the Japanese managed to accomplish a substantial expansion of its authority in the Far East while also evading the vicious decades of bloodshed that the de jure victors of the Great War would have to endure for many more years. In the aftermath of the Treaty of Fukuoka, the Empire of Japan would effectively become one of the two neutral great powers of the world, with Italy and Brazil ultimately entering the Great War. But unlike the United States, Japan would not stay quiet on the international stage of the 1920s. Following the Chinese Civil War and the establishment of the Tonghua Pact, the Japanese were poised to become the new great power of the Far East, which was further solidified by the collapse of the British and French empires, thus dramatically diminishing the influence of Europe within Asia.

It was during this immediate period of post-war expansion that the emerging Japanese democracy was led by Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi of the liberal Kenpo Club. Alongside the expansion of Japan’s sphere of influence, Inukai would preside over the gradual growth of the Imperial Diet’s political authority, with the Kenpo Club seeking to reform the Empire of Japan into a parliamentary democracy akin to what the United Kingdom had once been in its heyday. This predominantly meant gradually decreasing poll taxes, however, following the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War, Prime Minister Inukai would pass the Suffrage Act on February 1st, 1921, which guaranteed the right to vote to all men of at least twenty-five years of age. Throughout his ministry, Inukai Tsuyoshi would also attempt to decrease the political authority of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), however, this came to little avail, especially as much of the Imperial Diet pursued increasing the size of the Japanese armed forces amid the intervention within China and the formation of the Tonghua Pact. Nonetheless, Inukai did secure a monumental victory over IJA by passing legislation in March 1921 that transferred the accountability of the IJA from the Emperor to the civilian government.

These major shifts in the Japanese political structure meant that a general election was scheduled for April 1921, with the Kenpo Club entering said election with a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, followed by the right-wing Rikken Seiyukai as the opposition party. While the Seiyukai garnered strong military support by criticizing the expansion of the civilian government’s power under the Inukai administration and lurched far to the right in the process, the Kenpo Club maintained a majority of support, in no small part thanks to the first time voters who had achieved the right to vote via the Suffrage Act. Following the general election of April 14th, 1921, the Kenpo Club decently expanded its margin of support within the House of Representatives, going from holding 197 out of 381 seats to holding 290 out of 464 seats (the amount of members in the House of Representatives had been altered by electoral reform in 1919). The recently formed anarcho-syndicalist Japanese Proletarian Party of Hitoshi Yamakawa also gained a handful of seats, as did a number of other socialists.

With the Kenpo Club holding a decisive lead over the Seiyukai, the Inukai ministry was effectively free to pursue whatever policies it pleased as long as the Kenpo were on board. On June 2nd, 1921 the right of workers to organize into labor unions was universally legalized throughout the Empire of Japan via the Labor Act, a major victory for Japanese workers’ rights. Alongside the progress made within the home islands, Inukai Tsuyoshi took interest in introducing democratic reforms to Japan’s colonies, particularly the oldest Japanese colony of Taiwan, which the Japanese imperialists had sought to turn into a “model colony” ever since its annexation in 1895. In February 1922, the colonial government of Taiwan was dissolved in favor the Prefecture of Taiwan, a democratic local government for the island (one that could pass its own initiatives but would ultimately have to obey all legislation of the national Imperial Diet) that would also elect representatives to the Imperial Diet of Tokyo in both the House of Peers and the House of Representatives. At the same time, a policy of gradually integrating Korea into the national government of Japan was introduced, with major cities such as Seoul and Pyongyang being given representation in the House of Representatives over time.

Of course, as a strong supporter of the Pan-Asian movement and Sino-Japanese cooperation in particular, Inukai would spend much of the epoch of his ministry engaging in foreign affairs. The Inukai ministry would continue pushing for the “yen bloc” that had been pursued by Japan since the 1890s. The pursuit of the formation of a yen bloc ultimately proved to be successful when the Bogd Khanate, a member of the Tonghua Pact, adopted the yen as its currency in May 1922. The Chinese Federation would continue to use the yuan as its own currency for the time being, however, the switch over to the yen by Mongolia would subsequently cause the Russian Democratic Federative Republic to abandon the ruble in favor of the yen in July 1922, thus expanding the currency’s power over much of East Asia, and especially its power within the Tonghua Pact. Interestingly enough, the Kingdom of Siam, which had been a target of British and French imperialism since the late 19th Century, would also convert to the yen in April 1922 in an attempt to strengthen economic and geopolitical ties with East Asia while simultaneously gradually seceding from the influence of Europe.

As Phase Two began to encroach the European continent, the Inukai ministry became more quiet on the international stage for a period of time, with Japan being careful to not heavily militarize its presence within the Pacific Ocean following the ratification of the Treaty of Honolulu. This definitely wasn’t to say that the Empire of Japan did nothing to expand the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1920s, as this time period became an era of pivotal technological advancement for Japan. After all, the IJN was amongst the most powerful naval forces in the world at this point, with the Japanese being more or less responsible for defending the seas of East Asia from the imperialism of the West. In 1921, the IJN would launch Hosho, the first ever purpose-designed aircraft carrier, which would spend its early days patrolling the South China Sea near the National Republic of China and the colonies of Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands. The IJN would also take a strong interest in developing torpedo technology during this time period, with the Type 93 torpedo being developed in the late 1920s alongside the Type 95 submarine torpedoes. By the end of the 1920s, the IJN had made one thing clear to all of its rivals, be it the Imperials, South China, or the Soviets: the Pacific Ocean was the domain of the Rising Sun.


Hosho, the world’s first purpose-designed aircraft carrier, circa 1924.

It was under the rule of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi that the Empire of Japan became a great power with its very own stable sphere of influence, one that no regional force could possibly eliminate. But of course, the Inukai administration could not last forever. In February 1924, Prime Minister Inukai announced his intent to resign in May of the same year, which subsequently triggered a hunt for the popular prime minister’s successor within the ruling Kenpo Club. Among the candidates considered were former Foreign Minister Kato Takaaki, who represented the increasingly niche conservative faction of the Kenpo Club, and MP Hamaguchi Osachi, a charismatic force of progressivism in the House of Representatives. In the end, the fight for Kenpo Club leadership, and thus the prime ministry of Japan, came down to Kato and Hamaguchi dividing their party in half. While Kato gained a surprising degree of support by promoting his ability to collaborate with conservative groups, such as the Japanese armed forces, Hamaguchi would ultimately emerge victorious by winning support from the incumbent Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi, thus becoming the prime minister of the Empire of Japan on on May 15th, 1924.


Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi of the Empire of Japan.

It quickly became very clear that the Hamaguchi ministry intended to continue the socially liberal policies of his predecessor, and for the most part the cabinet of the Inukai ministry would be kept intact. Hamaguchi Osachi would continue to increase voter representation, particularly integrating Korea into the national government of Japan, just as had previously been accomplished in Taiwan. As an advocate for progressivism, Hamaguchi decided to hold back on the tactics of cultural assimilation regarding Korea that had been employed by some of his predecessors, instead opting for a mimicking of the more accepting philosophies applied to Taiwan. Circa July 1924, the Japanese government established the Korean Historical Compilation Committee, an organization which was to preserve Korean artifacts and record Korean history, with the committee actually being managed by Koreans rather than Japanese colonists.

Of course, the establishment of organizations and efforts like the Korean Historical Compilation Committee were just table scraps when it came to liberalizing the Government-General of Korea. To actually successfully accomplish the liberalization of Korea, Prime Minister Hamaguchi pursued the replacement of colonial military police with civilian law enforcement, the freedom of Korean press, gradual expansion of parliamentary representation throughout Korea, the introduction of local assemblies to Korean communities, and even a handful of land redistribution policies that undid the previous increase in Japanese arable land ownership on the Korean Peninsula. On January 4th, 1926, the General Representation Bill was passed by the Imperial Diet, which finally secured the rights and representation already guaranteed to the people of the Home Islands and Taiwan for all of the Government-General of Korea.

The passage of the revolutionary General Representation Bill caused a nationwide election to be called for February 19th, 1926 due to the sudden establishment of numerous constituencies in Korea. Following the 1926 Japanese general election, the Kenpo Club would expand its reach into both Korea and Taiwan, even if it did lose a handful of seats to the Rikken Seiyukai within the Home Islands, and the Japanese Proletarian Party also managed to expand its numbers within the House of Representatives, although it continued to remain a minor organization within the Imperial Diet. The biggest breakout in the 1926 general election was the Boggu Hyeobhoe (Korean for “Restoration Association”), a Korean sovereignist party that consisted of a number of positions, ranging from Korean autonomy to full-out secession from Japan.

While the independence of Korea was a far-fetched ambition at this point, home rule via a local assembly was far more realistic, especially given the precedent set by Taiwan’s own autonomous assembly, thus causing these ideals to rise to the top of the Boggu. Therefore, the Boggu would generally pursue a policy of home rule within the Imperial Diet, with these sentiments often being echoed by members of the Kenpo Club, including cabinet ministers. This led to the introduction of the Self-Determination Bill in March 1927, which would form the Prefecture of Korea as a local government for the Korean Peninsula more or less identical to the model and powers of its Taiwanese counterpart, with a local democratic administration being able to pass legislation that would apply exclusively to the Prefecture of Korea so long as said legislation did not contradict the national laws of Japan. While the Self-Determination Bill was certainly controversial, it ultimately would win the support of the progressive wing of the Kenpo Club, including Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi, and would be put into effect on April 30th, 1927, thus establishing the Prefecture of Korea as an autonomous region of the Empire of Japan.


Flag of the Prefecture of Korea.

Within the initial three years of the Hamaguchi administration, the political landscape of the Empire of Japan had been completely changed, in no small part thanks to the vital integration of Korea and the approval of the Self-Determination Bill. Following the death of Emperor Taisho on on December 25th, 1926 and thus the conclusion of the liberal Taisho era, Prince Hirohito ascended to the throne of Japan would and preside over a bold new age of not just emerging Japanese progressivism, but rising Japanese hegemony. It would be Hirohito who would oversee the establishment of the Prefecture of Korea, with the Emperor visiting his Korean subjects in Seoul circa October 1927, a few months after Prime Minister Hamaguchi had undertaken a similar journey. And all the while, Emperor Hirohito observed a world stage, once dominated by empires of nobility a little over a decade prior, succumb more and more to the forces of revolution and reaction alike. In a world increasingly dominated by anti-monarchist philosophy, the Chrysanthemum Throne gradually became a relic of a long-forgotten era, an era before the Great War.


Emperor Hirohito (posthumously awarded the title “Emperor Dowa”) of the Empire of Japan after his enthronement ceremony, circa 1928.

The Dowa era would begin with establishment of the Prefecture of Korea, a defining moment in the time period, but a handful of months later in November 1927, the Kenpo Club would push forth legislation that would give women of at least twenty-five years of age the right to vote and run for public office, with this historic bill being proposed by Prime Minister Hamaguchi himself in an age in which feminism was erupting across the world’s remaining democracies. This piece of legislation would narrowly pass through the Imperial Diet and arrive upon the desk of the prime minister, thus being put into effect on November 22nd, 1927 and securing suffrage for the women of the Empire of Japan. These sorts of policies would continuously face hostility from the Seiyukai, but at this rate the conservative opposition party was slipping further and further into irrelevance due to the continued dominance of the Kenpo and the decisive support that said party continued to receive from the Japanese populace.

But as the Dowa era began a new chapter in the history of Japan, so too was a page turned in the history of East Asia as a whole. By 1927, the Chinese Federation had effectively recovered from the civil war several years prior and, while still suffering from the effects of a century of foreign exploitation, was more or less a functioning democracy that had managed to secure a position on the world stage in which the vast nation was not subjugated by imperialistic practices. To its north, the Bogd Khanate and Russian Democratic Federative Republic had both risen to decent standards of living, even if the two nations had become increasingly economically reliant on Japan. All the while, the Tonghua Pact preserved cooperation within East Asia as a bastion of peace in a world defined by war. In a region that was continuously becoming more and more interconnected, Pan-Asian ideals would begin to emerge throughout the member states of the Tonghua Pact. Soon, a new dragon would rise in the east.


The World Can be in Peace

“In a world in which democracy is snuffed out by the malevolent forces of tyranny and colonialism, one truth has become clear to the people of East Asia; only under a unified brotherhood of mutual prosperity can our corner of the world survive as both a guardian and bastion of harmonious liberty.”

-Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe of Japan addressing the Imperial Diet, circa 1941.



Soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army stationed nearby the Yangtze River, circa September 1923.

Pan-Asianism was far from a novel concept by the 1920s. The ideology had been gaining traction in Japan since the late 19th Century, a time period when much of Asia was a victim of colonialism and the states that remained sovereign were always at risk of becoming the next prey of European vultures. A number of philosophers from Japan had encouraged forming a union with Korea to better defend the two nations from the feared oppression of Western imperialism and by the 20th Century political leaders across Asia supported Pan-Asian tendencies. Among these leaders were Inukai Tsuyoshi and later the general authorities atop the Kenpo Club, thus meaning that throughout the 1920s, the Empire of Japan was consistently a force promoting Pan-Asian ideals throughout the ministries of both Inukai and Hamaguchi.

No event was more beneficial to the rise of Pan-Asianism and ultimately the creation of the East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere than the Chinese Civil War, when, for the first time in modern history Japan and China, the two great titans of Asia, were fighting side by side (with the obvious exclusion of South China). In the aftermath of the Treaty of Hangzhou, North China and Japan were crucial allies and the Tonghua Pact encompassed much of the Far East. For the time being, political integration within the region would not extend beyond military and economic collaboration, but it was undeniable that the affairs of the sovereign states of East Asia were increasingly intertwined. In an age of chaos and dying empires, if Asia was to withstand the reign of the Great War and whatever scourge would potentially emerge when the War to End All Wars was finally over, the continent’s great and independent powers would have to chart a path into an uncertain future together.

As Japan promoted the ideals of Pan-Asianism through consolidating its own sphere of influence, the Chinese Federation would spend the early 1920s rebuilding from years of civil war, warlordism, and imperialism. As the National Republic of China descended into a military junta under the rule of the Kuomintang, the North Chinese government would attempt to build the first truly stable democracy in the history of China. The first president of the Chinese Federation was Cao Kun, a former Beiyang Army general who had led the Tianjin Government through the civil war following his victory in the 1918 presidential election. Operating as a political independent as the National Assembly was divided between the Communications Clique and the Research Clique, Cao would more or less reign as a quiet president, seeking to rearrange the mechanisms of fledgling government into a functioning post-warlord democracy.


President Cao Kun of the Chinese Federation.

It would be Cao Kun who would preside over North China’s transition away from the provisional government that had existed throughout the Chinese Civil War and the ratification of the constitution of the Chinese Federation. Utilizing a plethora of rhetoric and political structures akin to that of the United States (the Parliament of the Chinese Federation would even be divided into a House of Representatives as the lower house and the Senate as the upper house), the constitution of North China would wind up being the most progressive in the brief history of Chinese republicanism. Upon its ratification on October 29th, 1920, the decentralized and egalitarian government of North China served as a sharp contrast to the de facto one-party military junta of the South that reigned just across the Yangtze River. As the Kuomintang began to purge a slew of ideological opponents, a number of dissidents would make their way north as refugees, particularly leftists who had once aligned with the KMT, such as Wang Jingwei.

Under the 1920 constitution of the Chinese Federation, the presidency of the North was vested with supreme authority over the armed forces, which Cao Kun would use to oust dangerous warlords from the state apparatus, with Cao particularly focusing on eliminating the remaining elements of Duan Qirui’s rebellious Anhui Clique. More often than not, Cao was a self-serving leader, often purging disloyal military officers and bureaucrats only to replace them with his own proxies, but by the end of his administration he did manage to end the reign of the warlords within the provinces of North China as democratic reforms were introduced and enforced on the provincial level. This was in no small part due to aid from the Imperial Japanese Army, which maintained a military presence within the Chinese Federation up until 1927. General Tojo Hideki was ordered to preside over the entirety of the Japanese ground forces stationed in North China during this time period and would be instrumental in the enforcement of the 1920 constitution and the dissolution of the age of warlordism.

In many instances, warlords would give into President Cao’s reforms and peacefully cede their power to local democratic administrations, as was the case with the Ma Clique and the Shanxi Clique, however, the powerful Fengtian Clique in Manchuria would not dissolve nearly as voluntary. Ruled by Zhang Zuolin as a de jure territorial military governor since the aftermath of the Wuchang Uprising of 1911, Manchuria was the first Chinese region to ever fall under Japanese military occupation, with foreign influence over the resource-heavy region being surrendered to Japan by Yuan Shikai’s China back in 1915. While nominally remaining under the governance of the Beiyang and Tianjin governments, Manchuria had since become vital to the dominance of the Empire of Japan by providing resources necessary for future industrialization efforts due to the lack of natural resources on the Home Islands. Remaining loyal to the Beiyang Government and preserving ties with the Japanese, the Fengtian Clique would align with the Tianjin Government during the Chinese Civil War, with Zhang Zuolin’s army being especially pivotal in defeating the Anhui Clique.

However, following the formation of the Chinese Federation and the subsequent consolidation of power by Cao Kun, the Fengtian Clique had become a liability. The 1920 constitution directly contradicted the intricate kleptocracy that Zhang Zuolin had spent years forging, which would cause the warlord to subsequently urge Beijing to grant Manchuria autonomy regarding its domestic affairs. Zhang’s stubbornness, if not outright refusal, to give into the 1920 constitution was dangerous enough to the stability of the Chinese Federation, but to make matters worse Zhang Zuolin had a long history of testing his limits with the Japanese, even after the presence of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria swelled during the late 1910s. In the past, despite the Empire of Japan being an ally of the Fengtian Clique, Zhang had spurred local anti-Japanese sentiments to boost his own domestic support and all the while the IJA cautiously moved into what the local warlord would have you believe is hostile territory. Simply put, Manchuria was a powder-keg waiting to explode and Zhang Zuolin was a match.


Soldiers of the Fengtian Army, circa 1917.

As the world ushered in the new year of 1921 and the Ma and Shanxi cliques relinquished their authority to the constitution of the Chinese Federation, it became increasingly clear that Zhang Zuolin would not simply step down and capitulate his iron grip on Manchuria. Within the North Chinese government, there were a handful of voices that were in favor of granting Zhang control over an independent Manchuria as the region wasn’t regarded as an integral part of China anyway, but these calls were shut down by both officials who saw the benefit of sustained control of Manchuria and pragmatists who worried that an independent Manchurian junta would quickly become a hostile and militant pariah state. The Fengtian Clique had to be dissolved through other means, be it through force or otherwise.

By March 1921, Zhang Zuolin had continued to more or less ignore the constitution of the Chinese Federation, even as local citizens began pushing for the adoption of the democratic reforms being put in place by Beijing. All the while, the IJA continued to amass a presence within Manchuria in anticipation of a potential conflict over the territory. Such a war would never arrive, however, as the Chinese Federation and Empire of Japan decided to devise a plan to depose Zhang Zuolin and thus eliminate the reign of the Fengtian Clique without invading Manchuria. It was decided that the Kwantung Army would stage a coup on Zhang’s military government and subsequently hand over management of Manchuria to North China. This plan, as organized and ratified via the Treaty of Darien, would be put into effect on March 15th, 1921 when the Kwantung Army, put under the leadership of General Tojo Hideki, quickly occupied the city of Fengtian and arrested the leadership of the Manchurian clique, including Zhang Zuolin himself. As Japanese military forces throughout Manchuria mobilized to instate a martial law in the name of the Chinese Federation, the headless Fengtian Clique crumbled as its remaining officers either defected or were arrested by Japanese authorities. Within a handful of days, Manchuria was under the control of Tojo and as the North Chinese armed forces entered the region, the last of the last of the Tianjin warlord states fell into the dustbin of history.

Following the fall of the Fengtian Clique, Cao Kun spent the remaining years of his administration focusing on the modernization of China as factories were sprouted up in cities that had been vicious war zones only a handful of years earlier. For the time being, the North Chinese government would ignore taking much of a stance on the international stage beyond continued collaboration with the Tonghua Pact, and both the National Republic of China and the remaining legation cities were left alone. Instead, the Cao administration would see the resurgence of Chinese industry, with factories rising from the ashes of civil war. Both domestic and foreign investors would rise during this time period and opportunistic Japanese plutocrats would make up a substantial bulk of North Chinese industrialists, thus further strengthening the tie between the economies of the Chinese Federation and the Empire of Japan. Seeing an emerging source of resources, European investors would also often set up shop in North China, however, the ascendance of American war profiteering and internal chaos during the beginning of Phase Two did limit European investments.

For all of its flaws, the Cao administration did ultimately bring stability and democracy to North China. However, as the 1923 presidential election approached, President Cao Kun announced his intentions to not run for a second term, thus leaving the presidency open to the two major parties of the Chinese Federation, the populist and center-left Youchuanbu Party (the successor to the Communications Clique) and the nationalist and conservative Constitution Party (the successor to the Research Clique). With the Youchuanbu holding a majority of seats within both the House of Representatives and Senate, the victory of the YP seemed the most likely, with the respected statesman Tang Shaoyi being nominated for the presidency by the Youchuanbu alongside his running mate Cao Rulin. Meanwhile, the Constitution Party would nominate veteran politician and former constitutional monarchist Liang Qichao and bureaucrat Tang Hualong as their presidential and vice presidential candidates respectively, with Liang running on a platform of centralized statism and social conservatism. In the end, however, the strength of the Youchuanbu Party in Parliament allowed for Tang Shaoyi to win the presidency (although the 1923 presidential election was much closer than anticipated), who would succeed Cao Kun on October 10th, 1929.


President Tang Shaoyi of the Chinese Federation.

With the Empire of Japan continuing to expand its influence over the Far East, it would be under the administration of Tang Shaoyi that a new great power would rise with the sun from the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. While Tang would dedicate the bulk of his first term to public infrastructure programs and the bolstering of labor union rights and power, the capabilities of the Chinese Federation would be tested in 1927 when Yang Zengxin’s Xinjiang Clique invaded western North China on February 3rd. A monarchist and the last of the Chinese warlords, Yang had maintained neutrality in the Chinese Civil War and, despite nominally affiliating with North China, continued to assert this neutrality over Xinjiang following the Treaty of Hangzhou. By 1927, however, Yang Zengxin had overseen the rise of the authority of Beijing to the east and the rise of the authority of Moscow to the west. Fearing an invasion by any of the great neighboring powers, Yang decided to take a gamble by building up a large army in Xinjiang with the intent of invading of western China and hopefully mobilizing the local Muslim military authorities to his cause.

Starting with a rapid siege of Guazhouxiang, the Xinjiang War would begin with little resistance to the initial offensive of Yang’s army due to the lack of North Chinese or Japanese military forces within the Gansu province. By the team substantial reinforcements were being mobilized out east, Yang Zengxin had already occupied Jiuquan following a decisive battle on March 17th, 1927. Once the Tianjin Army and IJA arrived in full force, however, it would quickly become apparent that the victories of the Xinjiang Clique were to be short-lived. By invading the Chinese Federation, Yang Zengxin had forced the other members of the Tonghua Pact to uphold their mutual defense commitments and go to war with Xinjiang, which meant that the bulk of East Asia would be dedicated to the defeat of Yang. The ambitious warlord had obviously known that the declaration of war by the Tonghua Pact would be the consequence of his offensive, but Yang had anticipated that a quick invasion would cause his vastly larger and better equipped opponents to sue for peace before the entire arsenal of the Far East could be unleashed upon him. This would prove to not be the case, and on April 21st, 1927 Hami would fall to a coalition of Tonghua Pact forces. A little over a week later, the Xinjiang capital of Dihua fell to the armed forces of the Bogd on May 5th, and a day later Yang Zengxin surrendered to the Tonghua Pact on the condition that he would be free to live out a life in exile, thus bringing an end to the both the Xinjiang War and the last of the warlords of China.

The Xinjiang War was a quiet conflict, especially when compared to the inferno that was scorching the west, but it nonetheless served as proof of the entire Tonghua Pact’s consistent ability to defend and cooperate with its members in times of war. However, it had also shown that North China was no longer a fragile state completely reliant on Japanese military aid to maintain its sovereignty, as the bulk of the war against Yang Zengxin was waged by the Tianjin Army. In the aftermath of the war and the annexation of Xinjiang into the Chinese Federation, political officials began to wonder what the role of the Empire of Japan and, by extension, the Tonghua Pact was to be in an era where the nations of East Asia were emerging into great powers that could hold their own against rival forces, both from Asia and abroad. Throughout May 1927, the Tang administration would pursue a policy of gradually ending the Japanese military occupation of North China, thus handing over internal security responsibilities to the Tianjin Army and concentrating the bulk of remaining IJA forces on the Yangtze border in defense of a potential incursion by the National Republic of China.

As thousands of IJA soldiers returned to the Home Islands, Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi decided to appoint a new foreign minister in order to navigate relations with a changing continent. This new minister was Miki Kiyoshi, a young academic who had been elected to the Imperial Diet in 1926 as a socialist independent of any political party that had run on a platform of Pan-Asian mutual prosperity. Miki was an unconventional choice for the position of minister of foreign affairs, given his relatively young age, niche political views, and lack of experience in public office. But as an individual with an impressive history of analyzing foreign affairs and cooperation as well as a reputation as a skilled and passionate legislator, Miki won the respect and eventual support of MP Shidehara Kijuro, the former minister of foreign affairs under during both the the Inukai and Hamaguchi ministries prior to his resignation in 1926 to pursue domestic policy towards Korea. Thus, with the endorsement of a prominent member of the Kenpo Club behind him, Miki Kiyoshi, once a dark horse candidate with little hopes of getting far in the Japanese government, became the minister of foreign affairs of the Empire of Japan on May 17th, 1927.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Miki would prioritize the continued integration of the Tonghua Pact member states, something which won the backing of Prime Minister Hamaguchi. Having entered politics in a world where the Pact was already an influential force that had proven its success, Miki sought to take such an organization a step further and replace the Tonghua Pact with a Pan-Asian international government dedicated to peacekeeping and mutual well-being. Kiyoshi Miki would name his proposed community of nations the East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere (EACPS), a radical evolution of the ideals of Pan-Asian philosophers both past and present. While the proposed organization was controversial within the Japanese government, it ultimately won the support of Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi and the increasingly Pan-Asian Kenpo Club, thus meaning that the implementation of the East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere was adopted as the official foreign policy of the Empire of Japan.

The ambitious proposal that was the EACPS would manage to win over other governments of the Tonghua Pact’s constituent states, who had long since adopted strengthening ties with the Japanese a handful of years ago. Even the Chinese Federation, which was the only Tonghua Pact member state to have not integrated into the yen bloc and the only member state capable of countering the influence of Tokyo, agreed to forge the East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere due to the pro-Japanese ideals of President Tang Shaoyi. Therefore, representatives of Japan, North China, Mongolia, and the RDFR would arrive in the port city of Dairen circa late May 1927 to forge the bold new successor to the Tonghua Pact and the beginning of a new era of history for East Asia. The days of European imperialism in the Far East would soon come to an end, and in their place the sun would rise over the age of co-prosperity.

It was decided at the Dairen Convention that the East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere was to be a regional confederation of sovereign states, with the EACPS being governed by the democratically elected General Congress of East Asia, a bicameral legislative assembly consisting of a population-based House of Representatives and a House of Delegates consisting of two members appointed by constituent national governments. In accordance with the Dairen Convention, a general economy was to established by adopting the yen as the East Asian currency while the Congress of East Asia would adopt the additional responsibilities of amassing a collective temporary armed force, deploying both regional and collective military forces in defensive military operations, passing resolutions to be potentially adopted by constituent governments, and sustaining the East Asian Court of Justice to protect fundamental human rights both internally and abroad. Furthermore, the Dairen Convention would establish the Workers’ Labor Congress of East Asia, a body of representatives from both national governments and prominent workers’ organizations with the purpose of regulating working conditions and labor standards within the EACPS.

The document developed by the Dairen Convention would be ratified on June 10th, 1927 as the Covenant of the East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere (sometimes retroactively referred to as the first constitution of the Co-Prosperity Sphere), thus causing Kiyoshi Miki’s vision of a Pan-Asian confederation to become a reality. Upon its formation, the GDP of the East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere was second in the world only to the United States and collectively boasted the largest population when compared to any nation. Simply put, from the moment it was formed, the EACPS was a great power with the potential to emerge as a global superpower if the organization played its cards right. The first move the new dragon of the Far East would make in the game of geopolitics was the passage of a resolution by the General Congress demanding the abolition of the Beijing Legation Quarter that had existed in China since the mid-19th Century, and said resolution was subsequently adopted by both Japan and North China. With the occupying forces of Beijing predominantly focusing on the Great War and thus not caring about patrolling the quarter, the end of the Beijing Legation Quarter was accomplished with ease on June 21st, 1927 after the United States was paid by the Chinese Federation to withdraw from Beijing.

And so, the advent of a new age of growing prosperity had engulfed East Asia. Gone were the days of warlordism, foreign imperialism, and clashes between local states. In the place of this era was the second largest economy on Earth and a force for collective peace, an island of tranquility in an ocean of warfare. This age of peace and prosperity in Asia would be shared with the United States, where a booming economy and vibrant society gave birth to a golden decade. While the rest of the world suffered in the Great War, the eagle and the dragon watched on from their dens of serenity. But this age would not last. Storm clouds on the horizon were approaching these dens, but the sleeping giants had yet to notice what was to eventually come.

Soon, war would arrive in North America.

June 1927-Manmade Hell.png

Map of the World circa June 1927.
 
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Your updates take a while, but their great length and quality makes them quite worth it!

Al Capone as an International Brigade Leader is quite the thing! Who knows what trouble scarface will cause in the future? And I suppose it's reasonable that in TTL a poor lost man could go into the Red Army rather than organized crime.

Figures that enthusiastic fresh manpower is the best thing France could get. Definitely will be some of their best troops. Are the International Brigades being mechanized like the rest of the French army?

the beginning of the “Special Relationship” that would dominate Japnese-American relations going forward into the tumultuous 1930s.
Huh, a Japanese-American alliance of Neutrals. And with Japan's liberalization, the American public probably won't mind Japan's empire-building. And really, unless Japan goes on something like an OTL killing spree anything they get up to is FAR preferable to whatever happens in Europe. Wonder what the reaction of Americans will be to getting bailed out/invaded by non-whites when things inevitably hit the fan.

On November 4th, 1924 the Fourth Party System had died alongside the political dichotomy that had gridlocked the United States since the days of the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.
OK, this naming is confusing. Why is it the OLD system that is called the "fourth party system" when the old system had only two parties and the new one has FOUR?

Besides that, very nice development of American politics. Good that you recognize Socialism's success abroad would cause it to gain more traction in America as well. On the surface things seem to be going very well, with early feminism, Blacks self-organizing to defend their interests, and the breaking of the two-party system. Only clear black spot is the war profiteering, and even that hardly impacts the common man. Maybe even benefits it, with unions in the munitions factories.

Makes it all the sadder to know this will come crashing down. I'm guessing there will be a multitude of triggers: Dissatisfaction with a congress gridlocked due to the many parties (Reps, Libs, and Socs won't get along forever), a reactionary southern backlash against progressiveism (in turn countered by Huey Long's cult of personality), backlash against the actions of the war profiteers, an ill-timed economic crisis (possibly connected to the end of Phase 2 in Europe), Socialists getting uppity after getting a little TOO emboldened... who knows? Whatever happens, MacArthur will probably help make it worse.

Perhaps the Empire of Japan was the only true victor of the Great War.
political officials began to wonder what the role of the Empire of Japan and, by extension, the Tonghua Pact was to be in an era where the nations of East Asia were emerging into great powers that could hold their own against rival forces, both from Asia and abroad.
We've seen hints before that Japan would come out of this a great power. With the developments in this chapter, it is quite clear how. The one concern is that with the development and enfranchisement of so many neighboring members by the mid-century Japan might not be in a leading position. That does have the potential to cause internal turmoil in the co-prosperity sphere, but I suppose it's not going to happen until after the Great War.

The massive success of the liberals in Japan in the '20s seems questionable to me, but I don't know enough to say for sure if it's ASB.

With apparently no Japanese-American war happening, there really aren't many external threats that can dismantle Japan's sphere. The most dangerous is Soviet Russia, but with them exhausted by war and the rough terrain of Siberia between them, a successful conquest is quite unlikely, though a unification of Russia may be possible.
with the Type 93 torpedo being developed in the late 1920s alongside the Type 95 submarine torpedoes.
Long Lance in the 1920s? When/If the Entente decides to get fucky with Japan, they won't know what hit them!
Minor quibble: Type XX Japanese equipment is numbered for the Imperial Year the weapon was developed or entered service, so if those Torpedoes were introduced in 1921 they'd be numbered somewhere around from 79 to 81. I can understand if it's easier for you to use OTL names for weapons, but that will cause confusion when Imperial Japan inevitably begins developing technology they didn't get in OTL before 1945.
 
OK, this naming is confusing. Why is it the OLD system that is called the "fourth party system" when the old system had only two parties and the new one has FOUR?
It's the fourth era of party coalitions and power structures since the adoption of the Constitution, lasting from 1896 to 1924. The realignment around new voting coalitions and the emergence of viable third and fourth parties is what alters the political landscape enough TTL to end it with the 1924 election, beginning the Fifth Party System. OTL the Fourth lasted until 1932, when the FDR New Deal coalition was created which dominated the (OTL) Fifth Party System until the realignment of the late 1960s/early 1970s produced the Sixth, which we're more or less in now.

The massive success of the liberals in Japan in the '20s seems questionable to me, but I don't know enough to say for sure if it's ASB.
The militarist turn of Japan OTL occurred in stages through the 20s and really crystallized in the early 30s, so with a few changes it's not too implausible to prevent that turn and continue what had been a long period of liberal democratic opening going back to the Meiji period.

Anyway, I'll echo the above sentiment, @ETGalaxy, this update is totally worth the wait. I quite like the way you've taken Japan, also, it's not very common to see them avoid falling into militarism and still stay a regional power.
 
Your updates take a while, but their great length and quality makes them quite worth it!
Thanks! This chapter strays pretty heavily from the typical war-focused stuff in the bulk of the TL, so I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this chapter! As for updates taking longer, I unfortunately can't do a lot about that, but I can get out simple graphics pretty quickly, and I think I struck a bit of nice balance pacing-wise with the graphics I did in between this chapter and VIII. I hope to do more stuff like that in during the wait period.

Al Capone as an International Brigade Leader is quite the thing! Who knows what trouble scarface will cause in the future? And I suppose it's reasonable that in TTL a poor lost man could go into the Red Army rather than organized crime.
I'm a sucker for putting OTL figures into weird circumstances, so Al Capone fighting for the French Commune in the Great War was definitely fun to develop. I won't get too much into what I think the plan is for Capone at the moment, but what I will say is that he won't enter organized crime and will continue a career in the military and will remain a socialist.

Figures that enthusiastic fresh manpower is the best thing France could get. Definitely will be some of their best troops. Are the International Brigades being mechanized like the rest of the French army?
The International Brigades will get some mechanization, and I'm sure as their numbers continue to pour in Souvarine will decide to employ volunteers in his mechanized tactics, but for the time being the Brigades are not as mechanized as their French or even British and Irish counterparts. They've very much been a ragtag group of militias throughout the Great War and aren't as well organized as the more experienced Third International forces.

Huh, a Japanese-American alliance of Neutrals. And with Japan's liberalization, the American public probably won't mind Japan's empire-building. And really, unless Japan goes on something like an OTL killing spree anything they get up to is FAR preferable to whatever happens in Europe. Wonder what the reaction of Americans will be to getting bailed out/invaded by non-whites when things inevitably hit the fan.
Yep, the Japanese-American alliance is here to stay. I should also point out that for the time being, Japan has no interests in empire-building, or at least not to the extent that it did in OTL. It won't need to invade China for resources due to the fact that at this point North China and Japan share the same economy, the Philippines is off limits, and Japan isn't touching any of the Asian front lines of the Great War with a hundred-foot pole, which basically leaves South China, the Dutch East Indies, and a handful of other spots as the only places Japan can expand if it wanted to. For the time being, the Japanese will seek to peacefully expand its sphere of influence, mostly through building up the yen bloc, as was the case in Siam.

Besides that, very nice development of American politics. Good that you recognize Socialism's success abroad would cause it to gain more traction in America as well. On the surface things seem to be going very well, with early feminism, Blacks self-organizing to defend their interests, and the breaking of the two-party system. Only clear black spot is the war profiteering, and even that hardly impacts the common man. Maybe even benefits it, with unions in the munitions factories.

Makes it all the sadder to know this will come crashing down. I'm guessing there will be a multitude of triggers: Dissatisfaction with a congress gridlocked due to the many parties (Reps, Libs, and Socs won't get along forever), a reactionary southern backlash against progressiveism (in turn countered by Huey Long's cult of personality), backlash against the actions of the war profiteers, an ill-timed economic crisis (possibly connected to the end of Phase 2 in Europe), Socialists getting uppity after getting a little TOO emboldened... who knows? Whatever happens, MacArthur will probably help make it worse.
Yeah, I'd say that the Golden Twenties are going a lot better for most Americans than OTL's Roaring Twenties. War profiteering really is the biggest issue the US faces (and for more reasons than it seems), and while it isn't something that is really negatively impacting Americans, it is having a negative impact on Europe due to the pouring in of weapons to the European war efforts, which only continues to fuel the Great War. As for when things start to go wrong, I won't reveal anything yet, but you actually do have some good guesses about what's to come. And we'll see what happens with MacArthur, but I'm not the biggest fan of him, so I'd be open to giving him a role as an infamous and dangerous individual sooner or later.

We've seen hints before that Japan would come out of this a great power. With the developments in this chapter, it is quite clear how. The one concern is that with the development and enfranchisement of so many neighboring members by the mid-century Japan might not be in a leading position. That does have the potential to cause internal turmoil in the co-prosperity sphere, but I suppose it's not going to happen until after the Great War.
I think I've alluded to this enough for it to not be considered a spoiler, but by the end of the Great War, it won't be so much that Japan is a great power per say but rather that the EACPS is a great power and Japan is the tail that wags the East Asian dog.
The massive success of the liberals in Japan in the '20s seems questionable to me, but I don't know enough to say for sure if it's ASB.
I'm by no means an expert on Japanese politics in this time period, but I do think that this isn't too unrealistic. Japan's historical fall into reactionism was very much the product of the influence of its armed forces over the democratic government, which has already been neutered ITTL due to handing over control of the war ministry to the civilian government.

With apparently no Japanese-American war happening, there really aren't many external threats that can dismantle Japan's sphere. The most dangerous is Soviet Russia, but with them exhausted by war and the rough terrain of Siberia between them, a successful conquest is quite unlikely, though a unification of Russia may be possible.
At this point, Russia attacking the Japanese would be a nearly suicidal move, as such an action would not only open up a third front against a major power, but it would also pull in the RDFR, Mongolia, and North China into a coalition against the Red Army. At this point, it's something that the Soviet Republic would likely not survive and is thus being carefully averted by Leon Trotsky.

Long Lance in the 1920s? When/If the Entente decides to get fucky with Japan, they won't know what hit them!
Minor quibble: Type XX Japanese equipment is numbered for the Imperial Year the weapon was developed or entered service, so if those Torpedoes were introduced in 1921 they'd be numbered somewhere around from 79 to 81. I can understand if it's easier for you to use OTL names for weapons, but that will cause confusion when Imperial Japan inevitably begins developing technology they didn't get in OTL before 1945.
Oh, okay! I didn't know that, so thank you for pointing that out! I'll be sure to change that ASAP.
 
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Anyway, I'll echo the above sentiment, @ETGalaxy, this update is totally worth the wait. I quite like the way you've taken Japan, also, it's not very common to see them avoid falling into militarism and still stay a regional power.
Thanks, I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this update! Liberalized Imperial Japan has always seemed to be a bit of a cliche to me (or at least in Shared Worlds), but I think it's an interesting scenario to explore and one that I hope to do in an interesting way by exploring how a more pacifistic Japan would expand its sphere of influence and integrate with its neighbors as equals rather than as imperialist conquests. The EACPS is something that I've put a decent amount of thought into and was one of the original ideas I had for this TL, so my hope is that I can pull off making a democratic Co-Prosperity Sphere a compelling and realistic part of the TL.
 
Just checking out this timeline, and things look interesting! I didn't expect to see a version of history where the US allies with neither the Entente nor the CP, but stays neutral and secure.

To echo other posters, the Golden Twenties sound like a pretty good time for America (though let's not ignore the flaws, since there's no need for civil rights intellectuals unless African-Americans aren't getting their full rights). I'm also interested in the EU-like EACPS that seems to be forming.

Given the mentions of a "Special Relationship" between the US and Japan in the future - maybe they'll end up on the same side in a later war? It's rather amusing to imagine some TTL dictatorship spewing propaganda about the Japanese, North Chinese, and Americans being "decadent peoples who'll collapse as soon as we strike them" a la the OTL Nazis, only to be confronted by TWO large, populous, and wealthy geopolitical entities who can turn out enough bullets, tanks, ships, and supplies to kill the enemy simply by dropping them all on his head.
 
Excellent post. There's a sense of foreboding, knowing that all the progressive reforms and achievements of the Johnson administration, as well as the Socialist surge, will likely face a backlash once the war arrives to North America, but it's still very nice to read. The East Asia section is... interesting, I suppose, but unfortunately I don't have much to say because of my lack of knowledge on the subject. It's fascinating to see the new Party System form and the Democrats slowly fall into irrelevance - speaking of which, have Liberals made state elections in the South competitive, and do any of them hold Southern seats in Congress?

While some states would pass laws regulating specific trading practices with specific belligerents (usually members of the Third International)

HMMM.

What states specifically?

One of the first individuals to announce their candidacy was Chicago Mayor William Emmett Dever, who ran on a platform of increasing municipal power, particularly over the management of mass public transit. While Dever did win some decent support from Liberal party bosses, particularly in the Midwest

Honestly, I feel like such a candidacy would be pretty interesting in the Roaring Twenties, particularly given the increasingly conspicuous cultural and economic distance between the cities and the countryside that was prevalent during that era as well as the American government recusing itself from world affairs.

No neutral nation contributed more foreign volunteer forces to the Third International war effort than the United States, which was more of a testament to the size of the American population and the US’ accessibility to Europe than anything else.

...I take it USA took a lot of immigrants fleeing the war in Europe, huh?

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if some conservatives in Congress (particularly from the Democratic Party) would call for placing restrictions on international brigade volunteering, all while conservative pundits and newspaper owners spin the issue into, quote, PRESIDENT JOHNSON AND HIS RED COHORTS SENDING AMERICAN BOYS TO THEIR DEATHS.

Seeing an emerging source of resources, European investors would also often set up shop in North China, however, the ascendance of American war profiteering and internal chaos during the beginning of Phase Two did limit European investments.

Did any Europeans settle down in North China?
 
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