Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Alt History Buff, Jan 8, 2018.
Kingdom of Germany
Though the war had been effectively over for many months, the Kingdom of Germany's turmoil was far from complete. The pseudo-rebellion of the armed forces had terrified the ruling class and forced the King into making all sorts of promises. As the rebellion was not uniformly led or possessing a true political doctrine, the soldiers were happy enough with the peace and being allowed to go home. Longtime Democratic activists had hoped to rally the soldiers to their cause but few actually received followers. The result was a crackdown....again....on pro-democracy forces. Thousands were thrown into jail and the movement again killed in the Kingdom. The probably saving grace for the monarchy and their ilk was possessing the wisdom not to extend the purge to the rapidly demobilizing army forces. As long as the soldiers did nothing beyond going home, the Crown was determined to let that sleeping dog lie. A few officers aiding the mutiny were quietly "retired" or moved to less essential positions but none were arrested or openly relieved of duty.
Unfortunately, the peace also did not result in quick economic recovery. The government was broke and common services barely survived. There was a substantial uptick in emigration (the Crown happy to see unhappy people leave despite previous attempts to prevent emigration in order to maintain the highest possible population) to America. In the past, the German immigration had been viewed by the American population as "Catholic" in nature but this was something of an exaggeration. The large-scale German immigration of the past 50 years was split almost evenly between Catholic and Protestant. The next five to ten years would see a disproportionate Protestant German migration due to emigrants from the Kingdom of Germany and the reforming German Confederation (the latter spurred to reform by France, which feared otherwise that the Germans of northwest Germany would desire unification with a hostile Kingdom of Germany).
Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
For many years, Brooklyn was considered the "Catholic" city of the region with large numbers of Germans, Irish and Italian Catholics making it their home. Queens had the reputation of being disproportionately, though not majority, Orthodox (Russian, Lebanese, Copt, Ethiopian) and Jewish. The Bronx was the "Protestant" stronghold which accepted large numbers of Briton, Protestant Irish, Protestant Germans, etc.
Only the Bronx had a majority native born population by 1900.
At the turn of the century, each of these cities would become even more of a melting pot. Catholics moved to the Bronx. Protestants moved to Brooklyn. The old ethnic neighborhoods blended together. Many of the immigrant families of the past century had grown more affluent, "Americanized" and eventually left the region with new populations moving in.
San Francisco Harbor, Yerba Buena, Borealia Province
1905 saw the first "Little Tokyo" being formed in Yerba Buena out of America's first wave of Asian immigration since tens of thousands of Chinese men entered the country's west coast during the gold rushes. Most of the Chinese had been evicted during the past decade, thus ending the first Asian experiment. But closer relations with the Nipponese Emperor would allow several thousand Nipponese to enter each year. Most ended up in the west coast with San Francisco Harbor being the most common portal. But, eventually, a small neighborhood arose in Brooklyn as well.
In Yerba Buena, the Nipponese were socially restricted and often were forced to reside in the poor and undeveloped "Pacific Heights" or working-class "Mission" Districts.
Secretary of State Theodore Roosevelt was already getting tired of President Hohenzollern's interference with his department. There were few men whom could withstand his personality but Hohenzollern was too accustomed to a military mindset which did not allow him to be dominated by a "subordinate" like Roosevelt.
Hohenzollern refused Roosevelt's entreaties to "assume control" over Hawaii and the other islands of the Mormon Theocracy. In truth, barely half of the population claimed by the Theocracy were actual Mormons. But the Theocracy dominated the governments of Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and other regional powers. To ensure this, the Theocracy would refuse any "foreign" evangelists.
For the most part, Hohenzollern was willing to let matters as they were. He was half way through his Presidency and the soldier had prevented Roosevelt from starting a war with anyone. This was a record of which he could be proud.
Roosevelt would recommend that William Howard Taft be reassigned from his office of "Ambassador" to Nippon and given the governorship of "American Siberia" in hopes of sidelining a potential rival for the 1908 Presidential election but Hohenzollern would not hear of it. Frustrated, Roosevelt would quietly begin campaigning for the election, often being photographed with interesting personages including being driven by a young automobile inventor named Henry Ford in Mackinac.
Though the coast of Manicheistan lacked an abundance of fine ports, the Chinese Army would spend months preparing new moorings for the Navy, thus putting the first real Chinese presence along the Indian Ocean. The Maratha Emperor would protest, knowing that such an advance base would threaten Maratha superiority in the region.
By 1906, the Marathans were rapidly modernizing their fleet. The stunning evidence of the American-Chinese war proved that the Marathan Navy was obsolete.
The Emperor would dispatch emissaries to Manhattan requesting expeditated delivery of modern warships capable of competing with the Chinese. In the meantime, neutral nations like the Philippines, Java, the Khmer Kingdom, Siam Laos, Burma and others would quietly seek alliance with both the Maratha Empire and America as these were seen as less aggressive than China.
Deputy Mayor (appointed) George McClellan Junior of the Federal District of Manhattan would enter the 1906 election certain of gaining election as the Mayor in November of 1906. For the past 10 years, he'd been appointed by the outgoing three-term Mayor Grover Cleveland to posts of increasingly significance in the capital bureaucracy. His most recent accomplishment was overseeing the local subway expansion. This assured him of assuming the Deputy Mayor position and now was the front-runner for the Mayorship on the Provincial Party ticket.
McClellan, like many of his predecessors, often went against the grain by fighting the wily-nily expansion on the island and saw no reason why the capital should give up its precious green spaces so cheap residences could be built up until Manhattan resembled the slums of Brooklyn.
McClellan, now in his early forties, had spent his career with his father's ghost over his shoulder. George McClellan Sr. was an intelligent, ambitious and hard-working man whom had never amounted to much and demanded his son make the family name famous. The younger man bore a greater burden of his father's expectations. Dead for over a decade, the senior man would never see his son elected to such a prestigious office. Most likely he would be disappointed that his son was not already president.
Siberia and Tibet
Though China had nominally assumed control over "Siberia" generations before, that did not mean that the nation had done much of anything to settle or develop the region. That allowed encroachment by Russia, the Turkic Khanate and even the Maratha Empire.
The fall of Eastern Siberia to America would encourage some neighbors to believe that China was perhaps more vulnerable than they really were. Most dangerous was far to the south where the Marathas focused their anxiety on China's new tribute state of Manicheistan and wondered if perhaps the loose Chinese control over Tibet may provide an opportunity to push the Chinese border back hundreds of miles and block any conceivable invasion of the Marathas from the north.
In truth, any army invading through Tibet would find their supply line almost impossible to sustain and there was no chance whatsoever that China would or could utilized this route. But Indian (as the people of the subcontinent were often called rather than Marathas) peoples had long memories and the record of invasions from northern tribes like the Afghans resonated even today.
Map of North America - 1906
View attachment 444878
President George Frederick Hohenzollern would spend much of 1906 preparing for the coming election. He was a popular President and, unlike many past elections, would receive many requests to campaign on behalf of his allies in Congress. Perhaps he would not be such a Lame Duck as previous Presidents of the past few decades in his final two years in office.
In the meantime, he would also be the first President to visit the American Main of south and central America while in office in decades. He would choose December and January as he held no particular interest in seeing out a New Years in Manhattan. By November, the region was already covered in snow, something that can rarely be applied to Darien, Granada and Maracaibo.
Indeed, Hohenzollern and his wife would be the first President and First Lady to visit the territories of Costa Rica and Costa Caribia. Though the lands were harsh and mountainous, fine ports rare and the heat oppressive, there remained a steady trickle of emigrants from the Republics of Nicaragua and Managua, other regions of the American Main, the Caribbean and further afield as far as Europe, the Levant and Ethiopia. Small ports allowed for trade, new railroads moved goods inland to the sea and generally a region once expected never to sustain a real population would approach the point of population and infrastructure to allow for a Provincehood.
Similarly, the territory of Assiniboia would approach the necessary population after several years of heavy growth due to the construction of the "northern boondoggle", a railroad line across the far north often considered a waste of money. Many believed that the Northern Pacific Railroad a few hundred miles to the south would support the region well enough. However, this proved inadequate and the developing mining, ranching and farming of the region would spur Congress to approve a new trans-continental railroad under the sponsorship of the late John A. MacDonald (whom wanted it to go through his native Province of Wyandotte).
So grateful were the people of Assiniboia that they named their new capital city after the man whom relentlessly pushed the matter through an indifferent Congress.
Map of American Siberia - 1906
Map of World - 1906
Vasily Verishchagin, sixtyish and grey-bearded, was among the most respected war artists in the world. While some considered painting martial epics a lost art in the age of photography, Verishchagin's portraits were both provocative and hauntingly beautiful. Decorated in his younger days by two Czars, Verishchagin would enjoy Royal patronage....for a while. Eventually, the horrors of war would lead Verishchagin down another path. When his paintings of Russian forces crushing Turkic or Tatar or Anatolian or other nations would slowly be viewed as...critical...the political support dried up. He was no longer allowed to accompany troops on the margins of the periphery of Russia's enormous frontier.
His exhibitions were banned, several great works destroyed.
Vasily Verishchagin and his greatest work
Photo of young Adolf Heitler after arrival in Ireland and one of his city paintings
Eventually Verishchagin would elect to travel abroad. The Russian government, whom feared that the old man would join the radical movements, would be happy to see him depart along with millions of others from Russia proper to the Near East or all the way to America.
Verishchagin would spend much of the early 20th century painting scenes of the German war. Later, he was ejected from Prussia and sailed for Britain where he was left in peace by the Republic. However, Verishchagin wasn't happy for some reason in London. Perhaps he'd spent too much time along the frontier and missed the countryside. He would sail again, this time to Ireland, and entered into a Professorship in the Dublin Art Institute. Dublin, while a city itself, was considerably more pleasant than crowded and smelly London and his teaching duties allowed for him to spend several days a week in the country.
Among his students was a young Austrian whom had initially been rejected by the Institute...twice. But Adolf Heitler would be discovered upon the streets of Dublin, painting cityscapes for pennies when the old Russian happened upon him. Though he barely spoke Irish or English, the Russian was able to communicate in moderately competent German and learned of Heitler's failure to be accepted by the prestigious school. Reviewing several of the portraits, the old man would see the raw talent and ordered young Adolf to seek him out the next day in his office. Though not a tenured professor or head of a department, the Russian had already gained influence with the faculty and would assure the young man that his application would be revisited for the fall semester.
President Hohenzollern would never cease to be astonished by the bizarre waves of immigration to America. While not quite as diverse as Brooklyn or even the Bronx, Manhattan was reflecting some of this international flair. Usually the high prices and vigorous regulation of the Federal District of Manhattan prevented the poor and downtrodden immigrants from the capital and the island remained a bastion of the government and the wealthy. Manufacturing was effectively banned along with other offensive blights like slaughterhouses, tanneries, etc, thus there was no reason for the construction of cheap slums. Fine townhouses, offices, banks and restaurants pervaded the island.
This latter would prove the entryway of many foreign born peoples into Manhattan (that and live in maids or butlers serving the nation's political classes). By 1907, Manhattan had numerous French, Italian (with all their crazy pastas) and Lebanese restaurants but even more exotic fares were becoming available. Ethiopian Kinche, a mix of barley and oatmeal served with spice butter, was becoming a morning tradition in the city. Lunches of tacos, shawarma, Vienna sausages and Swedish pickled herring were served in the streets by ethnic venders.
Now, high end restaurants would serve even more baffling concoctions. In one day, President Hohenzollern would be treated by friends at a new Russian restaurant for lunch and then an Indian restaurant for dinner. Though he was loathe to admit it, the borsch and chicken tikka were delightful. In four years as President, Hohenzollern had gained twenty pounds. He still cut a dashing figure but didn't have a prayer of fitting back into his service uniform without alternation.
Map of North America - 1907
The Austrian-born Irishman, Adolf Heitler, had spent a third of his life in Ireland ad, by 1907, spoke fluent Irish and even a bit of English, the latter still being spoken in cities by the merchant class which remained closely tied to the British economy despite generations of separation from the extinct British crown and British republic. The urban business class remained disproportionately Anglican or Presbyterian. The Protestants, though having fallen from their peak of 25% of Ireland's population in the late 18th century down to 11% by 1907, had lost many of their lands in the confiscations after the rebellion.....but held onto their position in trade, banking and manufacturing.
This aroused the resentment of the Irish Catholics whom still recalled the domination of their ancestors by the House of Hanover (both when seated in Britain and later in Prussia-Hanover, now the Kingdom of Germany). Sectarian violence occasionally flared up. The Dublin Art Institute was created in the years following the formation of the Republic and had become identified with the new Catholic-led government. Like many institutions in this turbulent time, Protestants were prohibited from attending. Eventually, a new peace was made and Protestants were accepted into government, the Universities, etc but the Art Institute directors would remain steadfastly partisan and few Protestants were accepted.
The Institute became a symbol of the Radical "Irish Union" Movement which desired the expulsion of all non-Catholics from the Island. While not all students were so politicized, there was an undercurrent of anti-Protestant artists. Heitler, though not a native Irishman, would join these ranks. In his youth, he'd considered a life in the clergy and had been radicalized by the Kingdom of Germany's (the Protestant Hohenzollerns) assaults upon Saxony and the Habsburg Empire of Germany.
A petition was raised to ban Protestants from the school but the administration swiftly rejected it. Despite years of peace and positive relations with the Republic of England, Ireland appeared intent upon tearing apart many of its gains over the past century.
Though the Peninsula had been united under the Spanish Bourbons for the first time in a thousand years, it had taken decades for any semblance of an "Italian" national identity to form. Surprisingly moderate economic reforms abolishing internal barriers to trade as well as lower tariffs abroad would mix with a lightening of the judicial system (outside of treason of course) would allow greater intermixing of the Italian peoples. Not all of this was favorable as the more developed northerners would hold the agrarian southerners to a level of contempt. But the poor of the south would migrate to the new northern industrial regions (as well as to America) to feed the new need for labor.
More so, many Italians would migrate seasonally or permanently to the Gallic Kingdoms where their labor was prized in the fertile farmsteads. Unlike other nations, Gaul did not have stringent barriers to entry and this immigration would also feed the new urban manufacturing centers. Every major Gallic city would have an Italian district and Italian surnames would become common throughout the Seven Kingdoms over the next century.
It also led to a belief in some quarters that parts of Piedmont-Savoy and Occitania deserved to belong to the Kingdom of Italy...and therefore the King of Spain.
The Occitan language was considered in some quarters closer to Catalonian than French or one of the other common languages of the Gallic Crown. This was used as a pretense for ambitious Italian and Spanish functionaries to dream of an expanded Empire which physically linked Iberia to Italy.
The 18th Century had been brutal for North Africa as most of the coastline was conquered by various Europeans and then savage internal civil wars occurred among the tribesmen of the plains and mountains. Eventually, the ascendancy of Arab language and culture was partially rolled back as the new leaders of North Africa were culturally and linguistically Berber. New Universities were taught entirely in Berber, many being largely secular. Eventually, even the dominance of Arabic in religious affairs would diminish. Most Muslims would read the Quran in Arabic but the new Berber leaders of North Africa (and the Persian people as well) would translate into their native languages. This was not quite as radical as when Protestants began preaching and translating the bible in languages other than Latin but was considered quite the revolution.
Some viewed this as further splintering of the Muslim faith into factions. But religion was often used as a political tool and the new religious practices were utilized by Sultans and Kings to stamp their own authority over their Kingdoms.
President George Frederick Hohenzollern could already see the Lame Duck portion of his Presidency coming. By 1908, the preparation for the fall election was in full swing. He was unlikely who the Provincial Party would press forward but he was quite certain that the Centralists would face a choice between William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. Hohenzollern was shocked that he'd managed to go five years with Roosevelt as his Secretary of State. From the start, the President had thought he'd eventually be forced to fire the man and therefore split his own party. But the two managed to see eye to eye often enough that the relationship lasted.
That didn't mean that Hohenzollern had any intention of staying neutral in the Party Caucus. The President wanted the capable, affable and, most importantly, REASONABLE William Howard Taft in the Presidential Mansion. For years, the well-girthed man had acted as "advising Ambassador" to the Nipponese Emperor, probably being the most powerful man on the island of Honshu. Taft also was the leading man in organizing "American Siberia" as well as forming the pseudo-alliance known as the "Greater Southeast Asia Co-Development Sphere". This cumbersome moniker hide the obvious fact that it was a military relationship between America, Nippon, the Maratha Empire and several independent nations in southeast Asia including the Filipino Republic, Dai Viet, Kampuchea (formerly the Khmer Empire prior to the overthrow of the King), Laos and Siam. Only Burma and Java remained aloof.
Naturally diplomatic and reasonable of personality, Taft was the man to lead America through the turbulent times likely to follow. Europe and Asia appeared on the verge of combustion every year and god knew what would happen if that jingoistic Roosevelt were to assume command.
Unfortunately, Taft also considered Roosevelt a friend and openly stated that he would not assault Roosevelt's character. Hohenzollern feared this may cost him in November.
Who knew how much it would cost the world if that damned Cowboy became President?
For the past few generations, the two largest powers in Africa were the Ethiopian Empire and the Ghanan Confederation. Having solidified their hold over each coast, both slowly but surely expanded their influence inland.
At it must, the two parties would soon meeting in the barren deserts of southern Africa.
The hilly, undeveloped land of the Manicheists made an unexpected source of friction between China and the Maratha Empire but the development of naval bases to be used by the Chinese fleet would bring some in Pune to near panic. More and more demands were made to the American Ambassador for ships and weapons whom then sent requests for instructions to Edo where "Minister" Taft attempted to control American policy in Asia.
Finally, the man was forced to sail to Pune himself to council the Peshwa.
Two years after the Great Yerba Buena Earthquake, the city had made remarkable strides to rebuild. The rail system had been fixed already while several neighborhoods were already recovered.
In one particular location, three huge buildings had risen almost over night. A colorful Buddhist shrine sat adjacent an equally impressive Hindu temple. On the opposite corner was an onion-domed Russian orthodox Church. The "Mission District" and "Pacific Heights" were now the bastion of these groups and would only become increasingly diverse in the coming years as these religious faculties would see an Orthodox Jewish Temple, a Mormon (Reformed) Tabernacle and other edifices constructed.
The general San Francisco Bay would become a bastion of pious religious belief.
Great Yerba Buena fire of 1906
Picture City (Hobe Sound), South Georgia
For years, the developing motion picture industry would slowly congregate in a few locations from Georgetown, New Jersey to Tanantau, Wyandotte to San Marcos, Texas. By 1908, the South Georgian city of Hobe Sound (renamed Picture City) and the Australian city of San Diego would join the others as a potential contender. Eventually, each city would be dominated by one or two powerful studios which damn near fought over talented performers.
Georgetown, New Jersey - Universal Studios
The Bronx, New York - Edison Studies
Queens, Long Island - Kaufman Astoria Studios
Picture City, South Georgia - Thanhouser Studios, Biograph Company
San Diego, Australia - Nestor Studios, Famous Players/Paramount
Tarantau, Wyandotte - Great Lakes Entertainment
Decades of heavy Russian immigration had changed the face...quite literally...of the Levant. For the first time in over a thousand years, there were as many Christians as Muslims between Persia and Egypt. There was, of course, a large number of "others" like Jews, Hindus, Baha'i, Babs, Manicheists and even more exotic groups.
A lighter Russian hand in terms of tariffs, regulation, criminal law, migration, etc would allow a level of freedom (if not political representation) unheard of in the past.
Of course, these vast migrations would bring social tension. Baghdad would see its Christian and Jewish content go from its historical figure of 5-10% to upwards of 40%. And the arrival of large numbers of Shi'a Egyptians, Persians, Indians (of all religions), etc would shift even the Muslim populations of the region. As ethnic Turks, Alevis, Kurds, Arabs, Persians, Egyptians, etc, shifted around seeking better economic circumstances, the old borders meant less and less. In some regions, it was difficult to find a single ethno-religious faction exceeding 15% of the population.
In a bizarre way, this allowed for far greater control by the Russian authorities as there were few groups large enough or consolidated enough to challenge the central government. Only on occasion would a rebellion crop up.
In 1908, this would occur in Arabia when an obscure and isolated tribe would declare a much belated "Jihad" upon all unbelievers and non-Arabs based upon a near extinct Sunni sect called "Wahhabism". What they failed to realize was that most of Arabia was no longer Arab and those that were found this sect repugnant (nor did they appreciate being called unbelievers or apostates).
A faction of Kurdish and Armenian immigrants to the region would gather up their forces and burn the villages of the Wahhabists to the ground, running off with their portable goods. Eventually, the Wahhabists would flee to the Hejaz where the local King would issue an ultimatum to the followers of the old House of Saud: shut up or get out.
Unfortunately, several high-ranking noblemen would ignore this prohibition to their regret. After preaching to the economically vital pilgrims to Mecca that they were apostates and Allah would send them to hell, the King of the Hejaz finally ordered the arrest of several high-ranking Wahhabist clerics and noblemen and had them beheaded before their families.
With that, the Wahhabist movement finally came to an end.
The Centralist Convention would meet in June to determine the Presidential candidates for November's election. Potawatomi was sweltering in summer and the infighting proved vicious. Hohenzollern's poorly concealed support for William Howard Taft was being undermined by the man's absence from North America. Indeed, Taft had only returned to the continent twice in the past thirty months. That didn't totally destroy his chances but certainly hampered them. Gone were the days that a candidate was expected to remain away from the fray and allow his surrogates to campaign for him. Even in the Convention, a man's force of personality was measured.
As Taft was in the subcontinent at the time, he was unavailable even to be consulted. in the meantime, Secretary of State Theodore Roosevelt would throw himself into the Convention and sway many people towards his cause....well, MORE people towards his cause than he swayed against it.
In only three ballots, Roosevelt had his majority and the nomination. The young Guilford Pinchot of Pennsylvania was selected as his Deputy President.
Rodina, North Georgia
In the meantime, the first Party Convention to take place in the south occurred when the Provincial Party would select the city of Rodina, North Georgia, as the location of the Convention. This nomination was fiercely disputed as well. It was fought between the cold Virginian Woodrow Wilson and the Radical from Wabash, Eugene Debs. Wilson was the first serious Presidential Candidate from one of the Provinces which attempted to secede in the War of Southern Rebellion. Debs was a favorite of the Unions and immigrants.
After 10 ballots, the party was utterly splintered. It didn't help that the first major Candidate from the "Latin America", Francisco Madero, of Coahuila, whom rewash strong among Latins and Catholics. Madero was barely old enough to run (only 35 years).
It would go on for almost a week until the deadlocked delegates would finally give up their rancor and meet in secret to resolve the issue. Some offered William Jennings Bryan as a compromise acceptable to all but this was rejected as Bryan was considered a spent force and no threat to Roosevelt.
Finally, Debs agreed to step down provided that the party ticket would support his causes. Wilson would be the Presidential Candidate and Madero the Deputy Presidential Candidate.
Though this was done for Party unity, the Provincials were being split between conservative and radical with some openly mumbling that they should form a third party.
Nafati Empire, Central Africa
The Nafati Empire had expanded over the past half-century under the banner of a new religion, Nafatism, known derisively as "Christlam" to European or Muslim purists. Yet, little was done to halt the expansion of the Hausa-centric Kingdom as its very remoteness kept foreign intervention from significant levels.
Eventually, the borders of the Ethiopian Empire, the Ghanan Confederation and even the Muslim states of the north would encroach to the point that it became apparent that isolation was no longer possible. Emperor Nafati III would withdraw his isolationist position and approach one of these powers in order to help him modernize militarily.
As the Ghanan Confederation was viewed as less ideological and more economic of the three options, the Emperor decided to offer limited trade and diplomatic rights to that organization first as he saw the petty states of the Confederation as less of a threat.
As such, this remote, mysterious Kingdom would slowly enter the global eye. Several emissaries from the Emperor's court would visit the great cities of Africa, Europe and Asia over the coming years to "express their good will".
Realizing that they were diplomatic neophytes, they determined to seek out men accustomed to the ways of the global political situation to teach them modern technology and diplomacy. New advisors would enter the Empire from the Confederation, Europe, the Maratha Empire and beyond.
Among the advisors was a former British soldier named Robert Baden-Powell whom enjoyed travelling to the most remote locations and cultures.
Kingdom of Germany
The economic situation throughout the Hohenzollern Kingdom of Germany would continue to deteriorate despite the return of peace. Much of this was due to the chaotic political situation. Though the mutinying soldiers whom ended the past war in Saxony had not overthrown the monarchy, they also did not espouse any particular love of the House of Hohenzollern. The government had failed them and then the economy. Too much debt had crippled the nation and the army disintegrated rapidly.
High levels of joblessness would lead to increased radicalism among the young (as opposed to the elders whom cared more for an improved economic situation). The radicals were split into two factions: the Socialists and the Anarchists.
Both factions were held in contempt by the general population as comprising of the same people: teenaged and early twenty-something university students, most of whom had never held a job in their lives.
Hearing some twenty year old spouting out on a street corner that he should be put in charge of a nation with no property did not resonate with the general population. When asked if these "socialists" and their ilk would be joining the farmers and urban laborers in the fields and factories for ten hours a day, the youths would often return a blank look, assuming that their superior education would naturally make themselves the elite.
However, the chaos of the nation would allow such men to actually grow a following though these radicals tended to fragment over obscure and irrelevant distinctions. In addition to the Socialists and self-styled Anarchists, the Union chiefs (Unions recently being made legal) would organize strikes (which didn't help the economy much) over the coming years to flex their own muscle.
Several leading Generals in the army were arrested upon allegedly being involved in various schemes for coup d'état. Some were accused to being ultra-Royalists, others of desiring to make themselves Kings or dictators. This greatly reduced the House of Hohenzollern's confidence and trust in the army.
The secret police and para-militias would be organized by the crown to hunt down their enemies. However, unlike past generations, the Royal Family did not have the support of the people or the army and this attempted purge would fail miserably.
Yet, throughout 1908 and 1909, no group assumed enough power to sufficiently assume control. The rest of Europe watched in horrified fascination as the Kingdom of Germany fell apart.
Though President Hohenzollern expected an easy victory for his party, the 1908 election proved surprisingly close. Over the past year, the economy had wilted. Fortunately, it would not fall apart totally and Hohenzollern would leave office still in good favor.
What he was not expecting was that, though Roosevelt would win the popular vote by over 1,200,000 ballots, his Secretary of State would only win the electoral collage by a bare 15 votes.
Sensing that his own party would be blamed for the past economic troubles, Roosevelt would immediately attempt to curry favor with the Unions by advocating further trust-breaking, with the poor by preparing the first "Poor Relief Act" and with the military by vastly expanding health and retirement benefits.
This would bring in a section of the Provincial Party to his banner but alienated some of his own party.
By the next election in 1914, both the Provincial and Centralist Parties were splintering.
Mani Bhumi (Manichaeistan if one uses an exonym)
The nation of Mani Bhumi was, due to its rugged terrain and lack of easy navigable rivers, something of a regional backwater. It was this reason that kept the Muslim faith of Bengal from moving easily into its borders. By the time that the likely entrance of a new religion was primed, clerics of the Religion of Mani had arrived and, backed by China, would assume a heavy majority in the region with Islam, Christianity, tribal Animism and, most importantly, Buddhism, far behind.
However, this "protection" was double-sided as it meant that the Chinese Navy and Army were soon billeted upon Mani Bhumin soil.
This would bring the nearby nations into panic as the Maratha Emperor in Pune would call out to America and the assorted petty states of Southeast Asia (petty compared to China, the Maratha Empire and America, anyway) to form an alliance against encroaching Chinese power.
William Howard Taft had spent the past years attempting to effectively run American policy from the Far East while begging President Hohenzollern to keep Secretary of State (now President-Elect) Roosevelt off his back. Taft was effectively in charge of "American Siberia", was based in Edo to advise the Nipponese Emperor and was also given the task of developing the regional alliance system with non-Chinese dominated Asia.
The fat man was somewhat humiliated when his request to meet with the Chinese Emperor had been refused but Taft was good at turning the other cheek. In truth, he was happy with his lot in life as his removal from Manhattan had kept his name off the Presidential ballot. Taft was uninterested in the top office and could not imagine having to campaign against his friend (and rival) Roosevelt.
Against his expectations, he did received an invitation to visit the new port being built for the Chinese navy called "Southern Port City" in the local language. Taft had a sense of humor and wondered if the Chinese building this new naval base represented their nation in lack of creativity.
After returning from yet another exhausting visit to Pune to placate the Maratha Emperor, Taft almost cancelled his trip out of sheer exhaustion. Instead, he went through per his duty and found, to his dismay, that perhaps the Maratha Emperor had reason to be concerned. The scale of construction of "Southern Port City" was nothing short of shocking. Beyond the dozen or so warships already present, it was obvious that the defenses of the port were formidable. The old stone fortifications would obviously be obsolete but new, steel-reinforced concrete bastions atop rocky islands protected the harbor in combination with massive guns sticking out of hand-carved tunnels built in the cliffs above the port. Though not overly familiar with shells sizes and the such, it was quite obvious that any assault upon this outpost would be decidedly bloody and costly.
After Taft departed upon two days of "good wishes", he realized that the Chinese had made their point.
Two more of these ports were being built.
The Chinese were here to stay.
The King of Spain (and Portugal, Italy, Sicily, Malta, Sardinia, Corsica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, etc, etc) would look upon his Ministers with contempt. Despite only being truly unified for a relatively short time compared to Iberia, the Italian Peninsula was already exceeding the Iberian Peninsula in manufacturing and other economic functions. Even adding Cuba, Puerto Rico and the other Spanish West Indies to Iberia made no difference in the overall economic performance beyond adding the sugar, coffee, etc of the islands.
Companies producing high-end manufactures were increasing by leaps and bounds in Italy but Spain and Portugal remained largely rural and agricultural. Ships, cannon, locomotives, automobiles, etc were being produced in Iberia but virtually none of these goods beyond some poorly constructed ships would be produced in Spain (and even less in Portugal).
The King would give serious consideration to spending more time in his Italian palace outside of Rome (formerly owned by an Italian Cardinal). It was not "Royal" in scope but it suited the King of Spain and Italy quite well. His son the Prince-Regent would be happy to be around his father for a few weeks but would quickly start hinting that maybe Iberia would be hard pressed to go on without his presence if the weeks stretched to months. Eventually, the King returned to Spain and looked dishearteningly at the lack of advancement in Iberia over the past century despite the most ardent efforts of every Spanish King over the past century or two.
Too much of Spain and Portugal's economy centered around grain, wine, mining, wool, etc and not enough of textiles, foundries and manufacturing.
Having grown up in the Bronx, President Roosevelt was but a few dozen miles from his ancestral home. President Hohenzollern was happy to leave an office he'd never actively sought. His successor, on the other hand....
Hohenzollern feared what Roosevelt would do in the Presidential Mansion.
Many lingering issues remained:
1. How deeply did America want to ally with South Asia?
2. How to deal with the divide between the English and Spanish speakers of the land?
3. Would the remaining territories of North and South America and Siberia ever become Provinces.
Roosevelt was already conspiring with several elements of the Provincial Party in hopes of solidifying his grasp on power in Congress. Many of the Provincials were disaffected by the Radical wing of the party. Similarly, many of the hidebound Centralists would get tired of Roosevelt's reformism.
In another break from tradition, Roosevelt would develop a new strategy for propaganda. He would hire a personal photographer to follow him around and cast him in the best light. Roosevelt had long positioned himself not as a Bronx elite but a western cowboy. Over the next six years, Roosevelt would spend the summer recess in the far west and his photographer would produce several volumes of photographs to capture the Roosevelt Presidency. Deputy President Guilford Pinchot would often accompany him as the Pennsylvanian would have a common interest in the new Forestry Service. Eventually, they would be joined by such national characters as Henry Ford (swiftly becoming a wealthy man in Cadillac), Harvey Firestone and Thomas Edison.
For the photographer position, Roosevelt would choose a young Baltic German named Karl Von Hoffman from the Scandinavian nation of Latvia. He had arrived in America a few years before and eventually served as an apprentice in a photography and film company in Queens as he learned English.
Von Hoffman would capture the President as he toured the country and millions would routinely see his work on a weekly basis.
Has the airplane been invented yet?
I believe that it was invented.
Now that I think about it, I do not believe I have mentioned it. I will add a blurb in the next few posts.
Though some called the appointment "nepotism", Franklin Roosevelt would accept his distant cousin's nomination for "Deputy Consul" among the key American ally's domains in Nippon. In truth, the two men had only so much in common and the elder would seek his "blue-blooded" cousin to experience the world a bit more. Franklin seemed a bit too stiff.
The Deputy's superior was already famous. For the past several years, William Howard Taft had been effectively the most powerful man in Nippon as he had the ear of the suddenly eager-to-modernize Emperor and his court. Even American cultural icons like shawarma, tacos, Vienna sausages and the game of rounders would become popular in the island archipelago.
Taft, as famous for his girth as his many other good qualities, was perhaps the happiest American alive as he managed to avoid the Presidency. No doubt Teddy Roosevelt "allowed" him to remain in the Far East partially to eliminate a challenger to the throne. The new President could not imagine anyone NOT desiring the top office. In fact, Taft was right were he desired to be. Taft initially wondered if his new Deputy was a spy for his cousin (in truth, he was not).
The younger Roosevelt would similarly be happy with his assignment. Rather than running for a State Senate seat from New York, this post would prove invigorating as the twenty-eight year old left his very unhappy wife behind. Something of a skirt-chaser, Franklin Roosevelt was already tired of his dowdy and shy wife and was in the process of casting his eyes about for a mistress when his cousin offered him a respite from the strained family life. Their three children would remain with their mother in New York. Eleanor made no bones about loathing sex and considered it an "ordeal to be tolerated". Why the hell he ever married that woman was beyond him.
Thus freed from his wife, Roosevelt would love the orient and would accompany Taft throughout his travels to Siberia, the East Indies and, of course, the Maratha Empire. Eventually, the American Consul and his Deputy would even be granted an audience with the Emperor of China...though only through a veiled room lest the Emperor cast his eyes upon barbarians.
The younger man would enjoy all the pleasures of a region which was perhaps less insecure about the joys of the flesh. On one remarkable night in Nippon, Roosevelt would even enjoy the attentions of three geishas whom introduced him to the opium pipe. Unknown to him, they had been paid to get the Deputy Consul so stricken with opium that he didn't even notice several gangsters arriving in his room to take somewhat compromising pictures of him in the nude with three Nipponese girls with the opium pipe in his grasp.
The gangsters didn't have any immediate use for the pictures and their boss back in the Bronx would decide to sit on the photographs until a later date when they would be most valuable. Roosevelt was considered an up and comer in New York and many expected that he would someday ascend to higher office like Governor or Congressman, perhaps even further.
No doubt the pictures would be worth quite a bit more should the young man's future continue its upward trajectory.
Georgetown, New Jersey
Edouard and Charles Nieuport were the French equivalent of the American Wright brothers. Though they were not the "first to fly", they were perhaps the first to design and build viable commercial aircraft. However, there seemed to be a lack of demand in Europe to keep up any such company for long.
Eventually, the brothers left France for America, thinking that the vast land would desire a commercial service for mail delivery or (in their imaginations) using airplanes to hunt down Indians in the open plains of the west. In the end, the demand for planes would ebb and flow and the rapid advancement of aviation technology over the coming years would prevent effectively ANY airplane manufacturers from steady business.
Charles Nieuport would remain in America for the next several years attempting to build a company. Swiftly, he would realize he lacked the skills to run a manufacturing concern and, in 1910, would seek out a partner with greater experience.
He would find Henry Ford, whom was interested in the aviation industry himself and had long been considering experimenting with planes manufacturing. As the Nieuports were second only to the Wright brothers in Aviation Royalty, this seemed like a good marriage. Ford, Firestone, the Dodge Brothers and the Nieuports would form a company with 25% equity each (the industrialists bringing the capital and the Frenchmen the design and experience).
They were uncertain where to commence construction and eventually opted for a northern plant well away from Ford's base of Cadillac, Mackinac. They eventually settled upon the developing city of Potawatomi along the Chicago River to build the first large-scale aircraft design and construction facility.
In 1911, the first Nieuport I's rolled off the assembly line.
Separate names with a comma.