Of Poets and Supermen - An Alternate 20th Century

@lukedalton ,

the rabble-rousing of a certain Marxist journalist and war veteran
I think Persephone the author might possibly mean someone other than Mussolini, and on the rival faithfully Socialist/Communist side perhaps? Someone obscure or even totally ATL (say someone who lived OTL but was killed in the Great War) who might have more traction winning substantial sectors of the Army over to the Red side? So civil war becomes actual and hot, pressuring the *Fascists and conventional conservatives together and perhaps accepting D'Annunzio as a figurehead indeed, forcing the monarch to line up with him to achieve the victory of reaction? Thus the reactionary regime must be more ruthless than the OTL Fascists even in purging society for post-civil war "order."

It can go either way with such an ATL Red leader; they could triumph instead, and the Entente powers in their weakness be unable to wage a Coalition War against the new Red Italy, or as OTL with collapse and repression of the Reds.

My cookbook definition of a successful revolution is "when the army joins the rebels." There is never a completely clean break of course, and classically the army can be a vehicle of reaction-in-the-name-of-the-revolution, as with Napoleon taking supreme power eventually in France. But ATL Italy will have suffered debacles a plenty to make common soldiers quite disgruntled, not to mention their class links to the commoners--this usually can be nullified by the mystique of the military, but if a respectable leader arises from the ranks or among the officers to put Red revolutionary goals in terms appealing to the soldiers, and they have a lot of grievances, it can boomerang. Or of course just turn into a civil war with the rebels defeated ultimately.

No doubt there are differences in degree between Italy's debacles here and the condition of Russia in early 1917 OTL, but I don't think you can just categorically assume the loyalty of the army or even its greater sympathy for reaction--that is the way to bet, generically, but it sometimes stands on a knife edge and OTL Italy's only asset post-Great War was its having stood on the Entente side and thus winning at the peace negotiations much she lost on the battlefield.

A Red Italy might therefore fail to get territories won OTL--probably stand a fair chance of holding OTL or even more gains across the Adriatic, but not gain say Tyrolia; if Reds manage to consolidate control over the peninsula, then bye bye foreign recognition of colonial claims in Libya and other African and Greek holdings; the right wing Italians might flee to the former and be recognized as rulers in the name of an exilic conservative regime by European powers, and be dependent on their good will, while being quite politely but firmly asked to renounce claims in Greece and Ethiopia and perhaps even replaced as rulers (if not most of the European colonist population) in Eritrea. Depending on the popularity of the Reds in Sicily and Sardinia the Reds might lose there too and the latter island, reverting to the origins of the monarchy, be the seat of the royalist-reactionary shadow regime. Maybe Sicily becomes the seat of a rival dynasty though I don't see the Entente powers favoring that particularly.
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I glanced back at the earlier posts, it seems clear reaction triumphs in Italy from that, therefore no Red Italy, much as I would like to see it. I suspect the Entente powers will uphold most "Chartist" Italian claims, except maybe in Greece, and perhaps uphold a Yugoslavian regime to check ambitions across the Adriatic though probably with only limited success there--parrying attempts to advance claims much beyond Trieste in the north, but Albania probably remains an open door for later adventures since the Entente would have little traction there and would probably seek for the Albanians to join with Yugoslavia, which they will resist. Italy will probably still be granted Tyrol once it becomes clear the Reds are not going to win.

EDIT:
I'm not "overestimating" Benny. In fact, I've avoided mentioning him at all so far because his entire political persuasion ITTL is radically different than it was in OTL. As for "leaving" the socialists, it wasn't that he made the conscious choice to leave, but that he was expelled during the war for his views. ITTL, as a result of the changes in the wider socialist movement following the Bolsheviks' triumph in the 5th Congress, his more militant and nationalistic brand of socialism becomes more prominent and accepted than it was IOTL.
Apparently the Quote function does not work with edits, forgive me for not editing in your source post, Persephone, it is right up there.

So yeah, you did mean Benny, and he stays Red, and is apparently defeated. His being the Duce of the Reds certainly takes some of the sting out of that side losing for me. As fascist dictators go, he was far from the worst OTL but his willingness to completely betray classic leftist principles (which of course other successful Reds often do) causes me to despise him on either side. A disgrace to his namesake Benito Juarez.
 
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Apparently the Quote function does not work with edits, forgive me for not editing in your source post, Persephone, it is right up there.

So yeah, you did mean Benny, and he stays Red, and is apparently defeated. His being the Duce of the Reds certainly takes some of the sting out of that side losing for me. As fascist dictators go, he was far from the worst OTL but his willingness to completely betray classic leftist principles (which of course other successful Reds often do) causes me to despise him on either side. A disgrace to his namesake Benito Juarez.
It's all good, my dude. To clarify, since the cat's essentially out of the bag at this point, the plan is for the Mussolini and Gramsci factions of the Communist Party to follow in the footsteps of the Bolsheviks and successful negate the political maneuvering of the Bordigan factions. As for socialism/communism in the rest of the world, I can say that Christian Socialism will eventually get a boost and take root, but I'll hold off on revealing where for now, since it makes the eventual reveal more fun for the audience. But on the other end, revisionist and "right-leaning" (at least, as far as you can call certain currents of socialism right-leaning) currents of socialism will also gain traction, to the eventual detriment of innocent lives.

Overall, my aim and goals for the timeline are the following:
1. To portray a world of gray-and-gray/gray-and-black morality and the effects that a multipolar Cold War will have on said world.
2. To write a compelling, plausible, and well-written narrative that will make people think about how things could have become considerably worse.
3. To showcase a world where the political axis and the divides aren't strictly between Left/Right and Communist/Capitalist, but rather between an axis of Liberty/Security, Authoritarian/Democratic, and Nationalist/Internationalist.

It's a tall order for one person, I know, but I'm hoping that with the support and suggestions of the AH.Com community, I'll be able to accomplish all three stated goals in a satisfying manner.

EDIT: As for this TL's version of *Italian Fascism, it'll develop into something distinctly more republican and "big-tent" than in OTL, as a result of the influence of the Charter of Carnaro. Compared to the other *Fascist movements that will pop up later on, it's somewhat more palatable.
EDIT II: On the topic of an ATL revisionist Italian socialist, there is one who was a friend/ally of Mussolini but ended up dying in WWI that I read a bit about briefly earlier today whose name escapes me at the moment.
EDIT III: I believe it's Battisti, but I'm not 100% sure.
EDIT IV: It was, in fact, Filippo Corridini, not Battisti.
 
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@lukedalton ,
No doubt there are differences in degree between Italy's debacles here and the condition of Russia in early 1917 OTL, but I don't think you can just categorically assume the loyalty of the army or even its greater sympathy for reaction--that is the way to bet, generically, but it sometimes stands on a knife edge and OTL Italy's only asset post-Great War was its having stood on the Entente side and thus winning at the peace negotiations much she lost on the battlefield.
More than loyalty for the goverment is that the army in general (rank and file) has not much love for the socialist/communist, from the lower private pow the industrial worker in general were a bunch of people that were exempted by the draft and being payed handsomely for that and that had not suffered what they have...basically while not ready to shoot first they will hardly piss on them if they were on fire, plus the general party politics regarding the army was one of open hostility, before, during and after the war. So by your definition, no the possibililty of a 'succesfull communist revolution' in Italy were always statistical, it was more the fear of the goverment and the still considerable capacity for civil disruption that overstimated their chance of success
 
@lukedalton, @Shevek23

Okay, so I'm only now just realizing, after a brief nap (one that was, I hate to say it, stress-induced), that there's an incorrect assumption on both of your parts. Namely, the assumption that when I said that the army will have divided loyalties, I meant that portions of the military will side with the Reds. I dislike revealing my plans in advance, because it frankly ruins the enjoyment I get from the writing process and it's not fun for the reader in my opinion, but let me be absolutely clear on this. Portions of the military absolutely do not side with the Reds, going along with the historical antipathy of the army towards the socialist/communist movements that was mentioned above.
 
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from the lower private pow the industrial worker in general were a bunch of people that were exempted by the draft and being payed handsomely for that and that had not suffered what they have...basically while not ready to shoot first they will hardly piss on them if they were on fire, plus the general party politics regarding the army was one of open hostility, before, during and after the war. So by your definition, no the possibililty of a 'succesfull communist revolution' in Italy were always statistical, it was more the fear of the goverment and the still considerable capacity for civil disruption that overstimated their chance of success
But... it was my understanding that the 1919 Red surge in Italy was not actually so much classical industrial proletarians in big cities or industrial centers, but rather a countryside uprising of peasants forming agrarian "communes." That is, you can try to pigeonhole me as narrow minded in my hidebound and mindless worship of simplistic Marxist formulas, but in fact what has attracted me to Marxism is the potential, and in some hands and some minds, actuality, of subtle nuance and flexibility one gets when one conceives of history as an interaction of material forces--properly understood as being complex and nuanced and mediated by individual minds. I find that kind of careful thought quite a lot in Marx himself, somewhat in Engels and in Trotsky and various other minds I am familiar with.

So--though it fits poorly with a simplistic sketch of what Marxists are supposed to think, and what many Marxist leaders have tried to impose, to make dogma actual fact, the thing is radical revolution has appeal in a less binary and mechanical way than a simple proletarian versus capitalist model would suggest. By no means do all proletarians fall into line, and meanwhile a bunch of other classes of people, some of them workers, some of them middle or even ruling class or intelligentsia, find the red banner very congenial to the way they interpret what the Revolution is all about.

Class struggle is not something some Marxist wizards conjured up out of the vasty deep; it is inherent in any society that is based on polarizations of power. You might want to believe any society must be so described, or perhaps that societies I think are deeply tortured by agonizing class tensions are suffering no such thing. But anyway, if Italian soldiers are not recruited from industrial proletarians (and certainly the classic armies of the Tsar of Russia were not, nor were they in 1914), it must follow they are, to achieve a mass size anyway, recruited from the other working classes. And these too have class grievances, and OTL it was these peasant issues rather than classic "proletarian" ones that dominated in Italy--as they had in the Russian countryside too. If 1917 had been exclusively a matter of Russian proletarians all by themselves, the Tsarist forces drawn from the peasantry would have beaten them down in short order--unless we have a case where every single proletarian, man woman and child, elders and babes in arms all rose up together--for the Russian proletarians were overwhelmingly recent migrants from the countryside; peasant and industrial worker were in fact very close to being a single class in Russia. Compared anyway to the picture you are drawing of Italy, where I suppose town and country antagonisms between quite distinct working classes might be centuries old.

You are placing your bet on the way it usually works out, which is generally the way to win a bet. I'm saying, a revolutionary situation involves all sorts of weird stuff out of left and right field. The reason the Bolsheviks were able to prevail in 1917 was largely that the Tsarist authorities, in a fit of jingoistic union busting following the declaration of war in 1914, grabbed a bunch of midlevel Bolshevik rabble rousers, and because they were industrial proletarians, assigned them to the artillery battalions, where for a long time they were effectively contained and neutralized by more normal soldiers from peasant backgrounds who could be relied on to shut up any disloyal nonsense from these suspect hipster types. But...when the patriotic Russian Tsarist structure started to lose credibility, and Tsarist power to visibly crumble, and the goodness of the Tsar as protector of the common peasant as they conceived it was very much in doubt as was the safety of their distant countryside homes, suddenly all these salt of the earth loyal faithful peasants were dry tinder for Bolshevik propaganda, which of course in the minds of the surviving Bolshie artillerymen, who had by this time shared the terrors of many a generally losing battle with their footsoldier comrades, was just the plain and scientific truth, then massive sectors of the old Tsarist Army became so many Bolshevik firebrands, fastening on Lenin's promises of land, peace and bread and with no more patience with pretentious airs from officers who had failed so spectacularly to lead them to victory.

If in fact the Italian army had animosity toward the urban intelligentsia and their godless mobs of freakish factory workers, so unlike the real folk of the countryside they were recruited from....how then will they react when it is the peasants of their own homes, the very same villagers they grew up with, waving the red banners and speaking subversion in language they understand, about countryside issues they know well and care about? It would be one thing if this army is coming home in victorious glory, but quite another if their officers, like the Russian ones, were asses leading lions. You see, I figure all people, of whatever class they come from, are equally people, each person is an individual who can assess what they are seeing before them as rationally as anyone else can. The industrial workers are people, their bosses are people, the officers and generals are people--and the armed peasantry you assume must therefore be immune to Marxist propaganda are people too. They assess the situation they are in, and in weird circumstances you can get some weird reactions that are not the usual way to bet, but have a snowballing logic of their own once these snowballs in hell start actually avalanching.
 
Portions of the military absolutely do not side with the Reds, going along with the historical antipathy of the army towards the socialist/communist movements that was mentioned above.
Well, @lukedalton is Italian and you are researching this, so I might need to give up, but I find the claim that absolutely no one who has served in Italian uniform goes over to the Red side pretty extraordinary. Reality tends to be messy, I'm pretty sure you always find some such mixing going on.

Now, if the rebels are clearly far too weak to possibly prevail (one of lukedalton's claims, which I suppose was true OTL anyway) it would be suicide to desert the army that is clearly going to win, and brand oneself a deserter and traitor, betraying one's own comrades in arms as well as the nation and the law. For a revolutionary situation to exist, there must be some grounds of reasonable doubt that the status quo powers are going to win, at least not without having to make some concessions such as amnesties to buy the kind of peace they need. If that reasonable doubt does not exist then one does not have a revolutionary situation.

If it does exist--are you sure that absolutely no portions of the military went Red OTL even? That would seem strange!

Again if one thinks in terms of absolute categories, the "proper soldier" never deserts, never mutinies, never goes AWOL. But some people always do these things. Isn't it a bit of a No True Scotsman fallacy to assert that none will do this in a realistic situation, particularly one where the authority of the powers that be is hanging in the balance?

Magnitudes matter. I can accept few enlisted, trained, salted soldiers will break ranks and sneak off to the Reds. To say none do seems unreasonable, to say only a few, disappointingly few to the rebels, do is reasonable, depending on the situation. But I don't think I'm wrong to say that many a revolution has been a matter of massive disintegration of forces that once were totally reliable, and actively joining a rebel side which might start out ragtag and largely incompetent but can, if it can last long enough first, become quite as seasoned and disciplined as the old regime forces--which can meanwhile be deteriorating badly. This happens.

So you are declaring here and now, it won't happen in Italy this decade. So, rationally speaking, few soldiers should desert, essentially no officers do (except you have characterized Mussolini as just such an officer)...and any army that puts the victory of the established royal Italian one in any doubt is perforce mostly made of people who have not had combat experience under that flag.

Fine. I think that just means as lukedalton said, that the Red uprising was a tempest in a teapot all along anyway, never of enough magnitude to pose a real threat to the bourgeois state. Dunno if that was actually true OTL, but you can make it true here.
 
Now, if the rebels are clearly far too weak to possibly prevail (one of lukedalton's claims, which I suppose was true OTL anyway) it would be suicide to desert the army that is clearly going to win, and brand oneself a deserter and traitor, betraying one's own comrades in arms as well as the nation and the law. For a revolutionary situation to exist, there must be some grounds of reasonable doubt that the status quo powers are going to win, at least not without having to make some concessions such as amnesties to buy the kind of peace they need. If that reasonable doubt does not exist then one does not have a revolutionary situation.

If it does exist--are you sure that absolutely no portions of the military went Red OTL even? That would seem strange!

Again if one thinks in terms of absolute categories, the "proper soldier" never deserts, never mutinies, never goes AWOL. But some people always do these things. Isn't it a bit of a No True Scotsman fallacy to assert that none will do this in a realistic situation, particularly one where the authority of the powers that be is hanging in the balance?

Magnitudes matter. I can accept few enlisted, trained, salted soldiers will break ranks and sneak off to the Reds. To say none do seems unreasonable, to say only a few, disappointingly few to the rebels, do is reasonable, depending on the situation. But I don't think I'm wrong to say that many a revolution has been a matter of massive disintegration of forces that once were totally reliable, and actively joining a rebel side which might start out ragtag and largely incompetent but can, if it can last long enough first, become quite as seasoned and disciplined as the old regime forces--which can meanwhile be deteriorating badly. This happens.
Oh! Allow me to clarify, since I didn't exactly make things clear, which is my bad. When I say the military will not defect to the Reds, I'm primarily referring to the upper echelons of the military, the senior officers and military leaders who served in the Great War. Their loyalties fall into two camps, those who support D'Annunzio and his big-tent movement and those who remain loyal to the Liberal-Democratic government of Giovanni Giolitti and the King. Obviously, as you've pointed out, there will be deserters from the ranks of the enlisted men and non-commissioned officers, including soldiers of the Bersaglieri who're revolting against their orders to go to Albania and fight in the extended Vlora War. In no way will this be a curb-stomp battle between the combined forces of D'Annunzio and the royalist Liberal-Democrats against the Reds. In my opinion, there absolutely was a chance for the Red uprising to go positively for the Reds, if there had been a more unified front and the Giolitti government had made the blunders that they end up making ITTL.

I firmly agree with your arguments and really do appreciate the vote of confidence you've shown merely by arguing your points. Apologies if I didn't make that clearer in my posts, I've been focused on writing the rest of the first chapter, including the entirety of the section focusing on the United States.
 
Teaser - "The Wall Street Bombing" (Wikibox)
Howdy, y'all. After a bit of time thinking on it, I've revised the previous teaser for the Battle of Parma to reflect some of the overall changes and revisions I've made to the timeline over the course of writing the rest of Chapter I, which is still diligently being worked on. In the meantime, I've whipped up another teaser for Chapter I, this time focusing on an event in the United States right at the start of the 1920s, an event that will ultimately set the tone for the rest of the decade. Enjoy!

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Chapter II - The Birth of a Revolutionary
One thing I want to say is that there's a butterfly net set up around The Great War up until the *Paris Peace Conference. Now, as far as the *Paris Peace Conference goes, I've essentially glossed over the minutiae involved with it for the sake of my own sanity and in order to go forward and tell a more compelling story. If I'm being completely honest, the diplomatic quagmire that was the various peace treaties involved in ending World War One in OTL makes my brain hurt and I have no desire to write about that. I know that may come across as lazy and a turn off for some but you have to understand that this timeline will already be a daunting task for someone as obsessed with perfection as I am. If I'm being even more honest, I loathe Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations as a whole, and while as a student of history, (indeed, I'm pursuing a history degree as part of my ongoing collegiate studies) I'm well aware of the impact of the Paris Peace Conference on the conditions leading up to World War Two in OTL, I have no desire to make my own half-hearted attempt at the complex diplomatic process involved in concluding World War One.

Please try to respect my desire to not compromise my sanity by attempting to replicate that process on top of what is already a daunting task. In the future, I'll be more than willing to go into the intricacies of the peace treaties involved with various conflicts that will occur in the timeline, but replicating the Paris Peace Conference is beyond my abilities as a writer and scholar. That being said, the *Paris Peace Conference will more or less converge with OTL's Peace Conference, albeit one that omits two of Wilson's Fourteen Points; Namely, the part of Point XII regarding autonomous development and all of Point XIV. I have my own reasons for this, mainly because my approach to writing PPM (Pro Patria Mori) generally follows the maxim of "Things have to get worse before they become better", which means a peace that involves a lot more of good old-fashioned European imperialism (though there will be some differences with regards to the fate of the Ottoman Middle East). I'd like to apologize for this in advance, as I'm sure some will take issue with this approach
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Well folks, it took me a few weeks of meticulous research and borderline perfectionism, but I'm proud to present Chapter II - The Birth of a Revolutionary to you, my eager audience. I'd originally planned to post this all as one big post covering all of Chapter I, but with the amount I've been writing, I figured that it would be easier to read/parse (and let me post more updates more frequently, tbh) if I decided to post it section by section. I will note that while there may be some creative liberties taken in this and with future updates for the sake of telling a better story, I still aim to be as plausible as possible. As stated in the Author's Note, there's a butterfly net over much of the Great War and there's convergence with OTL for the most part up until the *Paris Peace Conference. Feedback from readers will always be appreciated, especially with regards to recommendations on reading material for my research. With regards to the next chapter, I'll leave the poll up for about a day or two before closing it once there's some more feedback. Now, without any further ado, kick back, grab your vice of choice, turn the old radio on, and get ready for the start of the strange and beautiful ride that is Of Poets and Supermen!

Chapter II - The Birth of a Revolutionary

“It is in prison that one becomes a real revolutionary.”
- Vladimir Illyich Lenin


Kamo: From Robber to Revolutionary, Simon Sebag Montefiore

For much of the period leading up to the Great War and even during it, Kamo was imprisoned, first by the Germans and later by the Russians after the Germans extradited him to Russia. Throughout this period, up until his final imprisonment in Russia, Kamo feigned insanity upon the advice of Leonid Krasin, a tactic that worked surprisingly well for the man given the difficulty involved[1] in such a feat. It was so effective that his lawyer, Oscar Kohn, told one Bolshevik leader in Berlin that “Whenever I visit him in the presence of outsiders, I feel sure that he has really lost his mind.” The extent to which Kamo played this role was extraordinary; He tore off half of his mustache to scatter the hairs on his quilt, sharpened a bone in his soup and severed an artery in his left hand, and once hung himself and nearly died[2]. For two years, he was held in German prisons and insane asylums, until the Germans decided to hand him over to the Russians in 1909. For the next two years, Russian medical officials continued to examine him as he was moved from facility to facility, before declaring him irreparably insane in 1911[3].

It was in 1911 that Kamo made his most daring action yet, a feat that he would not surpass until after the Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Russian Civil War. Imprisoned in the Mikhailov Hospital in Tiflis, Kamo befriended an attendant at the hospital, a simple-minded man known as Bragin[4]. Using his considerable charisma to win over Bragin, Kamo convinced him to aid in his escape, after which the two would flee abroad. Working in secrecy, Kamo sawed through the bars of his cell and the chains on his legs, using a paste with bread and tying his chains with wire in order to conceal his progress[5]. He did this while continuing to feign madness, further demonstrating his prowess as a master of disguise. Finally, Bragin arranged for clothes to be brought to Kamo on August 11th in preparation of his escape. Four days later, Kamo effected his escape by sliding down a rope brought to him by Bragin, before making his way to the Central Police Administration building in the heart of the city[6].

Once there, Kamo proceeded to hide in the cellars of the building, right under the noses of the authorities. It was now clear that he had been feigning insanity all these years, and the police scoured the city for him day and night. They even went as far as searching his sisters’ house, and finding nothing, arrested them instead. A month after his escape, Kamo arrived in Batum by train, staying only for a few days at the home of an associate before departing for Turkey, from whence he would eventually make his way to Paris and to Lenin[7]. It was in Paris that Lenin would take Kamo under his wing, by now viewing him as a political protégé, and would encourage him to continue his education in Marxist theory[8A]. Kamo, who had been galvanized by the death of his closest friend Djugashvili, was all too eager to be under the tutelage of Lenin, even as the nascent revolutionary grew restless with life in Paris[8B]. Eventually, it was decided that Kamo would seek treatment for his scarred eye in Belgium, before returning to the Caucasus by sea in order to further facilitate the transportation of revolutionary arms and literature to Russia[9]. While this return trip would unfortunately end with Kamo’s imprisonment, he would nevertheless heed Lenin’s advice and continue his transformation from robber to revolutionary in the years to come.


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A young Kamo, as documented in a Tsarist police photograph.

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Another photograph of Kamo, presumably from his time imprisoned before and during the Great War

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Vladimir Lenin, Kamo's political mentor, pictured here in 1910.

After the Downfall: Early Soviet Russia and the Rise of the Red Vozhd, Harold Turtletaub

Despite the claims of Soviet propaganda, Kamo was not always a dedicated revolutionary and statesman. As Western historians have noted in the decades following his death, Kamo, while possessing a particular revolutionary spirit, was originally nothing more than a politically illiterate bandit. In fact, it was only after the death of his comrade Djugashvili and his subsequent stints in prison that Ter-Petrosian (as Kamo was originally known) became a dedicated Marxist. After his return to the Caucasus and subsequent capture by Tsarist authorities in 1913, Kamo was condemned to death, and certainly seemed resigned to it. Indeed, it was only by sheer coincidence that he was spared from death, with his sentence commuted to twenty years of hard labor as part of the Romanovs’ tricentennial celebrations. Even in the face of such a lengthy sentence, he remained devoted to Lenin and the Bolshevik cause, throwing himself into the study of Marxism encouraged by his mentor[10]. He would spend the next four years like this, until the February Revolution[11] liberated him from prison, a stalwart revolutionary ready for the conflict to come.

It would be during this great period of upheaval that Kamo would first meet the man who would eventually help facilitate his rise to power in the years following Lenin’s incapacitation[12]. If Lenin is viewed as Kamo’s political mentor, then Felix Dzerzhinsky must be viewed as Kamo’s mentor in terror. Dzerzhinsky had spent much of the Great War imprisoned by the Tsarist authorities, languishing in Moscow’s Butyrka Prison[13]. Some historians speculate that it was this shared experience in Tsarist prisons that brought Dzerzhinsky and Kamo together, although others opine that the ruthless natures of the two men were what truly bound them together[14]. Regardless of the origin of their friendship, the pair made for an odd couple within the Bolsheviks[15]. After their liberation in the February Revolution, the two were elected to the 6th Central Committee following the 6th Party Congress; Kamo was made the People’s Commissar of Nationalities[16], while Dzerzhinsky would end up becoming the first Chairman of the All-Russian Emergency Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage[17], which would be formed a month after the Bolsheviks seized power. These early roles of Kamo and Dzerzhinsky, along with their subsequent actions during the Russian Civil War and First Polish-Soviet War, would play a key part in the later policies adopted during the consolidation of power after Lenin’s death.


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The "odd couple" of the Bolsheviks, Simon Ter-Petrosian (Kamo, picture taken in 1920) and Felix Dzerzhinsky (picture taken in 1918)

Footnotes
[1-7] All of the events mentioned here, including the quote from Oscar Kohn, the feigned insanity, the charming of Bragin, the audacity of Kamo's escape, and the final flight to Paris and Lenin all actually happened IOTL. There are plenty more details about Kamo feigning insanity that I could've put in, but it would've taken away from the narrative. This isn't me taking creative liberties or using hyperbole, the man was genuinely impressive as a bank robber and terrorist, despite being someone viewed as "politically illiterate" with a sheer love of killing.
[8A] IOTL, Kamo was torn by the rift between Lenin, Leonid Krasin, and Alexander Bogdanov, having been deeply attached to all three men. ITTL, he is instead more devoted to Lenin, owing to his success in the Great Expropriation and the praise that Lenin subsequently lavishes on him. In addition, Lenin never had much of an attachment to Kamo or viewed him as a political protégé IOTL, instead listening to the recitals of his exploits with "great pity", according to Krupskaya's memoirs. Obviously, ITTL, things develop differently.
[8B] Similarly, while Kamo did grow restless and paranoid with life in Paris IOTL, he was never much of a revolutionary scholar/student, mainly being instructed in Marxism by Stalin during their early years together. ITTL, on the other hand, he puts more effort into studying as a result of Djugashvili's death.
[9] This occurred in the same manner as IOTL, albeit without Lenin encouraging Kamo's continued studies of Marxism.
[10] IOTL, he spent most of his time plotting escape, true to his character. ITTL, he instead takes a more inward focus in order to further his political education.
[11] Actually occurred from March 8th to March 16th in accordance to the New Style, while it was instead listed as occurring from February 23rd to March 3rd in accordance to the Old Style, as IOTL.
[12] Lenin eventually meets the same fate he did IOTL, as his health declines and he suffers from a series of strokes between 1921 to his death in 1924.
[13] As IOTL, Dzerzhinsky is imprisoned in Butyrka Prison, where he is eventually freed in 1917 and subsequently joins the Bolsheviks as a result.
[14] Kamo was just as ruthless as Dzerzhinsky turned out to be IOTL, although he operated on a significantly smaller scale in comparison. When he was given permission to form a group of commandos to gather funds through raiding during the wars following the Bolshevik seizure of power, his chief means of testing his recruits involved troops dressed as White soldiers ambushing said recruits in the woods. The recruits were then beaten brutally and tied to trees in preparation for execution, all on the orders of Kamo. When one unfortunate man actually admitted to being a Polish spy for Piłsudski in 1919, Kamo shot him on the spot and allegedly cut his heart out in order to show it to the rest of the commandos.

[15] Kamo was the son of a wealthy Armenian contractor and his Georgian wife, whose early education was considerably lacking in substance. Dzerzhinsky, on the other hand, was the scion of Polish nobility, educated in the Wilno gymnasium and fluent in four languages (Polish, Russian, Yiddish, and Latin). To call the friendship that develops between them ITTL that of an "odd couple" is an understatement, in my opinion.
[16] IOTL, this position was occupied by Stalin. The differences in policy between Kamo and Stalin ITTL will be explored more later on.
[17] The full name of the organization being the All-Russian Extraordinary (or Emergency) Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage Under the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR, abbreviated as VChK, and commonly known as Cheka. As IOTL, they were the first of the Soviet secret police organizations, though ITTL the organization will last longer and have a more profound effect on Soviet politics and ideology.
 
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Hey there, folks! I realize I've been a bit absent from this thread and this TL (a combination of real life, creative issues, and procrastination kept me from writing much this past month), but I'm just popping in to mention that I'm still working hard on my end, and I'm aiming to get something up today detailing Italy in the aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles. Keep your eyes peeled and your hearts hardened, because things are about to get bloody.

please be gentle, I'm trying my best to produce a quality TL ;_;
 
Teaser - Pro Patria Mori Future Compass
Hey folks! This isn't really an "update" per se, because classes started up again last week, so my writing's kind of taken a hit while I readjust my schedule. The Italian update will hopefully be done this week in my free time, but don't quote me on that. In the meantime, I made this nifty little chart that shows some of the possible futures in PPM's timeline. I'm a big fan of the "future compass" meme format, so I decided to make my own for shits and giggles, as well as to give folks a glimpse at what I've got in store. None of this is "canon" yet and I obviously can't cover every single nation that plays a role in the timeline, so I'll probably be making more of these in the future. For now, feel free to speculate and guess at what each entry means and how blessed (or cursed) they are. I will note that "good" and "bad" in the chart are a bit misleading since PPM's timeline is firmly an example of the Grey-and-Grey Morality and Black-and-Grey Morality tropes (the former moreso than the latter) and no one's really that innocent in the long run. As always, please feel free to ask questions about anything you're wondering about my plans for the TL or let me know how things are so far! I love to hear constructive feedback!

 
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I love myself a well-researched, well-written, and original piece of literature. You, my good author, have caught my attention. What you have so far is something that one could be proud to call their own work. The fact that you delve into sources and take the time to translate them from their original language is the mark of a creator who is dedicated to their work, and who strives to satisfy both themselves and their audience. That is respectable, very much so. Please do keep up the good work. This audience member eagerly and patiently awaits the next installment, and the next, and so forth.
 
I love myself a well-researched, well-written, and original piece of literature. You, my good author, have caught my attention. What you have so far is something that one could be proud to call their own work. The fact that you delve into sources and take the time to translate them from their original language is the mark of a creator who is dedicated to their work, and who strives to satisfy both themselves and their audience. That is respectable, very much so. Please do keep up the good work. This audience member eagerly and patiently awaits the next installment, and the next, and so forth.
Woah! Thank you so much for the kind words and high praise, though there's one correction I feel obligated to make about the bolded portion of the quote. While I try to keep things plausible and do my due diligence when it comes to research, I'm not going as far as directly translating sources for my research. That's a bit beyond my abilities (and my economic means) at the moment, though I'd personally love to have access to more foreign sources translated into English. At the end of the day, my research is a hodgepodge of academic articles from JSTOR, information gleaned from English and Google-Translated foreign Wikipedia pages, excerpts from various sources on Google Books, and other such things. That being said, this timeline is a real passion project of mine that I've worked on intermittently in my free time for roughly three years now, so it means a lot to me that people enjoy it!
 
Well, this thread is a bit bare, to say the least. Quite unfortunate. So, I suppose I'll fill it up a bit by asking you this. How are your doing? Holding up in these "Tumultuous Twenties" of our current times well enough? And last but not least, how goes the timeline?
 
Well, this thread is a bit bare, to say the least. Quite unfortunate. So, I suppose I'll fill it up a bit by asking you this. How are your doing? Holding up in these "Tumultuous Twenties" of our current times well enough? And last but not least, how goes the timeline?
You got my hopes up 😔
 
Well, this thread is a bit bare, to say the least. Quite unfortunate. So, I suppose I'll fill it up a bit by asking you this. How are your doing? Holding up in these "Tumultuous Twenties" of our current times well enough? And last but not least, how goes the timeline?
Hey! I'd intended to post an update yesterday, but the writing's taking a bit longer than I'd planned (partially because I'm an admittedly slow writer, partially because I'm a perfectionist, and partially because I've got a paper due for one of my classes on Friday, so my chief concern is getting that done on time), so it's been delayed a little bit. As for myself, I'm doing relatively okay, given the circumstances. All my classes this semester are online, so I've been doing a juggling act between staying on top of my schoolwork, doing writing and research for the timeline, and staving off the inevitable ennui and restlessness that comes with being stuck inside most of the time. Thanks for asking, I appreciate the concern!

Now, as for how the timeline is coming along, I've got some good news on that front! I've got at least a paragraph or two left on this next update, which covers the end of the Great War for Italy, the Nitti administration's failures at dealing with the unrest of the Bienno Rosso and the Impresa di Fiume, Giovanni Giolitti's ascension as Prime Minister and subsequent bungling of the situation as a result of an overzealous aide, the Red March on Rome, and the subsequent outbreak of a three-way civil war between the Nationalists, Socialists, and the Liberal-Democratic Royalists. After that, the next two updates will be POV chapters from the perspectives of figures on the Nationalist side (one fictional and one historical), one of which is already written and just needs to be revised a little bit. While I won't reveal who these figures are just yet, the fictional one (or at least, his name) will be instantly recognizable to anyone who's read Bruce Sterling's excellent alternate history novella Pirate Utopia (great read btw, I highly recommend it) while the historical one is a little-known (at least, in my opinion) Italian Tigrayan war hero and aviator. After that, we'll be switching gears to focus on the US and the rising political star of one A. Mitchell Palmer, best known in OTL for his role in the First Red Scare of 1919-1920 and his subsequent failed presidential bid in 1920. Some more exciting news is that as soon as I can work out the price of everything, I'll be getting a ton of research material for the timeline, as well as some fiction that I've been meaning to get my hands on for some time now.
 
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