It's hardly surprising that the London Smog would worsen Ilse's condition -- the role of Cassandra would cause anyone to feel powerless, which would awaken all the wrong memories. However, in order to reclaim some agency, she could help Alex receive some manner of restitution, and expose the abuses of the orphanage system. Regaining the feeling of being able to cause some positive change in the world would be important.
It's hardly surprising that the London Smog would worsen Ilse's condition -- the role of Cassandra would cause anyone to feel powerless, which would awaken all the wrong memories. However, in order to reclaim some agency, she could help Alex receive some manner of restitution, and expose the abuses of the orphanage system. Regaining the feeling of being able to cause some positive change in the world would be important.

You are right, but when the Graf finds out what really happened to her, while she was in the "care" of the goverment, he'will go berserk. (a. he likes her, b. she was a little girl and c, she was left alone). He also will realise that she has expericend as little girl some of the horrors of something akin to his in the war and something akin to a fellow veteran. It will be brutal.
Regarding the Naval race, Britain has the most to lose in all of this given the nation's reputation as a maritime power.

They will need to steer a course between German quality and American quantity in order to keep balance. If they fall too far behind in the quality, (RN training has always been, comparatively top notch, and this is a golden age of British technological development OTL), then they would have to boost production, and while Britain can buy or produce everything they need either themselves or within the Commonwealth, it still drains the coffers massively - something the Treasury will seek to avoid.
So Holyknight and I are both right after all.
This will kick off a Naval spending war that will dwarf the "Dreadnought War".
The United States has a much higher capacity to grow and I think that right now ITTL the GDP of the United States is at least 2 1/2 times of Germany which means that for every one percent of GDP that the United States spends on defense, Germany has to spend 2 1/2 percent of its GDP just to keep even with the Americans.
Germany has to keep with in its means and don't try to match the Americans ship for ship, just go for quality and do enough to project power and deterrence.
To be honest, I think you overstimate the United States in this TL, or underestimate the German Empire.
Remember the Germans have very close ties to the Polish and Czech. And also probably to the other Easteuropean and Balkan Nations. Not to forget the Scandinavians. Add good relations (well somewhat) to France and Britain and you get a very big and integrated trade zone. Then add the Euro-Asian Railway and Germany / Europe gains access to many customers in Asia. Imo Germany probably also did something like the Zollverein, an area of no / little trade tarifs and maybe even a common currency with Poland and the Czechs as the Head of State is also the German Kaiser and Germany was very important in their creation and defense.
So in the end, Germany and Europe are much better of then OTL.

On the other hand, the USAmericans squandered much in the aftermatch of WWI. As they forced the Entente to the table and could later on not pluck Germany like a chicken. And as others have then said, the USA has not benefited from the Brain-Drain of Europe and the disasterous WWII. Here they sold to well Japan and probably some raw materials to Europe. But not in the size of OTL. Add all the lost knowlage that the USA did not get in TL and you get a very much weaker state. Will it be apperant for Charakters in TL?
Probably not as the USA never reached the OTL power and global position.

The one pro the USA has, is that it can keep its Army smaller then Germany, and even that I see critical, as they got a bad case of other powers in their backyard. So Imo the USA has to pay more because it has to modernize every part of its military and also found some very expensive research. Can they do it? Sure but something has to give and that will probably be the Navy for now. As they seem to have an adequate number of ships and the (known) changes of technology will make new ships unatractive for as long as the Germans are leaping ahead and USNavy ships are targets that fire back.

In the End, I think that the German Empire with its very connected trade economy and acknowlaged scientific lead and standing will likely be somewere at least equal in power to the USA.
The US is a Great Power and has some technical and economic edges of its own. What it hasn't got are the influxes of European talent from Hitlerite Germany and the Second World War and Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and the learning experiences and social change of that war. What it also has to contend with are solvent unbankrupted Britain, France and Germany (and to a lesser extent the Netherlands and Italy), an unconquered Japan plus Russia and China under rational governments with balanced economic policies and an active presence in world trade. It also has a unified Korea and Vietnam industrialising early (ditto likely China, Turkey and the Balkan states like Romania and Bulgaria). So it won't get to be a hyper-power TTL, just one of the largest Great Powers.
The three main problems that are holding back the Americans are that one they are very unfocused, IOTL WW II created an infrastructure that allowed a partnership between the government and the private sector that provided capital for things like research and development that the private sector could not do on their own.
Two in what has been called "The Fourth Great Awakening" science has taken a back seat to superstition, fear and prejudice which is also having an effect on the culture, it looks like the Americans are beginning to emerge from that.
Three the American people and economy are hobbled by their racism and sexism that is keeping the United States from utilising all available talent that can grow the economy.
President Truman has already begun to address the first problem, the second problem is apparently correcting itself, and for the third problem it all depends if the Congress passes a far reaching Civil Rights Acts that frees the people to reach their potential.
What is the Japanese Navy doing right now? They came out on top of the power struggles and were one of the leading proponents of naval airpower before the war. What does their building program look like and who is actually in charge right now? Is Genda a senior staff officer or CV or TF commander?
It is not just the Germans that the US would historically see as a rival, the Japanese were considered the main rival in the pacific.
After thinking a bit about Nancy/Tilo, a very bad thought sneaked into my brain. Thinking about Nancy's boss, I am still amazed at the sheer idiocy of this loser. I think that he will do something so stupid, that Nancy can't do nothing other than choose for her german friends instead of her country. I think that her boss will try an roque operation in Canada with the aim of kidnapping Kat and/or the twins. Talking about something stupid that is very bad for your health/limbs/life.
First of all, let me say that I've read more than a few threads in this forum from beginning to end but this was the first to get me to unmask and join so I could comment. Kudos to you P-M for a great read.

Now my comment. I can't help but think that people might be looking at the geographic size of the US and Germany when comparing GDP and whatnot. I look back and I remark that in every conflict Germany left little seeds of business that no doubt grew and contributed to the empire's economy. I'm suspecting that some of these are as powerful as our TL's multinationals and some of those guys have the economic heft of small nations.
While this TL's US still has all it's geographical advantages (size, location, resources). It lacks lots of OTL's advantages from winning two world wars without the scale of suffering of it's allies (as discussed before).
I think another crucial difference between both, is and will be, the mental willingness towards military spending and research. Without Pearl Harbor, the resulting all out war and the following cold war and MAD, being the champion and last defence of freedom and democracy, there will be far less dive and eagerness, to built up the military like OTL. There simply is no bogeyman like the Nazis or the USSR here.
Oddly enough, no-one seems to have done the TL where El-ron goes into politics and runs for President

There's limits. In politics his BS could be challenged and disproven. He was also a psychopath, getting bored with things unless he could completely control them.

It would be like the US electing Donald....Trump.....

Ok suddenly it is possible.
Part 68, Chapter 993
Chapter Nine Hundred Ninety-Three

7th January 1953

Washington D.C.

It was a new year with a whole slew of old problems. The death of George the VI and the collapse of the British Government had upset the game board. Right now, the UK was headed into new elections. R&A was trying to get a handle on implications of that. Every indication was that in a few weeks the Labor Party would be in charge there and they were considered to be politically allied with the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the French Socialist Party. There had been rumblings that there was about to be another round of treaties furthering the economic integration of Western Europe. British Labor would certainly be in favor of that. R&A were trying to figure out how this would ripple through European Society.

That was when Nancy was called into Finley’s office.

“I received a call that when you were out sick last week, it was following a visit to the Emergency Room at the University Hospital” Finley said.

“It was not work related” Nancy said, “I was feeling ill, so I went in to get looked at.”

“It had nothing to do with Romeo here?” Finley asked as he opened a folder that had a photograph of Tilo walking out of Nancy’s building.

“I let a friend sleep on my couch for a couple nights” Nancy replied, not liking what Finley was implying.

“Dietrich Schultz, a Major in the Deutsche Marine Infanterie” Finley said.

“He was also the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Division’s Sealion Company” Nancy replied, “I worked with him in Mexico, none of these things are secret.”

“You also knew him when you attended the same University” Finley said.

“I was reporting to the OSS at the time” Nancy replied, “You will find that I mentioned him when I was debriefed.”

“Yes, about that” Finley said, “And you were friends with the Kaiserin’s personal spy for years before that.”

“Is there a point to this?” Nancy asked.

“Yes” Finley said, “You were out sick last week, if you had been here you would have seen the interdepartmental memorandums. The President himself has authorized investigations from top to bottom in every Government Agency. It is believed that there are some who swore an oath to the United States while they remain loyal to the Kaiser.”

“That has nothing to do with me” Nancy said.

“Does it?” Finley asked, “Your Grandfather was originally from Haderslev.”

“Yes, he was Danish” Nancy said, “And he lived for most of his life as a farmer in Washington State.”

“Haderslev, isn’t located in Denmark” Finley said, “Is it?”

“My grandfather’s family left because there was a war” Nancy said.

“The Prussians invaded and never left” Finley said, “How convenient. Or perhaps Anna Holst, who Americanized her name to Nancy sometime after she passed through Castle Garden, your namesake. She was from Schleswig-Flensburg. Did you know that?”

“Does this look like convenience to you?” Nancy demanded, “And my Grandmother has nothing to do with any of this.”

“It looks to me like a lush with extensive ties to Germany working in my Department” Finley said, “Can you see how this looks?”

“You brought me into this Department because of those ties” Nancy said, “It’s my job know how things are working in Germany, the personal connections and I’m not a lush.”

“Whatever” Finley said, “You are suspended until the Inspector General issues his report, try to avoid doing anything else stupid in meantime.”


From his office Finley watched as Miss Jensen packed up her things to leave. It had been a blessing when he had learned about her recent difficulties. It enabled him to throw someone to the wolves who felt never should have been assigned to his agency in the first place. Hopefully the IG would look no further than her, anything else would be a nuisance.

Finley had two hopes with this, the first was that Nancy Jensen would stay away. She probably didn’t have the divided loyalties that he had implied she had but women were too flighty for this sort of work, being run by passions and emotions. Finley’s other hope, the one he considered remote was that Nancy would go crying to he dear sweet friend, the Bitch Countess herself.

Finley had seen the look on Miss Jensen’s face when he had told her she was suspended pending investigation. She was the sort who had never had a failing grade through school, to get slapped down would be particularly devastating to her as a result. He was going to have Miss Jensen watched closely because of that. If the Countess showed up in Washington D.C. she was going to find herself in Federal Custody, charged with espionage and whatever else they could hang on her. After a few months in prison and staring down to maw of decades more, Finley knew that Katherine wouldn’t be so pretty any more. He fantasized about watching her ground down by the system, aged before her time as the world passed her by. It was unlikely to happen, but a man could still dream. From Finley’s perspective, Nancy Jensen made excellent bait for the off chance he might land a whale and have the satisfaction of revenge at last.

The phone rang again, Finley figured that he knew who it was before he picked it up. He had made the mistake of giving this number to a few people and they insisted on bothering him when they had a problem. One of those was Vice Admiral Heinlein, the Germans had new submarine that the Navy had tracked and then promptly lost track of. Heinlein was calling anyone in the alphabet soup of Government Agencies who would answer to get their aid in the current crisis.
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