Summer of Nations (2.0)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Generalissimo Maximus, Jul 11, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Diamonds in the rough: South Africa and India beyond 1848

    Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    Diamonds in the rough
    South Africa and India beyond 1848

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    A mining operation in the Cape Free State

    "Remnants: A comprehensive history of the British successor states" by Darien Tremblay (2005, Toronto Books)

    The collapse of the British Empire, perhaps one of the largest empires of all time, had lasting repercussions. Beyond simply making overseas colonialism seem like somewhat of a white elephant and “old-fashioned”, the Empire left small outposts everywhere in the wake of its collapse. Some retained some contact with their former overlords, such as the many American possessions of the government-in-exile or the explicitly chartist republic of Sierra Leone an even larger number went their own way or were subsumed by their neighbours completely. The most prominent of the states that survived the collapse were the Cape Free State and the parts of the Indian continent still under the nominal control of the EIC (more commonly known both then and now as “the Bandit Coast”).

    The image of these states as a lawless no-man’s land full of bandits and ne’er do wells fighting rugged adventurers and scoundrels from the crime-ridden capital seeking fame and fortune is mostly an invention by Eastern movies, but like most fiction there is some amount of truth to it. Crime and corruption was a major issue in both the Cape and Bandit coast, but these took the forms of syndicates, protection rackets, gangs or other criminal organizations rather than lone gun-toting villains. Both states served as a safe haven for a fair number of political dissidents, adventurers, escaped criminals and other unusual members of European society, but the vast majority of European immigrants were (in the case of the Cape) miners looking for gold and diamonds or enterprising merchants looking to profit off of the shipping industry and in the case of the Bandit coast, from the lucrative trade of spices and narcotics (particularly opium).

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    A scene from the famous Eastern "A fistful of Diamonds" with Clint Eastwood in his signature role.

    The Cape Free State in particular was much more “civilized” than the popular imagination would have one believe, with a functioning system of supply trains and lines of communication operating between mining sites and the coastal area of heavy settlement. Most large mines were controlled by either the Cape authorities, a miner’s association or a criminal organization and mining was therefore mostly without risk from outside attackers, though casualties from accidents and the glaring lack of any form of safety standards or regulation were frequent. The only time bandits and wild animals posed real danger was when foolhardy miners or enterprising farmers ventured away from the established mines or roads and tried to start their own operation and even then it was far more common to die of disease or animals like snakes than to be ambushed by gun-toting bandits. Governance of the free state did in fact often fluctuate between local families, groups of business owners and crime lords, but the presence of a population where the vast majority possessed some form of firearm or other weapon meant that these groups often had to consider the interest of the local populace regardless and was often extremely wary of armed uprisings, meaning that a basic system of public health and bans on practices such as slavery and child labour remained in effect even long after formal independence.

    Cape Free State.png

    The situation on the Pirate coast was often rather different and the vast majority of settlements were often governed by the local populace or a council of elders, but the presence of groups of mercenaries and criminal gangs (in particular those related to the opium trade) did have a large impact on local governance. Many cities hired mercenary units to wage wars against their enemies like the Italian states of the renaissance or aligned themselves with native warlords, fighting over access to the many trade routes both on sea and land, engaging in banditry and robbery when given the opportunity. It should be noted that women on the Bandit coast enjoyed a unique position of relative power compared to many of their contemporaries on the continent, which would become a lasting legacy of female autonomy even as the area was incorporated into neighbouring states and empires. Another pervasive and perhaps somewhat insidious view of the Pirate coast is the inflated presence given to Europeans in most mainstream depictions of the period. In reality there were still of course Anglo-European mercenary units and a small population that remained in the aftermath of the British withdrawal, but the vast majority of powerbrokers, merchants and adventurers of any kind were native Indians who in turn fought for power and money against other Indians, with the presence of Europeans outside the port cities being an exception rather than the rule.
     
  2. Threadmarks: The Quiet Decade: Europe 1875-1885

    Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    The Quiet Decade
    Europe 1875-1885

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    Monumental conical clock by Eugène Farcot at the hall of the Galerie d'Iéna of the Palais du Champ-de-Mars

    The Quiet Decade: a divided Europe by Rodrick Van Gogh (1976, University of Amsterdam Publishing)

    Although somewhat of a misnomer, the period known in Europe as “the quiet decade” was indeed a calm period in regards to European international affairs, especially in contrast to the bloody conflicts that directly preceded and succeeded it. This did not mean that the entirety of Europe simply went on with their day as usual, quite the contrary: it was a period of fierce political advocacy, the spread of the universal suffrage movement and the emergence of agrarianism as a potent political force on the European stage. Following the brief economic instability that came after the polish war, the European economy was “jump-started” by the significant shortage of overseas goods that arose during and after the second American Revolution along with the existing initiatives for industrialization promoted by the liberal governments in place in central Europe. A consequence of this was the resurgence of the suffrage movement in nations such as the Latin union, Belgium, Scandinavia and Yugoslavia. These movements met with mixed results: with either forced dispersion or outright ignorance in the case of Belgium and the Latin union, the granting of voting rights to male property owners in Yugoslavia but full male suffrage in Scandinavia.

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    Oscar II, King of Scandinavia

    Important factors for the success of the suffrage movement in Scandinavia included the rapid industrialization, the federal nature of the Scandinavian monarchy and the 1876 student march in the capital of Gothenburg including people from all over the kingdom to demand suffrage. Despite his somewhat conservative worldview, Oscar II chose to create a system of bicameral legislatures on the level of the individual kingdoms, which in turn could elect a representative to a pan-national royal advisory council. Oscar II was a competent statesman and had observed the revolutions of 1848 closely, particularly the successes. By granting universal suffrage, he gave the growing middle-class and industrial workers political representation, but also introduced a large bloc of reliably royalist and conservative voters in the form of the largely agrarian majority of the Scandinavian population. This was aided by the large public support for his continued reign: all throughout his life he was a widely respected patron of the arts and sciences, even in largely republican nations like the United States and Wales, overseeing the funding and construction of a number of theatre buildings and other public works throughout his life: even on his death bed, he asked that the operas not be closed on the day of his death, a wish that was subsequently honoured by theatres in all parts of the kingdom.

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    The effects of the ever-growing industrialization were not only felt economically and technologically, but also politically. Political movements advocating for the rights of workers grew in prominence and a wave of political campaigning in the form of protest marches and strikes swept Europe during the years 1878-1881 and heralded a number of important changes in labour laws across Europe and the Americas: by 1885, child labour was outlawed in virtually all industrial societies and a large amount of them had also instituted laws regulating the number of working hours and the factory conditions of most major industries (a large exception being the Latin union and the states in its sphere of influence). Industrialization also spurred on the development of agrarianism as a potent political force: in the Latin bloc as the neo-physiocracy and in northern and central Europe as Political romanticism. Inspired by the writings of François Quesnay, neo-physiocrats advocated for the preservation of the rural economy, economic protectionism and a curtailing of industrialism. This was well-received in much of the agrarian Latin bloc and across class boundaries: the still widely agrarian societies of France and Spain were enthusiastic about land reform and the increasingly mechanized production of many important goods, whilst the political elite was concerned about the Latin blocs relative international isolation and therefore receptive to the idea of securing the domestic supply of food. Across the border, the bastion of agrarian politics in Germany was the south and southwest of the country, which had not industrialized to nearly the same extent as the north and whose population was still dependent on the agricultural economy to survive. This led to the creation of an informal alliance of southern states colloquially known as the “Bauerbund” (roughly “peasant’s association”) that fiercely fought with the liberal north in matters of economic policy both at home and abroad. Whilst similarly named organizations arose both west and east of Germany (such as the Scandinavian Bondeførbundet) it was the self-labelled English “political romantics” that would go on to give the entire movement its name. This industrial-agrarian divide would go beyond the national assemblies and parliaments of the nations of Europe and seep down as far as their infrastructure: most of the rail line constructed in the Latin bloc during this period was laid across the rural region to connect them to the capital, whilst the rails of Germany and many other states instead largely formed a network connecting various urban industrial hubs. This division also nearly split the growing international socialist movement in two, with the Russian Alexander Herzen leading the “green” agrarian socialists against the “red” industrialists and was nearly expelled by Marx during a 1879 meeting of the international.

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    "Impression, soleil levant" by Claude Monet, 1872

    The Quiet Decade also saw an explosion in both the quantity and quality of art; with the new art movements of Monetism and Goghism taking their place alongside realism in the art galleries of Europe. Monetism and Goghism were as the names imply spearheaded by two men; the Dutch painter Van Gogh and the French painter Claude Monet. Contrary to popular belief, the two men were remarkably friendly with each other and kept up correspondence after meeting at the 1878 Paris world exhibition. Their contemporaries were not so friendly, often fuelled by nationalist zeal and determined to prove one art style superior over the other. One German art critic concluded that

    “The Monetists’ dedication to the so called “rules” of art clearly exemplified the caged mind of the Latin culture; all innovation co-opted by authority to fit the predetermined mould of society”

    Whilst a contemporary French opinion gave this rebuttal to what he perceived as the “anarchy” of Goghism:

    “Goghism is not art as much as it is evidence that the radical Germans and their ilk have lost all morals and sense of reason.”

    The art movements were also divided by class: the Monetists derived a large amount of their funding from the works of royalty and aristocracy such as for example the Belgian Leopold II (who died in a freak industrial accident whilst visiting a factory in 1881), whilst many Goghists lived off of either selling their works to government-run art exhibitions or government-issued grants to support their continued education and creativity. Even as the international waters were calm Europe lay divided, a division which would intensify and erupt with the 1885 Ottoman crisis…

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    "De Aardappeleters" by Vincent Van Gogh, 1885
     
  3. Threadmarks: Rerum Novarum: The rise of Political Romanticism

    Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    Rerum Novarum
    The rise of Political Romanticism

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    Irish Farmers in the early 1880s

    Art to ideology: a history of Romanticism by Edmund Crowley (George Foundation Publishing, 1976)

    Perhaps one of the greatest ironies of the 1848 revolutions is the rise of political romanticism and the subsequent agrarian-aligned political movements that were largely rural and conservative in nature in contrast to the relatively wealthy and urbanized populations that begun the wave of revolutions in the first place. Whilst perhaps most visible in the aftermath of the French revolution and the subsequent years of monarchist rule under first Napoleon III and then the new Pan-Latin Monarch Jean III, the romanticist movement grew to become a powerful political force even in the most radical of republics. One of the key appeals of romanticism was the explicitly conservative aspect, with many early parties and movements that would go on to evolve into romanticism often drawing heavily on religion as a philosophical basis. Whilst drawing from a wide range of intellectual sources from the French neo-physiocrats and the Irish land league to individuals like Pope Leo XIII and Leo Tolstoy, the movement was at least initially one united by Christianity and in particular Catholicism.

    Romanticism got its first real political footing in Ireland in the aftermath of the 1848 revolution, with the sweeping land reforms of the 1850s giving many of the previously impoverished and landless native Irish population a part of the land they had once worked as mere tenant farmers to mixed success. The reintroduction of agricultural self-sufficiency was a major step in ending the years of starvation, but prohibitions on land acquisition for would-be urban investors also prevented the centralization and consolidation of Irish farmland along with slowing down the pace of the already haphazard process of Irish industrialization. However, the comparative lack of rural poor moving to urban areas in Ireland compared to many other countries did mean that the small Irish industry was rather progressive in its labour laws and the structure of Irish society would go on to be used as a model for the rising Distributivism movement that emerged in the early 1900s. There were also similarly rural-oriented movements in England and Scotland that found moderate success during that same time period whilst never gaining the same foothold in the radical and industrialized Wales.

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    The Cross and Sickle, a common romanticist political symbol.

    The primary driving force behind much of the early romanticist movement would be the Catholic Church, which spread its influence across the Latin sphere as well as traditionally catholic areas like southern Germany and Italy. It is therefore no surprise that the first confluence of philosophers and political movements that would merge into Romanticism was when the newly elected Pope Leo XIII called for a meeting of moderates and catholic intellectuals to discuss the direction and role of the Church in contemporary and future society. Whilst initially intended as a purely catholic affair, the event soon attracted Christians of other denominations and political visionaries like (formerly Russian Orthodox) Leo Tolstoy, the American Ernest Howard Crosby and even the English Henry George, the famous founder of the Georgist movement and would grow far beyond its intended scope to become a melting pot of ideas and an anvil from which was formed a cohesive movement whose branches would extend all across Europe. Eschewing the radicalism and industrialism of contemporary liberal republican societies, the Romanticists elected to place the question of land at the centre of their political agenda, as Henry George himself said:

    “Here are the three core questions of our movement: Who owns the land? Who uses it, and What morals drive this use?”

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    Tolstoy organising famine relief in Samara, 1891.
    The broad vision of political romanticism was therefore one largely resembling feudal Europe: a traditionalist society of self-sufficient agriculture supplied with tools and materials by areas of concentrated industry run by a guild organization, all in the spirit of good Christian morality and charity. Even so, there were a number of differences amongst the attendants even at the very conception of the movement, most pressingly about the socially conservative nature of romanticism: radicals like the Proudhon-inspired Tolstoy wished for the abolishment of the state and the fundamental equality of all human beings regardless of colours and creed, whilst on the other side of the spectrum prominent Neo-Physiocrats like Charles de Larcy desired the restoration of the pre-revolutionary society of feudalism, religion and traditionalism as well as being an early believer in the theories of cultural supremacy. Despite these differences it is well accepted today that this conference in January 1879 was indeed the birthplace of a new ideology that would soon arise to take its place on the European scene with vigour just in time to see Europe one again be plunged into distrust and hostility as the turn of the century loomed large in the distance.
     
  4. Born in the USSA Well-Known Member

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    Hosanna! My absolute favorite facet of alternate history!
     
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  5. Threadmarks: Spectre of Europe: A history of the International Workingmen’s association

    Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    Spectre of Europe
    A history of the International Workingmen’s association

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    “If one wishes to experience the platonic concept of pandemonium, one needs look no further than the International Workingmen’s Association.” - Louis Auguste Blanqui

    The Socialist Laboratory; a history of the internationals by Anita Blair (Lumo Syndicate, 2018)


    As turmoil once again loosened its grip on Europe in the aftermath of the Polish war, many nations suddenly found themselves having to cope with the loss of a large number of able-bodied working age men, particularly nations on the mainland such as France, Russia, Germany and Italy. This relative scarcity of manpower became a driving force for social change in revolutionary nations such as Germany where the workplace protections and wages for the average factory worker markedly increased and the possibility of female involvement in the workplace rose to become a serious possibility. In this climate of domestic political unrest and organised industrial dissent, an idea was conceived by English and French workers. Whilst some of the issues they faced could be solved on a domestic level, the fact was that workers across all of Europe faced similar challenges when it came to a multitude of topics spanning from the price of food to the realization of national self-determination. It was therefore that on 29 September 1865 an international crowd of workers gathered to welcome the many international delegates to London’s St. Martins hall. The group was diverse and included delegates from nearly every nation in Europe as well as many ideologically diverse members ranging from Baltic nationalists, English and Welsh Owenites and radical Chartists, Italian Republicans, Proudhonians and Blanquists. Amongst the most notable individuals to be found amongst its ranks were the Proudhonian Henri Tolain, the father of Blaquism himself Louis Auguste Blanqui, prominent trade unionist George Odger and the at this time rather unknown German journalist by the name Karl Marx.

    Despite a hefty amount of later historical mythologizing, the first meeting of the International was mostly an administrative affair, with the primary topic of debate being the structure of the organization itself. Various proposals were put forward ranging from a single unified political party to little more than an advisory council for the various branches and parties already working across Europe, but in the end it would come to structurally resemble something similar to the modern International Assembly. The organization was to be regulated by a general council of representatives, which could issue resolutions, vote on the inclusion or exclusion of participating movements and provide resources and aid by drawing on member organizations for help. There was a great deal of disappointment and complains that the organization risked becoming little more than a “red-tinged bureaucracy”, but this approach also helped keep the movement together in the face of constant factionalism. Already during the second conference wide rifts arose regarding the aims and methods of socialism: reform contra revolution, parliamentarianism contra working outside the system, statism vs anarchism and many, many more. Comparisons will inevitably be made to the CCR and the Revolutionary Unity council, but the two are not sufficiently alike that it merits further exploration here.

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    Max Hödel

    The international remained a somewhat obscure organization in the popular imagination until the public assassination of the Hungarian King Karl Ludwig I by the German Anarchist Max Hödel, a dedicated member of the anarchist wing of the organization. Whilst hailed as a hero of the people by many of the different groupings, this tacit endorsement of political violence prompted many reformist groups to leave the organization and despite this remained a large point of controversy in the organization. Despite being by far the most prolific action connected to the international, much more important was the support the organization provided to labour movements all over Europe, ushering in a vast number of improvements in the conditions of the ordinary factory worker, spearheading the budding movement of female suffrage (the organization accepted female members as early as the second congress) and even the covert supplying of arms and other supplies to various radical movements around Europe by their fellow radicals inside the organization. They also provided a large body of ideological and philosophical work to base their beliefs on, creating smaller but more clearly defined ideological branches such as Mutualism, Blanquism, Marxism, Syndicalism, Communalism and Anarchism just to mention a few. Yet their time had not quite arrived just yet. Whilst they had doubtlessly improved the lot of the ordinary worker, the true workers revolution that so many sought had yet to come, still looming over the horizon as the 19th century was drawing to a close. Regardless of if the people of Europe or indeed the world knew, a new dawn was coming. A Red Dawn.
     
  6. RandomWriterGuy Bernie Sanders Hindsight 2020

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    What’s going on in Latin America? Shouldn’t have the revolutions made any impact there?

    Also how does the British Empire collapse like that? Don’t they have enough overseas forces to take England back?
     
  7. Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    Well, there are several factors that prevent the UK from simply sailing over to England and taking it back. The first one is the US, which despite maintaining coridal relations with the royalist rump state would be none too pleased about reimposing a monarchy on a fellow revolutionary republic, a fact the monarchy itself is keenly aware of. In addition, none of the european powers blocs are particularly fond of the prospect either: Germany and their allies are wary of reactionary sentiments spreading and Russia enjoys having a free hand in asia. Therefore nearly everyone has an incentive to oppose a british restoration, with the republican states in particular being willing to pledge military support should the worst occur. The canadian monarchy has currently put all its hopes on the latin union, which is one of the few nations that really considers the exiled monarchy to have any form of legitimacy (the latin union is for example the only nation save the US that has embassies for both the monarchy in exile and the english republic).

    as for south america, i am planning on covering that in an upcoming entry.
     
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  8. Threadmarks: Interlude: The London Herald; 30/08/2019

    Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    German Police at the site of the explosion

    German Politician killed in car bomb


    DANZIG, PRUSSIA — German police has shut down all roads leading out of the city following the detonation of a car bomb on Friday, August 30. At around 17: 35 AM in the afternoon, emergency responders were alerted to an explosion on a road in the suburbs of Danzig with police following shortly.

    The man targeted by PLF car bomb was local head of the right-wing German Fatherland Party Herman Prützmann, a staunch advocate against the proposed implementation of multilingualism in the German federal province of Prussia which is home to a substantial Polish and Kashubian minority population. A communiqué released by the Polish Liberation Front (widely nicknamed the “Prussian Brigade”) claimed responsibility for the action which would be the first instance of political violence in the province in three years. German police and regional advocacy groups both maintain that the chief cause of the violence is both a lack of representation and the unfavourable economic situation in the area.

    The far-right group is the latest amongst a number of militant organizations that have committed violent acts in pursuit of political goals stretching back to the constitutional reforms of the 1940s. Following the 1944 referendums in Poznan, Bohemia and Carinthia, Polish political organizations in Prussia have advocated for minority rights, autonomy or even outright secession with little response from the central government in Frankfurt. The area was briefly annexed by the Slavic Commonwealth during the Ostkrieg/Second People’s War but was returned to Germany following the Commonwealth’s defeat and the Budapest treaty. Internal conflict was once more ignited following the declaration of martial law in the aftermath of the Graudenz riot and the imposition of military checkpoint. This lead to several murders, firefights and bombings by both Polish separatists and Prussian “freikorps” paramilitaries that were mostly put to an end with the 1974 Gothenburg accords, which led to an end of both the military checkpoints and the disarmament of the Polish People’s Army, the most prominent of the Polish separatist organizations.

    Despite this, violence has not entirely disappeared from the province as dissident factions launch occasional attacks and commit violent actions such as the murder of a Kashubian teacher by the Prussian Self-Defence League in January of 2016 and the 2015 bombing of a Danzig bar frequented by German military servicemen.

    The London Herald, August 30th, 2019
     
  9. Threadmarks: The Susceptible Continent: South America 1848-1885

    Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    The Susceptible Continent
    South America 1848-1885

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    ”It is a regrettable fact that for much of its history, Southern America has lacked the cultural and ethnic backbone on which most European nations and civilizations are founded. Ever since they dethroned the monarchist menace, they have been little more than wayward Iberians, their politics little more than personal rivalry. Ethnic identity has not developed properly and therefore there is not coherent nation which one might desire to lead into prosperity. […] Improvements are being made however, as demonstrated by the examples of Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. With time, the muddled peoples of this susceptible continent might crystallize into a collection of coherent civilization."


    - Karl Vogt, The Organic Culture

    "1848 Abroad: Liberalism outside Europe" by Tony Booth (Hammer Books, 2004)

    Like their northern neighbors, South America was deeply influenced by the revolutions in regards to both their domestic and foreign politics. The most self-evident of these are of course the 1848 revolution in Brazil that overthrew the monarchy and the Colombian election of prominent politician liberal José Hilario López. Both movements included demands for federalism, voting rights and the abolition of slavery as well as other progressive policies like the abolition of the death penalty. Later revolutions inspired by these such as the 1851 revolt in Chile were not as lucky and were swiftly put down by the ruling class. Most scholars subscribing to the traditional Frankfurt view of Cultural Darwinism would most likely ascribe the prevalence of conflict in this era with the ethnic structure at the time, with a generally more “European” upper class that had more in common with other upper-class elites in neighboring nations than with the lower classes in their own, which created a situation where politics was more about personal influence than any ideological or national struggle. Whilst perhaps not entirely inaccurate, ascribing this level of influence of culture alone is perhaps a bit misleading. There were a large amount of economic and cultural factors that also played a large part: lack of infrastructure, inaccessible terrain and the lack of industrialization certainly exacerbated the prevailing instability of the class system which primarily took its form in the conflicts between centralist conservatives and federalist progressives.

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    Ezequiel Zamora
    This pattern would experience a significant exception with the political rise of the Venezuelan General Ezequiel Zamora and his subsequent victory in the Venezuelan five-year war. Inspired by concurrent European political writings, he would fully embrace the ideas of cultural Darwinism and ethnic unity and set about creating a nation that was ethnically and culturally united. Though proponents of the same ideas he espoused have long maintained that this was one of the prime examples of their theories in action, others argue that it was his radical redistribution of wealth and pursuit of industrialization that in actuality stabilized the country, but the immense shift he introduced in Venezuelan politics is also not to be underestimated. Zamora sought to make Venezuela a nation distinct from its colonial past as a member of Gran Colombia, replacing all national symbols to remove all connections with neighboring Colombia and equator. This inextricably changed the Venezuelan political scene from one between progressive and conservative to one between Unionist and Nationalist; the former inspired by the pan-nationalist ideas of Europe and wishing for a new era of south American unity, which would later spread and become potent forces in both Equador and Colombia, whilst the nationalists decried all ties between these nations and asserting their own “Venezuelan” identity.

    Regardless, the forces of conservatism and progressivism continued to battle in much of South America as they had always done. Brazil could in some way be seen as Venezuela’s ideological opposite as the post-revolutionary Brazilian republic became more of a confederation or even military alliance of state than a traditional unified nation-state, but with many of the same measures of land and wealth-distribution implemented by the liberal revolutionaries. Most of the 1800s were dominated by civil wars between these conservative unitary and progressive federalist factions to assume political hegemony, often serving as proxy wars for neighboring nations. Perhaps one of the notable exceptions was the Arucanian war, which was perhaps the only time in that era of south American history that conservative and progressive forces united against a common enemy; in this case, European colonial monarchism. Perhaps somewhat ironically, this bizarre entrance of European monarchism onto the stage of South American politics originated as an indigenous project to preserve Mapuche self-rule under the eccentric Frenchman Orélie-Antoine de Tounens. Whilst initially receiving an uncertain reception by the local chiefs, his promises of arms and French aid soon swayed them to his side. The declaration of independence did not go over well with Chile and Argentina however, with reactions mixed between amusement and annoyance. This would only escalate into outright conflict with the eviction of Chilean settlers by local Mapuche warriors, prompting a military response. By this time, the news of the proclamation of independence as well as overtures from the de tounens had made their way to France via the local consulate and perhaps surprisingly actually got the attention of the French government.

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    Soldiers of the Belgian regiment in Patagonia, bodyguards of the Empress Charlotte.

    Emperor Napoleon III saw this not only as an opportunity to gain prestige in Europe, but to secure another monarchist stronghold and helping the ephemeral British monarchy retain their foothold on their other overseas American holdings. Therefore, by the time a Chilean military expedition had been assembled and sent south in early 1861, they found not only well-armed Mapuche guerillas but also an entire French expeditionary corps. Naturally taken by surprise, the Chilean forces were routed in a series of battles around the coast, with even argentine forces struggling to make inroads by 1862. In addition, both nations knew that the US was at this time embroiled in the second revolution and was in no position to help, which along with the arrival of British naval forces later that same year certainly forcing them to the table. The Arucanian state would be officially recognized, with the provisions that it would remain a joint Franco-British protectorate as well as allowing foreign businesses to participate in a certain amount of economic activity. Whilst not immediately obvious, these close-contact encounters with Europe would come to signal a shift in Argentine and Chilean politics as they came to absorb many European ideas and inventions in the aftermath. It also spurred on the rise of indigenous American nationalism as a natural consequence of the existence of a sovereign American nation primarily run by Amerindians (in this case, the mapuche). Despite this conflict, South America remained a frequent destination for emigrants of all stripes, with the continents experiencing economic up and downturns as industrial Europe repeatedly tore at each other’s throats. Despite this trend, the period of 1875-1885 actually saw an increase of economic activity alongside similar social changes to those sweeping Europe. Despite this, the Egyptian crisis of 1885 would certainly be remembered as much more of an South American “golden period”, especially considering their reemergence in international politics.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Kulturkampf and the Karls: Finland, Switzerland and the Bohemian Conundrum

    Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    Kulturkampf and the Karls
    Finland, Switzerland and the Bohemian Conundrum

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    Karl Vogt, 1848
    “But at the first victorious uprising of the French proletariat, which Louis Napoleon is striving with all his might to conjure up, the Austrian Germans and Magyars will be set free and wreak a bloody revenge on the Slav barbarians. The general war which will then break out will smash this Slav Sonderbund and wipe out all these petty hidebound nations, down to their very names. The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward.”

    -Friedrich Engels, "the Magyar Struggle"


    “Two books that shaped the world” by Owen Chadwick (Cambridge University Press, 1990)

    The latter half of the 1800s saw the creation and publishing of perhaps the two most important works of literature that would come to not only define the fields of the social sciences, but also arguably laying out the political framework within which The nations of Eurasia and the Americas would act for the entirety of the 20th century. These two works were Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” and Karl Vogt’s The Organic Culture. The former would lay out the economic underpinnings of the capitalist economies of Europe, whilst the latter would thoroughly analyse the inter-ethnic struggles that shaped history. Whilst of historic importance to the social sciences, “Das Kapital” would not achieve much political influence until the rise of the CCR. The Organic Culture had an immediate impact on contemporary politics, particularly in its native Germany. The much-vaunted economic reforms of the liberal Bamberg government had not quelled the calls for Slavic autonomy in the federal realm of Bohemia, with the Czech “Samospráva” (self-rule) party maintaining a near majority throughout the quiet decade, bringing up the issue of Bohemian autonomy near constantly. A popular joke at the time was that one could observe the changing of the months by the arrival of a new letter from the bohemian assembly to the federal government. In part as a response to this, but also because of a variety of factors ranging from the rising influence of the Latin Sphere to the dissatisfaction of rural voters with liberal social reforms during the Bamberg period, the 1876 federal elections resulted in a majority for the Einheitspartei (Unity Party) led by the new Minister-President Heinrich von Treitschke.

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    Heinrich von Treitschke

    Avid followers of Cultural Darwinism, Heinrich and the Unity-Party were longstanding advocates of a unitary parliamentary Germany as a means to truly “unify” the German people by doing away with regional identities and future separatist tendencies. Heinrich himself opposed Catholics, Poles and socialists inside Germany and wished to either integrate or suppress them. Keeping his opposition to Catholics out of the political scene to not attract the fury of the Bauerbund, he instead promised to solve “the Bohemian issue” by Germanizing the Slavic population of central bohemia. Whilst the Bamberg government had made little effort to accommodate for actual autonomy, their lack of a response effectively constituted a “live and let live” policy towards the Slavic population and their way of life. This was something Heinrich could not abide and as his first act he introduced a bill to make German language education mandatory in the federal school system. Whilst not a controversial proposal in itself, the bill was clearly aimed towards the unofficial use of Czech as the general teaching language in Bohemia, with many Czechs fearing that German-only education was next on the agenda. Here however, the Czechs would find an ally in the already autonomous province of Posen, populated mainly by poles and other Slavs. Partly out of fear that they would be next on Heinrich’s list and partly out of genuine pan-Slavic sentiment, the polish representatives began what would informally become known as “the second polish rising” (the first being the 1863 rising that triggered the polish war). As the Czech politician Karel Havlíček Borovský put it: “there is not greater word than the polish for ‘unconstitutional’”. The representatives of Bohemia and Poznan would fight any form of legislation directed towards the Czechs tooth and nail, declaring it unconstitutional and dragging it as far as they could through the federal court system before it was either pushed through or defeated. Playing on the fears of southern German states, the bohemian also attempted to connect their language to the church, attempting to get Czech declared the Liturgical language of the Bohemian Catholic church. These efforts would meet with a fair amount of Success: by the end of the Unity Party’s dominance in the 1888 elections, German was a mandatory school subject and several other unofficial privileges had effectively been removed, but the Czech had “weathered the storm”. Later historians would use this period as a prime example of the “Bohemian Conundrum”: had the region been granted more autonomy, it would have more likely elected to stay with Germany during the constitutional reorganization of the early 20th century, which means that Heinrich’s work directly harmed his own goals.

    On the international stage, Heinrich’s attention was first and foremost turned to Switzerland. Long a beacon of liberty in the old monarchist Europe, Switzerland had become a modern federal republic by the time of the Sonderbund war. In the Organic Culture, Vogt had explained the unity of the Swiss despite their linguistic and ethnic differences as an “alliance of convenience” against the monarchist powers of Europe. Switzerland, Vogt predicted, would peacefully dissolve and join their brother nations following the end of the monarchist threat, famously proclaiming that “Switzerland will not see the 20th century”. Initially, Heinrich’s strategy was to simply wait for the inevitable collapse that would surely occur just months after his ascendancy. After a year had passed and the Swiss seemed no closer to collapse, Heinrich decided it was time to take action. Despite an aggressively friendly policy however, Swiss neutrality presented a major obstacle towards any sort of relationship other than that between two neighbouring nation. His most major success was that of a comprehensive open border agreement between Switzerland, Germany and Italy with the intent of easing Swiss access to the ocean. Rather than any failure on the part of Vogt, Heinrich and many other scholars of the time attributed this continued existence of a multicultural republic to the continued existence of a monarchist enemy in the form of the Latin Sphere, with Vogt himself drawing a parallel to Finland in his 1889 essay “Cultural self-defence” where he argued that Russia and the Latin Union were the causes for the continued unity of these exceptions to his rule: “Finland, a culture isolated save for their Estonian and Ingrian brothers to the south, naturally seeks protection in the historic bond between it and its fellow Nordic nations against the encroachment of the Russian cultural monolith”. This had significant implications for German foreign policy, as it incentivized a hostile attitude and the active undermining of the monarchist powers of Europe in the desire for a decisive confrontation that would finally let the peoples of Europe unite without fear of outside empires looming. This is generally considered one of the chief causes for the end of the quiet decade and the drastic escalation of the Egyptian Crisis.

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    Map of the World in 1880
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019 at 6:13 PM
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  11. Threadmarks: Flags of South America in 1880

    Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    South America Flags.png
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  12. Threadmarks: Crosscultural Deicide: The life and works of Friedrich Nietzsche

    Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    Crosscultural Deicide
    The life and works of Friedrich Nietzsche

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    “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” – Nietzsche

    Nietzsche: A brief history by August Becker (2002, Hamburg Books)

    Born in Saxony 1844, Nietzsche’s childhood was one caught up in the middle of the turbulent times of the revolutions, but also grew up in a relatively wealthy household setting him on his path for an intellectual career. His early inspiration was drawn from figures such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Richard Wagner and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Whilst too young to participate in the Polish War at the time, he was nevertheless swept up in the great crisis of faith that spread across Europe in its wake, with some scholars even attributing his definitive break with religion and god to this experience. Nietzsche received a remarkable offer in 1869 to become professor of classical philology at the University of Basel in Switzerland. He was only 24 years old and had neither completed his doctorate nor received a teaching certificate. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Leipzig, again with Ritschl's support. Despite the fact that the offer came at a time when he was considering giving up philology for science, he accepted. Whilst spending more than a decade working at the university, he was struck by several health problems and eventually chose to resign from his position, travelling Europe and seeking climates more conducive to his condition. Living off his pension from Basel and aid from friends, Nietzsche travelled frequently to find climates more conducive to his health and lived until 1889 as an independent author in different cities. He spent many summers in Sils Maria near St. Moritz in Switzerland. He spent his winters in the Italian cities of Genoa, Rapallo, and Turin and the French city of Nice. This is often cited by both him and others as a key moment of his life and a cause for his later rejection of the uniform culture.

    It was when he returned to Switerland in 1889 however that most of his now famous works would be published. Two of his friends Malwida von Meysenbug and Paul Rée had created an “educational commune” in the mountains during Nietzsche’s years of travel and it was here that he would stay for nearly the rest of his life. Here he produced “The Antichrist” as well as “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, the most famous of his works and the twin pillars of his worldview. The Antichrist is a relentless analysis and rejection of organized religion, declaring the concept of gods as a harmful fiction, morality relative and Christianity in particular a glorification of subservience and weakness. Whilst it’s controversial and even scandalous contents were banned in many nations, it was eagerly read by many in the secular and republican circles of Europe, giving him certain fame in contemporary Europe. His second book was less well received: it too was an analysis and critique of society, but this time it was directed primarily against the prevailing culture of the day, in particular the theories of “Kulturkampf” espoused by his contemporary Karl Vogt. As he put it in Zarathustra:

    “It is not culture that makes a man; it is man that makes culture. Nor is it the case that like rabid animals, culture must kill and devour to survive; true culture is to be found only in the works of men and women that have cast off all shackles of judgement, cultural blinders and create whatever works that their soul commands them to.”

    This focus on the individual instead of the collective culture was widely controversial even amongst the liberal circles of Europe: he criticized antisemitism, pan-Germanism and, to a lesser extent, nationalism. Section VIII of Beyond Good and Evil, titled "Peoples and Fatherlands", criticized pan-Germanism and patriotism, advocating instead the unification of Europe. Controversy also arose around his praise for those individuals that seemed “mentally unfit” by the standards of the day:

    “The madman, the indecent and the vandal! These are the true artists of the world, who see beyond the veil of uniformity and dare break the chains of convention and ascending to the final form of humanity: the Over-Man”.

    Zarathustra was not widely published in his lifetime and some critics even labelled it as nothing but drivel from a man slowly losing his sanity. Nevertheless, he had a wide influence on movements as varied as Anarchism and the Uranian rights movement, his works rising to prominence once again during the cultural upheaval of the 1930s and 40s and remain widely known ever since.
     
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  13. Threadmarks: Toppling the Social Pyramid: The Egyptian crisis

    Generalissimo Maximus Timelines are just excuses to make flags

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    Toppling the Social Pyramid
    The Egyptian crisis

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    Armoured Train of the "William Brigade" in Egypt
    Crisis in Egypt: The overshadowed turning point by Abdel Hussein (1955, University of Alexandria)

    Despite rightly being seen as the founding father of modern Egypt and a great statesman, Ahmed Orabi would most likely not have had such a pivotal role in Egyptian history were it not for a simple traffic delay. At that time a significant part of the Egyptian army was engaged in the putting down of a previously small Sudanese insurgency that due to Egyptian military incompetence had been allowed to grow into a serious revolt. Orabi had personally visited these forces and found a growing dissatisfaction about insufficient wages, rampant bureaucratic corruption leading to shortages and halts in vital supplies and the indifference of the Turkish and Circassian officers commanding them. It was with this in mind that Orabi had arranged a meeting with Khedive Tewfik Pasha, a puppet ruler installed by the Latin Union in late 1871 as a replacement for the more ambitious and reformist Isma’il Pasha. When Orabi was informed that the Khedive would be an hour late to their meeting, he decided to spend the time meeting a local acquaintance. During his wander through the city however, he came upon a Turkish official beating an Egyptian salesman and intervened. The details following this initial scuffle are few and contradictory, but by the afternoon that same day the situation had turned into a full-blown riot. With support from the military regiment in Cairo that was formally under his command, he had most of the non-Egyptian ottoman officers and administrators forcibly dismissed and placed Khedive Tewfik himself under his “personal protection”, pressuring him to approve an elected government as well as approving a number of reforms. This sudden eruption of revolution sent shockwaves through the largely inward-looking Europe, with the two blocs each taking a side. The Latin Bloc and Russia naturally supported the Latin-installed puppet government, whilst the Republican powers in turn supported Orabi and the Egyptian revolutionaries. Despite this, some of the first foreigners to intervene directly were the several volunteer units that brought modern European equipment and tactics to the revolutionaries. Most famous of these was the “William Brigade”, a unit of radical chartists from the Atlantic isles that sought to aid Egypt in their struggle against Latin imperialism. However, the first European nation to respond was in fact The Latin Union, who sent a naval detachment under the command of Amédée Courbet to assist the Tewfik in supressing the rebellion. This was soon met by responses from Germany and England, both calling on Italy to intercept the Latin fleet and promising aid of their own to the revolutionaries. On May 25th, the Latin forces were intercepted east of Malta by an Italian squadron led by Italian Admiral Simone Antonio Saint-Bon.

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    The "Baden", One of the most advanced German ships at the time

    It is here worth making a brief tangent about naval strategy. At this time, the Latin and Italian navies were in most ways polar opposites. The Latin navy had adopted the “Jeune École” doctrine, focused on small powerful torpedo ships that were intended to outmanoeuvre larger battleships and sink them with their powerful armaments. The Italian navy on the other hand had instead adopted the opposite approach, relying on large and modern battleships. As a consequence of this, the Latin-Italian confrontation symbolised not only a political clash, but a clash in contemporary military doctrine. Courbet, a well-renowned admiral within the Latin navy was fully aware of this and chose to not escalate the situation into full-blown warfare. Despite Italian warnings he continued towards Egypt, but used his smaller and faster fleet to outmanoeuvre the main component of the Italian naval force, costing him time but preventing a violent conflagration. On June 8th, the Latin navy finally arrived in Cairo, followed closely by the Italians. By this time Orabi had solidified control of Cairo and a decent amount of the Egyptian coast, but crucially Tewfik had escaped from his confinement and set up his court in Alexandria, declaring Orabi a rebel. Thereafter, a long naval stalemate ensued as several more naval detachments from nations like Germany, Russia and England arrived. This only exacerbated tensions on the mainland, sparking riots in both Alexandria and Cairo which primarily targeted Europeans and to a lesser extent Christians despite the best efforts of both Orabi and Tewfik, diminishing support for the revolutionaries somewhat in European eyes. Despite the fact that Egypt was nominally under Ottoman rule, Sultan Abdul Hamid II was hesitant to get involved. The Empire was in a precarious financial situation as they struggled to modernize with money from foreign loans whilst simultaneously managing the ever more rebellious provinces at the fringes. The most firm action he took was ordering an increased military presence in the Syrian Vilayet bordering Egypt proper.

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    The Bulgarians cross the border, by Antoni Piotrowski
    With a tense standoff occupying the attention of the European powers and a vacillating Sultan, the Balkan states saw their chance to act. On July 9th, Yugoslavian forces entered ottoman territory to little opposition, followed shortly by similar actions from Greece and Romania. This was in accordance with a secret agreement made between Milan Obrenović I of Yugoslavia, Alexander Cuza III of Romania and Greek Prime Minister Theodoros Diligiannis, which lay out in detail the partitioning of the Balkans in the aftermath of a successful war against the Ottoman Empire as well as the coordination of declarations of war and other such matters. The sudden eruption of hostilities in the Balkans spurred the great powers to action as they suddenly found themselves unable to respond to this new Balkan war as long as their attention was directed at Egypt. Gathering in Geneva in late June, representatives of the various powers were now determined to put an end to the crisis and secure peace in Europe. This may seem somewhat contradictory as many of the heads of state were famously hostile against nations on the other side of the bloc, but the fact of the matter was that the Quiet decade had created a sense of stability (not to mention profitability) amongst both the common citizenry and on the political level. The massive loss of life in the Polish war in particular had left a bitter taste in the mouth of the democratic republics that were accountable to their populace. The one that perhaps most succinctly described the prevailing mood was ironically the infamously aggressive German representative Heinrich von Treitschke; “Wars should be started by national ambition, not foreign misadventures”. So whilst the Balkans once more erupted in war, an agreement was finally reached: Egypt was to become a sovereign constitutional monarchy in accordance with Orabi’s wishes, but its territory would be restricted to the current official boundaries and was not allowed to press any claims towards Ottoman Syria. Most Latin economic interests in Egypt were to be left alone, but the Egyptian government would also receive financial support from the republican powers to use as they saw fit. Finally, everyone present promised a non-interventionist policy in the ongoing Balkan war, with non-military trade to either side remaining permitted but that any power that was found to break this agreement was to be subject to sanctions by the other participating members.

    Although it did not send immediate shockwaves around Europe like so many other events at the time, this agreement served as a foundation for future inter-European cooperation and peacemaking in the new era following the revolution. No longer was diplomacy conducted in the manner of the Napoleonic era between individual hegemonic rulers, but instead it was now a process between sovereign nations and their representatives. It also signalled a definitive end to the Ottoman Empire, whose spiral into dissolution was at this point nearly a historical fact immediately following the signing of the Geneva Agreement. It also showed cracks in the Latin Union, as the increasingly dominant position of France at the expense of the other nations in the union became abundantly clear, resulting in more political instability in Spain in particular. In Egypt, the crisis and enormous amount of foreign sailors present at one point of the crisis would result in a manner of cross-ideological pollination as individual sailors became acquainted with foreign ideas and literature. Karl Vogt’s writings in particular would for the first time be translated into Arabic in 1889 and soon found a widespread audience in the form of the growing movement of Arab intellectuals. Internally, these ideas also found a common audience amongst people in the monarchist bloc for the first time, as they came into contact not only with the literature, but also individuals that believed in said ideology and had their own ideas about it. This “radicalized” certain elements within the navies of Russia and the Latin bloc, who on subsequent assignments would go on to (or at least attempt to) spread their ideas in the places they were stationed. Mutinous sailors would go on to play a key role during the Carribean war and radical activism in the Russian navy would go on to be explicitly referenced in the texts of the Russian revolutionary Stepan Maximovich Petrichenko.

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    The World in 1885
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019 at 4:39 PM
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