The Anglo-Saxon Social Model

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Rattigan, Dec 17, 2018.

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  1. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking of. Basically the Democrats are gone as an effective force by 1868 and the GOP splits by 1872 under the weight of its own internal contradictions, which gives the Liberals ITTL more staying power than their OTL counterparts.

    Poor old Salmon P. Chase will stay a Republican, however, and have the rather dubious honour of being the second-shortest serving president by winning the 1872 election and then dying only 61 days after his inauguration.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
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  2. Threadmarks: The Spring Crisis, 1913

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1913
    Vidi I.jpg
    Prince Wilhelm von Weid - the quiet cavalry officer who accidentally started a war

    After the conclusion of the Balkan War by the Treaty of London in January 1913, many in Europe’s capitals saw the Balkans as a potential source of future conflict. There were many areas of concern, not least the possibility of the Balkan League fracturing, with Bulgaria known to be dissatisfied with their share of the spoils. Many feared that German attempts to divide Bulgaria from its Balkan allies (and thus also from Russia) would result in internecine warfare between them, with the potential for this to lead to a wider conflict. Alternatively, the possibility of the Balkan League using their success against the Ottomans as a springboard for the liberation of their Slavic cousins in Austrian Bosnia could not be discounted. Neither, of course, could the possibility of Ottoman revanchism, nor that the League would not simply renew an assault on them in the name of claiming the long-desired territories of Ionia, Thrace and Constantinople.

    However, few at the time predicted that the ‘settlement’ of the London Treaty would break down so quickly, nor that the tinderbox for doing so would be a dynastic dispute over Albania. Carved out of Ottoman territory on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, Albania was a poor country and was expected to become a de facto protectorate of the League under a minor princeling whose identity was to be determined. However, the boundaries as set by the Treaty of London largely ignored the demographics on the ground and had created a nation where a largely pro-Ottoman and Muslim peasantry was exploited by their predominantly Christian landlords. The great powers took until the spring of 1913 to come up with the compromise nomination of Prince Wilhelm von Wied – a Prussian cavalry commander and nephew of the Queens of both Romania and the Netherlands – as their candidate. While he was acceptable to the Albanian provisional government, Wilhelm stunned his advisors when he turned down the offer of the throne on 7 March. Wilhelm, correctly as it turned out, predicted that the throne of Albania would not be worth the material it was made of.

    Into this power vacuum, the former Ottoman officer Essad Toptani declared that he was now the Prince of Albania and assumed de jure control of the country’s government (which he had already de facto controlled for some months by this point). In this capacity he received the support of the Ottomans on 14 March. The reaction of the Balkan League was furious and they made renewed attempts to get Wilhelm to agree to take the throne (their earlier concerns about his possibly pro-German sensibilities discarded) and the Greek government began to arm separatists in North Epirus. Over the next fortnight, this lead to a generalized breakdown of law and order in the nascent principality with no clear resolution in sight: President Roosevelt’s suggestion that Albania be made an American protectorate was immediately vetoed by Germany.

    On 6 April 1913, Ottoman forces invaded Albania in order to prop up Toptani. Although this was not, by any particular definition, an attack on any member of the Balkan League, the League nonetheless interpreted the move as a violation of the Treaty of London as well as a deliberate provocation towards Greek naval interests in the Aegean (given that the Ottomans moved most of their troops by sea). In secret, League officials sought and received a guarantee from the Russian government that the Russians would come to their aid in the event of any League nation being attacked by any of the Great Powers, which in turn lead to the combined governments of the League issuing an ultimatum to the Ottomans on 20 April, demanding that they immediately withdraw. When the Ottomans, predictably, refused to comply, the League commenced a full mobilization of their forces on 24 April, with Russia ordering a partial mobilization a day later.

    Outraged by what they saw as an affront to their Ottoman allies, Germany and Austria mobilized their forces on 28 April, at the same time issuing a seven-day ultimatum to the League to withdraw their own ultimatum and cease mobilization. They argued that Albania was not a member of the League, that its only legitimate (or quasi-legitimate) government had invited intervention from the Ottoman forces, and that such intervention was only necessary because of destabilization by elements in Albania who were loyal to the League. All these arguments were technically correct on their own terms, although they did rather ignore the point that Albania had been declared a neutral territory in the Treaty of London and that, although Toptani’s invitation to the Ottomans gave the Ottomans a degree of legal cover for their intervention, this was flimsy at best. Having been violated first in spirit and then in letter by both sides, the Treaty of London was already a dead letter three months after its signing and the Balkans was now geopolitically lawless.

    What happened next was the key point in the slide towards war and away from peace. With Germany now mobilized and the war in Albania now almost certain to spill out of that country’s borders, Russia ordered a full mobilization of its forces on 29 April. Over the previous week, the US ambassador to France, John M. Parker, had been running between his residence and the Elysee Palace attempting to control events as they developed. Eventually, on the night of 29 April, he was faced with the Russian mobilization and the question of whether France could rely on American backing in the event of the war which now seemed likely. Guessing (correctly, as it turned out) his president’s wishes, he confirmed that the American government would support their French and Russian allies. On 30 April France ordered a full mobilization and on the same day President Roosevelt announced a mobilization of the US Army and called up the National Guard.

    Although they were intimately aware of the events unfolding in Europe, Britain had thusfar managed to stay out of the maneuverings. However, this was never going to be a practical long-term position and on 1 May the Belgian government sent secret messages to London asking for confirmation that the British would intervene to preserve Belgian neutrality in the event of Germany marching troops through its borders. After fierce debate in cabinet, Lloyd George and Haldane got the cabinet to agree that declaring war on Germany in order to protect Belgium would be worthless. It was a pretty clear abrogation of the UK’s obligations under the 1839 Treaty of London but the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary successfully made their case on the grounds of geopolitics. The decision was transmitted not only to the Belgian ambassador in London but also, separately, to the German one. The following day, Germany issued a formal request for Belgium to allow free passage of their forces, before beginning an invasion on 3 May. Contrary to most expectations, however, the Belgian government did not declare neutrality but instead attempted to repel the invasion. On 4 May, the French also invaded Belgium to attack the German army there, declaring war on the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottomans) at the same time. A few hours later, the United States and Russia did the same thing.
     
  3. AceofDens Well-Known Member

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    The Triple Alliance and the Entente invaded Belgium? This version of World War 1 is even more of a mess than OTL's.
     
  4. Analytical Engine Monarchist Collectivist Federalist

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    Invasion-dogpile and a damnfool thing in the Balkans...Cripes.
     
  5. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    France knows that it's not going to get any useful support from the Americans for at least a few months so they're panicking and acting more aggressively than perhaps they should.
     
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  6. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    Aug 23, 2013
    Oh Belgium get boned even worse than OTL? That's... Not that much of a surprise, it's Belgium.

    Also, the Balkans do what the Balkans do.
     
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  7. Kiwigun Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2015
    Would be interesting if Britain just send troops to Belgium fight off either invasion attempts and stay in the country instead of invading France and Germany thus turn Belgium into a fortress. A limited war.
     
  8. Komnenos002 asdf

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    Mar 10, 2011
    Britain could, perhaps, hold Ghent. Close to the Coast, a short frontline, defensible borders.

    I'm just doubtful that would be considered worth it, from a pragmatic viewpoint. Britain would expending blood and treasure to not actually avert a war, get involved in a way that annoys both Germany and France, and for dubious gains.

    Unrelated, do you mind giving a brief synopsis of how ATL Britain compares to OTL Britain economically?

    Enjoyable read so far, thanks. :)
     
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  9. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    That's a very interesting question. On a macro level, I think you'd find very little difference between TTL and OTL. The things that still made Britain economically powerful are still there: its position as the world's premier creditor nation; a very closely entwined commercial (and commercially-minded - it's one of these weird myths that the British elite were anti-technology or in some way not good capitalists) and political elite; and of course the access to world markets guaranteed through the empire. In terms of total and per capita GDP, I wouldn't expect much of a change from OTL, although the national wealth would be notably better distributed. I would expect that historical HDI would be slightly higher ITTL too.

    On a micro level, things look quite different. For starters, the attitude towards government intervention is completely different ITTL. By 1913 ITTL, for example, the government (through local councils) is already the biggest landlord in the country and the substantial land redistribution has already taken place in Ireland and the British countryside. Government taxation is higher (although not hugely) in order to pay for the various social programmes which have been instituted, probably roughly at the level it was by the 1930s IOTL. Perhaps the biggest micro level difference, though, will be in the casual attitude towards imported goods. It is one of the weird quirks of the UK (both ITOL and ITTL) that, despite largely inventing the modern nation state in the early 18th century, it has in many ways never been a particularly good nation state up until this point. For example, outside of a 30 year period after about 1940, it was never self-sustainable in food. This is very much the case ITTL but now the emphasis is even more on food from the Dominions and the Empire rather than on free trade with Europe as it was IOTL. New Zealand butter and Canadian cheese, for example, are regularly sold in the UK as "British" without anyone raising an eyebrow. By contrast, food imports from Europe are now almost unheard of because they are seen as too expensive. This has, in turn, stimulated greater efficiency and improvement drives in British and Irish farming, which is producing more food as a % of consumption than it did IOTL (although Britain still ultimately relies on imports).

    As you can probably see, a lot of what I've done with British history so far has been tinkering around the edges (I've had more fun with American history TBH and will set that out at some point) in order to set up changes for after c.1920 and 1945. The biggest one I've done is to change the structure of the emerging welfare state. IOTL, the British welfare state post-1945 basically functioned much like the old Poor Law did (albeit much more generous and less punitive) and was very influenced by ideas of central planning that too quickly, IMO, became a fetish for nationalisation as a means to save failing businesses. ITTL, a lot of the basic functions of the emerging welfare state have been influenced by the tariffs put in place by the Liberal governments of the 1890s. The short term effect of those tariffs was to raise food prices (as it would have been IOTL - at least until refrigeration technology caught up) and the response of the government was to institute a series of food subsidies. Other policies, such as compulsory health insurance and compensation for disabilities and workplace injuries, were then built in such a way to provide a sphere of life in which the individual in made immune from market forces. So the government isn't going to intervene in how a business manages itself or its workforce (apart from specifics like banning child labour and regulating unsafe conditions etc) but it is working to ensure that individuals can "uphold a socially acceptable standard of living independently of market participation" (this quote is taken from Gosta Esping-Anderson's work on welfare capitalism, which has been influential on how I've tried to think through welfare development - if you're interested in reading decommodification explained better than I just have, the Wiki page on it is pretty good but Esping-Anderson's 'The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism' is even better). The corollary to this is, of course, that you need high labour-market participation in order to ensure that enough money is raised via taxation to pay for all of this. This has stimulated a craze for 'efficiency' within the British commercial and landowning classes, committing them to improvements in management techniques borrowed from Germany and America as well as ones invented in the UK. Obviously, that process of commercial efficiency and welfare decommodification is far from complete, hence why Labour is continuing to develop as a socialist(ish) alternative to the Liberals, but that is the direction of travel.

    As a side note, the economies of the Dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) ITTL are substantially the same as IOTL, with the notable exception of Canada. One of the consequences of the general agreement on tariffs in 1892 was that Canada abandoned the CA$ and returned to the CA£ pegged to GB£ (and, by extension, the gold standard). Substantial trade continues between Canada and the US (obviously) but things like the 1911 reciprocal treaty are butterflied away.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019 at 5:03 PM
  10. Thomas1195 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 26, 2016
    This together with tariffs would have certainly raised ITTL UK GDP growth.
     
  11. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    That's probably true, I suppose. I am generally skeptical of the extent to which American and German management techniques were ahead of British ones at this point (I should say, this means I'm skeptical of how much better they were, rather than whether they were better at all) so I sort of meant that comment in the sense that such techniques were a consensus subject for discussion and the idea that British business needed to improve to compete was a more common one in a way that they weren't (or, at least, appeared only as one side of an argument and not as a consensus) IOTL.

    I wonder whether increases in prices, taxation and government spending might suppress any associated consumption growth. Although having said that, maybe not either as food subsidies might push consumption higher (but that, again, might be offset by price increases). I will edit my reply later today to say that GDP will be higher but not enormously (I don't think that GDP will be twice as big, for example, or anything like that) but let me know what you think.
     
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  12. Drunkrobot Well-Known Member

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    What's the general attitude to the idea of the Land Value Tax, or Georgism in general, in Britain or America or both?
     
  13. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    The general attitude towards him is very close to what it was ITOL: i.e. very widely read and popular. ITTL he was a member of the Socialist Party and sat as a House Representative for New York from 1892 up to his death, acting as the party's main Congressional spokesman on economic affairs during that time. While Georgism itself never quite became the policy of the federal government (partly because he was explicitly a political opponent of both the GOP and the Liberals), the federal government has instituted land taxes which are raised and lowered according to the political flavour of the government in charge. The question of taxing income as against land was one of the things which divided the Silversmiths from the Bullions and lead to the split in the Liberal Party in 1912.

    In TTL UK a land tax was instituted by Chamberlain's first government in 1891 but it has never quite had a Georgist sense. Rather, British politics and economics still derives from Enlightenment thinkers such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo* and is thus targeted specifically at absentee landlords (this is what lead to the substantial redistribution of land in Scotland and Ireland) and suchlike, rather than being a general graduated tax on land. This is in part a sop to the landowning interest, which remains strong both in the Commons and the Lords, in a sort of "well as long as you're a good landlord you won't have to pay as much tax" sort of way. George's work is definitely influential, though, especially in radical and socialist circles.

    * For the IOTL progressive and even social democratic elements of their thinking, including their support for land taxes, check out Gareth Stedman Jones's "An End to Poverty?".
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  14. Drunkrobot Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the answer, and thank you for the book rec, I'd love you to post a reading list when you're done with this timeline. The focus on improving efficiency and of dealing with absentee landlords just made me immediately think of LVT.

    A tiny matter, but speaking of land, has the Liberal anthem 'The Land' been written or butterfield? I think even Micheal Foot once admitted that he thought it's the best of the three party anthems.

    It's rather ironic, the UK seems far more ready for the Great War than OTL (Easter Rising probably averted, trade geared towards the empire rather than Europe minimising the disruption that someone like Germany might cause, a manufacturing sector likely more ready for rapidly scaling up in armament production, an army years ahead with artillery and tank doctrine), and it seems they'll be sitting out at least the first few rounds. A few divisions of 1918 quality on the 1914 Western Front could give the other side a really bad day.
     
  15. pjmidd Well-Known Member

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    Dec 31, 2015
    To be honest, there does not seem to be a driver for them to enter the war unless one side is very silly. Looking at the alliances its win quick or go home for the Central Powers. Germany still will want to sink merchantmen to stop the US flooding the field once its mobilized so you could see a reverse of OTL with the UK getting rich on war orders and entering very late due to unrestricted submarine warfare.

    Without Belgium, there is not a lot else that can bring Britain in apart from people taking too many potshots at its shipping but given the RN's strength it does seem likely everyone else will tip toe even more than with US ships in OTL. The RN may even declare areas non combat zones and insist on patrolling and escorting traffic through them ( which may include the whole Channel and Irish Sea )
     
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  16. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Without wishing to give too much away, the German use of submarine warfare ITTL will be far more restricted than IOTL. This is partly because their recourse to it IOTL 1917 was premised on the idea that the US was unlikely to join the war, whereas ITTL they're much more concerned that the British might get involved. Not that the US won't have to worry about its troop transports crossing the Atlantic of course... And the British will be trying to use the war as an opportunity to expand its role as the world's naval policeman so let's see how that goes.

    And it might seem like the Central Powers need to win quickly or not at all ITTL but that was the case IOTL as well, it just took Ludendorff until March 1918 to realise it.
     
  17. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    That's a fascinating question. I'd say that the answer is yes because his ideas are influential ITTL and it's a good song so why not (although I must admit that I did have to look it up).

    I wouldn't necessarily say that the British army is ready to fight ITTL 1913 (that's one of the reasons they didn't). They might have lots of new and good tactics and doctrines but they're untested so nobody really knows how they're going to work...
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Abraham Lincoln (1809-1895)

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Will get back to the narrative in a bit but now for something completely different...

    * * *
    1881 inauguration.jpg
    President Lincoln delivers his address at his fourth inauguration in 1881

    Abraham Lincoln (12 February 1809 – 15 April 1895) was an American statesman who served as the 16th and 19th President of the United States from 1861 to 1873 and from 1881 to 1889. Lincoln led the nation through the Civil War (1861-1869), its bloodiest war and its greatest constitutional and political crisis up to that point. In 1878, he came out of retirement when elected to the Senate as a Senator from Illinois and was chosen as leader of the Senate Republicans. He was the main draughtsman behind the second constitution of the United States and founded the Second American Republic in 1880 after approval in a national referendum. He was elected President of the United States once more later that year, a position he was reelected to in 1884 and which he held until his final retirement in 1889. He was the dominant figure in American politics during the Civil War and Reconstruction era (1861-1887) and his memory continues to influence American politics. In addition to his political achievements, Lincoln holds a number of presidential records, including the longest time in office of any American President (20 years) and the most presidential elections won (5 – 1860, 1864, 1868, 1880 and 1884).

    Born in Kentucky, Lincoln grew up on the western frontier in a poor family. Self-educated, he became a lawyer in Illinois. As a member of the Whigs, he served eight years in the state legislature and two in Congress before resuming his law practice. Angered by the success of Democrats in opening the western prairie lands to slavery and the violence of pro-slavery advocates, he reentered politics in 1854. He was a leader in building the new Republican Party from former Whigs and anti-slavery Democrats, becoming nationally renowned for his debates with senior Democrat Stephen A. Douglas in 1856 and 1858. This fame propelled him to the position of presidential candidate of the Republican Party for the election of 1860, which he won by sweeping the Northern states.

    Southern pro-slavery elements took his win as proof that the North intended to outlaw slavery and began the process of seceding from the union and forming what became the Confederate States of America. The North, progressively radicalized by the ongoing debates about the future of slavery, would not tolerate secession and on 12 April 1861, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law and called up volunteers to suppress the rebellion. An executive action which provided for the phased abolition of slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation is regarded as the final straw which caused the Southern and Border states to secede and begin the Civil War.

    Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, in particular the choice of generals. He made several major decisions on Union war strategy, including blockading Southern ports and the use of scorched earth tactics. As the war progressed, Lincoln initially attempted a conciliatory strategy in his 1864 reelection campaign but, as the fighting grew increasingly bloody, he pushed a more radical vision of reconstruction when he ran (and won) a then-unprecedented third term in 1868. As the war progressed, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution of 1865 permanently and immediately outlawed slavery and Lincoln encouraged the Union army to protect escaped slaves.

    Following the final surrender of Robert E. Lee in 1869, Lincoln pursued a radical vision of Reconstruction, permanently removing voting rights from senior officials in the CSA and promoting black politicians. These policies were pursued further through the use of an extensive military occupation of the South. However, frustrated by the return of heavy partisanship after 1870, he decided not to seek a fourth term and retired from the presidency in 1873, although he remained politically involved with the Illinois Republican party. He wrote a book about his presidency titled ‘War Memoirs.’ When the continuing terrorism of white supremacist groups threatened to rip apart the United States once more, Lincoln returned to the Senate. He founded the Second American Republic with a strong presidency and was elected to that role in 1880. He managed to keep the United States together while taking steps to clamp down on terrorist organisations such as the Klu Klux Klan, including the suspension of habeus corpus in the South.

    In the context of Reconstruction, Lincoln pursued what he called “the politics of greatness,” asserting that America as a major power should not rely on other countries for its prosperity. To this end, he pursued a range of policies aimed at strengthening the federal government and modernizing the economy. In addition to erecting tariff barriers to protect American goods, he practiced a novel form of governance which came to be known as ‘indicative planning.’ This method of planning aimed to solve problems of oversupply and shortages by supplying various forms of state investment to reduce the incidence of market disequilibrium.

    Although he was still personally popular by 1888, at the age of 79 he declined to seek another term and retired once again, this time for good. He died seven years later at his residence in Chicago, leaving a second set of memoirs unfinished. Many American political parties and figures since Lincoln’s time have claimed a ‘Lincolnian’ legacy: several streets and monuments in the United States were dedicated to his memory after his death. A controversial figure, Lincoln is praised for his success in the Civil War, his strong defence of individual liberty and the dignity of African Americans, and for creating the conditions for the economic growth of the 1890s. On the other hand, he is also criticized for his dictatorial rewriting of the American constitution, his suspension of habeus corpus and his support for scorched earth tactics during the Civil War. However, he has been consistently ranked by both scholars and the public as among the greatest American Presidents.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019 at 9:27 AM
  19. Kiwigun Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2015
    Wow no wonder, he have the guts to change America hard for good, guess for African Americans he's their ultimate hero.
     
  20. Thomas1195 Well-Known Member

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    This would make even the Germans look like a bunch of laissez-faire capitalists.
     
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