The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

I think if in TTL Babylon5 ever gets made, then critics will consider the relationship between Londo and G'Kar to be based on the one between Howard and Thurmond.

His real plan was to convince the Western powers to abandon support for the African Liberation Movements to allow them to be crushed. They were becoming a serious issue in Ethiopia especially and Balbo knew that in order to stand any chance of beating them. To that end, he believed what had to occur was a form of understanding (named Détente in France) that would allow Fascism and Democracy to coexist.
I think the end of that sentence before "To that end" has been cut off or something.
 
Today, we say goodbye (or good riddance if you prefer) to our main character - but relax, there's still plenty more crazy stuff to come.

Strong Enough to be Free

Extract from ‘Flirting with Chaos: America in the 60s’ by John Foster

Kennedy’s priority during his first term in office was to bring about an end to the protracted American Troubles. For Kennedy, everything else fell by the wayside, including the budding Cool War. While it had certainly cooled in intensity since the first half of the fifties, it was still a low-level conflict killing more than a hundred people every month. To that end, Kennedy began negotiations with his old election enemy, Storm Thurmond, alongside the head of the Civil Rights Movement, TRM Howard. To even get the two to agree to share the same room was considered an October Surprise for the Mid-term elections, but Kennedy wanted a deal. Thurmond was likewise desperate to end the fighting in his constituencies, worried that a protracted conflict would revive the State’s Rights Party, as well as re-empowering the Black Fascists. For Howard, the matter was as simple as letting the Black population in the South not live in fear. Though law had struck down Jim Crow, blacks still faced serious issues with discrimination that the current Civil Rights legislation did not protect. With extended negotiations at the symbolically chosen Arlington National Cemetery (right in Robert E. Lee’s old house), the deal-making often lasted long into the night and morning. Finally, on June 17th 1959, Kennedy, Howard and Thurmond walked out of the house with a handshake and a deal – the deal that most people consider the end of the Troubles (though it would be far from the end of the bloodshed).

Ultimately, the deal could be described in the words ‘Equal but Unintegrated’. While Jim Crow falsely claimed ‘Separate but Equal’, it was ensured by federal law that the Black South would not be given anything less than fair treatment under the law. School funding was strictly equalized, poll taxes and any other blocks to voting were to be revoked with voting stations to be constructed all over black communities to ensure political representation, the police services would be put under federal oversight to ensure fair treatment and public services like buses had to operate in Black Communities with as much frequency as White areas. At the same time, the main fears of Southern Whites of ‘forced-integration’ were put at ease. It was agreed that all sides would allow a 25th Constitutional Amendment – the Southerners fearing the Courts would push legal changes outside the legislatures they controlled or held influence in. The 25th Amendment would explicitly forbid federally mandated integration efforts, such as Affirmative Action programs, ‘forced-bussing’ and even marriage laws (a big one that White Southerners feared). Though individual states could pursue these if they wished, the federal arena had to step back. Of course, as instruments like Affirmative Action were off the table, it became extremely hard for the Federal Government to increase black presence in historically hostile arenas like the police service. All the same, the mere fact of having a deal was considered the main thing. As such, Howard could come out in triumph that he had ensured the legal rights of Black Southerners while Thurmond proudly proclaimed to have preserved the White South from integration. As racial animosity had spiked so badly in recent years, there was little mood in the Black South for ‘integration’ and most were happy to live with their newfound rights away from a population that treated them so abominably. In addition, an amnesty was called for both Klan members and Black Fascists who had not been captured by security forces, though those already in jail would be forced to serve their sentences. To top it all off, the Kennedy government agreed to invest massively in the South to kick-start its economy on the condition that the Freedom Party agreed to make it easier to do business in the South. The Arlington Agreement would become a landmark moment in American politics that ensured Black Southerners now had a serious shot of having a successful, upwardly mobile life. The cost was the sacrifice of the goal of ‘integration’ for the simpler goal of ‘equality’, but it was hoped that in time, as tempers cooled and money flowed, that the two communities of the South could finally live arm-in-arm. When it came to the restriction on interracial marriage, they lacked as much teeth as some wanted, as one could simply marry in another state and have the marriage recognized in the original one. It was not until 2003 that the final ban on performing interracial marriages was repealed in Alabama – a statistic that embarrasses any Alabaman when it is brought up. The same part of the Arlington Agreement still prevents Gay Marriage from being performed in Alabama and many parts of America today.

Extremists on both sides immediately slammed the agreement. Afro-Fascists accused Howard of being a ‘House Negro’ for not pursuing a more vengeful settlement, to which Howard famously replied, “You’re goddamned right I’m a ‘House-Negro’ – I own a goddamned house!” The Klan continued to rail against the deal as a surrender of Jim Crow and consequently a delayed death sentence. The most terrifying example of the backlash was the Columbia Massacre in South Carolina on July 2nd, where an even more extremist breakaway from the Ku Klux Klan called ‘The Legion of Light’ firebombed a full church service on a busy Sunday service, shooting anyone who tried to leave. Thirty African-Americans were murdered in the attack, roundly condemned by every political figure in America and quickly leading to the extinction of the organization. But what happened next was extraordinary by anyone’s measure: among those who attended the vigil at the site two days later on July 4th was none other than Storm Thurmond himself – alongside Howard. Thurmond made a speech defending the Peace-Process, condemned racial violence and swore that ‘’The New South will be kind to all races and unkind to murderers and terrorists”. Thurmond was broadly true to his word – being the first member of the Freedom Party to hire black interns and workers for his office, helping black constituents and promoting 'unity in Christianity'. He would, however, never apologize for any of his speeches or political activities, though expressing more sympathy with blacks who opposed Jim Crow and seeing no contradiction. In the coming years and decades, Howard and Thurmond would have a strange but oddly warm friendship – with the two often speaking together at meetings about the importance of the Arlington Agreement. When Howard died in 1976, Thurmond made a speech at his funeral and wept at his burial. In 2003, just before Thurmond himself died, he confessed to having birthed an illegitimate child through a black maid when he was a young man. After a short investigation unearthed his illegitimate daughter (then 76), he briefly reconnected with his daughter just before he died. He would say that if he had never known Howard that he was unsure if such a reconciliation would ever have happened. As Thurmond died, his last words were, “I wonder what old Howard’s up to?” His legacy is still debated today, both in terms of the consequences of bigotry and the hope of redemption. Thurmond, Kennedy and Howard were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1959 for their agreement, which though fraught with flashpoints in the coming years (especially given the increasing conflict between Black and Italian America), would stand the test of time. After the Columbia Massacre, White support of the Arlington Agreement reached 60% with Black support at 80%. After so many years of killing, people just wanted the slaughter to end. The Black Fascists and Klan would both disintegrate in the coming years into a cacophony of rival factions who hated each other as much as they hated everyone else. It was in this collapse of their support that the decision many Black and White nationalists made to go to Africa in the 1960s and 1970s could be understood.

The Arlington Agreement would be seized on by both parties in the 1960 elections as evidence of their suitability to run the country. Ultimately, it was Kennedy who would prove the primary benefactor, defeating Richard Russell Jr. in the 1960 Presidential election, which also saw the election of Richard Nixon’s younger brother and Chinese War veteran Edward to Senate, who would go on to focus heavily on the Asian theatre of trade and relations. Winning more than 350 electoral points, the Republicans were once again the comfortable victors. Though becoming such a powerful national movement was beyond the dreams of most of the old Dixiecrats, a younger generation was increasingly ambitious and was not willing to settle with their secondary status in national terms. Among the ‘Second Wave’ of Freedomite politicians was Alabama Senator George Corely (born ‘George Wallace’ though he changed his surname to avoid comparison with the infamous ex-President). Corely was far more ambitious than he was ideological, frequently saying that the Freedom Party needed a message that didn’t just appeal to Southerners but could take the party straight to the White House. He would give the keynote speech at the 1960 Freedomite Convention in St Louis, famously saying that ‘There’s a difference between selling and selling out’. When he finished his speech, Thurmond turned to James Eastland and said, ‘That’s gonna be the guy’. While involving himself in all the racial demagoguery he needed when he was in his home state, he would take a far more diplomatic note when he went up north. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Arlington Agreement as a way to legitimize the Freedom Party as a party of sense and moderation over its older image as uncompromising zealots. The Republicans knew they had a serious foe, as the population was beginning to grow weary of the dominance the Republicans had wielded over politics. The 1960s would prove not to be as easy a time for the Republicans as had the 1950s.

I have somewhat...mixed feelings toward the idea of "Equal but Unintegrated".

On the one, a more gradual decline of segregation might lead to a future where American politics are not nearly as divisive as they are OTL. As white Southerners don't feel their "way of life" is under siege from the government, Southern Strategy-style politics might not exist.

On the other hand, it might also preserve other horrible attitudes longer. Mainly the idea of "certain people" belonging in "certain" places.

The hints of a flight of black and white Americans to Africa does not portend well to Africa's future.

Extract from ‘Red Light: Russia in the Suslov Years’ by Nikolai Zhukov

The Soviet Union of the early 1960s was a lot like the Soviet Union of the 1930s, although the killings were less arbitrary. Starvation and famine occurred every few years, consumer goods were almost non-existent and it was made all the worse by knowledge from the handful of glimpses they could get from the outside world that even the average worker in Italy obviously had a better life than the Soviet Proletariat. The only thing that could make the Soviet people happy was realizing that the slave states of the Stalingrad Pact were all having a worse time than them. Poland was still smashed from the Second Polish-Soviet War, as was East Germany from WW2 to some extent. Serbia was a ruthlessly regimented military regime under constant existential threat with hardship that was only accepted due to the fear of Croat wrath. In Korea, Kim Il-Sung had re-asserted his power by tying his wagon to Suslov to obliterate the opposition that had demoted him before – Lyuh Woon-Hyung and Pak Hon-Yong were both executed after having decided not to execute Kim when he was at their mercy a few years ago. Kim began a purge of the Korean Communist Party, with the support of Suslov, to weed out ‘Krushchevite Revisionists’, and thus creating a party that was sycophantically loyal to him. North Iran’s insubordination in attacking Aflaq had somewhat been proven correct by the revelations of ODESSA, but the precedent could not be allowed to come to pass again. On December 7th 1957, Radmanesh met Molotov in Tehran, prepared for all eventualities. However, the meeting went smoothly and nothing was brought up with respect to admonishment. Then, at the end of the meeting and just as he was leaving, Molotov presented Radmanesh with a briefcase. When it was opened, a severed human hand was found inside – an attached paper confirmed it belonged to Anti-Soviet Tudeh member and writer Jalal Al-e-Ahmad who had disappeared several days before. The remainder of Ahmad’s body was never sent – Radmanesh got the message. But the most terrifying member of all the Stalingrad Pact, especially throughout the 1960s, was North China. Jiang Qing, Mao’s wife and now dictator, was put in the unenviable position of managing a state that was thoroughly reviled by the vast majority of Chinese, even in the North. Her country was so poor it could not afford to support insurgencies in the South, not that it got in the way Chiang’s accusations of Communist spies whenever it was convenient. By 1965, even the residents of East Turkmenistan and Tibet had significantly higher living standards than the North Chinese, to say nothing of the soaring economies of Japan and South China, with Emperor Akihito and Chiang Kai-Shek having buried the hatchet between the two nations to focus on the common Red foe. North China similarly large to South China but only had a third of the population. Between those crossing over the Yellow River, those leaping over the Second Great Wall of China - the wall that surrounded Capitalist South Beijing which was based on the Berlin Wall with both established in 1961 - and even those who escaped over the Yalu River into the relatively more prosperous Korea - an embarrassment of monolithic proportions given that Korea was called ‘The Hermit Kingdom’ – North China was a joke. Given that she likewise had little effective power between the PLA and Suslov, she could do little in the face of crippling famine and shortages. That was when she embarked on a new hobby. Jiang had been an actress in her younger years and now longed deeply for them in nostalgia. In 1965, she starred in a biography about herself called ‘The People’s Mulan’ – she even played herself as a teenager despite being about forty years too old to believably play such an age. Her acting was appallingly wooden due to her long absence from acting, full of monologues she had written herself and the whole film being nothing more than a pandering mess to her glory. The film was so notorious, not only in China but the West as well, that badly written, overpowered self-insert characters are frequently described as a ‘Jiang’ in her ‘honour’. After mandating people see the film or face reprisal, the film became a box office sensation in North China. Yet far from quenching her thirst for stardom, it only increased it. From 1965 until 1973, she made and starred in twenty-five films, in almost all of them playing herself defending China against Southern Infiltrators, Japanese War-Criminals, Turkestan Islamists, Imperial Revivalists and a host of other enemies. The films were doomed in the West to float the late-night movie circuit on television to unceasing derision, creating a bizarre cult movie phenomenon. In 1972, at the annual movie awards in North China, Jiang won for best director, film, screenplay, actor or actress (the two having been combined to ensure she could not be upstaged) and literally every other role on offer at the show. For every award, she used the same speech thanking the people of China and every speech ended with no less than five minutes standing ovation from the audience. It was a cult behavior so terrifying that North China and Jiang in particular quickly became synonyms for dictatorial insanity.

The Soviet Union itself was much less flamboyant in its disposition. Since the fall of Khrushchev, political and economic reforms had reverted to its Stalin norm – at the same time, Suslov did not share Stalin’s lust for killing and consequently did not launch any large series of purges outside obvious Khrushchev supporters. Even then, forced retirement was more common than a bullet. The Soviets quietly mocked Fascism for its creation of Afro-Fascism as a serious political opponent, but throughout the 1960s it generally stayed quiet. The only times the Soviets asserted themselves on the world scene was in the Space Race, which was consuming an inordinate amount of resources. At the same time, it was broadly affordable due to the Soviet retreat from international affairs. The Politburo hoped that the Cool War would continue to divide and weaken the West while the Soviets gradually rebuilt their reputation following a series of successes in Space. The Soviets would be the first to put a satellite, dog and man in orbit, while their three competitors in the US, Italy, and Britain stumbled behind them. In 1961, President Kennedy made the declaration that America would make it to the Moon by the end of the decade. Mussolini declared that the Italian flag would land on the Moon before the Soviet. The Space Race often fell into the background due to the Colonial conflicts that raged through Africa during the 1960s and 1970s, but it would ultimately prove the decisive blow that began the Fall of Communism, and not in the way anyone expected.

In the Politburo itself, Molotov continued his much-diminished role of Foreign Minister, which had been reduced to waving sticks at Moscow’s underling states. From the ascension of Suslov, the USSR would not attend a single major international conference, thus turning Molotov into a relic of a bygone era. Suslov was the austere face of the Kremlin, whose aura was enough to quell any hints of rebellion. But it was Malenkov who would become the most important of the three – a statement that would seem laughable to many of his contemporaries who saw him as useless. Reduced to a mostly figurehead position within the Communist Party, Malenkov had fallen into a deep depression due to his involvement in the deaths of two Soviet leaders and the creeping fear that he was next. He had seen the total downfall of Communism in the international scene, to see it replaced with a bastardized version of Fascism of all things. To Malenkov, it seemed like things would only continue to get worse. In the Winter of 1962, he took a leave of absence, walking through the streets that evening in aimless drift. Finally, he stopped at a local Orthodox Church mid-choir. He entered, looking so disheveled that no one recognized him as a leading member of the atheistic government. The priest gave a sermon talking about the value of perseverance and hope – the words striking Malenkov deeply. On that night, Malenkov became an Orthodox Christian. Though he continued his old job in the Communist Party without any sense of contradiction, he would kindle his faith and regularly attend services on a weekly basis alongside often awestruck and often terrified co-religionists. Suslov and Molotov, who considered Malenkov as threatening as a wet sock, teased and made fun of him but did not see it as serious enough to warrant dismissal. Malenkov was considered a link to the Stalin regime, a Party loyalist and too stupid to cause much mischief. For that reason, he was humored to stay in his post. If Malenkov had been purged, one can only imagine what the 1970s would have looked like for the Soviet Union.
People FLEEING to North Korea? That's the moment where a nation must take a step back and re-evaluate its life.

Jiang has taken the idea of personality cult to a more ridiculous level: she is making people watch fanfics of her own life and is acting in them. If not for the horrors of Red China, that would be really, really funny.

Molotov seems more like a gangster than a statesmen.

So Malenkov might be the final nail in the coffin? A paradoxically religious Malenkov?


Extract from ‘The New Roman Empire’ by David Lassinger

“It’s a magnificent New Year,” Mussolini told Ciano on January 1st 1963, “and it will be my last.”

Ciano could make little reply – Mussolini’s health had been steadily deteriorating for the last few years by now, especially since the Goa Crisis. The old man tried to walk with the pomp and majesty of his youth but simply stumbled and groaned. His speeches lacked their old fire, his looks lacked their old firmness. Increasingly bed-ridden in Rome, the dictator was acutely aware it was coming to the end. He faced death with neither fear nor indifference – no one was quite sure what he was thinking, and no one was quite sure what he would do in his final days. On March 2nd, Mussolini finally drew up his will. After literary flourishes about his loyalty to Italy, he laid out his instructions on what was to become of Italy and his own remains. He demanded Italians never make peace with Communism until their dying day and to make Italy ‘mightier than America, which her son discovered’. He wished, in the same way as Lenin, to put his body on permanent display in the Italian Parliamentary building. On the role of his successor, he was terrified that the same divisions and purges that ensued from Lenin’s death in Russia should repeat themselves in Italy. To that end, he thought of who should succeed him. Ciano was once a contender, but his meddling during Umberto’s ascension had cost him his shot. Dino Grandi was also considered, but Mussolini feared that Grandi was too beholden to the Monarchy, who would lead to the re-democratization of Italy. Ultimately, with some reluctance given his fear of his comrade’s influence, the fame of his aviation accomplishments, his strong rapport with Western leaders and his commanding psychical presence ensured that Italo Balbo would be declared the next Duce of Italy. Balbo, who was liked by the army, aristocracy and the masses would face little opposition to his appointment – which was also taken with a sigh of relief in Western circles as a man with whom business could be done. Ciano would continue as Foreign Minister, with Balbo unwilling to rock the boat to any significant degree in the face of such a momentous occasion. The Duce’s health continued to decline as the days went on.

On March 15th, Mussolini continued to struggle on, before turning to his doctor. He ordered, by his decree, that he be put out of his pain by the end of the day, so that he could die on the same day as Julius Caesar. Ultimately, the doctor needn’t perform any such task – he was destined to die anyway. Then, as Mussolini was reaching imminent demise, to much astonishment from his associates, he asked for a priest to perform the last rites. This was news to his close associates, who knew him to be an atheist. Given that the event was announced publicly, debate still rages over whether Mussolini’s conversion was sincere. After the priest came, performed and left, the dictator moved in and out of hallucination. He recalled his time on the front in World War 1, the March on Rome, the chaos of World War Two, his travels to America, England and Egypt, the fields of Israel, and of course, Isaac Carpi’s sacrifice. Finally, at 8:20 PM in Rome, Mussolini turned to Balbo with sudden lucidity and asked, “W-was I worth Isaac’s sacrifice?” Before Balbo could reply, the dictator’s eyes rolled behind his head. The head fell limp upon the pillow, and the heart that beat through the body of such a fearsome man went silent. With that died one of the most controversial, divisive and fascinating characters of the Twentieth Century. Though his legacy has unquestionably waned in more recent years due to the better recognition of crimes in Ethiopia, Egypt and Slovenia, his successful resuscitation of Italy, his defiance of the Tripartite evils of Nazism, Communism and Ba'athism and his humanitarian actions with respect to European Jewry have made him an extremely difficult figure to describe in a single sentence.

Mussolini’s death was greeted by two weeks of national mourning. Even many of Mussolini’s enemies expressed grief at his loss. Enrico Berlinguer, then head of the banned Socialist Party, ordered party members not to gloat about Mussolini’s death for fear of popular backlash. Despite whatever else, Mussolini in the minds of most Italians had taken a chaos-ridden country that was kicked around Europe as a bit-player and comedic relief and turned it into a nuclear leviathan that could challenge any country on Earth. From being denied scraps at Versailles to carving out the Middle East and Africa at will. From poverty and squalor to an oil-economy that was flooding money into the state coffers. The Mafia was gone, the Communists were defeated and Italy had a legion of nations on almost every continent willing to stand by her. For most Italians, in the throes of emotional grief at the loss of such a permanent fixture in their lives, all the privations and dictating was worth it to get to this state. Though time has cooled such rosy assessments of the dictator’s legacy, even now some 60% of Italians say they have a ‘somewhat’ or ‘mostly’ positive impression of Mussolini. It is estimated that roughly a million people turned out in Rome for the funeral, the largest in European history, even today (though that was propped up by bussing in employees). At the Church service in St. Peter’s, in attendance were the now few who had been part of the March on Rome, Mussolini’s family, leading members of the Italian government and a host of foreign diplomats, including: Every head of state in the Roman Alliance, Winston Churchill (ailing but insisting on attendance which ultimately meant he wouldn’t survive the year himself), Kaiser Ferdinand, Charles De Gaulle (who had canceled a meeting with France’s newest protectorate in Cameroon to attend), Prime Minister Begin, Vice-President Richard Nixon, Chiang Kai-Shek, Emperor Akihito, Maurice Tshombe and many more. In a moment of great surrealism, Pope Cyril of the Egyptian Coptic Church attended a Catholic Mass in St. Peter’s and would talk with the Pope after the service. King Hassan of Morocco’s attendance would ensure that Franco would turn Rabat into a Spanish occupied ‘International City’ which allowed Morocco to restore its sea links and revive its economy. While Mussolini may have represented an enemy state to some in the room, his death had brought back fonder memories of times during the war, the stand against Communism in the dark years of the 1940s and the fight against Ba’athism. Giving the keynote address was Italo Balbo, who made note of how diverse the audience was and how it came from the four corners of the Earth. He asked the audience if the legacy of Mussolini’s death could be, ‘The chance to once more unite mankind against the Red Menace’. Once the service was concluded, King Umberto posthumously declared Mussolini ‘Caesar of Italy’. It was a title that has been bestowed to none since.

Balbo’s speech was greeted with cautious optimism in the West. However, Balbo’s plan was not to create peace on Earth. His real plan was to convince the Western powers to abandon support for the African Liberation Movements to allow them to be crushed. They were becoming a serious issue in Ethiopia especially and Balbo knew that in order to stand any chance of beating them. To that end, he believed what had to occur was a form of understanding (named Détente in France) that would allow Fascism and Democracy to coexist. He appointed the bizarre eccentric Julius Evola to be Minister of Culture with the express purpose of promoting Fascism to Democratic countries as a desirable set of standards to abide by. To that end, Evola launched a PR campaign in conjunction with most of the Roman Alliance to make their way of life seem virtuous. Bullfighting was imported to Italy elsewhere through the Alliance, promoted as a way of building strength and character – though Portugal’s version where the bull was not killed was generally preferred by new audiences. Gym culture came of age in Italy long before the rest of the West, with a rigid focus on physical education in schools – Evola managed to secure a deal to permanently house the Mr. Olympia event in Rome to promote such a cause. He also created the Rome Marathon long before most Western cities had caught on with the trend (though women would not be allowed to participate until long after). While the Surfer Rock of the early 1960s was pulled from radio, the Heavy Metal of the early 1970s was actually seen as something that would encourage soldiers in the field of battle – it would form many a soundtrack to the nightmares of Italian soldiers in Ethiopia. Football hooliganism was actually encouraged by the police, with the police arranging venues for rival supporters to ‘have some fun’. At the same time, gaudy reconstructions of ancient Roman sites began to encourage a feeling of continuity with the ancient world. Khoms in Libya was renamed Leptis Magna and made to look like the styles of yore. Evola’s attempts to promote the ancient Roman Gods over the Christian were shot down by the Church and Balbo but it didn’t cost him his career. Under Evola, Italy’s film industry would undergo a great revival, particularly with its great directors like Sergio Leone. Leone’s ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ which focussed on settler life in Libya and Ethiopia have since been greatly criticized for their Fascistic undertones, but their artistic worth is unquestioned. Others, like Federico Fellini, would satirize Consumer Capitalism in America as opposed to the national collectivism in Italy. Drugs were ruthlessly suppressed in Italy, and the Rastafarian movement was seen as a lethal threat to Italian sensibility. The ‘Dolce Vita’ that Mussolini had advertised in the early 1960s had been replaced by a more pseudo-mystical ‘Neo-Italia’. Though Evola’s opinion on women and religion would keep him from being openly praised from the 1980s onwards, his ability to promote a new vision of Italy and use it to influence the whole world is still studied today.

Balbo’s first order would be fittingly ostentatious to show he could not be bossed around. He ordered the detonation of a number of nuclear devices along the El Alamein Canal to create an opening between the Mediterranean and Qattara Sea. Despite international pressure from environmentalist groups (with Balbo joking ‘This is how Italians do Unilateral Disarmament!’), Balbo resolved on the detonations. Five nuclear devices exploded along the length of the Canal, on June 23rd 1963, shortly leading to the Qattara Depression being filled by the waters of the Mediterranean. Balbo followed the flooding by helicopter (actually flying it too), which made him look to the world almost like a demigod. At the same time, his jovial, joking personality in front of Western cameras, regularly taking interviews with the BBC, CBS, ABC and NBC, made him look far more personable than Mussolini. In his 1964 trip to America, he managed to visit Disneyland and made an appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, the latter giving him a 78% share of the television audience – the highest rated segment in American TV history. But behind the joking and smiles, Balbo was ruthlessly determined to extinguish all resistance to Fascism both in Italy and Africa. It was in late 1963 that Enrico Berlinguer was arrested and put on trial in Rome to try and terrify internal opposition to Fascism who felt that Mussolini's death would lead to an opening. Berlinguer narrowly escaped the death penalty and faced his sentence (life imprisonment) with calm serenity that beguiled the judges, who wanted to see him squirm. Berlinguer would give a speech still read in Italian schools today, telling the judges who lambasted him for wanting Italy to return to a time when she was weak that, “I am grateful that Italy is now strong – strong enough to be free”. Anne Frank would say that once she heard Berlinguer’s speech that ‘There was now no doubt to me that to be Pro-Italy, to be grateful for the country that saved so many of our lives, was to release it from its own chains’. Berlinguer’s speech would become a rallying cry that would only continue to reverberate through the years. But there were still many years to go before Italy would know what it was to be free again.
My view of TTL Mussolini: not a good guy, but can't really be called...well, evil.

Balbo is promoting "fascism with a happy face." But he seems poised to bring his own terror to his perceived enemies.


I thought he would be tried on trumped-up charges of espionage and/or treason, but that sounds good enough a charge.
Doing that would most likely lead to international condemnation. Its one thing to lock up your opponent (which people expect in a dictatorship). But giving your opponent a spurious show trial only makes you look like an insecure fool, and emboldens opposition. If Italian fascism were so secure, they wouldn't need the spectacle of judicial intimidation.
 
That is a powerful round up chapter there @Sorairo

Was Churchill there as official British representative, or did the UK send someone?
Mr. Olympia in Rome? Well less far for a certain Austrian Oak to travel I guess.
Westerns in Libya instead of California? Does that mean the Old West has a lot less shows and stuff made in America since it would be seen as copying the Italians?
Soviet Space station first? Or moon shot?
I though the church was banned and suppressed in the USSR?
What happens to the water levels in the Med after the opening of the canal, and are the waters radioactive for long?
 
That is a powerful round up chapter there @Sorairo

Was Churchill there as official British representative, or did the UK send someone?
Mr. Olympia in Rome? Well less far for a certain Austrian Oak to travel I guess.
Westerns in Libya instead of California? Does that mean the Old West has a lot less shows and stuff made in America since it would be seen as copying the Italians?
Soviet Space station first? Or moon shot?
I though the church was banned and suppressed in the USSR?
What happens to the water levels in the Med after the opening of the canal, and are the waters radioactive for long?
Churchill was Britain's representative. Arnold was born too far after the POD for me to include him. Westerns fell out of style in the 60s/70s anyway so not much difference. The Space Race is about to get more interesting.

Suslov took a page from Stalin's book and allowed the Church to keep people happy enough with the current order not to revolt. With the intensity of famines, Suslov hopes that if people turn to God they won't be taking up arms just like in WW2.

The water level in the Med hasn't really fallen since it's still just going to come in from Gibraltar. The sheer scale of the oceanic movement was also too large for there to be much in the way of significant, permanent radiation (although the first ships to go through the El-Alamain Canal will have protective suits for crew members). The idea of using Nuclear weapons was actually an OTL idea by Americans to try to bribe Nasser into the West's camp.
 
American South seems getting some kind of peace altough there is still much of hate crimes and unfortunately it seems that full integration and equality of Blacks seems being slower. For example Alabama accepts biracial marriages some years later than in OTL. Hopefully US politics is more rational and willingful make compromises than in OTL.

North China is seemingly very similar as OTL North Korea. Ridicolous personal cult but unfortunately life of common people is just suffering.

USSR seemingly is facing its downfall soon. Just wondering what role Malenkov will has?

Let's see what kind of Duce Balbo will be. At least we know now that Italy will democratise at some point.
 
South China is a little bit ahead.
Considering the PRC tested their first nuke in 1964 and India tested their first nuke in 1974, when would you say would the nuclear programs of South China and India bear fruit? Would they be ahead or behind their OTL counterparts in developing nukes?
 
Considering the PRC tested their first nuke in 1964 and India tested their first nuke in 1974, when would you say would the nuclear programs of South China and India bear fruit? Would they be ahead or behind their OTL counterparts in developing nukes?
Next chapter will address that, although Chiang was delayed by the internal situation in South China.
 
Technically there is no North Korea, only Korea. Though I couldn't use the actual terms in the chapter, TTL's version of MST3K will mercilessly mock Jiang's 'career' as a matter of American duty.
She could end up playing a hero that is so terrible, you wind up rooting for the "bad guys."
 
I can forsee a future clash between Whites and Blacks as the cities in the Sun Belt and western US expand. As for nuclear weapons in Asia, I think it will be a race between South China and India. There will be Westerns on American television but I see the Italian/Spanish ones as more gritty and shades of gray. As for the Soviet Space program. I see probes all over the place but the economy will break before a Moon landing or space station.
 
@Sorairo should the area that used to be Western Egypt be already shown as part of Libya?
Outstanding map.

When it comes to Egypt, the annexed area now has enough imported Balkan workers for the area to be considered colonized so by the end of 1963, it was declared a full province of Italy as Qattara.

I would also recommend making Rhodesia a more different colour from South Africa. I won't spoil much but the two countries will not have the same fate as each other ITTL, and certainly compared to their OTL counterparts. I'm not sure if there's a gap to show Rabat having been given 'independence'.
 
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Outstanding map.

When it comes to Egypt, the annexed area now has enough imported Balkan workers for the area to be considered colonized so by the end of 1963, it was declared a full province of Italy as Qattara.

I would also recommend making Rhodesia a more different colour from South Africa. I won't spoil much but the two countries will not have the same fate as each other ITTL, and certainly compared to their OTL counterparts. I'm not sure if there's a gap to show Rabat having been given 'independence'.
Fixed 👍👍

BTW how was the reaction in Israel about the death of Mussolini?
 
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