The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

So whatever happened to the Ainu?
Scattered, kicked off Hokkaido and resettled forcibly on a series of small, rather inhospitable islands as revenge for the tyranny of the minority rule government of Ezo.

1) What did you particularly like about the TL? Did any characters stand out?

2) How was the writing style/flow? How did dialogue and description feel?

3) If you could suggest an improvement point, what would it be?
1. People have already said this, but the continued relevance of Europe. Too often, it's reduced to the US and USSR squaring off with Europe as their puppets - the autonomy of actors like Britain, Belgium, and especially France on the world stage was rather refreshing to see. I also liked the moral ambiguity - apart from the Nazis and Communists, who are as morally bankrupt as it gets, nobody's necessarily evil on the face of it. Take Portugal - King Duarte seems to honestly care about his subjects in a very typical father-protector king way despite his Charles I-esque tendencies, and while you can dismiss the Lusitanians as backward, cultish boors and exalt the Portuguese rebels as civilised for their rejection of their hidebound traditionalism and embrace of democracy, you can also see the Lusitanians as far better than some of the other settler states and seemingly trying to compromise with the entitled mainlanders, who, in their hubris, reject the uppity peasants for simply not understanding the way a modern state ought to properly function. Both sides have a point, and that makes things much more fun than just democrats good, empires bad.

2. Good-great most of the time, with a few exceptions. Again, hate to echo people, but the super-long paragraphs really are a problem. Make things harder to parse.

3. Apart from the paragraphs, maybe do more of the little interludes. An in-depth look is always good, and helps shed light on events through a different lens.
 
Two major problems with the wikiboxes. Firstly, Frank was leftist so I'm pretty sure she was not part of Herut. Secondly, the only reason the Rosenbergs agreed to give their testimony and expose the Hiss ring was because Ethel demanded that the U.S give them amnesty, so I'm pretty sure that they would not be sentenced to life for exposing the infiltration of Communists in America.
 
Secondly, the only reason the Rosenbergs agreed to give their testimony and expose the Hiss ring was because Ethel demanded that the U.S give them amnesty, so I'm pretty sure that they would not be sentenced to life for exposing the infiltration of Communists in America.
They both were spared from getting strapped to Ol' Sparky (their fate IOTL). That's their amnesty. Plus its even mentioned that they both died in prison here ITTL.
 
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1) What did you particularly like about the TL? Did any characters stand out?
I liked the in-depth coverage of global politics, how you didn't shy away from the brutal atrocities of this new 20th century. and how you made even the best of people and nations seem heavily gray with the audience being forced to question of an anti-Nazi Mussolini even with all of his crimes may have been worth it. For most other timelines historical figures are either made saints or devils with the morally neutral or gray just made to be mediocre or unimportant. Here the line was heavily blurred and I really love it.

Patton was my favorite character overall though several others stand out. Wallace's fall from grace is a real tragedy that is partially of his own accord and no matter what you may think of current politics, Wallace is definitely the worst a President can get. As said before Mussolini was well-written due to his dark grayness. Aflack was horror done well. Malenkov leading Russia to an Orthodox Agri-state was definitely interesting and very original. Overall every major player was enjoyable and I think the real question should be which characters did the readers think were badly written as I can't think of any off of the top of my head.

2) How was the writing style/flow? How did dialogue and description feel?
Overall I liked it with the exception of long text blobs that would come in every other update. I do sympathize somewhat since I used to do the same thing, but there really is no need to have every text selection be one huge long paragraph when it can just be three or four. The South Africa portion on 2020 was almost unreadable despite it being one of the best parts because of this.

3) If you could suggest an improvement point, what would it be?
I don't like how the fall of Fascism was handled as I feel like it was way too rushed for narrative convenience and to give the world a near perfect victory for democracy. Perhaps I'm too biased from OTL and the ability of the Soviets to last til '91, but it seemed too overkill to have Fascism fall in the late 70's as I was expecting it to last til the 21st century.

The earlier fall of the Soviet Union makes sense as they had far less gains at the end of WEorld War II with more losses, were unable to have the massive success in global revolution they had in the OTL 50's and 60's, faced the brunt of a united and fervently anti-Communist fascist and democratic world, had Stalin live longer, and suffered the worst possible diplomacy by choosing to ally with Arab Nazi's. All of these factors lead to it making sense for the Soviets to fall.

In Contrast we have the Roman bloc who has so great success that the Warsaw Pact could only dream of, dominated the oil markets through their cartel, had powerhouses such as Italy and China, most of its members were loyal to the ideology with no great domestic horrors (though strong exceptions like South Africa and Portugal), landed on the moon, were industrial titans with a mostly open economy. Yet despite all of this after one bad war in Ethiopia the Roman Alliance just suddenly collapses with the structural integrity of a straw house and become democratic without hard opposition.

Sure Ethiopia was a bad war with large deaths and a new bad reputation for Italy, but having the root of Fascism's fall lie down to just Ethiopia and literally nothing else when they were riding high just makes the fall seem fake and forced. Was this a good outcome? Sure modern day TTL is definitely better than OTL, but I don't think the victory of democracy was earned or realistic. It would have made more sense to have the Cool War continue to the new millennium or at the very least have lots of other pressure points mount onto the Roman Alliance besides the bad handling of Ethiopia.
 
The image from the Soviet Fake Moon Landing just tickled me pink, it looks like a scene from the first few seasons of the Power Rangers.

Thanks for the Wiki Boxes, they really helped open a window to this timeline.

Edit: ticked -> tickled
 
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I don't see the Russians continuing their crewed spaceflight proramme. ITTL it seemed pretty oriented to the Moon landing that never happened, and I stronlgydoubt it reached the space station phase, at least at the level of OTL. With no foundations for a non-propaganda-oriented programme (i.e. long duration research, be it on space stations or even in lunar bases), there were no reasons to keep it going.

As of uncrewed exploration, I don't see why they should be doing better ITTL. IOTL, after Luna 24 landed on the Moon in 1976, the only probes were those of thesuccessful Venera and Vega series, plus the unsuccessful Phobos. Hardly enough to keep the program alive, especially given many of these probes weren't even on the horizon in 1970.

The only area that might still be alive is the offer launch services. The Baikonur cosmodrome might have been put in hibernation until the mid 1980's, when Soyuz rockets restarted going in the skies. However there are still problems: you don't just "freeze" and then "unfreeze" a rocket family like you do with food. If the rockets ever were to come out of hybernation they would have likely had outdated guidance systems, out of production components and now-deemed-unsafe production techniques, plus the experience of the people building, controlling and launching them would have been gone. Simply, it would have required a long and expensive redevelopment process. And I don't think it would be very profitable given the competition of China.

So, all in all, Russia completely phasing out her space program is quite possible ITTL
 
I don't see the Russians continuing their crewed spaceflight proramme. ITTL it seemed pretty oriented to the Moon landing that never happened, and I stronlgydoubt it reached the space station phase, at least at the level of OTL. With no foundations for a non-propaganda-oriented programme (i.e. long duration research, be it on space stations or even in lunar bases), there were no reasons to keep it going.

As of uncrewed exploration, I don't see why they should be doing better ITTL. IOTL, after Luna 24 landed on the Moon in 1976, the only probes were those of thesuccessful Venera and Vega series, plus the unsuccessful Phobos. Hardly enough to keep the program alive, especially given many of these probes weren't even on the horizon in 1970.

The only area that might still be alive is the offer launch services. The Baikonur cosmodrome might have been put in hibernation until the mid 1980's, when Soyuz rockets restarted going in the skies. However there are still problems: you don't just "freeze" and then "unfreeze" a rocket family like you do with food. If the rockets ever were to come out of hybernation they would have likely had outdated guidance systems, out of production components and now-deemed-unsafe production techniques, plus the experience of the people building, controlling and launching them would have been gone. Simply, it would have required a long and expensive redevelopment process. And I don't think it would be very profitable given the competition of China.

So, all in all, Russia completely phasing out her space program is quite possible ITTL
Didn't you read the timeline, Russia's space program has been phased out and has absolutely no chance of being resurrected for generations. The space program cost tens of billions of dollars over a decade where the Soviet Union was suffering a severe famine and everybody but the party heads were living in extreme poverty. They were always behind America, Britain, and Italy, the champions of democracy, monarchy, and fascism, the trifecta anathema to the Soviet Union. All of this resulted in several misfires that claimed at least a dozen lives with the only success being that of Gagarin. The Soviets faking the moon landing was the death of the space program as the entire economy was revolved around getting to the moon with the entire landing being faked before the world, turning Communism into a complete joke where the suffering of hundreds of millions just resulted in a stupid hoax.

I doubt there's even a fringe movement to revive the space program as it is probably seen as taboo in TTL's Tolstoyist Russia, being seen as a black hole for money and wasting resources for prestige instead of serving the people. With Russia as an agricultural backwater, they do not have the economic capacity nor the will to get back into space. Any Russian who would dream of going to space would have to immigrate as they would be scorned within their country as an idiotic dreamer. Russia is never going back.
 
Alright a few more questions:
  • Is Arabic (or rather Phoenician in Libya) still spoken in Italy's African territories or has it been largely replaced by Italian? In fact, does the current generation in Albania and Montenegro only speak Italian?
  • What's the population of the US, the Imperial Federation, Italy, France, and Katanga by 2020?
  • Are mercenaries still a popular Italian export?
  • Is the Duce (or should I say Prime Minister) of Italy anyone we'd know?
1) Italian would have replaced everything but the talk of rural villagers in all cases.

2) The US is slightly smaller due to less Latin American immigration, France and Italy slightly larger due to their annexations and increased birth rates, and Katanga is about five-six million.

3) They would be market leaders, but with less wars, they aren't really in demand.

4) By this time, everyone relevant would be born significantly after POD (and I hated adding fictional characters to the work) so the guy/gal leading Italy in 2020 wouldn't exist OTL, and control moves around between the SDs, CDs and Fascists so much that it's not really like there's a specific flavor apart from staying in the CIS.
 
I liked the in-depth coverage of global politics, how you didn't shy away from the brutal atrocities of this new 20th century. and how you made even the best of people and nations seem heavily gray with the audience being forced to question of an anti-Nazi Mussolini even with all of his crimes may have been worth it. For most other timelines historical figures are either made saints or devils with the morally neutral or gray just made to be mediocre or unimportant. Here the line was heavily blurred and I really love it.

Patton was my favorite character overall though several others stand out. Wallace's fall from grace is a real tragedy that is partially of his own accord and no matter what you may think of current politics, Wallace is definitely the worst a President can get. As said before Mussolini was well-written due to his dark grayness. Aflack was horror done well. Malenkov leading Russia to an Orthodox Agri-state was definitely interesting and very original. Overall every major player was enjoyable and I think the real question should be which characters did the readers think were badly written as I can't think of any off of the top of my head.



Overall I liked it with the exception of long text blobs that would come in every other update. I do sympathize somewhat since I used to do the same thing, but there really is no need to have every text selection be one huge long paragraph when it can just be three or four. The South Africa portion on 2020 was almost unreadable despite it being one of the best parts because of this.



I don't like how the fall of Fascism was handled as I feel like it was way too rushed for narrative convenience and to give the world a near perfect victory for democracy. Perhaps I'm too biased from OTL and the ability of the Soviets to last til '91, but it seemed too overkill to have Fascism fall in the late 70's as I was expecting it to last til the 21st century.

The earlier fall of the Soviet Union makes sense as they had far less gains at the end of WEorld War II with more losses, were unable to have the massive success in global revolution they had in the OTL 50's and 60's, faced the brunt of a united and fervently anti-Communist fascist and democratic world, had Stalin live longer, and suffered the worst possible diplomacy by choosing to ally with Arab Nazi's. All of these factors lead to it making sense for the Soviets to fall.

In Contrast we have the Roman bloc who has so great success that the Warsaw Pact could only dream of, dominated the oil markets through their cartel, had powerhouses such as Italy and China, most of its members were loyal to the ideology with no great domestic horrors (though strong exceptions like South Africa and Portugal), landed on the moon, were industrial titans with a mostly open economy. Yet despite all of this after one bad war in Ethiopia the Roman Alliance just suddenly collapses with the structural integrity of a straw house and become democratic without hard opposition.

Sure Ethiopia was a bad war with large deaths and a new bad reputation for Italy, but having the root of Fascism's fall lie down to just Ethiopia and literally nothing else when they were riding high just makes the fall seem fake and forced. Was this a good outcome? Sure modern day TTL is definitely better than OTL, but I don't think the victory of democracy was earned or realistic. It would have made more sense to have the Cool War continue to the new millennium or at the very least have lots of other pressure points mount onto the Roman Alliance besides the bad handling of Ethiopia.
I admit that fall of fascism was surprisingly smooth but I can't see them surviving to 21st century. Reasons for fascism was just purely make their countries stable and possibility great again and opposition of Communism. But when Communism was gone and their countries were stabilised and became great powers there wasn't much of point keep totalitarian system around. And people even begun oppose that. Furthermore for Italy disastrous war of Ethiopia was pretty much death strike for fascism like colonial wars was to Novo Estado in OTL.
 
Hey all, since I'm always obsessed with making sure I learn something from my efforts, I hope it would be okay to ask the following questions:

1) What did you particularly like about the TL? Did any characters stand out?

2) How was the writing style/flow? How did dialogue and description feel?

3) If you could suggest an improvement point, what would it be?
  1. As said earlier, this timeline does a remarkable job at exploring the grey morality of the world. Mussolini himself extolls this probably the best of any of the characters written in the story, and I would consider him probably the best-written of the characters in the story for that reason. He does not stray beyond belief of how he could differed from in our own time even if his actions have, and he presents an excellent plumbing of the well of moral relativity. Runner-ups include the Count Ciano, Malenkov, and Patton. Beyond that, if you can count countries as characters, then I would say that the cases of Greece, Russia, and Israel come off as some of the most outstanding.
  2. I cannot find very much fault with the flow and writing style. At points, some passages written from the perspective of a history book come off more conversationally than would be figured, but other times the style is pristine. A few types of dialogue also seemed noticeably more statistical/specific than their surrounding materials (in particular Roman Alliance colonial nations discussing the population proportions of ethnic settlers within their colonies), but these would also have been difficult to write elsewise.
  3. Really the only point I can think of would be making the portions describing ethnic makeups in the colonies more varied in terminology than numeric percentage figures. Some more fleshing out of the culture and internal realities of the other, smaller countries whose fates were radically different than in our own time (Bulgaria and some of the novel Soviet breakaways come most to mind) would be nice, though then again that's just a bonus.
That is all. Thank you for this timeline; it really has been a pleasure to read!
 

Zagan

Donor
The timeline just won the Turtledove in the poll.

I would sincerely thank everyone who voted and I’m happy you considered the TL worth your time.
It is very probable that this timeline will win the Turtledove Award. I am checking the votes and, if I detect no problems, I will validate the win in a couple of days.
 
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