The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Sorairo, Feb 20, 2019.

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  1. Herr Frage Jesus Christ Is In Heaven

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    I think at this point major decolonization is unstoppable. Even with the empires in better shape than OTL thus far they have been trying to hold too much and that will lessen their chances with even the colonies they had a better chance to hold. France is fighting to hold Indochina and Churchill is spending political capital trying to preserve the Raj to some extent via dominion status.

    The French and British will simply have to start choosing what to cut loose or loose it all even quicker.

    Once the dominoes of independence start falling it will be harder to justify keeping hold, especially if in say the British case they don't quickly fall to communism.

    A lot will depend on how much self government is given and how quickly.

    I am guessing the Pan Africanists organizations in the USA were supporting Wallace a good while and likewise have been sullied by association with his downfall. But I expect they will be back when the movement of Civil Rights once more gains momentum.
     
  2. jacobk Well-Known Member

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    Man, Mussolini's ability to enable everybody's bad habits ITTL is amazing.
     
  3. TheLoneAmigo get those kids off my lawn

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    You’ve nailed exactly why this timeline is uncomfortable to read... but I don’t yet think it’s going to end in a world that glorifies these terrible things.
     
  4. Noblesse Oblige Reaper Squad Member

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    More or less what I'm hoping for too (The world not glorifying such actions I mean.), even if such things continue as is.
     
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  5. taqn22 Active Member

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    This timeline is just so bleak, but not in the way you would normally say so. I find myself symphasising and rooting for awful dictators and such, and its just...unsettling
     
  6. The Undead Martyr GOP Delenda Est

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    TBH that's part of what fascinates me about this. It's not as dramatically apocalyptic as something like AANW or the Red Tsar, and in some ways its happier (smaller holocaust, fewer combat deaths.) In other ways it's like a tumor (Wallace, Mussolini being a fascist).
     
  7. Perfidious Albion Well-Known Member

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    Well, yes.

    But this is how I reckon a lot of people from hypothetical other ATLs (were they to exist) would regard OTL. It's easy for us to underestimate and forget just how improbable and dramatically apocalyptic the OTL 20th century was. The age of European empires, that carved up the world between them, coming to an end not with a slow steady drip of insurgencies but with two colossal continental conflagrations of iron and blood on an unbelievable scale; the spectacular rise and fall of fascism in less than two decades; much of the world being divided in two, and the human race living, every day, under the very real threat of nuclear apocalypse; the extraordinary events in China, where a murderous totalitarian dictator seized power, starved millions and tore apart the historical legacy of the world's oldest continuous civilisation in a bid to make his mark on the world…

    To someone from most of the possible outcomes of the 20th century, I would argue, our world would look like the exaggeratedly movie-like dramatically apocalyptic option. Just think of how you'd describe Stanislav Petrov (one man's good sense away from Armageddon) to someone from a world which didn't end up with two huge power-blocs playing a game of chicken with nuclear annihilation. To someone from a world where it didn't happen, OTL Mao's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution would look like an exaggeratedly awful "everything goes unbelievably wrong for China" moment, like in Rumsfeldia, Gumbo or Twilight of the Red Tsar. There are a lot of reasonably probable ATLs where the same general historical forces as in our 20th century—Europe as a declining share of the world economy, decolonisation, racism being challenged and also racism reasserting itself, the rise of working-class consciousness and the backlash against it—were active, but where they manifested themselves in slower, less explosive forms.

    So, for instance, there could have been a lot of authoritarian right-wing regimes in the West, but instead of arising and then covering virtually the whole of Europe and then vanishing spectacularly and being discredited all within the course of two decades, they only arise in some countries and remain grubby not-very-news-worthy nasty places to live (a trajectory more like Franco's Spain than OTL Mussolini) which stubbornly keep existing for a much longer period of time. And given how uncertain and fluid the dynamics of pre-WW1 Europe were—contrary to the retroactive explanation of rigid alliance blocs acting like tripwires, a piece of bad historiography which really irks me—there'd be a multitude of possible worlds where the first big European war of the 20th century was fought with different sides, with different outcomes, and the sum total was less than OTL's two great European wars of the 20th century. In that case, one can reasonably contemplate the European empires stubbornly holding onto more of their colonies (à la OTL Algeria) and fighting many decades of grim insurgency wars, making the fall of European imperialism a slower more protracted process, rather than the relatively quick clean break (emphasis on 'relatively') that we got in OTL since they were bankrupted and devastated in a short sharp shock.

    Both these examples, I think, are pertinent here. Shorter WW2 and the Western European powers less trusting of the United States ==> likelier to try to hold on to imperial power against American wishes. Fascism staying around for longer, in a less spectacular form, instead of peaking very high and then falling and being broadly discredited in the 1940s.
     
  8. Herr Frage Jesus Christ Is In Heaven

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    One of my hopes is that the OTL Third World might get a better deal from a different decolonization and a shorter Cold War.
     
  9. Icedaemon Well-Known Member

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    In the short term, probably not. In the long term, probably yes - a shorter cold war and a less sudden decolonisation means that plenty of places which OTL ended up with incompetent but brutal warlords vying for power and communist dystopias should have a much better transition from colony to free nation. In particular, I can see Portugal at least try quite hard to turn Angola into a functional model colony if they can keep things stable long enough to use some of the vast natural wealth to actually improve the lot in life of the local people. However, places like South Africa will be even worse than OTL and Japan got quite fucked. I can't recall what's going on on the Siamese peninsula in this timeline - I am assuming the Viet Minh still exist as they were born from opposition to Japanese occupation. With the nearest bits of China not yet red and the soviet union going nastier quickly, might they be forced to come to an accord with France and would France accept it?
     
  10. Herr Frage Jesus Christ Is In Heaven

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    I have heard before that Kim il Sung's regime in North Korea OTL only started to kick into overdrive after the Korean War. With war unlikely to come to the Korean peninsula ITTL might we see the Kim regime be less disastrous for the Korean people. And hopefully it might fall with the Cold Wars end ITTL giving us a unified democratic Korea.
     
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  11. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Well we didn't get a democratic China after Tien an Men. And let's say... The USSR collapses and Japan will invade Hokkaido. Won't you think the Korean people TTL will rally around the Communist establishment no matter how would be?
     
  12. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    To put it another way:

    If you told some Russian peasant in 1913 that the 300 year old Romanov dynasty would outright collapse, he'd laugh in your face. It is possible in another TL, Russia actually became a serious constitutional monarchy, which most people expected would occur.

    If you told someone in 1928 that the crazy painter with the funny mustache would become the absolute ruler of Germany in five years, they'd think you were crazy. It is possible there would've been a nationalist backlash, but it might have resulted in the "standard" dictatorship, not a dictatorship with a ridiculous obsession with blood purity.

    If you told some poor Pittsburgh factory worker in 1911 that future Americans would outright worship capitalism, he would call you a nut.

    What the 20th century proves is that you can't predict the future. The world didn't become necessarily a better place, as technology only created NEW dangers.
     
  13. Threadmarks: The First Catastrophe

    Sorairo Well-Known Member

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    The First Catastrophe

    ‘The Making of the Fascist Bloc’ by Jodie Rutkins

    The Israeli army celebrated her seizing of Jerusalem, giving time to reorganize their forces. Of course, it mattered little; the Arab Coalition’s army was in a state of disrepair and already knew it faced doom short of divine intervention (which the Mufti took pains to promise in his increasingly Apocalyptic radio broadcasts). The Mufti promised a day, “when even the very trees and rocks will screech ‘Muslim! There is a Jew behind me! Come and kill him!’ So shall end this war.” Leading Jewish Council member (and hardline Revisionist Zionist and Mussolini-supporter) Abba Ahimeir joked that the Mufti comprised half of the fighting force the Arabs had left; though a joke, this comment would eerily predict the ending of the conflict. The Israelis not only had their well-supplied army, but the Lehi, under the command of Yitzhak Shamir. The Lehi looked forward to the campaign in Jordan, as were the Italians. Under the table, a deal was reached between Italo Balbo (who was in command of Italian forces in Israel) and Shamir. It stated that while ‘major population transfers were inevitable and desirable’, Arab Christians (especially Catholics) would be granted certain protections from these movements. In return, Italy promised that she would veto any measure by the UN that would condemn the Lehi’s actions. Ultimately, this is more or less what happened. Arab Christians made up about 20% of Jordan before the war, but made up roughly 60% of the remaining Arab population in 1949. Likewise, the Lehi mostly ignored the rural Bedouin, as they were considered too detached to mount a threat. By contrast, the Lehi’s actions against urban Muslim Arabs were shameless (and there exists a serious debate to this day over the extent that Begin and other members of the Israeli government allowed it to happen). Of course, the Lehi’s reputation alone was usually enough to clear out a town before they even arrived. Aqaba had already been almost entirely abandoned by human beings by the time the Lehi arrived, leaving a ghost town. Similar but not as remarkable stories repeated themselves in Amman, Karak and Irbid. Jordan had already been overrun with Palestinian Arab refugees. The mass of refugees flooding into Syria and Egypt was brutal, but the ones who had it worst were the ones aiming for Iraq or Saudi Arabia. Given the scale of the desert between the refugees and the nearest respite, thousands perished in the travelling. The miserable fate of the Trans-Jordan refugees would only worsen as time went on.

    Meanwhile, the IDF began its final campaign to take over the remainder of Jordan, now fully supplied and ready. Launching from Jerusalem (now with three Regio Esercito divisions and one Blackshirt division), the campaign began on August 7th in three pincers. The main attack would be lead by Rommel towards Amman. A northern pincer, led by Dayan, would clear out the last areas of the West Bank still under Arab control and finish in Irbid by closing up the main road links between Syria and Jordan. Lastly, Balbo would lead an army group to cross and surround the Dead Sea, taking Karak and proceeding to chase the Saudis to their border. The operation went even smoother than expected. Rommel plowed through the Arab Coalition, even taking time to pose for pictures to the world’s press in Jericho. The Biblical symbolism was not lost on Israeli/Italian propaganda, who used it to great effect in the West to interest and excite Christians. Similar pictures were taken from the summit of Mount Nebo, with Rommel staring into the far distance like Moses. On September 12th, Rommel had reached Amman. He would later record that the swarms of refugees from the city were more difficult to deal with than the Arab Coalition forces, many of whom had started fighting each other in the doom-laden atmosphere that had descended upon Jordan. At the same time, the Mufti was not found. Initially, it was suspected he had fled to Saudi Arabia, but witnesses report that he headed east rather than south. Undisclosed radio broadcasts would soon commence, with the Mufti saying he was still in Jordan ‘To continue the resistance to Colonial-Zionism’. As the location of the Mufti baffled Israelis, Dayan took Jerash on September 20th and stood on the Syrian border on October 10th. Balbo crushed the last decent Saudi divisions at the Battle of Karak on September 9th and proceeded to work his way down south, seizing Petra on October 29th and closing the final road with Saudi Arabia on November 22nd.

    By this point, the joint co-operation of the newly MI6, the DGSA the OVRA and the hastily built Mossad (the Israeli’s secret intelligence/security service) had borne fruit on discovering the Mufti’s hideout. On November 25th, the move that ended the war began. Traced to a barn in Az-Zarqa, a joint Israeli-Italian team landed by helicopter nearby, broke into the Mufti’s compound (which was mostly unarmed to conceal his hiding place) gagged him and dragged him back to the helicopter, where he was brought back to Israeli territory. The capture of the Mufti was an international sensation in its advertising of the capabilities of the new Israeli state (ignoring Italian help). The war would give Israel a fearsome reputation around the world. Ironically, the Arabs were the only ones who didn’t feel that way, blaming their loss almost entirely on foreign aid and the weaknesses of their own leaders. On November 29th, the Saudis and Iraqis would both agree to an armistice. This ended the First Arabian War. Given that though defeated, the Arab states had more than enough energy to come back again, it is likely the Second Arabian War was inevitable with the amount of bad blood that was sowed and would continue to be sued in the intervening years.


    ‘The Arab Tragedy: 1944–1956’ by Abdul Nazim

    The Iraqis, Egyptians and Saudis would ultimately be let off with a white peace (though only the Saudi leadership would escape large-scale hatred by their populations). Unfortunately for the remaining states, some lost everything. From being granted a relatively small portion of the Palestinian area, the Jewish leadership had not just swallowed everything west of the Jordan river, but a significantly larger amount of territory through the total annexation of the Trans-Jordan mandate. In the north, Syria would also be a major loser. It would lose its coast to Turkey, which annexed both Tartus and Latakia. Israel would annex the Golan Heights for defensive purposes. Turkey’s annexation of these two small provinces was more important than many realised. In closing off these ports, they had denied the Soviets sea access, on top of significantly imperiling Syria’s economy by reducing foreign trade (especially from former Colonial master France). Given the intense economic hardship that fell on Syria as a result, its no surprise that the initial seed of the second conflict would spring from that part of the world. The Mufti was to be put on trial in Jerusalem for his crimes stretching from his involvement in the riots of the 1920s to his co-operation with the Nazis and his involvement with atrocities committed by Arab forces in the recent war – it was ultimately agreed the death penalty would be permitted.

    The status of Jerusalem was far more uncertain, specifically the Old City. While there was no objection in the West about making Jerusalem the capital of the new Israeli state, the status of the Old City was controversial owing to the religious sensitivities of the world’s three Abrahamic religions. Ultimately, it was a lucky coincidence that the three victorious countries who contributed men to the fight would be Jewish, Christian and Muslim. The administration of the Holy Sites of Jerusalem was put in the hands of an interfaith council of Israeli, Italian and Turkish representatives. When it came to the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa, it would be open to all faiths, though prayer would be reserved on the Holy Day of each religion for their respective use (Friday for Muslims, Saturday for Jews and Sunday for Christians). Similar arrangements were made in Bethlehem and Hebron. This would ultimately prove wise propaganda for Israel; many on the Right wanted Jewish exclusivity at Holy Sites, but the Socialists managed to win this fight. It was doubly wise as the heavy involvement of the Vatican in the Interfaith Council, which quickly became a propaganda tool against ‘International Communist Atheism (an irony given Mussolini’s own beliefs on the subject), would force the Holy See to recognise the state of Israel in 1949. This co-operation would lead to a much-needed revision of traditional Catholic hostility to Jews, a fact alluded to by Pope Pius XII on his Papal Visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem in 1950. The visit would be an international sensation and cemented the connection between Italy and Israel. On top of that, Turkey was more than bellicose about her new role in world Islam. The military commanders, despite leading an avowedly secular state, were quite interested in manipulating the feelings of world Islam for their own purposes. To this end, Turkification of the annexed Syrian regions was intense, the blows ironically falling harder on the Arabs than the long-suffering Kurds. In 1951, Turkish law required that Imans would preach in Turkish, including in Holy Sites in Jerusalem. The law would cause riots throughout the country, which were mercilessly suppressed.

    With respect to the Israelis, they had to deal with an upswing in religiosity due to the religious fervor that erupted with the capture of the Temple Mount. The fears of an uncontrollable religious minority would ultimately convince the Israelis to not exempt the Haredim from conscription (many of whom would immigrate back to Libya and often to other Settler States in Africa to practice their religion without interruption). As the demographic situation was precarious, the Lehi made every attempt to ensure this wouldn’t be an issue. Village after village met brutal clear-outs and expulsions. The Lehi’s training by the OVRA had been well remembered, as they cut a swathe of destruction through the smaller towns of Jordan. It’s estimated that 200,000 Arabs would be chased out of Jordan by Lehi violence (with another 200,000 leaving beforehand at the very mention of the Lehi). This was on top of the some 500-800,000 Palestinian Arabs who left their own region before. The human carnage that resulted from this atrocity (on top of the loss of Jerusalem) was initially called the ‘Nakba’, or ‘Catastrophe’. It has since been called ‘The First Catastrophe’ due to the events of the Second Arabian War.

    It must not be forgotten the mass of Jewish suffering that encompassed the Middle East as a result of Israel’s establishment. In Egypt, the desperately unpopular King Farouk made a last grasp to preserve his power. On January 23rd, he enacted a law decreeing Jewish residents to be enemy aliens and renouncing their citizenship. By the end of the year, the 75,000 strong Jewish population of Egypt had gone. While Farouk preserved his leadership in the short-term, the resulting economic contraction of the loss of so many skilled workers and artisans (not to mention the immediate and total embargo such a move created from the Roman Alliance and Britain) would ultimately result in his downfall anyway. Similar expulsion orders rang out across the Middle East in short order. These were often met with streams of mob violence against Jewish citizens who could trace their ancestry in their native countries for hundreds of years. This string of violence peaked in late 1949 at the news of the conviction and execution of the Grand Mufti (whose last words were, ‘That my one life has led to the obliteration of so many Jews, it has been a boundless success.’). The Mufti’s martyrdom would light a boundless fire of Anti-Semitism across the region. Though riots within Israel were quickly stamped out (and often used as an excuse by the Lehi to continue their actions), the rest of the Middle East only grew more resistant. Attempts by Israel at this time to divide the Arabs between Christians and Muslims or Shia and Sunni were failures; Arab nationalism was the order of the day. By the early 50s, Jews had been almost entirely removed from the Middle Eastern region outside of Israel, South Iran and Libya. Jewish communities that had existed for centuries had vanished in the space of a few years as a result of pogroms and state expulsion. This number was close to one million, which ironically gave more than enough settlers for the Israelis to fulfill their territorial ambitions. The main settlement areas were in and around Jerusalem, Hebron and Amman, the former two both becoming some 90% Jewish by the time of the Second Arabian War.

    While horrible, we can take small comfort in the fact that the Jews of the Middle East met a collective fate better than their Soviet brethren.


    The Death Spiral: Stalin 1941-1953 by Alexi Ivanovitch

    Though Stalin had forsaken the Arabs, his opinion of the Jews had only grown lower. Indeed, by the time the armistice had been declared, his opinion had grown to sheer terror. He realised he had underestimated the Israelis and that they were a far more serious threat than he thought. He believed that his new, powerful state had willing millions of fifth columnists in their ranks, by which he meant the Jews of the Soviet Bloc. The Doctor’s Plot had already been implemented as a covert method of removing Jews from positions of power and influence. Indeed, by early 1948, it is estimated that not a single Jew worked in the Politburo or any other position of serious influence in the USSR, though this was obscured due to the massive increase in death that had accompanied Stalin’s final and most brutal purge. However, this bloodletting would not be enough for Stalin. On December 27th 1948, the opening stages of what was perhaps Stalin’s most notorious act began: the mass incarceration and deaths of the Soviet Jewish population. Initially, the operation was restricted simply to the Moscow and Leningrad urban areas, targeting journalists, doctors, teachers and anyone else considered to be in a sensitive position. This was soon expanded as the weeks went on to include what ultimately amounted to more or less the entirety of the Jewish population of the Soviet Union by the end of 1949. Two and a half million people would be deported to the Gulags in Siberia for no other reason than their Jewish ancestry. Ultimately, by the time the order was rescinded, less than two million were left. While the West was broadly aware of something horrible befalling Jews within the Soviet prison, it would be some time yet before a full reckoning fell upon the USSR.

    The chief architect of organising this atrocity, NKVD leader Lavrenty Beria, would go the extra mile, making sure to imprison the gentile spouses of the Jews as well. It is believed that Beria was desperate to prove his loyalty and had consequently increased his ruthlessness even further than it already was to escape Stalin’s Purge. For this reason, he was able to successfully harangue the Soviet slave states of Poland, East Germany and Slovakia (the Eastern slave states considered to have to small a population to matter) to hand over their Jewish populations by July 1949. His zeal for arrests, including his astonishingly cruel subjugation of Poland, was so intense that one figure suggests close to 10% of the entire population of the Eastern Bloc was in some form of Labour camp by January 1950. Ultimately, it was all for naught. Beria was accused, of all things, of being a ‘Zionist agent for the Fascist Israeli state’ in December 1949 and shot under Stalin’s orders. Unfortunately, Beria’s death was not enough to liberate the Jews stranded in the cruel colds of Siberia.

    It must be remembered that these remarkable monstrosities were happening against the backdrop of one of the most gigantic wars in human history in East Asia. That Stalin could so casually support such damaging and brutal purges at a time when the Soviet Union (already committed in Poland and North Iran) had to support Mao’s regime to the hilt against the might of half the world was a strong indicator of the Dictator’s mental state. Nevertheless, Stalin committed himself to supporting Mao. He was embarrassed at himself for turning down Mao back in 1946 and 1947 when Wallace was in the White House, and he could have seized the entirety of China. Now, the new Republican dynasty would likely rule America for the foreseeable future. Stalin was determined to make China a Communist state, as well as most of Asia. This laid the stage for what made the Chinese War (in reality much wider than the Chinese state itself) such a generation-defining conflict.
     
  14. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    Will the next updates explain why it is the "Chinese War" and not the "Great Asian War"?
     
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  15. Sorairo Well-Known Member

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    Essentially, the conflict and casualties are overwhelmingly in China, but there are plenty of operations going on in and around the area which some parties don't want to advertise too much. In the Western popular imagination, China is the only thing that will spring to mind from this war. So 'The Chinese War' is technically wrong but it's so engrained into popular imagination as 'The Chinese War' that it's the name that stuck.
     
  16. akoslows Well-Known Member

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    Good to know that Stalin is getting tips on Jewish people from his Twilight of the Red Tsar incarnation.
     
  17. Dolan Lookin fer Gooby

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    Somewhere in Hell, Hitler would be thrilled that his communist enemy end up being the one continuing his legacy.
     
  18. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    The horseshoe theory, anyone?
     
  19. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Just heard today, thank you so much for mentioning it. Prettt interesting to say at least.

    Well: so, the Arab lose badly and is implied they will lose more in the future. Syria and Jordan would pay the price more than the major sides involved - Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia still went off very well. And meanwhile Eretz Israel is started to be built.

    That Pious XII would arrive to visit Jerusalem (not only going out the Vatican but also travel so far aboard) and starting already to review anti-Jew criticism in the Church is definitely revolutionary given the character.

    The Turks are definitely on the rise (they were the RA country which annexed and by far margin the largest share of occupied territories), as long the axis between Italy and Israel will stand the Arabs won't have chances. In the meanwhile, Syria is rooting as its usual and so the Kurds.

    And well, things in the URSS went further down is useless to comment. However, was very surprising and unexpected the fall of Beria. This would really scare the entire Politburo but at the same time putting it at a very difficult position when Stalin would die.

    And well, poor China. 1949-1953 maybe? Because I guess such war will last till the death of Stalin.
     
  20. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

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    Good chapter- I can’t see this Soviet Union making it out of the 60’s...

    Israel has picked up a mess with Jordon, is there anything there to make it worthwhile (oil, etc) Or is it just a huge buffer zone against the other Arab powers like Sinai is towards Egypt?
     
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