The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

Intermission - Austria
  • Happy new year to everyone, today we will see what happened to Austria so far. As always thanks to Sorairo for his revisions and additions, enjoy!

    Extract from ‘In Italy’s Shadow: Austria after WWII’ of Heinrich Lagerfield

    In 1815, the Congress of Vienna established the status of Austria as a great European power, with a fragmented Italy under its domination; a century later, Austrian might collapsed under internal strife and military defeat from Italy. No more than a quarter of century since, Austria found itself under total Italian occupation, facing the disillusion of the failure of the Nazi Grossdeutschland and disgrace in shared defeat. In the second half of the 1930’s, Austria was not necessarily was bound to that fate, as the failure of the 1936 October talks between Germany and Italy over the racial laws and Jewish issue, brought the Austrian government leaded by Kurt von Schuschnigg to believe they still had Italian support over Austrian independence. After all, after the assassination of the previous chancellor and de facto Fascist dictator Engelbert Dollfuss in the June of 1934, Schuschnigg managed to prevent a German invasion thanks to the ready mobilization of the Italian divisions on the Alps. Mussolini even managed to further isolate Germany in the April of 1935 with the creation of the so-called Stresa front with France and Britain over the mutual support of Austrian independence.

    However, in Austria the support towards the Nazi regime and unity with Germany remained and even became stronger with the months – with an Austrian born chancellor of Germany, dreams of revenge and desire to make Austria mighty again, even if part of Germany, and tiredness towards a pro-Italian government. Schuschnigg’s power was far from being stable, or secure. Besides the Stresa front faltered just few months after its creation, due to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, which Britain and France were forced to condemn. Because at the start of 1936 Italian-British relations were at their weakest, and France was stuck in political instability, Hitler found fertile ground to proceed over the remilitarization of Rhineland during march, especially when Mussolini declared that Italy would eventually not oblige over the treaty of Locarno of 1925 where would have supported the attacked side in a war between Germany and France, hence proclaiming neutrality in a French-German conflict. According to Ciano, the Duce considered the treaty of Locarno void by the recent French-Soviet treaty, and the perspective of a French-German war wasn’t so horrible for Italy if the war in East Africa escalated into a conflict with the British. Also, still according to Ciano, Mussolini declared null the Treaty of Locarno as a way to keep open a negotiation with Germany over Austria – thinking that Hitler’s real objective was Alsace-Lorraine. The Duce said nothing over Stresa, considering that agreement still valid, believing after the end of the war in Africa, with the time the strained relations with the Anglo-French could be recovered, if they lifted the sanctions against Italy.

    But in Vienna, Schuschnigg didn’t feel reassured at all by Italian diplomatic moves, so he decided to attempt a negotiation directly with Hitler. The Austrian economy was suffering by a growing boycott from Germany, which Italy wasn’t able to compensate. Hence in July, with both sides agreeing to open talks, the Germans would agree to not interfere in Austrian political affairs, but from their side the Austrian government would declare Austria a German nation, concede an amnesty to the participants of the 1934 coup and open ministerial seats to pro-Nazi members. Schuschnigg would attempt to forestall the agreement as much as he could. At the start of 1938, Hitler was determined to force the union with Austria at all costs. As tensions in the Alpine country never ceased, and terror attacks continued across the country, in February, Schuschnigg would agree to concede amnesty to the 1934 plotters and open the government to Austrian Nazi personalities, the most influent being Arthur Seyss-Inquart as interior minister, practically placing the police under Nazi control. Trying to flip the table, Schuschnigg would decide to host a plebiscite over Austrian independence in March, but Hitler wasn’t intentioned to let him carry the plan, so he threatened an ultimatum. Schuschnigg did not intend to resist, especially when the West wasn’t intentioned to help Austria. When neither France nor Britain declared any intention to help the Austrians, Mussolini, also buoyed by German promises to not reclaim former Austrian territory in Italy, would surrender as well, acknowledging the end of the Stresa front and leaving Austria to her fate.

    As from the 12th March the Germans occupied Austria, arresting any possible opposition, including Schuschnigg, removing the rights of the Austrian Jews, and with a controlled plebiscite sanctioned the annexation, the Alpine country would be bound to the Reich’s fate. Hitler, despite being an Austrian born, or in spite of being one, wouldn’t have much regards for his own birth country, as the federal landers would turn it into Reichgaus (territories with even less autonomy than the proper German ones) while the name Osterreich would be changed into the more ancient and reductive Ostmark (Eastern march) and then in the even more bureaucratic and colder Alpen und Donau Reichsgaue, in the attempt to uniform Austrian culture into the mainstream German one. Hitler’s will was clear – Austria didn’t have the right to exist as a state of the Reich like Prussia or Bavaria. The initial presence of a Reichkommissar, first covered by Seyss Inquart, then Josef Burckel, lasted only since 1940: the absence of a single governor would not be a secondary element in the late fall of Nazi Austria.

    When the war started, some Austrians grew disillusioned, even if the conflict until the end of 1943 didn’t affect them directly. Austria so far was one of the regions of the Reich that was generally safe, preserved from the Anglo-American air raids and benefiting from the border trade with Italy. The Wehrmacht presence was minimal, whereas the SS one started progressively to escalate. Austria was soon used as a springboard for the invasion of Hungary without noticeable effects, but then it all changed with the surprise invasion of Italy. When the SS invasion force was obliterated in Trieste, and the Italians retook Lubiana shortly after, Austria was exposed. The Wehrmacht local garrisons were weak and small, and the SS was even less effective. The local gautelers and Reichsstatthalters of Austria, aside from the obvious order to resist at all costs from Berlin, soon realized their powerlessness in front of an Italian invasion – if the Reichgaus didn’t immediately fall, it was due to the necessity from Rome to implement a full mobilization of its forces, while the Italians had also to protect Croatia and plan the invasion of Hungary with Hungarian and Anglo-Jewish forces.

    In Austria, the only governor who attempted to organize some form of defence or resistance was Baldur von Schirach. He was the leader and the organizer of the Hitler Youth from 1933 to 1940, when he was sent to govern the Austrian metropolis – a role which may appear prestigious if not knowing that the Fuhrer hated Vienna. Schirach, while being anti-Semitic, he was still too soft in the eyes of Hitler on the Jewish matter (he kept the Hitler youth out from the Kristallnacht attacks). As governor of Vienna, Schirach completed the transfer of the Jews of the city towards concentration and extermination camps, essentially Mathausen and Dachau. Of the 40,000 Jews of Vienna at the time of the transportations (with almost three-quarters of the city’s former Jewish population either fleeing or being saved by Mussolini’s Libya intervention) only some 5,000 survived the Shoah. Hence, after the War, the Jew community of Austria became merely symbolic in numbers.

    When the Italians entered into Graz, the Valkyrie Conspirators were already working, finding strong support in Austria – the scarce Wehrmacht forces realizing they weren’t able to resist the enemy invasion, and the SS presence was so broken that it wasn’t a problem. When chaos erupted in Berlin, the Wehrmacht rebels were able to secure swiftly the Austrian Reichgaus except for Vienna, because they weren’t sure where Schirach’s loyalties would have been. Schirach holed himself in the Hofburg bunker complex, knowing that the Italians would arrive soon and therefore didn’t have to justify further his actions to Hitler or whoever would be his successor, effectively agreeing to cooperate with the Valkyrie insurgents, accepting to remain governor of Austria and work for the Hamburg military provisional government once established. A few days later, Balbo and Graziani’s divisions were at the door of Vienna. As the Hamburg government wasn’t recognized by the Allies, the Italians let the German rebels in Austria know to capitulate or else. After a brief meeting with the Italian commanders, receiving reinsurances for himself and other plotters, Schirach would agree to surrender and concede Vienna to the Italians. While a couple of raids on strategic sites around were done in the past weeks, the Austrian metropolis was essentially intact. But after hearing of the imminent entrance of the Italians, the Viennese were fearful over their fate. What happened on Lubiana could easily be done on Vienna as well.

    Fortunately for them, the Italians had other plans – but what happened the 15th May, a month after the Valkyrie coup, would be remembered for the Viennese as one of the most ominous if not humiliating moments of the city, and by extension of all Austria: after a morning of proper preparations, the Italian troops would march in parade across the main streets of Vienna, being properly filmed by Istituto Luce operators, with Balbo and Graziani arriving at the Hofburg welcomed by Schirach, where a formal ceremony over the passage of the administration over the Italian military was done. A few hours later, the Hofburg would be covered by Italian flags, becoming the Italian headquarters at least till the end of the War, and while most of it would be returned to Austrian authorities soon as possible, at least a wing was still used by the Italian military governor till the end of the period of occupation. As for Schirach, being put to house arrest by the Italians, he would be declared guilty at Nuremberg but only for military crimes, his defense being that he allowed the final deportations of the Viennese Jews but was unaware of the real orders from Berlin nor having a real hand in the Holocaust. He would receive a short imprisonment sentence, and then spending his last years between Austria and Germany.

    With Austria secured during April and early May without particular resistance, the Italians started to plan the future of Austria. At Kiev, it was generally decided that Austria, to be separated again from Germany, would fall under Italian sphere of influence for security reasons and compensation, so to do what Rome preferred best. Mussolini, who was rather burned by the neutralization of Hungary, but believing in case of monarchic restoration could still work with Otto of Hapsburg, was already oriented to restore the pre-Anchsluss Austrian republic. That possibility was soon possible when at Dachau the Italians found Kurt Schuschnigg in overall good condition. Brought immediately to Rome, he was greeted by Mussolini, who offered him the possibility to become the head of government of the Austrian provisional government. Schuschnigg, who certainly wasn’t an idiot, realized almost immediately that regardless of his decision, Austria would become an Italian puppet. He was grateful for being liberated, but he also remembered that in 1938, Italy allowed the Anchsluss – albeit in prospect an intervention at the time could have caused a conflict which would have ravaged Austria worse than in 1944. Schuschnigg wasn’t even sure that he wanted to return in the political and international scene, but in the end he would agree to lead again Austria on the Italian terms. Brought immediately back in Vienna, on the 4th of August 1944 Schuschnigg would declare the independence of Austria from the German Reich and set up back a provisional government which would have worked with the Italian occupation regime. To reassert his role, by express Italian suggestion the Patriotic Front was established as the only legitimate political party of Austria, even if initially put under Italian observation in order to build an organization that would exclude Nazi or pro-German supporters and allow friendly pro-Italian ones. In doing that, Schuschnigg would turn back over his 1938 promises to eventually restore the Austrian Social Democratic party.

    To ensure the local opposition would be kept at bay, an OVRA detachment was installed in Austria, to arrest or dispose over whatever form of protest. As in the middle 1940’s any form of internal opposition, whenever being real or virtual in Italy was practically destroyed, the Fascist secret police started to operate beyond the Alps, assuming the role of an effective as ruthless foreign intelligence service. The contribution of OVRA in the anti-Pavelic Operation Brutus would mark their role in the Cold War period and beyond, even after when the service would be reformed, working often in collaboration with other allied services, especially the Mossad. They would soon begin covert operations, from abductions to assassinations, insurgency, and anti-terrorism.

    The return of the Austrian republic was sanctioned with the conference held in Vienna the 10th of August, as a clear proof the country was safe and independent under Italian rule. Schuschnigg was no more than the role of the dignified host, as the Italians handled the conference since the beginning. Here, the Austrian Chancellor wouldn’t have more than platitudes for the Roman Alliance and the Italians for freeing Austria and promising that Austria would entertain friendly relations with all the attendees. Schuschnigg would then leave Austria for the second time since his liberation to represent his nation at Potsdam. He wasn’t in a very enviable position, as Austria came as a defeated power –when the 1st September 1945 came and Rome celebrated the victory with jubilant crowds on the streets, Vienna was sombre and quietly patrolled by Italian soldiers.

    In Potsdam, Schuschnigg tried to convince the Allies to avoid giving Austria the humiliation of a peace where his country was “guilty by association”, both for war crimes as for crimes against the humanity, but the Americans and the Soviets proved inflexible, and Mussolini didn’t have real reason to assuage Austrian responsibility – the Allies may have conceded Schuschnigg’s decision to step down in 1938 to be fair in order to avoid a bloody invasion of Austria, but the Austrians generally approved the plebiscite of Seyss-Inquart over the Anchsluss and therefore accepting to share the fate of the Germans. The peace in itself wasn’t overly punitive and generally expected by the Austrians. No territorial cessions and respect of the 1938 borders, ten-year military occupation by Italian forces with the obligation to let them establish bases whenever wanted, war reparations to Italy and additional commercial privileges even in form of monopolies for the latter, compensation for the Jews of Austria, new confirmation of the division between Austria and Germany if necessary by constitutional enforcement and so on.

    The Italian military occupation would endure until 1955. The choice of the first commander of the Italian armed forces in the Alpine country caused some debate within the Fascist Great Council. It was considered to give it to Rodolfo Graziani – his ruthless character would have plenty kept the Austrians in line, maybe even too much. As Balbo wasn’t interested to return again into a position of governor of any sort, in the end it was found a compromise in the figure of the Marshal Pietro Badoglio, old and reassuring enough as being at his end stretch of his career as well, so not an issue for the Fascist elite nor the rising new generation of high officials who forged themselves in the war and would become even more important and relevant in the successive conflicts of the late 40’s and the early 50’s. Through the Badoglio administration, Austria would start to anchor itself to the Italian economy – not that would have done otherwise with Germany in complete disarray. While the country would start its reconstruction, it wasn’t initially supposed to field an army until the end of the period of occupation; but the Polish-Soviet War and the nuking of Warsaw would force Mussolini to review his plans. With Italian consensus, Austria in 1948 would establish a “reserve police force” which in 1952 would be expanded into a “National Force of Self-Defence”, to then become the new Austrian national army when the 1st November of 1955 Austria’s occupation would end, and the nation officially became a member of the Roman Alliance. Austrian troops were no strangers to the conflict in the Second Arabian War, joining the international coalition in Turkey.

    The end of the occupation age was hailed at the end of 1955 with a movie, Sissi, which was inspired by the youth of Elizabeth of Baviera and her life-changing meeting and marriage with Emperor Franz Joseph. Interpreted by very young Austrian actress Romy Schneider, the movie would have such a resounding success at home and aboard – especially in France, Germany, Hungary, Bohemia, and Italy, leading to a sequel in 1956 and then in 1957. Today, it is generally assumed the first three Sissi movies were the seed of the post-war Austrian cultural rebirth and also the beginning of the “New Mittleuropean” social, artistic and cultural movement, from Bohemia to Hungary, even influencing Communist Slovakia as well. But in 1956 Austria, as well as the rest of the world, had other concerns than to predict the impact of the Sissi movies. In Italy there were indeed those who believed the success of the first movie and the news of the planned sequel could indicate resurging pro-Hapsburg sentiments and even pro-unionist (with Hungary) ones. But those concerns, added with attempts of censorship or curtail the sequels were washed away by the success of the movies in Italy as well, to the point several Italian producers arrived to propose the promotion of a fourth movie. However, the precondition for such movie was Schneider still being the main female protagonist; but in 1957 she wasn’t interested to bond her actress career just over the role of Elizabeth; it would pass almost a decades until she would accept to play the fourth movie of the series, The Fate of Three Kingdoms (Schicksal der drei Königreiche, 1966, for the centennial of the Austro-Prussian war, Third War of Independence in Italy), to be considered the more mature and less idyllic of the series.

    Set from 1859 to 1867, the movie would focus over the new struggles of Elizabeth and Franz Joseph while Austria faced defeat in the Second and Third wars of Italian independence: being resigned over the loss and the unification of Italy, the fallout of the Empress with her sister Marie Sophie, last queen of the Two Sicilies, a new conflict with the Mother Empress Sophie this time over the education of the crown prince Rudolph, leading her to travel again across Europe and causing a fallout between her husband and her mother-in-law as Sophie, being tired of Franz Ferdinand’s conciliatory stance towards Elizabeth, would confess her younger son Maxilimian, soon to become Emperor of Mexico, was since always her favourite, passing through the Ausgleith leading to the formation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the movie ending with Sissi returning in time from one of her voyages at the news of the death of Maxilimian of Mexico, standing with his husband on the deathbed of the Mother Empress (even if Sophie will die in 1872), with the three reconciling with each other. With generally positive reviews over Schneider playing a more realistic and tormented Elizabeth as it was in her own wishes and a new resounding audience success aboard, the movie would win the 1966 Leone d’Oro in Venice, leading the path to three academy awards in 1967, with Schneider winning the best actress. While Fate of Three Kingdoms would be the last proper movie of the Sissi series, Schneider would play the role of the Empress twice again - in Ludwig of Visconti in 1973, then in ORF-RAI 1988 Rudolf, centred on the Mayerling tragedy even if such movie ended with Sissi's assassination. "I suggested personally to end the movie with such a scene and the producers reluctantly agreed on this" Schneider recalled in one interview. "I think it was a fitting way and a great chance to end a role which followed me my entire life. It was sad but also relieving to finally say goodbye to Sissi." The triumph of Fate of Three Kingdoms was even more resounding for Austrian culture and pride in light of the success of The Sound of Music the previous year, inspired by the story of the Von Trapp family – even if American produced, it was performed in the Alpine country, therefore promoting a wider touristic boost for Austria. It would open also a small contentious between Austria and Hungary – as the former would grant posthumous pardon to Georg von Trapp for his escape and full military honour restored, the latter through King Otto would reaffirm the noble status of the family with the same King commending Von Trapp’s loyalty “to Austria and its former ruling family” – a not subtle jab which didn’t pass unobserved in Vienna (and neither in Rome). Such diplomatic squabbles between Vienna and Hungary were often recurrent even if both Austria and Hungary were, after Italy, their first mutual trade partners.

    In truth, more so than pro-Hapsburg sentiments in Austria, the Italians would have to worry more over lingering anti-Italian sentiments. Deep inside, the shock of the Italian occupation would be a hard pill for the Austrians to swallow, producing undesired effects. While through peace enforcement the Austrians would publicly condemn the Nazi regime and ideology and anti-Semitism, in the shadows of the Alps neo-Nazi extremists would soon start to emerge and organize – leading later to episodes of violence and then terrorism against the Fascist Austrian government, and then Italy. The Austrian neo-Nazism would be much stronger and determined than in other countries – Germany included – for a series of reasons. Ideologically, the Austrian neo-Nazi would believe that Hitler, an Austrian, kept the Reich strong and survival may have ensured victory, attributing the fall of Nazi ideals to Himmler, blaming the Holocaust on him while absolving Hitler or stating he was tricked by the head of the SS. This would lead to a split among Holocaust Deniers between those who thought that both Hitler and Himmler were innocent (with Himmler’s Nuremberg speech due to his either being tortured or paid off, the latter being impressive if he was about to get the noose anyway), and those who believed Himmler had done it (at the behest of everyone from the Zionist movement to the Soviets) and left Hitler in the dark. Naturally, they were all still virulent anti-Semites, as they were anti-Italians and the Jews were Italy’s main ally, resenting the government for sending Austrian soldiers to die for ‘Italy and Israel’s wars’. They dreamed of a “Greater Austria” (the Austrian neo-Nazis were decisively more nationalistic and not desirous at all of a new Anschluss that encompassed the Sudetes, all of Tyrol and Trentin, Trieste, former Slovenia and other borderlands with Germany, Bohemia (regarded as a mere protectorate) and Hungary. Especially in South Tyrol, victory against Germany and Austria would allow the Fascist regime to enforce laws against the German-speaking minority. This would make the area more fertile ground for Austrian neo-Nazis activism, which would start to take a terrorist angle at the end of the 1960’s. This would force the OVRA to fight them actively, after ignoring such issue for years as their focus was so far the Austrian social democratic and leftist opposition in general within Austria, and their own focus on Islamist terrorism across the Middle East.

    Regardless, Austria would stand as a stable autocratic republic, remaining quiet by the visible Italian military presence and the shady OVRA one, its economy growing yet essentially bonded to the Italian one, and where Italy retained a strong final say in her decisions.
    Coming to the End
  • Hey all, it's sort of mind-blowing how wide the story has become now, so my apologies for not releasing this earlier. My plan is to get the whole thing done by the end of April to focus on other writing projects - but rest assured, you've given me support to write this, so I will endevour to ensure I give you an ending no matter how long it ends up taking.

    Coming to the End

    Extract from ‘The War that Ended a World’, by Francis Gautman

    In the aftermath of the Second Arabian War, and the massive upheaval of populations that followed, fortunes would always differ. For Israel, their only problem was how to digest the astonishing victory they had received. They had accomplished everything they ever wanted, with borders that made the ancient kingdom of the Israelites look puny in comparison. They had no regional foes (and were content to leave it so), with only the Soviets as the last of their great enemies. The main question now was how to fill in the gigantic blank canvas of its desert acquisitions. To that end, a nationwide campaign began to colonize the country up to the Euphrates. To secular, worldly types, there was nothing there a man could want, but to the most nationalistic and militant, it was a chance to stamp down their mark on the world. In the coming years, the more religious, nationalistic and adventurous Jews (some long-time Israelis and others simply new-comers) made their way ‘Out East’. The social distance between West and East Israel was quite like in Australia between the Coast and the outback. Those who went to colonize the Israeli interior were generally seen as too tough and masculine for their own good at best and clueless primitives at worst by many of the Tel Aviv elite. To those in the Eastern provinces, the ‘West Jews’ were a bunch of pansies and ungrateful to the state that bore them. The Eastern provinces would quickly become politically dominated by the Lehi, who organized militias to guard the borders from refugees and immigrants coming in from all sides of the shattered Middle East. No refugees ever came from the Black Hole that was the Islamic State of Arabia, however, as the desert distances were insurmountable for the residents and the control of the Mufti was absolute. In general, the refugee count remained low, as there were still people who continued against all reason to fight the Israelis. Occasionally, a mortar was fired from Iraq or Syria by a youth who stole it from an occupational soldier. If mortar fire killed five people in a whole year, it was considered a national scandal – a long way away from the brutal border clashes of the Mandate days. The coastal regions, completely safe in all directions, would experience a phenomenal economic boom from the sudden opening of almost the entire Arab market, the loss of fear of Arab boycott and many funds that used go to the army now being diverted to tax cuts for small businesses under Begin’s plan for the economic revitalization of Israel. One term of the Budapest Treaty was that Israeli companies were set up in the Arab nations with the help of the Arab government, thus making the remaining Arab governments not only militarily puny by comparison but economically dependent on Tel Aviv. Israel’s military focus was shifted entirely to the Soviets, with the existing domestic defence arrangements now eschewing the preparations for conventional warfare and moving entirely to fear of a nuclear one. Massive tunnels were dug in the mountains of former Jordan and the Sinai to give shelter to the population in the eventuality of WW3. By 1965, it was announced that the project to erect Nuclear-safe tunnels in Israel had created so much room that 120% of the population could be given shelter, thus making Israel by far and away the most prepared country for Nuclear War in the world. Israeli’s spy service, the Mossad, became more of an enemy to the Soviets than even the CIA, with the closed country’s nuclear, space and economic reports on the Israeli Prime Minister’s desk often long before the American or sometimes even Soviet leader. Israel also became one of the premier tourist destinations on Earth for travellers, be they pilgrims, history-buffs or revelers. It declared neutrality in the Cool War and kept the good favour of both the Italians and Americans. The Right, with Begin’s Herut the most popular, dominated her politics. Attempts by the Homeland Party (Lehi) to become the biggest in the Knesset were halted by the global backlash against Fascism after the Second Arabian War. At the same time, the Mapai Party had been reduced to the third-largest in the Knesset in the 1957 elections, a disaster that was undone in the subsequent 1961 elections, where they once more became the second largest. This was the election where Anne Frank first became an MK.

    Israel’s dominance stood out compared to every other region in the Middle East. Among the few nations having a relatively good time elsewise were the Druze Republic, whose unassuming quietness would make them ‘the Switzerland of the Middle East’. South Iran, whose economy was growing leaps and bounds with a modernizing and ‘progressive’ dictator, had become regional juggernaut, especially with her domination of two oil-rich Arab states. The Kingdom of Saba, where the pious population accepted the hedonism of its ruling class due to their being part of the recreation of a mighty Kingdom, went from being a regional backwater to the trusted friend of the third greatest power on Earth. The Alawite state struggled under Assad's leadership, but through wise diplomacy and ingratiating, life in the Alawite Republic had begun to improve to 1940s-levels by the early 1960s.

    The Phalangists, whose attempts to turn Lebanon into a Christian state were making significant progress, were also experiencing a honeymoon period. Lebanon had extended her definition of persecuted Christians to include the entire world instead of just the Middle East, leading to the first influx of refugees from the outside. Korean Christians who escaped their homeland, Indian Christians who were looked upon unkindly under the Hindutva and Christians from Africa being attacked by Islamists became the first wave of foreign settlers. As the Maronites would hold power anyway, the Phalangists were content to start moving in Christians who were not native to the Middle East. Despite the reputation of her country as one that accepted all believers in Christ, many of these arrivals suffered societal hatred and exclusion. Partly for that reason, foreign refugees were often put beside the Muslim areas of Lebanon, Muslims having been reduced to about 20% of Lebanon by the early 1960s. The Muslims, feeling left out of government and power, reacted with hostility to the Christian arrivals while refugees were often encouraged by the government to ‘prove their loyalty’ and retaliate against the Muslim residents. Divide and Conquer worked once again, with many Muslims continuing to immigrate to other countries as life in Lebanon had become so unwelcoming. In order to underline its new status as a home of Christian refugees from around the world, the official seal of Lebanon became the words of St. Paul in the Bible (in Aramaic) that, “We are all one in Jesus Christ”. Lebanon also began to court US Christians such as Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and Harold Camping, who would often perform sermons in Beirut to rapturous ovation. This would prove to be one of the wisest investments Gemayel ever made, as they had instilled a sense of deep unity with a community (the Christian Evangelicals) with a demographic group whose political power was only destined to rise. Lebanese representatives, offering paid trips to Lebanon for ‘cross-cultural exchanges’, approached Christian summer camps in America to let American children come and experience Lebanon. Lebanon went from being an irrelevant speck on the map to being one of the most loved countries of the whole United States. The ‘Lebanon Lobby’ would be a force to be reckoned with in American politics, almost as much as the China Lobby in its day. While Lebanon may have certainly taken the gowns of Christianity as its guiding principle, that wasn’t to say the country was a Puritan Theocracy. Beirut had a massive nightlife, perhaps the best in the Middle East outside of Tel Aviv. American films continued to roll in, French and Italian fashion lit up the streets and almost all Christian sects were tolerated as long as they didn’t oppose the Phalangists. Its economy was also booming, with the first stages of the Rome-Jerusalem Railway under construction and running through the small Mediterranean nation, thus intimately connecting itself with the Roman Alliance trade network. Gemayel could content himself that Lebanon was looking to a brighter, holier future.

    However, for the rest of the Middle East, the bitter fruits of the harvest were coming to pass. The main fruit was, of course, violent Islamism, with atheistic Communism seen as an anachronistic belief when people needed God more than ever to get through their lives. Already recognizing the issue, Italy spent a fortune creating schools in Libya for Imams to attend and to spread a version of Islam the Italians found acceptable. This would primarily be a more pacifistic, Sufi version of Islam with a high emphasis on tolerance and acceptance of a secular state. An Imam needed a license from a Roman Alliance approved Islamic school to be allowed to preach, the practice soon being extended to Syria, Iraq and Hejaz. But at the same time, an incensed, broken population was not in the mood for love or forgiveness, and was thus drawn to those that preached vengeance and death. In the Kingdom of Hejaz, local business leader, Mohammed bin Laden, had made a fortune during the Second Arabian War, but had been distraught by the fall of the Saudi Kingdom and creation of western puppet states. Bin Laden was noted for being unusually pious for the modern equivalent of a billionaire; indeed he was the richest man in Saudi Arabia without being a Royal. Many thought he would flee the country to wherever he pleased, but instead, he stayed behind while inwardly distraught at what had befallen his country. He rejected the Saudi Grand Mufti’s call for an isolated Salafist state, though like many others in the Post-Second Arabian War world, he was drawn to Islamism. With all his billions, he was able to create a network of men loyal to him and dedicated to ‘Liberating Mecca’. He certainly had no trouble in finding recruits. The population of Hejaz was roughly five million in 1960 and the whole of Saudi Arabia was four million in 1956 with the entire infrastructure still intact. To the shattered Middle East, however, Hejaz was one of the few places with a Sunni ruler, a leader who didn’t condemn Arab-ness and was relatively stable. Hejaz’s population was overcrowding, particularly around the capital of Jeddah. Bin Laden’s group was called ‘The Ikhwan’, after the name of the first Saudi army, who wished to unify the Islamic world and cast out infidels influence from Arabia. They would prove vicious against their enemies, who were typically Italian-taught Imams, Western tourists, Turkish troops or regime officials. They were also wildly popular among the starving, enraged refugees. Naturally, the Turks overrode King Hussein’s pleas to be ingratiating to the Islamists and began a merciless campaign against the Ikhwan. Refugee camps that sheltered the Ikhwan were shelled or even bombed by planes. Eventually, the Turks were content merely to put the refugees in a network of monitored concentration camps. Not only did this barely help the original problem, but it spread the Ikhwan’s forces ever further. This would come to a head on the date of June 15th 1960, the Islamic New Year, when the Ikhwan seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, calling upon all Muslims to throw out the Turks. It took eight days for the Mosque to once more fall under Turkish control, and that with elite Libyan troops being sent by the Italians. Plans were made to find Bin Laden as soon as possible and bring him down – but the millionaire had erected a shadowy network to keep him undercover as he went from place to place in Hejaz, sometimes finding safety among allies in Saba, whose officials became well known for their propensity to bribes. The story of the Ikhwan was only beginning as the 1960s dawned, and Turkish troops rolled into Hejaz.

    In Kurdistan, the enmity was racial more so than religious. The young state was some 30% Arab in 1960, with the Turkish Kurds not moving in high enough numbers to squash the demographic presence of Arabs escaping Syria and Iraq. Mosul was some 50% Arab and 50% Kurd and would become synonymous with the Arab-Kurdish conflict. While many of the ‘Kurdbutzim’ that sprang up in the country were broadly tolerant, Mosul was a hotbed of tensions. Kurdistan was one of the few places in the Middle East where the idea of Pan-Arabism remained a somewhat relevant force as the divisions were on racial lines. While Kurdistan attempted to promote a vision of racial harmony, the divisions present on every street in Mosul greatly undermined the image. At the same time, Arab uprisings were quickly suppressed, as the Peshmerga was eternally on alert. Attempts in February 1960 to start an Arab insurgency in Mosul by a young Neo-Ba’athist called Saddam Hussein were met with Kurdish militia and crushed in less than a week despite Hussein’s great boasting of a resurrection of Arabism and that the next century would be ‘An Arab Century’ - President Barzani subsequently called it ‘The Six-Day War’ to deliberately mock Hussein’s boast. Hussein was caught attempting to flee to Syria, dragged into the streets of Mosul and shot dead. His corpse was then hung upside down from a lamppost to be pelted by rotting tomatoes by Kurdish residents – an action that Mussolini called ‘As amusing as it is righteous’ in a telephone call with Barzani. Kurdistan would continue to play off all sides in both the Cold War and Cool. Despite her Socialism, she never sided with the USSR, and despite her enmity with Turkey, she was cordial with both Italy and Israel. Though Kurdistan did not achieve the economic supremacy of the likes of Israel or even Lebanon, her northern areas especially became renowned for being a quiet, safe place in a region full of madness. Kurds had enough to eat, a country to be proud of and a sense of community, none of which was true for many Arab countries.

    Egypt was another fish altogether. Many in the West thought Mussolini was bluffing when he stated he wanted to fill the Qattara Depression. They were astonished to find he was not. It was somewhat due to his wanting to further boost immigration to Libya to solidify Italy’s hold in the region, but a large number of North Egyptians would likewise be employed. Alexandrians were given work permits and were bussed to work communities close to El Alamein where the Canal was to be dug. Among them was a significant Greek Orthodox Community who had returned following expulsion by Nasser. The El Alamein Canal would quickly become the largest single employer for North Egyptians, which greatly helped in reducing social unrest within the country. As the Qattara Depression was still partly within North Egypt, she was promised that the power would be shared by Italy and North Egypt alike (though there was no doubt who was controlling the shots). Pope Cyril was much relieved at this, given he was completely unprepared for any role of state. At first, he pledged to do his utmost to protect Muslims within the country, preserving respect for their traditions and holidays. He spoke in ‘Egyptian’ to crowds when Italians requested he speak Coptic and Muslim charities continued to receive state funding. This is what happened initially. Unfortunately, the carrot and stick of Egyptian politics would prove overwhelming. Faced with the real prospect of resurrecting their language that many thought was dead, Coptic slowly went from being optional to mandatory for any men of influence. Money was disproportionately sent to rebuild churches rather than mosques and the Israeli and Italian economies soon became a far greater portion of North Egypt’s trade than with her southern neighbor. It was ultimately events within South Egypt that made North Egypt adopt a far more stridently Coptic tone.

    With the expulsion of so many Muslim inhabitants to the south, an area with nowhere near the industrial or agricultural potential as the north, millions of shattered survivors now found themselves with no future in any direction. Famine was inevitable, as was another round of immigration. It was in this environment that the Muslim Brotherhood, suppressed by Nasser, would find its voice. Its leader, Sayyid Qutd, proclaimed the Sadat government to be ‘a Government of Infidels’. Proclaiming an alliance with the Ikhwan, Qutd created his own terror network in South Egypt with the explicit purpose of overthrowing Sadat and Assad to create an Islamic State. Quickly the rural areas of South Egypt were declared ‘No-Go’ areas by the regional government, where the Brotherhood had almost total control. The British could not spare enough troops to crush the Brotherhood, especially given no administration was willing to sacrifice British lives for people who fought them in the Second Arabian War. Thus, Britain’s involvement in South Egypt was limited to occasional airstrikes, her soldiers mostly guarding the main cultural treasures of Egypt from Islamist destruction, such as Abu Simbel and the Temple of Luxor. Though initially small, the Brotherhood would only continue to grow. Their growth could also be felt in Cairo, the once place in Egypt where Christians and Muslims intermingled. While this had been a non-event prior to the war, the shattering of the city seemed to have severed its social bonds as well. The Muslims felt that the Christians were slavishly subservient to Italy and getting advantage from it, while the Christians were disgusted at the growth of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, who treated the Christians civilians unlucky enough to fall into their hands in South Egypt as worthless at best and as enemy combatants at worst. The few Christians who remained in South Egypt were ruthlessly targeted by the Brotherhood to create a ‘pure, Islamic State’. Given the deteriorating relations, it’s not hard to see why, on February 2nd 1961, riots shook Cairo to its foundation. Though it remains unclear what specifically happened, the most often repeated account is that a fire was started (probably by accident) in a Muslim housing estate, but its blaze quickly grew overwhelming. A neighboring Christian estate was accused of having started the fire, leading to a Muslim mob to enter the Christian estate. Upon news that a sectarian riot had broken out, the Italians and British did not know how to effectively communicate with each other to put down the violence as it crossed in and out of all occupation zones – recent tensions having made co-operation almost useless. It took nearly a week for the riots to be put down, and that was with air support. By the end, nearly 800 people were dead and Cairo had become not merely gone into total lockdown but became a name synonymous with sectarian violence. Roughly 450 were Coptic Christians, with roughly 300 Muslims and the rest being military personnel. However, it was rioters that were overwhelmingly the reason for Coptic casualties while the Muslim casualties were mostly from brutal Italian repression (including spraying machine gun fire into crowds from a helicopter). This dynamic further reinforced mutual community claims of Christian complicity with the Italians and Muslim savagery. Much of the rebuilding that had taken place after the Yom Kippur Nuclear Strike was obliterated – bringing the tortured city back to zero. Many historians believe the idea of a re-united Egypt died in February 1961, replaced with two camps that overwhelmingly wanted nothing to do with each other. In that end, the Second Arabian War had certainly done what it had wanted – the Arabs were certainly in no mood to unite again.

    Putting together a history of the Islamic State of Arabia is extremely difficult, as one mainly has to depend on aerial surveillance or the words of the survivors, but the young nation quickly proved itself as awful as many in the West suspected and indeed a few hoped. Under the condition that missionaries, traders and all other forms of visits to the state were banned, the country was allowed to progress as it would while being monitored from the air to ensure there was no build up of arms or weapons. Those plane flyovers quickly decreased as it became clear that the Mufti was entirely serious in his commandments. All roads leading in and out of the ISA were destroyed, and the population was ordered to move further inwards, away from the border to get as large a distance between them and the West as possible. At the beginning of the state’s existence, there were roughly 750,000 people. Roughly 30,000 would escape in the coming months (generally non-fundamentalist Sunni), mostly to Hejaz or Saba. After 1958, escapees fell to a trickle and by 1960 they were practically nonexistent. The reason was simply that already the population was thinned considerably. The total loss of fuel, food and water trade with the outside world was utterly devastating, combined with the mass movements of hundreds of thousands of people to the dead (physical and metaphorical) centre of the country. By 1960, it is estimated that 25% of the population that hadn’t escaped were already dead, mostly the very old and very young – leaving roughly 500,000 left. When they had congregated in the centre of Arabia (mostly around Buraydah, Al Kharj and Hail as Riyadh was considered cursed), the full insanity of the Mufti’s ideology was allowed to take force. By the Mufti’s decree, the Earth was flat, the sun span around it and slavery was moral. Many willing put themselves into slavery since it was the best way to ensure a meal – almost 33% of the ISA’s population were slaves by the time the state was finally put out of its misery. Any questioning of the Mufti’s rulings was taken as evidence of heresy or apostasy, with the accused being either decapitated or stoned. Girls were ordered to wear the Burka at all times outdoors, even those as young as nine years old since that was the age of consent. In the Arabian heat, with little water, many girls died from heat exhaustion, walking around in Burkas almost as heavy as them. Women who sold themselves into slavery to survive were almost invariably the victims of serial abuse and rape by their masters, eager to vent their frustrations about the misery of the situation onto their ‘property’. Girls were also forbidden from receiving all forms of education, even reading the Koran. Boys barely got much better, with education limited to the bare essentials of survival and endless study of Islamic text. Those who could speak a foreign language or wore spectacles were also executed for having been tainted with Un-Islamic ideas. The prohibition on modern technology was also upheld, with all ‘Non-Islamic Books’ (including books from Muslim scholars who disagreed with the Mufti), being banned. That did not mean books with messages considered contrary to Islam were banned, but that any book or novel not explicitly in support of Salafist Islam were banned. However, for having a book that was Non-Islamic, one only got the lash. Having a Bible got you the death penalty, but owning ‘Arabian Nights’ only gave you a few lashes. Modern agricultural practices were banned, as were any form of non-camel or horse driven transport. One woman was executed for refusing to give up a photo of her son who had died in the bombing of Riyadh, the picture being a piece of wicked Western technology that proved her unworthiness to the society. To have owned a car or a radio, even if you had lost it long ago, was more than enough reason for the religious authorities to come after you as well. Buildings were torn down that were made by modern construction methods with concrete - ironically, the buildings were often so strong that there was no way for the Luddite militias to actually bring them down, leading to darkly amusing incidences of legions of horses trying to tear down a concrete building before deciding it wasn't worth it. Others hacked away at the building with hammers until it collapsed, the buildings fallen on top of them and the local Imams blessing their 'martyrdom' in destroying a 'Non-Islamic' structure for God's glory. Yet the population still more or less willingly went along with the insanity, as if driven mad by the grief and chaos that had befallen them. The Mufti’s cult was convinced that they were purifying themselves and society by casting out all Western influence. Regardless of what they wanted, the death toll in the ISA began to grow, with whole villages being wiped out due to plagues and leprosy. All the while, the West did nothing, not wanting to absorb a brainwashed, fanatical population, especially when their own concerns about more aggressive forms of Islamism were becoming more pronounced. For all its faults, the ISA was content to leave the West alone. Of course, some in the West did not want to leave the ISA alone. There were brave journalists who managed to sneak in after having deployed helicopters to just outside an encampment and pretending to be from another village when they walked in. The stories, under the bias of Anti-Arab opinion, were cruelly turned into comedic fodder to mock Arab backwardness in Western public opinion. (“Hey, how many Arabs does it take to screw a lightbulb? Well, they had a guy – but they cut his head off.” – Bob Hope.) In Israel and Italy, the news was considered a positive relief in that there was no new threat to worry about. They had their own Islamists to deal with, and the ISA could wait. Thus, the population of the ISA was doomed to continue to suffer, their only escape being death.

    Extract from ‘The Screams of a Continent: Africa after WW2’ by Ayaan Ferguson

    The BUF had been rendered political deadweights following their massive losses in the 1957 elections, but that was only the beginning. In 1960, one of their remaining MPs, Ted ‘Kid’ Lewis (a former boxer) not only broke with the party, but disclosed countless secrets about the inner workings of the organisation. Most notable of all was the level of cooperation that existed between Mosley and the OVRA, and how Mosley went as far as changing policy in order to appease the Italians. The ‘Lewis Affair’ was reported wildly in the newspapers, with Mosley decrying them as inventions of Labour and the Tories to undermine his party. Gaitskell, holding nothing but contempt for Mosley, went straight for the throat, ordering official investigations into the BUF to determine to what extent it was a front for the Italian government – the Tories watched and did nothing, amusing themselves with Mosley’s suffering. Mosley by now realised that regardless of any official result, his life in Britain was over. On December 6th 1960, Mosley disappeared from his house, his work and indeed everywhere. A national manhunt began with claims flying back and forth of escapes, abductions and assassinations. It would not be for another week until he was found – in Salisbury … Rhodesia. Based on de-classified documents that came out in the 1990s, we now know what happened. After successfully evading detection and meeting with OVRA agents, they took a boat to France, a car to Spain and then a flight to Rhodesia. He drove through Salisbury to a rapturous ovation by local residents, who loved the Roman Alliance far more than they loved Gaitskell, who had condemned White Rule as unfit for the 20th Century. Mosley’s arrival immediately sparked an international crisis, with the Rhodesians refusing to return Mosley to Britain, arguing Gaitskell had proven Britain was unwilling to give him a fair hearing. Mosley was supported by the Rhodesian Front, a Far-Right organisation led by Italian sympathizer Ian Smith, and was given honorary Vice-Presidency of the Party, a move that made Smith the most popular native-born in the whole of White Rhodesia. His experience working with the Italians in Libya during the war convinced him that a White majority was absolutely necessary for Rhodesia’s survival, and that the old Anglo-elite could still be preserved through implementing a Fascist system of government much like the Maronites in Lebanon. He would send crowds into raptures with his speeches, saying ‘The Zambezi River shall run dry before a Rhodesian will betray a friend!’, running a campaign based heavily on Edward Carson’s Ulster movement against Home Rule in Ireland. Prime Minister Whitehead of the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Federation offered to try Mosley in Rhodesia, but Gaitskell would not hear of this. Then, Gaitskell made an infamous mistake in April when he made a national address on the ‘Rhodesia Crisis’, calling the Rhodesian Front, ‘A collection of sponging bigots’. [1] However, he forgot to clarify that he was talking about the Front, thus making listeners assume he called the Rhodesians as a whole ‘sponging bigots’. In the next meeting of the Rhodesian Parliament, the Parliamentarians wore sponges on their jackets and shirts to emphasize their disgust. In London, the Tories slammed Gaitskell for intensifying the crisis while the South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd issued a stinging note saying ‘We’d sooner die for Rhodesia a hundred times than waste our poorest pauper’s fingernail on the arrogant self-righteousness of this Labour government’. That May, a referendum was to be held in South Africa on whether to be an independent republic and pursue her own policies, particularly Apartheid, the totalitarian division of races that would blight the continent for millions – to say the least, many South Africans felt more in common with Fascist Italy than England. The Italians, Portuguese and Spanish publicly condemned Britain’s handling of the situation and offered to recognise the Rhodesians and South Africans if they so wished. Prime Minister Whitehead, now despised by many Rhodesians for not being assertive enough with Britain, was forced into elections by strikes and dissatisfaction in his own party. In March 1961, elections were held in Rhodesia with Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front winning in a landslide. Mosley became a senior member of Smith’s cabinet, thus further inflaming tensions between Salisbury and London. A referendum was called on the same day as South Africa, offering the creation of a ‘Rhodesian Republic’ to its citizens, which would be a unilateral declaration of independence. In both states, a more Presidential system was quickly established with strong executive powers. Gaitskell slammed the move, saying Britain would never recognise a referendum from a state that denied its black majority the vote, which was true in practice though Apartheid levels of explicit bigotry were avoided in text and it was theoretically possible to advance in Rhodesian society as a black person though exceedingly and deliberately difficult. Ciano quickly followed up to confirm Italy would stand by Rhodesia and ‘not allow civilization to be extinguished in the name of ‘fairness’.’

    On May 31st 1961, both Rhodesia and South Africa voted to become Republics. On June 1st 1961, both Rhodesia and South Africa became full members of the Roman Alliance. Smith and Verwoerd both became Presidents and ruled their respective nations with far more executive power than any American presidency. Though not explicitly Fascist, they were no democracies anymore. The move was met with disgust by the democratic world – even Israel refused to publicly acknowledge Rhodesia for years though working with them beneath the table. However, due to OPEP economic threats, few countries were willing to do much other than enforce weak, uncoordinated sanctions against the Rhodesian and South African regimes. As Rhodesia and South Africa continued trading through the Roman Alliance and Katanga (whose indifference to any and all trade would be their economic blessing as well as their reputational curse), the sanctions were barely noticed in Salisbury and Pretoria. Attempts to launch international sanctions against Rhodesia and South Africa in the UN were met with Italian and Turkish vetoes. Threats to expel South Africa from FIFA were stopped once Italy, Argentina and Spain threatened to pull the whole Roman Alliance out of FIFA and create their own football organisation (as well as threatening OPEP retaliation on states who stepped out of line). Though they couldn’t save South Africa from getting banned from the Olympics (with Rhodesia unrecognized), they at least avoided the gruesome fate of the Soviets, who had been banned from all international sports competitions from chess to football. The reason for Roman Alliance support of the two pariah nations was due to what had been agreed at the Salisbury Conference on August 9th 1961 (the last foreign visit Mussolini would attend personally due to declining health). After an introduction from the new Rhodesian Foreign Minister Oswald Mosley, whose appointment was made to spite the British, Smith, Mussolini, Verwoerd, Franco and Salazar planned out the coming decades in Africa. They believed that if Africa’s resources could be combined with Middle Eastern Oil, the Fascist Bloc would be economically invincible and dictate the economic direction of the world. The democracies would be cowed into submission and Communism would be at their mercy. To control Africa, they would need a series of outposts in the continent that would be so economically powerful that the surrounding African nations would have no choice but seek accommodation with them. To have those outposts, it was generally agreed that enough land was already controlled on the continent and in diverse enough areas enough to hold Africa by the throat. Therefore control had to be more fully established in those regions to make that hold absolute - to do that, more settlers were needed. Spain would ensure the colonization of the Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea, Portugal for Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, Italy for Libya and the AOI, along with Rhodesia and South Africa for their own respective states (including Namibia in the case of South Africa). All parties were convinced that with enough European settlers, they could turn Africa into their playground much as the Roman Alliance had already made playgrounds of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Rhodesia focussed on Whites from America and the Commonwealth, South Africa from Central Europe, Spain from her own country and Latin America, Portugal from Brazil, and Italy from both herself and the Balkans. By now, they knew that the West was beginning to arm African resistance movements in the Fascist states, so they knew it was a race against time to bring in as many Whites as possible before the settler states would be overwhelmed by military pressure. All present nations agreed to set a target for all their countries becoming White majority by 1990. The race was on, but there would be many strange diversions on the continent in the coming decades, such as Biafra.

    But for the British, now faced with a continent seemingly moving further and further into Mussolini’s hands, they decided that their old idea of an East African Federation (based on the French West Africa Federation) had to be resurrected, with Kenya, Taganyika, Zanzibar and Uganda united to form a single state. To her north was Italian East Africa, to her West the chaos in the Congo and in her South the Portuguese quasi-theocracy of Mozambique. Nevertheless, blessed with Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria, the Serengeti and a host of other natural wonders, the East Africa Federation was destined to become something of a vanguard state for Africans, a state that embodied a whole continent’s natural beauty, virility and desire to stand on their own two feet again. At the same time, Somaliland, considered too politically unacceptable to directly integrate into the UK for ‘obvious reasons’ according to one Home Office report, became a protectorate. In 1964, all the other remaining colonies on the African continent would be given protectorate status – Mauritius would gain independence in 1968 and the Seychelles would be annexed into the UK in 1976. Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, surrounded on all sides by the Settler states, were particularly grateful for this state of affairs. Sudan was finally given independence as state based on the Pre-1953 Lebanon model – a power-sharing commitment was made between the Black, Christian South and the Arab, Muslim North, with one of each community being given the role of Prime Minister and the other given a majority of cabinet positions, thus ensuring both groups had to work together, in theory. With that British Colonialism came to an end in Africa after more than a hundred years – now was the time to work with Africans against the forces of Fascism, even if it meant aligning with Fascists themselves …

    Extract from ‘Cowboys and Indians: A History of American-Indian Relations’ by Mitrra Rahul

    India and South China’s economic growth would be the fire that ignited an international boom period in the late fifties and early sixties across much of the world. Prime Minister Rajaji had seen double-digit growth rates every year since the Indian Civil War and was seen as a great model of development. He was extremely popular, but a rapid succession of scandals in the Indian government to do with misallocation proved his country was very much not. As a consequence, Veer Savarkar’s Mahasabha Party became the primary opposition. This terrified western observers. OPEP’s economic clout had ensured Japan, South China and the Philippines were extremely wary of challenging the Roman Alliance as the vast majority of Asia’s oil came from the Middle East. If India became an outright supporter of the Roman Alliance as was assumed in Western capitals, it was argued that the Fascists would be the strongest of the three ideological blocs on Earth. This was considered unthinkable in Downing Street and the White House, as they raced to prop up Rajaji’s government in any way they could. Though the Mahasabha did not explicitly renounce democracy, they wished to do it in a way that would bear the full might of the Hindu majority onto the Muslim minority, until the latter either broke or fled. More extremist members of the Mahasabha even argued for the complete expulsion of the Muslim population, regardless of the inevitable humanitarian disaster. Such statements usually brought riots in former Pakistan that were quickly flattened by security forces and seized upon by the inciters as evidence the Muslims had to be sent away. Though it was never the official policy of the Mahasabha Party, the images that came from the late fifties and early sixties would be their initial and ergo defining image for Western audiences. When the Mahasabha won the 1961 elections in August 1961 with Savarkar becoming Prime Minister, Time Magazine even ran the headline ‘Has Democracy Lost?’ The Roman Alliance, who knew full well that they had funded Savarkar during the Indian Civil War, rejoiced to the heavens.

    Little did anyone in the Roman Alliance realise what was happening, and indeed what would continue to happen in the coming years. Fascism would prove a victim of her own success, with its inverse image coming back to haunt them. Independence movements around the world had flirted with Socialism in their earlier years, but that mood had been destroyed by the Soviet suicide of both her moral and military reputation. With that, independence movements around the world were left in a daze. Then they looked around for the most successful ideologies they could find that could bring structure to their ideals. Malcolm Little in America would prove priceless to men all around the world suffering under Fascist rule – why not fight back against your oppressors using their tools? If Fascism works well for them, why not us? As Little once opined on the morality of replicating Fascism, “If they have guns, should we fight back with knives?” Little’s repurposing of Fascism, in particular for Africans to cherish their cultural heritage while advocating for a new world with higher ideals than democratic liberalism, would perhaps be the most important ideological invention since Fascism itself. It was equally priceless as a way to rebut charges of Communism that had traditionally been the excuse of suppressing independence movements. At the same time, they still got significant amount of aid from Western countries, especially at the dawn of the 1960s, since they remained vigorously opposed to the Roman Alliance and were content to at least ally with ITO to improve their lot. In the Congo, this would result in the Simba Rebellion successfully seizing every province of the Congo east of Bandundu by May 3rd 1962. The new state would quickly become a dictatorship under Pierre Mulele, who declared the first ‘Afro-Fascist’ state, known as ‘Zaire’, with Stanleyville as the capital and renamed as ‘Overtureville’ after the Haitian resistance leader. In a bold move, he even gave asylum to Malcolm Little, who had fled the US and hid within Haiti. In return for guarantees that Zaire would not undermine ITO, Mulele was given a free hand to incite against the Roman Alliance, in particular Portugal, the only Roman Alliance state he bordered. Little was soon put to work writing propaganda tracts denouncing the Roman Alliance and Colonialism, calling on the Black diaspora worldwide to ‘Take Back Africa!’ As alliance with such a state was PR poison to American voters, these agreements were firmly under the table – with America denouncing Little’s escape while doing little about it. A resolutely black-nationalist state, non-blacks were forbidden from owning property, voting or anything else that could affect civil life. It quickly made an intractable enemy of the Roman Alliance, who promised total obliteration if they attacked the Luba Kingdom, Katanga, or any of their colonies. As predicted due to the total embargo on Zaire, its economy collapsed and starvation reigned – that Katanga continued to trade with South Africa while not trading with Zaire made them almost as hated as the Apartheid Regime itself across much of Africa. Rwanda and Burundi, which had installed weak Pro-Belgian governments that were quickly toppled, both joined Zaire in January 1963. Though they joined an undemocratic, economically destitute state, they joined one they felt proud of. The same could not be said of the Republic of the Congo, reduced to a minor coastal enclave under constant threat of coups. After consultation with France, French Congo would annex the Republic of Congo in February 1963 – while the latter would be the name of the successor state, the capital moved to Brazzaville, and the French would call the shots within the country to ensure Zaire did not play any games – France being significantly less ingratiating of Afro-Fascism than the Anglo-Americans, who saw it as a tool to overthrow the Roman Alliance while France worried about how their own domains would fair. Kasa-Vubu slinked into retirement, his name synonymous with failure and mismanagement in the Congo region. Meanwhile in Liberia, President William Tubman began to make overtures to Zaire – though Zaire thought the Liberians too weak and capitalistic. Nevertheless, Tubman’s blistering denunciations of the Roman Alliance sent his stock soaring in Overtureville. All across Africa, and indeed the world, the oppressed were beginning to utiliise the same ideals of the oppressors – the ironic foe that European Fascism now had to contend with.

    Savarkar was the first to make the Roman Alliance truly realize what they had done. Savarkar, far from announcing friendship with Rome, declared in his inaugural speech that ‘Defiance to Europe is loyalty to India!’ After much pleading from ITO, he reluctantly remained in the Commonwealth, but that didn’t stop him from removing British Air Force bases from the country. He removed any plaque or statue commemorating a European, with the exception of General Wingate for the Indian Airlift. But Savarkar’s most astonishing move came on October 21st 1962, when his forces blockaded Portuguese India, demanding the Portuguese leave India. An international crisis was sparked, with the Iranian-Indian border becoming intensely militarized. OPEP suspended all trade with India, but the population bore it with pride. Even the Muslims of India backed Savarkar, which was unusual enough. Mussolini threatened to use missiles against India, but ITO shot right back that nuclear strikes against India would be considered an act of war against the whole bloc. This was the closest the Cool War ever came to a direct military confrontation. It was ended on Halloween 1962 when Thailand helped negotiate a payout for India to purchase Portuguese India, thus saving everyone the bother, especially Portugal who didn’t care about their Indian possessions to begin with. The action would make Savarkar a hero among many Africans, Latin Americans and Asians for his standing up against the Roman Alliance, which was considered the beating heart of all the history of colonial evils poured into one monstrous organism. For the first time, a non-white nation had stood in defiance of the whole Fascist Bloc and won. For the people of Ethiopia especially, it would prove inspiring. But the most important effect of the war would take a few months to realise. For Mussolini, the effect of the Goa Crisis had been to harm his already declining health. As time wore on, he realized that he was reaching his twilight.

    He was coming to his end.

    [1] - OTL, Harold Wilson made the mistake of calling the 1974 Anti-Sunningdale protestors in Ulster 'spongers', which went equally as well.
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    Intermission - Hungary
  • Hello to everyone, after Austria, today is the time of Hungary. With the contributes of Sorairo, enjoy!

    Extract from ‘Miracle on the Danube: the Rebirth of the Haspburg Kingdom of Hungary’, by James Scruton

    Hungary’s road to war started on August 10th of 1940, with the second Vienna Accord, where the Germans convinced Romania to cede part of Transylvania to Budapest. The conference was organized in the aftermath of the Fall of France, when the Little Balkan Entente would face collapse without the protection of the Republique; the “Kingdom without a King”, under almost 20 years of dictatorial rule from the regent Miklos Horthy, would make the second move of destabilization of the Balkans by demanding the return of Transylvania from the Romanians, already weakened by the forced cession of Bessarabia to the USSR. Until now, Hungary kept a balancing act between Italy and Germany, usually preferring the former, a World War I winner, against Yugoslavia. But after the conference of Monaco and the division of Czechoslovakia, Hungary would be granted several border territories from Slovakia from 1938 to 1939 by Germany’s will. Still, it wasn’t enough for Horthy to commit into a full alliance with Germany, as Hungary wasn’t interested in a war with Poland (or France and Britain), looking instead for southern expansionism. In this way, Italian neutrality in the new continental conflict would allow Horthy to re-approach Mussolini, against Yugoslavia. But the Duce hesitated to invade such country while France was still guaranteeing it. This indecision would force Horthy to act first, by threatening Romania. Hitler was interested in getting Romanian support to cover the southern flank of his invasion of the Soviet Union, but he needed Hungarian support as well to guarantee the supply and transit routes towards Romania. Hence, he negotiated a settlement between Romania and Hungary over the division of Transylvania. The Romanians folded afer German promises to recover Bessarabia and take more from the USSR, the Hungarians appreciated the mediation – but wanted still to have their hands free against Yugoslavia. At the end of Summer of 1940, the Kingdom of the Southern Slavs was on the verge of collapse, isolated internationally.Mussolini got from Hitler the promise to not ally with Yugoslavia or support it in any way. It would be the last meeting the two leaders would have, and despite the agreements done, the divergences between the Fuhrer and the Duce would become definitive.

    Since the assassination of King Alexander in 1934, Yugoslavia would slowly decline into a state of growing strife and divisions – especially between the Orthodox Serbs and the Catholic Croats. However, as in March of 1941 King Peter would achieve full majority, there was the hope the end of the regency could have led into some form of stability. Mussolini wasn’t intentioned to permit that: in September, the Italian backed Croat Ustacia would rise in revolt, and Italy would commence the invasion of Yugoslavia. Soon Bulgaria and Hungary would join as well, and the Kingdom would capitulate before the end of the year. At the peace table, Hungary would obtain the region of Vodjovina, better known as Banat among Hungarians. Such region was ethnically a melting pot – between Hungarian, Serbian, Croat and even German speaking communities. Such multiethnicity and the territorial contestation of the region later would bring issues to Budapest, but in 1940, the acquisition of the Banat was quite a triumph for the Horthy regime. However, at this point Hungary appeared to have exhausted its expansionist and revanchist drive. Regions and countries which until 1918 were considered part of Hungary wouldn’t be accessible: Slovakia was a German puppet, South Transylvania remained in Romanian hands, and Croatia would become an independent country under Italian protection; the latter case in particular creating if not resentment, at least distance between Horthy and Mussolini, as the regent honestly expected to carve more territories from the same Croatia. At the same time, Hungary wasn’t interested at all in supporting the invasion of Greece, not seeing the point in supporting further Italian expansionism.

    During 1941, both Italy and Germany would start to court the Balkan countries to bring them into their own alliance or sphere of influence. While Romania would turn immediately to the Germans and Bulgaria and Croatia to the Italians, Hungary was still on the fence. It didn’t help that Hungary would face a series of constant changes in its premiership, due to constant internal political infighting favoured by the same Horthy, so that the regent would remain the supreme authority in the country. However, while the general Hungarian version stated Horthy would decide in the end to join Germany in the invasion of the Soviet Union in disinterested name of anti-communism, it is often said the Regent would have received German support for a future war against Croatia. Considering the not stellar performance of the Italians in Yugoslavia, Horthy felt with the Reich’s support could have a good chance to seize the country in name of a “Greater Hungary”. But soon the war would turn for the worst, and in 1943 the German troops were on the defensive on all fronts. Horthy weighted the option to leave the war, with the hope to keep Hungary unscathed. Italy again seemed again to be a safe ally and friend that would protect the country from Soviet invasion, even guaranteeing Hungarian gains. Naturally, the dictator would believe that Hitler would be accepting of a Hungarian separate peace and disengagement, like they were fighting a conventional war – unfortunately the entire conflict was far from being conventional.

    Whatever plans Horthy had for a separate peace, the German rage for the flight of the Hungarian Jews to Italy would lead to the sudden SS invasion of Hungary the 25th of November of 1943, an event remembered in national memory as a nagy árulás napja (The Day of Great Treason). it made a strain between Hungarians and Germans that still stands today. The SS would entirely destroy Horthy’s government – arriving to assassinate the dictator himself. Today, Miklos Horthy would be considered as a controversial figure in Hungary: nationalists and patriots, often the Hungarian Right in general, hailed the man as the one who saved the country from falling into Communist rabble shortly after the restored independence, stabilized it and started a path of economic development while regaining lost lands, but falling by Hitler’s sirens only to be betrayed by the same Hitler. They would downplay his anti-Semitism – after all, his decisions saved the Jews of Hungary and gave the country a chance of redemption as well. The Hungarian Left and sincere Democrats would however counter he was still a dictator and his ambitions lead Hungary to fall. Anyway, neither the crown nor the post war governments would ever dare to denounce or demote him after his death; in Israel, for his actions he would be acknowledged as “Righteous Among the Nations”, perhaps the most controversial addition to the pantheon with the exception of Mussolini himself.

    The SS would install Ferenc Szalasi, leader of the Pro-Nazi Arrow Cross party, as new leader of Hungary, but when they discovered that the Hungarian Jews already evacuated to Italy, they would start the chain of events leading to the invasion of Italy and the battle of Trieste. Here, the Hungarian Jews able to fight would form the first core of what would be the later the Anglo-Jewish international brigade. Regarding Trieste, Hungarian historians would often portray it as a first stand of Hungarian reaction to the Great Treason and the seed of the liberation of their country, in addition for the restoration of democracy and monarchic restoration as well.

    The Hungarian liberation would be relatively fast: the SS military presence, weakened already by having lost at Trieste, would soon be overstretched. To avoid getting trapped and encircled between the Soviet hammer and the Roman Alliance anvil, they would evacuate Hungary, thus leaving Szalasi on his own. The dictator practically counted only on the Cross Arrow’s paramilitary forces, because he was hated in the eyes of almost every Hungarian, Any actual Hungarian soldier surrendered at the first sight of an Anglo-Jewish or Soviet soldier. In March, Hungary was essentially free, with Szalasi captured and killed and the Cross Arrow entirely dissolved. However, now Hungary was in a power vacuum since the Allies, essentially Britain and Italy, were uncertain about who to put at the helm of a provisional government to lead Hungary for the time being. The country was essentially a Roman Alliance occupied zone – the Croatians in the West, the Anglo-Jewish in Budapest and the Bulgarians with Romanian contribution in the East. Because the Anglo-Jewish army would soon depart to Bohemia, it was decided initially to temporally put Hungary under a Roman Alliance trust, with a joint Italian, Croat and Bulgarian military administration. Such trust, established wouldn’t last long, being already contested by the USSR at Kiev, as Stalin reclaimed the occupation of such country to be handled by the Soviets. Shortly after the Fall of Budapest, in the city came, accompanied by the Hungarian Jewish brigades, Otto of Hapsburg. There he rallied in front of the Parliament a wide crowd, stating that he finally returned to the nation as the Allies would finally remove their veto over him acceding in Hungary, offering his services to the kingdom “according to my duties and my rights.” In fact, with the preliminary Anglo-Italian negotiations at the start of 1944, Britain initially acknowledged Hungary falling under Italian sphere and protection, agreeing to restore Hapsburg rule as asset of stability for such country. As Mussolini plotted to give Otto the crown of Hungary to bar him from reclaiming the Austrian one, and believing he would have been a docile Italian ally in the country, he encountered Churchill’s blessing, twisting the French and American arms and asking to not contest such decision. De Gaulle wasn’t in a position to refuse, acknowledging that without Yugoslavia, France didn’t have anymore influence in the Balkans. The Americans, who had the occasion to briefly have contacts with Otto when he was on their side of the Atlantic, begrudgingly agreed.

    It was soon clear that Otto was intentioned to reclaim the title of King of Hungary – for Stalin and for the Soviet point, it was quite an insult as Hungary and Romania, German accomplices in the invasion of the USSR, had to fall under their judgement. At Kiev, the Soviets fought hard to prevent Hungary and Romania falling into Italian sphere and only after the general cooling down after the news of Hitler’s death negotiations would lead to a compromise over the neutralization of Hungary, and for Romania as well. Therefore, a Hungarian provisional government had to be appointed soon as possible. There was also the fact the Hungarian monarchy wasn’t abolished – not even during Szalasi’s short reign – but now there was the need to appoint a new regency as well. The Soviets wanted to abolish the monarchy, the Italians to restore the legitimate King immediately, but in the end it was agreed that the Hungarians would vote to decide if staying a Kingdom or becoming a Republic. The Italians obtained that the choice would be over the official claimant on the throne, Otto of Haspburg. Otto wouldn’t have a role in the provisional government, but obtained full permission to stay in Hungary.

    The Roman Alliance, was still the effective occupant of the country, meaning it would still have its own leverage in the immediate day-to-day administrative decisions. It would manage to impose as temporal first minister Bela Miklos, one of the few remnant Hungarian high military officers around and former later aide of Horthy, who managed to barely escape the SS purges seeking refuge in Croatia. The same Miklos would agree to create a provisional government of national unity with the reforming political parties, including the Communists. Now, the latter appeared to have an important presence in the provisional government, and open Soviet support, but it got scarce support among the Hungarians in general. The nation was still definitely on the Right, and even if rejecting the extremism of the former Arrow Cross it maintained a strong anti-communist imprint. At Potsdam, Miklos would sign the peace treaty with the Allies on four main points: 1) Cession of Slovakian and Romanian territories annexed in the last years. 2) Declaration of diplomatic international neutrality 3) War reparations essentially to the USSR 4) Military restrictions, guaranteeing Hungary the right to retain an army with limited capacities and no permission to have mass destruction weapons. About Banat, due to the on-going civil war in Serbia (who were not even attending the conference) it was decided to postpone the decision and to be discussed into the UN. The Soviets didn’t want such a region to be given to Croatia, as the Italians were initially oriented to propose, to prevent Serbia to be encircled in the case the Communists would have won there. But the Italians weren’t so inclined to return the region in Serbian hands to trigger an ulterior revanchism in the nation against them or its Balkan allies, neither to really empower Croatia too much, as Pavelic started to be too unreliable for Mussolini to be kept in line. At the same time, guaranteeing Banat for Hungary may have preserved at a correct tone Italian-Hungarian relations.

    In fact, Mussolini and Ciano after Potsdam started to make their own calculations, knowing that, if Otto would win the monarchy plebiscite, and the Right won in Hungary, such a country would be obliged in one way or another to deal with Italy and the Roman Alliance, despite their official neutrality. It was a mere geographic assessment – with Slovakia in Soviet hands, Austria in Italian ones, Croatia aligned with Rome especially after Operation Brutus, Romania landlocked and a Red Serbia to be landlocked as well, Hungarian traffic would be necessarily to pass its own goods or the imported ones through Italy or its allies (and Romania as well). The post-war Hungarian economy in fact would be in relevant part interdependent from Italian and Roman Alliance ones, and became a periodic issue in the Hungarian electoral campaigns.

    As general elections would be planned for the Spring of 1945, Otto of Haspburg would progressively find contacts and support with the Centre-Right political forces, in particular the Independent Smallholders, Agrarian Workers and Civic Party (FKgP). Its charismatic leader, Zoldan Tildy, after a series of meetings with Otto, would agree to support the Hapsburg Restoration. He acknowled the restored monarchy as a matter of internal stability, passing over the lingering concerns in part of the same party and of Hungary too to favour the Austrian born, legitimated claimant to the crown of Saint Stephen rather than electing a native noble. But the same Hungarian nobility was rather favourable to Otto, also because a contested claim would have only favoured the republicans and therefore the Communists; also, when it was clear that Austria would remain a republic, Otto would have no choice to act as king of Hungary only, and with the fact he was still unmarried, his potential future heirs could have been properly “Magyarized”. Considering that Otto gave proper reassurances to not be an “Austrian” ruler for Hungary, with the support of the Hungarian Jews, many returning in their country, and the Catholic Church, in the elections of the 18th of March the Pro-Monarchists would secure victory, and the FKgP securing a overwhelming victory as well with almost the 60%. The Communists wouldn’t’ even reach 15% of the votes; the Socialdemocrats (MSZDP) wouldn’t fare much better, and the left agrarianists and the liberals would divide the remnant 10% of the votes.

    So, the first Hungarian Diet proclaimed Otto of Haspburg-Lorraine King of Hungary, crowned solemnly in Budapest the 1st April, Easter day, while Tildy will become first minister of a now democratic Kingdom of Hungary, while starting the political hegemony of the FKgP on the country. Acknowledged by the West and the Italians, and by the Soviets as well, the new King and his first minister would soon sign the final peace provisions, which would enable the Roman Alliance retreat from all Hungarian territory – included Banat. However as part of the provisions, Banat would initially declared demilitarized because of the uncertain status of Serbia and the fate of the region had yet to be decided. Tildy’s government would take its first steps in rebuilding the country, and to reconcile it – above all, between the Hungarian Jews and the rest of the Hungarians. Laws against anti-Semitism would be implemented, Otto would praise the courage of the Hungarian Jews, financial compensations would be established. Effectively, the general Hungarian mindset would turn more favourable to the Jewish community, as after the nagy árulás napja and Trieste their act of resistance was welcomed as an act of national pride almost as much in Budapest as Tel Aviv. Besides, the community would remain a significant demographic force in Hungary, with nowhere near as much emigration as characterised other Jewish communities. Indeed the number of Jews in modern Hungary is actually higher than in 1946, with new additions from the dispersed Austrian community and those escaped from the USSR. Up to today, Budapest has the second largest amount of Jews of any Eastern European city, the first being the Ladino speaking Solun. Tildy and Otto had other reasons to keep good relations with the Hungarian Jews – the national army was mostly destroyed in the insane war with the USSR, Germans, and its remnants swept by the Roman Alliance. The government would therefore rely on the Hungarian divisions of the Anglo-Jewish army and an important amount of the high officers of the Hungarian Royal Army would be Jews. This would allow later a profitable military exchange between Hungary and Israel, and mutual cooperation on successive crisis such as the Arabian wars.

    Diplomatically, Hungary would start to make its first treaties with Austria and Romania. An agreement with Vienna was necessary as most of Hungarian traffic would necessarily pass through the Alpine country. Pushed by Italian intermediation with Rome interested in commercial Balkan movements to drag them towards Italy rather than Germany, still Austria and Hungary would see each other with a certain degree of suspicion because of a Hapsburg official claiming the Austrian throne currently sitting on the Hungarian one. The issue created some anxiety in certain Viennese circles, because if the idea of an Austro-Hungarian unification wasn’t totally abandoned, a reversed unification (with Hungary as the major partner of such union) was essentially abhorred. There was also a contention over certain Austrian properties the Hapsburg would have tried to reclaim, such as minor castles or the family tomb in the Capuchin monastery in Vienna (the Hofburg and Schonbrunn were cautiously left unclaimed) which would last for decades, while Otto managed to achieve an agreement with Italy over the return of the castle of Miramare in Trieste to his family in exchange of a generous contribute to the reconstruction of the city.

    With the return of the monarchy in Hungary, the rather vivacious nobility returned in the country, becoming supportive of their new king. The ones who managed to make fortune or preserve it in Paris or in America or else, or married with the local bourgesoise, would bring important financial contributes and foreign investments which would boost the economic situation of the kingdom. There was also the silent hope that Otto, still unmarried, may marry a Hungarian to strengthen his position among his new subjects, despite his mother Zita having other ambitious plans. Excited to see her son regaining at least one of his legitimate crowns, the new Queen Mother of Hungary wanted a spouse with a proper degree – and Otto was certainly the most sought bachelor in the eyes of European nobilty at the time.

    However, the search of a proper bride would prove quite difficult: she would have to been Catholic and of Royal blood, at least in the eyes of Zita, but above all from a country which wouldn’t have been seen hostile by the Hungarians, or avoid suspicions to favour a certain nation rather than other. A German choice was excluded almost immediately, because with a sitting king of German Austrian descent, it was already enough for the Hungarians - besides anti-German sentiments were too strong in the country. Dismissing the option of Mafalda di Savoia, the Soviets barred it since an Italian candidature could form eventual Italian influence. A Bourbon choice, offered issues as well. The Spanish branches were indeceisive because while Franco proclaimed the restoration of the monarchy, he didn’t declare who would be the restored king – while officiously it was supposed to be Juan Carlos, the Caudillo didn’t make a final declaration, as he considered other eventual claimants to the title to see who could be the most malleable to his will. And, for such claimants, an eventual union with a liberal democratic King was seen more as a liability than an asset. As for the French branches, it didn’t help them that De Gaulle, since it was debated if the French monarchy would be restored just like the German, stated that France would never repudiate its republican values - even in a Europe where monarchism was returning in vogue almost everywhere and where monarchies would essentially surround France. The General’s reaffirmation of Republican France was necessary to not concede ground to the leftist opposition over a subject that was more felt than expected in the Transalpine country. As De Gaulle was often accused of overextending his authority over the executive during his first presidency, especially in foreign and colonial matters in a way often accused to being “Cesarist” or even “Bonapartist”, insinuations over his real and future intentions were a recurrent motif on the Left, especially the communists. De Gaulle had to reaffirm his republican loyalty and democratic commitment against the leftist coalition, but also he had the need to trounce the Right’s lingering French monarchic sentiments. Even if Action Francaise was disbanded and its leader Maurras kept under arrest till 1951 (dying not much later), the monarchists attempted to reorganize, but were too divided and discredited by the past anti-Semitic stance. De Gaulle wasn’t interested to the bridal choice of Otto – but a marriage within the French branch of the Bourbons was certainly seen with some irritation in Paris, and the General made sure to let know such possible irritation to Budapest.

    Attempts to find a proper Hungarian bride were made as well, but for the times, the choices were thin. The most notable attempt, and also the more desperate, was contacting count Mihaly Karloyi, of the highest Hungarian noble breed, who had two daughters in marriageable age, but with a relevant past as socialist supporter (he was the first president of the Hungarian People’s republic). In exile since the beginning of the Horthy regime, he was approached with an offer – full honours restored and a return to Hungary without issues, in exchange for the hand of one of his daughters to Otto, but Karloyi refused publicly. With the Hungarian Communists hailing his stern refusal, at least the court would be able to assuage Hungarian nobility and most of the public opinion over the impossibility to make a local match, hence removing lingering obstacles to a foreign Queen, at least for the current generation.

    In the end, an adequate choice was found – Infanta Maria Adelaide of Braganza, youngest half-sister of Nino Duarte, restored king of Portugal. In 1944, she was in Austria, where she was a nurse who sympathized with local antagonists of the regime; the Gestapo planned her arrest, prevented in extremis by the Valkyrie coup. When the Italians occupied Austria, her brother brought her to Switzerland. Shortly after the conference of Kiev, Duarte Nino was contacted by Portuguese diplomats, as Salazar believed the time for a monarchic restoration in the country was coming, at least after the passing or the resignation of President Carmona. The Duke of Braganza accepted immediately the offer of the dictator, travelling to Lisbon with his wife Francisca and with Maria Adelaide, as soon the exile laws were repealed and Salazar forced the hand of Carmona in accepting the return of the Royal family, then his resignation in 1949, opening the path to the coronation of Duarte Nino. The new king convinced her sister, who in Austria had a relation with a Dutch doctor, to break free and accept a proposal arrived from the Royal court in Hungary. Being half German by mother’s side, and speaking German, she was surely a proper match for Otto; her history of underground opposition to the Nazis making her sufficiently acceptable in the Kingdom while coming from a Fascist monarchic nation. Portugal was considered the more innocuous member of the Roman Alliance, hence it was a match which didn’t antagonize the Soviets to a sufficiently terrible degree. The union was celebrated in Budapest in 1951, the Kingdom being in a cheerful mood, seeing stability and recovery after the past turbulent years. The Royal couple would have five children: Marie Therese (1952), crown prince Karoly (1954), Elizabeth (1956), Zita (1957) and Istvan (1961). While the Hapsburg monarchy rebuilt itself in Budapest, and Tildy governed the country, the Leftist opposition, led by the communists who were led themselves by the determined and charismatic Matyas Rakosi. Rakosi, defeated in 1945 but undeterred to let the Communists succeed in Hungary, was intentioned to reorganize the MKP for future elections, biding his time. However, the Communist victory in Serbia and the Croatian-Serbian war, which would affect Hungary, would mark the beginning of the end of the Hungarian Communists. When Tito proclaimed the birth of the Socialist Republic of Serbia, in Budapest many believed with such a ‘stabilization’, the issue of Banat may be coming to a head. It was a decision that certainly divided the Hungarian politics; the FKgP was oriented to preserve the control of the region, despite not having many cards at their disposal, whereas the Communists were more favourable. Though not stating it publicly, several aides of Rakosi would later report that with Tito’s victory and Soviet support, the revolution might have been exported in Hungary without the Roman Alliance doing anything. Rakosi didn’t expect that while the Roman Alliance wouldn’t intervene, Croatia would do so alone, triggering the Croat-Serbian War. The chaos erupting in former Yugoslavia would directly affect Banat, already pressured by Serbian refugees escaping from the Communist regime, and then facing a South Slavic migration crisis, especially from Bosniacs – regardless of their culture, many prefered to cross the Danube and the Drava to stay in a region that turned hostile on them, between the Croatian Ustacias and the Serbian Communists.

    To make worse the situation, the Soviets would establish, with the help of the MKP, a supply line through Hungary, to the chagrin of the Italians, who started to press the Tildy government to put a halt or at least restrictions over such traffic. But the First Minister hesitated: not because he supported the Serbians, but because of the tricky implications of the peace treaty and the Hungarian neutrality; could Hungary stop Soviet supplies going through its territory and could Moscow take it out on them? Also, the government’s military and police were still partially understaffed and weakened - also divided between keeping order in Banat and watch the Slovakian border. Considering that the Communists used the war to cause further social tension, Tildy couldn’t afford to take false steps. Otto I would manage through his authority and decision to tour his Kingdom to keep up the pretence of quiet and order, but failed in reaching some form of understanding with Rakosi, who would remain hostile to the Crown. Fortunately for Tildy, the successful Italian intervention against Pavelic, the call of the truce in the Serbian-Croat War, and peace negotiations would allow him to get a seat for Hungary in such talks, and barter a suitable adjustment over Banat. Because the Soviets obtained the right to protect Serbia with its own divisions, albeit limited in number, such troops would necessarily have to pass through Hungary or Romania. Because the Romanians would not offer to allow transit of Soviet troops on their lands, the Hungarians would openly allow it in exchange for reassurances over their own safety and the definitive status of Banat. Despite Serbian chagrin, the USSR would acknowledge administration of Banat to Hungary, as long Hungarian neutrality would allow Soviet controlled transit rights to Serbia and vice-versa, with a proper trade and supply agreement as well. Tildy also obtained, at least at words, the Soviet promise to not meddle further in Hungarian internal affairs through the MKP. The agreements weren’t the best ones possible, because it would force the Hungarian military and police to keep constant track of the Soviet movements in their country, but Tildy would claim now to have preserved Hungarian ownership of Banat and gained more safety from Soviet threats, and more international respect as well. The Hungarian people would also generally appreciate the deal, as the 1947 Spring administrative elections would comfortably the Smallholders on the top, even if registered a small increase of support towards the Left.

    Rakosi, even if the end of the Serbian-Croat Crisis gave Hungary a more placid internal situation, believed he had a serious chance to win against the FKgP, trying to build up a coalition with the Socialdemocrats and the Left Agranianists to be able to defeat the Smallholders party. He might have managed to succeed in the long term, as the FKgP was far from being compact under Tildy’s leadership, but the nuclear massacre of Warsaw created indignation in Hungary not less than in other nations. To make things worse, Rakosi, as loyal supporter of Stalin, would arrive to defend the Soviet operation in Poland to the faithful, and his handlers. Sensing the chance to give a deadly blow to the Communists, Tildy would call for snap elections for the Spring of 1948, which ended in a triumph for the FKgP which gained a supermajority in the Diet, while the combined Left wouldn’t even pass the 25% mark - hence together going worse than in 1945. This would end further alliances between all the Hungarian left, with the Socialdemocrats breaking up with the Communists.

    As the Socialdemocrats would soon reposition themselves on more traditional Socialist ideologies, the Communists would soon enter into crisis, as Rakosi’s Stalinist line started to be contested in the party. Rakosi would retain control of the party for the early 1950’s, until word of the Soviet Holocaust hit the world. Rakosi initially refused to believe it, condemning it as a great falsehood – a statement that had some weight as Rakosi was of Jewish heritage. On November 1st 1952, he was found hanged in his office with a suicide note detailing his internal torture at the knowledge of what was happening in Russia- though conspiracy theories exist implicating Stalin or Mussolini or the Mossad, evidence indicates it really was due to the revelations of what was happening in Russia. With Rakosi died what little was left of Hungarian Communism. Members moved towards the Social Democrats, the left Agranians, or creating their own movement; the most significant case being Imre Nagy, promoter of a more liberal policy. Nagy would abandon the party in protest with Rakosi, to then joining the Socialdemocrats, placing within the liberal center of it. As the Socialdemocrats tried to find a fitting leadership, Nagy would be able to take control of the party and reform it, opening it to more liberal democratic principles and also on a more conciliatory stance towards the crown. His progressive yet more liberal political agenda, would manage to bring gains for the Socialdemocrats in the elections of 1956, where they became the major opposition party, and the FKgP for the first time would not achieve the absolute majority in terms of total votes, albeit retaining the parliamentary majority in the Diet.

    1956 would be an important year for Hungary as well economically, because it would register for the first time a yearly economic growth index beyond the 6%, in line with the Western European economic growth, keeping it till 1960, when would dip down around 5% but keeping a constant growth. With Hungarian industry benefitting of the 1950’s conflicts, and internal stability achieved, the country would proceed to enter into a period of prosperity and better spread social welfare and wealth, inaugurating the period known as “Hungarian Spring”. This incipient prosperity will also lead to newfound successes in sportive endeavours, and a more vivacious cultural development across the country, with Budapest becoming the centre of such activities.

    With the release of the first “Sissi” movie in Hungary still in 1956 - and above all the second the next year, more focused on the Hungarian situation –the kingdom would soon have a nostalgic sentiment towards those times of a “Hungaria Felix” during Haspburg rule. Soon came books, movies, theatre plays, paintings and other artistic forms based on that age, which would take the name of Neo-Mitteleuropeanism, which would see its golden age in the 1955-65 decade. Such influence would extend to Austria, Croatia, Czechia, and even Communist Slovakia and the Italian North-East, especially in Slovenia and Trieste – practically the former Haspburg Empire itself. Of course, such kind of “nostaliay” was rejected by the Italian establishment, especially by the Minculpop, refusing any potential triggers of unification through federation of sort of the Danubian basin – an idea which wasn’t totally rejected in certain circles of Budapest and Prague. To add to the gaiety, Hungary’s Magnificent Magyar football team would win the 1958 World Cup, defeating Brazil 3-1.

    Not all was good in Hungary: the economic growth wouldn’t bring benefit to all the nation equally, as Banat would remain a more underdeveloped region due to periodic tension with Serbia, Tito arrived to nationalize every kind of river boat built, and established a motorcade patrol (pompously called the “Serbian People’s Navy”) around Belgrade, and with that arriving to bar navigation on the Danube from both Serbian sides, with not so infrequent gunfights and incidents. Serbia wouldn’t acknowledge the Hungarian occupation of Banat nor made diplomatic moves to search for an agreement with Hungary. Nonetheless, ten years after the end of WW2, Hungary found a new balance in its fresh democratic institutions with the Haspburg monarchy restored. Despite all odds, its neutrality would prove to be a source of refound strength and prestige, as well as being the seat of several diplomatic conferences…”
    Strong Enough to be Free
  • 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.

    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.

    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 he needed Western non-commital. 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 what was named the Mussolini 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 - the El Alamein Canal would soon have it’s name changed to the Balbo Canal. 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.
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    The Third World Fights Back
  • The Third World Fights Back

    Extract from ‘The Screams of a Continent: Africa after WW2’ by Ayaan Ferguson

    As the 1960s went on, the fighting in Africa began to pick up. New waves of immigration were beginning to move in, especially to the Portuguese regions. In 1964, a military coup was attempted in Brazil against Left-wing President Goulart, under suspicion of his being a Communist-sympathizer by elements of the military and landed elite. The coup was funded and supported by the Roman Alliance, hoping to swing a UN Veto state in their favour. Goulart was rescued by vocal American support and even air strikes called in by the President, which terrified enough of the plotters into giving up. The failed coup would gut the Brazilian Right, which was now seen by much of the population as disloyal and traitorous. Goulart decried the Roman Alliance in his return address as a consortium of gangsters, expelling the Italian Ambassador. Italy, describing attempts by Goulart to compare it to the Mafia as ‘Anti-Italian racism’, responded by ordering an OPEP boycott which devastated the Brazilian economy. This led to a gigantic brain drain that the country still feels the effect of even today. The landed elite, more religious and entrepreneurs in Brazil would leave, overwhelmingly to Angola and Mozambique, where Portugal promised free land. Goulart would closely align with Savarkar in India and support the Afro-Fascists more so for their contempt of the Roman Alliance than any ideological alignment. In the 1966 World Cup in England, Italy and Brazil would meet in the quarterfinals in a match so infamous that it was called ‘The Battle of Liverpool’. The match more resembled a military conflict, with the Italians taking turns to regularly racially abuse the black Brazilian players, which instigated multiple fights on the pitch. Multiple players on both teams were injured. Two players on both teams were sent off as fists went flying. Though Italy won, it was so weakened from injuries and suspension that they were easy meat for the English hosts in the semifinals, leading to the final where England would ultimately win. The new immigrants to Portuguese Africa were much needed educated types, with most white immigrants to the region being undereducated peasants whose only virtue was having an absurd amount of children (a fertility rate of 6 compared to 5 for the native Africans). White Mozambicans had significantly worse education on average than the Whites of any other settler state, with many barely getting a rudimentary primary-school education. This sometimes led to astonishing squalor that was ironically seized upon by the Roman Alliance to ‘prove’ that Whites were not treated any better in their states than Blacks. Angola was soon destined to be a prime destination for Right-Wing Brazilians that felt unwelcome at home, with Luanda even having its own Carnaval to rival Rio. The Church kept its monolithic grip on society, with its insistence on having Africans being ordained as priests and let into the inner-circle of the local elite being treated as gospel by Salazar despite South Africa’s misgivings.

    In South Africa, the response to the Goa Crisis was swift. President Verwoerd ordered the total expulsion of the Indian population from South Africa, as they were ‘agents of an enemy state’. They were overwhelmingly deported to India by the middle of 1963, slightly increasing the white minority’s demographic hold. The move was seen as inflammatory by Rome but it had little repercussion – even India was secretly pleased that it could boost the number of Hindus in Kashmir, which was where they were sent. More important was the system of Apartheid and how it was complicated by the Roman Alliance having multiple Non-White states in their midst. To that end, the status of ‘Honorary White’ was created to try and square the circle. Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Kingdom of Saba citizens would be the first to be so declared. Turks, North Egyptians, the Druze, Alawi, Lebanese and Iranians were to be considered Whites period. However, while Honorary White status could get you in the country for tourism or business, immigration was explicitly reserved for Whites. At the same time, Honorary White status would sometimes reach ludicrous extremes, such as an arrival of Katangan Mining Executives to Pretoria to discuss the issue of mining for the Uranium that would power South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons. The Black Katangan businessmen were given slips that declared them ‘Honorary Whites’, with their being protected by Italian mercenaries. The fiasco was so embarrassing that by 1970 all reference to ‘Whites’ had been replaced by ‘Settlers’, though the meaning remained obvious. Despite all its contradictions and international infamy, that both South Africa and Rhodesia could trade freely with the Roman Alliance ensured not only that both states could economically survive, but also due to their immense material resources, actually thrive. They had the highest growth among the settler states and significantly higher rates of immigration, although that had ironically become a problem. Rhodesia had heavily advertised in the American South to disaffected, poor Whites that in Rhodesia they could still have a place at the table. Tens of thousands of American Southerners would move to Rhodesia in the 1960s, but quickly became reviled among the population. The Southerners, bitter after the American Troubles, were phenomenally racist, even in the opinion of the native Rhodesians. They would sometimes attack Blacks at random, made public nuisances of themselves and badly damaged race relations within Rhodesia. When it was announced that a Rhodesian division of the Ku Klux Klan had been formed, Prime Minister Smith had finally had enough, sending the army in to arrest the Klan leaders and deport them to America where they were tried for membership of a terrorist organisation. American immigrants were forced to go through mandatory ‘Cultural courses’, to explain to them that just because Rhodesia was obviously preferential to Whites did not mean they could raise hell. American immigrants protested about these ‘discriminatory practices’ without sense of irony. All the same, in both South African and Rhodesia, the White share of the population continued to rise, though the Brazilian and Indian backed Afro-Fascists, such as Robert Mugabe in Rhodesia, were continuing to gain steam.

    With respect to Nuclear Weapons, the 1960s would see three new nuclear states come into being, with a substantial number moving closer and closer to that day. On June 2nd 1964, twenty years after the liberation of Auschwitz, Israel publicly detonated its first Nuclear Weapon in the Wadi Rum Desert. Roughly a year later, South China would likewise test its first Nuclear Weapon. In 1969, just before the decade was through, India would be able to create its own as well. At the same time, work was going on behind the scenes to extend that yet further. In the Roman Alliance, both Spain and South Africa anxiously raced to create a nuclear weapon, the former to restore their pride as the official Number Two in the Roman Alliance and the latter to ensure the eternal survival of their Apartheid system. Katanga made sure to squeeze them for every cent for the Uranium they were so rich in. Balbo was not pleased with either project but did not want to rock the boat when there was a serious war afoot in Africa, and not just in Ethiopia.

    In 1967, after years of discrimination against the primarily Christian Igbo people in Biafra, there was an uprising by the minority to declare independence in the south of Nigeria. This followed a series of coups and counter-coups in Nigeria, with pogroms so intense that it’s estimated 100,000 Igbo were murdered in 1966, half of them children. Under command of Colonel Ojukwu in Enugu, the south launched an uprising against the Nigerian government that successfully cleared out Biafra of Nigerian federal forces. They also declared a Republic of Benin in the neighboring, ethnically mixed province to stop Non-Igbo residents in the region from aligning against them. Nigeria was a member of the Commonwealth and a British protectorate, as well as awash in offshore oil – the British had no interest in surrendering it so easily. To that end, both the British and Nigerian navies closed off Biafra from the outside world by quickly launching a blockade. But one thing Biafra did have going for it was help. Colonel Ojukwu, cognizant of the need to appease the Roman Alliance to fulfill his ambitions, publicly decried ‘The Fraud of Pan-Africanism’ as a way of suppressing the unique culture of the Igbo minority beneath a generic label of ‘Africa’. His defence of his own ethnic group against the racial collectivism of Pan-Africanism was widely reported. “They tell us to hate the White Man – yet they tell us to love the people who burn and starve our children. They tell us to hate those who would help us and love those who would harm us,” said Ojukwu in what has become one of the most famous and divisive speeches in African history. Naturally, this quickly determined the sides of the conflict, with Zaire and Liberia both openly condemning Biafra as ‘Race-Traitors’. The accusation was met with outrage in Biafra, making Ojukwu’s subsequent actions far more understandable. He would secretly travel to Spanish Guinea to meet with representatives of the Settler States. In return for membership of the Roman Alliance and OPEP, as well as a pledge of silence on the race issue in Rhodesia and South Africa, the Roman Alliance agreed to pay for scores of mercenaries both White and Black. Katanga, Italy and South Africa had more than enough mercenaries for the task. France also supported the Biafrans to undermine the Pan-Africanists, thus allowing an unhindered string of supplies to enter Biafra and relieve the starvation that had infested the country. The Nigerians proved no match for the battle-hardened mercenaries, who quickly punched a hole in the line of the federal troops with the Biafran troops following in from behind. On April 20th, mercenaries entered the suburbs of Lagos, forcing the central government to flee north. Due to the Roman Alliance airlift, the Biafrans had not only endured their lack of supplies but had won the PR war in Britain as well. The British public were increasingly mortified by the tales of starvation coming out of Biafra and broadly sympathized with the objectives of the rebels. In 1962, Hugh Gaitskell had lost the election to MacMillan’s Conservative Party on the issue of Rhodesia and South Africa – now MacMillan’s successor in Alec Douglas-Home, who had taken over in 1966 due to a series of government scandals, was faced with more protests over Britain’s role in Africa from both the Left and Right. With Nigeria at risk of total collapse, Douglas-Home agreed to throw in the towel on British support. Without British support, Nigeria reluctantly agreed to a truce themselves on April 28th 1968. In the final treaty, Biafra indeed became an independent, Roman Alliance state that was in OPEP, though ‘The Benin Republic’ (as the new state would be named to avoid confusion with the other Benin, named ‘The Republic of Benin’) would remain neutral. Biafra would soon join the list with Katanga for Africa’s most despised country among the continent’s native nationalists, but the Biafrans were more than happy with that so long as they were independent. Replete with oil wealth, they would be a great fit into OPEP, increasing the organisation’s already considerable power. The remainder of Nigeria, now overwhelmingly Muslim and devoid of the oil that was its great chance of growth, was convulsed by a series of de-habilitating Islamist revolts. ‘The Benin Republic’ would be the only democracy to emerge from the chaos, with Biafra being a Fascist dictatorship. With Biafra joining the Roman Alliance, the first Black-run state in the organisation, the Luba Kingdom officially joined as well at the end of 1968. Of course, Katanga continued to do business with the Settler States while never formally declaring for them in a way much like Israel, a position that would make it extremely important in the 70s and 80s.

    But of course, there could be no discussion about Colonial Wars in Africa without mentioning the big one: Ethiopia. While Libya attracted many Italians, was relatively affluent and the locals were basically integrated, the same could not be said of Ethiopia. It closer resembled Hearts of Darkness than Libya. The settlers were only the most scavenging and base, the economy run by a series of Italian corporations and state enterprises that created a system little better than forced servitude. It was a common sight for managers to beat – even occasionally kill - their workers and any of them not being open racists was considered miraculous. The Ethiopians were just as abused by Eritrean and Somalian soldiers as they were any native Italian. The Beta Israeli minority had overwhelmingly left to Israel as the conditions were so appalling – Israel accepting them as a favour to the Italians to increase their demographic stranglehold on the country. By the mid 60s, roughly 15% of Ethiopia was settler, overwhelmingly concentrated closer to the borders of Eritrea and Somalia. The spark for deeper Italian involvement in Ethiopia came on May 17th 1965, when a mine just outside Addis Abba collapsed killing fifty Ethiopian workers. There had been warnings for months that the mine was not stable, but Italian managers ignored it. Their deaths began a nationwide strike by Black laborers initially demanding better work conditions but soon expanding the demands to include representation in government, allowing unions to operate freely and if those demands could not be met then to give Ethiopia independence. The terms were thrown in the garbage before Balbo had even finished reading the letter. In the name of ‘restoring safety to the Italian settler population’, the tanks rolled in to Addis Abba. What they didn’t expect was for it to take a week to pacify the city, as it went up in flames. The tenacity of the Ethiopians was far more intense than the Italians expected, with weapons far more advanced than what had been seen before. It would later turn out that Indian and Brazilian money had paid for American and British guns being funneled through Sudan and the EAF (East Africa Federation) into the waiting hands of the Ethiopians. In response, the Italians began a system of formal segregation, dividing the city clearly along racial lines with the Ethiopian side living under an even more severe for of Jim Crow segregation as opposed to the 'Settlers'. It would be on November 2nd 1965, thirty-five years after a certain coronation, that news came that stunned the Italians, Ethiopians and the whole world - Haile Selassie made a speech in Overtureville in Zaire, commanding Ethiopians to rise up against the Italians 'In the name of Africa'. When Balbo finished watching the video, he reportedly told Ciano, "I don't know which of us will own Ethiopia at the end of it, but one thing's for sure - whoever wins it won't have much of an Ethiopia left".

    Extract from 'After Aflaq: The Middle East 1957 - 1980' by Roberto Colombo

    As the 60s ground on, the Middle East was slowly coming back to itself. North Egypt had fully joined the Roman Alliance and moved increasingly away from its Southern neighbor. They were soon the beneficiaries of a certain percentage of the Hydropower created from the Balbo Canal, which greatly aided reconstruction in Alexandria. By now, the first serious amounts of Italian and Israeli tourism were coming into the country and the effect was becoming noticed in terms of the resurging economy. Lebanon likewise had become fully integrated with the Fascist economies, being included on the famous Rome-Jerusalem railway that was finished in October 1967 to mark the 45th Anniversary of the March on Rome. Balbo took the first train all the way from Rome, across the Dardanelles, through Beirut and into Mussolini Station in Jerusalem. Lebanon was raised to a Balkan-Europe standard of living by 1970 if by no other reason than necessity. South Iran had gone one better and had a living standard almost the equal of Italy herself. These were the main success stories of the Middle East, though others continued to trundle along. The Arab Federation (the name given to the conglomerate of British territories remaining in the Middle East with the exception of thoroughly punished Oman) had reluctantly combined their resources in the face of Roman Alliance domination and had become important partners of ITO in the region. As more and more of the world’s oil was in the stranglehold of the Fascists, any non-Fascist, non-Communist partner was looked on kindly.

    Of course, the main problem was the Islamist one. In South Egypt, it took the Muslim Brotherhood’s attack on British servicemen in Cairo in 1964 to have Whitehall seriously commit to exterminating the organisation. Successfully appealing for ITO support (mostly because the organisation wanted to show Balbo that they were a force to be reckoned with), British, French, American and Japanese troops came to the country to work alongside the South Egyptian military. Japan was determined to show its military potential after their loss in WW2 and the other states were glad to let someone else take the slack. Qutd mocked the deployment as ‘Useless against the will of God’. Against the combined Air Force of ITO however, his organisation was indeed the one made useless. Cut off from their suppliers across the Red Sea in Hejaz by the combined ITO fleets, it was only a matter of time before the Brotherhood was faced with serious existential crisis. By early 1965, the entire Nile Basin was declared secure and the first moves were made to crush those forces deeper in the desert, which was declared secure in 1966. With French help given their experience in obliterating the FLN in Algeria, both the Italians and British jointly cleared out Cairo of any serious Brotherhood threat. Qutd was captured in January 1967 as he attempted to cross Sudan into Zaire. Qutd assumed he would have a common ally with the Zaire government in their opposition to the West – he was swiftly taken out of his delusions when Zairian government handed him over to the East African Federation who swiftly handed him back to the British and South Egyptians. Qutd was put on trial but denied the last pleasure he wished for – martyrdom. Instead, he was placed in solitary confinement in jail for the rest of his life, a jail specifically made for him where he could talk to one nor promote his message. The prison guards employed to watch over him were Shiite to ensure that he would never corrupt them with religious invocation. Qutd was condemned to life imprisonment from which he would never escape except in insanity. The months of solitary confinement sent him insane by the end of 1967. He would perish a gibbering wreck on August 16th 1975.

    When it came to the Ikhwan, the influx of Turkish troops into the Kingdom of Hejaz would be the beginning of a prolonged, brutal insurgency with the high point of suffering being when almost 40% of the country’s population were living in concentration camps to minimize the area of operation for the insurgents. Even still, some of the Ikwhan’s worst atrocities would happen both there and abroad. The worst included bombing buses frequented by Western tourists, attacking El Al stations in airports around Europe and even successfully managing to detonate bombs on the Paris Underground in January 1966, killing thirty people and fully committing France’s President Pompidou (De Gaulle’s successor after his resignation in 1965) into the effort. But it was the siege of St. Peter’s that would send Italy fully into the conflict.

    On April 10th 1966 (Easter Sunday), members of the Ikhwan stormed St. Peter’s Basilica, killing several of the Swiss Guard and ultimately taking Mass takers within the chapel hostage (including the Pope). They even smashed the Pieta of Michaelangelo, which was painstakingly rebuilt once the situation was mended, and desecrated many of the tombs while demanding the release of all Ikhwan prisoners around the world. The event stunned the entire international community, with even the Soviet Union (especially Malenkov) issuing a rare formal denunciation of the Ikhwan. The world in its millions prayed for the safety of the Pope and the other people who had been taken. The Easter Hostage Crisis was a heavy load upon Balbo, who had always been dismissive of the internal terror threat that Italy had faced from Islamists, focusing all his energies into Berlinguer’s Socialists. He would always consider the Crisis to be ‘My Goa’, in reference to Mussolini’s duel with India. Finally, after four days of negotiation, Balbo ordered Italian Special Forces to storm St. Peter’s in conjunction with the Swiss Guard, who came down. Romans watched aghast as gunshots and explosions rang out in the Home of the Holy. When the chaos was over, all but two of the fifty Ikhwan troops were dead, three of the Italian paratroopers were dead and about ten of the hostages had died as well. As the Pope had ultimately survived the exchange, the world rejoiced and quickly forgot about those who had died in the fighting. The Folgore (the Paratrooper division of Italy, meaning ‘Lightening’) would soon become the most revered force in all of Italy for its televised role in the saving St. Peter’s. The international news media watched with stunned amazement at the speed and efficiency of the Italian effort, which would become a good lesson for British forces in Northern Ireland and Cyprus in the coming years. Balbo had survived the crisis and proceeded to move his attention away from the Socialist to the Islamists. He also ruthlessly reformed Italian internal security given its disastrous performance in preventing tragedies like the Easter Hostage Crisis. “I was one Pope away from an uprising,” he would reportedly tell President Pompidou. After the Vatican II Reforms, the Church had a much more troubled relationship with the Fascists, with Evola demanding it be used to clamp down on the institution. However, international sympathy in the aftermath of the Crisis forced Balbo to stay clear of any conflict.

    Ultimately the Italians, who were more used to this sort of guerilla warfare, trained the Turks on how to deal with the menace in the Hejaz region. Once that was done, only then did serious results start to come to fruition. The streets of Hejaz soon became relatively safe to walk along and international terrorist attacks fell off a cliff – but Bin Laden remained missing. That was finally put to bed in 1968 when a traffic cop in Sudan pulled over a car with a man in the back that he swore looked awfully like Bin Laden. After almost refusing to tell his superior out of embarrassment, his report was pushed up the chain of command and further intelligence work was undertaken. Prime Minister Douglas-Home was then informed of a likely hideout (a pleasant apartment complex outside of Khartoum) and subsequently ordered the SAS to make the hit. They landed and proceeded to clear out the complex one by one. Bin Laden attempted to run and escape by going to the basement to reach an underground escape route but he tripped on the stairs and broke his neck going down. This somewhat embarrassing way to go marked the end of the Ikhwan as a serious terrorist force, as their paymaster vanished and no state wanted anything to do with them. Sudan had privately allowed the hit though they publicly condemned it as a violation of their sovereignty, while Italy lodged a complaint that it didn't get to kill Bin Laden itself. By the early 1970s, the Hejaz was considered safe from the Ikhwan menace, with King Hussein finally able to risk going out in public (unlike his still thoroughly reviled cousin in Syria).

    Of course, no fate was as well deserved as that of the Islamic State of Arabia, a country with the same diabolical reverence as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. The country had continued to fall apart while still standing as if by black magic. On June 18th 1969, an Israeli border post saw a camel approaching them with a boy on it, clearly on the brink of death. After being nursed to health, he claimed that he had been sold into slavery to the Mufti along with his sisters, several of whom had been made ‘property’ of the increasingly cruel and unpredictable master. He said that he had come to find someone who could help free his sisters. It was the first successful escapee from the region in five years, which was bound to cause a stir, no less because of how miraculous it was that such a boy could have survived the journey. By now however, tempers from the Second Arabian War had cooled to a point where few were willing to countenance allowing this abomination of a state to live much longer. Feverish meetings began with all the border states of the ISA, as well as their protector states such as Britain, Iran and Italy. It was ultimately agreed that troops of Saba and the Hejaz (no Turkish among them) would perform the operation. On July 30th of the same year man had walked on the Moon, the ISA was invaded by both Hejaz and Saba. No explosions marked the intrusion – there were no targets to hit. Helicopters would go over villages and spray bullets down on those who uselessly thrust their spears and fired their arrows against their metal underbellies. One tank could subdue an entire village, with the Islamists cracking their swords against the tank’s armor while the crews were too piteous to laugh. The only form of communication between villages was by camel or horse, thus almost all villages had no advance word that the troops were moving in. As they moved closer and closer to the centre of the ISA, the films and pictures that returned to the West were those of unparalleled horror. Polio, intense starvation, boys and girls of Kindergarden age with iron chains around their necks. Plague, leprosy and madness were stamped in every corner of the settlements; often with piles of corpses just outside the village of those who had either passed away in the famine or had done something ‘Un-Islamic’. Many of the children who had reached the age of puberty had never seen or heard of tanks, phones or even the differences between other countries before. To them, the coming of the foreign soldiers was so incredible an event that it was literally beyond their comprehension. The chocolate the soldiers gave them was also the first they had ever heard of it, let alone taste it. The shock of the situation soon made its way to murderous contempt for the architects of this mad state. In Buraydah, where the Mufti had resided, the troops of the Hejaz marched into the Tyrant’s quarters … only to find him stabbed to death. Beside the corpse stood one of the escapee boy’s sisters, weakly holding a knife while covered thoroughly in blood. She was 16 years old and had become of the Mufti’s many ‘Wives’ many years ago. “I stabbed him once for every time he had me,” she said. The soldiers looked to the corpse and saw more gauges than flesh. Of the Mufti’s associates, much like Qutd, martyrdom escaped them. As gunpowder was outlawed for being Un-Islamic, the suicide-bomber method of martyrdom was impossible. Thus, old men charged the troops, only to find that they were easily overpowered and locked up. In the entire course of the invasion, only sixteen Hejaz and Saban soldiers were killed with two of those being friendly fire. Many of the soldiers for the ISA were so starving and broken that they could put up no fight. By now, the zeal for the Mufti that had characterized the birth of the ISA had long disappeared. Instead of praying for Divine Deliverance from Satan, the people had prayed for Divine Deliverance from the Mufti. Roughly 750,000 people lived in the ISA when it was first announced. Roughly 100,000 people were left alive by the conclusion. It was the most awful casualty rate of any country in history, even worse than Paraguay in the War of the Triple Alliance. The country was annexed to the Hejaz Kingdom – many had claimed the territory, but by the end none wanted such a haunted, godforsaken desert. King Hussein would get a much-needed popularity boost, with his UN speech condemning the Mufti and defending Islam in December 1969 going down as one of the most acclaimed speeches in UN history. “I used to believe God had made Hell for the Devil and his Angels,” Hussein said, “but now I know it was made for that snake who dared call himself ‘Mufti’!” Balbo, eager to keep his Muslim minority in Libya happy, likewise stressed the difference between normal Islamic sects and the Ikhwan and ISA, which he described as 'Extensions of the Pan-Arabist plague'.

    In 1970, eight surviving, orphaned children between ages six and fourteen who were born in Central Arabia without memory of the Pre-ISA age were taken to London for the BBC series ‘Seeing the World’. It had them go to several places in London that were common sights to most Westerners but beyond the comprehension and belief of the children. Things like Harrods, Amusement Parks and even the zoo. Millions around the world saw the first time the children tasted ice cream, saw a Disney film at the cinema – or indeed any film – and even the first time they heard Rock and Roll Music. At the end of the series, the children woke up on Christmas morning to see the first snow they had ever seen with their own eyes. The series would become popular around the world, especially in Israel, inspiring significant altruism towards Arabs for the first time since the War. Re-integrating the ISA’s population was an immense difficulty for the Hejaz Kingdom on top of its many other problems. The documentary series would help inspire millions to give to charities supporting those re-integration efforts. Though even today Central Arabia is essentially empty, with Riyadh still a ghost city, the surviving population would be an important source of wisdom on the folly of religious extremism. Though most Islamic denominations, even Islamist, considered the Mufti’s philosophy totally alien to Islam and humanity in general, by association almost all Islamist groups suffered by association. As the victims were overwhelmingly Muslim, the backlash would be primarily an internal one in Islam. The Islamist Wave that had spiked in the late 50s through the 60s had begun to decline with the fall of Qutd, Bin Laden and the Mufti. The increased fear of Islamists would prompt stern action by other leaders. For example, Mossadegh would ask the French to assassinate Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris, which the French readily agreed to for his incitement of Shiite terrorism in the Kingdom of Arabia and Iraq, not to mention Iran itself. Khomeini’s death would likewise damage the cause of Islamism in North Iran, but by now the West had no interest in supporting Islamists of any stripe.

    Extract from 'The American Century' by Cindy Piper

    Kennedy’s second term would be nowhere near as momentous as his first – defined by the success of the Arlington Agreement and the birth of the Cool War. However, many of his more quiet actions would end up being of immense worth. His strong defence of the ‘equality’ side of the Arlington Agreement meant the construction of countless schools and public services in primarily Black Southern areas that had never had a dime sent their way before. In foreign policy, he was greeted by success on July 8th 1961 when the Somoza Clan was defeated in El Salvador, paving the way for democratic restoration. His defence of the Brazilian state against the attempted Fascist Coup ensured that no further states in Latin America would go Fascist beyond Venezuela, Paraguay, and Argentina – the remainder strongly settling down on their democratic institutions. He struck a sensible note during the Goa Crisis and helped mediate a settlement between India and the Roman Alliance. His small commitments of American troops to Indonesia (which ultimately was agreed to be a non-aligned, neutral dictatorship under Suharto once it was cleared of Communists and Islamists by Thai, Italian and American troops in 1962 with Timor going fully to Portugal and the New Guinea being united under Australian leadership) and South Egypt helped to restore American military confidence after the immense bloodbath of China. Scared of OPEP pressure, Kennedy announced in 1962 that America would have to go energy independent to ensure its survival and prosperity. To that end, nuclear power plants began to be constructed up and down the country at a breakneck pace to keep America free from foreign oil, or at least OPEP oil. He is also generally credited with being the President most instrumental in putting America in the lead during the Space Race due to his enormous funding for NASA – leading to the successful American Moon Landing in 1969 before any of the other parties in the race could reach there. All in all, coupled with the economic bonanza of the late 50s and early 60s worldwide (half due to the opening of India and China’s markets), America was in a substantially better place in 1964 than it was in 1956. Americans remember President Joseph Kennedy mostly fondly, with historians having the same general opinion.

    The 1964 Presidential election was the first truly competitive presidential election in America for perhaps thirty years given the collapse of the Democrats after their own dominion over the electorate. The Republicans had their candidate, Vice-President Richard Nixon, with the Freedom Party having theirs in George Corley. Corley was a different Southerner than any that had run for the Freedom Party before and voters could see it. He eschewed any explicit mention of race in his literature and emphasized his support of the Arlington Agreement. His relative moderation was naturally due more to a desperate desire to sit in the big seat than any form of altruism. Nixon knew he was up against a far craftier opponent than any the Freedom Party had yet thrown – George Corley was no Bull Connor. Many Blue-Collar workers in the North who had never seen the Freedomites as being in their corner. But their condemnation of Kennedy’s tax cuts for top earners as well as support for expansion of federal support for ‘the working man’ seemed to promise the parts of the New Deal most fondly remembered while being sufficiently wrapped up with the Right enough to make any talk of Communism seem nonsensical. When Gallup recorded a poll in August showing Corely ahead of Nixon, even if by just a point, the Republican Party finally woke out of its wanton complacency. Things came to a head in the first televised debates in Presidential history between Nixon and Corely. In this first contest, Nixon was considered the definitive winner by pointing out the many extremists who remained in the Freedom Party and Corely’s allegiance with them. At the time, the 1964 TV debate was considered to be the event that decisively won the election for Nixon. Little did anyone know, of course, how important it would be in the fate of the 1968 election too. Nixon won the 1964 election with 300 electoral votes, still far closer than many Republicans would have liked, and by now killing any suggestion that the Freedomites could never gain power in the White House. Corely was disappointed as he sincerely wished for power. Nixon and Corely had developed a strong interpersonal animosity on the campaign trail, and the latter was determined to make the Republicans remember what it was like to lose power. All the same, the Freedom Party’s seizure of the Senate was their first major political coup, enough to isolate those on the fringes of the party who demanded a return to the more demagogic racial politics of the 1940s and 1950s. Even though he lost, George Corely had more than won his own personal war within the Freedom Party to modernize it.

    Nixon intended to continue Détente with Balbo, hoping to pass the buck off for taking on the Fascists entirely to the Third World Resistance networks with their Indian and Brazilian sponsors. He was in for quite a shock, as was most of the world, when in August 1965, Chiang Kai-Shek landed in Rome to announce that South China would formally join the Roman Alliance. This had always been Chiang’s ultimate intention but he was simply too dependent on American economic investment. Now that China was seeing growth of unprecedented proportions, had nuclear weapons and restored national pride (not to mention being very wary of India), Chiang finally felt it was time to join the Bloc. The addition of such an economy into the Roman Alliance would provide many opportunities and challenges to the Bloc (especially in terms of leadership) but it was certainly seen at the time as a game-changing move. Thailand’s reluctance to admit the behemoth into their midst was assuaged by Balbo’s promise to build the Kra Canal in the same way as the Balbo Canal had been created – peaceful nuclear detonations. Upon completion in 1968, Singapore’s port traffic reduced by almost 30% and Thailand’s much safer waters would become a source of the country’s newfound economic strength. American dependence on Japan as a bulwark against Fascist China would only increase, whose military was the best man-for-man in the whole of Asia. The good news was that Indo-China had reluctantly shelved plans to move away from France given their long-standing animosity to the local northern giant. At home, Nixon was a strong supporter of Kennedy’s Nuclear program and would begin to dip America’s toes in the renewable energy market while continuing to reduce the top tax bracket to about 45% (from 60% in 1956 to 50% in 1964). The first real signs of trouble began on Columbus Day on October 11th 1965 in Newark. The Italian community celebrated the occasion with a large march throughout the city centre, but the parade ran into a counter-protest of African-Americans who protested anything to do with Italy due to the slaughter that was only beginning in Ethiopia. The confrontation quickly spun into a violent altercation where ten people were killed. The event shocked the nation and polarized the two communities. Unfortunately, given the sad future that laid ahead for Ethiopia, things were only about to get worse.
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    Hell is empty, and all the Devils are Here
  • Hell is Empty, and all the Devils are Here

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

    The Nixon Presidency was always a tumultuous one. The Republicans by now had ensured twenty years in the White House, a feat that has been without replication since. Nixon’s primary focus on foreign policy was to continue to develop America’s relations in Africa for the Post-Colonial states. His visit to Nairobi in 1965 would be the first time an American President had been in Sub-Saharan Africa on official business. His intervention was key in persuading states like the EAF and Sudan to resist the siren-call of Afro-Fascism. He was also instrumental in ensuring significant aid was sent to Ethiopian Freedom Fighters during the mid-1960s, which helped make that country’s resistance as fearsome and legendary as it became. The American economy continued to purr with life on the back of Indian and Chinese capital and everything seemed to be going smooth. The Arlington-Agreement had held, a more sexually permissive society was establishing itself without sparking intense moral backlash much like the 1920s and America was quietly catching up with the Soviets in the Space Race. All in all, the honeymoon of the Kennedy years seemed likely to last, and with Rajaji’s Swatantra Party taking control of India, the worst of the Hindutva excesses that characterized Savarkar’s reign were finally ceased – no more Goa headaches to worry about.

    The only real trouble spot that had begun to establish itself was the annual fiasco that Columbus Day had become. Originally protested primarily by Native Americans who saw the festival as at best indifferent or at worst celebratory of their national demise (while the Italians revered it as a day honoring the Italian who discovered the country), the day was increasingly protested by Afro-Fascists and often Blacks in general to make political statements about the main proponent of colonization: Italy. In Newark, New York, Philadelphia and almost any major city on the North-East Coast, early October would mean cities emptying out, unbearable tension and the inevitability that someone was going to die in the protests and counter-protests. Black Americans, who had become far more politically assertive after Arlington and indeed the Troubles in general, were faced down by Italian groups who praised how their country had ‘civilized’ Ethiopia. Even the Mafia, no friend of Balbo, would often defend the Columbus Day Parades as a matter of Italian honour. Columbus Day would become a microcosm of the serious divide in American life, particularly between Italians and Blacks. Other white working-class communities, such as the Irish and Jews, generally sympathized with the Italians and would often involve themselves in the Columbus Day celebrations as an alliance against the Afro-Fascism that they feared. In 1966, what many felt was inevitable came to pass. After more riots that put East Harlem in flames, Italian-Americans did what many had once thought unthinkable: they changed their allegiance to the Freedom Party and delivered the House to Thurmond and Corley’s grasp. Corley had been one of the first to recognize the potential of the Italian vote to flip given that Blacks had been inextricably linked to the Republican Party for reasons reaching back to 1860. Coining ‘The Northern Strategy’, Corley would plan the Freedom Party’s ascent by seizing Socially Conservative Whites in the Rust Belt and New York. He would tirelessly stress what Patton had, namely the idea of ‘Judeo-Christian values’ and stressed the importance of Catholicism in America when many Catholics feared the Freedom Party was bigoted against them. Corley’s appearance in East Harlem on October 16th in front of still-smoldering buildings where he condemned ‘This campaign of violent terrorism against Italian-Americans’ when most Republican politicians refused to touch the matter was instrumental in re-writing the electoral map. As Columbus Day always happened in October, Nixon cringed in horror as he knew what could happen in 1968. Ultimately, that was not what finished off Richard Nixon. Nor was it the global economic downturn that began in 1967, the creeping globalization that had begun the steady process of Western de-industrialization nor any other broader trend.

    As these events hung in the background, Nixon effortlessly won the GOP re-nomination. At the same time, George Corley fought off challenges once again to enter into a rematch with Nixon, saying that the tumult of the last four years had demonstrated Nixon hadn’t worked. Corley shocked America when he announced his running mate: the traditionally Republican and internationally renowned film star John Wayne. This had two effects – firstly, it further ‘detoxified’ the Freedom Party (as Corley had repeatedly said was necessary) and it led to a broad exodus of social conservatives from the GOP. Wayne, who had won an Oscar for Best Actor for ‘The Searchers’ back in 1957 [1], had felt he had done all he could in Hollywood. To that end, he finally felt it time to do something different. Though he used to be a Republican, Wayne had grown increasingly suspicious of the Social Liberalism that was becoming more common in the Republican Party despite rising crime, which he felt was a sop to the new Black voter base the Republicans had created. Wayne’s Convention speech condemned the ‘Money-money-money’ obsession of ‘East Coast City-slickers’ who ‘couldn’t fix a boo but think everyone who didn’t go to a fancy college is only good enough to shine one’. His call for ‘Law and Order’ seemed well fitted as a man who many thought of as a sheriff, and he was considerably more popular than Corley – still tainted by the Freedom Party’s troubled history. He was certainly more liked than Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller, who had divorced his wife to marry another divorcee in the early 1960s and seemed to embody the stereotype of the rich, out of touch Republican that the Freedom Party wanted to convey. Of course, the fact Wayne had divorced and remarried more than once was quietly forgotten. By popular demand, Wayne was put into a debate with Rockefeller that was broadcasted live on TV, the first such Vice-Presidential debate. When Rockefeller accused Wayne of ‘Not knowing a thing about how Washington works’ in agreeing to be Corley’s Vice-Presidential candidate, the star famously replied, “Now look here pilgrim, it's precisely because of people who know everything about Washington that we are in such a mess”. Such combativeness was shocking to many Middle-Class Americans, but it fit in well with the Working Class image the Freedom Party wanted to convey. Millions of New Deal Democrats who left the party in outrage but did not like the economic liberalism of the Republicans felt like they had ‘found a home again’. But people were surprised when it turned out that the greatest threat to Richard Nixon was none other … than Richard Nixon.

    On October 7th, 1967, several men were caught and arrested trying to break into the Freedom Party’s National Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Suspicions were raised when their bails were posted immediately and they were about to be let go. However, when it was discovered that they were setting up recording devices inside the rooms of prominent Freedom Party figures, among them George Corley, they were put back behind bars. The intervention of senior and shadowy figures immediately tipped off people that something wasn’t right. It wasn’t until connections between the offered cash and a Republican political slush fund were found that the national press (though more so the Southern because the East Coast papers had become dominated by Republicans) began to take a real interest. Their homes were raided, with one bizarre piece of evidence being a transcript of Corely’s performance in the 1964 TV debates. Then it turned out that one of the men, E. Howard Hunt, had been in Atlanta three years before. Once again, it appeared as though this was at a time when Corely was in town. That was when the investigators put one and one together: Nixon’s stellar debate performance in 1964 was because he knew precisely what Corely was going to say and wrote specified rebuttals to everything. The news came out three days before the Republican National Convention and it threw the event into an uproar. Nixon denounced the news as an invention by Freedom Party hacks while the Freedom Party-run House and Senate swore to investigate the President, with some going so far as to compare Nixon to President Wallace, whose downfall Nixon played a crucial part in. When the two met for a second TV debate in 1968, it was a wipeout: Nixon was sweating, stumbling and obviously uncomfortable while Corley was focussed, humorous and ruthlessly tearing Nixon apart over the revelations from the last debate, most infamously interrupting a moment where Nixon could only ‘Ah’ and ‘Ehm’ by saying, “You ain’t so good at debating when you don’t have the script, right?” Many believed that this was the moment that sealed Nixon’s fate, though a late rally from Civil Rights groups helped ensure it remained close right until the end.

    As the results came in on the night of November 5th, the shocking reality had asserted itself. By means of the White Working Class (especially but not exclusively from the Italian-American community), George Corley had won nearly 300 electoral votes and the Presidency of the United States when New York’s vote count came in and the Italian populace swung the state his way – the Northern Strategy worked. He was the first President for the Freedom Party in its history and the magnitude of the political earthquake could be felt across the world. At the same time Corley was smart and did not want to inflame tensions any worse than before. He gave a Presidential Pardon to Nixon (which Nixon said ‘hurt worse than a sentence’), met with TRM Howard to ensure that Black Southerners had a chance for the future and promised tariffs on China and India in the name of stopping American factories being sent overseas. Vice-President Wayne would be invaluable on the PR front due to his immense popularity abroad as a representation of Americana, which helped cool concerns of a Freedomite President. The Roman Alliance was immensely pleased with the victory. Corley had promised to be lighter on Fascism and focus overwhelmingly on combatting Communism. More importantly, he made moral equivalence between the Afro-Fascists and Italian Fascists to argue that Ethiopia was ‘none of our business’. One of his most controversial foreign moves early on was recognizing the Rhodesian government in return for a pledge from Ian Smith to work closer with moderate Black leaders, though the latter had little teeth. Restrictions on South Africa were also lifted on the premise that neither it nor Rhodesia were a threat to American interests and that America needed more trade due to the need to recover from the recession. He would enthusiastically endorse the Space Race, saying “God strike me dead if a Commie reaches the Moon first”. He never had to test the almighty, as American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to step foot on the Moon that October to national euphoria. Though Corley and others were beaming at America’s triumph, they could never have known just how important that mission would be not just in the Space Race, but the Cold War in general.

    Extract from 'Shooting for the Moon: The Fall of the USSR' by Harold Dietrich

    The Americans, British and Italians fought the four-way Space Race of the 1960s and 1970s with gusto. But for the Russians, the Space Race was not simply an amusing measuring stick – it was all they had. After such regular humiliation on the international stage, capped off by the total implosion of the USSR’s international position after the Second Arabian War, the Soviets had retreated into their immense, starving corner of the world. Their only comfort blanket to assure themselves that they remained a great, influential power, while they successfully initiated a conflict between the Capitalists and Fascists due to their inaction, was to outperform all nations in terms of Space Exploration. Initially, it had indeed proved a source of immense pleasure to the Soviet people, even amidst their sufferings at home in the Suslov-era. The Soviets launched their first satellite in 1957, with the Americans replying in 1958 and Italians and British both launching their first in 1959 (with Italy launching first, as it had a lot of help from other Fascist powers and Israel who wanted to help Italy embarrass the Soviets in the domain they loved so dearly). In 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in Space for the Soviet Union, with John Glenn becoming the first American months later. In 1962, Britain beat Italy to get their man into Space – Peter Taylor. The first man the Italians sent in Space was Paulo Balbo, son of Italo, who had been inspired into the Air Force due to his father’s fame. As the Soviets stacked up achievement after achievement, Suslov finally had something to brag to his people about. At the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the October Revolution in Red Square, he declared that ‘The Soviet Union have introduced the era of Space Communism’. The sheer arrogance and insanity of the line invoked anger in the West at the time, unlike the laughter it induces now.

    But something was happening behind the scenes. Sputnik and Gagarin were interesting novelties, but by the time they were speaking of the first Spacewalk or first female Cosmonaut, the average Soviet peasant who could barely afford to eat – and some couldn’t even do that – stared in disbelief that their government spent so much on what was nothing more than a vanity project. But the isolated Soviet leadership did not seem to notice as they were even more isolated from reality than almost any historical regime from the Kremlin. Communism was reviled around the working classes of the world as much as the elite, the right of the Soviet Union being allowed an embassy was a serious in question in almost any Western capital, and the regime looked on the masses with the callous indifference in keeping with their worship of Stalin. At the same time, following the Stalinist economic model had doomed their greater aspirations. Suslov had boasted soon after Kennedy spoke of America being on the Moon by decade’s end that ‘they will have to park beside the flag of the Soviet people when they arrive’. But after consultations with the leading Soviet Rocket Designer in Kerim Kerimov, the scale of the Lunar Landing operation only then came into view. Suslov realized to growing alarm that the resources allotted to the Soviet space program did not match the size of his mouth. They had traded the crippling costs of nuclear rockets for the crippling cost of space rockets. They were going all out and it still was going to be an intensely tough ask to get to the Moon at all, let alone before the Americans. Suslov tried what he could, but it was hopeless. A series of technical disasters due to gross inefficiency and corruption destroyed three attempted lunar missions before they left the atmosphere, killing all the crew in each instance. When the rocket team demanded a delay to stop the deaths, Suslov arrested most of the troublemakers and left political hacks in their place, all but dooming the Soviet Space Project.

    On October 20th 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon to international acclaim, Suslov drank himself into a stupor and fell into depression. But it was not simply because the Americans had beaten the Soviets there. The trigger, according to Molotov, was reading what Italo Balbo had said as Italy’s official response. He congratulated the astronauts (and President Corley) while saying, “Keep a warm place – we’ll be coming up soon!” Losing to the Americans had been baked in for Suslov – he had known for months that it was going to happen. But only after Balbo’s words reached him did a quite new terror overtake him. The thought of Fascism, Fascism, beating the Soviets to the Moon was incomprehensible. After so much investment had been put into the Space Race, for the Italians to overtake them on the final strait would be a humiliation worse than all the other ills the USSR had put together. Britain’s leading Rocket Scientist, Werner Von Braun, had likewise assured the BBC that “The Union Jack will be the second flag on the Moon”. Falling behind Italy was still bad, but being fourth when they were once the best further cemented Suslov’s helplessness. According to records uncovered in Moscow, he ordered private screening for himself of great Soviet films to cheer himself up. Among them was the 1924 Sci-Fi film ‘Aelita: Queen of Mars’ – many historians feel that this was the film, taking advantage of sleeplessness and depression, that made Suslov follow such an ill-omened gambit. It would not be On the morning of Ocotber 26th, Suslov emerged from his room not only cured of his cares but exuding radiance, according to Molotov. At his trial, Molotov would say, “I was first told of that damned plan six days after the Americans landed on the Moon. Suslov had probably lost his mind with grief and anger and that was the only way he could have agreed to such stupidity. I asked him why he seemed so much better and he told me that he had it all figured out, about how to guarantee that we could beat the Fascists to the Moon. I told him that we’d gone over all this a hundred times – with the state of our program we’d be lucky enough to see a lunar landing in our lifetime let alone in the next few years. Then he said that I was right and I getting really confused. Then he told me that sentence which I remember and hate with all my heart: ‘We don’t have to get to the Moon before the Fascists, we just have to pretend we did’. And that’s how the so called ‘Lunar Ruse’ was created.” Suslov’s scheme was so hare-brained that KGB head Yuri Andropov asked Molotov if this was a ruse to see who in the Politburo was a true loyalist. The plan was to take the old hero of Yuri Gagarin, put him on a spaceship and send him around the moon without actually landing, which was still a serious ask. A pre-recorded fake film reel would then emanate from Moscow to the TV stations of the world of Gagarin on a film set of the moon. Gagarin would return to Earth and see great fame once again. The multiple, multiple flaws of the plan were obvious to all, but the Stalinist terror that once again pervaded the Kremlin kept mouths shut. No one wanted to be accused of being a ‘Krushchevite’ – only a few months before a Soviet politician by the name of Mikhail Gorbachev was arrested for fomenting ‘Krushchevite Insurrection’ within the Party and sentenced to Siberia. The Soviet ship drove blindly forth towards the catastrophe that awaited it.

    Extract from ‘The Screams of a Continent: Africa after WW2’ by Ayaan Ferguson

    Haile Selassie lived in exile for decades following his expulsion from Ethiopia due to the Italian invasion. He had watched in horror as Italy’s aligning with the Allies during World War 2 saw interest in his cause of liberating his homeland fall by the wayside. It wasn’t until the late 1960s, with the dawn of the Cool War that his cause once more began to gain broad popularity. He would, however, face a challenge in the form of Afro-Fascism. Afro-Fascism was not kind to the notion of nobility, as it was considered a bourgeois concept unfitting for the strong new Africa that people like Mulele and Tubman wished to embody. For this reason, even up to the start of the Balbo era, the Ethiopian resistance would be divided between the Restorationist Selassie loyalists of the EIA (Ethiopian Independence Army) that was primarily funded by Europe, and the Afro-Fascist ALM (African Liberation Movement) that was primarily funded by Brazil and India. These squabbles badly divided the Anti-Italian insurgency, often resulting in the two organisations killing more of each other over the course of a month than killing any Italians. Finally, after the Addis Ababa riots in late 1965 due to the death of the Ethiopian miners, both sides realised that the opportunity of liberating Ethiopia from Italy was too important to waste. Ethiopia had garnered a reputation among Africans, perhaps even more so than South Africa itself, for wicked cruelty. A secret meeting was performed in Zanzibar between Malcolm Little, representing the champion of Pan-Africanism in Zaire, and Selassie under the auspices of the EAF government, who wanted a deal between the two hostile camps. Ultimately, it was agreed that Selassie would promote ‘modernising’ Ethiopia by promising to align his country with Pan-African thinking, break up the landed elite and eventually turn Ethiopia into a country with himself as President rather than Emperor. Selassie, hoping that the West could support him enough to preserve him against Zaire’s machinations ultimately agreed. His Overtureville Speech would be the rallying call of the Ethiopian War, his constant invocation of ‘Africa’ marking a shift in the conflict from an Ethiopian one to a near continental one. “They may beat a country,” Selassie would say, “but they can’t beat a whole continent!” The EAI and ALM were consolidated into the ALA, ‘African Liberation Army’. To ensure Western support and beat back Italian criticism, Selassie swore to uphold any abolition of slavery (with some estimates having shown more than a third of Ethiopians in 1935 were slaves). Nevertheless, Selassie’s initial acceptance of slavery would become an unending source of Italian propaganda that was used by their apologists for decades. At the same time, many Ethiopians felt little better than slaves within Italian East Africa.

    The EAF and Sudan would prove determined allies of Selassie, who took up base in the Simien Mountains to affirm his presence and excite his followers of ‘the King’s imminent return to power’. Both Sudan and the EAF had resolutely determined that Italy was the rotten core of the entire Settler project, and Ethiopia represented the ‘Soft Underbelly of the Crocodile’ according to EAF Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta. Ethiopia shared a gigantic border between both Sudan and the EAF that was impossible to entirely police. Furthermore, both states were under British protection and were unable to be breeched by the Italians. This meant countless amounts of men and guns could be sent into Ethiopia and nothing could be done about it. Zaire, despite not sharing a border, sent whole divisions of conscripts across the EAF border and into Ethiopia. By 1966, there were almost as many armed rebels and conscripts in Ethiopia as there were Italian soldiers – though the latter was increasing rapidly. Spread across the vast expanse of Western Ethiopia, in the mountains and forests, the rebels had created a near impregnable position while having more than enough friends and allies within the cities themselves to ensure the Italians would have no easy task ahead of them. Initially, the Italians focussed entirely on the kill-count, with the kill ratio sometimes hitting as high as 1:40 on a good day (though how much that was inflated by civilian deaths is debatable). The problem was that the Ethiopians quickly replenished their numbers through an unendingly sympathetic local population and foreign volunteers. Indeed, not just Zaire’s volunteers, but African-Americans, many of whom had been members of the Black Fascists and took tickets to the EAF to take the fight to Colonialism head on. The Fascists wasted no time in going for atrocities, dropping napalm and poison gas on the forests, aerial bombardment of tiny villages suspected of harboring rebels and summary executions of rebels who were foolish enough to surrender. The Italians expected the population to bend with terror and submit to their rule once again. However, these new Africans, inspired by the very insidious ideology that animated Italy, returned blow for blow, fighting with unprecedented tenacity. They also tricked the Italians into sending more and more of their men out into the vast, wild terrain of the Ethiopian interior, leaving the cities exposed to their next major assault

    On March 2nd 1970, on the anniversary of Ethiopia’s victory over Italy in the First Ethiopian-Italian War, the ALA rose up in arms all across the urban areas of Ethiopia, especially in Addis Ababa. The Italians, both on the front line and the home front, were convinced that the Ethiopians were at their end resources – to be hit by such a large attack was not only shocking but deeply demoralizing. The Fascist Grand Council could scarcely believe it themselves. To that end, Balbo would make what was perhaps his most infamous decision: Operation Aesop. After several weeks of brutal street-to-street fighting, with air strikes, nerve gas and napalm having already rendered the city a pile of ruins, on March 29th the Italian forces were ordered to make a tactical retreat, along with what little remained of the Italian settlers who had long since made for safer territories in the Ogden region. There was brief celebration on the Ethiopian side that they had finally liberated their capital. Haile Selassie was under no illusions that something was amiss despite his subordinates’ excitement. As it turned out, he had every reason to be concerned. On April 2nd, the world witnessed the first – and so far mercifully last - combat use of a Hydrogen Bomb. Addis Ababa was not simply destroyed; it was vaporized by four megatons of nuclear obliteration. While Hiroshima, Warsaw and Damascus still had their ruins and foundation, everything within 20 kilometres of the centre of Addis Ababa literally ceased to exist. The ancient tomb of Menelik I, the supposed forefather of Ethiopia and son of King Solomon, now existed only in memory. Centuries of culture vanished in the blink of an eye, and all the people inside the city with them. It is estimated that 450,000 people perished in nuclear fire. The pilot, who was a fan of Shakespeare looked at the detonation from afar and quoted ‘The Tempest’: “Hell is empty, and all the Devils are Here”. The news stunned the entire world – even Rhodesia and Portugal wrote a joint, private letter to Rome demanding they never to do something like that again at the risk of inflaming their own colonial wars. In the UN, the Italian and Swedish representatives came to physical blows, which led to the temporary severing of diplomatic relations between the two countries. It decisively swung the 1970 UK elections to Roy Jenkins’s Labour Party, who promised unending resistance to Fascism, which had grown especially strong in the minds of the British due to the growth of the Fascist inspired Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland and Turkish nationalists in Cyprus. Even Corely condemned the attack, though privately reassuring Balbo that he considered the situation an internal matter. Protestors filled Times and Trafalgar Square demanding tougher sanctions on Italy, with almost every future visit of an Italian leader in the next decade being met outside the Roman Alliance with mass protests. But most notably in Italy itself, Balbo faced unprecedented pushback. The most obvious came from companies who had property in the city that had now gone up in smoke, as well as settlers who were angry at being forced to the Ogden ‘for the duration of the crisis’. More worryingly, King Umberto told Balbo in no uncertain terms that he would ‘Order the country to rise up against you before I ever accept another Addis Ababa again’. Balbo knew it was a gamble, but he hoped that the sheer scale of the destruction would terrify the Afro-Fascists and Ethiopians into meek submission. After all, nukes had won WW2, won in Poland, won in Arabia, why not in Ethiopia?

    Haile Selassie keeled over with a heart attack when news of the nuclear obliteration of his capital first reached him. By quick work from his associates, he was able to get enough medical attention to keep him alive for a time. While lying in bed, dying, he penned what was to be his final speech to his people. Still lying in bed while being recorded, Selassie gave the words that would rouse not just a nation but a continent: “My time is growing short, my people. But Ethiopia is not Haile Selassie, nor is it a palace, nor is it any one man or any one thing. It is the peak of the mountains, the babbling of the brook and the light of the African sunset. And when I am gone, we shall still have our mountains, our rivers, and yes, we shall have Ethiopia. As long as there is still any man who can fight, any woman who can fight, any one boy who can fight, any old man who can fight – as long as any one Ethiopian still has pride in his country, his heritage, his family … Italy can never win. I may not live to see it from this world, but I shall see it from the next”. Two days later, on April 8th, Haile Selassie passed away, the crown of Ethiopia passing along to his son Amha Selassie, who swore to finish his father’s mission. To Italian astonishment, and indeed horror, the Ethiopians did not break. Not even the Hydrogen Bomb could intimidate them into surrender. “How do you make peace with people too stupid to know they’ve been beaten?!” Ciano cursed. The Italians could not bring the nukes back out for fear of angering the King, but their campaign of chemical weapons and terror continued unabated to international revulsion. All the while, more and more Italian boys were being sent to this godforsaken corner of Africa to crush this insurrection that wiser Fascists were beginning to see was becoming more than a nuisance and increasingly a serious danger that endangered the entire country. By 1970, almost 25,000 Italians, 10,000 Italian allies (many Greeks, Somalians, Eritreans) and two million Black Africans including civilians had perished in the wilds of Ethiopia and there was no clear plan within the Fascist Council about how to end the war with honour. Expenditure was ramping up to unsustainable proportions to destroy an area of land they were supposed to be getting economic benefit from. An ocean of blood had been created and to finish it would require another ocean on top of that. The Third Italo-Ethiopian War … was roughly at its halfway point.

    Extract from Mapai MK Anne Frank's speech to the Knesset, April 7th 1970

    "Half a million people! Vanished! No ... not vanished ... Dead. The lives they had and had yet to live, the children they had and had left to give … all gone. And yet our Prime Minister does nothing? Oh, if only he did nothing. No, he tells the world that Balbo had his ‘reasons’. Reasons? To hold a people in bondage? To take what was a proud, independent state and reduce it to serfdom for the benefit of barons and bigots? To commit atrocities that will poison any relations between the peoples of Italy and Ethiopia for more than a century? I am told that I should be grateful to the Italians for their having liberated me from the clutches of Nazi rule in Europe. And I am. But no level of gratitude I have for Italy for helping one persecuted people will ever make me silent in the face of their treatment of other persecuted people. After all, hath not an Ethiopian eyes?”

    [1] – With Hollywood more desperate to prove its loyalty in the Post-Wallace world, Wayne had less competition because leftist actors went and the producers wanted him to feature prominently to convince viewers that they were Pro-American. Ronald Reagan would also benefit from the gap opened up in the market due to the Liberal Exodus to England and would become a mega-star in his own right, though he would stick with the GOP over Freedom Party as he cared far more about economics than social matters.

    Coincidentally, I found this today:

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    Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On
  • Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On

    Extract from 'The Decay: Communism's Final Days (1969-1973)' by Dwight Ryan

    In January 1970, Suslov announced that before the year was out that the Soviets would land a man on the Moon. This announcement stunned Western observers since Israel’s intelligence service, which had been keeping both ITO and the Roman Alliance up to date on the Soviet moves, showed that the Soviet Union could barely expect to pull of an orbit around the Moon by the end of the year. It would certainly beat Britain and Italy, where both leaders knew they didn’t have the resources to pull of the venture so quickly. Then some information came out of the Soviet Union from Mossad spies that was even more baffling – there were now-massive reductions to the number of personnel and the rocket facilities in Central Asia despite there apparently being a huge operation within the year. It wasn’t until March that the first whispers of a faked Soviet Moon Landing came along the grapevine. The first words Prime Minister Jenkins said on hearing the claim was, ‘They can’t be that stupid’. But as the claims continued to come, the evidence got louder and louder. Eventually, the evidence was discussed clandestinely by Israeli, Italian, British and American leaders in phone calls through the summer of 1970. It was around that time that the definitive launch date of November 7th was penciled in by Soviet state broadcasters to mark the anniversary of the October Revolution. It was ultimately agreed by all powers to keep absolutely quiet: if the Soviets were really going to do something so astonishingly asinine, the last thing they could do was break Sun Tzu’s famous adage that one must never interrupt their enemies when they make a mistake. The open secret reached ludicrous proportions when Israeli spies demanded time off because they were so sick of having Soviet defectors tell them that they were planning a faked Moon Launch and the spies had to pretend they had never heard the claim before. Even around the rocket site, the rumours of a fake launch were so prevalent that the main argument against it was that so many people had already heard about the fake launch that they’d have to scrap the plan to avoid embarrassment. Western leaders actually launched a counter-intelligence operation to emphasize that they didn’t know the landing was going to be faked, in what is generally considered to be the only successful intelligence operation in relation to the event.

    Gagarin recalled the moment that he was told of the plan by a KGB Agent. “I resisted the urge to strike him,” Gagarin recalled. “It was an insult to the friends I had lost in these insane missions, an insult to the Russian people that I was supposed to hoodwink and an insult to mankind that I would sully what was supposed to be our common mission: to reach the stars as one humanity. If I could I would have spat on his face.” Nevertheless, Gagarin agreed to the plan under pressure from state authorities. He mentally steeled himself for the dangers of the flight around the Moon and the shame that would come from living off stolen glory as he was driven to Moscow to begin shooting the fake scenes. At Mosfilm studios, famous Soviet Sci-Fi director Pavel Klushantev was placed in the director’s chair after having been plucked from the Gulag (his experimental films being seen as too ‘radical’ for the Suslov Era) on the condition that he make the film in total secrecy. Klushantev nominally agreed, but his disgust at the regime transcended any sense of self-preservation. Simultaneously knowing enough about Science to know what was correct and enough to know what could fool clueless KGB goons, he went to work. He dropped a series of clues in his fake film reel to prove the footage was faked. He created a blast crater around the rocket, had an impossibly straight flag (explaining that there was no air on the moon so the flag would be totally stretched) and added stars to the background. The fact that none of these were in the Apollo footage should have been a hint to his controllers, but all were convinced by Klushantev’s explanations. Gagarin acted with a voice so unenthusiastic that an impersonator ultimately dubbed him before the footage went out. As October concluded, all the pieces were in their place to begin the most notorious hoax of all time.

    Gagarin blasted off from Kazakhstan with another two cosmonauts deep into space. There was extra weight on the rocket to simulate what a lunar lander looked like which nearly took down the whole ship before it left the atmosphere when it didn’t detach correctly. After a day had passed and all had gone well the Soviets finally announced that Gagarin was heading to the Moon and would be there shortly. Announcements that the Soviets would ‘one-up’ the Americans by landing on the Far Side of the Moon were met with disbelief by anyone who was not ignorant of the effort that went into Lunar missions and simultaneously completely ignorant of the Kremlin’s designs. The return of such a figure to public attention sent a short, pleasant wave of nostalgia through the Russian people that helped alleviate their suffering for a time. They were going to beat everyone but the Americans to the Moon – it wasn’t too bad. Finally on November 7th, Gagarin disappeared behind the Moon and he sat ‘brimming in disgust at what I knew was happening at that exact moment at home’. The Soviets were displaying the fake footage with all the pomp and circumstance of people who thought they were going to get away with it. However, something quickly seemed off. Western nations were not congratulating the Soviets or even acknowledging it – even when Gagarin went into Space there was an announcement. The footage showed Gagarin land on the Moon, but his weightlessness did not seem right, his voice did not seem connected to the actions on screen. His first words on the Moon, “In the name of Comrade Suslov, and the people of the Soviet Union!” felt painfully choreographed. The West gladly allowed the footage to be broadcast, knowing full well how the Soviets were doing nothing more than digging their own graves.

    It wasn’t until a few hours later when the capsule had supposedly returned to flight and the craft had in reality come around the Moon that America, Britain and Italy launched a joint-press statement that accused the Soviet Union of faking their Moon Landing. They had been tracking the flight the whole time and knew that to come around the Moon in so short a time was impossible if it had to land on the surface. The accusation was met with feigned outrage from the Soviets and stunned disbelief among the Western public that the Soviets would ever have tried something so outrageous. At first, many expected it to be something that would be debated for years to come – the Soviets would claim they did go, others would claim they didn’t and a new debate like whether Perry had really reached the North Pole would begin. But due to spectacular circumstances, the world would be robbed of any doubt. Gagarin, stewing in rage for the entirety of his orbit of the Moon, had decided that he could not face the embarrassment of parading himself around as a man who landed there and decided that drastic action had to be taken – he was going to defect. Turning off communications with mission control back on Earth, he convinced his partners that Suslov would likely kill them to keep the secret covered up. Armed with a now supportive crew who already were great admirers of Gagarin, the trio set out to work. By the time they were in orbit, they were supposed to land over Kazakhstan. Instead, they banked sharper and ended up (through miraculous, spontaneous piloting skills from Gagarin) jettisoning out over East Turkestan. The trio were taken into custody by local authorities with the expectation the Soviets would soon collect them – but when an interpreter said that they were asking to defect to the United States, a diplomatic crisis hit the supposedly neutral state. The Soviets accused the East Turkmen state of imprisoning their heroes and inventing the story of defection while the West begged them to give Gagarin his liberty, mostly because of how damaging a tell-all exclusive would be. Ultimately, Gagarin and his friends were sneaked out of the country by help of the state authorities onto an American transport plane. When the plane landed in Washington, Gagarin found himself at the centre of an international crisis with reporters surrounding the airport so intensely that the army had to be called in to control the situation. Gagarin was taken to the White House to meet the President, who congratulated him on his newfound freedom. Corley was quickly assuaged as to Gagarin’s usefulness, when the very next day saw the Russian perform a press conference at the White House.

    The full extent of the conspiracy was revealed in titillating detail: the political interventions, the deaths of his fellow Cosmonauts, the failure of the Soviet program, the tragicomedy of a space flight and much more. The Soviet regime was absolutely bewildered and baffled about what they could do. As Molotov recalled, “I knew this was going to be bad – I didn’t expect it to be cataclysmic.” Ultimately, their decision may have been terrible, but it was the best they could come up with: they stated that Gagarin had been assassinated and replaced by a body-double to discredit the Soviet Union. Of course, if that had actually been the case, it wouldn’t have done half as much to discredit the Soviet Union as their explanation. Accusing the US of murdering a beloved national hero, they organized a day of national mourning for the obviously alive Gagarin while burning US and East Turkestan flags for being his ‘murderer’. The Soviet citizenry, and especially the East Germans, Poles and Slovakians, well understood what had happened and lost what little faith they had in the system. Soviet excuses were lampooned in every country from Iceland to Ghana as something more befitting a pantomime. Communism had simultaneously become something to be reviled and nothing to be feared, as it would probably trip over trying to tie its laces. Vice-President Wayne wasn’t inventing the saying when he said, “The Commies couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel”, but he certainly popularized the statement. Italy was likewise relieved – the fake landing had taken away a lot of the attention and heat they’d gotten from their strike on Addis Ababa, something Balbo was only beginning to realise the extent of its disaster. The Soviets had finally succeeded in making the workers of the world unite … in laughing at them. Only the most devoted of Neo-Communists online still believe that the Soviets landed on the Moon, with most believing the difference between the Apollo and Soyuz landings on the tapes proves that the Apollo mission of all things was fake. Ironically, the failure of the Soviet cover-up deflated any notion of the NASA landing being fraudulent by exposing just how impossible it would be to cover such a situation up. This left time for Britain and Italy to finish the job they had started out, with the Soviets refusing to go any farther after having ‘Proven its superior Socialist technology by being the first power to land on the Dark Side of the Moon’.

    On May 7th 1971, Peter Taylor repeated his groundbreaking adventurism of being the first Briton in space by being the first Briton to land on the Moon, planting the Union Jack on the lunar surface and fulfilling Von Braun’s prophecy of being the second country to land. His first words on the Moon were to quote English legend William Shakespeare in saying, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on”. In Britain, suffering from IRA and Turkish Nationalist bombing, the landing led to a resurgent national pride and confidence. On August 4th, the first Italian would land on the Moon. It would be Roberto Mussolini, son of Bruno and grandson of Benito, who had been a pilot like his father. Like Balbo’s child, he wasn’t the most talented, but he certainly had the right connections. In the aftermath of the fallout from Ethiopia, it was felt that having someone with the Duce’s surname on the Moon would help alleviate the situation – in reality, it only gave license to those who talked about ‘how good everything was before Balbo came along’. It also encouraged those who felt like Fascism was simply a system of nepotism, corruption and handouts – which it had increasingly become by the 1970s. Roberto Mussolini’s first words were perhaps a tad predictable but well befitting the occasion: “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”). Thus, for decades on the lunar surface, the Stars and Stripes, Union Jack and Tricolore were the only three flags on its surface – until the Blue Sky and White Sun of China made its first appearance in 2015, thus taking the total to four. Many Italians remember their lunar ascent as the high-water mark of domestic Fascism in Italy, where the regime had nowhere to go but down. Of course, the Soviet “landing” itself would become a moment that would mark the fall of the regime. The Soviet Union would never land on the Moon, nor any of her successor states as of today.

    Suslov shut down the Space Program immediately after, partly because funds were critically needed to avoid another famine and to cash out their depreciating chips while there was still something to be got. Of course, the chips were already worthless. In 1970, the Soviets were lucky enough to be coming into winter, where no one wanted to be outside protesting. But 1971 was different. By now, the fear that many felt towards the regime from within the slave states had melted away owing to the sheer incompetency of the Fake Moon Landing. Even though Suslov ordered anyone caught “Spreading Western propaganda” about the Moon Landing be sentenced to prison with some ‘serious offenders’ being ordered shot, in reality this was almost never followed as the chain of command in the Bloc had collapsed so thoroughly. One story from Moscow told the story of a police officer overhearing two men discuss how many girls Gagarin must have been getting in America and that American girls would probably be better than Russian. The policeman intervened, and rather than arresting them for denying the official story of the Soviet Moon Landing, he was far angrier that Russian women were deemed worse than Americans – which he argued was probably the one thing Gagarin missed about the Soviet Union. Another policeman overheard that conversation and argued that Gagarin would miss Vodka over the women. The two men were then ordered away while the policemen continued to argue about what Gagarin missed most about Russia. As Yuri Andropov warned Suslov, “If we arrested everyone in Russia that joked about the Moon Landing we’d have to move the whole country to Siberia.” In Poland, the ‘Society of Gnomes’ was created, which lampooned the Communists with Pro-Soviet graffiti that was so embarrassing it could not be removed but humiliated the regime nonetheless. “We support Communism as surely as Gagarin landed on the Moon!” read one popular leaflet. “We want more rockets and less food!” ran another, alongside “Gagarin lives in more than just our hearts!” Similar movements began in Slovakia and East Germany, which the authorities could not crack down upon without coming off even more ridiculous than the situation had already gotten. But it was not simply the lack of fear, it was the re-emergence of yet another famine on the horizon. Attempts to buy grain from the United States were laughed out of the White House as were attempts anywhere else. The Famine of 1971 brought genuine suffering to the people within the Soviet Bloc that it had not seen since the 1930s under Stalin – the slave states of East Europe were so badly raided to try and find the resources that even the mostly dormant Polish resistance movement spiked in activity well before the ultimate fall of the Soviet state. By now, the Poles were confident enough in their ability to stand up to the Soviets as one again.

    On August 31st, workers and farmers across Poland threw down their tools in protest of their work being taken to the Soviet Union without sufficient compensation when suffering and starvation were becoming increasingly common within their own country. With that, the East Germans also threw down their tools on the excuse that since the Poles weren’t letting anything be transported it would be pointless to continue production. Slovakia likewise joined in on September 5th for the refreshingly honest reason that ‘The workers of Slovakia cannot compel themselves to work for people who spit on our heritage”. In Korea, Kim Il-Sung was smart enough to see which way the wind was blowing and stated he was unilaterally halting grain shipments to the Soviet Union (though privately continuing to give a smaller number) to quell the growing anger with the Soviet giant. In North China, Jiang pledged to combat the famine by “Rousing and strengthening the people with Socialist cinema”, which consisted of her starring in her latest film fan-fiction version of herself combatting fictional saboteurs creating the Famine. South Beijing and South China itself faced new waves of refugees of their brethren, with Chiang more convinced than ever that Jiang was on her last legs. In Ezo, the Japanese citizenry of the island had been protesting their difficulties, only to be smashed with Soviet and Ezo troops landing batons on their heads. The native troops, mostly Ainu, were horrified by the thought of the Japanese reasserting their dominance on Hokkaido and what that would mean for their people. Serbia was the only region in the Communist Bloc not to face protests, as the existential fear of Croatia was too great for that luxury. The whole Soviet Bloc had descended into bedlam, and in the Kremlin, the old regime continued to think it was just another day in the office.

    Negotiations with Polish strikers by the Polish government (led by Arch-Stalinist Edward Ochab) failed to resolve anything. The Solidarity Union held firm against pressure, but the Polish government was fearful of another Soviet invasion of Poland and was increasingly buckling under pressure from Moscow to deal with the situation immediately. On September 11th, the government declared martial law and ordered the army to halt the strikers, who by now made up the vast majority of the entire Polish workforce. Instead, to their horror, the domestic Polish army stayed in their barracks – mutiny had begun. The Polish Liberation Army quickly understood the cue and rose up all across the country against the vanishingly small Soviet presence, which had been significantly cut back due to budget issues. Witold Pilecki, having been trapped in the Carpathians for almost twenty-five years to lead the PLA after countless close-calls on his life, emerged from hiding by arriving in Krakow and taking to the radio to announce that “Poland is ready to battle the forces of the Communist Antichrist!” He had to quickly escape when the Soviets began bombing Krakow from the air in preparation of their new invasion. The Communist Polish government fled east to Moscow where they hoped to mount a comeback. The Kremlin had not anticipated an uprising in Poland and consequently had much too few men in the country to deal with such a sudden, radical outpouring of support to the revolutionaries. Nevertheless, on September 13th, tanks began rolling into Poland from its eastern border. But something wasn’t right – their advance was far slower than expected, with the roads well-mined and loaded with ambushes. To make matters worse, though the lack of war had covered up the problem by not making it visible, the Soviet army was in a state of total disrepair. The Stalinist economy and countless funds spent in Space had left the Soviet army hollow and weak. While they had the air force and tanks, neither was good at stopping a universal insurgency in a country with boundless land that was easy to hide in, as the Italians had found out in Ethiopia. The Soviet performance brought back memories of the Finnish embarrassment in 1939. Discipline had simply collapsed, substance abuse was rampant and the demoralized Soviet soldier did not remotely care for his assignment. Though Soviet troops were able to restore order in the main Polish cities by late September, they faced an insurgency that was well prepared, motivated and had learned a few lessons from Ethiopia when it came to pitched battles with occupying giants.

    East Germany, cut off from all sides due to the Polish insurgency, spiraled into an even worse condition as food and fuel was almost completely shut off. On September 20th 1971, housewives in East Berlin protested over the shortages of food in the country that was becoming very noticeable in domestic life. It was assumed that the Communist authorities would be gentler on women than men for obvious PR reasons. But Erich Honecker, the new Stalinist leader of the country, wanted to stamp down his authority quickly to prove himself to Suslov. To that end, he ordered the protesters beaten off the streets with ‘maximum prejudice’. The Stasi attacked the crowd of a few thousand starving mothers with truncheons and tear gas. Nine women were killed in the crackdown, one a fourteen-year-old trying to protect her mother. If Honecker thought he had the situation in hand, he was much mistaken. The next day, a crowd of more than 100,000, this time mostly infuriated men, marched along the streets of East Berlin, smashing anything to do with the regime. Stasi members were lynched in public, police stations were burned down and the government lost all control of the situation. Defections and mutiny had ensured that weapons had by now been distributed to the locals, as they made an attack on their main target: the Berlin Wall. Honecker and the government had already fled to Schwed to mount their resources against the revolutionaries. Soviet soldiers were ordered to fire on anyone trying to escape West, but there were now far too many to successfully hold back. As frantic calls were relayed between local commanders, Suslov finally consented to a new order. Soviet troops were to pull out of Berlin – he had his own plans for what he was about to do. Contacting the mob, the Soviet troops informed them they were pulling out of Berlin and that anyone who wanted to go West was free to do so. The anger and vengeance that filled the mood of the crowd made way to jubilation and mirth. Armored trucks commandeered by the revolutionaries smashed through the Berlin Wall, which was further defanged that night with a litany of sledgehammers from both sides. After ten years of separation, East and West were reunited, but the celebrations were premature.

    On September 22nd, Suslov announced that he was closing the roads and railways into West Berlin, thus effectively turning the city into an island. Later that day, Soviet troops moved into East Berlin, retaking the city which was by now had turned into a ghost town. Conditions had gotten so bad that more than 80% of East Berliners had fled into West Berlin, creating a gigantic refugee crisis within the enclave. Suslov told the West that he would continue the blockade of West Berlin as long as ITO and the Italians had a presence in the city. He assured them that West Berlin’s existing citizens would “Be welcomed like brothers into the Socialist community” while “domestic troublemakers” who had escaped into East Berlin would face a “stern reckoning”. The euphoria that had greeted the announcement of the fall of the Berlin Wall was now checked with the stark reality of another nuclear standoff. Suslov hoped that the specter of a total war with the West would finally awaken the Soviet people from the lethargy they had been under since Armstrong walked on the Moon. This was in flat defiance of agreements made at Kiev and Potsdam and the West was stunned about what had happened. Questions were raised over how to respond. Though America had no zone inside Berlin, Corley made sure to insert himself to demonstrate his Anti-Communist credentials, arguing that if they stopped the trucks and trains the Reds were asking for tanks. Ironically, the Italians were among the more pacifistic, arguing that they could not deal with a war in Ethiopia and staredown with Moscow. It was ultimately the British who suggested the airlift idea, based on the Indian Airlift of their own history. Kaiser Ferdinand was strongly in favour of the airlift option to avoid any damage to the country he loved, one of the few things he agreed on with Chancellor Willy Brandt. Both ITO and the Roman Alliance temporarily put aside their differences to launch the Berlin Airlift, the last major act of cooperation between the democracies and Fascist dictatorships. Even Israel joined, in what the Kaiser called ‘The triumph of man’s responsibility to the future over his control by the past.” Given the vastly expanded population of East Berlin, it was always going to be a challenge, but East German refugees remained cheerful, the common joke being to their meager rations a ‘Communist’s Feast’ for which they had already had ‘twenty-five years practice’. Around the clock, transport planes and helicopters from all around the world sent in supplies, often extracting the refugee population into Germany proper (with South African representatives traveling with the Italians and assuring the refugees that they always had other options ‘far away from the Red Menace’).

    The Berlin Airlift proved yet another catastrophe for Suslov. Rather than an exhibition of strength, all it served to do was to temporarily heal the relationship between the Fascists and ITO and energize the East German resistance to the Honecker regime. Due to a fatal brain-drain, the East German state was now in a state of decay unmatched anywhere in the Eastern bloc. The basic functions of state had collapsed and terrified Soviet soldiers, who knew they were stranded and on borrowed time, restored order with only bare stability remaining in the East German project. His position was further undercut with protests reaching Slovakia on October 2nd against Gustáv Husák’s regime. Here, Husák attempted to do the opposite of Honecker and accommodate the initial demands of strikers for better hours and pay. What ended up happening was that the dissidents smelled blood in the water and now argued for democratic elections, emboldened by the Catholic Church’s resolute support. Husák panicked and pleaded for more Russian troops to occupy Bratislava, which by now was seeing increasingly violent protests against the state. Reluctantly, Suslov ordered Russian paratroopers to land in Bratislava to prop up yet another failing regime. Their initial deployment was met with bricks and stones, which were responded to by live fire on October 11th. Twenty people died in the first volley, leading to a pitched resistance in the city centre. Whether they were harsh with protesters as in East Germany, accommodating as in Slovakia, or somewhere in between as with Poland, it seemed there was nothing the Communist puppets could do to quell their uprisings. It could hardly have come at a worse time for Suslov, with the three slave states of East Europe now no longer able to be raided for resources. The already tottering Soviet economy had entered a level of rationing not witnessed since World War 2. Conscription was expanded, further draining the economy with Soviet boys ordered sent to Poland, Slovakia and East Germany to support regimes no one liked to uphold a system almost no one supported anymore. Suslov extolled Russian patriotism against the ‘Nazi German and Fascist Polish menace” but no one was willing to die for a country that tried to fake a Moon Landing and fail so miserably at it. The tension continued boil within the Soviet Union, and on November 7th, the anniversary of both the October Revolution and Gagarin’s flight, that tension finally reached a crisis point.
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    The Kingdom of God is Within You
  • The Kingdom of God is Within You

    Extract from ‘The Decade of Freedom: The 70s Remembered’ by Abigail Francis

    The crowd that assembled in Red Square on November 7th 1971 were mostly captives under threat of losing their jobs (and consequentially being labelled ‘parasites’). In a nation that had already seen 100,000 people die that year from starvation alone, with the famine beginning to spread to the cities, this was not a warning to be taken lightly. Coincidentally, roughly 100,000 people were crowded around the Kremlin that day. The soldiers that had been chosen to parade down Red Square that day were primarily conscripts who knew that once the show in Moscow was over that they would be heading to Poland to fight the local resistance. Suslov was performing the main speech, having come down with a cold in prior days, which made his already uninspiring speeches even more infuriatingly unlistenable to the average Soviet citizen. All of this added to an environment that afternoon that made Moscow unbearably tense, though most of the Politburo had been in the dark of how bad the situation had truly gotten (with the exception of Malenkov, whose experience at local churches gave him greater insight into the feelings of the city at large). The final and most powerful reason for the uprising that followed was that it was the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s ‘Martyrdom’ for Socialism. It took primary focus in Suslov’s speech to the masses, with the dictator extolling how Gagarin had ‘Risked even his life to demonstrate the superior science of Socialism, which even the Capitalists accepted when they killed him’. At the moment the words left his lips and he took a breath to continue, a voice seemed to pierce through the crowd. Though the name of that man has been long lost to history, with many legends of his ultimate fate reaching far and wide (the only broad agreement being that he was very drunk at the time), the words he said have lived forever: “We all know he’s alive you shitass!” The words reached Suslov’s ears … and the dictator flinched. For several seconds, the dictator stood motionless as he stammered to find his place in the speech. Soldiers rushed into the crowd to try and find the offender but ended up harassing countless people who did nothing when no one cooperated. When one officer attempted to pistol-whip a worker into talking, another stole the gun and shot him. At that point, all hell broke loose in Red Square, with workers attacking the police, the police fighting soldiers, and the Politburo under lockdown inside the Kremlin. No one knew who was on who’s side. Television cameras turned off shortly after the first gunshots were fired, with a helicopter called into the Kremlin to get the Soviet hierarchy out of dodge as soon as possible. The only one who decided to stay in the Kremlin was Malenkov - something Suslov, Molotov and the others dismissed as the old man’s foolishness. Along with Andropov, the two departed eastwards by means of a hastily organised helicopter to plan their next move - leaving Malenkov the time to come up with his own masterstroke. He ordered the television cameras to resume broadcast to the shock of the marooned staff inside the Kremlin. He walked out onto the balcony of the Kremlin to see the madness that had consumed Red Square. Seventy people had already been killed in the streets below, with an angry mob assembling around the Kremlin, alternately chanting, “Death to Suslov” and “Bread, not War!” Malenkov boomed out the only words that could have quietened the crowd:

    “Yuri Gagarin is alive!”

    The shock that a Politburo member had said those words stopped the fighting in Red Square in an instant. Malenkov then proceeded to launch an unprecedented condemnation of the regime so oratorical that many historians believe that the riot was engineered by him and that the man who sparked the uprising was in his employ. He condemned the state’s policy on economics, war and especially religion. Under Malenkov’s guidance, the church had been allowed to significantly grow in power in the Soviet Union, aided by the constant presence of famine and misery about the current state of affairs. Thus, the crowd that was in Red Square that day was mostly sympathetic to such a message. Then Malenkov said, “Comrade Suslov has failed the Party, failed the country, but most of all he has failed the Russian [not Soviet] people! When Lenin came in, he promised peace, bread and land! Now we have no peace, no bread and no land! There is no doubt about it! Suslov must go!” The ovation from the crowd was deafening - even the soldiers joined in, actual support of the Communist regime now almost nonexistent, even among ethnic Russians. By the time Suslov and co had landed in Nizhny Novgorod, they were blindsided by reports of spontaneous Anti-Suslov riots in Leningrad, Stalingrad and Kiev due to Malenkov’s speech. The speech had been broadcast to the farthest ends of Russia and Suslov had been totally outplayed. Suslov in a rage ordered the army to clamp down on the protestors, but was shocked when the word came back: mutiny. No soldier was willing to die for the Suslov regime - though word had come back that political commissars were being killed by individual units. Now desperate, Suslov demanded the KGB do something about it. Andropov, fearing that the KGB would be obliterated if it tried to make a move against the now overwhelmingly supported uprising, lied and stated that the KGB was also in a state of rebellion - in reality, he had never transferred the order to lower commanders. Suslov, by now cognisant of the scale of what was happening, knew the time had come and accepted his defeat. After Andropov and Molotov both intervened to convince him to stand down, he contacted Malenkov in Moscow and stated that he would be content with resigning from his position as Soviet Premier if he could be guaranteed no reprisal. Malenkov replied, “Neither myself nor any Soviet citizen shall harm you in any way - you have my word as a Christian”. As Molotov recalled, “Upon seeing that last line, Suslov turned around and smashed the table so hard that he broke a bone in his hand.” Suslov banished himself to the Russian hinterland with bodyguards to keep him safe from inevitable attempts on his life from enraged peasants with Malenkov’s approval. Malenkov’s first order was to halt the movement of further troops into the increasingly brutal meat grinder that was Poland - negotiating a ceasefire with the PLA in quick order that allowed the situation to settle down, a situation which soon repeated itself in Slovakia and East Germany - with the rebels still being sent mountains of supplies from ITO and the Roman Alliance. The Berlin Blockade was likewise lifted, ending the short but sharp difficulties that the city had faced. Resources earmarked for war were sent to producing and purchasing foodstuffs that helped significantly alleviate the famine and calmed down the population immensely. The ‘Second October Revolution’, had seen roughly one hundred and seventy people killed but things could certainly have gone far worse. The takeover was viewed with cautious optimism in the West, though Malenkov’s associations to the old elite had imbued him with terrible baggage. While Jenkins may have been more sympathetic, Begin, Balbo and Corley stated that more needed to be done to convince them that any worthwhile change had come around in Moscow. This wasn’t helped when Molotov and Andropov maintained their old jobs as Foreign Minister and the Head of the KGB, with only Suslov and his advisors being sent out to pasture (though this was due to Malenkov not wanting to torment a rift within the party). He had taken over the Party however, no question about it, and promised to implement a new brand of Socialism that he had spent a considerable time working on in private: ‘Tolstoyism’.

    Tolstoyism was based on the Socialist-inspired Christianity of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, of ‘War and Peace’ fame, though the meat of Malenkov’s policy was from Tolstoy’s ‘The Kingdom of God is Within You’, which is considered the foundational text of Tolstoyism (which escaped being tarnished with the same brush as Communism). The foundational principle was non-violence, which naturally deeply undermined the authority of the central government if it was to be fully implemented. When the policy was announced by Malenkov on January 6th in St. Basil’s Cathedral at the first state-supported Orthodox Mass in living memory (with Molotov and Andropov acting as extremely reluctant attendees), the contents were the source of significant shock and disbelief among all quarters. It called for the immediate release of political prisoners, moving away from Central Planning to a devolved communal model with help of the Orthodox Church, and even the end of the occupation of all the subservient states of the Stalingrad Pact. When Malenkov announced his intention for free elections to resume, Andropov supposedly turned to Molotov and said ‘We have to stop him’. The declaration was met with unbridled enthusiasm amongst ITO, with the Roman Alliance and Israel still expressing their concern. But to the Communist Party veterans, what Malenkov had endorsed in his St. Basil’s speech was nothing more than pressing the self-destruct button on the Soviet state. Still underestimating Malenkov, they felt like they could manipulate and control him behind the scenes to ensure their power could be continued without taking the flak from a monstrously unpopular leader like Suslov. Instead, they were now faced with with not so much a fool as a maniac hellbent on destroying everything they had ever worked for. Together with the head of the Soviet Army in Andrei Grechko, the three began planning to reassert the supremacy of the Hardline Communist Bloc within the Party, with an eye to reestablishing Soviet control over the Stalingrad Pact and obliterating the influence of the Orthodox Church in society with a new Anti-Clerical campaign not seen since the 1920s. The Gang of Three, as the Molotov-Andropov-Grechko alliance was known as with one group representing the party, KGB and army respectively, would make their move on February 20th 1971.

    The ultimately failed coup (now ironically known as the ‘Second February Revolution’, reversing the roles of the First February and October Revolutions), began when Malenkov was arrested by the army and put under house arrest in the Russian countryside. Soldiers soon marched through the streets of Leningrad and Moscow, taking control of strategic positions while the new junta gave a television address explaining that Malenkov had ‘taken ill’ and that order was shortly to be restored by the army. Of course, after the Gagarin debacle, not even the loyalest Communist believed what was coming out of the uninspiring Molotov’s mouth. What the Communists also failed to realise was how deep the groundswell of Anti-Communist feeling had swollen, even in the mere four months that Malenkov had been premier. Unions had been allowed, churches met openly, and both groups immediately rallied their supporters in support of Malenkov. Workers began a General Strike that was broadcast nationwide, soon spreading to the tottering Stalingrad Pact states in Europe alongside North Iran. The Church did their best to give food and shelter to the strikers to dig down for the battle while the Gang of Three held out in a remote location just outside of Moscow. On February 21st, roughly 150,000 people descended on Red Square with pictures of Malenkov, the cross and the flag of Russia (with Tolstoyism having inspired a new kind of Russian nationalism). In order to scare off the protestors, Molotov - who had become the unofficial head of the interim government - made another terrible speech where he affirmed that “This government will save the country from the evil of Tolstoy”. Somehow, despite even reading his speech from paper, he had mistaken ‘Tolstoyism’ for ‘Tolstoy’, which greatly offended countless Russians who had no firm opinion on the new ideology but took great pride in Tolstoy’s literary achievements. Boris Yeltsin, a hitherto unknown politician, soon riled up the crowd to walk towards the Kremlin, which was surrounded by soldiers. Despite orders to fire on the intruders, the soldiers stood down. One of Malenkov’s early reforms were to remove the political commissars from amongst the soldiery, thus giving the common soldier the easy chance to mutiny when the opportunity came about. The Kremlin was thus left open to ransack, so beginning ‘The Battle of the Kremlin’ between the tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers outside and the few hundred KGB agents within. The KGB agents inside held their ground, firing from the halls of the fortress with all their might. While the Kremlin may have avoided destruction in November, it certainly faced it in February, as the protestors simply decided to burn the building down. The remaining KGB fighters were lynched when they tried to escape the flames, which consumed the Kremlin and destroyed the central bureaucracy of the Russian government. In the chaos, Lenin’s body was taken from its preservation by the rioters and thrown into the flames. All control in Moscow had been lost. The army had likewise joined protesters in Kiev, Leningrad, the Baltic states, even Stalingrad. By February 23rd, it was clear the situation had become hopeless. Molotov announced that Malenkov would be released from his imprisonment to raucous ovation from the Soviet citizenry. Malenkov took provisional charge from Leningrad - soon renamed to St. Petersburg - and announced the full reform of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party. The Burning of the Kremlin would mark the symbolic end of the Soviet Union, though the details would have to wait.

    Upon his popular re-ascension, Malenkov fired the Gang of Three and ordered them sent into exile, alongside Suslov, who many suspected to have been behind the failed coup attempt. After much debate and negotiation, they all took their separate paths. Molotov made the most remarkable choice, offering himself to Western authorities by means of the Hague in the Netherlands on the condition that the death penalty was off the table, that he would have significant comforts in his detention (“An imprisonment almost identical to the one I was in before” he quipped with reference to Soviet isolation) and “that he would be able to choose his own lawyer”. The years in Soviet isolation had so thoroughly twisted Molotov’s mind to what justice was that he was suspicious he couldn’t get a lawyer in a Dutch court. Most of the remaining Soviet hardliners went to Korea, including Suslov, Andropov and others. This was due to the fact Korea was the only remaining Communist state with some level of independent support within the population - even then, it was not much. Molotov’s arrest was an international sensation, with his landing into Amsterdam to what seemed like half of the cameras on Earth. His testimony was in the news almost every day, with his resolute condemnations of Suslov doing much to soften his image in the Western mindset. Ultimately, Molotov would receive a life sentence, though he was given prison release in 1980, two years before his death in 1982 from a failing heart. Suslov, Andropov and others received a much more quiet reception in Korea, still resolutely under Kim’s grasp. However, their ‘freedom’ would quickly prove to be quite inferior to the imprisonment Molotov experienced. They were provided small apartments in Pyongyang little better than local party officials. When they complained to Kim, the Korean dictator replied that, “Tough circumstances require it”, which was the exact wording used in a letter sent to Kim two years ago when it forced the Korean to hand over grain to the starving Soviet Union. They would soon be put under unofficial house arrest, with Kim taking pains in his delusions of grandeur and control to make the people who controlled him know what it was like to be at someone’s mercy. The Red Exiles would soon include Erich Honecker, alongside Gustáv Husák and Edward Ochab - all knew that once Soviet protection vanished that their governments were finished. Korea soon became an international retirement home for Communist dictators, all taking small, degrading apartments over the popular wrath that awaited them. One of the few who refused to budge was Tito, saying he would fight against what he saw as the inevitable Croatian invasion (though Italy had privately ruled out such an operation due to the resource sink that Ethiopia had become). Fearing that Serbia was finished if the Roman Alliance fell upon it, a group of military officers led by Slobodan Milosevic organised a putsch that arrested Tito on March 20th while announcing that Democracy was to be restored to Serbia. In reality, it was little more than a rigged system that the Serbian military managed to control, but it provided enough of an excuse that could keep the Roman Alliance out of Serbia due to ITO pressure about ‘standing up for democracy’. Tito would be handed over to the Hague, where he would ironically become highly useful to ITO in highlighting Croat atrocities in the Croat-Serbian War. Tito was sentenced to life imprisonment and died in 1977. On April 1st, Soviet troops began to withdraw from East Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Serbia, thus leaving all these new states open to Anti-Soviet forces. Local soldiers did not even bother attempt to stop resistance forces from taking command of all strategic points within their respective nations. By April 19th, the old slave states had all fallen and had leaders pledged to the multiparty democratic system. Both ITO and the Roman Alliance had agreed that none of the four East European states were permutable to join one or the other’s blocs, much like Israel. Instead, democracy was allowed to take its course, with Right-Wing parties seizing power in all four regions. The only sticking point was East Germany. When East Germany’s government fled and the citizens of West Berlin walked unhindered into the East to find that Soviet troops (and Stasi officials) were nowhere to be seen, jubilation was seen across the country. Many thought it would inevitably lead to the reunification of Germany. But due to Italian pressure, reunification remained strictly off the table, much to the outrage of both Germanys. In reality, France and Britain likewise privately supported continued separation, but the bluntness of the Italians was able to take all the PR flak in their stead. The anger would receive some catharsis, when the united German football team (made due to an agreement with both football associations in West and East Germany) won the 1974 World Cup by beating Italy in the final, the winning team receiving the trophy from none other than the Kaiser himself. Despite fears among ITO leaders of nationalistic vengeance, openly pro-Fascist parties failed to get elected in any of the new states (though Serbia was the closest - albeit in opposition to the Roman Alliance). In Poland Witold Pilecki (a stalwart democrat who trusted ITO far more than the Roman Alliance) finally became the President of the new Polish state, having finally succeeded in liberating his country from not one, but two foreign invasions. His international fame would ensure Poland in particular would receive large amounts of foreign aid, especially in rebuilding Warsaw, which had once again been smashed by the Soviet Union. As if to reclaim a lost heritage, the capital was rebuilt as it was in 1939 before the Nazi invasion. They even rebuilt the Great Synagogue of Warsaw with Israeli money, turning it into a memorial to commemorate the Jewish population of Poland that had been slaughtered by both Nazi and Soviet Anti-Semitism. Meanwhile, in Slovakia, the attitude was more in wishing to destroy the state than rebuild it. The evident gap in living standards between Slovakia and Czechia had shown how obviously inferior the Communist system was, but it also struck right at the heart of Slovakian national identity. The Slovakian state had ironically been quite nationalistic, arguing that they were now free of Czech dominance. What the failed Communist program had effectively done was discredit not only Marxism, but much of Slovakian nationalism itself. Upon the resignation of Slovakia’s government, the Czech (and old Czechoslovakian) flag fluttered up and down the streets of a jubilant Bratislava. Czech politicians, who had grown up only knowing a Czechoslovak state, gladly announced they would accept the hastily reorganised referendum that Slovakian officials created. That September, 72% of Slovakians voted to rejoin Czechia and recreate Czechoslovakia. The occasion was met with jubilation among both citizens, though in recent years a Czech independence movement has blossomed under the belief that Slovakia is a hinderance, rather than a help to Czech growth. Bulgaria was also able to fill the Dobruja gap while Romania and Hungary announced their open support of the Western powers. Yet the collapse was only beginning.

    On April 5th, Kurdistan officially announced that it was joining ITO, thus establishing its independence from former loyalties to the Soviets - though the obvious reason was to prevent Turkish aggression. Turkey, hoping it could launch an attack through Iraq, was disappointed that their enemy now hid behind the ITO umbrella, but soon found something to focus on just next door. North Iran’s Radmanesh had attempted against all hope and reason to hang on against protestors. After the Soviets pulled out of North Iran on May 2nd 1972, nationalists, royalists and clerics marched in the street to demand an end to the Tudeh regime. Having somehow survived decades, the regime had finally run its course. Radmanesh fought back by ordering soldiers to fire on protesters, killing twenty people. This was the cue for action for the Roman Alliance. Turkey and South Iran demanded in response to the May 2nd Massacre that unless the Tudeh Party resigned by May 5th, they would take “Make them” step down. Hoping that he could leverage ITO, Radmanesh would be disappointed as President Corley publicly endorsed the invasion with Prime Minister Jenkins keeping quiet. Balbo would provide symbolic air support but the vast majority of operations would be performed by the South Iranians and Turks to indifference from their northern neighbour and former overlord. The North Iranian regime, with almost no popular support, fell like a house of cards. Tehran fell to South Iranian forces within two weeks of the initial invasion, with people coming out in the streets to wave the Flag of South Iran with the Lion holding aloft the sword alongside the Pahlavi crown. Mossadegh had fulfilled his dream of reunifying his country, all the while creating a powerful network of puppets that ensured Iran had an entire third of the world’s oil directly under its control. Radmanesh, alongside most Tudeh leaders were imprisoned and later executed for crimes committed during the Mujahideen Era around the reign of Stalin. There was no need even for a referendum - North Iran was unceremoniously removed from existence and by January 1st 1973, Iran was officially once again a single country, united and in the Roman Alliance.

    In the Soviet Union itself, Malenkov removed all traces of Suslov supporters and sympathisers from the ranks, leaving the Party effectively under his sole influence. The Communist Party was abolished as ‘tainted’ and Malenkov created the ‘Christian Socialist Party’, which would win the elections in a landslide that September. He symbolically rename Stalingrad to Tolstoygrad to symbolise the new direction of the new state. Boris Yeltsin, who had proven his valour due to his charging into the Kremlin, would become a senior member of the new Politburo. Malenkov would meet President Corley, Prime Minister Jenkins, President Pompidou, Kaiser Ferdinand and even Prime Minister Balbo in Dublin on July 3rd 1972, the first time in years a Soviet leader was seriously entertained as a foreign dignitary. Malenkov was able to astonish the attendees with his promises of phasing out Communism and ‘Rescuing Socialism’ from the pit it had found itself in. The trip had done precisely what it needed to do, with all foreign powers, with the exception of Begin’s Israel, agreeing to reopen their embassies in Moscow if they hadn’t already. Grain shipments were promised, alongside increased economic liberalisation, championed in the Politburo by Yeltsin. Balbo, under pressure from Rhodesia and South Africa especially, was able to secure a guarantee of liberalisation in the emigration process. Despite the improvements at home, most people wanted a significantly better life than the misery living in the Soviet Union had become. Rhodesia and South Africa threw open their doors to the new arrivals, reviving their flagging immigration figures and supercharging them, putting them both back on course for their targets of being White Majority states by the end of the Millennium. Malenkov also agreed to the principle of the Baltic States and Finland deciding their own destinies. Not only did the four states all secede at the first chance (with Finland actually leaving with more territory than she entered with as the remainder of Karelia had been part of the Finnish SSR), but the call came from far and wide, with every SSR demanding session, including some ASSRs like Chechnya, often due to fear of being controlled by an Orthodox Theocracy. In keeping with his religious beliefs, Malenkov eschewed control and domination, allowing the three Baltic States, Finland, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, the Central Asian Republics, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Chechnya, Tuva, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan to go independent. In reality, even if Malenkov wanted to, the Soviet state was too exhausted to even begin to keep these uprisings down. But Malenkov went even further than that. On August 4th, he travelled to Hiroshima, sight of the first Nuclear detonation in hate, at the sight of the newly constructed Hiroshima Peace Museum. That was where Malenkov dropped the bombshell that would deliver him a Nobel Prize - the Soviet Union would unilaterally and totally abolish its nuclear weapon supply. It was estimated that nearly 10,000 nuclear weapons were in Soviet possession, making up roughly a third of the world’s nuclear weapons. By 1975, the Russians had destroyed every single one. The move was extremely controversial around the world, with questions over what do with each country’s own nuclear arsenal now becoming a serious issue. Ultimately, as Italy still had nukes and insisted they would die before giving them up, Western leaders merely made noise about negotiations with Italy. Behind the scenes however, the denuclearisation argument was actually weakening, with both Spain and South Africa on the brink of detonating their first nuclear devices, the former detonating in February 1973, the latter detonating their first device in August 1973. They argued that the Russian move (as by 1973, the state had abolished the name of the Soviet Union to the more proper and accurate title of ‘The Russian Federation’) was simply an act of astonishing self-harm that they were giddy to take advantage of. But Malenkov’s move had done something that few Fascist powers realised for the moment - he had removed Communism from the international equation. Communism was no longer an international menace but a handful of scrawny states scrambling for life. International attention was about to be focussed on the Italian regime for its continued atrocities in Ethiopia, with the cries of ‘Free Enrico Berlinguer’ getting louder and louder across the nations of the world. However, there still remained a slew of Communist states in East Asia, whose fall was destined to be bloodier, harsher and far more bitter than the relatively tame affairs elsewhere.
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    Map of World 1972 - Alt
  • Map World 1972.png

    A world map by 1972.
    Mongolia, North China, Korea and Ezo are the last communist states left.
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    “You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Chains”
  • Hello all. As you can tell, we're getting pretty close to the end of the story. I imagine there's only a few more chapters left for the TL (which is grand because I'm approaching burnout), and then I'll give a quick "This is 2020" clarifier about how the world is doing. I was really not supposed to write for this long, so I apologise if things seem to be happening quite rapidly. I hope I can still deliver an ending that satisfies you to show my gratitude for the help and support you've all given me as I've continued writing this story over the last year.

    And so, to give appropriately foreboding mood music (but you already knew this wasn't a utopian timeline, right?):

    “You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Chains”

    Extract from ‘The Rise, Fall and Rise of Japan’ by Mariya Takeuchi

    It would not be until November 1st that Russian troops would leave the four remaining Communist states of East Asia: Mongolia, North China, Korea and Ezo. All four pleaded for clemency, knowing full well they would be left to the mercies of Chiang and Japan, not to mention the American presence that promised full support in these efforts (with Corley promising to aid Roman Alliance Chiang in the event of war with any of the Communist powers). Malenkov would infamously return a quotation from the Bible: “I was hungry and you didn’t feed me, I was thirsty and you didn’t give me drink, I was a stranger and you didn’t invite me into your home, I was naked and you didn’t give me clothing, I was sick in prison and you didn’t visit me […] When you refused to help the least of my brothers and sisters, you refused to help me”. With that Malenkov washed his hands of what Vice President Wayne had called ‘The Nuggets’ - in reference to the droppings that stubbornly kept coming back up despite repeated attempts at flushing. The Corley-Wayne ticket would triumph over the Republican ticket in 1972, led by John Kennedy. Kennedy had promised a return to the ‘stable’ days of his brother, and it seemed to be getting good ground on the Freedom Party. But in September 1972, the full extent of his relationship with Marilyn Monroe became a national news story. Soon, a slew of further stories about serial infidelity and even harassment obliterated the reputation he had perfectly built in the 1960s as a messenger of hope. In so doing, he once again played into the stereotype of the playboy, godless Republican - becoming an easy target for Corely. His Vice-President pick (George Romney) fared little better, with his membership of the Mormon Church revolting many black voters owing to the church’s discriminatory practices. Most electoral historians regard Corley’s own success as a result of what was achieved in overthrowing Communism in the Soviet Union while the enticing future of a Communist-free world kept people coming back for the second instalment. Corley had pledged America would reach the Moon first in his initial induction speech. As his victory was announced that November, Corley pledged that Communism would be “As dead as the dodo” by the time he was out of office. Prime Minister Sato and President Chiang would be his first calls that evening when he returned to the White House. All three agreed that the time had come to “Wipe Communism off the face of the Earth” as Chiang told his generals. It was informally agreed that Ezo would be Japan’s domain, with North China and Mongolia being Chiang’s. It was agreed that Korea would be neutralised and neither Bloc would claim it. Interestingly, Chiang made this agreement without Balbo’s knowledge. When puzzled about this from a younger aide, Chiang quipped, “We can tell them once they’ve got Ethiopia sorted out”. This would mark one of the first instances of the Republic of China exerting its strength from within the Roman Alliance. Indeed Italy could do little but watch as the meat grinder in Ethiopia kept going on like an eternal nightmare. Only South China, Japan, America and the Philippines would contribute any significant amount of military resources to the final downfall of Communism - it was more than enough, however.

    On December 15th, South China unleashed the military assault they had waited the last twenty years for. State-of-the-art Italian tanks rolled over the undermanned, starving fortresses on the border, laced with T34s without the fuel to move them. At the same time, American troops within South Beijing broke south and headed to meet marching RoC troops. Americans being the only Western troops in South Beijing as a symbolic sop to Wallace’s surrender of the West Berlin occupation zone in 1945. The American and RoC Air Forces had total dominance over North China’s airspace by the end of the day. Attempts to take South Beijing failed abysmally, with the well-trained troops of the RoC effortlessly outpacing their unmotivated northern counterparts. General Abrams, leader of American forces in the campaign told President Corley “Our greatest problem right now is that so many of the enemy are surrendering”. This was no joke. Like Germans, the Chinese could see the evidently superior lifestyles of their Southern counterparts from South Beijing alone. In particular, the rural population loved the Kung-Fu films and comics coming from the South that the North couldn’t stop in their entirety, with the stories inspiring them to oppose the ‘Foreign Regime’ as many considered the Communist government. They could hear Western music, see well-fed Southern Chinamen and far prouder and patriotic Chinamen at that. No one, even in the North, regarded the smaller, poorer, nastier state as the legitimate representative of the Chinese people, especially not a woman who spent more time in the film studio than the halls of government. General Lin Biao had taken effective charge of the crumbling state and was rewarded with an impossible situation he had no hope of surviving, let alone winning. Nevertheless, he fought on with crumbling supplies and support - even Korea forsook the PRC, hoping they could buy themselves time for the inevitable judgement to come. When American and RoC troops met in Tianjin on Christmas Day 1972, it was clear that the war was already won. But for the Communists, their fate was set to deteriorate yet further in Hokkaido.

    On January 3rd 1973, the American and Japanese Air Forces pounded Ezo from above, with an almost immediate landing of Japanese troops coming thereafter. Short range transport shipping had been excluded from the restrictions imposed on the Japanese Navy for just such a day. Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda made their first major foray into Cold War weaponry, and the result was concluded to be a rip-roaring success. American observer, Admiral Joseph Metcalf III, concluded that ‘The Japanese are even tougher nut to crack than they were in WW2”. Despite the Emperor’s misgivings over the conflict, as he hoped for a peaceful resolution, Prime Minister Sato and the Japanese Cabinet saw the moment as a chance to reestablish the national pride in Japan that they felt had been eroded since 1945. Certainly, news of the invasion was met with overwhelming support, as Japanese citizens had heard many of the horror stories of refugees escaping ‘The Occupied North’. When they landed in Hokkaido, Japanese soldiers were certainly greeted as liberators by the local Japanese population - free to celebrate Japanese culture, wave the Red Circle and reunite with their Southern brethren. But to the native Ainu (and any ethnically Japanese collaborators) the army behaved with great cruelty. There was no mass surrender as seen in North China - both the Ainu and Communist Japanese fought to the bitter end wherever they could. The Ainu population were quickly rounded up into ‘relocation camps’ while Ainu members of government were often summarily executed on the spot, often by sword. Ryū Ōta, the leader of the Ezo government, had harsh discriminated against the local Japanese population in favour of the Ainu despite being Japanese himself by labelling the Ainu ‘Lumpenproletariat’ that needed to be reared to power. This likely made him even more hated among the soldiers than the local Ainu, with Japanese writer Yukio Mishima explaining “An enemy is one thing - a traitor is another”. When he was caught hiding in the forests by a unit of Japanese soldiers, the unit could not contain themselves. They tied Ōta up, put him over a nearby rock and cut his head off with one clean decapitation. Though the unit was eventually put to trial, all would be released due to overwhelming public support for Ōta’s execution. Public decapitation was a common method of punishing resistors in the occupied Ainu villages of Hokkaido. It was also the common method of execution of senior Japanese members of the Communist Party who had fled Japan to find comfort up North. Among those was Inejiro Asanuma, the former head of the Socialist Party who left Japan in protest of re-militarisation to go to Ezo. His public denunciations of the Emperor and Japan had ensured he was labelled as a traitor to the Chrysanthemum Throne, leading to his being hacked to death with bayonets when he ‘resisted arrest’. With the Americans agreeing not to have any ground role in the war beyond the air force, many of Japan’s atrocities in Hokkaido were never reported until long after the fact. When Sapporo fell on January 27th, Ainu cultural festivals, expression and even language was soon ruthlessly suppressed. It certainly dissuaded many Ainu from rising against the Japanese army, as if the numerical difference wasn’t already enough. By the end of January, there were double the number of Japanese soldiers in Hokkaido than there were Ainu of all ages. Half due to the desperation fighting against the Japanese (a bizarre mirror of Japan’s own fight-to-the-death mentality in WW2) and half due to discriminatory Japanese firepower, the Ainu lost a quarter of their entire population in the three months of conflict it took to fully secure Hokkaido, which is remembered in Japan as ‘The Re-Unification War’. The Japanese had recovered their reputation as a serious military force, not to mention recaptured an integral part of their land. Japanese refugees from Hokkaido, as well as Ultra-Nationalist ‘Settlers’ who had been encouraged by the Japanese government to go to Hokkaido to solidify the mono-ethnicity of the region. For the Ainu, they would face further destitution. On May 4th 1973, the Soviets agreed to return the four disputed Kuril Islands to Japan for a small payment - the Japanese government announced that the Ainu population would be resettled there ‘For its protection’. With barely enough resources to go around, the Ainu were left on barren islands to eke out a bare level of survival. Meanwhile back on Hokkaido, almost any Ainu cultural expression had been destroyed or upended, including graveyards, temples and anything else. Soldiers were told to ‘Make Hokkaido look like it never had one of their kind had landed a foot on our Island’. By the end of 1973, the Ainu existed on Hokkaido only in memory. Prime Minister Sato would be remembered as the man who reunified Japan, making him a national legend while abroad his reputation was somewhat hurt as Communism fades into the past and newer generations are less forgiving of his actions. With the fall of Ezo, there were now only three Communist nations left on Earth, but that was soon to fall yet further.

    With Tianjin having come under RoC control, an unbroken supply line now stretched into South Beijing and along the coast. At the same time, all across the border, millions of men from the qualitatively and quantitatively superior Kuomintang forces crossed the Yellow River over a front so vast that there was no way for the Communists to even begin to respond. Lin Biao ordered his troops in the west of China to fall back to a more defensive line around Inner-Mongolia. What ended up happening was that the faster, lightning-quick Chinese military was able to outpace the retreat and obliterated the Communists around the Gansu area, taking more than a million prisoners by the time Yinchuan had fallen in early February. By March, the RoC had established a strong position on Mongolia’s borders. Chiang informed Premier Tsedenbal that Mongolia would be ‘Revoked from this world by either pen or artillery shells’ and demanded the country’s surrender. Faced with no hope on any side, Tsdenbal capitulated while accepting arrest. On March 20th, RoC troops marched into Ulan Bator, with Chiang announcing that Mongolia was now formally a part of the Republic of China. Suggestions to go after Tuva were harshly shot down for fears of offending the Americans, who were only interested in targeting Communists. The announcement eroded what little defensive depth the North Chinese had, who now found soldiers attacking them from behind them as well as from over the Yellow River. Whatever was left of their discipline collapsed, as millions threw down their rifles and knives (as weapons were sometimes scarce, the Communists had encouraged the use of knives against modern-combat soldiers). At the same time, the assault on North Beijing began in full earnest, with American and RoC soldiers marching into the much depleted lines of the Communist forces. At the risk of being completely encircled, Communist forces had by now made a full retreat from anything west of Beijing for fear of being totally surrounded by a strike south from Mongolia. As before, the primarily horse-based Communists, who had little to no fuel for what vehicles they did have, were shred to pieces by the modern Kuomintang and American air forces as they fled east. North Beijing would be no Shanghai or Stalingrad, with the city quickly surrounded and isolated by Allied forces. Lin Biao had fled north to attempt a ‘Second Long March’, while Jiang seemed to have fallen off the radar entirely. The city would be completely surrounded by April 19th 1973. By now, the chain of command had totally collapsed and soldiers were left completely in the dark about the orders their superiors gave them. On April 23rd, local commanders decided that in light of repeated failures to respond by Jiang to their requests and the impossibility of the current situation that they would surrender the city to Chiang. The ease with which the city fell would greatly help expunge more bitter memories of China in the American psyche, with many seeing the War of Chinese Unification as redemption for the horror of the initial Chinese War. Kuomintang soldiers began their hunt for Jiang; they didn’t have to wait long. She was found dead, sitting in one of the private theatres in a bunker below North Beijing, having died of dehydration and exhaustion. She had locked the screening room and ordered the projectionist to play her old films one after another. Despite pleas for her to get out, she refused right until her demise. She died, even as the films kept rolling. Jiang would be little missed by anyone, and her death was seen as the symbolic end of Communist China - the death of a ruining madness. General Lin Biao fared even worse, with his jeep being strafed by an American-fighter plane just outside Harbin and obliterated. With the death of the person who was controlling most of the daily activities of the new state. After subsequent infighting, the PRC went from a state with a non-responsive administration to having none at all. The RoC continued to race north, reaching Harbin by July 26th and the Soviet border by August 15th. On September 1st 1973, the final existing redoubt of Communist Chinese resistance (that hadn’t managed to escape into Korea), was obliterated in the Battle of Dalian. After forty-five years of war between Chiang and the Communists, the old man had finally succeeded in his dream of re-uniting China. The very next day, in Xi’an, a farmer stumbled upon what would become known as the ‘Terracotta Warriors’, an army of statues built to defend their lord in the afterlife. Many Chinese believe the two events were connected and consider the victory of the Kuomintang to have had divine intervention, some even believing that the Terracotta Warriors somehow ‘guided’ the KMT to victory. The one person who seemed least excited by the conquest of China was Chiang himself. Chiang was surprisingly indifferent to his successes, though he made the official tours of all the cities and regions in the north he had not seen for decades. He would explain his feelings on a phone call to the White House, saying to Corley, “At first, I wanted to unite China, but after seeing the Hell that Communism has unleashed on my country and our planet, my only goal now is to wipe those devils off the face of the Earth”. There was no complaint from Sato or Corley - Korea was next and last.

    Karl Marx’s last stand would be in Pyongyang - with the whole world watching with eager anticipation as American and Chinese were about to “Sound forth the trumpet that will never call retreat” as Corley told television viewers from the Oval Office. Despite the militaristic overtures, none of the Allied powers wanted to take a military solution against so mountainous, nationalistic and militarily competent people. It would be far more cost effective to simply starve the Hermit Kingdom out, and so that was exactly what they did. Friendless, hopelessly outgunned, hopelessly outnumbered, Kim Il-Sung scrambled to find a solution as starvation and unrest began to spread in his isolated domain. His land border was sealed off by Chiang and Malenkov while the US Navy patrolled the shores. The UN, which had recently re-admitted Russia into the organisation (without their veto power restored), launched an international boycott and sanction against the world’s final Communist power that dwarfed anything done to any nation previously. By October 1973, Korea was in a state of famine, running critically low on enough fuel to even power their planes. Late that month, bombing runs officially began, which the Koreans could do nothing about. Railways, airfields and anything else of military significance was pounded into oblivion in hopes of hastening the regime’s demise. Kim had no assets with which to respond … except for one. It was around late October when Kim offered Chiang and Coley all the Communist exiles he had gathered, which included Suslov, Andropov, Honecker and many more from the four corners of the world. Kim accepted that Korea would be democratised and decommunised, but asked that in return for the legions of fugitives he held, he could receive amnesty in Switzerland. Begin endorsed the deal, arguing that they could send the Mossad after him soon enough and make it look like an accident. The offer also excited the other Allied powers, hoping for a repeat of the Nuremberg Trials, only for the Communists instead. However, Kim was told in no uncertain terms a full amnesty was “Impossible” and that the best he could hope for was to have his actions taken into account for his trial. Initially, Kim was indignant and refused, but when bread riots put the city of Busan into flames on October 29th and the soldiers began to desert and join the resistors, he knew the time had come. Kim sent his security services to arrest the collection of exiles he had established. Suslov, Andropov and dozens more senior Communist leaders were dragged from their beds on the morning of October 30th to jail cells before eventually being collected by a team of American, Chinese, British, Italian and Japanese agents. That afternoon, Kim announced his full capitulation to Western demands, ordering his army to stand down against the invaders. American and Philippine troops, the only troops Kim would allow to occupy Korea in light of Korea’s history with China and Japan, swarmed into the country that very day. American General Schwartzkopf would be immortalised forever as he took down the Red Korean flag from the Presidential Palace in Pyongyang, taking down the final Communist flag on Earth. In an extra bout of humiliation, Kim, still in handcuffs, was made to watch as the flag came down. Korea itself would be democratised, with the subsequent elections won by the Korean Democrat Party, led by Pro-West dissident Kim Dae-Jung (who had covertly organised much of the resistance in Busan that toppled the regime). The Fascist influenced Korean People’s Party under Chun Doo-Hwan (who took a far more militaristic strategy to bring down the regime) came a close second, failing mostly as a result of fear among the populace that they were too influenced by Chiang’s China. In agreement with Chiang, the Americans refused to put any bases in Korea, though the Chinese guaranteed the territorial sovereignty of the small nation.

    Extract from “The Decade of Freedom: The 70s Remembered” by Abigail Francis

    On October 30th 1973, almost fifty-six years to the day since Lenin’s Revolution, Communism had been relegated to the ash-heap of history, with a cursed legacy of starvation and war, genocide and atrocities, hypocrisy and failure. Today, Communism has been relegated to a minor fringe kept alive only by mostly online ‘Neo-Communist’ movement, but has no political power or influence in any country on Earth. To admit one is or ever was a Communist in most countries today is to commit social suicide. In most of Eastern Europe, it remains a criminal offence to be a member of a Communist organisation. Laws against the display of the Hammer and Sickle are prominent throughout global hate-crime legislation. Much like the Nazi Holocaust, laws denying the Soviet Holocaust and Holodomor have become mainstream across the European continent - in some countries, even affirming the Soviet Moon-Landing is illegal. Museums were quickly established in Jerusalem, Moscow, Beijing, Berlin, Washington and elsewhere to explain the rise and fall of the ideology, giving full report of the carnage it brought the world. Karl Marx’s House in Trier was demolished and replaced with a memorial to all Germans who died from the Soviet occupation onwards. The mantle of Socialism was passed onto the Social-Democrats of Europe, the Tolstoyists of Russia (whose influence on America’s Freedom Party would be obvious by the 1980s) and the Libertarian Socialists of Kurdistan - all of whom condemned Soviet Marxism as an abomination. For the fugitive Communist leaders, there was some debate over where the final trial would ultimately be. There was much suggestion to hold it in the Hague or St. Petersburg, but it was ultimately the suggestion of Kaiser Ferdinand that triumphed - to hold the trial in West Germany’s Trier, the birthplace of Karl Marx. “In Trier did this wicked doctrine begin,” he told fellow world leaders, “and in Trier it must die”. Western leaders accepted the idea, hoping that such a sensation within West Germany might distract from the anger that was growing in the population over reunification being denied. East Germany’s maltreatment under the Communists certainly encouraged a lust for vengeance among the populace. Unlike Molotov, they had attempted to escape justice, and thus they were considered deserving of a more intense form of punishment. Despite Germany having abolished the death penalty, a specific law was proposed in the recently reconstituted Reichstag (though the Monarchy would remain in Frankfurt) to allow the defendants of the Trier Trial to receive the ultimate punishment. Balbo, Begin and Corley loudly backed the idea while Jenkins started a political firestorm at home for refusing the death penalty, which was also banned in Britain despite overwhelming backing from the populace. Ultimately, it was Malenkov that made the final decision, saying he would refuse to cooperate with the trial if the death penalty was suggested, saying that ‘He who lives by the sword shall die from the sword”. As the trial needed Russian witnesses and documents, there was nothing the West Germans could do. With that, Willy Brandt’s SDP was able to resist the pressure to reintroduce the death penalty. There would be eight nations sending their judges to the trial: America, Britain, France, West Germany, Israel, Russia, Italy and China. Of course, the Communists had committed so much wrong to so many nations that, as Corley supposedly said, “If we gave a seat to half the countries who got screwed over by the Commies, we’d break through the damned floor”. The Trier Trial began on April 9th 1974 (delayed due to President Pompidou’s sudden death) and the final verdicts were ultimately given on July 10th 1975. In an act of spite, it was concluded that all parties being imprisoned would be sent to Spandau Prison in West Germany, to be interned with Nazi leader Rudolf Hess to further degrade and humiliate the Communist leaders. The international gathering had a host of stars coming down to give their final farewells, including:

    • Mikhail Suslov - The former Soviet leader was sentenced to life imprisonment in the least surprising judgement of the Trier Trial. Having been so twisted by his failures and betrayal, most historians now argue, based on his erratic behaviour, that he was not fit for trial. He most infamously called Malenkov “A Cross-humping faggot!”, while calling Molotov “The bastard son of a gypsy and a vodka bottle!” He declared that he had secret Communist agents within the court ready to jump out of their chairs, kill everyone in the room and rescue him (he never gave the order). Ultimately placed in contempt of court, political pressure ensured he was given the maximum possible sentence. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at Spandau, with even Hess describing Suslov as ‘insane’. Suslov would die in December 1979, a rambling wreck - with many Neo-Communists theorising either Italy or Israel or both had deliberately made him look foolish to demean the stellar reputation Communism had at the time. Needless to say, this view is not mainstream among scholars.
    • Andrei Grechko - The Soviet commander would be the fall-guy for almost every Soviet war crime that they had ever committed - certainly since WW2. He was charged and convicted for brutality against the German population in WW2, charged for crimes committed against the Polish population during the Second Russian-Polish War, charged with crimes committed against Iranians during the partisan suppression, for aiding and abetting war crimes in North China, for signing off on arms sales to the UAR and for attempting to suppress the Soviet citizenry. Grechko would barely survive the (life) sentencing, dying just eleven days after due to his continuous poor health.
    • Yuri Andropov - As the former head of the KGB, Andropov’s extensive involvement in the state apparatus made him an important witness for historians. The terrifying lengths to which the organisation had gone to monitor and control people, especially poignant in Germany due to the terror of the Stasi, would be a frequent staple of Anti-Communist museums. His extensive involvement with the Soviet Holocaust (while Molotov could absolve himself with the excuse he had a Jewish wife and immediately ended the madness when he got to power) on the ground level was ultimately what sealed his doom. Israeli prosecutor Avner Less led a ferocious attack on the Soviet politician, concluding, “In Judaism, we don’t believe in Hell. But I wish Hell existed just so you could go to it!” His life sentence was well deserved, as was his lonely death in May 1981.
    • Kim Il-Sung - The tough decision to surrender somewhat paid off for the Korean dictator, who was indeed treated with some level of political leniency by the prosecutors, who conceded that Kim was a genuinely popular leader as he had far more control over his country as it was united and more free of Soviet influence. Kim would ‘only’ get ten years in prison, let out at nine years due to poor health. He would briefly enjoy a level of independence in Switzerland before dying in 1992 to people dancing in the streets of Pyongyang.
    • Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan, the two most powerful politicians from North China left alive after the fall of whom Chiang called ‘The Paper Tigress’, were the two representatives from China who bickered in a black comedic fashion that amused international press commentators. Both were utterly spineless, with the poet Yao even going so far as to write a poem denouncing Zhang as a clueless coward. Chiang Kai-Shek would laugh, “At first I just wanted them up against a wall and shot, but they’ve given me so much amusement I could make them my court jesters”. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment.
    • Yumjaagiin Tsendbal - The Mongolian leader was ritually humiliated at the Trier Trial, portrayed by prosecutors as the bumbling fool of his Russian wife who was considered the real power player in the country. Tsendbal was forced to hear humiliating letter after humiliating letter among Soviet leaders mocking him for being his wife’s plaything. The sentence itself, less than his wife’s was the final blow. He was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment, dying on October 9th 1990.
    • Anastasia Filatova - The wife of Tsendbal, Filatova was portrayed by Western media almost as a Lady Macbeth figure. Modern historians question China’s involvement in the decision to go hard on Filatova, saying it played into Chiang’s hands to consider Communism a European export. Filatova received thirty years in prison in what is now regarded as too harsh, dying on February 7th 2000.
    • Reza Radmanesh - The North Iranian dictator was much luckier than most of his national kin, expelled to the Trier Trial while most of his Tudeh brethren were simply hanged or shot by the victorious Fascist regime in Tehran. He was likewise sentenced to life imprisonment for atrocities committed against the Islamist insurgencies of the early 1950s. He remains a somewhat controversial figure in Kurdistan, where he retains a strong level of sympathy for his help in creating the Kurd state - a frequent sore spot that Turkey still uses to lobby the world against Kurdistan.
    • Erich Honecker - The most hated man in Germany (East and West), Honecker was stone-faced and unrepentant about any of his actions. When asked by American prosecutor John Paul Stephens if he had any regrets over his actions against the housewives of East Berlin, Honecker flippantly replied, “Of course, that they were stupid enough to protest”. Sentenced to life imprisonment, Honecker was found hanged in his jail-cell on March 2nd 1978. Though still officially a suicide, many suspect the West German government had a hand in his death.
    • Edward Ochab, Poland’s leader and main representative at the Trial, would become the surprise story of the whole affair. It was unearthed that though a passionate and devoted Communist, he knew that the Anti-Semitic campaign launched by Stalin was wrong and fought hard to argue (at risk of his life) to spare the Jewish population of Poland. When that failed, he helped organise three thousand Jews to escape Poland and travel to Sweden. Ochab had conducted this in great secrecy, knowing he would be killed if word got out. Ultimately, he was never found out, and would continue to run Poland. He was briefly replaced by Władysław Gomułka, a Khrushchev-supporter who was purged by Suslov when his Troika took power, putting Ochab back on his throne. Ochab still had a bitter legacy that could not be denied in Poland, but given the extreme lengths he had gone to save his Jewish population, he was commended with only a ten year sentence, dying on August 16th 1988.
    • Gustáv Husák, Slovakia’s leader, had no such inspiring story and was quickly shellacked by the atrocities committed against the Catholic Church during his time in office, which made him quite the target of the Italians. Husák was given a likely harsh full-life sentence and died on November 9th 1989.
    • Kenji Miyamoto - The highest ranking member of the Communist government of Ezo left alive after the killings of multiple Ezo politicians by Japanese soldiers, Kenji would make headlines as the only member of the proceedings to succeed in taking his own life before the trial had concluded with a carefully concealed cyanide capsule. The resulting lockdown on any chance of suicide by the inmates stopped Tsendbal from committing the same fate.
    • Further Politburo members being prosecuted for their crimes included: Fyodor Kulakov, Andrei Kirilenko, Viktor Grishin, Gennady Voronov, Andrei Gromyko and Nikolai Podgorny. Due to their lower status, they would all receive prison sentences between ten and thirty years.

    The Trier Trial would mark the symbolic reckoning for Communism that the Nuremberg Trials were for the Nazis. Trier would be the location where East German criminals would be tried while most countries would continue prosecuting their own sinners. That Malenkov had effectively been allowed to ‘get away’ with what he had done as a Communist before has remained controversial in the following years, but there is no doubt that Communism’s fall would likely have been far more brutal, or perhaps nonexistent, if it wasn’t for that remarkable historical figure. Molotov was lucky in having been able to get his story out first to the broader public, allowing history to paint a more sympathetic portrayal of him in the public imagination that recent scholarship has shed some doubt on. With the death of Communism enshrined at Trier, Leftist parties around the world rallied to condemn the monstrosities committed by the regime. But perhaps the biggest effect of the fall of Communism was not so much its effect on the moderate Left but the Hard Right. Fascism was about to find out that far from Communism being their great enemy, it may have been the friend they needed to stay alive.
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    Intermission - France
  • Hello to all, today I return with a new side post about France after WWII, delving how De Gaulle managed to stay in power for so long. Sorairo as usual revised this. Enjoy!

    Extract from ‘Le Roi Republicaine: De Gaulle’s presidencies and France after World War II’ by Alain Degiraud

    When De Gaulle in 1944 assumed the Presidency of the Provisional Government of the French Republic (GPRF), the General would accept to cooperate with the political forces that opposed Nazi occupation and the Vichy regime. Because such regime was essentially supported by right-oriented forces now discredited in the eyes of the French, the rebuilt left – the SFIO (the Socialists) and the PCF (the Communists) - took growing influence inside the GPRF, counterbalanced by De Gaulle’s supporters which formed the core of the previous Free France government and administration. While within the entire GPRF everyone agreed over the necessity of a new constitution to reform France, there was deeply a division between the left and the so called “Gaullists” about the future constitutional asset of the same Republic. Essentially, the left wanted an enforced Parliamentary Republic, while De Gaulle advocated the creation of a Presidential Republic on the American model.

    De Gaulle, during the Free French period, was able to theorize a proper vision of France after the war – to summarize, democratic but with a strong executive power able to operate in case of legislative grindlock, therefore having a popular legitimation for operating in such way, therefore a popular elected President leading its own executive. Such a political concept wasn’t historically alien to France, but the two past attempts in such sense in the 19th century ended in autocratic monarchies and their epilogues were very tragic for the nation. Considering also that De Gaulle promoted the concept of a strong France in a nationalist fashion, it wasn’t difficult for the left to accuse him of being a Bonapartist and having dictatorial tendencies. In truth, De Gaulle wasn’t prejudically hostile to the left – in economy, he was favorable to state control in certain industrial and productive sectors, even with a base orientation towards liberalism; or supportive towards social state operations from healthcare to welfare, always to be controlled by a strong executive. But, with a strong SFIO-PCF axis on the left, and the vacuum in the right, it was sort of inevitable that Gaullism would be embraced more by the centre-right elements of French society, seeing the General as the only viable bastion against a leftist victory in France. De Gaulle’s main issue at the time however was the lack of a proper party structure behind him, while having a strong popularity and support in the country. Therefore, as France would start to return into normality and the emergency of the conflict will came less, he would progressively struggle to keep the united GPRF front, as the prewar party factionalism slowly reemerged again. Also, De Gaulle during 1944 and 1945 was unable to properly organize his supporters into a party, due to his duties as leader of a country in war taking the precedence, while the leftist leadership was free to rebuilt its own party structure and commencing to dominate growing internal issues in the national political debate.

    In late Spring of 1944, the return of Leon Blum from Germany after being freed by the Italians was hailed with cheerful crowds in Paris and galvanized the SFIO. While Blum would encourage the Socialists to work with De Gaulle in the GPRF, he would progressively work with the leader of the Communists, Maurice Thorez, in the construction of a new “Popular Front” in the belief this time the unity of the French lefts will stand. Effectively in 1945 the PCF appeared to be the strongest political party in France, and Thorez sensed the difficulties of the center-left to stand compact between themselves and above all, under De Gaulle. In fact, the French Christian Democrats (MRP), who at the time were gaining the support of the center-right French, were in disagreement with De Gaulle over the constitutional asset of France, being in favour of Parliamentarism instead of Presidentialism. The General, growing disillusioned in front of what he called the “party regime”, was tempted several times to resign from his position, since early 1944. The exclusion of France from the Kiev conference was a blow to his prestige as to his ego, while receiving criticism for failing in even being invited, like a reminder that despite being almost freed, France was still paying the price of defeat of 1940. The chaos erupted after the Valkirie coup would distract the French public opinion from that diplomatic debacle, but De Gaulle would remind such humiliation, steeling his determination in bringing France back into the status of great power she deserved while him being the architect of such project.

    Besides with the Valkyrie coup, De Gaulle would manage to recover ground for himself and France. As in Kiev began a divide between British and Italians on one side, and Soviets (and partially Americans) from another, he would diplomatically find a reapproachment with Stalin, desirous to plant a wedge between the Western Europeans, and some initial sympathy with the new Wallace administration, hence re-obtaining the status of major Allied power and twisting British arm in that sense. The contact with Stalin was very profitable for De Gaulle, because both of them converged over the complete annihilation of Germany and they didn’t have conflicting interests, as prewar French influence in the Balkans was washed away and the General acknowlegded that loss. Also, such convergence would give the French leader a direct contact with the Soviet one, without passing through the French Communists. In that way De Gaulle ensured control of French foreign policy. The liberation in early 1945 of most of Indochina “with French troops” was a personal success for De Gaulle, despite the Vietcong resistance in the North, because the General could now claim to have restored suzerainty on every French overseas territory (with the exception of the mandates on Syria and Lebanon, of which we will get to). Such liberation was planned after the 1944 visit of Chiang Kai Shiek in Paris, useful for both the Chinese Nationalist leader and the General (the former in search of new allies, the second wanting to prove France was again a respected power visited by foreign, respectful delegations); China would support French recovery of Indochina and not attempt to exercise any Chinese influence of sort in the region, and France would send supplies and subsides to the Nationalists; to appease Chiang, De Gaulle would concede official French acknowledgement on the Cairo declaration and the formal return of the French concessions in China, for a fair trade treaty to be discussed later.

    Those plans for Indochina risked to be disrupted during Potsdam, when the Americans were intentioned to make huge concessions to the Soviets. De Gaulle joined Churchill and Mussolini in annoyance, in part because those concessions were seen as a potential threat over French rule in Indochina, in part because due of them, the partition of Germany would be less punitive than he hoped, while forcing France to keep a more sizeable part of the country as the Americans declared their intention to pull out from Europe soon as possible. The General wasn’t hostile to a wider Soviet occupation of Germany and was initially less concerned over the possibility of a war between the West and the USSR than the British. He knew Wallace was on this agenda as well, but the necessity to end the war in the Pacific front needed the support of all the Allied forces – through a balancing act, the Soviets will have lesser influence in Europe for a higher one in Asia. To get France on board over those decisions, De Gaulle promised support for fighting the Japanese in exchange of French reaffirmed rule in Indochina, hence settling the conference of Potsdam.

    However, the evolution of the Indochinese campaign would cause a deep division in the GPRF during the early summer of 1945. Because the Vietcong resistance in the North refused to step down despite French pressures, the PCF would find itself into a dilemma, between supporting Ho Chi Min and guaranteeing French interests. Deciding to side with the former, they would end against De Gaulle, who would then decide to throw them out the GPRF, forcing elements of the SFIO to abandon the provisional government as well, to not break the alliance with the Communists. Incensed, Thorez and the French Communist leadership would organize a virulent campaign of protests and strikes across the country, in what was renown in France as “Red Summer”. Such campaign would paralyze most of the republic for months, until fading into the later autumn. While the SFIO would agree to join the protests, it would also block the PCF from taking more radical actions, as De Gaulle promised that constitutional elections would proceed as planned after the official end of the Pacific War, while taking a more conciliant rather than repressive behaviour towards strikes and protests. However, behind the scenes, De Gaulle worked for a reconciliation with the MRP, scared by the sudden spike of tension released by the Left. While both sides remained distant over the final form of constitutional asset for France, the Christian Democrats would continue to be supportive of De Gaulle’s actions. As the MRP would contest the excessive tone of the strikes as counterproductive for the necessary French recovery, with De Gaulle advocating the valour of the French soldiers fighting in Indochina to restore the pride of the nation, they would manage to partially curb the victory of the Popular Front in the constitutional elections of October 1945, as while the SFIO-PCF obtained the absolute majority of the seats, they didn’t have a large one.

    Besides, several Socialists started to have doubts over their ally, as the Togliatti trial created certain doubts and uncertainty towards the Soviet establishment. While Thorez, strong with the electoral victory, would start a reshuffle of the provisional government, essentially ousting De Gaulle and creating a new leftist dominated administration, the MRP would oppose it, and some Socialists as well. Because in the meanwhile the Vietcong refused any sort of mediation while agreements were done already with Bao Dai on the Indochinese front, and knowing that any operation against the region of Tonkin wouldn’t be implemented until the spring of the next year, when the plebiscite over the new constitution will be done, the SFIO didn’t see necessity nor urgency in furthering an internal crisis over Indochina. There was also fear of a reaction of the Anglo-Italians or the rebuilding French armed forces if De Gaulle would be unseated and a Communist would take his place in such a delicate moment for the country. Therefore it was compromised that De Gaulle would stay until the plebiscite for the new constitution, while the SFIO would return into the GPRF, but the PCF refused such compromise. Still the Popular Front was able to write a left oriented constitution making France a monoparliamentary Republic. However, the MRP would make a hard campaign against such draft with the support of the right, claiming that such a constitution was a prelude for making France a communist dictatorship. As the effects of the Red Summer started to weight on the French populace still in state of distress under a very weak economy, the plebiscite held in May failed.

    As new constitutional elections were necessary, De Gaulle would manage to build in the meanwhile a political understanding between the MRP and the two political forces to its right, the Left Republicans and the Republican Liberty Party. This time, the MRP came on top while the Popular Front failed to achieve the absolute majority; agreeing to stick over a biparliamentary system and an organization not too dissimilar from the Third Republican one, with some balancing between presidential and premiership powers, the constitution will be approved in the October of 1946. In November, the first legislative elections took place, and while the PCF reobtained the first place, the MRP obtained a not too far second place, while the SFIO lost votes to the Communists and the right started to resurge. Now, the MRP, despite the past divergences during the Red Summer, was willing to normalize relations with the Socialists and the Communists, but Thorez demanded the premiership in exchange; this stalled further negotiations, while the National Assembly would elect with the votes of the MRP, the Left Republicans and the Liberty Party Charles de Gaulle as first President of the Fourth French Republic.

    With De Gaulle’s position secured, there weren’t chances for Thorez to assume the premiership. As the SFIO would not be willing to proceed into a coalition with the MRP anyway, Thorez had no choice to accept Georges Bidault of the MRP to become first minister. Bidault’s role wouldn’t last for long, because as De Gaulle feared, the various parties would soon fall prey to parliamentary infighting, forcing the General to name various first ministers during his first legislature. The positive note in the prolonged French political instability, was for De Gaulle to present himself as the enduring beacon of stability and firm guidance for the Republic, even if from 1947 his neutrality would fade when he had finally the chance to organize his own political party, the Rassemblement du People Francaise (RPF), as banner of his political theories. The foundation of the RPF would be decisive for the French political assets, because he would gradually take away votes and politicians from all the forces standing to the right of the Popular Front, especially from the MRP, which would progressively shrink and collapse as the RPF would constantly expand. The left wouldn’t however take advantage by the gradual decline of the MRP, because the nuclear blast of Warsaw totally vindicated the Right’s disgust of Communism. The Polish situation after the end of the war would become one of the major points of divergence between SFIO and PCF, the first being supporter of Polish independence and self-determination, whereas the second was more supportive of Moscow’s guidance of Poland towards a full socialist republic. When the Polish started their war of resistance, the divisions between Socialists and Communists would further widen until Warsaw was destroyed in nuclear fire. Until then, Leon Blum defended the alliance with the PCF, even if intimately growing doubtful of Thorez’s strategy to raise social tension in France, as in the long term damaged the Popular Front in the mid 1930’s and hurt it again in 1946. He might have agreed over Thorez in searching a deal with the Vietcong rather than pursuing the complete restoration of French rule in Indochina, but not at the cost to risk a rupture with De Gaulle; at the same time, after the Togliatti trial, and the collapse of the Italian antifascist left front in Lyon, he started to nurture doubts over the capacities and the true ambitions of Stalin. The war between Croatia and Serbia saw some form of unity between Socialists and Communists towards Tito, who was hailed as a valorous comrade saving the Serbian revolution from Fascist aggression, but De Gaulle was determined to prevent the creation of “popular volunteers” in order to prevent a new “Spanish situation”, being enough satisfied for the removal of Pavelic at hands of the Italians and ending the war in a status quo. Serbia decades later would manage to reach some French assistance in order to survive by contacts and exchanges through Romania and Hungary, considering the state of permanent emnity with Italy, Croatia and Bulgaria, hence rebuilding some form of influence for Paris in the Balkan states.

    Poland however was very controversial for all France. The French were historically sympathetic to the Polish attempts to get rid of Russian control, and they went to war with Germany over the safeguard of Poland. De Gaulle pragmatically acknowledged Poland under Soviet sphere albeit he would have been likely for a wider part of Soviet controlled Germany in exchange of a neutral and independent Poland. The SFIO wanted Poland to have free and respected elections to decide its political alignment, but the PCF aligned with Moscow over the “exportation by force of the revolution”. Those different opinions would generate a growing a divide between PCF and SFIO, until the nuclear devastation of Warsaw changed the entire situation. De Gaulle would immediately condemn the attack, breaking whatever lingering diplomatic contact with the USSR at the time, and calling for a trilateral meeting in Orleans with Mussolini and Churchill were they formed the West European Nuclear Joint Program, while the General would concede the necessity to let West Germany exercise its first postwar elections for the plebiscite between republic and imperial restoration, hence ending the occupation period which France stalled until then. On the opposite side, both the SFIO and the PCF were initially shocked and unable to take a proper stance, while indignation grew across all of France, until three days after the attack, Blum would release an interview which would be soon spread across all the Republic. “For decades, I always believed that the union of all the lefts would have brought France democratically towards the path to real Socialism… I still believe this dream. But, many valorous comrades died to defend democratic ideals in Spain, for the survival of France, and also for Poland as well… I closed my eyes too long believing that Joseph Stalin was a leader who believed in the unity of the workers of all the world, but the massacre of Warsaw proved he was only a murderer and a tyrant who dirtied our ideals in name of his own supremacy… and if we would still commit truly to our ideals, we have to condemn the Soviet Union and all the French left has to dissociate from it, without distinction.”

    The words of the old “Socialist Lion” shocked France to its core. Even if Blum retired from active politics also due to growing health issues, he was probably the most respected politician of the Republic after De Gaulle. The SFIO was shaken to the point its leader, Guy Mollet, realising that the base of the party as for the great majority of the party organisation would side with Blum, would declare officially his condemnation and the dissociation from the USSR, inviting the PCF to do otherwise – or else terminate the Popular front. Thorez, who was later reported to be shocked and likely disgusted as well by the nuclear bombing; but believing that the PCF couldn’t break with the Soviets, also because the party didn’t have other allies out of France, and eventually would still weather such storm, in the end would – albeit reluctantly – defend Soviet actions, commending the loss of so many lives, but stating the nuking was a “necessary horror” to end the civil war. Thorez believed that despite everything, he could still hold the electoral primate of the PCF and eventually recover a relation with the SFIO at a later time. But Mollet would prove to be inflexible and considered ended for good the experience of the second popular front, while the Socialists would commence a gradual, denigratory campaign against the Communists to win the votes of the French workers; while renewing the parliamentary pact with the MRP, accepting that De Gaulle will handle without further opposition of sort the Indochinese situation. Now, De Gaulle was tempted to call early elections, sensing the sudden Communist weakness and the possible exploit of the RPF, but the MRP and the SFIO rejected such proposal. However, the General would manage to convince both to pass a law over the reform of the electoral districts which could have advantaged a coalition list to curb the effective electoral power of the PCF, while continuing to present himself as arbiter of the two main government forces. To the top of all of this, the RPF would launch a series of manifestations and anti-Soviet (and anti-PCF) protests and in support of De Gaulle which would take the name of “White Winter”, allowing the party to rise in popularity and gaining support especially from a rapidly atrophizing MRP, where the Gaullist wing became predominant.

    From Warsaw to the second legislative elections of 1951, the De Gaulle-MRP-SFIO tandem would manage to restart the French economy, despite its growth would prove to be slower than Britain and Italy – and in the late 50’s seeing the German Reich surpassing the Republic ad well. Like in the first postwar, France’s economic recovery relied in relevant part over its colonial empire, especially its West African segment. The territories south of the Sahara in particular would prove to stay loyal and very supportive to De Gaulle, and the General would prove to repay such loyalty – after all, West Africa was the core of Free France and the place of his fortunes. De Gaulle wasn’t a hard stance colonialist, and not hostile to proceed towards a partial and gradual decolonization, considering the overseas territories were still a source of profit but also of growing costs; as long that French economic interests would be guaranteed of course. The French motherland establishment would often start to work with local native elites towards a gradual sharing of colonial administration and then towards guided independence, eventually forming a ring of associated nations with France (The so called “Union Francaise” which would especially take root in Africa, hence dubbed in Italy “Francafrique” given the deep interwined French interests). The renewal of French commercial interest in the colonies was spearheaded by the Compagnie Francaise des Petroles (CFP), the national oil company rebuilt after the war, today renown as Total. On the path of the discovery of oilfields in Libya, the CFP would relaunch with the exploitation of the Algerian resources – which need to keep them exclusively for French use was not a lesser cause to the integration of Algeria as part of the metropolitan territory, hence marking the union of such country with France; delighting the French colonists, the Pied-Noirs, but creating growing resentment between the native Algerians. While technically they would be considered French citizens, in the facts would be often regarded as second rate ones; not counting the growing nationalism and the anger towards the different treatment of the two other Maghreb countries.

    When De Gaulle was initially contacted by the Italians during his London exile, he let them knew he was willing to negotiate over the status of Tunisia and Djibouti after the war in exchange of assistance; even if the General always denied it, and Italian authorities maintained secrecy for decades, recently in Italian archives were released reports of the embassy in London where it was stated the French leader effectively gave consensus on a discussion over Tunisia in case of support and victory. When Spanish troops freed South France, Franco started to be vocal over the rediscussion of the Spanish-French treaties over Morocco as well. But, once De Gaulle was solid in his position as leader of freed France, he would balk out over those requests advanced at Potsdam, and after the first Arab war, he would decide for the concession of independence. Because Morocco and Tunisia weren’t colonies but protectorates, the transition was enough smooth, allowing to the local native elites and the official rulers – the Bey of Tunis and the Sultan of Morocco - to rise in power; naturally under French conditions, therefore safeguarding the economical interests of France. De Gaulle believed that Morocco and Tunisia would stay loyal to France for necessity to not fall prey of Italy and Spain; he however would never put in account the rise of the UAR and its plague like spreading influence in the Maghreb, something the French underestimated greatly.

    The UAR and above all its leader, Michel Aflaq, would prove to be for its share dramatic for the same French society and culture – especially for the French left intellectuals, but also for Italian fascist aligned ones, it originated (“also” for the former case, “above all” for the latter) for evident failings of the French colonialist system. Aflaq studied in France, he was even a brilliant student, for the French he was supposed to become one of the many native mandarins of the administration in Syria – but, learning in what was supposed to be one of the beacon of liberal democracy and freedom didn’t make of Aflaq, as for many other Syrians or Maghrebians forming themselves in Paris, more democratic, or pro-European, or at least more conciliant – if else contributed to radicalize them. While it is fair to concede that Aflaq’s position radicalized in a Syria humbled by the first Arabian war and vying for revenge, the French didn’t make nothing to keep him on more conciliant positions, hoping maybe by leaving him on his devices, to regain some influence in the Middle East, essentially lost since the defeat of 1940. Instead, the rise of the UAR was so fast and violent that Paris couldn’t even raise a finger. The occupation of Lebanon, the only country where France had lingering influence in the Middle East, would push De Gaulle to align on Anglo-Italian positions of hostility against the UAR, despite with certain ambivalence because under the shadows, the French tried to maintain a certain contact among the more moderate parts of the leadership. They might have been successful – but Aflaq was determined to wash off his own past in France and plotted to destabilize the French Maghreb. Taking advantage of the French-Spanish tensions over Morocco, they would easily win the support of Muhammed V, believing in that way to unify the country and get rid of whatever European presence; which would turn for him as a catastrophic result, because the Spanish would result triumphant, annexing the coast and taking Casablanca and the new capital of Rabat (the government and the court moving inland), and imposing a protectorate over the rest of the Kingdom. Muhammed V would abdicate in favour of his son Hassan and going to exile in Brazil. Hassan would spend most of his reign to stand submit under Spanish thumb, while trying to get himself in the French and the Italian good grace in an effort to improve Morocco’s situation. In Tunisia, the court wasn’t swayed by Aflaq’s siren calls – because the Bey of Tunisia, now King Muhammad al-Amin was allowed to rule when the Free French freed the country, after removing his cousin Lamare who was installed by the Vichy Regime. Being in good relations with De Gaulle, not wanting to raise tensions with the Italians (who were the second European community in Tunisia after the French and quite large as well) who begrudlingly accepted Tunisian independence, he refused any involvement with the UAR. But certain nationalists and military segments instead agreed to work with the Arabs. However they would prove to be uncoordinated and divided, failing even to secure the European quarters of Tunis, soon defeated by the Italians. Muhammad al-Amin retained his royal authority, but French influence in Tunisia decreased, in front of an increased Italian one.

    But Algeria would prove to be the more troublesome front for the French. The native insurrection against the Pied-Noirs would soon become an armed insurgence, under the banners of the so called FLN. The insurrection would prove to be hard to crack for the French, albeit slowly securing back the coast; but the reconquest of the interior would turn soon bloody in terms of French lives. But when Operation Samson was launched, De Gaulle quickly took advantage of the situation and decided to nuke the FLN hideouts in the Sahara desert. The bombings would surely be much less destructive in terms of lost lives than in the UAR, but nonetheless would create some criticism in France. Still, De Gaulle obtained what he hoped – the FLN leadership was obliterated, and the chain of command interrupted. The remnants of the rebels became their own factions, warring against each other, but also against the French. The general, not wanting to waste further energies in the Algerian south, would declare the region an independent nation on Paris’s paycheck list, keeping only the coast as part of the metropolitan country. While the North would progressively stabilise and accept for good the union with France, nonetheless periodic terror attacks and raids plagued North Algeria; which was what remained of French Maghreb after the war, despite De Gaulle claimed victory.

    France however proved to be exhausted after over fifteen years of direct or indirect war. The chronic and endless parliamentary instability stunted the capacity of the republic to create durable economic reforms – progressively falling behind the British, the Italians, and worse still, the Germans. In this situation of neverending crisis, De Gaulle’s theories over a constitutional reform in favour of a stronger role of the executive against the legislature started finally to prevail in the French public opinion, especially in the center and in the right, where the RPF practically ended to absorb the MRP. But the left, especially the SFIO who progressively prevailed over the Communists, would try to oppose De Gaulle’s plans. As De Gaulle’s second presidency would end in 1959, and the Socialists weren’t intentioned to grant him a third one, the general would play in advance, managing to let pass in 1958 in the National Assembly a proposal of constitutional reform with the empowerment of the presidential office, to be elected by the people. While to get passed in the assembly De Gaulle accepted a compromise where the legislature retained proper systems of balance and check in front of an empowered presidency, he would be nonetheless satisfied and run a campaign for the approval which ended the October of 1958 in a resounding victory. The successive year, the RPF would win the parliamentary elections, with the SFIO (which soon would adopt a more neutral “French Socialist Party” name) becoming the major opposition party; and shortly after, De Gaulle would win overwhelmingly the presidential election, assuming his third (and final) presidency.

    With the French political situation finally stabilised, the Gaullists and the Socialists controlling a bipolar party system (with the former currently at the top), and with De Gaulle being strong in a popular mandate as well as having effective power, the General could take a deep program of reforms which effectively rejuvenated the French economy, taking the path of a well spread prosperity – in 1965, when De Gaulle retired from active politics, France was again established as one of the most powerful industrialized nations of Europe. At the same time, De Gaulle was now free to reassert French influence in the world. While remaining committed into the ITO and in the Western block, France would often play a more autonomous path respect to his allies. The British decision to integrate Malta, Gibraltar and above all Cyprus wasn’t seen at all well in Paris, because it was perceived there as a not subtle intent from London to still dominate the Mediterranean. At the same time, De Gaulle wasn’t too fond of Gaitskell and his antagonising stance against Italy, in a moment where Italo-French relations after the last Arabic war were generally improving. As Mussolini at the time perceived Britain as major Italian rival even more than the USSR (the Soviet impotence after the second Arab war convinced the Duce a war with the Union was not imminent nor wanted by Moscow), he was interested to develop new relations with France. Mussolini and De Gaulle met in Rome in 1960 during the Olympic Games to convene over a new general detente between Italy and France, over the respect of their mutual spheres of influence – especially in Africa, and at eventual disadvantage of British interests on the dark continent. The more evident case of such detente was the Roman Alliance intervention in Biafra, where De Gaulle not only failed to resist Italy, but would eventually acknowledge Biafran independence – essentially giving a loud slap over British influence in Nigeria and therefore favouring the progressive collapse of London’s power in the continent. At the same time, such detente wasn’t easy to keep in place, because Italian and French interests arrived often to fight each other due of the countries they respectively supported. For example Italy badly digested French friendliness towards Brazil after the end of the Arabian war, or their commercial battle in the Republic of China; but the most dangerous boiling point was the Asian South-East, due of the growing tensions between Italian supported Thailand and French influenced Vietnam. Also the French would find themselves dealing often with Afro-Fascist movements and insurgences in Francafrique. Even if they weren’t backed by Rome, they were still ideologically propped by it.

    When De Gaulle retired, his dauphin, Georges Pompidou, his last First Minister, was easily elected President. Pompidou became leader of a France revitalized economically, militarly and diplomatically, but restless socially under the rug. As a young generation of Frenchmen and women – the first born after the world war – had wider access to high school and universitarian studies than any past generation before, included their parents, they found great stimulus in delving into cultural, social and philosophic debates, especially in a cosmopolite and multiethnical city like Paris. Great interest caught the scripts of Jean Paul Sartre over his existentialist theories and the need of a more free and radically reformed society (growing disillusioned by communism, he positioned himself on more anarchistic ideals). To them, Gaullism was perceived by several of them as mere conservative ideology and false meritocracy which raised a new elite who promoted a more subtle form of French imperialism and colonialism who remained essentially passive to the nuclear massacre of Addis Abeba (with Balbo arrived to being apostrophed in the pampleths in the Sorbonne as “Mussolini’s Himmler”). Resentment and disatisfaction in those young French would boil till to explode in massive protests in 1970…
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    The Poisoned Chalice
  • Hey all! There are about two or three chapters to go in the story before the round-up post. I'll tell you when the penultimate chapter is published so you needn't worry about a blindside.

    The Poisoned Chalice

    Extract from ‘The Decade of Freedom: The 70s Remembered’ by Abigail Francis

    The Fall of Communism was trumpeted far and wide by the Fascist powers, with October 30th being declared a national holiday in some of the Roman Alliance nations. By now, the resistance to Fascism was almost entirely devoid of Communist influence to the extent that even the imprisoned Enrico Berlinguer wrote a letter to Balbo to thank him for his part in opposing the Stalingrad Pact and called on him to ‘Enter history with as much praise as Malenkov will surely get’ by ending the reign of Fascism. Unsurprisingly, Balbo did not take him up at that offer. The Fascist powers used Communism’s fall as a way of demonstrating their own superiority, or arguing that it only fell because of their combined forces. One major argument was that OPEP flooded the oil market, which caused the price of oil to plummet and thus killed the Soviet ability to sell their oil to finance their programs. Others argue that the Italian Space Program was what really killed the Soviet Union by forcing them to overstretch. These arguments still inform the view of most Italians, who regularly put their own country’s efforts as first when it comes to the question of how the Cold War was one (a view shared by most of their Mediterranean neighbours, though naturally far less in the UK and US). Yet even as dictators from the foot of the Andes, the African Savannah, the sands of Arabia, the jungles of Asia and the heart of Europe cooed in glory, privately they remained concerned about what was happening in their own countries. As far as could be gathered, there was no appreciable uplift on the pressure to their own regimes after the fall of their uniting enemy. And now, without a uniting enemy, things were about to get very interesting.

    Over the course of the 1970s, the old Fascist leaders began to fade away. In Portugal, Salazar would die in early 1970 to great sadness among the Fascist Bloc, and even among many ITO members who considered him a sensible politician all in all. Salazar had ordered that King Duarte II succeed him, given the uninspiring cast that supported him in the Portuguese government. Duarte continued a hardline policy in Angola and Mozambique that was being increasingly questioned by the Portuguese Middle Classes, baffled why so much money was being spent on what they considered to be backwards peasants living in a miserable Africa. A clear cultural line was staring to be dug between mainland Portugal and the African colonies, and it even crossed into the army. On April 25th 1974, this would explode into a failed revolt of the officers known as the Lisbon Uprising. Initially successful, the officers thought they had successfully secured the capital and mostly without bloodshed. Their plan was to broker a peace in Africa with the Afro-Fascists and finally free up the Portuguese economy, perhaps even aligning with ITO eventually. Instead, King Duarte pleaded with Balbo to send a contingent of soldiers to crush the uprising. With Franco’s support as well, Italian helicopters flew into Lisbon and strafed the rebel positions. To the horror of the Fascist loyalists, an unanticipated popular revolt had begun in the capital, siding with the revolting army. Italian shock troopers landed in the centre of Lisbon and began to mercilessly slaughter the resistors. By May 1st, the insurrection had been totally crushed in Portugal, much to the broader world’s disgust. Eight hundred people had died in the carnage, with many more arrested. Though the Colonial Portuguese supported the King, it was now clear that the mainland Portuguese had grown tired of Fascism and were looking for a way out. Balbo soon stationed men in Portugal to ensure no such disaster could be allowed to form again. The Lisbon Uprising was the first serious challenge to Fascism on the continent, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. This would be considered the moment the Cool War officially restarted after the end of the Cold War forced ITO and the Roman Alliance to work together. They even worked together militarily without Communism, as was seen in Afghanistan in 1973. There an attempted coup by Republicans who were seen as influenced by Communists took charge of the country when King Mohammed Zahir Shah was away for medical reasons. Not wanting any instability floating around the region, and wanting to impress the new Central Asian Republics to come to their side, Iran, Turkey and India worked together to move in and flush out the rebels. The King was swiftly returned to power, with the Roman Alliance and ITO swearing neutrality in the region despite their mutual attempts to cajole the Afghans economically. This would prove fortunate for the Afghans, who were able to industrialize at a decent pace, stuck between the two economic behemoths of Iran and India and reaping the benefits of both.

    In 1974, Menachem Begin would finally step down as Israeli Prime Minister, having become almost synonymous with the gigantic Leviathan his country had become. When one British reporter asked him how he could stay Prime Minister for so long, he would infamously reply, “Spite”. His spite towards Communism was Biblical, and he had vowed he would fight Communism as long as he lived. When Communism finally fell in October 1973, Israel found itself in the near incomprehensible position of not being hatred by an existential threat. The Nazis? Gone. Pan-Arabists? Gone. Communists? Gone. There was now no power on Earth to justify Israel’s militarism, no territorial possession they could wish for and no material want that embarrassed them. As Begin supposedly told Shimon Peres soon after Kim’s surrender in Pyongyang, “Maybe the world doesn’t need me anymore”. In February 1974, Begin would announce that he was resigning in the Summer and would call new elections. He had at least suspected his Herut Party would win the upcoming election. Instead, both he and the whole world was shocked. He had underestimated the amount of support Herut had gotten just for his name and national loyalty towards him - most people wanted a new form of government for a new era. They would award the election to the head of the Israeli Mapai Party, the first female Prime Minister, Anne Frank. Frank won the Labour leadership after another defeat in 1970, her explicitly Anti-Fascist campaign being boosted by the horror of what happened in Addis Ababa. Initially dismissed as a crank for her hostility to Balbo who couldn’t win the election, the horror of what happened in Portugal proved yet another convenient opportunity to take advantage of Anti-Fascist sentiment. She would enter many legendary shouting matches in the Knesset with Lehi Leader, Meir Kahane. Kahane accused Frank of being an Anti-Semite, participating in effigy burnings against her and waving placards of Frank in Nazi, Soviet and Arab clothing to argue her election would lead to the destruction of the Jewish people. By now, even Herut was mortally disgusted with Kahane and wanted nothing to do with him, but the backlash against Kahane was especially poignant among Israeli youth, for whom Holocausts and War were alien to their lives. That many had been on Kibbutzim in their youth had also made them more open to the Labour Zionist doctrines Frank supported. While Israel had certainly had a gigantic economic boom from the late fifties onwards, lingering failures in social services were beginning to be noticed. Upon her election that Summer, panic swept Rome, as a now avowedly hostile, nuclear power stood firm in the Mediterranean against them. Frank quickly upended the conventional doctrine of Israeli noncommittal to the alliance system by applying for membership to ITO, which was quickly supported by the Western powers. Furthermore, it greatly challenged the moral legitimacy of Fascism, which had to large extent existed on its salvation of Jews in World War 2. She also created a stern boycott against South Africa as well as sanctions against members of the Rhodesian leadership. Frank called for a global summit to abolish nuclear weapons after the obliteration of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. The Fascists once again dug their heels in, terrified of the loss of influence that would come with such a move. By now, Italy had a roughly one thousand nuclear weapons, with the Americans alone being more than ten times the number, not to mention the addition of the British, Israeli, Indian and French stocks. Italy could not hope to intimidate the West with such a small deterrent and neither was it truly justifiable given the fall of the Soviet system. Frank furthermore demanded freedom for the still imprisoned Enrico Berlinguer, who had become a cause of celebration across the Western world for his defiance against the Fascist system. Frank’s statements quickly caused backlash across the Fascist world, with Israel being banned from the Global Fighting Championship in Rome for 1975 until 1978 despite having the reigning champions for two years running [1]. Her foreign policy also emphasised building genuine ties with the regional powers, speaking to the discomfort many Israelis felt after the extent of destruction unleashed in Operation Samson. She developed strong working relationships with Anwar Sadat in South Egypt, the Emirs of the Arab Federation and King Hussein in the Kingdom of Hejaz. But it was in Syria where she had the best effect, meeting King Faisal, who had suffered from depression and repeated attempts at suicide due to the horrendous position he found himself in as the loathed puppet of an eternally chained state. Frank’s correspondence would prove miraculous to his mental health and confidence. With Frank’s support on the matter, he would finally go public with his mental health struggles in March 1982, becoming one of the pioneers in supporting mental health support around the world. Frank’s visits were harshly criticised by the Israeli Right for meeting with formerly hostile powers while seeming to thumb her nose to the countries who fought with Israel to save it. At the same time, she was adored by the Left for seeking to move Israel away from its alliance with the bloc that contained all the world’s rogue states (from South Africa to the Greek puppet state under the universally hated Dimitrios Ioannidis, whom even Balbo had infamously described as “A man made of meat that a dog wouldn’t eat”). Frank's upending of traditional Israeli neutrality in the Cool War could hardly have come at a worse time for the Roman Alliance, which was now beginning to see its unravelling much as the Communists had predicted though without being able to forecast their own fate.

    Extract from ‘The Screams of a Continent: Africa after WW2’ by Ayaan Ferguson

    But it was 1975 that would prove an annus horribilis for Fascism. That year would see three deaths that would fundamentally change not just their own countries but the world at large. The first came that April, with the death of Chiang Kai-Shek. He famously died with a smile on his face, saying, “How lucky I am that I saw China’s finest generation” with reference how China had fought so long and hard against the ‘European import’ of Communism. Chiang’s funeral was a rare event where both Roman Alliance and ITO leaders would gladly attend. Vice-President Wayne sat close to Italo Balbo as the procession commenced. Chiang’s son, Chiang Ching-kuo, would take control of the new, united China (though extremists pushed for the military re-annexation of East Turkestan, Tibet and even taking Tuva - all of which were considered far too risky. The new Chiang was of a much more liberal breed than his father, relaxing some of the restrictions that had been placed in Mongolia to force the native population to adhere to the new ways of life (though continuing internal settlement programs on the basis of finding a home for North Chinese refugees). At the same time, he didn’t want to alarm the Roman Alliance with sudden democratisation - as while there was technically nothing forbidding a Roman Alliance state from being a democracy (with a few outright claiming to be so), a genuine democratic wave was feared even among Pro-RA democrats that it would cause so much disruption that the Bloc would break. The second death would be that of Franco in Spain, the leader who had made Spain a nuclear power and died in August - many suspect his obsession in getting nuclear weapons harming his health in that respect. He had also been one of the more successful colonial nations, being able to ensure White majorities in all his African holdings by 1970 with some of the most abhorrent expulsions and deportations on the whole continent. As the final surviving head of state of the original Roman Alliance when it was declared during World War 2, Franco’s death was in many ways seen as the end of an era. While the Roman Alliance was certainly far stronger than it was originally, few could argue that their subsequent leaders had as much force of will over their populations. Much like Portugal, authority was placed with the King, but unlike Duarte, King Juan Carlos I would not be interested in continuing the Fascist legacy. He had been revolted by the strike on Addis Ababa and was on poor terms with Italy because of it. With Italy’s ongoing, hopeless military effort in Ethiopia (who were now flushed with Soviet guns bought from the Russians by India which were then sent to Africa), Balbo could ill-afford another headache.

    In Ethiopia, the full scale of the carnage had now become apparent. Fifty-thousand Italians had died (alongside another 50,000 non-Italians on the same side, including some 5,000 Greek consripts), as well as four million Africans either civilian or fighting for Ethiopian independence (a fifth of them foreign volunteers from the EAF and Zaire). While once Italian cinemas had shown many movies related to the Ethiopian War in the late 60s and early 70s, by now the order came straight from the top to minimise any public discussion of the war owing to how phenomenally unpopular and embarrassing it had become. Some 80% of Ethiopians had been displaced in the conflict while the once beautiful landscape had become desolate and poisoned by napalm and chemical weapons. Discipline among Italian soldiers had collapsed, with drug and alcohol abuse rendering whole units inoperable. Suicides were becoming increasingly common both at the front and among veterans returning home. By now, Balbo had long since-acknowledged the stupidity of using a Hydrogen weapon on Addis Ababa, but it was still much too late. He was mortified to see that far from life becoming easier after the fall of Communism, life had been made significantly worse. By now, even President Corley was forced to go after Italy much more than he had before without the excuse of focussing on Communism. ITO military resources were moved towards the Mediterranean and away from the Baltic. The economy, already on fumes from the life-sucking nature of the Ethiopian conflict, was now met with far better coordinated sanction efforts from foreign governments who didn’t have to worry about presenting a united front against the Red Bear. By now, more moderate countries within the Roman Alliance like Bulgaria and Biafra (who always pledged neutrality over support in respect to the Ethiopian conflict) privately pleaded with the Balbo regime to begin peace talks with the Ethiopians. Balbo would have none of it, arguing that even a moderate success for the rebels would lead to a continent-wide uprising that would overwhelm the Roman Alliance and overturn the entire basis of the Salisbury Plan to seize Africa’s resources for the benefit of Fascism.

    Elsewhere on the continent, Rhodesia had pulled out any help they had given in Ethiopia owing to a worrying development in their own country. The main rebel in Rhodesia, unrepentant Afro-Fascist Robert Mugabe, had initiated the infamous strategy of ‘Kill one and a hundred run’. This meant that Mugabe, believing that a White-majority would be a deathblow to his chances of running Rhodesia (or ‘Zimbabwe’ as he would have seen it), began a campaign of deliberately targeting white civilians to scare off potential white immigrants to Rhodesia and encourage others to flee. Afro-Fascists justified the killings in the name of bringing the war to a quick end - a frequent excuse of their European Fascist enemy as well. Mugabe was so avowedly brutal in this approach (targeting school buses, tourist groups and retirement homes) that the EAF, Sudan and Botswana cut off all relations with his ZANU movement, which he was indifferent to since most of his support came from Zaire and Liberia. While it worked, in that immigration to Rhodesia significantly slowed in the mid-70s after a brief spike from East European migrants, the response by Smith’s government would be overwhelming, with the Rhodesian army committing a slew of their own atrocities.The resistance to Apartheid in South Africa had likewise descended into a far more intense struggle. The armed wing of the ANC (uMkhonto we Sizwe - abbreviated MK) massively increased their own campaign against the Apartheid state with tactics similar to those of Mugabe. South Africa responded with typical mercilessness in using chemical weapons on villages suspected of housing MK troops. When Nelson Mandela, a former MK commander in prison since 1961, tried to demand his movement stop their new, bloodthirsty tactics in favour of earlier sabotage campaigns, he was outright expelled from the ANC and called ‘An Uncle Tom’ in May 1975. The ANC also changed its official program from being based on Socialist Non-racialism to one which effectively mimicked the Afro-Fascism of Zaire. While it had bitterly condemned the prior deportation of Indians during the Goa Crisis, it now claimed that the decision was ‘The best thing the Boer ever did’ according to one of their commanders soon after Mandela’s expulsion. White sympathy to the indigenous population plummeted to non-existent among the South African public, with most simply emigrating to ITO nations to escape the dire forecasts that many were making for what was quickly becoming the world’s ultimate pariah state without Communism or the ISA.

    Balbo had grown increasingly stressed and concerned about the direction the Bloc was heading, even with the death of Communism, or perhaps even because. The Italian public had grown absolutely sick of the conflict in Ethiopia, with veterans often reduced to begging on the streets of major Italian cities. Italy had declared a War on Drugs in response to the terrifyingly high rates of drug addiction of its soldiers, but the demand was simply too large for the trade to disappear. Not to mention, the resources didn’t exist because so much was involved in tearing the Ethiopian landscape to the ground. It was in this environment that Balbo decided to fly to Turkey, hoping to secure Turkish ground support in Ethiopia to help lighten the burden on the Italian state. On December 2nd 1975, Balbo’s plane left the ground from Rome and began to fly towards Istanbul. He had joked to Ciano at the runway (who had to stay to attend to his own meetings) that he ‘must have been getting old’ in that he didn’t trust himself to fly the plane anymore.

    Those were the last recorded words Italo Balbo ever made.

    That evening, as the plane flew over the Adriatic, the escort fighters looked in horror as Balbo’s plane suddenly swung downwards into the Sea. Refusing to respond by radio, the plane never broke from its descent, as it fell nose-first into the stormy ocean with an explosion. With that came the third and perhaps most important death that year for Fascism - the death of Italo Balbo. Subsequent investigations from flight recorders, suicide notes and background investigations finally put the tale together. Bernardo Provenzano was a Sicilian born in 1933, and was taken in by the Mob at a young age. However, his friends would soon be killed in the Anti-Mob crackdowns of the regime, which gave him a burning hatred of Mussolini and anyone in his government. He would ultimately join the air force, since he considered it a fairly apolitical institution compared to the army while also feeling entranced by the ‘power of killing’. He would certainly have his fair share, being on the plane that dropped the nuclear bomb on Cairo. This would endear him to his superiors and would soothe some of the rage against the regime he had. Finally however, it came to a point where he would serve in Ethiopia, and seeing the horror inflicted upon the local population reminded him of the suffering his friends went through. He finally resolved to take out his vengeance on the Italian regime, even if it meant taking his life. He asked the co-pilot to leave and subsequently locked the door, before sending the plane (and Balbo) hurtling into the Adriatic. The reaction around the world was one of panic and confusion, with everyone scrambling around to try and work out what had gone on. Obviously, Italy needed a new Duce, and almost everyone was in agreement. In 1963, when Mussolini was coming to his end, half the Council wanted a shot at the big chair. But by 1975, no one wanted to inherit such a crazy situation with China competing for control over the Bloc, Spain considering leaving, Portugal being a powder-keg, a new rabid dog in South Africa and of course an endless sea of carnage in Ethiopia. The only man in the Party who was seen as having sufficient stature was the 72 year old Count Ciano, but he knew the international situation as well as anyone else and knew he was inheriting a mess. However, after finally being convinced by King Umberto, Ciano announced just before Midnight that he had become the third Duce of Italy. The announcement was met with some relief in Western circles, who had a long history with the Italian (who had served an unheard of forty years as foreign minister). Balbo’s body was never recovered, but a funeral was undertaken in Rome all the same. The crowds, though still huge, were noticeably smaller than at the death of Mussolini, and the stature of the international guests were likewise nowhere near as immense as those at Mussolini’s departure. Balbo has nowhere near the levels of support Mussolini enjoys in modern Italy, being a much more decisive figure. While he is still adored by (or at least having apologetics from) the Italian Right, the Italian Left consider him the worst of Italy’s three dictators. He has also become something of a modern meme among young Italians for his joie de vivre persona that many associate with the 1960s. By contrast, among many indigenous Africans, he is considered one of the most evil men of the 20th century. Whatever Balbo’s legacy, one thing was for sure - he had a better stack of cards given to him in 1963 than Ciano did at the close of 1975.

    [1] - Another of Evola’s ideas - a yearly fighting competition in Rome with all the different martial arts of the world competing against each other. Effectively, it’s UFC twenty years early and with state support. The competition is dominated by Israelis doing variations of Krav Maga and Japanese doing Judo and Jiujitsu while the South Chinese were humiliated to see their Kung-Fu masters go down sometimes in seconds because they had never even sparred before. This failure of Kung-Fu in practice significantly cooled the Kung-Fu craze in the Fascist Bloc, where the craze was far stronger than in democratic nations.
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    "Enrico Berlinguer Libero!"
  • Hello all - after this, there will be two more posts 'In-Universe' with a subsequent explanation of what 2020 ITTL looks like. We're nearly at the end folks.

    "Enrico Berlinguer Libero!"

    Extract from ‘The Decade of Freedom: The 70s Remembered’ by Abigail Francis

    Corley had done what many said was impossible - he had not only won the Presidency, but had won two terms for the Freedom Party, a party once thought irredeemably reactionist and extreme. Even still, the 1974 midterms (despite his party hailing him as ‘The Man who Defeated Communism) were a wipeout in favour of the Republicans, with multiple fiascos within congress and the governorships of the south with members saying racially divisive and outright inflammatory statements. Lestor Maddox, the governor of Georgia, said that the Addis Ababa nuclear strike was different to the Warsaw strike because, “Blacks have been killing each other for centuries - they’re used to it”. Corley himself caused a ruckus by arguing that “Rhodesia and South Africa are our friends - it’s just that they make some mistakes is all”. Needless to say, Black Americans were resolutely behind the Republicans while increasingly, poor White ethnic groups were behind the Freedomites. As the 1976 election loomed, Vice-President Wayne was naturally considered the frontrunner for the Freedom Party nomination, having (barely) retained his broad popularity across America. But on October 3rd 1975, Wayne shocked the nation by announcing that he had been diagnosed with cancer (he did not say that it was terminal as he did not want to alarm his fellow countrymen) and that he could not in good faith nominate himself for the Presidency in 1976. A lifetime of drinking and smoking (as well as working on a filmset that had been doused in nuclear radiation) had done its toll. As he famously concluded at his speech in the Rose Garden of the White House, “I think it’s about time for the sheriff to ride off into the sunset”. After hosting the 1976 academy awards that February, Wayne resigned from office and died on July 4th 1976 (“Couldn’t have picked a better date,” being his last words). Wayne was the one person in the Freedom Party for whom a large amount of people could outright admire, and it left a gaping hole in the nomination process for 1976. Who was going to be the Freedom Party candidate? The ultimate winner would by John Connally of Texas, another racial moderate of the Corley-wing. His opponent would be a fellow Texan, Congressman George Bush. Bush was considered of good moral character and another southerner - seen as important in taking back voters who felt the Republicans were simply rich playboys who didn’t understand working people. At the same time, in order to satiate the more vocally Anti-Corley wing of the party, Bush shocked the nation at the 1976 Republican convention by announcing his running-mate: Senator Edward Brooke. It was the first time a Black American would be on the ticket of any major political party. Brooke was, naturally, considered a hardline opponent of Fascism, especially Italy and South Africa. He had earned quite a reputation in the Senate for his fiery denunciations of racism and Fascism - his refusal to run in 1976 had disappointed a few, but they weren’t disappointed anymore. His convention speech, eviscerating the Freedom Party’s apologism for the Roman Alliance, earned him standing ovation from youth and Black attendees. “It’s time for Fascism to join Nazism and Communism in the ash-heap of history!” Brook said, earning the loudest cheer of the night. Polls showed that a majority of Americans said they didn’t mind voting for a candidate with a Black running-mate (though almost all studies since have confirmed that Brooke’s name hurt the Republican brand in several mid-west seats). Nevertheless, racism was not enough to let the Freedom Party back in. Connally would lose that November to the Bush-Brooke ticket, in what became a further nightmare to the already imploding Roman Alliance. George Bush became the next President of the United States, promising to unite the country and bring in a new world order where racism would be a thing of the past. Tragically, he would never have the chance to try.

    In March 1977, Bush was at an event in California when a man by the name of Charles Manson rushed through the crowd and fired four shots into the Texan’s chest, killing him before he hit the ground. Manson was quickly restrained and arrested, saying that he killed Bush to start a race-war since he believed, “The White Man will never live under Black Man’s law - and when the race war is over, I’ll be the only one alive”. Manson would ultimately be sentenced to death, meeting the gas chamber on May 9th 1978. It would be the final Presidential assassination to date, but the aftershocks would be immense. Brooke would receive broad sympathy when he was sworn into office in the north, but his ascension was bitterly resented among Southern Whites, who feared Brooke was going to unleash retribution on them. Even getting Bob Dole to be his running mate did not do enough to convince millions of Southerners that he was fundamentally hostile to Southern culture. Brooke’s hardline denunciation of Fascism likewise became a source of anger to Southerners who accused the President (in the words of North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms) of, “Thinking he’s head of some sort of Black Rights Lobby group and not the President of the United States”. The Freedom Party painted the picture of Brooke caring more or exclusively in favour of Blacks as opposed to rural, white Americans who made up their base. Brooke was certainly uninterested in this condemnation, putting strong sanctions on South Africa and lesser sanctions on Italy and Rhodesia with the help of a Republican Senate and House, though he would lose both in the 1978 midterms. There was no doubt that 1970s America was serially uncomfortable with an African-American being President.

    Despite the Freedom Party’s strong opposition to Brooke for obvious reasons, he would quickly become a hero to Black Americans far and wide, as well as White youth from the Middle and Upper Classes. He would likewise be a hero to millions in Africa for seeing the most powerful man on Earth be of African stock. All the while, he would work tirelessly to “Bring the Cool War to a close as peacefully and totally as the Cold War”. He would work closely with the Jenkins government in Britain, Giscard d’Estaing’s government in France and Chancellor Schmidt’s government in West Germany (although East Germany was currently run by an elected puppet administration that swore fealty to West Germany’s decisions) to exert further pressure on Fascism. He also dropped encouraging words to Roman Alliance states who were considering dropping out, as well as having the CIA funding dissident movements within the Roman Alliance to hasten the Bloc’s decline. Inspired by France, he would begin mass construction of nuclear power stations as a way to undermine OPEP’s dominance over oil (though this project had been underway as far back as Kennedy). For the Fascists, Brooke’s ascension couldn’t have come at a worse time, with the Bloc now being hit on all sides. Perhaps the only man smiling in Italy at the time was Enrico Berlinguer.

    Extract from ‘The Screams of a Continent: Africa after WW2’ by Ayaan Ferguson

    The dawn of 1976 would begin the partial retreat of the Colonial powers from Africa. This began when the much feared Iberian situation deteriorated in exactly the way many had anticipated. That January, King Duarte II of Portugal passed away, his funeral procession in Lisbon marching to noticeably empty streets. His son, who would be crowned Duarte III in early April, was nowhere near as hardline as his father, and was interested in healing the rift that he well-knew was poisoning his country. At the same time, the guerrilla warfare in both Angola and Mozambique was emptying the treasury and to be resolved. Ciano warned him that any attempt to minimise his power would ultimately lead to the people exploiting perceived weakness, but Ciano was much too weak to stop Duarte himself. On April 25th, the anniversary of the failed uprising of 1973, the population of Lisbon protested in their thousands for reform, demanding more money be spent on improving the situation at home rather than spending money to build new houses in Angola and Mozambique. Hoping to endear himself to the people, Duarte announced a series of reforms to the colonial structure. Taking inspiration from Italy’s annexation of Libya, he decided to do something of his own for Portugal, though Angola and Mozambique were nowhere near as White as Libya was. He announced that both regions would be divided, with one segment being directly incorporated into the Portuguese nation as a whole and the other to become part of a Commonwealth, much like the situation with Britain. Angola would be divided along a line whose border along the line of Namibe, Benguela, Cuanza Sul, Malanje and Lunda Norte (which covered the whole coast and gave a border to the ever-more prosperous Katanga. Much like the French in their division of Algeria, the area annexed to Portugal would become ‘Portuguese Angola’ where the Commonwealth state would simply be called ‘Angola’. In Mozambique, the region would be divided along the Shire and Zambezi Rivers, with everything north going to ‘Mozambique’ and the southern region (including all the territory that surrounded Rhodesia) being integrated into Portugal as ‘Portuguese Mozambique’. The division had been done with the intent of not disturbing the Roman Alliance, as both Katanga and Rhodesia retained exactly the same amount of land protection as they had before, ensuring that supplies would keep coming. The most moderate rebel leaders of both regions (Jonas Savimibi in Angola and Uria Simango in Mozambique) were invited to Élisabethville (Katanga’s capital, with Tshombe attempting to rebrand himself as the man who could mediate between Africa and the European powers) and given the conditions: accept Duarte as symbolic Head of State and guarantee the rights of Catholics in return for almost total internal autonomy. Ironically, Savimbi and Simango were the only Black leaders in Africa who had to worry about the White birthrate being too high, with both fearing that the continued influx of settlers along with their enthused birthrate would erode their negotiating power yet further. Both would ultimately accept the offer on August 16th 1976, with the Élisabethville Agreement becoming something of a proof of concept that negotiation was possible in ending the fighting that had ravaged the continent. Portuguese Angola was roughly 65% White while Portuguese Mozambique was roughly 50% White. Both were White majority, though both had to lop off many of their black-majority areas. This wasn’t to say that all resistance ended, of course. In Mozambique, Samora Machel continued his Anti-Clerical, Afro-Fascist campaign of terror against both Simango in the north as well as the Portuguese state in the south. In Angola, Holden Roberto did much the same, attacking Savimbi and trying to make Free Angola an Afro-Fascist state. At the same time, owing to the relative tolerance of the Portuguese administrators, the Black population was treated relatively well in the annexed territories (if they were obvious Catholics). There would even be a small White population left over in both the freed Angola and Mozambique, though these would shrink to roughly 5% in each due to fears of violence. Meanwhile, the White share of the population would only continue to grow in the annexed territories. Guinnea-Bissau, which had never been attractive to Portuguese migrants, was likewise offered and consequently accepted membership of the Portuguese Commonwealth. With their old domains now either in Commonwealth or fully annexed, Portugal’s Colonial history came to a close. Duarte III hailed the agreement as an example of Portugal’s government having listened to its citizens. While it was true that many Portuguese were grateful the war was over, most mainland citizens were still angered at the favouritism the government had for their African colonies, whom the more urbanised and secular continentals looked down upon as moronic farmers. If Duarte thought he had saved the old order from further change, he was badly mistaken.

    The next of a seemingly endless number of disasters were the draft riots in Greece. Dimitrios Ioannidis, the resident dictator, had actually fought against the Fascist invasion during the Fourth Balkan War, but ended up fighting alongside the puppet regime during the Greek Civil War against the Communists. His ruthlessness in suppressing Communists had been noticed and rewarded by the government, though he was reportedly thankful to the Communists for, “Getting rid of the Jew squatters" He would end up commanding Greek forces in Egypt during the Second Arab War, having witnessed the nuclear destruction of Cairo personally, an event that convinced him Greece had no chance of escaping the Roman Alliance by military means and that collaboration was the only way. His ascendency to dictator during the late 60s and early 70s (made entirely through bribing the Italian ambassador with prostitutes and sports cars) had given him total control over the country, with Turkish and Italian oversight. In the last few decades, the Greek resistance had gone from wishing for a Socialist state to a return to the Constitutional Democracy, with the exiled heir to the Greek throne, Constantine. Constantine had become a legendary figure among Greeks after he won an Olympic Medal for Britain in the 1960 Rome Olympics in Dragon class sailing, in defiance of Fascism [1]. The Free Greece movement suffered as attention shifted to Ethiopia, but the internal hatred of Italy was unchanged in Athens. By far the worst thing that the Roman Alliance forced upon Greece was their demand to send her troops into the Ethiopian slaughterhouse. Ioannidis, who had served for the Roman Alliance himself, felt he had the moral right to tell his people to join yet another foreign war on behalf of a state no one liked. Initially, the Greek ranks were volunteers or the troublesome. Many only came back in bodybags. It all came to a head on September 23rd 1976, when Ioannidis attempted to impress his new boss in Ciano by announcing that he would draft thousands more, including from the ‘soft’ middle class whom he saw as harbouring Monarchist sympathies. The result was pandemonium. The University of Athens was occupied by students on September 27th, who burned the Italian flag and swore they would never serve in Ethiopia. In the subsequent reoccupation by the Greek military (many of whom were career criminals before being encouraged to find their calling in the army), forty students were killed with nearly four hundred injured. The outrage was palpable, with the streets of Athens clogged the next day by infuriated protestors, led by the mothers whose boys were killed the other night. Ioannidis had tried to impress Rome but had only humiliated himself. Ciano, desperately trying to save the situation, ordered Ioannidis to resign. Ioannidis reluctantly complied, but much to Ciano’s horror, the protestors were unfazed. They did not blame the deaths of the boys on Ioannidis but expressly on Italy and their insane war. Again, Ciano could not afford another conflict in Europe, Africa, or anywhere. Inspired by King Duarte’s example, he reluctantly announced a joint conference with Simeon II of Bulgaria and President Kenan Evren of Turkey on a new political settlement for Greece. When King Constantine was invited along, the Greek people were overjoyed and the marches and protests finally cooled down. Meeting in Istanbul that November, Turkey was by far the most hardline on any settlement, with Simeon being the most permissive. But ultimately, Ciano was able to convince the two of his own solution. Greece would leave the Roman Alliance but would be forbidden from entering any other Alliance Bloc. With the exception of Turkish bases in Crete, all Roman Alliance troops would have to withdraw. Communists and ‘Incendiary Nationalists’ would be forbidden from power, with a rigidly enforced constitution that would ensure power could never be effectively concentrated by any one power. Constantine would consequently retake his kingdom while being constitutionally forbidden from any great exercise of power due to the creation of a democratic parliament. The Greek army would be reduced to nothingness, its government would renounce any claims over its old territory and full amnesty would be granted for Greeks who served under the Ioannidis government. Both sides were forced to make tough decisions, but ultimately, both were desperate enough to ensure a deal could work. On December 2nd, the Istanbul agreement was ratified, letting Greece leave the Roman Alliance. Of course, Greece would not be the only country to leave the Bloc in the next few years.

    Privately, Ciano had already accepted that some form of accommodation with King Amha Selassie was inevitable. Ironically, it was now the Ethiopians who were reeling from victory disease despite not actually having won. Afro-Fascist agitators within the African Liberation Army pushed not just for the full liberation of Ethiopia, but shoving the Italians out of Eritrea and Somalia too, the former becoming majority White in 1972. To say that this was an immense to impossible task was well understood across Africa, particularly in the EAF, where President Kenyatta was no wild optimist and resented the more tub-thumping propaganda and incitement of Malcolm Little in Zaire. In May 1976, Kenyatta would declare to the EAF Parliament that, “If we delude ourselves into thinking we can just expel every White person or Indian from Africa like we shoo away a fly, all we may well ensure is that Africa is not fit for any man, white or black.” The speech, seen as a direct attack on Pierre Mulele’s government in Zaire and William Tolbert’s Afro-Fascist government in Liberia. He also enraged the Afro-Fascist ‘African Revival Party’ in the EAF Parliament. Fearing Kenyatta was about to pull the EAF out of the war and convince Selassie to accept truce over final victory, a coup was organised, with the ringleader being the charismatic but buffoonish General Idi Amin, who had gained fame for his work in Ethiopia. Amin wanted to establish the EAF as an Afro-Fascist state that would never end the Colonial conflict in Africa until ‘The only White people on the African continent are corpses”. Amin received significant levels of funding and backing from Zaire, who despised Kenyatta’s accommodation with the West - there was even suggestion of merging Zaire and the EAF into a super-state (though the ultimate leader of the state differed depending on whether you asked Mulele or Amin). On November 22nd 1976, Amin would attempt his coup in the capital of Nairobi. However, he faced a barrage of firepower that he never expected from an army that remained loyal to the President over Amin. Amin was shot dead in a firefight on the streets of Nairobi, leading to the entire coup to collapse on its own face. The African Revival Party was quickly banned and many thought that would be it. However, once the scale of cooperation between Amin and Zaire was revealed, a diplomatic firestorm erupted across Africa. Verbal jests between the two soon became serious threats, until December 16th 1976, when Kenyatta sent troops into the territories of Rwanda and Burundi, ostensively to kill rebels who had fled into the region. To say this was not taken well in Overtureville was an understatement, who declared war on the EAF the same day. However, while Zaire’s equipment was often of poor quality Soviet or Developing-World stock, the EAF had an extensive relationship with the British army and consequently far better equipment and training. Rwanda and Burundi were secured on New Year’s Day 1977 for the EAF, but the war was nowhere near over.

    On January 10th, the war escalated when Katanga joined the fight against Zaire, with covert support from the Roman Alliance, who knew that an open Roman Alliance attack on Zaire was too dangerous. Even the Luba Kingdom stayed out of the onslaught while officially praising it. Katanga boasted what was probably the finest Black-Majority army in Africa at the time. While in 1961 their officers were overwhelmingly White, only the highest of the top brass by 1977 was still majority Caucasian. Significant work had been done by Tshombe and others to encourage a native talent pool that did not rely on political favouritism. Even more impressively, the ratio of ground troops was roughly 90% Black and 10% White, in keeping with the national ratio. Katanga’s military used more advanced equipment than any other Black-African power - much of it bought from the Italians. To say the least, the EAF was not happy about fighting alongside Katanga, who had one of the worst reputations in Africa for supposedly selling out their race. But though the propaganda boost to Zaire did exist, it could not compare to the magnitude of firepower the Katangans could deliver. Zaire had done little to actually improve its army, mainly buying cheap weapons, conscripting disproportionately Tutsi boys and men. The Tutsis were seen as collaborators with the Belgians who were seen as needing to prove their loyalty. Tribalism was a serious issue even in the supposedly ‘Black-Egalitarian’ Zaire where all Blacks were supposedly treated equally to each other. Thus, the often divided and terribly underfunded Zairean army (half of which was in Ethiopia) was made mincemeat of by Katangan helicopters and napalm. Though officially spurning contact, Kenyatta privately coordinated with Tshombe on strategy against the Zaireans. A further blow for Zaire came about when the Republic of the Congo (the successor state to the one that Mulele and others had successfully reduced to nothing, though now combined with French Congo) joined the dog pile on January 27th 1977. Once again, the Republic of Congo’s troops greatly outmatched the Zaireans due to their close cooperation with the French. Surrounded on all sides, the Zaireans didn’t have a chance. In Ethiopia, their leadership was purged by local commanders (who knew it was madness to choose who many in the international scene saw as a rabid dog over the respected EAF) and their troops forced to swear loyalty to King Selassie - those that didn’t were swiftly killed for ‘betraying Africa’, an irony given Zaire’s pomposity on the subject. On March 22nd, EAF troops finally made it until just outside of Overtureville. With help from the Katangan Air Force, they were able to obliterate local resistance within the city, before arresting Pierre Mulele. Officially, Malcolm Little was declared dead from suicide, but medical inconsistencies in the report have led to theories that he was killed by the CIA or some other institution who were scared that bringing Little back to America for trial would have seriously increased racial tensions in the South and elsewhere. With Mulele’s arrest and ultimate life sentence, he was sentenced to jail in Brazzaville, where he would serve out his term for the rest of his life, dying in 2014 at the age of 85. Overtureville was renamed Stanleyville and a joint occupation authority was established between Katanga, the EAF and Republic of Congo. In May that year, an agreement was reached where the final borders were decided. Rwanda and Burundi would be annexed into the EAF under the pretext of protecting the Tutsi minority while all that was left of Zaire would be incorporated into the Republic of the Congo. However, this Republic of the Congo would be forced to demilitarise its southern border to ensure Katanga would never have to worry about another Zaire threatening them again.

    With the end of the ‘Congo Reunification War’ (which wasn’t true given Katanga and the Luba Kingdom were still independent), Afro-Fascism’s great proponent would fall. Liberia would struggle along until 1980, when a coup led by native-Liberians (as opposed to the old Amero-Liberian elite) took control of the country and slowly brought the country towards democracy under Western pressure. While Afro-Fascism did not take control over wide swathes of territory when it was a popular ideology, it unquestionably sowed the seeds of change across the African continent, with its spectre affecting politics on the continent up to this day. While exposing the limits of race-hatred and revenge as guiding political philosophies, they also inspired many Africans to take strength in their own abilities. At the same time, Katanga’s own military reputation was greatly improved, and when later in 1977 it was a joint Katangan-Rhodesian operation that killed Robert Mugabe, their reputation stretched further yet. But behind the scenes, something even more remarkable was happening. Tshombe, who had won election after election due to his astonishing political talent, endless monetary donations from mining interests and meteoric economic growth, had managed to get the ear of Ian Smith. Smith had been greatly impressed by Katanga’s growth and success, which defied his own predictions of Africa falling into disaster if White rule was ended. As Smith told Tshombe in one 1976 phone conversation, “If even a third of the Black Africans were like you, I’d have Majority Rule tomorrow”. Smith even got testy at South African diplomats for their mockery of Tshombe, comparing him to a house servant. In response, South Africa’s Andries Treurnicht went as far as to privately call Smith ‘A Keffer-lover’ - the resulting rumours of which would badly damage the two countries relations. Smith’s discomfort with the White-favoritism of his own government would only amplify as Mugabe’s ZANU fell into oblivion and White immigration continued to give Whites, while not a majority, still an immovable demographic presence. Tshombe’s pleas with Smith to reform Rhodesia were starting to become more and more seriously thought of in Salisbury. While many Africans had denounced Tshombe as a ‘House Negro’, ‘Uncle Tom’, ‘Race-traitor’ and all the rest, Tshombe’s voice in the ear of Smith, King Duarte, Ciano and others likely did more to cull racism in Africa than his detractors put together.

    Ciano was no fool, his prior comments mocking the Ethiopians for not surrendering not withstanding, and he saw the opportunity to finally bring the war to a close after Selassie’s troops were divided and shooting each other. His decision was met with relief from almost the entire Fascist Council (and especially King Umberto) for finally ending what had been described as ‘Balbo’s Inferno’, in reference to the Hell that Dante so lucidly described in the Divine Comedy. The Ethiopians were also divided, but after the devastating division and conflict between his allies, King Selassie (though grateful he was no longer beholden to his promise to Zaire to relinquish his throne) reluctantly accepted the offer from Rome. On May 8th 1977, an armistice was declared between Italian and Ethiopian soldiers, marking the first time that peace had come to the ravaged backwater of Ethiopia in more than a decade. Five million African civilians and Pro-Independence soldiers were dead from everything from gas to starvation, with nearly 150,000 Roman Alliance troops and settlers dead as well. It was the ultimate meat-grinder and there was no true winner, no matter what either party said to the contrary in subsequent years. In the following negotiations in Biafra’s capital of Enugu (one of the few places both parties were fine with meeting), both the Italians and Ethiopians negotiated with all their might and prowess. Biafra, which had answered with ‘no comment’ on the situation in Ethiopia while feverishly attempting to find a settlement proved able hosts More rabid Ethiopian nationalists and Afro-Fascists wanted the whole of Italian East Africa to be put under Selassie - a declaration so bold that the Italians threatened to walk out of the meeting right there. Italy initially offered ‘internal autonomy’ for Ethiopia, with ultimate veto power - the Ethiopians likewise threatened to leave the room. Over the following months, uneasy peace continued to roam the shattered landscape of Ethiopia. But ultimately, neither party could afford another second of war - it was time to dust off all the classics to ensure something could be worked out. The ancient Hoare-Laval Pact was proposed as a potential solution, but the Italians refused as it would cut their East Africa territories in two. Ethiopia demanded a solution that resulted in them having a port, knowing they would easily be economically strangled if they were landlocked by the Italians. To that end, a modern version of the Hoare-Laval Pact was offered, which broke the deadlock.

    Under this version, the Tigray, Danakil, Hararghe and Bale regions would be retained by Italy to ensure Italy maintained an unbroken connection between Eritrea and Somalia. However, the Ethiopians would be allowed to annex the Gedo, and Middle+Lower Juba regions in the far south of Somalia. This would ironically improve the security situation of Italy, as they would now have no border with the far stronger EAF and only with the much weaker Ethiopians. The regions annexed to Italy were already overwhelmingly non-Ethiopian, since the original population had been deported elsewhere, and the remaining Italian settlers had likewise been moved there. These regions were also far more economically developed than the west of the country, had more natural resources and were considered far more strategically important. The Ethiopians got a port, albeit a small, underdeveloped one in what was once Somalia, and more importantly the right to rule themselves. Ethiopia was free to develop its own economy as it saw fit, re-arm as it saw fit (though forbidden from having WMDs) and choose its own form of government. King Selassie chose to make Ethiopia an absolute Monarchy, which he could afford to do owing to the immense popularity boost he would subsequently get as the ‘Man who Beat the Roman Empire’ by the men with guns. But most Ethiopians were more relieved the war was over than happy they had ‘won’. With millions dead, their economy near literally nonexistent and the landscape littered with mines and chemical pollution, Ethiopia was perhaps the most battered, bruised country anywhere on Earth. Yet that defiance they had was unquenchable. When asked what trade terms he would like to have with the new Italian state by Italian diplomats, the Ethiopians simply replied they would have none. When informed that this would ensure his economy could not improve and that people would die, one Ethiopian diplomat replied, “I don’t think you Italians understand: every Ethiopian to a man would literally die before they give you money”. Indeed, even forty years later, Ethiopia enforces a strict no-trade policy with Italy despite the devastating effect it has had on the economy. The policy has a 70% approval rate among the Ethiopian populace. Selassie would begin his reign on the ashes of Ethiopia, now with his new capital in Bahir Dar (it would be moved back to New Addis Ababa in 1999 to mark the new millennium.) ITO countries promised to pour in financial support for the battered kingdom through their new port. As President Brooke said soon after Ethiopia’s independence was assured: “Ethiopia, you will be remembered”.

    The announcement that peace was permanent in Ethiopia came on June 9th 1977. Ciano certainly hoped a similar wave of relief would pour over him in Italy as had Selassie in Ethiopia. He had expected the announcement to be met with broad indifference among the population. To his horror, he realised that a tipping point had been reached - people had not only fallen out of love with Fascism, but had irrevocably turned their backs on it. With easy access to American, British and French culture, fewer and fewer people were attracted to the austere nationalism that Fascism promised. While many were willing to accept it had once been a good idea at a time of insurrection, or WW2 or even the Second Arab War, no one was sure what the ultimate goal of Fascism was apart from maintaining obviously unfair colonial setups, naked nepotism and chronic political corruption. Ciano’s age did not help matters, which helped cast Fascism as an ideology that had outlived its use and was time to be done away with. With similar unrest spreading far and wide across the Roman Alliance, Ciano began to wonder if it was time to think the unthinkable.

    Extract from ‘The New Roman Empire’ by David Lassinger

    The sudden death of Balbo and likewise sudden ascension of Ciano was something that most Italians met with surprise rather than grief or happiness. Cynicism to the regime was at an all time height, with almost everyone knowing someone who had been sent to or affected by the Ethiopian War. The presence of veterans begging on the streets was new to Rome but it soon became a common sight. Likewise, with the economy strangled due to the amount of resources being sent to Africa to get a bazooka fired at it, there wasn’t much left over for the home front. Secret Gallup polls conducted shortly after Ciano’s rise showed that the Fascist Party clocked only a 25% approval rate among Italians, with most opposition coming from younger Italians who had no memory of the Pre-Fascist chaos that the Party used to justify its existence. The diplomatic spat with Israel was also highly demoralising, as Italy had always used its relationship with Israel as proof of its moral legitimacy. When that was gone, many Italians believed that the country seemed trapped in a state of permanent decline. It was in the environment that the cry of ‘Enrico Berlinguer Libero’ went from a phrase mainly used by foreign opponents to one that showed up in everyday life. It got to the extent that everyday conversations incorporated the phrase as a statement of general discontent about almost anything. Spilling coffee on oneself could result in a “Cazzo! Enrico Berlinguer Libero!” If your team lost in Serie A? “Enrico Berlinguer Libero!” Your wife was cheating on you? “Enrico Berlinguer Libero!” But behind the scenes, Berlinguer had already done a fantastic job in uniting Italy behind him.

    The dissident had expressed some attraction to Communism in his youth, before his disgust at Stalin’s Anti-Semitism pushed him firmly into the Social Democrat Camp - he would subsequently denounce Communism as ‘Fascism’s Mirror’. His charisma and charm led to his becoming the leader of the Social Democrats in the early 1960s, before soon being arrested in Balbo’s crackdown and sentenced to life in prison. Yet throughout his whole time in prison, visitors and guards reported him in high spirits. His forgiving, friendly nature ensured lenient treatment by staff but also international support from abroad. But most importantly, he was able to unite the Anti-Fascist sentiment among the Working Class (which he already had a voice to as the head of the Social Democrats) with the concerns of the Middle and Upper-Classes, in the form of the Christian Democrats and the Vatican. His ability, even in prison, to settle disputes between the factions and help the warring groups unite into a combined Anti-Fascist front was no small feat and underlined his political wisdom. Even rumours of his being harmed were enough to create a serious disturbance in the affected areas - with one foreign observer noting, “The Italian people seem to have already decided who their Duce is - and he’s not the aged man who hobbles around in his dead Father-In-Law’s shoes”. Berlinguer had also created, through an international lobby of supporters, a worldwide movement aimed at his release and a return of democracy to Italy. In particular, the Mo-Town scene in American music was adamantly in his favour owing to his loud denouncement of the Ethiopian War. As Mo-Town and other forms of Black Music became popular around the world, so did the cause to get Berlinguer released. Black Artists worldwide boycotted Italy for their discrimination and made Berlinguer’s release non-negotiable. Brooke made negotiations with Italy over sanctions impossible without the pre-condition of Berlinguer’s release.

    Ciano knew that simply killing Berlinguer in jail was a guaranteed way to start a revolution, and no one was willing to believe any slander they could make up about him. To that end, Ciano finally began to start seriously asking his advisors whether it was time to start talks with Berlinguer behind the scenes. The slowly increasing strikes, slowly increasing civil dissent, all this had convinced Ciano that if something wasn’t done soon, they would be too late. While many in the Party were outraged at the very suggestion, it was King Umberto himself who stepped in (literally, as he marched into the meeting without announcement). Umberto simply ordered Ciano to begin negotiations with Berlinguer to find ‘A settlement the Italian people would agree with’. Dino Grazi, one of the few veterans of the beginning of the movement, consented to the King’s request. With that, the remaining members of the Fascist Council reluctantly allowed Ciano to move ahead. On November 7th 1977, Count Ciano met Enrico Berlinguer face to face for the first time without cameras, albeit with jail bars separating them. As Ciano recalled, “He seemed fairly amiable for a man in prison”. Berlinguer would likewise recall, “Mister Ciano looked quite tired - I offered him to sit on one of the chairs in my cell but he refused”. Almost nothing of real substance was discussed, and the discussion seemed to be more about developing a relationship. But one thing did come out of it: Berlinguer promised Ciano that he was not out to destroy Fascism but to save Italy from bloodshed, and if it meant forgetting past grudges, he would do it in a heartbeat. Though Ciano had every reason to doubt, he was oddly convinced by the Socialist. The Duce left the prison after about two hours of talking, returning to the gruelling political situation. As Berlinguer recalled, “Though I was still in prison, I knew I was far more free than he who called himself Duce.”

    [1] Seriously - this actually happened OTL.
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