The Napoléad: What if Napoléon won the war in Russia?

The End War: 1984
The "End War": Part V

Overturning the Warrior’s Code, 1984

Russia, fighting for its life against the Ottomans, wanted the second front shut down as quickly as possible. While the Chinese and Japanese posed little threat to Russia as a whole, even the sideshow that they had created diverted supplies, trains and other essentials from the main front against the Ottomans, and with atomic bombs slowly but surely destroying the ability to make these things, every one that the Far East took away was one that was badly needed in the west.

Tsar Grigory had spent weeks trying to find a way to quickly end the war in the Far East. Taking an army off the Don-Volga front risked opening the core of Russia to invasion, which was not a suitable solution. Supplying the Far East Army with more rollbarrels or armoured autos would only make supplying it harder, and China was too vast to be bombed into submission.

What the Tsar and his advisors realised after Edo was taken was just how much an object of fear that the atomic bomb was in Asia. In Europe, more had fallen than in the entire Qing War, but the European people just got on with life (although often they had to move to another city to do so). In China and Japan however, the Council Mandates had been kept out of their hands by nothing more than the threat of an A-bomb, and it was only after it appeared very unlikely that A-bombs would be used that they finally acted.

Well, that would be the case no more. In January 1984, four A-bombs were sent by rail to Siberia and loaded onto fliers. Three were dropped on China, one in Chengdu, one in Chungking and one in Tianjin. The fourth was dropped on Kyoto, Japan’s holiest city and the home of the Emperor. The Tsar reasoned that if anything would force the Japanese people to their knees, it would be the fact that the Russians had the power to kill a god with atomic fire. Or at least, that would be how the Japanese would see it.

It worked. Huisung was not Xianxi. He would not lead his country through another atomic war, which he knew he was certain to lose. China asked only for the South China Mandate in exchange for peace, which they got (France knew they had no ability to retake it in the short term, and it had been of little use to them anyway). Japan was allowed to keep Edo, and they too withdrew from the war shortly afterwards.

A Continent in Revolt, 1984

Free from Russian bombers, China turned up its efforts to get revenge with Europe. While ten ships had secretly left for Africa each month in 1983, in 1984 that number was closer to one hundred. Nor was it just the French colonies targeted. Guns were sent to Africans in the Portuguese colonies, in the British colonies, in the Prussian colony (which was now administered by France), and in the Spanish colonies. More and more natives rose up in revolt, for a while shutting down all manner of resource extraction.

Many wonder why they bothered. Native republics, or the ‘Alliance of Men with Pointy Sticks’, would only survive as long as Europe didn’t care to beak them. None had any power projection abilities to rival Europe, and while the jungles would keep them safe against all but a determined effort, no empire was ever built by hiding in the trees.

The Africans’ best hope lay in negotiation, and many natives did make an attempt to secure their independence. Those that travelled to the local colonial outpost were usually executed, those that travelled to Europe were tossed in prison or sent back to Africa. In one case, a Portuguese governor met with the native leader and gave him a backpack containing a many-hundred-page document detailing the Portuguese “conditions” for independence, which he was to read out to his people so that a decision could be reached. When he did that, he set off a landmine that had also been planted in the backpack, wiping out several native leaders in the process.

The Last City Standing, 1984

As it had the previous year, the war in Europe continued to be dominated by atomic strikes. After knocking out China and Japan, Russian A-bombs turned against Hungary, obliterating Kosice, Szeged, Pecs and Split. France destroyed Pilzen and Linz in Cisleithania, as well as Reading, Brighton, Cambridge, Leicester and Hull in Britain. The Ottomans bombed Kursk, Voronezh, Orel, Tula and Ryazan, destroying the logistics in the area and allowing them to regain the upper hand in the Ukraine. The Tsar responded with strikes of his own, leaving much of Syria and the Holy Land a ruin, while France pushed forward in the Rhineland.

The Fragment, despite at least appearing to have the upper hand in the conventional war (although only a slight one), undoubtedly came off worst from the A-bombs. British A-bombs were sent by submarine into the Mediterranean, finally destroying Marseilles and Toulon and cutting France completely off by sea. The US tried to keep the supplies running via the western port of La Rochelle, but a third bomb made sure that wouldn’t work as soon as word reached Newcastle. Napoleon IV had Newcastle itself destroyed as revenge, forcing the surviving part of the British government to flee to Oxford.

Prime Minister Harding looked for a way to get revenge. Paris had been destroyed in the early years of the war, and most of France’s best targets had also been smashed over the course of the war. French industry was now widely scattered, and no one place was so valuable to the French any more as to equal what existed in the Midlands. Retalitory strikes were ordered against Namur, Luxembourg, Aix-la-Chapelle and Rouen, but a bigger target was needed.

Those bigger targets existed across the Atlantic, well out of the reach of any bomber. Harding remained unfazed, ordering most of Britain’s remaining submarines west. They would not have the fuel to get home, but there would be no need for them to (and even if they did, it was very likely he wouldn’t want them back anyway).

On July 4, 1984, it was Britain, not America, that launched an Independence Day attack. Within minutes of each other, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Norfolk were all wiped out. But the most important target of all was Washington.

America Attacked, 1984

The atomic bombings of the East Coast came as a very rude shock to nearly every American. Outside of flier range, and outside of normal submarine range, they had no reason to fear that they would be attacked. Britain was also thought to be much more likely to simply target France again (their new capital of Angers had yet to be hit after all), and no nation possessed nearly enough A-bombs to just throw them around without any clear objective. Victory for Britain in the war would mean nothing more than knocking France out: there was no way they could ever get enough boots on US soil to actually defeat the nation.

The US government was also quite thoroughly destroyed. President Takacs had conveniently been away from Washington at the time, only to be killed by the Norfolk bomb. Three-fifths of the Electoral College had been killed, which would make holding an election later in 1984 virtually impossible. Congress was also shattered, as most of its members had lived in the Government Residences, which lay right on the bank of the Potomac. Vice President Malcolm Hunter was in Ohio at the time, and was quickly sworn in as the nation’s leader, but he was left with only a shell of a government to run.

Hunter’s first two actions were enough to turn the nation against him. His first was to cancel the 1984 election entirely, with the implication that the next one would be held in 1988, despite the fact that thirty-four of thirty-nine states had not been attacked in any way, and they would be able to elect a new Congress fairly quickly. His second action was to announce that the war would continue. Since the sinking of the USS Lake Erie, America lacked a way to deliver A-bombs to her enemies, and the destruction of France’s ports meant that there was no longer a way to actively support France either. The war was for America pointless, they could gain nothing but some shallow prestige if they were on the winning side and would only continue to lose cities if they remained in the war. When Hunter assembled a new government in Winchester, VA, he found that most of his nation had turned against him.

The Second American Civil War, 1984

Named as such to suggest that Hampton’s secession spawned the First Civil War (historians remain unsure whether this was the case or not), the Second Civil War began only days after Hunter took the oath of office when ex-Senator Thomas Chipp (a Protectionist) suggested that the western states unite to overthrow Hunter and end the war in America. The first state to leave the Union was Louisiana, which knew that New Orleans was a likely target for any future A-bombs, but before long most of the south and west of the country had turned against Hunter, and elections were held that declared Chipp as President.

This was very clearly a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, but very few on the rebel side cared. Chipp was already aware that his wish to overthrow Hunter was treasonous anyway, which would earn him the death penalty. As for the others, the threat of being dead because of an A-bomb was a much more pressing concern. Apparently it was a concern for Mexico too, which made an announcement reaffirming its neutrality unless attacked (but secretly an atomics program was started too).

The Constantinople Pact, as well as most neutrals, were quick to recognise Chipp’s Non-Aligned American State (NAS) as a legitimate country, while France dismissed it as nothing but a rebel uprising. Recognition was enough to convince some states into seceeding that hadn’t before, including Kentucky and Tennessee, while the US Army turned against itself. The war did not begin along state borders, but with fights within barracks, where units from loyal and rebellious states would turn against each other.

Hunter’s management of the war, as well as the American population as a whole, was atrocious. He called a meeting in Winchester to allow his shell of a government to discuss how to manage the war against Chipp, only to overrule what they suggested (which was to hold an election). Had word of the meeting spread outside Winchester, it is likely even more states would have turned rebel.

Four days after the meeting, Hunter settled onto an idea he had proposed at the meeting: that the best way to kill the rebellion and get on with the war was to wipe out Chipp’s government, which would make it no more legitimate than his own. Luckily for him, most of the US atomic stockpile was in Virginia (which had stayed loyal), and when he found out that the rebel government was meeting in New Orleans, he ordered an atomic bomb be used against the city. The strike, after all, could be blamed on the British (he ignored the fact that the British were assisting the rebels).

The bomb missed, detonating a couple of miles north of the city. An estimated 140,000 people were luckily saved, and nothing of note was destroyed. The action only enraged the American populace, who did not belief the lie about the British, as now they were ruled by a man willing to use the world’s worst weapon to keep his subjects in line. Where his dictatorial behaviour had been merely very unpopular before, now he was hated by virtually everyone. Ohio, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania and Appalachia, all states that had been loyal before, flipped to Chipp, who ordered a general offensive in the direction of Virginia. The state had to be taken, and Hunter captured or killed, before any more A-bombs flew. There was no other way that the United States could escape even mostly unscathed.

The End War: 1985
The “End War”: Part VI

The Fragment Fragmenting, 1985

Napoleon IV awoke on the first day of 1985 to a harsh reality: his side in the war was getting pummeled. The United States was tearing itself apart, with the part loyal to him getting smaller by the hour. Poland was still far from liberating its lands, while Russia was being pushed back again. Prussia, with the exception of the Rhineland, was completely under Cisleithanian rule. Both sides hurt badly under the pressure of atomic bombs, and while the enemy had copped more hits, France had less cities to lose.

It was clear: 1985 would be the year the war was decided. The beatings that each country had suffered in 1983 and 1984 suggested that, if the war continued another twelve months, there would be too few cities, too few people and too few logistics left for anything but mutual exhaustion. When Tacitus had spoke of making a desert and calling it peace, he had not considered the A-bomb. Napoleon IV thought of Tactius, but he also thought of the A-bomb.

His nation had also built a few since the last British attack, and was ready to use them. His targets lay mostly on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, hoping that cutting his enemies’ colonies off from their masters would allow the native revolt to take control of them. Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers were destroyed, as were Taranto and Valencia in case other North African cities could take up the slack. An attack was also made against the British Isles, destroying London as thoroughly as it had been in 1881.

News from the Tsar a week later only made things worse. An Ottoman bomber, carrying an A-bomb targeted at Rzhev had gotten lost, and the pilot gave the order to drop the bomb on the next thing that they found and to head for home. That “thing” appeared to be a small no-account village, which also happened to be the location of the Russian atomics program. When it was destroyed, Russia not only lost the ability to produce A-bombs, but they lost the four that were ready to be loaded on a flier and dropped.

Desperate Times, 1985

President Hunter was also in deep trouble. The rebels under the command of Chipp were growing stronger every day, while he was reduced to only Virginia and a few states in New England. While the Non-Aligned States appeared to have no problem with the fact that the East Coast had been smashed, Hunter looked for revenge. But with rebel armies surrounding his state, he had no direct way to fight back.

Knowing that using atomic bombs would only make his position worse, Hunter tried to find a way to fight back, if not against the rebels (which were very clearly going to win eventually), then at least against the Constantinople Pact. Most of the Navy had also rebelled, but a group of submarines were still docked in the Potomac, their captains and crew staying loyal. Hunter called them to Winchester, where he gave them secret orders to travel to France. They would carry the entire US nuclear stockpile to their allies, before scuttling their ships. Even if the rebels got to Winchester first, they were to press on until they reached France.

Hunter was toppled only two days after the subs left the Potomac, and Chipp was sworn in as President of the United States. The rebels were no longer rebels, the breakaway state was to be forgotten. Chipp emphasised that every way he could, refusing to punish any who had opposed him. Hunter was dismissed, and allowed to fade into obscurity. With the rest of the world doing its best to destroy itself, it was important for America to stay strong. Chipp did not immediately close the nuclear progam, but he did order that no more bombs were to be made until further notice.

Napoleon IV was grateful when the US stockpile reached his shores, and wasted no time in using them against his enemies. Eleven cities in Cisleithania were turned to ruins, while Britain lost eight including Belfast, Cardiff and Cambridge. The most important bomber, the one targeting Oxford, was the only one shot down, and with it, Napoleon felt that his hopes of winning the war were similarly gone.

End of the End War, 1985

In Britain, there was less of a desire to win the war and more a desire to simply see it end. The country was in ruins, and while there was some consolation in the fact that France and her allies were in ruins, it was a pathetic answer to the prospect of another year of fighting. As soon as he missed Oxford, Napoleon made another attempt at the city, and while the British government had once again evacuated for Ipswich, it was clear that the war would not be ended by yet another A-bomb, but by something bigger.

In April of 1985, Harding was told that the ‘something bigger’ was made: to some it was known as the super-A-bomb, to others it was simply the H-bomb. When tested in a remote field in Ireland, it produced a yield measured in megatons of TNT, nearly a thousand times as powerful as the A-bombs that had defined the conflict so far. Where an A-bomb could blast a hole in a big city, an H-bomb would destroy it entirely. For most of the targets remaining in Europe, an A-bomb was sufficient. But Harding knew of one city that opposed him that was grand enough to deserve the bigger bang.

Britain’s second H-bomb was secretly loaded onto a submarine and sent into the North Sea. A demand was given to the Danish king, saying that he would either let the submarine through, or he would be on the receiving end of its contents. Knowing that resistance would mean the end of Denmark, he gave in. A week later, it was detonated in St Petersburg.

The Fragment’s war effort was not helped by the fact that the Tsar had been killed, but even if he had survived it would not have mattered. Both sides knew that H-bombs would be on an assembly line soon if they weren’t already, and when the fight was between thousands and millions of tons of TNT, it was abundantly clear that resistance against the Constantinople Pact was useless. France would not have an H-bomb for months or years, in that time their whole country could become nothing but craters. On June 10th, 1985, Napoleon IV sent his enemies a request for an armistice.

The mushroom cloud over St Petersburg, minutes after the H-bomb was detonated

Constantinople, the Ottoman Empire
July 26, 1985
11:00 AM

Napoleon IV looked around at the great palace where Mehmed VIII was hosting the peace conference. Like the building, the Sultan or Caliphshah or whatever stupid title he was giving himself was a massive act of extravagance in a world that deserved very little. Here he was in the only major national capital to come through the war anything approaching intact, and he thought that the correct way to go about it was to be surrounded by images of the warlords of the past? Had Napoleon won the war, he knew that his peace conference would be held in a small, bland hall, with only one image behind them. That image would be of his aunt, who had worked so hard to achieve peace in the world. Mehmed hadn’t worked for peace. He didn’t even look like he cared.
“Well let’s get to it, shall we?” Mehmed said in a tone that needed or I’ll drop an H-bomb on you at the end.
“Russia is to split control of Persia between me and the British, where the armies lie right now, that is where borders shall lie tomorrow.” Mehmed announced. Napoleon wondered whether the Sultan would have been better making Persia independent, but for some reason it appeared like the Ottomans would claim as much of their ‘old land’ as they could.
Napoleon was soon proven right. The Crimea was demanded, while the rest of the Ukraine was to become an independent state. “Seeing as our armies control it”, of course. Napoleon was surprised when Mehmed proposed creating an independent Azerbaijan under Ottoman economic control (for the oil), but there were few shocks about the other annexations.
“As for you, Napoleon,” King Otto said later, “I think it is fair to say that Prussia is dead, that we have formed a new German Empire. I am prepared to give you the Rhineland, seeing as you control it and our A-bombs have made it useless. Your other borders may be maintained, but the Prussian Kongo is now the German Kongo.”
Have it if you want. Napoleon thought. The wells have been blown up and all the natives hate you anyway.

As Napoleon signed the treaty, he turned towards Mehmed. “I hope you’re real pleased with all the suffering you’ve caused. You may have won the war, but you’ll be remembered only as the man that tried to end the world.”
Mehmed only laughed. Napoleon shook his head.

Endings: 1985-1990
The Conflict Turned Internal, 1985

The End War was undoubtedly the greatest tragedy to ever befall mankind. Estimates of the body count are considered so inaccurate as to be nearly worthless, with untold millions unaccounted for in the clusters of tents that surrounded the cities that were hit by A-bombs. More remain uncounted as refugees, and with most records from before 1979 destroyed, it is also close to impossible to work out the difference in population between then and 1985 (not to mention the fact that millions of births would have been ignored too). In spite of this, the accepted figure has come out at somewhere around 350 million, three times that of the World War and double China’s losses in the Qing War. The overwhelming majority of these deaths occured in Europe.

What remained of the world was quick to blame the Ottoman Empire for the crisis, for unlike most previous wars, they were the clear aggressor in this one. Had Mehmed VIII contented himself with his already respectable empire, the Council, tense as it was, would likely have been able to prevent such an occurance. Even the Ottoman people blamed Mehmed, as while they held three times as much land as they did a decade earlier, many of their cities were in ruins. To many, owning the Crimea or Egypt did not justify having a couple of dozen cities A-bombed.

It was unsurprising then, when a couple of months after the Treaty of Constantinople was signed, that a group of angry Turks assassinated Mehmed VIII. After shooting fourteen bullets into his skull, the assassins burned the body at the stake before leaving it to rot in a tub of hydrochloric acid. The next day, some of the locals also defacated in the tub, showing what they thought of their fallen leader. No crueler punishment has ever been dealt to a corpse in the history of the world.

Rome Wasn’t Rebuilt in a Day, 1985

Elsewhere, most European governments were in even worse shape. While the Ottomans could at least call on Mehmed’s son Mehmed IX to lead them (with the constant threat of the same death as his father behind him), many governments had been destroyed in nuclear attacks, leaving their succession unclear.

Nowhere was this more visible than in Russia. While an A-bomb had to fall within a couple of kilometres to immediately wipe out the government buildings, the H-bomb didn’t even have to be particularly close. As a result, Tsar Grigory, along with all of his family, advisors, courtiers and others were all dead, part of the enormous mushroom cloud that had formed in the wake of the bomb. Among the fallen were the Tsar’s three sons, his brothers and cousins. Without any close relatives left, the governors of Novgorod (which was serving as the new Russian capital) decided that the Tsar’s stepson would have to be close enough, as a half-brother of Grigory’s primary heir. He was declared as Tsar Peter VI, and despite having no real claim to the throne (he was born five years before his mother even married into the royal family), there were no objections.

Britain and France meanwhile gathered the remnants of their old governments in Ipswich and Angers respectively, and while their heads of state and a couple of senior ministers had survived for each, parliaments and bureaucracies were gutted. Napoleon IV effectively became an absolute monarch with the powers of the seventeenth century kings, while British Prime Minister Harding was virtually a dictator, answering only to the new Queen Anne II. While the United States could hold elections in 1986, Britain most assuredly could not. Nearly all major cities in England, along with the largest in Scotland and Ireland were totally destroyed, taking out most of the seats of parliamentary government. Harding’s rule has continued to today, and it remains uncertain whether the country will remain a binary dictatorship or if democratic government will be restored by the end of the millenium.

If anything good can be said of the End War, it is the fact that it has (so far) truly lived up to its name of ending all that came before it. With the Ottomans universally blamed for the war, European grudges appear to have been destroyed by the A-bombs. Catholic and Protestant Germans, once eternal rivals, have found common ground in their suffering, and with most of the old churches obliterated, differences between the faiths are worth nothing more than the paper they are printed on. Both are united in rebuilding Otto’s German Empire, and out of the ashes it appears that a new identity has been formed.

France and Britain too managed to overcome most of their differences. While the heads of the first three Bonapartes remain in Custer’s Wall Memorial Park, the period from 1789 until 1924 is now seen by the British as an era of national prestige rather than one of settling a score, as even though the two nations dropped more than thirty A-bombs each on their neighbour, the tensions of the past seem to be finally settled. One is forced to wonder if their reconstruction would even be possible with the mentality of the older times, as the combined investment policies appear to have been a major driver in the immediate success of the rebuilding projects.

The recovery of friendly relations, in cases for the first time since the eighteenth century, was also instrumental in convincing the great powers to dismantle their nuclear arsenals and to destroy all plans and written evidence of how to build atomic bombs or their more powerful hydrogen-based cousin. Within twelve months of the end of the war, not a single atomic bomb remained in a state where it could easily be used against anyone. An effort was also made to force nuclear researchers into other fields of work so that they could fade into obscurity, making it more difficult for more to be produced in the future. Many ex-researchers went into farming, others into transport, and at least one is known to have become a monk. A worldwide crackdown was made against the uranium-based black market, hoping to shut down the uranium trade forever. Mines were closed, traders executed and stockpiles abandoned at sea. May we hope that they are never brought back to the surface.

Unfinished Business, 1986

Towards the end of 1985, the economies of Europe, while still operating with at least some effectiveness, were very fragile. The stopgap measures put in place around ‘victim cities’ were keeping trains rolling and factories operating, and attempting a demobilisation on the scale of 1952 would quickly flood these beyond their ability to hold up. What would follow would be an inevitable crash, and following that would be a total breakdown in public order (the current governments in Europe for the most part were unpopular, but so far they hadn’t tried to do anything too stupid since the end of the war). The resources did not exist for a massive road building project like that of the late 1950s, so that option was off the table too. At least until national infrastructure could be repaired and expanded, it was simply a far better option to keep the men mobilised and out of the way.

In the French, German, Spanish and British colonies in Africa, another war still raged against the native revolts. The exact strength of the revolts varied wildly from one village to another, and even from day to day. Runaway slaves with stolen guns occasionally rose up as local rebel leaders, attacking any white men they could find. Railroads would be damaged by whatever African bands managed to find them, causing Europe a good deal of trouble.

Unless a band got lucky and managed to steal some of Europe’s best equipment (one group managed to grab thirty gas masks before burning down a cotton plantation), the Africans were still centuries behind Europe technologically, and if Europe wanted to put down the revolts, eventually they would be able to. In 1986, France was the first country to start trying to do exactly that. Two million men, veterans from the Rhineland front, were shipped down to Africa (the British were glad to help them here), where they embarked on a campaign of terror against the African people. Relying heavily on fliers (which the Africans had no chance of shooting down), bands of Frenchmen would fly in to known African villages and unleash every bit of hell that modern rollbarrels and round-wing fliers and nerve gas could provide. Other villages were subject to random bombing runs, where thousands of tons of liquid fire was used to burn away anything that could possibly trouble the colonies.

By 1989, despite the excessiveness of the policies, the power of the African tribes had been broken. The majority of the damage, despite all appearances, was not physical at all, but psychological. When villages were incinerated, those few that survived unhurt would often travel to their neighbours, telling them about the power of the white man, and while those stories were often subject to a bit of random exaggeration (as inevitably happens with all stories), there was enough truth behind them to provoke widespread fear. Europe could quite clearly not bomb every square inch of the African jungle, but where they didn’t, scared victims would often do the job for them just as well. Although in parts of Africa the revolt still simmers, most of the occupation force has begun demobilising, and it does not seem likely that the tribes will trouble the colonies again for several decades.

A Different World to the One We Left, 1988

When the veterans finally began to really return to their homes (assuming those homes had survived) in 1987, they were part of a very different world to the one that they had known ten years earlier. Food was now rationed in most nations, petrol was only just beginning to be sold again, and for most families, it was their auto, not a house, that was their most valuable possession, despite the fact that they almost certainly couldn’t take it anywhere.

Despite everyone’s best efforts, the world economy did suffer in 1985 and 1986 as inflation took hold in the most badly affected areas, where farmers and transport workers sought to secure their position as the most well-off citizens. Napoleon IV was the first to crack down on the problem, establishing a list government mandated of prices for every common good he could think of, while also restricting wages to fit within a certain level. While this did seriously hurt the free market (a move that got him angry protests from the Colombians and Brazilians), the economic reform did mean that food and other essentials remained affordable while the worst of the crisis was allowed to pass.

In the meantime, a drastic reversal of past tendencies was observed in the job market. Where before it had been businessmen and engineers, along with doctors, that had the highest paying jobs, now it was workers in primary industries and even lowly truck drivers that were in the best position moving forward. When the price restrictions are relaxed in 1991 (assuming the Emperor keeps to his word) it is likely that the old ways will return, but the fact that a farmer could earn more in a year than a scientist in four is definitely symbolic of Europe’s ability to pull itself out of the worst crisis in history while China had failed so dramatically in the 1950s.

Epilogue, 1990

Five and a half years have now passed since the End War concluded, and the legacy both it and the past two centuries have left must be studied if we are to avoid making the same mistakes that past generations did. Should we fail to do so, it is an almost universal concensus among historians and other experts that the End War was the worst that we could suffer without totally destroying all order, stability and reason within western civilisation. The next step, as a war where dozens of H-bombs are used would be, is quite simply the end of the world. We may avoid killing every last man or woman on the planet, but if a nation’s thirty largest cities all become craters as St Petersburg did, there won’t be anything left to rule even if we do come out of it alive.

The true question is when did all of this begin? Mehmed VIII is an easy figure to blame, but without him it is very possible that another figure would have one day challenged the order. Would they have come from the Constantinople Pact, from a revanchist China, or possibly even from within the Council itself? Such cannot be predicted beyond making wild guesses, so I shall not try.

The true answer probably lies in Napoleon’s victories at Austerlitz, Jena and Vitebsk, which sealed the trend of Britain’s rivalry with France. While in medieval times the two had butted heads regularly, it was only after the formation of the Coalition and Alliance that nations geared themselves towards the next war. Those wars would come in 1833, 1853, 1881 and 1922, and while some temporary advantage was gained by one or the other at the end of each, it would always be undone the next time around. Only two things were certain: that the wars would be costly, and that nothing was ever truly gained. If Jerome’s invasion of Britain in 1881 had been successful, there may have been some justification in the millions of deaths, at least on France’s part. Without it, all that we have are statistics for casualties.

Now though, we must look to the future, and for the first time since at least Napoleon II, one can be absolutely certain that an improvement is happening. The fallout from the A-bombs is gone, and for the most part the cities are coming back. St Petersburg and Paris will likely never be rebuilt, but Berlin, Warsaw, Rome, New York and others are sure to. The Chinese Emperor has been convinced to abandon his reckless quest for revenge against Europe, while the Europeans themselves appear to be finally working towards the world peace that Emma tried so hard to establish sixty years ago. The Council of Great Powers is likely to return in the coming years, although in a vastly different form, and if another Mehmed can be prevented then there is some chance that Emma’s dream may finally become a reality.

It is now, on the 30th day of December, 1990, that I finally finish this account of our history. Nearly a billion lives have been lost over these past two centuries due to combat. If the people of the world are willing to work together, they can be the last to ever fall this way.