Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by David bar Elias, Aug 17, 2008.
This is a really good timeline, I hope it continues.
I rather imagine that German backed European businesses will have a very hard job making headway within France and Britain, there being no after war Marshall Plan or cold war pressure to democratise. Some trade will be inevitable of course, but I could see a subtle but deliberate policy of not buying "European/American" if the goods could be obtained elsewhere in the world along with attempts at tourism to gain Reichsmarks/Dollars. A possible attempt at a Japanese (OTL) economic miracle is also possible once the shackles of the indemnity wears off (that's why I suspect a policy of non co-operation would happen) By buying resources and selling cheap within the Reichsphere a trade deficit would allow Britain/France to bootstrap themselves to first world nation status by 2000, this coupled with having no military commitments would leave Germany struggling to compete economically. Yes germany would eclipse Britain and France in its GDP, but that would not tell the whole story as much of the larger German GDP will have to be spent on keeping up with the Americans as well as the Japanese militaries. You could possibly expect in the case of France that it aligns with and supports the IM nations if only to cause her larger neighbour to expend its resources on higher security abroad.
There is a number of assumption that may or may not be valid.
1) Germany has to keep up with the Americans? More likely the other way round. Who exploded the first superbomb? Answer Germany. There is no reason why they may not be ahead in other areas from rocketry to computing machines.
2) The Japanese are a major threat to the America. They are only a minor threat to Germany because it has just Papua New Guinea and a few Pacific islands which it could easily write off. Its main spheres are Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, all out of reach or on the periphery of the Japanese's range.
In fact given that it is not involved in an arms race, took far less damage in the war than most other coutntries and has one of the two largest spheres of influence for exports, it is most likely that Germany and not the USA that will be the world leader.
All of which have to be paid for by the German GDP, research into these things costs, yes there are benefits, however the example of OTL Japan after WW2 shows that a not too greatly militarised nation can ride the coat tails of originators to produce cheaper better innovations that are more marketable too.
So the American are forced into an arms race with the Japanese and you think the Germans wont try to keep up with them? The Germans also have the Russians to think about too, not a great threat but certainly will mean they have to spend Reichsmarks on keeping them out. Something France and Britain don't have to do, they could even be selling some under the counter medium tech to the Russians.
Highly unlikely for the reasons above. Germany cannot afford as one of the big 3 to fall too far behind both militarily and technologically. All of these things cost and nations on the fringe will pick up the benefit of this by being cheaper thus draining away even more of the German GDP.
I did not say anything about the Germans dropping behind either militarily or technologically. In fact because they need less hardware they can spend the difference on research and as per the Cold War use that as their edge.
In addition just because Britain and France aren't spending on the military, which in Germany's case is not going to be a significantly greater proportion of GDP anyway, does not mean that they are going to overtake, or maybe even catch up in the short term. Look at OTL if you don't believe me.
I'm not suggesting they'll overtake the Germans in the same way that Japan has not overtaken the USA. However when it comes down to quality of living the British and French can apportion a higher percentage of their GDP to living standards, as well as lower taxes and potentially higher trade. This doesn't make them Germany's equal, but it doesn't make them any less successful within the limits that are set for them.
Another example would be Switzerland, no huge military, but a very high standard of living through their economy. Yet no-one would claim that the Swiss were a match for the USA in a military context.
This is rather good, though not exactly what I would have done with it if I were writing it, but to each his own eh? Of course that said there are many, many things that Turtledove done in the series I wouldn't have.
One question though, did West Virginia annex Virginia? In the maps a few pages back it looks as if it did. That would be interesting, I assume the Virginia capital would be in Wheeling rather than Richmond. I also assume the population of West Virginia would be much larger, and the economy healthier with military spending and industry likely being based there.
It seems that we are approaching the 1960s in this timeline. In OTL the 1960s gave birth to the Civil Rights Movement which continued throughout much of the 70s. This movement affected the whole world in developed nations it was about minorities getting a voice while in the developing world, which had suffered from imperialism, it was an anti-imperialist movement for self determination (most African countries became independent around this point), many countries fragmented while others which were fragment by imperialism unified once again.
The World in TL 191 is much more conservative than OTL, particularly in terms of militarism (even after having experienced a much more devastating set of Great Wars) and politically as well, true monarchy is still treated as a viable form of government (Germany, Japan are both imperial monarchies and France was still a monarchy well into the 1900s). Furthermore imperialism is still very much present possibly even rising, when in OTL it was on a deep dive by the end of WWII.
This can give birth to one of two situations:
In TL 191 the call for Civil Rights is never happens, meaning imperialism will continue well into the 21st century. As some nations become stronger they too will continue to conquer lands and claim territories. In OTL Argentina was pretty well off at this time before it had a major economic downturn if this never happens it might be an interesting new rival to the big 3 (US Germany Japan).
The second option would be a much more violent reaction against imperialism and militarism in this world. Remember we have a lot of new minorities including ex-confederates and canadians in the US and Germany and Japan also have a fair deal. What would a figure like OTLs Che Guevara, someone who fights for the little guys be like in this TL. I can see Alec Pomeroy, or someone similar, traveling the world and inspiring people to fight against the new empires.
(Che fought in Bolivia Cuba and Congo and is a symbol of self determination for all of those who were affected by imperialism).
Turtledove actually had the British and French subsidizing guerrilla resistance after WWI which was utterly non-historical and, to be honest, nothing short of demented.
As if it would have taken London and Paris of the massive colonial empires more than a few seconds to guess EXACTLY how Berlin would respond. It took 300,000 French and Spanish troops five years in the Rif War in Morocco in OTL to handle serious resistance, the last thing France(or England) would do would be start using a knife so certain to wind up in their own backs.
I did think that many of the minorities will get a fair deal unless central governments are enlightened and given that they are imperialist or ex-imperialist I don't think they will be.
In the case of America, it depends on how the ex CSA states and Canada have been treated. When they see themselves being milked for Washington's benefit they will ask why they can not be like Texas and Quebec. That would lead to civil unrest, albeit white against white with the blacks being marginalised because of their lower numbers.
In the case of Japan, I would expect the natives of their empire to be tired of being lorded over by a bunch of bullies and guerilla wars break out all over the place. Neither the Americans nor Germans need actively get involved as the local Ho Chi Minhs will be doing very well on their own. However, Australia would take the opportunity to act as an conduit for arms into the former Dutch Ieast Indies.
The two Virginias remain seperate, though as of 1961, Virginia is still under military occupation, and will not be re-admitted back into the Union for a while yet.
David, are we going to see anything on Japan, Russia, the Ottomans, and the other "non-aligned" countries? It's been a while.
Indeed. I would love to see something about that. Also a continuation of the TL.
I'm looking forward to the next round between the US and Japan. Hopefully it will be more conclusive than how HT did it.
The next war between Japan and the USA is going to be even nastier than the Pacific War on OTL. It would be reasonable to assume that Japan would have a few nuclear armed ICBMs and when Operation Olympic to be finally launched they would fire them at the USA. Given the USA knows that, they would be advised to develop ABMs.
The catch here is that TL191 is not appreciably more advanced than OTL. Therefore you are looking at about something like Nike Zeus, good enough to defend large cities, but not good enough provide complete coverage of the USA. Moreover if the Japanese say targeted all their ICBM at Los Angelos I would expect at least one to get through.
In that scenario Tokyo would then be wiped off the face of the planet. That is not going to make much difference though when you consider that a US invasion is going to be liberally armed with tactical nucs and vapourise any serious opposition.
Of course an invasion fleet is going to require special flak ships to shoot down missile or bomber approaching it or it will lose a significant proportion of craft to a nuclear strike. Thus given all the risks involved the USA is probably better off fighting a lower intensity war in interdicting Japanese merchant ships travelling between the various parts of their empire, arm insurgents and protect North and South America from Japanese attack.
Eventually they will grind the Japanese down to a point where either the hard liners get kicked out or it is safe to invade.
This sort of war works to one of the strengths that the Americans have, namely with the exception of the Sandwich Islands the transport communications of their "empire" would be on land. A TransAmerican Railroad from Anchorage to Buenos Aires may not be cheap proposition, but traffic in it would be harder to interdict than merchant ships travelling to and from Japan. Moreover using parllells on OTL the USA will use trade to given access to resources, the IMperial Japanese expropriation.
An alliance with the Russians would help in that they could provide air and sea bases as well as sap the Japanese in China by invading it. It is still going to be a high tech war with the probability that at least one American city will be nucked.
For some reason in the future of TL-191, I think the US would get Alaska eventually.
Sorry for the long wait. Here's January through July, 1961:
January 1961 onwards—The wave of immigration that began under the Dewey Administration continues unabated, with Russia, Austria-Hungary, and the Co-Prosperity Sphere providing the largest number of new citizens. The immigrant wave from East Asia will last until the outbreak of the Fourth Pacific War later in the decade.
The Custer carrier group is finally completed, operating out of Pearl Harbor, in the Sandwich Isles. The last part of the naval expansion and modernization program undertaken by Dewey and Truman, the U.S.S. George Armstrong Custer will begin regular patrols in March of 1961. In response, the Japanese will increase their carrier patrols on their side of the maritime frontier that separates the two powers.
February 29, 1961—In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Humphrey focuses most of his attention on domestic issues. He makes the case eloquently for a universal healthcare system, and also talks extensively on the need for new legislation to protect America’s remaining wilderness areas.
Humphrey’s focus on the environment surprises some contemporary observers, even though a nascent movement has emerged over the last decade (with some of the more notable protests emerging in Cleveland, Ohio over the severely polluted Cuyahoga River in 1955, and a 1958 series of demonstrations against a consortium that planned to build a theme park almost on top of the site of Second Mexican War’s Battle of Louisville).
On foreign policy, Humphrey issues what is widely viewed as a warning against the Japanese Empire against attempting to procure a superbomb, and also levels veiled criticism against the Russian Empire and the Republic of South Africa over their human rights violations.
March 8, 1961 onwards—In the first of a series of nine articles, the Boston Herald’s Theodore Schanberg, in a devastating expose, brings the American public’s attention to the atrocities committed by the German Empire in the Congo. As bad (if not worse) than King Leopold’s brutal actions in his Congo Free State, the articles go into details about massacres, forced deportations, and the extremely cruel conditions that exist in the colony’s mining camps and plantations.
President Humphrey expresses his outrage, when asked about the story at a press conference soon afterwards; a Congressional Committee drawn up in May to investigate Schanberg’s charges will confirm them all by the end of the year. Domestically, the news reports about the Congo Affair will lead to a greater deal of attention leveled at the crimes of the Southron Holocaust; for many young people, the failure of the prewar government to help stop the persecution of African-Confederates is often compared to the lack of attention that the government has given to the Congo (a sin shared by every government dating back to the Sinclair Administration, as Schanberg is careful to note).
The Congo Affair, as this scandal will be known, will cause the first serious disruption in U.S.-German relations since the end of the Second Great War (with normalcy not being restored until the end of the decade). The international fallout is immediate, with the Ottoman/Brazilian-led Independence Movement angrily denouncing Berlin’s conduct in the Congo, as well as demanding immediate freedom for the colony.
For the Germans, the lurid reports now cascading out of the Congo causes a huge political scandal, resulting in the resignation of the Chancellor, and, after an investigation on the part of the now Social Democratic Party-controlled Reichstag, the dismantling of Germany’s colonial administration in the Congo, with Berlin taking an increasing level of control over the colony. A number of former colonial administrators, agents, and corporate executives stand trial for their accused crimes; with many being given lengthy prison sentences. There’s a popular uproar on the part of the German public over these revelations: for many citizens, the idea of their nation being compared to Featherston’s Confederacy doesn’t go over well at all.
July 15, 1961—An anti-Apartheid protest march in the Aliwal North township ends in a massacre committed against the marchers by the police. A report relayed to the U.S. embassy in Pretoria informs of at least two wanted former Freedom Party Guards who took part in what will be known as the “AN Massacre,” by historians.
The U.S. government condemns this atrocity, causing Pretoria to recall its Ambassador to Philadelphia. America’s envoy in return, is also recalled. Legislation is immediately introduced (by Congresswoman Flora Blackford, in her last written bill before her retirement) for sanctions to be placed upon South Africa. They will be signed into law by President Humphrey in September, 1961.
In the meantime, Cassius Madison, who has founded his own Freedom Party fugitive catching Remembrance Center by this time (based in New York City), begins to plan an expansion of activities into South Africa. There are still a lot of war criminals who haven’t faced justice after all. His biggest triumph will come in 1962…
More interesting than the actual timeline-161
If Austria-Hungary has held together this long then Vienna must have found some way to even the distribution of power out among the various ethnic groups, which could be a useful alternative for this world's civil rights agenda.
Why is Germany worse in Congo than Belgium was, as difficult as that is to believe? Germany's treatment of some colonies was far better than how Belgium treated her sole colony.
Does South Africa even survive? In this world the racial problems of OTL are exacerbated by the hostility between the Boers and the British, the two being effectively even in numbers, a sure long-term killer for the Boers if the Brits reach out to the non-white majority. A better idea might be the Boers deliberately splitting South Africa into several smaller states including one or more which give them a much better position.
And how does the US boycott minerals which can't be found elsewhere?
Likewise why is the concept of clean air and so forth considered radical in a nation where Teddy Roosevelt is the greatest hero since Washington?
Lastly, why would Argentina be in such great shape after the beating in WWI and losing access to foreign trade again in WWII? Surely Brazil is a much more serious player.
Nicely done, David. Where's the write-up on the Japanese, Ottomans (and other IM leaders)?
I gather the Custer is similar to a Forrestal-class Supercarrier IRL. (last of the class, perhaps?) The next breed of supercarrier is no doubt on the drawing board. Her air wing is probably the first F-4s, F-8s, A-4s, etc.
Separate names with a comma.