Twilight of the Red Tsar

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Just a Little Better
Hello there, I had permission to publish this. Since I am Northern Irish, and it would be nice if there were bright spots along the line ITTL, I wrote these to make the world a slightly better place, albeit that meaning 'not as bad' rather than outright good.

Just A Little Better

Excerpt from The Asian Century by Misato Katsuragi​

Initially, it looked like the arbitrary division of Vietnam would garner a single result; the eventual destruction of the South Vietnamese state and its annexation by the North, headed by the popular Ho Chi Minh, who was praised as the man who bested the Japanese. South Vietnam, ruled by Ngo Dinh Diem, was seen as a fake state by many of its own inhabitants, who yearned for Ho to unite the country.

So what went wrong?

The primary reason it went wrong was the Sino-Soviet war. While South Vietnam continued to receive material from the United States, North Vietnam found itself with no partners in the conflict between the two countries, robbed of supplies and begged by both sides to join the war with them; the longer North Vietnam delayed, the more the two states distrusted them. After a disastrous attempt at land reform resulted in the executions of twenty thousand people, North Vietnam was crippled by poverty, famine ensued, unrelieved by foreign aid since no nation would give any. To make all this worse, hundreds of thousands of Chinese people began pouring into the country, bringing many diseases as a result of the collapse of civil infrastructure in the region, not to mention the bioweapons used by the Soviets. With traditional nationalist animosities flaring, many people in North Vietnam were outraged that Ho was not doing more to stop the tide of refugees. With help not forthcoming in any direction, and threats to the regime on all sides, Ho was forced to work with the South Vietnamese (who were enjoying solid, productive harvests with US aid). Any mention of Communism was removed from North Vietnamese announcements, replaced by the vague descriptor of ‘Hoism’. Hoism had little ideological basis; it was a hodgepodge of nationalistic and socialistic policies that alternated depending on what was popular at the time. While Tito retained a following and some levels of ideological consistency after he quietly dropped his Communist affiliations in the early sixties for ‘Titoism’, Ho found himself beset on all sides with problems that left him politically castrated, and certainly not powerful enough to militarily challenge the South. Eventually, Ho closed the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the demands of his regional neighbours, which was made to funnel supplies and men into the South, in order to gain relief in the refugee crisis.

With no aid forthcoming from the North, the Viet Cong (the Communist insurgency) was left to whither and die. By the mid sixties, the insurgency was considered to be defeated. But this had also given some semblance of steel to the ARVN (the South Vietnamese army). The army soon became the leading Anti-Communist force among Indochina, giving peaceful night’s sleep to Laos and Cambodia, who feared Ho trying to take over their own nations. While Tito had managed to win over America to an extent, Ho was never able to accomplish the same thing. When he died in 1969, having burned its bridges thoroughly with the USSR over the burning of the Soviet embassy, North Vietnam had few friends, while South Vietnam was growing from strength to strength.

After a successful land reform in the fifties, coupled with a relaxed atmosphere for investment in the sixties, not to mention reduced military budget, South Vietnam’s economy began to shoot into orbit, buoyed by her fellow Western-aligned Asian partners who made up the Asian Tigers (Korea, the Philiphines, Hong Kong and Singapore). Diem had managed to accumulate a lot of political capital in his successful handling of the Viet Cong, as well as looking by comparison much more competent than Ho owing to the calamitous state North Vietnam found itself in by the early 1960s. Diem didn’t miss a beat, accusing Ho of allowing ‘Chinese colonization of our homeland’ in allowing so many refugees in. It was an unfair accusation owing to Ho’s own prejudice against the Chinese, but of all the propaganda campaigns launched by South Vietnam, this would prove to be the most successful. Riding a solid economic foundation with nationalist pride swelling, Diem was able to weather dangerous moments, such as wide protests by Buddhists about his Catholic-centric government, culminating in self-immolation in public by one Buddhist monk. With the public backing of President Nixon, Diem narrowly retained his position, the experience forcing him to be more tolerant than he was before. Thankfully for Diem, North Vietnam did him a favour in this regard. In December of 1963, inspired by the example of their Southern counterparts, protests took hold Hanoi, demanding food, an end to state-atheism and expulsion of the Chinese. There were even scattered outcries of “Death to the Chinese! Death to the Communists!” Though the army of North Vietnam had enough on its plate to begin with, they were able to quell the riots. Unbeknownst, films were smuggled out, showing the madness that engulfed Hanoi to the world. The ‘Anti-Chinese’ riots as they were called would last nearly a week, leaving a lot of Hanoi in disrepair. By the time it was shown in South Vietnam, few wanted to join the northern state.


When the eighties had come around, what had once been a backwater third world country had become one of the premier electronics producers anywhere in the world.

Excerpt from The History of Ireland by Sean Lemmas​

In the aftermath of the Apprentice Boy’s March through (London)Derry and subsequent riot, the British army, still confident from its days in the Suez War, moved in to restore control. This would begin the process of moving in the army into Northern Ireland to deal with the tense political situation, but already, there were outcries, particularly from Unionists, as the Nationalist community welcomed the arrival of the army, seeing them as a nonsectarian arbiter. The Unionists were angry with the Westminster government for interfering in what was considered their own business; unfortunately for them, that was just the beginning of what Prime Minister Enoch Powell [1] intended. Having come to power in 1967 in a surprise victory in the Tory Leadership contest, succeeding Anthony Eden's fairly popular reign, he was distracted from his free-market economic reforms masterminded by himself and close advisor Margaret Thatcher to face the growing problem in Northern Ireland.

Powell had always viewed Stormont with suspicion, seeing any attempt to devolve power in the UK as the beginning of the country’s dissolution itself. He furthermore sympathized with the demands of the Civil Rights movements as the sort of British Civil Liberties that should be allowed to all residents of Her Majesty’s Government. Powell believed that to treat one end of the United Kingdom differently from another was outrageous, frequently leading to butting heads with the Stormont legislature [2]. The irony was that Powell strongly sympathised with Unionists, but the realities of political conflict ensured that he would become a figure of infamy in Loyalist circles.

Finally, after lengthy talks with Northern Irish Prime Minister Terrence O’Neill, Powell gave the ultimatum; his government was to accept the basic principles of the NICRA [3] program (One Man One Vote, the abolition of the B-Specials, equitable distribution of housing etc) or Stormont would cease to exist. In return, Powell would extend his Repatriation Department [4] to include Northern Irish Catholics migrating to the Irish Republic, to relieve fears of Nationalists overwhelming the vote, and promised that the army would ruthlessly cull any attempts by the IRA in starting insurgencies. O’Neill, worn down by the Prime Minister, and indeed Opposition Leader Tony Benn, finally relented. In a show more common than thought [5], Powell and Benn launched a united front to bring Stormont to heel, albeit for polar opposite reasons, owing to Benn’s sympathy to the Irish Republican movement.

When O’Neill arrived in Belfast to announce the reforms it was met with fire and brimstone among Loyalists. Ian Paisley, a prominent Loyalist figure would cry ‘To call him a Lundy is an insult to Lundy!’ [6] To make matters worse, word of Powell's threat to shut down Stormont released; it did little to rehabilitate O'Neill, but it further poisoned Powell's relationship with Loyalists. Within a week, two hundred thousand people had congregated outside Belfast City Hall, some even burning effigies of Powell and O’Neill. Paisley himself would be the keynote speaker, infamously announcing, ‘We will not just die for Ulster, we will kill for it!’ Facing extreme backlash for not consulting his cabinet before making such a huge decision, a leadership challenge was called in the UUP, leading to hardliner Brian Faulkner being given control. When Faulkner objected to the diktat from London, saying that Northern Ireland wasn’t ready and that it was a boon to the IRA, Powell simply abolished Stormont in January of 1969 (most scholars agree that this was his prime agenda) and instituted his reforms anyway. It has been suggested that Benn’s chronic unpopularity with the mainstream British electorate made Powell less concerned about confronting a nominal Tory ally in the UUP, but this is still debated.

What is not debated, however, is the radical shift in direction the ‘Troubles’ took in Northern Ireland after 1968. There were suggestions that the IRA could return to the forefront, becoming a serious headache for the British army. Ultimately, it never happened. By the time the IRA was starting to become relevant, almost all the demands from NICRA were addressed, and the propaganda from the IRA about how the Stormont Government and Westminster Government were one in the same was contradicted by the constant conflict between London and the Loyalists. The IRA would never again reach the relevance it had in the past, although they did become a relatively small vigilante force in Northern Ireland, getting into conflict with the Loyalist paramilitaries. Though the repatriation program left a bad taste in the mouths of many, Catholics generally respected the British army as a nonsectarian force. [7]

On the other hand, the conflict between London and Stormont would result in a huge surge in support for Loyalist paramilitary groups, the biggest being the UDA (Ulster Defence Association). Fearing that Powell’s actions were the start of a United Ireland, Loyalists began to arm, leading to the British army to launch raids against Loyalists in Protestant/Unionist areas to break up the infrastructure of the paramilitaries; the same happened in Catholic areas but generally not as much. Riots soon started, as Protestant youths began to attack the army, the irony of the situation apparent to almost everyone but them. Eventually, by 1970, the UDA announced that they were at war with 'Westminster's army' due to 'intolerable persecution of our people for the crime of wishing to preserve an Ulster for our children'. The announcement chillingly ended 'We did not start this war, nor did we wish for it, and we would do anything in the world to stop this calamity from going on. The only thing we will never surrender, however, is exactly what Westminster demands of us.' More sinisterly, the UDA was involved in a number of purely sectarian murders as well. By contrast, the smaller UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) were so outraged by the government that they supported another option; the establishment of an independent Ulster ethnostate, with Irish Catholics cleansed or ruthlessly subjugated. While roughly half of the UDA's casualties were soldiers, over 90% of the UVF's victims were Catholic civilians.

In Britain, news of the insurgency was met with disbelief, but also with an air of solid resentment. The British public despised the Loyalists, not only for their astonishing bigotry over things most Britons thought were 19th Century issues, but due to the obvious irony of claiming to be in favour of the Union while openly attacking British soldiers. While the UVF of 1912 had the solid backing of Bonar-Law, the UDA found themselves entirely without friends anywhere in Britain with the exception of the Far-Right National Front.

The Troubles would be a decade long period of strife, finally culminating in the 1977 Belfast Agreement, arranged by new Prime Minister David Steel, succeeding the scandal ridden Jeremy Thorpe. It restored Stormont on a power-sharing basis between the Nationalist Social Democratic Labour Party and the Independent Unionist Party (a collection of moderate Unionists who supported power-sharing) as the largest parties, with the Alliance Party included. Despite a nationwide strike by Loyalists arranged by Paisley and other hardliners, the deal would ultimately stand. The UUP would relent in 1980 and finally join the power-sharing arrangement, leaving Paisley’s DUP as the sole major opposition to the deal, as well as, ironically, the radical republican party, Sinn Fein. The UDA/UVF would continue their insurgency but from the Belfast Agreement onwards, it continued to degrade into nothingness, doomed to be seen the nation’s homegrown version of the Ku Klux Klan by the average Briton. It is estimated that some 700 people died in the Troubles with many more injured; most of the deaths were caused by Loyalist paramilitaries. [8]

[1] – Eden became a hero in the British public after the successful Suez War, coupled with the much more Right-wing mood that hit Europe owing to the Soviet revelations. With Benn leader of the Labour Party, the Conservatives are more confident in electing Powell, owing to his Free Market beliefs that would be considered timely with the Objectivist craze.

[2] – Powell was lucky that Stormont was already abolished by the time he took his Northern Irish seat, and the issue never reared its head.

[3] - NICRA = Northern Irish Civil Rights Association.

[4] – The suggested antidote to immigration issues he feared in his infamous 1968 speech; it's abolished by the Liberals when they come to power in 1975 despite broad popularity.

[5] – Powell was a social liberal in the Tory party, arguing to abolish the Death penalty and legalize abortion and homosexuality. He requires the help of Benn to be able to pass some of these laws. Though they were radically different, in OTL they respected each other.

[6] - Lundy was the member of the Londonderry garrison who wanted to surrender when King James II besieged the city. It since became a slur against a Protestant or Unionist who was seen as weak on Republican terrorism.

[7] – This actually happened. The reason this changed was the heavy-handedness of the British army, culminating in events like Ballymurphy and Blood Sunday. Since the Civil Rights issues that spawned the IRA are mended before the organisation got a chance to gain power, added to the much more open conflict between the Loyalists and British state, the army remains broadly popular with Catholics.

[8] – For comparison, the majority of killings in OTL’s Troubles were by Republicans; with Republicans much less of a force, as well as the much shorter time frame, there are far less killings, and indeed a much more functional government, as Sinn Fein never gains popularity. All in all, its less than a quarter killed from OTL's Troubles.
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TL;DR, we went in to prop up the South Vietnamese, we couldn't invade the North because of the Soviets and Chinese having nukes pointed at us, and then we lost the war thanks to strategic blunders, and because we didn't have nearly enough men in there, nor did the government have the support of its own people.

Thanks for that, really appreciate it
At least this will prevent the devolution of the British Government ITTl, but still good work there.

I wouldn't go that far, Powell was opposed to devolution but David Steel was just as strongly in favour. If he's reversing voluntary repatriation and direct rule in Northern Ireland then I wouldn't be surprised if a Scottish Parliament was coming soon after.
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Wait, wait, the UNIONIST fought the British because... Powell wanted...

I have no idea what to make about the post about Ireland.

Powell was adamant on Direct Rule, but the Loyalists wanted an assembly to be given free reign to discriminate.

If you think that's unlikely, in 1912 they were threatening the same thing and even had the Tory Leader cheering them on.
whats happening to japan?

Has an army now due to the Nuclear War on the Asian continent; not good for WW2 atrocities being made up for.

Incidentally, in case anyone's wondering, the author of the first extract is indeed a reference.
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