Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree: A Nineteen Eighty-Four Timeline

39
August 24, 1936
Socialist Labour Party Headquarters
Lambeth


In the office of the Chief Whip of the Socialist Labour Party, Oswald Mosley brought the heel of his hand down on a mahogany desk.

"I'm telling you, Emmanuel, if we care to do more than just get through the next election, we must be prepared to revise our ideology. Socialism is on the rise everywhere. Sweden, Catalonia, Germany, America even--maybe they're doing it in different ways, but they're all for what we're for."

Emmanuel Goldstein, MP for Whitechapel and Chief Whip of Socialist Labour, winced at some of the things Mosley liked to call "socialism". True, the new rising movement in Sweden might call itself "National Socialism", but it was obviously just a clone of the dictatorship in Berlin, which, from what he'd read in the newspapers, had little in common with the socialism Goldstein envisioned. He would never go there himself--he'd read about the way they treated Jews there--but it appeared to Goldstein that the benefits of welfare and nationalization applied almost entirely to "Aryans", as Hitler called them, while the Jews were left to fend for themselves or, sometimes, left bloody in the street. For this reason he was very skeptical of the German, and now the Swedish, brand of "socialism".

Mosley continued. "If we don't keep up, we'll fall behind. There's no single kind of socialism--you can't argue with that. England is headed towards socialism sooner or later, and if this party wants to lead the charge, we've got to open ourselves up to new positions. If we keep pushing a single, narrow ideology, we'll be left in the dust within ten years."

Mosley had a point. Even discounting the German "national" socialism, there was no point equating American social democracy with Russian communism. And since Trotsky had invaded Finland and drawn the world's ire, it would be a bad idea to align too closely with the Russian brand of socialism. Then again, it would be unwise to get too close to American socialism, in case Thomas lost the election. Britain would need its own kind of socialism, and Socialist Labour would be the party to supply it. The challenge, though, would be to find this "British Socialism". Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to take inspiration from a few brethren movements.

"What do you propose we do?" asked Goldstein.

"I'd like to visit some of the places where socialism is on the rise," replied Mosley. "Russia, Italy, Sweden, Germany, America and Catalonia, if we can pull that off. A 'tour', if you like, of the socialist world*. I'll do some interviews, make some observations, and bring back what I find. We can use some of the other countries' ideas in our next election campaign."

"I don't think we can afford to send you to America. And I don't want you visiting Germany," said Goldstein. "You know the way they treat Jews there. That's not a system I care to model this party after."

Mosley nodded in agreement. "Fair enough. Just Russia, Sweden, Italy and Catalonia, then." Catalonia was a good idea. Since the civil war had started in Spain, everyone had been saying Catalonia was a golden kingdom without the king. This anarchistic socialism might just have something to it.

"All right, if you can clear it with Maxton and the Party Treasurer, we'll send you. But I want Eric Blair will go with you."

"Blair, the reporter? Fine," said Mosley, who had taken a liking to Blair in the past few months. "I assume he will be publishing the details of my trip in the Times?"

"That's the idea, as long as his editor will print them." The Socialist Labour Party wasn't exactly up to its tits in cash. If it was going to spend a few thousand quid subsidizing Mosley's autumn holiday, they'd better get some good publicity out of it.

"All right, then," said Oswald Mosley, hiding a bit of excitement. "I'll go ask Maxton," he said as he turned out the door. Goldstein sat back in his chair, imagining what Mosley might see abroad. As he picked up the telephone receiver and waited to be connected with Blair's office, he wondered to himself what "British Socialism" would end up looking like.



* In OTL, Mosley did a "tour" of this kind in 1932, but only in Mussolini's Italy, where he became impressed with Italian fascism. This is what pushed him to found the BUF.
 
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September 24, 1936
Socialist Labour Party Headquarters
Lambeth


In the office of the Chief Whip of the Socialist Labour Party, Oswald Mosley brought the heel of his hand down on a mahogany desk.

"I'm telling you, Emmanuel, if we care to do more than just get through the next election, we must revise our ideology. Socialism is on the rise everywhere. Sweden, Spain, Germany, America--maybe they're doing it in different ways, but they're all for what we're for."

Emmanuel Goldstein, MP for Whitechapel and Chief Whip of Socialist Labour, winced at this. He was slightly annoyed at some of the things Mosley liked to describe as "socialism". True, the party that had just won the Swedish election on Sunday might call itself "National Socialist", but they were obviously just a clone of the dictatorship in Berlin, which, from what he'd read in the newspapers, had little in common with the socialism Goldstein envisioned. He would never go there himself--he'd read about the way they treated Jews there--but it appeared to Goldstein that the benefits of welfare and nationalization applied almost entirely to "Aryans", as Hitler called them, while the Jews were left to fend for themselves or, sometimes, left bloody in the street. For this reason he was very skeptical of the German, and now the Swedish, brand of "socialism".

Mosley continued on. "If we don't keep up, we'll fall behind. There's no single kind of socialism--you can't argue with that. It's a flexible system with a very broad theory. It's changing all the time, every year a new kind of socialism emerges in some new country. This country's headed towards socialism sooner or later, and if this party wants to lead the charge, we've got to open ourselves up to new positions. If we keep pushing a single, narrow ideology, we'll be left in the dust within ten years."

Notwithstanding the dubious attributions to Sweden and Germany, Mosley had a point. Even discounting those "national" examples, there was little point in comparing American social democracy with Russian communism. And since Trotsky had annexed Finland and drawn the world's ire, it would be a bad idea to align too closely with the Russian brand of socialism. Then again, it would be unwise to get too close to American socialism, in case Thomas lost the election. Britain would need its own kind of socialism, and Socialist Labour would be the party to supply it. The challenge, though, would be to find this "British Socialism". Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to take inspiration from a few brethren movements.

"What do you propose we do?" asked Goldstein.

"I'd like to visit some of the places where socialism is in effect, or at least popular," said Mosley. "A 'tour', if you like, of the socialist world. I could do some interviews, make some observations and come back with a better idea of what socialism means around the world. We could use some of their ideas in our campaign for the next election."

"What places did you have in mind?"

"Russia, to start with. Then I'd like to hit Italy, and then Sweden and Germany." Goldstein narrowed his eyes at the last one. "I think I could profit from visiting America, maybe have an interview with Norman Thomas and ask his opinion why his party is on the rise. And if it's at all possible, I'd like to go to Catalonia," Mosley finished.

"Italy is stretching the meaning of socialism. Sweden is really pushing it. But I don't want you visiting Germany," said Goldstein. "You've heard the way they treat Jews there. That's no system I care for this party to model itself after." Mosley nodded in agreement. "Fair enough. Just Italy and Sweden, then, and America, Russia and Catalonia."

"I don't think we can afford to send you to America. Although Catalonia--there's an idea." Since the civil war had broken out in Spain, every socialist was always on about how Catalonia was a golden kingdom without the king. Anarchism did seem to have quite a bit going for it. "So you agree I should do it?" inquired Mosley.

Goldstein reflected for a moment. "All right, if you can clear it with Maxton and the Party Treasurer, you can go. But there's one condition."

"What would that be?" asked Mosley.

"Eric Blair will go with you."

"Blair, the reporter? Fine," said Mosley, who had taken a liking to Blair in the past few months. Blair was smarter than most reporters--most people, really--that Mosley had met, and he his piercing wit could make any conversation more interesting. "I assume he will be publishing the details of my trip in the Times."

"That's the idea, as long as his editor will print them." The Socialist Labour Party wasn't exactly up to its tits in cash. If it was going to spend a few thousand quid subsidizing Mosley's autumn holiday, they'd better get some good publicity out of it. With the huge majority the Conservatives had in Commons, the best SocLab was expecting for the next general election would be a somewhat larger seat count. But if enough voters read about Mosley's "tour", that seat gain might increase significantly. "All right, then," said Mosley, hiding a bit of excitement. "I'll go ask Maxton," said Mosley as he turned through the door and headed toward the Party Leader's office, glad that he would be getting a paid holiday next month.
So.. Mosley might become Big Brother...
 
40
Mosley and Blair's Tour

On 4 October, when Mosley embarked on his continental tour with reporter Eric Blair in tow, he was curious but sceptical of the "new ideologies" that were springing up all over Europe in the name of socialism. When the pair returned to London on 2 November, Mosley was convinced that every brand of socialism contained a distinct kernel of brilliance that must be integrated into the agenda of the Socialist Labour Party. The same day Mosley and Blair returned from Catalonia, they insisted upon sitting down with Goldstein and Maxton and expounding their findings with zeal.
MosleyTourMap.png

Places visited by Mosley and Blair during their tour.


In Sweden, where the local National Socialist party had just gained power, Mosley was impressed with the strong level of unity. They had seen a mob of demonstrators of all ages and classes march through Stockholm to celebrate the election; such cross-national unity, Mosley said, was nowhere to be found in Britain, save for the workers' strikes that so polarised the nation. He had seen the long-term effects of such unity in Italy, where every citizen of Rome and Milan appeared to feel a common sense of purpose and order. A socialist society, Mosley argued, would only function if the citizens were unified in its name; Socialist Labour would do well to promote this sort of uniformity in Britain.

In Moscow, Mosley was impressed with the Communist Party's devotion to its people. In just a few years, the CPSU had built thousands of concrete tenements to house the homeless, had recruited millions of devoted socialists into its ranks, and had integrated itself wholly into Soviet society. If Socialist Labour were to have the same effect, Mosley argued, the Party would have to act as the Leninist "vanguard" of British socialism. Even before it held electoral power, it would have to assume the role of housing the homeless, employing the jobless and feeding the hungry. Only then, when the Party had built a reputation as a national body for popular welfare, would the British people give the Party a perennial mandate to implement socialism.

In Catalonia, that jewel of anarchism in northeastern Spain, Blair had been far more impressed than Mosley. While Mosley doubted the leaderless society's ability to defend itself from the war raging further down the peninsula, Blair marveled at the freedom and prosperity the people enjoyed, as well as the common sense of brotherhood, devotion, and public service befitting only a socialist society. Although Mosley disdained the province in his travel journal, Blair sent a glowing editorial on it to his office in The Times.

The Election of 1936

As Mosley conquered the bastions of socialism, Blair chronicled his meetings and interviews with politicians and citizens in his column in The Times, raising Mosley's profile and popularity back home. Prime Minister Baldwin sensed this rising popularity, and he called a general election to be held on 3 December, so that the Social Labourites would not have the time to incorporate the new ideas into their platform.

This turned out to be a massive blunder. Less than a week after the election was called, Socialist Norman Thomas in America was elected President, greatly emboldening socialists in Britain. The election was already underway when Mosley returned from the Continent; despite his weariness, however, he immediately embarked on a speaking tour across the nation, rallying crowds from London to Aberdeen and spreading the new agenda of Socialist Labour.

This new agenda was, in fact, rather vague. James Maxton and Emmanuel Goldstein (who was becoming more like the vice-Party leader) would not agree to greatly change the Party's platform so soon before an election, but they did agree on three concepts for future elections:

1. The Party would focus on maintaining national unity in the future and would try to foster near-universal acceptance of socialized programs of health, education, etc.

2. Outside of politics, the Party would establish itself as an independent body of social welfare, and if the election were lost, the Party would independently seek ways to employ the jobless, educate the uneducated and feed the hungry from outside of the political establishment.

3. In the future, the Party would open itself up to proponents of what Mosley called "brethren movements": communism, anarchism or authoritarian socialism. Mosley was keen on allowing fascism to establish itself within the Party, seeing it as "orderly socialism", but Blair and Maxton objected, calling this idea self-contradictory. So, they agreed, full-fledged fascists would be excluded, but socialists in favor of more authoritarian implementations of would be welcomed into the Party. In effect, the Party would transform itself into a "Big Tent" of different socialist ideologies.

The Conservatives still had the massive majority they'd gained in the elections of 1932, and Prime Minister Baldwin was sure that he would remain in power for at least several years more. He had hardly bothered to mount a campaign, instead concentrating on more important matters like relations with the new Swedish government. The election of Thomas in America had troubled him somewhat, but he was quite sure that the overwhelming Conservative majority would hold. Even in the stronger left-wing bastions, the two incarnations of Labour would certainly split the vote and pave the way for a Tory sweep. The Party might even gain seats, if they were lucky.

Such was the optimism of the Prime Minister. Little did he know that in the eyes of the masses, the Central Labour Party was just that--central, moderate, even sellout to many working class communities. Rather than Central and Socialist Labour canceling each other out, the moderate vote would be split between the Conservatives and Central Labour, paving the way for the angry, left-leaning working class to assert themselves on the national political spectrum.

In addition, the rejuvenated Socialist Labour Party was growing more popular with the public, thanks to the raised profiles of figures like Mosley and Goldstein. The United States would soon have a socialist government, a fact which emboldened socialists in the U.K. The people as a whole were growing rather tired of Conservative rule, and were willing to give Labour a try again. It was through ignoring these factors that on 5 December, Prime Minister Baldwin opened the Daily Express to find with surprise that he had been unseated.

Central and Socialist Labour had eked a joint majority out of the huge proportion of seats the Conservatives had had before the election. After several days of negotiation between Central and Socialist Labour, Central Labour leader Arthur Greenwood was christened Prime Minister, with an integrated cabinet of ministers from both parties, including Mosley as Chancellor, Goldstein as Minister of Health, and Goldstein's friend Lazarus Aaronson, the new MP for Camberwell North, as Financial Secretary.

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Europe in 1936
 
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3. In the future, the Party would open itself up to proponents of what Mosley called "brethren movements": communism, anarchism or authoritarian versions of socialism. Mosley was keen on allowing fascism to establish itself, seeing it as "orderly socialism", but Blair and Maxton objected, calling this idea self-contradictory. So, they agreed, full-fledged fascists would be pushed out, but socialists in favor of more authoritarian implementations of socialism would be allowed. In effect, the Party would transform itself into a "Big Tent" of socialist ideologies.
They accepted authoritarian socialism? That's not a good sign.. And mosley.. What is he planning?
 
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They accepted authoritarian socialism? That's not a good sign.. And mosley.. What is he planning?
No it is not.;)

At the moment, Mosley's not planning anything special. But as the ideological composition of the Party becomes more, ahem, "diverse", he'll be forced to take a side at one point or another.
 
can you write summary please, i need to know who exactly is leading finland and Sweden at time of war..
At the time of the war, Finland is led by Prime Minister Toivo Kivimäki. Sweden is led by Per Albin Hansson. I thought I said it in there?

As for a full summary:


The Soviets invade Finland on April 12 1936. The Finnish government appeals to Sweden for help and Sweden gladly sends the troops to defend their neighbor. However, 20,000 Swedish troops are killed as the Russians advance across the country, and the Russians conquer and annex Finland by August. This sends the Swedish people into a rage of anti-Communism, anti-Bolshevism, Nordic nationalism, etc. In the elections of that September, the Swedish Nazi Party is swept into power and Party leader Birger Furugård is made Prime Minister. He quickly begins forging strong ties with Hitler.

Finally, the UK General Election in December results in a Central Labour/Socialist Labour majority. Labour leader Arthur Greenwood becomes Prime Minister and leads a government made up of both parties. Cabinet members include (forgot to mention these in the post initially) Mosley as Chancellor, Goldstein as Minister of Health and Aaronson as Financial Secretary. Foreign Secretary Herbert Morrison says that the government will be ready to take military action to stop the rise of fascism.
 
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Finally, the UK General Election in December results in a Central Labour/Socialist Labour majority. Labour leader Arthur Greenwood becomes Prime Minister and leads a government made up of both parties. Cabinet members include (forgot to mention these in the post initially) Mosley as Chancellor, Goldstein as Minister of Health and Aaronson as Financial Secretary. Foreign Secretary Herbert Morrison says that the government will be ready to take military action to stop the rise of fascism.
To be clear, this is the point in which Aaronson, already a longtime friend of Goldstein, enters politics.
 
41: Three Sides to Every Story
The New York Times, 13 January 1937
SWEDEN SIGNS FOUR-WAY PACT WITH GERMANY, ITALY AND JAPAN; MUSSOLINI DECLARES NEW EUROPEAN "AXIS" WILL DETERMINE FUTURE ORDER OF EUROPE




Swedish Riksledare Birger Furugard (left), German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler (center) and German Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (right) in Berlin at the signing of the Quadripartite Pact yesterday.
The Times, 9 May 1937
USSR, GREECE, SPAIN SIGN PACT AGAINST GERMANY, ITALY AND SWEDEN; "ANTI-FASCIST COALITION" FORMED
Eric Blair

This week, General Secretary Trotsky of the USSR, Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas of Greece and Prime Minister Manuel Azana of the Spanish Republic met in Moscow to ratify the Charter of the Anti-Fascist Coalition. The Anti-Fascist Coalition, a military alliance of the three countries in opposition to fascism, has been in the works since the cross-continental "Axis" of fascist powers was formed in January, and it was solidified with the signing of the Charter on the sixth of May. At the signing ceremony, General Secretary Trotsky declared that the new Coalition will rush to the defence of not just its member states, but also to "any country or people that finds itself menaced by fascist aggression".




The North Sea Alliance

By early 1938, Western Europe was shrouded in fear. In six months of rivalry, tensions between the Axis Powers and the Anti-Fascist Coalition (of which Russia was the only relevant member) had reached frightening heights. Two separate incidents on the Soviet-Swedish border had just barely been resolved, and with the triumph of the Iron Guard in Romania in December, it seemed that Trotsky would soon have another Axis Power on his doorstep. With every passing month, war seemed more inevitable, and the French and British knew very well that in a European war, the worst possible thing to be was friendless.

By mid-March, the prospect of an alliance between Britain, France, and the Low Countries was already quite certain; Norway, Yugoslavia and Poland were slated to join as well. But Anglo-Polish relations chilled over after the Hamburg Conference*, when Prime Minister Greenwood refused Hitler's claims to the Sudetenland. At this decision, the Polish government raged that, since his claim on the Czechs was frustrated, Hitler would only be more likely to attack Poland. While Czechoslovakia would be present at the declaration of the North Sea Alliance in May, Poland would be notably absent. And despite Prime Minister Greenwood's best efforts to coax the United States into joining, the staunchly pacifist President Thomas refused, along with the pro-neutrality Congress. In a similar vein, pacifist Cabinet members George Lansbury, Oswald Mosley, Lazarus Aaronson and Emmanuel Goldstein resigned their posts as a result of the signing, reducing the prevalence of the Socialist Labour Party in the British government.

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The three factions of Europe in May 1938. Dark grey is the Axis Powers, red is the Anti-Fascist Coalition, and Blue is the North Sea Alliance.

Thus, in May of 1938, three distinct factions had cropped up in Europe: The Axis Powers, which formed a solid black belt across the continent; The Coalition, whose two inferior member states were quite isolated from the red behemoth in the East; and the Alliance, or simply the Allies, which had a core of five members and three isolate outposts, each one uniquely threatened by a different Axis Power.

*TTL's Munich Conference
 
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Is the war brewing?
It is indeed. This next entry is taking a bit longer than usual for me to write because my schedule has been busier these past couple of weeks, and for some reason I've had a tougher time getting the wording right than usual. (When I write these things I typically spend about as much time going over the wording as I do actually writing the entry, if not more). It should be out in the next couple of days. Fasten your seatbelts, the war is a-comin'.
 
42: Europe Set Aflame
Nationalsocialistisk Tidning*, 18 May 1938
BOLSHEVIK HORDES ROUTED NEAR BORDER--TWENTY-FOUR PRISONERS TAKEN!

Yesterday, the eastern oppressors showed their profound military weakness when an entire squadron of Red troops surrendered to just four Swedish soldiers.
At five o'clock on Sunday evening, the 85th Border Patrol Unit was falsely accused of patrolling too close to a Bolshevik border guard post 20 km away from the Finnish city of Kolari. The aggressive Red sergeant quickly ordered his troops to fire, but the Swedes captured the guard post without any deaths or injuries. When an additional platoon of eighteen Russian troops was sent to retake the post, they were surprised by our valiant soldiers and forced to surrender. Within a span of ninety minutes, four Swedish fighters had taken twenty-four enemies prisoner and killed two, all without suffering a single casualty.

*The Swedish Nazi Party's Newspaper


The War Begins

The Kolari Incident brought Hitler to the brink of euphoria. For years, the scheming Jew Trotsky had been staring him down across the continent, daring him to try and bring the Thousand Year Reich into reality. The Bolsheviks cowered behind the endless swarms of Asiatic scum they called the Red Army, scrutinizing his every move and threatening war at every sign of "fascist aggression". Hitler's monumental plans for the German people, for Europe, for the world, could never be attempted, for fear of inviting eight million untermenschen to come pouring across the border.

The Kolari Incident changed everything. As the reports from Furugard came in, Hitler became more and more delighted; not only had two Russian soldiers been killed in the initial exchange of fire, but the one who survived barely knew how to hold their guns. More than half of the captured Russian troops had broken into tears in custody. As the release was being negotiated, the Soviet Foreign Commissar Kollontai appeared desperate to prevent an escalation--almost as though the Moscow regime was afraid of going to war. This response was befitting of a fragile, defenseless state, not the great power that the Russians claimed to be.

Hitler had made up his mind. The posturing, the claims of military power, the threats of invasion--all were bluffs. The Bolsheviks--the Jews--were paper tigers, using illusions of grandeur and strength to deter Hitler's grand plans for Europe, to cheat punishment for their crimes against the Aryan race. The vast grain resources of the Ukraine, the oil reserves of the Caucasus, the world leadership of the Jews and the Marxists--all were ripe for the conquering, and the only obstacle was a subhuman mass of untrained, unprepared grunts. The course of action was clear.

On 28 October 1938, residents of the Silesian town of Radwanitz were surprised when a troupe of men in Polish uniforms set fire to several buildings in the town square. The next day, 1.5 million German troops invaded the neutral Republic of Poland from the north, the west, and the south.

GermansinPoland.jpg

German soldiers invading Poland from East Prussia.
Hitler had played directly into the Bolsheviks' hands.



The Kremlin, 29 October 1938

Leon Trotsky, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, sat in his office in Moscow, attending to a minor matter of scythe production in the Kirghiz Republic. He attended mostly to minor matters nowadays; most administrative duties were handled by the various Party Commissariats, and all large-scale matters were decided at the frequent Party Congresses. All executive decisions were made collectively by the cabinet.

As he sat writing, Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Chief Commissar of the Commissariat for Military Affairs, entered the spacious room.

"Comrade Leon Davidovich?"

"Yes, Comrade Mikhail Nikolayevich?" inquired Trotsky.

"The Germans have invaded Poland. It seems our little gambit was successful," informed the Commissar.

The General Secretary's face tightened. It had been Tukhachevsky's idea to send untrained recruits to the Swedish border, start a dispute, and agree to the lopsided terms of release. Trotsky had been skeptical, but the other Commissars had persuaded him to assent to the idea. The Party had been preparing for war since 1933, but the fascists would have to start it, they told him--otherwise, the blame would fall on the champions of Communism, when the fascists were the real aggressors. Now, it seemed, they had taken the bait.

"Call in Comrade Kollontai, please, and begin our mobilization plans. I expect war will be declared by all Coalition members within the next week," responded General Secretary Trotsky. Tukhachevsky already knew what Trotsky was going to say; he hardly needed to consult with the General Secretary anymore, but it was a formality he was willing to continue if it meant keeping his job.

On 4 November 1938, representatives of the USSR, Spain, and Greece attended an emergency meeting of the Anti-Fascist Coalition in Leningrad. They expressed their collective horror at the unfettered aggression of the fascist nations, and issued a joint declaration of war on the Axis Powers of the German Reich, the Kingdom of Italy, the Legionary State of Romania, the Empire of Japan and the Kingdom of Sweden.

After twenty years of shaky peace, Europe was once again at war.
 
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43
From "The Oceanic Sphere: How Did it Happen and Where is it Going?"
Time Magazine, 4 April 1954


As Russia issued its declaration of war, delegates of what was then called the North Sea Alliance met in Paris to devise their response to the German invasion. Since Poland was not a member of the Alliance, the powers were under no obligation to declare war on Germany, and they could only do so if all members unanimously voted to join. Prime Minister Daladier practically begged the other nations to vote yes, perhaps out of guilt for having failed to win over the antagonized Poland. But British Prime Minister Arthur Greenwood feared alienating the pacifist Socialist Labour Party, which supported his minority government; while Norway, Czechoslovakia, and the Low Countries feared that they would be swiftly overrun in a war with the Axis. Thus, on November 6th, 1938, the North Sea Alliance joined the United States in announcing its official neutrality in the brewing European conflict.

The Eastern Front 1938-1940

I've literally written and rewritten this part eight different times and I just can't get it right, so I said to myself, "screw it, I'll just describe what happens in the first year of the war".

When he kicks off the war by invading Poland, Hitler is convinced the Russians are way weaker than they actually are, so he expects the war to be over in a few months. His generals have a somewhat more realistic idea of the Bolsheviks' strength, and they convince him of a three-pronged attack plan: Operation Agir. The Germans will focus most of their efforts on a central front in Poland, while two smaller fronts will be fought to divert Soviet troops and resources: one in Ukraine that starts with a German-Romanian invasion, and one in Finland that starts with a German-Swedish invasion.

Shortly after the Coalition declares war, the Soviet and German armies fight near the Polish city of Chelm on November 11. Due to superior German numbers and not being accustomed to the method of blitzkrieg (which is called sturmkrieg ITTL), the Soviets lose and fall back to the Soviet-Polish border. The Red Army, which at this point is the most efficient, best-trained and best-equipped army in the world, quickly readapts to the German strategy, but the two additional invasions kick in as part of the German war plan. Thus, the Russians are unable to devote their full attention to the Polish front. For the next year, the Bolsheviks hold the German advance at eastern Poland, but do not push the Germans back. From late 1938 to early 1940, 820,000 German soldiers and 340,000 Soviet soldiers die (the disparity being due largely to the technological superiority of the Soviets), as the Polish front hovers around a single area, never significantly changing or shifting in either direction.

TheFrontLines1940.png

The front lines in March of 1940.
The Romanian front goes better for the Bolsheviks. One Romanian and thee German field armies pour into the Ukraine and make good progress at first, capturing Vinnytsia and Odessa in March 1939. But their advance stops in May at the Battle of Tserkov, 35 miles from Kiev, and the Red Army starts pushing them back. They take back all of Ukraine by August, cross the River Prut in late September, and bear down on southeast Romania from the north. By early 1940, Romania northeast of the Carpathians is firmly under Bolshevik control, and they are within 20 miles of Bucharest.

The Swedish Front is barely even a front compared to the other two. There's practically nothing of strategic importance in northern Bolshevik Finland, the terrain is inhospitable to large-scale army movements, and both sides are more concerned with the fight raging farther south, so they don't take this particular front very seriously.

The war in east Asia starts with a Khalkin Gol-esque battle between the USSR and Japan, and then swiftly concludes (for now) as each side decides they can't worry about fighting each other at the moment. Japan and the USSR conclude a non-aggression treaty, as per OTL.

The Italian invasion of Greece essentially goes the same way as IOTL, with Mussolini trying and utterly failing to bring Greece to its knees. He becomes increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress, and starts looking for another enemy to point his armies at. Hitler, who is clearly annoyed by the lack of progress on the eastern front, is trying to calm Mussolini's eagerness, but at the same time he is himself looking for an easier target so he can show his people how superior the Wehrmacht is.
 
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I know this last entry is a bit on the wordy side, but I tried writing it many different ways and I just wasn't satisfied with it, so I figured this was the best way to go about doing it. But I promise the next entry will be a lot more interesting to read, and it will show the origins of a much more obvious element of 1984 style warfare. I still hope you enjoy this past installment!
 
I know this last entry is a bit on the wordy side, but I tried writing it many different ways and I just wasn't satisfied with it, so I figured this was the best way to go about doing it. But I promise the next entry will be a lot more interesting to read, and it will show the origins of a much more obvious element of 1984 style warfare. I still hope you enjoy this past installment!
I found it interesting :)

I'm also curious about what part of 1984 style warfare will be debuted... perhaps floating fortresses?
 
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