Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree: The Story of Orwell's 1984

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Roberto El Rey, Mar 5, 2017.

?

Do you like the way this TL has been going so far?

This poll will close on Dec 15, 2017 at 12:13 AM.
  1. Yes

    13 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Loading...
  1. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

    Joined:
    May 5, 2017
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    I am guessing the war being only being fougbt on frontier and doesn't impact much on mainland.
     
    Fourthspartan56 likes this.
  2. FlyingSquirrel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Just now started reading this and...wow. Otto Wels is the one behind the commutation of Hitler's sentence? I'm guessing he'll live to regret that - if he lives long enough to have the opportunity.

    (Unless this is some other Wels, but I'm assuming it's him since the SPD are the largest party at the time.)
     
  3. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Location:
    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    Nope, same Wels. If I'd made up some random guy and named him Wels for no reason, that would've been pretty cheeky of me:)

    At that point Wels isn't terrified of releasing Hitler, since he was due to be released in a few months anyway and he believes that by doing so he will pacify the National Socialist Party. Given what we know about Hitler and his Party we can guess how that works out for him.
     
  4. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Location:
    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    I'm glad. Every time I write an entry that's not in a primary source or narrative form, I worry it won't be as interesting to read.

    So far this hasn't been a naval war, so neither side is particularly focused on their navy yet. Floating Fortresses will come into importance post-war, as the Bolsheviks try to weaken Britain's desperate grip on its Imperial holdings in Africa and Asia. No, this next episode will be the birth of a more fundamental principle of Nineteen Eighty-Four style warfare.
     
  5. FlyingSquirrel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Just a mathematical note: you had the Socialists at 18 Senate seats after the 1934 midterm election. If Wikipedia is accurate, there were 32 Senate seats contested in 1936 plus another 4 through special elections, so the Socialists would have to win 34 of the 36 seats to get from 18 to 52. Of the 36 contested, at least six are in Southern states that you have sticking with Garner: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia.

    While this isn't impossible, especially if local scandals or inept campaigns trip up the Democrats in those states, maybe a more realistic path would be to have them get close to a majority (which would take a total of 48 in this era before Alaska and Hawaii join) and a few Democrats or Progressive Republicans defect to their ranks. For that matter, 47 plus the support of the Farmer-Labor Senator from Minnesota would give them effective control of the Senate with Long there to break ties.
     
    New Cleo Genesis likes this.
  6. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Location:
    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    That's actually a very good point. With some of the electoral ratios in this timeline I took about an hour calculating them out, but it was a lot harder to decide the exact numbers for the U.S. elections, considering how ossified and convoluted the Senate electoral system can be. I might just incorporate your suggestion, if it's okay with you.
     
  7. FlyingSquirrel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Sure, have at it!
     
  8. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Location:
    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    Done.
     
  9. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Location:
    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    January 4, 1940
    Moscow

    Cold air stirred restlessly over concrete sidewalks laid stark against a dull grey sky. Black-bundled figures scuttled down plain streets, eyes on the ground, minds on their business, chins tucked beneath thin coats to shield themselves from the inclement wind. These hurrying shapes were well enough accustomed to the order of their lives to avoid the complex of short black buildings that were unnaturally embedded into the local cityscape. None knew exactly what purpose these buildings served, but the streets around them were under constant patrol by emotionless, black-clad, gorilla-faced soldiers that made clear they were not publicly accessible. The guards' every step produced short, sharp reports, echoing the gunshots that at that moment were being fired off endlessly just five hundred kilometres to the south.

    Neither the soldiers nor the shuffling figures knew that their General Secretary, the man whose goateed visage was plastered on every street corner in the country, was seated mere blocks away from them. A few dozen metres below ground in one of the less conspicuous buildings of the lot, Trotsky sat in a leather chair in a dim, sealed room, observing as his top generals and advisers debated tactics and battle plans. Restless chatter was fired back and forth as the various men from the Commissariat for Military Affairs, or Voyindel as it was usually known, pushed and prodded tin figurines across the surface of a large map.

    Trotsky glanced at the map: two long lines of tiny soldiers and tanks, each one bearing a Soviet flag, were spread across eastern Poland and northern Finland; each of these lines was paralleled by a near-identical line of soldiers bearing the gruesome flag of Germany or Sweden. The placement had been identical for over a year. But a few dozen centimetres down the map, things were far more interesting: for the first time since the beginning of the war, the tiny red men stood triumphantly on the blue line representing the Danube. The hammer and sickle f lew proudly over Bucharest, Ploiesti, Craiova and the rest of southern and eastern Romania. Only in the center of Romania, protected by the Carpathians and the borders of neutral countries, did the hideous Romanian tricolor dare to fly; it was to plan the conquest of this region that this conference was being held.

    "I say," said General Ivan Bellov, commander of the Romanian front, "we wait until the passes have thawed, then cross the mountains here, here and here", he said, pointing out several corridors that would allow clear passage across the mountains.

    "The Romanians could easily position artillery guns to the hills overlooking those passes," retorted General Vasily Blyukher. "After thirty five kilometres of sustained artillery fire, our forces could easily be cut down by thirty, perhaps forty percent. Perhaps we could deposit troops on the other side of the mountains using river barges on the Danube. Those troops would clear a mountain passageway of enemy presence, allowing more armies and supplies to come through."

    "That would be a highly impractical way of delivering troops, and we'd have little chance to supply them before the passes would be cleared," responded General Zhukov, who was equally stumped by the problem at hand.

    "And in any case," spoke Foreign Commissar Kollontai, "there would likely be a diplomatic trouble with the Yugoslav government if we drift too close to their bank. I, for one, think this war ought to ended as quickly as possible to restore peace to the continent." For a short second, the generals in the room all turned to glance with quiet disbelief at that last statement.

    Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Chief Commissar of Voyindel and lead commander of the Central Front with Germany, was more intrigued by the first part of Kollontai's statement. "Perhaps a bit of diplomatic trouble could be used to our advantage," said Tukhachevsky in a reserved voice as he approached the grand map. "I propose this: we cut through Czechoslovakia..." he dragged a finger from Ukraine to northern Romania, crossing eastern Czechoslovakia on the way, "and Yugoslavia," he declared, tracing his other finger from Bucharest to Yugoslavia, then back east into central Romania. "The terrain there is much more hospitable and would provide for a far easier crossing. And the enemy would never expect a pincer attack from the direction of two neutral countries. Such a maneuver could bring Romania fully under our control in a few months," he said confidently.

    At this, the General Secretary spoke up. "But, Comrade Tukhachevsky, surely we would not want to intrude upon the territory of neutral nations. That would most certainly be interpreted as an act of war on the North Sea bloc, which I think we can all agree is a most unfavorable result." Tukhachevsky was a bit irked that the General Secretary would intrude on this most important conversation, but was nevertheless glad at the opportunity to explain his plan. "I believe, Comrade Secretary, that such an action, if reported correctly, could in fact force the western countries into an alliance with us. If we can convince the fascists that the North Sea Bloc has secretly been aiding us in our efforts against them, the Axis might declare war on the Allies before the British or French know what's happening. I think we all can agree that an additional front in the west would significantly weaken Germany's fight against us, and it would open up opportunities for us to push the front further west, perhaps even to Germany's borders. If we want to break the deadlock that has dominated this war since the beginning, we might accomplish it by forcing the west to join our side.

    General Tukhachevsky paused. Trotsky spoke what he was sure the rest of the room was thinking: "But surely, Comrade Tukhachesvky, we would not want to spread this dreadful war if we don't have to. This war has caused nothing but death and destruction for both us and the fascists, and I agree with Comrade Kollontai that this war should be ended as soon as possible to minimise its destruction." A loud silence filled the room as the generals appraised the unusual attitude of their General Secretary.

    Commissar Tukhachevsky leaned closer to Secretary Trotsky, but made his voice loud enough that the whole room could hear it. "Comrade Secretary, it is not in the interests of the Party to end this war quickly. I believe that we should prolong this war, keep it running longer than it needs to run, to reach our goals of revolution."

    Another short pause as Trotsky tried to ascertain what the Marshal meant.

    "Is it not," continued Tukhachevsky, "the aim of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to spread revolution to the farthest reaches of the world?" he did not wait for an answer. "Then I believe that this war, if we wage it well, could be perfect for spreading the socialist system. When he have won, we will be able to institute socialist governance in any territories we will be occupying; and if the Germans conquer the French, then we will have every possible reason to march to the Atlantic and "liberate" them," he explained, emphasizing the penultimate word. "Our reason for fighting this war need not be to end it as soon as possible. This war may be our opportunity to spread the Revolution to the rest of Europe. If we allow the fighting to continue until the rest of the continent will be plunged into chaos and war--then, and only then, will Europe be ready for the socialist order."

    The rest of the room turned their heads almost mechanically to face the General Secretary and held them there for a quiet moment. If Trotsky assented to this plan, the entire character of the war would change. Trotsky pondered the suggestion: if the war were to continue unnecessarily long, millions could die; but such losses were a fair price for the continued contentedness of future generations under the communist system. At least, that was what Trotsky was thinking.

    "I..." said Trotsky with a hint of hesitation, "I give assent to your plan, Comrade Commissar."

    Immediately, the generals turned away from the General Secretary and hurried back to the board, where they began moving the model soldiers back and forth across the map and whispering to each other in excited, hushed tones.



    On 14 March, 1940, the Red Army tore into northern Romania, slicing through Czechoslovak and Yugoslav territory along the way. A few hours later, just as each neutral government was first finding out what was happening, Italian radio operators intercepted a cable: a top-secret communiqué from the Soviet Central Committee to the Yugoslav and Czechoslovak Foreign Ministries. When decoded (which proved a surprisingly simple task for the Italian codebreakers), it read:

    OPERATION BOOTHEEL SUCCESSFUL STOP RUMANIAN TERRITORY BREACHED STOP COMMUNIST PARTY THANKFUL FOR COOPERATION OF NORTH SEA BLOC IN FIGHT AGAINST FASCISM

    Six hours later, Mussolini was on the phone with Hitler, informing him of an imminent Italian invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Führer demanded Mussolini stop his plans; the Duce informed Hitler that the sons of Italy had suffered too long under the deception of the west and the repulsions of the Greeks. For over a year, he said, the French and the British had maintained a façade of neutrality, when in fact they were working with the wretched Communists to sabotage the march of progress. For too long, they had tolerated this deception, this treason. Now, he said, it was time to take action.

    On 18 March, 1940, the Kingdom of Italy invaded Yugoslavia from Albania and Veneto. Like twenty-five years before, the Italian armies could scarcely manage to push themselves past the Julian Alps, and the Albanian armies were slow and rickety; but the act of war was laid bare for all to see. A member of the North Sea Alliance was under attack, and no member state could shirk its proper duty in the face of such blatant aggression.

    On 19 March, 1940, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Czechoslovakia declared war on the Axis. The Germans, Italians, Romanians, Japanese and Swedes had no choice but to respond in kind.

    The fire had spread. This war now had another player. Europe, every corner of it, was engulfed in the unstoppable fury of war. Many in Britain and France hoped this war would, as they had hoped done by Christmas as Germany was attacked from two sides: But this war, from the perspective of one participant, was not meant to end any time soon: this war was meant to continue.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  10. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

    Joined:
    May 5, 2017
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    They will try to fight WW2 for long as possible?
     
  11. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Location:
    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    They'll get the west involved, then they'll keep the war going on easy mode until Germany and Italy have overrun the French, Czechoslovakians, Yugoslavians, etc. Then, when most of Europe is in the hands of the fascists, the Russians will conquer the entire Axis Empire, from France to Poland to Norway, and assimilate them all into the socialist system. In other words, in the eyes of the Voyindel men, this war is, for now, not meant to conclude--it is meant to be continuous.

    I'll edit the post to clarify that a little bit more.
     
    Fourthspartan56 and bhlee0019 like this.
  12. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Location:
    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    Honestly, is that clear enough? That's essentially the entire point of this update, and I want to make it very obvious.
     
    Fourthspartan56 and bhlee0019 like this.
  13. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

    Joined:
    May 5, 2017
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    Yes this is clear enough.
     
  14. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Location:
    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    Great. I only hope the rest of my readership will agree
     
    Fourthspartan56, BrianD and bhlee0019 like this.
  15. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

    Joined:
    May 5, 2017
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    So that war in nineteen-eighty-four would be this war continued,right?
     
    New Cleo Genesis likes this.
  16. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Location:
    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    No, in fact, the war in 1984 will be a different war. And on that note, I would like to announce that I will be commencing a relatively brief break from posting new updates.

    Why I'm taking a break:

    1.
    This TL has gotten somewhat difficult for me to control. This is mostly due to my long-ass writing style, but a lot of times I set out to cover a certain sequence of events in a single entry and I end up taking two or three entries to do it. So far, my policy has been to plan out ten or so entries, write those, then plan the next ten. That doesn't seem to be working. This time, I'm going to make a definitive outline for at least half of the rest of this TL, and then start writing out the individual entries. For that I need time--lots of it.

    2. I need to get all of my ideas straight and done with. Sometimes I can't help but vacillate from idea to idea as I forge the path to 1984, and that's OK now but it will get dangerous as I continue working toward the fixed outcome.

    3. I honestly need a bit of a break from regular writing. My schedule is set to busy up a lot in the next few months and I need some more free time (a lot of these entries take several hours in total to write so it takes a significant part out of my time).

    What to expect from "Part Two"

    1. A faster pace for the timeline. I've been at this for seven months now and made close to sixty entries, and I've only covered about sixteen years from the point that the action began. I want to advance the timeline at a much faster pace, because at this rate it'll be two years before we get to 1984. And I don't want that. Thus, after this the TL will move at a significantly faster pace, time-wise.

    2. More focus on Britain. After all, 1984 is a book about Britain, and it's essentially the only country for which we actually know anything about the backstory, so I think it only makes sense for Britain to be the primary focus of this TL in the future.

    3. Fewer primary sources. I generally like writing in primary sources but it's starting to get rather clunky and grueling. I've already been doing this for a while, but I guess I primary source style and focusing on novelistic-type narratives and descriptive, Wikipedia-like entries.

    4.
    A new name. I haven't liked the name "Before 1984" in a while. It seems unoriginal and obvious, so I'm changing the name to "Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree: A 1984 Timeline".

    5. A different thread. The more I work on this, the more I feel it belongs in the After 1900 forum, since up until this point this TL hasn't been very 1984-centric yet (another thing I will be changing). It will also help to increase the traffic on the TL, something that I want to have. So when I start posting again, it'll be in a new thread in the After-1900 section.

    6. More balanced examination of all countries. The timeline will be focused more on Britain overall, but outside of Britain I will spend a more-or-less equal amount of time reporting on events in future Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia.

    I'm setting myself a deadline for new postings: December 13, 2017, ideally, December 25 at the latest. Writing this is usually the highlight of my day, and I have every intention to finish this timeline. I just need a break for a little bit.

    But before I go, I have a few shorter posts to tie you all over until I come back, which I will post over the next few days. Here's number 1:





    One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve. Bam. Bam. Bam. Bam.

    Vasya Denisovich grabbed another crate.

    One. Two. Three. Fo--


    The shell slipped from Vasya hand and fell to the floor with a loud bang. Pretending not to notice the heads turned in his direction, he picked up the stray shell, stacked the rest into the box, hammered it shut, and shoved it onto the conveyor belt. He grabbed for the next box.

    One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Se--

    The room was cut by the shriek of a whistle. "General workers' meeting in fifteen minutes!" yelled the foreman across the factory floor.

    Vasya kept in a groan. He hated these meetings; they were called at least once a week, sometimes twice, and they were almost always the same: the local Party bellower would step up and announce the newest "victory" on the front, and everyone was supposed to clap and cheer and praise General Secretary Trotsky for pushing back the fascists. They only lasted a few minutes, but they were some of the most grating minutes of the day. Before the war the meetings usually focused on whatever new tract Stalin had cooked up, but since the war started Stalin was scarcely mentioned in the meetings.

    The front had hardly moved since the war started, yet every little skirmish that ended with a few more dead Germans than Russians was hailed as if Berlin had surrendered. Vasya was sure everyone else knew it was absurd, but it was a dangerous mark of suspicion not to stand and cheer, so no one dared stay quiet for fearing of alerting one of the Party supervisors who stood glaring in the corners of the factory. And since Vasya was trying for a Party membership--he knew it was the only way to give his children more to eat--he made sure to shriek with especially heightened force.

    As he filed into the meeting room with a few hundred colleagues, he found a wall to lean against and cleared his throat:

    "Comrades," began the Party man who was standing on an overturned shell crate, "we have a new ally in the fight against fascism! The British and French, previously so indifferent to the fascist menace, have declared war on the beasts of Germany, Sweden, and Italy!"

    As Vasya reflexively cheered at the new allies, he couldn't help but marvel at the nerve the Party had. Not seven days before, this same man had denounced the British and French as collaborators with the fascists and capitalist hives. Now, he expected his audience to celebrate them as allies. But he would rather partake in this hypocrisy than risk antagonization by Party thugs.

    As he cheered rhythmically with his comrades, he was reminded of the vicious attacks he had leveled unconsciously at Stalin. He started to wonder if Stalin would ever again be as prominent a figure in the Party's routine boasts.
     
  17. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

    Joined:
    May 5, 2017
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    But This TL is special for me because it was The primary source centric TL. Also, I can wait two years for this TL..
     
  18. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Location:
    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    I'm not going to stop using primary sources, not at all. I'm just going to continue to integrate both primary sources and narrative/summative sequences into my posts, as I've been doing for some time now, because I think it makes the story more cohesive and it's an easier means of communicating ideas.

    That really warms my heart, having you say that. It really does. But I want to bring this to a close within two years for a few reasons: first, around two years from now I'll be pursuing a new, history-related course in my life, and I want this project to be completed by then so that I can put it on my resumé to prove my immense interest in history.

    Second, I counted a few days ago and I'm already up to nearly 30,000 words. Sure, it's well written (if I should so flatter myself), but it's long--and I'm worried that new readers will be turned off by the excessive length. This is my project, and I want as many people as possible to read it--and for that I need to make it more concise in some places.

    Third, it will keep me from getting off track. For example, the November Putsch was originally supposed to be three, maybe four posts long. It took me more than two months. I don't want that to keep happening, and if I don't try and create a sort of framework for it, I risk going off on more tangents like that.


    I really want to emphasize how much it means to me, the support you and all my other readers having been giving me. When I first started this project, I was unsure of what I was doing, I didn't have everything planned out, and I didn't know how it would be received, but I started it anyway because I worried that if I didn't, I would just forget about it all and not follow through on it. So far, I don't regret it one bit. It's been tons of fun doing the research and the writing for this project so far, and the feedback I'm getting tells me I'm not doing a bad job of it. I thank you all deeply for your continuing support of this timeline.

    I'm going to go ahead and change the name now, and I'm putting up a poll to gauge support for my work so far. I'm still going to be checking here every day, so if you have any questions while I take my little lunch break here I'll be glad to answer them.
     
    Fourthspartan56 and bhlee0019 like this.
  19. stirlingdraka Female Draka Defector Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    European Union Northern Ireland
    Hi Roberto El Rey I've recently found your wonderful TL and I think it`s just as doubleplusgood as the TLs done by Wil Ritson on 1984. :):D I think your idea of a break to improve the TL is a very good idea. I`m certain that it will work.
     
  20. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

    Joined:
    May 5, 2017
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    I am okay with reading very long books or Getting off track. As I would get the details for them.
     
Loading...