Is there any sort of summary of this TL. Maps, desc of the society?
From the Third iteration (this is the fourth Iteration). Tis was based on development till around the md 30s. The 4th I is already moving along a different path, but its a good approximation.
The World That Was
is gone, replaced by the World That Is
. Something was changed and the old world was swept away in a trickle which became a flood. This change is known as the Remaking
. It must have been a tiny change, almost infinitesimal. A change so seemingly insignificant it can not be found. Even the most skilled in the arcane arts have been unable to pin it down. Most agree it is somewhere early 1868 and late 1872. But exactly what or when nobody knows. However it is also agreed, the Remaking
is best left alone, the consequences of another change are unimaginable.
Those few who can see the World That Was
, the Sighted, c
an also see Worlds That May Be
. Not one of these worlds ever shows anything other than a black blasted wasteland. So it's agreed, best not to know what was changed. Still there are those want to know, want desperately to know. Because if you can change the world once, you can change it again. And those who want to know are fanatics, certain they can avoid what the Sighted see.
But regardless of what the change was or how it was made, the change was made. And it left behind a new world, a world dominated the Imperial Commonwealth, the successor to the British Empire. The most powerful state the world has ever seen. Of course the Imperial Commonwealth is not really an Empire any more. It certainly has colonies, controlled and exploited, but some are slowly being integrated into the Commonwealth proper, the larger and more strategical located ones. It's a confederation now, the twenty Dominions and five Home Nations all autonomous and equals, united by common interests and a common ideal.
But the Commonwealth is not alone, there are other powers. The Pacific Alliance of Japan and the USA. The Franco-Russian Entente. The Warsaw Pact of Poland and Italy. Of course there are minor members to all the alliances, but they're the core. Then there's China divided in two, Latin America where the cold war between the Commonwealth and Pacific Alliance is fought, the bitter and supposedly broken states of the former Central Powers.
Other things have changed. The dozens of airships which ply this world. Domesticated zebras the size of a horse. The gyrodynes which carry the elite special forces of the Great Powers on their clandestine missions. It's 1938 now, and the clouds of war are gathering. So this is the world one tiny change made. The Pax Imperialis, the Peace of the Emperor, King George VI, the figurehead, the symbol of the common ideal which unites the Imperial Commonwealth.
The Great Powers
The Imperial Commonwealth
The Imperial Commonwealth, usually just called the Commonwealth, is the most powerful state in this world. It's power dwarfs every other state and alliance. Over 400 million people along with another 118 million in the colonies. An industrial base spread over five continents. An economy almost twice the size of its nearest rival. It is not a superpower, it is a hyperpower. But its greatest strength, its reach across the globe, is also its greatest weakness. It has immense power, but focusing that power takes equally immense effort or threat.
Nobody's quite sure when the British Empire became the Imperial Commonwealth. Most go with 1929 when they changed the name. Others go with 1926 when the British Imperial Federation was formed. A handful go with 1934 when the five Indian Dominions took their place alongside the fourteen so called “white” Dominions and five Home Nations of the British Isles. But in reality, the change occurred long before any of those dates. But regardless, the British Empire has fallen and the Imperial Commonwealth, a successor state, now stands in its place.
The Commonwealth grew rich during the Great War. With an established arms industry, the British Isles sat just off the coast of as continent desperate for the tools of war. The orders poured in and massive loans were advanced. The Entente in particular became utterly dependent on Commonwealth industry to fight its war. But British industry alone was unable to cope with the orders. Soon the Dominions and India were drawn in, industrialised to feed the slaughter in Europe. The Commonwealth also took over markets abandoned by the combatants, growing ever richer and stronger. The enormous economic power of the Commonwealth has its roots in the Great War.
The Commonwealth is also is also a democratic socialist state, at least theoretically. It has an elected parliament sitting in Westminster, with a cabinet and Prime Minister who control its day to day affairs. But in reality it's a lose confederation and policy is largely determined through a process of consensus at the annual Imperial Conferences. No Commonwealth government can act without the consent of the twenty five member states and those members have very different agendas which all need to be balanced.
Canada and Newfoundland look warily at their powerful neighbour to the south. The Home Nations are a few tens of kilometres of the coast of Europe and worry about the balance of power there. The southern African Dominions concern themselves mostly with retaining control of the vast African colonies, captive markets and a source of raw materials. The Pacific Dominions look east, focused on Asia and the Pacific. Meanwhile the Indian Dominions in the vast Indian Ocean hinterland are isolationist, seeing no need to the Commonwealth to involve itself in others affairs. Thus the Commonwealth is pulled in so many different directions. A vast behemoth, almost unable to move in a single direction, but if it does, it will crush anything in its path.
The Pacific Alliance
Next in power to the Commonwealth and its only true rival is the Pacific Alliance of Japan and the USA. The origins of this alliance lay in the Great War. While Japan entered the war in 1914, initially their involvement was limited to the Pacific. It was only in 1915, with the entry of the US into the war, that the Japanese fleet joined with the US fleet to gain control of the North Sea. In 1916, a Japanese Expeditionary Force was sent to France. Only a small force never more than ten divisions when others were deploying hundreds. It seemed best for them to serve with the Americans. This forged the bonds of blood which underpin the Pacific Alliance.
The alliance was formalised in 1921 with the Treaty of Kyoto. Since then the two have remained steadfast allies. Their militaries act as one. Japanese interests are the America's and American interests are Japan's. It helps both are solid democracies, maintaining enlightened racial and social policies.
Indeed the US is truly a beacon of racial tolerance. Hundreds of thousands African-Americans gave their lives in France, how could they be anything other than equals? The fight for civil rights took time and on occasions lead to bloodshed. But by 1937, the battle had been won. In social equality too, the US is a world leader. To build a nation 'fit for heroes' after the war, extensive social welfare policies were introduced. No American goes without food, housing or health care, the elderly are provided a pension, workers rights are guaranteed and protected. Great strides have been made in women's and LGBT rights. Even gun control features. All guns are registered and owners licensed.
Japan too is a shining light of democracy. Years of contact the US military embedded a respect for democracy within the Japanese military. When in 1932 a group of nationalistic junior officers assassinated the Prime Minister and tried to stage a coup, the military's response was harsh. The plotters were executed with dishonour. The message was clear, the military would not tolerate any attempt to undermine democracy.
Honour, respect, tradition, family and democracy, these lay at the core of Japanese society. To serve the Emperor is the highest honour, but to serve blindly is not. To give ones life for the Emperor brings honour to your family, but no Japanese would sacrifice their life uselessly, nor would the Emperor ever ask it. An honourable foe is to be treated accordingly, their fallen and captured accorded utmost respect. Neither is there any stain in admitting defeat by a superior foe in an honourable battle The meat grinder of France has driven any thought of mass slaughter from the Japanese mind, Likewise to deliberately treat another disrespectfully for a matter as trivial as race, position at birth, gender or choice of partner is an unbearable shame, bringing dishonour on the entire family.
The oldest of the alliances, formed originally in 1904 between the the French Third Republic and Britain. There's a certain irony in this in the light of the long cold war between the Entente and Commonwealth since the early 1920s. Indeed this cold war nearly turned hot in 1925 during the Middle Eastern Crisis.
Russia joined the Entente in 1907. The Balkan's States of Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro at the outbreak of the Great War in 1913, which also saw the Commonwealth leave when they refused to enter the war. Japan joined in 1914, while the USA and Norway became a members in 1915 when they entered the Great War. Late 1917 saw the creation of a unified military command, after years of poor coordination had led to millions of deaths. Italy joined in early 1918, followed by Denmark later that year, eager to regain the lands lost in the Second Slesvig War of 1864..Finally the newly independent Croatia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Slovakia in they dying days of the war. Of course the British Empire also joined the war in 1918. But they never placed their forces under the central Entente command, so it can't really be said they rejoined the Entente.
After the war, the Treaty of Trainon formalised the alliance, giving it life beyond the brutal war it had helped start. Japan opted out then, fearful its membership might threaten the alliance they had formed with the British in 1902. Denmark and Norway also opted out, power politics didn't go down well with their electorates But the Norwegians gave the Entente a fifteen year lease on the Bergen Naval base. When the Russian Revolution overthrew the Tsar, the new liberal regime granted Finland and Armenia independence, and the both elected to remain a part of the Entente. This was high water mark of alliance.
The Entente started to weaken in 1925 when Italy left at the height of the Middle Eastern Crisis which nearly brought war between the Entente and Commonwealth. But the rot started to set in soon after. The Great War had unlocked a vast pool of social tension in Russia. In 1922 the Tsar was deposed in an almost bloodless revolution. The new government embarked on a program of reforms. Finland and Armenia were given independence, other minorities autonomy. Russia was on the path to a solid liberal democracy. That changed in 1927 when a reactionary coup overthrew the democracy. The new Russian regimes attempt to reverse the autonomy the previous liberal government had granted Poland, the Baltic States and Moldova, Finland left the alliance.
The rot continued in the 30s with the Great Depression. 1933 Saw the end of the Third French Republic as the pressures of the Great Depression brought a coup and the establishment of the autocratic French State. It was this steady march toward authoritarian dictatorship in France, Russia and the Balkan states drove the liberal Czech and Slovakian democracies out. The new reactionary face of the Entente meant the Norwegians did not renew the Bergen lease in 1934. The same march finally drove the USA to suspend their membership in 1936, leaving the Entente an alliance of reactionary autocracies rife with racism toward its Jewish population.
The Warsaw Pact
The most recent of the alliances. It has its origins in the 1927 Russian coup. Poland and the Baltic States had been granted considerable autonomy in the wake of the 1922 Russian Revolution. The new regime established after the coup attempted to remove their autonomy. In response, Poland and the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania declared their independence, as did Moldova. The Commonwealth provided support and arms. Volunteers from the defeated Central Powers flocked to swell the ranks of the newly formed Warsaw Pact.
The Russians invaded in 1928. The campaign was initially mishandled and Russian invasion held off. But 1929 the Russians tried again. They drove to the very gates of Warsaw. Defeat and the end of the Warsaw Pact seemed inevitable. But the Polish army not only held against the assault, they crushed it. The stunning Russian defeat at Warsaw unleashed all the suppressed opposition to the 1927 coup. Faced with the prospect of revolution, the Russian regime pulled its troops from the Warsaw Pact. Their counter attack not only cleared Poland and the Baltic States, it took Galicia, Silesia and Russian East Prussia before the ceasefire was signed.
A counter balance to the Entente had been created. The ever increasing slide of France and Russia to dictatorship lead to the Pact's expansion. First the Czech Republic and Slovakia joined. The greatest crisis came in 1934 when Moldova and Transylvania united to recreate the Romanian state ripped apart by the Entente in the wake of the Great War. It was US President Garner who averted war and Romania slipped from the Entente grasp to join the Pact.
The growth of the Pact continued when Italy, one of the most prosperous, stable and democratic states in continental Europe, joined in 1935. It now truly rivals the Entente. But there are tensions in the Pact. There is a clear divide between the democracies of the Czech Republic, Italy and Slovakia against the authoritarian states of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. However as long as the reactionary Entente exists, so will the Pact.