In the Western Pacific, the full extent of Russian control over its dominions was seen with a clear and functional communication line from Moscow to the coast of Khabarovsk Krai with a train line following (Albeit it to a hugely limited extent). The clear communications with the Russian Government allowed a great deal more consistent influence from St Petersburg. And with the Russian influence came the power behind it, before long, eyes turned south towards China as the riches of the ancient Empire became all too tempting. Negotiations began between the two nations although Chinese obstruction and arrogance began to make Russia’s own belligerence rise. And the second prize of Eastern Asia, Japan was also being looked into with Russian traders beginning to probe the isolationist countries territories slowly and surely.
On the 22nd April, Arthur Wellesley the Duke of Wellington passed peacefully in his sleep. He had spent his last few months in retirement from his position as Commander-in-Chief of Britain’s Armed Forces. His command in the Four Years War had its faults (Including his own ideas on striking down through Central Canada to aid the Shawnee Nation after a huge build up that would have taken too long to really make a difference) but had been competent and hadn’t had a negligent effect on British performance during the War. The effort had weakened the Duke however and went into retirement soon afterwards, enjoying the quiet country life during his final time of life. The Army had not taken to the Duke’s liking anyway, the reforms which had seemed like such a good idea years ago had led to a wave of non-noble officers rising in the Army who, despite their higher quality of performance had been not to the taste of the snobbish Duke.
The nation was sent into a huge wave of grief at the news of the death. Despite his Conservative opinions regarding the extension of the Franchise, Wellington had been remembered as the man who had been victorious in India, Europe and America in defending Britain and her Empire, a true warrior and Briton. King Alfred himself was plunged into grief, the Duke having served as something of a father figure after the death of William IV. He paid for the funeral, a huge state affair, out of his own pocket, wanting to see the Duke go out the way as befitted his position. The funeral was something of a mixed affair, the US sending no representative although Abraham Lincoln (Who was on a state visit to Britain at the time) went after being invited by King Alfred. France, in an awkward position as any, sent the son of Ney, one of Wellington’s greatest opponents, as a representative. The Shawnee Nation and New England made a special effort to send important representatives, showing their appreciation of a man who had made it possible to forge their own nations.
With the death of the Duke, King Alfred (Who had delivered an hour long eulogy at the funeral) was now without a moderating influence on his life. While the Duke had always been there to make sure the ‘flights of fancy’ (Which the Duke had deemed) were always stopped before they had begun, the King was now without an influence to stop them from taking hold. As a result, Alfred began to chafe at the limitations placed on him as per his duties as King. He really cared little for Constitutional issues and instead wanted to explore the Empire itself. His father’s stories of his travels to Canada and the Duke’s own tales of the riches and splendour of India had filled Alfred’s head with a want to go out and explore the great unknown. Although he had not reached the point of going out on his own, it was anyone’s guess regarding the King’s actions.
In a massive public event, the Meiningen Pact became the German Confederation with a treaty signed in Munich; the bonds tying the new Confederation were sealed as all German states agreed to a combined Army and Navy, a shared economical policy with tariffs in place against foreign nations and a Council with the King of Bavaria at its head (Thereby recognising the role Bavaria had in the War and founding the Confederation). The new Confederation was to satisfy German nationalism and create a new Superpower in Europe, one which dominated Central Europe and eased in nicely into the Triple Alliance with France and Poland.
The cementing of the Triple Alliance and its power over Europe led to some worry in Britain and Russia regarding if that power could ever be directed against them. To that end, the two nations, if not actually entering an accord, managed to reach a semi-demi understanding with each other on the loosest terms that they would keep an eye on the Triple Alliance and should any information be found regarding anything seemingly suspicious, further moves would be made. While neither country made any real attempts at an Alliance of any kind, agreements had been made in case of… unfortunate events.
With an election in America, the National Party secured a victory and President Buchanan stayed for a second term. Abraham Lincoln was to all terms and purposes, the next President of the United States as the age limitation would have allowed him to stand for President and the Constitutional Party was still a minor force in politics. Buchanan was popular for his attempts at rebuilding the nation but Lincoln was seen as the rising star and his campaign to encourage industrialisation was soon making waves in America.
Slavery was soon becoming a major issue as well. Although the states which allowed slavery still heavily outweighed those which didn’t, call for its abolition were growing strong as more Liberal ideas from Canada, California and even the Shawnee Nation leaked through into the US. Although slavery to remain with the US for some time, the stage had been set for the ever escalating conflict regarding its position in American society.