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Fire Eagle, Snow Bear - Archived Text Copy Version

NOTE: All text below the following line is copyright (C) of Macsporan, Zach Rosen and Bill Bruno.


Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2002 - 02:16 pm by Macsporan:

Fire Eagle/Snow Bear: Imperial Germany vs the Nafobor Revolution 1916-1946

For those new to this thread you can get the full background in a previous one entitled “Germany goes East in 1914”. We recommend you study this before posting your contribution as the general order of events has been worked out in some detail. In order to get to the interesting stuff we are going to have to move along in far bigger blocks of time. I propose going ahead in small leaps with pauses for bickering in between. I anyone wants to do one of these time-blocs themselves please say so. Obviously they must be in general agreement with what has been proposed in the “Germany Goes East 1914” thread.

The situation is like this: In 1914 Germany decides to activate an alternate war-plan and not invade Belgium. Britain stays neutral and there is no blockade of the Central Powers. Despite the best efforts of the French to break into Germany, the corrupt and incompetent Russian Army is crushed by the weight and skill of German/Austrian firepower. After fighting off a powerful, last-ditch Russian offensive German political warfare agents provoke a revolt in the Ukraine behind Russian lines. The Russian army, already on the ropes collapses. Czar Nicholas II is deposed and a dictated peace signed, but the Russian state survives.

Here goes. May the Force be with us…

Kaiser Wilhelm II stared out for an instant into the chill darkness of the November night where the rain beat solemnly on the windows, masking the bright illuminations beyond. It was 1916 and the elite of Germany and the entire diplomatic corps were gathered at his Potsdam palace to celebrate the Peace Treaty signed there amidst military pomp and splendour previous day.

There had been little discussion. There was nothing to discuss. He had won and the thwarted, bitter, defeated Russian and Frenchman on the other side of the table had lost. The details had been worked out months in advance by his diligent servants on the Wilhelmstrasse, the same ones whose months of detailed plotting had sparked the Ukrainian insurrection that pulled the rug out from under the astonished Russians. The Turks had been most helpful in running the guns. So much more useful as neutrals. He recalled ruefully how much time and effort he had been to dissuading various jackals from joining the war for their share of the lion's kill.

He turned back into the glittering assemblage. Heels clicked as his eye lighted upon their portly, monocled owners, as their evening-gown bedecked partners curtsied sweetly. With a careless wave of his champagne glass he summoned the only one who of them who was not portly, Von Falkenhayn, the Commander in Chief of his victorious army. The All-Highest raised a glass to the British Ambassador across the room, who replied with a dignified bow. “Two years ago,” Wilhelm said with a faint asperity in his voice as he turned to the slender General, “Moltke wanted me to invade Belgium. I wonder where we'd all be now if we had?” “Probably not in the same room with his Britannic Majesty's Ambassador, Highness,” he replied with a smoothness belied by an awkward two-handed fiddling with his glass. The Kaiser's smile was grim, “So, we have everything now. Poor Franz Ferdinand avenged, the East is ours all the way to the Volga. The Cossacks are driven back into their steppes, never to rise again.” Falkenhayn nodded, “France is bloodied and beaten. We have your son, the Crown Prince, to thank for that. We should have finished them, Highness.” “No Falkenhayn. There are enough good German soldiers buried in Lorraine. Things were very nearly out of control. We had to stop. When to stop: it is the hardest lesson and the most fruitful. As for me, I hope I have seen the last of war. It is a gamble, always a gamble. I thank God that I have been able to end this one so easily and so soon. My son can conquer the West if he wants, but that is not for me.” He sighed deeply and passed a hand across his brow, “I begin to understand old Bismarck now. I wish I had listened to him while I had the chance, but I was young and a fool. Thank God no worse has come of it.” “Highness,” said Falkenhayn greatly daring, “We could have pushed Russia over the edge. Taken everything.”

The man who the worshipful newspapers were already calling “Der Kaiser von Europa” emptied his glass at a gulp, handing it to the flunkey who drifted obsequiously in to retrieve it, “Russia would have fallen into a chaos that would have devoured all of us. There are some people in the dark places of the world whose evil is almost fathomless. I shudder to think of them, even I, Falkenhayn. We would have released them into our world. No, I would not do that, not for the Crown of Eurasia.” He smiled and raised his hand to the assembled dignitaries again and they burst once more into salutes and applause. “I don't think you know how close they came,” he whispered out of the corner of his mouth.

Far, far away at the other end of the social universe, under dim, smoky lamplight in a grimy barracks in Tula, Russia, Sergeant Aleksi Gridenko, sitting at a table, watched his tears splatter fat stars into the newspaper proclaiming the end of the Russian Empire. They had never seen him weep before and there were a few raised eyebrows and a bit of quiet snickering. He looked up sharply, “ Russia is not mocked, will not be trampled, will not be raped by the stranger from the west and the traitor of the Ukraine!” he croaked to his comrades in his odd, harsh voice. “I will not rest till his shame is swept away and every clod of our stolen earth returned to us, or I am dead by the hands of our oppressors!” Most of them laughed, shrugged and puffing their pipes, returned to their card games. They had heard it all before, but there were one or two who shook their heads and shuddered with a foreboding they did not understand.


In late November Austria-Hungarian Emperor Franz-Joseph dies, after a life full of personal tragedy and defeat, but crowned at the last with victory such as his August House had not seen since the days of Prince Eugene. His successor Karl is crowned a month later with all the baroque pomp and splendour of that the ancient empire can contrive.

At the funeral Karl and the German Emperor agree that the Slavic populations of the newly annexed lands directly governed by their empires shall have no electoral rights for five years.

Karl soon finds himself in conflict with the Hungarians, who relieved of fear of Russia and delivered of the August presence of the old Emperor, are dissatisfied with the way they have been overridden and ignored in the annexations. There are loud threats of succession.

In the Empire reform is the order of the day as the new Emperor decides to meet the Hungarian threat head-on. He dispenses with the heavy, antiquated Spanish etiquette of the Imperial Court that drove his late mother to distraction and dismissed most of his father's courtiers into well-pensioned exile. The ideas of the reformist Belvedere Group, formerly patronised by the martyred Franz-Ferdinand, are brought to the fore.

Karl proposes dumping the Dual Monarchy for a triple version composed of an Austrian, a Hungarian and a Slavic zone, each with its own parliament and significant internal powers, but each having common economic and defence policies and each having the Hapsburg Emperor as it's head of state.

The extremist element of the Hungarian aristocracy, threatened with the loss of their most profitable and satisfying pass-time—oppressing and exploiting the Slavs under their control—launch an insurrection. Many of the public buildings Budapest are occupied by insurgents, many of them ex-servicemen.

Even though Emperor Wilhelm offers German troops the situation looks bleak and many advise the new Austrian Emperor to back-pedal in the face of this opposition. But Karl is obdurate, “If I do not reform the Empire it will not survive. If the Magyars oppose this they must be bought to heel. The laurels of Victory and Royalty are fresh on my brow. If not now, when?”

He sends loyal Slavic and German regiments into the city and after making every reasonable attempt to procure an honourable surrender of the insurgents he winkles them out with artillery. Much of central Budapest is ruined. Sympathetic rebellions in other Hungarian centres are crushed or collapse of their own accord. Moderate Hungarian opinion, which had already turned against the insurgents before fighting began, now rallies to the Emperor. The ringleaders of the revolt are tried for treason and executed but there is no bloodbath. Rebellious regions are disenfranchised for five years.

Karl presses ahead with his reforms which are on the whole well-received. He cleans out the ruling bureaucracies from top to bottom, simplifying government procedure and purging it of the layers of elderly, incompetent reactionaries who had accumulated during the years of his father's dotage. A certain portion of positions are reserved for various minorities. By 1919 Karl, aided by a booming economy, has passed his first test.

I pause for comment before continuing to cover the contemporary Russian scene.

Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2002 - 07:33 pm by Zach Rosen:

Russia: 1916

It was November, and the snow was already falling on the city of Helsinki. Everywhere, people were rejoicing, dancing in the streets. They were free! Free at last! The Russian pigs had been driven out by the mighty German liberators!

At the docks, a small fishing boat pulled up to a pier. The crew quickly tied the lines and secured the boat. Inside the cabin, a short, bald man with a pointed goatee reached into his pocket and withdrew a wad of Reichsmarks.

“Thank you for you services, sir,” he said as he pressed the bills into the captain’s hand. “You have performed a great service to the revolution.” The captain said nothing. He didn’t care a whit about the ‘revolution.’ He just wanted to get paid. He was tired of listening to the man’s endless tirades and wanted to get him off the boat.

The bearded man placed a fedora over his bald head and stepped off the boat. He looked to his left, and saw two men waiting for him at the end of the pier. He walked swiftly toward them, rubbing and blowing his hands for warmth.

“Vladimir,” said the first, “it is good to see you well.” “And you too Leon,” responded Vladimir. “I have forgotten how cold it gets here. My God, have I been away from the Motherland that long?” “I am afraid so,” responded the second man, “but no matter. You are here now.” “Iosef, it has been many years,” said Vladimir, as he embraced the man. “Come,” said Leon, “it is getting colder as we speak. We have reserved a room for the night. Transportation has for tomorrow has also been arranged.”

Vladimir nodded his head and the three were off, vanishing into the shadows.

With the armistice ending the Great War, Grand Duke Nicholas proclaimed himself Czar of all Russia, Nicholas III. Realizing that time for autocracy was over, he convened the Duma in November of 1917, and Russia’s first fair general election in history was held.

The Constitutional-Democrats (the Kadets) won 55% of the vote. The Social-Democrats (Mensheviks) won 25% of the vote. The Bolsheviks won 15% of the vote. Other small parties shared the last 5% of the vote.

When they convened on November 22, Nicholas directed them to “Create a document so that Mother Russia may become a nation dedicated to the Rule of Law, Justice, and Liberty.” The representatives began the long and difficult road to creating a constitution.

The Kadets wanted to use the United States constitution as a model, as they admired its clauses of liberty and equality before the law. The Mensheviks were not opposed entirely, but took issue with many of the phrases involving “property” and the right to it. The Bolsheviks denounced the whole process as a “tool of the capitalist bourgeoisie” and declared their intent to create a “socialist state”. The Mensheviks, though socialists, were astonished by this talk. How could they be a tool of the bourgeoisie when there was no bourgeoisie? They tried to reason with the Bolsheviks, but to no avail. The Bolsheviks representatives walked out of the convention. As they left, their leader parted with a speech proclaiming “the crash of all European imperialism will come…Hail the worldwide socialist revolution!”

While the convention was in session, Nicholas ruled as his nephew had, though much more effectively. He abolished the secret police, and created in their place a national police agency designed to uphold the Rule of Law. He also created the beginnings of a market economy. He hoped he could help the Rodina out of her centuries-long darkness, and bring her into the light.

Russia: 1917

After three months of debating, on February 18, 1917, the Duma emerged with the constitution for the Federal Republic of Russia. The new government was basically a liberal democracy (with a smattering of socialism mixed in), with the czar as a figurehead. Nicholas III voluntarily surrendered the majority of his power when the Duma formally adopted the new constitution, and assumed his role as the symbolic leader of Mother Russia.

The first crisis occurred two months later in April, when a Turkish freighter was seized at the Petrograd docks. The ship was loaded with massive amounts of weaponry and munitions. The captain broke under interrogation, and revealed he was supposed to deliver the cargo to a man calling himself “Stalin”.

The National Police found and arrested this “Stalin”, his real name being Iosef Vissarionovich Djugashvili. The man sang like a canary. He revealed a plot within the radical wing of the Bolsheviks to overthrow the government and establish what he called a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” He named the two other ringleaders of the conspiracy, and gave the location of the safe house they were hiding in. The National Police raided the house with elite troops. One conspirator, Leon “Trotsky” Bronstein, was killed in a shootout with police. The last leader, Vladimir Ilych Ulyanov, alias “Lenin,” was found cowering with fear in a closet. Apparently the man was terrified of violence. He was convicted of treason and conspiracy to commit murder. The judge sentenced him to life in the gulag. Just before he was taken away, he shouted, “Do what you will to me. This grave injustice will be remembered when the revolution occurs. Long live the workers’ and peasants’ Revolution!”

The train whistle shrieked as it came to a stop in Arsenal Station. Aleksi Gridenko hefted his single duffle bag, the bag that carried all his earthly possessions, and stepped of the train. He came down in urban Voronezh, his home, a city now so absurdly close to the new “independent” Ukraine it made him want to vomit. They had tossed him out of the army without even a “thank you”, or more important, payment.


Bureaucratic fools.

There will come a time…

He made his way out of the station and into the bustling streets. A newspaper boy stood on the corner shouting, “Osobui! Osobui! Extra! Extra!” Gridenko dropped a coin into the boy’s cup and withdrew a newspaper from the stack. The headline read:


Gridenko snorted.

Bolshevik bastards.

It was bad enough the Rodina had been eviscerated by the savage Germans. Now she was threatened by enemies within.

He walked to the shores of the Don, his feet crunching on the newly fallen snow. He reached down and picked up a handful of dirt. He looked up, across the flowing waters of the Don, at Ukraine. He flung the dirt as hard as he could, until it dropped with a splash into the river.

They would pay.

They would all pay.

Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2002 - 10:57 pm by Zach Rosen:

Russia: May-December 1917

The entire country breathed a collective sigh of relief as the remaining Bolshevik conspirators were rounded up. Czar Nicholas felt it necessary to emerge from the Winter Palace and give an inspirational speech to the nation:

“…Hard times have befallen our Motherland. First the incompetence of my nephew, then the invasion of German barbarians, and now a cancer threatens to consume us from within. But I say to you this day that we have emerged stronger because of it! Mother Russia still stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea, and will do so until the end of the age! Hear me, fellow Russians! Now is not the time for weeping! Now is not the time for sorrow! Now is the time for vigilance! Now is the time for justice to once more rule this great land! There is a cancer among us and we must cut it out now! We must not allow it to endanger all for which we have fought. We have fought for much. And we have died for much. Our sons and daughters have fought and died for the glory of Mother Russia! Those deaths shall not have been in vain! We shall emerge from the darkness and burst forth into the light!”

Newspapers from Volgograd in the south to Vladivostok in the east carried the speech. And because the majority of Russians could not read, carriages and automobiles carried the message on loudspeaker. It is said that on that day in May of 1917, every single poor downtrodden soul from the Baltic to the Pacific was proud to be a Russian.

The popularity of the Bolsheviks plummeted, as their organization was gutted from desertions and arrests. By December, it ceased to be a political force.

Among the Duma's first actions was to pass an extensive series of political and economic reforms. A document similar to the American Bill of Rights was adopted, and private enterprise was encouraged. The Mensheviks in the Duma were suspicious of this, and managed to push through legislation that created social aid programs. They also legalized unions, and recognized the right of labor to strike.

But by the end of 1917, Russia was still in economic freefall.


The first manifestation of trouble came with the famine of 1918. Loss of Ukrainian grain and other large amounts of arable land to the new republics caused a large food shortage. Food riots broke out in Moscow, Volgograd, and Voronezh. The Duma was paralyzed by the problems. Each party thought they had a way to fix the trouble, but no one could get their legislation passed. Finally, the Kadets sponsored a move which would create the office of Prime Minister. The Prime Minister would have many of the same powers as those in other European countries. The Mensheviks went along with it, in the hopes that any action, no matter how small, might help better the situation.

In February of 1918, Paul Miliukov, a foudner of the Kadets, was selected as the first Prime Minister.

He took immediate action. Food was purchased from the Ukraine (though at near criminal prices) and other European countries. The US was pleased to provide humanitarian aid to the world's newest democracy. As the foreign food began to arrive, the riots died down. Order was restored.

Next on the list was industry. The government realized that much of its infrastructure was very outdated (not to mention a large portion of it was now on foreign soil). The Duma passed legislation funding a huge modernization program, designed to bring Russia totally into the 20th century. Citizens gladly went to work, as there was not much of that going around.

Foreign financial aid began arriving in large quantities by the end of 1918. The United States remembered its own hard economic times in the early 19th century, and invested heavily in Russian industry. Great Britain and France also were pleased to extend an olive branch of friendship, in the form of food and investment.

1918 ended with teh Russian economy showing signs of recovery.



read the papers.

In March of 1919, gold and oil were discovered in vast amounts in Siberia.

The Russian economy had mutated overnight from a crawling recovery to a massive giant racing forward. The foreign speculators arrived like moths to a flame. German, British, French, and American businesses offered vast sums of money for permission to mine and drill the Siberian wasteland.

But Russia declined. Her own dedicated, hardworking people would exploit the success of the finds. However, that did not mean she would be unwilling to sell the rights to smaller wells and mines.

But that was insignificant.

Russians all over rejoiced that, for once in their lives, fortune had smiled on them. Russia experienced her own sort of gold rush, and thousands of private citizens rushed east to try to find their own gold or oil.

Around this time, people remembered what Czar Nicholas had said, almost two years ago. Russia was indeed coming into the light.

Voronezh was dark as its citizens retired to their beds. The famine was over, and people were back at work. Mothers could again afford to feed and clothe their children. People were finally beginning to be happy.

A local police officer walked down a quiet street, whistling to himself and twirling his baton. As he passed a street lamp, he saw a poster attached to it. He squinted in the darkness to read it:


The police officer chuckled to himself as he tore the poster down. “National Front for Greater Russian Unification”? Probably some sort of Bolshevik propoganda.

He tossed the crumpled poster on the ground and continued his patrol.

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2002 - 04:38 pm by Macsporan:


In France the post-war years were bitter indeed.

French governments had painstakingly gathered allies for a war of revenge against Germany only to have one of them renege, the other collapse, and their own military campaigns degenerate into useless slaughters, culminating in yet another humiliating defeat.

Without Alsace-Lorraine the whole thing was a sheer waste of blood, money and hope.

When news of the Armistice was announced the streets filled with furious protesters of both the Left and Right.

The Right contended that the Fatherland had been betrayed by Jews, Defreysards, socialists and Freemasons; the Left that illiberal, quasi-monarchist, anti-Semite, anti-Defreysard, Catholic, war-profiteer conspirators had gulled the innocent working class into a shameful, imperialist carnage marked by traitorous incompetence and folly, and engineered to divert their righteous wrath from the parasites who were sucking the blood of France.

The Leftists in particular had no intention of letting these inept, corrupt, Machiavellian butchers rule France for an instant longer.

It was only a matter of hours before the demonstrators were fighting each other in ugly pitched battles notable for their ferocity and liberal use of arson.

Paris, Orleans, and Marsailles were covered in palls of smoke.

Both blamed each other for the defeat. Nobody blamed the Germans.

Returning war veterans, of varying persuasions, for the most part embittered by years of suffering and futile sacrifice, joined the fray.

For the next three months France was in chaos as armed militias struggled for power while a confused and divided government looked on.

At last Georges Clemenceau, a tough old politician, demanded an end to the madness that was destroying his country was elected Premier and declared martial law.

He ordered the army to clear the streets.

Reluctantly but efficiently they did so; whereupon the Rightist militias surrendered and in some cases joined forces with the army to help massacre the intransigent leftists.

In this last and bloodiest phase at least 10,000 lost their lives. Many others were deported to New Caledonia and Devil's Island.

Surviving Leftists went underground, vowing revenge.

The subsequent election saw scenes almost as violent but the chaos had terrified property-owners large and small, and a right-wing majority was returned under the inevitable Raymond Poincare, Clemenceau being too much identified with the repressions to be acceptable to the electorate, even those sections that had supported it.

He was assassinated outside his home by a communist some years later.

“The Second Commune” as it was called astonished the world, who had long looked upon France as a stable democracy.

However France, as ever, demonstrated remarkable healing powers and within three years all the damage was repaired and something like prosperity restored.

The traumatised national psyche was not so easily restored.

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2002 - 06:38 pm by Zach Rosen:

Here is the revised version of the whole thing. I left out the narratives because no changes were made to those. We can re-insert them when the finished product is created.

Russia: October 1916 – December 1917

With the armistice ending the Great War, Grand Duke Nicholas proclaimed himself Czar of all Russia, Nicholas III. Unfortunately, all of Russia was in turmoil. Mass rioting in the streets of major cities threatened domestic order. Famine was widespread, and brigandes ruled the countryside.

The loss of the outlying republics created a bureaucratic nightmare. First there was the loss of Ukrainian grain, which only contributed to the food shortage. Then there was the mass exodus of thousands of skilled workers. Ethnic Estonians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Byelorussians, and Ukrainians all fled the eviscerated Russia in favor of newly formed homelands. Industry that had taken years to build was lost with the stroke of a pen.

Nicholas II had been forced to accept a beggar’s peace, but he reasoned that it was better than the alternative. Radical groups on all ends of the political spectrum sprung up almost immediately, vying for power. Social Democrats represented the leftist opposition. The SDs were themselves split into two groups: the radical Bolsheviks, who wanted the immediate overthrow of the Czar and the establishment of a socialist state, and the more moderate and numerous Mensheviks, who wished for a stable government and a moderately socialist government. Finally there were the centrists, the Constitutional-Democrats, or Kadets. They were a basic liberal-democratic party, who espoused equality, Rule of Law, and democracy.

Unfortunately, not all members of these groups were content with words. Radical groups formed and began violent opposition. Czar Nicholas was forced to declare marshal law in all the major cities. Army units returning from the front were deployed to keep order in the cities. Fortunately, most of the army was loyal to the Czar, and organized resistance collapsed quickly.

Most of all, the people needed food. The famine was getting worse, and people were starving. The only thing preventing food riots was the army presence in the streets. The nearest European countries all wanted to extract a criminal price for food. The Czar appealed to the world’s great producing nations for humanitarian aid. The United States and Canada, sympathetic to the struggling giant, supplied massive amounts of food at low prices. Using the army to help distribution, the Czar managed to feed his hungry people.

Russia: 1918

Finally, Nicholas felt that things were sufficiently stable to hold Russia’s first free general election.

The Kadets won 55% of the vote. The Mensheviks won 25% of the vote. The Bolsheviks won 15% of the vote. Other small parties shared the last 5% of the vote.

When they convened on February 12, Nicholas directed them to “Create a document so that Mother Russia may become a nation dedicated to the Rule of Law, Justice, and Liberty.” The representatives began the long and difficult road to creating a constitution.

The Kadets wanted to use the United States constitution as a model, as they admired its clauses of liberty and equality before the law. The Mensheviks were not opposed entirely, but took issue with many of the phrases involving “property” and the right to it. The Bolsheviks denounced the whole process as a “tool of the capitalist bourgeoisie” and declared their intent to create a “socialist state”. The Mensheviks, though socialists, were astonished by this talk. How could they be a tool of the bourgeoisie when there was no bourgeoisie? They tried to reason with the Bolsheviks, but to no avail. The Bolsheviks representatives walked out of the convention. As they left, their leader parted with a speech proclaiming “the crash of all European imperialism may come…Hail the worldwide socialist revolution!”

While the convention was in session, Nicholas ruled as his nephew had, though much more effectively. He abolished the secret police, and created in their place a national police agency designed to uphold the Rule of Law. He also created the beginnings of a market economy. He hoped he could help the Rodina out of her centuries-long darkness, and bring her into the light.

After three months of debating, on May 3, 1918, the Duma emerged with the constitution for the Federal Republic of Russia. The new government was basically a liberal democracy.

The first crisis occurred two months later in July, when a Turkish freighter was seized at the Petrograd docks. The ship was loaded with massive amounts of weaponry and munitions. The captain broke under interrogation, and revealed he was supposed to deliver the cargo to a man calling himself “Stalin”.

The National Police found and arrested this “Stalin”, his real name being Iosef Vissarionovich Djugashvili. The man sang like a canary. He revealed a plot within the radical wing of the Bolsheviks to overthrow the government and establish what he called a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” He named the two other ringleaders of the conspiracy, and gave the location of the safe house they were hiding in. The National Police raided the house with elite troops. One conspirator, Leon “Trotsky” Bronstein, was killed in a shootout with police. The last leader, Vladimir Ilych Ulyanov, alias “Lenin,” was found cowering with fear in a closet. Apparently the man was terrified of violence. He was convicted of treason and conspiracy to commit murder. The judge sentenced him to life in the gulag. Just before he was taken away, he shouted, “Do what you will to me. This grave injustice will be remembered when the revolution occurs. Long live the workers’ and peasants’ Revolution!”

The entire country breathed a collective sigh of relief as the remaining Bolshevik conspirators were rounded up. Czar Nicholas felt it necessary to emerge from the Winter Palace and give an inspirational speech to the nation:

“…Hard times have befallen our Motherland. First the incompetence of my nephew, then the invasion of German barbarians, and now a cancer threatens to consume us from within. But I say to you this day that we have emerged stronger because of it! Mother Russia still stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea, and will do so until the end of the age! Hear me, fellow Russians! Now is not the time for weeping! Now is not the time for sorrow! Now is the time for vigilance! Now is the time for justice to once more rule this great land! There is a cancer among us and we must cut it out now! We must not allow it to endanger all for which we have fought. We have fought for much. And we have died for much. Our sons and daughters have fought and died for the glory of Mother Russia! Those deaths shall not have been in vain! We shall emerge from the darkness and burst forth into the light!”

Newspapers from Tsaritsyn in the south to Vladivostok in the east carried the speech. And because the majority of Russians could not read, carriages and automobiles carried the message on loudspeaker. It is said that on that day in July of 1918, every single poor downtrodden soul from the Baltic to the Pacific was proud to be a Russian.

The popularity of the Bolsheviks plummeted, as their organization was gutted from desertions and arrests. By December, it ceased to be a political force.

Among the Duma's first actions was to pass an extensive series of political and economic reforms. A document similar to the American Bill of Rights was adopted, and private enterprise was encouraged. The Mensheviks in the Duma were suspicious of this, and managed to push through legislation that created social aid programs. They also legalized unions, and recognized the right of labor to strike.

Russia: 1919

Education in the Federal Republic of Russia was at an all-time low. Medical care was also non-existent. The Duma recognized this and funded the creation of rural health clinics, as well as provided financial incentives to attract foreign doctors. It also began to debate the creation of a public school system to begin education of the masses.

As 1919 wore on, the worst problems began to improve. The infant mortality rate was down, education was up, and food was reaching the cities. Several large problems remained, however. Russia was still almost totally dependent on foreign food. The Americans and Canadians were starting to demand that Russia increase her own farming capabilities, or face price increases. The Republic also was totally lacking of anything resembling modern industry. Much of what it did have was 50 years behind the times, or behind foreign borders.

After much debate, the Duma allocated a significant proportion of the small treasury to an industrialization program. It was hoped that as time went on and conditions improved, the program could be expanded and improved upon.

Debate began to turn to an urgent political problem. The Duma was Russia’s sole governing body. As a result, things were far too slow to fit the needs of a rapidly changing country. The Kadets introduced a measure to create and effective executive branch of government. Borrowing from other European democracies, they created the position of Prime Minister. The Prime Minister would be selected by the Duma after each election, and would assume most of the executive duties of the Czar, who would be reduced to a figurehead.

In October of 1919, Paul Miliukov, moderate leader of the Kadets, was selected as Russia’s first Prime Minister. Nicholas voluntarily surrendered his power, except the nominal position of Commander in Chief of Russia’s armies. It was expected that the Czar would exercise this power only in the case of extreme national emergency.

Though the recovery was still in its infancy, things were looking up.

(Message edited by maestro876 on December 16, 2002)

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2002 - 09:43 pm by Zach Rosen:

The Union of South Africa: 1917 - 1919

South Africa's Afrikaner population breathed a sigh of relief as their British overlords did not force them into conflict against their friends, the Germans.

Their relief did not last long. With the war over, and their banks fat with profits, many British gazed longingly at the beautiful beaches and the wide open veld of South Africa. British immigration increased tenfold.

This was not received well by the Afrikaner population. At this tiem in South Africa, the “racial question” referred not to differences between whites and blacks, but to tensions between English-speaking Whites and Dutch-descended Afrikaners.

The South African Party of Jan Smuts and Louis Botha lost support in much of the Transvaal and Orange Free State because of their “radically pro-British policies”. In Cape Province and Natal, English whites began to slowly close the numerical gap with the Boers.

The Boers resented this “encroachment of their rights as sovereign people”, and instances of racially motivated violence against English whites began to increase. Some English whites in the Transvaal were overtaken by angry mobs who beat and sometimes killed them.

In 1919, Prime Minister [not sure on the title; someone help me] Louis Botha died. Jan Smuts succeeded him. John Barry Hertzog, leader of the opposing Nationalists, seized the moment to whip Afrikaners into an anti-English frenzy. Major violence broke out in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Durban. An assassination attempt against Smuts was barely thwarted.

In May, a Boer commando attacked the British embassy, killing much of the diplomatic staff and wounding the ambassador. He and his family were subsequently taken hostage. The Afrikaner rebels declared they would only release him if the British promised to grant South Africa full independence, remove all British citizens, and force the Smuts government to enact laws harshly segregating the races.

A government special forces team stormed the rebels' hideout, killing most of them, and rescuing the ambassador.

Things died down a somewhat in South Africa after that. Smuts gave in to some of the Afrikaner demands concerning segregation, and that helped restore him to many of the Dutch-descended whites. Hertzog and the Nationalists remained active, though Smuts managed to retain a majority in the parliament, for the time being.

Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 - 12:31 am by Macsporan:

United Kingdom: 1916

By the end of 1916 the view from the white cliffs of Dover had never looked so attractive. During the last two years Britain, scrambling to meet the orders placed upon it by the European War, had undergone a second Industrial Revolution.

To meet the almost insatiable voracity of the combatant powers for raw material, weapons and munitions of every kind Britain was compelled to dismantle its quaint, old fashioned craft-type industrial system and substitute a large-scale Henry Ford style one characterised by large plants, conveyor-belts and huge production runs.

As it was a seller's market, with both sides bidding as if their lives depended on it, profits were immense.

Even the English countryside, moribund and half-empty since being under-cut by the more productive American producers in the 1870's, enjoyed a modest revival.

Houses and cottages sprang up everywhere as long-abandoned acres were put once more beneath the plough to feed the burgeoning armies of Germany, Austria, France and Russia.

The British merchant marine had undergone a huge expansion also. At first any old rust-bucket the tug-boats could push into the open sea was pushed into the new trade.

Then as the shipyards at Clydesdale and Belfast swung into high gear producing ever greater numbers of faster, bigger, cheaper ships.

By the end of the war Britain had regained its lead as the world's greatest commercial carrier, that it had lost generations ago to the Americans at the time of the Civil War.

Profits piled up in the bank accounts of the upper and middle classes. British naval architects noted with great interest the new ship-building techniques being evolved and laid plans to use them when the time came to expand the British Navy.

In the end the German tonnage leased to the British government during the Exclusion Zone crisis was scarcely needed.

With an unprecedented building boom and industrial expansion even the cloth-capped working class was enjoying good times as never before.

Wages rose and unions, their hands strengthened by labour shortage, increased their membership and power.

The British ruling class, ever prone to smugness and self-congratulation, had much to thank themselves for.

The only Britons to die in this conflict were a handful of mercenaries and idealistic volunteers, including a valiant squadron of aviators, some of them from the best families of England, who fought on the Lorraine front beside the French.

The deaths of these aristocratic sprigs was a regrettable but frequent occurrence and 'The Times' pontificated sadly, from time to time, on the subject of “the Lost Generation”, but there were some who thanked the stars it was not a good deal worse.

The years had not been without incident. British diplomats and senior officers had to endure jibes of cowardice from their French counterparts.

Twice Britain had come close to war, once with either side, and only the vigour and clarity of her new Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, now all but universally hailed as one of the most able men ever to hold that position, had averted bloody catastrophe.

Almost as troublesome, but not as dangerous, the war years saw England keep her long promise to the perpetually rebellious Irish.

Home Rule, or virtual dominion status, was enacted in early 1915. It was met with riot and insurrection from the indignant Protestants of Northern Ireland who had no wish to be swamped in a Catholic Ireland.

Nor were the British army officers, many of them from Northern Irish families, keen to fire on demonstrators carrying the Union Jack.

In the end it was fear of disrupting the Belfast shipyards that tipped the hand of the British government into conciliating the insurgents.

During a series of hectic meetings it was decided that Ulster could, after all, stay part of the U.K.

Southern Irish extremists were outraged but most Irish people, north and south, were happy to accept the partition of the island.

Various zealots on both sides launched ill-natured raids across the new borders and in the course of the next couple of years killed each other off.

Eventually things settled the new Irish dominion, now under the leadership of one Michael Collins, a man of enormous political savvy and administrative ability, settled down to enjoy its new freedom.

Turning his back on the nostalgic 'Celtic Twilight' school of thought, pushed by the more romantic revolutionaries, he hurried to get Ireland a piece of the action in the modern world economy.

Crusty old imperialists might fulminated about 'betrayal' and 'an insult to the British flag' but on the whole most people, in so far as they could be diverted from counting their new-found wealth, were pleased at the way things had panned out. Civil war had been averted and Ireland could build safely on the achievements of the past.

When the war ended there was invariably an industrial slowdown and unemployment rose again. The newly confident union movement, backed by the new Labour Party and a thriving Fabian Socialist Movement led by such luminaries as George Bernard Shaw and Sidney and Beatrice Webb was not going to take this lying down.

Organising behind the Labour Party they turned the next general election into a leftist landslide.

Upon examining the state of British industry, humming with new-found efficiency, they quietly shelved their plans for wholesale nationalisation, to the fury of the radicals, but insisted, as a quid-pro-quo, that the provisions of the early welfare-state be expanded.

Some conservatives predicted dire consequences, bankruptcy and universal destitution if the greedy workers were pandered to in this unprecedented way.

There was talk of blocking provisions in the Lords; but when King George V made it known over brandy one night that his 1911 threat of creating Labour Peers to thwart such obduracy still stood, the reactionaries backed down.

The British working-class acquired modest but useful unemployment, sickness and widows-pension benefits. Women obtained the vote.

When this did not produce the immediate collapse of society, as some of the right-wing extremists had predicted, they were wholly discredited and Britain entered a long period of Labour-Liberal Rule.

One of the things the new regime pushed hard was education. Realising that England's dangerous technological backwardness had been mostly caused by a lack of skilled engineers and scientists, they built hundreds of secondary school, libraries and technical colleges across the land to remedy this deficiency.

The great universities of Oxford and Cambridge were gently disengaged from medieval scholasticism and turned into scientific and technological powerhouses.

The colonies too received their share of the largesse.

English investment in India tripled during the war years launching that country on its own modest industrial revolution, undermining for a time, in the newfound prosperity, calls for independence that had already been heard in the pre-war years.

Far-sighted observers, noting the new-found confidence of a rising Indian financial and industrial magnates, felt that reckoning was bound to come sooner or later.

Australia, Canada and South Africa benefited likewise.

Many of the more adventurous members of the middle class, cashed up and undecimated by continental war, finding even the new Britain somewhat constricted, moved themselves and their families to these new promised lands.

All in all things were good for the British people as 1920 dawned, but there were some who thought it all too good to last.

Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 - 10:46 am by Macsporan:

Germany 1916-1919

The victorious German Empire also saw great political changes in the post-war years. With the threat of encirclement ended and greater prosperity then ever before, the German Right mellowed considerably and lost its hysterical edge. Symptomatic of this was the defection of Jewish industrialist Walter Ratheau, the man responsible for organising the war economy. So impressed was he by the patriotism and dedication of German workers that he made overtures to the Social Democrats and was after much negotiation elected leader of that party.

He went to the Riechstag elections of 1917 on a platform of “The Three Liberties of the German People.” These were:

1. The right of the Riechstag to veto ministerial appointments. 2. The right of the Riechstag to veto appropriations bills and budgets. 3. The dismantling of the gerrymandered Upper House electoral system.

Due to increased industrialisation during the war, full employment and strong support from a stronger trade union movement, the Social Democrats for the first time formed a stable coalition giving them control of the parliament.

They immediately enacted the “Three Liberties.” Ratheau used his conservative connections to ensure their passage through the Upper House, but the Kaiser, fearful of loss of personal power, democracy and renouncing the heritage of his Hohenzollen forbears flatly refused to sign the amendments into law.

A long stalemate followed. The Social Democrats and their allies, flatly refused to transact any other parliamentary business and organised marches and rallies. These were distinguished for their peaceful, sober and respectable demeanour. Parties and groups of the far Left were forbidden to join in. Rolling strikes and stoppages, carefully calculated to cause constant low-level annoyance without threatening the overall prosperity of the economy, were instituted. All were encouraged by a continent-wide triumph of similar democratic and reform movements.

When at last, after a year of patience, they threatened a one-day General Strike, the Kaiser lost his head completely and ordered the army to put down the “rebellion” and arrest the Social Democrat leaders. But the moderation and earnestness of the reformers now paid handsome dividends. Even the Right were convinced that the only thing likely to lead to revolution was the stubbornness of the All-Highest himself.

With full backing of the Right and Centre parties, as well as the Social Democrats, Von Falkenhayn calmly informed his sovereign that the German army had not suffered two years of bitter warfare to turn their guns on their own peaceful and respectable people, waving the national flag and singing the national anthem, who wanted nothing more than the rights enjoyed by every other civilised nation in the world.

The Kaiser had a nervous breakdown and retired to his bed in the palace at Potsdam. But even here he was badgered. In his memoirs, published many years later, the Kaiser revealed that as he lay in delirium he was visited by the ghosts of Frederick the Great, Otto Von Bismarck and his own father, Frederick William who commanded him, with true Prussian brusqueness, to stop endangering his throne and give the loyal and long-suffering German people what they wanted.

These supernatural solicitings were backed up by more earthly ones. Huge deputations of Riechstag deputies and German minor royalty all visited him, respectfully requesting his royal assent. Eventually he was accosted by a Hohenzollen family conclave, led by his own son and Crown Prince, who threatened him with immediate deposition unless he gave way.

So in a special ceremony, at which all his ancestral portraits and busts were turned towards the wall or covered in black mourning cloth, Kaiser Wilhelm II signed the Three Liberties Amendments to the universal rejoicing of his people. The political crisis vanished at once and the workers returned to their duties.

Mortified and frustrated the Kaiser, to the secret relief of even the most devoted monarchists, abdicated a month later in a fit of pique, spitefully advising his son to renounce the Amendments as soon as he was safely enthroned.

Kaiser Wilhelm III was far to down-to-earth to contemplate any such thing. Two terrible years in command of the Lorraine Front, culminating in the 1916 defence of Metz, the Hell-Battle as it was known, had purged him of his more rabid militarist fantasies.

After a coronation ceremony of solemn magnificence, in his speech from the throne he announced his acceptance of and loyalty too the new constitution. His carriage was dragged through the streets by the jubilant crowds.

German became thus a liberal-democratic constitutional monarchy. Strangely the Riechstag had very little need to exercise its new powers. The new Kaiser turned out to be a politician of rare skill and was entrusted, in partnership with the Riech-Chancellor, with much of the executive power. He was so careful to consult with senior members of the Riechstag on ministerial appointments, budgets and major policy issues that he seldom came into conflict with them.

Thus the Kaiser remained a central political figure in his country. The Right, although not actually pleased, looked nervously around Europe and decided they had got off easy.

Chief among the business of the new governments was the negotiation of anti-Russian defence treaties with the Kingdom of the Ukraine, the Grand Duchies of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and the Principality of Belorussia, which now separated the Central Powers from the downfallen Slavic colossus.

Once these were agreed upon the Germans gradually withdrew their troops as the new nations took responsibility for their own defence.

Other agreements on trade and tariffs were negotiated at the same time.

Eastern Europe became a German economic zone, a source of profit from investment in agriculture, industry, mining and tourism.

The Ukrainian Black Sea coast in particular became a German tourist Mecca and soon became infamous for tacky architecture and moral decadence as wealthy Germans unwound after generations of self-denial and self-discipline.

To these territories flowed a thin but steady trickle of German settlers. There was plenty of land to spare and despite differences in culture these folk were generally welcomed providing they avoided open displays of arrogance and respected local customs, so great was the gratitude for deliverance from the slovenly tyranny of Czarist Russia.

The newcomers introduced advanced agricultural techniques and methods to these backward places to the great benefit to the general riches.

As the third decade of the 20th century (The Twenties) began there was scarcely a cloud on the German horizon.

Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 - 10:05 pm by Bill Bruno:

Second Mexican War - 1917

Carranza was taken aback by the ferocity of the U.S. response, specifically with the occupation of the Gulf ports to deprived Mexico of customs duties and imports (not to mention any military supplies that Germany might care to send (in OTL, Carranza got on well with the Kaiser). Wilson had to deal with the fact that although U.S. forces could take whatever territory they liked, they couldn't completely suppress guerilla resistance in the northern states that they occupied. However, negotiations continued to breakdown on Carranza's continued insistence on unconditional U.S. withdrawal. In the beginning of 1917, the U.S. force that had been building up in Veracruz under the command of General Frederick Funston (who had commanded the initial occupation in 1914) advances on Mexico City which he takes in February. Carranza flees to Guadalajara. Pershing advances to the key northern rail junction of Torreon.

In the meantime, anti-American demonstrations are erupting throughout Latin America while Argentina, Brazil and Chile are attempting to mediate between the two countries.

However, Gen. Alvaro Obregon is operating behind the scenes to kill two birds with one stone. Under the guise of coordinating movements with Villa, he is able to lure Villa out with a concentrated force. This force is routed by the Americans who were alerted to this, very indirectly, by Obregon and Villa is killed in the retreat. The U.S. is able to declare victory and begins withdrawing its forces from Mexico. The withdrawal is arranged so that Obregon is able to enter Mexico City ahead of Carranza. American forces are totally out of Mexico by the end of 1917.

Although the United States can claim victory, it has left behind considerable anti-American sentiment throughout Mexico that could bear bitter fruit in the long-term. On the other hand, it sufficiently impressed Carranza that he didn't called a Constitutional Convention (as he did OTL) because he feared anti-American sentiment would push through measures like confiscation of American assets in Mexico which would trigger another American invasion. On the other hand, he could appease radical opinion by not acting against anticlerical depredations against Church property. This leads to a Cristero rebellion beginning in 1919.

In the United States, raising a force of 200,000 for a campaign in Mexico doesn't require the mobilization that raising and sending a million troops to France did OTL. Consequently there is no: Selective Service Act, Espionage Act, Trading-with-the-Enemy Act or Sedition Act. With no suppression of anti-war dissent and no Red Scare, you don't have the curtailment of civil liberties that took place OTL. Emma Goldman and Eugene Debs aren't jailed, the IWW and other radical groups aren't targeted, periodicals like The Masses aren't driven out of business because of the Post Office's refusal to distribute them. The ACLU isn't formed. Overall, the radical left is still extant in the U.S.

I'm not even going to try to guess at the impact of literature of there being no “Lost Generation”. Macsporan, if Berlin also sees “wealthy Germans unwound after generations of self-denial and self-discipline”, does it see artistic innovation as well?

I see what I can work out for the 1920 Presidential Election. I'm also trying to ascertain the impact of WWI on Prohibition. There was already an active movement, The Anti-Saloon League, that had gotten many states to go “dry” but the war was supposed to have contributed by 1) inducing the Federal govt. to curtail the use of grain in distilleries to preserve food and 2) the sentiment against Germans in America going so far as to include beer.

Posted on Thursday, December 19, 2002 - 09:25 pm by Zach Rosen:

Here is revised South Africa.

The Union of South Africa: 1917 - 1919

South Africa's Afrikaner population breathed a sigh of relief as their British overlords did not force them into conflict against their friends, the Germans.

Their relief did not last long. With the war over, and their banks fat with profits, many British gazed longingly at the beautiful beaches and the wide open veld of South Africa. British immigration increased tenfold.

This was not received well by the Afrikaner population. At this time in South Africa, the “racial question” referred not to differences between whites and blacks, but to tensions between English-speaking Whites and Dutch-descended Afrikaners.

The South African Party of Jan Smuts and Louis Botha lost support in much of the Transvaal and Orange Free State because of their “radically pro-British policies”. In Cape Province and Natal, English whites began to slowly close the numerical gap with the Boers.

In 1919, Prime Minister Botha died, and was replaced by Smuts. He was largely supported by English-speakign whites, and resented by Afrikaners. The Nationalist Party, led by radical Afrikaner John Barry Hertzog, gained much ground in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, riding the rising wave of anti-British sentiment.

New British immigrants were appalled at the harsh segregation and racism of the Afrikaners. They began lobbying their provincial governments for changes in these laws. Though their numbers were increasing, the English-speaking whites still did not have a majority in any province, so their agitating failed.

Posted on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 01:12 am by Macsporan:

Now that our world has settled down after the turmoils of the European War we can advance in larger blocks of time.

I now propose to go in one leap from 1919-1926.

Fire Eagle/Snow Bear 1919-26: Et in Arcadia Ego

The general characteristics of the world in ATL will be in many respects quite paradisaical. With all the major geo-political issues of the 19th century settled in a manner likely to promote contentment, stability, prosperity and happiness, at a cost great enough to deter further military adventurism but not great enough to unhinge Europe either financially or spiritually, and with totalitarianism left in the realm of nightmares, we are looking at very green and pleasant land indeed. The so-called “Roaring Twenties” of OTL are but a moon-cast shadow compared to what transpires here.

The youthful challenge to the pompous artistic and ideological certainties of 19th Century bourgeois civilisation was well advanced by 1914. Here it continues at full power, all the more so because so many talents and intellects who would have enriched it have not been ground into the mud of France and Flanders, or slaughtered like cattle on the knife-edged hills above the Isonzo. At the same time there is a solidity underneath the adventurous gaiety, a confidence in the perfectibility of the world, an intoxicating feeling that nothing is beyond the reach of the human heart and mind. This is both expressed and further stimulated by the all but universal triumph of the Left, though exactly what that means varies from place to place. Artistic cultural and intellectual ferment such as the West had not seen since the Renaissance was leading the adventurous spirits of the age forth on some tremendous journey to some fair place no man or woman had ever seen.

It was as if the excitement of OTL's 1920's was combined with that of the 1960's and taken to a higher plane, for far less than either, this was largely free of the shadow of war and bitterness. German and Austrian battle-losses had been high by previous standards but they had been rewarded by swift victory against a foe simultaneously worthy and contemptible. The war to end war had been fought and won, and everywhere, it seemed, it had made a safe world for democracy. Even in glumly-defeated, strife-torn France things returned rapidly to normal and the bracing sea-breeze of optimism sweeping across the Atlantic and the Channel soon sweetened the air.

For those defending the old ways things are good also; the institutions of liberal capitalism, now further strengthened almost everywhere by a small but effective welfare-state, had never functioned so well, and for those needing it, reassuring father-figure monarchs still reigned, providing a tangible link with the glories of the past. These institutions and ideas have not been utterly discredited by suicidal total war or challenged by an insane, murderous ideology of tyranny and raw power. The war, in which casualties had been less than a third of OTL, had shocked the conscience of the world and a strong pacifism mingled in the hearts even of those who found much to admire in the heroism and self-sacrifice of the soldiers. Political conflict, which of course continued, was good-humoured, with each side willing to concede fair intentions to the other, if continuing to disagree on much else.

Economies continued to prosper. The post-war downturn was met and overcome through judicious statesmanship and the cornucopia of investment opportunities that the German-Austrian victory over Russia had uncovered.

But even at this time, in the fringes of the new golden civilisation, dark things were stirring in dark hearts.

Russia, April 1922

The church hall is old and decrepit. The broken windows let in the crisp spring breeze, flickering candle and lantern, but it is full of men, rough combat veterans, hungry, pallid merchants, craftsmen and manufacturers ruined by defeat, a cluster of sturdy, earnest workers, even a couple of Orthodox priests.

These last, no strangers to a rousing sermon, shake their heads in silent wonder, for never have they heard anything like this.

Aleksi Gridenko stands before them all, his veins huge on is sweat-dripping forehead, his hands clawing and unclawing with passion, his eyes blazing like dark diamonds to the remotest corner of the breathless hall as his harsh, hypnotic speech climaxes. They yell discordant, incoherent approval at every pause.

“Mother Russia stands, bleeding, weeping, screaming; her beautiful arms hacked from her white body lie in the gutters of filth and shame, while the sniggering German fiend wipes his blade upon her bloody robe and the Ukraine vermin thrusts his traitor's gold in her mouth with filthy hands! Can we endure this?! Is there any here who would stand aide as his mother is butchered and raped by syphilitic western scum? NO, I say! Though the heavens fall ten thousand times, it shall not be! Not while one Russian man can wield a bayonet, not while one Russian child can carry a bullet, not while one Russian girl can pull a trigger! We shall arise and take back what is ours! Mother Russia, by a miracle made whole, shall sweep invincible to the sunset till all her children are gathered to her, from the Chinese Sea to the rivers of Poland. Let he who stands before us tremble! Death to the German-Mongol invader! Death to the Judas Ukraine! MAY OUR ENEMIES PERISH, BY THE SWORD!”

His audience, tough men who have seen the worst that death can do, weep like children. Some fall to the floor and writhe, their reason blasted away by the dark majesty of his words. They do not applaud, they make an animal scream of rage and pain that echoes far in the trembling night as their fists thrust high.

When at last they cease, exhausted, in tears of patriotism, some panting with fury and distress, Vladimir Radasheko, Gridenko's head of propaganda, approaches shyly, like a young child to some stern patriarch. He cannot endure those terrible eyes.

After a long, dreadful pause Gridenko speaks again, more softly now but just as insistent, “These are good men, Radasheko, but we need more of them.” There is a great murmur of agreement. “We must spread our word more widely. Some must go to other cities. Not Moscow yet, for it is full of vipers. Some must go into the countryside for there, uncorrupted by city Jews, the true Russia lies. We must move soon, for our Motherland grows weaker day by day under this flabby democracy of traitors. Yet let us attempt nothing beyond our strength. It is more important that what we start, we finish. Our power shall spread slowly, but in the end it must be invincible. Let those with money make more for our cause. Let them give freely that those without work may go forth into the world. I will be with them in my thought and the Angel of Russia shall watch over them. See to it, Radasheko!”

As if the words were torn from him by some other power he responds, “Yes, Rukavaditiel. It will be as you command!”

Gridenko's smile is feral, “You call me that? It is fitting. So shall it be to all my followers until Russia lives or I die.” The smile vanishes like a snuffed-out candle. “See to it! You have a week.”

Without another word he dons his old army greatcoat stained with the mud and blood of the trenches and sweeps from the hall followed by his two hulking bodyguards.

Within seconds he is seated in the back seat of his car creeping bumpily on bad, slushy roads through the dim Voronezh night to the mansion on the town's outskirts donated by one of his wealthy followers. The black windscreen-wipers sweep away, again and again, the clinging flakes of fluffy, translucent snow that float down, fragile in the wan, yellow headlights.

Almost to himself Gridenko murmurs, “It has begun,” and he laughs long, eerie with hate, as if some nameless thing has taken his voice.

His bodyguard-driver's hair prickles on the back of his neck and his hands whiten on the wheel. His name is Serge Zhanadov, formerly the same policeman who years ago so light-heartedly tore down the one of the first Nafobor posters. Just for a moment he wonders why he is here and who is this man he would die for. But Russia must live again. Nothing else matters. The night crawls past, flecked with pale lights.

Would someone like to start with the Hapsburg Triple Monarchy?

Posted on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 09:39 pm by Zach Rosen:

Russia: 1920-1926

1920-1924 in Russia saw the rebuilding process continue, as Russians all across the country worked to better their lot. The Russian government had begun a program the previous year, offering financial incentives for students to go abroad for higher education, and then return with their skills to the motherland after a few years. It was working, as young men and women were being leaving in droves, traveling to France, Britain, and the US for education. All declared their intent to return to the Rodina in a few years’ time and aid their countrymen (though, all would be returning whether they desired to or not).

Russia’s efforts to attract foreign teachers to educate the vastly illiterate population were paying off; there were American, British, and French teachers scattered throughout the countryside, educating the masses. These often went hand-in-hand with the new rural health clinics, which were as-of-yet still mostly staffed by foreign aid workers. These were also showing promise, as the rate of preventable deaths began to go down. The infant-mortality rate was also decreasing. Finally, farmers were beginning to exploit Russia’s arable land, and greatly reduced the country’s dependence on foreign food.

The government’s industrial modernization program made almost no ground, as there was no money or time to go toward it. Right now, attention was being focused on how to improve the general lot of Russia’s masses.

Things began to turn around in 1925, when the foreign-educated Russians began to return, with all sorts of new ideas about politics, economics, and industry. Historians would write that this was the time when Russia’s post-war recovery really began to pick up steam. Many of the educated became the educators, and began teaching droves of now-literate Russians new technology and the new ideas that went along with them.

Foreign governments saw how Russia had begun to pull herself out of the mud, and encouraged corporations to consider Russia as a golden opportunity. The governments themselves approved larger aid packages. American and British mining companies began to wonder what lay in that vast land called Siberia, and bought the right to explore and speculate. Nothing was expected to come of that, but it was a source of income for the government, so what the heck?

The most profound effect occurred in Russia’s ailing factories. Those with educations lobbied for government grants to build up industry, and the government, fresh with increased foreign-aid currency, said yes.

Though still in its infancy by 1926, industrialization had increased from a near-standstill to significant progress.

Politically, few things changed. The Constitution called for elections every six years, so 1924 was chosen as Russia’s second election year. The Kadets gained some ground, as the improvements were generally seen as their achievements. Because of small-but-significant improvements in industry and the resulting enlargement of the working class, the Mensheviks also picked up seats. The big losers here were the smaller and more radical parties, as they had been almost totally discredited by the victories of the Kadet-dominated Duma. Paul Miliukov was re-selected as Prime Minister. It appeared that Russia was on her way to a two-party parliamentary system most closely resembling the British system.

Historians will also note that it was around this time that a small, grass-roots party began to acquire a following in the city of Voronezh. It was called “Natsyonal’ny Front Dlya Obyedineniya Bol’shoi Rosiyi,” or “National Front for Greater Russian Unification.” It was totally unknown outside of Voronezh, and those inside the city barely paid any attention to it. It's tenets were not well-known, but people who attended its gatherings found themselves drawn to its mysterious, yet charismatic leader. His real name was unknown. People connected with the party simply called him “Rukavaditiel”, which in Russian means “Leader.”

Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 02:48 am by Macsporan:

The Hapsburg Triple Empire 1919-26

Despite, indeed because of, the large new acreages now obedient to the Hapsburg Crown, the wearer of that August headgear had little sleep in the first ten years of his memorable reign.

With the immediate political problems solve the Emperor Karl busied himself with the details of making the new system work, in essence how to keep the three components of his empire in balance without provoking any combination of them from secession.

For this reason he did not strip the Austrian or Hungarian parts of his domain of their Slavic underlings. He wanted to keep them as a counterweight against the Slavic bloc, which, since the conquest and annexation of Serbia and Russian Poland, not to mention parts of the Ukraine, far outnumbered and outweighed the two traditional master-races.

Fortunately these new areas had been deprived of civic rights after their conquest, giving him a chance to learn how to ride his empire with “training wheels” before the real problems begun.

Fortunately each of the blocs was divided within itself on racial, linguistic, religious, cultural and class lines, so by constant intrigue and subtle changes of settings he was able to keep them balanced, one against the other, and prevent the emergence of any coherent force capable of disrupting the whole delicate political structure.

Years of this exhausting and endless process gave him a deep sympathy for his Great-Uncle Franz-Joseph. It was almost as much as any mortal man could do to keep this quilt-crazy empire running, let alone change anything.

Yet with dogged courage he persisted in his reforms working 18-hour days for weeks at a time, ceaselessly touring his domains like a medieval monarch, seeing to this, organising that, interviewing people from all backgrounds, gauging opinion and initiating reforms and generally doing all he could to keep the ship afloat.

Chief amongst his projects was the reform of the Hapsburg bureaucracy from the ruinous state in which he found it at his Great-Uncle's death.

Merciless to incapacity and corruption, like a King of Demons amidst a flock of pantomime fairies, he streamlined, simplified and cut back the wildly luxuriant bureaucracy that had been throttling the lives of fifty million people in red tape.

Much had been done in this regard during the crash-industrialisation program during the war, but Karl followed it through with a rigour and fixity of purpose not seen in the government since Franz-Joseph fell into dotage.

He found ready allies in the academic, mercantile and industrial classes, who under the stuffy regime that had existed before 1916 had been considered too lowly to be presented at court, let alone be consulted in matters of state.

The widening of participation in administration engineered by allowing more Slavs into the system, allowed him to dispose of and bypass obstructionist Germans and Austrians bureaucrats and replace them with the most intelligent and the progressive people he could find.

As a result strong economic growth continued. Industrialisation proceed apace and new wealth joined new blood in the most complex body-politic in Europe.

The fruits of his labours were gathered in 1924 the five-year loss of civic rights came to an end for the newly conquered regions and the rebellious parts of Hungary. There were election that year and Karl, unable to make any sense of the contradictory reports of public feeling reaching his desk, feared an explosion of seditious sentiment. He put the Imperial and Royal army on alert and waited.

To the relief and astonishment of all, none came, and a relieved Karl enjoyed sacking the officials who had got it so badly wrong.

The new structure of the empire, the patronage it extended to groups, peoples and classes hitherto excluded, combined with the destruction of troublemaking Slavic champion Russia and its attack-dog Serbia, had given the peoples of Central Europe a whole new respect for the Hapsburg Empire. Nor had the young Emperor's ceaseless labours on behalf of his people gone unnoticed.

The election of responsible, loyalist deputies ready and willing to work with each other and the Emperor for the common good followed. All over the land people stood for the Imperial Anthem and saluted the Imperial flag which was, more than ever before, their own.

The sole exception was Serbia itself. On learning of seditious demonstrations the no-nonsense Emperor had the army put them down, arrested, arraigned and executed the ringleaders for treason, and put the place under martial law once again. He renewed his efforts at conciliation so successfully that he was able to lift it in about a year and the Serbs sent their delegates to the Imperial parliament in Vienna.

The newly reformed intelligence services carefully and ruthlessly infiltrated and destroyed any terrorist organisations on Imperial soil. Hapsburg officials in Serbia, most of them now Serbs, could carry out their duties without fear.

In foreign affairs the Emperor had an easier time of it. Bulgaria, Rumania and Greece, previously antagonistic and troublesome to the decaying empire, now walked very softly in the presence of His Apostolic Majesty, mindful of the fate of Serbia, and fearful of the might of this revived and increasingly coherent Great Power.

Relations with Germany, forged anew in the fires of war, were excellent. Relations with the new states of Eastern Europe, including Most Favoured Nation agreements with the Ukraine were energetically pursued. The canny Ukrainians declined to walk into so obvious a trap and see their room to manoeuvre in economic matters, and a good part of their national sovereignty, disappear before their eyes. Nonetheless a fairly favourable agreement, guaranteeing access to each other's markets was indeed negotiated.

If the insomniac, workaholic sovereign had time to notice it he would have enjoyed and appreciated the tremendous artistic and cultural effloresce that graced his reign.

Vienna, its traditional gaiety and exuberance but little diminished by the new efficiency of the Emperor's bureaucrats, but greatly stimulated by the new freedom accorded all his subjects, flourished as never before.

Pictorial and plastic arts, dance, theatre, the new medium of film, philosophy, science and technology explored strange new worlds, with a confidence born of prosperity and stability that could be taken for granted.

Under Imperial patronage the Vienna Academy for the Advancement of Science, now largely rid of the disfiguring anti-Semitism of the past, attracted such luminaries as Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein.

The Vienna Academy for Fine Arts had a place for an eccentric young painter called Adolph Hitler, who, returning to his homeland after service in the German army during the war, graduated in the middle of his class and settled down to an uneventful life as an suburban architectural and landscape artist, attracting a small but dedicated following.

With the election of 1924 out of the way the hard-working young monarch, confident that the empire was now running well, could afford to relax a bit himself.

During the Anglo-Turkish War he joined his German allies in pressing for peace, freedom of commerce and an end to the persecution of minorities within the moribund empire. He was pleased to host he Congress of Prague that tidied up all the loose ends of that conflict, where all remarked on his intelligence, good-sense and shrewdness; and the grace and unassuming simplicity of his beautiful, fecund and strong-minded Empress.

Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 06:15 am by Jonathan Kan:

Macsporan, Zach, Rafi, and Bill:

This is by far the best TL in this discussion borad! It's very tempting for me to do the East Asian part (mainly China and Japan. With the interaction vis a vis GB, USA and Russia) of this TL. But I'm not sure if I have enough spare time to do so. But before I can offer you a rough darft, I want to make sure one vital thing: did Japan ever join the “European War” (BTW, IMHO “Two Years War” might be a better name. Remember countness of wars took place in Europa since the dawn of men).

I guess when the War broke out during 1914. GB would want Japan to stay neutral and maintaing peace and order on Far East. Japan, of course, thought otherwise. For them, this is a God(oh, Kami)-sent opportunity to expend the Empire. At the very beginning, German processions seem to be the most logical target. However, once they found out German tried to KO Russia first, Imperial Japanese Army had a second thought: ever after the Meji Reformation, the IJA regard Czarist Russia as the the most dangerous enemy. When Russia was drove to the point of exhaustion, it would be a chance to finish off the threat once and for all…

So, guys, what path would Japan took (or they would even behave themselves and stay neutral till the end)? If Japan declare war on her own, would it violate The Anglo-Japanese Alliance? I read the article ( and I'm unsure.

Some other things: 1). Would Wilson able to voice his Internationist ideals (14 points; “National Self-Determination”) in TTL? 2). With the War ended in bitterness, would France impose a much harsher rule on their colonies? If so, would the mean early troubles on Indo-China and Algeria?



Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 06:19 am by Bill Bruno:

Anon, bear in mind that the voting system for the Duma in this TL will be different from the voting system for the post-February Revolution Constituent Assembly.

If you look at the Duma elections OTL, it seems that much depends on party participation and how you structure the election system.

My numbers for the Duma elections are taken from Don Rawson's, Russian Rightists and the 1905 Revolution, Orlando Figes' A People's Tragedy. Some of the entries are party names, some are just characterizations of their position in the ideological spectrum.

The left parties boycotted the First Duma: Kadets–182 Progressives–36 Octobrists–26 Rightists–6

They did take part in the elections for the Second Duma. From left to right: Socialists-Democrats–65 Socialist-Revolutionaries–37 Popular Socialists–16 Trudoviks (Labor)–104 (Trudoviks were in agrarian party who advocated land reform through expropriation of gentry property) Total of 222 seats in the Socialist bloc out of 478 total.

Kadets–98 or 100 with about 114 other centrist or rightist deputies.

Stolypin then pushed through an arguably illegal change in the election law and the Third Duma was more conservative. The pro-government parties Octobrists–151 Nationalists and rights had about 144 leading to a bloc of 295 out of 443 seats (Figes gives the bloc a total of 287).

Kadets–51 Trudoviks–14 SDs–15

Ultimately, Anon, I think you make a challenging point. Can the centre hold? Perhaps that needs to be reconsidered. If you push through an election system that is designed to be pro-government, perhaps the Kadets get boxed out. If you open it up, do the Kadets lose out to more radical parties? To reiterate, much depends on whether the radical left parties boycott or are perhaps somehow barred from running.

I think you also make a good point about a new generation of Bolshevik leaders.

One other note, at what point does Gridenko come in contact with existing right-wing parties. It seems that he would, at some point, join an existing movement and take it over.

Posted on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 10:56 pm:

France 1919-26

The lot of France continued to be unhappy. Although prosperity has returned the nation was haunted by the dead of a futile war and racked by on-going political violence.

The Right remained convinced that only treason prevented victory and looked towards replacing the democracy with some form of government that would unleash the true ferocity of the French soldier in another war of revenge for the war of revenge.

The Left saw the war either as an imperialist-capitalist conspiracy against the innocent workers or as a defeat engineered by highly- placed Rightist traitors plotting in collusion with the Germans the downfall of French democracy and socialism.

In this situation every election, national, provincial and local became a battleground for rival gangs of fanatics. Street-fighting was common. Heavy police presence and in particularly bad situations, troops on the streets were required to permit the electoral process to continue.

To foreign observers it seemed that democracy was dying in the place of its birth. Terrorist groups of both sides of the spectrum were active. Bombs went off regularly.

They were right, for there was one thing that both sides were agreed on was that the effete democracy, that allowed treason to flourish, must be destroyed. France belonged to the first faction to overcome their internal divisions.

In this situation with the nation ravaged by implacable hatreds it was impossible to create stable national coalitions. Governments were short-lived and rose and fell at the mercy of any accident of personality and circumstance. In such a situation firm and stable rule was impossible as every party seemed to have no ambition other than thwarting every other.

On painful consequence of this was that France missed the bus in the Anglo-Turkish War. As a traditional crusading nation France was approached by her old enemy to join it by way of mending fences. Political paralysis and lingering resentment from the European War kept France out of the war until it was too late. The French First Corps was still unloading at Gaza when the fighting came to an end.

At home, with no one to keep and eye on the bureaucrats, honest and orderly administration gradually broke down. By 1925 it looked to many as if France was about to disintegrate into civil war.

But appearance was worse than reality. As she had done so many times before France pulled herself back from the brink in the nick of time. Moderate rightist and centre parties rallied under the formidable “Croix de Feu ” organisation—under its stalwart leader Lt. Col. Francois de la Rocque who saw himself as a man chosen by God to save the Fatherland from communists, monarchists and Jews—and shouldered aside the last of the inept coalition governments.

Once installed as Premier, this stern patriarch suppressed the extremist parties of Left and Right, putting their leaders on trial for treason. One or two went to the guillotine and that was enough to cow the others for some time to come. The political activities of Trades Unions were severely curtailed, civil disabilities were reintroduced against the Jews and “patriotic” limits set on freedom of the Press. The Catholic Church quietly regained some of the influence it had lost since 1905, though de la Rocque was as wary of extremist clericalism as he was of any other extremism save his own.

Most Frenchmen were pleased that stable and effective government had been restored for the first time since 1916 and that the trains at least were running on time.

The Germans, curious though by no means alarmed, quietly mobilised a couple of army corps and the frontier and waited to see if this strange, new government would do anything to them.

But having taken a long, hard look at the state of French preparedness Lt. Col. Francois de la Rocque declared, “First Prepare, then Revenge!” The Germans stood down.

But preparations were of a unique nature. As the inventors of armoured warfare and observers of the English efforts in the Middle East, now lead by an ultra-nationalist regime dedicated to the downfall of Germany, the new theories of Tank zealot Colonel Charles de Gaulle were given the green light. The integrated armoured division had left the drawing board and was well on the way to reality.

Posted on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 06:17 pm by Zach Rosen:

Russia: 1926-1930

The economic industrialization of Russia exploded after 1926 for a number of reasons. First Prime Minister Kerensky sent an important financial mission to Wall Street and, after a series of meetings with leading Wall Street financiers, vast financial loans were signed over to the Russian government for industrial expansion.

Following the financier’s example, large corporations [deleted phrase; Standard Oil had been broken up] started to build gigantic factories in the now booming Russian Market. Across post-war Petrograd, Moscow, and the Urals, the factories built with American funds proved a powerful attraction to the peasant migrants from the impoverished villages of rural Russia.

Meanwhile, the top graduates, many from overseas universities, became rich working for the foreign corporations, though an increasing number were hired by homegrown Russian firms. This led to leftist criticism that a new elite had planted itself in Russia’s upper class.

Furthermore, the new public education system was showing signs of life, as more and more Russians were educated. The many village schools, secondary schools, technical colleges, and state universities poured out a trained workforce prepared for the rigors of modern factory and office existence.

Apart from the rise of the enterprising capitalist who was so heavily criticized by leftwing social commentators and traditional Muscovite Orthodox moralizers, there was a second social phenomenon much discussed in 20’s Russia. That was the enterprising peasant–the hard working Kulak with his horses and comfortable homestead, who sent his children to the new local schools built by the State, and with social ambitions to break into local establishment long dominated by the rural land-owning aristocracy. Their urbanite counterparts were leading the new Russian middle class, and this was having a strong cultural impact in the world of Russia’s cities and towns. The new, successful ex-peasant/worker and now burgeoning lower middle class small tradesmen were an inspiration for countless ambitious young peasants. Moreover, this middle class growth tended to vote for the liberal centrist parties, most notably the Kadets, but conservative rightist parties also competed for the small ‘Middle Russia’ political niche.

As is usual in Russia, real power was concentrated around a wealthy and powerful ruling elite. These professionals consolidated their extralegal hold over the political Establishment. The shadier elements, referred disparagingly as the Nepmen with their semi-legal activities in the underground, furiously competed on the Russian stock market with successful Russian businessmen made rich in the industrial boom post-1926.

In Moscow a Millionaires Club opened while the financiers, well connected with their Wall Street associates, developed independent Russian investment banks during the later twenties. These international financiers and the power oligarchs that controlled the top Russian banks had a powerful influence in Russian political affairs. The most direct example of this was the funding of the political parties. The conservative-monarchist parties attracted most of the funding from Russian financiers-bankers. But the liberal Kadets and an assortment of far right parities were also funded. Many of the newer, younger, ‘new elite’ bankers, businessmen and financiers were attracted to the authoritarian, anti-western state corporatism of the Far Right.

Among many of the far right-quasi-fascistic parities was the little known NFOBR, led by charismatic Aleksi Gridenko and these gained considerable funds after gaining their first seat in the Duma in 1926.

Politically Prime Minister Kerensky found himself in increasingly muddy waters after the short honeymoon period in 1926. Although industrial Russia boomed, the agricultural sector sagged with worldwide depression in farming and foodstuffs.

Despite the US efforts at modernizing the agricultural methods of the peasantry, little had been done and most peasants still worked with the plough instead of the tractor. Moreover, with the loss of the rich Ukraine during the European War, the most fertile black-soil area of Russia was in a foreign country.

The trauma of the peasants gained increasing political importance, and the different parties had their own solutions to the problem. The Kadets argued that until Russian agriculture joined the modern age it would remain poor and backward. The Mensheviks advocated further land distribution and State support for modernization. The radical left wing of the party instead suggested the idea of collectivization. This was a highly controversial idea, although it did have official support from the Bolsheviks. The far right argued that economic nationalism and agricultural modernization would protect and reform the state of the soil of the Rodina. Finally the conservative-monarchist parities had little sympathy for the peasants and implied that they should just cope with the inevitable global depression.

The left-center coalition Kerensky ruled over faced considerable internal dissent. The Right of the Kadet party disliked the limited worker protection laws passed in 1927, while the leftwing of the Mensheviks distrusted the bourgeois liberal constitutionalists. Moreover, they wondered whether Teflon Kerensky–as the sophisticated leftie-liberal Moscow Telegraph called him–had any core political beliefs, or if he even cared about the working masses.

Frustration about the progress of worker legislation led to a rise among the Russian labor to a renewed growth of support for radicalism. The obvious wealth of the capitalists angered many workers who had to work ten hours or more a day. The legal trade unions, dominated since the early twenties by moderate Mensheviks, faced grass-roots revolts by members with Bolshevik sympathies. The militants, many of them Bolshevik supporters and activists, led calls for a new tough strategy toward the rich capitalists. By 1928 they gained control over three large trade unions. Only in the smaller, more specialist trade unions, where the better-off worker strata resided, were the Mensheviks all-powerful; since these were beneficiaries of the industrial New Order, they were quite happy with the Mensheviks.

Political pressures on Kerensky forced him look for the Bolshevik Duma deputies’ votes and in May 1926 Vladimir Ilych Lenin was finally released from the gulag. Ironically the man most suspicious of Lenin and who showed least enthusiasm for the return of the old Bolshevik chief, Alexander Bogdanov, discovered that the old friendship had returned. Amid thousands of excited supporters a tired but enlivened Lenin appeared at Moscow Central Railway station and was quickly swept away by Bolshevik leaders after a short speech to the waiting crowd. During the last months in prison before his release, Lenin wrote his new ideas in a book entitled The New Course. Lenin argued that the Bolsheviks should prepare for a twin approach to revolution: mobilizing the Russian proletariat, and developing a trained revolutionary vanguard to take over the State once instability inevitably returns. Even so, Lenin remarked to his select audience, he opposed to the radicals within the party who advocated imminent overthrow of the capitalist-monarchist state. Since the Russian officer corps was dominated by conservatives and anti-Communists, any Bolshevik-attempted coup would be a disaster. Lenin argued that through Bolshevik take-overs of the legal trade unions, the mass of the workers can be mobilized to demand a true socialist government and the disbandment of the Czarism. Only in this proto-revolutionary situation can soviets be established and a socialist (Bolshevik-dominated) government installed. For the short term, Lenin advocated Bolshevik participation in the Duma and the garnering of support and the spread of Bolshevik propaganda among the workers, particularly in Petrograd and Moscow for strategic reasons.

The speech goes down reasonably well with the audience, and in particular Bogdonov, who has been a long advocate of a mass cultural education for the new “proletariat consciousness.” He supports Lenin’s opinion that the Bolsheviks need to focus on worker bread-and-butter issues and link this with the overall “liberal-democratic-capitalist oppression” of the proletariat.

The squabbling Bolsheviks quickly adapt to the return of the chief and Lenin establishes a close political relationship with Bogdonov. Lenin orders the rising star Kirov to build up a terrorist underground throughout Russia. Thanks to the ending of the Cheka, there was no real opposition from law enforcement. The National Police were totally oblivious to the Bolshevik threat.

Lenin’s goal was the successful assassination of the Czar, but he knew that it was extremely difficult to assassinate His Majesty of Russia. Over the next year, the poorer elements among the workers started to flock to the Bolsheviks. They were attracted by the simpler, more brutal political ideology of the Bolsheviks.

Within the environs of the Winter Palace, known universally as “the Court,” His Majesty resided. The Czar was in a difficult position. Russia was in the midst of two world-mentalities. The first, still powerful among many of the population, was the primitive reverence of the “Little-father,” the Czar, the father figure of the Rodina. The Czar’s admirers and supporters among the monarchist propagandists constantly played on the traditional reverence with their spiritual allies, the conservative Orthodox Church.

Autocracy, although unpopular and unfashionable within the expensive districts of the Petrograd liberal metropolitan elite, still had its supporters in the more conservative provinces of Mother Russia. The Czar was highly suspicious of the radical Left in Russia, in particular the Bolsheviks, who the Court saw as a direct internal threat.

Ambitious arch-monarchist royal courtiers, intrigued with the rich bankers and financiers of Petrograd, made numerous shadowy deals, pouring money into anti-democratic, rightwing, monarchist parties across Russia throughout the later twenties. Rumors abounded that the Tsar had unfulfilled political ambitions, and that His Majesty would let his wishes be known.

The reality was less insidious. While Nicholas was rightist and anti-left, he did not wish for a return to absolutism. That wasn’t going to stop him from funding the conservative and ultra-right groups, though.

The growing criticism of the Kerensky left-center coalition was spearheaded by rabid, ultra-nationalistic demagogues who populated Petrograd center. Within the Duma there were many who criticized the failure of the Russian government to intervene in the Anglo-Turkish war during the early twenties.

Others denounced Kerensky as a national traitor who didn’t restore the Empire and take on the Germans who eviscerated Russia and destroyed her reputation. These far-rightists advocated massive rearmament. The aforementioned grassroots party, the NFOBR, increased in popularity. Its little known leader, Aleksi Gridenko, was an increasingly popular figure in far right political newspapers.

Nation-wide local elections were held across Russia in 1928 and the results are a shock to savvy political commentators. The public, angry about the agricultural depression and the failure of the government to deal with it effectively, and feeling that they have little influence in the political system, voted for the political extremes in much larger numbers.

The Bolsheviks did well, and gained a large minority of the seats in the Petrograd City Assembly, while gains occurred across towns and cities where poorer workers predominate. Meanwhile, in the countryside, populist, rightist, and leftist parties that appealed to the peasantry with their promises of relief from the agrarian depression, gained massive support. Although the radical Populists do well, so do different regional far-rightist parties with their anti-elitist message, including the NFOBR.

Tarred as “Black Hundreds” by their political opponents because of their anti-western and anti-Semitic programs, these far-rightist parties appealed to the peasants’ baser instincts, and a number of local pogroms occur before order is restored. Even so, despite the losses of the established left-wing parties, the Kadets slightly gained, thanks to their support of the urban middle class, while the conservative parties also marginally benefited. The losses of the moderate left were a serious blow to Kerensky, and with Duma elections only two years away, it seemed that the shift to the Right may lead to the ousting of Russia’s Prime Minister.

Despite signs of political instability, the rapid industrialization of Russia continued unabated throughout 1928-29, and millions of peasant-migrants flocked to the cities for jobs. Much of Russia’s modernization was funded by soft American financial loans, and like a house of cards, they could collapse at anytime. For many, though, disturbing new trends occurred which could threaten the fragile bubble of rapid economic expansion.

Lenin had ordered his followers in the trade union movement to use worker discontent over pay and living conditions to full advantage. A series of strikes in the main cities across Russia in 1928-29 shook the nation; it seemed that far-left extremists were threatening the nation’s new prosperity, and this deeply worried the Russian ruling Establishment. Secretly, the development of the terrorist movement continued and Kirov comprehensively set up small cells across the nation.

In the countryside peasant patience was running out and a feared famine in 1929 led to widespread disturbances in across rural Russia. Prime Minister Kerensky–-now quite unpopular among the public–-ordered the Army and police to restore order.

Kerensky finally agreed to an ambitious agricultural relief package to help struggling peasants. The Russian premier had opposed the package because of the financial implications. Already Russia’s economy was increasingly unstable, and expenditures were fast rising above revenue. Only continued loans from Wall Street kept the Russian economies dizzy industrialization continuing at its breakneck speed. A crash could derail the entire economy into financial disaster.

The Russian financiers were angry with Kerensky because he seemed to be threatening Russia’s industrial expansion because of populist pressure by the rural lobby. They took revenge by large-scale financial donations to Kerensky political opponents. Starved of funds, the Kadets and the Leftwing within the coalition now openly plotted and intrigued against the beleaguered Prime Minister Kerensky. On the 9th February 1929 the Kadets finally withdraw from the government coalition and, under pressure from all, the premier resigned. New elections were called and all political actors prepared for one of the most important General Elections in modern Russian history.

John Waverly looked up at the simple, quiet figure across the table from him. The Russian was unimposing and appeared benign, yet his eyes betrayed a mind far more complex and intelligent than one would expect of a peasant. Looking at him across a smoke-filled room, Waverly could tell there was more there than met the eye. “So, just what are you asking of my firm?” he asked. “Simple,” said the Russian. “The government is in disarray; plagued by Bolshevik traitors and leftist scum. Order must return.” He gestured around the room, pointing at the various international bankers and financiers that had assembled. “You all have interests here. Without order, none of you can profit.” There were nods around the table. “Would you rather some communist Bolshevik scum take over, and throw out your banks and nationalize your factories, or would you support a true patriot, one who will bring back prosperity?” Waverly could see that many of the men at the table were starting to be won over. “My corporation is willing to make a generous donation to your cause, Mr. Gridenko,” said one of the Americans. “We believe you have the best interests of the Russian people at heart, and that you do desire to return prosperity to your great land.” The Russian nodded his head in thanks. One by one, each other man around the table stood up and made a similar pledge. There were Germans, Austrians, Americans, and fellow Britons. Each promised the Russian a substantial sum. “What about you Ed?” asked one of the Americans. “How do you feel about this?” Ed sat forward in his chair. “Gentlemen, the US government cannot officially interfere with the internal politics of another nation, especially one it is at peace with. However, we have no qualm with any private citizen who wishes to make a humanitarian donation.” He stood up. “The FBI will not prosecute you for spending your money how you wish. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a car to catch. I am on my way back to Washington, where I will report to the President.” Ed pushed his chair in, and exited the room. Waverly knew the man. He was a top official in the Americans’ FBI. Apparently the US government had felt it necessary to send a representative to monitor the activities of some of its more prosperous citizens. And apparently, it approved of what it saw. Gridenko turned and looked directly at Waverly. He felt as if those cold, blue eyes could see into his very soul; that they could pierce his heart and reveal his identity for all to see. “What of you, my fine English friend?” Gridenko asked in a soothing voice. Waverly fought to retain his composure under the intense scrutiny of those eyes. “I believe my firm would be happy to donate funds to our cause. However, we are short of hard currency at the moment, and I’m afraid we won’t be able to be making any long-term investments right now.” Waverly could feel the anger seething inside a man not used to being denied. Then it was gone, and the calm, cool exterior closed over his fiery soul. “If that is the way your company feels, then I respect that,” said Gridenko. “But, because you have chosen to end your membership in this group, I must ask you to leave.” Both men stood up, and Gridenko offered his hand. Waverly took it, and instantly he felt a shock of electricity shoot through his arm and jolt his heart. The feeling was instantaneous, and he managed not to let it show through. “Thank you for the invitation, sir,” said Waverly. Gridenko looked at him again with those cold, blue eyes. “You are quite welcome. And I hope in the future our two groups will become close friends.” Waverly nodded and withdrew his hand. He quickly exited the restaurant and headed down the deserted Petrograd street. By God, he was going to get this to London as soon as possible! Waverly had fought in the Anglo-Turkish war, his assignment being with Armenian intelligence near the Russian border. After the war, he had been transferred to full-time intelligence work, and sent to Russia. His cover was as a Vice President of a British financial group. The firm was a front; it was totally funded and staffed by British intelligence. He had received the invitation to the dinner earlier that week, and had been instructed by London to attend and see what he could learn about the new Russian political figure. As he walked down the street, he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. A lone automobile was parked by the side of the road, its tires turned toward the curve. Oh Dear God, he thought. That was the emergency signal. One of his sources inside the NFOBR was in trouble, and had left the car there as a signal to his handler that he needed help. Waverly began walking again, faster this time, toward the man’s flat. He reached the door, and saw it was slightly ajar. He withdrew his small revolver from his coat, and crept into the dark flat. He saw nothing out of the ordinary. Then, as he entered the kitchen, a horrific display met his eyes. The man was lying on the ground, his eyes permanently open. His throat had been cut, and blood lay pooled around his head. On the wall, smeared in the man’s blood, was a symbol. The Nafobor symbol. Fear hit Waverly quickly, and he whirled, intending to race for the door. A local Petrograd policeman wrinkled his nose as he stared at the dead body. A photographer took pictures, and other officers rooted around the alley looking for small bits of evidence. The body had been there for about twelve hours, the medical examiner told him. The cause of death was a slit throat. The murder had not occurred there, the ME told the cop, because there was no blood anywhere in the alley. The man must have bled out somewhere else, then been dumped here. “Pytor,” yelled the officer, “get over here.” Another detective joined him. “Yes Georgi?” Georgi stooped over, and grabbed the man’s mouth. “Look there,” he said, pointing to the corpse’s teeth. “This man isn’t a Russian. Look at the dental work.” Pytor nodded. “American, or British from his looks, I’d say.” “Damn,” said Georgi. “When will these beastly foreigners learn that the streets aren’t safe at night?” Pytor shrugged. “Damned if I know.” He grabbed his comrade’s shoulder. “Come on. Chalk it up to some robbers or something. I’m tired anyway. Let’s go grab some vodka at the bar over on Ivanov Street.” Georgi nodded and turned away from the corpse. A stretcher team hefted it up, and carried it away to the ambulence.

The political parties started campaigning. The Bolsheviks fought on an anti-capitalist message. Many workers swung to the Bolsheviks because they saw Bogdonov as a promising figure with a strong will to guide Russia into a new decade. The Mensheviks were in disarray but kept the loyalty to their core base within the richer strata of the proletariat.

Aleksi Gridenko of the NFOBR surprised everyone, as his clearly well funded campaign, using modern techniques like rallies, radio speeches and posters, swept the nation. Even more remarkable was the huge and positive coverage from much of the Russia media, who treated him as a national savior. It was clear that Gridenko had powerful supporters in the Establishment, but for many his anti-elite message appealed to them. The nationalistic and xenophobic message in his strangely hypnotic speeches had a huge effect among the masses and the peasants in particular poured into the Nafobor party. The Kadets, going against the political grain attacked the growing ultra-nationalism and promised to keep to the liberal-centrist approach to the economy. The middle class, fearful of growing social disorder and crime, switched to the Right and for many the conservative monarchist parities (also well funded by another clique of financial-monarchist interests) seemed to promise stability and order.

Economically there were first signs that the Russian economic expansion was slowing, while the Russian stock market was jittery. Economic pundits wondered how long the good days would continue, since in American Wall Street was increasingly nervous about the state of the economy. Gridenko’s simple message of economic autarky, State support for agriculture, massive military rearmament, strong government, meaning a dictatorship, and a restoration of the Russian Empire electrified the masses. During the last few days before the Election, the Czar, in a speech, suggested that he wanted to see monarchist parties dominant in the new Duma. Some people, confused and frightened by the instability, decided to follow the Little-father. The world watched with baited breath as Russia chose its course.

The electoral results were thus:

Arch-monarchist-conservative parties: 20% of the vote Nafobor party: 25% of the vote Other far right parties: 5% of the vote Bolsheviks: 15% of the vote Mensheviks: 15% of the vote Post-SR parties 10% of the vote Kadets 10% of the vote

Clearly there was a last minute swing to the Arch-monarchist-conservative parties, but even so Gridenko had been extremely successful. Negotiations started on a new coalition. His Majesty got the conservative-monarchist parties to agree to a government of National Unity, and after long discussions Gridenko agreed to become Deputy Prime Minister, since the Czar insisted on his own Arch-monarchist conservative crony becoming premier.

Timeline Discussion and Notes

(compiled from posts made by other participants in the making of the timeline)

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2002 - 03:56 pm by Macsporan:


I think the first year of the Russian Republic is going to be a little more eventful.

I think extremists of the Right and Left will be busy vying for power, especially if there isn't much food around and too many people with guns.

The new Czar is going to have to put down some of the more outrageous factions before he can conduct and election in safety, perhaps doing a precarious balancing act like the first year of Wiemar Germany.

However I think, having a loyal army and functioning government to back him he will weather the storm OK.

The oil and gold in Siberia is to my mind a little too much of a Deus-Ex-Machina but can almost certainly be brought into play later during the more peaceful economic growth phase.

Don't worry too much about being dull from time to time.

Speeding things up too much or having a massacre a minute makes rather poor AH, in my opinion.

This timeline will not be dull, believe me.

Some of Russia's biggest problems are illiteracy and high infant mortality.

The new government is going to have to be big on schools and rural health clinics.

With a good supply of healthy workers and an education system producing skilled engineers and scientists Russia can industrialise, but not without.

I think foreign capital is inevitable, at least for a while, but the Russian government is not going to put the place up for sale, or allow control of the country to leave their hands.

Joint ventures are most likely with the state and native financiers investing heavily in capitalist enterprises in collaboration with foreign banks.

Hope this is helpful.

lol :-)

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2002 - 06:39 pm by Macsporan:

This is very good.

I particularly like the evolution of political institutions, based as far as I can tell on the US experience, but exactly what you would expect of a political class initially wary of despotism, but seeing the need, after a bit of experience, for an effective executive.

I expect the Canary and the Coward would have made their play in the period of initial confusion after the signing of the Armistice. No need to change these delightfully comical events, just make them happen a bit earlier.

Education is really the key to everything. Without a literate population, with engineers and scientists a their apex, and a lot of skilled tradesmen you really can't do anything.

The project of training them, along with the rural clinics, is going to be long-term.

However this Russia is not going to frighten the bourgeois away anywhere near as much as OTL, nor will it have ideological objections to paying people with scarce skills a lot of money, so it will have a greater pool of willing technical expertise to draw on from the word go. Nor will the government be shy in sending them overseas for fear of ideological contamination.

You can expect the first crop of post-war engineers, some returning from overseas with the latest ideas, others doing very intensive crash-courses at home, to be available some time in 1922-3. That's when the real economic miracle will begin.

I've decided to lower the butcher's bill for my post-war French political troubles from 10 to 3 thousand. I think I got carried away there.

Thanks, Zach. I like the way you're doing this, very much.

We'll wait to see what Bill comes up with with his USA stuff then I guess we'll have to fill in the gaps as best we can with other countries and then move on.

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2002 - 08:22 pm by Zach Rosen:

Yes, I was basing this partly on the US's own early experience with democracy, though with the proper Russianisms used. It is interesting to note that the “Coward” as you so aptly put it is quite historical. It turns out that Lenin was really terrified of personal violence. It's just that in OTL, he was never placed in a situation where he personally had to fight for his life.

You know, I feel kind of bad that we are going through all this trouble to create a democratic and prosperous Russia (something long overdue in real life) only to hand it over to a band of fascist madmen. :-(

Oh well. 'Tis the curse of history I guess.

Posted on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 12:07 pm Matt Quinn:

Bad harvests lead to large #s of peasants going to the cities in search of work. There won't be enough jobs to go around and thus they'll float around, hungry and bored. That means the urbanized peasantry will be easily influenced by demagogues like Mr. Gridenko. In one of Robert Kaplan's books (I think it was either “Balkan Ghosts” or “Eastward to Tartary”), he describes how if you take a poor starving person and give him or her food and increased self-respect, they're “chillingly effective praetorians.”

He uses the example of Ukrainian collaborators with the Nazis–their circumstances were improved somewhat and they were given a purpose and they became utterly savage killing machines.

These urbanized hungry/bored people, under the influence of Gridenko and others, vote Gridenko's party (does it have a name yet or is it just a “movement”?) into office and things go from there.

Is Gridenko going to be “Gridenko the Dread”? I remember a book called “Koba the Dread” about Stalin. Will Gridenko be as bad as Stalin, at least domestically? In an earlier post, someone mentioned high-paid Russian workers using the latest technology instead of half-starved gulag slaves, so it sounds like he's an improvement.

Plus, what about Lenin? When we last heard from him, he was planning on setting up a Bolshevik terrorist group. Will he pull this off or will he end up having “a convenient accident”?

Posted on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 02:53 pm Zach Rosen:

Yes, he has a party. It is the National Front for Greater Russian Unification, or in Russian, NATSYONAL'NY FRONT DLYA OBYEDINENIYA BOL'SHOI ROSIYI. That is the NFOBR. Where did you think “Nafobor” came from?

I don't know if Gridenko will kill 20 million or so of his own people. I suppose the group will have to come to a consensus on that.

He certainly won't kill off all his brilliant military officers (I am rather attached to Tukhachevsky, can't you tell?).

The idea was for Lenin to somehow get out of the gulag and go back to his old tricks, thus kicking the country over the edge into the far right.

Shall Gridenko be elected a la Hitler, or shall he seize power a la Lenin?

Anon posted something a while back about the future of Russia and I responded. I am starting to think he was right, and I would like to know what you all think.

Posted on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 03:13 pm by Macsporan:

Gridenko is going to be a tyrant but a lot more sane and savvy than either of the 20th century's main mass-murderers.

He will kill his principle political opponents and their supporters but he isn't going to go crazy.

Tukhachevsky is quite safe.

His victims will be measured in the tens of thousands, perhaps the hundreds of thousands, rather than the millions, at least until war starts.

I imagine Gridenko will get into power by some political fox-trick or other and then dig himself in as Hitler did.

Lenin and his friends could be the “Riechstag fire” of our scenario.

I think we have enough ideas now on how he gets into power.

I think Anon is on to something, too.

But it's your baby Zach and I'm sure Anon will put his two bob's worth in as things roll on.

Posted on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 03:36 pm by Sean Swaby:

Macsporan, I have a map ready (thank God for the simplicity of “Paint”) but I just want to be sure of one thing: I said before that Italy in OTL got Adalia and now you have Smyrna and the Aegean Coast being handed over to the Europeans. Am I to take this to mean that the Italians get Adalia or should we have Smyrna, Adalia and all the coast inbetween the two being detached from Turkey and divided up between the four European Powers? The second option would give a much larger area to divide up, surely. Once you have cleared this up I can send the map to Zach, who in turn may make any corrections as necessary especially with regards to the write-up for the map (changing the necessary dates). Since we will not have a Cilician campaign by the Italians then, I guess my map of the Anglo-Turkish War is now complete. All I need do is change the date from 1924-1926 to 1921-1923.

Now, the fate of Smyrna will certainly upset the Greeks. This in fact could be a good thing (so to speak) for the ATL. It would mean a VERY dissatified Greece which could become an ally of Fascist Russia in the future. The Greeks in this TL will certainly harbour secret animosity towards Germany, Austria and also Italy, France and Britain. That leaves Russia as the only great power Greece wouldn't have a secret beef with. So we now have one future ally for Russia. Possibly Bulgaria and Roumania/Rumania/Romania will also become allies ?

Posted on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 03:56 pm Macsporan:

Sean, as you might have gathered my geography on this point is rather weak.

I understand that the Aegean Coast and hinterland is good, fertile land and is thus A-Grade war booty for the Europeans.

Be as lavish as you like. The Italians though, who fought, should get as much as the other three put together.

Don't forget the Ruskis at Trebizond.



Posted on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 07:03 pm by Bill Bruno:

The following is taken from Walter Payne's History of Fascism, if you can get a copy of the book, the part covering France is on pages 291-99:

The principal leader of Action Francaise was Charles Maurras. Payne describes it as neomonarchist authoritarianism as “integral nationalism”. Apparently, the monarchy, instead of ruling by virtue of dynastic legitimacy would rule as the head of an organically whole nation. Said values apparently were to be expressed in the form of authoritarianism, anti-Semitism and religious intolerance. It was apparently the nationalist party of early twentienth-century France. Its street activists were called Les Camelots du Roi (Streethawker or Vendors of the King). They were argubly a prototype of the “shirt movements” (i.e., Blackshirts, Brownshirts, etc.)

Bear in mind that it never had much popular support given its elitist tendencies and it was repudiated by both the papacy and the pretender to the throne. Its elitist tendencies also took the form of condemning Italian Fascism's demagougery, emphasis on mass politics rather than elites.

There were some other groups but, according to Payne, the largest and most successful group was the Croix de Feu (Crosses of Fire), organized in 1927 as a veteran's organizaton. The leadership was taken over in 1931 by a recent retiree, Lt. Col. Francois de la Rocque, and he converted it into a political association with a uniformed militia and elected 20 deputies to parliament under the name, Mouement Social Francais (it may have had 150,000 members in 1934). However, some of its popularity was from the fact that it was only moderately authoritarian. He opposed xenophobia and totalitarianism and wasn't fascist (according to the author, but a footnote does mention some dissenting studies).

Apparently, the closest thing to an Italin Fascist movement that had some success was the Parti Populaire Francais organized by Jacques Doriot in 1936. He had originally started out as a Communist but was expelled in 1936. It was then he conceived of a populist, nationalist party that would draw in leftist dissidents and new nationalists. In OTL, he got financial backing from anti-Communist business interests which he may not get here.

I say this in general for both France and Russia, there is certainly room for arguing the ascendancy of rightist, authoritarian movements but I think we have to be careful in assuming the fascist model can be exactly paralleled in these two countries. Payne asserts that all the countires in which significant fascist movements arose (Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary and Romania) had the following in common. Unsatisfied ambitions of status and late-developing political systems that were still transitioning to liberal democratic systems. Further, France had a well-established party system. Also, all these countries faced a menace from the left.

What ultimately kept France from going fascist in OTL was that it remained stable, relatively prosperous and democratic. Although France lost this war, it didn't lose territory, it didn't suffer nearly the same demographic shock as it did OTL and I don't see another military defeat causing a massive shake-up like what you can expect in Russia in this TL. Further, France still has a long history as a successful nation-state and had the second-largest empire in the world.

I could see an authoritarian party like the Croix de Feu with Gaullist-style nationalism perhaps getting voted into power and initiating a more conservative policy (more state support of Catholicism, perhaps some civil disabilities for Jews, less freedom of the press, etc.) but I don't see a dictatorship arising just out of not regaining Alsace-Lorraine. Russia is different. She was a much bigger loser, if suffering massive economic dislocation and has no established democratic tradition. Bear in mind that what arises in Russia probably won't be as secular as Fascism, though. The only OTL analogy I can find is Romania's Legion of the Archangel Michael, led by Corneliu Codreanu. It has was collective and anti-individual (which Payne asserts was typical of sociopolitical movements in Eastern Orthodox countries) and combined fascist beliefs and a biological concept of the nation with religious mysticism. Codreanu is quoted as aiming at “The spiritual resurrection! The resurrection of nations in the name of Jesus Christ!”. That the struggle was also for the spiritual community of the nation, which meant a tremendous emphasis on martyrdom for the individual members.

I hope I haven't thrown to big a monkey wrench but I am concerned about attempts to have political developments that are designd to parallel fascism without looking a what effects the differing histories of these countries would have.

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