Saturday, September 30, 2017

Alternate History Scenario #29: What if Gaius Caesar Succeeded Augustus?

September 9, 2 AD: Gaius Caesar, the designated successor to Augustus, had been invited to meet with rebellious Armenians, but, sensing a trap, he declined, and laid siege to the fortress. A couple months later, the rebellious Armenians surrendered, and Roman control of the Armenian Kingdom was assured. While the death of Gaius' brother Lucius had been a blow to the plans of Augustus, the bright and charismatic Gaius easily filled into the roles that Lucius' death had opened for him.

Gaius "Babyface" Caesar... either an Emperor
or a 1930s gangster, I dunno.
For the next twenty years, Gaius continued serving as consul, proconsul and other positions within the Principate, gaining experience, recognition and popularity, especially in the expansion into Germania. The birth of two young boys to his wife Livilla in 4 and 6 AD guaranteed the Julio-Claudian Dynasty as his adopted father began to resign more and more from political life. By 24 AD, Augustus was the Princeps in name only, as Gaius had been named to all the positions and titles that Augustus held, and the power they represented. So when Augustus died in 25 AD, the succession was clear, and welcomed by all.

Almost from the start of his reign as the Princeps, Gaius groomed his sons to succeed him: the eldest served on the border of Germania, while the youngest served in his father's old position in the East facing the Parthians. In Rome, Gaius continued Augustus' work, centralizing the state under his control. The Senate, while it's old prestige and power had waned, began to be revitalized as an advisory council and was allowed, within reason, to propose laws and vote on them. However, Gaius' approval was still needed, and if he dismissed or publically disagreed with the law, it would fail.

However, there was one problem Gaius was unable to tackle, and that was how to continue the growth and prosperity of the Empire. For decades, the conquests of foreign lands had brought in the wealth and resources needed to make Rome the Capital of the World. But even with the capture of Germania, which was mostly wild and untamed, with few settlements, no mines or farms, the question of how much further the empire could continue was left in the air at Gaius' death in 53 AD.

The succession of Gaius' son's was peaceful, but there was an undercurrent of concern. The speed of building had slowed, and military victories were few except against dissatisfied rebels or the ever present Armenian question. The lustre of the Principate was beginning to wear thin as the son's began to exert more overt authority that their grandfather and father never did, and senators, who had been sidelined for decades, longed to return to influence and power. Some began to plot, while others sought to rise to the Principate, and some few even thought that the legal fiction of the Principate should be totally replaced with monarchy. Soon cracks began to grow, as the son's began to be surrounded by opposing camps, and their influence began to tear them apart. 

When in Rome, do as the Romans due: stab possible tyrants on the floor of the Senate
By 59 AD, the split had become irreversible, and Civil War soon broke out again. But this time, there was no strong ruler to unify the widespread lands, and soon the Roman Empire began to fracture: Gaul and Hispania became the home of one of Gaius' sons; Africa, Syria and Egypt the other, while Italy, Illyria, and Greece became home to a new Roman Republic. The fighting between these three nations and their ill-defined borders would continue for decades, but never again would the whole old Roman Empire of Augustus be reformed. The empire he established, with it's complex legal and political machinations to maintain the illusion of the Republic that Augustus had created, collapsed when the ambitions and follies of men became too much. By 100 AD, the Roman Empire was gone, replaced by many smaller, bickering states that once were unified but had drifted apart.

But what do you think? What would have had happened had Augustus' chosen successor succeeded him? If you have a comment or a suggestion, leave a comment below, email me at tbguy1992@gmail.com or look for me on Twitter, @tbguy1992.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Alternate History Scenario #28: Hitler Doesn't Declare War on America

I'm really sorry for the long delay since I last posted. Life issues have gotten in the way and I really haven't been in the best mindset to work on these things. But, I'm here now, so let's get back to it!

Today's idea comes from someone on Twitter, who asked what if Hitler hadn't declared war on the United States after Pearl Harbor, and how the war would go: would the US focus only on Japan? And would the Soviet's still win in the East?

The answer to both questions is, undoubtedly, yes. This is a fairly popular topic on Alternate history websites, and discussed to death before, but here's my two cents anyway.

And because I'm Canadian and we don't use penny's anymore, it's really zero cents since we would round down.

Franklin Roosevelt basically only had the political capital to go to war with Japan in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had attacked America, and to many people, the fighting in Europe was still not their concern. When Hitler brashly declared war on the US a few days after Pearl Harbor, only then was America and Britain really able to coordinate to go on the offensive against both Nazism and Japanese imperialism.

So, if Hitler doesn't attack, and despite Roosevelt's concerns that Hitler may be the bigger long term threat to America, he will have to content himself with supplying Lend-Lease to the British and Soviet's until either he can find a way to bring America with him to take on Hitler, or Germany does something stupid, like, say, sink an American ship and kill American citizens. But in this scenario, that never happens, so the US basically has to just sit by and hope the British and Soviet's can fight Nazi Germany itself (and which I will get to in a moment)

However, unlike many suggestions that with the full might of America focused on Japan, that Japan would be defeated sooner, say in 1944, I disagree. I think the Pacific Campaign as we know it might be the basis for this alternate timeline as well. You have to remember that the majority of the fighting was with naval and air forces, and only a few major landing operations. It still takes time to build ships, train air crews, and eventually go on the offensive. While the American's won't be sending B-17 Flying Fortress's to Europe, it's not like they would be perfectly suited for the fighting in the Pacific, as they don't have the long range that the B-29 Superfortress had (and which only started to be built in 1942). Even then, it took until the Battle of Saipan in 1944 before even the B-29s were in range of the majority of Japanese cities. Just because the US would have more manpower, and wouldn't be focusing on Europe or North Africa, you can only send so many more Marine's and battleships to the Pacific: You still need a fleet in the Atlantic, just in case the Germans did do something. And maybe there are a few more landing craft, a few more divisions landing on beaches or squadrons of Mustangs and bombers over the skies, but it wouldn't be enough to shorten the war by a year or more. Maybe there would be a difference of a few months here and there, but in general, it wouldn't majorly change the war as we know it from OTL. By August 1945, the Japanese would be pretty much only defending their home islands and the little bits of Empire that the American's haven't yet liberated.

Liberated with excessive firepower and a belief that America is always right.

That leads me to another point: the Manhattan Project. What would it look like in this TL? My guess: more or less the same. Just because the US is not involved in fighting the Nazi's, which the British and Americans were sure where racing for an atomic bomb, doesn't meant that the US would just ignore this potentially powerful weapon. My guess is that the Americans take over the project (which help from British, Canadian and other scientists), and would complete a weapon in time to drop on Japan as in OTL.

Why Japan? Because the Americans are in charge, and Operation Downfall, the proposed invasion of Japan, would still be a horrifying proposition to undertake. And in this TL, only the Americans would be in Operation Downfall, as the British are still dealing with the Nazi's. So, in order to prevent the upwards estimates of a million American casualties, President Truman (I'm sure that Roosevelt would still pass away in early 1945) would authorize using nuclear weapons. Plus, it would serve multiple purposes: make the Soviet's think twice about going to war with the west, and if the Nazi's are still around, convince them to give up before American joined and dropped an Atomic bomb on Germany. And, like in OTL, it would convince the Emperor of Japan to surrender and end the Pacific War.

Just a few mushroom clouds to get a point across.

Now, for what happened in Europe? From 1942 onward, it would be a story of the Nazi's wearing themselves out fighting the Soviet's (Stalingrad and Kursk are still in the future here). During this time, Strategic bombing and fighting in North Africa is basically all the British can do. They do not have the manpower to even begin contemplating an invasion of Europe, so the war in Europe is stretched out a bit longer. But by 1943, the Nazi's will be in brutal, ignominious retreat in the East, fighting for every foot of ground as the Soviet industrial and manpower advantage comes to bear. By 1943, the British and Commonwealth powers will have driven the Axis out of Africa, and then proceeded to the invasion of Sicily and then Italy itself (which was Churchill's brainchild, being the Mediterranean strategist he was). When the Germans finally prevent the British from reaching Rome, in 1944, the British would then land in Greece or Yugoslavia, part of Churchill's plan to attack the "soft underbelly of Europe," and without the US to basically demand a Normandy landing, the attack would go on. Maybe in 1945, the British would finally land in northern Europe: maybe Normandy, but I'd be more confident in Norway. Strategic bombing, which never lived up to the promises of it's biggest supporters, really wouldn't have changed much in my opinion: morale never broke, industrial production never really slowed down. Just civilians killed, cities leveled, and hardening hatred of the enemies of the Third Reich for causing all this damage (though some unspoken questions of why the Nazi's couldn't stop it).

But by this point it wouldn't matter, because the Soviet Juggernaut would be steamrolling west, smashing all the Nazi armies in the way. Berlin would be captured by mid 1945 as in OTL, and Hitler and the leadership would retreat to the west of Germany, then maybe into France (as there would be no second front). Stalin would stop at nothing to end Hitler and the Nazi's once and for all, and "liberate" all of Europe. The dropping of the Atomic bomb doesn't convince the Nazi's to give up, so the Russians begin pushing east over the Rhine and into France itself.

At this point, the American's may finally enter the war, but with most of their troops still in the Pacific, it's an empty gesture more than anything. By the time that the first B-17s or B-29s could get to Europe in late 1945, Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris would all have the Hammer and Sickle flying over them. By the beginning of 1946, Russian troops would have reached the Pyrenees, and here is where things may get complicated: would Franco allow the Nazi's to flee to Spain, or would he prevent them from dragging him into war with the Russians? My guess is that Hitler would try to flee to South America, but be aprehended before he could. The war would be over, Hitler and the Nazi leaders executed after a trial in Moscow, and all of Europe (minus Spain, Sweden, Greece, half of Italy and Norway) would all be Communist puppet states.

Die Waffen Legt An!

What happens after this? Well, America would be the strongest nation in the world, but with few friends. China, in this TL, would have kicked out Mao with help from the US, and the majority of the Pacific would be capitalist. But Britain would be basically under siege with the Soviet's just a few miles away across the Channel, and resentful that the US never really helped fight the Nazi's except for some boats of equipment. The Soviet's would use the diversionary tactics of Churchill, and the lack of support from America, to make Communism look better to the people of Europe, Asia and Africa, undermining the belief that democracy and capitalism was the way to go.

The Cold War of this Timeline would be between the wounded Soviet Union, the Nuclear Armed and relatively unscathed and somewhat isolationist America, and a Britain that, unlike OTL, would have to cling to the Royal Navy and a strong military to protect itself instead of letting the US protect them, turning it, basically, into Oceania from 1984.

But what do you think? What if Hitler had never declared war on the US? If you have a comment or a suggestion, either email me at tbguy1992@gmail.com or look for me on Twitter, @tbguy1992.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Multiversal News: Paul Ryan Retreats to Supervillain Hideout, Vows “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me!”

WASHINGTON: In the face of the withdrawal of the signature Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare," House Speaker Paul Ryan, growling as he climbed into the spherical pod that emerged from the wall behind the Speaker’s podium, turned back to the Democrats, moderate Republicans, and others that refused to vote in favor of the American Health Care Act celebrating on the house floor.

“I’ll be back! You will see! And with a better, more conservative bill!” he shouted to the assembled crowd, before locking himself into the capsule, pushing the ignition button, and launching himself out of the House Chamber and through the roof of the Capitol Building.

NORAD confirms that a small object is currently in orbit, and seems to be making a course to a secret GOP space station outside of Earth’s atmosphere. It’s guessed that this is where the Speaker will recover from the humiliating defeat and plot his next move.

“Tax reform, yes,” Ryan was reported to have said moments after arriving. “I will make the best, most extensive effort on overhauling the tax code in history!” The Speaker was then reported to have spent ten minutes practicing his evil laugh as the GOP slave robots compiled a new bill to reduce taxes on the rich to -9% of their income.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Multiversal News: Trump Reveals Wiretap Source: Strange Otherworld Mirror Into Another Universe

MAR-A-LAGO - President Donald J. Trump today revealed the basis for his otherwise unsubstantiated tweets and comments that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the US election: a large, strange-looking golden mirror that lets the viewer see into another timeline. It was a mysterious object that Trump had purchased at a flea market in Morocco in 1984, and kept secret until now.

“The Obama of that alternate universe was a terrifying, brutal, repressive dictator,” Trump explained, waving his hand at the mirror. “It’s creepy, really creepy to look at. I get nightmares whenever I look at it. It’s all scary!”

Trump further went on to explain that in the timeline, Obama had overthrown cyborg President Ronald Reagan in 2004, and despite his promises of increasing rations and ending the Forever War with the Zombie Kingdom of Europe, instead turned into a merciless tyrant, implanting listening devices into every room of every home in the American Empire, which he used to oversee all the thoughts of every citizen.

“Then these people, bad people, from the Environmental Protection Agency, the most feared secret police of this terrifying America, would come and take those that so much muttered a bad thing about President for Life Obama,” Trump went on. “It was horrifying to see the brutal prison camps set up in Occupied Wyoming.

“It’s terrifying, really, to look at. It’s a warning to us today, and I will listen to it!”

While Trump has been told time and again by wizards and occultists that investigated the mirror that it’s not representative of the real world, and, if anything, Trump’s three decade long fascination with the object may have started to warp his mind into blending the real world and the terrifying totalitarian state that the mirror glimpses into. But despite attempts by exorcists and priests with holy water to help the President, the images remain implanted on his mind.

“He’s totally a Kenyan that subverted the great American Nation and is trying to destroy us all!” Trump garbled as he stared into the mirror. “Gotta go and save America!”

At press time, Trump has been talking with advisor Steve Bannon on how to liberate the millions of people living in the areas of Texas that had been occupied by the insidious Mexican-Aztec Death State.