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.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Multiversal News: Republican strategist admits: GOP is an apocalypse cult


WASHINGTON - Today, senior Republican strategist and former Congressman Bill Harkins of West Virginia admitted that, for decades, his party has been a cult hell-bent on seeing the end of the world, in an exclusive interview with reporters.

“Every action that my party has done since the Cold War has, in fact, been to see the end-times,” Harkins said, while lighting many candles around his desk. “I’m personally surprised that no one had figured this out before I told you.”

Since the 1950s, Harkins went on to explain, the GOP believed the end of the world was around the corner, and everyone on Earth should embrace the final days.

“But unlike those crackpots that just assumed it would end on a given day, many Republicans thought, ‘Why don’t we make sure it happens?’” Harkins said as he took off his tie and replaced it with a black hood.

When asked why, Harkins replied: “We all seek the eternal nothingness of death and blackness. And not having to listen to Bernie Sanders anymore.”

Every law, Executive Order and proposal by a Republican President and Congress since this revelation has been focused on enacting this wide ranging goal.

“When Eisenhower first received the message and told the GOP in a secret meeting in the hollowed out room behind Lincoln’s head at Mount Rushmore in 1957, we were all certain that it would be a nuclear war with the USSR that would end us all,” Harkins said. “But the fact that JFK was in office when the Cuban Missile Crisis happened meant that the world wouldn’t end in 1962, unfortunately.”

Republican plans to end the world in 1983 with a Soviet over-reaction to “Able Archer 83”, a NATO simulation of a first strike on Russia once again failed, though came close due to a fluke in the Russian satellite system, but it was recognized as a glitch in time.

While Reagan, who Harkins said preferred to be called “The Chosen Warrior,” by other members of the Cult, would sign the first agreements with the USSR to reduce nuclear weapons, Republicans knew the cuts wouldn’t be enough to still allow them to destroy the world ten times over.

But in the 1970s, following the divine wisdom of an evil god that the Republicans call “The Free Hand,” they began to branch out.

“If it wasn’t going to be a nuclear war, then it was going to be a social, environmental or economic collapse of the world,” Harkins said, as he prepared to sacrifice a virgin. “Nixon got close, with the whole Watergate thing, but he chickened out at the last moment. He was soon after banished, and consigned to living in hell: California.”

Many GOP actions since then, such as deregulating the economy, allowing guns to be sold without background checks, invading Iraq in 1991 and 2003, ignoring all the evidence on climate change and science to keep drilling oil, disenfranchising minority voters, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the 2008 Great Recession, and the time that George W. Bush nearly choked on a pretzel was all designed to bring about the world.

“Unfortunately the big red button wasn’t close enough for President Bush to hit while he was flailing around choking,” said Harkins, who is also known as“The Dark One” in the cult. “And Plan B was foiled when the Secret Service saved him. We were all certain Dick Cheney would have accomplished the goal of world wide Armageddon with efficiency and all speed.”

After the election of Obama, Harkins admits, the cult was at its lowest ebb. “All the ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’, we were certain, as well as his push for renewable energy, restricting gun ownership, and this thing called ‘compromise’ would destroy the Republican Party, and end our goals to end the world.”

But when Obamacare was announced, the GOP felt rejuvenated.

“We had a goal: prevent healthcare for all Americans, so that when the genetically altered plague does hit, we would all die anyway.”

The election of Donald Trump as President, and all the fabrications of Russia hacking the election, Trump’s outlandish statements, selecting people unqualified for cabinet posts, and the rigging of the election to prevent Hillary from winning, was all part of the Cult’s plan to bring upon the end of world as mentioned in their unholy, cursed book that will drive normal men mad.

“Very soon, the world will end in fire and brimstone,” Harkins said, while other cult members began to chant a mysterious, dark ritual in a language that no human was ever meant to speak. “And there will be no more taxes, no more socialist’s, no more anything!”

Harkins ended the interview to prepare the Kool-Aid for the cult members as they prepared to summon a planet devouring beast from the deepest reaches of space.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Flag Friday: The Many Unofficial and Proposed Flags of Canada

I'm not always about Alternate History, as many should know by know. Real historical things, places and events can be just as interesting as timelines we make up, and often is a great leaping off point for AltHistorians. Often, proposals and "unofficial" things can be made official, and tell a brand new story.

Case in point: Canadian flags. Before the Maple Leaf flag was declared official, Canada used a series of unofficial flags, some more unofficial than others, and almost all of them were modified Red Ensigns, to proudly proclaim that Canada was still a loyal member of the British Empire.

That said, here are a few of the unofficial designs for flags that were flown (or almost suggested) at one time or another.


This was the first official unofficial flag was simply the British Red Ensign (used by the British Merchant Marine) "defaced" with a shield composed of the Coat of Arms of the four original provinces. From top left clockwise: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

But as the years went on and more provinces joined Confederation, the number of spots on the shield went up, starting with Manitoba in 1870, complete with the uber-Canadian maple leaf wreath and very British crown on top...


...to the addition of a white circle background that nearly took up the entire flag in the 1880s after BC and PEI joined... (this design was dated to 1891 when BC adopted its current coat of arms)



...until 1905, when Alberta and Saskatchewan entered, and got rid of the white disk, the maple leaf wreath and the crown. And, frankly, it's a mess. Imagine getting school aged kids to draw this in a bought of patriotic furvor!




But finally, in 1921, the Canadian government, unofficially, adopted this version. This version pays homage to the four "founding" nations of Canada: England, Scotland, France and Ireland. And, being the time frame, it also left out the First Nations people. That would never fly today, but this is the version that flew the longest, from 1921 to 1965, with a slight change in the 50s to make the maple leafs at the bottom red instead of green.


Personally, I have a soft spot for the Red Ensign, and not just because maybe secretly I wish to see the British Empire rise and rule the world again. But, rather, I see it from a historical point of view: this flag, variations notwithstanding, the one that Canadian soldiers fought World War One and Two under. There are issues with it, namely in that it prioritizes four European nations (and, in fact, with the Union Jack it represents England, Scotland and Ireland twice) as the "founders" of Canada. A modern version would have to find something else. My personal vote would have been a Red Ensign with a maple leaf of some kind, like this:


And finally, two other proposals:

The "Pearson Pennant" proposed by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson in 1964 to encapsulate the motto "From Sea to Sea" (and worthy of any alternate Canadian flag, I say)


And the "Unity Flag" first made in 1995 during the second Quebec Referendum, with the Blue representing the proportion of Quebecers in Canada. Though, I honestly would feel a bit insulted if all I got was a couple narrow blue bars but, hey, Quebec remained in Canada then (by a squeaker), so maybe it worked.



I plan to do Flag Friday's more often, and maybe with some flags designed for Alternate History scenarios. So if you have a flag you want to suggest, message me on Twitter (@tbguy1992) or email me at tbguy1992@gmail.com.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Multiversal News: Liberal Backbenchers Vote Against PM, Cabinet to Turn Canada into a Hivemind

Liberal Backbenchers vote against PM, Cabinet to turn Canada into a Hivemind

Members of the Liberal Party moments before they voted in
favor to make all Canadians part of a collective Hivemind.

OTTAWA - In a surprising show of independence, Liberal backbench MPs voted in favor of a private member’s bill to turn all Canadians into a gigantic hivemind, despite the opposition from Prime Minister Trudeau and his cabinet. Bill S-190, proposed by New Democrat NDP Joshua Halford, MP for BC’s North Okanagan—East Kootenay riding, would mandate that all Canadian citizens would receive microchips implanted into their brains to allow all Canadians instant communication with each other, computational knowledge to solve the nation’s issues, as well as access to everyone else’s memories, knowledge, and figuring out where the hell we left the keys for the van.

“Since this was an open vote, many Liberal backbenchers believed that S-190 would benefit all Canadians,” Mary Lemonut, Liberal MP for Toronto-Yorkdale, said. “While the PM made some convincing arguments, I think it would be really cool if all Canadians would think and speak as one.” As she spoke, other members of the Liberal Party also said the exact same words in a creepy monotone and with unblinking eyes to other reporters.

When the votes came down, 101 Liberal MPs voted in favor of the bill, as well as all 44 NDP members. Conservatives were split, with most of those that voted in favor of the bill running for the leadership of the party. Analysts believed this was in order for some of the 14 candidates to be able to put their vision of the future of the Conservative Party to as many people as possible. As of press time, however, all Canadians have agreed to erase any existence Kellie Leitch from the hivemind after they found out that she was basically trying to be a Canadian Donald Trump.

“This bill will solve all known problems currently facing all 36 million Canadians,” Swanson said, moments before being the first to step into the doctor’s office to receive an implant into the glorious new cyber-future of Canada. “Racism, misogyny, poverty, lack of education, bilingualism, and deciding if Kevin O’Leary really should be the leader of the Conservative Party are just some of the issues we can solve by being all unified in thought, mind, and spirit.”

“I do believe that this bill is unconstitutional,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said outside the House of Commons after the vote. “It interferes with the provincial right to determine what dystopian future our nation should take, as well as grave concerns over privacy and electronic security. But I remain committed to holding open votes in the Liberal caucus, and will abide by the results.” He was then lead away to prepare for the procedure, which, the PM was assured, would maintain his impeccable hairdo.

“This is all a trick! This will destroy all human autonomy, and turn all Canadians into mindless drones to an unknown overlord! And add billions more to the deficit! We are all doomed!” Conservative MP Tony Clement for Parry Sound–Muskoka screamed at reporters as he was being dragged away by impossibly strong, nearly robotic, glassy-eyed RCMP officer’s already implanted into the hivemind. Compliance agents are currently tracking down former Prime Minister Stephen Harper with the aid of of all 1,392,609 people in Calgary, who is currently on the run but will be assimilated in 5.4 hours.

Quebec has already said they will implement their own, French only hivemind program separate from the federal program. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is resisting the inevitable and refuses to submit until a healthcare deal with his province has been reached with the Federal Government. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Multiversal News: America left reeling after Trump doesn’t tweet for twenty hours

America left reeling after Trump doesn’t tweet for twenty hours
WASHINGTON: Politicians, stock markets, and people around the nation were in a directionless quandary after President Donald J. Trump didn’t tweet for up to twenty hours. The usually punctual early morning tirade against something that was revealed on Breitbart or by FOX News, as well as tweets during high level meetings and briefings, have been a daily ritual followed by everyone since Trump announced his candidacy. But today’s lack of a tweet has thrown the US into chaos.

The last Tweet posted by Trump was yet another attack on Obamacare at about 1 PM yesterday, but then his account went mysteriously silent.

“I don’t know what to do,” Trump supporter Nate Berdin, 54, from Montgomery, Alabama said, fumbling with his phone. “Without the President’s daily Twitter barrage, I don’t know what group I should be angry at: immigrants, Muslims, Muslim immigrants.” He went on to say that because of that, he ended up being polite and nice to everyone he met.

“It’s very surreal,” Nate said, after smiling and giving a polite nod at an African-American man and his Latino wife.

On the other end of the political spectrum, Democratic and liberal activists were also left in utter disarray when the President’s Twitter account didn’t add anything new in half a day.

“No executive order to try to get shot down, no unsubstantiated claims to disprove. Not even a famous celebrity to rally around as they face the wrath of a Twitter tweet storm,” said San Francisco resident Amanda O’Toole, 26, a self-declared liberal activist wearing a “Not My President” t-shirt. “While Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and every Republican member of Congress can, and still, make stupid, insulting, racist, discriminatory, and untruthful statements, it’s just not the same when it’s not Trump saying it."

Stock Markets around the world have been in wild swings today. When Trump’s twitter account revealed that he liked a picture of a kitten in the late morning, the NYSE went up, the NASDAQ plummeted, and the price of gold swung back and forth for fifteen minutes until it was discovered that the like had been removed.

But at 9:25 AM, after a long day without a tweet, activity on Trump’s account returned when he revealed he lost his phone.


Editorial: Some Onion-like Changes in Store,

As you may have noticed, I've started to slow down in posting Alternate History scenarios, or, really, much of anything. Part of it is that I've already covered quite a few scenarios, mostly those that I already had some prior knowledge on without trying to do certain areas to death (World War 2, anyone?) So, while I'm still fascinated with Alternate History, those posts will be a lot slower in coming.

However, that doesn't mean I want to stop writing. In fact, on top of my job with a small town newspaper, and editing and publishing my big Fallout fanfic on Fanfiction.net, I've been starting to do something new for a lark: fake news, in the style of The Onion and The Beaverton.

I'd like to see Trump dispute this.

So you may be asking yourself: Why? And my answer: Why not?

Frankly, reading the news is almost a strange combination of confusion, incredulity, depression and the deepest, blackest humour that you can't figure out if you want to laugh or cry. Sometimes, even the most dystopic and downbeat Alternate History or fictional scenario feels better than what is going on in the world.

So, I asked myself, why not take the news, and make it even more absurd?

And that is what I'm going to do with a new thing called "Multiversal News." It may not be totally original, or even that funny, but I'm going to run with it for no other reason than I want to. I will be delving into politics here, but I'm not doing it for a political purpose. I'm just trying to find the silly, the crazy, and the stupid in real news, and make them even crazier here.

So I hope you enjoy this new little change. The first post will be up in a couple of days! And if you have any comments, suggestions, or ideas, please message me on twitter (@tbguy1992) or through email, tbguy1992@gmail.com


Monday, March 6, 2017

Map Monday: Acts of Union

So, let's try something new.

Alternate History Weekly Update, a former blog run by Matt "Mitro" Mitrovich, used to run a couple weekly segments called "Map Monday" and "Flag Friday," as does other Alternate History groups and blogs online. That said, I feel like joining in, and promoting timelines from the Alternate History world.

So my first one is from the Alternate History Wikia, "Acts of Union" by user "Feudy McPlagueface."


After a crisis in Venezuela turns into a shooting match between the British and American fleets in 1902, with the US Navy emerging victorious, the British Empire begins to reform, turning into a more de-centralized, federal state. By the current day, the world is divided into major factions: The Western Defense Pact (the US, Brazil, and Mexico); the European Commonwealth, composed of the the United Commonwealth (the British Empire) and the French Union; the Moscow Pact with the USSR, Great Bulgaria, People's Republic of China and Siam; the Great East Asian Union with the Japanese Empire, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The map is very interesting, though I would need to go over the timeline a few times more myself before I can determine if it's plausible or not. Having so many "space filling empires" slightly different shades of colours does make it seem rather suspect, but it's interesting and worth a look!

If you have a map, flag or timeline would you would like me to showcase, leave a comment, send a message to my Twitter (@tbguy1992) or to my email (tbguy1992@gmail.com) and I'll take a look!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Editorial: Social Changes in Alternate History

Sorry for the delay in posting new topics. Been busy with life, work and other projects.

But this has been a question that I've been thinking a lot about lately, especially in regards to what is going on around the world right now: How do our beliefs and ideals change over time? And how much can a small group of people change an entire nation's ideology?

I'm not much of a social historian. I like my wars and battles and big momentous events, and I do believe, somewhat, in the "Great Man" theory of history, though not for every single event. However, I do recognize that underlaying social currents support the above, but I don't believe that changes in society and culture always directly lead to historical developments as some social historians like to claim.

In fact, I think major social changes can happen very quickly, and often with just a minor push in a certain direction, and often more willing to fall back to traditional forms, if modified, than to embrace new, foreign concepts.

The example I keep thinking about is Nazi Germany. The Germany of 1933 was in chaos, despite having one of the most democratic constitutions in the world. For decades, the belief was that more democracy is better, right? That's what the framers of the Weimar Republic must have been thinking when they wrote their constitution. With enough time to retrain the Monarchists, the Militarists, the Communists and the Nationalists to the benefits of a peaceful, inclusive government, then Germany would become a beacon of democracy. The problem, of course, was that it was running against hundreds of years of German history. But with time, of course...

But then Hitler and the Nazi's came, pushing very early on for a government lead by a strong leader (Hitler, of course, was sure it was going to be him) and to do away with the silly democracy. And enough Germans, using that silly democratic system, believed the Nazi's to vote them into power in 1933. Soon after, Hitler rendered the constitution moot, ruling as an absolute dictator, using a secret police, military expansion, propaganda and racism to strengthen his rule.

And millions of Germans went along with it, even though just a few years before they were willing to let the democratic experiment run it's course.

So what happened? To a degree, it was a retrenchment of old German and Prussian ideals: a strong military to defend the nation and bring glory, a strong, paternalistic leader to guide the people, suspicion of ideas of "liberty" and "democracy", and a belief that fate was with them. But it also had the more sinister anti-Semitism, violence, fear and blatant propaganda to go with it, and turned National Socialism into the sinister ideology that we hate today, the one that has devolved to the point where you would call someone you fundamentally hate and disagree with a "Nazi," wether they support that ideology or not.

But the thing is: had the Nazi's won World War Two, had Hitler conquered the world, he would have been right. Not because we are totally and completely wrong to the "true" nature of humanity, but because we would believe and accept it. It would have drilled into our heads in school, blared from our TV, radio, movies, and repeated, time and again, that Fascism, National Socialism, is the best thing in the world, the true ideology of humanity, and that Communism and Democracy were failed experiments at best, or worse: detrimental, vile and destructive ideologies out to destroy the world.

This is something to remember when looking at alternate history, and a pratfall that many (myself included) have fallen in: the winners write the history. They also can shift the social ideals through education and propaganda, they can make defeats into victories, or they can make victories in defeats. We today believe that democracy and capitalism is the best because it "won." We think it's natural because it's what the majority of the world believes. But at one point half the world thought that totalitarian dictatorships was the way to go, and centuries ago kings and emperors ruled the world. While racism is something that we still struggle with today, we recognize it as something we have to get rid of. In an alternate history, or even in the not-so-distant past, we actively encouraged it.

So when reading or writing an alternate history, remember that just because democracy, capitalism, free speech, free religion and others "won," that's not always the case. And in a few short years, it could be the other way entirely.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Fictional AltHistory #8: Kaiserreich, Part 2

A few months ago I talked about the Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg mod for Darkest Hour, the improved version of Paradox Interactive's Hearts of Iron 2. But soon after I wrote that, other things came up, new games to play, and a dozen other things that prevented me from revisiting this alternate history scenario.

But now that I finally figured out how to get the game to work on my computer again, let's take a look at a few other events in the Kaiserreich backstory that has a major Alternate History twist to it!

POD: Yet Another French Revolution

When you start a game of Kaiserreich, you are presented with a surprise: two France's! No, there wasn't some weird multiverse crisis that somehow resulted in two nations that call themselves the same but are totally different and hate each other. Nope: a left wing revolution resulted in  two nations that call themselves the same but are totally different and hate each other. It's always the commies.

Maybe McCarthy was onto something...

In 1920, after a brief civil war between the establishment and a socialist-syndicalist alliance, the Commune of France was declared in Paris. The leaders of the old Third Republic that didn't join the Commune retreated to Algeria, claiming the French colonies as the true nation of France, and that they were a government in exile. That's something you are going to hear a lot of in this mod...

Plausibility: 8/10. In a very simple overgeneralization: since 1789, the French have a habit of overthrowing ineffectual, corrupt or defeated governments and setting up a new one. Since King Louis XVI lost his head in OTL, there has been five republics, two empires, two monarchies, and a communist commune, not to mention the puppet state set up by the Nazis.

So I can see the French tossing out the Third Republic and starting the Second Commune, or whatever it's called. And at the same time, I can see those that wouldn't agree with the new order hightailing out, even if that means sitting in Algiers fuming at all that you lost and vowing to someday comeback and restore the nation.

And maybe turn the Eiffel Tower into a huge middle finger pointed at Germany.

But, this is the big question: can this syndicalist nation survive as long as it did? That is the bigger, iffier question to me. I'm personally surprised that Germany would allow a proto-communist, left leaning extremists to set up shop that soon become really resentful and angry at losing to Germany, again. But at the same time, the Germany of the post-Weltkreig is just sick and tired of fighting, and desires peace. So maybe the leadership of the new Commune, seeing what happened when the Germans intervened in the Russian Revolution, decided to play nice, at first, and Germany was willing to let them. The lore doesn't go into detail about early Commune-Germany relationships, but I'm sure it's not all sunshine and roses.

POD: And... Britain Too?

In 1925, a coal strike in Britain quickly spiralled into violence, and when the army was sent in to restore order, the army instead revolted. A general strike shut down the nation, and in six weeks, the Royal Family, most of the Royal Navy, some of the Royal Air Force, loyalist military units and whoever did not like the idea of "equality for all" rabble-rousers redistributing their wealth all hightailed it to Canada and the other colonies, waiting for the moment to return. The Trades Union Congress then declared the Union of Britain, another socialist-syndicalists inspired by the French across the channel. The nation isolated itself from the world, content to build socialism in Britain with no one to interfere.

So... alternate history Brexit then?

Plausibility: 5/10. This is, to a degree, odd. The way the lore goes, the Dominions and Colonies of the Empire were mostly okay with the Peace of Honour (what ended the long, drawn out war between Germany and Britain after France fell), but the Home Isles took it really badly, and all it needed was a spark, similar to the miners strike of OTL that Winston Churchill proposed solving with machine guns.

The way the game made it sound, the Peace with Honour wasn't that bad. If anything, it basically restored the status quo, with a few minor changes, like some islands being transferred around. I could see maybe there being some issues with a populace that just fought and starved and struggled for seven years, with millions of casualties and nothing to show for it: not even Ireland was given it's independence in the treaty, so it would seem that Britain at least lost, and would have something to strive to regain in the future (basically like how the Nazi's rose to influence and power in Germany OTL). But without the anger and hate, I don't see it coming to pass.

Or whatever passes as anger over in the UK. Something something football.

The Britain from 1921-25 would be directionless: all the sacrifice, all the fighting, and everything just went back to what it was, just with a lot of men dead. So a minor crisis that a somewhat indifferent government and upper class tried to crush away boiling over, but I don't know if it would be a socialist revolution, or even if it couldn't be suppressed or with some reforms to molify the masses. Maybe a socialism with some nationalism thrown in, but I don't see much of that in the lore of the game. So I'm on the fence of this one.

POD: The Sun Never Sets on the German Empire

Germany managed to win a few colonies in the aftermath of the Weltkrieg. But they gained a lot more with the British Empire collapsed and went socialist. It wouldn't do to have these prime areas of real estate to just become independent, or, worse, becomes part of another empire. Nope: They had to be taken. The colony of Mittelafrika, composed of the old Belgian Congo and former German territories, along with British possessions like Kenya, Tanzania and others, is just one of these new colonies: southern China is the personal fiefdom of the Allgemeine Ostasiatische Gesellschaft, the German East Asian Company, while many other territories like the Suez Canal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and many other islands and cities are now all part of the great and glorious Kaiserreich.

Plausibility: 1/10. This is perhaps the least plausible part of the entire mod. According to the backstory, even after 1921 Germany was still fighting, sending troops to make sure that Russia's Civil War didn't turn into a Bolshevik victory. But then in 1925, four years later, suddenly Germany is able to basically occupy and bring areas from Africa to South East Asia to a third of China into puppet states and colonies and corporate fiefdoms with, as far as I can tell, little issue and bloodshed?

And a hint of domineering paternalism and subjugation for good effect

The Germany they described in 1921 has just won a Pyrrhic Victory, and was on the verge of economic and social collapse after seven years of the British blockade, total war, and failed harvests. Apparently Admiral von Tripitz, as the new Chancellor, was able to turn it all around starting in 1924, occupy most of Africa and Britain's Asian possessions by 1925, and set up a Chinese empire with the permission of the teetering Qing Dynasty in 1926.

Yes, there would be a vacuum of power if the British Empire collapses, but my guess is that Germany wouldn't be able to simply march in, place their flag where the Union Jack was, and all would be good. I'd see revolutions, strikes, bloody uprisings, syndicalist/socialist/nationalist upheaval that, should the German Empire get involved in, would cause the already war weary people to rise up in their own revolt at sending even more soldiers to die in places far away from home.

Most of the map of Kaiserreich should be a lot of small states in Africa and Asia, former colonies suddenly cast adrift with no one but the strong local warlords to replace it. Maybe Germany, the Ottomans, even the Austrians and Japanese, would get a few possessions. But not as much as we see in game.

"And zis piece is mine, and zis one, and zis one..."

POD: Crouching Russia, Hidden Bolsheviks

Russia in Kaiserreich is, quite simply, a mess. The White's won the civil war with help from Germany, and Alexander Kerensky became President of an unstable, weak, divided, and much smaller Russian Republic, but he's the only person capable of holding everything together. Finland, Ukraine, the United Baltic Duchy, White Ruthenia, a union of Cossack territories, several central Asian countries and a couple Japanese puppet states had all been created from it's territory after the Weltkrieg. Political divisions, communists, and reactionaries besiege the nation from all sides, and it's a question of when, not if, it will all come to a head.

(Spoiler alert!) Within minutes of starting the game, Kerensky will be dead, allowing a Russian player to guide Russia to it's destiny: wether communist, national populist or something in between.

And time to bring back the armoured trains!

Plausibility: 4/10. There are a few issues with this scenario, namely in the Civil War. According to the backstory, the White's of the Russian Civil War got together in 1919 and agreed to name Kerensky as their unified leader. But the White's of the Civil War are a diverse group, ranging from monarchists wanting to put the Czar back in power to democrats that want to forge a new destiny for Russia (and they, in turn, divided between democratic socialists and lassiez-faire liberals). Agreeing with Kerensky, who had already failed to hold the country together after the February Revolution before Lenin and his Bolsheviks overthrew him in the October Revolution does seem to be a a bit of a stretch. But the idea of a unified White movement isn't totally outlandish, I feel.

Then there is the German intervention. I think the problem with some of the backstory of the mod is that it's acknowledged that Germany had nearly fallen apart after the Weltkrieg, but then the game has Germany intervening around the world within a couple of years. It's seems highly unlikely that Germany would be in shape, or have the political or popular support to go east again. Supplies? Maybe. Volunteers? Alright. But a full fledged army sent in to the quagmire of Russia to prop up a "democratic" Russian regime? That feels like a bit too much, and should have resulted in riots and revolution back in Germany.

But what do you think? Do some good ol' French and English revolutions make sense? If you have a comment or a suggestion, either email me at tbguy1992@gmail.com or look for me on Twitter, @tbguy1992.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Alternate History Scenario #27: A Different Kind of American Slavery?

The Alternate History Wiki is a great place to find alternate history ideas, and this one was because of an idea someone threw out in the chat: What if slavery was still used in the US, but not in the version that we know, but something more like the old Roman style of "debt" slavery.

And that got me thinking. And when that happens, I start making up an entire alternate history scenario.

This won't be a full fledged scenario, but something more theoretical than anything, how an alternate US may look if it didn't use chattel slavery as in OTL. I remember reading somewhere of the point when the race driven, life long slavery was made official, a court case in the 1600s in Virginia. However, I can't find the actual source, but I think I will use that as the main point of divergence. Say the Founding Fathers, in their pursuit of building a Roman style republic, decide to go all out?

Here Bessarius gives his master, George Washington, a glass of wine

Slavery in this new America would be much different: theoretically, anyone could be a slave, but there would be a very particular system set into place. Certain crimes, say theft, fraud and the like, could result in the accused being sentenced to slavery for a certain period of time, say five years as an average based on the amount of money the accused took.

The larger percentage of slaves in this alternate world would be those in deep debt, with little prospect of being able to pay it off. The way I would see it, a wealthy person would agree to pay off said persons debt, with some interest, but in turn the debtor would become an "indentured servant" or slave to the wealthy party. However, there would be a lot of laws and protections in place over the years, preventing children from being enslaved, ensuring some basic rights to life, while temporarily removing other rights, like voting and such. I'd think that anyone that had been a slave in their life would be barred from serving in political office and other constraints, but that would never apply to their children unless they also had to apply for it. It would also be possible for these slaves to get out of their contract early, working at a side job if they wanted to (though it may depend on locality there). In general, this form of slavery would simply be working to pay off debt, and being given food and shelter to do so.

And at the same time collapse the market in shackles and chains.

This would be a slavery based on contracts and laws instead of racism and "tradition." In fact, with this kind of slavery, almost all of American history could be rewritten. With a source of cheap labour without needing to import millions of men, women and children from Africa, plantations in the South would be as likely to form, just with contracted free labor more than permanent black slaves. This source of labour would be better motivated, with terms of service, and the chance of getting freedom sooner. As for the South itself, there wouldn't be millions of black slaves to be worried about, and with a rotating door of indentured servants, the plantations could keep going a lot longer than in OTL.

It would be when Industrialization happens that issues could come up: some factories could use only indentured servants, while others would have to rely on paid workers. This could cause tensions: either indentured servants are resentful of having to work for no money, or that paid workers would not get the wage they deserve due to the indentured workers. I could see more strife between workers, rather than the formation of unions to demand better wages, but eventually groups trying to bridge the gap between the two, the poor workers and the near serfs that compete with them.

Oh darn, did I just make socialism in the US again?

Immigration would also be different. For some potential migrants, the thought of coming to the US, but then being put into slavery, would dissuade some, but for others, hired as indentured servants for a period of time by wealthy land and factory owners would be an opportunity to never pass up. Internally, the movement of people could be different. Those who become indentured servants could be moved away from their families and communities to work in mines or factories or farms in another state. When more people move west to open up the frontier, it would challenge the indentured slavery system with a lack of wealthy patrons to help those that fall behind on debt. If anything, the west could become more "wild" than it actually was, or a lot more empty for longer, or more likely, just larger plantations like in the south, growing wheat and raising cows instead of cotton.

But with possibly tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people serving as little more than free labor, the the US economy would not grow as large or as robust as it did in our timeline. Wages would be lower due to the competition, while the standard of living would be a lot smaller in return. The only people that would benefit from this would be the rich, those that own the factories and land to be farmed. Since they have nearly free labor for periods of time, and the ability, through pricing products and making loans with high interest, to make more debt slaves, the process would be a vicious cycle that would be hard to break.

I... uh... that is not what I meant...

If the system works well, and those that have to use indentured servitude to pay off their debt to be able to re-enter society later with nothing to hold them back and even some cash on the side to restart their lives, then it would serve it's function well: providing temporary cheap labor, while also helping those that can't pay it. But if it breaks down, and becomes a way to oppress the lower classes, then it's less likely to be tolerated into the future, and could be the cause for civil unrest and possible revolution in the future.

But that's where I will leave it. But what do you think? What would an America with indentured servitude like I describe look like? If you have an idea, or a comment, feel free to follow or message me on Twitter (@tbguy1992) or my email tbguy1992@gmail.com.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Editorial: Parallelism and Alternate History

So I hope you all had a good holiday season. I've been pretty busy with family and work, and getting into playing Overwatch, which, like everything that I get into, is long after everyone else already gets into it.

But I digress. It has been fun! Even if I can't hit anything when I shoot.

So, you know... pew pew dead. That's how I roll!

Anyway, back to Alternate History and talking about it.

One thing that has come up a lot in my discussions with fellow Alternate Historians is the use of parallels to our history in AH, and to what degree we should use it. Some say that parallelism is sloppy writing and should be avoided, while other's say that it helps connect events in the minds of readers so should be used liberally. I've had people especially drag Harry Turtledove through the mud for his parallelism in his Timeline 191 series, which I'll get to in a bit.

I'm somewhere in the middle, as some of the writing I've done on the Alternate History Wiki and on this blog are anything to consider. I think it's most important when doing AH that I write a good story that is understandable to people who have, at most, a small grasp on the history of the era. This is why the most popular topics of AH in English: World War Two and the American Civil War, because almost everyone in Canada, the US and the UK know about those two events. And, as we all know, the US is the centre of the world...

And it's reasons like that that this map exists.

Most people know some of the details, like D-Day happening on June 6, 1944, and the Americans joined the war when Japan surprise attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. But in most cases, they don't understand why the war happened, the underlying causes, the more subtile events, or even the other nations involved (I blame the Cold War and rather nationalistic historical educational systems we still have for downgrading the role of other nations, especially the USSR).

So this is where the value of parallelism can come in handy. For those people that enjoy a good story, but don't have the full depth of knoweldge of a historical setting, using familiar dates can help to anchor the story into the time period, even if the causes and results of the Alternate History are vastly different.

It's also a reason why I'm not totally opposed to see big names in stories and timelines that started decades, if not centuries before they would have been born OTL. In fact, in my big French Trafalgar, British Waterloo TL, I'm very guilty for doing this. Partially because I was still in high school and only just starting my AH career, and also because I simply suck with making up new names, as many readers of mine could point out. Though, to be honest, the biggest reason was because I always wanted a picture beside the name in articles like the "Presidents of the US" and "Prime Ministers of France." Kind of hard to do that when you just make up people. But, I made it fairly clear, namely through changing dates of birth and death, that there are still some butterflies: most have been hanged by up to ten years in either direction of their OTL birthdays.

Birthdays can get weird in parallel timelines.

But there are the pratfalls of sticking to parallelism too closely. Timeline 191 is one of the more blatant examples: World War One starting the same day that it did OTL, with the same reason for the war (the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, but by bomb instead of gunshot), and then the USA and CSA duking it out over three years of trench warfare. I've had people go on about how the South shouldn't have been able to withstand against the full might of the US, but I have my theories as to why the CSA could have lasted as long as they did (and something I will go into further detail later). It's even more blatant when a fascist CSA attacks the US on June 22, 1941 in Operation Blackbeard, which is basically a copy-replace of Nazi Germany's Operation Barbarossa that took place on the same day, and with major battles occurring on the same day ATL as major battles occurred OTL. Some of these do seem a bit forced and ridiculous, but I can understand why Turtledove did it, if just to ensure that for new readers to alternate history that they aren't thrown out of the loop. That said, he could have handled it better in my opinion, and better paralleled the ideas and emotions of the time (which he did some extent), and broke free from the tyranny of dates and timing.

But he's the New York Time's Best Selling Author, and I'm a procrastinating 24 year old on the internet. So what do I know?

Not as much as he does about growing a beard, that's for certain

Anyway, sorry for the month long silence. Hopefully I'll get back to a more regular posting schedule in the near future. But if you have any suggestions or comments, find me on Twitter @tbguy1992, or email me at tbguy1992@gmail.com