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Thread: The thread of alternate history
12-08-2015, 05:41 PM #1
The thread of alternate history
Anyone else enjoy this sort of fictional revisionism? xD Admittedly it was PKD's The Man in the High Castle that got me intrigued by the endless possibilities.
Let's kick it off with: What if communism had taken hold in Central Europe instead of fascism? Would it have been more humane than Stalin's version? Would it have been made an uneasy "friendship" with Moscow like the one between the Soviets and China? Would have the mass slaughter of 50 million people have been less severe?
12-08-2015, 06:53 PM #2
Well, the first obvious consequence of such a scenario would be that the communists won the Spanish Civil War.
This presents an immeadiate problem in terms of humanity. Karl Marx has said "Religion is opium for the people" and the Spanish Communists had a *very* harsh anti-drug policy (eg catholics were shot). If this "War on Religion" attitude would go to Gernmany it would do nothing to quell the anti-semetic feelings there. It would most likely also not quell the "Backstab Theory" that internally justified German aggression, although the anger would now be aimed at the indistrualists, imperialists and capitalists. As such, the German warmachine would aim itself at the UK, and with the backing of the soviets, eventually seize London.
Without having to wage war in Europe, the USSR can focus on the deterioating situation between the US and Japan. China has been weakened by the Japanese attacks and Japan will still see the US as a threat due to their tendency to send "Volunteer Groups" to China. As such, Pearl Harbor will most likely still happen, thus pulling the US and Japan into another war. The USSR may seek to take advantage of this situation by turning Communist China into a vasal and backing it with their mighty war machine. The USSR does not posses nukes (As the nuclear scientists still defected to the US due to the communist stance against intellectuals) and as such starts a bloody land war in Japan, whilst the US tries to agressively seek alliances with former colonial nations to secure a foothold in Asia and South America. After the dust settles, the stage is there still for a cold war. The Pacific Ocean is renamed "The Sinister Ocean" as new globe spanning battle lines are drawn.
Meanwhile, the US tries it's regime changing tactics on western Europe in an effort to destabalize the region and rob the USSR of powerfull allies.
Last edited by Grizzly; 12-08-2015 at 06:55 PM.
12-08-2015, 07:10 PM #3
13-08-2015, 11:28 AM #4
13-08-2015, 02:14 PM #5
Well if you take Rosa Luxembourg as one of the leaders of German communism I think it would have been more humane as she disagreed with Lenin about the role of Democracy within the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Also can I just say that Nial Ferguson is a total revisionist right wing dick? It's a fun game or pub chat but it's not fucking history, it's scoring political points about stuff that annoys him. He should stop pretending it's actual history. That also goes for his defences of the British Empire.
13-08-2015, 03:10 PM #6
14-08-2015, 03:07 PM #7
Oh also there's an interesting miniature war game (kind of, they provide theme but no rules). Called 1938: A Very British Civil War. http://solwaycraftsandminiatures.webs.com/vbcwpage.htm
Their website is crap but the books are listed here: http://solwaycraftsandminiatures.webs.com/books.htm
Before I got a tiny flat I was working on a Soviet Style armoured train to go up and down the London, Midland & Scottish Railways. Formed from the rail engineers union and fighting the fascist gangs.
16-08-2015, 04:31 PM #8
Grizzly, you seem to be making the assumption that if two countries are communist, they're inevitably buddy-buddy, which rather much flies in the face of what we know not only of communist countries, but capitalist countries. Likewise democratic and despotic countries.
The USA has overthrown more democracies than it's founded and enters into alliances with despots all the time. Germany invaded countries with little regard to their political tradition - it was a war for resources, as most wars are - and indeed Russia entered into an alliance of convenience and necessity with the USA. We know how well communist Russia and communist China got along. We all know how well democratic America and democratic India get along. Fascist Germany and Imperial Japan became the USA's strongest allies post-war, yet the USA's actual ally Russia ended up being a combatant for the next fifty years. Now, Russia's "democracy" and laissez-faire capitalism is viewed with deep suspicion but China's despotism and centrally-planned economy is overlooked because there's money to be made.
If there's anything to be gathered by how the 20th Century played out, it's that nations tend to act like nations always act, regardless of political ideology. Russia's President looks a lot like Russia's General Secretary looks a lot like Russia's Czar, and it was Nationalism, not Communism, that spurred them to act in the Second World War. Germany's Corporatism bears distinct similarities to Germany's Fascism bears distinct similarities to Germany's Monarchy. Hitler, after all, neither invented the concept of empire nor founded distaste for Judaism. The UK and France never really got over their colonial pasts, and China's CCP leaders are openly referring to neo-Confucian traditionalism when it suits them after a 50 year cultural experiment that didn't exactly work.
America, for its part, has long since realized that the one thing that keeps Americans together is going to war against someone else. For a peaceloving polyglot nation, we have the biggest sabers around and we rattle them more or less constantly. It hasn't much mattered who's at the helm, we go to war steady as a drumbeat. It'll take more than a regime change to displace that culture.
16-08-2015, 07:50 PM #9
17-08-2015, 08:14 AM #10
18-08-2015, 04:17 AM #11
You're making the same mistake as Grizzly, though: North Korea is in China's deck of cards and Cuba was in Russia's deck of cards for the same reason America keeps military installations in Saudi Arabia (a theocratic dictatorship), South Korea (a military dictatorship at the time of our initial joint operations), Taiwan (see South Korea) and former nations of the Soviet Bloc like Bulgaria. It's about projection of power, not ideological single-mindedness. Russia installed Russia-friendly governors, not necessarily ideological communists - look how many communists suffered Russia's purges, after all. America installs America-friendly governors, even against popular polling and democratic elections - "they're not yet ready for democracy" means "they're likely to vote in someone critical of American power."
Likewise, China is rivaling America in foreign aid and foreign investment, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South America, without concerning itself with whether or not local politicians are ideologically friendly to China's Communist Party. China cares not what local regimes are in power so long as they remain stable enough to keep commerce flowing and thus able to send raw materials and resources back to China. Likewise South America has been America's stomping ground for more than a century, with more coup d'etats than are seemly, because it's about how much the bottom line is for American industries rather than how much these nations adhere to American ideals.
The position of nations like Ukraine and Vietnam and North Korea are more like the position of Thailand during the colonial era: Buffer states sandwiched between global hegemons. How they are locally matters less than that they provide distraction and distance in order to keep larger powers away from each other's throats.
18-08-2015, 09:47 AM #12
Ukraine can go burn in a ditch. It's no Bosnia or East Timur. Let the Russians have what's theirs, and the ethnic Ukrainians can have the rest. I mean they have the gall to put a foreign national (that tie-eater Saakashvili) in a ministerial position. The whole country is corrupt, and while civilian loss of life is always tragic, there's no ethnic cleansing going on in the same vein that was seen in central Europe, so humanitarian intervention should focus on ending hostilities not flaring them (Victoria Nuland, that fugly c*nt). People are acting as if Russia is going to invade europe, and that Ukraine is the bulwark thwarting the bear. Bullshite.
So to be on topic, I theorise (albeit very amateurishly) that we'd all be better off if Nato members dialled it down a notch with Moscow over Ukraine.
Last edited by Pulstar; 18-08-2015 at 09:53 AM.
18-08-2015, 11:39 AM #13
18-08-2015, 01:15 PM #14
For all intents, Russia doesn't have an empire anymore, and its saber-rattling with Georgia and Ukraine is the result. It's not the global power it used to be and doesn't like that. Same with the UK during the 70s when it had to come to grips with no longer being a colonial power.
I wouldn't suggest partitioning the nation just because there are ethnic Rus in it, unless you want to set a precedent what with Overseas Chinese or, more ominously, German Kulturkampf.
18-08-2015, 03:32 PM #15
OK I know revisionist history is bullshit but there's several other problems about the Spanish Civil War theory. All the things Nalano said plus:
1. What communists? The popular front / republicans were a wide coalition of liberals, bourgeoisie left, social democrat, communist and anarchist parties. The joint manifesto they were defending from the nationalists was relatively moderate in wanting democracy, independent judiciary and an end to the class system. Just because Stalin sent them guns to fight fascists doesn't mean they'd have had a communist regime of any kind.
2. Why would Germany attack the UK exactly? Hitler gained power in Germany in '34 way before the Spanish Civil War happened. Communism was pretty much a spent force in Germany by this point so accommodation with the USSR was never going to happen. The Spartacist uprisings were in 1919 which followed by the suppression by the Friekorps. Then the Nazi purges in the earlier 30s. Hitler was mostly acting in a roughly normal German statesman like way, he was interested in kicking the shit out of France, regaining territory lost at Versailles, Grossgermany and leibensraum to the east. There is no logical reason he'd only pick a fight with the UK.
3. As Nalano says China was more often hostile to the USSR than it was useful. If you ever played Twilight Struggle there is a mechanism where China just randomly switches sides as it feels like. The normalisation of relationships with the US in the 70s led to the US selling them arms ffs.
19-08-2015, 03:30 AM #16
19-08-2015, 12:57 PM #17
20-08-2015, 03:24 PM #18
Well Yugoslavia was a communist state in central Europe.
Though obviously not perfect by any means. It was no way near as cruel as stalinist Russia (or maoist China)
My own personal what If though. If Germany never invaded Belgium in ww1 and attacked France directly. Ww1 would have probably gone the other way as Britain would have allied with Germany over Russia and France, having just had a war with Russia and being on better terms wither the Germans than the french. the Italians would have probably followed the British too. Which would have probably meant no ww2 also.
20-08-2015, 03:31 PM #19
Britain joined the war because Poland was her oldest ally (well Portugal too)
Last edited by karaquazian; 20-08-2015 at 03:41 PM.
21-08-2015, 11:56 AM #20
Poland was not Britain's oldest ally (ignoring the silliness of Portugal). France was (the entente cordial dates to 1904) or the Commonwealth Countries were, they were not obliged to join the war via the commonwealth (so 1867 for Canada say). The Alliance with Poland was signed in 1939 a few months before the outbreak of war. Poland only existed from 1918 to actually have an alliance.