28 August 2015

Friday Flag - Kamchatka-Chukotka Territory

As the Russian Civil War raged across east Europe and north Asia the United States of America sent an expeditionary force to help the White Russians. This force was sent to the Russian Far East and additional troops were sent in a show of strength against the Japanese. However, after regular interactions with Admiral Kolchak it became apparent that the Whites were doomed and the Bolsheviks would win the long, bloody struggle.

After spending lives and resources in a futile conflict it was decided to make the best of things by occupying the population centers of Kamchatka and Chukotka. In 1921 America offered Lenin relief supplies and money in return for the territories. Lenin, seeing the offered items as more useful in the struggle in Europe than in the far off tundra, agreed and sold the land. The Kamchatka-Chukotka Territory was born.

The discovery of gold and other unexploited resources brought immigrants from the US and other areas. Development began to take place. However the Second World War would derail this development.

In spring 1942 Japanese forced landed in Kamchatka-Chukotka and drove the remaining, limited, American forces into the wilderness. The difficulties of reconquest and the larger concerns in the Pacific lead to the territory being effectively abandoned. The United States spent more of its efforts in the Pacific than in Europe in the war as a result. A land invasion of Japan took place in 1944 and the Japanese surrendered in 1946.

The Soviet Union, under Trotsky, invaded and re-annexed Kamchatka and Chukotka in 1945. The United States was powerless to stop them. Soviet forces also occupied all of Germany as well as norther Italy as the European war ended in 1945.

Several thousand American soldiers who survived the Japaneses invasion were captured by the Soviets and few were ever returned home.

27 August 2015

I'm Back!

For those keeping score at home it's been about six months since my last post. There were a couple of times this summer I planned on posting, but it has been an incredibly busy year for me. Some good stuff happened, some bad, most just stuff. I've been active in numerous groups, I've increased my reading goals, I've been writing short stories, I'm working on a new role-playing campaign, I've been trying to take free online courses at Coursera, and I even placed in a beard competition. Now that my batteries are recharged I want to get back to blogging.

I've finished designing about a dozen new flags with more on the way. For now I'll be posting one every-other week starting tomorrow afternoon. That should keep at least some regular posting going for a little while.

Book Reviews! - I've read a large number of alternate history books, including a few this summer. It's about time I post more that the handful of book reviews that I've managed so far. I still have to write these reviews, but as soon as I do I'll schedule a regular series of them. I'm not the greatest book reviewer; I've spent too much time in recent years reading stories from old pulp magazines, but I know an interesting story when I read one. Hopefully the reviews will be helpful.

New Worlds! - I carry around a journal whenever I can. It is filling up with sketches, timelines, ideas, maps, and other things related to alternate history. It is now time for me to flesh these ideas out and get them out there. I was noticing that many of them involved alternate wars and other violent conflict. I'm trying to finish at least a few up that don't involve wars. War may be the most dramatic way a timeline could change - there are certainly plenty of opportunities, but it is not the only way.

Once I start posting again I'll be sure to have some extra articles written for posting in November. I'm afraid that binge watching The Man in the High Castle over on Amazon will eat into my time.

If you are a fan of alternate history be sure to check out the Patreon campaign for the Alternate History Weekly Update. Unlike me Matt has been posting regular high-quality articles and deserves some extra support.

11 February 2015

Birth of the Hungarian Soviet

When Russia was knocked out of the Great War in 1917 Romania was finding itself in an increasingly difficult position.

In early 1918, Still desiring a 'Greater Romania' it was decided to continue the war against the Central Powers. On 4 March German, Bulgarian, and Austro-Hungarian troops quickly initiated assaults into Moldava. Despite the poor quality of the remaining troops of the Central Powers and the good showing of the Romanians in 1917 the new campaigns went poorly for Romania. Without Russian support and quickly dropping morale Romania was doomed in new campaign.

On 18 April 1918 the central authority in Romania collapsed and the Russians took the opportunity to move into Bessarabia. The Romanian troops in that area fled, some to their occupied homeland while others joined the Russians.

Not long after, the Central Powers were defeated. The Austro-Hungarian Empire then collapsed. on 21 March 1919 Communists seized power in Hungary under Béla Kun. The Hungarian Red Army moved to crush opposition and then turned its eyes towards the crippled Romanian territories.

With Russian help, and little real opposition from Allied forces, the Hungarians maintained their claim on the conquered lands. The Hungarian Soviet was founded. It would spend years trying to consolidate its territory and putting down counter-revolutions. Lenin, seeing the value in aiding their Hungarian comrades supplied additional troops and what weapons he could to Kur.

In 1938 when the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union was established the Hungarian Soviet was absorbed into the Soviet Union itself. The Hungarian Soviet Republic gained 32 deputies in the Soviet of Nationalities while Romania was made a autonomous republic with 11 deputies to the same. Transylvania remained in the Hungarian Soviet. A large standing army is then maintained in the Hungarian plains, a perceived threat to the new and weak nations of the Balkans and Central Europe.

1) The Romanian Battlefront in World War I by Glenn E. Torrey
2) Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union
3) Béla Kun

30 January 2015

Friday Flag - Triple Monarchy

With Italy joining the Central Powers during the Great War the Allies sued for peace and Germany found itself dominating the continent. Serbia was officially annexed into the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1920.

Emperor Charles I & IV was looking for ways to keep his empire together. By 1932 the Dual Monarchy became the Triple Monarchy as Slavs were given more power as the Hungarians were. This was done both to placate the Slavic peoples of the empire and to take some power away from the Hungarians.

The updated flag added the colors of Serbia. Austria was moved to the center and only its crow appeared on the flag.

The flag stayed in use until 1964 when the empire collapsed and was broken into separate Austrian, Hungarian, and Yugoslav states.

29 January 2015

Book Review - The Multiversity Guidebook

This review won't be of a regular alternate history book. Its for a comic book with details on a multitude of alternate Earths for the mainline DC Universe.

I haven't bought many comic books in the last decade. I sold off most of my collection a few years ago (for a tiny fraction of what I had paid for them) keeping the few that had stories I liked. New comics are too expensive and different titles are too connected story-wise requiring an even larger investments. The constant epic events and crossovers didn't help.

However yesterday I did rush out to the comic shop during lunch to buy a copy of The Multiversity Guidebook by DC Comics. I may not collect comics anymore, but I do like playing superhero role-playing games and I saw this book as a great set of ideas for expanding my RPG campaign.

The book contains part of the Multiversity storyline. It brings heroes and villains from various universes in the DC Multiverse together as part of a larger plot. The selling point for me were the map of the Map of the Multiverse and brief descriptions of 45 of the 52 alternate Earths that make up the DC Multiverse. While I would have liked more details on the various alternate Earths there was enough info for my gaming purposes.

The story portion of the book is broken into a couple parts - one has two very different Batmen teaming up to escape an army of robots created by alliance of a couple dozen Sivanas. Meanwhile, on an alternate Earth, Kamandi and his allies investigate a tomb on 'the Island of the God Watchers.' By the end of these short pieces the Batman from Earth-17 finds himself in the Hall of Heroes just as it is attacked by forces of the BIG BAD GUY.

The alternate Earths have only one or two short paragraph descriptions. Not too much information on divergence points, etc. But given the super-hero spin most of them are interesting in their own ways. If I start up a superhero RPG campaign in the near future I might try setting up campaigns on either Earth-17, Earth-20, or Earth-31.

Earth 17 diverged with a global nuclear war in 1963. It is now over 50 years later and the world's heroes are fighting to rebuild their planet and keep mutants at bay (and fight off Darkseid).

Earth 20 is a pulp-style world with Doc Fate and the Society of Super-Heroes. Given my love of old pulp stories this one would be a fun campaign setting, and the war it is having with Earth-40 creates many more opportunities for adventure.

Earth 31 suffered some terrible disaster in its past. The global sea levels have increased (I'm picking about 100 meters for my maps), and also suffered tsunamis and earthquakes which further changed the surface. Swashbuckling adventures and piracy appear to be the key here, and the image including a steampunk-looking Cyborg opens up other gaming possibilities.

I just hope this guidebook and the effort they've put into this whole Multiversity thing means that DC is finally going to stop messing with the history and structure of their multiverse for at least for a decade or two. All in all I'm happy with the guidebook. While I wanted more what was in it was good. 4 out 5 stars.

26 January 2015

Money Monday #5 - 100 Mark Note

After victory of the Central Powers in the Great War Germany grows in power an influence across Europe, and the world. With the formation of the Confederation of Europe in the 1970s Germany was able to fortify itself as the most powerful economy in Europe. The strength and relative stability of the European economy makes the Mark one of the three most popular reserve currencies (The US Dollar and British Pound being the other two).

In the 1990s a redesign of the German Mark put Kaiser Wilhelm II on the 100 Mark note.

By 2015 the Mark began slipping further behind the dollar and pound as a general economic downturn and ongoing war in the Middle-East stagnates the European economy.

16 January 2015

Friday Flag - Liberia

Liberia was established in 1822 by the American Colonization Society. It gained independence in 1847. Liberia was home to a number for freed slaves from America.

The Republic of Maryland was established near Liberia by the Maryland State Colonization Society. Draconian laws to limit the liberty of freed slaves in Maryland. These laws were used to coerce free blacks into moving to the colony or face the possibility re-enslavement. In 1854 the Republic of Maryland declared its independence and decided not to join Liberia. The Maryland State Colonization Society wanted to try to maintain its monopoly on trade.

In 1855 both Maryland and Liberia were attacked by an alliance of various local tribes. Both small nations coordinated their defenses and eventually merged into one state in 1859. At the end of the war eleven counties formed the new, larger Liberia. The colors of the Republic of Maryland's flag were chosen for the new flag of the nation. One of the reasons of the change in flag was to stop using the colors of the United States in an attempt for form their own identity. Eleven stripes on the flag represent the signatories of the Liberian Declaration of Independence. The American tradition of adding stars to a blue field as new territories were admitted was adopted.

In 1944 the collapse of the British government during the Second World War gave Liberia a chance to add three more stars (to 18) to its canton with the admission of Sierra Leone into the nation. While many of Britain's former colonies were turned into United Nations mandates after the Axis was finally defeated in 1947, the union of Sierra Leone to Liberia was allowed to stand.
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