31 December 2015

Teddy Roosevelt's Last Stand

July 6, 1917; Carnegie Hall, New York City

Both Theodore Roosevelt (former US President) and Samuel Gompers (president of the American Federation of Labor) were invited by Hamilton Fish to meet a delegation from Kerensky’s government of Russia. During the event Gompers defended the racial violence initiated during the strike in East St. Louis. Black strike breakers and their families were attacked. Over 6,000 blacks were driven from their homes and over 200 were murdered.

Roosevelt was outraged by the savage killing of Americans and called for justice for the slain. Gompers blamed the corporations for bringing in the [African-Americans] to break the strike. The strikers warned the corporation that trouble would follow (which showed some pre-meditation of what was to follow).

The argument between the two became heated as Roosevelt stood and shook his fist in Gompers face. Gompers also stood as the war of words continued.

“I will go to any extreme to bring justice to the laboring man, but when there is murder I will put him down.” Roosevelt was quoted as saying.

The confrontation turned violent as it appeared to the labor supporters in the gallery that Roosevelt struck Gompers. They charged down onto the stage, bringing Roosevelts supporters up in an attempt to stop them.

The ensuing mêlée Mr. Roosevelt received two broken ribs and a broken nose. However his worst injury was suffered when he was pushed off the stage, shattering his hip. His death two days later would lead to riots across the northeast and west coast. The landscape of American politics would be changed for decades to come.

The South would actually become more pro-Labor while the North would push Civil Rights leading to marches and demonstrations in the late 1940s. Regional politics would remain strong weakening party politics.

Many would wonder what would have happened if Theodore Roosevelt had survived to run for President again in 1920.

Hamilton Fish: Memoir of an American Patriot (by Hamilton Fish; ISBN 0-89526-531-1)

The Chicago Daily Tribune Volume LXXVI #162, Saturday, July 7, 1917

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt#/media/File:T_Roosevelt.jpg

11 December 2015

Friday Flag - The United Kingdoms of England and France

In 1120 William Adelin survived the wreck of the White Ship. He went on to become King of England continuing the line of the House of Normandy. There would be no succession crisis as William III took the throne in 1135 at the age of 32. England remained stable and William III produced an heir.

War with France in the early 13th century allowed for expansion of England's territory. The Anglo-French War of 1201 to 1212 was waged by King Robert III, and was a decisive English victory. Phillip II of France was killed in 1212 and his son Louis VIII became King of what remained of France.

The Albigensian Crusade allowed the English to complete their domination of France as they crushed the Cathar in the name of the Catholic Church. In 1228 Louis VIII lost his throne as France became part of the Kingdom of England.

In 1235 the flag of of the United Kingdoms of England and France was issued. The United Kingdoms would continue to dominate European and then world politics for centuries.

02 December 2015

Preparing an Alternate History RPG Campaign

Well, NaNoWriMo is over. Didn't hit 50,000 words due to distractions at work and the need to do some more research. I'll be putting that steampunk story on hold as I prepare for a new tabletop RPG campaign for next summer.

At first I was planning to run a science fiction campaign, something like Eclipse Phase. I've been burning out on all the fantasy and D&Dish stuff we've been playing. However, an alternate history timeline I was working on seemed it might be a fun place to adventure especially in a in a gritty version of GURPS with no magic or psionics allowed.

Two of my players are interested, I still have to check with the others. I was working on a timeline where the native tribes of North America ended up being stronger. Having only one divergence point I've been working on the basis of what will hopefully be a mostly plausible scenario.

Given the great divergence that would take place in modern history my outline started getting a little stuck in the late 16th century. That also happened to be a great time for a group of "adventurers" to explore things and get a firsthand look at this world. Hopefully a long enough campaign will allow me to flesh out this world enough to extend its timeline to modern day.

Now that a basic rules system is set and the basic historical outline is being developed I have to now work on maps, technology, and other aspects of the world. Things such as calendars, currencies, and new names for places are going to fill some of the spare moments I'll have between January and April.

I'll post interesting items related to this game's history and setting to this blog as they are developed. I may even post a synopsis for each game session after we play them.

....or maybe the players will get fed up after too many of their characters get killed or maimed in a gritty world with no modern medicine or magical healing available. Might do them some good after our recent overdose of the Pathfinder RPG.

20 November 2015

Friday Flag - Canadian Bermuda

Canada continues to grow with the addition of Bermuda on 1 July 2014. It is currently a territory but is expected to become a province before October 2019. Bermuda is a strategic location for Canada as a good mid-point between the mainland and her Caribbean and Central American territories.

The transition to its new status has gone well for Bermuda. Queen Elizabeth II has approved of the merger. Charles, Prince of Wales was in Bermuda on 1 July for the ceremony.

Major changes in Federal politics are not expected. With only 63,000 people even combined with the existing West Indies and Belizean citizens, there should be no major change in the House of Commons or Parliament.

06 November 2015

Friday Flag - USSA

Still plugging away at my NaNoWriMo project for this year. Still it's time for a new flag. Here is a flag for a communist United States. I have no real background for it, mainly because I can't come up with one that is even a tiny bit plausible. So no extra writing is required and I can get back to my novel.

The red blocks each represent one of the 48 states. I was inspired in the creation of this flag on something I saw online somewhere, I think it was the People's Cube. Enjoy.

05 November 2015

NaNoWriMo and a Map

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m working on a steampunk story this year. I have the story set in an alternate history. With the development of steampunk technologies the French Empire had some fancy artillery, possibly with targeting controlled by analytic engines. This technology superiority allowed them to defeat the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War.

Now Germany is broken into a number of separate states. Bavaria a French puppet, Hanover dominated by the British, and Saxony falling quickly into the Habsburg sphere. The demilitarized Westphalia region is seeking independence from Prussia. A bit of a mess in Central Europe.

A strong French Empire helped to keep Rome as a Papal State, not having it annexed into Italy. There will be many other differences as I work on the story.

Here is a nifty map:

As I said it will be a steampunk story. No supernatural creatures, magic, psionics, faeries, or vampires will make appearances. It will also focus on some of the ‘punk’ elements so many stories ignore. No adventuring nobles as the main character doing everything for Queen and Country.

It will be a fun project, but it will need a lot of clean-up. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days while still working, gaming, and taking care of other responsibilities can be tricky. They key is to write and worry about editing or changing things until afterwards. Very rough draft.

If it ends up being any good I’ll see about getting out there somewhere for people to explore.

23 October 2015

Friday Flag - North Italy

During World War II the United States focused on battling Japan and attempting to retain territory lost in Asia. By the end of the war the Soviet Union pushed through all of Germany and into Northern Italy.

North Italy was quickly founded in 1947 as a communist state with South Italy an American proxy. Five years later the North invaded the South. North Italian, Polish, Czech, and a token German force crossed the border moving towards Rome. After being initially pushed back the allied forces (South Italy, USA, UK, Spain, and Turkey) got organized and pushed back. After nearly three years of fighting North Italy was defeated and occupied by the Allies.

The United States pushed for re-unification of Italy. The Soviets were not willing to escalate the situation over a small bankrupt country. Their nuclear program and delivery systems were still far behind the West and they needed time before any full-scale confrontation. Italy was reunited in 1955 and the flag of North Italy was retired.

21 October 2015

Happy Back to the Future Day

Happy Back to the Future Day..... and be thankful we don't live in that horrible future.

Flying cars, self-lacing sneakers, hoverboards, self-drying clothing, weather control, lots of cool stuff was depicted for the world of October 21, 2015 in Back to the Future II. However I haven't heard any mention of the most terrifying thing about this bright and colorful future; the lack of lawyers. Doc said: "The justice system works swiftly in the future now that they've abolished all lawyers. " That future is a terrible tyrannical world.

Lawyers get a bad rap. Sometimes they really deserve it. However in a free society lawyers are needed to help protect the innocent (and guilty) from the power of government. A world with instant justice and lack of police investigation of crimes is an evil place. Griff Tannen is a bully, thug, and was planning a crime but he ended up being imprisoned just for damaging the courthouse. Prison seems to be a harsh sentence for accidentally breaking some windows.

A totalitarian police state is not my idea of a great future, even with hoverboards.

I wish I could point to some things that show the alternate 1985 where Biff controlled Hill Valley wasn't as bad as it seemed. There was not enough information to show if the rest of the world was in a similar state. Who knows Marty's in that timeline off in boarding school might have led to a much better future. At least gambling was made legal in California.

The timeline changes in the trilogy were always fun and interesting. However the most terrible one for Marty was never addressed. That being the one at the end of the first movie. His entire life was changed. All of the memories of his family were no longer accurate and he now lives with complete strangers who inhabit the bodies of the family he loved. His name really shouldn't have been Marty anymore, his parents would have named their eldest son Marty. When our Marty became a teenager his father may have even divorced his wife after seeing that his son looked a lot like that Calvin Klein fellow they knew back in the day, and assumed that Lorraine had cheated on him with Klein. His mother would have then slipped back into alcoholism and possibly died sending the teenage Marty into foster care never to meet Jennifer...... In Star Trek Commander Spock would have been from some other planet and Star Wars' Darth Vader would have had a different name all because some writer named George McFly wrote a novel about Darth Vader from the Planet Vulcan in 1962.

Of course I'm over-thinking things a bit. I'm also drifting from the original point of the post: be thankful we didn't end up with the future portrayed in Back to the Future II.

09 October 2015

Friday Flag - Second Peru-Bolivian Confederation

After years of civil war and then a war with the United States the nation of Chile was in a weakened state. On 3 June 1884 Peru and Bolivia both declared war on Chile to reclaim lost territory. Despite Chile's weakness Peru and Bolivia were only in slightly better shape, having not fully recovered from the War of the Pacific. It took nearly two years for territories lost in the War of the Pacific to be recovered.

When the so-called Second War of the Pacific ended in 1886 Peru and Bolivia moved to enhance their security and further cooperation by forming the Second Peru-Bolivan Confederation. Andrés Avelino Cáceres became the first president of this new state thanks to his victories as General of Peru's armies during the Second War of the Pacific. He had to deal with the huge debts created by the two wars and integrating increasingly disruptive rebel groups into the new nation.

An agreement was made to eliminate the debt by giving control of its railroads and other concessions. It was a very unpopular move, but the nitrate deposits in the recently recovered territories would help the economy once they were running at full capacity again by 1888.

Peru-Bolivia would continue to suffer insurgencies, rebellions, and a shaky economy for years to come. The future threat of a revitalized Chile one day invading was another threat.

25 September 2015

Friday Flag - Kurland

With the victory of the Central Powers in the Great War the German Empire established the new country of Kurland. This German puppet included the cities of Riga in the north to Brest-Litovsk in the south. The islands of Ösel and Dagö.

Inspiration for this flag came from the Atlas of World War I by Martin Gilbert (ISBN 0-19-521077-8). On page 46 was a map of 'German War Aims In Eastern Europe 1914-1918' which showed Kurland, a tiny landlocked Poland, and Ukrainian People's Republic.

The lion rampant is from the coat of arms of Courland. The colors are from the German and Latvian flags.

24 September 2015

Chilean-American War

The ascendancy of Chile after the War of the Pacific also lead to an increase in tensions between Chile and the United States. The 1885 Panama Crisis was one example of this tension. During the Chilean Civil War of 1891 the Itata incident saw the US seizing a ship carrying weapons to the Congressist faction in the conflict. The US was attempting to increase its influence in Chile by supporting President José Manuel Balmaceda.

Balmaceda lost the war to the Congressist faction. A month after the war was over the USS Baltimore arrived in the Chilean port of Valparaiso. On 16 October 1891 outside a saloon in Valparaiso an American sailor spit on a picture of a Chilean hero. In the resulting riot two US sailors were killed and over a dozen were injured. Many of the sailors involved were arrested by the local authorities. The new Chilean government, already upset with US actions during the civil war, rejected all of America's protests.

Secretary of State James G. Blaine had recently died of the chronic illnesses he suffered from. Without his advice President Harrison continued his bellicose rhetoric against Chile. On 11 December 1891 the Chilean response to Harrison arrived. By the afternoon President Harrison was asking Congress for a declaration of war against Chile. On 18 December 1891 The US Congress vote was 292 to 21 in the house and 39 to 35 in the Senate as a Joint Resolution.

The US military was unprepared for a a war with Chile. Construction of new ships and transports began while volunteers were being trained. By mid-April 1892 a force was ready to be deployed. 12 August 1892 saw the city of Iquique occupied by over 5,000 American troops.

During the months after the Declaration of War, Chile began to move its own forces to the northern portion of the country to counter any American invasion. While spread out over a large area, 40,000 Chilean troops were available, many of them battle-hardened during the civil war. While the Americans had better equipment they had long supply lines and were outnumbered by a foe who was fighting for their homes.

The US Navy was able to dominate the local waters. Only small naval encounters played out with the Chilean Navy resorting more to commerce raids on American commercial vessels. The blockade of Iquique and other northern ports was secure.

However, on 21 September 1892 a large-scale operation against the occupied territories was successful. Over 1,000 US soldiers died, most of the others were wounded and/or captured. It was a major disaster with only 413 escaping by sea. While America held the sea now Chile held 2,600 prisoners of war. More troops and ship were being produced in the United States and a larger, more powerful relief force would soon be ready.

The disaster in Chile spelled defeat for Harrison at the ballot box in November. Grover Cleveland won the election and had to plan how he would handle the war.

In late January 1893 the first 10,000 soldiers of a 100,000 force arrived in Peru as a staging area. The number increased to 25,000 by March 1893. Disputes between the US Army and US Navy as well as supplying the troops were problems. A planned two-pronged attack on Iquique and Coyhaique province were planned. Future arrives would reinforce which ever front needed it.

President Cleveland took office on 4 March 1893 just a week before the planned offensive. The President put the offensive on the back burner and opened diplomatic channels with Chile. He felt that enough people had suffered and died over a bar fight. The public backlash was high against Cleveland with unrelenting assaults by the press on a daily basis. The blockade of Chile was kept in place during negotiations. By June he submitted a treaty to the Senate. The treaty would see to the release of all prisoners, including the arrested crew members of the Baltimore, and the US would pay $200,000 in gold for damages to Iquique and from the blockade. The treaty only received 33 of the 59 votes it needed. They country was at war with a Commander-in-Chief who didn't want the war and a Senate that didn't want to end it.

Disease struck the military camps in Peru during August so any military operations would have to be delayed. During the three worst months of the outbreak over 3,800 Americans died. This delay did allow President Cleveland to try to acquire Easter Island from Chile in order to sweeten the deal for the Senate. By having the reparations be considered a purchase it might have a chance of passing.

November 1893 public pressure in the United States was forcing Congress' hand regarding the war. Despite the Democratic majority in the House a call was made to begin impeachment proceedings against the President for failing to carry out his duties as Commander-in-Chief, that failure leading to the loss of thousands of men to malaria and other tropical diseases as thousands of others suffered in prison camps.

On 15 December 1893 the President finally broke under the pressure. He resigned his office and Adlai Stevenson I was sworn in as the new President. Stevenson quickly organized a new campaign on Chile. Heavy fighting over the next four months on three fronts forced Chile to surrender on 14 May 1894. Five thousand additional Americans died, over 10,000 Chilean troops and thousands of civilians due to indirect fire, lack of supplies, and disease.

President Stevenson

The United States seized Easter Island and claimed $250,000 in reparations from Chile. Most of the money would never be paid as on June 3, 1884 Peru and Bolivia both declared war on Chile.

Grover Cleveland is actually one of my favorite presidents so I hope I didn't make him seem too much of a wuss in this alternate history. Perhaps he would have had no problem continuing a silly war since Britain did have some influence in Chile at the time... not sure if they had as much after the Chilean Civil War of 1891.

1) The Baltimore Crisis
2) United States intervention in Chile
3) Baltimore Affair
4) Adlai Stevenson

11 September 2015

Friday Flag - Duchy of Djibouti

In 1937 the Duchy of Djibouti was on of two colonies of the Królestwo Zachodnim Afganistanie that gained independence. The KZA's naval power was almost non-existent and the regular military conflicts with China and rebel hunting in the Russian Empire took nearly all of the nation's focus. It was felt that releasing the colonies from the Kingdom would allow them to better develop on their own.

The odd mix of politics and religion from the Królestwo Zachodnim Afganistanie carried over to the Duchy of Djibouti. Duke Cumar Grabowski took over as head from his father, Duke Stanislaw Grabowski. Prime Minister Xasan Aref Geelle controlled many day-to-day operations as the new country made a step towards becoming a constitutional monarchy. During the original colony's founding a large portion of southern Ethiopia was conquered and added to the Duchy.

A war between Djibouti and Ethiopia form 1940 to 1942 helped solidify the new nation and in the end brought Djibouti and Ethiopia on a road to lasting peace. As part of the terms of the Djibouti victory in the conflict, Prince Ismaaciil Grabowski would marry Princess Tsehai Haile Selasasie of Ethiopia. She was the youngest daughter of the Ethiopian emperor.

07 September 2015

Money Monday #6 - US Territorial Notes

With increasing tensions and threat of war with the Empire of Japan, the United States was determined to keep its money out of enemy hands if its territories were invaded. This idea eventually evolved into the 'Blue Back,' a territorial currency for use during the time of crisis. The first notes were issued in fall of 1941 and would be in circulation until 1948 (other than the Kamchatka-Chukotka & Philippines notes which were withdrawn after the 1942 invasion).

Each note had a letter designation for the territory it originated. If one of these territories fell to enemy forces the related money would automatically become contraband and have no value.

A: Hawaii
B: Alaska
C: Kamchatka-Chukotka
D: Philippines
E: Guam and other Pacific possessions

Over $580 million of territorial notes were printed. Various denominations and designations made up this total, mostly for Hawaii.

By the 1980s surviving 'Blue Backs' were worth quite a bit to collectors, especially the 'C' series.

Inspiration for this post came form the OTL Hawaii overprint notes issued during World War II.

06 September 2015

Book Review - CSS Appomattox

(image from Goodreads.com)

Once you get past the whole Confederate victory in the Civil War the story isn't bad.

Set a couple of decades after the Confederate States of America won their independence. The book starts out as a military fiction the crew of the airship Appomattox have a number of adventures. This leads them to becoming part of a military intelligence unit.

The USA agrees not to intervene in a war the German Empire starts with Spain to gain territory in the Caribbean. The CSA gives support to the Spanish Empire including military aid. The CSS Appomattox is a Confederate airship, under the command of Thomas Devareaux, is patrolling the Atlantic searching for German naval groups.

The Appomattox bloodies a Germany battle group, destroying some enemy airships that were flying cover. As the Confederate ship is being repaired much of the crew is drafted into intelligence operation in the Caribbean including infiltrating the jungle on occupied islands taken by the Germans. Devareux's personal life and traitors withing the Confederacy get drawn together in the backdrop of the war.

There is good pacing and a variety of action. The story itself is self-contained but has a number of loose ends and seems ready for a sequel.

Thomas Devareaux is of the standard heroic mold. He does have a romantic backstory with the daughter of a higher ranking officer. The bumps in that long-distance relationship add some chaos to Devereaux's life and have a further connection to the story. Most of the other crew members of the Appomattox are likable enough despite being Confederates.

Some of the technological innovations developed by the Confederates seemed a bit far-fetched, while airships are cool and all the CSS Appomattox seemed pretty advanced for the time. Technology-wise the CSA seemed to be keeping up with the USA. Given the difference in population and industry between the two nations the CSA would eventually fall behind relying on stealing technology from their northern neighbor. Then again the old Soviet Union was able to project a pretty good illusion about their technology and capabilities back in the day.

The battles with the German airships were entertaining. The portions of the story set in the jungles of occupied territories were interesting as well.

Overall the book was fun. I enjoyed the story and look forward to future chapters in series.

4 or of 5 stars.

Author: Chris Stoesen
Print Length: 273 pages
Available for Kindle at Amazon.com

31 August 2015

Wilson Assassinated!

Paris 1919. The victorious Allied leaders met to distribute the booty from the Great War. President Wilson arrived to push the principles of his Fourteen Points. But as the negotiations stretched on he abandoned more and more of his ideals and became obsessed with his idea for a League of Nations.

Wilson, Clemenceau, and Lloyd George had numerous discussions of the fate of the Ottoman Empire. The original ideals of self-determination were tossed aside as France and Britain fought over the new borders to be drawn across Asia Minor and the Middle East. Greek military forces were arriving to seize land for Greece, Italy demanded concessions, and America was offered a mandate over Armenia and Constantinople.

On 18 June 1919 the Allied leaders did something they didn't do for the other Central Power governments, they met with Turkish Prime Minister and his aides. Perhaps it was the general disdain the Allies had for the Ottoman Empire, or perhaps the meeting was just for show. Damad Ferid attempted to make a case for not destroying the Ottoman Empire. While neither Ferid nor his aides heard the discussions of the Allied leaders after they left it was apparent from their demeanor that they felt nothing but contempt for the Prime Minister.

Wilson was quoted as having "never having seen anything more stupid." Clemenceau and George were offended by the appeal.

Güvenҫ Peynírcí was one of the last minute additions to Damat Ferid's group. He had an ulterior motive for going to Paris. Once he realized from the looks his people received from the Allied leaders he knew he much take a more drastic course of action. The next day, 19 June, just before lunch, he managed to get close to President Wilson and fired three shots into the American leader.

Wilson died almost instantly. Peynírcí was captured and would be executed by the end of the year. However his deed was done. Thomas Riley Marshall was now the President of the United States. American outrage at the assassination would lead to a dreadful cycle of violence in the near East and the spread of Bolshevism into Turkey. America accepted the Armenian Mandate as well as governorship of Constantinople.

A Great War sparked by an assassination ended with another.

Some of the background details for this post were inspired by Margaret Macmillan's Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World. A brief account of Ferid's meeting with the Allied leaders was given on p.437 of the Random House trade paperback edition of that book.

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.

14 January 2015

Seventeen Wars in Twelve Year - update to KZA AAR

It has been some time since I updated by Królestwo Zachodnim Afganistanie AAR for Victoria II. Given how fearful of that nation's future I've been there was no lack of excuses to delay continuing it.

A Polish conquest of portions of central Asia in the mid-19th century created a patchwork kingdom in the region; The Kingdom of Western Afghanistan. It later expanded south to the ocean, colonized a small portion of Africa, and added Mongolia to its territories. Now the Chinese Empire was 'westernizing' and reclaiming regions it considered its territory. The KZA was in growing danger.

From 1894 to 1906 seventeen wars started. One of them was the dreaded Chinese attack on the KZA.

#1: The Great War - December 1894 to April 1896
Germany, Russia, Italy, and the United Kingdom go to war to free Romania from the Austro-Hungarian Empire after the Romanian Crisis. Facing off against the German alliance were Austria-Hungary, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Montenegro, and the Ottoman Empire. In the end Romania gains its independence.

#2: War of the West Moroccan Concession - October 1895 to January 1899
Spain attempts to annex West Morocco but Italy and Morocco manage to fight them off.

#3: Second Chinese Restoration of Order to Yunnan - 12 September 1896 to 15 March 1898
The Chinese Empire vs. Yunnan and Siam. This was the second attempt to annex Yunnan, and this time the Chinese are successful.

#4: Romanian Restoration of Order to Moldavia - 17 June 1898 to 23 August 1898
Romania in its new found freedom wants to annex Moldavia which has a number of Romanian nationals in it. With the help of the German empire they defeat an alliance of Serbia, Poland, and Moldavia and Romania grows in size.

#5:Romanian Liberation of Dobrudja - 20 January 1899 to 24 April 1900
Romania continues its attempts growth, but this time Germany does not come in to do the heavy lifting. Romania clashes with Wallachia, the Ottoman Empire, France, Austria-Hungary, and Switzerland. They quickly surrender and are forced to surrender Moldavia to Austira-Hungary.

#6: Danish Conquest of Ostlandet - 30 January 1899 to 31 May 1899
Denmark, Germany, and Norway vs. communist Sweden. Denmark annexes Ostlandet at the end of the conflict.

#7: German Liberation of Danish Schleswig-Holstein - 28 April 1901 to 8 May 1901
Germany, Belarus, Romania, and Norway vs. Denmark. The size of the German army crossing into Denmark convinces Denmark to surrender quickly before any massive loss of life.

#8: Ottoman Liberation of Thessalia - 12 December 1901 to 5 May 1902
The Ottoman Empire, France, Austria-Hungary, Wallachia, and Switzerland vs. communist Greece. Thessalia is annexed by the Turks.

#9: Italian Liberation of Austro-Hungarian Istria - 28 July 1902 to 31 December 1902
Russia, the UK, Italy, and Slovakia vs. Austria-Hungary and Germany. The war ends in a white peace, neither side gaining any territory.

#10: Second War of West Moroccan Concession - 15 November 1903 to 15 March 1904
Netherlands, Poland, and Luxemburg vs. Morocco. The Netherlands annex West Morocco at the end of this war.

#11: Norwegian Liberation of Nordnorge - 1 June 1904 to 1 February 1905
Norway and Germany vs. communist Sweden. Norway gains a large patch of territory after this war.

#12: War of the Nejdi Hail Concession - 25 July 1904 to 1 February 1905
France, Spain, Netherlands, and the UK vs. Nejd, Oman, and Abu Dhabi. The original plans to gain territory from Nejdi are abandoned and France instead annexes Oman.

#13: Ottoman Liberation of Lebanon - 1 August 1904 to 2 January 1907
Ottoman Empire, France, the UK, and Wallachia vs. Egypt and Russia. A long and bloody war with the eventual annexation of Lebanon by the Ottoman Empire.

#14: Second Ethiopian Liberation of Egyptian Eritrea - 10 October 1904+ into 1907
Ethiopia vs. Egypt and Russia (the United States joins on Egypt's side in 1906). Ethiopia's attempt to gain territory during the chaos of the Ottoman Liberation of Lebanon war did not work out well for Ethiopia.

#15: Chinese Liberation of Inner Mongolia - 27 February 1905 to 11 April 1906
The expected Chinese invasion of the KZA finally takes place. The Chinese Empire faces the Królestwo Zachodnim Afganistanie, Russia, and Poland. The KZA military uses its superior weapons and forts to hold the vast armies of China to a slow advancement. This gives time for Russian and Polish armies to arrive. China fails in its bid to conquer Inner Mongolia, but Poland falls to revolution.

#16: Austro-Hungarian Liberation of Venetia - 29 April 1905 to 8 February 1906
Austria-Hungary and the Netherlands vs. Italy. Italy is forced to surrender Venetia to the Habsburg empire.

#17: Conquest of Boliva - 2 April 1906+ into 1907
Brazil vs. Bolivia, Paraguay, and Chile. Bolivia is quickly conquered and Paraguay is knocked out of the war. Into 1907 skirmishes between Brazil and Chile continue.

This is a pretty bloody period of time. The next decade or decade-and-a-half will feature another clash between China and the KZA as well as two more Great Wars! I'll continue updates in the future.

13 January 2015

Map of the United States of America circa 1910

Last January I was planning my own twist on the alternate American Civil War. Over the summer and fall of 2014 life happened so I didn't develop it as much as I wished. This map is a spoiler for that timeline - the rebellious northern states, due to their population and industry managed to break free of the United States to for the Federation of Free America.

After the north-eastern states broke away the United States quickly got involved in another war with Mexico. The French decided not to intervene which allowed America to annex new territory. The much weaker United States was seeing itself becoming more isolated with the French and British befriending the FFA. After Germany purchased Cuba from Spain on the 7th of June 1889 the United States worked to improve their relationship with the new German Empire.

Naval agreements between the FFA and British Empire became an increasing worry for the United States. They entered into a formal alliance with Germany in 1911, giving Germany access to additional ports in the Caribbean and Pacific as well as the growing American markets. In return Germany military advisers helped the USA modernize its military and gave financial assistance.

With the coming of the Great War the United States would join the Central Powers as the FFA would soon after join the Allies.

With the world war spreading to North America, the map would end up changing again...

02 January 2015

Friday Flag - Free City of Tri-Insula

The Free City of Tri-Insula was the name taken by New York City when it seceded from New York State during the the outbreak of the Civil War. Mayor Fernando Wood did not want to stay with the state after it seceded with many other northern states after Douglas won the Presidential Election of 1860. Wood wanted to continue trading with both sides and the outside world. He did not want the people of his city to be drafted into the armies of the Federation of Free America in its rebellion against the USA.

The Free City of Tri-Insula lasted from September 8, 1861 to November 17, 1861, just over two months. In November armies from New York and various New England states took back the city, bringing it back into the FFA.

01 January 2015

2014 in Review

Another year has ended. Hopefully this new year will turn out great for everyone. 2014 had more posts than I had in 2013 - but I again hit the late summer and autumn slump in posting. My resolution this year is to avoid that slump in 2015.

I had a number of good posts this year. Also a number I never got around to building on... the late year slump is to blame for some of that. I've looked at the posts for 2014 and found the ones that got the most hits.

The top ten posts from 2014 ranked by number of page hits are:
1) Friday Flag - Sino-Soviet Alliance
2) Top Flag Championship 2014 ROUND TWO
3) Top Flag Championship March 2014 ROUND ONE
4) Friday Flag - Kingdom of Burgundy
5) Book Review - Napoleon in America
6) Roman Conquest of Arabia Felix
7) The Baltic Event
8) Book Review - The Divide
9) My first official EUIV campaing - Navajo
10) Friday Flag - Saint Lawrence

The Top Flag Championship received a lot of views, but it also received limited responses which led to its eventually cancellation. Might try again in 2015 now that readership is up.... or might wait until 2016.

Three Friday Flag posts hit the top ten. Here are those flags:

Book reviews seem to be a popular item. I'll have to catch up on writing reviews for all of the alternate history books I've been reading.

I'm glad to see the Roman Conquest of Arabia Felix made the list. It is the divergence point of Roman timeline I put some effort in. I'll have to be sure to continue expanding it this year.

What were your favorite posts from 2014? What would you like to see in 2015? Please leave a comment.
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