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Charles EP M.

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10 of History's Worst War Time Leaders


1) Thomas Jefferson (President of the USA, War of 1804) [1]

2) Charles X (King of France, Franco-Haitian War/"Haitian Accident") [2]

3) JOINT AWARD: Frederick William III (King of Prussia, War of the Spring) Jules de Polignac (Regency Council of France, War of the Spring), William I, (King of the Netherlands, War of the Spring) [3]

4) Frederick VI (King of Denmark, The Danish-Prussian War) [4]

5) Porfirio Diaz (President of Mexico, the First Great American War, the Slave Revolt, and Raids of '86) [5]

6) George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan (Governor-General of the Western Provinces, Great Indian Wars/Lucan's March) [6]

7) Zaifeng, Prince Chun (regent, Xinhai Revolution) [7]

8)

9)

10)


[1] Historians are still divided on whether or not Jefferson wanted war or not. But nevertheless, having gotten his war he proceeded to make a bungle of it. From the start of the war of 1804, the President had an obsession with exploiting the front from New England to Canada, and the capture of Quebec, to the ruination of other fronts. Generally caught off guard, the bulk of the fledgling US navy was in the Mediterranean fighting the Barbary Pirates, only to be cut off, corned and destroyed one ship at a time by the British. The immediate forcing of the United States on the defensive at sea was sign of things to come which Jefferson refused to see.

No longer afraid to use the Alien and Sedition Acts for a war against Britain, Jefferson forced many protests and anti-war opposition to go quiet and launched initial American advance into Canada only for it blunted short of the Saint Lawrence River. Repeated attempt to return the offensive spurned by Jefferson failed and the Americans gradually fell back as far Fort Ticonderoga, only to then be outflanked in the Northwest Territories and Sir John Moore's Chesapeake campaign. Pleas to France for help fell on deaf ears, as Napoleon rolled up the map of Europe, and the British continued to press in on all fronts. Although captured at the Burning of Washington, and Presidency falling to George Clinton, Jefferson continued to be the man Congress blamed for the poor war effort and Clinton's refusal to engaging in negotiations until the Federalist won the 1808 election.

Still accused of tunnel vision on Quebec, failure to prepare and failure to compromise, Jefferson remains the one that Americans blame their loss in the War of 1804 on, simultaneously running the fruits of his own Presidency and in a way the American Revolution as the price of peace became the bulk of the Louisiana purchase, and the vast chunk of New England that became New Ireland and the Northwest Territories to Tecumseh's Confederacy all of which killed major western expansion before it could happen. Though the American Republic would survive, its potential for greatness was squandered by its most promising founders, which is probably why Jefferson is now credited as one of the Declaration of Independence's many co-authors.


[2] Haiti had been a long term pain in the arse for France since the abolition of slavery, ever since Napoleon decided to use it as a source of "Black Jacobin" soldiers rather than as a plantation - this worked fine while the Royal Navy was distracted by the War of 1804, and then resupply was cut off. An attempted return to plantation farming during the Bourbon restoration was not catching on and Britain & America were both unhappy with Haiti allegedly provoking slave revolts, so one of Charles X's first acts in 1824 decided to send soldiers to assist Prime Minister Dessalines.

Charles X though little of either Haiti or Dessalines, and mistakenly thought limited French power would be enough and that Dessalines, who did want to install plantations, would accept help. Instead, the Prime Minister took very unkindly to being made "a slave for a distant master after all the blood we have lost"; the Haitian republicans suspected the monarchy would betray 'Napoleon's vision' all along and the Haitian monarchists rallied to the memory of the deceased 'Good King Louis'; and a substantial chunk of white population saw this as a threat to their holdings. The first invasion was bloodily routed. Charles X refused to accept the loss and committed a massive force...

...ensuring simply that he was overthrown (in part by the aging Black Jacobin expats and their children) as he was now weak at home. French soldiers and marines were pointlessly lost only for the new Regency to declare the war over, and a status quo returned now "Mad Charles" was gone. French prestige was shattered and money & blood spilled to achieve a continuing status quo, the ultimate embarrassment (and in the long-term, this damaged both French imperial ideals and led to Haiti's increasing autonomy & independence)

[3] Some small states retain their independence because no one wanted to conquer them; some because they were not worth the political capital of conquest; some because they were useful as buffers and tax havens.

Luxembourg is independent because it's too embarrassing to annex, after what happened at its birth.

The post-Vienna order of Europe had become increasingly wobbly in the 1820s, but to a casual viewer the restored monarchies were well in place. Spain had been saved for the Bourbons and the Poles put down; Greece wrested from the Ottomans, and the dragoons sent into crowds across Britain.

That order would have survived any one of the great powers having a domestic crisis, and indeed already had. It would not survive two of them suffering one at once.

By 1829, France had spent five years in the absurd situation of being ruled by a Regency without a King; first the council was preserving the throne until a Bourbon came of age, then until the child of the late Duke of Orleans could be brought to Paris. The remaining Bonapartists played both sides against each other, hoping that in time the throne might be offered to the Emperor's son. Finally, in 1829 the Chair of the Council of Ministers passed to the ultralegitimist Jules de Polignac, who decided that the key to securing the throne for his candidate was a short victorious war. He thought it would be in Algeria- and then Belgium revolted.

In Prussia, Frederick William I had become increasingly worried about the assertive middle class, and surrounded himself with ultraconservatives. He had no desire to be shackled by a constitution, but a worrying budget deficit made the government seem weak and unable to rule. The solution seemed to be that old proof of Prussian glory: a short victorious war. He thought it would be against the Danes, but then Belgium revolted.

William I of the Netherlands wanted to recapture the glory of the golden age of the Dutch- and to do that he needed to ensure that he kept every last inch of land in Europe. And then Belgium revolted.

And there was Luxembourg- German speaking Luxembourg, Luxembourg within the natural frontiers of France, Luxembourg that rightfully belonged to Amsterdam.

Three so-called great powers sent their armies to the Rhine in the spring of 1830, and three so-called great powers broke. The Prussians and the Dutch beat the French, then the French and Belgians beat the Dutch, then the Dutch and the French and the Belgians beat the Prussians, and then the British landed at Antwerp.

In the resulting settlement, the Dutch lost half their state, and William lost all three of his thrones. Frederick William kept his crown, but gained a hated constitution.

And in Paris, the Regency Council turned out to have been keeping a seat warm for His Excellency The President of France Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

The War of the Spring is still taught as an example of how wars must never be fought without clear objectives and operational plans.

4). 1833, Fredrick VI of Denmark seeing that the Prussian's had gotten a bloody nose from the War of Spring though it would be good time to kick it whilst it was down as Frederick William I was having to balancing the people and the Junkers and dealing with war debt. A short quick campaign would ensure that Denmark wouldn't be dealing with Prussian expansion into Denmark for decades to come was the thinking of the Danish higher ups, the Danish would become a dominant power in the Baltics as a result was the continuation of that.

But what was meant to be short decisive war ended up taking three year slog as the Danish had vastly underestimated how defeated the Prussians were. Frederick William I was able to present himself as a defender of Prussian democracy and that combined Nationalistic rhetoric would revitalise a gloomy Prussia, this combined with a Prussian plan that abused a rapid but well fortified series of trenches and forts created near the border which the Danish would bleed themselves on for two years before the Prussians pushed forward into Denmark and captured Copenhagen. Not helping Denmark was Fredrick's constant middle managing of various Generals and pursuing ineffective plans would help causing Denmark's immense defeat. When Denmark signed the Treaty of Copenhagen in 1836 it was a humiliation for what seemed like an easy war and would lead to the Danish Revolution in 1839 in the aftermath of Fredrick's death as people let there anger and humiliation over a stupid war be felt.


5) While Europe had the Scramble for Africa, the Americas had the Long Game between the US and Mexico for dominance (the name from recurring metaphors in both countries and Canada, depicting it as a sports match between two teams achieving a draw). Various small wars and trading deals were made throughout the 19th century but President Diaz, as part of his ongoing plans to reform the country as a modern empire, wanted to score a final knockout blow. He was going to finally pacify the restive Tejas province and sweep up into the southern states, justifying it as an anti-slavery war. The Kingdom of Haiti, as it was then, was greatly interested in assisting with landings on Florida. How could this fail?

It failed because: a) Even in 1882, it was impossible to mobilise the army & navy forces large enough and catch your neighbour by surprise, and Diaz greatly underestimated how far troops could advance b) Diaz was aware the United States was fractuous but naively thought this lack of unity would stop southern states fighting to the death against, horrors, non-whites c) Diaz was a former military officer and thus assumed he knew better than all his generals. Mexican ground troops were bogged down in trench warfare inside the US. The Haitians made a strike on Florida and US-dominated Cuba, noticed this war was a pig, and swiftly proposed a treaty partitioning Cuba that cut out Mexico. When Diaz realised in 1884 that he needed to get out, it was too late: the United States wanted a pound of flesh and Tejas was finally swallowed up by the Union.

That still wouldn't put him on this list if he hadn't seen the Slave Revolt kick off in the weakened US and think 'here's a chance at round two' - when he didn't have an army and navy in good enough shape. A few minor army victories led to the US Navy, who had reformed for just such a mission, launching bombardment raids down Mexico's coast. That was it for Diaz. It was also it for the Long Game, with neither Mexico nor the United States as powerful as they had been - new American and Carribean nations, such as Haiti, filled the gap.

[6]
There is perhaps no more famous or celebrated an act of the Canadian/Colombian frontier than Kitchener's stand at Little Bighorn, however the road to it was paved with blood and the follies of Lord Lucan.

The typical Flashman-esque high Victorian officer, George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan, had been bounced around from one imperial posting to another before finally being booted to an out-of-the-way posting on the Canadian Frontier (an amalgamation of what is now the Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Dakota and Montgomery). But there could not have been a more exciting time to be out on the Frontier as it finally opened up to settlement that had been promised since the end of the War of 1804 and the inter-colonial rivalry between Atlantic bound Canada and Pacific bound Colombia grew more intense over their competition to build the first Transcontinental Railway in North America. Lucan became involved in the whole sordid business when Ottawa's section of the line ran into deep trouble with the path it was cutting through tribal lands and was falling behind. Desperate to push the line forward and defend the vast gold deposits that the Royal Pacific Rail Company (subsidary of the Hudson Bay Company) had found near Sherwood, Dakota, Lucan was summoned to Ottawa to discuss and expedition to forcibly move the Plains Indians out of the Company's way: foolish and desperate for glory, Lucan agreed.

Except, Lucan returned to his command at Fort Gibraltar only to pause and work himself into a frenzy based on his own ambitions and mania. Suddenly, the call went out across North America about Lucan's grand plan to march on the Plains Indians and wipe them off the face of the earth, and it was answered from across the continent as restless Americans, German revolutionary exiles, Mexican nobility, cowboys, prospectors, homesteaders and bandits of all nationalities, even Chinese and Indian labour all abandoned their jobs and homes to answer Lucan's call: and the entirely false promises of land and gold in the newly cleansed territory.

After six months delay, on March 6th 1876, two regiments of redcoats and a regiment of hussars, plus the various militias of the Western territories, were bolstered by an extra 30,000 armed auxiliaries (and many other volunteers who despite lack of an ability to properly arm them, followed Lucan anyway). Caught up in his own arrogance and blatant racism, Lucan advanced casually into wilderness fully expecting to just roll up one village after another, what he did not expect despite intelligence to the contrary, was for a vast coalition of from all the Indian nations of the Plains to oppose him. Blackfoot, Arapahoe, Crow, Iowa, Sioux, Saulteaux, Cheyenne and even displaced Apache and Comanche assembled to wage a guerrilla war against Lucan that matched the resistance to Napoleon in Russia and Iberia with its skill, ferocity, bloodiness, and effectiveness.

Despite living off the land and a not wholly ineffective supply wagon, Lucan simply couldn't feed his army as one combined unit, yet Lucan refused to separate his army until he had fought one major engagement with the enemy, but they continued to deny him it. Only as the summer passed and winter began breathing down his neck, Lucan chanced an action between his Hussars and a Sioux village did he claim his victory and began to spread his army into separate forts, columns and camps across the Dakota and Montgomery territories - at the worst possible time. Effectively cut off from one another as the snows set in, each unit now had to fend for itself through the winter. Those that did not simply flee and abandon their positions, soon began to cannibalise (literally in some cases) each other, the enemy, even the settlers they were sent to defend and resorted to banditry. Notable incidents like an auxiliary regiment fighting a week long skirmish with a detachment of the South Wales Borders Regiment, and when a squadron of the 7th Cavalry flat burned the town of Sherwood to the ground after the locals refused to part with their food or gold.

Bashfully admitting he could no longer keep control of the Expedition, Lucan ordered a retreat of those few units he still had contact with. Over the remains of winter, the few units still cohesive or brave enough to march fell into Fort Gibraltar a sorry and ruinous lot. Shocked to find letters from Ottawa and London had arrived for him while on his campaign demanding exactly what the Earl was playing at, issuing cease and desist orders, and his dismissal and recall to London for an inquiry while a replacement and commission to see the damage that the Expedition had wrought on the Canadian expansion. Aghast, and with nothing to loose anymore, Lucan ignored the letters and reassembled his force and rearming them as best he could. With the first officers of the commission arriving, and the snows barely melted, Lucan sallied forth again. Now totally unafraid of the whitemen they had chased from the plains, the assembled tribes gave Lucan his battle and totally routed him, armed with the equipment left behind in the retreat they broke his column at a crossing on the Yellowstone River, capturing the colours of 7th Hussars and the 60th Regiment Foot and killing the man himself.

The final defeat of Lucan should have been the end of the Canadian Frontier: its epilogue, instead the actions of Lieutenant Kitchener and his small band of redcoats at Little Big Horn made it prologue. Certainly, it was set back a good while. The Royal Pacific Rail Company went flat bust as news of Lucans rout reached Ottawa and its main possession had been ripped back up again by marauders and the tribes, and Sherwood gold deposits plundered by deserters and independent prospectors, and thoroughly disappointed in the leadership of Ottawa and the mismanagement of the Hudson Bay Company both were rolled up as London took increasing control as the Disraeli Commission made its findings plain to see. Frontier settlement and the Transcontinental project was handed over to the Imperial American Rail Company of Portland, Oregon, Colombia, who gradually rebuilt the honour of British America with a soft(er) touch by fair(ish) deals with the tribal leaders, following the peace that Disraeli and Kitchener managed to negotiate with the Plains coalition. The Canadian Confederacy did eventually rehabilitate itself as a Dominion in 1900, 20 years after Colombia celebrated its status as the Empire's first Dominion as the last spike of the Railway was driven in at Rugby, Dakota - marking the border between Britain's Atlantic and Pacific colonies in North America.

Lucan's reputation has never been rehabilitated, nor is it likely to be. Facing every caricature imaginable to this day from blood thirsty white supremacist, aloof and snotty toff, the brash, incompetent 'donkey' leading his lions to slaughter. He has been cited by comedy bigwigs as the original inspiration behind Flashman, Flashheart, and Lord Melchett.
(May have gotten a little carried away with this one)


[7] It's not Chun's fault he inherited a China in severe decline, and it's not his fault he was appointed regent despite little taste for politicking. Unfortunately, it is his fault that he decided the Qing Dynasty would continue to fight on in 1911 rather than accept a peace deal and abdication: he felt he should fulfil his duty to the young emperor. Beijing burned during a siege and was only saved by Russian military forces arriving, promised territorial concessions. Thus saved, the Qing forces... failed to achieve much at all, and Russia decided this wasn't worth it. With Russian guns at his head, Chun agreed a peace deal after a pointless two more months of war.

The Qing Dynasty was preserved, so arguably Chun achieved his goal. Problem was that the Qing Dynasty (allies of Their Friend The Tsar) no longer ruled two-thirds of China, much of it nominally under republican control but big chunks lawless; Britain, Germany, and Portugal all seized more land around their concessions; and Japan took advantage to carve out a section of Manchuria as a 'friendly republic'. So a king was saved but the kingdom was lost, and millions of Chinese lives with it. Chun's death is greatly assumed to have been a suicide.
 

Indicus

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10 of History's Worst War Time Leaders


1) Thomas Jefferson (President of the USA, War of 1804) [1]

2) Charles X (King of France, Franco-Haitian War/"Haitian Accident") [2]

3) JOINT AWARD: Frederick William III (King of Prussia, War of the Spring) Jules de Polignac (Regency Council of France, War of the Spring), William I, (King of the Netherlands, War of the Spring) [3]

4) Frederick VI (King of Denmark, The Danish-Prussian War) [4]

5) Porfirio Diaz (President of Mexico, the First Great American War, the Slave Revolt, and Raids of '86) [5]

6) George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan (Governor-General of the Western Provinces, Great Indian Wars/Lucan's March) [6]

7) Zaifeng, Prince Chun (regent, Xinhai Revolution) [7]

8) Vishwasrao II (Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, Third Anglo-Maratha War/Maharashtrian Revolution)

9)

10)


[1] Historians are still divided on whether or not Jefferson wanted war or not. But nevertheless, having gotten his war he proceeded to make a bungle of it. From the start of the war of 1804, the President had an obsession with exploiting the front from New England to Canada, and the capture of Quebec, to the ruination of other fronts. Generally caught off guard, the bulk of the fledgling US navy was in the Mediterranean fighting the Barbary Pirates, only to be cut off, corned and destroyed one ship at a time by the British. The immediate forcing of the United States on the defensive at sea was sign of things to come which Jefferson refused to see.

No longer afraid to use the Alien and Sedition Acts for a war against Britain, Jefferson forced many protests and anti-war opposition to go quiet and launched initial American advance into Canada only for it blunted short of the Saint Lawrence River. Repeated attempt to return the offensive spurned by Jefferson failed and the Americans gradually fell back as far Fort Ticonderoga, only to then be outflanked in the Northwest Territories and Sir John Moore's Chesapeake campaign. Pleas to France for help fell on deaf ears, as Napoleon rolled up the map of Europe, and the British continued to press in on all fronts. Although captured at the Burning of Washington, and Presidency falling to George Clinton, Jefferson continued to be the man Congress blamed for the poor war effort and Clinton's refusal to engaging in negotiations until the Federalist won the 1808 election.

Still accused of tunnel vision on Quebec, failure to prepare and failure to compromise, Jefferson remains the one that Americans blame their loss in the War of 1804 on, simultaneously running the fruits of his own Presidency and in a way the American Revolution as the price of peace became the bulk of the Louisiana purchase, and the vast chunk of New England that became New Ireland and the Northwest Territories to Tecumseh's Confederacy all of which killed major western expansion before it could happen. Though the American Republic would survive, its potential for greatness was squandered by its most promising founders, which is probably why Jefferson is now credited as one of the Declaration of Independence's many co-authors.


[2] Haiti had been a long term pain in the arse for France since the abolition of slavery, ever since Napoleon decided to use it as a source of "Black Jacobin" soldiers rather than as a plantation - this worked fine while the Royal Navy was distracted by the War of 1804, and then resupply was cut off. An attempted return to plantation farming during the Bourbon restoration was not catching on and Britain & America were both unhappy with Haiti allegedly provoking slave revolts, so one of Charles X's first acts in 1824 decided to send soldiers to assist Prime Minister Dessalines.

Charles X though little of either Haiti or Dessalines, and mistakenly thought limited French power would be enough and that Dessalines, who did want to install plantations, would accept help. Instead, the Prime Minister took very unkindly to being made "a slave for a distant master after all the blood we have lost"; the Haitian republicans suspected the monarchy would betray 'Napoleon's vision' all along and the Haitian monarchists rallied to the memory of the deceased 'Good King Louis'; and a substantial chunk of white population saw this as a threat to their holdings. The first invasion was bloodily routed. Charles X refused to accept the loss and committed a massive force...

...ensuring simply that he was overthrown (in part by the aging Black Jacobin expats and their children) as he was now weak at home. French soldiers and marines were pointlessly lost only for the new Regency to declare the war over, and a status quo returned now "Mad Charles" was gone. French prestige was shattered and money & blood spilled to achieve a continuing status quo, the ultimate embarrassment (and in the long-term, this damaged both French imperial ideals and led to Haiti's increasing autonomy & independence)

[3] Some small states retain their independence because no one wanted to conquer them; some because they were not worth the political capital of conquest; some because they were useful as buffers and tax havens.

Luxembourg is independent because it's too embarrassing to annex, after what happened at its birth.

The post-Vienna order of Europe had become increasingly wobbly in the 1820s, but to a casual viewer the restored monarchies were well in place. Spain had been saved for the Bourbons and the Poles put down; Greece wrested from the Ottomans, and the dragoons sent into crowds across Britain.

That order would have survived any one of the great powers having a domestic crisis, and indeed already had. It would not survive two of them suffering one at once.

By 1829, France had spent five years in the absurd situation of being ruled by a Regency without a King; first the council was preserving the throne until a Bourbon came of age, then until the child of the late Duke of Orleans could be brought to Paris. The remaining Bonapartists played both sides against each other, hoping that in time the throne might be offered to the Emperor's son. Finally, in 1829 the Chair of the Council of Ministers passed to the ultralegitimist Jules de Polignac, who decided that the key to securing the throne for his candidate was a short victorious war. He thought it would be in Algeria- and then Belgium revolted.

In Prussia, Frederick William I had become increasingly worried about the assertive middle class, and surrounded himself with ultraconservatives. He had no desire to be shackled by a constitution, but a worrying budget deficit made the government seem weak and unable to rule. The solution seemed to be that old proof of Prussian glory: a short victorious war. He thought it would be against the Danes, but then Belgium revolted.

William I of the Netherlands wanted to recapture the glory of the golden age of the Dutch- and to do that he needed to ensure that he kept every last inch of land in Europe. And then Belgium revolted.

And there was Luxembourg- German speaking Luxembourg, Luxembourg within the natural frontiers of France, Luxembourg that rightfully belonged to Amsterdam.

Three so-called great powers sent their armies to the Rhine in the spring of 1830, and three so-called great powers broke. The Prussians and the Dutch beat the French, then the French and Belgians beat the Dutch, then the Dutch and the French and the Belgians beat the Prussians, and then the British landed at Antwerp.

In the resulting settlement, the Dutch lost half their state, and William lost all three of his thrones. Frederick William kept his crown, but gained a hated constitution.

And in Paris, the Regency Council turned out to have been keeping a seat warm for His Excellency The President of France Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

The War of the Spring is still taught as an example of how wars must never be fought without clear objectives and operational plans.

4). 1833, Fredrick VI of Denmark seeing that the Prussian's had gotten a bloody nose from the War of Spring though it would be good time to kick it whilst it was down as Frederick William I was having to balancing the people and the Junkers and dealing with war debt. A short quick campaign would ensure that Denmark wouldn't be dealing with Prussian expansion into Denmark for decades to come was the thinking of the Danish higher ups, the Danish would become a dominant power in the Baltics as a result was the continuation of that.

But what was meant to be short decisive war ended up taking three year slog as the Danish had vastly underestimated how defeated the Prussians were. Frederick William I was able to present himself as a defender of Prussian democracy and that combined Nationalistic rhetoric would revitalise a gloomy Prussia, this combined with a Prussian plan that abused a rapid but well fortified series of trenches and forts created near the border which the Danish would bleed themselves on for two years before the Prussians pushed forward into Denmark and captured Copenhagen. Not helping Denmark was Fredrick's constant middle managing of various Generals and pursuing ineffective plans would help causing Denmark's immense defeat. When Denmark signed the Treaty of Copenhagen in 1836 it was a humiliation for what seemed like an easy war and would lead to the Danish Revolution in 1839 in the aftermath of Fredrick's death as people let there anger and humiliation over a stupid war be felt.


5) While Europe had the Scramble for Africa, the Americas had the Long Game between the US and Mexico for dominance (the name from recurring metaphors in both countries and Canada, depicting it as a sports match between two teams achieving a draw). Various small wars and trading deals were made throughout the 19th century but President Diaz, as part of his ongoing plans to reform the country as a modern empire, wanted to score a final knockout blow. He was going to finally pacify the restive Tejas province and sweep up into the southern states, justifying it as an anti-slavery war. The Kingdom of Haiti, as it was then, was greatly interested in assisting with landings on Florida. How could this fail?

It failed because: a) Even in 1882, it was impossible to mobilise the army & navy forces large enough and catch your neighbour by surprise, and Diaz greatly underestimated how far troops could advance b) Diaz was aware the United States was fractuous but naively thought this lack of unity would stop southern states fighting to the death against, horrors, non-whites c) Diaz was a former military officer and thus assumed he knew better than all his generals. Mexican ground troops were bogged down in trench warfare inside the US. The Haitians made a strike on Florida and US-dominated Cuba, noticed this war was a pig, and swiftly proposed a treaty partitioning Cuba that cut out Mexico. When Diaz realised in 1884 that he needed to get out, it was too late: the United States wanted a pound of flesh and Tejas was finally swallowed up by the Union.

That still wouldn't put him on this list if he hadn't seen the Slave Revolt kick off in the weakened US and think 'here's a chance at round two' - when he didn't have an army and navy in good enough shape. A few minor army victories led to the US Navy, who had reformed for just such a mission, launching bombardment raids down Mexico's coast. That was it for Diaz. It was also it for the Long Game, with neither Mexico nor the United States as powerful as they had been - new American and Carribean nations, such as Haiti, filled the gap.

[6]

There is perhaps no more famous or celebrated an act of the Canadian/Colombian frontier than Kitchener's stand at Little Bighorn, however the road to it was paved with blood and the follies of Lord Lucan.

The typical Flashman-esque high Victorian officer, George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan, had been bounced around from one imperial posting to another before finally being booted to an out-of-the-way posting on the Canadian Frontier (an amalgamation of what is now the Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Dakota and Montgomery). But there could not have been a more exciting time to be out on the Frontier as it finally opened up to settlement that had been promised since the end of the War of 1804 and the inter-colonial rivalry between Atlantic bound Canada and Pacific bound Colombia grew more intense over their competition to build the first Transcontinental Railway in North America. Lucan became involved in the whole sordid business when Ottawa's section of the line ran into deep trouble with the path it was cutting through tribal lands and was falling behind. Desperate to push the line forward and defend the vast gold deposits that the Royal Pacific Rail Company (subsidary of the Hudson Bay Company) had found near Sherwood, Dakota, Lucan was summoned to Ottawa to discuss and expedition to forcibly move the Plains Indians out of the Company's way: foolish and desperate for glory, Lucan agreed.

Except, Lucan returned to his command at Fort Gibraltar only to pause and work himself into a frenzy based on his own ambitions and mania. Suddenly, the call went out across North America about Lucan's grand plan to march on the Plains Indians and wipe them off the face of the earth, and it was answered from across the continent as restless Americans, German revolutionary exiles, Mexican nobility, cowboys, prospectors, homesteaders and bandits of all nationalities, even Chinese and Indian labour all abandoned their jobs and homes to answer Lucan's call: and the entirely false promises of land and gold in the newly cleansed territory.

After six months delay, on March 6th 1876, two regiments of redcoats and a regiment of hussars, plus the various militias of the Western territories, were bolstered by an extra 30,000 armed auxiliaries (and many other volunteers who despite lack of an ability to properly arm them, followed Lucan anyway). Caught up in his own arrogance and blatant racism, Lucan advanced casually into wilderness fully expecting to just roll up one village after another, what he did not expect despite intelligence to the contrary, was for a vast coalition of from all the Indian nations of the Plains to oppose him. Blackfoot, Arapahoe, Crow, Iowa, Sioux, Saulteaux, Cheyenne and even displaced Apache and Comanche assembled to wage a guerrilla war against Lucan that matched the resistance to Napoleon in Russia and Iberia with its skill, ferocity, bloodiness, and effectiveness.

Despite living off the land and a not wholly ineffective supply wagon, Lucan simply couldn't feed his army as one combined unit, yet Lucan refused to separate his army until he had fought one major engagement with the enemy, but they continued to deny him it. Only as the summer passed and winter began breathing down his neck, Lucan chanced an action between his Hussars and a Sioux village did he claim his victory and began to spread his army into separate forts, columns and camps across the Dakota and Montgomery territories - at the worst possible time. Effectively cut off from one another as the snows set in, each unit now had to fend for itself through the winter. Those that did not simply flee and abandon their positions, soon began to cannibalise (literally in some cases) each other, the enemy, even the settlers they were sent to defend and resorted to banditry. Notable incidents like an auxiliary regiment fighting a week long skirmish with a detachment of the South Wales Borders Regiment, and when a squadron of the 7th Cavalry flat burned the town of Sherwood to the ground after the locals refused to part with their food or gold.

Bashfully admitting he could no longer keep control of the Expedition, Lucan ordered a retreat of those few units he still had contact with. Over the remains of winter, the few units still cohesive or brave enough to march fell into Fort Gibraltar a sorry and ruinous lot. Shocked to find letters from Ottawa and London had arrived for him while on his campaign demanding exactly what the Earl was playing at, issuing cease and desist orders, and his dismissal and recall to London for an inquiry while a replacement and commission to see the damage that the Expedition had wrought on the Canadian expansion. Aghast, and with nothing to loose anymore, Lucan ignored the letters and reassembled his force and rearming them as best he could. With the first officers of the commission arriving, and the snows barely melted, Lucan sallied forth again. Now totally unafraid of the whitemen they had chased from the plains, the assembled tribes gave Lucan his battle and totally routed him, armed with the equipment left behind in the retreat they broke his column at a crossing on the Yellowstone River, capturing the colours of 7th Hussars and the 60th Regiment Foot and killing the man himself.

The final defeat of Lucan should have been the end of the Canadian Frontier: its epilogue, instead the actions of Lieutenant Kitchener and his small band of redcoats at Little Big Horn made it prologue. Certainly, it was set back a good while. The Royal Pacific Rail Company went flat bust as news of Lucans rout reached Ottawa and its main possession had been ripped back up again by marauders and the tribes, and Sherwood gold deposits plundered by deserters and independent prospectors, and thoroughly disappointed in the leadership of Ottawa and the mismanagement of the Hudson Bay Company both were rolled up as London took increasing control as the Disraeli Commission made its findings plain to see. Frontier settlement and the Transcontinental project was handed over to the Imperial American Rail Company of Portland, Oregon, Colombia, who gradually rebuilt the honour of British America with a soft(er) touch by fair(ish) deals with the tribal leaders, following the peace that Disraeli and Kitchener managed to negotiate with the Plains coalition. The Canadian Confederacy did eventually rehabilitate itself as a Dominion in 1900, 20 years after Colombia celebrated its status as the Empire's first Dominion as the last spike of the Railway was driven in at Rugby, Dakota - marking the border between Britain's Atlantic and Pacific colonies in North America.

Lucan's reputation has never been rehabilitated, nor is it likely to be. Facing every caricature imaginable to this day from blood thirsty white supremacist, aloof and snotty toff, the brash, incompetent 'donkey' leading his lions to slaughter. He has been cited by comedy bigwigs as the original inspiration behind Flashman, Flashheart, and Lord Melchett.


(May have gotten a little carried away with this one)

[7] It's not Chun's fault he inherited a China in severe decline, and it's not his fault he was appointed regent despite little taste for politicking. Unfortunately, it is his fault that he decided the Qing Dynasty would continue to fight rather than accept a peace deal and abdication: he felt he should fulfil his duty to the young emperor. Beijing burned during a siege and was only saved by Russian military forces arriving, promised territorial concessions. Thus saved, the Qing forces... failed to achieve much at all, and Russia decided this wasn't worth it. With Russian guns at his head, Chun agreed a peace deal after a pointless two more months of war.

The Qing Dynasty was preserved, so arguably Chun achieved his goal. Problem was that the Qing Dynasty (allies of Their Friend The Tsar) no longer ruled two-thirds of China, much of it nominally under republican control but big chunks lawless; Britain, Germany, and Portugal all seized more land around their concessions; and Japan took advantage to carve out a section of Manchuria as a 'friendly republic'. So a king was saved but the kingdom was lost, and millions of Chinese lives with it. Chun's death is greatly assumed to have been a suicide.

[8] Faced with the massive, devastating Great Indian Famine of 1876-1878, which particularly impacted the Maratha Empire, what was the reaction of Vishwasrao II, its hereditary prime minister? He sought, as many before him sought, to relieve the immense strains of popular discontent with a popular brief war with British India. Citing Britain-ally Hyderabad's control of Maharashtrian-majority Aurangabad as a reason for war, the war proved to be immensely unpopular. In a time when millions were starving to death, Vishwasrao II was wasting money, and lots of it, on a war most viewed as useless. The result was that, in 1877, his commander-in-chief Vasudev Balwant Phadke overthrew the monarchy and proclaimed the Republic of Maharashtra with widespread support among the army. This began his twenty-year tenure as president with dramatic reforms and - most dramatically - the pawning of the crown jewels for money to be spent on famine relief.

Vishwasrao II's reaction to this shocked many. He fled to Surat, under British rule, and signed a treaty which made the Maratha Empire a princely state of British India in return for troops to regain his throne. This eroded much of his support - even opponents of the republican regime generally supported the enthronement of the king of Nagpur or some other king rather than anyone connected to the ruling regime. The attempted British intervention failed entirely, and the resulting peace treaty ended up restoring status quo ante bellum between Maharashtra and British India. Vishwasrao II lived the rest of his life as a pensioner of the British Crown, whose title as Peshwa was little more than a name on a piece of paper.
 

neonduke

Continuity Menshevik
10 of History's Worst War Time Leaders


1) Thomas Jefferson (President of the USA, War of 1804) [1]

2) Charles X (King of France, Franco-Haitian War/"Haitian Accident") [2]

3) JOINT AWARD: Frederick William III (King of Prussia, War of the Spring) Jules de Polignac (Regency Council of France, War of the Spring), William I, (King of the Netherlands, War of the Spring) [3]

4) Frederick VI (King of Denmark, The Danish-Prussian War) [4]

5) Porfirio Diaz (President of Mexico, the First Great American War, the Slave Revolt, and Raids of '86) [5]

6) George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan (Governor-General of the Western Provinces, Great Indian Wars/Lucan's March) [6]

7) Zaifeng, Prince Chun (regent, Xinhai Revolution) [7]

8) Vishwasrao II (Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, Third Anglo-Maratha War/Maharashtrian Revolution) [8]

9) Franz Joseph I (Emperor of Austria, Austro-Hungarian Civil War) [9]

10)


[1] Historians are still divided on whether or not Jefferson wanted war or not. But nevertheless, having gotten his war he proceeded to make a bungle of it. From the start of the war of 1804, the President had an obsession with exploiting the front from New England to Canada, and the capture of Quebec, to the ruination of other fronts. Generally caught off guard, the bulk of the fledgling US navy was in the Mediterranean fighting the Barbary Pirates, only to be cut off, corned and destroyed one ship at a time by the British. The immediate forcing of the United States on the defensive at sea was sign of things to come which Jefferson refused to see.

No longer afraid to use the Alien and Sedition Acts for a war against Britain, Jefferson forced many protests and anti-war opposition to go quiet and launched initial American advance into Canada only for it blunted short of the Saint Lawrence River. Repeated attempt to return the offensive spurned by Jefferson failed and the Americans gradually fell back as far Fort Ticonderoga, only to then be outflanked in the Northwest Territories and Sir John Moore's Chesapeake campaign. Pleas to France for help fell on deaf ears, as Napoleon rolled up the map of Europe, and the British continued to press in on all fronts. Although captured at the Burning of Washington, and Presidency falling to George Clinton, Jefferson continued to be the man Congress blamed for the poor war effort and Clinton's refusal to engaging in negotiations until the Federalist won the 1808 election.

Still accused of tunnel vision on Quebec, failure to prepare and failure to compromise, Jefferson remains the one that Americans blame their loss in the War of 1804 on, simultaneously running the fruits of his own Presidency and in a way the American Revolution as the price of peace became the bulk of the Louisiana purchase, and the vast chunk of New England that became New Ireland and the Northwest Territories to Tecumseh's Confederacy all of which killed major western expansion before it could happen. Though the American Republic would survive, its potential for greatness was squandered by its most promising founders, which is probably why Jefferson is now credited as one of the Declaration of Independence's many co-authors.


[2] Haiti had been a long term pain in the arse for France since the abolition of slavery, ever since Napoleon decided to use it as a source of "Black Jacobin" soldiers rather than as a plantation - this worked fine while the Royal Navy was distracted by the War of 1804, and then resupply was cut off. An attempted return to plantation farming during the Bourbon restoration was not catching on and Britain & America were both unhappy with Haiti allegedly provoking slave revolts, so one of Charles X's first acts in 1824 decided to send soldiers to assist Prime Minister Dessalines.

Charles X though little of either Haiti or Dessalines, and mistakenly thought limited French power would be enough and that Dessalines, who did want to install plantations, would accept help. Instead, the Prime Minister took very unkindly to being made "a slave for a distant master after all the blood we have lost"; the Haitian republicans suspected the monarchy would betray 'Napoleon's vision' all along and the Haitian monarchists rallied to the memory of the deceased 'Good King Louis'; and a substantial chunk of white population saw this as a threat to their holdings. The first invasion was bloodily routed. Charles X refused to accept the loss and committed a massive force...

...ensuring simply that he was overthrown (in part by the aging Black Jacobin expats and their children) as he was now weak at home. French soldiers and marines were pointlessly lost only for the new Regency to declare the war over, and a status quo returned now "Mad Charles" was gone. French prestige was shattered and money & blood spilled to achieve a continuing status quo, the ultimate embarrassment (and in the long-term, this damaged both French imperial ideals and led to Haiti's increasing autonomy & independence)

[3] Some small states retain their independence because no one wanted to conquer them; some because they were not worth the political capital of conquest; some because they were useful as buffers and tax havens.

Luxembourg is independent because it's too embarrassing to annex, after what happened at its birth.

The post-Vienna order of Europe had become increasingly wobbly in the 1820s, but to a casual viewer the restored monarchies were well in place. Spain had been saved for the Bourbons and the Poles put down; Greece wrested from the Ottomans, and the dragoons sent into crowds across Britain.

That order would have survived any one of the great powers having a domestic crisis, and indeed already had. It would not survive two of them suffering one at once.

By 1829, France had spent five years in the absurd situation of being ruled by a Regency without a King; first the council was preserving the throne until a Bourbon came of age, then until the child of the late Duke of Orleans could be brought to Paris. The remaining Bonapartists played both sides against each other, hoping that in time the throne might be offered to the Emperor's son. Finally, in 1829 the Chair of the Council of Ministers passed to the ultralegitimist Jules de Polignac, who decided that the key to securing the throne for his candidate was a short victorious war. He thought it would be in Algeria- and then Belgium revolted.

In Prussia, Frederick William I had become increasingly worried about the assertive middle class, and surrounded himself with ultraconservatives. He had no desire to be shackled by a constitution, but a worrying budget deficit made the government seem weak and unable to rule. The solution seemed to be that old proof of Prussian glory: a short victorious war. He thought it would be against the Danes, but then Belgium revolted.

William I of the Netherlands wanted to recapture the glory of the golden age of the Dutch- and to do that he needed to ensure that he kept every last inch of land in Europe. And then Belgium revolted.

And there was Luxembourg- German speaking Luxembourg, Luxembourg within the natural frontiers of France, Luxembourg that rightfully belonged to Amsterdam.

Three so-called great powers sent their armies to the Rhine in the spring of 1830, and three so-called great powers broke. The Prussians and the Dutch beat the French, then the French and Belgians beat the Dutch, then the Dutch and the French and the Belgians beat the Prussians, and then the British landed at Antwerp.

In the resulting settlement, the Dutch lost half their state, and William lost all three of his thrones. Frederick William kept his crown, but gained a hated constitution.

And in Paris, the Regency Council turned out to have been keeping a seat warm for His Excellency The President of France Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

The War of the Spring is still taught as an example of how wars must never be fought without clear objectives and operational plans.

4). 1833, Fredrick VI of Denmark seeing that the Prussian's had gotten a bloody nose from the War of Spring though it would be good time to kick it whilst it was down as Frederick William I was having to balancing the people and the Junkers and dealing with war debt. A short quick campaign would ensure that Denmark wouldn't be dealing with Prussian expansion into Denmark for decades to come was the thinking of the Danish higher ups, the Danish would become a dominant power in the Baltics as a result was the continuation of that.

But what was meant to be short decisive war ended up taking three year slog as the Danish had vastly underestimated how defeated the Prussians were. Frederick William I was able to present himself as a defender of Prussian democracy and that combined Nationalistic rhetoric would revitalise a gloomy Prussia, this combined with a Prussian plan that abused a rapid but well fortified series of trenches and forts created near the border which the Danish would bleed themselves on for two years before the Prussians pushed forward into Denmark and captured Copenhagen. Not helping Denmark was Fredrick's constant middle managing of various Generals and pursuing ineffective plans would help causing Denmark's immense defeat. When Denmark signed the Treaty of Copenhagen in 1836 it was a humiliation for what seemed like an easy war and would lead to the Danish Revolution in 1839 in the aftermath of Fredrick's death as people let there anger and humiliation over a stupid war be felt.


5) While Europe had the Scramble for Africa, the Americas had the Long Game between the US and Mexico for dominance (the name from recurring metaphors in both countries and Canada, depicting it as a sports match between two teams achieving a draw). Various small wars and trading deals were made throughout the 19th century but President Diaz, as part of his ongoing plans to reform the country as a modern empire, wanted to score a final knockout blow. He was going to finally pacify the restive Tejas province and sweep up into the southern states, justifying it as an anti-slavery war. The Kingdom of Haiti, as it was then, was greatly interested in assisting with landings on Florida. How could this fail?

It failed because: a) Even in 1882, it was impossible to mobilise the army & navy forces large enough and catch your neighbour by surprise, and Diaz greatly underestimated how far troops could advance b) Diaz was aware the United States was fractuous but naively thought this lack of unity would stop southern states fighting to the death against, horrors, non-whites c) Diaz was a former military officer and thus assumed he knew better than all his generals. Mexican ground troops were bogged down in trench warfare inside the US. The Haitians made a strike on Florida and US-dominated Cuba, noticed this war was a pig, and swiftly proposed a treaty partitioning Cuba that cut out Mexico. When Diaz realised in 1884 that he needed to get out, it was too late: the United States wanted a pound of flesh and Tejas was finally swallowed up by the Union.

That still wouldn't put him on this list if he hadn't seen the Slave Revolt kick off in the weakened US and think 'here's a chance at round two' - when he didn't have an army and navy in good enough shape. A few minor army victories led to the US Navy, who had reformed for just such a mission, launching bombardment raids down Mexico's coast. That was it for Diaz. It was also it for the Long Game, with neither Mexico nor the United States as powerful as they had been - new American and Carribean nations, such as Haiti, filled the gap.

[6]

There is perhaps no more famous or celebrated an act of the Canadian/Colombian frontier than Kitchener's stand at Little Bighorn, however the road to it was paved with blood and the follies of Lord Lucan.

The typical Flashman-esque high Victorian officer, George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan, had been bounced around from one imperial posting to another before finally being booted to an out-of-the-way posting on the Canadian Frontier (an amalgamation of what is now the Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Dakota and Montgomery). But there could not have been a more exciting time to be out on the Frontier as it finally opened up to settlement that had been promised since the end of the War of 1804 and the inter-colonial rivalry between Atlantic bound Canada and Pacific bound Colombia grew more intense over their competition to build the first Transcontinental Railway in North America. Lucan became involved in the whole sordid business when Ottawa's section of the line ran into deep trouble with the path it was cutting through tribal lands and was falling behind. Desperate to push the line forward and defend the vast gold deposits that the Royal Pacific Rail Company (subsidary of the Hudson Bay Company) had found near Sherwood, Dakota, Lucan was summoned to Ottawa to discuss and expedition to forcibly move the Plains Indians out of the Company's way: foolish and desperate for glory, Lucan agreed.

Except, Lucan returned to his command at Fort Gibraltar only to pause and work himself into a frenzy based on his own ambitions and mania. Suddenly, the call went out across North America about Lucan's grand plan to march on the Plains Indians and wipe them off the face of the earth, and it was answered from across the continent as restless Americans, German revolutionary exiles, Mexican nobility, cowboys, prospectors, homesteaders and bandits of all nationalities, even Chinese and Indian labour all abandoned their jobs and homes to answer Lucan's call: and the entirely false promises of land and gold in the newly cleansed territory.

After six months delay, on March 6th 1876, two regiments of redcoats and a regiment of hussars, plus the various militias of the Western territories, were bolstered by an extra 30,000 armed auxiliaries (and many other volunteers who despite lack of an ability to properly arm them, followed Lucan anyway). Caught up in his own arrogance and blatant racism, Lucan advanced casually into wilderness fully expecting to just roll up one village after another, what he did not expect despite intelligence to the contrary, was for a vast coalition of from all the Indian nations of the Plains to oppose him. Blackfoot, Arapahoe, Crow, Iowa, Sioux, Saulteaux, Cheyenne and even displaced Apache and Comanche assembled to wage a guerrilla war against Lucan that matched the resistance to Napoleon in Russia and Iberia with its skill, ferocity, bloodiness, and effectiveness.

Despite living off the land and a not wholly ineffective supply wagon, Lucan simply couldn't feed his army as one combined unit, yet Lucan refused to separate his army until he had fought one major engagement with the enemy, but they continued to deny him it. Only as the summer passed and winter began breathing down his neck, Lucan chanced an action between his Hussars and a Sioux village did he claim his victory and began to spread his army into separate forts, columns and camps across the Dakota and Montgomery territories - at the worst possible time. Effectively cut off from one another as the snows set in, each unit now had to fend for itself through the winter. Those that did not simply flee and abandon their positions, soon began to cannibalise (literally in some cases) each other, the enemy, even the settlers they were sent to defend and resorted to banditry. Notable incidents like an auxiliary regiment fighting a week long skirmish with a detachment of the South Wales Borders Regiment, and when a squadron of the 7th Cavalry flat burned the town of Sherwood to the ground after the locals refused to part with their food or gold.

Bashfully admitting he could no longer keep control of the Expedition, Lucan ordered a retreat of those few units he still had contact with. Over the remains of winter, the few units still cohesive or brave enough to march fell into Fort Gibraltar a sorry and ruinous lot. Shocked to find letters from Ottawa and London had arrived for him while on his campaign demanding exactly what the Earl was playing at, issuing cease and desist orders, and his dismissal and recall to London for an inquiry while a replacement and commission to see the damage that the Expedition had wrought on the Canadian expansion. Aghast, and with nothing to loose anymore, Lucan ignored the letters and reassembled his force and rearming them as best he could. With the first officers of the commission arriving, and the snows barely melted, Lucan sallied forth again. Now totally unafraid of the whitemen they had chased from the plains, the assembled tribes gave Lucan his battle and totally routed him, armed with the equipment left behind in the retreat they broke his column at a crossing on the Yellowstone River, capturing the colours of 7th Hussars and the 60th Regiment Foot and killing the man himself.

The final defeat of Lucan should have been the end of the Canadian Frontier: its epilogue, instead the actions of Lieutenant Kitchener and his small band of redcoats at Little Big Horn made it prologue. Certainly, it was set back a good while. The Royal Pacific Rail Company went flat bust as news of Lucans rout reached Ottawa and its main possession had been ripped back up again by marauders and the tribes, and Sherwood gold deposits plundered by deserters and independent prospectors, and thoroughly disappointed in the leadership of Ottawa and the mismanagement of the Hudson Bay Company both were rolled up as London took increasing control as the Disraeli Commission made its findings plain to see. Frontier settlement and the Transcontinental project was handed over to the Imperial American Rail Company of Portland, Oregon, Colombia, who gradually rebuilt the honour of British America with a soft(er) touch by fair(ish) deals with the tribal leaders, following the peace that Disraeli and Kitchener managed to negotiate with the Plains coalition. The Canadian Confederacy did eventually rehabilitate itself as a Dominion in 1900, 20 years after Colombia celebrated its status as the Empire's first Dominion as the last spike of the Railway was driven in at Rugby, Dakota - marking the border between Britain's Atlantic and Pacific colonies in North America.

Lucan's reputation has never been rehabilitated, nor is it likely to be. Facing every caricature imaginable to this day from blood thirsty white supremacist, aloof and snotty toff, the brash, incompetent 'donkey' leading his lions to slaughter. He has been cited by comedy bigwigs as the original inspiration behind Flashman, Flashheart, and Lord Melchett.


(May have gotten a little carried away with this one)

[7] It's not Chun's fault he inherited a China in severe decline, and it's not his fault he was appointed regent despite little taste for politicking. Unfortunately, it is his fault that he decided the Qing Dynasty would continue to fight rather than accept a peace deal and abdication: he felt he should fulfil his duty to the young emperor. Beijing burned during a siege and was only saved by Russian military forces arriving, promised territorial concessions. Thus saved, the Qing forces... failed to achieve much at all, and Russia decided this wasn't worth it. With Russian guns at his head, Chun agreed a peace deal after a pointless two more months of war.

The Qing Dynasty was preserved, so arguably Chun achieved his goal. Problem was that the Qing Dynasty (allies of Their Friend The Tsar) no longer ruled two-thirds of China, much of it nominally under republican control but big chunks lawless; Britain, Germany, and Portugal all seized more land around their concessions; and Japan took advantage to carve out a section of Manchuria as a 'friendly republic'. So a king was saved but the kingdom was lost, and millions of Chinese lives with it. Chun's death is greatly assumed to have been a suicide.

[8] Faced with the massive, devastating Great Indian Famine of 1876-1878, which particularly impacted the Maratha Empire, what was the reaction of Vishwasrao II, its hereditary prime minister? He sought, as many before him sought, to relieve the immense strains of popular discontent with a popular brief war with British India. Citing Britain-ally Hyderabad's control of Maharashtrian-majority Aurangabad as a reason for war, the war proved to be immensely unpopular. In a time when millions were starving to death, Vishwasrao II was wasting money, and lots of it, on a war most viewed as useless. The result was that, in 1877, his commander-in-chief Vasudev Balwant Phadke overthrew the monarchy and proclaimed the Republic of Maharashtra with widespread support among the army. This began his twenty-year tenure as president with dramatic reforms and - most dramatically - the pawning of the crown jewels for money to be spent on famine relief.

Vishwasrao II's reaction to this shocked many. He fled to Surat, under British rule, and signed a treaty which made the Maratha Empire a princely state of British India in return for troops to regain his throne. This eroded much of his support - even opponents of the republican regime generally supported the enthronement of the king of Nagpur or some other king rather than anyone connected to the ruling regime. The attempted British intervention failed entirely, and the resulting peace treaty ended up restoring status quo ante bellum between Maharashtra and British India. Vishwasrao II lived the rest of his life as a pensioner of the British Crown, whose title as Peshwa was little more than a name on a piece of paper.

[9] With hindsight its remarkable how long the Hapsburg empire, riven as it was with inter-ethnic strife, survived. On this basis it does feel harsh to include Franz Joseph on a list of worst wartime leaders but it cannot be denied that through lurching from doddering inaction one minute to punitive harshness the next he took what was a grave but salvageable situation and made it into a conflagration that not only doomed his own Empire but nearly dragged Europe itself into full scale war.

Hungary had increasingly been given more and more political and military independence since the 1878 compromise and its crown stature was on a par with its Cisleithian counterpart. While this served to settle a restive Hungarian minority it did little to mollify the other parts of the Empire, with the Bohemians and Galicians becoming resentful of the Hungarians special status. By the 1910s popular support for increased self-government and fuller recognition of the Cisleithian Kingdoms, in line with the Hungarian crown, was growing in size and restiveness. Here Franz Joseph made his first mistake, reacting with harshness to public demonstrations calling for increased self-rule. Releasing his dragoons led to blood on the streets, the tales of the massacres of Prague and Lemberg reported in periodicals all over Europe. This radicalized what had been simple autonomy demonstrations into full bloodied national revolutionary movements.

The more Franz Joseph turned his troops onto his people the more he fed into the grievances of the mob. The arrest and execution of Bohemian political leaders created martyrs, especially as the ones arrested were of the milder self-governance faction. This in turn spooked the Hungarians who began to be concerned at their own self-governance moving forward. The final break came when Franz Joseph demanded the Hungarian Diet allow Hungarian troops be released for "peacekeeping" operations in Galicia, a move the Diet refused in a close vote. Franz Joseph then moved his Austrian brigades into Hungary to arrest the Diet. Tipped off the escaped into the hinterlands and called upon the people to resist what they called "the mad Emperor".

Franz Joseph had one last trump card to play, he requested Russian intervention to help quell the revolts. The Russians were keen, fearing the national revolts would stir their own ethnic populations (something that would eventually come to pass). However the German Empire balked at this, declaring they would find Russian troops entering Central Europe as a clear threat to their national security and mobilized their border troops. It looked as if Europe was heading for its first major Continental war since Napoleon until fate intervened and Franz Joseph was found dead in his bed at the age of 82, a massive heart attack claiming him during the night.

The young reformer Franz Ferdinand took power but it was too late to save the whole Empire, Germany had marched into Bohemia on the request of the provisional government. A pliable young German prince was found to out on the Bohemian throne and became a client state of the German Empire. Hungary flatly refused to rejoin the Empire, declared Galicia a protectorate and signed defensive treaties with Germany and Italy. The rump Cisletihian kingdom remained, dismembered and with its power projection shattered unable to stop the South Slavic states from seceding.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
10 of History's Worst War Time Leaders


1) Thomas Jefferson (President of the USA, War of 1804) [1]

2) Charles X (King of France, Franco-Haitian War/"Haitian Accident") [2]

3) JOINT AWARD: Frederick William III (King of Prussia, War of the Spring) Jules de Polignac (Regency Council of France, War of the Spring), William I, (King of the Netherlands, War of the Spring) [3]

4) Frederick VI (King of Denmark, The Danish-Prussian War) [4]

5) Porfirio Diaz (President of Mexico, the First Great American War, the Slave Revolt, and Raids of '86) [5]

6) George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan (Governor-General of the Western Provinces, Great Indian Wars/Lucan's March) [6]

7) Zaifeng, Prince Chun (regent, Xinhai Revolution) [7]

8) Vishwasrao II (Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, Third Anglo-Maratha War/Maharashtrian Revolution) [8]

9) Franz Joseph I (Emperor of Austria, Austro-Hungarian Civil War) [9]

10) Herbert Morrison (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First World War) [10]



[1] Historians are still divided on whether or not Jefferson wanted war or not. But nevertheless, having gotten his war he proceeded to make a bungle of it. From the start of the war of 1804, the President had an obsession with exploiting the front from New England to Canada, and the capture of Quebec, to the ruination of other fronts. Generally caught off guard, the bulk of the fledgling US navy was in the Mediterranean fighting the Barbary Pirates, only to be cut off, corned and destroyed one ship at a time by the British. The immediate forcing of the United States on the defensive at sea was sign of things to come which Jefferson refused to see.

No longer afraid to use the Alien and Sedition Acts for a war against Britain, Jefferson forced many protests and anti-war opposition to go quiet and launched initial American advance into Canada only for it blunted short of the Saint Lawrence River. Repeated attempt to return the offensive spurned by Jefferson failed and the Americans gradually fell back as far Fort Ticonderoga, only to then be outflanked in the Northwest Territories and Sir John Moore's Chesapeake campaign. Pleas to France for help fell on deaf ears, as Napoleon rolled up the map of Europe, and the British continued to press in on all fronts. Although captured at the Burning of Washington, and Presidency falling to George Clinton, Jefferson continued to be the man Congress blamed for the poor war effort and Clinton's refusal to engaging in negotiations until the Federalist won the 1808 election.

Still accused of tunnel vision on Quebec, failure to prepare and failure to compromise, Jefferson remains the one that Americans blame their loss in the War of 1804 on, simultaneously running the fruits of his own Presidency and in a way the American Revolution as the price of peace became the bulk of the Louisiana purchase, and the vast chunk of New England that became New Ireland and the Northwest Territories to Tecumseh's Confederacy all of which killed major western expansion before it could happen. Though the American Republic would survive, its potential for greatness was squandered by its most promising founders, which is probably why Jefferson is now credited as one of the Declaration of Independence's many co-authors.


[2] Haiti had been a long term pain in the arse for France since the abolition of slavery, ever since Napoleon decided to use it as a source of "Black Jacobin" soldiers rather than as a plantation - this worked fine while the Royal Navy was distracted by the War of 1804, and then resupply was cut off. An attempted return to plantation farming during the Bourbon restoration was not catching on and Britain & America were both unhappy with Haiti allegedly provoking slave revolts, so one of Charles X's first acts in 1824 decided to send soldiers to assist Prime Minister Dessalines.

Charles X though little of either Haiti or Dessalines, and mistakenly thought limited French power would be enough and that Dessalines, who did want to install plantations, would accept help. Instead, the Prime Minister took very unkindly to being made "a slave for a distant master after all the blood we have lost"; the Haitian republicans suspected the monarchy would betray 'Napoleon's vision' all along and the Haitian monarchists rallied to the memory of the deceased 'Good King Louis'; and a substantial chunk of white population saw this as a threat to their holdings. The first invasion was bloodily routed. Charles X refused to accept the loss and committed a massive force...

...ensuring simply that he was overthrown (in part by the aging Black Jacobin expats and their children) as he was now weak at home. French soldiers and marines were pointlessly lost only for the new Regency to declare the war over, and a status quo returned now "Mad Charles" was gone. French prestige was shattered and money & blood spilled to achieve a continuing status quo, the ultimate embarrassment (and in the long-term, this damaged both French imperial ideals and led to Haiti's increasing autonomy & independence)

[3] Some small states retain their independence because no one wanted to conquer them; some because they were not worth the political capital of conquest; some because they were useful as buffers and tax havens.

Luxembourg is independent because it's too embarrassing to annex, after what happened at its birth.

The post-Vienna order of Europe had become increasingly wobbly in the 1820s, but to a casual viewer the restored monarchies were well in place. Spain had been saved for the Bourbons and the Poles put down; Greece wrested from the Ottomans, and the dragoons sent into crowds across Britain.

That order would have survived any one of the great powers having a domestic crisis, and indeed already had. It would not survive two of them suffering one at once.

By 1829, France had spent five years in the absurd situation of being ruled by a Regency without a King; first the council was preserving the throne until a Bourbon came of age, then until the child of the late Duke of Orleans could be brought to Paris. The remaining Bonapartists played both sides against each other, hoping that in time the throne might be offered to the Emperor's son. Finally, in 1829 the Chair of the Council of Ministers passed to the ultralegitimist Jules de Polignac, who decided that the key to securing the throne for his candidate was a short victorious war. He thought it would be in Algeria- and then Belgium revolted.

In Prussia, Frederick William I had become increasingly worried about the assertive middle class, and surrounded himself with ultraconservatives. He had no desire to be shackled by a constitution, but a worrying budget deficit made the government seem weak and unable to rule. The solution seemed to be that old proof of Prussian glory: a short victorious war. He thought it would be against the Danes, but then Belgium revolted.

William I of the Netherlands wanted to recapture the glory of the golden age of the Dutch- and to do that he needed to ensure that he kept every last inch of land in Europe. And then Belgium revolted.

And there was Luxembourg- German speaking Luxembourg, Luxembourg within the natural frontiers of France, Luxembourg that rightfully belonged to Amsterdam.

Three so-called great powers sent their armies to the Rhine in the spring of 1830, and three so-called great powers broke. The Prussians and the Dutch beat the French, then the French and Belgians beat the Dutch, then the Dutch and the French and the Belgians beat the Prussians, and then the British landed at Antwerp.

In the resulting settlement, the Dutch lost half their state, and William lost all three of his thrones. Frederick William kept his crown, but gained a hated constitution.

And in Paris, the Regency Council turned out to have been keeping a seat warm for His Excellency The President of France Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

The War of the Spring is still taught as an example of how wars must never be fought without clear objectives and operational plans.

4). 1833, Fredrick VI of Denmark seeing that the Prussian's had gotten a bloody nose from the War of Spring though it would be good time to kick it whilst it was down as Frederick William I was having to balancing the people and the Junkers and dealing with war debt. A short quick campaign would ensure that Denmark wouldn't be dealing with Prussian expansion into Denmark for decades to come was the thinking of the Danish higher ups, the Danish would become a dominant power in the Baltics as a result was the continuation of that.

But what was meant to be short decisive war ended up taking three year slog as the Danish had vastly underestimated how defeated the Prussians were. Frederick William I was able to present himself as a defender of Prussian democracy and that combined Nationalistic rhetoric would revitalise a gloomy Prussia, this combined with a Prussian plan that abused a rapid but well fortified series of trenches and forts created near the border which the Danish would bleed themselves on for two years before the Prussians pushed forward into Denmark and captured Copenhagen. Not helping Denmark was Fredrick's constant middle managing of various Generals and pursuing ineffective plans would help causing Denmark's immense defeat. When Denmark signed the Treaty of Copenhagen in 1836 it was a humiliation for what seemed like an easy war and would lead to the Danish Revolution in 1839 in the aftermath of Fredrick's death as people let there anger and humiliation over a stupid war be felt.


5) While Europe had the Scramble for Africa, the Americas had the Long Game between the US and Mexico for dominance (the name from recurring metaphors in both countries and Canada, depicting it as a sports match between two teams achieving a draw). Various small wars and trading deals were made throughout the 19th century but President Diaz, as part of his ongoing plans to reform the country as a modern empire, wanted to score a final knockout blow. He was going to finally pacify the restive Tejas province and sweep up into the southern states, justifying it as an anti-slavery war. The Kingdom of Haiti, as it was then, was greatly interested in assisting with landings on Florida. How could this fail?

It failed because: a) Even in 1882, it was impossible to mobilise the army & navy forces large enough and catch your neighbour by surprise, and Diaz greatly underestimated how far troops could advance b) Diaz was aware the United States was fractuous but naively thought this lack of unity would stop southern states fighting to the death against, horrors, non-whites c) Diaz was a former military officer and thus assumed he knew better than all his generals. Mexican ground troops were bogged down in trench warfare inside the US. The Haitians made a strike on Florida and US-dominated Cuba, noticed this war was a pig, and swiftly proposed a treaty partitioning Cuba that cut out Mexico. When Diaz realised in 1884 that he needed to get out, it was too late: the United States wanted a pound of flesh and Tejas was finally swallowed up by the Union.

That still wouldn't put him on this list if he hadn't seen the Slave Revolt kick off in the weakened US and think 'here's a chance at round two' - when he didn't have an army and navy in good enough shape. A few minor army victories led to the US Navy, who had reformed for just such a mission, launching bombardment raids down Mexico's coast. That was it for Diaz. It was also it for the Long Game, with neither Mexico nor the United States as powerful as they had been - new American and Carribean nations, such as Haiti, filled the gap.

[6]

There is perhaps no more famous or celebrated an act of the Canadian/Colombian frontier than Kitchener's stand at Little Bighorn, however the road to it was paved with blood and the follies of Lord Lucan.

The typical Flashman-esque high Victorian officer, George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan, had been bounced around from one imperial posting to another before finally being booted to an out-of-the-way posting on the Canadian Frontier (an amalgamation of what is now the Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Dakota and Montgomery). But there could not have been a more exciting time to be out on the Frontier as it finally opened up to settlement that had been promised since the end of the War of 1804 and the inter-colonial rivalry between Atlantic bound Canada and Pacific bound Colombia grew more intense over their competition to build the first Transcontinental Railway in North America. Lucan became involved in the whole sordid business when Ottawa's section of the line ran into deep trouble with the path it was cutting through tribal lands and was falling behind. Desperate to push the line forward and defend the vast gold deposits that the Royal Pacific Rail Company (subsidary of the Hudson Bay Company) had found near Sherwood, Dakota, Lucan was summoned to Ottawa to discuss and expedition to forcibly move the Plains Indians out of the Company's way: foolish and desperate for glory, Lucan agreed.

Except, Lucan returned to his command at Fort Gibraltar only to pause and work himself into a frenzy based on his own ambitions and mania. Suddenly, the call went out across North America about Lucan's grand plan to march on the Plains Indians and wipe them off the face of the earth, and it was answered from across the continent as restless Americans, German revolutionary exiles, Mexican nobility, cowboys, prospectors, homesteaders and bandits of all nationalities, even Chinese and Indian labour all abandoned their jobs and homes to answer Lucan's call: and the entirely false promises of land and gold in the newly cleansed territory.

After six months delay, on March 6th 1876, two regiments of redcoats and a regiment of hussars, plus the various militias of the Western territories, were bolstered by an extra 30,000 armed auxiliaries (and many other volunteers who despite lack of an ability to properly arm them, followed Lucan anyway). Caught up in his own arrogance and blatant racism, Lucan advanced casually into wilderness fully expecting to just roll up one village after another, what he did not expect despite intelligence to the contrary, was for a vast coalition of from all the Indian nations of the Plains to oppose him. Blackfoot, Arapahoe, Crow, Iowa, Sioux, Saulteaux, Cheyenne and even displaced Apache and Comanche assembled to wage a guerrilla war against Lucan that matched the resistance to Napoleon in Russia and Iberia with its skill, ferocity, bloodiness, and effectiveness.

Despite living off the land and a not wholly ineffective supply wagon, Lucan simply couldn't feed his army as one combined unit, yet Lucan refused to separate his army until he had fought one major engagement with the enemy, but they continued to deny him it. Only as the summer passed and winter began breathing down his neck, Lucan chanced an action between his Hussars and a Sioux village did he claim his victory and began to spread his army into separate forts, columns and camps across the Dakota and Montgomery territories - at the worst possible time. Effectively cut off from one another as the snows set in, each unit now had to fend for itself through the winter. Those that did not simply flee and abandon their positions, soon began to cannibalise (literally in some cases) each other, the enemy, even the settlers they were sent to defend and resorted to banditry. Notable incidents like an auxiliary regiment fighting a week long skirmish with a detachment of the South Wales Borders Regiment, and when a squadron of the 7th Cavalry flat burned the town of Sherwood to the ground after the locals refused to part with their food or gold.

Bashfully admitting he could no longer keep control of the Expedition, Lucan ordered a retreat of those few units he still had contact with. Over the remains of winter, the few units still cohesive or brave enough to march fell into Fort Gibraltar a sorry and ruinous lot. Shocked to find letters from Ottawa and London had arrived for him while on his campaign demanding exactly what the Earl was playing at, issuing cease and desist orders, and his dismissal and recall to London for an inquiry while a replacement and commission to see the damage that the Expedition had wrought on the Canadian expansion. Aghast, and with nothing to loose anymore, Lucan ignored the letters and reassembled his force and rearming them as best he could. With the first officers of the commission arriving, and the snows barely melted, Lucan sallied forth again. Now totally unafraid of the whitemen they had chased from the plains, the assembled tribes gave Lucan his battle and totally routed him, armed with the equipment left behind in the retreat they broke his column at a crossing on the Yellowstone River, capturing the colours of 7th Hussars and the 60th Regiment Foot and killing the man himself.

The final defeat of Lucan should have been the end of the Canadian Frontier: its epilogue, instead the actions of Lieutenant Kitchener and his small band of redcoats at Little Big Horn made it prologue. Certainly, it was set back a good while. The Royal Pacific Rail Company went flat bust as news of Lucans rout reached Ottawa and its main possession had been ripped back up again by marauders and the tribes, and Sherwood gold deposits plundered by deserters and independent prospectors, and thoroughly disappointed in the leadership of Ottawa and the mismanagement of the Hudson Bay Company both were rolled up as London took increasing control as the Disraeli Commission made its findings plain to see. Frontier settlement and the Transcontinental project was handed over to the Imperial American Rail Company of Portland, Oregon, Colombia, who gradually rebuilt the honour of British America with a soft(er) touch by fair(ish) deals with the tribal leaders, following the peace that Disraeli and Kitchener managed to negotiate with the Plains coalition. The Canadian Confederacy did eventually rehabilitate itself as a Dominion in 1900, 20 years after Colombia celebrated its status as the Empire's first Dominion as the last spike of the Railway was driven in at Rugby, Dakota - marking the border between Britain's Atlantic and Pacific colonies in North America.

Lucan's reputation has never been rehabilitated, nor is it likely to be. Facing every caricature imaginable to this day from blood thirsty white supremacist, aloof and snotty toff, the brash, incompetent 'donkey' leading his lions to slaughter. He has been cited by comedy bigwigs as the original inspiration behind Flashman, Flashheart, and Lord Melchett.


(May have gotten a little carried away with this one)

[7] It's not Chun's fault he inherited a China in severe decline, and it's not his fault he was appointed regent despite little taste for politicking. Unfortunately, it is his fault that he decided the Qing Dynasty would continue to fight rather than accept a peace deal and abdication: he felt he should fulfil his duty to the young emperor. Beijing burned during a siege and was only saved by Russian military forces arriving, promised territorial concessions. Thus saved, the Qing forces... failed to achieve much at all, and Russia decided this wasn't worth it. With Russian guns at his head, Chun agreed a peace deal after a pointless two more months of war.

The Qing Dynasty was preserved, so arguably Chun achieved his goal. Problem was that the Qing Dynasty (allies of Their Friend The Tsar) no longer ruled two-thirds of China, much of it nominally under republican control but big chunks lawless; Britain, Germany, and Portugal all seized more land around their concessions; and Japan took advantage to carve out a section of Manchuria as a 'friendly republic'. So a king was saved but the kingdom was lost, and millions of Chinese lives with it. Chun's death is greatly assumed to have been a suicide.

[8] Faced with the massive, devastating Great Indian Famine of 1876-1878, which particularly impacted the Maratha Empire, what was the reaction of Vishwasrao II, its hereditary prime minister? He sought, as many before him sought, to relieve the immense strains of popular discontent with a popular brief war with British India. Citing Britain-ally Hyderabad's control of Maharashtrian-majority Aurangabad as a reason for war, the war proved to be immensely unpopular. In a time when millions were starving to death, Vishwasrao II was wasting money, and lots of it, on a war most viewed as useless. The result was that, in 1877, his commander-in-chief Vasudev Balwant Phadke overthrew the monarchy and proclaimed the Republic of Maharashtra with widespread support among the army. This began his twenty-year tenure as president with dramatic reforms and - most dramatically - the pawning of the crown jewels for money to be spent on famine relief.

Vishwasrao II's reaction to this shocked many. He fled to Surat, under British rule, and signed a treaty which made the Maratha Empire a princely state of British India in return for troops to regain his throne. This eroded much of his support - even opponents of the republican regime generally supported the enthronement of the king of Nagpur or some other king rather than anyone connected to the ruling regime. The attempted British intervention failed entirely, and the resulting peace treaty ended up restoring status quo ante bellum between Maharashtra and British India. Vishwasrao II lived the rest of his life as a pensioner of the British Crown, whose title as Peshwa was little more than a name on a piece of paper.

[9] With hindsight its remarkable how long the Hapsburg empire, riven as it was with inter-ethnic strife, survived. On this basis it does feel harsh to include Franz Joseph on a list of worst wartime leaders but it cannot be denied that through lurching from doddering inaction one minute to punitive harshness the next he took what was a grave but salvageable situation and made it into a conflagration that not only doomed his own Empire but nearly dragged Europe itself into full scale war.

Hungary had increasingly been given more and more political and military independence since the 1878 compromise and its crown stature was on a par with its Cisleithian counterpart. While this served to settle a restive Hungarian minority it did little to mollify the other parts of the Empire, with the Bohemians and Galicians becoming resentful of the Hungarians special status. By the 1910s popular support for increased self-government and fuller recognition of the Cisleithian Kingdoms, in line with the Hungarian crown, was growing in size and restiveness. Here Franz Joseph made his first mistake, reacting with harshness to public demonstrations calling for increased self-rule. Releasing his dragoons led to blood on the streets, the tales of the massacres of Prague and Lemberg reported in periodicals all over Europe. This radicalized what had been simple autonomy demonstrations into full bloodied national revolutionary movements.

The more Franz Joseph turned his troops onto his people the more he fed into the grievances of the mob. The arrest and execution of Bohemian political leaders created martyrs, especially as the ones arrested were of the milder self-governance faction. This in turn spooked the Hungarians who began to be concerned at their own self-governance moving forward. The final break came when Franz Joseph demanded the Hungarian Diet allow Hungarian troops be released for "peacekeeping" operations in Galicia, a move the Diet refused in a close vote. Franz Joseph then moved his Austrian brigades into Hungary to arrest the Diet. Tipped off the escaped into the hinterlands and called upon the people to resist what they called "the mad Emperor".

Franz Joseph had one last trump card to play, he requested Russian intervention to help quell the revolts. The Russians were keen, fearing the national revolts would stir their own ethnic populations (something that would eventually come to pass). However the German Empire balked at this, declaring they would find Russian troops entering Central Europe as a clear threat to their national security and mobilized their border troops. It looked as if Europe was heading for its first major Continental war since Napoleon until fate intervened and Franz Joseph was found dead in his bed at the age of 82, a massive heart attack claiming him during the night.

The young reformer Franz Ferdinand took power but it was too late to save the whole Empire, Germany had marched into Bohemia on the request of the provisional government. A pliable young German prince was found to out on the Bohemian throne and became a client state of the German Empire. Hungary flatly refused to rejoin the Empire, declared Galicia a protectorate and signed defensive treaties with Germany and Italy. The rump Cisletihian kingdom remained, dismembered and with its power projection shattered unable to stop the South Slavic states from seceding.


10) Morrison had been elected as party leader on promise of sweeping reforms at home and that he would reform the Empire for the 20th century - a project that was increasingly necessary if you were a European empire in the years of growing middle-class discontent in colonies, growing worldwide socialism, and the rise of non-European great powers in Asia, the Americas, and Abyssinia. Sweeping changes were made to colonial borders, the Royal Air Corps expanded, and the British African Army and British Chinese Army were both formed. This, of course, kicked off similar changes and bellicous moves by other European powers, and thus by Japan, but that didn't necessarily have to lead to a global war. And growing border issues between Canada and America certainly didn't.

But Russia and America were building up relations with each other, and Russian guns were seen behind clashes on the borders of Portugeuse China (most likely just black-market dealings), and Morrison panicked: a massive fleet and expeditionary force was sent to Canada to 'wave the flag'. This both made America think it was going to be under attack and go to a war footing, and gave the impression Britain wasn't actually paying attention in China after all, which caused a conflict there as Chinese forces took advantage, and spooked Russia into thinking Britain was planning an attack and that the might of Germany would come across on land with its British allies.

The result was three years of bloodshed on every continent bar Australia, all due to a domino of diplomatic failings and military paranoia. Declassified papers show Morrison refused to back out once the war had started - he was convinced this was inevitable and the Empire needed to finally smack down its rivals. And maybe even this could have been fine if he hadn't refused to downgrade any of the colonial fronts, leaving Europe with the bare minimum of British force, leaving Britain completely shafted when the Ottomans saw their chance to be on a winning side and declared war, cutting off the Royal Navy's oil supply. The result was the first invasion of British soil in a thousand years, when Russia gambled it could knock out Britain in a single blow with its navy crippled; the Battle of Dorking was actually won by the British and caused Russia to fall, as the Brits like to point out, but Britain was still knocked out all the same.

The result was that after 130 years of hegemonic power since the War of 1804, the British Empire fell in a war started in the same place. The United States love that fact.
 

neonduke

Continuity Menshevik
The eight most significant speeches of the Twentieth Century

1] Theodor Duesterberg - Formation of the Harzburg Front (1931)

Duesterberg's announcement of the formation of the united front of Far Right German parties may lack rhetorical flourish but its significance for the German Republic and the rest of the world cannot be doubted. It united the German National People's Party and the paramilitary Stahlhelm into a solid block and under its umbrella dominate the smaller fringe Right movements such as the rump of the Anti-Semite NDSAP, Agrarian associations, Monarchists and Pan-German Leagues. The Fronts formation was made easier by the collapse of the NDSAP into warring factions the year prior after the death of its leader Adolf Hitler during a street protest against the KDP that turned violent. The more radical wing under Ernest Rohm refused to take part in the front, to the relief of Front mastermind Alfred Hugenberg who described them as "Brown Bolshevists", instead a compact was signed with the more moderated leadership under WWI flying ace Herman Goering.

It is notable that Duesterberg tried to allay concerns of other European nations by stating that the Harzburg Front would both respect both the rule of law and the borders of Europe. Indeed The Fronts first successes were democratic, first in the 1932 Federal election and then with the election of Duesterberg to the Presidency. However long-term this heralded the death-knell of full democracy in German, soon to be replaced with an Authoritarian "Managerial Democratic" State. The promises of respecting borders were also hollow, the first order of business once the front was securely in power would be an alliance with the Italian Fascist state and support for border readjustments on the Yugoslav border in return for a quid pro quo on the Austrian-German border.

The most significant element of the speech, in diplomatic terms, was the focus on Bolshevism as the main internal and external enemy for Germany and Europe as a whole. The Harzburg Front would crack down hard on the SPD, KPD and other Left Wing organisations while trying to build a continental alliance against Soviet Russia. While this would not come to pass it did mean that the great powers of France and Britain, afraid of another war, would give the German state more leeway when it came to border adjustments than it should have, the selling out of Czechoslovakia and leaning on Poland over Danzig two sorry examples of diplomatic spinelessness.

With hindsight it is obvious that the Harzburg speech is the first step on the path towards the Second Great European war and the eventually domination of the continent by the Soviet Union. Perhaps too little was taken at face value, both domestically and internationally, and not enough paid to the subtext. In the end that lack of rigor was to be paid in blood, from Aachen all the way to Vyazma.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
The eight most significant speeches of the Twentieth Century

[1] Theodor Duesterberg - Formation of the Harzburg Front (1931)

Duesterberg's announcement of the formation of the united front of Far Right German parties may lack rhetorical flourish but its significance for the German Republic and the rest of the world cannot be doubted. It united the German National People's Party and the paramilitary Stahlhelm into a solid block and under its umbrella dominate the smaller fringe Right movements such as the rump of the Anti-Semite NDSAP, Agrarian associations, Monarchists and Pan-German Leagues. The Fronts formation was made easier by the collapse of the NDSAP into warring factions the year prior after the death of its leader Adolf Hitler during a street protest against the KDP that turned violent. The more radical wing under Ernest Rohm refused to take part in the front, to the relief of Front mastermind Alfred Hugenberg who described them as "Brown Bolshevists", instead a compact was signed with the more moderated leadership under WWI flying ace Herman Goering.

It is notable that Duesterberg tried to allay concerns of other European nations by stating that the Harzburg Front would both respect both the rule of law and the borders of Europe. Indeed The Fronts first successes were democratic, first in the 1932 Federal election and then with the election of Duesterberg to the Presidency. However long-term this heralded the death-knell of full democracy in German, soon to be replaced with an Authoritarian "Managerial Democratic" State. The promises of respecting borders were also hollow, the first order of business once the front was securely in power would be an alliance with the Italian Fascist state and support for border readjustments on the Yugoslav border in return for a quid pro quo on the Austrian-German border.

The most significant element of the speech, in diplomatic terms, was the focus on Bolshevism as the main internal and external enemy for Germany and Europe as a whole. The Harzburg Front would crack down hard on the SPD, KPD and other Left Wing organisations while trying to build a continental alliance against Soviet Russia. While this would not come to pass it did mean that the great powers of France and Britain, afraid of another war, would give the German state more leeway when it came to border adjustments than it should have, the selling out of Czechoslovakia and leaning on Poland over Danzig two sorry examples of diplomatic spinelessness.

With hindsight it is obvious that the Harzburg speech is the first step on the path towards the Second Great European war and the eventually domination of the continent by the Soviet Union. Perhaps too little was taken at face value, both domestically and internationally, and not enough paid to the subtext. In the end that lack of rigor was to be paid in blood, from Aachen all the way to Vyazma.

[2] Douglas MacArthur - "Red With Blood", 1948

The famous general gave this speech on radio to announce his run for presidency. It's unpolished, crude, emotive, and at one point he says "bastards" before apologising mid-sentence for cursing. It focuses predominantly on the Soviet Union and growing communist presence in Pacific Asia, condemning America's neutrality in the Second Great European War and blaming it for Soviet dominance of the continent. "Staying aloof and trusting to the sea didn't work for the Brits, it will not work for Truman!"

Popularly, this is seen as the end of America's isolationism - wrongly. President Truman was actively involved in sending money to the isolated capitalist democracies that were hanging on in Europe, and was trying to keep the rump Republic of China afloat as well, and wanted the FBI to root out communist agents. However, Truman underestimated how much the voters wanted done and seen to be done, and MacArthur correctly judged they wanted to see a lot done. While any president would have increasingly fought against communism, this speech got in the most hardline of them all and openly spun America's interests to the Pacific - "the Old World has drowned in blood", MacArthur said, a theme he kept hammering. The Old World was gone. (The Old World was not happy to hear this)

The other great influence of his speech is that every subsequent American political speech was trying to be like it - polish and rhetoric and 'elitism' was out, and rough talk was in. If you were not a rough talker, you had to fake it. Whether this has left American politics free of pretention or brutishly crude is up to your politics (and whether you're a white man, usually).
 

Gary Oswald

Well-known member
Sea Lion Press staff
Pronouns
he/him
The eight most significant speeches of the Twentieth Century

[1] Theodor Duesterberg - Formation of the Harzburg Front (1931)

Duesterberg's announcement of the formation of the united front of Far Right German parties may lack rhetorical flourish but its significance for the German Republic and the rest of the world cannot be doubted. It united the German National People's Party and the paramilitary Stahlhelm into a solid block and under its umbrella dominate the smaller fringe Right movements such as the rump of the Anti-Semite NDSAP, Agrarian associations, Monarchists and Pan-German Leagues. The Fronts formation was made easier by the collapse of the NDSAP into warring factions the year prior after the death of its leader Adolf Hitler during a street protest against the KDP that turned violent. The more radical wing under Ernest Rohm refused to take part in the front, to the relief of Front mastermind Alfred Hugenberg who described them as "Brown Bolshevists", instead a compact was signed with the more moderated leadership under WWI flying ace Herman Goering.

It is notable that Duesterberg tried to allay concerns of other European nations by stating that the Harzburg Front would both respect both the rule of law and the borders of Europe. Indeed The Fronts first successes were democratic, first in the 1932 Federal election and then with the election of Duesterberg to the Presidency. However long-term this heralded the death-knell of full democracy in German, soon to be replaced with an Authoritarian "Managerial Democratic" State. The promises of respecting borders were also hollow, the first order of business once the front was securely in power would be an alliance with the Italian Fascist state and support for border readjustments on the Yugoslav border in return for a quid pro quo on the Austrian-German border.

The most significant element of the speech, in diplomatic terms, was the focus on Bolshevism as the main internal and external enemy for Germany and Europe as a whole. The Harzburg Front would crack down hard on the SPD, KPD and other Left Wing organisations while trying to build a continental alliance against Soviet Russia. While this would not come to pass it did mean that the great powers of France and Britain, afraid of another war, would give the German state more leeway when it came to border adjustments than it should have, the selling out of Czechoslovakia and leaning on Poland over Danzig two sorry examples of diplomatic spinelessness.

With hindsight it is obvious that the Harzburg speech is the first step on the path towards the Second Great European war and the eventually domination of the continent by the Soviet Union. Perhaps too little was taken at face value, both domestically and internationally, and not enough paid to the subtext. In the end that lack of rigor was to be paid in blood, from Aachen all the way to Vyazma.

[2] Douglas MacArthur - "Red With Blood", 1948

The famous general gave this speech on radio to announce his run for presidency. It's unpolished, crude, emotive, and at one point he says "bastards" before apologising mid-sentence for cursing. It focuses predominantly on the Soviet Union and growing communist presence in Pacific Asia, condemning America's neutrality in the Second Great European War and blaming it for Soviet dominance of the continent. "Staying aloof and trusting to the sea didn't work for the Brits, it will not work for Truman!"

Popularly, this is seen as the end of America's isolationism - wrongly. President Truman was actively involved in sending money to the isolated capitalist democracies that were hanging on in Europe, and was trying to keep the rump Republic of China afloat as well, and wanted the FBI to root out communist agents. However, Truman underestimated how much the voters wanted done and seen to be done, and MacArthur correctly judged they wanted to see a lot done. While any president would have increasingly fought against communism, this speech got in the most hardline of them all and openly spun America's interests to the Pacific - "the Old World has drowned in blood", MacArthur said, a theme he kept hammering. The Old World was gone. (The Old World was not happy to hear this)

The other great influence of his speech is that every subsequent American political speech was trying to be like it - polish and rhetoric and 'elitism' was out, and rough talk was in. If you were not a rough talker, you had to fake it. Whether this has left American politics free of pretention or brutishly crude is up to your politics (and whether you're a white man, usually).

[3] Ladipo Solanke - Formation of the Monrovia Pact, 1954

Socialism was not, as Liberians often claim, an entirely alien philosophy to Africa introduced solely at gunpoint. In the Colonial Empires wherein new taxes were bought in at the whims of the colonial government and then free labour in industrial factories was demanded to pay those taxes, Marx's message on workers owning the means of production found fertile ground. Land reform and the seizing of riches from the unworthy landlords to the labourers if anything was more appealing, when those landlords were foreign and so a nationalist ethnic motive also existed. Prior to the fall of the old Empires in 1945, socialism in Africa was on the rise.

Not for that matter did the the Soviet backed French attack on the Reactionary government in exile in Algeria immediately change anything. Socialism was winning after all and it promised to bring with it freedom for all Africans. A number of Nationalist groups in the former Empires quickly declared independence in the confusion and their leaders were happy to shake hands with 'Uncle George' and his fellow Communists. The betrayal of the 'Algerian People's Party', with their leaders condemned for revisionism and French Communists, who were deemed to be at a 'more advanced level of class consciousness' installed as leaders was a more worrying sign but it came hand in hand with the rise of prominence of Egyptian and Moroccan Communist leaders. And as an increasingly reactionary South Africa became the main anti-communist force in the country, most Africans still viewed the Soviets as a lesser of two evils. It wasn't until the Soviet Invasion of Ethiopia that the tide really began to turn.

Solanke, the first President of Oyo State, is still a controversial figure in many parts of Africa. He was an old man by the time of the Second Great European War and despite a long history of fighting for worker's rights and African independence, he was conservative in a lot of ways and saw the Soviet Tide as a threat to the African elites who'd only just regained their status as much as the European colonisers. His speech at Monrovia marked that elite's effective counter attack and changed the fate of a continent.

Africans, he announced, would never again be defined by the philosophy of white Europeans. The 'Third Path' he advocated is often attacked as a pretence for what was really an alliance with the capitalist forces. This isn't entirely false, the Monrovia Pact was heavily funded by the CIA, as was revealed recently, but his 'neither Moscow nor Pretoria' philosophy was sincerely meant. The Unholy Alliance was, at this point, still many years into the future.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
The eight most significant speeches of the Twentieth Century

[1] Theodor Duesterberg - Formation of the Harzburg Front (1931)

Duesterberg's announcement of the formation of the united front of Far Right German parties may lack rhetorical flourish but its significance for the German Republic and the rest of the world cannot be doubted. It united the German National People's Party and the paramilitary Stahlhelm into a solid block and under its umbrella dominate the smaller fringe Right movements such as the rump of the Anti-Semite NDSAP, Agrarian associations, Monarchists and Pan-German Leagues. The Fronts formation was made easier by the collapse of the NDSAP into warring factions the year prior after the death of its leader Adolf Hitler during a street protest against the KDP that turned violent. The more radical wing under Ernest Rohm refused to take part in the front, to the relief of Front mastermind Alfred Hugenberg who described them as "Brown Bolshevists", instead a compact was signed with the more moderated leadership under WWI flying ace Herman Goering.

It is notable that Duesterberg tried to allay concerns of other European nations by stating that the Harzburg Front would both respect both the rule of law and the borders of Europe. Indeed The Fronts first successes were democratic, first in the 1932 Federal election and then with the election of Duesterberg to the Presidency. However long-term this heralded the death-knell of full democracy in German, soon to be replaced with an Authoritarian "Managerial Democratic" State. The promises of respecting borders were also hollow, the first order of business once the front was securely in power would be an alliance with the Italian Fascist state and support for border readjustments on the Yugoslav border in return for a quid pro quo on the Austrian-German border.

The most significant element of the speech, in diplomatic terms, was the focus on Bolshevism as the main internal and external enemy for Germany and Europe as a whole. The Harzburg Front would crack down hard on the SPD, KPD and other Left Wing organisations while trying to build a continental alliance against Soviet Russia. While this would not come to pass it did mean that the great powers of France and Britain, afraid of another war, would give the German state more leeway when it came to border adjustments than it should have, the selling out of Czechoslovakia and leaning on Poland over Danzig two sorry examples of diplomatic spinelessness.

With hindsight it is obvious that the Harzburg speech is the first step on the path towards the Second Great European war and the eventually domination of the continent by the Soviet Union. Perhaps too little was taken at face value, both domestically and internationally, and not enough paid to the subtext. In the end that lack of rigor was to be paid in blood, from Aachen all the way to Vyazma.

[2] Douglas MacArthur - "Red With Blood", 1948

The famous general gave this speech on radio to announce his run for presidency. It's unpolished, crude, emotive, and at one point he says "bastards" before apologising mid-sentence for cursing. It focuses predominantly on the Soviet Union and growing communist presence in Pacific Asia, condemning America's neutrality in the Second Great European War and blaming it for Soviet dominance of the continent. "Staying aloof and trusting to the sea didn't work for the Brits, it will not work for Truman!"

Popularly, this is seen as the end of America's isolationism - wrongly. President Truman was actively involved in sending money to the isolated capitalist democracies that were hanging on in Europe, and was trying to keep the rump Republic of China afloat as well, and wanted the FBI to root out communist agents. However, Truman underestimated how much the voters wanted done and seen to be done, and MacArthur correctly judged they wanted to see a lot done. While any president would have increasingly fought against communism, this speech got in the most hardline of them all and openly spun America's interests to the Pacific - "the Old World has drowned in blood", MacArthur said, a theme he kept hammering. The Old World was gone. (The Old World was not happy to hear this)

The other great influence of his speech is that every subsequent American political speech was trying to be like it - polish and rhetoric and 'elitism' was out, and rough talk was in. If you were not a rough talker, you had to fake it. Whether this has left American politics free of pretention or brutishly crude is up to your politics (and whether you're a white man, usually).

[3] Ladipo Solanke - Formation of the Monrovia Pact, 1954

Socialism was not, as Liberians often claim, an entirely alien philosophy to Africa introduced solely at gunpoint. In the Colonial Empires wherein new taxes were bought in at the whims of the colonial government and then free labour in industrial factories was demanded to pay those taxes, Marx's message on workers owning the means of production found fertile ground. Land reform and the seizing of riches from the unworthy landlords to the labourers if anything was more appealing, when those landlords were foreign and so a nationalist ethnic motive also existed. Prior to the fall of the old Empires in 1945, socialism in Africa was on the rise.

Not for that matter did the the Soviet backed French attack on the Reactionary government in exile in Algeria immediately change anything. Socialism was winning after all and it promised to bring with it freedom for all Africans. A number of Nationalist groups in the former Empires quickly declared independence in the confusion and their leaders were happy to shake hands with 'Uncle George' and his fellow Communists. The betrayal of the 'Algerian People's Party', with their leaders condemned for revisionism and French Communists, who were deemed to be at a 'more advanced level of class consciousness' installed as leaders was a more worrying sign but it came hand in hand with the rise of prominence of Egyptian and Moroccan Communist leaders. And as an increasingly reactionary South Africa became the main anti-communist force in the country, most Africans still viewed the Soviets as a lesser of two evils. It wasn't until the Soviet Invasion of Ethiopia that the tide really began to turn.

Solanke, the first President of Oyo State, is still a controversial figure in many parts of Africa. He was an old man by the time of the Second Great European War and despite a long history of fighting for worker's rights and African independence, he was conservative in a lot of ways and saw the Soviet Tide as a threat to the African elites who'd only just regained their status as much as the European colonisers. His speech at Monrovia marked that elite's effective counter attack and changed the fate of a continent.

Africans, he announced, would never again be defined by the philosophy of white Europeans. The 'Third Path' he advocated is often attacked as a pretence for what was really an alliance with the capitalist forces. This isn't entirely false, the Monrovia Pact was heavily funded by the CIA, as was revealed recently, but his 'neither Moscow nor Pretoria' philosophy was sincerely meant. The Unholy Alliance was, at this point, still many years into the future.


[4] Martin Luther King - addressing the Northern Irish parliament, 1967

It had taken years of pressure and protests, years of sweat and blood (at least fourteen known assassinations and several riots), for the Northern Irish civil rights movement to score victory: reforms of the RUC, legal changes, and confirmed catholic seats in parliament. Greenwood's Labour government had used various tricks to get it through, including making it clear to wavering protestant unionists that it was either this or the catholics would start to look to the Soviets; Dublin had done tricks foul and fair to bolster the rights movement and ensure militants didn't take it off-piste; and Terence O'Neill had almost broken himself trying to keep his party up and the DUP down. But the civil rights movement had caused it, and so their leaders got to speak at the opening of the first reformed parliament. And they wanted Dr King to speak as well, as the African-American civil rights movement had been an inspiration.

King's "Righteous Indignation" speech was another masterpiece of rhetoric and emotions, the sort of speech going out of fashion in America, and it linked all the struggles for equal rights together, and all the investment in wars over poverty together. It was celebrated across Ireland and the United Kingdom both, and video footage shows several politicians looking pained to hear it. It went global and would be referenced in many a movement, cited in calls for solidarity for generations, his words daubed onto walls in South Africa and yelled by protestors in Soviet and Monrovian regimes both.

It also worsened the diplomatic rift between the UK and US, and sparked one between the US and Ireland: Washington wasn't happy such a 'radical socialist' had been allowed to speak at all and felt the UK had 'allowed' them to be snubbed like this. For King, this also caused him to be prevented from re-entering America for years and he went into temporary exile in Belfast (where he'd go one to cause more pain for the UK government as he took up causes for black Britons and immigrants).
 

Skaven

Everything is going according to the plan
The eight most significant speeches of the Twentieth Century

[1] Theodor Duesterberg - Formation of the Harzburg Front (1931)

Duesterberg's announcement of the formation of the united front of Far Right German parties may lack rhetorical flourish but its significance for the German Republic and the rest of the world cannot be doubted. It united the German National People's Party and the paramilitary Stahlhelm into a solid block and under its umbrella dominate the smaller fringe Right movements such as the rump of the Anti-Semite NDSAP, Agrarian associations, Monarchists and Pan-German Leagues. The Fronts formation was made easier by the collapse of the NDSAP into warring factions the year prior after the death of its leader Adolf Hitler during a street protest against the KDP that turned violent. The more radical wing under Ernest Rohm refused to take part in the front, to the relief of Front mastermind Alfred Hugenberg who described them as "Brown Bolshevists", instead a compact was signed with the more moderated leadership under WWI flying ace Herman Goering.

It is notable that Duesterberg tried to allay concerns of other European nations by stating that the Harzburg Front would both respect both the rule of law and the borders of Europe. Indeed The Fronts first successes were democratic, first in the 1932 Federal election and then with the election of Duesterberg to the Presidency. However long-term this heralded the death-knell of full democracy in German, soon to be replaced with an Authoritarian "Managerial Democratic" State. The promises of respecting borders were also hollow, the first order of business once the front was securely in power would be an alliance with the Italian Fascist state and support for border readjustments on the Yugoslav border in return for a quid pro quo on the Austrian-German border.

The most significant element of the speech, in diplomatic terms, was the focus on Bolshevism as the main internal and external enemy for Germany and Europe as a whole. The Harzburg Front would crack down hard on the SPD, KPD and other Left Wing organisations while trying to build a continental alliance against Soviet Russia. While this would not come to pass it did mean that the great powers of France and Britain, afraid of another war, would give the German state more leeway when it came to border adjustments than it should have, the selling out of Czechoslovakia and leaning on Poland over Danzig two sorry examples of diplomatic spinelessness.

With hindsight it is obvious that the Harzburg speech is the first step on the path towards the Second Great European war and the eventually domination of the continent by the Soviet Union. Perhaps too little was taken at face value, both domestically and internationally, and not enough paid to the subtext. In the end that lack of rigor was to be paid in blood, from Aachen all the way to Vyazma.

[2] Douglas MacArthur - "Red With Blood", 1948

The famous general gave this speech on radio to announce his run for presidency. It's unpolished, crude, emotive, and at one point he says "bastards" before apologising mid-sentence for cursing. It focuses predominantly on the Soviet Union and growing communist presence in Pacific Asia, condemning America's neutrality in the Second Great European War and blaming it for Soviet dominance of the continent. "Staying aloof and trusting to the sea didn't work for the Brits, it will not work for Truman!"

Popularly, this is seen as the end of America's isolationism - wrongly. President Truman was actively involved in sending money to the isolated capitalist democracies that were hanging on in Europe, and was trying to keep the rump Republic of China afloat as well, and wanted the FBI to root out communist agents. However, Truman underestimated how much the voters wanted done and seen to be done, and MacArthur correctly judged they wanted to see a lot done. While any president would have increasingly fought against communism, this speech got in the most hardline of them all and openly spun America's interests to the Pacific - "the Old World has drowned in blood", MacArthur said, a theme he kept hammering. The Old World was gone. (The Old World was not happy to hear this)

The other great influence of his speech is that every subsequent American political speech was trying to be like it - polish and rhetoric and 'elitism' was out, and rough talk was in. If you were not a rough talker, you had to fake it. Whether this has left American politics free of pretention or brutishly crude is up to your politics (and whether you're a white man, usually).

[3] Ladipo Solanke - Formation of the Monrovia Pact, 1954

Socialism was not, as Liberians often claim, an entirely alien philosophy to Africa introduced solely at gunpoint. In the Colonial Empires wherein new taxes were bought in at the whims of the colonial government and then free labour in industrial factories was demanded to pay those taxes, Marx's message on workers owning the means of production found fertile ground. Land reform and the seizing of riches from the unworthy landlords to the labourers if anything was more appealing, when those landlords were foreign and so a nationalist ethnic motive also existed. Prior to the fall of the old Empires in 1945, socialism in Africa was on the rise.

Not for that matter did the the Soviet backed French attack on the Reactionary government in exile in Algeria immediately change anything. Socialism was winning after all and it promised to bring with it freedom for all Africans. A number of Nationalist groups in the former Empires quickly declared independence in the confusion and their leaders were happy to shake hands with 'Uncle George' and his fellow Communists. The betrayal of the 'Algerian People's Party', with their leaders condemned for revisionism and French Communists, who were deemed to be at a 'more advanced level of class consciousness' installed as leaders was a more worrying sign but it came hand in hand with the rise of prominence of Egyptian and Moroccan Communist leaders. And as an increasingly reactionary South Africa became the main anti-communist force in the country, most Africans still viewed the Soviets as a lesser of two evils. It wasn't until the Soviet Invasion of Ethiopia that the tide really began to turn.

Solanke, the first President of Oyo State, is still a controversial figure in many parts of Africa. He was an old man by the time of the Second Great European War and despite a long history of fighting for worker's rights and African independence, he was conservative in a lot of ways and saw the Soviet Tide as a threat to the African elites who'd only just regained their status as much as the European colonisers. His speech at Monrovia marked that elite's effective counter attack and changed the fate of a continent.

Africans, he announced, would never again be defined by the philosophy of white Europeans. The 'Third Path' he advocated is often attacked as a pretence for what was really an alliance with the capitalist forces. This isn't entirely false, the Monrovia Pact was heavily funded by the CIA, as was revealed recently, but his 'neither Moscow nor Pretoria' philosophy was sincerely meant. The Unholy Alliance was, at this point, still many years into the future.


[4] Martin Luther King - addressing the Northern Irish parliament, 1967

It had taken years of pressure and protests, years of sweat and blood (at least fourteen known assassinations and several riots), for the Northern Irish civil rights movement to score victory: reforms of the RUC, legal changes, and confirmed catholic seats in parliament. Greenwood's Labour government had used various tricks to get it through, including making it clear to wavering protestant unionists that it was either this or the catholics would start to look to the Soviets; Dublin had done tricks foul and fair to bolster the rights movement and ensure militants didn't take it off-piste; and Terence O'Neill had almost broken himself trying to keep his party up and the DUP down. But the civil rights movement had caused it, and so their leaders got to speak at the opening of the first reformed parliament. And they wanted Dr King to speak as well, as the African-American civil rights movement had been an inspiration.

King's "Righteous Indignation" speech was another masterpiece of rhetoric and emotions, the sort of speech going out of fashion in America, and it linked all the struggles for equal rights together, and all the investment in wars over poverty together. It was celebrated across Ireland and the United Kingdom both, and video footage shows several politicians looking pained to hear it. It went global and would be referenced in many a movement, cited in calls for solidarity for generations, his words daubed onto walls in South Africa and yelled by protestors in Soviet and Monrovian regimes both.

It also worsened the diplomatic rift between the UK and US, and sparked one between the US and Ireland: Washington wasn't happy such a 'radical socialist' had been allowed to speak at all and felt the UK had 'allowed' them to be snubbed like this. For King, this also caused him to be prevented from re-entering America for years and he went into temporary exile in Belfast (where he'd go one to cause more pain for the UK government as he took up causes for black Britons and immigrants).

[5] Mao Zedong - Imperialism - Social and Capital, 1968

Delivered at the 18th Congress of the League of Free Asia, Chairman Mao's speech was a political thunderbolt. Mao had been increasingly dissilusioned by the heavy handed Soviet approach to Asia affairs, but had been forced to accept the diktats from Moscow in order to maintain support in his long running low level border war with South China. With the collapse of the Southern regime following the attempted coup d'etat of Nationalist spymaster Dai Li in 1960, this was no longer a concern. After a period of consolidation, marked by the succesful if bloody reintegration of the rump former Nationalist territories and the detonation of the Chinese Hydrogen bomb in 1965, Mao only had to wait for an opportunity to formall break with Moscow. He found it in 1968.

Mao began his speech, addressed to what had previously been a Soviet run front similar to that used to control the African communist governments, with the standard denunciations of past colonial iniquities in China and the rest of Asia, and then went on to the current crimes inflicted in the Philipines, Rhodesia. Then he paused. And added Paris to that list. The shock in the room was palpable, as news of the Second Commune had been slipping through Soviet censorship for months. Going far beyond the veiled criticism of figures like Ceacescu, this was the most direct attack on Soviet power from within the Communist Bloc any could remember. Warming to his theme, Mao delivered an excortiating tirade against the degredation of the Revolution of Lenin and Stalin into the revisionist social-imperialism of Malenkov and his cronies. China had escaped the Century of Humiliation, and it would not see another imposed upon the whole world by any imperialists, Blue or Red.

Responses from the speech by the various leaders of Socialist Asia was mixed. It has never been proven that the representative from India attempted to bodily drag Mao from the podium to stop him from speaking, but that this was suggested illustrates the extent of the betrayal many felt. However the bulk of the nations joined Mao in walking out of the Comintern, establishing the "Anti-Colonial International", commonly known as the Fourth, or less politely Yellow, International in the West. This bloc quickly became a major power in world politics, funding rebels throughout Red and White Africa as well as in Europe, allegedly in collaboration with the OSS. While Mao died in 1974, his legacy, and the legacy of his speech, lived on through this International.
 

Gary Oswald

Well-known member
Sea Lion Press staff
Pronouns
he/him
The eight most significant speeches of the Twentieth Century

[1] Theodor Duesterberg - Formation of the Harzburg Front, 1931

Duesterberg's announcement of the formation of the united front of Far Right German parties may lack rhetorical flourish but its significance for the German Republic and the rest of the world cannot be doubted. It united the German National People's Party and the paramilitary Stahlhelm into a solid block and under its umbrella dominate the smaller fringe Right movements such as the rump of the Anti-Semite NDSAP, Agrarian associations, Monarchists and Pan-German Leagues. The Fronts formation was made easier by the collapse of the NDSAP into warring factions the year prior after the death of its leader Adolf Hitler during a street protest against the KDP that turned violent. The more radical wing under Ernest Rohm refused to take part in the front, to the relief of Front mastermind Alfred Hugenberg who described them as "Brown Bolshevists", instead a compact was signed with the more moderated leadership under WWI flying ace Herman Goering.

It is notable that Duesterberg tried to allay concerns of other European nations by stating that the Harzburg Front would both respect both the rule of law and the borders of Europe. Indeed The Fronts first successes were democratic, first in the 1932 Federal election and then with the election of Duesterberg to the Presidency. However long-term this heralded the death-knell of full democracy in German, soon to be replaced with an Authoritarian "Managerial Democratic" State. The promises of respecting borders were also hollow, the first order of business once the front was securely in power would be an alliance with the Italian Fascist state and support for border readjustments on the Yugoslav border in return for a quid pro quo on the Austrian-German border.

The most significant element of the speech, in diplomatic terms, was the focus on Bolshevism as the main internal and external enemy for Germany and Europe as a whole. The Harzburg Front would crack down hard on the SPD, KPD and other Left Wing organisations while trying to build a continental alliance against Soviet Russia. While this would not come to pass it did mean that the great powers of France and Britain, afraid of another war, would give the German state more leeway when it came to border adjustments than it should have, the selling out of Czechoslovakia and leaning on Poland over Danzig two sorry examples of diplomatic spinelessness.

With hindsight it is obvious that the Harzburg speech is the first step on the path towards the Second Great European war and the eventually domination of the continent by the Soviet Union. Perhaps too little was taken at face value, both domestically and internationally, and not enough paid to the subtext. In the end that lack of rigor was to be paid in blood, from Aachen all the way to Vyazma.

[2] Douglas MacArthur - "Red With Blood", 1948

The famous general gave this speech on radio to announce his run for presidency. It's unpolished, crude, emotive, and at one point he says "bastards" before apologising mid-sentence for cursing. It focuses predominantly on the Soviet Union and growing communist presence in Pacific Asia, condemning America's neutrality in the Second Great European War and blaming it for Soviet dominance of the continent. "Staying aloof and trusting to the sea didn't work for the Brits, it will not work for Truman!"

Popularly, this is seen as the end of America's isolationism - wrongly. President Truman was actively involved in sending money to the isolated capitalist democracies that were hanging on in Europe, and was trying to keep the rump Republic of China afloat as well, and wanted the FBI to root out communist agents. However, Truman underestimated how much the voters wanted done and seen to be done, and MacArthur correctly judged they wanted to see a lot done. While any president would have increasingly fought against communism, this speech got in the most hardline of them all and openly spun America's interests to the Pacific - "the Old World has drowned in blood", MacArthur said, a theme he kept hammering. The Old World was gone. (The Old World was not happy to hear this)

The other great influence of his speech is that every subsequent American political speech was trying to be like it - polish and rhetoric and 'elitism' was out, and rough talk was in. If you were not a rough talker, you had to fake it. Whether this has left American politics free of pretention or brutishly crude is up to your politics (and whether you're a white man, usually).

[3] Ladipo Solanke - Formation of the Monrovia Pact, 1954

Socialism was not, as Liberians often claim, an entirely alien philosophy to Africa introduced solely at gunpoint. In the Colonial Empires wherein new taxes were bought in at the whims of the colonial government and then free labour in industrial factories was demanded to pay those taxes, Marx's message on workers owning the means of production found fertile ground. Land reform and the seizing of riches from the unworthy landlords to the labourers if anything was more appealing, when those landlords were foreign and so a nationalist ethnic motive also existed. Prior to the fall of the old Empires in 1945, socialism in Africa was on the rise.

Not for that matter did the the Soviet backed French attack on the Reactionary government in exile in Algeria immediately change anything. Socialism was winning after all and it promised to bring with it freedom for all Africans. A number of Nationalist groups in the former Empires quickly declared independence in the confusion and their leaders were happy to shake hands with 'Uncle George' and his fellow Communists. The betrayal of the 'Algerian People's Party', with their leaders condemned for revisionism and French Communists, who were deemed to be at a 'more advanced level of class consciousness' installed as leaders was a more worrying sign but it came hand in hand with the rise of prominence of Egyptian and Moroccan Communist leaders. And as an increasingly reactionary South Africa became the main anti-communist force in the country, most Africans still viewed the Soviets as a lesser of two evils. It wasn't until the Soviet Invasion of Ethiopia that the tide really began to turn.

Solanke, the first President of Oyo State, is still a controversial figure in many parts of Africa. He was an old man by the time of the Second Great European War and despite a long history of fighting for worker's rights and African independence, he was conservative in a lot of ways and saw the Soviet Tide as a threat to the African elites who'd only just regained their status as much as the European colonisers. His speech at Monrovia marked that elite's effective counter attack and changed the fate of a continent.

Africans, he announced, would never again be defined by the philosophy of white Europeans. The 'Third Path' he advocated is often attacked as a pretence for what was really an alliance with the capitalist forces. This isn't entirely false, the Monrovia Pact was heavily funded by the CIA, as was revealed recently, but his 'neither Moscow nor Pretoria' philosophy was sincerely meant. The Unholy Alliance was, at this point, still many years into the future.


[4] Martin Luther King - addressing the Northern Irish parliament, 1967

It had taken years of pressure and protests, years of sweat and blood (at least fourteen known assassinations and several riots), for the Northern Irish civil rights movement to score victory: reforms of the RUC, legal changes, and confirmed catholic seats in parliament. Greenwood's Labour government had used various tricks to get it through, including making it clear to wavering protestant unionists that it was either this or the catholics would start to look to the Soviets; Dublin had done tricks foul and fair to bolster the rights movement and ensure militants didn't take it off-piste; and Terence O'Neill had almost broken himself trying to keep his party up and the DUP down. But the civil rights movement had caused it, and so their leaders got to speak at the opening of the first reformed parliament. And they wanted Dr King to speak as well, as the African-American civil rights movement had been an inspiration.

King's "Righteous Indignation" speech was another masterpiece of rhetoric and emotions, the sort of speech going out of fashion in America, and it linked all the struggles for equal rights together, and all the investment in wars over poverty together. It was celebrated across Ireland and the United Kingdom both, and video footage shows several politicians looking pained to hear it. It went global and would be referenced in many a movement, cited in calls for solidarity for generations, his words daubed onto walls in South Africa and yelled by protestors in Soviet and Monrovian regimes both.

It also worsened the diplomatic rift between the UK and US, and sparked one between the US and Ireland: Washington wasn't happy such a 'radical socialist' had been allowed to speak at all and felt the UK had 'allowed' them to be snubbed like this. For King, this also caused him to be prevented from re-entering America for years and he went into temporary exile in Belfast (where he'd go one to cause more pain for the UK government as he took up causes for black Britons and immigrants).

[5] Mao Zedong - Imperialism - Social and Capital, 1968

Delivered at the 18th Congress of the League of Free Asia, Chairman Mao's speech was a political thunderbolt. Mao had been increasingly dissilusioned by the heavy handed Soviet approach to Asia affairs, but had been forced to accept the diktats from Moscow in order to maintain support in his long running low level border war with South China. With the collapse of the Southern regime following the attempted coup d'etat of Nationalist spymaster Dai Li in 1960, this was no longer a concern. After a period of consolidation, marked by the succesful if bloody reintegration of the rump former Nationalist territories and the detonation of the Chinese Hydrogen bomb in 1965, Mao only had to wait for an opportunity to formall break with Moscow. He found it in 1968.

Mao began his speech, addressed to what had previously been a Soviet run front similar to that used to control the African communist governments, with the standard denunciations of past colonial iniquities in China and the rest of Asia, and then went on to the current crimes inflicted in the Philipines, Rhodesia. Then he paused. And added Paris to that list. The shock in the room was palpable, as news of the Second Commune had been slipping through Soviet censorship for months. Going far beyond the veiled criticism of figures like Ceacescu, this was the most direct attack on Soviet power from within the Communist Bloc any could remember. Warming to his theme, Mao delivered an excortiating tirade against the degredation of the Revolution of Lenin and Stalin into the revisionist social-imperialism of Malenkov and his cronies. China had escaped the Century of Humiliation, and it would not see another imposed upon the whole world by any imperialists, Blue or Red.

Responses from the speech by the various leaders of Socialist Asia was mixed. It has never been proven that the representative from India attempted to bodily drag Mao from the podium to stop him from speaking, but that this was suggested illustrates the extent of the betrayal many felt. However the bulk of the nations joined Mao in walking out of the Comintern, establishing the "Anti-Colonial International", commonly known as the Fourth, or less politely Yellow, International in the West. This bloc quickly became a major power in world politics, funding rebels throughout Red and White Africa as well as in Europe, allegedly in collaboration with the OSS. While Mao died in 1974, his legacy, and the legacy of his speech, lived on through this International.

[6] David Suzuki - The Wasteland Inheritance, 1977

Canadian's tend to pride themselves being more cerebral and less emotional than their American neighbours, so there is some irony that the most famous speech a Canadian has ever delivered was one as shamelessly melodramatic as any American President's.

Suzuki was not a loud man by nature but he nor was he the bloodless intellectual he'd been taken for and his speech to the World Economic Forum is spellbinding. He did not need to shout, not when the emotional hammer blows he was delivering carried such weight. Suzuki listed slowly but lyrically various major natural habitat and animal species lost to industrialisation and human activity and linked such losses to the, then new and obscure, science warning of widespread temperature change and always bought it back to the question of what Suzuki's children would inherit from him. He painted vivid pictures of the barren wasteland he would leave them unless things could change.

What is often forgotten is how cannily Suzuki's speech was geared to his audience. There was little sign of the attacks on capitalism as a system or on nuclear weapons that were found in the man's posthumously published writings, instead it was the environmental depredations of socialist countries that were often used as examples. In many ways the speech had such power because it tapped into a specifically North America fear of the world going to hell and there being nothing left for their children that played into the geopolitical situation.

The fight for environmental sustainability is a long ongoing one, there are still large areas of the world yet to move away from fossil fuels and the Asian Bloc continues to move forward with genetically modified crops despite widespread opposition, but the speech recruited a whole generation of people to a fight they otherwise might have ignored.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
The eight most significant speeches of the Twentieth Century

[1] Theodor Duesterberg - Formation of the Harzburg Front, 1931

Duesterberg's announcement of the formation of the united front of Far Right German parties may lack rhetorical flourish but its significance for the German Republic and the rest of the world cannot be doubted. It united the German National People's Party and the paramilitary Stahlhelm into a solid block and under its umbrella dominate the smaller fringe Right movements such as the rump of the Anti-Semite NDSAP, Agrarian associations, Monarchists and Pan-German Leagues. The Fronts formation was made easier by the collapse of the NDSAP into warring factions the year prior after the death of its leader Adolf Hitler during a street protest against the KDP that turned violent. The more radical wing under Ernest Rohm refused to take part in the front, to the relief of Front mastermind Alfred Hugenberg who described them as "Brown Bolshevists", instead a compact was signed with the more moderated leadership under WWI flying ace Herman Goering.

It is notable that Duesterberg tried to allay concerns of other European nations by stating that the Harzburg Front would both respect both the rule of law and the borders of Europe. Indeed The Fronts first successes were democratic, first in the 1932 Federal election and then with the election of Duesterberg to the Presidency. However long-term this heralded the death-knell of full democracy in German, soon to be replaced with an Authoritarian "Managerial Democratic" State. The promises of respecting borders were also hollow, the first order of business once the front was securely in power would be an alliance with the Italian Fascist state and support for border readjustments on the Yugoslav border in return for a quid pro quo on the Austrian-German border.

The most significant element of the speech, in diplomatic terms, was the focus on Bolshevism as the main internal and external enemy for Germany and Europe as a whole. The Harzburg Front would crack down hard on the SPD, KPD and other Left Wing organisations while trying to build a continental alliance against Soviet Russia. While this would not come to pass it did mean that the great powers of France and Britain, afraid of another war, would give the German state more leeway when it came to border adjustments than it should have, the selling out of Czechoslovakia and leaning on Poland over Danzig two sorry examples of diplomatic spinelessness.

With hindsight it is obvious that the Harzburg speech is the first step on the path towards the Second Great European war and the eventually domination of the continent by the Soviet Union. Perhaps too little was taken at face value, both domestically and internationally, and not enough paid to the subtext. In the end that lack of rigor was to be paid in blood, from Aachen all the way to Vyazma.

[2] Douglas MacArthur - "Red With Blood", 1948

The famous general gave this speech on radio to announce his run for presidency. It's unpolished, crude, emotive, and at one point he says "bastards" before apologising mid-sentence for cursing. It focuses predominantly on the Soviet Union and growing communist presence in Pacific Asia, condemning America's neutrality in the Second Great European War and blaming it for Soviet dominance of the continent. "Staying aloof and trusting to the sea didn't work for the Brits, it will not work for Truman!"

Popularly, this is seen as the end of America's isolationism - wrongly. President Truman was actively involved in sending money to the isolated capitalist democracies that were hanging on in Europe, and was trying to keep the rump Republic of China afloat as well, and wanted the FBI to root out communist agents. However, Truman underestimated how much the voters wanted done and seen to be done, and MacArthur correctly judged they wanted to see a lot done. While any president would have increasingly fought against communism, this speech got in the most hardline of them all and openly spun America's interests to the Pacific - "the Old World has drowned in blood", MacArthur said, a theme he kept hammering. The Old World was gone. (The Old World was not happy to hear this)

The other great influence of his speech is that every subsequent American political speech was trying to be like it - polish and rhetoric and 'elitism' was out, and rough talk was in. If you were not a rough talker, you had to fake it. Whether this has left American politics free of pretention or brutishly crude is up to your politics (and whether you're a white man, usually).

[3] Ladipo Solanke - Formation of the Monrovia Pact, 1954

Socialism was not, as Liberians often claim, an entirely alien philosophy to Africa introduced solely at gunpoint. In the Colonial Empires wherein new taxes were bought in at the whims of the colonial government and then free labour in industrial factories was demanded to pay those taxes, Marx's message on workers owning the means of production found fertile ground. Land reform and the seizing of riches from the unworthy landlords to the labourers if anything was more appealing, when those landlords were foreign and so a nationalist ethnic motive also existed. Prior to the fall of the old Empires in 1945, socialism in Africa was on the rise.

Not for that matter did the the Soviet backed French attack on the Reactionary government in exile in Algeria immediately change anything. Socialism was winning after all and it promised to bring with it freedom for all Africans. A number of Nationalist groups in the former Empires quickly declared independence in the confusion and their leaders were happy to shake hands with 'Uncle George' and his fellow Communists. The betrayal of the 'Algerian People's Party', with their leaders condemned for revisionism and French Communists, who were deemed to be at a 'more advanced level of class consciousness' installed as leaders was a more worrying sign but it came hand in hand with the rise of prominence of Egyptian and Moroccan Communist leaders. And as an increasingly reactionary South Africa became the main anti-communist force in the country, most Africans still viewed the Soviets as a lesser of two evils. It wasn't until the Soviet Invasion of Ethiopia that the tide really began to turn.

Solanke, the first President of Oyo State, is still a controversial figure in many parts of Africa. He was an old man by the time of the Second Great European War and despite a long history of fighting for worker's rights and African independence, he was conservative in a lot of ways and saw the Soviet Tide as a threat to the African elites who'd only just regained their status as much as the European colonisers. His speech at Monrovia marked that elite's effective counter attack and changed the fate of a continent.

Africans, he announced, would never again be defined by the philosophy of white Europeans. The 'Third Path' he advocated is often attacked as a pretence for what was really an alliance with the capitalist forces. This isn't entirely false, the Monrovia Pact was heavily funded by the CIA, as was revealed recently, but his 'neither Moscow nor Pretoria' philosophy was sincerely meant. The Unholy Alliance was, at this point, still many years into the future.


[4] Martin Luther King - addressing the Northern Irish parliament, 1967

It had taken years of pressure and protests, years of sweat and blood (at least fourteen known assassinations and several riots), for the Northern Irish civil rights movement to score victory: reforms of the RUC, legal changes, and confirmed catholic seats in parliament. Greenwood's Labour government had used various tricks to get it through, including making it clear to wavering protestant unionists that it was either this or the catholics would start to look to the Soviets; Dublin had done tricks foul and fair to bolster the rights movement and ensure militants didn't take it off-piste; and Terence O'Neill had almost broken himself trying to keep his party up and the DUP down. But the civil rights movement had caused it, and so their leaders got to speak at the opening of the first reformed parliament. And they wanted Dr King to speak as well, as the African-American civil rights movement had been an inspiration.

King's "Righteous Indignation" speech was another masterpiece of rhetoric and emotions, the sort of speech going out of fashion in America, and it linked all the struggles for equal rights together, and all the investment in wars over poverty together. It was celebrated across Ireland and the United Kingdom both, and video footage shows several politicians looking pained to hear it. It went global and would be referenced in many a movement, cited in calls for solidarity for generations, his words daubed onto walls in South Africa and yelled by protestors in Soviet and Monrovian regimes both.

It also worsened the diplomatic rift between the UK and US, and sparked one between the US and Ireland: Washington wasn't happy such a 'radical socialist' had been allowed to speak at all and felt the UK had 'allowed' them to be snubbed like this. For King, this also caused him to be prevented from re-entering America for years and he went into temporary exile in Belfast (where he'd go one to cause more pain for the UK government as he took up causes for black Britons and immigrants).

[5] Mao Zedong - Imperialism - Social and Capital, 1968

Delivered at the 18th Congress of the League of Free Asia, Chairman Mao's speech was a political thunderbolt. Mao had been increasingly dissilusioned by the heavy handed Soviet approach to Asia affairs, but had been forced to accept the diktats from Moscow in order to maintain support in his long running low level border war with South China. With the collapse of the Southern regime following the attempted coup d'etat of Nationalist spymaster Dai Li in 1960, this was no longer a concern. After a period of consolidation, marked by the succesful if bloody reintegration of the rump former Nationalist territories and the detonation of the Chinese Hydrogen bomb in 1965, Mao only had to wait for an opportunity to formall break with Moscow. He found it in 1968.

Mao began his speech, addressed to what had previously been a Soviet run front similar to that used to control the African communist governments, with the standard denunciations of past colonial iniquities in China and the rest of Asia, and then went on to the current crimes inflicted in the Philipines, Rhodesia. Then he paused. And added Paris to that list. The shock in the room was palpable, as news of the Second Commune had been slipping through Soviet censorship for months. Going far beyond the veiled criticism of figures like Ceacescu, this was the most direct attack on Soviet power from within the Communist Bloc any could remember. Warming to his theme, Mao delivered an excortiating tirade against the degredation of the Revolution of Lenin and Stalin into the revisionist social-imperialism of Malenkov and his cronies. China had escaped the Century of Humiliation, and it would not see another imposed upon the whole world by any imperialists, Blue or Red.

Responses from the speech by the various leaders of Socialist Asia was mixed. It has never been proven that the representative from India attempted to bodily drag Mao from the podium to stop him from speaking, but that this was suggested illustrates the extent of the betrayal many felt. However the bulk of the nations joined Mao in walking out of the Comintern, establishing the "Anti-Colonial International", commonly known as the Fourth, or less politely Yellow, International in the West. This bloc quickly became a major power in world politics, funding rebels throughout Red and White Africa as well as in Europe, allegedly in collaboration with the OSS. While Mao died in 1974, his legacy, and the legacy of his speech, lived on through this International.

[6] David Suzuki - The Wasteland Inheritance, 1977

Canadian's tend to pride themselves being more cerebral and less emotional than their American neighbours, so there is some irony that the most famous speech a Canadian has ever delivered was one as shamelessly melodramatic as any American President's.

Suzuki was not a loud man by nature but he nor was he the bloodless intellectual he'd been taken for and his speech to the World Economic Forum is spellbinding. He did not need to shout, not when the emotional hammer blows he was delivering carried such weight. Suzuki listed slowly but lyrically various major natural habitat and animal species lost to industrialisation and human activity and linked such losses to the, then new and obscure, science warning of widespread temperature change and always bought it back to the question of what Suzuki's children would inherit from him. He painted vivid pictures of the barren wasteland he would leave them unless things could change.

What is often forgotten is how cannily Suzuki's speech was geared to his audience. There was little sign of the attacks on capitalism as a system or on nuclear weapons that were found in the man's posthumously published writings, instead it was the environmental depredations of socialist countries that were often used as examples. In many ways the speech had such power because it tapped into a specifically North America fear of the world going to hell and there being nothing left for their children that played into the geopolitical situation.

The fight for environmental sustainability is a long ongoing one, there are still large areas of the world yet to move away from fossil fuels and the Asian Bloc continues to move forward with genetically modified crops despite widespread opposition, but the speech recruited a whole generation of people to a fight they otherwise might have ignored.


[7] P.W. Botha - "enough", 1985

Africa was a continent in flames at this point, proxy wars and "assistances" in over a dozen countries, bombings in the capitals of a dozen more; 'White Africa' had collapsed everywhere outside of a decaying South Africa, with the "Unholy Alliance" of the Monrovia Pact and the United States filling the vacuum and fighting with 'Red Africa' and its Russian backers. South Africa itself was trying to hold down a growing insurgency at home and had soldiers in five nations, including the continuing festering sore of Rhodesia. The world began to fear that another great war could start, one with at least four nuclear arsenals involved.

May 27th was actually the second time uMkhonto we Sizwe militants had seized a gated afrikaner enclave - the first time had been a six day hostage crisis, a quarter of the inhabitants were injured or killed breaking the siege, and a retaliatory crackdown had killed hundreds of black South Africans and forced yet more retaliations that had yet to end. So this was presumed to be a further escalation. In particularly, it came in the context of carnage in Somalia, Rhodesia, and Mali in other battles that week.

But instead, MK withdrew on the 28th and an audibly broken President Botha, "The Hard Man", appeared on TV to address the nation and announce he was declaring ceasefires abroad and negotiations at home. "This war without end is killing our children, it will kill all our children - enough, I say, enough."

Botha solely meant that it was killing white and Afrikans children: the constant loss of sons abroad and thought of more suburban kids slain finally broke him, the fear of blacks with a whiphand over the whites was replaced by running out of whites. This was not how it was taken at the time. People assumed this was a desperate, broken call for an end to the fighting in general. A lot of civilians in a lot of countries in both sides agreed, and certainly the South Africans agreed, and several governments on both sides quite liked the idea of getting to step back for a bit (and the sudden loss of South Africa frightened a number of Unholy countries). A tense peace settled on the continent, both alliances wondering where to go from here.
 

Gary Oswald

Well-known member
Sea Lion Press staff
Pronouns
he/him
The eight most significant speeches of the Twentieth Century

[1] Theodor Duesterberg - Formation of the Harzburg Front, 1931

Duesterberg's announcement of the formation of the united front of Far Right German parties may lack rhetorical flourish but its significance for the German Republic and the rest of the world cannot be doubted. It united the German National People's Party and the paramilitary Stahlhelm into a solid block and under its umbrella dominate the smaller fringe Right movements such as the rump of the Anti-Semite NDSAP, Agrarian associations, Monarchists and Pan-German Leagues. The Fronts formation was made easier by the collapse of the NDSAP into warring factions the year prior after the death of its leader Adolf Hitler during a street protest against the KDP that turned violent. The more radical wing under Ernest Rohm refused to take part in the front, to the relief of Front mastermind Alfred Hugenberg who described them as "Brown Bolshevists", instead a compact was signed with the more moderated leadership under WWI flying ace Herman Goering.

It is notable that Duesterberg tried to allay concerns of other European nations by stating that the Harzburg Front would both respect both the rule of law and the borders of Europe. Indeed The Fronts first successes were democratic, first in the 1932 Federal election and then with the election of Duesterberg to the Presidency. However long-term this heralded the death-knell of full democracy in German, soon to be replaced with an Authoritarian "Managerial Democratic" State. The promises of respecting borders were also hollow, the first order of business once the front was securely in power would be an alliance with the Italian Fascist state and support for border readjustments on the Yugoslav border in return for a quid pro quo on the Austrian-German border.

The most significant element of the speech, in diplomatic terms, was the focus on Bolshevism as the main internal and external enemy for Germany and Europe as a whole. The Harzburg Front would crack down hard on the SPD, KPD and other Left Wing organisations while trying to build a continental alliance against Soviet Russia. While this would not come to pass it did mean that the great powers of France and Britain, afraid of another war, would give the German state more leeway when it came to border adjustments than it should have, the selling out of Czechoslovakia and leaning on Poland over Danzig two sorry examples of diplomatic spinelessness.

With hindsight it is obvious that the Harzburg speech is the first step on the path towards the Second Great European war and the eventually domination of the continent by the Soviet Union. Perhaps too little was taken at face value, both domestically and internationally, and not enough paid to the subtext. In the end that lack of rigor was to be paid in blood, from Aachen all the way to Vyazma.

[2] Douglas MacArthur - "Red With Blood", 1948

The famous general gave this speech on radio to announce his run for presidency. It's unpolished, crude, emotive, and at one point he says "bastards" before apologising mid-sentence for cursing. It focuses predominantly on the Soviet Union and growing communist presence in Pacific Asia, condemning America's neutrality in the Second Great European War and blaming it for Soviet dominance of the continent. "Staying aloof and trusting to the sea didn't work for the Brits, it will not work for Truman!"

Popularly, this is seen as the end of America's isolationism - wrongly. President Truman was actively involved in sending money to the isolated capitalist democracies that were hanging on in Europe, and was trying to keep the rump Republic of China afloat as well, and wanted the FBI to root out communist agents. However, Truman underestimated how much the voters wanted done and seen to be done, and MacArthur correctly judged they wanted to see a lot done. While any president would have increasingly fought against communism, this speech got in the most hardline of them all and openly spun America's interests to the Pacific - "the Old World has drowned in blood", MacArthur said, a theme he kept hammering. The Old World was gone. (The Old World was not happy to hear this)

The other great influence of his speech is that every subsequent American political speech was trying to be like it - polish and rhetoric and 'elitism' was out, and rough talk was in. If you were not a rough talker, you had to fake it. Whether this has left American politics free of pretention or brutishly crude is up to your politics (and whether you're a white man, usually).

[3] Ladipo Solanke - Formation of the Monrovia Pact, 1954

Socialism was not, as Liberians often claim, an entirely alien philosophy to Africa introduced solely at gunpoint. In the Colonial Empires wherein new taxes were bought in at the whims of the colonial government and then free labour in industrial factories was demanded to pay those taxes, Marx's message on workers owning the means of production found fertile ground. Land reform and the seizing of riches from the unworthy landlords to the labourers if anything was more appealing, when those landlords were foreign and so a nationalist ethnic motive also existed. Prior to the fall of the old Empires in 1945, socialism in Africa was on the rise.

Not for that matter did the the Soviet backed French attack on the Reactionary government in exile in Algeria immediately change anything. Socialism was winning after all and it promised to bring with it freedom for all Africans. A number of Nationalist groups in the former Empires quickly declared independence in the confusion and their leaders were happy to shake hands with 'Uncle George' and his fellow Communists. The betrayal of the 'Algerian People's Party', with their leaders condemned for revisionism and French Communists, who were deemed to be at a 'more advanced level of class consciousness' installed as leaders was a more worrying sign but it came hand in hand with the rise of prominence of Egyptian and Moroccan Communist leaders. And as an increasingly reactionary South Africa became the main anti-communist force in the country, most Africans still viewed the Soviets as a lesser of two evils. It wasn't until the Soviet Invasion of Ethiopia that the tide really began to turn.

Solanke, the first President of Oyo State, is still a controversial figure in many parts of Africa. He was an old man by the time of the Second Great European War and despite a long history of fighting for worker's rights and African independence, he was conservative in a lot of ways and saw the Soviet Tide as a threat to the African elites who'd only just regained their status as much as the European colonisers. His speech at Monrovia marked that elite's effective counter attack and changed the fate of a continent.

Africans, he announced, would never again be defined by the philosophy of white Europeans. The 'Third Path' he advocated is often attacked as a pretence for what was really an alliance with the capitalist forces. This isn't entirely false, the Monrovia Pact was heavily funded by the CIA, as was revealed recently, but his 'neither Moscow nor Pretoria' philosophy was sincerely meant. The Unholy Alliance was, at this point, still many years into the future.


[4] Martin Luther King - addressing the Northern Irish parliament, 1967

It had taken years of pressure and protests, years of sweat and blood (at least fourteen known assassinations and several riots), for the Northern Irish civil rights movement to score victory: reforms of the RUC, legal changes, and confirmed catholic seats in parliament. Greenwood's Labour government had used various tricks to get it through, including making it clear to wavering protestant unionists that it was either this or the catholics would start to look to the Soviets; Dublin had done tricks foul and fair to bolster the rights movement and ensure militants didn't take it off-piste; and Terence O'Neill had almost broken himself trying to keep his party up and the DUP down. But the civil rights movement had caused it, and so their leaders got to speak at the opening of the first reformed parliament. And they wanted Dr King to speak as well, as the African-American civil rights movement had been an inspiration.

King's "Righteous Indignation" speech was another masterpiece of rhetoric and emotions, the sort of speech going out of fashion in America, and it linked all the struggles for equal rights together, and all the investment in wars over poverty together. It was celebrated across Ireland and the United Kingdom both, and video footage shows several politicians looking pained to hear it. It went global and would be referenced in many a movement, cited in calls for solidarity for generations, his words daubed onto walls in South Africa and yelled by protestors in Soviet and Monrovian regimes both.

It also worsened the diplomatic rift between the UK and US, and sparked one between the US and Ireland: Washington wasn't happy such a 'radical socialist' had been allowed to speak at all and felt the UK had 'allowed' them to be snubbed like this. For King, this also caused him to be prevented from re-entering America for years and he went into temporary exile in Belfast (where he'd go one to cause more pain for the UK government as he took up causes for black Britons and immigrants).

[5] Mao Zedong - Imperialism - Social and Capital, 1968

Delivered at the 18th Congress of the League of Free Asia, Chairman Mao's speech was a political thunderbolt. Mao had been increasingly dissilusioned by the heavy handed Soviet approach to Asia affairs, but had been forced to accept the diktats from Moscow in order to maintain support in his long running low level border war with South China. With the collapse of the Southern regime following the attempted coup d'etat of Nationalist spymaster Dai Li in 1960, this was no longer a concern. After a period of consolidation, marked by the succesful if bloody reintegration of the rump former Nationalist territories and the detonation of the Chinese Hydrogen bomb in 1965, Mao only had to wait for an opportunity to formall break with Moscow. He found it in 1968.

Mao began his speech, addressed to what had previously been a Soviet run front similar to that used to control the African communist governments, with the standard denunciations of past colonial iniquities in China and the rest of Asia, and then went on to the current crimes inflicted in the Philipines, Rhodesia. Then he paused. And added Paris to that list. The shock in the room was palpable, as news of the Second Commune had been slipping through Soviet censorship for months. Going far beyond the veiled criticism of figures like Ceacescu, this was the most direct attack on Soviet power from within the Communist Bloc any could remember. Warming to his theme, Mao delivered an excortiating tirade against the degredation of the Revolution of Lenin and Stalin into the revisionist social-imperialism of Malenkov and his cronies. China had escaped the Century of Humiliation, and it would not see another imposed upon the whole world by any imperialists, Blue or Red.

Responses from the speech by the various leaders of Socialist Asia was mixed. It has never been proven that the representative from India attempted to bodily drag Mao from the podium to stop him from speaking, but that this was suggested illustrates the extent of the betrayal many felt. However the bulk of the nations joined Mao in walking out of the Comintern, establishing the "Anti-Colonial International", commonly known as the Fourth, or less politely Yellow, International in the West. This bloc quickly became a major power in world politics, funding rebels throughout Red and White Africa as well as in Europe, allegedly in collaboration with the OSS. While Mao died in 1974, his legacy, and the legacy of his speech, lived on through this International.

[6] David Suzuki - The Wasteland Inheritance, 1977

Canadian's tend to pride themselves being more cerebral and less emotional than their American neighbours, so there is some irony that the most famous speech a Canadian has ever delivered was one as shamelessly melodramatic as any American President's.

Suzuki was not a loud man by nature but he nor was he the bloodless intellectual he'd been taken for and his speech to the World Economic Forum is spellbinding. He did not need to shout, not when the emotional hammer blows he was delivering carried such weight. Suzuki listed slowly but lyrically various major natural habitat and animal species lost to industrialisation and human activity and linked such losses to the, then new and obscure, science warning of widespread temperature change and always bought it back to the question of what Suzuki's children would inherit from him. He painted vivid pictures of the barren wasteland he would leave them unless things could change.

What is often forgotten is how cannily Suzuki's speech was geared to his audience. There was little sign of the attacks on capitalism as a system or on nuclear weapons that were found in the man's posthumously published writings, instead it was the environmental depredations of socialist countries that were often used as examples. In many ways the speech had such power because it tapped into a specifically North America fear of the world going to hell and there being nothing left for their children that played into the geopolitical situation.

The fight for environmental sustainability is a long ongoing one, there are still large areas of the world yet to move away from fossil fuels and the Asian Bloc continues to move forward with genetically modified crops despite widespread opposition, but the speech recruited a whole generation of people to a fight they otherwise might have ignored.


[7] P.W. Botha - "enough", 1985

Africa was a continent in flames at this point, proxy wars and "assistances" in over a dozen countries, bombings in the capitals of a dozen more; 'White Africa' had collapsed everywhere outside of a decaying South Africa, with the "Unholy Alliance" of the Monrovia Pact and the United States filling the vacuum and fighting with 'Red Africa' and its Russian backers. South Africa itself was trying to hold down a growing insurgency at home and had soldiers in five nations, including the continuing festering sore of Rhodesia. The world began to fear that another great war could start, one with at least four nuclear arsenals involved.

May 27th was actually the second time uMkhonto we Sizwe militants had seized a gated afrikaner enclave - the first time had been a six day hostage crisis, a quarter of the inhabitants were injured or killed breaking the siege, and a retaliatory crackdown had killed hundreds of black South Africans and forced yet more retaliations that had yet to end. So this was presumed to be a further escalation. In particularly, it came in the context of carnage in Somalia, Rhodesia, and Mali in other battles that week.

But instead, MK withdrew on the 28th and an audibly broken President Botha, "The Hard Man", appeared on TV to address the nation and announce he was declaring ceasefires abroad and negotiations at home. "This war without end is killing our children, it will kill all our children - enough, I say, enough."

Botha solely meant that it was killing white and Afrikans children: the constant loss of sons abroad and thought of more suburban kids slain finally broke him, the fear of blacks with a whiphand over the whites was replaced by running out of whites. This was not how it was taken at the time. People assumed this was a desperate, broken call for an end to the fighting in general. A lot of civilians in a lot of countries in both sides agreed, and certainly the South Africans agreed, and several governments on both sides quite liked the idea of getting to step back for a bit (and the sudden loss of South Africa frightened a number of Unholy countries). A tense peace settled on the continent, both alliances wondering where to go from here.

[8] The 30 Delegates - 'Call for Justice', 1998

From the First Great European war onwards, the 20th century was one defined by conflict. The long path towards general peace was a difficult one, it wasn't until the aftermath of the African peace that a serious detente began to emerge between the various pacts in the Great Unfriendliness in other areas of the world too. The long process of negotiations and military retreats that attempted to resolve the worst trouble spots can be called a second wave of decolonisation. But resolving it would be a lot harder than the first wave. After all France was always an independent country with French leaders and there was never an American governor sitting in Santiago. To de-tangle the complex web of economic dependence, military advisers and support for unpopular elites that soviet and american imperialism often represented is clearly going to be a job of many more decades.

The speech of the 30 did more than anything to define the challenge ahead. In many ways it was the first moment that laid out on a global level just what that challenge involved. The moment when, wildly applauded, speeches from Hue and Walesa demanding justice and peace in socialist Europe were followed by ones from Mas Canosa and Chávez about the same in Latin America was a thunderbolt in the same way as Mao's speech to the CLFA had been thirty years earlier. The theatre of each delegate remaining standing while the next spoke made for a powerful image especially when the Chinese delegate rose but said nothing, merely announced a silent solidarity.

Hardliners in both capitalist and socialist countries often dismiss this as Chinese orchestrated theatre, which is undoubtedly true, but it was effective theatre that bought the plight of the minor countries into focus.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM SEA LION PRESS

1) YOU'VE NEVER HAD IT GOOD


"At time of writing, Britain has been led by nine men and three women since the Second World War. But other countries have had higher turnover - and in the 1950s, we had four men in ten years.

"So what if 'Supermac', the man who served for twelve years from the end of Suez to the end of the Summer of Love, had lost control early? What happens if there is no single man to dominate his party and dominate the country? What if the forces of change can take control years early - and which changes?

"Who is having it so good?"


2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

7)
 
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM SEA LION PRESS

1) YOU'VE NEVER HAD IT GOOD

"At time of writing, Britain has been led by nine men and three women since the Second World War. But other countries have had higher turnover - and in the 1950s, we had four men in ten years.

"So what if 'Supermac', the man who served for twelve years from the end of Suez to the end of the Summer of Love, had lost control early? What happens if there is no single man to dominate his party and dominate the country? What if the forces of change can take control years early - and which changes?

"Who is having it so good?"


2) STORM WARNING

"C.B. Thomson: one of the most important men of the 20th Century.

"One of the great innovators of his time. Soldier. Politician. Symbol of resistance and reform. Father of modern air travel. But what if this hadn't been what History had in mind? What if the maiden voyage of the R101, where Thomson first step onto the world stage, is a catastrophe? What if a freak lightening storm downs 'the Titanic of the Sky' over the Channel, killing everyone on board?

"Step into a world where the airliner replaces the airship, where petroleum is still king and Hydrogen fuel merely science fiction. How does the resistance against Fascism go without one of its finest leaders? And what becomes of post-war Labour without his example to follow.

"Warning! Storm clouds ahead in a very different 20th Century."

3)

4)

5)

6)

7)
 

Walpurgisnacht

The club is all their law
Location
Sussex By The Sea
Pronouns
He/Him
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM SEA LION PRESS

1) YOU'VE NEVER HAD IT GOOD

"At time of writing, Britain has been led by nine men and three women since the Second World War. But other countries have had higher turnover - and in the 1950s, we had four men in ten years.

"So what if 'Supermac', the man who served for twelve years from the end of Suez to the end of the Summer of Love, had lost control early? What happens if there is no single man to dominate his party and dominate the country? What if the forces of change can take control years early - and which changes?

"Who is having it so good?"


2) STORM WARNING

"C.B. Thomson: one of the most important men of the 20th Century.

"One of the great innovators of his time. Soldier. Politician. Symbol of resistance and reform. Father of modern air travel. But what if this hadn't been what History had in mind? What if the maiden voyage of the R101, where Thomson first step onto the world stage, is a catastrophe? What if a freak lightening storm downs 'the Titanic of the Sky' over the Channel, killing everyone on board?

"Step into a world where the airliner replaces the airship, where petroleum is still king and Hydrogen fuel merely science fiction. How does the resistance against Fascism go without one of its finest leaders? And what becomes of post-war Labour without his example to follow.

"Warning! Storm clouds ahead in a very different 20th Century."

3) THE THIRD LECTERN

"Britain has never really had a single, consistent, 'third party' opposing the other two.

"Things could have been different. The Liberals had a chance at survival after the Second World War--it was only the pessimistic attitude of Archibald Sinclair that led to the merger with Labour. What if, instead, a member of the Radical Action group had been able to steer the party? What if they try to plot a middle course, and succeed? What if those opposed to the post-War economic consensus find a new home? What if a party starts offering privatisations in the Sixties?

"What if, in the first televised debate, there are three lecterns instead of two?

"For want of a box of ballots in Caithness, a very different world can be created..."

4)

5)

6)

7)
 

SenatorChickpea

The Most Kiwi Aussie of them all
Patreon supporter
Pronouns
he/him
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM SEA LION PRESS

1) YOU'VE NEVER HAD IT GOOD

"At time of writing, Britain has been led by nine men and three women since the Second World War. But other countries have had higher turnover - and in the 1950s, we had four men in ten years.

"So what if 'Supermac', the man who served for twelve years from the end of Suez to the end of the Summer of Love, had lost control early? What happens if there is no single man to dominate his party and dominate the country? What if the forces of change can take control years early - and which changes?

"Who is having it so good?"


2) STORM WARNING

"C.B. Thomson: one of the most important men of the 20th Century.

"One of the great innovators of his time. Soldier. Politician. Symbol of resistance and reform. Father of modern air travel. But what if this hadn't been what History had in mind? What if the maiden voyage of the R101, where Thomson first step onto the world stage, is a catastrophe? What if a freak lightening storm downs 'the Titanic of the Sky' over the Channel, killing everyone on board?

"Step into a world where the airliner replaces the airship, where petroleum is still king and Hydrogen fuel merely science fiction. How does the resistance against Fascism go without one of its finest leaders? And what becomes of post-war Labour without his example to follow.

"Warning! Storm clouds ahead in a very different 20th Century."

3) THE THIRD LECTERN

"Britain has never really had a single, consistent, 'third party' opposing the other two.

"Things could have been different. The Liberals had a chance at survival after the Second World War--it was only the pessimistic attitude of Archibald Sinclair that led to the merger with Labour. What if, instead, a member of the Radical Action group had been able to steer the party? What if they try to plot a middle course, and succeed? What if those opposed to the post-War economic consensus find a new home? What if a party starts offering privatisations in the Sixties?

"What if, in the first televised debate, there are three lecterns instead of two?

"For want of a box of ballots in Caithness, a very different world can be created..."

4) CHAMBERLAIN RESIGNS (And Other Things That Did Not Happen)

As the Lloyd George Coalition fell apart, Austen Chamberlain was faced with a choice: heed the wishes of his backbenchers and challenge the Prime Minister, or heed his conscience and resign the leadership.

In our timeline, of course, the twenties are the years of the Chamberlains- a last great heyday of Imperial Britain, under two brothers who outshone their mighty father. The sudden awakening to decline of the thirties, the bitter test of a young Prime Minister in the Second World War and the collapse of the old orthodoxies with the peace- none of these have really dented the public's fondness for Austen and Neville.

But few people realise that Austen felt that he had failed a moral test by staying on as leader. What if he had followed his conscience- what then for Britain and the world?

5)

6)

7)
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM SEA LION PRESS

1) YOU'VE NEVER HAD IT GOOD

"At time of writing, Britain has been led by nine men and three women since the Second World War. But other countries have had higher turnover - and in the 1950s, we had four men in ten years.

"So what if 'Supermac', the man who served for twelve years from the end of Suez to the end of the Summer of Love, had lost control early? What happens if there is no single man to dominate his party and dominate the country? What if the forces of change can take control years early - and which changes?

"Who is having it so good?"


2) STORM WARNING

"C.B. Thomson: one of the most important men of the 20th Century.

"One of the great innovators of his time. Soldier. Politician. Symbol of resistance and reform. Father of modern air travel. But what if this hadn't been what History had in mind? What if the maiden voyage of the R101, where Thomson first step onto the world stage, is a catastrophe? What if a freak lightening storm downs 'the Titanic of the Sky' over the Channel, killing everyone on board?

"Step into a world where the airliner replaces the airship, where petroleum is still king and Hydrogen fuel merely science fiction. How does the resistance against Fascism go without one of its finest leaders? And what becomes of post-war Labour without his example to follow.

"Warning! Storm clouds ahead in a very different 20th Century."

3) THE THIRD LECTERN

"Britain has never really had a single, consistent, 'third party' opposing the other two.

"Things could have been different. The Liberals had a chance at survival after the Second World War--it was only the pessimistic attitude of Archibald Sinclair that led to the merger with Labour. What if, instead, a member of the Radical Action group had been able to steer the party? What if they try to plot a middle course, and succeed? What if those opposed to the post-War economic consensus find a new home? What if a party starts offering privatisations in the Sixties?

"What if, in the first televised debate, there are three lecterns instead of two?

"For want of a box of ballots in Caithness, a very different world can be created..."

4) CHAMBERLAIN RESIGNS (And Other Things That Did Not Happen)

As the Lloyd George Coalition fell apart, Austen Chamberlain was faced with a choice: heed the wishes of his backbenchers and challenge the Prime Minister, or heed his conscience and resign the leadership.

In our timeline, of course, the twenties are the years of the Chamberlains- a last great heyday of Imperial Britain, under two brothers who outshone their mighty father. The sudden awakening to decline of the thirties, the bitter test of a young Prime Minister in the Second World War and the collapse of the old orthodoxies with the peace- none of these have really dented the public's fondness for Austen and Neville.

But few people realise that Austen felt that he had failed a moral test by staying on as leader. What if he had followed his conscience- what then for Britain and the world?

5) FESTUNG EUROPA

What if Nazi Europe had attacked Scandinavia in 1940, at its weakest? What if after Dunkirk, there wasn't any part of European soil ready to join the United Nations? And what if America, seeing Britain as standing alone, ignored Germany to focus on the Pacific?

These questions are answered in this landmark work. The British Empire and the Soviet Union are at opposite ends of a fascist continent; Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco have extra years to commit atrocities; the Red Army is being ground down, Britain's cities and shipping burned. The only option: a two-front offensive, the Soviets into Romania and the British into Italy.

This is followed by a detailed examination of the tactics and politics that might well have resulted in a war far more destructive than what was experienced in our time - and what of the final peace?

6)

7)
 
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM SEA LION PRESS

1) YOU'VE NEVER HAD IT GOOD

"At time of writing, Britain has been led by nine men and three women since the Second World War. But other countries have had higher turnover - and in the 1950s, we had four men in ten years.

"So what if 'Supermac', the man who served for twelve years from the end of Suez to the end of the Summer of Love, had lost control early? What happens if there is no single man to dominate his party and dominate the country? What if the forces of change can take control years early - and which changes?

"Who is having it so good?"


2) STORM WARNING

"C.B. Thomson: one of the most important men of the 20th Century.

"One of the great innovators of his time. Soldier. Politician. Symbol of resistance and reform. Father of modern air travel. But what if this hadn't been what History had in mind? What if the maiden voyage of the R101, where Thomson first step onto the world stage, is a catastrophe? What if a freak lightening storm downs 'the Titanic of the Sky' over the Channel, killing everyone on board?

"Step into a world where the airliner replaces the airship, where petroleum is still king and Hydrogen fuel merely science fiction. How does the resistance against Fascism go without one of its finest leaders? And what becomes of post-war Labour without his example to follow.

"Warning! Storm clouds ahead in a very different 20th Century."

3) THE THIRD LECTERN

"Britain has never really had a single, consistent, 'third party' opposing the other two.

"Things could have been different. The Liberals had a chance at survival after the Second World War--it was only the pessimistic attitude of Archibald Sinclair that led to the merger with Labour. What if, instead, a member of the Radical Action group had been able to steer the party? What if they try to plot a middle course, and succeed? What if those opposed to the post-War economic consensus find a new home? What if a party starts offering privatisations in the Sixties?

"What if, in the first televised debate, there are three lecterns instead of two?

"For want of a box of ballots in Caithness, a very different world can be created..."

4) CHAMBERLAIN RESIGNS (And Other Things That Did Not Happen)

As the Lloyd George Coalition fell apart, Austen Chamberlain was faced with a choice: heed the wishes of his backbenchers and challenge the Prime Minister, or heed his conscience and resign the leadership.

In our timeline, of course, the twenties are the years of the Chamberlains- a last great heyday of Imperial Britain, under two brothers who outshone their mighty father. The sudden awakening to decline of the thirties, the bitter test of a young Prime Minister in the Second World War and the collapse of the old orthodoxies with the peace- none of these have really dented the public's fondness for Austen and Neville.

But few people realise that Austen felt that he had failed a moral test by staying on as leader. What if he had followed his conscience- what then for Britain and the world?

5) FESTUNG EUROPA

What if Nazi Europe had attacked Scandinavia in 1940, at its weakest? What if after Dunkirk, there wasn't any part of European soil ready to join the United Nations? And what if America, seeing Britain as standing alone, ignored Germany to focus on the Pacific?

These questions are answered in this landmark work. The British Empire and the Soviet Union are at opposite ends of a fascist continent; Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco have extra years to commit atrocities; the Red Army is being ground down, Britain's cities and shipping burned. The only option: a two-front offensive, the Soviets into Romania and the British into Italy.

This is followed by a detailed examination of the tactics and politics that might well have resulted in a war far more destructive than what was experienced in our time - and what of the final peace?

6) RUNNING INTO HAPPINESS

Gordon Brown had himself catapulted into the public eye with his shock election to leadership of the Labour Party, which smashed the hold that a stagnant Left had on the Party since the early seventies. His promise was to take back the centre ground, and hold it, while bringing his party kicking and screaming into the 21st Century to finish the old debates of unions and Europe that had kept the Party at its own throats for decades. History remembers that he did not succeed.

But what if Brown had held off entering the race? There were plenty of other young, ambitious whizz kids on the Labour benches in the 1990's, and here our author explores the improbable premiership of the most unlikely of them. Look at how a failed barrister from Lincoln's Inn goes onto to be the most photogenic and popular Prime Minister of modern times, smashing the common conventions that the liberal is unelectable and social democracy is a disgusting compromise. Everything is backwards in a world where UN coalitions go smashing through the Middle East and the Pound is still legal tender.

7)
 
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM SEA LION PRESS

1) YOU'VE NEVER HAD IT GOOD

"At time of writing, Britain has been led by nine men and three women since the Second World War. But other countries have had higher turnover - and in the 1950s, we had four men in ten years.

"So what if 'Supermac', the man who served for twelve years from the end of Suez to the end of the Summer of Love, had lost control early? What happens if there is no single man to dominate his party and dominate the country? What if the forces of change can take control years early - and which changes?

"Who is having it so good?"


2) STORM WARNING

"C.B. Thomson: one of the most important men of the 20th Century.

"One of the great innovators of his time. Soldier. Politician. Symbol of resistance and reform. Father of modern air travel. But what if this hadn't been what History had in mind? What if the maiden voyage of the R101, where Thomson first step onto the world stage, is a catastrophe? What if a freak lightening storm downs 'the Titanic of the Sky' over the Channel, killing everyone on board?

"Step into a world where the airliner replaces the airship, where petroleum is still king and Hydrogen fuel merely science fiction. How does the resistance against Fascism go without one of its finest leaders? And what becomes of post-war Labour without his example to follow.

"Warning! Storm clouds ahead in a very different 20th Century."

3) THE THIRD LECTERN

"Britain has never really had a single, consistent, 'third party' opposing the other two.

"Things could have been different. The Liberals had a chance at survival after the Second World War--it was only the pessimistic attitude of Archibald Sinclair that led to the merger with Labour. What if, instead, a member of the Radical Action group had been able to steer the party? What if they try to plot a middle course, and succeed? What if those opposed to the post-War economic consensus find a new home? What if a party starts offering privatisations in the Sixties?

"What if, in the first televised debate, there are three lecterns instead of two?

"For want of a box of ballots in Caithness, a very different world can be created..."

4) CHAMBERLAIN RESIGNS (And Other Things That Did Not Happen)

As the Lloyd George Coalition fell apart, Austen Chamberlain was faced with a choice: heed the wishes of his backbenchers and challenge the Prime Minister, or heed his conscience and resign the leadership.

In our timeline, of course, the twenties are the years of the Chamberlains- a last great heyday of Imperial Britain, under two brothers who outshone their mighty father. The sudden awakening to decline of the thirties, the bitter test of a young Prime Minister in the Second World War and the collapse of the old orthodoxies with the peace- none of these have really dented the public's fondness for Austen and Neville.

But few people realise that Austen felt that he had failed a moral test by staying on as leader. What if he had followed his conscience- what then for Britain and the world?

5) FESTUNG EUROPA

What if Nazi Europe had attacked Scandinavia in 1940, at its weakest? What if after Dunkirk, there wasn't any part of European soil ready to join the United Nations? And what if America, seeing Britain as standing alone, ignored Germany to focus on the Pacific?

These questions are answered in this landmark work. The British Empire and the Soviet Union are at opposite ends of a fascist continent; Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco have extra years to commit atrocities; the Red Army is being ground down, Britain's cities and shipping burned. The only option: a two-front offensive, the Soviets into Romania and the British into Italy.

This is followed by a detailed examination of the tactics and politics that might well have resulted in a war far more destructive than what was experienced in our time - and what of the final peace?

6) RUNNING INTO HAPPINESS

Gordon Brown had himself catapulted into the public eye with his shock election to leadership of the Labour Party, which smashed the hold that a stagnant Left had on the Party since the early seventies. His promise was to take back the centre ground, and hold it, while bringing his party kicking and screaming into the 21st Century to finish the old debates of unions and Europe that had kept the Party at its own throats for decades. History remembers that he did not succeed.

But what if Brown had held off entering the race? There were plenty of other young, ambitious whizz kids on the Labour benches in the 1990's, and here our author explores the improbable premiership of the most unlikely of them. Look at how a failed barrister from Lincoln's Inn goes onto to be the most photogenic and popular Prime Minister of modern times, smashing the common conventions that the liberal is unelectable and social democracy is a disgusting compromise. Everything is backwards in a world where UN coalitions go smashing through the Middle East and the Pound is still legal tender.

7) The Last Will and Testament of an Old Bolshevik

The degeneracy of the Soviet Union into Authoritarian State Capitalism seems inevitable, but did it really have to be so?

It is 1932 and the Old Bolshevik sits in his cell awaiting his execution. To pass this his final hours he drafts his Last Will and Testment. It chronicles his failed attempts at stopping the Left Opposition from seizing power, his determination to stymie the worst excesses of the Cheka using his influence on the state bureaucracy and his faltering efforts to build a coalition on the Right of the party to blunt Trotskys push for Permanent Revolution.

He laments that his endeavors instead led to an internecine conflict that allowed the most vicious of ideologues within the party to seize control of the state and the purges and massacres that followed. He asks himself could there have been another way, could he have instead worked with Trotsky? Maybe mended fences with Zionviev and Kamenev prior to the 13th congress? But such musings were academic now.

Prior to his transportation to the shooting site he bribes a sympathetic guard to transport his testament to a friend "Give it to Koba, he will know what to do with it".

And with that Joseph Stalin, the last honest man in the Soviet Union is led to his death.