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Alternate History General Discussion

Coiler

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Allanpcameron's John Valentine Carden Survives tl on the other place has seen about 6 of the last 7 pages devolved into people endlessly wittering on about the exact gun Vickers are working on for the latest mark of Victor tank. All getting very silly.

For such a tech focused timeline, it might be more excusable than in other TLs, but it has become incredibly tedious (to me at least).
Couple of observations on that:

  1. I actually do have a soft spot for such technical exactness, having spent tons of money and time on order of battle charts and detailed technical books.
  2. Nonetheless, you have to separate that from the story if you want the story to be good.
  3. In practice, stuff with similar requirements will, most of the time, behave similarly. If you have a platform with those capabilities (to say nothing of the crew/staff skill!) the exact specifics don't matter as much. The tech-nerd in me looks up what kinds of targeting pods could fit on a MiG-29 in place of the 1500 liter centerline drop tank. The big-picture part of me knows that if you have a bunch of targeting pod-equipped Fulcrums at all (and it would make a legitimately big jump in capability), the specifics aren't as important.
  4. One of the definitions of trinketization in my mind is basically this: "Knowing what a Scud missile can do and its role is a piece of knowledge. Knowing the exact designation of a Scud launching vehicle is a trinket." You get the idea. Red Army worked so well because it deliberately eschewed the latter and exact designations in favor of the former. (probably said this before but oh well.)
  5. I think it says something about compartmentalized internet AH can be that something like that (and other technical crunchy stuff like "what if the Germans had front-engine tanks!" ) can exist alongside TLs and discussions with basically nothing in the way of technical accuracy.
 

Christian

Well-known member
Discussions on rather sensitive topics like colonialism or revolution can be pretty bad in alternate history. I mean, jeez, I read threads on if colonialism can be more humane and it quickly degenerated into arguments and pointing out that the Japanese and Chinese could be plenty brutal imperialists themselves.

Answer seems to be, no, can’t be more humane since all of replies were “A little less shitty than what they actually were.”
 

OwenM

The patronising flippancy of youth
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Discussions on rather sensitive topics like colonialism or revolution can be pretty bad in alternate history. I mean, jeez, I read threads on if colonialism can be more humane and it quickly degenerated into arguments and pointing out that the Japanese and Chinese could be plenty brutal imperialists themselves.

Answer seems to be, no, can’t be more humane since all of replies were “A little less shitty than what they actually were.”
Kinda fundamental to colonialism really, it's an inherently exploitative relationship. You can change round the feelings and actions of individual officials to some extent, but the system as a whole's incentives are never going to be to be humane.
 

Time Enough

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I do always find it funny whenever someone does a Kaiserreich type ‘Britain falls to Socialism/National Socialism Post WW1 Loss’ story there’s always a bit where they treat Labour how we would treat Labour, as this dominant party and not an entity that which was only established about 20 years ago.

Additionally there’s no, ‘Don’t Worry, Harold Macmillan will rule over you with Slightly Autocratic Social Credit Centrist Keneysian rule’ or similar.
 

Coiler

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I do always find it funny whenever someone does a Kaiserreich type ‘Britain falls to Socialism/National Socialism Post WW1 Loss’ story there’s always a bit where they treat Labour how we would treat Labour, as this dominant party and not an entity that which was only established about 20 years ago.
Interesting because I've also seen a lot of third parties doing unrealistically well in first past the post systems in various TLs.
 

Time Enough

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Interesting because I've also seen a lot of third parties doing unrealistically well in first past the post systems in various TLs.
Like it took Labour 45 years from formation to actually gaining a majority Government at all, in these scenarios you have Labour being considered this weird dominant party around 1926 just ignores the existence of the Liberals and all that, and there Post War collapse mainly being blamed on ‘David Lloyd-George will do what is best for David Lloyd-George’.

If anything, I’m surprised we haven’t seen a ‘Britain as Canada’ scenario before, with the Conservative’s and Liberals battling it out whilst Labour, Republican Labour and Alt-UKIP stay at the margins batting for there’s teams etc.
 

MAC161

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Wasn't sure if this had been brought up elsewhere, so I'll do so here:

What would've been the likeliest result(s) of Tsar Alexander II surviving assassination in 1881?
 

napoleon IV

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Wasn't sure if this had been brought up elsewhere, so I'll do so here:

What would've been the likeliest result(s) of Tsar Alexander II surviving assassination in 1881?
On the day he was killed Alexander told Count Mikhail Loris-Melikov that Loris-Melikov's suggested constitutional reform would be discussed in a few days. The biggest part of the suggested reforms was that it would have created two indirectly-elected legislative commissions, although these commissions would serve merely as advisory bodies (The Tsar would still get to enact legislation and could just ignore whatever the commissions said). Now, this could serve as a small step towards constitutional monarchy, but the biggest issue that this requires further, much more substantial reforms from Alexander II. In particular, you need reforms that limit the Tsar's power enough that the next Tsar can't just decide to undo all the reforms with a stroke of the pen. There are two problems with this:

1. Alexander II was not a fan of constitutional/representative government, and didn't believe that Russia was ready for it. Alexander also went through a reactionary turn later in life (which is why the vast majority of his major reforms are during his early reign). This is why the Loris-Melikov reforms were so small, and also why it's hard to see him actually passing much more substantive reforms no matter how long he lives. Which brings me to the next problem:

2. Alexander II probably won't live for much longer. Narodnaya Volya kept coming within inches of killing him, making this one of those "You have to get lucky every time, we only have to get lucky once" situations. Even if Narodnaya Volya fails to kill Alexander he's 62 and the Romanovs had a tendency to die before their 70s. And once Alexander II is dead his extremely reactionary son Alexander III will come to the throne and simply undo anything that promotes representative government or limits the power of the Tsar (and having Alexander III predecease his father doesn't help, because the next in line is Nicholas II).

So in all likelihood Alexander II surviving in 1881 doesn't actually change that much, and we just get OTL's history but Alexander III comes to power at a slightly later date. It's a boring answer, but sometimes history comes to a turning point and fails to turn.
 

Coiler

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I have to come to the conclusion that there's some elements to the @Yokai Man Football Republic of Bucharest or whatever it's called that could actually be applied. If not necessarily in Romania specifically, than certainly somewhere else. It's like having deep friend gummies coasted in wasabi-the ingredients can make sense, even if the final concoction doesn't.

  1. Football clubs in the capital with rich, powerful owners and a lot of crazy fans.
  2. A coup of some kind where the team owners join forces with the plotters, providing them with manpower, money, and a sense of popular support to help spook the existing regime.
  3. The team owners then become cabinet ministers, and being far better administrators than the junior officer plotters, kind of worm their way to power. Whether it's a formal deposing or something more outwardly acceptable can vary, but you get the idea.
  4. There you have it, your team owners cabal.
  5. In the fragmented country, the cabal is incapable of projecting power outside the capital. However, their opponents don't (initially) have the resources for a costly urban attack.
  6. Sports is used as a flag-rally, and hooligans make good goons.
There you have it, the ingredients for a Football Republic. :p
 

MAC161

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On the day he was killed Alexander told Count Mikhail Loris-Melikov that Loris-Melikov's suggested constitutional reform would be discussed in a few days. The biggest part of the suggested reforms was that it would have created two indirectly-elected legislative commissions, although these commissions would serve merely as advisory bodies (The Tsar would still get to enact legislation and could just ignore whatever the commissions said). Now, this could serve as a small step towards constitutional monarchy, but the biggest issue that this requires further, much more substantial reforms from Alexander II. In particular, you need reforms that limit the Tsar's power enough that the next Tsar can't just decide to undo all the reforms with a stroke of the pen. There are two problems with this:

1. Alexander II was not a fan of constitutional/representative government, and didn't believe that Russia was ready for it. Alexander also went through a reactionary turn later in life (which is why the vast majority of his major reforms are during his early reign). This is why the Loris-Melikov reforms were so small, and also why it's hard to see him actually passing much more substantive reforms no matter how long he lives. Which brings me to the next problem:

2. Alexander II probably won't live for much longer. Narodnaya Volya kept coming within inches of killing him, making this one of those "You have to get lucky every time, we only have to get lucky once" situations. Even if Narodnaya Volya fails to kill Alexander he's 62 and the Romanovs had a tendency to die before their 70s. And once Alexander II is dead his extremely reactionary son Alexander III will come to the throne and simply undo anything that promotes representative government or limits the power of the Tsar (and having Alexander III predecease his father doesn't help, because the next in line is Nicholas II).

So in all likelihood Alexander II surviving in 1881 doesn't actually change that much, and we just get OTL's history but Alexander III comes to power at a slightly later date. It's a boring answer, but sometimes history comes to a turning point and fails to turn.
Talk of Alexander III dying first (say in the 1880 near-miss Winter Palace bombing, for whatever AH reason), and then Alexander II surviving the attempt a year later but either dying in another or in keeping with the "before 70s" tendency, makes me wonder if there would in fact be some kind of turning point/change from such an outcome. Given Nicholas II being only 13 at the time, and even less prepared to rule than at 26 in OTL, who would step in as regent (presuming that practice still existed in Russia, since the last one I'm aware of was in the 1700s) until he reaches majority? If it's one of Alexander II's siblings, say, Grand Duke Konstantin (apparently a liberal reformer, and perhaps somewhat more so than his elder brother) might be the expected choice as the second son of Nicholas I, which might in turn lead to a more liberalizing influence on Nicholas II and thus Russia. On the other hand, is it more likely that, even with a (possibly) liberal regent, Nicholas might be pushed to adopt a similar conservative/reactionary stance by Imperial ministers, leading to more or less the same series of events in the period 1894-1917?
 

SpanishSpy

wallowing in my millennialism
Published by SLP
I have to come to the conclusion that there's some elements to the @Yokai Man Football Republic of Bucharest or whatever it's called that could actually be applied. If not necessarily in Romania specifically, than certainly somewhere else. It's like having deep friend gummies coasted in wasabi-the ingredients can make sense, even if the final concoction doesn't.

  1. Football clubs in the capital with rich, powerful owners and a lot of crazy fans.
  2. A coup of some kind where the team owners join forces with the plotters, providing them with manpower, money, and a sense of popular support to help spook the existing regime.
  3. The team owners then become cabinet ministers, and being far better administrators than the junior officer plotters, kind of worm their way to power. Whether it's a formal deposing or something more outwardly acceptable can vary, but you get the idea.
  4. There you have it, your team owners cabal.
  5. In the fragmented country, the cabal is incapable of projecting power outside the capital. However, their opponents don't (initially) have the resources for a costly urban attack.
  6. Sports is used as a flag-rally, and hooligans make good goons.
There you have it, the ingredients for a Football Republic. :p
Isn't this just the Nika Riots?
 

Warthog

a recipe for myself
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Discussions on rather sensitive topics like colonialism or revolution can be pretty bad in alternate history. I mean, jeez, I read threads on if colonialism can be more humane and it quickly degenerated into arguments and pointing out that the Japanese and Chinese could be plenty brutal imperialists themselves.

Answer seems to be, no, can’t be more humane since all of replies were “A little less shitty than what they actually were.”
Every month or more often on the Other Place there's a thread on how a white settler majority country could arise in Africa, how apartheid could survive and be nicer etc. It's very odd.

I tend to reply with some history and stats as why this would be inherently unstable, unsustainable, but back of my mind is a voice saying "why do people keep postulating this"
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Weird question, "how would a white majority country arise" - we know how it happens, "appalling levels of genocide and disease". (Or a lot of Europeans go settle a place few of the natives want to go to, but why, when land nobody's going to already is land that sucks to live on?)

  1. Football clubs in the capital with rich, powerful owners and a lot of crazy fans.
  2. A coup of some kind where the team owners join forces with the plotters, providing them with manpower, money, and a sense of popular support to help spook the existing regime.
  3. The team owners then become cabinet ministers, and being far better administrators than the junior officer plotters, kind of worm their way to power. Whether it's a formal deposing or something more outwardly acceptable can vary, but you get the idea.
  4. There you have it, your team owners cabal.
  5. In the fragmented country, the cabal is incapable of projecting power outside the capital. However, their opponents don't (initially) have the resources for a costly urban attack.
  6. Sports is used as a flag-rally, and hooligans make good goons.
Let's throw in regional power bases - i.e. the hooligans support their local big team and the clubs have economic interests where they're based - for a "federal system" that's less politely referred to as 'carved up by warlords'. Escape From Manchester United.
 

Coiler

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Weird question, "how would a white majority country arise" - we know how it happens, "appalling levels of genocide and disease". (Or a lot of Europeans go settle a place few of the natives want to go to, but why, when land nobody's going to already is land that sucks to live on?)
This is as good an example as any of how a lot of the people who ask these kinds of questions don't seem to be able to really internalize, for lack of a better word, the mechanics at work. I'm not blaming them (not everyone can be knowledgeable about/interested in systems) but it does make for a shallower discussion, and I think it's exacerbated by how much easier it is to just ask another question about another divergence than try to figure it out yourself through knowledge of that system (in this case, massive demographic changes.)
 
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