by Max Barry

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The State of
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World Overview (WIP)

The World, circa 1969
"A world where European imperial ambitions flared up so hot they almost completely burned down what would've been the 1st World."

OOC: This backstory (1939-1943) is heavily inspired by the France Fights On project and other similar timelines, wonderful read on the Alternate History Forum, centered on a woefully under-looked scenario of WW2, which IMO, is a lot more believable and interesting than Hitler and his Wunderwaffe conquering the world. It also proved to be an excellent backdrop for a multi-polar Cold War full of brinkmanship that I'll have fun guesstimating about. Now, if defying the "Surrender-Monkey" shtick wasn't enough, I ask for your suspension of disbelief dear reader, as demi-humans with a mysterious past are thrown into this otherwise banal setting. Enjoy! P.S.: the Entente and the US are political allies, they're sometimes trade rivals though.

The Point of Divergence

This story begins in the 14th of May of 1940, during Nazi Germany's invasion of France. Days before, Hitler's best mechanized Panzer divisions had swept aside brave but woefully outnumbered Belgian defenders and infantry had cleared bunkers around the French Border as fleeing reservists clutched rifles and Adrian Helmets while fleeing in terror from screeching Stuka dive-bombers. All in all, the Germans had scored a major victory that established a bridgehead on the French side of the Meuse River for the invading force set to encircle the Entente's armies further north. Within this chaotic environment, the Luftwaffe scored a much smaller tactical victory in the ground below: a Stuka had strafed a staff-car.

The burning vehicle's courier carried a letter meant for the mighty French 3e DCR Armored Division, with instructions to take defenses around the area, typical of the Republic's static doctrine at the time. Instead, the Armored Division, armed with France's best tanks and made up of professional troops, continued on 15km further, where they crossed paths with the still vulnerable German bridgehead. In half-a-day, the fortunes had turned as the crews of heavy heavy Char B1 tanks mopped up the landing party and effectively bottle-necked Germany's creme of the crop. Though the 3e DCR itself was eventually whittled by dive-bombers, they held out for two days, which was more than enough for the defenders to divert more reserves to Stonne and the Meuse to contain the German assault. The Nazi spearhead into France envisioned by von Manstein and Hitler had been blunted, they had taken the 20th Century's biggest gamble and lost.

1939 to 1942: The European War

In the aftermath of the failed Ardennes offensive, the rest of 1940 was a far more mobile and far less deadly repeat of the Great War, devoid of any trenches or gas. With the military doctrine of Bewegungskrieg, or "war of maneuver", the Germans showed tactical brilliance when it came to combining mechanized formations and air attacks; they inflicted heavy losses on the slower Entente, hammering them down throughout Belgium. But in the end, even if the Allied performance was not the best, it was good enough to temporarily hold the line, and that was all that mattered in a war of attrition once German manufacturing began to suffer serious setbacks and once cracks in the operation timing of the horse-drawn Wehrmacht steadily made themselves present. The Germans barely managed to win a resumed and bloody offensive through Luxembourg in the following year, but were once-again barely halted outside of Paris by the French 5th Army and up to 40 British Expeditionary Force divisions. Not everything went well however: French civilians had to endure the brunt of the desperate efforts of the Nazi war machine, which took the Kid Gloves off within months, as they began systematically sacking anything of value as well as confiscating agricultural products in the countryside to keep on going; not to mention that a cycle of atrocities spiraled on because entire towns suspected of aiding centrally-supplied behind-the-line resistance ogten got collectively punished, all while Waffen-SS units eager to cultivate a reputation of "fearsomeness" instead engaged in butchery against civilians, non-white Colonial prisoners-of-war and any Jewish people they could get their hands on.

Starting in 1941, the Luftwaffe and the Nazi war industry also had a new enemy to contend with: Palmeran and British heavy strategic bombers. With no new conquests to plunder, no slaves to work on their factories and a very heavy toll on industry following increasing bombardments, the Reich's economic house of cards began to crumble. The Nazis had hoped to put millions of French laborers, countless factories and many tons copper deposits to use but instead they were stuck trying to divide dwindling munitions and cannons between Anti-Air duties and Artillery on the ground. The Luftwaffe's best pilots had suffered from whittling attrition across France's battlefields as well as air campaigns over London and Paris and they soon entered a vicious cycle: air raids on POL (Petroleum/Oil/Lubricants) and airfields decreased air defense sorties and flight training hours, which in turn meant poorer performances and more pilot deaths, and higher demands for newer untrained pilots.

In the following Spring, the amassed BEF-French and Colonial forces led by General Georges and Lord Gort took the battle to Belgium, Holland and even began pushing towards Nazi Germany as entire armies low on munitions began to crumble, albeit at a very steep price which could only have been filled by the 2.5 million strong army from the British Indian Army. By July of 1942, the BEF over-ran Northwestern Germany and the French had finally cracked through the Rhine's defenses. In the 6th of October, 1942, Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering surrendered to the Entente and Allied High Command on behalf of a purportedly incapacitated Hitler. By then, most of West and South Germany had been taken and the Russians unexpectedly used their reserve forces in Europe to invade East Prussia, even if the Soviets were considered more like opportunistic co-belligerents than real allies.

Hitler was spared from execution on the fears he'd be martyred, ironically enough. Instead Adolf Hitler became Führer of a prison cell in French Guyana, and later, a specially built jail in the Kerguelen Islands after he complained about his health conditions in the tropical heat, his punishment being given newspapers to read over how his country was being rebuilt. Most other top Nazi leaders were either shot or given sentences that ranged between 25 to 10 years for breaching Articles 227-230 of the Treaty of Versailles, as well as being barred from publishing political works and entering public jobs. Despite the courts' shortfalls, it did provide a historical basis for the Hague International Criminal Court and a revised Geneva Convention once the staggering amount of Nazi atrocities against civilians, genocidal plans and sometimes frequent massacres were uncovered.

The first thing to do after

The Allies were unsure of what to do; economically the British and Palmeran governments favored a liberal approach, in other words, to get a German consumer economy and non-military industry up and running to prevent the disillusioned masses from going Red or returning to "Militarism", even if it meant backpedaling a German welfare state at first. And also because a working Germany would greatly aid in the recovery of post-War Europe and lower the costs of Allied occupation. France and Poland, nations whose populace suffered immensely from the invasion and attrocities, favored immediate reparations and concessions from Germany, and the former also threatened to prevent Germany from ever re-arming by dividing Germany into several nation-states even if it meant dunking the European economy and potentially causing a refugee crisis that they'd deny to pay for.

In the end a middle ground was chosen: Germany was to be "de-Militarized", especially its civil administration, and the nation would be organized into a federal republic, as de-centralized as possible. The liberal economic approach was chosen, though a fixed proportion of the German GDP would go towards paying for a lengthy Allied occupation -low in the West and higher in the East- and it would be payed in Deutsche Marks so the Germans couldn't weasel their way out of claiming bankruptcy. The ex-Reich would pay $10 BN in intellectual property/patent rights to affected nations, split in importance in the following order: France, Poland, Belgium, UK, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Palmeran State. Military factories would be dismantled and weapons stocks would be given to the Allied nations (most of which were later sold much of the hardware to China).

Having its own experiences with the benefits and shortcomings of a foreign-imposed arms limitation and a recent tradition of having a legally restrained Militaristic Aristocracy, the Palmeran delegation -and Judge - proved vital in drafting parts of Article 15 of the 1945 German Constitution: which relinquished Germany's sovereign right of belligerency, with the exception of the use of military forces for self-defense within its own borders. The Anglo-French later added that the nation's forces would be aimed at "preserving peace based on justice and the liberty of the peoples". In a risky move, the Entente granted Poland most of Nazi Germany's still-useful dismantled bellicose factories, as it would be the main bulwark against Soviet aggression even if the Poles were promptly forced to cede their easternmost territories to Stalin to prevent yet another European War. So in other words, re-arming a democratic Germany wasn't an immediate concern.

The Anglo-French authorities interpreted that Nazism was a cultural byproduct of "Prussian Militarism", something that polemically equated being German with being a Nazi according to some cultural critics. However the continental Entente powers found it a clear threat that the defeated Reich would re-arm itself and repeat another 30-something year cycle of wars with its neighbors if nothing was done in the occupation. The failure of Versailles was viewed as a failure to occupy the Reich and properly nurture an adequate cultural-political climate for "liberal democracy" to thrive...which meant rooting out "militaristic ideologies, and specifically, National Socialism" from society.

In the end "de-Militarization" had to cut corners when it came to screening hundreds of thousands civil servants to maintain an efficient and localized civilian administration...and Allied IBM tabulators were overwhelmed with the amount of German resumes to review. Only card-carrying Nazis accused of "serious" and "moderate" offenses were to be tried for breaching articles 227-30 of the Treaty of Versailles . The French had a habit of having short trials against particular members of the SS responsible of the worst massacres, executing many dozens of officers from several infamous Waffen-SS divisions, most notably SS Division Leibstandarte and SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend, and forbade any far-right lobby groups and assorted "apologists" from organizing in the Post-War years. The French also had a tendency to blame all Germans for the war and its atrocities, the British more eloquently called it "collective responsibility"...resulting in an atrocity propaganda campaign that all Germans were guilty of rolling with their government's deeds: centered around films and texts related to the mistreatment of Poles, the many dozens of massacres in Northenrn France, and the treatment of people in Jewish ghettos as well as highlighting the miscellaneous abuses to political dissidents committed by the old regime in specialized labor camps.

The Post-War World Order

The Palmeran State benefitted greatly from the War; not only did it suffer minimal casualties, the nation's diplomates wasted no time in securing contracts and permits to operate in the British Raj during the conflict and open up a new market, though poor, was more than sufficient for the relatively modest industry of the home island to cater to, thus preventing a decline in growth. However, these benefits weren't evident at first. The war in itself did little to pull Europe's democracies out of the ongoing effects of the Depression, Las Palmeras included. In the end, Las Palmeras was forced to devalue it's currency to pay off external debts and this led to an alternating tug of war between Liberal and Conservative parties. Similar situations played out in France and the UK, whom were also forced to pull of unpopular austerity policies or rationing in their return to civilian markets.

Just one year after the War had ended in Europe, another war flared up in the Far East: the Kwantung Army tried to invade Manchuria and the Russian Far East, again. This act violated the Soviet-Japanese Nonaggression Pact and was approved by most of the Imperial General Staff, now convinced by the industrialist Nobosuke Kishi that they had the capacity to wage a "total war" with the Soviet Union and whom bought forth a better equipped army to fight in a war whose terrain favored them and not the Soviets. The Japanese over-estimated their capabilities and found themselves out-produced and facing hammering attacks from the Red Army despite many initial successes of the first year in the Russian Maritime Territories. By 1946, the Soviets had not only liberated Vladivostok, they had also "liberated" Manchuria and had expelled the Japanese from Korea all while arming the Chinese communists to the teeth with spare weapons. Though the USSR couldn't take the Home Islands, Red Army Aviation forces firebombed them enough to leave the Empire crippled as Stalin wanted to prevent another Japanese invasion from ever happening again.

To make matters worse for Japan, their ham-fisted attempts at getting oil from the West backfired and their aggressive naval exercises(the IJN didn't have enough fuel for much else) outside the Philippines were taken as threats; in the 7th of December of 1945, the US Navy declared war on Japan and soon after, launched a pre-emptive attack on Imperial Japanese Navy "invasion" forces clustered off Formosa and the Inner Sea. Though, in truth, the (...) Administration realized they miscalculated the repercussions of the War and now feared the whole of East Asia going red, which is why they wanted a strategic location or ally near China.

Even to this day, Imperial Japan is a rump-State, known around the world as a repressive hellholle in which the Son of Heaven is content to cower behind a military that focuses more on suppressing internal discontent "to preserve the Kokutai". Though, much information about life in it is actually unknown to the outside world. From the perspective of Western diplomats and tourists, more is known about the Soviet-backed Japanese Democratic Republic(Hokkaido), a nation that arose due to famine-induced popular revolt and which is constantly threatened by the Empire with "reunification" in rhetoric. (OOC/TL;DR: Your waifu doesn't exist in this timeline. Ecks dee.)

Italy was the immediate winner of the post-War order: Mussolini's ego had been satiated by an intervention in Tyrol and Austria during the closing weeks of the War, in which the Fascist state vehemently claimed to have always opposed National Socialism. Despite it's lip service, Italy nonetheless profited from highly-skilled "immigrants" who fled Nazi Germany, including scientists, military officers and other individuals with Swiss bank accounts. As the perceived threat of Soviet encroachment became evident in the new Cold War, the Allies grudgingly accepted Fascist Italy as a necessary bulwark against Communism in Southeastern Europe.

To boot, though the Fascist State suffered defeats in the Balkans and in Ethiopia that endeared it to no-one on the world stage, it's retention of Libya and the discovery of oil in the region during the 1950s greatly increased it's economic standing and made European colonization of the sparsely-populated region possible, mostly made up of millions of Italians and hundreds of thousands of displaced Polish Jews that were promised citizenship in exchange for working on newly developed farmlands in the Jifara Plains.

A standoff between columns of Polish and Soviet tanks in the soon-to-be-demilitarized zone nearly triggered the third major European conflict, however war between the West and the USSR was averted only through the Entente's use of an atomic bluff: the European Defense Pact was thought to have over 100 Dominion-made bombs that could be loaded onto RAF and Palmeran strategic bombers to destroy most major cities in the Western Soviet Union. In reality, the British only had 16 A-Bombs bombs since the world's first (Franco-British)nuclear bomb was detonated over an Australian desert in 1948. German and Palmeran technicians, the latter focused on cheapness, later managed to perfect centrifuge technology needed to churn up sufficient amounts of Uranium-based bombs

The State of Las Palmeras