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Mitch Young
Mitch Young
Posts: 13

4/13/2019
Hello, delicious friends!

One thing that's always intrigued me about Fallen London is how its world history diverges from our own. We know the fall of the first three cities doesn't affect known history much as far as we can tell (particularly since the identity of said cities is still debated). Thanks to The Silver Tree, we know history begins to noticeably diverge with the fall of the fourth (Karakorum), which predates its replacement from the Mongol empire's capital, in 1260, by approximately six years. It's possible that a certain Flemish monk managed to escape and relate the city's final hours to the outside world.

The biggest historical shakeup by far must be London's fall. In less than 24 hours, around February 14th, 1862, the British empire, the largest empire in the world, was figuratively beheaded. How do you all think the world changed? Presumably the Neath was discovered shortly before the fall, given that it was Dutch explorers who discovered and named the Unterzee first. What do you think became of the British empire? Was it broken apart by hungry rivals, did its colonial subjects manage to attain independence, or did the British empire left behind on the surface manage to regroup and recuperate in a major city like Dublin or Glasgow? What do you think happened to Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, or India? What about the then-battered-and-broken China? The rapidly modernizing Japan?

We haven't even speculated about technology! What of Tower bridge? Was it ever built? What of the transatlantic telegraph cables that were laid by British companies in 1866 of our world? Did somebody else step up and finish the telegraph network, or was it forever incomplete? There are so many different ways the fall could have altered world history in so many domains of life, that I decided to make a thread where people could speculate on and discuss the divergences from our world.

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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 894

4/14/2019
Mitch Young wrote:
(particularly since the identity of said cities is still debated)

It's not. Well, the Third City is, to a minor extent, but the others are very well known.

Thanks to The Silver Tree, we know history begins to noticeably diverge with the fall of the fourth (Karakorum), which predates its replacement from the Mongol empire's capital, in 1260, by approximately six years.

I don't have the relevant conversation on hand (the are whole threads of this stuff elsewhere on the forum), but I believe the consensus is that Karakorum fell in 1388, and that Uskhal Khan was the one who sold it. Silver Tree is about Karakorum, but not its sale.

s it broken apart by hungry rivals, did its colonial subjects manage to attain independence, or did the British empire left behind on the surface manage to regroup and recuperate in a major city like Dublin or Glasgow?

We know little of Surface Britain, but I think it's safe to say that the current center of government is neither Dublin nor Glasgow. The new center of government would almost certainly be English (and if it were Scottish, it would be Edinburgh). York and Winchester have good historical claims, though I can see claims of different sorts advanced by Manchester, Lancaster, Bristol, and Reading. Expect a catfight once the provisional government shakes out.

What do you think happened to Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, or India?

Even on our timeline, Canada's confederation occurred in 1867. No doubt the loss of London accelerated the process a bit, but wouldn't have made a big difference. Australia (which became independent in 1901) and New Zealand (1907) probably saw a greater acceleration. India's the real question, but we simply don't have information by which to speculate. The Empire depends on the Royal Navy, and the Navy would not (for the most part) have been caught in London's fall. Thus, Britain's main power remained intact. Whether its moral courage could rally enough to use it (and what position would be taken by, e.g. the Dominions and the United States) is entirely speculative.

What about the then-battered-and-broken China? The rapidly modernizing Japan?

The French and Germans probably stepped into Britain's shoes here. Perhaps the U.S. had an easier time enforcing its Open Door policy (by which it tried to prevent Europe from carving up China like they had Africa), but otherwise little would have changed in East Asia.

What of the transatlantic telegraph cables that were laid by British companies in 1866 of our world? Did somebody else step up and finish the telegraph network, or was it forever incomplete?

If the British couldn't finish the job, France and the United States would have. No question there, really. The cable was too important, and became even more so as American power continued to grow.

There are so many different ways the fall could have altered world history in so many domains of life, that I decided to make a thread where people could speculate on and discuss the divergences from our world.

It has plenty of cousins, but then, so do the Snuffers. One more won't hurt.

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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1539

4/20/2019
I imagine chaos.
Not only because the dominant power was beheaded, but because the horror of such a thing happening was very likely to cause an surge of dread. Old certainties would fall; monarchies would crumble. The texture of the world changed after the two world wars in part because of the horror unleashed. This would have been no war, but a sanity-rattling occurence nonetheless. So I imagine many revolutions, revived faith in the occult and the supernatural, and technology taking a very different direction.

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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 894

4/20/2019
Jolanda Swan wrote:
I imagine chaos.
Not only because the dominant power was beheaded, but because the horror of such a thing happening was very likely to cause an surge of dread. Old certainties would fall; monarchies would crumble. The texture of the world changed after the two world wars in part because of the horror unleashed. This would have been no war, but a sanity-rattling occurence nonetheless. So I imagine many revolutions, revived faith in the occult and the supernatural, and technology taking a very different direction.

I grant that there will be, no doubt, some shaking of "old certainties." That the Fall of London would produce worldwide chaos, I find hard to imagine. What about the fall of London would have caused Prussia to lose its king, much less distant China and Japan? The likeliest shaking is in British morale, but I suspect the other Great Powers (though the term doesn't fit yet when London falls, it's relevant nonetheless) are more than ready to step in and fill the void. Germany and Italy will take a larger slice of Africa, Russia will be largely unopposed in Asia, France might regain its lost ground in India. I don't see anybody panicking in those streets just because Victoria sells London.

For another, what little we know about the Surface does not imply widespread chaos. We know from the Empress's Shadow that Germany's still more-or-less on the same track we are familiar with. Vienna still seems peaceful (which is better than we could say for the Vienna of 1848). What hints we get from Cheesemonger missions does not bespeak revolution in the world order. Most particularly, the French clearly do not see the Fall of London as a source of panic; it's not difficult for those on a certain Ambition to start French ministers talking about selling Paris. You couldn't imagine such a thing happening if the Fall of London had truly shaken up the world.


So in short, I suspect we'll see a jostling of the Great Powers, a reordering of relative power, as Great Britain drops in standing and possibly (but in my mind unlikely) entirely off the list. The other major world events--the continuing rise of the United States, the restoration of the Mexican Republic, the Scramble for Africa, the collapse of China, the Meiji Restoration in Japan, and the powder-keg that is the Balkans--probably continue apace. Maybe some trick will stop the assassin's bomb in St. Petersburg, and Russia will be in a much better place. There's no real reason to expect it, however, nor to expect that the European realignment will avoid that crystallization that led to World War I. Much is possible, but little indeed is demonstrable.

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Mitch Young
Mitch Young
Posts: 13

4/21/2019
Jolanda Swan wrote:
I imagine chaos.
Not only because the dominant power was beheaded, but because the horror of such a thing happening was very likely to cause an surge of dread. Old certainties would fall; monarchies would crumble. The texture of the world changed after the two world wars in part because of the horror unleashed. This would have been no war, but a sanity-rattling occurence nonetheless. So I imagine many revolutions, revived faith in the occult and the supernatural, and technology taking a very different direction.

I would agree with Siankan. While the Fall would certainly shake up the world, humans are adaptable creatures and would no doubt come to terms with the event. While I don't think entire governments would fall, I think there is a nugget of truth to what you have speculated. In Sunless Sea, when you visit Vienna you find that the Liberation of Night has spread its influence to the surface and would no doubt have bolstered the real-life anarchist movements of the late 19th century.

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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1539

4/23/2019
It all depends on how familiar the surface world is with the supernatural.

The FL setting implies that people can come to terms with the unexpected, even the eldritch, and have tea with it. Since we have visitors -nay, tourists!- from the surface, things have settled somehow since the Fall. Still, imagine if the US suddenly fell into an arcane hole today. Forget the horror - we would have a huge disruption of trade, power imbalances, contested territories, loss of technologies... I doubt the world would look much the same, only with a US-sized hole in it. And London was dominant everywhere around the globe. There wouldn't be a single place untouched by the disaster.

This doesn't mean that Failbetter hasn't decided that powers simply shifted on the surface, of course. Personally, I prefer that to the total chaos, as it makes alternate history possible and the Great Game viable. Hope we see more of that in the future.
edited by Jolanda Swan on 4/23/2019

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PSGarak
PSGarak
Posts: 681

4/25/2019
The Waltz That Moved The World contains some description of what happened on the surface (although as some pointed out, it's from a biased source). It describes anarchists as being a dominant political force.

Italian Unification did not complete in our world until 1871, nine years after the Fall. I strongly suspect that in the world of FL, it did not complete. While there are various mentions of Italian cities in FL, I don't recall any actual mention of Italy itself.

I also have theories about the Great Game, but that's a larger topic.

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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 894

4/25/2019
PSGarak wrote:
Italian Unification did not complete in our world until 1871, nine years after the Fall. I strongly suspect that in the world of FL, it did not complete. While there are various mentions of Italian cities in FL, I don't recall any actual mention of Italy itself.

Insofar as Italy's acquisition of Rome was a side-effect of the Franco-Prussian War. However, this was only the cap of the process. The bulk of the process was complete by 1860, when Garibaldi conquered Naples, and the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1861. The only Italian territory not in Victor Emmanuel's hands when London fell were the Papal States and the Veneto.

Now, this does bring up one interesting path of speculation. In our world, Garibaldi's Roman campaign (which brought the Papal States--but not Rome itself--into the Kingdom of Italy) took place in the summer of 1862, six months or so after London fell. Would the Fall have changed that story? It's possible. Britain was a major backer of Garibaldi and his private army; the fall of London (and with it many of Britain's major politicians and a sizable portion of its movable wealth) would no doubt have curtailed that support. In addition, Garibaldi was virulently anti-papal, and while many of his men shared those beliefs, others were Roman Catholics trying to balance that faith against an ardent desire to complete the unification. Would the Fall of London, heart of Garibaldi's chief ally and center of the strongest Protestant power in the world, just when Garibaldi was planning an attack on the Papal States, be taken in Italy as a sign of God's judgment against him? If so, would his recruits have dried up? Would it encourage others to take up the holy cause of defending the Pope's temporal domains? Would it have brought France and Austria to openly intervene? None of those questions can be answered definitively, but it seems likely that London's fall, at just that point in time, would have shifted the balance of power in Italy, particularly as regards the Papal States.

Now, do I think that's enough to ultimately halt the Unification? No, not really. I do, however, think it might have changed the timetable. It's even possible that the Pope still controls Rome in the present day. (This is especially likely if Germany is still divided, as this would mean either no Franco-Prussian War or a French victory.) I do not, however, see any consequence that would have perpetuated Austrian rule in the Veneto, which was basically dead as soon as Italy and Prussia thought to make common cause; barring any definite word from Failbetter, it's safe to assume the Italian tricolor flies over Venice.

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Mitch Young
Mitch Young
Posts: 13

5/3/2019
I learned something interesting through some google-fu. London's population in 1860 was over 3 million while England's overall population was over 18 million by 1861. I also remember reading somewhere that over half of England's movable wealth was in London around the time of the fall. The amateur conclusion I can draw from this limited data collection is that the British empire would have been in severe disarray in 1860's due to the fall and until contact could be reestablished with Fallen London. The question remains as to how aware the colonial territories were of this event and how willing they would have been to take advantage of the ensuing chaos to vie for independence.

Upon further research, I have come to doubt that India would make an attempt for independence before the British empire could reorganize itself. India had already attempted an uprising in 1857 wherein a lot of Indian states actually fought in support of British rule. Given the mixed opinions of British rule at the time, and the psychological toll of losing an uprising less than a decade prior, I seriously doubt that the Indian territories would have capitalized on the disorganized and disoriented British to make another attempt at independence. At least, they wouldn't have done so before the British could recuperate.

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Honeyaddict
Honeyaddict
Posts: 449

5/3/2019
Well I imagine further into the future the Brexit will never happen, since you know... London already left the Surface.

But to the more direct period after the fall, I imagine Ireland and Scotland would attempt to gain their independence again since England lost contact with it's seat of Power.

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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 894

5/4/2019
Honeyaddict wrote:
But to the more direct period after the fall, I imagine Ireland and Scotland would attempt to gain their independence again since England lost contact with it's seat of Power.

Ireland was always trying to gain independence, of course. A rising or two each generation is a venerable Irish tradition. Scotland, on the other hand, has no independence to get; Victoria was their monarch just as much as she was England's. The Act of Union made them equal partners in the United Kingdom; Scots nationalism was not a particularly important force in the politics of the national between the Stuart revolts and the modern fad for irredentism. If anything, the Scots are likely to be the ones holding the Union together during the initial panic, while the English were busy panicking and wondering what just happened.

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Lazaroth
Lazaroth
Posts: 66

5/13/2019
If I remember correctly, the Redundant Heir (Victoria's eldest son, whom we know as Edward VII) took control of what remained of the British Empire, and was still around by the time the game starts. So it still exists in some form. But the loss of population and wealth Mitch mentioned probably caused some level of catastrophe. I can't imagine the Empire would have been in very good shape. I would imagine they'd have at least nominal ties to Germany/Prussia, through the Empress' Shadow.

Egypt probably never would have become a British Protectorate, because that was only a few years out from the Fall of London, and I seriously doubt they had recovered enough to expand. Egypt could have stayed as an Ottoman vassal, separated from the Ottomans as an independent state, or even been conquered by the French again. Hard to say. But I wouldn't imagine any other European powers could take over there, since I'm not sure they'd be able to challenge French interests in the Suez Canal like Britain could.

India's a tricky one. Similar to Egypt, I'm pretty confident they didn't stay under British control. Britain just wouldn't have the economic strength to fund the continued occupation. The Sepoy Rebellion was only a few years in the past, so it's entirely plausible that there would be another attempt to throw off the British Raj. But I'm not sure that would result in a unified India, because India is a very culturally diverse place, having been divided up into a multitude of different realms over the course of its pre-British history, and the chain of events that led to that was long and complicated. The Indian National Congress, for example, wasn't founded until the 1880s. Maybe someone with greater expertise with regardsAnd without the shadow of the British Empire, you better believe that Europe, especially France and Germany/Prussia, would get involved.

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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 894

5/14/2019
Lazaroth wrote:
I would imagine they'd have at least nominal ties to Germany/Prussia, through the Empress' Shadow.

Britain and Germany were closely tied ever since Georg of Hannover became George I of Britain. There was much intermarriage between the two (and of course the Prince Consort was German), and many nobles held titles in both countries. This caused a mess during WWI, when German cousins were held as traitors because of their English titles, and the royal family changed its name from Saxe-Coburg to Windsor. It also must be remembered that after the Unification Edward VII became the chief opponent of German expansionism. (Kaiser Wilhelm once said of him, "My uncle Edward is the devil!")

Lazaroth wrote:
Egypt probably never would have become a British Protectorate, because that was only a few years out from the Fall of London, and I seriously doubt they had recovered enough to expand. Egypt could have stayed as an Ottoman vassal, separated from the Ottomans as an independent state, or even been conquered by the French again. Hard to say. But I wouldn't imagine any other European powers could take over there, since I'm not sure they'd be able to challenge French interests in the Suez Canal like Britain could.

Much depends on the recovery of the British spirit. The army and the Royal Navy would have lost little of their strength when London fell; hordes of troops were not normally stationed in the capital. Even the field commanders, excepting those with particularly ill luck, would have been on station and not in the Neath. So it all depends on how quickly the Redundant Heir could have pulled things together.

In that regard, I think Britain would have been fortunate. Edward may have been under his mother's thumb, but once he got on his own he showed significant ability in the international sphere. He was related, through his wife's family, to many of the royal houses of Europe. With Germany rising, in all likelihood, faster than it did in our timeline, I suspect both Britain and France had reason to push through the Entente Cordiale faster than they did for us, and that he would have traded his family connections to draw closer to Russia. Securing French and Russian alliances would have gone a long way toward keeping the other powers out of India, at least. Perhaps Britain got a smaller chunk of the African pie, and Germany or France a larger, but I have enough faith in Edward to think the results were not entirely disastrous.

Lazaroth wrote:
India's a tricky one. Similar to Egypt, I'm pretty confident they didn't stay under British control. Britain just wouldn't have the economic strength to fund the continued occupation. The Sepoy Rebellion was only a few years in the past, so it's entirely plausible that there would be another attempt to throw off the British Raj.

I'm rather inclined to think that India stayed in British control. The Sepoy Rebellion had divided India, not united it, and the British had dealt with at least some of its causes afterward. Also, India was the jewel of the Empire, its most important possession, and they would have dropped all Africa, perhaps all their possessions, before losing it. The French, no doubt, would have tried to lever something, and the Russians perhaps would have gotten Afghanistan after all, but as I said above, these are the two powers whom concern over rising Germany would eventually have pulled closer to Britain. They would, no doubt, have leveraged concessions--perhaps the French gained a freer hand in North Africa or Indochina, the Russians in Persia and Afghanistan--but I suspect that they ultimately would have agreed to stay out of India.


The real wildcard among the Great Powers is the United States. American foreign policy during the late 1800s mostly revolved around free trade and the Monroe Doctrine; her only significant expansion after buying Alaska came because she supported Cuba's independence movement, and the Philippines were always meant to be temporary. I don't think the U.S. would have been actively hostile to Britain, but there are two unanswered questions. First, would she become an ally? American naval and economic strength continued to grow in this period; she could be a formidable guarantor to British integrity, if she chose. I am, however, skeptical of this, between American republicanism and anticolonialism and the fact that the late 1800s were a period of strong isolationism in the U.S. If anything, Washington would be likely to encourage the independence of Britain's American colonies, in keeping with the Monroe Doctrine. The other question is Canada. Periodic movements in Canada and Newfoundland (which at this point was a separate dominion) have sought union with the United States; none of them have ever gained strong popular appeal, but that might change in response to a major British disaster. Also, what of the Caribbean colonies? It was a widespread assumption at this period that, should some great disaster befall the British Empire, the Anglophone islands of the Caribbean would have sought refuge by becoming American territories or states. Would they? Might Nassau be sending senators to Washington in our version of 1897?

---

So let's take a global look at British possessions, ca. 1897:

- Home territorial integrity is almost certainly intact. Ireland is a wildcard, but unlikely to be independent yet.

- Canada is probably intact, but annexation movements in Western or Atlantic Canada may have joined their regions with the United States. Newfoundland is likely to have joined either Canada or the United States. Canadian independence will be further along.

- British possessions in tropical America (including Bermuda, for the purposes) stand equal chance of remaining as they are or becoming U.S. territories. (I see only the Bahamas as a likely state, at this point.) Home rule or independence is unlikely, except perhaps for British Honduras or British Guyana. It's possible that, down south, the Argentines might have made a play for the Falklands.

- British bases in the Mediterranean--Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus--are important links to India and defended by the Royal Navy. They are unlikely to change status. The same is true for her Arabian protectorates. Egypt I suspect will still be an Anglo-French condominium, though perhaps with more French influence.

- In Central Asia, Russian influence is likely to grow in Persia and Afghanistan.

- India remains intact, though Indian security might be lessened. The Raj may, however, have been restructured, depending on what bargains the British needed to strike with local rulers to maintain stability. Burma may be British, French, or independent, though given the small forces involved in the Burmese Wars, I suspect the Union Jack.

- In the Far East, Singapore and Hong Kong will still be in British hands, though British control of Malaya may be less. Siam may have fallen to the French, but I suspect this Entente, like that of our world, would have guaranteed Siamese independence.

- Australia and New Zealand, with their associated Pacific territories, probably have home rule, while still acknowledging Victoria and Edward as queen and regent. Like Canada, their independence process will be more developed.

- In Africa, British influence is likely to have waned in favor of French, and perhaps German. The only territories I am willing to bet on still are those most important for the security of India: Cape Colony, Zanzibar, and British Somaliland. The rest is up for grabs. French gains are likeliest in West Africa, especially Cameroon, and the French may have beaten the British to Khartoum. It's entirely questionable whether Britain would have committed to the Boer Wars, though French and German expansion in southern Africa may have mandated it. If either nation pried Mozambique off of Portugal, then control of Transvaal and Orange Free State would have been an immediate strategic necessity. It would help if we knew whether Cecil Rhodes had ended up in the Neath.

So, in my take anyway, the loss of London is not a death blow to the British Empire. She is weaker, power has devolved in the more populous colonies, but she remains intact. Anti-German alliances with France and Russia have the side effect of securing good relations with her two main colonial rivals, and relations with the United States, though probably rocky at times, will probably reach a _modus vivendi_ that maintains the security of Britain's American colonies. The biggest question is whether Britain will be on the back foot in the Scramble for Africa, or whether she will have recovered enough under the Redundant Heir's leadership to dominate East Africa as she did with us.

N.B. There is almost no direct canonical evidence about the state of the world outside Europe. All of this is, therefore, entirely speculative and based chiefly on real-world history and issues that Failbetter may have altered in their own way.

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Mitch Young
Mitch Young
Posts: 13

9/6/2019
I've been going through all the ES' in chronological order and I've learned something very interesting from "The waltz that moved the world." It says:

[spoiler]The Duke tilts his head upward and raises a hand towards the Neath's ceiling. "I haven't lost the stars. I still remember them – dancing their slow waltz across the Heavens." He turns to face you. "After London fell, Europe grew ugly. A great power vanished; the wars to replace her destroyed what was left. Politics. And when the dust settled, did we have peace? No; revolutionaries crept up from the bowels of the earth, to bomb the few cities left untouched. That was what brought me into the Game. But things are even worse today than twenty-five years ago. I'm glad I can't see what they've done."[spoiler]
edited by SGTLemon on 9/6/2019

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JaneAnkhVeos
JaneAnkhVeos
Posts: 79

9/6/2019
Mitch Young wrote:
Uh...how do I spoiler?

[] instead of <>

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Ixc
Ixc
Posts: 299

9/11/2019
[spoiler]

Here’s my guess to AU:

London fell in 1862. At the time, Britain and France were hesitantly supporting the Confederacy due to their reliance on cotton; both lost a primary source of cotton from the war. As such, with London falling by 1862, it likely hamstrung London and Britain’s textile industry. France at the time was also fighting revolutionaries in Mexico. Thus, given France turned around and focused on annexing Britain and fighting Prussia at the same time, it’s likely they let go of Mexican hegemony, meaning that the Mexican Revolution would have succeeded much quicker than in our time.

Second, the Franco-Prussian War happened in 1870 due to France’s fears of Prussian expansion, and thus in FL’s timeline, with France being the aggressor, it’s likely the reasons for the war were swapped, and it occurred earlier. Given that Prussia acted to defend London, it’s likely the alliance between the two is strengthened. In FL’s timeline, France is “helping revolutionaries escape to the surface”- indicating it supports the LoN or revolution, another reason Britain (who are likely still against it) and Prussia would maintain strong ties.

This all ties into the (speculated) causes of WW1: Prussia again focused on military expansion in the 1890’s, driving Britain into an alliance with Russia and France (what formed the Entente), and after a isolation campaign by France, Prussia allied with the Triple Alliance, including Bulgaria. Again, giving the FL’s likely alliance, this could mean that if WW1 even happened, it would be between the more weaker powers of the Triple Alliance, and the lack of German reparations would prevent the nationalism that caused WW2.

Secondly, it is also mentioned that the Liberation plays a part in surface politics. Given France is supporting revolutionaries, it is possible France also supports the Liberation. Also given the tendency for revolutionaries to support the Liberation, the Russian revolutionaries may also support the LoN. In the Skies timeline, a Blind Hermit predicts that “the Bear and the Eagle” will fight, meaning the US and the USSR. It is possible that this Cold War is not (solely) about governmental ideologies, but also the greater war between the stars. Given that WW1 and WW2 may not have happened, this would Russia would have a bad standing, with no reason to annex its neighbors without permission (as it happened when they fought Nazi Germany), nor would they divide Germany between the two. Nuclear weapons may also be non-existent, given that they began development to aid in the war as well, though the study of Correspondence weaponry may take its place.

The later parts especially depend on speculation and theory, so they are less likely.

[/spoiler]

*phew*

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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1539

9/12/2019
Love these posts. Not sure if I want the game to give us more than snippets, but the speculation they provoke is great.

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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 894

9/12/2019
Just a note: the "revolutionaries in Mexico" were the legitimate government. The French took advantage of the American Civil War (which kept Washington much too busy to enforce the Monroe Doctrine) and some outstanding national debt to set up a puppet monarchy in Mexico. The Second Mexican Empire never really held more than the center of the country and Maximilian's attempts to appeal to the other side alienated his own supporters. The whole thing was in terminal decline when the Civil War ended in 1865; Jonson, despite his preoccupation with his own nation's problems, was prepared to send troops into Mexico to support the Republic, and Napoleon III decided to cut his losses and evacuate.

All of which is a long way to say that France wasn't really engaged for or against revolutionaries in 1862. They were involved in overthrowing a legitimate government, but the creation of a constitutional monarchy on the corpse of a republic hardly fits with what Fallen London considers Revolutionaries. Also, while I don't doubt your suggestion that serious trouble in Europe (possibly just meaning the loss of London) would bring the French expeditionary force home early, Napoleon never committed enough men to the Mexican venture to seriously affect his warmaking capabilities. The only real effect the war had on the French Army was giving the opportunity for the Foreign Legion's most legendary exploits.

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Also, I would point out that while the Russian Revolution may not have happened so quickly had losses in WWI not drained the monarchy's strength, the Soviet Union was already looking westward before WWII. They fought the Poles before the war, and while the Russian invasion of Finland took place during WWI (Stalin, like Napoleon, taking advantage of others' distraction), neither Russia nor Finland were technically at war with anyone else when it began. Also, if the Russian Revolution happened without a world war, there's every possibility that the Soviet Union would have controlled the Baltic coast from the beginning, which would have had serious implications for any invasion of Prussia or Poland.

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Prof. Sian Kan, at your service.
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