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Thread: The Presidents: The Vietnam War Edition

  1. #821
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    trekaddict: That's my favorite one out of all the Indiana Jones films.
    "In America, anybody can be President. That's one of the risks you take."
    -Adlai Stevenson

    The Presidents: The Vietnam War Edition
    President of the United States in 1962: Henry M. Jackson (Democrat-Washington)

  2. #822
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Mine is, also from Last Crusade: "You lost today, Kid. But that doesn't mean you have to like it." *puts on THE HAT.

    There's a reason why I think the Fedora is the single coolest piece of headgear ever invented.
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  3. #823
    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Mine is, also from Last Crusade: "You lost today, Kid. But that doesn't mean you have to like it." *puts on THE HAT.

    There's a reason why I think the Fedora is the single coolest piece of headgear ever invented.
    True once, but fedoras have suffered the same clothing evolution problems as neckties. It once made sense for a Croatian mercenary to wear a bandana around his neck - it could be pulled up over his face to keep road-march dust out, it kept sweat off his uniform, et cetera - but modern neckties bear as much relation to practical as the modern fedora does. A three-quarter-inch brim which provides no shade, less material in said brim than in the crown, and generally soft construction that doesn't bear hard use makes the modern fedora just plain silly.

    Though that particular mini-rant has just inspired mental images of '20s Chicago gangsters choosing the pith helmet instead. Al Capone as Clive of India... "Nyah, see, you'se gets me the money, see, or I'll bloody well stove your head in with a cricket bat."
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  4. #824
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    When I say Fedora I think that time period. Come on, think what you want about Crystal Skull, but when I saw it the entire theatre whooped with joy when we saw Indy's shadow put on the Hat.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  5. #825
    I stick with my image of Al Capone in a pith helmet.
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  6. #826
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    trekaddict: Sometimes, all you need is a hat.

    c0d5579: at the last part.

    trekaddict: That was a great scene because of how simple it was.

    c0d5579: They should have included that in "The Untouchables".
    "In America, anybody can be President. That's one of the risks you take."
    -Adlai Stevenson

    The Presidents: The Vietnam War Edition
    President of the United States in 1962: Henry M. Jackson (Democrat-Washington)

  7. #827
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    What I at least felt was "Oh yes, he's BACK!"
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
    "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." - Carl Schurz
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  8. #828
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    trekaddict: Speaking of back, I plan on posting the next update either today or tomorrow.
    "In America, anybody can be President. That's one of the risks you take."
    -Adlai Stevenson

    The Presidents: The Vietnam War Edition
    President of the United States in 1962: Henry M. Jackson (Democrat-Washington)

  9. #829
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    I'm not trekaddict, but also happy to hear that!

  10. #830
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    Leviathan07: The update is pretty much done. I just have to type down the final paragraph which is currently floating around in my head.
    "In America, anybody can be President. That's one of the risks you take."
    -Adlai Stevenson

    The Presidents: The Vietnam War Edition
    President of the United States in 1962: Henry M. Jackson (Democrat-Washington)

  11. #831
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    The following update wraps up the two-part coverage of Molotov's downfall. It has everything: power struggle, backstabbing, murder, and an adorable dog. Who doesn't like an adorable dog?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Power Shift
    Throughout Molotov’s reign as General Secretary, Nikita Khrushchev had been the biggest thorn in his side. A progressive-minded man, he believed that the way to keep the peace in the Cold War was to make the Soviet Union as strong as the United States in order to instill fear in the Americans about risking a war with Moscow. With the American threat curtailed, the Soviets could turn their focus on building up her domestic strength – especially less-than-stellar agricultural production. Molotov’s preference to use the Red Army as a traditional steamroller instead of taking a more-technological route by putting greater emphasis on state-of-the-art jet-powered aircraft and rockets greatly angered Khrushchev. Explorer I turned out to be the final straw. On May 8th, Khrushchev stood up during a meeting of the Politburo and delivered one of the most famous speeches of the Twentieth Century.

    It has since been compared to Leo Amery’s famous “In the name of God, go!” speech in 1940 which led to the downfall of the Chamberlain government in England. Making animated gestures with his hands, Khrushchev proceeded to castigate Stalinism and its’ successor. People sat in stunned silence as he criticized miscalculations and errors of leadership which almost led to defeat during World War Two and was now threatening to lead to defeat in the Cold War. Openly denouncing the four-year-old Molotov-Beria axis, Khrushchev demanded a total break with Neo-Stalinism and to instead embark on a more modernized course. Of course, this meant throwing Molotov and Beria out of office. That the latter was a fellow liberal meant little to Khrushchev; he represented the past and therefore received blame (justly or unjustly) for the current state of affairs brought on by the continuation of failed policies. When Khrushchev finished his aggressive speech arguing that it was time for a change, his supporters stood up and cheered. The old guard members of the Politburo meanwhile just sat there and said very little. Even though they approved the creation of the Molotov-Beria axis in 1953, barely anyone was rushing forward to defend it four years later. Originally, they thought that maintaining a tough-guy Stalinist image could hide deep national insecurities. Khrushchev’s four-hour-long speech blew that reasoning completely out of the water.

    Just as Amery’s condemnation led to Neville Chamberlain resigning as Prime Minister and being subsequently replaced by Winston Churchill, Khrushchev’s withering speech marked the beginning of the end for Molotov. The open repudiation generated momentum towards dismissing the General Secretary and replacing him with Khrushchev (such was the persuasive power of his arguments). Angry at being challenged in such a fashion, Molotov ordered Beria to have his sudden-rival arrested and punished as a traitor. It was here that the difficult relationship between the two men finally collapsed. Beria knew Molotov was a sinking ship and had no intention to go down with him. Displaying the same “kill or be killed” cold mentality that led him to poison Stalin, Beria instead ordered his secret police to eliminate the General Secretary. On May 10th, a special team received their ruthless orders straight from the top: arrest Molotov in his office, execute him summarily, make the murder scene look like a suicide, and then withdraw without a trace. Waiting anxiously at his home for word of the operation, Beria stared at the clock sitting on the mantle and wondered if the overthrow was going according to plan. After a while, he received word from the team that their mission was complete: Molotov was dead. After waiting an hour in order to make his plan look convincing, Beria calmly went over to Molotov’s office to see for himself the murder scene. Casually walking in, the security chief saw his former partner slumped over his desk in a pool of blood. A recently-fired pistol was place next to Molotov’s chair, positioned in such a way to make it look like it fell naturally. Highly pleased at the professionalism of the execution, Beria then called for doctors to come into the office and remove the body. He then proceeded to inform the nation that the General Secretary was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head – apparently in distraught reaction over Khrushchev’s damnation.

    Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov (March 9th, 1890 – May 10th, 1957)
    Having killed off Stalin and now Molotov, Beria proceeded onto the next step in saving his own hide. The morning after the murder, he requested a meeting with Khrushchev and the Soviet Young Turks. Having rehearsed his remarks earlier, Beria told Khrushchev that he was wrong in grouping him with Molotov. He insisted that he shared in their progressive vision, complaining bitterly about the General Secretary’s “Nineteenth Century approach to Twentieth Century problems.”
    After throwing his dead comrade under the proverbial bus, Beria told the incredulous group that despite sharing their views, he was pragmatic-enough to understand that his associations with Neo-Stalinism would make any effort to assume the role of General Secretary untenable. Instead of claiming power, he would nobly stand aside and let the new generation of leadership take power. Although no one bought his George Washington-style rejection of ultimate power (and perhaps neither Molotov's alleged suicide), Khrushchev went along – believing that a golden opportunity like this might not appear again. After receiving the approval of the Politburo, Khrushchev officially took office as General Secretary on May 14th (exactly ten days after Explorer I). His first act as leader of the Soviet Union was to order Beria’s arrest. Given the latter’s bloody record of killing and punishing whomever he saw fit, Khrushchev was suspicious of what Beria would do next and felt that the only way to safeguard his newfound hold on power was to get rid of him. On May 18th, Beria was arrested in Moscow and was held in an undisclosed location. Trumped-up charges were brought against him accusing the Georgian of betraying the Soviet Union with ruinous policies (in Khrushchev’s mind, there were no distinctions among Neo-Stalinists regardless of their individual views). Strangely, Beria was even charged with being a spy for the British…a charge most historians dismiss as “throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks.” Following a swift trial in which Beria had no defense counsel and no right of appeal in fighting charges of “criminal activities against the Party and the State”, the fifty-eight-year-old was found guilty and sentenced to death. The man who had shown no mercy in sending countless people to their deaths met his end by firing squad on June 20th.

    Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria (March 29th, 1899 – June 20th, 1957)
    Once he had taken power, Khrushchev proceeded to clear away the remaining old guard Neo-Stalinists occupying government positions and replaced them with his supporters. Meanwhile, he began to enact his wide-ranging reform agenda that he felt would place the Soviet Union on an even playing field with the United States. During his first week in office, Khrushchev held a meeting with top Soviet scientists and issued a directive: no longer would the Soviet military rely mainly on conventional weapons. Since the United States was wielding jets and rockets in order to project her power long-distance, the Soviet Union would do the same. Not only that, the Soviet Union would surpass her archrival in the great number game. Complaining about the existing missile gap resulting from his predecessor’s old-school military vision, Khrushchev ordered his scientists to kick the development of ICBMs into high gear. He wanted to close the missile gap and be ahead of the Americans by 1962 (just five years away). He wanted to scare NATO into taking him seriously by building a massive stockpile of nuclear ICBMs capable of reaching targets in Western Europe and Western North America (via Siberia). In addition to eliminating the missile gap, Khrushchev also directed his scientists to pursue an aggressive space program. “The days of looking up and wondering what the United States will do next are over,” he exclaimed, slamming his fist on the table for dramatic effect. “From now on, it will be the Americans who will look up and wonder what we shall do next! For every satellite they have in orbit, we will have two!”
    The General Secretary gave the team their deadline for putting the first Soviet satellite into orbit: October 1st, 1957. That gave them a very tight deadline in which to catch up to the Americans. They were then instructed that they couldn’t build just any satellite; it had to be the largest functioning satellite they could come up with. “I want [Explorer I] to look like a dwarf,” they were told. When the meeting ended and the scientists proceeded to leave the room with their marching orders, Khrushchev made a “just one more thing” comment: he wanted the second Soviet satellite to carry a living animal. Since the Americans hadn’t done it yet, he saw it as the easiest way to pass them in the Space Race.

    With only a few months to meet the deadline, Soviet scientists slaved around the clock to develop a satellite and put it into orbit. Showing vigor and a can-do attitude absent during the Molotov years, the team incredibly was able to beat the deadline by finishing their project in just three months (by comparison, it took the Americans five months to build and launch Explorer I). In late August, Khrushchev was shown the final product. Named Sputnik I, it was a shiny spherical ball weighing 185 pounds (over 150 pounds heavier than Explorer I) and was twenty-three-inches in diameter. The satellite would house two radio transmitters operating on different shortwave radio frequencies and would detect the density of Earth’s thermosphere (the largest part of the atmosphere – this is where auroras occur and is also where the International Space Station is located today). The satellite would be put into orbit by a two-stage modified R-7 Semyorka (the first Soviet ICBM, it went operational in late 1956…four years after the American Atlas-D). Grinning, Khrushchev gave Sputnik I his blessing. Afterwards, it was moved to the missile base at Tyuratam (located in Kazakhstan) for launch.

    On the last night of August, Sputnik I stood ready for launch. At 10:28 PM Moscow time, the R-7 roared off the launch pad and hurtled its’ cargo into space. A few minutes later, Sputnik I detached itself from the ICBM and entered Earth’s orbit. Making a consistent beeping sound, the satellite spent ninety-five minutes making her first complete orbit. The next morning, September 1st, an ecstatic Khrushchev revealed to the world that the first Soviet artificial satellite was now in orbit and could be easily tracked by binoculars and radio receivers. Four months after Explorer I, the United States was no longer the only country with a presence in space.

    As soon as news of Sputnik I reached the United States, the President put out a statement downplaying the significance of it. He pointed out that for months, he and others had warned the American people to expect the Soviets to retaliate with their own satellite. “This news,” Sparkman said, “Has been thoroughly predictable and should come as no surprise to anyone. Neither should anyone be alarmed by this development. I can personally assure you that this satellite will pose no threat to this nation.”
    He was right, of course. As a mere scientific instrument, Sputnik I was hardly a threat. Nor did it last very long; unlike Explorer I, the Soviet satellite didn’t have a long life-span. Twenty-two days after the launch, Sputnik I stopped beeping signals when the transmitter batteries died. On Christmas Day 1957, the satellite fell into Earth’s atmosphere and burned up after travelling over thirty-seven million miles. Today, a metal arming key is all that remains of her. While Sputnik I barely caused the United States to blink, the launching of Sputnik II a month later took the country completely by surprise. In early October, the Soviets launched their second satellite into orbit. Just as Khrushchev wanted, this more sophisticated satellite carried a live animal: a dog named Laika. Since the United States hadn’t done so yet, this female stray dog became the first animal to orbit the Earth. Harnessed into a pressurized sealed cabin, Laika lasted only a few hours in orbit before dying from heat exhaustion. In those few hours, it was demonstrated that a living creature could not only survive a rocket launch but could also live weightlessly in Earth’s orbit. Laika's pioneering adventure would be a vital step towards planned human spaceflight.

    The news about Laika stunned the United States in a way perhaps not seen since the surprise Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in February 1942. No one was expecting the Soviets to make that achievement so quickly…if at all. So used to being technologically first, the Americans were caught completely off-guard by Sputnik II and suffered a bruised ego as a result. Likewise for the Soviets, Laika was a spectacular triumph that was widely celebrated across the country. Not only had they caught up to the Americans, they had actually surpassed them. For the first time ever, the Soviet Union could proudly put a trophy on her mantle to show off to the rest of the world. The days of America taking her superiority for granted were over. From that point forward, the Space Race would truly be a competition between the two superpowers over who could do what first.
    Last edited by Nathan Madien; 20-07-2011 at 17:30.
    "In America, anybody can be President. That's one of the risks you take."
    -Adlai Stevenson

    The Presidents: The Vietnam War Edition
    President of the United States in 1962: Henry M. Jackson (Democrat-Washington)

  12. #832
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    Molotov died sooner than in OTL, Beria lasted a bit more and the USSR is giving the States a bit of a headache. Good, good.

    And they killed Laika! To hell with those monsters!
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    Longtime lurker here, signing up

  14. #834
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    Kurt_Steiner: The Cold War is certainly going to take an interesting turn, with Khrushchev's "go big" approach leading the way.

    Well, to be fair, they did give her a monument. That counts for something, right?

    Mr. Santiago: Welcome aboard.
    "In America, anybody can be President. That's one of the risks you take."
    -Adlai Stevenson

    The Presidents: The Vietnam War Edition
    President of the United States in 1962: Henry M. Jackson (Democrat-Washington)

  15. #835
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    Hmm interesting, so Beria is out as well. Will Khrushchev hold his famous "secret" anti-Stalin speech in this timeline as well? The next Party Congress should be exciting.

    Khrushchev will probably put a lot of emphasis on economic reforms, like he did in OTL. IIRC, he started some big industrial and agricultural reforms and also expansion drives to increase output, shifting the focus somewhat towards consumer goods. He was quite an impatient guy which suits quite well the role in which he finds himself in your story, where the USSR spent the years 1953-1957 under Stalinist policies as well. The Soviets have to do quite some catching up!

    Speaking of economics: Are the Soviets going to get involved in China's reconstruction? Chiang must have enormous need for capital as well as expertise, what with the US shunning him for his Vietnamese antics. If Khrushchev is mobilizing every worker and every tractor for agricultural and industrial expansion, surely he could spare a few for Chiang? Maybe he could help Chiang build a power plant or something. (Hint hint: Egypt, USA, Khrushchev and the Assuan dam in OTL) Khrushchev is planning to catch up and overtake the west in all fields - is China one such field where he can "beat" the Americans?

    And how is Europe doing? Around this time in OTL the European Coal and Steel Community was founded, and the Saar region rejoined west Germany. IIRC you had France and the other Europeans impose some economic controls on postwar Germany, right? Ruhr area and all that. Has the ECSC been founded yet? In OTL, the international authority for the Ruhr was more or less disbanded when the ECSC was founded although its powers were (on paper) assumed by the ECSC. If the western Europeans are still afraid of the Germans, they could demand that the controls be maintained in a stronger form than in OTL. Although I think Europe will develop not too differently from OTL concerning economic matters.

    Military matters are probably more interesting... Germany still looking with longing towards its former territories now under Polish control... has there been a peace treaty between Germany and the Soviets (or Germany and the western Allies) so far?

  16. #836
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    Leviathan07: Khrushchev's "secret" anti-Stalin speech has already been delivered. The big speech he gives in the beginning of the update is based on it.

    Yes, they do.

    Will the Soviets get involved in China's reconstruction? Absolutely. In fact, I have an outside-the-box idea about how Chiang will benefit from the change in leadership in Moscow. However, you will have to wait until 1958 to see what that idea is.

    As long as we are talking about China, let me take a moment to clarify something. Politically, the relationship between Nanjing and D.C. is cold as a result of Kai-shek doing business with the Communists. However, that does not extend to private interests. American businesses are still dealing with Kai-shek (they would be foolish to pass up a good consumer market) and we even have tourism (despite what may be going on politically, Americans are still interested in visiting Asia and China is no exception). Kai-shek is still getting capital from the Americans, just not through political channels. Now that Khrushchev is in charge, I expect Kai-shek to be telling his Ambassador in Moscow to find out how he can benefit.

    Once we get into 1958 (which is currently projected to be my third planned update), I plan to devote time on Asia. China is going to be a large part of it.

    Europe is going well at the moment. As we will see in the next update, the big emphasis at the moment is keep Yugoslavia stablized in the wake of her civil war. To be honest, I am not sure about the European Coal and Steel Community. Since I don't know anything about it, I am not sure if it would still exist TTL. France and the United Kingdom are keeping postwar Germany on a tight economic leash. Having gone to war with her twice, they are anxious to keep Germany in check. The West is also keeping Germany on a tight military leash. This is something the civilian government in Cologne actually wants:

    If there were disagreements over the question of sovereignty and economic control, there was agreement over the status of the German Army. Heuss opposed having one and actually wanted Allied supervision over it. His biggest fear was an uncontrolled military surging across the Oder River to attack Soviet-controlled Poland. It wasn’t an unfounded fear, as it turns out. Several German Generals were privately…and not-so-privately…itching to regain territory that was stripped from their country and given to Poland after the war. Unless the Big Three (the United States, France, and the United Kingdom) kept a really tight leash on the German Army, Heuss warned that the risk of another war over German/Polish territorial claims would be quite high:
    “We have voices here clamoring for us [the civilian government] to press for a return of the land east of the Oder. I cannot guarantee that we can suppress those voices unless our military answers to a higher authority.”
    There are peace treaties in place between Germany and the Soviets/the Western Allies.
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  17. #837
    First Lieutenant Andreios II's Avatar

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    Bada-bing bada-boom! Khruschev certainly doesn't wait around before he does something big! The effect he has on the Cold War may be even more apparent in TTL seeing as Molotov and the Stalinists had those extra few years in power to not do much with. People really are going to sit up and take notice with this guy at the helm compared to ol' Vyacheslev One worry I do have though is that by accelerating the arms and space race in the hopes of creating a greater sense of fear and deterrence from the US, will the new General Secretary just bankrupt the country faster? I don't know if the USSR will ever out-strip the States totally, so it may be a fruitless effort ultimately, which could have been invested elsewhere.

    On the subject of Asia, I can easily see Chiang trying to milk the regime change for all it's worth to him, I don't see him as a man to stick by his anti-communist principles if it suits him not to, the Yunnan Road acts certainly give a precedent for future selfish behaviour... How are things is Malaysia? If Eden can sort out the 'Emergency' there then he'll gain even more credit with the British people: Preserving the Empire and bashing commies at the same time xD
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  18. #838
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    Andreios II: I think Khruschev will be able to get away with spending a lot of money if he is able to generate more money through a higher focus on consumer goods (the HOI model for getting money).

    Given how self-interested Kai-chek is, I can picture the Soviets subjugating him merely by being the highest bidder. By performing business deals, giving the Chinese machines and whatnot, and being a much more reliable trading partner than the US, I think it could be plausible for the Soviets to essentially conquer the rest of China simply by being the better business partner. It certainly beats the military option.

    Things are going well for Eden. He's still in power as Prime Minister and Malaysia is still British at the moment.
    "In America, anybody can be President. That's one of the risks you take."
    -Adlai Stevenson

    The Presidents: The Vietnam War Edition
    President of the United States in 1962: Henry M. Jackson (Democrat-Washington)

  19. #839
    Am I the only one who finds Khrushchev hard to take seriously with his absurdly bombastic gesturing?
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  20. #840
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    talt: Absurdly bombastic gesturing: hard to take seriously
    Absurdly bombastic gesturing backed up by nuclear bombastics: you may need to take him seriously
    "In America, anybody can be President. That's one of the risks you take."
    -Adlai Stevenson

    The Presidents: The Vietnam War Edition
    President of the United States in 1962: Henry M. Jackson (Democrat-Washington)

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