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BigBadBob

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One is slightly intrigued by this representation of Gandhi.

One wonders what might have been if certain things worked out differently.

Well, that's what alt-history's for!

Now this should be interesting...

Would the man have worked with the ANC so closely given his...views...on blacks etc?

The issue in a nutshell is that a unified India is so completely a imperialist colonial idea and concept. It is far, far more likely in a federal system to split the place up into much smaller chunks along religious and culture lines, and along the coast and around the princely states. The chances of getting an independent and unified india in this timeline is highly unlikely, i think.

I admit I inadvertently sanded off some rough edges for the narrative, but his views IOTL can still be seen a little in that one of the arguments for Indian Responsible Government Gandhi makes is 'if blacks can have it thanks to Federation, why can't we more civilised peoples have it too?'

The Civilians and Gandhi are indeed, despite coming at it from completely different angles, together making an argument for splitting India up, even if neither of them realise it.

Gandhi working with the ANP is an interesting development. Some internationalism among the oppressed colonial subjects would be nice to see, but it seems a little way off yet. Very interested to see what happens in India after the War.

Aye. As per the answer above, Gandhi doesn't see the ANP's struggle in quite universal enough terms as to be proper solidarity amongst the non-whites of the empire.

Well, federalism encourages internationalism across all potlcial spectrums really, since the international and national just got merged together, at least at the top level. I suspect communists and facists have an interesting time with internarionalism and nationalism rubbing against one another and overlapping in the empire even more than otl.
The British Empire becoming a sort of (white) British International would, I imagine, absolutely rile up the extreme left and right. I can imagine the Communist response being along the lines of a standard critique of liberal politics (ie, federation is to empire what social democracy is to capital). The fascists may well just go for the full “fortress (greater) Britannia” approach, which considering the history of British border law could well be on the way anyway.

In this sense I guess it would be not unlike attitude to the EU and associated institutions.

This is all excellent discussion for me to file away in the 'where the hell do I go post-war?' folder.

I suppose the EU mention begs the question of what do the other powers do/react, long term I mean. Short term they built alliances for war. But how does a quarter of the world federalising impact all the other empires and nations? Does it destroy nationalism or increase it? How does it impact amercia most of all (as it surely will, at least, make them want to incorporate and add more states where pribously they essentially had colonies)? Does france go ahead with its own ideas of making literally the whole empire the metropolitan? How does Russia and Austria react, considering they are the other two powers with lots of nations in them? How does Germany, built as it is on pure unifying nationalism?

Filed.

I suppose the other question is how will the War change all of this, when it comes. Everyone doubling down on keeping to their own empires is evidently bad for truly multilateral internationalism, as everyone basically scrambles to shore up their own cartel. If the the postwar brings with it vague attempts at something like Wilsonian internationalism, obviously this will all change. Otherwise frankly I don’t see much good coming out of things as they stand.

Which is why I’m intrigued to see how India unfolds, seeing as it could make or break the idea (in my mind at least) that the Imperial Federation is just a cartel for the white guys. If this holds true, you can’t really claim (or I would have a hard time believing) that federation is any better than Empire, even if it might overcome some administrative difficulties.

This, of course, assumes there'll be empires to double down on keeping. DUN DUN DUUUNNN.

Your thoughts on India's position vis-à-vis the meaning of the Federation are very much in tune with mine.

I can see federation going lots of different ways, but what will also take certainly not happen is wilsonian internationalism since almost no one believed in it except Woodrow Wilson, who I hope never becomes president let alone decides the armistice treaty. That man went a long way to causing a lot of the problems of the 20th century.

But I suspect that the Great War might not be so destructive in this timeline, or as long. It could very well be, but maybe not for the British who can argue quite effectively that they need to focus on Africa whilst the other two allies focus in defending France. If they get Russia to join in, even better. Britian in 1914 was not ready for war otl, except for the navy. Not enough shells, not enough bullets, though at least the standing professional army was fully equipped, which no other power managed until later.

If we're aiming for reduced British cost and casualty, they need to focus on Africa and the seas until that content is brought to heel, then they can go elsewhere. Probably push from Egypt up to the ottoman heartlands. What we need for Germany to lose is a two front war, or for Austria to die. So either Italy or Russia is needed in Europe.

Since Britain is very much the mover in terms of the Entente and the anti-German alliance ITTL, instead of France, the UK is a little more prepared for war by 1911, but that doesn't say much in a war of this scale.

It all, then, would seem to await the outcome of the war. I'd be intrigued, here, to see how loosely you follow the game as I've had some bloodily horrific (and therefore realistic) experiences, while some just degenerate in tear-inducingly dull games of 'chase 1000 Germans round Africa'. If the British play to their strengths - maritime independence and dominance, and the ability to sweep up the colonies, they should prevail. I note that Pax Britannica seems stronger here than in OTL.

VOC as an abbreviation is inspired, as it is also the abbreviation for "Volatile Organic Compound" and the old Dutch India Company, the "Vereenigde Ost-Indische Compagnie". Both seemed both inspired and apt!

I did try playing the Great War, and some aspects of that playthrough are incorporated, but the whole thing was over in just over a year and a half. That, to me, seemed wholly unrealistic with the amount of bloodshed, fronts, and developments. I also want some things to happen, so from October 3rd, 1911, we're largely moving off gameplay.

I do have to wonder how the sectarian divide will affect India's approach to Federation. With the greater degree of granularity that has so far been used to draw up constituencies, I'm holding out hope that the disaster that followed in the wake of our world's 1947 partition can at least mostly be avoided...

Avoided, or made worse? If Britain scuttles the whole operation quickly due to having lost control on the ground, as it did IOTL in order to avoid that loss of control becoming obvious, then more dividing lines may just mean more bloodshed.

I very much enjoyed these looks at the overseas territories of the Empire and their many injustices.
Such a shame that the war had to intervene in the South African voting issue but maybe their contributions in the war will make Westminster more eager to give everyone the vote like for women in OTL.
Finally a look at India! With federation looming there is certainly a discussion to be had on how many Indias should be present. Should they be joint or maybe adopt a Canadian solution?
And now I wait anxiously for the outcome of the war.

All Roads Lead to War.

I suggested the british might avoid the horror of the western front, but only because they'll have the horror of cleansing Africa of iberian armies and patrols before perhaps fighting a guerilla war for a few years in various places. They might be able to sell the idea to the allies as them sorting out Africa, the far east and eventually the Middle East, and the sea of course, whilst the french and amercians hold the line in france.

Not sure they can manage that but would be beenficial if they did.

I can't see the eventual federarion commission suggesting anything less than several partitions, especially the obvious Pakistan, Bangladesh and Northern India divide. But they'll probably go further than that if they want to keep the empire there together but stable. India is too big, and too artifical after all.

With a weaker France, or at least one with potentially four fronts to defend instead of one, this may be a pipe dream, especially as the Americans are likely to be very resistant to Dough Boys on European soil. Doubly so as, unlike IOTL, the French and British won't have already been drained of much of their manpower when the Yanks join.

>VOC
hehehe

I'll use this one to break the news; VOC was an actual, popular way to refer to the very real founder of the SSNC. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V._O._Chidambaram_Pillai

History beats fiction every day.

I’m fascinated to see what you end up doing with India. There surely isn’t much prospect of it becoming a full member of the Federation - the lack of a white settlers population and its sheer size would surely make it unpractical. But could there be some sort of devolved relationship, with a federal India based on the structures of the Imperial Federation but not a part of it?

Of course, whatever happens in the Great War could put the willingness of Indian Nationalists to settle for any sort of halfway house and render these debates pointless.

All about the War.

I am glad I am not the only one who spotted that first one.

I am honoured my majestic style has become a useful benchmark of magnificence, even if the pacing is concerning. Concerning mainly because I remain ever envious of those who can produce such excellent quality at such a terrifyingly rapid pace.

For India anything that avoids the INC, or anything like it, has to be positive. Whatever happens you do not want people who combine the worst of the Raj with dreams of a command planned economy and far too much Fabian influence (i.e. any) into one disastorous economic trainwreck. I think India ends up leaving Imperial Federation, it is just too big compared to the rest for any kind of equal representation and even getting something like common tariffs is probably a big stretch (the needs of the UK/Dominion economies and India are wildly divergent, to say nothing of domestic and intra-Empire fights). The debate is when they leave and on what terms.

Allow me to assuage your concerns by stating that this pace is very much a function of lockdown and the format. Having moved to the slightly more chronological For All We Have and Are, and being allowed back in the office, the pace has slowed noticeably.

Speaking of For All We Have and Are, does anyone know where I might find maps that look good in black and white and aren't too cluttered to have a bunch of arrows and lines added?

I find it tacky to remind people of the Dutch company's existence. Or the dutch, for that matter...their museums are gorgeous but you have to pay to enter and tune out the disturbingly jingoistic patter splattered all over the info tablets. And exhibits just halting after the napoleanic era.

Shatter em into 5000 pieces and sell all the ports to France. They will try to defend them.

There are only two things I can't stand in this world: People who are intoletrant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch.

A plan so crazy, it just might work. Get the Paris Embassy on the horn!
 

BigBadBob

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THE WORLD SPEAKS ENGLISH
Convergence in Pre-War Anglo-America
T. S. Jackson

Today, it seems almost a given that the United States and United Kingdom are practically joined at the hip. It would, however, be a mistake to think that it was always so. After all, the former was created out of, and forged in a war against, the latter. An interpretation that acknowledges this, but is equally simplistic in many ways, is that the process by which the US and UK were drawn together in the last decades of the 19th and first decade of the 20th Centuries was somehow inevitable. Now, of course, there were structural geopolitical factors that favoured co-operation, but there were equally factors that argued for increased confrontation.

The increasing power imbalance in North America for example, was in no way guaranteed to end in Britain choosing to, in practice, abandon the continent outside of existing British territory. The UK could equally have decided to use the might of its global empire to support Central and South America in a challenge to US supremacy, as they had considered doing at the beginning of the First Mexican-American War. The vexed question of Cuba too, might have been decided in favour of Britain pushing for another continental ally by supporting the Spanish, rather than in favour of security in the Pacific by surrendering the Caribbean to the Americans.

If there is a structural, realpolitik reason that explains the convergence of Anglo-American interests (or more accurately, the UK’s choice to back down), it is the nation from which the very term realpolitik emerged. The rise of Germany meant that the UK was definitively no longer the undisputed hegemon, that needed only to choose whether it wanted to bother with a threat. It now needed to make choices about which threats it could afford to bother with, and Germany and the US together was not one it could afford. Why then, was the choice to counter Germany, rather than the United States?

Here, the cultural and personal aspects of the Great Rapprochement become apparent. Over the course of the late 19th Century, the animosities of the early Republic towards England faded for many Americans. As the United States became more secure in its mastery of the Western Hemisphere, fears of a return by the British began to fade. Even Canada, which was in 1861 the ‘outpost of the Old Empire’ that Lincoln feared would be the staging ground for a UK effort to support the Confederacy, now seemed defenceless compared to American might.


us immigrants - Copy.png

Italian immigrants to America, 1891
The arrival of various waves of European immigrants from outside the British Isles in the last half of the 19th Century prompted a reconciliation amongst American elites to their British heritage

Another factor in the collapse of the traditional Anglophobia of the American elite was the arrival of successive waves of immigrants from continental Europe post-Civil War. With their demographic majority slipping away, the British-American population began to rediscover their connections with the Mother Country. American historians and politicians began to emphasise the arguments of the Founding Fathers relating to their rights as Englishmen. George III became again, as he had been during the Revolution, the main villain of the piece, rather than a symbol of British oppression as a whole. Edmund Burke’s defence of the American Revolutionaries became a bestseller.

The elite also began to point to the advances made in the UK on representation and democracy. Britain now, for example, had Universal Suffrage. Even the Irish-American population had the Representation of the People (Ireland) Act to point to. In 1892, the UK even went farther than the US with its inclusion of women.* The ‘White Anglo-Saxon Protestant’ population of the United States thus came to see itself as part of a shared Anglo-American civilisation.**

In the UK, a similar process occurred. Faced with what seemed a genuine threat to British power the world over, the Monroe Doctrine no longer seemed quite as belligerent. The empire had, after all, abandoned most of the Western Hemisphere anyway. As the Americans rediscovered their British heritage, so too did the British come to see the United States as an extension of British civilisation. It had gone through an unnecessary rupture because of obstinacy by Lord North’s government (Burke also became a bestseller in the UK), but the Anglo-American destiny was always for the latter half of that moniker to become the standard bearer of civilisation in the New World.

What took this cultural drawing together to formal alliance though, were key personalities in the McKinley administration and UK government. In the former, they were Secretary of State John Hay and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt. In the latter, they were Austen Chamberlain and his successor, Lord Brunel. 1900 proved key to the creation of the Entente not only because Brunel’s party, which won the UK General Election, was full-throated in its support, but because Hay and Roosevelt were kept on by McKinley after his own election win.


wjb - Copy.jpeg

William Jennings Bryan, 1900
One of the foremost American isolationists, Bryan was the Democratic candidate for US President three times, the latter two runs on an explicit promise to withdraw from the agreement

That is not to say Anglophobia and anti-Americanism simply melted away in the years up to the signing of the Entente Cordiale. William Jennings Bryan ran his 1900 and 1908 campaigns on an explicitly isolationist, anti-Entente stance. Many in the British security establishment considered that America’s two-ocean geography meant it was a far more pressing threat. Germany could be effectively corralled in the North Sea, and allies could be found to match her on land, but the United States was a vast continental empire that only Britain had the strategic base – in Canada – and naval prowess necessary to compete with or be a threat to. America’s stated, and self-perceived, anti-imperialism also rubbed up uncomfortably with the fact of Britain’s being master of a colonial empire covering more than a quarter of the globe.

Ironically, the opponents of the Entente were far more collaborative in the early years than its proponents. British anti-imperialists would happily join Bryan on the campaign trail to argue that American support for the UK as it was made it harder to advance the cause of Dominionism. American isolationists would do speaking tours of the UK, saying the treaty was entirely unnecessary, as the United States had no interest in empire, much less taking over the British Empire, and so there was no American flank to secure.

In 1900, Bryan was soundly defeated, but the success of anti-Entente candidates in the 1902 mid-term elections for US Congress showed that the American public did not feel unanimous in its support for the treaty. In Britain, the debate on Imperial Federation dominated the public sphere, allowing Westminster to quietly maintain consensus on the matter, but few were under any illusions that a well-run campaign against the treaty would fail to make headway. Both nations had only just come out of long periods of geopolitical isolationism, and the Entente Cordiale was a powerful symbol of hate for those who considered the new interventionism a bound-to-be-fatal mistake.


rapprochement - Copy.jpg

Pro-Entente Poster, 1906
Part of Roosevelt and Chamberlain’s efforts to cement the alliance amongst their respective publics, this poster is typical of the media blitz that, in many ways, inaugurated the age of government propaganda

President McKinley was, to some extent, ambivalent about the treaty. He had seen it more as a way to ensure the UK did not interfere when the US challenged Spain over Cuba (and, by the end of the Spanish-American War, the Philippines). Having successfully mounted that challenge in 1902, he went silent on the matter of withdrawal from the treaty. In practice, he was leaving it to the American people via the Presidential Election of 1904. That election was won by Theodore Roosevelt, but the relatively narrow margin of victory, one that more likely owed itself to economic strength than support for the Entente, convinced the new President that more would have to be done.

He was lucky that the UK General Election nine months later brought in a Foreign Secretary who agreed with him, and who already had a plan to strengthen the alliance. Together, the President and Austen Chamberlain launched a concerted campaign to get the cultural convergence that had happened amongst the elites of the two nations to embed itself in the common man. The posters, rallies, and joint appearances by pro-Entente figures political and cultural, all organised by the Department of State and the Foreign Office, were pioneering. Many of the figures who worked on the campaign would come to head the war-time propaganda efforts of their respective nations.

By 1908, evidence of the campaign’s success could be found everywhere. Events celebrating Anglo-American friendship were springing up independent of government. The Anglo-American Society was one of the largest political organisations in the United States and its sister society, The British Friends of America, one of the largest in the United Kingdom. Most encouragingly of all, President Roosevelt won re-election by a landslide. With public support seemingly assured, the Entente could be strengthened by more than military agreement.


elihu root - Copy.jpg

Elihu Root, US Secretary of State, 1909
As Secretary of State throughout Roosevelt’s Presidency, Root’s primary goal for the second term was solving any remaining conflicts of interest between the US and UK

The most important of these efforts was the resolution of the greatest conflict of interest between the two powers. The Panama Canal was owned and operated by the British Panama Corporation, which itself was part-owned by the British government. Though the UK had unilaterally pledged to keep shipping through the Canal open to all, including American warships, British control of the most vital waterway in the Americas had three times almost led to war; in 1879, when the purchase of the Canal Zone was announced; in 1885, when the Canal itself was completed; and in 1891, when an American-backed coup in Colombia seemed as if it might lead to an attempt to nationalise the Canal.***

Hashed out between Roosevelt’s victory in 1908 (he officially authorised Secretary of State Elihu Root to negotiate the moment re-election was clear, before even recording his victory speech, on election night) and August 1910, the Root-Chamberlain Treaty expanded beyond the Canal to a general conflict-resolution exercise. Britain would relax its restrictions on share ownership in the BPC, and the two governments would buy out its private investors, followed by a share swap that would end in 50/50 ownership. The United States, in turn, would recognise British territory in the Western Hemisphere as outside the purview of the Monroe Doctrine, and both powers would allow their navies to dock in designated Caribbean and Pacific ports of the other. American claims on the Philippines were officially recognised by the UK, and an informal ‘Division of the Pacific’ agreed.****

A measure of just how close the two nations had become between the 1891 Colombian Crisis and the outbreak of war in 1911 was the reaction to Canadian Accession to the new Imperial Federation. What would, in 1891, certainly have led to a war scare in itself, instead prompted suggestions that the two nations could find a way to undo the separation of 1776. Of course, this was several bridges too far for most. The impossibility of such a development is best expressed in the leading proposals; the Anglo-American Society proposed the constituent parts of the Imperial Federation and UK accede as States; the British Friends of America proposed the States accede as Imperial Commonwealths (albeit, the BFA conceded they should be renamed to Federal Commonwealths in such an event). Even amongst its greatest advocates, convergence had its limits.


* Arguably, the argument that the US was now, somehow, less democratic than the supposed tyranny it had broken from was what allowed American feminists to break through to the required two-thirds majorities for the 16th Amendment to pass the Senate in 1896 (although ratification would take until 1900).

** And it was Anglo-American, not Anglo-Saxon. Despite their reconciliation with their heritage, the American elite still considered the United States to be the culmination of that grand civilisation; the Rome to England’s Greece.

*** This would prove to be the last true war scare between the United States and United Kingdom. It also contributed directly to the British decision to focus on Germany, as assessing the logistics involved in protecting the Canal and Canada – and launching a counter to the expected invasion of both – proved so monumental as to be impossible without leaving the empire as a whole practically unprotected.

**** While the Treaty allowed withdrawal, this section also included a guillotine clause. Upon withdrawal, American shares would revert to the Crown Panama Agents – the legal entity through which the British Crown invested in the BPC – and British territory would immediately be considered subject to the Monroe Doctrine again. Docking rights would also be mutually rescinded.
 
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DensleyBlair

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An Anglo–American convergence culminating in actual political union would be terrifying. Glad to see that the arguing over whether Britain should be a state or the US a federation of commonwealths will keep that one firmly beyond the limits of political will for now. Even so, an America that isn't isolationist by default and is entirely up for being all pro-Anglo says interesting things about the coming war. I wonder if Washington will be so keen on Europe when it's all over.

Speaking of For All We Have and Are, does anyone know where I might find maps that look good in black and white and aren't too cluttered to have a bunch of arrows and lines added?

I would suggest digimaps, but it requires institutional access and a basic knowledge of autocad to be of much help. I think it may also only cover the UK, which I sense might not be the most useful to you. Otherwise depending on scale I tend to sift through Creative Commons and such for .svg files I can play around with in photoshop.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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The ‘White Anglo-Saxon Protestant’ population of the United States thus came to see itself as part of a shared Anglo-American civilisation.**

And as often was the case OTL, more of a bastard copy to be amended rather than a superior version (there is a lot of internal debate in the period about which one is the case, and in what areas).

Britain would relax its restrictions on share ownership in the BPC, and the two governments would buy out its private investors, followed by a share swap that would end in 50/50 ownership.

Well, that seems more agreeable and stable than shared ownership of suez at least. Both nations benefit.

The United States, in turn, would recognise British territory in the Western Hemisphere as outside the purview of the Monroe Doctrine, and both powers would allow their navies to dock in designated Caribbean and Pacific ports of the other. American claims on the Philippines were officially recognised by the UK, and an informal ‘Division of the Pacific’ agreed.****

And this makes both navies much cheaper to run and maintain, which is good. Certain to rub up against Canadian and Australian imperial ambitions after the war though.

What would, in 1891, certainly have led to a war scare in itself, instead prompted suggestions that the two nations could find a way to undo the separation of 1776.

This was an OTL movement too, on both sides of the pond. Even sherlock holmes (bizarrely) expresses enthusiasm for it at one point.

the Rome to England’s Greece

Respected more, but loved less. Again, the issue of substandard/improved copy is fundamental here.

...

As for great war prep. I find it unlikely that any version of GB would be ready for a ground war of that scale at that time. The army was small, professional (indeed, so good that everyone on all sides felt the need to comment on it August 1914) and hialriously unprepared for a long conflict. Shells, bullets and other rather vital war-making supplies were in very short supply and incapable of being replaced in the numbers required until much later on. This was a scandal that rocked goverments and even hit Kitchener, although he seemed to know what a problem it was and had made preparations, just not swiftly enough.
 

Specialist290

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The Special Relationship is beginning to come together. I imagine there will probably be uncomfortable questions to answer about which partner got the better end of the bargain down the road, but for now, common bonds of heritage and self-interest are the order of the day.
 

stnylan

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Goodness me - a united Anglosphere is a terrible prospect for any to face (and perhaps to be a part of).
 

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"Two nations divided by a common language" seems appropos in this context. I applaud the US and UK for being able to make common cause; there is indeed some skilled diplomacy going on.

I'm enjoying this very much and look forward to more installments. But even with the massive alliance forming, for me the critical element is whether or not India (or some collection of Indian states) can be brought into the Imperial/Federal system on anything like equal terms with Canada and Britain herself. it is a noble goal but I think true equality is a leap too far for the times and mores.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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As ever I feel like India was a step too far for the empire, either as a possession, dominion or federal state. Tearing it into chunks might work for a bit but its too big a realm to keep and too different to dominate. It would be much the same as conquering and attempting to hold china. Sure, for a century or two possibly, but it's no long term prospect.

I ssupect the best idea is to divide it up into successor states that will be reasonably stable and won't want to kill significant portions of their own population, and leave as friends, potentially with a few strings attached keeling the sub continet sort of in the commonwealth or deeply within the sphere of influence at least.

The joke idea about selling the ports to France is always possible of course.
 

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I love the updates
The new changes to the global political landscape are intriguing.
India in a federation and an Anglosphere!

Good writing
I enjoyed catching up
 

slothinator

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That talks came even vaguely in the direction of union is very impressive but I imagine that this would have pushed France away from such an anglo-heavy Entente.
The peace talks after the war are certainly going to be interesting
 

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Wait, France lost the Alsace-Lorraine AND Brittany? If that's the case then I think they'd be willing to sign an alliance with cannibals, satanists and Cthulu too. An Ango-heavy Entente would look like a life-raft to a man in an ocean of sharks.
 

El Pip

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America’s stated, and self-perceived, anti-imperialism
In this world of change and uncertainty it is pleasing that some things remain as constant as the North Star. In this case, America's national blind spot/hypocrisy about imperialism.

Sure the US has claims on the Philippines, have annexed much of the Caribbean, launching coups in Colombia and more beyond. But that is not Imperialism, no heaven forbid. It's just regional security, or legitimate national interest or some other weasel words. Only other people have Empires, America just has overseas possession it economical exploits and where the locals don't have any meaningful votes. That is obviously completely different.
 

BigBadBob

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An Anglo–American convergence culminating in actual political union would be terrifying. Glad to see that the arguing over whether Britain should be a state or the US a federation of commonwealths will keep that one firmly beyond the limits of political will for now. Even so, an America that isn't isolationist by default and is entirely up for being all pro-Anglo says interesting things about the coming war. I wonder if Washington will be so keen on Europe when it's all over.

I would suggest digimaps, but it requires institutional access and a basic knowledge of autocad to be of much help. I think it may also only cover the UK, which I sense might not be the most useful to you. Otherwise depending on scale I tend to sift through Creative Commons and such for .svg files I can play around with in photoshop.

They were suspicious of Europe after only being in for the end of it IOTL, so one can only imagine how they'll feel after being in from start to finish.

Thanks for the suggestions. Digimaps does indeed seem to be UK-only, but the other one looks like it'll yield results.

And as often was the case OTL, more of a bastard copy to be amended rather than a superior version (there is a lot of internal debate in the period about which one is the case, and in what areas).

Well, that seems more agreeable and stable than shared ownership of suez at least. Both nations benefit.

And this makes both navies much cheaper to run and maintain, which is good. Certain to rub up against Canadian and Australian imperial ambitions after the war though.

This was an OTL movement too, on both sides of the pond. Even sherlock holmes (bizarrely) expresses enthusiasm for it at one point.

Respected more, but loved less. Again, the issue of substandard/improved copy is fundamental here.

...

As for great war prep. I find it unlikely that any version of GB would be ready for a ground war of that scale at that time. The army was small, professional (indeed, so good that everyone on all sides felt the need to comment on it August 1914) and hialriously unprepared for a long conflict. Shells, bullets and other rather vital war-making supplies were in very short supply and incapable of being replaced in the numbers required until much later on. This was a scandal that rocked goverments and even hit Kitchener, although he seemed to know what a problem it was and had made preparations, just not swiftly enough.

Being subtitled 'A British AAR,' 1901 will, of course, take no stance on the substandard/improved copy debate, implicitly or explicitly.

Well, now I have the horrible image of Sherlock Holmes saying 'elementary, my dear Watson' in very broad American accent stuck in my head.

Yes, I certainly didn't mean to imply they're genuinely ready, merely that the size of the Army is more 'completely inadequate' than 'totally and utterly inadequate.'

The Special Relationship is beginning to come together. I imagine there will probably be uncomfortable questions to answer about which partner got the better end of the bargain down the road, but for now, common bonds of heritage and self-interest are the order of the day.

Certainly, it will be a question on the Americans' lips once this war is over.

Goodness me - a united Anglosphere is a terrible prospect for any to face (and perhaps to be a part of).

TREMBLE! TREMB... What? The Yanks don't want to send their men half-way across the world to die in France? But we're there, and we speak English!

"Two nations divided by a common language" seems appropos in this context. I applaud the US and UK for being able to make common cause; there is indeed some skilled diplomacy going on.

I'm enjoying this very much and look forward to more installments. But even with the massive alliance forming, for me the critical element is whether or not India (or some collection of Indian states) can be brought into the Imperial/Federal system on anything like equal terms with Canada and Britain herself. it is a noble goal but I think true equality is a leap too far for the times and mores.

To quote General Clive Wynne-Candy, protagonist of my favourite film - The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - when trying to get an American lootenant to tell him if there's a pub nearby; 'oh, dash it, we don't speak the same language.'

I should also say that A Special Providence is very much on my personal AAR Mt Rushmore, so to speak, so having you follow one of mine is an honour.

As ever I feel like India was a step too far for the empire, either as a possession, dominion or federal state. Tearing it into chunks might work for a bit but its too big a realm to keep and too different to dominate. It would be much the same as conquering and attempting to hold china. Sure, for a century or two possibly, but it's no long term prospect.

I ssupect the best idea is to divide it up into successor states that will be reasonably stable and won't want to kill significant portions of their own population, and leave as friends, potentially with a few strings attached keeling the sub continet sort of in the commonwealth or deeply within the sphere of influence at least.

The joke idea about selling the ports to France is always possible of course.

It is indeed a fine mess Britain has created for itself by relying on a united subcontinent to be the motor of empire, while arguing vehemently that there's no such thing as India.

I love the updates
The new changes to the global political landscape are intriguing.
India in a federation and an Anglosphere!

Good writing
I enjoyed catching up

Thanks! Always happy to know you're still with me.

That talks came even vaguely in the direction of union is very impressive but I imagine that this would have pushed France away from such an anglo-heavy Entente.
The peace talks after the war are certainly going to be interesting

Just like IOTL, I can't see any talks coming to a conclusion that actually solves things. After a certain point, things are just too dislocated, and the necessary guarantors too exhausted, for a lasting peace.

Wait, France lost the Alsace-Lorraine AND Brittany? If that's the case then I think they'd be willing to sign an alliance with cannibals, satanists and Cthulu too. An Ango-heavy Entente would look like a life-raft to a man in an ocean of sharks.

Yeah, Germany really beat up on France. They're now in a place where the revanchism is even stronger than IOTL, but they're also faced with a four-way threat (Germany, Brittany, Spain, and Italy). Of all the participants, they're probably the ones for whom it's most All or Nothing, and definitely the ones who have the least illusions about the price they're going to pay.

In this world of change and uncertainty it is pleasing that some things remain as constant as the North Star. In this case, America's national blind spot/hypocrisy about imperialism.

Sure the US has claims on the Philippines, have annexed much of the Caribbean, launching coups in Colombia and more beyond. But that is not Imperialism, no heaven forbid. It's just regional security, or legitimate national interest or some other weasel words. Only other people have Empires, America just has overseas possession it economical exploits and where the locals don't have any meaningful votes. That is obviously completely different.

There's also that whole Manifest Destiny thing. Marching across a continent and claiming it all as your own isn't imperialist if you make some gestures towards assimilation. After all, the Romans aren't considered an empire.
 
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BigBadBob

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LADY AND THE BANKER
The City and the Landed Aristocracy, 1892-1910

Iain Banks

The City of London* and the landed aristocracy experienced a coming together in the decades preceding the Great War. To be sure, there had always been an overlap of interests; the landed provided a huge part of the imperial officer class, and the City financed the expansion of the empire they administered. In some ways, it is not a surprise they eventually converged more completely on a social and political level, but that it happened so late.

Employment in the City had gained a certain level of prestige through the course of the 19th Century, being less vulgar than making one’s money in the new manufacturing industries, but was still seen as lesser than having wealth derived from land. The agricultural depression of the late 1870s and ‘80s forced re-evaluation of this attitude amongst the landed class, as the wealth of the financiers became an avenue through which to save increasingly strained estate finances. Just as with the more famous marriages between American heiresses and aristocratic sons, many a family was temporarily saved by having their fortunes connected, through a daughter’s marriage, to that of a City scion.

City families that made their way into the upper class proper in this period include the Barclays, Clarkes, and Hambros. By the late 1880s, half the Court of Directors at the Bank of England were married to, or had their heir apparent married to, one of Britain’s old aristocratic families. A couple marriages of varying happiness though, could not outweigh the increasing resentment of the landed towards the lenders that now seemed to control their entire lives. Even if the very heights of the City and Bank were becoming deeply entwined with the landed class, the vast, vast majority of the City remained separate from it. Even as they went to the same public schools, and often shared a distrust of university education, favouring the cult of the amateur, it was almost an axiom that the City folk would vote Liberal (for Gladstonian austerity) and the landed Conservative (for traditionalist noblesse oblige).


proposal - Copy.jpg

The Marriage Proposal, Evert Jan Boks
Reportedly, Boks’ 1882 painting depicts the proposal of City banker James Francis Baring in 1880. His marriage to Lady Caroline de Vere saved that family’s finances; in return, her father, the 4th Earl de Vere, ensured James Francis’ own 1888 elevation to the peerage as the 1st Earl Baring

By 1891, the two parts of high society seemed more likely to be torn asunder than to unite for good. It was the events of the summer of 1892 and the introduction of the National Insurance system that reversed this trend. The new, indiscriminate spending required by the system put Gladstonian fiscal conservatism squarely in opposition to Sinclair’s new direction for the party. In the election of 1892, the City split between those who thought they could reign Sinclair in, and those who abandoned the Liberal Party for the Conservatives.

One of the former was James Francis Baring, 1st Earl Baring, who continued to provide the services of his pioneer polling operation to the Sinclair government. As a member of the Baring family, Lord Baring became the focal point of much hate and admiration from both sides of the new City divide. By convincing his father-in-law, Charles de Vere, 4th Earl de Vere, to switch to the Liberals, he also made himself a figure of hate amongst portions of the landed class. The feeling was amplified by his appointment to leader of the party in the Lords after the election. Baring once joked that, for the next five years, there were parts of the East End he felt safer in than the City.

The landed aristocracy could have treated the arrival of the City in the party en masse with a certain sense of victory, and until the run-up to the election of 1897, there was a definite sense of City-based peers and party magnates having to perform rites of passage. After all, it was they who were so threatened by imprudent fiscal policy. Sir William Sinclair changed this by announcing that victory in the election would lead to an extension of National Insurance to servants. Suddenly, the landed class were also in Sinclair’s sights. The panic was palpable; the additional strains of providing insurance to their servants would surely collapse the precarious finances of many estates.

The Liberal victory caused a rash of new loan agreements being drawn up between City and aristocracy in preparation for the inevitable adoption of a National Insurance Act 1897. That is, until Sinclair’s health forced him to resign. Here, Baring made back his reputation among his class; he convinced Chamberlain to kill the NI Bill, arguing that it was not worth the political capital the new Prime Minister needed to execute his foreign policy. Suddenly, Baring was no longer persona non grata around Threadneedle Street.


lord baring - Copy.jpg

James Francis Baring, 1st Earl Baring, 1898
One of the towering figures of the era, Lord Baring managed be both Satan and Saviour to his fellow peers and the wider upper class in the 1890s

Threadneedle Street was the stronghold from which the City, having lost on the electoral battlefield in both 1892 and 1897, waged its battle against the government. Throughout the 1890s, the Bank of England would act as the final line of defence when the government wished to raise debt. The Discount Office would gently prod the market makers to bid a little higher than they otherwise might have, the Treasury would be spooked, and spending cut. When the interest on government debt proved an insufficient deterrent, the Governor would intimate that the government was threatening the Bank’s ability to maintain the Gold Standard.**

As the century turned, and the focal point of the British political scene moved on from National Insurance, the City and landed aristocracy did not, as many expected, find themselves drifting apart again. The rise of Germany was a threat to both; to the empire on which rested the landed class’ self-confidence, and to the financial dominance it provided the City. The flow of both commodities and foreign investment through London was built on the reams of reporting imperial pursuits provided. No other place on earth could boast so complete an information economy as the City. It was also accepted as truth that Sterling’s position at the centre of the global economy would not survive a successful German challenge to British dominance.

It was not an accident that James Brunel, a former civil engineer and grandson of the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was ennobled in the Jubilee Honours of 1897. Though he did not win the election that year, after three more years as leader of the Conservative Party, he had well and truly been absorbed by the establishment. Vanity Fair described him in 1899 as ‘a common man, raised up by the ruling class until he was uncommonly out of touch enough for their purposes.’


lord brunel young - Copy.png

James Brunel, 1st Baron Brunel, 1904
Originally considered a reformist Conservative, Brunel became the standard-bearer of traditionalism at the Turn of the Century

Over the next ten years, Brunel would achieve for the Conservatives a plurality of votes and seats in four out of four elections, and still serve only one term as Prime Minister. Unable to convincingly win, but also too successful to remove, he presided over what were seemingly constant defeats on the major issue of the day; Imperial Federation. When the Act of Union 1910 finally passed after the Constitutional Crisis of 1909-10, his ability to maintain a grip on the party was lost. Brunel’s legacy since has gone through multiple periods of revision, from being blamed for consecutive Conservative defeats, to being praised for his impressive, if unfortunately distributed, electoral achievements.

The greatest of those achievements, and the only one that does not come with the caveat that he did not become Prime Minister despite it, was the election of 1900. It brought into No 10 by far the most aristocratic government of the 20th Century. Of the men occupying the four Great Offices of State, only the Foreign Secretary did not sit in the House of Lords. Even the Bank of England, ostensibly separate from government, found itself choosing John Baring, 2nd Baron Revelstoke, as Governor in 1902. That Brunel had recommended him was hardly a coincidence.

Brunel’s ministry seemed to complete the merging of City and landed interests. There was even a fear among Liberal peers that they would soon lose so many of their number that the only way to keep Liberal legislation having so much as the prospect of passage in the upper house would be to ennoble an absurd amount of their supporters. As with so much in the 1900s, the Federation debate changed everything. With no clear unifying aspect of anti-Federation absolutism, save for the possibility of it being a backdoor to Home Rule, the Conservative grip on the House of Lords was shattered.

The City could see as much opportunity to create adjuncts to its London operations in the Imperial Commonwealths as threat from the election of less urbanised and financialised MPs. Some of the landed class could see for themselves an escape from the increasing squeeze on their lifestyle without having to sacrifice quite so much political influence. Many had cousins and children who had gone to South Africa or Australia, and now sent letters detailing the vast open spaces and wildlife they found; an eternity in the countryside.


safari - Copy.jpg

Anthony James Lygon, cousin of Lord Beauchamp, 1908
Safari was one of the activities that seemed to promise a return to a bygone age for the landed class in the potential Imperial Commonwealths

And yet, when the Imperial Federation Act 1905 eventually did pass, the exodus that some had predicted did not materialise. The same members of the upper class, second and third sons, cousins of the successful, as had gone before the creation of the Commonwealths went after their creation. Many would also find that, contrary to the impression one might gain from the letters, once the purpose was to move rather than visit, a name could not take you as far as it did in London.

In any case, not long after the creation of the Imperial Commonwealths, the great fear of the Conservative peers materialised in the government’s push for Commonwealth Status for Ireland. More than that, the government was coming for the Lords’ veto. The landed peers, already experiencing what felt like a precipitous fall from grace as estates collapsed and they lost on issue after issue, now saw their last vestige of concrete power under attack.

The furious battle over the Act of Union 1910 showed just how much of a divide there still was between City and landed aristocracy. With alternative avenues of influence at its disposal, the former proved much more receptive to the Liberal cause. The bitter divides created over the course of the Crisis would surely have led to another period of great tension between the two sides of Britain’s upper class, had a far more devastating disaster not occurred a little over a year after the passage of the Act.

Lord Brunel, upon hearing that the Act had received Royal Assent, remarked that there would now be two periods in English history, ‘that before 1910, and that after.’ He was wrong on the cause of that great rupture, and off by a year, but Brunel’s remark would prove prescient. In the conflagration that followed, the City would finally take command of the upper class, but also find just how closely it had become intertwined with its landed compatriots.


* Here used in the metonymic sense to refer to the people and institutions of Britain’s financial industry, although much more of the financial sector was still based in the City at the Turn of the Century than today.

** Just how often this was true has only recently been possible to evaluate, as the Bank has finally been forced to open up its archives. In reality, it turns out that the extensive surpluses built up by the Treasury pre-1892 provided a quite healthy buffer for extra debt. It was the Great War, and the arms race preceding it, that finally ate these surpluses.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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The british embrace or rarher succumb to the City being at the top who owns the lot. Now begins the race for the estates. Who is going to figure out how to keep them, who is going to lose everything, and is there going to be a mass public freak out and various trusts swooping in to save these properties or not?

Also, this is the death knell of victorian Britain. The landed nobility are on the way out, both economically and in goverment. The financial sector is ascendant and possess a stranglehold on much regarding government policy. And the war looms, threatening the final end of the age of confidence and security.
 

stnylan

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Brunel's career seems absolutely fascinating. I really am not sure whose career in OTL might be closest. It's such a strange beast I am not at all surprised his time has been hard for future historians to pin down.

Also, I have to enquire if it was intentional that this passage was written by an Iain Banks - given the Iain Banks of our world was something of a socialist in his politics it is quite fun to see his name here talking about the City and Gentry.
 

Le Jones

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As ever well written @BigBadBob, I feel a tad sympathetic with Brunel, oddly.

Also, this is the death knell of victorian Britain. The landed nobility are on the way out, both economically and in goverment. The financial sector is ascendant and possess a stranglehold on much regarding government policy. And the war looms, threatening the final end of the age of confidence and security.

It does feel like that, and it feels that it's happening earlier than OTL.
 

DensleyBlair

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I can understand well enough how the landed gentry and aristocracy secured their influence, but the City is a subject on which I am forced to admit total and utter bafflement. Still, having their lot in the ascendant doesn't inspire in me all that much hope about the future course of Britain. (I suppose you might've guessed this…)

I'll also echo the fascination with Brunel, and might perhaps suggest Haussmann as the closest thing to an analogue.

Also, I have to enquire if it was intentional that this passage was written by an Iain Banks - given the Iain Banks of our world was something of a socialist in his politics it is quite fun to see his name here talking about the City and Gentry.

I too was going to ask if you had the writer in mind, @BigBadBob.
 

El Pip

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The Brunel family have fallen on dark times if they are reduced to being politicians.

Then again they pretty much vanished from history after Marc in OTL so perhaps that was the price of survival. Still a bit of steep price.

As mentioned a sense of transition, but one that will be catastrophically interrupted by the much threatened Great War.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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The Brunel family have fallen on dark times if they are reduced to being politicians.

Then again they pretty much vanished from history after Marc in OTL so perhaps that was the price of survival. Still a bit of steep price.

As mentioned a sense of transition, but one that will be catastrophically interrupted by the much threatened Great War.

Not named by Brunel. Despite the convention.