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Dragon50

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I sometimes worry about churchill's legacy in this universe, will only one year(albeit impressive one) as Prime Minister I doubt he will have as fame as in our universe, but hopefully he still has some.
 
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When war comes to the Far East, and it will come I assure you, things will look somewhat different to now and certainly different to OTL. I don't want to say more for fear of spoiling things, but I am enjoying this erudite speculation.
Unless war is described in very very broad strokes (which would be very unlike Pip), I can't imagine how long would that take in real time :p
 
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I sometimes worry about churchill's legacy in this universe, will only one year(albeit impressive one) as Prime Minister I doubt he will have as fame as in our universe, but hopefully he still has some.
Depending on one's view of the man, that is a good thing, as after all, Churchill was and is very ...Complex.. I suppose the word would be, person in history.

And yes, I know I might be stepping on some British toes here, but in my view Churchill is praised far too much, and I'd argue his reign as Prime Minister was less than great anyways.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I sometimes worry about churchill's legacy in this universe, will only one year(albeit impressive one) as Prime Minister I doubt he will have as fame as in our universe, but hopefully he still has some.
Depending on one's view of the man, that is a good thing, as after all, Churchill was and is very ...Complex.. I suppose the word would be, person in history.

And yes, I know I might be stepping on some British toes here, but in my view Churchill is praised far too much, and I'd argue his reign as Prime Minister was less than great anyways.
Indeed, was about to ask what exactly his legacy was, and whether it was more positive than negative? If nothing else, his strange love affair with America sometimes far over British interests has not led to great places for the UK, or anyone else.

It could be argued that his most positive and important legislative achievement is already done, because he supported the 1911 House of Lords Reform. And his most extremely bad decision with Gallipoli has also already happened. Yes his other important thing, the 'no surrender' in 1940, is going to be missing (presumably? He could still make the speech even if he doesn't have final say) but he already arguably did a better stint for his country by forcing the UK into war with Italy, defending Ethiopia and essentially forcing the UK to rearm, relearn how to be imperialist and stand up to fascism.

He'll still, with that brief tenure as PM, be regarded as one of the most significant politicians and PMs of the 20th century because if that war and his actions within hadn't occurred, who knows (well, ww2 as we know) what would have happened? So he still has a good legacy if he drops dead tomorrow for the most part. But he'll still be a great wartime orator against Japan and Germany/Soviets, he just wont be in charge of the military response (which is probably a good thing). He did his duty in awakening the lion, now he needs to help but not lead it onwards.
 
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El Pip

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Seems at least fairly clean cut between the European and Pacific theatres, but things can change quite quickly in modern war. First we have to find out what happens with china, then it should be a little clearer about how this will all come about.
Broadly true for now, but as you say things may (will) change.

Is that the sound of Pip's quill strachting on parchment as he furiously works on the next update I hear? ;)
I admire your optimism. :D

Might be. Three more posts until the top of the page!
There is always hope.

2 posts to the top.
Fortunately @Dragon50 kindly crushed this hope by taking top of the page. Good work that man. ;)

Well as we've said, we're all waiting for china update so we can continue the baseless speculation which he so enjoys.

So this will probably end up finally going back to Spain.
Cast-iron promise we aren't going to Spain for a while and I'm fairly sure we are going to China. I've even got the chapter title written (and not a lot more than that....)

My own humble contribution...

By The Man himself.


View attachment 577837
Outstanding work as always Kurtie. And who can say no to an instruction from Winnie himself?


I sometimes worry about churchill's legacy in this universe, will only one year(albeit impressive one) as Prime Minister I doubt he will have as fame as in our universe, but hopefully he still has some.
He will be viewed differently certainly, but his career is far from over. ;)

Unless war is described in very very broad strokes (which would be very unlike Pip), I can't imagine how long would that take in real time :p
It might take a while I admit. But that is part of the charm.

Depending on one's view of the man, that is a good thing, as after all, Churchill was and is very ...Complex.. I suppose the word would be, person in history.

And yes, I know I might be stepping on some British toes here, but in my view Churchill is praised far too much, and I'd argue his reign as Prime Minister was less than great anyways.
Now we see the terrible effects of coffee on the human mind. Look at the catastrophic damage bean juice does to a man's critical faculties. We can only hope regular intravenous tea can effect some sort of recovery. ( :D )

Slightly more seriously Churchill benefits greatly from who he is compared to - post-war British Prime Minister, with the exception of Attlee, are not an inspiring bunch and pre-war you have titans like Neville Chamberlain and Ramsey MacDonald. It's hard not to look great when that is your competition. (I'm being a tad unfair to Nev I know, he was a decent Chancellor, he had a social conscience and his domestic legacy was relatively good. He was just a Foreign Policy idiot who didn't know he was an idiot and was badly out of his depth to terrible effect).

Indeed, was about to ask what exactly his legacy was, and whether it was more positive than negative? If nothing else, his strange love affair with America sometimes far over British interests has not led to great places for the UK, or anyone else.

It could be argued that his most positive and important legislative achievement is already done, because he supported the 1911 House of Lords Reform. And his most extremely bad decision with Gallipoli has also already happened. Yes his other important thing, the 'no surrender' in 1940, is going to be missing (presumably? He could still make the speech even if he doesn't have final say) but he already arguably did a better stint for his country by forcing the UK into war with Italy, defending Ethiopia and essentially forcing the UK to rearm, relearn how to be imperialist and stand up to fascism.

He'll still, with that brief tenure as PM, be regarded as one of the most significant politicians and PMs of the 20th century because if that war and his actions within hadn't occurred, who knows (well, ww2 as we know) what would have happened? So he still has a good legacy if he drops dead tomorrow for the most part. But he'll still be a great wartime orator against Japan and Germany/Soviets, he just wont be in charge of the military response (which is probably a good thing). He did his duty in awakening the lion, now he needs to help but not lead it onwards.
Back in ancient times, when this work started, I wanted someone to re-awaken the Imperial Lion and get stuff done. My overly simplistic analysis was, and to an extent remains, that Britain's main problem inter-war was a lack of confidence and grip, the figures on the economic and industrial capacity and potential of the Empire remain staggering. What was required was someone to shake things up, a bit of Action this Day, and above all get Whitehall and Westminster to remember they ran an Empire and had enormous power if they had but the wit to wield it.

Conversely I have a memory of reading a long since lost short story which had Churchill die in an accident (or maybe from bombing) in early September 1940. The 'ideal' time for him to be removed from office, he had got the country rallied, the Battle of Britain was basically done but it was before he could make any catastrophic mistakes and just in time to get the Tizzard mission delayed and then cancelled. Because as you say his strange, mostly unreciprocated, love of America was probably his biggest flaw, which is quite the statement given how many flaws he had.

So get him in early, do a job and then hustle him out of the door before he starts making things worse, that was the plan. On that basis your assessment is probably about right, but as I said - his career is far from over.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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On that basis your assessment is probably about right
I feel we are making some real progress here. Personal reflection and growth, and in the end saying I'm sort of right.

It is an interesting set up for a story because of course churchill did go up into rooftops during air raids to watch the fireworks, smoked like a chimney and was outrageously depressed most of the time. Get him out to start the war, start the empire, start the prep work for the future, then get him gone, neutered or deaded so someone who can actually run a country and empire can get on with it.

What happens with churchill and what happens with india is probably the two things the redux would change, yet having him come in years before the big war, have a great success in what he was best at and then become a party elder and orator is probably the best gig possible all things considered. Just make sure he doesn't get the navy again, or a Washington mission. Big ideas and passion are best left to aviation at this time.
 

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The China update is underway and is currently demonstrating the fundamental interconnectedness of all things is indeed universal.


I feel we are making some real progress here. Personal reflection and growth, and in the end saying I'm sort of right.
You missed out the magic words "on that basis". Out of the many incantations a young engineer must learn this is one of the more powerful when used to caveat any statement. For if the basis is incorrect, even slightly, then of course nothing that follows can or should be relied upon and no consequence can flow back to the engineer.

It is my sad duty to inform you that the basis you were operating on was not correct, with all the implications that implies.


What happens with churchill and what happens with india is probably the two things the redux would change, yet having him come in years before the big war, have a great success in what he was best at and then become a party elder and orator is probably the best gig possible all things considered. Just make sure he doesn't get the navy again, or a Washington mission. Big ideas and passion are best left to aviation at this time.
Wouldn't change the outcome with Churchill, but it would take a lot more politiking and a slightly earlier POD somewhere around the start of the whole crisis to get there. Maybe as far back as the border skirmishes back in '34; one of the Anglo-Egyptian border commissioners getting killed by the Italians, something like that. The politiking I would subcontract out to @Le Jones obviously. ;)

There is nothing significant I would change about India. Ghandi's self righteous pride and inability to think of consequences resulting in him getting himself killed is both a massive boon for India and no less than he deserved. It could be done in more detail, but so could everything and it's just not a subject I can get worked up about. The exact inner machinations of the INC and the League are doubtless fascinating to some, but I am not one of them.
 
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I reckon it's about time your loyal Pipians started congregating with torches and pitchforks to hear about the present state of this China update!

Personally I an hoping for a two thousand word update on the Chinese postal system along with some foreshadowing for a future update on the state of Chinese universities. Perhaps a sojourn into comparisons between Chinese and Indian Tea growing as part of a wider Asian agriculture arc.

One day I may have cause to regret these posts... I imagine if I ever do start an AAR Pip will make it a point of pride to request updates on the most obscure and abstruce esoterica imaginable.

I can't imagine many would blame him.
 

El Pip

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The mob are not what they once were. Which is a relief as I've spent the last few days writer-sniping myself over on the Read All About It thread.

However the next Butterfly update is just under 1,000 words and coming along nicely, I have found some lovely obscure stuff to throw in so I have high hopes of it when it eventually emerges.
 
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As this thread has occasionally discussed Refuelling at Sea in the context of the RN operating out in the Far East this clip is somewhat informative;

Fleet Exercises off Malta

That's the Royal Navy, doing side-by-side refuelling at sea, in 1936, as a regular part of the exercises and doing it pretty well.

I am baffled as to how the myth that the RN was behind with RAS ever got started when footage like this exists (and thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of sailors watched it happen and could have told anyone who asked). I am once again forced to conclude that post-war historians were just a bit crap and were too busy trying to write declinist tosh to actually do any research.

None of this has anything to do with the next chapter, I just thought it may be of interest and spark a bit of a chat. :)
 

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Ah well, here the advantage of having never read anything about 20th century history comes out. I've only had to read the tosh about medieval times. Which does also include naval misinformation...

What is it with the navy bashing?
 

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Oddly enough a book I'm reading right now (the Command of the Ocean: A naval history of Britain 1649-1815) goes into some of the naval myths (but in an earlier period) and it argues a lot of it was willfully supported by the Royal Navy itself.

For example there's an idea that the French had better ships (particialy their widley coppied two decker 74s) in the 1700s and early 1800s and a far more modern system of naval construction and the author argues it's all tosh.

Royal Navy captains tended to grossly inflate the qualities of the French ships they had captured to get more prize money and of course if they argued the French ships were far better than theirs it maginifed their victories and excused their defeats. It was also a good way of getting the government to pony up the money for building new ships.

Historians took a lot of this at face value and it became an article of faith that the French had far better ships that were simply far worse manned when in fact the quality gap was not nearly as big a gulf as the Royal Navy claimed.

That is certainty on topic (but over a century off timeline...) so there!
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Oddly enough a book I'm reading right now (the Command of the Ocean: A naval history of Britain 1649-1815) goes into some of the naval myths (but in an earlier period) and it argues a lot of it was willfully supported by the Royal Navy itself.

For example there's an idea that the French had better ships (particialy their widley coppied two decker 74s) in the 1700s and early 1800s and a far more modern system of naval construction and the author argues it's all tosh.

Royal Navy captains tended to grossly inflate the qualities of the French ships they had captured to get more prize money and of course if they argued the French ships were far better than theirs it maginifed their victories and excused their defeats. It was also a good way of getting the government to pony up the money for building new ships.

Historians took a lot of this at face value and it became an article of faith that the French had far better ships that were simply far worse manned when in fact the quality gap was not nearly as big a gulf as the Royal Navy claimed.

That is certainty on topic (but over a century off timeline...) so there!
There is a long history of the British or English being 'better skilled' but in 'worse' ships. This comment makes me wonder how much of that was actually true.
 
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Oddly enough a book I'm reading right now (the Command of the Ocean: A naval history of Britain 1649-1815) goes into some of the naval myths (but in an earlier period) and it argues a lot of it was willfully supported by the Royal Navy itself.

For example there's an idea that the French had better ships (particialy their widley coppied two decker 74s) in the 1700s and early 1800s and a far more modern system of naval construction and the author argues it's all tosh.

Royal Navy captains tended to grossly inflate the qualities of the French ships they had captured to get more prize money and of course if they argued the French ships were far better than theirs it maginifed their victories and excused their defeats. It was also a good way of getting the government to pony up the money for building new ships.

Historians took a lot of this at face value and it became an article of faith that the French had far better ships that were simply far worse manned when in fact the quality gap was not nearly as big a gulf as the Royal Navy claimed.

That is certainty on topic (but over a century off timeline...) so there!
I do like N A M Rodgers stuff, though I confess to being somewhat relieved the 3rd Volume keeps getting delayed as I have a nagging doubt about how well his style will work when the rate of change starts ratcheting up.

Certainly I agree with all that, but I think his more interesting point was that the design requirements were different. In that period the French wanted ships that would be fast and handle well in good weather in the Med and they got that - on a fine day, and if both ships were fresh out of the yard, you would probably want to be in the French one (ignoring crew and leadership for now). But if you were fighting in anything but a millpond, or in ships that had been at sea for a few months, then you would want to be in the British one. The Admiralty wanted ships that could sit off Ushant in all weathers and still be fit to fight after a few months on station, because that's waht you need if you are blockading the French ports and trying to control the Western Approaches.

Different requirements and uses will produce different designs and make it hard to compare. Or at least hard to meaningfully compare.

There is a long history of the British or English being 'better skilled' but in 'worse' ships. This comment makes me wonder how much of that was actually true.
A long history of being in 'different' ships certainly, even when you ask a shipwright to copy a design you will not get an exact copy because all the fittings are different. To expand on the previous point, French prizes had the scantling ripped out and replaced with British ones, but when the French (rarely) got their hands on a British one they did not. French standard fittings were lighter, so gave you a faster ship when new (which was what got the shipbuilder their bonus), British ones were chunkier but actually worked properly.

Skill varied so it always depends on which period. Late 1700s / 1800s probably better skilled, because the Admiralty had a better system for learning from all the experience, but definitely better motivated, particularly post Admiral Byng trial. The fact Voltaire wrote "but in this country we find it pays to shoot an admiral from time to time to encourage the others" and meant it as a satire rather an instruction does explain a great deal about why the French navy got repeatedly hammered over the following decades.
 
Chapter CXL: Merchants of Smooth Tasting Death New

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Chapter CXL: Merchants of Smooth Tasting Death.

When reviewing the trade, commercial and financial links between China and the wider world, Cotton is typically the chosen exemplar commodity, to the extent that commentary on the subject is almost an industry in itself. Therefore, in the interests of variety, we will instead be selecting a less wholesome, but hopefully far more interesting product; cigarettes. As with so many other products Chinese demand for cigarettes was vast and growing, some 85 billion 'sticks' would be sold in 1937 and the market was far from saturated. With such volumes being sold, and the high taxes cigarettes attracted, very large sums were at stake for both the manufacturers and the government, making the industry one that attracted political and diplomatic attention at the highest levels. Cigarettes were also unusual in that they required the manufacturer to leave the safety of the coast and venture into the interior of the country to find the customers and run the distribution networks, making the industry a very different proposition from operating a cotton mill in the safety of a Concession on the coast.

The term Concession is a flexible one and covered everything from permanent national enclaves like Hong Kong and Macau through to the treaty ports and the 'international' quarters of various cities. It is also important to define the term in the Chinese context, for it was not just the land that was conceded but rights on trade, taxes and the principle of 'extra-territoriality', which is to say the law of the leasing power would apply, not Chinese law. Naturally these privileges were resented by the Chinese but fiercely defended by those who had them and, while various (but not all) rights on taxes and tariffs had been relinquished, the leases and the extra-territoriality remained absolute. The Concessions themselves, especially the larger treaty ports, had become somewhat 'Western' in architecture, language and culture to the point that for many companies operating in a concession became like a 'standard' colonial venture; minimal import/export duties, a reliable (normally English law) legal system and no need to learn the local language beyond conversational Chinese, if that. As a consequence out of the four hundred odd British firms registered with the Shanghai chamber of commerce, barely a dozen operated outside of the Yangtze Delta concessions, a pattern repeated across the other concession nations.


His Britannic Majesty's Supreme Court for China, Shanghai. While a modest enough building it was symbolic of the extraordinary privileges enjoyed by a select few Western countries operating in China. Originally constructed as the Supreme Court for China and Japan the court had focused entirely on China since Britain gave up it's extra-territorial rights in Japan at the turn of the century. While it was 'Supreme' over the consular courts in China it sat under the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and was part of the wider British legal system, including a typically complex relationship with the equally British Supreme Court of Hong Kong and the local Admiralty Courts. Where the United States Court for China sat at best twice a year, and France had never seen the need for anything above a consular court, the Supreme Court for China sat regularly, a fact that helped impose consistency on the lower courts. This combination of reliability and (relatively) prompt justice had encouraged many non-British companies operating in the concessions to register as 'British' for legal purposes.

Turning back to cigarettes it is important to emphasise just how vital the revenue they provided was to the Chinese government. The total annual tax revenue for Nanking was around 850 million Yuan, of which just over a quarter (240 million) came from the Salt Tax, with cigarette taxes coming in second at around 200 million. The Salt Tax, being a relatively stable and reliable source of income, had long since been pledged to China's many bond holders as surety for the country's numerous loans, in contrast tobacco revenue was rising and could be spent as the government saw fit. Another key difference was that the salt tax was paid by millions of small merchants and importers, while the cigarette trade was dominated by one company; British American Tobacco (BAT). BAT held just over 2/3rds of the market and so was the single largest tax payer in China by quite some margin, a position it regularly used to exert influence over the national government. BAT was also in the unusual position of being an ally in Nanking's efforts to exert control over local government - if a rival paid a lower tax to a local government instead of the national headline rate they could undercut BAT's products, so the BAT distribution network became a source of intelligence about local government for Nanjing. This approach, of working with the Chinese government instead of relying of relying on extra-territoriality to ignore it, had been key to the company's success. This relationship would be tested in the struggles over the new tax rates that dominated the middle of 1937.


A packet of Golden Bat Export Grade cigarettes, undoubtedly the most notorious brand ever conceived. The standard Golden Bats were a product of the Monopoly Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Finance and were made using the bits of tobacco leaf that the other cigarette brands had rejected, making them both harsh and incredibly cheap. The Export Grade cigarettes used the same cheap tobacco but had a special filter, one which included a dose of pure opium inside. Produced at the behest of General Doihara and the IJA intelligence units they were obviously banned from sale in the Japanese Empire, instead all production was shipped to China for distribution there. Being very cheap and highly addictive, even by the standards of normal cigarettes, they sold well and were threatening to disrupt the wider market, to say nothing of their impact on the purchasers. After the adoption of the new China Policy in Tokyo in early 1937 the Golden Bats were withdrawn from sale and General Doihara re-assigned, deliberately doping unsuspecting Chinese cigarette customers being seen as somewhat outside the limits of the new co-operative approach.

The issue began when the politician, banker and businessman T.V. Soong brought a controlling share in the largest independent cigarette manufacturer in China. As was standard practice he subsequently contacted the Finance Ministry in order to get the tax and tariff system changed in favour of his new acquisition, it being expected that government policy would be bent to suit the requirements of someone so well connected. What followed, however, was not standard. While the Finance Minister, Dr H.H. Kung, was sympathetic, as one would expect given he was Soong's brother in law, his attempts to implement the changes faltered as the impact of the Leith-Ross mission started to be felt. The re-organised customs board indicated that the proposed tariffs on imported cigarettes, at a far from modest 500%, would choke off all imports (that was of course the intent) and that a new revenue stream would have to be identified to replace this lost income. Inside the Finance Ministry itself the first cadres of HM Treasury trained tax officials complained that the new tax regime would lower the effective tax on cheap brands while harshly increasing those on the rest of the market, which would drive consumers to purchase cheaper (lower taxed) packets and so reduce government revenue. That this change in consumer behaviour was the intent could not openly be admitted, the Kuomintang regime did require a facade of integrity in front of it's corruption, placing Kung in a difficult situation and escalating the problem to the top of the Nationalist government. It is worth noting at this point that so fully had some in the Finance Ministry adopted the thinking of their British mentors that their complaints referred to this lowering of tax revenues as "giving money back" to the public, a view of the world any Treasury official would surely agree with.

That the issue reached so high was because it hit the tension at the heart of the Nationalist regime. Was it a serious government looking to unify China, push back Japan and then hurl out the other foreign powers from their privileged positions, or was it merely an elaborate rent-extraction system to enable a privileged few to get exceptionally rich. The preference was obviously both, but increasingly Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was having to face up to the reality that this was not possible and on certain matters a choice had to be made. The advantages of having a stable currency and the Yuan being in the Sterling Zone had grown on the elite in Nanjing and Shanghai, it made acquiring life's luxuries easier and the larger the trade flows around the country, the more they could skim off. There were options to replace the lost cigarette revenue, but they all had issues; customs revenue was preferred because it was reliable, easy to collect and invisible, the last was important because people tended to blame the shop or the manufacturer for the cost of the packet and not the government tax. Any alternative taxes would be harder to collect, more likely to 'stick' to the fingers of those collecting it and obviously a government tax and, while Chiang did not have to bother with such trivialities as elections, that did not mean he could completely ignore public opinion. For all of the Soong spin about 'encouraging local manufacturing' the proposal was fundamentally about weakening the finances of the Chinese state to allow an already very wealthy clan to further enrich itself. That this was even a subject of debate is illuminating about the state of the Nationalist government.


The Nationalist Finance Minister Dr H.H. Kung meeting with German Chancellor Adolf Hitler at the Berghof in the Summer of 1937. While the Chinese government was grudgingly appreciative of British assistance with the currency stabilisation, and found official membership of the Sterling Zone offered many commercial advantages, they had no intention of being sucked further into the British sphere. China's other international links therefore not neglected and while Kung was working to enhance Sino-German co-operation, Madame Chiang returned to the United States to rally the China Lobby there. For all of Madame Chiang's formidable abilities she met with limited success, the Landon administration was burning political capital at an alarming rate over 'moral neutrality' in Spain and had no desire to provoke more domestic problems by getting involved in China. Dr Kung's mission was successful and he concluded another of the large scale machinery for raw material barter deals so beloved of the Reich's economic ministry and an expansion of the German military mission.

The final outcome could be seen as progress, if one was being generous. The cigarette tax rates were changed, but it was a mild tweak that up-rated them in line with inflation instead of a fundamental alteration, the British Embassy and BAT privately assessed it as Nanjing making a point to the Central Bank and Customs Board about who was ultimately in control of taxation. The decisive factor in Chang's decision appear to have been the attitude of the Chinese owned Shanghai banks, as a group they were heavily exposed to both the strength of the Yuan and, through their large holdings of Chinese government debt, to the helath of the Nationalist government's finances. While a degree of 'self-enrichment' was expected across the Kuomintang, in blatantly risking the stability of the state for private gain the Soong family had finally hit the limits of acceptability and pushed their greed too far. The consequences of this decision were far-reaching but should not be overstated, it was not the start of an effective anti-corruption drive (those efforts remained more about purging internal rivals than actually finding corruption) nor did it result in a fundamental change in attitude or morality of the leadership. What it did was mark the point at which things stopped getting worse and it empowered the civil service to begin to stand up to the worst excesses of the leadership. As the newly emboldened civil service began to gain in confidence the British advisors and representatives would have to tread a careful path, supporting the reformers without provoking a nationalist backlash, a task that would only grow trickier as the later struggles would not prove so clear cut.

---
Notes:
Chinese tax policy on cigarettes as it impacts international relations and governance norms! You surely have never read such magnificence in an AAR here or anywhere else. This may be considered a good thing.

The seed of this update was a line in a paper which stated BAT where the single largest tax payer in China, which piqued my interest and here we are. Cigarette consumption and tax figures are broadly correct so they were that important, behind the charmingly old school 'Salt Tax'. This row pretty much happened, only due to war breaking out shortly after everyone forgot about it. The Soong family, and in particular the three Soong Sisters, really were the power behind the Kuomintang regime, massively rich and powerful in their own right their husbands also rose to the top. They do just seem really venal and corrupt though, at this point I think 6 out of 10 of the richest people in China are either in the family or married to it, but yet they still wanted more and ran this fag tax scam. The Leith Ross mission, as discussed previously, was much more successful than OTL and did scatter British officials and training across China, my position is that this can only aid the existing 'reform' faction inside the Kuomintang but it is not a magic bullet to suddenly make the entire government less corrupt.

Golden Bats are of course real, it's Imperial Japan so of course they did something like that. OTL they were kept on sale behind the lines in China until things got tight and Japan prioritised their limited tobacco supply for actual cigarettes for their troops. British American Tobacco, while started as a joint venture between American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, has by this point become basically a British company (American Tobacco sold out pre-WW1) run by the entertainingly eccentric Hugo Cunliffe-Owen who we will probably meet later in entirely different circumstances.

I do like the idea of the British Supreme Court for China so had to get that detail in, it was an odd system and only the British really went for it. The US Court for China was a much more half arsed system as no US judge really want to go out there (looks like bad pay and promotion/seniority problems for those who did) and US law in the region was a mess (the federal system really did not work well with extra-territoriality and Congress never got round to deciding what system should apply),, hence most firms tended to register as 'English law' with effects we see to this day. It's also apparent quite how bad a situation China was in at the start of the 20th Century, when you have conceded extra-territoriality and trade concessions to the likes of Denmark, Mexico and Peru you are in a bad way.

The Kung-Hitler meeting did happen June 1937 and there was another big machinery for raw material deal signed, a 100 million RM credit was extended and various arrangements for training Chinese students in Germany. There is the usual tendency to re-announce old deals so I'm not 100% clear how much of that was actually new, but Sino-German co-operation did date back to the mid-20s and at this point Germany was still keen on working with China. The Three Year Plan and the HAPRO agreement are in full effect, but even without war the tension between Germany, China and Japan will remain as Germany tries to keep a foot in both camps (and has massive internal rows about the region, obviously).
 

TheButterflyComposer

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while the cigarette trade was dominated by one company; British American Tobacco (BAT).
Ah, another bastard love child that pip will managed to turn into a superb British venture once the foolish amercians have been kicked out.

BAT held just over 2/3rds of the market and so was the single largest tax payer in China by quite some margin
A huge prosperous company paying lots of taxes to the state it operates in?
This is indeed a strange and disturbing universe.

The Export Grade cigarettes used the same cheap tobacco but had a special filter, one which included a dose of pure opium inside.
A spark of genius or cribbing from the colonial master book on how to gank china and get away with it?

It is worth noting at this point that so fully had some in the Finance Ministry adopted the thinking of their British mentors that their complaints referred to this lowering of tax revenues as "giving money back" to the public, a view of the world any Treasury official would surely agree with.
Colonialism in action! More British than the British.

Was it a serious government looking to unify China, push back Japan and then hurl out the other foreign powers from their privileged positions, or was it merely an elaborate rent-extraction system to enable a privileged few to get exceptionally rich.
I mean...the second is pretty much the mission statement of all governments so...

The Nationalist Finance Minister Dr H.H. Kung meeting with German chancellor hitler
Ew, nazis. What are they doing here?

the Landon administration was burning political capital at an alarming rate over 'moral neutrality' in Spain and had no desire to provoke more domestic problems by getting involved in China.
The Spanish civil war continues to cock up amercia everywhere they go. Perhaps one of the reasons on carries on is so you can torture them some more before having to resolve the issue or destroy them when the republicans lose.

Golden Bats are of course real, it's Imperial Japan so of course they did something like that. OTL they were kept on sale behind the lines in China until things got tight and Japan prioritised their limited tobacco supply for actual cigarettes for their troops.
It was a pretty good idea for them. Wonder how much they made from it?

British American Tobacco, while started as a joint venture between American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, has by this point become basically a British company (American Tobacco sold out pre-WW1) run by the entertainingly eccentric Hugo Cunliffe-Owen who we will probably meet later in entirely different circumstances.
Of course. Of course. The anercian joint venture collapsed and became wholly british.

I do like the idea of the British Supreme Court for China
The UK didn't have a supreme court until the 2000s I think, so putting them up elsewhere is funny in a way. Interesting how they became the runners of law just by being the only ones who showed up to work.

It's also apparent quite how bad a situation China was in at the start of the 20th Century, when you have conceded extra-territoriality and trade concessions to the likes of Denmark, Mexico and Peru you are in a bad way.
That is indeed awful.

The Three Year Plan and the HAPRO agreement are in full effect, but even without war the tension between Germany, China and Japan will remain as Germany tries to keep a foot in both camps (and has massive internal rows about the region, obviously).
I'm reasonably sure they never bothered to make a choice and kept the officers training the chinese army in china around even when japan was directly fighting them.
 

Dragon50

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A marvelous update concerning the details of Chinese Taxation. Unfortunately Chang still stays in power.
 
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Kurt_Steiner

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Does this update suggest that we shall have Eden invading Cuba in 1956 for the sake of protecting the Cuban cigars?
 
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Cromwell

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Pip, you not only met but exceeded my expections here. Half an update on Chinese cigarette taxation with the remainder made up of the discovery of the obscure concessions granted to minor states and a fine picture of grumpy Hitler.

I may have to vote for you in the awards at this rate!