"For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

The world of the 'Flying Cloud', our world, and worlds that might have been.

Re: "For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

Postby PaulGazis » Tue May 25, 2010 2:29 am

Hey, the more posts the merrier! Particularly ones that raise Interesting Questions.

I believe you're right about the Influenza epidemic, Harrier. I've come across accounts of the way it spread through boot camps, recruiting centers and the like that would seem to support your suggestion that the concentration of large numbers of people during the War made things worse. I imagine that someone has done a detailed epidemiological (I never can spell that word) study to confirm or deny this, but I've never seen the results. In the absence of this information, I've been assuming that the epidemic wasn't 'quite as bad'.

As far as heaver than air aviation In the world of the Flying Cloud goes, it hasn't entirely stagnated, it's just 2-6 years behind where it was in our world. This makes an enormous difference. Among other things, it means that aircraft remain largely unproven in many military roles. Among these was shooting down zeppelins, for the British didn't really sort out how to do this until the end of 1916. So we might expect to see something like the Sopwith Snipe carried aboard the larger airships as an auxiliary. But there are alternatives... which may well be revealed... at the appropriate moment :)

To really get airships to thrive at the expense of airplanes, one needs to have bigger production lines, standardized designs to bring costs down, and assume that some 1930's airship engine and ground-handling technology arrives a few years early. These things are all quite possible given the history of delays, mishaps, and missed opportunities that surrounded airship development in our world. I haven't emphasized them in the story for fear of driving readers wild with boredom. And I must confess that the real reason I chose this alternate history was not because I considered it the most likely but because Airships Are Cool.

Thank you for the great summary of the Czech/Slovak independence movement in our world! I need as much of this type of information as I can possibly get. It will most certainly get used, quite possibly in strange and unexpected ways...

On an entirely different note, I'm glad to see people are still wondering what Iwamoto is doing on the ship. Your guess that Japan may be copying Western technology in Captain Everett's world in order to get a leg up is certainly a good one. Is Our Favorite Airship an example of such an exercise? So many mysteries... so little time... :)
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Re: "For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

Postby Andy Dean » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:07 pm

As far as I would like to see Czech prevailing over Germany in terms of heavy industry, I'm afraid it's highly unlikely since instead of Lelin we have Trotsky as the revolutionary leader in Russia, and this guy's concept in a nutshell is a constant revolution everywhere we can reach until we completely rewrite the world map. With such a neighbour, I think the probability of western-aligned independent and powerful Czechoslovakia swiftly falls. Sorry, man ;)
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Re: "For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

Postby asgaard aardvaark » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:38 am

I have an interesting question to pose: If the war had ended in 1916, thus precluding American involvement and also lessening the "great disillusionment", would the "roaring twenties" have roared as loudly as they did on our timeline? Most of the social events that took place were a combination of trying to forget the horror, the sudden realization that the government/monarchy might not really have the best interests of the masses in mind and a pathetic attempt to recreate the halcyon mood of the pre- war "Le belle epoch" that really didn't exist (except in the minds of the nostalgic dreamers).
Questions lead to more questions. If the twenties were more subdued, would there have been the almost frantic activity on the stock market that led to the "Great Depression" and all of the social upheaval it entailed? As a matter of fact, would Herbert Hoover have won a second term and Franklin Roosevelt remained just a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy?
It seems that the twenties was a good place to start the story line, because of all of the dramatic branches in the timeline that stem from the end of that era.
Also, doing war work helped empower women and helped them gain suffrage in 1919 (at least in the US). What would have happened to that movement if conditions had been different?
I'll leave you to chew on these conundrums for the nonce, while I retire and think up a few more.
'night all.
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Re: "For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

Postby Kona » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:55 pm

Your speculations ably demonstrate the reason why so many predictions, plans and programs of all kinds fail. The "butterfly effect" applies to most human endeavors, and in hindsight the outcomes that might seem to have been inevitable were in reality no such thing.

Time-travel fiction often plays with the idea of tiny alterations of past events having a larger, but manageable, effect on the present. Actually, the simple act of just visiting the past would probably change the present cataclysmically, to the point that the visitor and many others might not exist any more.

None of this is to say that such fiction isn't fascinating in itself, and I for one am thoroughly enjoying this highly speculative alternate "history". But I won't get too distracted over the infinite number of other directions life on earth might have gone, given any small change in its course.
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Re: "For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

Postby asgaard aardvaark » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:09 am

This may be a spoiler, if so--Well, sorry about that, but I found an interesting piece of history of the "real world" that is/may be pertinent to the story and I want to share it.
I was looking at the paper model of the airship mooring tower when my mind flashed on a picture from my old, battered but beloved copy of Jane's Fighting Ships 1939 (reprint). Taking the volume down, I looked inside until I found what I was looking for, a picture of the "USS Patoka" (AO-9). the particulars of the "Patoka" are as follows:
Launched:26, July 1919
Displacement: 5,422 tons
Length: 417' 10"
Beam: 60'
draft: 26' 2"
speed: 11 knots
Compliment: (as an AO) 168
The "Patoka" was the first of a class of 11 ships launched post WWI. she served as a fleet oiler (AO) until early 1924, when she was taken in hand for conversion to an airship tender. A mooring mast that reached 125 ' above the waterline was added on the fantail, space was made for the personnel needed in handling a ridged airship, along with the facilities for fueling, supplying and maintaining a large airship and the storage for the helium that was needed. Retaining the original designation, the "Patoka" reported for duty with the Atlantic Fleet in November 1924 and took station to provide meteorological information for the passage of the "USS Los Angeles" (ZR-3) on her flight from Germany to Lakehurst. Although originally planned as a tender for the "USS Shenandoah" (ZR-1) the Patoka tended the "Los Angeles" during operations in the Caribbean area from 1925 through 1929. She was transfered to the Pacific in preparation for a trans-polar flight planned for the "Shenandoah" but the plans were scrapped when the "Shenandoah" was lost in a storm. Later she served as a tender for the "USS Akron" (ZRS-4) in 1932 and finished her career again tending the "Los Angele"s until that airship was decommissioned in 1934, going into fleet reserve until re-activated again as an oiler in 1939. The "Patoka" survived the war, being sold for scrap in 1949.
Is this the concept for the base for the elusive rogue cruiser?
Sources: "Jane's Fighting Ships 1939", "Dictionary of American Fighting Ships" volumes IV and V, "American warships of WWII" by Paul Silverstone and "The Giant Airships" by Douglas Botting, Time-Life Books, "The Epic of Flight" series.
Like I said, I hope this isn't a big spoiler, but I felt I had to impart the information just in case it wasn't.

PS: at the time this story takes place, at least in the "real world" the entire world's supply of helium was controlled by the United States. The Germans really wanted to obtain some for the Graff Zeppelin and Hindenburg, but the US State Department had imposed an embargo in reaction to NAZI policies.
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Re: "For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

Postby LordVince » Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:58 pm

Helium. That brings up a couple of interesting questions/issues.

The Great War ended before much of the (historical) damage to the European infrastructure was done. In Capt. Everett's world, it is the "Prosperous 20's". Everyone keeps tossing around the word "Industry" -- which brings to mind images of foundries and mills, and factories pushing out autos and washing machines, sure. But there are OTHER Industries as well. Specifically, the Chemical Industry. And, prior to the Great War, Germany was a world leader in Industrial Chemical production. This is one of the reasons that Germany was the first to use Chemical Weapons; they not only had the wherewithal, but they had the means to produce these chemicals in vast qualtities.

Now, if you consider that the German Industrial Infrastructure does NOT take the hit it historically did, as well as consider that many chemical workers/researchers that (historically) did die, do not, in Everett's world, then it MIGHT be reasonable to assume -- given the interest/impetus of LTA devlopment in that world -- that the Germans, and others, might have invested in securing or producing their own Helium supplies, yes?

The second element to this issue to consider is that, without the "horrors" of the Great War, and the resultant resentments it created, Helium might not be a "Strategic Resource" for the USA, as it historically was. As has been said, the USA in Capt. Everett's world never joined in the War. They didn't break out of their "Isolationism" policies (not officially, at least). America, in Capt. Everett's world, is following the tenets of "the business of America is business". That being so, taking into acount the rapid development of LTA technologies and services in the post-Great War world of Capt. Everett, might it not then be resonable to expect that American Helium might be available to the international market?

I'm not saying that Helium use would be universal, just that it might be more readily available. It cannot be discounted that Hydrogen is both easier to manufacture IN VOLUME, as well as having more lifting power than Helium. Despite its volatility, I would bet that the versatility of Hydrogen would continue to be a deciding factor for use on Military Airships. But, perhaps, on Commercial Airships..."Cruise the World in Safety, aboard our New Helium-powered Airliners". Helium ships would be something of a Johnny-come-lately kind of thing, as it would have taken about 10 years after the end of the Great War for the rest of the world to catch up with the USA in Helium production & usage. As for the the storyline, a Helium ship would just be a bit of color.

Or, perhaps not... Maybe a hybrid system of gas cells -- maybe half the cells are of a new type that retains gas better, and are "permanently" (i.e., just longer periods between fill ups) filled with helium, keeping the ship just-shy of neutral bouyancy, while the remaining cells are of the standard type, filled with Hydrogen, which are vented and filled as needed for lift and drop? Don't know if that would be feasible.
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Re: "For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

Postby LordVince » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:35 am

I really do hope I'm not "spoling" anything by pointing this out, but I just find it far too suspicious that Paul has remained so quiet about Japanese influence in the world, so far. :D

Granted, at that time in history, most of Japans interests were focused north of the Equator, but still...

And, for those who don't know it, Imperial Japan was a BIG Player in the Great War! Great Britain and Imperial Japan had a Treaty, which Britain called upon in the early days of the War. Imperial Japan decalred War against the Empire of Germany on Aug. 23, 1914. At that time, the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) was pretty thin in Pacific waters. The biggest German colonial center was at the mainland Chinese port of Tsingtao. On Sept. 2, 1914 -- just 10 days after the formal declaration of War -- the Imperial Japanese Navy invested the city of Tsingtao. They would occupy it just 66 days later, on Nov. 7, 1914. Also, during the month of October, 1914, various "expeditions" by elements of the Imeprial Fleet would come to occupy the German-held Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall island groups with little or no resistance. In just ONE month.

All that in just the last 4 months of 1914.

Historically, Japans involvement in the Great War would go even further. Japan's fledgling industrial power would crank up to provide many needed supplies to the Western troops, bolstering the Japanese economy by leaps and bounds. By War's end in 1918, there were 2 SQUADRONS of Imperial Navy vessels based on Malta, providing naval escort and security to vessels plying the Mediterranean Sea. At the end of THIS Great War, Britain was so greatful to Imperial Japan that they (almost) rubber-stamped approval of Japan's continued occupation of these territories, creating the Japanese Mandate. Even with the shortened nature of Capt. Everett's Great War, I truly think that it would be safe to say that a similar situation would occur. perhaps with a bit more political dickering, but with the same results. At that time in history -- ours or Capt. Everett's -- Imperial Japan was not of a nature to "give back" ANYthing that they had taken.

In fact, the only people who made any objection to the expansion of Japanese influence in the Pacific was the USA -- and that's just because they saw it as an infringement of THEIR influence in the Pacific. And, in Capt. Everett's world, the Great Powers were too focused on events in Europe, to give a damn about what the Americans were crying about in the Pacific.

The Imperial Japanese economy would be booming right along with the rest of the world (instead of taking a massive hit in 1919-1920, as it did, historically), and Imperial "Adventurism" in China would be progressing about as well as it did historically. Except, maybe, in Siberia... But that is another Post :D
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Re: "For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

Postby LordVince » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:40 am

Paul, when you say "Russian Nationalists", do you mean one of the many-many-many anti-Bolshevik/anti-Communist groups that were running around after the October Revolution? Or, are they "White Russians" (who had fewer factions :D )?

Also, Wiki "Aleksander Kolchak". I'll email you an idea centered around him in a few days ;)
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Re: "For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

Postby PaulGazis » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:58 pm

LordVince wrote:Paul, when you say "Russian Nationalists", do you mean one of the many-many-many anti-Bolshevik/anti-Communist groups that were running around after the October Revolution? Or, are they "White Russians" (who had fewer factions :D )?

By now, Everett and his crew have pretty much given up trying to keep track of all the different factions, and they're using 'Russian Nationalists' to refer to everyone from White Russians to Communists. But there have been clues... and more clues will appear :)

The Aleksander Kolchak reference is fascinating! And as fate would have it, I may need some Russian polar explorers. Thanks! I'll
have to think about this...
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Re: "For that matter, what was our world like in 1926?"

Postby LordVince » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:39 am


As an Italian, I'm the only one who can kick this dog and still be "Politically Correct" :D

Italy in the Great War. Italy had only been a single, Unified Nation since 1861, as (technically) a Constitutional Monarchy. For most of the initial decades, the various Kings left running the government to Parliament. They sucked. Parliament was discordant, and was run, mostly, by Socialists and Liberals -- and not the good kind. Italy had some alliances with Germany and Austria-Hungary going all the way back to Bismark, and simply chose "not to get involved". Officially.

UN-officially, many Italians, both in and out of Government, had some long-running claims on border territories with Austria, where the locals spoke more Italian than German. AND, there were some in Parliament that had Imperialist designs on Dalmatia and Albania, as well as Greece. The British really wanted Italian help against the Empire of Germany, so the Treaty of London was eventually put together between the UK and Italy. In it, the Treaty of London promised that the UK would back Italian claims for posession of several Austrian territories, if Italy would decalre War against the German Empire (and Austria-Hungary). The Italians joined the War in 1915.

Y'know how I said the folks running the Italian Parliament sucked at their jobs? Well, the Regio Esercito (Royal Italian Army) was large, strong, and internationally considered to be one of the better equipped armies in Europe. But just as incompetently run as the government.

On 23 May 1915 Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary.

The front on the Austrian border was 650 km (400 mi) long, stretching from the Stelvio Pass to the Adriatic Sea. Militarily, the Italians had numerical superiority. This advantage, however, was negated by the difficult terrain in which fighting took place. Also, any advantage the Italians may have gained was squandered due to the lack of strategic and tactical leadership. The Italian commander-in-chief was Luigi Cadorna, a staunch proponent of the frontal assault whose orders would cause the meaningless death of thousand of his soldiers. His plan was to attack on the Isonzo front, with the dream of breaking over the Karst Plateau into the Carniolan Basin, taking Ljubljana and threatening Vienna. It was a Napoleonic plan, which had no realistic chance of success in an age of barbed wire, machine guns, and indirect artillery fire, combined with hilly and mountainous terrain.

The main effort was to be concentrated in the Isonzo and Vipava valleys and on the Kras plateau, in the direction of Ljubljana. The Italian troops managed to obtain some initial successes, but, as in the Western Front, the campaign soon turned into a trench warfare. The main difference was the fact that, instead of in the mud, the trenches had to be dug in the Alpine rocks and glaciers, often up to 3,000 m (9,800 ft) of altitude.

In the first months of the war Italy launched the following offensives:

First Battle of the Isonzo (23 June–7 July)
Second Battle of the Isonzo (18 July–4 August)
Third Battle of the Isonzo (18 October–4 November)
Fourth Battle of the Isonzo (10 November)

In these first four battles the Italian Army registered 60,000 fatalities and more than 150,000 wounded, equivalent to around one fourth of the mobilized forces. Also to be mentioned is the offensive in the upper Cadore, near the Col di Lana. Though secondary, this move blocked large Austro-Hungarian contingents, since it menaced their main logistic lines in Tyrol.

This stalemate situation dragged on for the whole of 1916, while Colera and other "trench diseases" ripped through the unprepared Regio Esercito causing more casualties and horrific suffering by the end of the war. While the Austro-Hungarians amassed large forces in Trentino, the Italian command launched the Fifth Battle of the Isonzo, lasting for eight days from 11 March 1916. This attempt was also fruitless.

In June the Austro-Hungarian counter-offensive (dubbed Strafexpedition, "Punishment Expedition") broke through in Trentino and occupied the whole Altopiano di Asiago. The Italian Army managed to contain the offensive, however, and the enemy retreated in order to strengthen its position in the Carso. On 4 August began the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo which, five days later, led to the Italian conquest of Gorizia, at the cost of 20,000 dead and 50,000 wounded. The year ended with three new offensives:

Seventh Battle of the Isonzo (14–16 September)
Eighth Battle of the Isonzo (1 November)
Ninth Battle of the Isonzo (4 November)

The price was a further 37,000 dead and 88,000 wounded for the Italians, again for no remarkable conquest. After the Ninth Battle of the Isonzo, the Italian army was preparing yet another advance onTrentino, when the War was halted by Mister Wilson's Peace.

The Armistice sent all Nations back to their pre-War boundaries. The British just smiled, shrugged their shoulders, and ripped up the now-invalidated Treaty of London. Italy would see absolutely no benefit for its participation in the War -- except for the horror stories brought home by returning soldiers.

So, even though the Italians would only suffer through 2 years of war, rather than 4, the political environment in Italy in 1917 Capt. Everrets World would be almost identical to that of 1918 in Our World. I really don't see any significant alteration that would affect the rise to power of Benito Mussolini. By 1926 he would still be "Prime Minister", and would be well on his way to eliminating the power of Parliament, removing nearly all checks and balances on his power. In 1926, Mussolini would still pass a law that declared he was responsible only to the king and made him the sole person able to determine Parliament's agenda. Firmly establishing the foundation of his "Dictatorship" to come.

Incidentally, since early in the Unification of Italy, the Popes in the Vatican considered the King of Italy to be a villain, they called themselves "Prisoners in the Vatican City", and actively encouraged Roman Catholics not to obey the King or his Government. It was Il Duce -- Mussolini -- who healed the rift between the Vatican and Italy. Not bad for an old Socialist reprobate ;)
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