The alternative timeline focuses on the Soviet Union, its allies and enemies in an alternative historical setting in 1958. The timeline's point of departure is the Winter War between the USSR and Finland in early 1940. The date is set ten years after the conclusion of the great world conflict known in anglican literature as the Second World War and The Great Class War in European/Soviet terminology.
Image Gallery:--- Map series: The USSR ---
- 1. USSR Union Republics 1958
- 2. USSR Territorial Expansion 1939-1951
- 3. USSR Political-Military Considerations in Asia 1958
- The World in 1958: Political Map
- The World in 1958: Military-Economic Power Blocs
- The Commonwealth of Anglican Realms 1958
Background history and timeline info:
Chapter I: The Second World War - 'The Great Class War' 1939-1948
Chapter II: Post-War Military and Economic Power Blocs
Chapter III: Country Profiles
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
'THE GREAT CLASS WAR'
The Fall of the Entente
Following the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the German-Soviet invasions into Eastern Europe, relations between the USSR and the Allies grew stiffer with each happening. In early 1940, the British decided to violate Norwegian neutrality by invading the country in order to aid the Finns in their struggle with the Soviets in the Winter War as well as to hinder Swedish iron trade with the Germans. The bold plan did not succeed, as the Germans too had made plans for securing Norway, and immediately staged a counter-invasion. More importantly, the M-R Pact had suddenly turned into a real military alliance with a common enemy and common interests and when the Red Army finally defeated the Finns in March, it advanced into northern Norway repeating the Polish scenario.
The Norwegian Campaign was a military disaster for the British - the greatest in their history. The British withdrew from the continent in the late spring of 1940. As the last soldiers were evacuated from Narvik in April, thousands were left to be fed to Soviet and German POW' camps. In the summer, the Germans launched a successful advance into France and the Low Countries. Meanwhile, the Soviets turned to their Asian borders; maneuvering and manipulating Persia and Afghanistan to allow Soviet military access, delivering those countries the same fate as the Baltic States. Military access gave the Soviets a base from which they launched an invasion of the British Empire of India in September 1940. India was poorly defended against an all-out invasion and Pakistan and Punjab was relatively quickly occupied by the Red Army.
Meanwhile, the German Luftwaffe, aided by Soviet bombers stationed in Norway, was gaining the upper hand in the air battle over Britain. By early 1941, the British had become seriously demoralized by bombings, the military disaster in Norway and the Soviet invasion of India. Additionally, they were alone in the war - France had fallen and the USA had declared a return to a strict isolationist policy (because of fear of the German-Soviet "Unholy Alliance" and because of security guarantees through recent treaties with Japan). The increasingly unpopular prime minister Winston Churchill was forced out of office as and a new government sued for peace with the Germans and the Soviets.
Typically, the peace was not to last, and it was even more fragile than the dreaded peace of Versailles. After all, the "Unholy Alliance" was only a marriage of convenience and everybody knew that. The Berlin Peace Conference in March 1941 brought about a new order in the world, but it stirred up relations between the victors - both of whom were preparing for pre-emptive attacks on each other. Britain kept its government and full independence, but became a bitter isolationist secondary power, downgrading the British Empire into a commonwealth. Pétain's French State became a satellite state of Germany like Eastern and Southern Europe. Germany and Italy gained control over the British and French colonies/mandates in the Middle East and Africa (except for South Africa). The USSR annexed Finland, the Norwegian province of Finnmark, Persia, Afghanistan and Pakistan west of the Indus River.
The German-Soviet War
In July 1941, this disharmonious world order was disrupted when the Germans and their allies invaded the Soviet Union. The invasion was designed to crush the Soviet state in European Russia in a matter of weeks. It was, however, a failure. The German armies halted before they even crossed the Byelorussian-Russian borders due to bad weather, logistical problems and overstretched fronts. The invasion was launched from Central-Eastern Europe, while Axis troops had to maintain defenses along the borders in Mesopotamia and in Norway, where little fighting took place. The winter of 1941-1942 produced a stalemate and the summer offensive of 1942 failed to produce victory for the Germans despite their advance into the Ukraine and Persia in order to gain access to Caucasian oil fields. During the winter of 1942-1943 the advance again halted and a proposed summer offensive of 1943 failed because the Red Army had by then managed to reorganize and reinforce the defense. The Axis had dug themselves deeper into the same tracks, while the Soviet state had stood its test of pan-national unity and cohesion and consolidated its war effort.
The first Soviet counter-advance succeeded in the Ukraine in early 1944. From that time on, the slow and painful German onslaught began. Slowly liberating the Ukraine, Byelorussia and the Baltic States, the Red Army pushed the Germans back to the original German-Soviet borders by the end of the year. The summer of 1945 witnessed a large Soviet assault into Poland and Romania and during the autumn and winter, the Soviets reached the original Soviet borders in Mesopotamia. Axis troops in the Middle East withdrew towards Turkey and the Germans forced the pro-German, neutral country to give them military access in order to defend the Balkans.
The Soviet advance into Europe halted, while the Red Army conquered the eastern regions of Turkey during the winter of 1945-1946. During February and March 1946, the Germans and Italians evacuated the country, as well as the entire Balkans south of Hungary. This defensive strategy was hard to swallow, especially for the Italians, but it reinforced the front in Poland and denied the Soviets the chance to cut the Axis forces in Turkey/Balkans off from Germany by advancing from Romania towards the Adriatic. This swift situational change left the Red Army in charge of Turkey, on which Moscow would later impose a pro-Soviet regime which was willing to cede the Armenian Highlands to the USSR. Securely moving through Anatolia, the Red Army swiftly and (almost) peacefully occupied Greece, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, joining up with the Soviet forces in Romania. In the summer of 1946, the Soviets launched an advance into northern Sweden, for the same reasons the British invaded Norway - to cut German iron supplies. Sweden surrendered quickly followed by a German strategic withdrawal from Norway, and joined the war against the Germans.
The German abandonment of Norway was unrelated to the events in Sweden. The troops were needed in Poland where the Red Army began an advance after counterattacking the last German offensive in the the area during the summer of 1946. The onslaught was slower an more painful then ever before. The bloodiest military battles of the entire World War took place in Poland, Prussia and Eastern Germany during the winter of 1946-1947. By the spring, Berlin was captured by the Red Army, and Hitler relocated his government to Hamburg. The broken German Army fought along with zealous Waffen SS and Volksturm units as well as volunteers from France and the Iberian states in a shattered and undirected effort of violent survival. Soviet troops captured town by town, slowly and painfully pushing their way westwards. Hitler committed suicide when the Red Army entered the outskirts of Hamburg in December 1947, coinciding with a Soviet-directed coup in Italy. The previous summer had witness Italy decay into chaos following the imminent defeat of the Axis powers. Mussolini was forced from power by his comrades and a state of civil war existed until communists managed to gain control in December. Soviet military units quietly entered the country to secure the outcome.
The Last stand
Even with Hitler dead, and the war virtually lost, the Nazi leadership did not surrender. Great many Nazi leaders had already fled to Pétain's pro-German France and Franco's ultra-reactionary Spain. Following the Battle of Germany, an exodus of Germans, mostly Nazis, sought refuge in those countries. Himmler and the Waffen SS took over the reins in France, creating a short lived SS state, which allied itself with Spain. The Spanish had remained formally outside of the World War, but had been hugely involved in the defense of Germany by providing volunteer troops. Because of all this, the Soviet leadership issued a declaration of war against Spain and Portugal (France had already been considered occupied by Germany) and a crusade against fascism in Europe. The Spanish regime viewed itself as the last bastion of Christianity and the old social order of Europe. Madrid was to become the Constantinople of modern times.
These last months of the war were the most ferocious of them all. Franco's bastion of Western civilization was equipped with the best Nazi war criminals Himmler's SS state had to offer. The desperate atmosphere of a total annihilation of the old order in Europe drove both sides to commit unspeakable massacres and atrocities. Mass killings of Marxists, Jews, Nazis, reactionaries and German and Soviet POW's took place across Western Europe from Spain to Poland. After a few months of recuperation and clean-up operations in Germany, Stalin launched an assault into France in the summer of 1948. Waffen SS units fought until the last drop along with Iberian and French soldiers in a bloody "Rattenkrieg" and guerilla warfare. Spain and Portugal surrendered in September, when the "Holy Fortress" of Madrid fell to the Red Army. No peace treaties were signed between the USSR and Nazi Germany. The SS and Nazi guerrillas were gradually eradicated from Western and Central Europe over the course of 1948-1949.
POST-WAR MILITARY AND
The Socialist World Republic
The Socialist World Republic was founded in Moscow in 1949, immediately after the conclusion of the Second World War and is an international organisation fostering mutual economic, military and political cooperation between the world's socialist states. Every corner of Europe except the British Isles was occupied by the Red Army or pro-Soviet partisan groups after the great conflict between the German lead Axis Powers and the USSR came to an end. In Central-Eastern Europe as well as in Scandinavia, the appeal of socialism and soviet-type communism was high, while the Red Army in Central-Western Europe was the main force behind the establishment of soviet republics. The Socialist World Republic was modeled as a successor to both the pre-war League of Nations and the Communist International mixed with elements of OTL Comecon. It thus functions as an international tool of collective security and military cooperation, an socialist economic block as well as an important tool for Moscow's direct influence on foreign countries (due to the Comintern effect of Marxist-Leninist democratic centrism).
Regarding the military aspect of the SWR, all member states (note: individual soviet republics, not states, are represented at the SWR), are bound by treaty of military cooperation regarding defense against external powers and peacekeeping. The Soviet Armed Forces has made up the backbone of internal peacekeeping through the SWR Peacekeeping Mandate, thus maintaining permanent military occupation within the UES and the NSU. Throughout the 1950s however, the UES has made serious efforts to take over it's own peacekeeping and defenses.
Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere
The Second Sino-Japanese War 1937-1940:
Japanese expansionism in East Asia co-incited with German and Italian aspirations in Europe during the 1930s and the beginning of the world war in Europe, bringing the Japanese Empire close to direct cooperation with the Axis Powers. Despite this, Japan never formally joined the Axis and never joined the war against the Western Allies. This was due to the global effect of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the German-Soviet common war against Britain and France in 1940. By that time, the Second Sino-Japanese War had been raging on since 1937. US president Franklin Roosevelt had been slowly making way for the USA to turn away from isolationism, and since there was universal opinion against US participation in the European War because of the Molotov-Rippentrop Pact, Roosevelt focused on Japanese containment.
In the summer of 1940, Japan agreed to US demands of discontinuation of the war in China, when the latter threatened to cease vital exports of oil to Japan. Increased US presence in the Pacific and Soviet approaches in Central Asia, lead to this conclusion, but the Japanese were also pressured into ceasefire by the Axis, who felt it was important to keep the US out of the world war. The result was that the Empire of Japan withdrew from their territorial aspirations in East Asia and isolated itself from the Axis. Diplomatic relations with the USA and the USSR remained stiff.
The Soviet-Japanese Pact of Neutrality and Normalization:
Over the course of the first phase of the German-Soviet war, 1941-1944, important international developments lead to a change of Japanese policy. First, after the British withdrawal from the war and the Berlin Peace Conference, Roosevelt's interventionist aspirations began to lose momentum rapidly. The second blow his faction came in 1943, when the president died and his supporters lost the presidential election the following year. The election of pacifist and isolationist president Joseph Kennedy in 1944 marked a strict return to US isolationism in foreign affairs. Kennedy even withdrew US diplomatic and economic support for China in its struggle with Japanese occupation (Japan had held its occupied areas since the ceasefire of 1940). Second, the USSR approached Japan in early 1944 after years of non-contact to negotiate an non-aggression treaty.
The Soviets were desperately in need of a guarantee of Japanese neutrality, and even offered to trade precious oil with the Japanese in case the Americans would threaten to cease exports again. The Soviet-Japanese Pact of Neutrality and Normalization was thus signed in Tokyo in march 1944. Resembling the previous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the treaty not only carried with it mutual promises of neutrality, but also a division of China into spheres of influence. The Japanese recognized Soviet influence in Mongolia and Xingjiang in exchange for a recognition of Japanese influence in China Proper. Furthermore, this lead to another treaty in 1945, where the Japanese recognized Soviet annexations of said territories, and the Soviets formally gave way to recognizing the independence of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo and a continuation of a Japanese war of aggression in China. Lastly, it was agreed that the Chinese provinces of Tibet and Inner Mongolia be kept separated from each sphere and mutually recognized as independent states serving as a buffer zone between the two powers. This was Stalin's lesson from the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
The Third Sino-Japanese War 1945-1947:
As a result of the treaty, masses of Soviet troops were released from the Soviet Far East, which contributed to the first successful Soviet assault in the Ukraine against the Germans. In the autumn of 1944, following a series of staged terrorist attacks in the Japanese occupation zone of China, the Empire of Japan declared the ceasefire of 1940 null and void and launched an offensive into the Republic of China. The USA was alerted by the events, but Kennedy's stance was not altered and the US remained non-interventionist in Asian affairs.
The Third Sino-Japanese War continued for two more years. The Chinese Republic eventually broke down while fighting without diplomatic and economic support against the Japanese. Chinese communist partisans, no longer backed by Moscow, were either defeated by the Japanese or managed to defect to Xingjiang and Mongolia. In 1947, the Kuomintang Republic of China surrendered, and the pro-Japanese puppet government formerly operating form Nanking took over the reins of China Proper.
The Great East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere was established in the aftermath of the war. A zone of economic and military cooperation among the Japanese-dominated states, it grew during the early 1950s by incorporating the Empire of Vietnam and the Kingdom of Thailand. Thailand had been collaborating with Japan during the latter stages of the Sino-Japanese War and became entangled in the Co-Prosperity Sphere's economic web, eventually joining the alliance in 1949. Japanese-backed guerrillas overthrew the French colonial administration in French Indochina in 1952 after a few years of militancy. The Empire of Vietnam immediately became a Japanese satellite state after its formation.
More former colonies in the East Indies have become increasingly more economically dependent on the Co-Prosperity sphere during the 1950s. The Sphere now serves as an important and growing power block in the world weighing up against the SWR in Eurasia and the capitalist block in America.
The Commonwealth of Anglican Realms
The United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth entered the Second World War reluctantly. Despite emerging victorious in the previous world war, the British Empire had been struggling and declining in its aftermath. Unfortunately for the British, this war had far worse consequences for the Empire than did the Great War. After a series of disastrous diplomatic and military ventures, the British were demoralized, defeated and forced to sued for piece with the Germans and Soviets in early 1941. At the Berlin Peace Conference, the Empire was made pay the price. Apart from having to give up parts of its navy and paying heavy reparations to Germany, Britain lost its colonies in Northeastern Africa and the Middle East to Italy and Germany, as well as Pakistan west of the Indus River to the USSR. Britain suffered a loss of influence and prestige in the world, most notably among their allies. The Americans had already turned their backs in 1940 when the British decided to intervene in the Russo-Finnish Winter War, and the autonomous dominions felt uneasy within the Commonwealth, disappointed over the fact that their troops had fought for nothing. The Indians, who had been demanding independence for decades, were now completely bent on leaving the British Empire altogether - and this they did only a year later, in 1942, along with Burma.
On the bright side though, the United Kingdom managed, unlike France, to withdraw completely from the war in Europe after 1941. Hitler got what he wanted from the British; peace, neutrality and a lip-service to his hegemony in Europe. And even though the British Empire was at a breaking point, the war in Europe and the ultimate Soviet victory in 1948 meant that Britain and the dominions were more dependent then ever on each other's backing. During the years 1942-1945, the so-called 'Empire Question' was the hottest topic in the parliaments across the British Commonwealth. Colonial unrest in Africa following India's secession from the Empire made matters even worse. London reacted by tightening the grip on the colonies and entering negotiations with the dominions on the much discussed idea of Imperial Federalism.
In 1944-1945, steps were taken into that direction. The large white settler dominions of Canada, Australia and New Zealand became separate and fully sovereign and independent kingdoms in a personal union with the Windsor monarchy. This step amounted to the nullification of all rights and duties existing between them and the United Kingdom which had to be reconstructed if the Commonwealth was not to be rendered null and void. In light of economic hardships and political uncertainty, the kingdoms decided not to depart into five different directions, but to strengthen the Commonwealth by turning it onto a confederation of equal states.
Thus, in 1946, the British Commonwealth was reconstituted and renamed the Commonwealth of Anglican Realms, a name giving the impression of a cultural union, based on brotherly ties between sovereign kingdoms and not the domination of one over the others. A Commonwealth parliament was created with equal representation of all five kingdoms, with a joint foreign policy regarding security and defensive matters, as well as a joint Commonwealth Armed Forces.
The Republic of Ireland proudly left the British Commonwealth before and during the Second World War. However, the nation has been re-approaching the Anglican Commonwealth since continental Europe closed off and since economic cooperation increased after Ireland followed the Commonwealth into joining the US lead Free Trade Community in 1955.
The Nordic Socialist Union
The Nordic countries entered the Second World War reluctantly. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland were social-democratic and neutral countries before the war, but in 1939-1940 they became the battlefield between three belligerents of the world war. After the war, Finland became a soviet republic within the Soviet Union whereas the three Scandinavian countries joined together and formed the Nordic Socialist Union. The state is not a puppet of Moscow, but an important ally of the USSR and a key member of the SWR. Through the SWR Peacekeeping Mandate, the Soviet Red Army still has an important military base near Bergen in Norway, and a naval base in Iceland.
Norway became the battlefield between the Allies, the Soviets and the Germans in 1940. At the Berlin Peace Conference, the USSR annexed Northern Norway, and the south became a puzzle in Hitler's 'New Order', as did Denmark. The Norwegian front between the Germans and Soviets during the German-Soviet War, beginning in 1941, was quiet in the first years, and when the Red Army turned the tides and advanced into Eastern Europe in 1945 and in 1946, the Germans began to evacuate Norway in order to relief the giant Eastern Front.
Sweden remained strictly neutral the first half of the war. However, during the German-Soviet War, the ruling social-democratic party and the whole coalition government became increasingly divided on the subject if it'd be best to join Germany out of fear of the Soviets or vice versa. Unfortunately for the prime minister, he had to make a decision in the summer of 1946, when the USSR issued the Swedish government with an ultimatum in a similar manner as the British in 1940, demanding access to the iron deposits in Northern Sweden and military access for the Red Army to attack the Germans in Norway and Denmark. The Swedes chose to go to war to defend their neutrality and independence, but after a few weeks, the Germans carried out a long-planned tactical withdrawal from Norway altogether, leaving the country an easy pray for the Red Army. The Swedish government collapsed because of the crisis, making way for the left-wing faction of the social-democratic party joined by the communists to take over the reins and avert catastrophe.
In order to avoid sharing the fate of Finland in the Winter War, the new government agreed to Soviet demands and even offered to declare war on Germany. This clever move of realpolitik indeed saved Sweden's integrity, and the future of Scandinavia. Sweden became the first independent ally of the USSR and in 1947, the Swedish army liberated Denmark from the Germans. This fostered tight relations between the Swedes and the Danes. Surrounded by Soviet-dominated Europe, Denmark became politically and economically dependent on Sweden immediately after liberation and during the post-war period. This lead to the establishment of a union between the two nations; the United Kingdom of Denmark-Sweden.
Norway did not enjoy the same room for maneuver at the end of the world war. Moscow held a tight grip on the Norwegian government, who had been surveyed and directed by a Soviet advisory council since 1947. The Soviets did not allow the Norwegian king and government-in-exile to return to Norway at the war's end since Moscow rightfully deemed them hostile. Instead, the council persuaded the Norwegians to establish a republic and allow the permanent military presence of the Red Army in the country. This was a known pattern. The Baltic states and Iran had been swallowed by the USSR in 1940 using this method. The Norwegians understood that the only way to remain out of the USSR, was to follow the Swedish path, and join the union of Denmark-Sweden.
This became a possibility in early 1951. Over the course of the previous year, Denmark-Sweden suffered threatening allegations from the suspicious ruler in Moscow, that his independent ally was sheltering wanted National Socialists from Germany. A series of affairs related to this turned into a crisis which allowed the communists and the left-wing faction of the social-democratic party to purge the government of all non-socialist elements. By 1952, the United Socialist Party of Scandinavia had established a single-party state and welcomed the Norwegians to join as the third member of the United Kingdom. When the Norwegian Republic was merged with Denmark-Sweden, the socialist government used the opportunity and formally abolished the monarchies and established a socialist people's republic; the Nordic Socialist Union.
As for Iceland, the tiny nation used the occupation of Denmark in 1940 as a pretext to rift the Act of Union with the Danish King. However, neither the victorious Germans in 1941, nor the Soviets in 1948, could spare the risk of losing the strategically important island to the British or American sphere of influence in case of a future third world war. Thus, Iceland was forced to remain in its union with Denmark, later Denmark-Sweden and eventually the Nordic Socialist Union.
The Union of European Soviets
When the Second World War was over in 1948 after nine years of bitter fighting, tens of million of people had lost their lives and cities lay in ruins all the way from Madrid to Moscow. After a fight-to-the-death battle between two civilizations and social systems, it was natural that the defeated, conquered side converted over to the winning side, and this happened all over Europe, excluding the British Isles, relatively peacefully. Some nations adopted Soviet-style communism, others democratic socialism, and to some, the new system was perceived as attractive and victorious or at least worth the try because of the failure of the old system. Others’ hands were forced by the Red Army and the NKVD.
The Union of European Soviets is a federation of Russian-style Soviet republics in West-Central Europe. The UES was formed in 1953, two years after the Second World Congress of the Socialist World Republic decreed that unionism was the next logical step in the development European sovietism. The Eastern European republics were incorporated into the Soviet Union already in 1951.
Unlike the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, the western union favored large republican units. Instead of giving small nations their own SSR as was preferred in the East, the UES consists of five large national units; the French, the German, the Italian, the Dutch and the Iberian (or Spanish-Catalan-Portuguese as it is officially termed). Let us briefly account for the UES republics.
The French Commune is currently the leading republic of the UES. It is an interesting twist of fate that the declining great power, being a double loser in the Second World War - first against the Germans, then the Soviets -, ended up as the leading nation in Western Europe. The cause for this development was that France had the strongest communist movement in Western Europe before the war and at the war's end – some of them had even been involved in administration before 1939. Many of those who took over in 1948 were communists who had been fighting the Germans from underground during the war years, while their counterparts in Germany, Italy and Spain had mostly been behind bars or operating from Moscow. Additionally, many Frenchmen saw the Red Army as a liberating force from the Germans (as was the case in many Eastern European republics too).
The Soviet Federation of Iberia is the militancy hotspot in the UES, because this was the last bastion of reaction and fascism during the final phase of the war and survived the war with little material damage, in comparison with Germany and France. However, it was in the post-war period that Iberia became intensively heated by class conflict, conflicts of ethnic groups as well as violence committed by, and against, the Soviet occupation forces. Unhealed wounds from the Spanish Civil War lead to a great red terror in 1949-1950, after which the Soviet Republic stood secure and united, but severely wounded.
Germany was the grand loser of the Second World War. The nation suffered total destruction and massive casualties. In 1948-1949, zealous remnants of the SS and National Socialist guerrilla parties roamed remote regions of Germany and Austria, terrorising civilians and the Soviet occupation forces. Despite mass killings and great terror, National Socialist insurgents continued to operate underground well into the 1950s. The German Soviet Republic was also burdened by war reparations, and relinquishment of industries to Russia. Despite all this Germany has made good progress in normalisation since the mid 1950s and is rising in economic strength at a rapid speed.
There were two Western European states that were abolished in 1948. Belgium was absorbed into the French Commune and the Dutch Soviet Republic, and Switzerland was carved up between the German, Italian and French soviet republics. In order to appease the populations of these countries, the former Swiss and Belgian cities of Brussels and Geneva became some sort of super-national administrative centers of the socialist world. Brussels now serves as the capital of the UES, a historically neutral city situated between France and Germany, in which Belgian bureaucrats and administrators have found a fitting role. The former capital of the League of Nations, Geneva, is now the seat of its successor organisation, the Socialist World Republic, having also taken over Comintern activities, formerly conducted in Moscow.