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Alternate History: The North American Technate vs. The World
In this scenario, let's imagine that the United States of America simply couldn't take the stresses of the Great Depression. In fact, it wasn't so much the Great Depression as much as it was incompetent leadership. Franklin Roosevelt tried to enact the New Deal, but he was stopped by intense political gridlock that we USicans today might recognize. Thus, not one aspect of the New Deal went into effect.
This means that radical groups of all flavors are supercharged. The only reason America didn't come closer to revolution in the 1930's is because people believed Roosevelt did a good enough job helping them out. The rich hated his guts, and he was called a communist more times than Obama can fathom, but he kept the Union together.
Here, he couldn't keep his own party together, let alone the nation. Thus, radical groups used the intense discontent to further their own agendas. Naturally, communist and fascist groups grew in size, but Americans don't want communism or fascism. They're both too foreign for us. Now technocracy, on the other hand— that's an all-American flavor of authoritarianism. Thus, it's the technocracy movement that grows throughout the '30s and eventually assumes power in 1940— right as World War II was in full swing. France had fallen and the Battle of Britain had begun.
The fascists and communists had ganged up on the capitalists, and it seemed all of Europe was now under the bootheel of the totalitarians. 'Democracy will be dead by 1950', some said. And yet it seemed democracy had died 10 years early now that the technocrats had swept into office in the States. Immediately, the technocrats began fucking everything up in their favor, making sure to dismantle the democratic process and reaffirm American hegemony over the continent. They'd even give Hawaii to the Japanese— the new technocrats were more interested in an "energy system" than traditional politics and economics.
The Battle of Britain went about as well as it did in our timeline, with the Nazis failing to knock Britain out of the war effort. Barbarossa had to begin, because Hitler.
German scientists knew this was going to hurt. Why? Because Barbarossa began in 1942 instead of 1941. American aid was non-existent for any of the sides in the war, which wound up causing a butterfly effect in that the Germans needed more time to prepare for the war since they didn't have help from the recently deposed American industrialists. The Soviets, on the other hand, were able to prepare as usual. It didn't help them much considering Barbarossa still led to a nightmarish amount of death and suffering on the Eastern front, but the delay did allow for them to plan out their offensives against Germany for a bit longer.
The wildcard is Japan. With American control of the Pacific gone (since the Pacific didn't fit with the technocrats' grand plan for a North American technate), they didn't mess with American territory. Except for the Philippines, of course. And the Samoan Islands. And Guam. No, Japan just turns its attention to all the rest of Asia, focusing on fucking up China and Indochina instead of fighting on two fronts like the Nazis stupidly decided to. All their focus went towards taking China, Korea, Indochina, India, Indonesia, Manchuria, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and anywhere else they could get to. This is complete by 1945, although with inconceivable, Satanic levels of brutality that even concerned the Nazis with how inhuman they acted towards their new subjects. Not like the Nazis could have done much, considering that they were being bent over and given a party by the Soviets.
You see, the Nazis had beaten Britain into submission, but that didn't mean they had faced no resistance in the West. They let British troops escape at Dunkirk, and Vichy France couldn't quash the Maquis, and that just led to more and more problems.
Another problem? The total brain drain of 1943-1944. What happened that led to Germany losing all her great scientists and engineers? Simple— Technocratic America stole them, offering them each salaries starting at the 7 figure range. Thus, scientists from all across Europe— but especially Germany— emigrated to America, where their kind were welcomed with open arms by the technocrats. They brought with them all their experimental technologies, including the sci-tech that would lead to things like:
- V1 and V2 rockets
- nuclear weaponry
- jet aeroplanes
- flying V stealth bombers
- guided missile technology
- digital computer technology
This is a critical event, though few people at the time really cared.
1945— the Soviets rush through Berlin. They find that the Nazi high command have either fled to Argentina or have sprayed their brains across bunker walls. They then press on, rushing past Berlin and into the west-central European states, and eventually reaching Portugal. In 1946, they invade Britain, Italy, and the Balkan states. By 1948, all of Europe is under Soviet control.
Around that same time, all of Eastern Asia has fallen to Japanese control. The Soviets declare war on Japan— this time meeting their match. Soviet forces see defeat after defeat and wind up losing large swaths of Siberia, and it's only thanks to a hasty armistice that they don't suffer an even greater defeat by the fanatical East Asian fighters. Eastern Russia winds up becoming a 'No Man's Land', constantly changing hands between the USSR and Japanese.
But what both superpowers fear the most is the inevitable war against America.
America became a totalitarian technocracy by 1944, abandoning all forms of democracy. They then invaded Canada, Greenland, and Mexico, facing no resistance from the now defunct European powers. Their goal was to control Panama, which they eventually manage by 1947.
In the end, however, what they really desire is total self-sufficiency. In order to do that, they need something more. They need a sapiocracy— a nation ruled by the most intelligent. That's why they got all those scientists and engineers, after all.
By 1947, America seemed to be decades ahead of the rest of the world in terms of sci-tech capabilities. You see, the Soviet Union had lost out on capturing any Nazi scientists or engineers, and Japan simply didn't give a damn to start with. This is critical, as it's the Nazi scientists who granted us a lot of our modern technologies that we take for granted. Without Nazi rocketry, the space race might have been delayed by up to 10 years. Nazi jet propulsion was also years ahead of anything the West or East were toying with, with some even claiming that jets and rockets had absolutely no practical use whatsoever.
In their timeline, however, these scientists and engineers were given free reign and unlimited budgets to do as they pleased.
Most of all, America played with nuclear energy, keeping it a dear secret until they tested their first device in 1946. They kept nuclear weapons a secret until 1951, when they tested a thermonuclear device, what we call a 'hydrogen bomb.' They also launched the first artificial satellite into space in 1948, and put a man into orbit by 1955. The first digital computers were created around the same time as IOT, and they soon created the transistor as well. Jet aircraft were created in the US by 1944, and they broke the sound barrier in 1945. By 1950, technocratic America had developed ICBMs capable of bringing nuclear death to any place on Earth.
By comparison, the Soviet Union's first nuclear test took place in 1961, and was largely considered to be a dud, coming in at 500 tons worth of TNT (which is even weaker than North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006). Japan's first nuclear test took place in 1970.
America desperately pursued digital computer technologies, as various computer scientists claimed that a sufficiently powerful computer could centrally plan the economy far better than even the best scientists.
This at the expense of the common man, who was treated little more than a pawn by the technocratic elites, hence why the Soviets thought of technocracy as a 'particularly insidious form of capitalism'. In fact, the new Soviet premier coming to power in 1954, Lavrentiy Beria, called it 'Antisocialism'. This not referring to technocracy's policies, but its nature— it resembled Soviet-styled socialism in many ways, but it was clearly not socialist. It was like the bourgeoisie's answer to Marxism-Leninism, except without the excessive nationalism and militarism of fascism and yet opposed to traditional capitalist interests and values. It was neither capitalist nor fascist, and yet it was also not socialist. It wasn't imperialist or colonialist, and it didn't care about profit or communalism. It's something much different, without analog.
The Soviets could understand the Japanese— that was just the Yellow man acting like the White man, with all the usual imperialistic bourgeois behaviors you'd expect. The Japanese empire is not "revolutionary" nor is it worthy of respect.
But the Americans... The Soviets can't make heads or tails of them.
This new, three-way cold war began with the end of World War II in 1946, if you could call it an 'end.' Though World War II technically ended with the defeat of Adolf Hitler, it's technically still being fought well into the 1970's. The war between the USSR and Japan never truly ends, with both sides constantly fighting each other for land in eastern Siberia, the Middle East, and North Africa for 30 years. This eternal war goes nuclear at times, but neither power possesses the number of warheads to end the world, especially since the Americans had guarded their nuclear secrets so damn well. Thus, they don't have much of a problem using nuclear weapons, as long as they remain low yield.
America, however, remains the same. It doesn't expand into South America, nor does it make war with one of the two other superpowers. Instead, it's focused on building itself up.
By the mid 1980's, what was once called 'World War II' has dragged on for nearly 50 years, but it's only being fought in the form of skirmishes in a few designated areas around the world.
The capitalists have been defeated wholeheartedly, with only a tiny few enclaves of capitalist authoritarianism throughout the world. Democracy had indeed died by 1950, and it showed no signs of returning many decades later.
The Soviet Union and Japan, however, were beginning to liberalize their economies and allow some personal freedoms. They also limited the fighting on their borders to even less explosive skirmishes, especially thanks to the proliferation of hydrogen bombs.
America, however, had become even more totalitarian than it was in the 1940's. The State had such a powerful grip on the people's lives that two generations were born and raised knowing only the State has their parents. While it was highly dehumanized and creepily dystopian, reminiscent of the World State from Brave New World with bits of Oceania from Nineteen Eighty-Four, it lacked the poverty of the latter. It had moved beyond classes and reintroduced castes, much like that of the World State. It utilized eugenics to create a subspecies of human perfectly designed for the high stresses of the STEM field, all without engaging in the barbaric cruelties and sterilization utilized by the Nazis and Americans before them.
As aforementioned, while all citizens lived under constant and total surveillance and locked into a state of technocratic stupor, there was virtually no poverty in America, and the standard of living was quite high— much higher than anywhere else in the world. The government got things done, since none of its leaders had to worry about pesky things like re-election.
America's technological advantage was also aided by its population advantage, with the total population of the North American Technate being equal to that of Japanese East Asia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics combined.
Technology is advanced, though it's also being artificially limited. Computers are a delight solely utilized by the technocratic elite, and that's not going to change any time soon. They are also used for space travel— the only reason America's space exploration is not more advanced than it already is (they've put men on the moon and established a lunar colony) is because they lacked the computing power for so many essential technologies.
The technocrats are careful to make sure all their bases are covered, and that their rule will never conceivably end... This will require a complete suppression of the individual, moreso than has already been achieved.
Man can be corrected. Man can be domesticated. Man can be what they want him to be. The technocrats need humanity to be so totally controlled that they might as well be robots.
It is clear to the two other superpowers that America will rule the future. However, they fear the idea of such an ultra-totalitarian regime's implications for humanity at large.
Some people wondered just how different the world would have been if the technocrats lost in 1940, if President Roosevelt was a more competent president, if things took a different turn...
And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.
I am well aware that this thread is already SIX years old, but I am currently looking to create a piece of media based on an altered version of the Great Depression. My original idea was to have America descend into anarchy through the dust bowl becoming worse due to mismanagement of the agriculture industry. However, I found your thread, and I can see that our ideas may be compatible. It may even pay homage some pieces of classical literature. The main focus is only America.
I am still working on the details as to how the dust bowl would grow. The agricultural act in 1933 would not have to be passed or farmers would refuse to cease laboring for pay (possibly due to propaganda related to purpose through labor). Another possibility is that they mass migrate to the cities or coastal towns (John Steinbeck's literature), and the dust bowl becomes an avoided zone of the country. What is difficult to determine is why the farmers would stay, or how the situation would worsen by itself without farmers. Anyways, lets choose the latter.
This is where YOUR idea comes in. The United States government appoints scientists to positions of power to deal with labor issues and the severe drought. Possibly, they begin to rally the unemployed into assisting in fixing the dust bowl situation. Due to increased efforts in repairing the country, the United States does not become involved in World War 2. The people see the need for having scientists be leaders. Advanced machinery and computing is invented that runs on either electricity or fossil fuels. The scale of these machines is industrial. Artificial intelligence may exist, and if it does, would be comprised of vast, underground, concrete tunnels that contain miles of circuitry and wiring (I Have no Mouth and I Must Scream). The touched genres would be either steampunk or diesel punk. What would this society look like in the year 1960? What events would lead to it?
Just a few theories and suggestions. It would be appreciated if I could use your theory along with mine. Please respond as soon as possible.
Would a Technocracy (as in the Depression movement) really turn out this bad? As in a totalitarian nightmare that would make Orwell blush. I'd think having a society run by scientist, engineers, or machinist and the intellectual would at least be an improvement as it values intelligence, efficiency, and real meritocracy.
Of course, such people are still human. But, I just can't see the people from the Science channel I grew up watching being as bad as Nazis or Stalinist. Our climate change problems would be a footnote by this point, as well as America's piss poor education system.