What about the Young Turks?
For Justin. The Young Turks elevated themselves by violence and, fearing Turkish Armenians would join Russia, committed genocide. Taft’s War found the Allies victorious and our Young Turks filled their money belts with gold and gave themselves papers as ordinary soldiers. They would likely also have Swiss bank accounts. Justin asks, “What happens to them?”
We know many Nazis relocated to Argentina after the fall of Germany in World War Two. Argentina had sold beef to Germany and refused to declare war against Germany until March, 1945. Germany fell in May. Kurt Tank helped Peron develop a swept-wing jet fighter.
Many Nazi soldiers from places like Norway and the Netherlands joined the French Foreign Legion which provides all enlistees with a new identity, a Nom de Guerre. Many Legionnaires fought in Indochina.
I first imagined the Young Turks escaping by fishing boats to Spain, which was neutral in World War One and would have less national incentive to hunt down war criminals. Alas, 1915 Spain is still a Christian nation with an Inquisition to persecute Jews and Muslims. This might not be a good refuge for men wearing a fez.
I now imagine the Young Turks making their way to a Turkish speaking province of Tsarist Russia. They might think themselves less conspicuous there. In truth, as newcomers to rural communities with population stability, they would be well known as foreigners. These educated men might obtain employment teaching German, French or English to the children of wealthy locals. Their skills might find them noticed by the Tsarist secret police and perhaps employed.
Taft’s War sees an Armenian nation, which may not include Russian Armenian provinces. This may prove a future point of conflict as Kurdish unification affects our Middle East. Christian Armenians are reputed to have adopted newer agricultural technology faster than their Muslim countrymen, adding to the prosperity of a nation state. There is also the potential of loans from the Suez Corporation to build roads and hydroelectric dams. It’s possible Armenian agents would track down the Yung Turks just as the Israeli’s prosecuted Nazis and the Munich Olympic killers.
On a related note, Great Britain assisted the Saudis in the conquest of Arabia in the 1920’s and 1930’s, as well as establishing Arabic rulers in Jordan and Iraq. Taft’s War ends before Lawrence leads an Arab uprising. It’s possible Persia (Iran) would make efforts to absorb Shiite Iraq, oil-rich Kuwait and eventually Mecca to create a Caliphate. The Young Turks with Turkish rather than Farsi language and nominally Sunni religion would not be major actors on the side of the Persians. The temptation would be for a Caliphate to create an oil near-monopoly by retaking Baku, on the Caspian, and even Muslim Indonesia. Our Muslim world produces, other than oil, less industrial output than tiny Finland. Iran has historically been more interested in science, industry and commerce than has Arabia. Your thoughts?
Japan post Taft's War?
For Justin. Circa 1868, a coalition of militarists and merchants elevated Emperor Meiji to transition Japan away from 250-years of Shogunate isolationism. Amazon.com: Toru: Wayfarer Returns (Sakura Steam Series): 9780996932318: Sorensen, Stephanie R: Books Merchants wanted to gain prosperity from trade with the outside world. Militarists wanted to promote themselves and Japan through conquest.
The militarists had some success: helping put down the Boxer Rebellion in 1901 and defeating two Russian fleets by 1905. Conquests include Korea 1910, Manchuria 1932, Okinawa 1872, Formosa/Taiwan 1895, German Pacific possessions Conquest of the German Pacific | Historical Atlas of Asia Pacific (10 October 1914) | Omniatlas became Japanese following World War One.
Army officers in the 1920’s and ‘30’s assassinated politicians: Before Abe: A Brief History of Political Assassinations in Japan – The Diplomat The historic Japanese Army invaded China without government approval and lost a war with Russia in 1939. War in China led to war against the United States in 1941. Though Taft’s War saw Japanese ships blockading Ottoman ports in Arabia, as well as shepherding ANZAC troops and Dutch oil to the Suez Canal; I am not greatly hopeful for a better outcome. Taft’s Germany was defeated and reformed as a federal republic that is less liable to autocratic takeover. German prisoners of war were educated in democracy and capitalism before being returned to Germany. Japan was on the winning side and would see little need to change.
Japan was blocked from direct trade with European colonies. An alternate Japan might engage in asymmetric warfare against colonial France, Netherlands and the United States by backing resistance groups to create a Co-prosperity Sphere. The goal would be to obtain favorable access to oil and rubber without overt warfare. Merchants might reach out to Brazil for iron: Iron Ore in Brazil | OEC - The Observatory of Economic Complexity Japanese Brazilians - Wikipedia
Another alternative would be Japanese investment in foreign countries to raise mutual standards of living. One proposed megaproject (since the 17th Century) is the Kra Canal: Thai Canal - Wikipedia This would save oil tankers 1,200 kilometers sailing between the Gulf and Asia. The economics is against the project as the comparable Suez and Panama canals save, perhaps, 12,000 miles of sailing time and distance. A recent cost estimate is $28 Billion netting some $100 to $500 Million per year. You can see the payoff would take over 50-years without considering interest on the debt. The other end of the scale is micro-investment: Fund Economic Empowerment | Micro Loans & Microfinance | World Vision In between is investment in transport: roads, bridges and railways. This would not find favor with colonialists desiring a monopoly on cheap labor.
I am mildly hopeful that fewer war dead in Taft’s War versus World War One would create a richer planet. A federal Germany might resist Nazism. An alternate US President might lead the world with saner taxation, trade and de-colonization. One the other hand, Russia is on the United Nations Security Council. Your thoughts?
Fascism after Taft's War?
Justin asks if there might be troublesome Nazism and/or Communism despite the deaths of Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin after Taft’s War. Probably.
The founder of Fascism, Benito Mussolini, survived Taft’s War and Italy was grabbing Libya from the Ottomans in 1911. As a victor, the government of Italy proceeds without reform. On reflection, mankind’s fascination with discipline, solidarity, courage, loyalty and ability probably date back to the days when we hunted mammoths with spears. Armies, including the United States Army, rely on these principles; perhaps to the exclusion of others favored in Democratic Republics. One key element is the treatment of dissent. In the US Army, questions may be asked but a refusal to follow orders (in violation of oath) will be addressed by court martial. Failure to follow a lawful order will result in dishonorable discharge in peacetime and the loss of several rights.
Mussolini’s Black Shirts would beat, even kill, opponents and vandalize or burn their property without due process of law. Spartans would hunt down dissenters and kill them in the dark of night.
The Jewish tradition is to share a communal meal every week. A rich family might provide an ox and the poor would recognize them as part of the community and not rob or kill them. American (voluntary) communes foundered when the children grew up and disagreed. Christian Priests, Monks and Nuns sidestep that pitfall with sexual abstinence as did the Shakers. The Oneida and Amana colonies transitioned into corporations selling silverware and microwave ovens. Teens of the Amish are free to leave the community but may be shunned, forfeit all property inheritance and medical care.
Russian forced Communism is stained with famine and genocide. Despite these examples, socialist ideas such as equity, progressive income tax, inheritance tax and price controls remain popular in the United States. I suspect Communism is easily understood by children being provided by their parents.
Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, wrote the rule of law was required to suppress crimes of violence and fraud. Only then could, and would, people work to produce goods and services for trade. Trade allows specialization and development of labor-saving-tools that benefit the economy of the whole country. That’s a lot more complicated than government taking from the rich and giving to the poor.
United States Republicans stalled world trade with high tariffs after World War One. Several nations turned to preying on neighboring countries or domestic pariahs (such as the Jews) as an alternative route to national wealth.
Human nature hasn’t changed much. We can establish better institutions such as rational taxation, government transition by election, patents, copyrights and universities. Our Constitution which may not be overwritten by mere legislation is a wonder of the world. If we can keep it.
Rick Kester is a Viet Nam era veteran living in Northern California with his wife Nancy.