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Old 2012-03-13, 23:16   Link #21
Sumeragi
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I still need time to actually get my notes out, but basically, there was the Herbert Hoover - Bonner Fellers - Joseph Grew connection, which supported a conservative anti-communist Japan. With Fellers being very close to MacArthur, and Hoover being a major figure within the Republican Party, the connection was able to steer MacArthur towards the policies they wanted in part because it was what MacArthur believed, and in part using the Republican presidential candidate as a bait.

Despite the heaps of abuse that Hoover suffered for the Great Depression, he was still influential, being a factor in the nuclear bombing of Japan (having compiled data on Operation Downfall and writing a memo to Truman about a million casualties) and the reconstruction of Japan.

I'll see if I can organize things for you.
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Old 2012-03-13, 23:17   Link #22
Irenicus
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[It got moved back to General Chat? ]

Nothing wrong with the topic being here or anything, but I'd just like to mention that you would probably find more fertile grounds for this sort of discussion in a site like alternatehistory, where history fans of this type congregate.

Alternatively, if you play Paradox games, it's always possible and fun -- and time consuming, or so I've heard -- to write up an After Action Report in their active AAR forums. While some AARs are firmly grounded in actual gameplay, many AAR authors choose to write about their favorite alternate history scenarios instead, and there is a rich and interested audience there. I would not recommend the History section there though; it's, eh, not exactly very good.
_______________

But I'm not here just to be a spoilsport, so I might as well contribute some thoughts. I am, after all, a history student.

Nonetheless, I must preface the discussion with a few points in regards to the notion of alternate history. I'll skip the "butterfly effect" and "this will never go anywhere" spiel, recognizing that this is more or less a game and not a rigorous thought experiment. Regardless:
  • While singular events can be, literally, game-changing, historical events are just as much products of historical trends as vice versa. I will go into more detail when I discuss your Ottoman scenario.

  • The pace of reforms can be easily overestimated. In reality, sweeping reforms tend to provoke severe reactions, or their positive effects may not be seen until decades after. This is important both for your Chinese and Ottoman scenarios.

  • Similarly, singular actors, even in key positions, do not always possess the influence one may conveniently attribute to them. Likewise, their effectiveness and influence in one position may not translate into another. To provide a US example, James Buchanan was an effective and popular Senator before he became the President of the United States, of which he would later be ranked as one of the least prestigious. He had been outmatched by events, and his skills -- or just his luck -- were not up to the task of navigating a nation inexorably falling towards civil war.

    So unless a certain individual had a career which provide comparably applicable contexts, it is not always easy to equate skill as, say, a reformist bureaucrat will translate into the leader of a nation.

From these (randomly drawn up) points, I will present a few critiques of your scenario that came to mind immediately:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegir
In this world, the 20th century won't be monopolized by the west. Instead, three superpower will emerge as the leading nations of the world, each representing their respective 'cultural spheres'. They are consisted of two resurgent centuries-old empires of Ottoman Caliphate and China that have successfully withstood the pressure of European colonial domination over the globe during the golden years of Europe, and a younger Europe-descended republic that will become the leader of the west after Europeans have lost prominence.
The notion that China and the Ottoman Empire would both survive and prosper in the era of European Imperialism is not impossible, but it would require fundamental changes which include more than a single successful reform or a better leader in the right place at the right time -- unless you are prepared to argue for a revolutionary situation of the sort where everything is possible and minor progressive trends are magnified beyond measure.

In short, Tanzimat doesn't cut it. If you want to change the course of Ottoman history abruptly, you need something as big as the French, or Russian, Revolution. Or better yet, you need the Turkish War of Independence. Gradually, with developing events -- now that's acceptable. Of sorts [I'm trained in more rigorous, skeptical historical thinking than the level considered acceptable in alternate history discourses...].

Quote:
In this world, Ottoman and Chinese empires certainly have had better luck. In 1876, Ottoman's veteran minister of war that in RL, Husseyin Avni Pasha. was killed by an assassin, ex courtier of the recently deposed Sultan. This loss in RL costed a freshly reformed military of the empire, a single, uniformly respected leading figure, which presence in the upcoming war with Russia the next year would've led its course to Ottoman favor. In RL he was succeeded by an 80 years old Pasha which served pretty much as a furniture. Ottomans military was better modernized at that time, with better equipments and doctrines. Russians however, prevailed in unity of command, which payed off, since with the absence of Husseyin, the rivalring generals of Ottomans all acted on their own and eventually allowed Russians victory over them, rendering their empire almost destroyed.
Here it doesn't happen with Husseyin survived the assasination, and under his command, Ottomans manage to fend off Russian invasion, saving them from all the devastation and the large addition of debt they suffered post war in RL. It will be a very different Ottoman Empire from the one we usually think of it as...
The problems with the Ottoman Empire run far deeper than a single lost war, a single -- however important -- minister, and the Tanzimat reforms, relatively conservative as they were, produced tensions that would gradually build up towards the cataclysmic events of the First World War.

Let me explain in clearer detail:

Big guns are fine. Drills are fine. But while one can produce a formidable military just through military reforms, it is generally not the case. A truly effective army in the 19th century context requires the integration of not only modern weaponry and tactics, but also a State that is capable of maintaining, governing, and advancing it. This is a fatal flaw of many non-European military reform efforts which translate into armies which are effective on paper, or at least against local opponents, but prove no match for when European forces land on their shores. The Europeans were just that much better at utilizing their national resources and translating them into power.

As such, the success of the Ottoman State as a great power requires very much that a fundamental change occurs in its very structure -- and not just a department or two, or even a fully-featured ministerial government, but something as substantial as a total change in the way Istanbul interacts with the provinces, and the provincial governments with local communities.

Tanzimat, as the catch-all name for a series of reforms taking place in the middle of the 19th century, made progress on this front -- unevenly, haphazardly -- and it already produced tensions which would have severe repercussions down the road.

I will set an example: pre-Tanzimat, Ottoman interaction with its diverse subjects relied on a cornerstone policy of the Millet system. This system, simplified almost unjustifiably as "a system of sectarian communities," though somewhat unique in its Ottoman manifestation, had very clear analogies back to the Medieval Era, to the Golden Age of Islamic civilization. It could even be argued to have been a more natural form of government back then, when sectarian differences -- your tribal, religious, sectarian identity -- far surpassed the notion of whom you pay taxes to. So the Jewish community governed itself under Ottoman law and interacted with Ottoman officials on a number of matters; Christian Maronites, Coptics, etc. did the same; and so on and so forth. It was an unequal, but recognizable system. The non-Muslims did not have to be drafted into the armies of the Empire; in exchange, they paid the jizya and remained in a somewhat subordinate status.

What this means, however, is that when reforms of law and government during the Tanzimat era, primarily the one which the Sultan indicated that everyone stopped being autonomous subjects under the Millet system and became citizens of a centralized empire, theoretically, things got problematic. In Lebanon, for example, the reforms provoked unexpected and rather severe interconfessional violence between Muslim mobs, Maronite Christians, and Jews, and the government had to intervene militarily -- and rather ineffectively -- to stop the violence. This tension never went away, especially in the more far flung regions of the empire. In fact it was only growing more severe as the century progressed. Your scenario of this successful war minister surviving an assassination attempt does nothing whatsoever to change that, and an Ottoman Empire which maintained hegemony over the Middle East *will* have to confront it at some point.

In OTL ["our timeline"], this is one major element included in what can perhaps be termed the growing nationalistic sentiment in the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East -- the sentiment resulting in the Arab Revolt during the First World War, in the crises on the Caucasian border throughout the 1910's and even earlier that included the brutal Armenian Genocide, in Balkan nationalist revolts which gave plenty of opportunity for Russia and other European powers to intervene in the affairs of the Empire. Your Ottoman Empire must face down the Age of Nationalism and provide a successful alternative paradigm to it. The historical propagandistic ideology of Ottomanism may give you hints, but do note that it lacked popular appeal and was very much "constructed."

I will admit, however, that regardless of the growing tensions over nationalism in the Middle East and the lack of appeal of Ottomanism itself, old-fashioned loyalty to the Sultan/Caliph was strong and the same reasons which made Tanzimat so problematic also meant that the majority of, say, Arabs, were loyal to the Ottoman Empire to the bitter end, even in the extremely stressed environment of World War I, the Arab Revolt, and the like.

Now the question becomes: how did the historical Ottoman Empire overcome that? The answer, in short, is that it failed to. The more complex answer included what Turkey -- the successor state -- succeeded to do under its very dynamic leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (who, or whose equivalent, I suspect you must make use of in your alternate history scenario). What it did was to accept the new status quo and redefined the Turkish resistance movements' goals against the Allied occupation to be, not the restoration of the hegemonic empire, but to create a state for Turks, by Turks. The sweeping and indeed awe-inspiring reforms of Ataturk's regime, secularist, authoritarian, Western-oriented, was only possible under the extremities of the revolutionary environment. The Turks had no choice but to follow him; they faced utter destruction, they knew of the details of the Sèvres Treaty, they knew of Allied garrisons in Istanbul -- it was do or die, and the success of the revolution meant Mustafa Kemal had the moral authority which not even the strongest of the Ottoman Sultans had in implementing his reforms. Of course, he also did not have to work through pre-existing organizations and power bases, as the Ottoman Sultans had to do in their tentative reforms (some of which provoke severe reactions; remember Selim's deposition early in the 19th century), because they were already all shattered.

Can your Ottoman Empire, which will not experience the extremities of utter annihilation, possibly carry out reforms necessary to secularize and Westernize it? Can your Empire create an appealing ideology that encompasses the multiethnic state, where Arabs were as numerous as Turks? Even OTL Turkey faced issues with its large Greek population -- resulting in the infamous population exchange -- and the Kurdish problem which continues to this day.

I will accept, that a victorious war or two may [or may not!] open the grounds for a stronger state to assert its authority, but if you want to achieve what Turkey achieved in real life, on a continental scale, you need something just as traumatic, just as big -- a total war, a revolution -- and the right actors in place. The trends and the preexisting conditions of the Middle East must be taken into account. Remember, always, that the modern Middle East as we understand it today comes straight right out of the traumatic breakup of the Ottoman Empire, and what preceded it was a different kind of world. Better rifles, better drilled troops, even better staff and recruitment systems would not suffice in creating a great power in the Age of Industrialization.

Oh, and a little side note: the debts that would plague the Ottoman Empire to the end preceded that 1877-78 War. Tanzimat reforms were expensive, see, and so was suppressing Muhammad Ali of Egypt. Crimea -- oh, that's even worse. The debts built up over all that, and coupled with Ottoman concessions in matters of financial governance and trade tariffs, which wrecked Ottoman economy much earlier than 1878, and your minister of war might as win his war and lose the peace.

Quote:
As for China, basically they skipped the warlords period after Xinhai Revolution. In this world, instead of choosing Yuan Shikai as president, Sun Yat Sen instead choose Kang Youwei, a prominent figure in Hundred Days Reform. He was much, much better then Yuan Shikai in both competency and personality. Still however, being part of the old establishment, and more importantly, a firm Confucian monarchist, the motion of Republic is simply unconvincing to him, so in the end he restored the empire as Yuan Shikai did in RL. This empire under him however, will be an imminently lasting one....
I'm losing steam, so the Chinese discussion will not be as long.

Note, however, that there are compelling arguments made that the Warlords Period may have been in some ways unavoidable since the development of the regional armies of the late Qing period, dating back as far as the crisis of the Taiping Rebellion. Local officials, not all of whom were Qing loyalists, were forcefully empowered in ways which were unthinkable before and they never really submitted again to central Qing authority in the way they did before that storm. A smoother transition towards some sort of Constitutional state, Republic or Monarchy, would be unlikely to prevent this unless the state is backed by very powerful regional militaries -- which would only produce another Yuan Shikai. He was hardly alone after all, but rather an archetype for all the warlords.

Note as well that the historical failure of Kang Youwei's Hundred Days Reform had very real reasons in that it had very little support -- or effect, for that matter -- outside of the reformist faction within the court itself. Local provincial officials ignored its directives, its many proclamations were only paid lip-service to, and though it seems a sweeping mandate of reform, it didn't accomplish very much at all. The reformists from within did not have the power nor the popular appeal to conduct sweeping reforms of the ancient Imperial system. You therefore have to answer the question: what changed between OTL and your alternate reality that would allow such a thing to happen?

Remember too that Sun Yat-Sen, who possessed much greater popular support that Kang Youwei, and who proved himself quite the capable leader during the last period of his life when he rallied together the Guomindang State in Southern China, was forced to accede to Yuan Shikai precisely because he, too, lacked the "guns," so to speak, to hold power in a China boiling with pent-up tension and full of ambitious military men with independent armies.

Note also the difficulties of reform in later periods of Chinese history, when regimes in power had to face problems which date back to the turn of the 20th century and much, much earlier. The Guomindang's failures in land reform in the 1930's, for example, compared to its comparative success in coastal urban locales; and the eventual Communist solution -- a revolutionary one done in blood and war -- of destroying the landlord class and collectivizing the land, produced terrible problems of its own. Your Chinese Great Power *must* confront that, at the very least, or it will break under its own failures by the storms of peasant revolutions whether they are of a millenarian nature, led by self-proclaimed reformist militarists, or inspired by the imported ideologies from the West.

And that's just the beginning. How will your China face structural problems of Sisyphean proportions and come out as strong as it is today? I am not saying it is impossible -- very good arguments could be made that a more successful China back in the early 20th century may as well replicate today's situation much earlier, but you have to articulate that from the context of a reformist, rather than revolutionary, chaotic, context. You have to articulate, so I believe your scenario implies, a successful top-down reform from a Qing Dynasty that is losing grip in its legitimacy, and that's hard. Your reformer, Kang Youwei or whoever, must navigate existing channels of power that will not be torn down and built anew (ala the Guomindang, which in itself eventually compromised with the survivors of the Confucian class anyway -- or the Communists).

Last edited by Irenicus; 2012-03-13 at 23:28.
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Old 2012-03-13, 23:25   Link #23
Ithekro
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Just something to ponder. What would have happened if the North American species of horse had not gone extinct something like 13,000 years ago (some say the natives ate the horse to extinction in the Ice Age)?

Can you imagine if Cortez and his horses were countered by natives also on horses? While the firearms angle (and the diseases angle) are still there...the riders would not be as feared.



An aside: I did a fictional project that ended up with this concept:
Rohan and Gondor in North America (does that mean Yellowstone is Mt. Doom?)
8,000 years after the Lord of the Rings.
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Old 2012-03-14, 00:18   Link #24
erneiz_hyde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Nothing wrong with the topic being here or anything, but I'd just like to mention that you would probably find more fertile grounds for this sort of discussion in a site like alternatehistory, where history fans of this type congregate.
Heh, Aegir is actually an old member there (arguably one of the "old guards"), but I think he's trying to spread that hobby of his to more people that also share anime interests (aside from being tired of the changing atmosphere of the site). I only visit the site occasionally when he gave me interesting TL's to read.
EDIT: he might actually be pretty hyped seeing your lengthy and observant post. Expect a slow reply because he tends to take his time composing his replies as thoroughly and as best he could

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ithekro
An aside: I did a fictional project that ended up with this concept:
Rohan and Gondor in North America (does that mean Yellowstone is Mt. Doom?)
8,000 years after the Lord of the Rings
Hey, I remember reading a similar ISOT story sometime ago in AH.com, only in Europe, and in medieval times. Come to think of it I haven't continued to read that. Maybe I'll try and post the link here if I find it. Oh, and it wasn't Rohan and Gondor, rather, Mordor.
EDIT: ah, found it. It might help you get some insights on your projects. Pay attention to username "ytdn" because he became the main writer in that thread.
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Old 2012-03-14, 00:48   Link #25
Ithekro
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Mine was on Navalism. Set around the turn from the 19th to 20th centuries.

It was mostly based around naval ship contruction, but they wanted to go fantasy from an alternate history world. I said we shouldn't because of all the work it would take to intigrate all the various player's histories to mess together...especially if it was set on a fictional planet. Then we'd need map work too.

I eventually showed them what I thought was as far out as we could go without changing the laws of physics or taking us to someplace other than Earth....so they got Rohan as a large power in the Pacific Northwest (the GM placed me there). I even tried to use the actual terrain to place historical locations. As noted Yellowstone was the remains of Mt. Doom. Thing like elves and the Shire were legends about on par with Gilgamesh.

Over time I tried to justify the Rohirram, Gondorian, and the like as the original natives (the ones here before the present day Native Americans arrived) and then integrated the newer nations over time as allies, enemies, or just peoples that wanted to be left alone. The presence of a at least Middle Ages tech power in the American West does a lot of things to Spanish, French, and Norman (English) colonization. First, Cortez is driven to the Sea by a temporary alliance between the Azteca and the Riders of Rohan (sometimes enemies, but threat of outsider invasion was more so) Then the others had trouble gaining lands west of the Mississippi River for a time. The Southern route worked better and the Normans expanded along the Southern part of what would today be the United States...diplacing some Spanish colonies that set up in Northern Mexico and the Southwest (so that we didn't have to rename everything in the region). The Aztec would become more corrupt and be considered a moral enemy of Rohan and Gondor as the Aztecs successors worshiped the legends of the Eye of Sauron.

Plus I added other stuff. Anime stuff for fun. Largely based on the anime Gun Frontier.

Later we had a revision and I was able to graft in the traditional map of Middle Earth onto the North American West Coast.

We managed to get to 1919 or so before there was a restart.

But the Sword of the King still existed in the Gondorian royal tombs of what use to be called Minas Tirith.
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Old 2012-03-14, 01:12   Link #26
erneiz_hyde
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Ho, that's a different kind of ISOT, one I'm not familiar with.

But...if a medieval level tech is already present from before 8000 years ago, one would think that they'd already long develop nuclear weapons since , and the coming Native American civilization would have been immediately absorbed into it. Heh, I can even picture America doing colonization of Europe instead of the other way around

EDIT: OK, let me contribute a bit. You can make the Middle-Earthian suddenly appear in the area at the time of interest. Though, I can't think of a justification of why they would fight the colonial power on the side of the Natives, unless of course the Europeans attack them first (which is very possible I guess). Or, you could let them appear a few centuries earlier and resolve the things inside first so it'll be them instead that the colonial power encounters. Oh, btw don't forget about germs! Arguably, the biggest killer the colonial powers brought to the natives weren't firearms nor swords, it's their diseases, which they spread by simply being there (similar to how the Mongol presumably brought black death to Europe).
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Old 2012-03-14, 03:26   Link #27
Ithekro
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I ended the Fourth Age of the Sun with a Super Volcano Eruption (Mt. Doom has one more thing to say about it), and that took it toll on Gondor and Rohan. While they knew of things and had some pieces of Middle Age tech, it took a while to get things moving again. Also to get the population back up. This would have been around the time our recorded history starts some 5,000 or so years ago.

Some of the cultures mixed with the newer Natives for survival during those times. Some nations would see Rohan and Gondor as the Big Protectors. Thus when the waves of whiter men (Rohan and Gondor seem fairly white to me) some of the nations and tribes to the East or South that were friends of Rohan would call for aid.

Rohan (being the primary royal lineage surviving group rather than Gondor) would grow out to take over much was what was once Gondor, but that took time as well. Then they would be in a series of frontier conflicts to downright wars with the Mississippian cultures (the mysterious mound builder). They would have direct contact with the Europeans early (Vikings landed in 1000 or so AD, and word of that would get an expadition to see what it up in the East)....though I never did revamp that part of the backstory. In the first version, there was no England. The creator of that area had some mystery race based on celtic legends....he didn't play much, so we ignored that part and focused on the second part...the continued Roman inspired Celtic civilization. So instead of Vikings or just Viking, you instead have waht is basically a Roman Legion land in either Canada or Maine back somewhere before 1000 AD. This impressed the Rohirram (large formation that had horses as well). Eventually those peoples left. But their diseases remained. Thus when the Spanish came not as many died as some of those gems had been making the run for 500 years already.

The Spanish seemed to be itching for a fight so one was given (all those warriors from the recently ended wars against the Moors needed an outlet that wasn't in Spain) Plus gold and the islands of the Caribbean fell easy. Cental Mexico to about Panama held for a while agianst the Spanish, but the Incan rivals fell, as did the Mississippians and the tribes in the American East Coast and South. Rohan would buffer European advances towards them. Usually though a friendly nation-tribe. But the Aztec were an evil lot. They turned on Rohan in the South and thus Cental American Gondor fell a few times to be regained for a few decades and fall again. It fell to the Aztec and Spanish.

The rest of Rohan would hold as they modernized to keep up. Since they hadn't had a pressing need to advance their technoloy past the Middle Ages (a Mithril Age would be fun, but not viable) and a mythological reasoning to distrust the use of gunpowered (the myth about the destruction of the Deeping Wall at Helm's Deep), they kind of needed a crash course in industrialization and gunsmithing. They managed to catchup by the mid to late 1700s. They lagged behind a little here and there until the middle of the 1800s when they took to steam power quickly. Thus their ships are on par with the other major powers by 1900.

Though Rohan's designs are a little weird. They tended for firepower over everything else. More guns than average. But usually at the expense of speed. They found out in their last war with the Aztecs (finally taking them out in 1899) that speed was needed, but that firepower did work, but only if you can catch them. So via some excuses and dealings, Rohan is the nation that built the first "Dreadnought" type ship in that world.

By this point the Rohirrim and Europeans had an understanding. Stay on your side of the River and everything is fine. Several tribes are being used as a buffer region between Rohan and the northern USA expy country. Rohan oddly has good relation with the CSA epxy nation...probably because of mutual dislike of the Aztecs since that one time in Texas.

This World's major power is France (they defeated Prussia in the 1870s) as here is still not full on United Kingdom, just a much weaker version that had many parts that eventuallt reunited as the United Norman Kingdoms. Russia for a time was the second strongest. Post war with the Aztec, Rohan became the third world power in terms of production ability and military hardware. Though Rohan was mostly Continental intrested only. They didn't seem all that interested in Empire building. (unless it was to stop the Followers of the Eye....a plot point that would come up now and again...one person suggesting Rohan designs a force able to cross the Pacific Ocean to take out some Sauronites in India).

But I've rambled on about pure fiction in an alternate Earth setting for a while now. And I'm going from mostly memory. Some details were probably handled, I just don't recall.
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Old 2012-03-14, 09:03   Link #28
Ridwan
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@Irenicus

I have to first, admit that most of the knowledges I have are pretty much second hand. I got lucky to have run across a community of high-level experts, which formerly dwelled AH.com. They are extremely informed people that have gone through countless amounts of literatures and source about many subjects. And through encounter with those gentlemen has exposed to me, a man who lives in a country that puts great constraint to my capability to gather for literary sources on foreign history, at least when it comes to certain topics, massive load of informations that you won't normally gain through simple browsings in internet, and that's how I got my basis of knowledges without being able to access almost all of the books that they have gone through. There is also the fact that it's not really my original idea, but pretty much an attempt to amalgamate two alternate universes from two different authors. So bare with me.

First, on Ottoman Empire. I think you're underestimating the effectiveness of Tanzimat and Hamidiyan reforms. They were not only cosmetical reforms to present a semblance of modernism, but actually deep restructurizations of the imperial structure to answer the need for modern state machinery. Its sudden (but non unprecedented) implementation did cause problems as you said, but they were not insurmountable, as proved by the state continued to exist until near a century after Tanzimat started. For example, it restructured the administrative units of the empire into vilayets with more sensible make ups to allow better control and also their fair representation in the Ottoman parliament later (which proves its earnestness for its stated goal to reform the empire into a modern representative system). Its program of military modernization was pretty successful, as evidence from its updated military and navy which was the third largest in the world by 1877 (though yes, until they have indigenous modern heavy military industry, the navy would've become obsolete rather soon after), and it was certainly able to contain the problems caused by the removal of millet system from destroying the empire. The trajectory of 19th century of Ottoman Empire to its dissolution was a slow and inconsistent process that owed crucially to a number of decisive events that briefly reverse the graphic radically from the ongoing trend, that didn't even reverse the general trend until the last one that actually ended the empire. It was not on the process of trending decline, at least not since Mahmud II. Instead, its process of improvement got instantly slammed down violently by two wars, of the latter which pretty much put an end to its existence.

And in here I picked the first among two. Why ?
It pretty much stripped the empire from the Balkans, which until the empire's defeat in 1878 was the powerbase of the empire. Yes. Not Anatolia. Only after then, the empire immediately started to shift its powerbase to its Asian territories, prior which was a backwater. And indeed, it was a worse choice for center of power then the Balkans, the most arable and productive land the empire ever had. Its lost hurt Ottoman income severely.

And there were several things about the Balkans. Prior to San Stefano it had a large plurality of muslim population. There were more christians, but they were divided along denominational and ethno-lingustic lines, so that means the muslim population was the largest group in the region. They were not ethnically uniform. But they were muslims, and being a Caliphate, the main source of legitimacy for the empire was Islam. It was not a ethnic-based empire, but a universalist old-school monarchy based on Dar-al Islam concept. And thus, IOTL the muslims of the empire were always muslim first, ethnic-origins second, until either they either lost confidence in the empire to protect them (Albanians) or the empire got evicted from their territory (Bosniaks and Arabs). So they have to be counted as a single group in this regard. (Yes there was the Egyptians but they had history of prestigious statehood and special autonomy and the same rule still pretty much applied nominally to them)

Spoiler for Ottoman Balkans 1877:


One more thing about the Ottoman Balkans is that just prior to the war, they were just about to industrialize. There was a growing population of muslim middle class and the emergence of light industries in the Rumelia and Bulgaria. The empire was about to "Pull a Meiji".

The defeat of Ottomans in that war stripped their will-be industrial centers that went to the new state of Bulgaria, evicted large numbers of muslims through either deportation or mass killings from the former territory that not only killed the promise of ascending muslim bourgeoisie class, but created a huge refugee problems for the empire for years to come.

The war also pretty much executed Ottoman army and that forced the empire to rebuild it from scratch. And the near bankruptcy post-war terminated their ability to maintain their third's largest in the world navy.

The recognition of Bulgaria by Treaty of Berlin also gave the stamp of approval to the idea of ethnic-nation states. Prior, it was regarded that only large "great" nations like Germans and Russians that deserve their own state. Bulgaria acted as a green light for small ethnic groups to also strive for their own state. The absence of Bulgaria will mean a setback for nationalism in general.

With all that prevented along with the obligation to pay reparation and additional debts, Ottomans will be in a much better position. They managed to survive for 40 more years even with all those problems. Arguably, you can say it was largely due to Abdul Hamit II. In this world, while he won't be able to be a despot with infinite power, he will be in a much stronger bargaining position in diplomatic arena. Of course, it will need to wait until the decline of European powers before their rise into global prominence. Before that, they will have to bear with European economic dominance.

This is the thread which Ottoman Empire I've "downloaded" from : http://www.alternatehistory.com/disc...ttoman+victory

There are numerous other Ottoman-related threads in that site. The author of the thread is already banned from AH.com, and his current resident in the nets is this place. I have his facebook though, and he also has his own site.

He also once showed me the complete debt receipt of either Egypt or OE, or both. But it has now been since drown in my facebook group

Oh and btw, have you read Stanford Shaw's two volumes of "History of Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey" ? Besides Abdul's posts, I also used that book as my guide here.


And now, as for China, here's an excerpt from Edward McCord's "The Power of the Gun: The Emergence of Modern Chinese Warlordism" :

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As evidenced in the cases of Hubei and Hunan, the original direction taken by Yuan Shikai in the establishment of his dictatorship did not necessarily suggest an advance into warlordism. A concerted effort at bureaucratic centralization reversed the tendencies toward political fragmentation that had been represented by postrevolutionary provincial autonomy. Central powers of appointment over provincial governments were no longer simply claimed but enforced, and provincial administrations as a whole were made more responsive to central control. Measured against the previous provincial regimes, Yuan made considerable progress toward a restoration of central power in the provinces. His promotion of civilian primacy in provincial administration was somewhat less successful. In both Hunan and Hubei, the military governor remained the dominant figure in provincial government. Nonetheless, civil governors were appointed and the goal of civilian rule upheld. If given sufficient time, increased central bureaucratic control in the provinces might have enabled the civil governors to win their contest with military governors for the control of provincial administration. After all, at this point the military powers of the military governors in Hunan and Hubei were constrained by the comparatively small number of troops under their personal command and by the primary loyalty of other key military commanders garrisoned in their provinces to Yuan and the central government. Clearly the policies and political structure of Yuan's centralizing dictatorship showed a sensitivity to the danger of militarism and were designed to avoid it.

Despite all his efforts to reinforce centralized and civilian government, in one crucial area Yuan fostered a countervailing tendency toward military rule. This was in his reliance on military power and coercion to enforce his political authority. Yuan could not have been unaware of the lesson traditionally drawn from Chinese dynastic history about the intrinsic instability of authority based solely on force. A general could conquer from horseback, but he had to dismount to rule. Unfortunately for Yuan's political aspirations, he was never able to dismount. Military power enabled Yuan to establish his dictatorship, but to maintain it he found no alternative to coercion.

Yuan's ascension of the imperial throne was a belated recognition of the need to shore up the foundations of his authority by some means other than military force. Unfortunately for Yuan, imperial symbols had lost most of their efficacy. Ironically, the monarchist movement reflected both the achievements and the weaknesses of Yuan's rule. The initially successful orchestration of the monarchist movement in the provinces clearly reflected the consolidation of central administrative control under Yuan's dictatorship. At the same time, the means by which the movement was pursued revealed the extent to which Yuan's central authority continued to rely almost solely on bureaucratic obedience enforced by coercion. Whatever political consensus supported Yuan at the beginning of his rule had evaporated by the time he attempted to make himself emperor. Instead of building new bases of support for his authority, Yuan's betrayal of the Republic created a rallying point for his opponents and initiated a civil war that not only brought an end to his imperial dreams but led to reversal of the centralizing gains of his dictatorship."
Here is where Kang would differ from Yuan : he's a civilian. He wouldn't have an army as independent power base for himself to rely on. That means that he would have to find support with another way, that would be through negotiations and compromise with all the differing political factions, including with Sun Yat Sen and Republicans. Therefore, Kang's government would be largely representative of civilllian element, instead of military, and constitutional, instead of depostic.

However, you're right about the need for structural reform, which will partially explain its poor performance in the later war with Japan.

And for the TL which I've downloaded this China from, here it is.
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Old 2012-03-14, 10:44   Link #29
Irenicus
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So I was halfway through my reply to Aegir, and clicked the wrong button and lost my response. Argh.

Let's try again.

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Originally Posted by erneiz_hyde View Post
Heh, Aegir is actually an old member there (arguably one of the "old guards"), but I think he's trying to spread that hobby of his to more people that also share anime interests (aside from being tired of the changing atmosphere of the site).
I see.

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Originally Posted by Aegir View Post
First, on Ottoman Empire. I think you're underestimating the effectiveness of Tanzimat and Hamidiyan reforms. They were not only cosmetical reforms to present a semblance of modernism, but actually deep restructurizations of the imperial structure to answer the need for modern state machinery. Its sudden (but non unprecedented) implementation did cause problems as you said, but they were not insurmountable, as proved by the state continued to exist until near a century after Tanzimat started. For example, it restructured the administrative units of the empire into vilayets with more sensible make ups to allow better control and also their fair representation in the Ottoman parliament later (which proves its earnestness for its stated goal to reform the empire into a modern representative system).
I should have been more clear in that I do recognize the success of the Tanzimat -- I would in fact argue that it is, though still a mixed success, by far the most successful reform long-term, in the Middle East, with only a fleeting rival in Muhammad Ali's Egypt early in the century (and that had its own problems). What I felt was ignored in the scenario is how many new structural problems are built into the Ottoman State through the reforms, or how the reforms hadn't touched the masses of the populace in an always positive way.

Much bad blood came of Tanzimat's breaking of the old Millet system, and much unintended consequences. It may be necessary growing pains, but sometimes growing pains are just enough to set into motion very interesting things.

The integrity of the Ottoman State is also an interesting topic. On one hand, when the Empire experienced a crisis following Selim III's deposition, the magnates of Anatolia -- whom I would argue are very much the Empire's bedrock of political support, regardless of economic comparisons with the Balkans -- did rally together to defend the State's integrity, and I already mentioned the loyalty of Arab troops in the First World War until they were literally starved into otherwise. However, examples such as the Berlin Conference, the Greek Revolution, the crises of the frontier in the 1910's, and the Treaty of San Stefano/1877-78 War which is the subject of your scenario reveals how internal tensions which may be kept under control by a strong Ottoman state are vulnerable to exploitation by foreign opponents to cause severe damage to the integrity of the Empire regardless.

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Its program of military modernization was pretty successful, as evidence from its updated military and navy which was the third largest in the world by 1877 (though yes, until they have indigenous modern heavy military industry, the navy would've become obsolete rather soon after), and it was certainly able to contain the problems caused by the removal of millet system from destroying the empire.
...as such, as mentioned above, although the central government successfully made a halfway transition into a modern state structure and possessed the force, at least under Abdulhamid's autocracy, to rein in separatist sentiments if undisturbed by foreign intervention, it has to contend nonetheless with hostile European powers.

It is interesting, because while you could conceivably make a case for Russia's defeat, the dynamic is such that, to simplify, such powers as Britain and France are only as loyal to the empire as they are concerned with the Russian threat. In other words, the moment Istanbul is considered safe from a humiliated Russia, Britain and France begin to demand concessions for their assistance or even their neutrality, and play the influence game in the Empire's regions regardless of whether Istanbul approves or not.

Moreover, while land war is one thing, no navy in the world could stand against the Royal Navy in its heyday. The Ottomans may have possessed the world's third largest sailing navy, but the British had the tradition and the sailor experience to know what to do with theirs, the size that easily dwarfed it, and the ability to maintain a cutting edge in technology in which the Ottoman stood no chance to do so. Should Britain found it necessary to intervene, it could blockade the Empire to near-death. A state like the Ottoman Empire, with its very long shorelines, its dependency on the sea in comparison to the weak internal infrastructure, its diverse and multiethnic populace, its economic dependency on European powers, is extremely vulnerable in a way Germany and France are not, and we see what Germany suffered through in World War 1 anyway.

As for why Britain should even be concerned in the first place...aside from simple power politics and its desire to defend the Suez and its Egyptian colonial puppet from the threat of a resurgent Ottoman Empire (demonstrated after all by the Syrian/Egyptian Front in the First World War), remember that public opinion in Britain during the late 1870's had already been turned against the Ottoman Empire by the rising outrage against the ruthless suppression of the Bulgarian Revolt. One of the first instances, in fact, of the new power of the press in dictating the tempo of national opinion and, arguably, that of Imperial Policy.

The primary problem with the Ottoman military reforms is, as you recognized, there is no internal military-industrial complex of sufficient size to keep pushing reform without the central government having to jolt it through time and again -- at great expense it could barely afford, if at all. This is a problem because its primary opponents that could threaten its integrity were advancing at remarkable speed.

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The trajectory of 19th century of Ottoman Empire to its dissolution was a slow and inconsistent process that owed crucially to a number of decisive events that briefly reverse the graphic radically from the ongoing trend, that didn't even reverse the general trend until the last one that actually ended the empire. It was not on the process of trending decline, at least not since Mahmud II. Instead, its process of improvement got instantly slammed down violently by two wars, of the latter which pretty much put an end to its existence.
So, though I recognize that the Ottoman Empire was moving forward, it was a case of too little, too late, and too bad but you can't do much faster without really breaking things. The reason being, that its opponents (even Russia had Alexander II) were moving forward at state-building faster than it could, from, by the 19th century, a very advantageous point.

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It pretty much stripped the empire from the Balkans, which until the empire's defeat in 1878 was the powerbase of the empire. Yes. Not Anatolia. Only after then, the empire immediately started to shift its powerbase to its Asian territories, prior which was a backwater. And indeed, it was a worse choice for center of power then the Balkans, the most arable and productive land the empire ever had. Its lost hurt Ottoman income severely.

And there were several things about the Balkans. Prior to San Stefano it had a large plurality of muslim population. There were more christians, but they were divided along denominational and ethno-lingustic lines, so that means the muslim population was the largest group in the region. They were not ethnically uniform. But they were muslims, and being a Caliphate, the main source of legitimacy for the empire was Islam. It was not a ethnic-based empire, but a universalist old-school monarchy based on Dar-al Islam concept. And thus, IOTL the muslims of the empire were always muslim first, ethnic-origins second, until either they either lost confidence in the empire to protect them (Albanians) or the empire got evicted from their territory (Bosniaks and Arabs). So they have to be counted as a single group in this regard.
While the Balkans were closer to industrialization (just how much closer though? Bursa and Izmir experienced as much change as Thessaloniki did...), I really would argue against the notion that it is appreciably more agriculturally valuable compared to Anatolia. Moreover, the ethnic Turks -- and more importantly, their leaders which were loyal to the Empire -- were dominant in Anatolia in a way that could not be considered the same in the Balkans.

You have to also be wary of arguing the position that Islam as a unifying force -- a facet of Ottomanism that actually has some popular appeal beyond the limited reformist idealists -- means the Empire can easily leverage that into support for greater reforms. After all, the very notion of the Caliphate meant preserving the old order, an order incompatible with what the reforms would be aiming at. There may be points wherein the ulama would just decide that enough is enough and turned against the Empire. The same happened to the reform attempts in Iran under the admittedly weaker Qajars.

There's a reason Ataturk cut it off when he built the Turkish State anew; he knew preserving the Caliphate meant his secularist, reformist agenda would never be able to achieve an unchallenged dominance the way it did.

Quote:
Spoiler for Ottoman Balkans 1877:
Thanks for the interesting map.

I recognized large Muslim presence in the Empire's Balkan territories prior to the nationalist conflicts and the Empire's collapse -- I'm hardly going to buy the revisionism that come out of modern Balkan nationalists -- but I did not expect such pluralities.

What was the source?

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One more thing about the Ottoman Balkans is that just prior to the war, they were just about to industrialize. There was a growing population of muslim middle class and the emergence of light industries in the Rumelia and Bulgaria. The empire was about to "Pull a Meiji".
That is questionable. Meiji Japan didn't achieve its remarkable transformation (though the majority of the economy remained dominated by agricultural all the way into the 20th century regardless) because it had coal, but because it had a loyal, educated populace that was remarkably well versed in a highly commercial economy long before the opening up. Japan had one special populace to start with -- not because of some Japanese exceptionalism, but because of the levels of functional literacy, the relative unity (Hokkaido aside) and the integration of a vibrant Edo era commercial economy which had no similar analogies within the Ottoman Empire's Balkan territories. Who would be leading the entrepreneurial charge? Who would be the clerks and the inventors? What sort of damage the conflicts would inflict upon this vulnerable industrializing frontier, given what happened OTL? You argued that there was a Muslim bourgeoisie present -- I'd say it was a much smaller minority than Japan.

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The recognition of Bulgaria by Treaty of Berlin also gave the stamp of approval to the idea of ethnic-nation states. Prior, it was regarded that only large "great" nations like Germans and Russians that deserve their own state. Bulgaria acted as a green light for small ethnic groups to also strive for their own state. The absence of Bulgaria will mean a setback for nationalism in general.
That happened before in Greece, no?

I may also be able to argue, not entirely seriously, that if the Ottomans held it together, Austria-Hungary's failure would just cause the same cascading wave from the other side of the border.

P.S. Interesting threads to share. Thank you.

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Oh and btw, have you read Stanford Shaw's two volumes of "History of Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey" ? Besides Abdul's posts, I also used that book as my guide here.
No, actually.

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And now, as for China, here's an excerpt from Edward McCord's "The Power of the Gun: The Emergence of Modern Chinese Warlordism" :
Mm hm.

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Here is where Kang would differ from Yuan : he's a civilian. He wouldn't have an army as independent power base for himself to rely on. That means that he would have to find support with another way, that would be through negotiations and compromise with all the differing political factions, including with Sun Yat Sen and Republicans. Therefore, Kang's government would be largely representative of civilllian element, instead of military, and constitutional, instead of depostic.
...and very much vulnerable to Yuan Shikai's coup d'etat, which was why Sun backed down in OTL in the first place. That is the biggest problem of this reform scenario: the armies were there, they were under Yuan, and if he got snuffed, they would transfer their loyalties not to Kang and his court reformers but to the military officers who would proclaim their loyalty to Yuan. Kang did not have the guns; in OTL, Sun's Guomindang in the far south had to build its "guns" from scratch from donations of overseas Chinese sympathetic to the cause (only possible with Sun's remarkable popularity), from shrewd diplomacy with local southern warlords, and from foreign -- including Soviet -- support.

The centralization successes of Yuan Shikai's short-lived regime as in the excerpt was made possible because Yuan had the largest, most modern army -- the Beiyang army -- and he had the loyalty of most officers. His idiotic Imperial bid broke his power, sure, but that did not change the fact that figures like Kang would not possess that power in the first place. The moment the militarists felt the noose tightening on them, they would pull a coup d'etat or revolt in the provinces -- and what would Kang have to stop them? The students of 1916?

Bureaucrats may have run China for centuries, millenia, but they never really would succeed in an era where militarism was already on the rise following the horrific days of the Taiping rebellion, the repeated humiliations, and the regional armies of the late Qing.

Your point of change may be much more successful earlier -- a stronger Qing response to Taiping, perhaps, or the gradual progression, rather than the interruption and rollback, of the Self-Strengthening Movement.

[Note: I did not go through the linked scenario yet. There may be counterarguments against mine already in place. I think...I have to go to school, lol]
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Old 2012-03-14, 10:49   Link #30
Haak
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Just out of curiosity, what books would you recommend for Ottoman Empire history?
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Old 2012-03-14, 11:09   Link #31
Ithekro
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For Randomness:

Navalism 1911


North America in Navalism 1910


And yes I am quite aware of the projection problems on these two maps. It is difficult to find a globe view of Middle Earth and then find one that has the same projection style as a world map to blend them together.

*Earlier versions...before the revision to graft on Middle Earth instead of just using the normal regions.

There were a lot of revisions as we had some players leave and new ones replace them. Thus sometimes the backstories and things changed as well. We were able to "sit down" and restructure everything for game year 1905 which resulted in the large changes seem above.

Navalism 1900:


North America 1898:
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Old 2012-03-14, 12:43   Link #32
ChainLegacy
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An interesting alternative history scenario (which could potentially have made a vast difference in the modern age) would be if the Gauls had decided to occupy or destroy the Romans rather than exact tribute following the Battle of Allia. This would be entirely possible and is not a far fetched change from reality. Though a Celtic Europe was seemingly already being influenced by Mediterranean cultures via Greek merchants, the tradition of law and various other aspects of the Western world might be completely different. And who knows if the Germanic invasions would ever have occurred on the scale they did without the incentive of pilfering, or becoming by citizenship, one of the Romans.
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Old 2012-03-14, 13:49   Link #33
Kokukirin
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Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
An interesting alternative history scenario (which could potentially have made a vast difference in the modern age) would be if the Gauls had decided to occupy or destroy the Romans rather than exact tribute following the Battle of Allia. This would be entirely possible and is not a far fetched change from reality. Though a Celtic Europe was seemingly already being influenced by Mediterranean cultures via Greek merchants, the tradition of law and various other aspects of the Western world might be completely different. And who knows if the Germanic invasions would ever have occurred on the scale they did without the incentive of pilfering, or becoming by citizenship, one of the Romans.
The battle took place before Alexander the Great was born. Regardless of the outcome of the Gaul-Roman wars, the Macedonian empires would still dominate Greece, Egypt, and present-day Middle East for the coming centuries. Hellenistic cultures would still spread and influence the world.
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Old 2012-03-14, 18:45   Link #34
ChainLegacy
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Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
The battle took place before Alexander the Great was born. Regardless of the outcome of the Gaul-Roman wars, the Macedonian empires would still dominate Greece, Egypt, and present-day Middle East for the coming centuries. Hellenistic cultures would still spread and influence the world.
The main difference is in the effect on Europe. The Romans would never spread and unify western European cultures, Celtic cultures may have remained and developed in their own unique manner, the Germanic invasions may not have occurred in the magnitude they did without Rome, and all of the cultural traditions that were more Roman and less Greek would be lost to the world (of which there are many).
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Old 2012-03-14, 19:42   Link #35
Kokukirin
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Fair points. At the very least Latin might become an extinct language soon after the hypothetical Roman demise. Perhaps Germanic languages would be more widespread.

But how the cultural differences would play out is very much open to imagination. The cultural centre of the world remained in Greece, Egypt, and Persia. Whoever took over Rome would inevitably be heavily influenced by the Greek culture. In terms of cultural inheritance, I think the outcome will not be very different from the actual history.

I think the biggest change is in military. Roman Republic/Empire was militarily nigh-unbeatable for centuries. It is highly doubtful that Gallic or Germanic tribes could replicate such success. Even if they could conquer the Greek Empires like the Romans did, they most likely could not hold on to the gains for long. Without the stability provided by a super power, how the region would end up is really beyond my imagination.
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Old 2012-03-14, 22:44   Link #36
Ridwan
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"I should have been more clear in that I do recognize the success of the Tanzimat -- I would in fact argue that it is, though still a mixed success, by far the most successful reform long-term, in the Middle East, with only a fleeting rival in Muhammad Ali's Egypt early in the century (and that had its own problems). What I felt was ignored in the scenario is how many new structural problems are built into the Ottoman State through the reforms, or how the reforms hadn't touched the masses of the populace in an always positive way.

Much bad blood came of Tanzimat's breaking of the old Millet system, and much unintended consequences. It may be necessary growing pains, but sometimes growing pains are just enough to set into motion very interesting things.

The integrity of the Ottoman State is also an interesting topic. On one hand, when the Empire experienced a crisis following Selim III's deposition, the magnates of Anatolia -- whom I would argue are very much the Empire's bedrock of political support, regardless of economic comparisons with the Balkans -- did rally together to defend the State's integrity, and I already mentioned the loyalty of Arab troops in the First World War until they were literally starved into otherwise. However, examples such as the Berlin Conference, the Greek Revolution, the crises of the frontier in the 1910's, and the Treaty of San Stefano/1877-78 War which is the subject of your scenario reveals how internal tensions which may be kept under control by a strong Ottoman state are vulnerable to exploitation by foreign opponents to cause severe damage to the integrity of the Empire regardless"
It would need time to for the reform to be fully accomplished. That is the point of Pod, to enable it to proceed from the point it was on just prior to it being slammed back by the defeat in 1878. I think you're overestimating the vulnerability of the empire, AND the willingness of the powers to dismantle it. Maybe if Ottomans would've won against Russia, they would see less incentive to maintain Ottoman empire. OTOH, it was cheaper to simply work your business interest through Ottoman system, since that way you can dominate the country economically without having to police it.

Anyway, by 1877, it'd be a misnomer to say empire was still under Tanzimat, since by that time a new generation of reformers were in office, that tended to have a different emphasis than the older Tanzimat statesmen. They were called the "Young Ottomans" and their program differed in that they thought that Western ideas and insitutions needed to be adapted to the existing culture rather than adopted uncritically as the older Tanzimat men had.


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So, though I recognize that the Ottoman Empire was moving forward, it was a case of too little, too late, and too bad but you can't do much faster without really breaking things.
We don't necessarily have to go faster. We just need to prevent the disruption to that process. Your applying the rate of advancement of post-1878 to the period prior. The main obstacle to the reforming efforts was money, and the loss of Bulgaria was a severe amputation of revenue.

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While the Balkans were closer to industrialization (just how much closer though? Bursa and Izmir experienced as much change as Thessaloniki did...), I really would argue against the notion that it is appreciably more agriculturally valuable compared to Anatolia. Moreover, the ethnic Turks -- and more importantly, their leaders which were loyal to the Empire -- were dominant in Anatolia in a way that could not be considered the same in the Balkans.
It was. Anatolian highland required continuous effort in order to keep it cultivable, something that Balkans didn't need as much. Certainly not on the level of western Europe, yes.

They were dominant in Anatolia, but their position was always subsidiary to the mutli-ethnic elite in Istanbul in national level, as much as everyone else in the empire.

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You have to also be wary of arguing the position that Islam as a unifying force -- a facet of Ottomanism that actually has some popular appeal beyond the limited reformist idealists -- means the Empire can easily leverage that into support for greater reforms. After all, the very notion of the Caliphate meant preserving the old order, an order incompatible with what the reforms would be aiming at. There may be points wherein the ulama would just decide that enough is enough and turned against the Empire. The same happened to the reform attempts in Iran under the admittedly weaker Qajars.

There's a reason Ataturk cut it off when he built the Turkish State anew; he knew preserving the Caliphate meant his secularist, reformist agenda would never be able to achieve an unchallenged dominance the way it did.
Islam is not, and has never been fundamentally incompatible with liberal secularism. Yes, it was indeed aimed by the Ottoman state to modernize the existing Islamic establishment. Tanzimat was the pioneer experiment that attempted that, but was hampered due to its uncritical copy-paste of western system. Later Young Ottomans and Abdul Hamit however, were more aware on this need to adapt western ideas to existing culture. In fact, Abdul Hamit was largely successful at that. Today's Turkish Islamism is by and large, an evidence of that success (it could have been better).

One needs to be wary of arguing ulama as a uniformly reactionary anti-modernization front. That reeks strongly of Victorian orientalism. The Ottoman Ulama didn't have nearly as much power as Persian Shia ulama who were organized and hierarchichal according to Shia teachings. And they were not uniform in their stance towards modernization. In fact, many of them were among the foremost reformers who seeked to adapt interpretation of Islam into the newer context of situations.

And also, Kemal wasn't really opposed to monarchy and Caliphate. He did it simply because he had no other choice . I'm going to recommend to you Martin Kramer's Islam Assembled on this particular subject. That book explains in details about how Kemal actually strived to maintain the institution until it was no longer possible.

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I recognized large Muslim presence in the Empire's Balkan territories prior to the nationalist conflicts and the Empire's collapse -- I'm hardly going to buy the revisionism that come out of modern Balkan nationalists -- but I did not expect such pluralities.

What was the source?
IIRC it's from one of Kemal Karpat's book. I first encountered the map in this thread.

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That is questionable. Meiji Japan didn't achieve its remarkable transformation (though the majority of the economy remained dominated by agricultural all the way into the 20th century regardless) because it had coal, but because it had a loyal, educated populace that was remarkably well versed in a highly commercial economy long before the opening up. Japan had one special populace to start with -- not because of some Japanese exceptionalism, but because of the levels of functional literacy, the relative unity (Hokkaido aside) and the integration of a vibrant Edo era commercial economy which had no similar analogies within the Ottoman Empire's Balkan territories. Who would be leading the entrepreneurial charge? Who would be the clerks and the inventors? What sort of damage the conflicts would inflict upon this vulnerable industrializing frontier, given what happened OTL? You argued that there was a Muslim bourgeoisie present -- I'd say it was a much smaller minority than Japan.
Very often the urban centers contained a Muslim landowning elite, garrisons, support services, and proto-industrial enterprises. They were all then terminated by the war. Once the Muslim urbanites were ejected, you were left with an overwhelmingly argrarian population, usually in a small state without extensive internal trade networks, and the urban centers shrivelled up.

The Ottoman Empire was also much more urbanized than Europe, even in the late period, so there wasn't any rush to urbanization.

They won't going to be as successful as Japan. Ethnic diversity and proximity to Europe will limit greatly the rate of economic modernization. Even with Ottoman victory in the war, they won't catch up with Japan until oil.

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That happened before in Greece, no?

I may also be able to argue, not entirely seriously, that if the Ottomans held it together, Austria-Hungary's failure would just cause the same cascading wave from the other side of the border.
Greece happened before 1848. And besides, there was also the impression of the Greeks by the west (who were plagued by the classic greece fever) which factored greatly to its approval by the powers, backed up by the fact that they were the most sophistitcated christian group in OE. Serbia which gained self-rule earlier, didn't have such luxury as to be completely independent and was forced to wait until 1878 to achieve full independence (which they still will had the Ottomans won the war with Russia, if only as fig leaf for Russia)

The main problem with Bulgaria is that it evicted the Ottoman ability to hold on the Balkans, since it rendered the remaining territory there indefensible. With Ottoman military strength fell from the cliff after the war with Russia, it presented a real opportunity for Balkan christians to achieve their respective nation states.

Actually, A-H was affected negatively by Ottomans defeat. Prior, they were actually supportive of Ottoman territorial integrity in the Balkans, fearing the boost of nationalism otherwise, and they were right. However, there was a temporary lapse of sanity during post-war settlement that made them agreeing with Bulgaria as long they would get compensation. Bosnia would later proof to be more a problem than its worth, and they would also fail to achieve compromise regarding the Balkans. It also kept the Russian-led Pan-Slavism idea (which was pretty much fading prior to the war) afloat, and also a source of friction between A-H and slavic nationalisms, especially Serbian. Had the Ottomans won the war, and (Russian-championed) Pan Slavism slain, A-H would be in better shape.

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No, actually.
You should read it. It's rather dry, but it contains all kinds of datas and very comprehensive. I have the pdf, but I've got to retrieve it first. After that, I can send it to you if you want.

Oh and don't forget to read those links as well. I think it will going to generate you so many questions.

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...and very much vulnerable to Yuan Shikai's coup d'etat, which was why Sun backed down in OTL in the first place. That is the biggest problem of this reform scenario: the armies were there, they were under Yuan, and if he got snuffed, they would transfer their loyalties not to Kang and his court reformers but to the military officers who would proclaim their loyalty to Yuan. Kang did not have the guns; in OTL, Sun's Guomindang in the far south had to build its "guns" from scratch from donations of overseas Chinese sympathetic to the cause (only possible with Sun's remarkable popularity), from shrewd diplomacy with local southern warlords, and from foreign -- including Soviet -- support.

The centralization successes of Yuan Shikai's short-lived regime as in the excerpt was made possible because Yuan had the largest, most modern army -- the Beiyang army -- and he had the loyalty of most officers. His idiotic Imperial bid broke his power, sure, but that did not change the fact that figures like Kang would not possess that power in the first place. The moment the militarists felt the noose tightening on them, they would pull a coup d'etat or revolt in the provinces -- and what would Kang have to stop them? The students of 1916?

Bureaucrats may have run China for centuries, millenia, but they never really would succeed in an era where militarism was already on the rise following the horrific days of the Taiping rebellion, the repeated humiliations, and the regional armies of the late Qing.

Your point of change may be much more successful earlier -- a stronger Qing response to Taiping, perhaps, or the gradual progression, rather than the interruption and rollback, of the Self-Strengthening Movement.

[Note: I did not go through the linked scenario yet. There may be counterarguments against mine already in place. I think...I have to go to school, lol]
Which is why I have Yuan died in 1912, according to the original TL. You should read the linked scenario. It's awesome to boot !


@Haak : The good start on the subject would be Shaw's "History of Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey" and Caroline Finkel's "Osman's Dream". I got only the former so far . And there are also books by Kemal Karpat.

Stay away from Kinross like a plague, unless you're interested in studying orientalist psychology.

=============================

EDIT :

@ChainLegacy & Kokukirin : I think you guys will like this timeline written by a friend of mine


There is one more thing. Here's a repost from Pasha on Ottoman defeat in 1878 and its relations to the upcoming Scramble for Africa, which both him and me are using as the basis for that large swathe of Ottoman territory in Africa :

Spoiler for The Ottomans and the Partition of Africa:


In 1881-82 IOTL, at the start of Mahdi revolt, Ottomans were invited by the British to intervene in Egypt and its dominions in Africa. IOTL Ottomans ignore it because their army was just recently devastated 3 years prior. In here, that didn't happen, which would mean they will be in the position to intervene since they remained a significant factor in Balance of Power.

One would wonder how would the Egyptians take this. But remember that Egypt was undergoing a crisis at this time. The enormous debt it suffered and its subsequent decrease of sovereignty had rendered the legitimacy of Khedivate regime progressively fading in the eyes of its subjects. Besides, the country was de jure Ottoman anyway, and was indeed an Ottoman vassal functionally. That was why British, despite its paramouncy over the country, maintained that Egypt was an Ottoman problem. They never intended to get entangled there to begin with, despite believes to the contrary. And it will later prove that their diplomatic bargaining position got greatly strained by Egypt, which enabled Germany to establish few colonies in Africa.

Besides Egypt and Sudan, there was also Libya. Ottomans were already well established there by this point, from Tripoli up to interior to Fezzan, Ghadames, and Ghat. That's a huge advantage over the French & British, who're barely established on the coasts.
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Old 2012-03-15, 11:42   Link #37
Irenicus
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Originally Posted by Aegir View Post
It would need time to for the reform to be fully accomplished. That is the point of Pod, to enable it to proceed from the point it was on just prior to it being slammed back by the defeat in 1878. I think you're overestimating the vulnerability of the empire, AND the willingness of the powers to dismantle it. Maybe if Ottomans would've won against Russia, they would see less incentive to maintain Ottoman empire. OTOH, it was cheaper to simply work your business interest through Ottoman system, since that way you can dominate the country economically without having to police it.
Was I? Then what was Lebanon? Egypt? The European powers have this nasty habit of getting themselves into some places they thought they were just protecting their trade/imperial interests in, and then their interests expanded, they got entangled, and they had to stay, just like, oh, modern-day America...

India, for example. And, yes, Egypt, which Britain reluctantly entangled itself, maintained the illusion of self-rule to the very end, and found that they couldn't really get out because the Suez Canal was so important. And in any case, by 1878 Britain was already in control following the debt crisis there.

And it would take a very strong Ottoman Empire to reassert its full sovereignty over Lebanon without the British and French Mediterranean squadrons steaming towards Istanbul at full speed.

Quote:
Anyway, by 1877, it'd be a misnomer to say empire was still under Tanzimat, since by that time a new generation of reformers were in office, that tended to have a different emphasis than the older Tanzimat statesmen. They were called the "Young Ottomans" and their program differed in that they thought that Western ideas and insitutions needed to be adapted to the existing culture rather than adopted uncritically as the older Tanzimat men had.
I'm aware of that, though I am not comfortable with calling them "Young Ottomans" as a whole, since the specific term applied strictly to a small and short-lived segment of the reformist "tradition" -- and I'm also aware that their rhetoric failed utterly to translate into anything workable. Once the Young Turks, their intellectual descendants, get into power they did exactly what earlier Tanzimat-era reformers would have done in the new context.

I've read some of their writings. They were quite striking in their insistence on the authenticity of their intentions and their faithfulness to their culture; they were also equally lacking on how exactly their intended reforms conform to these principles.

Most certainly they had no intention of accommodating the full extent of Islamic law within their ideal state. That is a very big conflict with the ulama waiting to happen.

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We don't necessarily have to go faster. We just need to prevent the disruption to that process. Your applying the rate of advancement of post-1878 to the period prior. The main obstacle to the reforming efforts was money, and the loss of Bulgaria was a severe amputation of revenue.
Ottoman economic problems date far back into the early 19th century, if not earlier. As early as the Treaty of Balta Liman, 1838, did Britain began to make inroads into controlling the management of Ottoman finances.

Moreover, the notion that Europe wasn't moving very fast, militarily, before 1878 is very, very questionable. The first ironclads appeared in the 1850's, and very soon after the first steam-driven warships; the first armoured cruiser, 1875; nothing could have stopped that progress, and unfortunately, only the richest and most powerful countries could really keep up with the race; the large sailing fleet of the Ottoman Empire was obsolete whether they won the 1877-78 war or not.

On the social/economic side, Europe was industrializing unstoppably -- by that time, Germany too have joined the race in earnest and even innovated with the Bismarckian welfare system -- the 1870's and 1880's only saw the speed of industrialization grow. Despite, actually, a major economic crisis hitting the continent, one which a more industrialized Ottoman Empire would not have been spared from. :/

Quote:
It was. Anatolian highland required continuous effort in order to keep it cultivable, something that Balkans didn't need as much. Certainly not on the level of western Europe, yes.
The Balkans were just as mountainous, and difficult to traverse -- lacking in all-important rail infrastructure all the same; the Bulgarian plains may be productive, but so were the valleys of Western Anatolia.

And, for that matter, so were the river plains of Iraq -- yet the Ottomans never managed to come anything close to achieving any sort of efficient exploitation of Iraq's agricultural wealth. It wasn't the inherent wealth of the land, unless we're talking about the Sahara vs. the Nile, but how well a state could manage it.

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Islam is not, and has never been fundamentally incompatible with liberal secularism. Yes, it was indeed aimed by the Ottoman state to modernize the existing Islamic establishment. Tanzimat was the pioneer experiment that attempted that, but was hampered due to its uncritical copy-paste of western system. Later Young Ottomans and Abdul Hamit however, were more aware on this need to adapt western ideas to existing culture. In fact, Abdul Hamit was largely successful at that. Today's Turkish Islamism is by and large, an evidence of that success (it could have been better).

One needs to be wary of arguing ulama as a uniformly reactionary anti-modernization front. That reeks strongly of Victorian orientalism. The Ottoman Ulama didn't have nearly as much power as Persian Shia ulama who were organized and hierarchichal according to Shia teachings. And they were not uniform in their stance towards modernization. In fact, many of them were among the foremost reformers who seeked to adapt interpretation of Islam into the newer context of situations.
I think you're again falling into the trap of assuming I'm talking from an Orientalist position. On the contrary, my argument is considerably more nuanced.

No, Islam isn't incompatible with modernism. That's stupid. Religions are very malleable by nature, and there are plenty of Muslims nowadays living just fine in modern societies inside the Middle East and outside. What is incompatible, and very, very important in regards to my pointing out the potential opposition of the ulama, is Islamic law.

Islamic law is a lot more than just the Qur'an itself. It is an entire legal system built and grown over a millenia, homegrown even. [Islam's interaction with remnants of Roman law is an understudied topic I cannot argue one way or another, except that if there's any, it's certainly far, far less than Medieval Europe's adoption of Roman law.] The ulama by their very definition are the guardians of this entirely separate legal system, scholars and jurists of a tradition that works from a very different assumption of what law is, what constitutes the basis of it (Qur'an, hadith), who it is meant to apply to, how to apply its principles on to new problems (analogy, community). They are jurists, scholars, thinkers of an entirely separate tradition. Their very raison d'etre conflicts with the intentions of the reformists of the 19th century Middle East to impose Western-style legal system onto the rest of the populace. They are competing systems, and that's that.

Can I call them reactionary? I think the term is worthless here. It isn't about reactionary vs. reformism, it is about how the ulama would treat a total removal of their power and influence in society. They saw themselves, and the people saw them, rightly, as defenders of the traditional way of life, the actual defenders of the very cultural identity which the Young Ottomans and later the Young Turks purported to defend, as religion became increasingly integrated with identity under the twin assaults of European imperialism and top-down, authoritarian reformism.

Moreover, they were not the Islamists of today. They were scholars, nuanced by nature. Today's ulama, at least in elite circles, are the likes of Al-Azhar theologians, not the Islamic version of popular televangelism, Wahhabis and Al-Qaeda terrorism.

Therefore, you have to make the arguments in your scenario either that the ulama would be successfully gradually marginalized, crushed, or accommodated -- the last of which is by far the most difficult, as, again, no modern state had yet succeeded on this matter.

[If you think AKP is proof of that...no. AKP, self-proclaimed Islamists as they are, had to heavily moderate their original positions upon coming to power. They fully retain every function of the modern Turkish state -- which does not include the ulama, or what remnants are of left of them in Turkey anyway, in any position of authority.]

The historical Ottoman Empire managed to marginalize them, legally, and with extreme difficulty (taking decades) into the limited areas of what modern law would call "civil law," but their social and political influence far exceeded that legal limit. That they chose as a whole not to oppose the Empire OTL didn't mean that a more radically reformist Empire would not provoke their ire. OTL Turkey avoided long-term conflict over this because Mustafa Kemal struck first, struck hard, and he derived his legitimacy from an entirely different matter. Can the Ottoman Caliph go so far and risk damaging his own legitimacy?

Remember after all that no Caliph is sacred, not since the earliest days of Islam's history. When Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mun -- Commander of the Faithful during the very height of the Golden Age -- tried to impose his will upon the ulama, it costed him and the Caliphate severely and they remained independent anyway.

Quote:
And also, Kemal wasn't really opposed to monarchy and Caliphate. He did it simply because he had no other choice . I'm going to recommend to you Martin Kramer's Islam Assembled on this particular subject. That book explains in details about how Kemal actually strived to maintain the institution until it was no longer possible.
That's very, very, very questionable. Kramer better have some damn good arguments because the weight of the evidence is clearly against his thesis.

If he meant that Mustafa Kemal the military commander was fighting to defend the Ottoman Empire to the very end in Gallipoli and in the early moments of the post-war situation, well duh. He was a military officer fighting in the defense, and liberation, of his sovereign state, not a revolutionist. He had no business social engineering and imposing his views as an officer of the Imperial Army.

The moment he chose to build a new Turkish state independent of the old Ottoman notion, however -- and this happened, according to he himself, when he landed in Anatolia after the escape from Istanbul and marched inland to rally the Turkish resistance -- he showed himself a radical secularist, and nothing would stop him from shaping Turkey in his own image.

Just how radical? Turkey didn't get Islamism back, in a very moderated form, until AKP rose to power. Kemalism stood as among the most ideologically hostile force against Islamism for much of modern Turkish history.

This is the guy who willfully chose to stomp onto people's necks in wiping out all influence of the ulama, the Sufis, and, well, religion, from Turkish public life, when he didn't have to. The ulama were very eager to embrace their liberator, only for he to spurn them really, really badly.

His speeches, his collected sayings, the very actions of his revolutionary government, the companions and allies he chose, the laws on his lawbooks -- he was indisputably a secularist.

Quote:
Oh they won't going to be as successful as Japan. Ethnic diversity and proximity to Europe will limit greatly the rate of economic modernization. And yes, muslim middle class was only about to enter a rapid growth rate by this point, which was then terminated by the war. Even with Ottoman victory in the war, they won't catch up with Japan until oil.
I think you're overestimating the impact of the war upon the social development of the Ottoman Empire. Istanbul stayed intact, after all, and what small pockets of Muslim bourgeoisie that existed in Sofiya or Belgrade could be found in greater numbers in Edirne, Bursa, Smyrna/Izmir...



Quote:
Actually, A-H was affected negatively by Ottomans defeat. Prior, they were actually supportive of Ottoman territorial integrity in the Balkans, fearing the boost of nationalism otherwise, and they were right.
Uh, I know that. Hence the "not serious" part. I have no intention of going deep into whether Austria-Hungary had any future or not or something like that.

Do note nonetheless that your interpretation of the eventual outcome is not the only interpretation, and some -- not necessarily me -- argue that Austria-Hungary was never going to work anyway.

Last edited by Irenicus; 2012-03-15 at 11:52.
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Old 2012-03-15, 13:17   Link #38
Ridwan
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Quote:
Was I? Then what was Lebanon? Egypt? The European powers have this nasty habit of getting themselves into some places they thought they were just protecting their trade/imperial interests in, and then their interests expanded, they got entangled, and they had to stay, just like, oh, modern-day America...
Yet only through conventional war did the Ottomans lose Mashriq, 40 years after the war with Russia. Certainly while not under the diplomatic genious that was Abdul Hamit II.

Quote:
I'm aware of that, though I am not comfortable with calling them "Young Ottomans" as a whole, since the specific term applied strictly to a small and short-lived segment of the reformist "tradition" -- and I'm also aware that their rhetoric failed utterly to translate into anything workable. Once the Young Turks, their intellectual descendants, get into power they did exactly what earlier Tanzimat-era reformers would have done in the new context.

I've read some of their writings. They were quite striking in their insistence on the authenticity of their intentions and their faithfulness to their culture; they were also equally lacking on how exactly their intended reforms conform to these principles.

Most certainly they had no intention of accommodating the full extent of Islamic law within their ideal state. That is a very big conflict with the ulama waiting to happen.
I think the primary factor regarding them IOTL, is that they never got the chance to shine. There will be no Hamidiyan despotism ITTL, though he would still have a fair deal of temporal power.

Quote:
Ottoman economic problems date far back into the early 19th century, if not earlier. As early as the Treaty of Balta Liman, 1838, did Britain began to make inroads into controlling the management of Ottoman finances.

Moreover, the notion that Europe wasn't moving very fast, militarily, before 1878 is very, very questionable. The first ironclads appeared in the 1850's, and very soon after the first steam-driven warships; the first armoured cruiser, 1875; nothing could have stopped that progress, and unfortunately, only the richest and most powerful countries could really keep up with the race; the large sailing fleet of the Ottoman Empire was obsolete whether they won the 1877-78 war or not.

On the social/economic side, Europe was industrializing unstoppably -- by that time, Germany too have joined the race in earnest and even innovated with the Bismarckian welfare system -- the 1870's and 1880's only saw the speed of industrialization grow. Despite, actually, a major economic crisis hitting the continent, one which a more industrialized Ottoman Empire would not have been spared from. :/
I didn't oppose any of this. All I'm positing is that Ottoman would retain their pre-1878 power. They were like, 2 or 3 times stronger back then then they would later become in 1914. It will do a lot to their later bargaining position in international diplomacy. Remember, IOTL even without that they got through until The Great War thanks to Abdul Hamit's shrewd diplomacy. Here, the man will be in much stronger position in this regard. Even without as much temporal power as IOTL, he will remain the leader in diplomatic battles to come.

Quote:
The Balkans were just as mountainous, and difficult to traverse -- lacking in all-important rail infrastructure all the same; the Bulgarian plains may be productive, but so were the valleys of Western Anatolia.

And, for that matter, so were the river plains of Iraq -- yet the Ottomans never managed to come anything close to achieving any sort of efficient exploitation of Iraq's agricultural wealth. It wasn't the inherent wealth of the land, unless we're talking about the Sahara vs. the Nile, but how well a state could manage it.
It remains that it was a significant lost of what little arable land they had. And there was also the fact that, it was their most important one. Being their powerbase, it was the most developed part of the empire. So its lost really hurt the empire.

Quote:
Therefore, you have to make the arguments in your scenario either that the ulama would be successfully gradually marginalized, crushed, or accommodated -- the last of which is by far the most difficult, as, again, no modern state had yet succeeded on this matter.
They will be as much successful as the modern states of OTL. Maybe slightly better, since there won't be the example of something like Kemal's hardline laicitism ITTL to alert off too many Islamists into reactionarism.

Quote:
That's very, very, very questionable. Kramer better have some damn good arguments because the weight of the evidence is clearly against his thesis.

If he meant that Mustafa Kemal the military commander was fighting to defend the Ottoman Empire to the very end in Gallipoli and in the early moments of the post-war situation, well duh. He was a military officer fighting in the defense, and liberation, of his sovereign state, not a revolutionist. He had no business social engineering and imposing his views as an officer of the Imperial Army.

The moment he chose to build a new Turkish state independent of the old Ottoman notion, however -- and this happened, according to he himself, when he landed in Anatolia after the escape from Istanbul and marched inland to rally the Turkish resistance -- he showed himself a radical secularist, and nothing would stop him from shaping Turkey in his own image.

Just how radical? Turkey didn't get Islamism back, in a very moderated form, until AKP rose to power. Kemalism stood as among the most ideologically hostile force against Islamism for much of modern Turkish history.

This is the guy who willfully chose to stomp onto people's necks in wiping out all influence of the ulama, the Sufis, and, well, religion, from Turkish public life, when he didn't have to. The ulama were very eager to embrace their liberator, only for he to spurn them really, really badly.

His speeches, his collected sayings, the very actions of his revolutionary government, the companions and allies he chose, the laws on his lawbooks -- he was indisputably a secularist.
Then you really need to read his book. Here it is : http://www.geocities.com/martinkrame...mAssembled.htm

In there, it is explained that Kemal at first tried to court the Caliph, which repeatedly refused. And it's not only Martin Kramer who supports this assertion. From what I know, it's the consensus of the majority of Ottomanists/Turkists regarding this matter.

Quote:
I think you're overestimating the impact of the war upon the social development of the Ottoman Empire. Istanbul stayed intact, after all, and what small pockets of Muslim bourgeoisie that existed in Sofiya or Belgrade could be found in greater numbers in Edirne, Bursa, Smyrna/Izmir...
I'm not sure it's a description for post-1878 empire.



You really need to read Stanford Shaw's book. Everyone I know have recommended me that book as a starter for Ottoman history.

Also read the links that I have sent to your profile, since they are all what I'm doing here.
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Old 2012-03-15, 16:56   Link #39
ChainLegacy
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Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
Fair points. At the very least Latin might become an extinct language soon after the hypothetical Roman demise. Perhaps Germanic languages would be more widespread.

But how the cultural differences would play out is very much open to imagination. The cultural centre of the world remained in Greece, Egypt, and Persia. Whoever took over Rome would inevitably be heavily influenced by the Greek culture. In terms of cultural inheritance, I think the outcome will not be very different from the actual history.

I think the biggest change is in military. Roman Republic/Empire was militarily nigh-unbeatable for centuries. It is highly doubtful that Gallic or Germanic tribes could replicate such success. Even if they could conquer the Greek Empires like the Romans did, they most likely could not hold on to the gains for long. Without the stability provided by a super power, how the region would end up is really beyond my imagination.
The thing is, at that point Rome was just a backwater civilization with little to call an empire. Were they lost to history, their heavily Mediterranean cultural inheritance from the Greeks would never filter into Western Europe at the rate it did.

If the Gauls conquered Rome, they would not then transfer Greek knowledge as the Romans had, for this was prior to Rome exerting any influence over Western Europe. Of course, Greek merchants were already having an influence on the Celtic peoples as far back as the Hallstat cultures, but the influence had more to do with status symbol items like wine and amphorae. Material culture, values, philosophy, and of course religion were all heavily altered in Western Europe by the Roman Empire. In their absence, there would be no Christian Europe, far less philosophical ideology from the Greek masters (individualism being a big one), and probably a number of other intangible cultural qualities would be different. Remember, while the Celts and Germanic tribes were related to the Romans, they were in many ways completely separate cultures, cut off for thousands of years.

Your assertion that military differences would be the main discernible change I would have to disagree with. For a parallel, look at Japanese culture. Since the Meiji Restoration, Japan has opened its culture to the West and actively promoted cultural diffusion so as to better compete. In the span of 150 years they have made a massive transformation and while their culture is still quite different from Western cultures, the similarities are striking for such a short period of change. One can see how, in a Roman-dominated Europe, the Celts would be forced to adopt Roman ways to survive, much like the Japanese during the Meiji era. Except in the Celts' case they had hundreds of years to be assimilated and lose their culture. Without a Roman empire to unite and homogenize these disparate groups around Western Europe, the cultural traditions of the West may have been completely different.

But yes, militarily things would be completely different. Which would tie in to different ethnic lines along Europe. Germanic invasions, as well as Latin settlement, could have happened at much different rates. The Celts, who were more or less absorbed by all the latecomers into Western Europe, might have continued to exist as a cultural group.
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Old 2012-03-15, 18:33   Link #40
Kokukirin
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If Gauls were to conquer Rome, their closer proximity to Greece would almost certainly increase trade and possibly warfare between them. In most cases of history, the cultural centre of a region always spread their culture and influence the people coming into contact. Usually the less-developed civilizations would borrow heavily from it, bringing in its philosophies, cultures, literatures, and religion. It happened to civilizations around China. It happened to Romans and Persians around actual Greece. Almost inevitably the Gauls would be heavily influenced by the Greeks in the imaginary scenario as well.

I didn't make it clear in my last post. My main point was that whoever conquered Italy at the time would likely be unable to replicate Roman's military success. Such dominance in military might for extended period of time is very rare. And consequently, the events that required the Roman military successes could not be counted on to happen. Such events include many that you pointed out: the assimilation of Celtic and Germanic tribes into a common culture, the establishment of Christendom across Europe. So yes, I agree with your assessment here.
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