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Friday, 24 April 2015

History in Focus: The Gallipoli Campaign and Armenian Genocide

A photo from the siege before it ended 
The 24th and 25th December 2015 marks the centenary of two major events in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. The 25th December marks the anniversary of the start of the Gallipoli Campaign where during World War One Allied forces tried to take the Gallipoli Peninsular to quickly knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war. After 8 long months the Allies retreated with the Ottomans victorious. However the day before the Campaign started the Ottoman Interior Minister Talaat Pasha ordered the arrest and deportation of 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople which is now remembered in Armenia as the start of the Armenian Genocide and what is seen as the first genocide of the 20th Century. What is the background though for both of these events?

Background- The Ottoman Empire was once the supreme power in not only the Middle East but all of the Mediterranean, North African and Europe. By the 19th Century though with the rise of France, Britain and Russia the Ottomans had become 'the sick man of Europe'. Ethnic clashes weakened the empire further and from 1894 to 1896 there were the Hamidian Massacres where the Ottoman government killed 100,000 to 300,000 Armenians years before the aforementioned Armenian Genocide. In 1909 the a revolutionary group wanting to modernize the Ottoman Empire but keep it's traditions and empire called the Young Turks seized power making Mehmed V a figurehead Sultan. Germany however provided aid and support to the Ottoman modernization in an attempt to win an ally in the Middle East against the strength of France and Britain who were closely linked to the Ottoman Empire. France, Germany and Britain all sent aid to the crumbling empire, even when it went to war in the Balkans from 1912 to 1913, but Germany started to gain closer links. Britain and France had formed the Allies with the Ottoman Empires long standing rival Russia and the Ottoman government had lost faith in its former allies who had profited from the empire's collapse; Britain actually drew Egypt and Cyprus as notable examples into the British Empire's sphere of influence. This allowed a pro-German faction in the government to get a foothold but the government was still largely pro-British until though until blood was spilled in the streets of Sarajevo. Following the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand, war seemed to almost break out in Europe which meant Britain recalled the ambassador allowing German diplomats to sway the Ottomans onto the Central Powers with the pro-British faction now isolated without the ambassador. When war broke out in Europe violations of Ottoman neutrality from both the Germans and the British drew Europe's old man into a war which would spell it's end, a grueling siege and the massacre of many innocent people.  

The Armenian Genocide
An image of the notorious death march
The first stage of the Armenian Genocide can be seen on the 19th April 1915 when the governor of the Van vilayet Jevdet Bey ordered 4,000 men to be conscripted to the army but the Armenians who lived in the city of Van that he wanted to have these men killed so that the city would be defenseless. The next day Jevdet Bey declared the city to be in open rebellion when the people of Van offered 500 men instead. He even said; I shall kill every Christian man, woman and child up to here. He said the last part while pointing to his knee. This gave the Ottoman an easy excuse for propaganda saying that the Armenians were siding against the government. On the 20th April the siege of Van started and when the Russian General Yudenich distracted the Ottoman troops sieging Van on the 17th May it was thought that 55,000 civilians had been murdered. On the 24th April 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople were rounded up and imprisoned but with the passage of the Techir Law on the 29th May most of those who were arrested were soon deported and assassinated. Following the Techir Law there was a series of mass deportations of anyone deemed to hinder the war effort so thousands of not only Armenians but also Ottoman Assyrians and Greeks from major Ottoman cities. What followed were the notorious 25 concentration camps and death march where Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks were forced to march from the safety of towns such as Deir ez-Zor and into the Syrian desert. With no adequate food, medicine, water and shelter many died a horrible death. However what was made even worse was that from evidence from German consuls in Aleppo and Mosul that rape and even selling women as sex slaves in Mosul regularly took place during the march. Those who survived the march were then sent to concentration camps where the German consul in Aleppo, Rossler, stated that dysentery and starvation killed thousands and there was a mass grave containing 60,000 in Meksene. Indiscrimante massacres also took place with burning of villages being regular; Vehib the Commander of the Third Army wrote a 12 page affidavit, (a sworn statement of fact under oath), on the 5th December 1918 that there had been a mass burning of a village near Mus saying: "The shortest method for disposing of the women and children concentrated in the various camps was to burn them". This was one of the least worst ones and I would be in breach of Google's policies if I state some of the worst massacres that took in place. By the end of the war approximately 1.5 million Armenians, over 47,200 Assyrians and 900,000 Greeks would be killed.

Response- Almost daily the New York Times reported the massacre of Armenians and Theodore Roosevelt described as 'the greatest crime of the war'. The American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief was set up which managed to rescue 132,000 orphans in its first year alone and managed to rescue 2 million refugees. This was one of the most documented relief missions but there were others such as numerous Turkish officials refusing to carry out deportation orders and the governor of Aleppo, Mehmet Celal Bey sent telegrams demanding shelter for those being deported after he was removed from office after refusing to deport people and the governor of Ankara Hasan Mazhar Bey too refused to deport Armenians. Reports from German envoys who refused to censor the crimes managed to get widespread publicity, particularly Armin T. Winger. Following the war Turkey's first President, Ataturk, denounced the massacres also calling it a 'shameful act'. Numerous officials were court martialled following the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and here is the following statement from it:
The Court Martial taking into consideration the above-named crimes declares, unanimously, the culpability as principal factors of these crimes the fugitives Talaat Pasha, former Grand Vizir, Enver Efendi, former War Minister, struck off the register of the Imperial Army, Cemal Efendi, former Navy Minister, struck off too from the Imperial Army, and Dr. Nazim Efendi, former Minister of Education, members of the General Council of the Union & Progress, representing the moral person of that party; ... the Court Martial pronounces, in accordance with said stipulations of the Law the death penalty against Talaat, Enver, Cemal, and Dr. Nazim.
However many later had their charges dropped although some were later re-trialed in Malta and two were assassinated. Today though recognition of the event being a genocide is contested with only 24 countries as of 2015 recognizing it as genocide although areas of other countries have recognized the event as a genocide such as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the UK, 43 US states and the Van municipality in Turkey. Although regardless the event has the unfortunate honor of being the first mass atrocity of the 20th Century.

The Gallipoli Campaign
The Gallipoli Campaign was the idea of the British First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, (later the famous Prime Minister who led Britain during World War Two). On the image above what is red is the entrance to the Black Sea and the epicenter of Russia's access to the Mediterranean and by default many valuable trade centers. This was effectively blocked by the Ottoman Empire. Yellow on the map are the Dardanelles with the Gallipoli peninsula. Churchill saw this as apart of his masterful plan to quickly knock the Ottomans out of the war. His plan was to launch an amphibious invasion using British, Indian, French, Newfoundland, New Zealander and Australian troops to land on the Gallipoli peninsula and race to capture Constantinople, (modern day Istanbul). On the 25th April 1915 the invasion started although it went terribly. Through poor planning, secrecy, bad weather and an under sight on Ottoman defenses they were met with the Ottoman Fifth Army under the leadership if the future Turkish President Mustafa Kemal, (later called Ataturk). The plan for a quick victory almost instantly floundered and the trench warfare that had been plaguing the Allies in Flanders now was occurring in Gallipoli. In a baptism of fire the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, (ANZAC), fought for the first time at Gallipoli and their landing is now commonly referred to as ANZAC cove. If not for the weather forcing a change in the landing place ANZAC was even going to spearhead the assault to cut of the Ottoman troops. Kemal's counteroffensive turned out through to be just too well coordinated and great compared which forced the Allied troops to dig in and there was even three battles at ANZAC cove thanks to this! In the August of 1915 a new offensive for the British, French and ANZAC began as an attempt to push back Kemal's Fifth Army. Another landing took place at Suvla Bay and ANZAC's 1st Infantry Brigade managed to capture the Ottomans main trench line but it was hopeless. On the 11th October the first talks of retreating from Gallipoli took place and by the 9th January 1916 the evacuation had taken place. What was made worse was the fact that dysentery had been spreading around the Allied and Ottoman camps while the summer sun had caused flies and the heat to make life uncomfortable for the soldiers. By the end of the campaign 252,000 Allied soldiers had been killed and between 218,000-251,000 Ottoman troops.

Repercussions and Legacy- The immediate effect was a massive moral boost for the Ottomans. The crumbling empire had managed to deliver a crushing blow on the Allied troops which strengthened support for the Ottoman regime. Winston Churchill became dishonored thanks to his failed campaign and he was forced out of office to go fight as a Lieutenant-Colonel and if it wasn't thanks to his friend David Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister a few years later he probably would never have returned to politics. He even stated on his first day back in politics that he didn't feel that he belonged there and it was plague him for the rest of his life. It was also largely seen as Australia and New Zealand finally showing the world that they were separate entities from the British Empire as ANZAC fought by themselves in, as stated earlier, a baptism of fire so it set the two nations as being their own. To mark this the 25th April is celebrated as ANZAC Day. In years to come military planners would look to Gallipoli to avoid future mistakes with the D-Day landings and Britain's invasion of Argentina during the Falkland's War being planned to avoid the same mistakes that happened at Gallipoli.

Thanks for reading and I hoped you enjoyed it. Please leave any comments if you liked this and if you didn't leave comments anyway to tell me how to improve. Next week though it'll be a movie review about a certain group of superheroes new film...

Friday, 17 April 2015

An Alternate History Scenario for Every Country (Part 7)

Welcome back to An Alternate History Scenario for Every Country! Here is Part 1: and Part 6: Now without further ado let's see some of this week's alternate history scenarios.

Iran- The Umayyad Dynasty does not discriminate against Iranians
The successors of the Muslim Rashidun called the Umayyad Dynasty conquered the Sassanid Empire (an empire consisting of modern day Iraq and some areas of Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula) in 651. This started a process of converting the conquered peoples to Islam but both Iranian Muslims (mawali) and non-Muslims (Dhimmi) faced discrimination by the Umayyads as they were barred from holding office in the government and the military as well as them having to pay a special tax called the jizya. In this scenario the Umayyads decide to accept the Iranian mawali into the military and government although they still impose the restrictions on Iranian Dhimmi. As a result Arabian culture leaks into Iran as more and more people adopt Islam and Arabian culture in order to gain better roles in the government and military. Thanks to the larger population of Iran they would be able to introduce some of their own systems of government to the Umayyad rule such as introducing viziers (ministers) which had been previously been used by the Sassanids. Although the Umayyads would still put pressure on mawali to adopt Arabic customs and Dhimmi to convert to Islam. This would remain a gradual process and would progress further in urban areas but in rural areas where administration was less efficient the military may be brought in to put down Iranian nationalists. When the Abbasid Revolution takes place the Iranian mawali would stay loyal to the Umayyads because they were accepted into the government so would not support the Abbasids. In our timeline the Abbasids heavily relied on dissatisfied Iranian mawali to fight the Umayyads so the Abbasid Revolution fails instead of succeeding. However under the Abbasid Caliphate there was a resurgence of Persian culture including Persian literature, arts, language and medicine so we would not have this resurgence in this scenario. The famous 1001 Arabian Nights was written as apart of this resurgence and the stories of Sinbad so we would not have these stories thanks to this. Eventually by 900 the Umayyad Dynasty would start to collapse thanks to rifts between the different separatist movements and an Iranian Caliphate would emerge from the crumbling empire. Through here Persian and Persian culture would slowly start to be returned to dominance over Arabic culture; that is until the coming of the Mongol hordes and the sacking and burning that follows...

New Zealand- The Māori succeed in ousting the British
Starting with the Flagstaff War in 1845 Māori angry that their land was being taken from them despite the fact that they had signed the Treaty of Waitangi which protected their lands fought a series of wars against the British. After years of fighting what was known as te riri pakeha (white man's anger) put down the Māori uprisings but they were allowed to keep some land. In this scenario the newly formed Māori King Movement manages to unite the different tribes on both the North and South island quickly allowing them to win more battles against the British. The British expected united Māori resistance, which was limited, but nevertheless the expert guerrilla and formidable tactics allowed a non-united movement to last for twenty years. In this scenario with a united movement they manage to gain a better foothold against the British and they easily overrun the 1300 British soldiers positioned in New Zealand. Raiding trade depots they manage to gain better firepower and catch the British government off guard which allows them to beat back the British reinforcement. The Māori King Movement blocks the ports forcing the British to land in more inhospitable places which the Māori can easily get to and stop them. Bu the 1860s the British give up and leave New Zealand to the Māori. Thanks to the war effort the leader of the Māori King Movement called Matutaera Tāwhiao is made the first king of a united New Zealand. Here they manage to keep their religion, principally Pai Marire although there would still be many Christians, but by using trade depots and items taken from the British during the war they would begin a period urbanization. Most of the economy would be based on farming although trade with the Dutch, French and later British after they had licked their wounds would help increase the newly unified nation. Quickly Māori who had profited through trade and agriculture would send their children to schools abroad during the later half of the 19th Century until New Zealand's infrastructure increased. New Zealand would be heavily decentralized compared to our timeline with each Māori tribe holding great power and self autonomy which would make the elected government have to keep regional needs in mind.

Libya- The Arab Spring fails to spread to Libya
In 2011 a wave of organised protests swept across the Arabic countries to protests against authoritarianism and human rights abuse in their countries with the Arab Spring. In Libya this resulted in a Civil War which devastated the country and four years on still devastates the nation. With this scenario the Libyan regime under Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi decides to give token concessions to the protesters instead of responding with force and claiming that they were 'drugged' and affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Seeing though how protesters had managed to oust the authoritarian regimes of Tunisia and Egypt by mass demonstrations organised over the internet the Libyan government might briefly order a curfew on the grounds that Al-Qaeda planned a bombing campaign. Without managing to organize a mass demonstration and with token reform the people of Libya fail to overthrow al-Gaddafi's regime. The most instant result from this would that the Libyan Civil War would never happen between al-Gaddafi's supporters and rebels which would soon escalate to war between the disagreeing factions. Libya would be a much more peaceful nation and the scores of refugees fleeing the horrific warfare to Europe would have no reason to leave Libya. Small scale elections would be held as apart of the regime's token reforms to avoid what happened to authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Tunisia which would bring a few people into low level municipal jobs. This would help reduce the claims, (which were very well founded), that al-Gaddafi had a regime ran on nepotism but it also gave him a scapegoat after they fail to reduce the 30% unemployment rate thanks to the regime's rigid structure. Nevertheless al-Gaddafi would face the same problems that Saudi Arabia faces today as he orders press censorship and the arrest of bloggers who criticize his regime on an international level. With Libya's neighbors slowly transitioning to a democracy Libya would become a pariah in Northern Africa although he would support the army overthrowing the Mosi government with the hope it would deter protesters in Libya. Today ISIS has became a major force in Libya thanks to the turmoil in the nation and is expanding into Morocco and Tunisia from there so we can easily imagine that ISIS would not take root in North Africa if this scenario took place.

San Marino- Napoleon invades the city state
During the French Revolutionary War Napoleon Bonaparte was winning battle after battle in the Italian peninsula and the Regents that ran the city state feared that Napoleon would take on San Marino. One of the Regents called Antonio Onofri managed to gain the friendship of Napoleon and he struck such an accord with the general that Napoleon even offered San Marino the chance to expand its borders, (which they ended up refusing). In this scenario the Regents fail to woe Napoleon and as his armies march across Italy he sees the city state as a threat with it offering a possible beacon of Italian nationalism. Inevitably the city state would fall to the general and would remain occupied by France until Napoleon forms the Kingdom of Italy where he makes the former city state apart of the new puppet kingdom. However even after the fall of Napoleon San Marino would be unable to declare its independence and San Marino would still have high levels of nationalism. This would continue after the unification of Italy and the new kingdom would try and Italianize the area. Quite possibly San Marino would continue with its nationalism well into the 20th Century and when Mussolini is being forced back during World War Two the people of San Marino may seize their chance and ally themselves with the Allies to fight against the dictator. Quite possibly following the end of the war San Marino would be given back its independence.

Nepal- Nepal is not unified during the 18th Century
In 1482 Nepal was split into three kingdoms and it took until the 18th Century where through warfare the Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah managed to unify Nepal once more by 1769. In our timeline his first battle ended with defeat at Nuwakot so for this alternate history scenario during the first battle of Nuwakot the King is killed and with a disorganized country following the sudden death of the monarch all attempts for Gorkha to unify Nepal are abandoned. Socially the history of the people would be different as crops would be used to feed the people rather than feed armies hell bent on unifying Nepal so overall the people could have had a better life thanks to this. Politically though Prithvi's family would most likely be overthrown during the disarray following his death. However their lives would be changed forever following the disintegration of the Mughal Empire. That is the British would start influencing the region. When Nepal unified Prithvi Narayan Shah's successors expanded the borders further until the Anglo-Nepali War in 1815 where after multiple humiliating defeats for them the British took Sikkim from Nepal. In this scenario with a factionalized royal family in Gorkha and not too powerful nations like Kathmandu the East Indian Company would take over the regions but with greater ease as they would not be facing a united Nepal, (something they failed to do in our timeline). British rule in Nepal would resemble that in India where they would rule through the former princes who would be taken to Britain to be educated. Some customs would though be changed such as the abolishment of slavery by 1850. Most likely the British would build infrastructure in order to give them a headway across the Himalayas to better secure trade in China through Tibet. British rule would last until 1947 as they left India. However this would end up unifying Nepal as Britain divided their Indian empire through religion, (hence why Muslim Bangladesh became apart of Muslim Pakistan despite having no shared borders), as Nepal was primarily Buddhist. Although Nepal would be made a republic with close ties with India.

Jamaica- Spain continues to rule the island
Judging by how today Jamaica speaks a variation of English it would be easily to assume that Jamaica was always a British colony. It only became an English colony, (Britain had yet to be formed), in 1655 after they had evicted the Spanish. In this scenario Spain manages to keep Jamaica after an intense battle with the English. Immediately they build forts across the coast to fortify the island but like in out timeline Spain would import slaves from West Africa to work on sugar plantations. In our timeline 1,500 people were black to 4,500 white people lived on Jamaica by 1660 but just 10 years later black people became the majority so we can assume this trend continued in the same sense except with the Spanish instead. Instead of a variation of English taking place as the main language we would see a variation of Spanish instead. We can look at colonial Cuba to see what a Spanish ran Jamaica, (called Santiago), would be like. Cuba remained loyal to Spain during the 1820s when the Latin American colonies were declaring their independence so we can assume that Jamaica would with the rich not wanting to sacrifice the lucrative sugar industry during revolution. The heavily fortified island to avoid British or French invasion would allow garrisons to put down any rebellion from slaves who were inspired by the revolutionaries in Haiti. By 1860 39% of Cuba's population of non-white people were free people so we can also assume that this trend would continue in Santiago and as abolitionism became more widely accepted in the colonies this number would undoubtedly grow until the abolishment of slavery in the colonies. Like in Cuba the sugar planters, slaves and discriminated against free men would want independence and the first rebellion would happen in 1870 but duly crushed. Nevertheless it would inspire future rebellions and with Cuba in open violence for independence Santiago would fight for its independence in 1895. With Spanish forces stretched as soon as the US declares war in 1898 the Spanish government gives Santiago independence. Although a new form of imperialism would take place with the US taking a keen interest in the sugar industry like they did in Cuba. Through this we may even get a Jamaican Castro.

Namibia- It is made a British and not a South African mandate
Following the end of World War One the victorious powers decided to go with President Wilson's ideas of self-determination for the former German colonies by making them colonies of the victorious powers, (because nothing says autonomy like renamed imperialism), called mandates instead of colonies. Namibia was given to South Africa as a mandate. In this scenario Namibia is instead made a British mandate. The white minority in Namibia in our timeline were made members of the South African Parliament so in this scenario they are given a few seats in the regional parliament. Like with other colonies Britain would adopt a divide and rule policy in regards to the Bantu tribes in order to keep them in line. That is until the Second World War where volunteers are used to fight against Nazism with the Bantu peoples being worried that if the Nazis win they would regain Namibia and recreate the horrific Herero and Namaqua Genocide which killed half the Namaqua population and 80% of the Herero population! Seeing British imperialism better than Nazi imperialism there would be tonnes of volunteers. This would have a secondary effect of influencing nationalism for Namibians as well as influencing policy makers to grant Namibian independence. After the war Namibians would not suffer through the horrific Apartheid policies put in place in South Africa as in our timeline. By the 1960s the South-West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) would be formed to try and get Namibian independence and in 1967 Namibia would be given independence in the same sense as nearby Botswana, where everyone has a vote, no racism etc. as well as being a member of the British commonwealth.

Nigeria- Muhammad Yusuf is not killed in police custody
Muhammad Yusuf was the founder of the organisation Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and was arrested in 2009 during Operation Flush where he died in police custody. He was succeeded by Abubakar Shekau he turned the group into the horrific terrorist group in existence today. In this scenario Yusuf is not killed in custody and he is sent to a prison where he cannot preach his anti-West and anti-government views. This means that he remains in charge of the group but unable to properly lead it which causes Boko Haram to become increasingly less powerful in Nigeria. As a result the former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's presidency would largely be met with mute reaction. Boko Haram is one of the world's most horrific terrorist groups and some of their most heinous actions such as the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok, the massacre of 2000 innocent people in Baga and the murders of children as young as ten would not have happened. It is unlikely that the group would have been disbanded during Yusuf's imprisonment, most likely even taking part in low level acts of violence, but with Shekau not in power their most horrific crimes most likely would not have taken place.

Thanks for reading and I'm doing another one next week. If you like it please leave comments and Google+ the page if you liked it.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Comics Explained: Daredevil

Today marks the first episode of the new Netflix series based on Marvel's Daredevil. Daredevil remains one of Marvel's main heroes along with Wolverine, Spider-Man and Captain America and in the early 2000s even had his own movie staring Ben Affleck as the titular hero, (quite a few years before Iron Man got his own film). This week I'll be talking about 'The Man Without Fear'.

In Daredevil #1 Matt Murdock, (Daredevil's secret identity), grew up in Hell's Kitchen in New York City with his father Jonathan 'Battling Jack' Murdock who was a wrestler. Jon Murdock wanted his son to be a success and move out of Hell's Kitchen so instead of encouraging him to play sports he encouraged him to read books and study with hopes that he would be a lawyer or a doctor. This however made the other kids make fun of Matt calling him 'Daredevil' as an insult so Matt secretly took his anger out by training in his dad's gym. One day Matt saw a blind man going to cross the street just as a truck was coming. He pulled the man out the way but the truck swerved and spilled radioactive isotope onto Matt's eyes which blinded him. While recovering in hospital Matt finds out that although he has been blinded the isotope amplified his taste, smell, touch and hearing abilities to superhuman levels as well as him developing a 'radar sense' which created a mental picture for him. Despite his loss of sight, (although not hindered by his heightened other senses), Matt managed to get a good education and go to law school. However Jon struggling to look after his son ends up working for a crooked fight performer called 'The Fixer' to earn some extra money. He refuses to take a dive though and fairly wins his fight which enrages The Fixer who has Jon murdered. Distraught Matt vows to bring his father's murderers to justice. He gets a law degree and sets up a business with his friend Foggy Nelson. However he decides to avenge his father by donning a yellow and red costume, (he wouldn't get his trademark red costume until #7), he tracks down the Fixer's men and eventually the Fixer who dies of a heart attack. Matt decides to continue on as being the masked vigilante. This was all explained in #1 but in the 1980s under Frank Miller more of his backstory is explained such as how he met future lover Elektra Natchios in law school until her parents were murdered and how he had trained prior to his father's murder with a sensei called Stick to handle his new abilities.

First Adventures
Some of Daredevil's early enemies were laughable at best such as Matador and Stilt-Man he did not face not face major enemies until around #7 where for the first time in his red suit he battled the anti-hero Namor the Sub-Mariner. Eventually he would go against the likes of Electro although one of his main foes, the Owl from #3, would menace him throughout his career. Daredevil's popularity grew so much that in #16 he even teamed up with Spider-Man. During this stint it got slightly confusing with Matt adopting a second secret identity of a twin brother called Mike. Mike was to be louder, extroverted and extravagant to match the swashbuckler attitude of Daredevil so people would think that Mike and not Matt was the actual Daredevil. Stan Lee hoped it would show a sort of quasi-multiple personality disorder for the character but eventually it was deemed too confusing an in #41 'Mike' died with Matt creating a fake death for the second alter ego. During this time Daredevil kept on with his job as a lawyer and #47 was largely centered around Matt defending a blind Vietnam veteran he was framed and today Stan Lee cites it as one of his most proudest moments in his career. Simultaneously to him fighting crime and teaming up with the likes of the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man Matt started a romance with his secretary Karen Page who has been one of his most enduring love interests, (imagine her being the Lois Lane for Daredevil). In #57 Matt confessed his secret identity to Karen and the relationship continued although it came under heavy strain with the amount of pressure put on it thanks to Matt's second life as Daredevil. Eventually the relationship broke up.

Daredevil and Black Widow
At the start of the 1970s the new writer for #72, Gerry Conway, moved Daredevil to San Francisco where he teamed up with Natasha Romanov a.k.a the Black Widow. For the duration of Daredevil's stay in San Francisco he would form a relationship with Natasha and for the first time in comic history portrayed the first cohabitation of a non-married couple. They broke up but continued on as friends, continuing to team up later on. Matt eventually became dissatisfied with his legal firm in San Francisco with his bosses being more concerned about their careers than with their clients so he moved back to New York forming the Storefront Legal Clinic with Foggy to give legal aid to poorer people in Hell's Kitchen. The return of Daredevil though did bring him into conflict with his two greatest enemies: Bullseye and Kingpin. In #131 Bullseye was hired to assassinate Matt and Foggy. Bullseye is an expert marksman who can hit anything and anyone with pinpoint accuracy to kill them with anything. Daredevil however gets in the way and barely escapes with his life leading to Bullseye wanting revenge on Daredevil. Kingpin however wouldn't be introduced until the 1980s...

Frank Miller's Daredevil
During the 1960s and 1970s Daredevil had been a swashbuckling hero like Robin Hood until Frank Miller took over in the early 1980s with #184 which narrowly got passed by the Comics Code Authoirty, (a regulatory body that censors comics which only Bongo comics adheres to now). Daredevil was turned from a swashbuckler into an angry, dark anti-hero. Here the Kingpin enters the scene. The Kingpin was originally a Spider-Man villain introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #50 who was to be Marvel's equivalent of Lex Luthor with him creating extravagant schemes to control the world only to be narrowly defeated by Spider-Man.
In #170 Kingpin challenged Daredevil and quickly became his number one enemy. His schemes became more realistic with him trying to rule New York's underworld. This is definitely shown with #181 where Kingpin throws an opponent off a roof and when he narrowly survives he mentally breaks him by breaking into the hospital room and playing Russian roulette with him with an unloaded gun. The 1980s also saw Matt's law school love interest return although she was different from the Elektra that Matt knew. Taking an alternate route to avenge her parents she joined the clan of ninja assassins called The Hand and became a merciless assassin. Matt convinced her to leave the Hand and they briefly started a relationship but from her time as an assassin she remained cold and violent. Eventually she had a battle with Bullseye who was angry that Kingpin wanted her to possibly be one of his assassins in #181 in one of the most iconic issues in Daredevil's history. It did not end well for Elektra who was stabbed by Bullseye with her own sai.

After Miller
In #190 Elektra was resurrected and her soul cleansed where she joined the heroic counterpart to the Hand called the Chaste. During the 1990s Spider-Man villain caused Daredevil to have a mental breakdown which would even cause his brief marriage to a blind woman called Milla Donavan to end. She was distraught thinking that his marriage to her was to do with his mental breakdown. After the Avengers disbanded he helped recapture some escapee criminals when they broke from the Raft prison facility but turned down the opportunity to join the New Avengers with Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and Wolverine along side the two original Avengers members Captain America and Iron Man. This didn't stop Nick Fury enlisting the help of Matt Murdock to help him overthrow the regime of Lucia von Bardas, the Prime Minister of Latveria who had been selling high-tech equipment to villains like Scorpion. Daredevil went against the government during the Civil War story line and during Norman Osborn's, (the Green Goblin), time as the head of HAMMER, (Osborn's distorted version of SHIELD), he spent time in Japan where he became the head of the Hand. However doing this with his fragile mental state put him at risk and his soul was bonded to the demon known as Beast. He returned to Hell's Kitchen where he formed a regime in what was named the Shadowland in his new demonic costume.
The Avengers, the Punisher and Ghost Rider went to take down Daredevil where he had already murdered Bullseye, (although this could be thanks to the Beast possessing him). He easily defeated all of them but he was in turn defeated after Iron Fist used his chi-fist which cleansed his soul of the Beast. Right now he has returned to his normal Daredevil moniker.

Thanks for reading and I hoped you enjoyed.

Friday, 3 April 2015

An Alternate History Scenario for Every Country (Part 6)

Welcome to part six of An Alternate History Scenario for Every Country, (Part 1: and the last part:, a fortnightly series where each country gets an alternate history scenario. It doesn't have to be realistic, just interesting so let's start!

Cyprus- The 1974 Cypriot coup fails
In 1974 sponsored by the Greek military junta sponsored a coup with the Cypriot National Guard which overthrew incumbent President Makarios III to replace him with Nikos Sampson to was in favor of Enosis, (Cypriot union with Greece), which caused Turkey to invade the island that year. Since then Cyprus has been divided between the Republic of Cyprus in the south and the Turkish Republic of Cyprus in the north, (although the north is only recognized by Turkey). In this scenario the coup fails because Makarios III does not change the constitution. In 1960 he changed the constitution by bringing in thirteen amendments which included changing the organization of the military. The original constitution was written to mediate between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots by having the military being made of 60% Greek and 40% Turkish personnel. Makarios III changed this to be more representative of the population so 82% of army personnel were Greek; including 82% of the Cypriot National Guard after its formation in 1964. In this scenario then Makarios III does not introduce this amendment so in 1974 the Greek majority in the National Guard who wanted Enosis is much lower so the coup fails. With the pro-Enosis Nikos Sampson not put in power the Turkish have no justification to invade and Cyprus is not divided. Following the invasion there was increased Turkish immigration to Cyprus so in this scenario there would be fewer Turkish nationals living in Cyprus. However the inter-communal violence that rocked Cyprus until 1964 would flare up again with Turkish Cypriots fearful that the Greek Cypriots would try for Enosis again while the Greek Cypriots would be fearful that the Turkish Cypriots would try and seize more power for infighting in the Cypriot National Guard. We would then see civil conflict similar to that in Northern Ireland with the IRA or in Israel with the PLO. The Greek ,(reformed), EOKA guerrillas would start terrorist activities against the government and Turkish areas while the Turkish TMT would do the same against Greeks instead. Inevitably Makarios III would be assassinated although both the EOKA and TMT would be willing to assassinate him, EOKA for his refusal to create a union with Greece while the TMT for his pro-Greek views. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s violence would escalate and even go onto the Greek and Turkish mainlands. A UN Taskforce would be sent to try and mediate the violence. However only in the 1990s would a ceasefire and a reformed constitution that would appease both the TMT and EOKA happen under the watch of US President Bill Clinton, (in our timeline he mediated a partially successful ceasefire in Ireland).

Fiji- A revolt deposes Seru Epenisa Cakobau
Seru Epinsa Cakobau was a Vunivalu, (a warlord), who ended up uniting Fiji in 1871 after nineteen years of fighting to unite the islands to form the Fijian Kingdom. In this scenario a revolt in 1854 led by the sacred Fijian chieftain called the Roko Tui Bau leads a revolt among the people against Seru Epenisa Cakobau due to him being Christian whose ideology contrasted much with the culture of his people, (which included him renouncing cannibalism in 1854). Cakobau is overthrown and murdered by the revolutionaries before being replaced by another powerful family member. The missionary who converted Cakobau, James Calvert, would then be captured and executed. Fiji would then remain a collection of different Vunivalu who would fight and war among one another although there would be no specific war of conquest that Cakobau led. It was Cakobau who ceded the islands to Britain so most likely Fiji would not be made a British colony. Other powers such as the USA and France as well as the British would not approach Fiji though because of the Fijian culture allowing cannibalism. With no British colony and no introduction of Indian contract laborers Christianity, Islam and Hinduism would not be brought to Fiji. By the 1890s Fiji would be unable to resit foreign intervention and unwilling to be annexed they would be invaded by the British. However with Fiji being annexed close to forty years after it was in our timeline more of the original culture would remain intact.

Vietnam- The Indochinese Communist Party fails to revive the Viet Minh
In 1941 the Indochinese Communist Party, (ICP), and the future Vietnamese Prime Minister and later President Ho Chi Minh revived the nationalistic independence group the Viet Minh. Although by 1944 Viet Minh membership was at 500,000 in this scenario the anti-communist policies of the French and Japanese severely weakened the ICP by arresting key figures such as Ho Chi Minh so they couldn't reform the Viet Minh. Without a Viet Minh resistance against Japan throughout the war would be less organised if it even exists at all; many Vietnamese saw the Japanese as liberators against European imperialism. As in our timeline Japan would set up a puppet government in Hanoi until the Allies and scattered resistance ousts the Japanese in 1945. With no Viet Minh there is no declaration of independence so the French do not invade to reestablish their authority. The Viet Minh had a communist leadership so the US would be less hostile against any independence movement. Inspired by the Algerian independence movement in the 1960s militancy among the population would start to grow and among the peasantry socialist and communist ideas would come about. In 1963 facing international pressure and violence, including the self-immolation of Buddhist monks inspired by the martyred Thic Quang Duc. As a way to make independence more sustainable the French put pressure on Bao Dai to be the Emperor of an independent Vietnam, something he rejected in 1954, but without the corrupt Ngo Dinh Diem as Prime Minister. Most of the populace would be against Vietnam being a monarchy for Bao Dai's extravagant living and collaboration with the Japanese and the French causing constant widespread dissent for years to come. The US would send financial aid to prop up the anti-communist regime but it would not send military advisers and later full soldiers because with no Viet Minh there would be no Viet Cong. Eventually in the 1970s a coup would depose the monarchy who would flee to nearby Laos and until the 1990s military rule would exist in Vietnam until it holds its first democratic election.

Yemen- Saudi Arabia manages to annex Yemen in the Saudi-Yemeni War
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire newly formed nations in the Arabian Peninsular had no clear borders and this caused issues between the newly formed Saudi Arabia and the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen. After multiple changing borders the two nations went into a quick war in 1934 which asserted where each nation had their boundaries. In this scenario the Saudi forces manages to unexpectedly break the Yemeni forces by using weaponry supplied by the British, who had bad relations with Yemen for their rule over the Aden Protectorate. The Saudi government would secretly execute the captured Yemeni Imam Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din to ensure that the now annexed Yemeni people would not revolt behind their former leader. Quickly Ibn Saud, (the Saudi King), would begin a process of converting the people into Wahhabism although this would be a slow process. Where the Mutawakkilite Kingdom was the population was largely Shiite, (in the Aden Protectorate the population was primarily Sunni), whereas the rest of Saudi Arabia is Sunni. To avoid a revolt Ibn Saud would either start the conversion slowly or not at all, today in Saudi Arabia there are multiple small pockets of non-Wahhabi Muslims. However soon a revolution would happen. Yemeni Imams in our timeline wanted a free Yemen no matter who ruled the area so nationalism and religion would influence a revolution. The more organised Saudi military and British forces who would be opposed to an independent Yemen in case they influenced a revolution in Aden would crush most of the revolution. North Yemen's geography of mountains and hills would allow many revolutionaries to avoid detection from the British and Saudi until the outbreak of World War Two where the British would withdraw. Following Ibn Saud's death in 1953 the Saudi government would be less willing to fight the Yemeni revolters and would give Yemen its independence again. Throughout this period nationalists in Aden would also start revolting against British rule and following an independent Yemen being formed the nationalists would start violently opposing British rule. Quickly the British would pull out granting Yemen control of Aden.

Tanzania- A slave uprising creates a Zanzibar sultanate
In 1840 the Omani Sultan Seyyid Said moved his capital to Zanzibar City which soon became the center of the Arab slave trade and between 65-90% Arab-Swahili on Zanzibar were enslaved. In this scenario when the slavers start arriving and enslaving the population the Swahili on Zanzibar an uprising takes place. Inspired by the islanders the people on the coast quickly declare their allegiance to the Zanazibar rebels and they too start ousting the Omani from their land. Facing an entire population against them and the growing influence of Europeans in the Indian Ocean Oman abandons their empire in modern day Tanzania. A Zanzibar Sultanate is declared consisting of the islands that encompass Zanzibar as well as Omani lands in Tanzania with the capital being Zanzibar City. With its strategic place the Zanzibar Sultanate becomes a dominant regional power through trade with ivory from Africa, gold coming from South Africa and tea, silk and silver coming from Asia passing through the ports. Quickly Zanzibar integrates a variety a cultures thanks to an increase of Ottoman, Indian and European traders constantly trading along side the dominant Swahili culture. However discontent grows between the urbanized cities profiting from trade on Zanzibar and the primarily agriculturalists on the mainland who do not benefit from the increase in trade. When Europeans start exercising increased power in the 1860s the mainlanders revolt and become puppets of Portugal. Eventually the Zanzibar Sultanate cannot last against European imperialism and is too made a colony.

Morocco- The Reconquista spreads to Morocco
In 1492 the united forces of Castille and Aragon conquered the last Muslim kingdom in the Iberian Peninsular, (Grenada), and fearing religious persecution causing thousands of Jews and Muslims to flee to Morocco. In this scenario the newly unified Spain in order to safeguard Atlantic trade against Portugal, safeguard trade to the Mediterranean and to destroy a possible enemy Spain invades Morocco. The unified forces of Spain spurred on by religious zealousness invades Tangier and caught off guard the city soon falls. The regional power of Morocco had started to fade by the time the Reconquista took place, even under the rule of the new Wattasid Dynasty, so Moroccan resistance soon falters. Spain soon conquers the north of the weakened Morocco but religious zeal and nationalism causes the regional lords to rally behind the Wattasids and resist Spanish rule. By 1505 a ceasefire is declared with Spain dominating Morocco from Tangier to Casablanca, (although this was made easier thanks to heavy European influence in those areas already). In the Spanish controlled areas of Morocco the Spanish Inquisition starts to exercise massive amounts of authority causing the mass deportation of Muslims and Jews in occupied areas. Like what happened with the Alhambra mosques would start to be converted into churches. In southern Morocco the Wattasids are overthrown by the Saadi family who were the most powerful family in southern Morocco in our timeline. The devastating famine which according to historian Elizabeth Allo Isichei killed around 2 million people in 1520 would serve as a turning point. Moroccans in Spanish owned areas would turn against the Spanish occupiers who would have monopoly over the scarce resources. The Saadi family would begin a policy of reverse Reconquista where they would exploit the weakened Spanish position in North Africa to reclaim their land. The reverse Reconquista would last for many years thanks to the growing strength of Spain through the new resources opened by Atlantic trade but Portugal would eventually intervene on the side of Morocco to enable themselves to try and break Spain's power in the Americas. Eventually by 1560 the last Spanish city in Africa, most likely Cueta, would fall.

Angola- The MPLA manages to destroy UNITA and FNLA in 1974
 The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, (MPLA), was a guerrilla group which fought for Angolan independence from Portugal and later against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) in the Angolan Civil War. In short these three groups devastated Angola in continuous warfare from 1961 to 2002 where each side committed serious human rights abuse, killed thousands and caused Angola to be a Cold War battlefield, (the MPLA was Marxist-Leninist), and many countries including South Africa, Cuba and Zaire, (modern day Democratic Republic of the Congo), intervened in the war. In this scenario the MPLA manages to infiltrate UNITA and the FNLA before the Civil War starts. The leaders are executed so for the next few years there is relative peace. That is until the MPLA starts to nationalize Angola's industries including petroleum, bananas, coffee and oil which attracts the attention of Cuba and the USSR who sends advisers to help build infrastructure and bring MPLA dominated Angola to the Soviet block instead of China. However fighting soon breakout after ethnic divisions break after the MPLA tries to install communist ideas over the different ethnic groups instead of solving the problems first. Soon civil war breaks out as the MPLA tries to forcibly put down the irate groups although the fighting ends quickly due to the lack of organization from groups like UNITA. They do not however gain full control over the Cabinda province separated by the border with Zaire and the economy drops there. Sporadic fighting continues to drain Angola's resources and the economy drops as in our timeline. However it would be less reliant on the other communist powers as the fighting would not be continuous and they would still hold elections. Although the one party system created as a by-product of the purge of UNITA and the FNLA. Slowly Angola would democratize following the end of the Cold War but it would be an arduous process like in our timeline.