[Mail Call] 9/28/2017 Alternative History + Site Announcements

We’re aware that Phoenix has taken over the site. Not entirely sure how, but we’re looking into it at the moment.

Since I’m more or less back to normal function, it’s back to the mail-call functions. You see, other than answering posts and comments from passing by readers, it’s also a good way for me to consolidate content. That’s to say, there’s a lot to be worked on at any given moment, and I confess that it’s often overwhelming for me to think about what things to showcase next.

I realize that this section of the timeline was first introduced in AR2, which I currently cannot read. Apologies if some of these might already have been answered within that book.

Time Period: Late 1950s: From a diplomatic perspective, the US made contact with the major world’s powers. The UK was the most receptive to the Abyssal Threat, creating their own shipgirl program in response.

What prompted the US to choose this particular time period to disclose what they knew about the Abyssal threat and shipgirls? Why was there a wait of several years after first contact? Was there any previous, perhaps less formal, communications on the matter between the relevant nations?

Let me answer this in reverse. Yes. There were many less formal communications on the matter between leaders of the world powers. There was a wait of several years after first contact for several reasons. Read below.

America herself wasn’t exactly sure how this information should be used, and in the early days, there are differing opinions on policy. Not that they didn’t believe her. But, rather, put yourself in the shoes of Harry Truman for a second. Here stands a person who by all definitions is capable of superhuman feats. What is your first instinct? Would it not to broadcast and parade her to the world?

Here are enemies capable of wrecking havoc on any country’s armies. Would it not be to America’s advantage to see if this enemy can be manipulated into doing its bidding? Or, at the minimum, would it not be a good thing that other countries suffered from it as a result?

Hold those thoughts. These are actually somewhat anachronistic. In other words, while they may seem perfectly sensible or reasonable for a politician or leader of our time, it is decidingly NOT how people back then thought. Strange as it may be, the 50s had some very different ways of looking at things. Not to mention this is Truman we’re talking about. He was a man who may have been vulgar or blunt, but he was always honest about his own opinions, what he could do, and what he is able to accomplish.

I learned about this while visiting the Truman Museum years back, and I’d never think that the impression that particular visit left on me would turn to the creation of well, Truman as a supporting character in Pacific. Truman likes to do things on his own. He likes to gather his own information, think about his own problems, and he’s really a real “roll up his sleeves and fix ’em” kind of person.

You can see how this attitude would have immediately influenced his decision-making. He took Iowa more seriously than most people would have imagined, and he immediately reached out to individuals he thought would be capable in the resolution of this issue. Truman wanted to blow this up and to get every agency involved as soon as possible. It’s why he got the CIA involved almost immediately – it’s his creation, after all. Truman had plans to involve the military next. He wanted to get this thing done, and to have the Abyssals beaten the next time they show up. He was very much willing to commit the entirety of America – industry, manpower, and politics – to the defense of the world. And so, that sort of brings us to the next aspect.

That statement in the timeline, “Under the direction of Eisenhower?” That’s not a typo. STEC was created under the Truman administration. However, Eisenhower was part of its initial creation. Eisenhower was also the next president, and in order to remain faithful to history, the fall-out between Truman and Eisenhower still exists in Pacific’s setting. This is a classical case of both having good intentions, but the ways in which it was to be implemented sharply differed. Eisenhower and several of the military commanders wanted to run STEC differently. As military professionals (former and otherwise), they immediately grasped the severity of the situation. Without an ability to wage war, no amount of mobilization on a country’s part can hope to stall the Abyssal invasion.

(Also, as an aside. Eisenhower was a very transparent individual by comparison. Historically, as an example, he refused “special channels” and briefings from the CIA on the grounds of wanting to receive information like “any other American would.” However, Eisenhower’s presidency was tempered by his personality, and he is … not what I would describe as a great risk taker. In other words, Eisenhower only gambled on things that had the potential for a massive payoff (like something like D-day when he was a general) or when it was almost guaranteed to succeed (like the highway project back at home). The prospects of fighting an opponent that showed up at its own will, was unfathomable, and would – if Iowa’s opinions are correct – cause the extinction of humanity represented a significant challenge to the way business is carried out, and Eisenhower essentially decided to go in the other direction.)

Instead of involving other branches of government or other agencies, Eisenhower sought to concentrate power in something that would dedicate itself to fighting this thing. Instead of immediately getting other countries involved, he decided to wait, build-up, and see what things happen. He was of the opinion that if the Abyssals are truly an interstellar (this was before people figured out that they literally operate from other “dimensions) force, then trying to build more of our current weaponry would be like cavemen trying to sharpen more rocks against a GI. Better the caveman learn to at least build a musket than to try to make spears.

As I’ve mentioned before, Eisenhower wasn’t too keen on the CIA, and he has his reservations on having total civilian control (for STEC, it doesn’t) on an agency that really had one job. In hindsight this was the correct decision, because immediately after the initial Abyssal incursion, the Abyssal fleet was relatively inactive for quite some time. The chaos that it would have caused if the information went out into the public would have destabilized a large number of countries, which isn’t what you would want.

For that matter, Eisenhower was unwilling to essentially give away what amounts to military secrets unless he was certain that there was a way to enforce the bargains made. It’s why STEC has such a large degree of freedom to operate. Ike’s seen how the league of nations floundered. He’s aware of the limitations of the UN (in fact, didn’t we Americans come up with the idea of “collective security”?) and he is willing, albeit reluctantly and cautiously at the time, to work with the other Great Power at the time (1950-1952) – which is the USSR.

Remember, Pacific’s timeline only begins to diverge starting from 1950. The five years after WW2 still saw a massive global resurgence in communism. The loss of China to the “reds” still was a giant shocker. The USSR still threatened Greece and Turkey. The Truman doctrine and NATO still came into existence in 1949. Britain’s still bankrupt. France is still falling apart. It’ll take a while before all the changes WE created start to butterfly back into the timeline.

…FFFFF I didn’t answer the question, did I?