Timefiction

Time Travel Logs

1954 Part 10

Eisenhower asked Bruce James, “Mr. Thomas advised that we should lose the race to space, to help stimulate our educational system. What do you think?”

Bruce James answered, “Firstly, the American entry into space was for the purpose of satellite based cameras. Especially with future assistance to the Soviets, I would say it is even more critical to succeed in this endeavor in a timely manner. You should be perfecting the system of film drops, and especially in catching the film now, using high altitude balloons or U2’s, so that you don’t waste 3 years of lost photos after you finally get a satellite up.

I suppose if you still wanted the Sputnik shock, you could make your successful satellite launch a secret, but amateur spotters will probably reveal not only its existence, but be able to prove that it isn’t from a Soviet launch base.

What did Sputnik do for you? You still had a culture of the so-called jocks harassing the so-called nerds. The New Math initiative later this decade, somehow resulted in a generation unable to add or subtract. In my visits in the states, I several times encountered the following situation. I would buy something, let us say for 78 cents. I would hand over a dollar bill, the clerk would ring it up, then I would find three one cent coins in my pocket and hand them over. The clerk, usually about 20 years old, would stare at the register with the 22 cents lit up, and be unable to comprehend what to do with the extra 3 cents.

Then you had the belief that history and science should be somehow fun, and you have generations not knowing the most basic facts. Then even later you have competency testing of students, after the scandals of high school graduates not knowing how to read. So, then, much of the effort is make the students pass some rather simple standardized tests, ignoring much else that might be called education. I won’t even mention the trend in the 1990’s and 2000’s to label a substantial percentage of kids with syndromes requiring powerful mind altering medications, maybe 20% of all boys.”

Bob Thomas replied, “I am familiar with what has been called the dumbing down of America, in the 1980’s and 1990’s. My perception is that the Sputnik shock helped improve education in the 1960’s, and perhaps led to the key US dominance of the high tech fields. The later dumbing down I think happened when the Vietnam War protesters became in charge of things, and decided to systematically tear down authority, belief in Western culture, and excellence, replacing it with individual self esteem, group self esteem, and resources directed at the lower performing students, and withheld from the brightest. There was a phenomenon of gifted underachiever, given no challenge whatever in schools, and basically tuning out.

However, I see the point Mr. James made about the need to have satellite reconnaissance sooner rather than later.”

President Eisenhower asked Bruce James, “How would you recommend preventing Communist takeovers of less industrialized nations?”

Bruce James answered, “For starters, provide a consistent narrative that people around the world can believe in. If it is Truth, Justice, and the American Way, like in your Superman stories, you can’t go around knocking off governments to benefit the United Fruit Company. College students have been radicalized for 50 years being told about how the Dulles brothers worked for United Fruit Company, and then overthrew Guatemala on their behalf, ushering in 40 years of civil war and massacres.”

Bob Thomas interrupted, “If I could point something out. The US, went out of its way to make sure that the United Fruit Company didn’t benefit from the coup. They still took away much of their land there, saying that what Guatemala needed was capitalist competition, and then started anti-trust actions globally against the United Fruit Company which reduced their holdings by 1958.”

Allen Dulles said, “Rest assured our actions were to stop a toehold of a regime helpful to Communism in the region of the US. Perhaps we stopped what would have become another Cuba as it was in your history. In no way was our motivation to assist a client of our former law firm, or to place them above American national interests.”

Bruce James said, “I didn’t say that I believed the charges, only that charges of American foreign policy as it pertains to wars and coups being to benefit specific American business interests tied to top American leaders, has been used to sway people to look at American foreign policy as being self-interested and cynical and not in support of its purported ideals. The story is the same up to and including the Iraq war of the 2003 and later era.

As to how to prevent Communist takeovers, you have to give the population a reason to like the current regimes.”

President Eisenhower said, “We can expand on this later. What about other time travelers, besides the USSR and Red China? Any suspicions?”

Winston Churchill answered, “I have been trying to sound out France. Guy Mollet didn’t reveal anything differing from his historical positions. I do not think he has future knowledge based upon my conversations with him. I talked to De Gaulle, assuming a time traveler might have contacted him. I made some odd statements about wanting to help him deal with Jackals, but he didn’t let on any knowledge of that term. I also talked to Francois Mitterand, thinking perhaps a time traveller would have graced him with advice. I let my discussion of the European Defense Community drift towards a discussion of Algeria to see his reaction. Again nothing. So, it may be that there is no French time traveller, or it may be that he has not contacted anyone obvious, or perhaps who he did contact has managed to keep it very close to his vest, or even refused to believe what he was told.

Speaking of France, it is clear, assuming no changes due to time travelers that they will reject the European Defense Community. The United Kingdom is going to take some necessary actions that will perhaps create some difficulties between us. They will be to immediately support West German rearmament. Second to reduce British manpower in West Germany by 90%, that will leave a half of a division, although they would formally be 2 undermanned divisions. We will also station our small atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs in missiles in West Germany around 1958, and keep other atomic weapons there before that. It won’t be sudden, but it will be done. We need our resources in our Empire, and we think atomic weapons can serve the same deterrent effect that massed armies would. You should also know that we know the Teller secret of hydrogen bombs. When Mr. James told us that the shape of you H-bomb enabled us to figure out the secret and that the shape was long and narrow, we figured it out. We might have a working H-bomb in 1956. We also expect to accelerate the development of the Vulcan bomber and later missiles. We propose a coordination in these developments, also of techniques of high altitude bombing when the Soviets have guided missiles, low level bombing, missiles and other anti-missile technologies.”

Eisenhower said “A rearmed West Germany won’t accept a doctrine of a fighting retreat to the Rhine, and if they can’t hold a forward front they might just fold. Without substantial forces retreating to the Rhine, the French might not even make a stand, but might reach some sort of accommodation with the Soviets.”

Churchill replied, “That is why we must station nuclear weapons in West Germany, have those weapons be not easy to move, and make sure everyone knows about it. That will ensure those weapons would be used before being captured, making a Soviet invasion far less likely, knowing that it will automatically cause a nuclear escalation. By the time we have our new posture fully in place, 1958, hydrogen bombs will be plentiful.”

Eisenhower continued, “Getting back to other time travelers, any other thoughts?”

Bruce James said, “The possibilities in France are not exhausted. For instance, maybe he is a supporter of Jean-Marie Le Pen. He got almost 17% in the first round of voting in 2002, so, statistically there is a one in six chance a time traveler was one of those voters. However, given that he is in Indochina with the French foreign legion about now, he wouldn’t be in much of a position to help a time traveler. So, if it is someone substantially to the right of De Gaulle, perhaps it would be one of the jackals he would turn to. The Jackal was a codename for an assassin hired by Jean Bastien-Thiry dissatisfied by De Gaulle’s decision to leave Algeria in 1962. He was part of a much wider conspiracy called the OAS. However, that group would not exist yet, since De Gaulle hasn’t even become President yet, let alone move to withdraw from Algeria.”

Bob Thomas replied, “General Raoul Salan would probably still be in IndoChina now also, and he organized the 1961 coup attempt as well as being a founder of that organization.”

Bruce James continued, “And there was General Maurice Challe. He developed a method of speed and concentration of force, to keep insurgents in constant retreat and disorder. The French were actually winning the war when De Gaulle starting planning France’s exit. However, if you want France to help hold the Rhine against a Russian invasion, that simply won’t happen when they will have 12 divisions in Algeria and only 2 divisions available for NATO.”

Bob Thomas said. “I remembered the total as being 400,000 French troops in Algeria in 1956.”

Eisenhower asked, “Assuming there is no French time traveler, what can and should we do with this information?”

Bruce James answered, “There isn’t even a lot of support for Algerian independence now. The FLN, Front de Libération Nationale hasn’t even been formed. There is a group called CRUA which uses Cairo as an external base, they later become the FLN. There someone named Hadj who leads a socialist group that actually is wiped out by the FLN, even though they wanted independence also. It is the the presence of a war that leads the general population to actively support independence. I think that if the November 1st attacks could be prevented through intelligence, there might be some time to change the situation to prevent a popular uprising.”

Eisenhower asked Bruce James, “It seems that our American time traveler doesn’t know much about airplanes. I was wondering if you could give us some advice on where our airplane development should be headed?”

Bruce James answered, “One of your bigger dilemmas in the next few years is the future of the manned bomber programs. You know about heat seeking, radar guided, and other missiles now, but the lesson won’t hit home until May Day 1960, when your U-2 is shot down at altitude.

Meanwhile, you are making, and will make amazing progress on high-altitude, high-speed bombers. Technology actually advanced of what we had in 2008, in certain ways. The reason why the B-52 operating at low altitude is still important in 2008, is that you never felt you outpaced the technology of defense except in areas where you have control over the air. Even that method probably didn’t have the advantage over proper Soviet defenses in the 1970’s, with sweeps of interceptors using downward looking radar.

In terms of technology, you are now looking for a Mach-3 70,000 foot altitude intercontinental bomber. You divert your effort in 2 areas that don’t pan out. First, the most amusing technology of this era, the atomic bomber.”

Anthony Eden asked, “Why is it amusing?”

Bob Thomas said, “Is that the one with lots of little atomic explosions to push it forward?”

Bruce James said, “No, that was supposed to be for space travel. No, it simply is a reactor that heats up air, driving a turbine. The difficulty is that proper shielding would be too heavy. The safe dose of radiation steadily goes down to the point where anything above background is understood to cause some cancers, perhaps 20 years later. This bomber would be irradiating the crew, but also the places it flies over. You also have to assume that there could be crashes in peacetime.

The amusement that given that there wasn’t an atomic war, this would be distributing a lot of radiation in peacetime.

You’ll devote considerable resources towards developing it before moving on.
Then you’ll lose a couple of years developing boron fuels. You’ll actually solve all of its problems, even in using conventional fuel at the end of a mission to flush out the boron fuel to reduce engine corrosion. Still it will be too expensive and not considered worth the extra range.

By 1959 you’ll cancel the entire mach-3 project, including its matching fighter plane. Then it will be revived due to the politics of the 1960 election, then canceled again.

After the boron fuels, you’ll simply use very pure jet fuels. It all burns at the correct temperature, very uniform, and can be used in the heat conditions of mach-3.

Of course the plane itself will be titanium in parts, and honeycombs of stainless steel in most parts. You’ll have the airflow go around the engine at times.

You’ll also develop stealth technology, which would be modern in 2008. The great heat from the plane will be dissipated at wavelengths that Soviet heat seeking missiles don’t detect. You’ll have special coatings for this, including a gold plating layer. You’ll also have radar absorbing material. These technologies will be much more advance in the late 1970’s, but if development were continuous, probably much earlier.

You also worried about how the bomber could defend itself. One idea you had was a wall of bullets fired backwards, I think using caseless ammo. This would be modern in 2008 also.

Then you had those flying saucers and wedges, both with vertical fins. Maybe a few feet across, they could go forward from a mach-3 plane, head any direction and deliver a 50 pound warhead at mach-6. I don’t know why you didn’t continue development of that.

Then, you intended to use atomic bombs to defend the bomber, both against surface to air missile sites, and against missiles. You assumed atomic missiles would be directed against the bomber, but that a high-radiation yield missile could deactivate missiles in a large volume. It was all very high-tech, but then you concluded that intercontinental missiles would be much more useful.

Story: 1954: Part 11

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