Timefiction

Time Travel Logs

1954 Part 15

The American time traveler, Bob Thomas, was summoned to London. Churchill wanted to consult with both the British and American time travelers before finalizing his plans for the colony of Gold Coast. The trip was on a Boeing 377, which was more or less a B-29 with an expanded fuselage. After arrival and a chance to rest, he was brought into a meeting with Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He barely could recognize Margaret Thatcher, age 29. He did recognize the Naval Commander-in-chief Louis Mountbatten, who in 1979, known as Lord Mountbatten, had been killed by the IRA.

Churchill after making the introductions, told Bob Thomas, “You are probably more surprised by who is not here, than who is. Harold Macmillan is not yet included. Simply put, he lacks discretion, a most necessary quality for members of this committee. In addition, I see no need for Anthony Eden to resign soon after he becomes Prime Minister. That means he will have time to decide who add to the committee, or it will be a Labour Prime Minister that secedes him. I am reluctant to include Harold Wilson, since Bruce James tells me that there were some rumours that he was a KGB agent. We are looking into this matter. What is your recollection?” Bob Thomas answered, “I remember reading something about that, and that the publisher of the Daily Mirror wanted Lord Mountbatten to overthrow him and he refused. There wasn’t any good evidence, just some KGB defector who might not have been a real defector saying so. What about George Brown? He could be related to the Gordon Brown was was Prime Minister in 2007. Bruce James answered, “I looked into that, he is not related. Also George Brown isn’t a likely prospect to be a Labour Prime Minister. Hugh Gaitskell is more likely as is Aneurin Bevan. Of course, Clement Attlee is the most likely of all. It was decided that there is no need to bring in a man of Clement Attlee’s age, unless he does indeed become Prime Minister.”

Churchill brought up the main agenda item, colonial policy. “Do you agree with Mr. James’ perception that in the time after independence, the colonies in Africa became kleptocracies and burdened by tribal conflict?” Bob Thomas said, “Yes. I also agree with what you stated at an earlier meeting, that the arbitrary boundaries should be changed now, to reduce tribal conflict later. I’ll add also, the concept noticed later that resource riches lead to disaster, rather than prosperity. The resources are often fought over, and fund government militaries, militias, and wars. Few among the public benefit beyond miner’s wages, while the country as a whole is often destroyed. Perhaps corrupt officials benefit.”

Churchill said, “I notice you as well as Mr. James have the impression that these trends happen later. The Gold Coast, known to you as Ghana, has had a measure of self government and elections for a while now. In your history, Prime Minister Macmillan would have given full independence leading soon after to most other colonies becoming independent.
Recently, there has been a good price for cocoa, which has led to funding for development of which corrupt native ministers have been taking maybe ten percent of the proceeds in bribery. This happened before my return to office when I applied the brakes to their path towards independence. There is already tribal conflict. Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party won the elections of June of this year, 1954. The opposition parties are mainly regional ones, the Ashanti, the Togoland, the Northern region. It is as if he is a tribal leader, and the members of the other tribes already understand that they will not be favored by him, but must curry his favor. Many groups have been asking us not to leave the Gold Coast and leave them under Nkrumah’s rule. Even now, with high cocoa prices, the Ashanti farmers are not getting that price, but the CPP’s ministers are managing to manipulate prices paid to them and collect the difference.

Here is what Nkrumah’s CPP newspaper, the Evening News wrote on the 19th of June, this year of 1954, “Kwame Nkrumah, Man of Destiny, Start of Africa, Hope of Millions of down-trodden Blacks, Deliverer of Ghana, Iron Boy, Great Leader of Street Boys, personable and handsome boy from Nzima, Kwame Nkrumah has given his answer to all the twaddle and tripe and the dirty scribblers”
Mr. James, said, this type of local coverage is absolutely typical of African leaders right up until the year 2008 with no sign of it stopping. However, he also said, that Nkrumah, after independence wanted to create a United States of Africa, with him as the ruler, and never really stopped from trying, including with trying to combine with French colonies.
I think by reducing areas of local authority to tribal areas, people like Nkrumah can be contained and constrained, and by increasing regional power to something like the British Commonwealth of Africa, their ambitions can be contained as well. What do you think?”

Bob Thomas said, “That information has been fairly educational for me. One thing to add is even local leaders who had international backing and seemed sane, often became insane after gaining absolute power. Idi Amin of Uganda is an example. I think your plan might work, and is at least likely to be better than what happened in my history. Africa had been suffering from wars, disease, lack of development, corruption, and poverty. Other colonies developed well. For instance, Malaysia and Singapore split. Singapore went from nothing in 1965, but with the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew became, per capita, wealthier than the UK. Malaysia didn’t do as well, but still remarkably better than other places.”

Nikita Khrushchev visited Sergei Beloglazov exclaiming, “The reactive armour worked. The tank designers didn’t believe it at first. They said, it is like having a porcupine with needles points on both ends. They said, it is doing the job of the enemy for them by blowing up our own tanks. Then the experiments showed it worked. We also found out that it was invented in the USSR in 1949 by Bogdan Vjacheslavovich Voitsekhovsky. Still, there are some complaints, they say what if they hit the same place twice.“ Sergei Beloglazov answered, “Offense and defense are always in a race against each other,. While no gunner can likely hit the same spot twice, it is possible to build a shell that shoots two jets of molten metal, one after the other, just to defeat this sort of armor.” Krushchev asked, “What is this I hear about you wanting to build glass armour next?” Sergie answered, “Fused silica glass, heated to very high temperatures, placed between steel plates, provides a stopping power that steel alone cannot for the same weight and thickness. Yet, it is a simple enough material for you to make now.”
Later Khrushchev asked, “What is happening in China?” Sergei Beloglazov answered, “Something similar to collectivation over the next few years. Millions die of starvation. Especially when they make each village run a blast furnace. At the end of it, they get back to normal harvests, with something similar to private plots and Mao is almost retired, with people like Deng Xiao Ping and Liu Shaoqi actually running things. Then in 1966, Mao upsets the apple cart again, by leading a new youth revolution, and purging those two, along with anyone in the older generation that seemed opposed to Mao.” Khrushchev said, “That can’t be, Deng Xiao Ping was executed recently, and Liu Shaoqi was sentenced to hard labor.” Sergei said, “I haven’t seen any news since my arrival here. That is different than what happened in my history’s 1954.”

Khrushchev replied, “Stalin used to keep information from us. He got reports directly, and top officials didn’t know what was going on. I won’t make the same mistake. I’ll get you full intelligence briefings, including ones that you missed. Tell me what you think after you look them over.” Later Sergei said, “These changes look to me like someone from the future told Mao what happened in the future. It wasn’t me, so there might be another time traveler. Also, there are some details about the British Empire, especially in the Gold Coast and Egypt, as well as military policy in West Germany that are different. There might be other time travelers.”

Khrushchev said, “Assume for now, that there is some sort of cosmic joke, and you have a counterpart in China and Britain, and that they arrived around the same time. What do I need to know?” Sergei said, “Your relations with China would have fallen apart over the next few years. In 1969 they almost went to war with the USSR. They aren’t strong enough now to contemplate that, they don’t even have nuclear weapons yet. I would say that the most crtical issue is Washington knowing the truth about your nuclear posture of this year. President Eisenhower ruled it out, but if planners in Washington knew the truth, they could eliminate the nuclear threat to them in the future with a preemptive attack now. They might prevent any bombs from reaching the US, except for maybe a lucky bomber that slips through on a one way mission. Western Europeans wouldn’t like the idea, since I think you can destroy them even now, but I think only with A-bombs, not with H-bombs. In my history’s 1950’s, you kept up a bluster, boasting of having many missiles. A time traveler would know the truth.” Khrushchev replied, “We have much work to do quickly. We have to build missiles and silos, and make sure that the US knows that we have time traveler help. We’ll have to publicly demonstrate an H-bomb being delivered by a missile of sufficient range to hit the US. We’ll have to let them see a huge number of missiles already built.”

Story: 1954: Part 16

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