This ATL deals with the possibility of what would happen if Democratic candidate Al Smith, a Catholic Irish-American, had won the 1928 presidential election instead of Herbert Hoover. This radical change at this point in time would have drastic changes from OTL as it would have different effects on the Great Depression and, in the future, Hitler's rise to power and possibly World War II and beyond.
1927: President Calvin Coolidge at the strong urging of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover pushes a bill (the Norris Act) through Congress that prohibits excess selling of stocks based on credit. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon resigns because of his opposition to the measure. He also pledges to fight against Hoover's bid for the White House in 1928.
1928: Economic troubles cause Democrats to hope for victory. NY Governor Al Smith is nominated on the fifth ballot over the opposition of Old Guard Democrats who believe Smith's Catholicism would wreck his chances of victory.
Hoover faces a strong challenge from former IL Governor Frank Lowden but manages to win the nomination on the second ballot with 577 votes to Lowden's 307. Hoover chose progressive Nebraska Senator George W. Norris as his running mate which further alienates conservatives in the party. Although the economy was slowing a little, the Republicans still expected victory.
October 15 was a day that would go down in history. Most investors had expected Hoover to continue the Coolidge era, but when word reached Wall Street that Hoover was considering raising taxes, the markets took a plunge.
Election night was very close. Smith won the Northeast, Southwest, the South. The deciding state in the election was Florida. Votes were being counted for three days before a victory was declared. Even as Florida had put Rutherford B. Hayes in the White House, it did the same for------Al Smith. Smith total popular vote was 18,800,000 to Hoover's 18,000,000. Smith's victory in the electoral college was a paper thin 268-263.
1929: President Smith had a large progressive agenda, and with Democrats having a majority in the House and the Senate he had a good chance to get it passed. The first part of the plan was to double taxes to pay for his other programs. Although this met with bitter opposition from conservatives, there were enough progressives and liberals in the Congress to pass it. These actions only drove the economy further under.
1930: In the mid-term elections, a resurgent Republican party gained control of Congress giving them the power to block President Smith's polices. Among the many losing Democrats that year was New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt, who lost to his distant cousin Republican Theodore Roosevelt Jr. by a margin of less than 5,000 votes.
1931: The Republican controlled Congress passed a tax cut but this was vetoed by Smith only to by overridden which almost destroyed Smith's credibility with the American people.
Many felt that this "Catholic bastard" of a president is the reason the country is in turmoil. In New York on March 15, Race Riots broke out against the Irish and Catholic communities. The riots were ten times worse than 1844 Philadelphia or 1863 New York Riots. 107 Irish and/or Catholics were killed, while over a thousand were injured or missing. Al Smith declared a state of emergency and had police and military forces lay siege to the Manhattan Island. Part of the Statue of Liberty is destroyed by a misfire from one of the several battleships sent into the harbor.
The riots ended but the city was in ruins. Seeing the statue smoking and surrounded by rubble in the harbor sent cold chills down Al Smith's back. He addressed the nation on Ellis Island pledging to rebuild the statue and the city. But New York would never be the same after the 1931 riots.
1932: The Republicans were ready to throw Smith out on his ear. Unemployment was at 20 percent and rising, thanks to Smith's tax increases and many could not forgive him for the New York riots they proclaimed he caused. The top Republican candidates that year were Idaho Senator William Borah and newly elected New York Governor Teddy Roosevelt Jr. (Roosevelt was supported by Andrew Mellon, Herbert Hoover and the GOP establishment). Borah won several primaries but was seen as too radical, so the party bosses turned to Roosevelt and he won the nomination on the first ballot at the Republican convention with 683 votes to Borah's 310. In his acceptance speech, Roosevelt pledged himself "To a New Deal for the American people". Ohio Governor Robert A. Taft was nominated for Vice President. Roosevelt took to the campaign trail against Smith. Running on a platform of lower taxes and less government spending, Roosevelt swamped Smith 56% to 40%. The one bright spot for Democrats was the election of Franklin Roosevelt as Governor of New York.
In choosing his cabinet, Roosevelt chose experienced bureaucrats and Washington insiders (including a Democrat) to lead the executive departments. Roosevelt's First Cabinet was as follows
Vice President: Hebert C. Hoover
Secretary of State: William E. Borah
Secretary of the Treasury: Andrew W. Mollen
Secretary of War: Henry L. Stimson
Attorney General: Charles E. Hughes Jr.
Postmaster General: Walter F. Brown
Secretary of the Navy: Charles F. Adams
Secretary of the Interior: Frank Knox
Secretary of Agriculture: Ray C. Chapin
Secretary of Commerce: Wendell L. Wilkie
Secretary of Labor: Francis C. Perkins
The congressional leadership was dominated by conservatives.
Speaker of the House: Bertrand H. Snell (R)
House Majority Leader: Joseph W. Martin Jr. (R)
House Minority Leder: John N. Garner (D)
Senate Majority Leader: Charles L. McNary (R)
Senate Minority Leader: Morris Sheppard (D)
1933: With a super majority in the Congress, President Roosevelt pushed a long list of legislation through during his first 100 days of office. Among them was the Worker's Assistance Recovery Program (WARP), which set forth a system of government loans to working men and their families instead of the blanket checks that some liberals supported. Another act of Roosevelt's Presidency was to pass the Social Security Act of 1933. Under the act a system of private accounts would be set up, into which taxpayers would place money and the government would match their savings. But by far the most important bill passed during Roosevelt's first two years was the Revenue Act of 1933, which abolished the federal income tax and in its place a national sales tax of 21% was put into place.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a force in her own right, writing her own weekly newspaper column entitled "Elly's Week", and going around the country campaigning for the poor and the needy (though not as much as her Democratic cousin did in OTL since her husband was not crippled by polio).
1934: The Republicans make a clean sweep in almost all elections. The one bright point for the Democrats was the election of Franklin Roosevelt as Governor of New York.
1935: President Roosevelt appoints former Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to succeed Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who had been appointed by President Smith in 1930. Hughes will serve until 1945.
1936: the economy was back on its feet, unemployment had been cut in half and the DOW was rising, Roosevelt was re-elected in a landslide over NY Governor Franklin Roosevelt in the presidential election.
Meanwhile in Europe, The Nuremberg laws are passed in Germany. President Roosevelt orders that refugee camps be set up across the East Coast and gets a bill passed through which grants all European Jews fleeing persecution US citizenship.
1937: During the first six mouths of Roosevelt's second term, conservative Republicans in Congress pushed for allowing the depression era legislation of Roosevelt's first term to expire. Although Roosevelt was opposed to repealing all the bills, he realized that the times required a change in focus and government spending.
Roosevelt saw the danger posed to the U.S. by Japan's expansion into China, and Germany's threats against Europe. Later that year the Supreme Court ruled that part of the WARP was unconstitutional. This caused Roosevelt to follow the wishes of Taft and the conservatives. Roosevelt pushed the Naval Act of 1937 through the Congress.
1938: Conservatives succeed in allowing the WARP program to expire in 1942, and cut Social Security by 15%.
In the mid-term elections, the Republicans suffered slight loses due to division between liberals and conservatives. In spite of this the Republicans retained overwhelming control of Congress.
Roosevelt decides "enough is enough" when he learns that Japan has committed unspeakable atrocities in China. It seems the Japanese forces invaded China and burned its capitol to the ground and slaughtered thousands of innocents. Roosevelt orders that sanctions on Oil, Steel and raw materials be imposed, as well as begin the largest arms buildup in American history so far.
1939: Roosevelt had been suffering from poor health for some time (sometimes he was forced to use a wheelchair). Most expected Roosevelt to follow the 2-term limit set by George Washington. Vice President Robert Taft was considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination. Other potential candidates included Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg and New York District Attorney Thomas Dewey.
But by September, Germany had responded to America's rearmament by invading Poland and declaring war on Great Britain and France. By mid-October the Japanese had invaded French and Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia. Roosevelt declared that the United States would not stand for this blatant aggression. Japan realized that American bases in the Pacific would threaten their expansionist goals, and they launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7. On December 8, Roosevelt ask Congress for a declaration of war against Japan. Within two weeks Germany and Italy had declared war on the United States. Barely 100 days after Hitler invaded Poland, the whole world was engulfed in war.
1940: By early February, the Japanese had completed the conquest of all the Pacific north of New Guinea except General Douglas MacArthur's Anglo-Philippine Army in the Philippines. In March, Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to leave the Philippines and go to Australia. The Philippines, however, will hold out and will be relieved by MacArthur and Nimitz in August. In May, the Japanese launched a naval attack towards Port Moresby, New Guinea but were stopped by the American fleet under Admiral Chester Nimitz. In June the U.S. fleet sank four Japanese aircraft carriers at Midway and turned the tide in the Pacific.
Meanwhile, the 1940 elections went on as planned. Roosevelt decided to seek a third term because the country needed an experienced leader. Roosevelt easily won the Republican nomination. Robert Taft was also renominated for Vice President.
The Democrats countered by nominating Iowa Governor Henry A. Wallace with New York Senator James Farley receiving the vice-presidential nomination.
Meanwhile, the Germans have begun an invasion of France. Thanks to American support the Germans are stopped just short of Paris and are eventually forced back across the Rhine in 1941.
Wallace seemed to have a chance early on because of Roosevelt seeking an unprecedented third term and because of early American defeats in the war. But with the American victory at Midway, Roosevelt took a twenty-two point lead in a July Gallup poll. In August, American forces landed in Norway in support of British and French forces and drove the Germans out of the country by January, 1941. Also, American forces under Dwight Eisenhower landed in French North Africa and drove towards Italian controlled Libya. By November, Americans felt that victory was really possible leading them to choose to give Roosevelt and the Republicans another four years by a 20-point margin.
In December, German forces landed in Syria and drove towards the Suez. Around the same time Russian forces invaded Persia and Afghanistan; in response the Allies declared war on the Soviet Union.
1941: In late January, Allied forces landed in southern Iraq and pushed north. A German force drove towards Jerusalem, the British desperate for troops turned to Jewish units to stem the tide of Nazi onslaught. Under the command of Colonel Ben Gurion Jewish forces made a stand at Megiddo (AKA Armageddon). German commanders realized that it would take more men than they had to dislodge the Jews, and asked Hitler for re-enforcements. Hitler ordered them to capture Megiddo regardless of the cost. The attack failed and cost the Germans dearly. By August, the Germans were being surrounded but Hitler had become obsessed with capturing Jerusalem and crushing the Jews once and for all. By September, the allies had trapped the Germans and forced them to surrender on September 11. Meanwhile in Iraq, American forces were driving the Germans towards Syria. Also, Turkey entered the war on the allied side and began closing in on German occupied Syria. On December 12, 1941 Axis forces in Syria surrendered, the campaign had cost Hitler over 390,000 men killed, wounded and missing. In the meantime, the Manhattan project is coming close to completion (President Roosevelt put more emphasis on the atomic bomb, as he wanted to ensure the war was brought to a quick end).
1942: MacArthur meets with leaders of the Chinese, Australian, British and French military and discusses plans for the invasion of Japan. "D-Day" of "The Battle of Hiroshima" takes place on June 6th, when Allied forces invade Japan. Kamikaze fighters destroy many allied ships, while US paratroopers sneak behind enemy lines and destroy many important installations. The invasion is a success.
MacArthur then launches a full force to destroy the Japanese military once and for all, but the Japanese, caught off guard when the invasion began, are ready now and put up a hard fight. MacArthur, however, executed a brilliant landing at Yokohama and within weeks, the Japanese forces scattered and crumbled, and at "The Battle of Tokyo", the Emperor is captured and after a conversation with MacArthur orders the surrender of all Japanese forces.
Generals Patton and Eisenhower complete the conquest of Germany and surround Berlin. Hitler commits suicide and Germany surrenders in May.
Among the captured German equipment is the new Me262, which helps the US develop the F-86 Sabre and British the Meteor.
1943: The Manhattan project bears fruit in the New Mexico Desert in March, and the first nuclear bomb is deemed a success. The USA is now the soul possessor of the A-bomb.
The war wasn't over yet as Stalin and the Communists still had the will to keep fighting. But quickly the Allies from the European and Pacific Theaters began driving the Russians farther into the motherland.
On August 5, the Allies dropped an atomic bomb on Stalingrad and five days later on St Petersburg. Stalin wanted to fight on but his generals know it was useless and assassinated him. On September 1st, General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower accepted the surrender of the Soviet Armed Forces.
With the Russian surrender, VR-Day was celebrated, WW-II was officially over!
In November, Roosevelt, Churchill, Daladier, and Chiang Kai-shek meet in Potsdam, Germany and agree that France will oversee the rebuilding of Italy and the Balkans, Britain will administer Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland. China would occupy Siberia and Russian Central Asia while the US would rebuild Japan and Russia. The US and the UK agreed to support Chiang against the Communists.
1944: In January, the Allied nations signed the charter for the United Nations. Among the articles of the charter was a statement of support of colonialism and against Communism.
In July, President Roosevelt died from heart failure and Vice President Robert Taft became President.
In November, President Taft and his running mate NY Governor Tom Dewey defeated Florida Senator Claude Pepper and his running-mate MO Senator Harry S. Truman. The Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress.
1945: President Taft is inaugurated in his first full term as president and the world has greatly changed since the end of the Second World War. The United States is now the world's sole superpower, supplanting the British Empire, which bankrupted itself fighting the war. Global geopolitics have also changed greatly; the USSR has been broken up, with the western half becoming the Principality of Moskova, and the eastern half being granted to the Chinese. The Allied Powers of World War II, the U.S., Britain, France, and China, are now the most powerful nations in the world and are entering a new age.
1946: Moskova becomes an observer of the nascent European Coal and Steel Community. Cuba also requests annexation by the United States and is admitted as the 49th state in 1947.
1948: In a stunning electoral upset, Democratic Senator Richard Russell is elected the 34th President of the United States, defeating President Taft by a razor-thin margin. In China, Chiang Kai-shek is easily re-elected as President.
1949: Britain restructures its empire into a federation, giving the various British colonies a voice in how they are governed. India becomes an independent dominion in the new British Imperial Federation. Mohandas Gandhi assassinated in Delhi.
1951: The British Imperial Federation bans ethnic discrimination in response to South African apartheid laws.
1952: Richard Russell wins re-election, but there are clear issues brewing overseas as China and India become deeply embroiled in post-colonial conflict. This spills over into the beginnings of the Indochina Wars.
1953: Alaska and Hawaii request annexation into the United states, becoming the 50th and 51st states respectively. Not wanting the country to be outdone by The British Imperial Federation, President Russell proposes legislation to allow non-white people the right to vote and to ban ethnic discrimination. Riots begin to break out in the southern states with some threatening to secede. That same year, Russell vows to restore New York City to its former glory, on the 22nd anniversary of the 1931 riots.
TO BE CONTINUED
This timeline is open to anyone who wants to add to it. I will inject my own information where I can and edit as I see fit.