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An alternate timeline by Althistorian 2005.

What if Khrushchev had introduced glasnost and perestroika as part of his de-Stalinization program?

1950's

1951: The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) is created to regulate several countries' industrial production under a centralised authority.

1953: Joseph Stalin dies, causing power struggles within the Communist Party, although Nikita Khrushchev is sworn in as interim premier. Meanwhile, Dwight D. Eisenhower, a massively popular American World War 2 general, replaces Harry S. Truman as President of the United States.

1954: In the American state of Kansas, Oliver Brown successfully sues the Topeka Board of Education in the Supreme Court, which unanimously rules that segregated education facilities are inherently unequal. This starts the Civil Rights Movement.

1955: The Vietnam War starts.

1956: After three years, Khrushchev secures his position as premier and introduces a policy of de-Stalinization, proceeding to reveal the horrors of the Great Purge and the Siberian gulags. He also introduces glasnost, meaning openness, and perestroika, meaning restructuring. He opens Soviet markets to American companies and restructures the Soviet economy to be less rigid and more efficient and flexible. Loans begin to be made based on merit instead of personal connections, and government-allowed private businesses begin popping up all over Soviet Russia. Eventually, even a few private banks are established.

Meanwhile, the Civil Rights Movement escalates when Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, refuses to give in to unfair bus laws in Montgomery, Alabama. Also, the Suez Crisis ends Anglo-French global hegemony, with the two old superpowers being replaced by the USA and Soviet Union.

1957: The Sino-Soviet Split starts over Mao's conflict with Khrushchev about Khrushchev's recent reforms. Fearing a potential war with Communist China, Khrushchev decides to improve relations with President Eisenhower and recognises the Kuomintang government in Taiwan. He also ends support for North Vietnam, leaving them to depend on the Communist Chinese, which causes them to be defeated eventually. Meanwhile, The European Economic Community (EEC) is created to bring about economic integration among its member states.

1958: In a shocking move by Khrushchev, Eastern Europe is allowed to hold free elections, while Comecon is disbanded as a closing act for de-Stalinisation. The Eastern European elections end in victories for various democratic opposition leaders, essentially ending Soviet influence over Eastern Europe, but Khrushchev chooses stability over power. He also believes security can be guaranteed in other ways, like diplomacy. Later on, Germany reunifies and all the former Eastern European Soviet puppets join NATO, except Albania, which begins receiving support from Communist China instead. Yugoslavia begins supporting the Soviets. Meanwhile, a revolution occurs in Iraq, deposing the Hashemite monarchy formerly installed by the British. President Eisenhower also ends American espionage on the USSR, preventing the U-2 incident.

1959: A communist revolution, led by Fidel Castro, occurs in Cuba. Khrushchev tries to get him to tone down on the dogma, but since he follows a more Stalinist form of communism, he denounces Khrushchev as "revisionist" and seeks help from Communist China, which Mao Zedong agrees to give. After this, Khrushchev tells President Eisenhower that he will not stand in the way of an American invasion of Cuba.

1960's

1960: John F. Kennedy is elected President of the United States. Khrushchev immediately decides to improve relations with him, even offering to help plan an invasion of Cuba or even invade China. Kennedy eventually agrees to launch an invasion the following year.

1961: On 17 April, American infantry and tank divisions storm the beaches of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. They eventually manage to reach Havana in a few weeks before turning around and occupying the rest of Cuba, destroying all resistance. Khrushchev applauds the invasion and its success, angering hardliners within his party. He notices this and begins making plans to avoid a complete overthrow of his administration. Mao also protests against the invasion, but he backs down to avoid war with both global superpowers at once. After the invasion, Fidel Castro is tried in a Cuban provisional government court and sentenced to life imprisonment.

1963: On August 28, the Civil Rights Movement reaches its climax when a crowd of black and white people march through the streets of Washington, DC, to protest unfair "Jim Crow" laws against black people. Khrushchev arrives just in time to join the march and show his support for the Civil Rights Movement. Instead of deterring support for the Civil Rights Movement, Khrushchev's appearance there and his support actually boosts his popularity, and the popularity of the Civil Rights Movement, at home and abroad. But later in the year, on November 22, when President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas, Khrushchev visits his funeral to pay respects and even orders the entire KGB to help the CIA investigate the assassination. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is then sworn in as the new POTUS.

1964: On 12 October, Supreme Soviet presidium chairman Leonid Brezhnev calls Khrushchev to notify him of a special Presidium meeting to be held the following day, presumably on the subject of agriculture. Despite his suspicions, Khrushchev flies to Moscow, but not before calling his family and telling them that they should wait for him in the Karelo-Finnish SSR just in case this is a coup. His family flees to the KFSSR, and when KGB Chairman Vladimir Semichastny attempts to get him to relinquish power, he flees there to wait for his family. They fly to the UK and attempt to stage a counter-coup. However, as Khrushchev is old and has failing health, he tells his son that if the counter-coup succeeds, the 29-year-old will become leader with help from his father.

1965: President Johnson is elected to his own term and soon begins helping Khrushchev with his counter-coup. By now, Sergei Khrushchev, the former Soviet premier's son, is in charge of the operation and plans to fly back to Moscow with multiple divisions of paratroopers. President Johnson agrees to assign troops to the attack, since Brezhnev is now trying to reverse all of Khrushchev's reforms and take back control of Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, North Vietnam is finally defeated despite their guerrilla tactics.

1967: The attack finally goes underway, and Brezhnev is taken completely by surprise. The counter-coup succeeds and Khrushchev II is installed as Soviet premier.

1968: With Khrushchev II back as Soviet premier and the pro-Maoist-Stalinist Brezhnev in prison with his coup accomplices, Mao decides there's no other method to restore "true communism" in the USSR other than war. With this idea in mind, PLA troops rush across the Sino-Soviet border, beginning the Sino-Soviet War. Meanwhile, another revolution occurs in Iraq, deposing the leaders of the previous revolution and bringing the Ba'ath Party to power.

1969: Despite some early Chinese successes, the Red Army eventually regroups and strikes back with technologically superior overwhelming force. However, Khrushchev II knows that he will need the help of the US if he wants to win, so he calls President Johnson and asks him to help fight against China. He agrees, but not before being narrowly elected to a second term against Republican candidate Richard Nixon.

1970's

1970: As the US Navy approaches the coasts of China, South Korean troops cross the DMZ while a few divisions of Soviet troops cross the border via the Yalu River in Soviet-occupied Manchuria. North Korea joins the war on the Chinese side while South Korea and the USA officially join the war on the Soviet side. European members of NATO as well as Canada decide to stay neutral and even decide to disband the alliance altogether, since the Soviet Union isn't even a threat anymore.

1971: After defeating the Chinese navy, American Marines land in Shanghai, eventually securing the territory and making way for the US Army and the Republic of China Army to enter. They sweep inland, even making a few more landings, and eventually occupy a large portion of the Chinese southern coast. They then launch a highly successful advance toward Beijing while Soviet troops occupy the inner regions of China and approach Beijing as well. However, above all the good news of the war, Nikita Khrushchev dies from a heart attack. Sergei Khrushchev mourns, but returns to lead the war swiftly (and also to avoid another coup). Later, North Korea is defeated and Kim-Jong il is imprisoned.

1972: Mao reluctantly decides to open negotiations. Despite the heat of the negotiations, an agreement is concluded:

  • Manchuria will be ceded to the Soviet Union as the Manchu SSR.
  • Tibet will gain independence with Switzerland-like neutrality.
  • North Korea will be annexed by South Korea, forming the United Republic of Korea.
  • All of China will be annexed by the Republic of China, except Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei provinces, which retain independence as the People's Republic of Beijing.
  • The Chinese capital will be moved to Shanghai.

1973: Following the 1972 elections, Richard Nixon is successfully elected President having contested the position a second time despite his defeat in '69. (In this timeline, Watergate doesn't happen)

1974: After being interrupted by the Sino-Soviet War, the Apollo Space Program finally lands on the moon, but with Soviet cosmonauts as well as American astronauts, to demonstrate Soviet-American cooperation.

1975: Without support from Beijing, Albania's communist government collapses. Political uncertainty then reigns until Yugoslavian troops march across the border to reestablish order.

1976: Mao Zedong dies and is succeeded by Deng Xiaoping, who tries to improve inter-China relations.

1977: President Nixon narrowly loses a reelection bid to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

1978-9: The Iranian Revolution takes place, deposing Iran's pro-American Shah and replacing his monarchy with an Islamic theocracy led by Ayatollah Khomeini.

1979: Saddam Hussein, a member of the Ba'ath Party, takes control in Iraq.

1980's

1980: Ronald Reagan is elected President of the United States and immediately jumpstarts big changes to the American economy and increases efforts to prevent another Chinese Civil War. He also negotiates various treaties and agreements with Khrushchev to decrease military spending in both countries.

1982: Argentina invades the Falklands, a British overseas territory, starting the Falklands War, which soon ends in Argentine military defeat.

1980-8: Saddam Hussein starts the Iran-Iraq War. The war eventually comes to nothing and only ends because of the UN-brokered ceasefire.

1983: Massively unequal wealth distribution in China returns due to the return of foreign trade. As a result, inter-region tensions arise once more in China. Reagan and Khrushchev try to help the new president of China, Chiang Ching-kuo, work it out, but the only solution seems to be splitting the country into two Chinas again. Chiang tries to find another way out of the problem, but the most obvious solution is the only available solution. Facing the possibility of civil war, inland China is given independence as the Republic of Chongqing, with its capital in the city of Chongqing. The remaining part of the Republic of China is renamed the Republic of Guangdong, with its capital remaining in Shanghai.

1984: President Reagan is reelected.

1990's

1991: After the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam Hussein's Iraq is bankrupt, and dropping oil prices aren't helping. He accuses Kuwait of slant drilling and stealing Iraqi oil, leading up to an invasion. Kuwait is quickly captured, but when Saddam announces his desire to attack Saudi Arabia, the UN rushes to assemble a coalition, since an Iraqi conquest of Saudi Arabia would put Saddam in control over more than half of the world's oil, bending the world economy to his will. They swiftly defeat the Iraqi military, causing Saddam's troops to retreat in shame.

1993: The European Union (EU) is created out of the ECSC and the EEC.

1997: The Asian financial crisis raises fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion.

2000's

2001: On September 11, the World Trade Centre and other location in the eastern USA are attacked by a terrorist group known as Al-Qaeda.

2003: Iraq is invaded again by another UN coalition which deposes Saddam Hussein's government. Insurgencies eventually rise up to challenge coalition forces and the Iraqi government they establish.

2007-8: Another global financial crisis begins with a crisis in the subprime mortgage market in the United States and develops into a full-blown international banking crisis with the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008. Excessive risk-taking by banks such as Lehman Brothers helps to magnify the financial impact globally. Massive bail-outs of financial institutions and other palliative monetary and fiscal policies are then employed to prevent a possible collapse of the world financial system. The crisis is nonetheless followed by a global economic downturn, the Great Recession. The European debt crisis, a crisis in the banking system of members of the EU, soon follows.

2010's

2011: The Syrian Civil War starts, eventually spilling over into Iraq.

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