A break from the regular Children of the Fatherland program to get the final post of There Will Be War. Not sure why I didn’t post this at the end of the TWBW sequence; it seems to have been languishing in my drafts folder for quite some time.
What can we say about the Ynglings? They cannot be accused of having learned nothing and forgotten nothing, even if it took them an additional thousand years and the destruction of an entire history. On the contrary, they have shown that even the most stubborn of peoples can be taught, if you hit them upside the head with a big enough hammer. They have learned to distinguish between means and ends; they no longer believe that the libertarian-fascist state is the only way Ynglings can dominate. Indeed, the large majority of people with the Yngling surname, in this new timeline, do not see themselves as Nietzschian superhumans: They are happy to be the ruling class of a Great Power and to run it by the principles of Realpolitik, but they do not measure their self-worth by their ability to destroy Untermenschen in personal combat. This does not mean they are nice people, necessarily; it means only that whatever nastiness they possess takes a different form from that of the timeline-one Ynglings. They have learned to live as leaders of men, not parasites; as sheepdogs, not wolves. But in the end, sheepdogs are fed on mutton.
The internal organisation of the Norwegian Realm, then, is very different from its fascist originator, and somewhat different from anything in OTL. It combines the laissez-faire economic policies of the OTL 1890s USA (modulo enough taxes to maintain a large military) with the class distinctions of, say, 1930s Britain: There are very few formal privileges to being an Yngling, but to see a non-Yngling in a position of political power is unusual.
Economically, the Ynglings are in a happy position similar to that of the OTL USA: The have access to the resources of an entire continent, and can develop them freely. Note that with the destruction of Arequipa, Italy is not in a position to compete; by the time the radioactive dust settles, the capital and the patterns of trade will be firmly centered in the north. Thus, even though the Ynglings do not formally control, for example, the oil fields of Texas, it’s reasonable to assume that its output will be refined in Norwegian-owned installations and will fuel Norwegian trucks. The British Isles and Scandinavia, by contrast, are valuable mainly for sentimental purposes and as unsinkable aircraft carriers for power-projection into Europe; economically they will be backwaters trading mostly with the European powers.
What about the competition? Unlike the US, the Ynglings face several large, locally hegemonic powers: China, the Franco/German alliance, and Malaysia. Worse, none of them have shot themselves in the foot by adopting a Communist ideology, although France, for example, is quite authoritarian. Fortunately, the competition between them will be chiefly economic, because the recent war has demonstrated rather conclusively that nuclear-armed powers cannot be conquered. (It does not really matter whether this is strictly true; even fifty years later, nobody is going to risk another radioactive disaster on the strength of an academic analysis which says that, if only the Ynglings had done thus-and-so, they miight have overrun Germany.) In this competition, Norway has two advantages: First, they are the only major power to suffer only a light nuclear dusting – something on the order of five cities destroyed, as opposed to several dozen each in China, Germany, and France, with total casualties running easily into the tens of millions. (Plus the battering the Baltic coastline got in the German bombardment of the invasion force.) Second, they have the breeding program at Dovre. I expect, then, that the future of this timeline will look a bit like that of OTL after 1945: The entity controlling the American continent, plus the best-educated workforce, will pull ahead, especially since its starting position is not “bombed-out hellhole” as is the case with its competitors. In this case that entity is Norway. However, because the other countries in the world are much larger than the OTL competitors to the US (thus forming much bigger free-trade zones), and also not crippled by Marxist economic ideas, this dominance will not be as overwhelming as that of the US from 1945 to 1965; it will rather be a question of an additional 0.5% GDP growth yearly. That adds up.
This timeline will have a lot more economic growth than ours, due to the large number of free-trade economies and lack of tariff barriers in it; it’s starting from a rather lower level, though, because a lot of its resources have been mobilised for war from 1930 to 1960. I expect it to be about as prosperous as OTL around 1990, although with a different distribution – Africa will still be a hellhole, that continent just doesn’t get any luck, but China will look more like, say, OTL France did – and then to leave us behind quite rapidly. If there are wars, they’ll be guerrilla skirmishes in Africa and perhaps some minor border scuffles in the British Isles – the Ynglings will still want England-south-of-Thames returned, after all; it’s just that they’ve given up on invading Germany with half a million tanks as their chosen method of enforcing the claim. Enough skirmishes and general unrest to make the French population tired of the place is a possible strategy, though. Nobody’s going to start a nuclear war over some drunk soldiers shooting up a customs post.
The uptime agents are still going to come through every twenty-five years for the next two hundred; but we’ve gotten to the point where their impact will be relatively small. They might contribute slightly to a Norwegian tech lead, but they were trained as soldiers, not engineers; they may know some scientific and engineering principles at the layman’s level, enough to give some hints of what would be fruitful directions to look in, but they won’t know anything in enough detail to be a leapfrog advance, as antibiotics were when Dovre introduced them around 1600. Increasingly, they are going to find themselves in a world that looks quite a bit like the one they came from: Norway and China, with some extra players, having enough raw firepower to wipe each other out and therefore constrained to compete economically and culturally. Norway’s position will be a lot better, though, due to the additional territory, the non-totally-screwed economy, and a lead in the space race thanks to Dovre. (Yes, yes, Germany is ahead in the Moon race, or at any rate it was before it shot its foot off. But that’s a one-off, spectacular piece of grandstanding; Dovre could have done it in 1945 if they cared to. The Norwegian rocketry program is broad-based, intended to lift an army of invasion to the Moon and establish a commercial presence in the asteroids.)
And speaking of the Moon: What about those dang Georgians? They are the wild card. They have no access to fissionables, but with their position at the top of the gravity well they don’t need them; they can throw rocks. The war rockets Dovre has developed will probably never be used, for the same reason the ICBMs won’t be used against China; but what will happen when earthbound humanity reaches for space and meets its cousins – and that enigmatic fragment of the far future, the Angel – is impossible to predict. All we can say is that, where there are humans – and especially when some are Ynglings – there will be war, and rumours of war; and their end is not yet. But our ability to follow them is at its end; we can wish them good luck, but here our ways must part. And so we come to the necessary phrase:
Here ends the saga of the Kings of Norway.