Almost Lost Its Way:
A scenario based on the movie C.S.A: The Confederate States of America. It borrows some features from B.Munro/Quantumbranching's take on the movie. The American Empire reached its height at the end of the Second Great War. Whilst technically two separate wars it is largely regarded by many as a continuation of the First Great War of 1914-1918. The Americans had kept themselves separate from the War in Europe, declaring themselves neutral whilst deriding the wasteful methods and ideas of the Nazi government in Germany. However they entered the burgeoning war in Asia by attacking the Empire of Japan whilst it was mobilizing for a major offensive into Southern Asia and the Pacific. The war in Japan was incredibly costly and was only ended by the advent of the atomic bomb.
After the war ended a new Cold War began between the racially discriminatory Confederate States of America, the totalitarian communist Soviet Union and the socially democratic Anglo-French Commonwealth. The CSA would lead the fight for racial stratification and slavery for several decades and engage in expansionist campaigns in unstable regions wherever they could in order to subjugate whatever local non-white populations they could find and set up a new white colonial elite in these areas. However everything began to change at the end of the 1950s.
The CSA had been repressing dissenting elements of their own society for years now and a cultural reaction was beginning to emerge. Soon enough youth movements began to form and protest the traditionalist values of mainstream society, the generally oppressive establishment and, most controversially of all, the slavery of the non-white population of the American Empire. This continued into the 1960s and escalated further leading to riots, strikes and endless demonstrations that culminated in the incredibly controversial election of president John. F. Kennedy. Despite having to deal with the dangers of the Newfoundland Missile Crisis early in his career he still planned to push forward his new abolitionist domestic policy. In 1963 he narrowly survived an assassination attempt in Dallas Texas. Now no longer distracted by the Cold War (no more than any other leader at the time anyway) he began to implement numerous new reforms with the approval of the majority of the voters. Many members of the Supreme Court were forced to retire and many conservative senators found themselves being ignored during the votes for the new domestic reforms.
By the end of the 1960s a campaign of abolition was well under way and slaves across the empire were being freed and granted citizenship. This coincided with various other Civil Rights movements. However this in turn gave rise to reactionary groups that began to fight back against confederate agents sent to ensure that the new policies were enacted. Soon enough domestic terrorist events began to take place across the empire. Nationalist groups that had either been suppressed for a long time now or been preparing for an opportunity took the chance to strike. Most failed and their uprisings simply served to stall or reverse the efforts to free or enfranchise the Hispanic population. This would eventually culminate in the Japanese Revolution. The Japanese who had always been a troublesome portion of the empire and a culture far too homogeneous to dismantle and so provided the most trouble. During the 1970s the Japanese resistance movements finally rose up and overthrew the occupying American government. Both the Commonwealth and the USSR backed a particular government and finally after several years of fighting the Commonwealth back faction finally won out. This war served as a crippling blow for the struggling new American regime and a reactionary group known as the Patriot Party took power. The loss of Maine and a good chunk of New England, who never really liked having slavery reintroduced, to anti-government extremists shortly afterwards just rubbed salt into the gaping wound left by the terrorist attacks, riots and Japan's secession.
The CSA saw an attempted reversion to traditional values that simply led to violent reaction from the growing liberal groups. Their small moment of power had strengthened the conviction of the numerous youth and civil rights movements. A purging of the intellectual classes by the government created a vast number of martyrs for their causes and served to rally die-hard groups around a multitude of figures. The CSA is an authoritarian nightmare. The government has been exploiting emergency powers since the 80s after the most horrendous round of street riots and they used it as an opportunity to ramp up slavery once again, remove or impound people's rights and establish martial law in nearly every state. A lot of officials look back at the 50s, 60s and 70s with dread and reflect on how America “almost lost its way” in those three decades. Their control over the colonies is reaching Orwellian levels of paranoia and nastiness and the Patriot Party that have been in power since emergency rule began have finally implemented a new policy of population control over the slave races if they exceed population quotas. The military has been expanded and their power is undeniable but by this point they are nearly all involved at operations at home. Nearly all previous efforts overseas have been stalled or abandoned due to the need to maintain control back in the CSA and the core of their empire.
Life in the CSA is oppressive and paranoid. Fear of slave uprisings and the destruction of their lifestyle keep much of the American population in line. Propaganda reminds the white population of atrocities committed by rebelling slaves, communists and the Anglo-French across the world. The authenticity of these stories is of course terrible but the entirety of the media and the educational system is under government control and designed to indoctrinate the population. The white population are subjected to random sweeps fro any sign of abolitionist, anti government or anti-American (the two are considered the same by this point) sentiment. They must carry identification papers at all times that prove their identity, occupation and racial purity. Any caught without identification or with improper papers are subjected to the same treatment incarcerated slaves suffer. American women have returned to their old place in the household whether they want to or not. The government have completely forbidden allowing adultery with coloured mistresses as it contradicts their often highly religious doctrine and only ever leads to the birth of more mulattoes, something the CSA does not want anymore. The school system is now an indoctrination camp that has brainwashed the youth as much as possible. The governments biggest concern is averting a repeat of the youth movements of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Schools are even gender segregated now so that men can be prepared for work whilst women can be prepared for housework and any hint of nonconformist sentiment is crushed by any means. History books are as doctored and fallacious as the media and many events have been exaggerated, twisted or even fabricated to justify the Patriot government's rule.
Life for any person of colour, even those of mixed descent, is horrendous. All are legally classified as slaves and will spend the entirety of their lives as forced labourers. They are denied all forms of benefits, subjected to horrible abuses, are classified as property and therefore subjected to an owners right to damage their own property and are slowly being exterminated by the insane Patriot government's policies. Of course treatment often depends on the attitude of their master and many slaves in families that sympathise with anti-government movements are treated decently. Some sympathisers even hide runaway slaves or find ways of smuggling them out of the country, often into Canada. However appearances must be maintained and every now and then these abolitionist families are forced to beat and denigrate their slaves during inspections. Also as the Patriots indoctrinate the current generation further the number of sympathisers and abolitionists is decreasing. Many Hispanics in South America will flee into the Andes or the Amazon where resistance movements are the concentrated in the entire American Empire.
With the CSA turning inwards on itself the other two power blocs have begun to calm down. Disarmament is not likely as they deeply distrust one another if the CSA collapses they are going to need deterrents in case the Americans decide to take the rest of the planet out with them. These two fought together nominally during the Second Great War and have stood together (but not closely) during the worst of the Cold War but relations have cooled since the 70s and as the CSA teeters on the brink of either collapse or ideological insanity they have begun to focus on their old rivalries and distrust of one another yet again.
The USSR has managed to weather the Cold War but they have had to change. During the Second Great War they bore the brunt of the Nazi assault. With the CSA tying up the Japanese it meant that the Soviets were able to divert soldiers and resources away from defending their Far Eastern territories and eventually mobilised their entire war machine against the Third Reich. The struggle was long and savage but Stalin had more than enough lives to burn. He finally met up with the Western Allies in the middle of a ravaged Germany, bypassing the recently irradiated ruins of Berlin and Nuremberg as he did so. After that the peace treaties finally set up the agreed upon spheres of Soviet and Anglo-French control.
The USSR has spent the entirety of the Cold War becoming a more liberal place over time. The losses they incurred in the Second Great War (about 40 million estimated) forced them to rule their immense European empire with a lighter touch than the OTL Warsaw Pact. A lot of Germans were forcibly moved and used as slave labour to rebuild the damages of the war. A different run of Soviet Premiers has seen the promotion of a Soviet identity that has worked in places with mass population movements shaking everything enough to repress old national and regional identities. An Eastern Europe that had been almost destroyed by chemical weapons was also easier to absorb directly into the Union since so many of the natives had died in the carnage. Of course now the immense Soviet Empire has decentralised (but not really. Its complicated) and a lot of the former SSRs have been made nominally independent but forced to stay very closely tied to the USSR itself. The USSR's expansionism turned out to be what almost led to it's downfall as the need to supply so many puppets, maintain links with a far flung empire and the limits of an extraction economy all led to the Soviet economy stuttering, falling and almost failing. They have survived the worst of it and maintained most of their empire and still keep in contact their most loyal allies. However a number of puppets have been dropped, especially in their historically resistive European territories. Small-scale local capitalism has been embraced as a means of encouraging a surplus and keeping the economy going. The dream of a proper planned economy is now being worked on as a massive network of computers is built to plan a socialist economy free of human error. Lets see how that works out.
Life in the USSR is authoritarian but far from Stalinist and not even close to what the CSA has fallen into. The move towards local small-scale capitalism has improved living standards but they are still nowhere near that of the Anglo-French or even the Americans. In the past few decades a strange movement combining socialist rhetoric with Russian traditional customs has emerged. This is the cause of the religious and cultural revival that ended up forming the new base for the next round of attempted homogenisation. Militarisation is still an undeniable part of Soviet life and culture. Rallies are now national holidays and the Red Army is both respected and feared. Their triumph over the Nazis and their opposition of the psychotic expansionist and racist Americans is an important part of the modern Soviet identity as well and people often get very patriotic on the designated memorial days. However despite the liberalisation of much of the USSR it is still a repressive society with an enormous state surveillance system, powerful secret police forces and a generally restrictive society that works to make sure everyone stays in their place and works hard. They're not racist though the return of traditional and religious values has seen certain forms of sexism return but on the whole the USSR remains an equal opportunities oppressor though on a much smaller scale than before. The Politburo is now more or less oligarchic and the government has even made movements that would appear more left leaning fascist than genuinely communist.
In the aftermath of the Second Great War and the rise of the Soviet Union the war battered British and French joined together into a new union to preserve their place in the world and hopefully maintain some area of the world where democracy and equality (of a sort) would survive. To this end they set about working hard to rebuild what was left of their old empires into a new union and organising their allies into a new power bloc in order to stand against the tyranny of America and their erstwhile allies the Soviets. The success of the American nuclear program proved that an atomic bomb was a realistic possibility and the British program successfully produced its own shortly afterwards, culminating in the dropping of two bombs on Berlin and Nuremberg, decapitating the Third Reich. The invasion and destruction of the Japanese Empire by the Americans also saved the European colonial empires from invasion as well and they had a bit more success in certain areas in modernising and (partially) integrating them into a new system. The old colonial empires were invested in so that they would provide extra economic muscle against the Americans and the Soviets. Though the early years were rather unpleasant due to a lack of materials and the need for easier labour soon enough standards of living in Asia and Africa improved, reaching closer to European levels (the fact that Europe was so badly damaged in the war may have lowered the standards mind you).
Due to the cosmopolitan nature of the Commonwealth and the fact that it has territories in several vastly different continents, life varies for its citizens. The European territories and the older settler colonies enjoy the highest standards of living with the Asian, South American and some African ones in the next tier of prosperity. There are no regions in poverty at least but much of Africa still remains in a less than satisfying state (merely Latin America bad though). By its cosmopolitan and racially egalitarian nature it is easy to find people and cultural traits from across the Commonwealth in the big cities with European fashions, Asian music and African food in shops everywhere. Embracing multiculturalism and racial equality was difficult at times especially when trying to integrate so many different peoples but they have succeeded albeit through far more compromises than the original plan had intended. There is still a lot of militarism due to the pressures of fighting a Cold War and the occasional periods of unrest in parts of the Commonwealth have served to keep the military rather significant in the peoples eyes. The Commonwealth is run through a series of regional parliaments that are elected by the citizens of that federated dominion. Representatives are also voted to represent that particular region in the Central Parliament who decide on macro-scale political decisions. The British monarchy is the head of state but like OTL they are little more than figureheads. The Commonwealth is tied together economically and politically with a centralised military to maintain order. Whilst appearing more rickety than the USSR and the CSA it has proven to be surprisingly durable compared to them by this point.
Technology is at about OTL levels. There is no worldwide internet but a series of regional networks do exist, even in the CSA. They are all heavily monitored and the USSR and CSA censor theirs extensively as well. Some things like public consumer electronics are behind with laptops and mobile phones still being rather chunky and inefficient. Cars are not that important in the USSR (who dislike American car culture) and the Commonwealth (who promote public transport and are trying to be more environmentally conscious as of late) and both have more extensive public transport networks. There is less overall globalisation with most trade being within the regional power blocs. A few links do exist for essential resources thanks to realpolitik but on the whole there is little trust between the three powers especially since they have a tendency to ship rabble rouser and political agents along with a lot of more benign shipments. Overall the global society is more authoritarian and restrictive. There are severe reactionary movements developing in the Commonwealth and USSR whilst socialism is beginning to spread through the lower classes of the CSA, its even attracted support from disgruntled white citizens. There was a Space Race that the CSA won courtesy of smuggling Nazi rocket scientists out of the country before the Allies could arrive. The CSA is suggesting a Mars Landing now in order to prove American superiority over their rivals and distract the people from other problems. Now they just need to tax people enough to pay for it. With the world tripolar Cold War entering the 21st Century proper in a state of sever imbalance only time will tell how long the status quo will last before it all collapses and just how spectacular the consequences of this will really be.