From Sea To Shining Sea:
A request by Jcw3 for an especially strange scenario. In 1783, shortly after the signing of the Treaty of Paris the announcement of the official recognition of the United States of America a sudden and inexplicable event takes place. The entire population of the United States found their conscious and subconscious minds linked together in a collective hivemind. It took barely another second for every American citizen to also feel an undeniable compulsion to expand the hive consciousness by dominating the rest of humanity.
The hivemind was fairly practical, realising that the fledgling United States was, at the time, unprepared to conquer the entirety of humanity and instead devoted itself to reforming itself and improving the infrastructure. Instead of individual pioneers, the expansion westwards was through coordinated settlement by vast groups of people. New roads began to cross the nation and factories with primitive, muscle powered, assembly lines were built. It was this mass-industrialisation (still constrained by contemporary technology though) that saw the rapid rise of the United States to the status of a great-power. It also saw the beginning of their militarisation, the instinctive and almost obsessive urge to conquer and assimilate other humans compelling them to prepare to make war. Early attempts at diplomacy failed miserably, usually since they involved some variation of “surrender to us and join our nation immediately, this is not negotiable”.
Barely into the 19th Century, the United States began to expand, first into Canada and then into Louisiana. Their armies were well trained, surprisingly well equipped and disturbingly efficient, moving and manoeuvring without the need to convey orders. The British were the first to be ousted from North America. The Americans were on a permanent war-footing for decades, adapting tactics and weaponry as they ground their way through the American continent. The British colonies were easy to adapt and the Spanish and French converted in time but the Amerindians resisted to the last and assimilating them became a struggle. Willing to cut their losses the Americans slaughtered the adults and took the children and infants to be forcibly re-educated and assimilated at their leisure. This atrocity eventually became the standard practice for particularly troublesome populations.
European agents that were able to investigate the USA and leave soon enough to escape assimilation learnt of the disturbing nature of the USA. Though they barely knew what was going on they could tell there was something wrong with the United States. The people did not act like regular human beings, moving with a robotic efficiency, their was no obvious discontent in society and no sign of rebellion at all.
By the time the United States were moving into South America the situation in Europe had changed. Britain and Spain had set aside their differences and formed a new alliance. The true nature, or at least an interpretation of it, of the United States quickly became common knowledge and all media would remind their population and the other peoples of the world of the horrors of the United States. As the power of the United States spread to engulf the Western Hemisphere the nations of Europe grew ever more desperate. The USA was now a clear inhuman threat that engaged in war indiscriminately. It was only due to the troubles of assimilating two continents that the other great powers had any chance of expanding their holdings, building their armies and trying to combat the American threat. Propaganda extolled the virtues of the colonial powers as they claimed to protect the rest of humanity from the insidious Americans. The 'White Man's Burden' that eventually developed was seen as a mission of protection rather than enlightenment.
By the year 2000 the United States is a nation completely unfamiliar to any resident of OTL. Though still calling itself the United States of America the US does not intend to confine itself to the Americas at all. Every facet of US society is geared towards the conquest and assimilation of all of humanity. Their inhuman desire to homogenise all of humanity has warped them into strange creatures and turned their empire into a war-machine the likes of which has never been seen before.
The people of America live lives not too dissimilar to insect colonies. Citizenry work at optimal efficiency, performing all sorts of necessary duties to support the United States and their endless war machine. Physical differences are taken into account and decide what particular occupation a US citizen will receive. Exercise regimes keep the population at a certain standard of physicality though those with physical deformities and deficiencies will either be allocated to less strenuous regimes and duties or be culled for the good of nation. Though the entire population share all information through the hivemind only those with a superior innate ability to recall and process such information are allowed to work as members of the United States' scientific caste. This vast repository of knowledge allows the US to refine their existing technology as well as discover new ones. However the hivemind's instinctive drive to enforce mass conformity does naturally stifle most forms of creativity. This means the scientific caste are more likely to focus on existing fields of research and only pioneer new ones if a problem crops up that cannot be solved by what is already known.
Leadership in the US is enigmatic by its very nature. Their appears to be no overt government beyond the bureaucracy and no direct leadership. It is believed that there is something else, within the ephemeral and intangible hivemind itself, that leads the assimilated people of the United States. On the local level certain individuals are required as conduits to assist in processing the orders of the hivemind and differentiate the specific orders of the hivemind. Should these officers suddenly die, whether by accident or design, the people under their command will be overwhelmed by the unprocessed information. Brain damage is common for those who suffer in these incidents.
Racism is not an issue as the hivemind does not discriminate between who it assimilates. Positions within society are based entirely on physical and mental ability and status has little meaning to the American people. Sexism, of a sort, is another issue however. The hivemind instinctively requires constant expansion which means that women in the United States are required to give birth to as many children as possible for as long as possible. This has lead to a lot of research into safe child-birthing techniques and equipment. From the age they are first able to get pregnant a woman in the US is required to give birth as many times as possible until they are no longer capable of childbirth.
The US military is one of the largest institutions in their nation. The constant expansion requires endless supplies of soldiers and equipment. Many industries exist primarily to supply the army and most technological advances were undertaken in order to increase the efficiency of the actual military and the logistical trains supplying it. The hivemind makes the speed of the US army unnaturally quick as communications are instantaneous. However initiative is difficult for most soldiers and once a strategy has been made it is often inflexible unless the leadership decides to change it. High casualty rates are often considered acceptable as long as enough soldiers are left alive to hold their objectives. Officers are often the conduits for coordination in the army. They are chosen for their abilities to process the flows of information and are tasked with differentiating commands between units. This means they are often targeted by Coalition forces and their often frequent deaths tend to lead to the confusion and disarray of whatever soldiers they are commanding. However due to the efforts of the Coalition the US navy is rather weak and generally tied up in supplying the few overseas fronts the US has recently opened up.
The initial alliance between those states affected by the actions of the United States has long since evolved into something different. The Coalition for Humanity, which has gone through several name changes, is a military and economic alliance devoted to containing the United States. The Western Hemisphere was written off as a lost cause long ago but the rest of the world has since set up a quarantine and worked hard to combat the United States. For the sake of their own survival these nations and empires have banded together to fight a greater threat.
As one of the founding members the British, now Brittanic, Empire has a fair degree of seniority within the Coalition. The British Empire is an industrialised megalith, fully devoted to protecting the rest of humanity from the United States and gain power and influence on the side. The US' cultural roots with them means the white, European British are at the most risk of being assimilated but this has simply spurred them on to despise their enemies all the more. The strains of fighting their war with the US has forced them to industrialise their empire. The Brittanic Empire contributes the largest navy to the Coalition and have the most experience with fighting their enemy, developing new means of combating the eerily efficient navies of the US.
The attempts to create a single identity over the last century or so have led to very strange developments for the British. A strange Britannic Imperial identity has begun to appear made up of a melange of cultural traits from across the empire. As the media continue to tout it and people from overseas emigrate to new regions, this identity has become more common to various degrees. Despite keeping up the imagery and rhetoric of democracy the Brittanic Empire is now much closer to a military state. The armed forces of the Coalition have a lot of power in parliament whilst the requirement for members of the royal family to serve tours of duty does tend to ingratiate them to the army's plight. The armed forces, as per Coalition policy, are cosmopolitan and tend to mix people from across the empire into regiments in order to promote human unity. All of this has led to a lot of influence on the part of the increasingly powerful Anglo-Indian Raj which, whilst still rather decentralised, has a huge economic and cultural impact on the Empire as a whole.
France did have a revolution that was rapidly crushed by a hurried response from France and Britain, with Prussian and Austrian support. The fear of republican ideals spreading the inhumanity of the United States, after it was discovered what it really was, led to violent reactions against a lot of radical Enlightenment ideas.
Prussia was able to rope much of northern Germany into a new state but it is nothing like Germany of OTL. The North German Union is a political compromise between the Prussians and their influential neighbours in the Coalition. In return for, more or less, effective control over the northern portion of the old Holy Roman Empire the Prussians now offer their full support to the Coalition and supply the finest soldiers in the Coalition combined army. Life is militant in the NGU, the Prussians have imposed their martial traditions on the other constituents along with a pan-human fervour that rivals the Brittanic Empire's devotion.
The formation of the NGU was opposed by Austria at first but they relented in return for formal control of the rest of the former Holy Roman Empire. The influx of German states into the Hapsburg Empire did destabilise the political balance that had existed before but a new compromise was eventually found. The new Holy Roman Empire, a moniker chosen because of its historical connotations and its fairly ethnic-neutral tone, is another influential state in Europe. In order to assuage the various different nationalities under their rule the Hapsburgs have been forced to decentralise and grant so many autonomous privileges that their empire is now a complex and almost politically immobile edifice. However whilst the power of the monarchy has been drastically reduced since the 19th Century the entirety of the empire must obey the military law that is in effect across the entire Empire.
The other major state alongside the Brittanic Empire is Russia. Whilst still under an absolute Tsarist monarchy it is the army which is now in charge alongside the industrialists that are tied to the military and the aristocracy, which are often also members of the other two groups. The Russians were rather late to industrialisation until the Coalition began to enforce the new policies it had decided to devote itself to. In return for the support of Russia' increasingly expanding industrial base the British, Germans and others assisted in Russia's territorial expansion. However they also constrained them somewhat, operating through diplomacy to solidify borders during the expansionist period.
Russia is a highly authoritarian society, especially since the US invasion of the past few decades. Under a near permanent martial law the Russians keep a rota of conscription which forcibly enlists quotas of the male population. The system is designed to leave some people behind to work some of the industries whilst others continue to fight on the front-lines. Russia, much like Britain and the Holy Roman Empire, has integrated the non-Russian portions of the population and have worked to assimilate them, leading to a degree of cross-cultural exchanges. Without the Napoleonic Wars they did not undergo the political reaction that they did in OTL. They are much more tolerant of other religions as a result of this and have accepted the aristocrats of their imperial subjects. However the military government has since used these developments to indiscriminately enforce their authoritarian rule over the entire population without.
China was shorn of some territory by the colonial powers. However after the pan-humanism of the Coalition became more prominent and came to include all humans the Europeans began to attempt to uplift the Chinese state rather than partition it. Under an emperor that is little more than a puppet for the rest of the Coalition, China was industrialised by the British and Russians. The last few emperors, however, are now truly independent though they continue to endorse the modernisation of their nation. By this point China is a modern nation and by now rivals the other human economic giants of Russia and the Brittanic Empire. With all of this economic and military strength they are looking for more power and influence within the Coalition.
As the continues and escalates the nations of the Coalition have continued to come closer together. Whether by hook or by crook the ties between the various members and their colonial subjects are increasing and strengthening.
The nations of the Coalition are a strange mix of reactionary ideals mixed with new ones that developed through the necessity of fighting the war. Many of the new theories about governance that emerged from the Enlightenment were suppressed and even connected to the inhumanity of the United States. Certain forms of individualism are prized as proof of humanity and one of the things that the Coalition is fighting for. Pan-humanism really took off in the early 20th Century and has been a major tenant of the Coalition. The integration of the various armed forces into an increasingly centralised Coalition military and the cooperation between businesses throughout the Coalition is promoting a unity of sorts between the various nations. Nationalism did still develop but the idea of having nation states specifically for every identity didn't catch on. The suppression of such ideas was partly because of the reaction against Enlightenment ideas but also because the founders of the Coalition saw imperialism as the most viable means of attaining human and natural resources for the war. Slavery and scientific racism were phased out as pan-humanism took over and tolerance of other cultures, faiths and ideals is seen as a necessity and a basic right in the Coalition even if a lot of people dislike it.
Technologically this world is ahead of OTL in areas and far behind it in others. Though the intense urge to conform mentally was an issue for the US the perceived necessity for technological advancement meant that technological progressivism was developed very early on. The Coalition, whilst reactionary and traditionalist, was forced to also adopt these ideas in response to the US' rapid expansion.
The atomic bomb was invented by the US, a full year before the Coalition project bore fruit. They used it to break a hole in the blockade, a hole they exploited to launch offensives across the Atlantic. These offensives are still ongoing but are contained at the moment. Since then military technology has seen the most advancements. Computers are somewhat ahead of OTL, the Coalition seeing them as a good means to combating the telepathic abilities of the US, but are not available to the public in any means beyond public facilities. The biological sciences are ahead of OTL with numerous programs researching the possibilities of diseases specifically designed to target the population of the US. Some people are researching to see if there is any means of disrupting the US hivemind through sonic devices. Though no wavelength has been discovered or accessed that could actively disrupt the hivemind itself the various noise-guns that have been created are rather effective. Chemical warfare is seen as a viable if rather inefficient means of fighting the war and both sides will exploit them if they see no other means of clearing an objective.
This world is mostly behind in terms of applying technology to the public. The military gets top priority on resources which means that consumer products are nowhere near as available or ubiquitous as OTL. Medicine and prosthetics are more advanced than OTL which has led to issues concerning resource shortages. Since the United States already employs greenhouse-towers to increase land usage efficiency the Coalition has begun to do the same. GM crops and rampant destruction of the environment for resources is opposed by the conservatives of the Coalition governments though and few are people in general are happy with the idea. Peak oil is further away due to the majority of petroleum fuel being prioritised to the military. Civilian cars and private transport a rather rare with public transport being the most common means of travel in both the US and the nations of the Coalition. Research into alternative fuel sources is still being pursued though due to future concerns. This has seen an expansion of nuclear power infrastructure but there are also objections from groups that oppose these initiatives due to safety issues.
The US has recently started up a new series of offensives across the Atlantic and Pacific. The staging grounds they have already conquered are being filled with a new generation of conscripts and the Coalition is rushing to respond. Casualty rates are already high and as always the Coalition is pondering whether or not to use the nuclear option. They know the US don't want an irradiated world but they cannot even fathom the kind of response they may get.