The notion of a tri-polar cold war, however much that could be the case vs just being Great Power Politics lacking the ideology of the Cold War is a popular one. The most popular choice seems to be the British Empire or perhaps a stronger postwar France since the bulk of its empire wasn't just to hold an India that was getting independence no matter what (or Franco-British Union if one is a fan of Edward III). But, that begs the question, who would be Great Power number four? The way I see it, we have three options that each have their own problems. For the record, no matter what I'm assuming the POD is after 33
  1. The other colonial power. Both of them run into much of the same issues. Neither the US nor Soviets wanted to prop up colonial powers long enough for them to stand up on their feet again. For France, the Metropole was frankly in ruins after Nazi Occupation, and their army in no position to hold the colonies. For Britain, with India gone, much of the Empire's wealth and directly taxed population was gone, and the reforms that could keep them would make it the Indian Empire in a few decades (which I don't think would apply for France). And both of them were broke
  2. China, either of them. Neither the CCP or KMT wanted to march to the foreigners drum, and were powerful enough to strike out on their own as an independent power. However, they would have to rebuild the 4th largest country on the planet, and much of their growth to a major power in the 90s was still seen as miraculous
  3. Germany. in ww2, heir entire economy was based on looting other powers in the short term to supply their war machine and would require distinctive reworking, something I don't see Hitler or any devoted fascist doing, and their survival would require insane luck in of itself, let alone buying them enough time to survive the reform proces; however, a German Military Junta might be able to, if it can secure peace in Europe.
So. Between Britain and France, POD somewhere around 33, who stands in the best position to be #3 in the world after 45? And of the powers mentioned here. who is in the best position to round out a "big 4?"
 
It's difficult to see who a fourth bloc could be, short of "everyone else, who doesn't want to get involved in the shenanigans of the other three blocs", and it still being a "Cold War" in any meaningful sense. It would be more like a multipolar world, but with nukes.

China could certainly be more independent, and even form a "neither Washington nor Moscow" bloc.

If there is no WW2, a non-Nazi but still fascist Germany could theoretically form a third bloc in Europe, allying with Italy, Hungary and a few other hard-right regimes in eastern Europe, acting as an anti-Soviet bloc.

Assuming that some sort of WW2 occurs, if Italy remains neutral, or joins the allies, there may be room for a Rome-led fascist bloc post-war.
 
Facshist Italy in a scenario were they stay out of the war or join the allies. Then you'll have them trying to spread Facshist idealogy or simply triy and dominate the Mediterranean as much as possible.

Italy of course wouldn't be as powerful as the U.S or USSR and would probably be more friendly to the US but it would still try to be powerful
 
Last edited:
Facshist Italy in a scenario were they stay out of the war or join the allies. Then you'll have them trying to spread Facshist idealogy or simply triy and dominate the Mediterranean as much as possible.

Italy of course wouldn't be as powerful as the U.S or USSR and would probably be more friendly to the US but it would still try to be powerful
Ethiopia alone will bring the Fascist Empire to ruin.
 
No Spanish Civil War had four power blocs, with capitalism and communism sharing the stage with a fascist sphere that managed to differentiate itself from Nazism and a strain of anarchism founded by Trotsky before he dies without codifying it properly.
 
I'm thinking of a different set of superpowers. Here's one idea.

Some form of Operation Unthinkable happens. The Allies re-arm the Germans to fight the Soviets. A stalemate draws some kind of Iron Curtain between West and East. The threat of war causes a much faster integration of western Europe into some kind of proto-EU, led by de Gaulle-type figures that are more chilly towards the Americans. And perhaps they put in some effort to maintain and develop some colonies that aren't necessarily totally lost causes, e.g. the Portuguese colonies in Africa.

Then assume the Sino-Soviet split still happens but China doesn't go through the Cultural Revolution, The Great Leap Forward, the purges of the Red Guards, etc. (Not sure how you do this bit). Their economy picks up much faster and they fight more successful proxy wars or otherwise pull countries into their sphere of influence through investments, economics, soft pressure, etc. The States become more interested in containing China than the Soviet Union and divests resources from NATO.

Then you have roughly four blocs:
1. A European bloc, led by France and Germany, but bolstered by other smaller countries in western (and maybe southern) Europe.
2. An American bloc, with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK maybe floating between the European bloc, with Korea/Japan in their sphere and other SEA countries like Indonesia/Philippines/Malaysia that it intervenes in to stop them falling to Maoists.
3. A Soviet bloc that comprises most of eastern Europe and central Asia.
4. A Sino bloc led by China with Philippines/Vietnam/Indonesia/Malaysia or any other countries that fall into its economic domination or which fall to Maoists.
 
Top