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Old 05-20-2023, 03:39 PM
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Raellus Raellus is offline
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Default Alternate Timeline of 1989 for T2k (all editions)

For fans of v1's History Chronology, such as myself, the divergence of the T2k temporal continuum from actual history is a bit of a sticking point. One has to ignore major real-world events from 1989-1991 in order to arrive at an extant Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. Furthermore, for some fans of 4e's History Chronology, there's a twinge of dissatisfaction that it results in a USSR with no major European allies, and most of the former members of the Warsaw Pact aligned with NATO.

This alternate timeline seeks to remedy both of those issues by positing a alternate reality branch from actual history in the pivotal year of 1989. This addresses the various Velvet Revolutions and explains why the fall of the Iron Curtain, the dissolution and subsequent realignment of the Warsaw Pact nations, and the end of the Soviet Union, do not occur.

I've deliberately ended the timeline at the end of 1989, skipping ahead to where the canonical v1 Chronology History officially begins in 1995. I am, however, working on a short addendum addressing Desert Shield/Storm/Saber in 1991.

As this is a first draft, constructive feedback is welcome.

NOTE: Actual historical events are presented in plain text. Alternate history events are italicized.

R.I.P. David Hasselhoff

Twilight 2000 Alternate 1989 Timeline


“Round Table Talks” between the outlawed Solidarity Labor Union and the Polish communist government begin. Free and open parliamentary elections are agreed in principle, and tentatively scheduled to occur in April.
On the 15th, Soviet 40th Army completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending the Soviet Union’s costly and increasingly unpopular decade-long Afghan War.


Growing dissatisfaction with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev’s leadership in the Stavka and state intelligence services results in the forming of a secret cabal later known to history as Krasnaya Vesna (Red Spring). Among the hard-liners, Gorbachev is seen as being weak and ideologically impure. They conclude that his continued leadership will ultimately result in the dissolution of the Soviet Empire in Europe, and the end of Russian hegemony. Preliminary planning for replacement of the USSR’s current civilian government begins in secret. Soviet intelligence services are tasked with evaluating the loyalty of high-ranking Soviet and Warsaw Pact government and military officers.

May 14

Gorbachev visits China, the first Soviet leader to do so since the 1963 Sino-Soviet split. Red Spring plotters discuss placing a bomb on Gorbachev’s plane and detonating it during the return trip, or arresting him when he lands back in the USSR. These ideas, however, are discarded, as preparations to install a successor government are nowhere near complete.

May 17
Chinese students begin pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

June 4

Solidarity-backed candidates win an overwhelming majority in Poland’s first free and open elections.

June 4-5

Chinese troops crush the student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, sparking worldwide outrage. The Red Spring plotters take note of the West’s rather anemic response to the Chinese government’s violent crackdown on internal dissent.

August 19

Austrian and Hungarian citizens meet at the border for the peaceful anti-Soviet “Pan European Picnic” protest.

August 21

In Poland, Tadeuz Mazowiecki becomes the first non-communist prime minister since 1945 in all of Eastern Europe.

August 23

Pro-independence citizens of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania form a human chain, dubbed the “Baltic Way”, spanning all three Baltic Soviet Republics.


The Red Spring Plotters watch events in Eastern Europe with a growing sense of urgency. Much, but not all, of the ground work for a coup has been laid. The Red Spring plotters select October 25th, the 72nd anniversary of the Russian Revolution, as target date for removing Gorbachev from office and installing a hard-line “interim” government. Rumors of an impending coup have reached Gorbachev but he dismisses them as fear-mongering and political provocation.


Pro-democracy protests begin in the East German city of Leipzig. Red Spring decides to postpone the coup by a few weeks, as the conspiracy has yet to secure the cooperation of several key Warsaw Pact military officers.

November 4

One million East Germans gather in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz to protest communist party rule.

November 5

Growing pro-democracy protests on both sides of the Berlin Wall… force Red Spring’s hand. On Monday, November 5th, Gorbachev is seized by Spetsnaz commandos and placed under house arrest at a dacha outside of Moscow. Tanks surround the Kremlin and the Moscow White House (meeting place of the People’s Control Committee and Supreme Soviet of Russia) and Red Spring-allied government officials declare a national state of emergency, granting themselves and the military cabal sweeping powers. The Supreme Soviet of the USSR is suspended and pro-Gorbachev members are arrested on charges of treason. A purge of the Soviet government and military begins.
At the outset of the coup, Soviet military forces in Eastern Europe and the restive SSR’s are put on high alert. Select units are ordered to assist collaborationist WTO military forces in disarming “reactionary elements”. Goaded on by Red Spring-affiliated military liaisons from the Soviet Northern Group of Forces, a parallel cabal of Polish military officers launches its own coup, surrounding the Polish parliament building in Warsaw with armored vehicles. Thousands of protestors spontaneously take to the streets, hurling bricks and Molotov cocktails at the coup forces. The “reactionary rioters” are met with deadly force.

On Monday night, pro-democracy demonstrators in East Berlin are scattered by tear gas, tank treads, and bullets. Some East German border guards attempt to intervene on behalf of the civilian protestors and are cut down by pro-coup Soviet and DDR forces. When the shooting starts, American actor-singer David Hasselhoff is stuck atop an elevated platform on the west side of the Wall after the crane’s hoist mechanism malfunctions. He is hit in the head by a stray round fired from the east side of the wall and killed instantly.
Many world governments strenuously condemn the Soviet military coup and subsequent collaborationist crackdowns in Eastern Europe. Some Communist states, however, praise the Red Spring plotters’ actions. NATO discusses taking military action. The West German representatives, in particular, are shocked and incensed by the bloodshed on the east side of the Berlin Wall. After much deliberation, NATO demurs, raising its military readiness levels but refusing to take direct military action, lest it unintentionally start World War III.

The PRC government, having recently dealt heavy-handedly with China’s own pro-democracy demonstrations, initially issues a statement of support for Red Spring. Subsequent PRC purchases of Soviet military hardware, oil, and natural gas help keep the USSR’s moribund economy afloat.


In its largest operation since the Vietnam War, the US military launches Operation Just Cause, to remove Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega from power and bring him to trial on trial on drug trafficking charges (his deepening relationship with Cuba, and arms deals with various Warsaw Pact nations, also play a role in the American president’s decision). The US “invasion” of Panama is also intended to send a strong message to the Red Spring-installed government in Moscow.



Nearly six years later, trade and border disputes have strained relations between the USSR and the PRC close to the breaking point. The Krasnaya Vesna government hopes that a war with China will stoke faltering Soviet nationalism, and that the seizure of natural resources in Manchuria will save the teetering Soviet economy.

Attached Files
File Type: docx T2k Alternate 1989 Timeline.docx (16.4 KB, 29 views)
Author of Twilight 2000 adventure modules, Rook's Gambit and The Poisoned Chalice, the campaign sourcebook, Korean Peninsula, the gear-book, Baltic Boats, and the co-author of Tara Romaneasca, a campaign sourcebook for Romania, all available for purchase on DriveThruRPG:

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