A Day in July - An Introduction
A Day in July - An IntroductionDawn, 5th (18 N.S.) of July 1917 (1)
Bolshevik Leaders Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin and Mikhail Kalinin (Left to Right)
Bolshevik Leaders Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin and Mikhail Kalinin (Left to Right)
Pravda Offices, Petrograd, Russian Empire (2)
Seventeen-year old Kolya Stepanovich looked about at the massed military cadets who stood awaiting the final details of their orders from Minister of Justice Pereverzev.
In the last couple of days the Bolsheviks had nearly brought the rightful government to its knees in the name of their German overlords, but the government had stood firm and held its ground. Now that jackal, Lenin, would get what he was owed for his treason.
"Alright men, I have here in my hand an arrest order for Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, commonly known as Lenin, signed by the Minister of Justice Pavel Pereverzev himself." Shouted the lieutenant as the men gathered about him. "Move with speed and precision. We are to raid the Pravda Offices where he has reportedly holed up, just around the corner from here, so keep an eye out for any sympathizers and be prepared for anything."
Kolya joined his squad, sharing a nervous grin with his squad mates Sasha and Vova, before setting off at a run for the office front.
"We are here for the traitor Lenin!" screamed the lieutenant as they burst through the door to the offices. The chaos was significant, secretaries shrieked in terror, men rushed about and the printing presses came to shuddering, jolting, halt. A burst of gunfire into the ceiling quickly quieted the crowd of socialist scum, but out of the corner of his eye Kolya spotted a pair of men making their escape out the back door.
"Halt!" he shouted after the men and took off running after them, hearing Sasha curse before joining the pursuit behind him. Kolya burst through the door and saw the two men turn a corner, rushing after them with his rifle in one hand.
He came to the lightly trafficked main road just in time to see the pair enter a side alley and gave pursuit, soon leaving Sasha well behind him.
Kolya came around the corner of the alley with significant speed, crashing into a trash heap and bouncing back towards the center of the alley opening, out of breath. The two men turned after a moment's silence.
"Forget that you caught up to us kid, nothing for you here." Said one of the men - a menacing, pockmarked and mustachioed man, a Georgian by his accent (3) - while the other sought to hide his face in the shadows behind his fellow.
"You are under arrest." Kolya said, holding his rifle high, pointed at the Georgian.
"You are making a mistake" said the Georgian, and seemed to be preparing to surrender, raising his hand - and in the process expanding the cover provided by his trench coat for the second man.
However, at the last moment Kolya noticed the second man's hand in the Georgian's pocket and he opened fire.
The first bullet struck the Georgian in the chest and as he collapsed, the second man drawing forth a pistol and opening fire in a blaze. Bullets flew around Kolya's head and panic seemed to grip him tightly, but he was able to steady the rifle long enough to fire another shot through sheer willpower - hitting the second man in the head.
Ringing silence descended on the small alley, with the exception of the quiet gasps of the wounded Georgian, as Kolya slid to his knees, shaking with adrenalin and terror at how close he had come to death.
Steps sounded from the mouth of the alley and a hand fell on Kolya's shoulder. "You wounded?" asked Sasha quietly.
Kolya shook his head, but was unable to get a word out. Sasha leveled his rifle at the two men Kolya had shot and advanced on them.
He reached the Georgian quietly and put a foot on him, giving him a shake check if he could still move, resulting in a pained groan. With studied nonchalance Sasha pointed his rifle at the Georgian's head and fired a single round, bringing the gasps to an end.
His next stop was the second man, who was quite clearly already dead, and took a closer look at his face.
"By the Holy Ghost, Kolya, its Lenin!" he shouted excitedly. "You shot the traitor!".
(1) I will be writing out dates of events in Russia with the Old Style Calendar (O.S.) while the New Style Calendar (N.S.) is in parentheses for events occurring in Russia until changes to the calendar happen there. Everywhere else I will be sticking with the broader used calendar. I am sorry about this, but so much of the Russian Revolution - down to the names of events - are bound up closely in the Old Style months in which they occurred that simply using the New Style would make it more difficult to follow.
(2) The period between Nicholas II's abdication in mid-March and Kerensky's OTL declaration of the Russian Republic on the 1st of September 1917 is rather weird. During this period where Russia was ruled by a Provisional Government, Russia remained an Empire without a head of state.
(3) Just to clarify, this is Josef Stalin - who was present on the day in question and served a key role in helping to hide Lenin from the authorities following the crackdown after the July Days.
Introduction to the TimelineWelcome to A Day in July: A 20th Century Timeline. As should be clear at this point, the Point of Departure for this Timeline is the death of Lenin and Stalin during the July Days of the Russian Revolution, months before the October Revolution brought the Bolsheviks to power.
The PoD specifically for this timeline is that Lenin's spy in the Justice Ministry is five minutes delayed in bringing a warning to Lenin at the Pravda Offices that he had been declared a traitor to the realm in the early hours of the 5th of July (OS) and as such he is still present at the offices alongside Stalin when military cadets burst through the doors looking for him. Stalin is able to get him out, but not before they are spotted by one of the cadets who gives chase. This eventually results in a bloody gun fight that leaves both Lenin and Stalin dead.
As most of you undoubtedly realize, this is a ridiculously large and influential divergence from OTL which brings with it a mountain of butterflies as we move steadily onward. While the butterflies are initially contained to the leadership struggle within the Bolshevik party and the consequences of this, larger events quickly begin to play into events. By the time the OTL October Revolution occurred events will have taken a very different course with immense consequences for the rest of the world.
1917, 1918 and 1919 are pivotal years in the history of the 20th century and all that followed, laying the groundwork for the modern world and creating the tinderbox which ignited over the next century. Even to this very day, the lines drawn by diplomats and politicians during the Great War have an unimaginable impact on the world around us.
With this timeline I want to explore some of the numerous potential directions the world could have gone in if events hadn't turned out as they did IOTL. While this timeline will initially focus on the Russian Revolution it will quickly spiral out to follow developments in the wider world. Events from Palestine, Italy and the Western Front will quickly begin to play an important role before expanding even further to explore the consequences of these shifts. I can promise plenty of war, politics, intrigue and revolution. I am not sure about the update schedule just yet, but I will be putting out the first update either later today or tomorrow.
This is the most research-intensive project I have gotten myself involved in so far, and if I were starting now I might well have told myself to hold off. Everything that happens in this period is closely interconnected and events in Russia impact events in London, which in turn shift events in the Middle East. Every shift, small or large, has ever widening impacts on a scale that is hard to comprehend.
I hope that I can beg your indulgence for the narrative sections that will be interspersed throughout the Timeline. I am trying to learn how to write in a narrative style and this gives me the chance to do so. As such, any and all comments, critiques and suggestions on these would be warmly appreciated. I am, of course, always more than happy to hear everyone's thoughts and comments on the timeline itself and welcome a discussion on any of the numerous developments I have planned.
A People’s Tragedy
The Great War
The Last Battle
Cataclysm: A History of the Great War
The Romanov Dynasty
A World Undone
Operational Art and the German 1918 Offensives
Richard Baum - Great Courses:
The Fall and Rise of China
Ring of Steel
Russia in Flames
The Lights that Failed
Eric D. Weitz:
The Weimar Republic
A Peace to End All Peace
The Long Shadow
Edward M. Collman:
The War to End All Wars
To Hell and Back
The German Genius