A world war with a country other than Germany as the main "bad guy"?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by HistoricalArthropod, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. HistoricalArthropod Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2019
    With a pod no early than 1880, how can we get a world war with a country other than Germany as the main "bad guy"?

    Like, could there be a world where Britain or France rather than Germany are the 'enemy' ruled by a genocidal megalomaniac that are then crushed by the allies? Maybe Russia? Hell, maybe even a non European country like China?

    Is this plausible? Or is Germany just uniquely suited to fill such a position?
  2. Dolan Lookin fer Gooby

    Apr 4, 2018
    If you put the POD further back, Washington got more slaves and his plantations being more profitable... And you could have Drakan Amerika instead.
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  3. John7755 يوحنا Lightweight Faqih

    Dec 30, 2014
    Perhaps some sort of Ottoman-French-Russian alliance against a very large coalition.
    Kirook, Albert.Nik, Relekka and 15 others like this.
  4. IncongruousGoat Armchair Rocket Scientist

    May 27, 2018
    Upstate NY
    Murica1776's excellent TL "Let the Eagle Scream" has such a scenario, which (for our purposes) starts when the U.S. sides with Germany in WWI. The Central Powers proceed to win the war and impose a ridiculous treaty on the Entente. This then causes the rise of Alt!Fascism in Britain and France, which leads to a brutal and bloody slog of a war in Europe. Germany/the U.S. win this second war, but only after nuking a few cities, and the British and French (but especially the British) come out rather hated.

    But, to look at the bigger picture, I'd say it's not that hard to get a world war without Germany coming out looking awful. Change the Treaty of Versailles to be not so draconian, and you avoid a European Theater in WWII (the Pacific Theater is harder to avoid, given Imperial Japan's overall nastiness). WWI didn't have good guys and bad guys, just winners and losers, so without fascism Germany comes out looking no worse than anyone else. You'll probably have some problems with antisemitism, but nowhere near the horror we saw OTL.
  5. ArchimedesCircle Radical Groucho-Marxist

    Aug 25, 2015
    Tecumseh's Confederacy
    If France and Britain (and I suppose also the Netherlands) aren't busy with a European war, would Japan really risk war with them? I feel like it would be a horrifically drawn out Sino-Japanese war for the most part.
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  6. Agra Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2018
    Yeah Germany wins the First World War and as a result we view Russia or France as the main "bad guy".
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  7. Reisen Storm Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2019
    I got you on this. The First World War starts around the 1860's the reason is due to the American Civil War. England & France sides with the Confederates States of America (the Specific POD is on you), in doing so the Czar declares war on UK and France for helping the Confederates. Prussia was busy doing its own thing declares neutrality, but they are Pro-Union, so I wouldn't be surprised if they send Volunteers. Austria Empire sides with France and Uk due to Emperor Maximillian of Mexico, The rest of the European powers are undecided on what to do (Let you decide).
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  8. HistoricalArthropod Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2019
    I know having a county loose a war and thus be seen as the bad guy technically fits the challange, but it feels too easy.

    I mean more something like a country with an insane, horrible, "evil" leader/ideology/goal like otl facism was.
  9. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2019
    Maybe French revanchism after the Franco-Prussian war takes a much nastier turn, leading to some absolute bastard coming to power in France.
  10. The Gunslinger NQLA agent

    Jan 4, 2004
    Saskatoon, SK
    Britain is the only power strong enough to be able to fight a global coalition so it pretty much has to be them as the bad guy. Everyone else gets rolled too quickly with such a late PoD.
  11. IncongruousGoat Armchair Rocket Scientist

    May 27, 2018
    Upstate NY
    Sino-Japanese-American war, rather. The U.S. has way too much control over the Pacific, especially trade across the Pacific, for Japan to just be able to leave it alone. All the reasons Japan attacked the U.S. OTL still apply just as much. Of course, with the U.S. solely focused on taking out Japan and not distracted by the war in Europe, it's going to be even more of a curbstomp.
  12. funnyhat Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2013
    All of the Western powers had slaves and profitable plantations (consider Haïti and Jamaica), so why would America stand out?

    The British lost to the Boers in 1880-81 and struggled to defeat them in 1899-1902. I don't think they can really fight a global coalition.
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  13. Nephi Well-Known Member

    Mar 16, 2017
    I still think Russia was. Er the USSR
  14. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer

    Jan 26, 2011
    Given that Germany did not fight a world war on its own and the First World War had relatively small casualties outside of Europe then I would say it is reasonably easy to generate a number of "bad guys". Basically whoever loses the First World War in whatever form it takes will be seen as the "bad guys" as history is written by the victors.

    So France and / or Russia, UK (if they really mobilise the empire otherwise they will be marginally responsible a bit like Italy or A-H in WW1).

    I could see a Japan-China construct being the bad guy too - would need a rather different end to the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-5 where a "Co-Prosperity Sphere" appears 50 years early. Something where Japan becomes influential in China and bootstraps the economy into modern era.
  15. Tibi088 Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2013
    Let Germany win. Whoever he fought will be considered the bad guy.
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  16. HistoricalArthropod Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2019
    Again, that's a little too easy. I mean something like ww2 where a country is ruled by a megalomaniacal madman with some horribly evil and/or extremely absurd goal.
    Salvador79 and Thoresby like this.
  17. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer

    Jan 26, 2011
    Speak to some left leaning historians in the UK and the UK was ruled by "a megalomaniacal madman with some horribly evil and/or extremely absurd goal" in WW2.

    They really don't like Churchill and his ideas on Empire.
  18. Condottiero Knight of the Square Table

    Aug 3, 2004
    Uxama Argaela
    WWII starts as IOTL, but after USSR attacks Finland, France and UK declare war on the USSR. After Germany defeats France on the west, Stalin thinks "we have won, why do I have to share Europe with Hitler?" and he backstabs Germany...
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  19. galanx Member

    Aug 10, 2006
    Have a fanatical White Russian dictator/general win the Civil War and come to power in Russia as a fanatical anti-communist. The fear that generates puts a Red government in power in Germany. A popular unity government arises in Britain or France in response to the Depression; Fear of that causes the Russian to attack Germany before (the Russians think ) Germany can attack them. The Russians appeal to the rest of Europe to help them wipe out the 'communists' but lose the war and are I'm overthrown and reviled in history books.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    Salvador79 likes this.
  20. The Tai-Pan The Pagemaster/Plogmonger

    Jun 10, 2015
    Germany is perhaps most favored to be 'the bad guy' in any World War, not because Germans are innately evil or ambitious or something but for deeper, larger reasons. Let's look at this like we are solving a mystery. Our crime is World War while 'being Evil'. (While this is of course a judgement call, we can guess our any TL might judge a power.). Let us examine Method, Opportunity, Motive for Germany and see why it is so special (and what other nation or power can take its place).

    Method: We can scratch most nations for simply lacking the means to fight in a World War. While our culprit doesn't need to fight alone, a Bad Guy should be a super power strong enough to fight off a horde of foes. An evil 'alliance' doesn't really work or make sense. Germany is a heavily industrialized nation right in the heart of Europe, the hotbed of technological capability in the time period we are interested in. With a highly industrial economy, excellent educational system and talented bureaucracy Germany can, under many kinds of leadership fight powers many times its size. Also, it has a long and well regarded military tradition going back to Frederick the Great or farther. this is not very rare of course (everyone from France to Russia or Turkey has this) but it would be foolish to ignore the very real martial strain Prussia gave Germany. Germany also, under many regimes, has the will for war (like most n nations). Germany certainly has the means to fight a World War with a hope of winning.

    Opportunity: A World War is a feature of only a limited time frame in the early Second Industrial Revolution. While thee have been global wars before (The Seven years War comes to mind), what we generally consider a World War seems to require mass industrialization, total war and a truly global set of threats and circumstances. Unlike many nations Germany is coming to age at exactly the same time. In many ways Germany is a child of both nationalism and industrialization (much like the USA, actually). Germany is also uniquely placed to fight such a World War. Unlike say, Japan, it is located at the very center of European (and in this time period world) politics. Nearly every border is/was located directly against another Great Power, creating a zero-sum situation on nearly every front. Germany is in exactly the right place at the right time. Any earlier and a nation (say Mughal India or Ottoman Empire) lacks the economic/technological means as well as ideological imperative for World War but any later (say modern South Korea or Brazil) and the landscape has sharply turned away from World War.

    Motive: Due to the above, Germany is also given a motive. By its very nature, it's rise to power and 'place in the sun' is in direct opposition to the already situated Great powers. Germany is outside, looking in, at the already established empires and nation. It is placed outside the system and wishes to upset it (or at least severely alter it to suit their own needs). Few other nations see a fundamental re-altering of the landscape as required, which is what is required for a World War.