An Unmutilated Victory

While I'm all for killing Fascism in its cradle, those gains from Italy feel like overkill, even from the point of view of ardent nationalists - none of them, before the Fascist era, even contemplated annexing Slovenia.
While I'm all for killing Fascism in its cradle, those gains from Italy feel like overkill, even from the point of view of ardent nationalists - none of them, before the Fascist era, even contemplated annexing Slovenia.

I waffled back and forth on it, but ultimately it makes little sense for Slovenia or Croatia to be joined to Serbia with the Italian army being the first on the ground; the alternative would be either an Illyrian kingdom or a rump Austria/Dual Monarchy. Ljubljana was a key crossroads for the route to Fiume, so the Italians would want control of it directly or indirectly.
Zara, Spalato and Fiume will be annexed along with parts of the islands and Northern Dalmatia, most of these being promised under the Treaty of London.

Alternately if Slovenia exists it could be moved northward, granted Graz in compensation for the littoral.
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Alternately if Slovenia exists it could be moved northward, granted Graz in compensation for the littoral.

Slovenia could also expand south by annexing Kajkavian-speaking lands, since the Kajkavian dialect is closer to standard Slovenian than to standard Croatian:

In general my thinking is that a rump austira hungary might be forcibly cobbled together by the emtente out of fear of Germany and Russia, something that only becomes more pressing if the latter go revolutionary (atm I'm leaning towards Lenin failing and Alexander Mikhailovitch assuming the throne as a constitutional monarch). Alternately a rump austria would exist and maintain their OTL claims to the sudetenland and northern Slovenia, preliminary to a full conquest of Bohemia since I can't see that state viable and the allies would prefer it to a German communist puppet state.

Russia may or may not conquer Slovakia and partition Poland with Germany, much the fate that befell Armenia in the interwar era. In that case Serbia, Hungary, Italy and Austria will in all likelihood completely partition Illyria between them. If Italy conquers not only Dalmatia but also the illryian coast and northern Bosnia for thr lignite mines then that seems the plausible outcome; Slovenia, probably under one of the Savoy as a grand duchy, could be granted the Kajkavian lands in those circumstances. This could also be combine with a communist german integration of Poland, Bohemia and Austria and perhaps even Hungary, perhaps as an alternate "USSR" based on the austro Marxist principles of personal sovereignty.

Going off the "partition Croatia between Slovenia, Serbia and Italy" we'd have Slavonia, Bosnia, and Croatia's adriatic littoral to Serbia, Istria, northern Dalmatia, Fiume (including Krk and other islands) to Italy, and Slovenia gaining Zagreb, northern Slavonia, and possibly Graz. Alternately if the Italians insist they could annex northern Croatia and Bosnia into a Slovenian led kingdom of Illyria.
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This is getting wild. A German civil war combined with the dissolution of Austria-Hungary will make the postwar conferences pretty dramatic. The Ottomans are probably going to disappear and Russia will probably fall to communism. I'm just waiting to see how Italy will benefit from all this chaos. They're already gaining a lot of new colonies from this war. Will they take southern Anatolia as stipulated in the Treaty of Sèvres or will the Ottomans muster enough last minute strength to push back like they did OTL? Can't wait to see what happens next.
Russia is a pretty big headache for me, and plotting the chaos of all the post-war countries in Central Europe is a daunting task. Still- I'd think that the Russians are unlikely to fall to Bolshevism, as the success in the war should provide enough to stave off the worst. Were it not for Nicholas being a complete and utter moron I'd say he'd be able to avoid the worst of the unrest with some moderate concessions, or simply letting the food strikes peter out as the army demobilizes and foreign trade resumes, but Nicholas being who he is will probably bungle things as OTL, sparking the *February Revolution and forcing his abdication. Of course, even if Grand Duke Mikhailovitch refuses the throne TTL (and the monarchy is thus abolished) the Kerensky Government is able to make a peace- since Germany has already surrendered, and Kerensky would be more than willing to leave the Kaiser out to dry (and perhaps even to acknowledge Polish independence though there is likely to be a Russo-Polish war over Lvov TTL regardless) then I can't see Lenin winning the support needed to pull off his coup. Whether he dies or more likely returns to exile in Germany, the Russian Republic probably follows the Weimar path, likely succumbing to a dictatorship sometime in the next decade or two.

Of course that also opens the question of Russia's territorial gains. I can't see Kerensky letting Ukraine or Belarus go, nor surrendering Ottoman Armenia, which at this time is under Russian occupation. Of course if Poland is destroyed than that if anything increases the odds of Ukrainian independence- the Central Powers were planning to give Lvov and Chelm to a Ruthenian state, and TTL that might happen. Poland certainly won't have as much luck in the east in a less fragmented Russia; their borders will probably be close to the Duchy of Warsaw, perhaps with the Corridor as well.
I waffled back and forth on it, but ultimately it makes little sense for Slovenia or Croatia to be joined to Serbia with the Italian army being the first on thr ground; the alternative would be either an Illyrian kingdom or a rump Austria/Dual Monqrchy. Ljubljana was a key crossroads for the route to Fiume, so the Italians would want control of it directly or indirectly.
Zara, Spalato and Fiume will be annexed along with parts of the islands and Northern Dalmatia, most of these being promised under the Treaty of London.

Alternately if Slovenia exists it could be moved northward, granted Graz in compensation for the littoral.

And i think they will go for the indirect as frankly there are already too much slavs in the new territory for anyone taste and really nobody want that kind of problem, there is already the pacification of Libya, taking control of the new territory, Albania (that was always in a very chaotic state in the period) etc. etc to deal, a possible slav insurrection will be desiderable as a lung cancer. An Illyrian Kingdom tied to Italy even at dinastic level is the best option...even because nobody like people too greed and both France, Russia and UK the picosecond Italy is no more usefull will begin will want to limit the level of influence Italy had exorted and Serbia and the rest of the Slavs seem the perfect target...and even such idiot like Sonnino and Salandra will have understood that
I've gone back and changed the annexation of Ljubjana to instead be a revived Illyrian state under Duke Emanuele Filiberto of Aosta.

I would reiterate that the Brits are largely going to support Italy in securing the Adriatic, not least since the Italians are currently occupying the territories promised under the Treaty of London. Remember that the US is neutral, and the Russians still in the war. Italian interests clash with Russian expansion in the Balkans, and the British are even more paranoid about French (and Russian!) hegemony in Europe, particularly given the Tsar's current ambitions and the price he's demanding to abandon Constantinople- nearly all of Austrian Galicia and parts of Slovakia (if not all of it), Finlandization of Poland (including East Prussia and part of Silesia plus the Corridor) and a detachment of Schleswig-Holstein under a cadet branch of the dynasty; and other concessions in the east, vis a vis China and Iran. Soninno was obstinate over the irredentist lands but absent Wilson and given the realities on the ground his demands will be readily acceded to, and as an Anglophile Protestant would presumably be better received than Orlando.
I have to wonder if Irish independence will be significantly affected. The POD is after the Easter Rising, so I suspect Irish independence is largely inevitable at this point, but if Asquith's government avoids faltering (which it well might, given the radically divergent course of the war in the latter half of 1916) and the war ends sooner then at the very least the 1918 conscription crisis is averted, and one could see a Dominionist Southern Ireland established, as was attempted in 1920. There is probably still a substantial Sinn Fein/Republican sentiment, but if peace allows Asquith or his successors to focus more on the issue I think the shift towards independence could be handled more adroitly.
Wow, this war is even more dramatic than OTL and Germany will have an even scummier reputation than OTL which is quite impressive. Germany annexing Bohemia, Austria, and Hungary makes sense from a tactical perspective but did absolutely no favors for Germany's already horrible creditably. If Russia falls to communism like in OTL then the Entente will be stuck in a nightmare scenario of having Russia and Germany both be Red states and join in a possible alliance with each other.

In the meantime, Italy is flying high. Can't wait to see if Britain keeps her word (Snrk lol) and actually allow Italy to claim all the new colonies they were promised. Italy having a presence in the Caribbean and Latin America via "Italian Guyana" will be an interesting sight to see.

The million dollar question, coming back to this, is what happens if France goes red along with Spain. The Spanish came close to a Civil war in thr 20s. They might well be pushed over the brink here.

I'm unsure as to whether Germany avoids being partitioned here... my thought is that, like Sevres, she will escape destruction due to revolutionary insurrection and the ear weariness of the entente.

Deleted member 117308

I hope that Germany remains a Democracy and allies with Britain to counter the French and the Russians.
Specter of Europe
Specter of Europe

Modern war dwarfed preceding conflicts; the Versailles peace conference likewise operated on a much grander scale than the Congress of Vienna a century prior. Metternich and other diplomats had made do with dozens of staff, and conducted affairs at a cordial, languidly aristocratic pace; prime minister David Lloyd George arrived in Paris with hundreds of staff, and faced intense public scrutiny from the very beginning of the proceedings. His predecessor HH Asquith, a celebrated fifty four year old social reformer, had lost control of the government due to the crisis in Ireland. Prior to the war the Liberal party had depended on the support of Irish nationalists, winning their votes with the promise of Home Rule, a move vociferously opposed by British conservatives and Irish Republicans. Asquith’s government had reacted slowly to the Easter Rising, but a subsequent visit to Ireland impressed upon him the dangerous situation in the Emerald Isle. Asquith had promised dominion status and at least partial self government for Ireland at the conclusion of the war, convinced that nothing less would avert an insurrection. With the end of hostilities in France the issue could no longer be delayed, and on May 1st 1917, Prime Minister Asquith formally endorsed the implementation of the 1914 Home Rule Act. As a concession to Ulster Unionists he agreed to “temporarily” exclude Ulster from this, effecting a de facto partition with a dominion of Southern Ireland established in Dublin and continued direct rule in Ulster. This move predictably collapsed the wartime government, leading to a vote of no confidence against Asquith and David Lloyd George assuming control; he did not, however, feel compelled to rescind the Home Rule bill, even if he was slow in implementing it. Britain- the strongest empire in history, victorious over Germany- was now within sight of a civil war. There remained moreover the inconvenient question of whether the British truly wanted her allies to win the conflict decisively- France, after all, was the ancestral enemy, and Russia a traditional rival in Asia. Longstanding British policy had been to support the ailing Ottoman and Austrian empires to preserve continental stability, but with both empires destroyed and Germany on her knees London was left with the uncomfortable question of how to restrain her allies from thoroughly dismembering the Central Powers.

Wartime exigencies resulted in numerous promises made by the Entente to themselves and to their lesser partners and collaborators, promises which would now need to be addressed. The western allies had already agreed to block Russian claims on the straits, and Italy had also gained backing for her protectorates over Albania, Slovenia, and Montenegro. The Russian army was in increasingly perilous condition, but with victory imminent the Russians were furious at British treachery and resolutely insisted on receiving their promised rewards. Tsar Nicholas was moreover personally invested in “avenging” his slain cousin Wilhelm of Germany and restoring his son Wilhelm III to the throne of a suitably chastened Prussia; beyond familial loyalty the Tsar was understandably anxious to reassert the principle of dynastic sovereignty against the pretensions of socialist and liberal revolutionaries. Matters were further complicated by the facts on the ground. The German army had retained control of the Baltic territories of Lithuania and Livonia, and additionally occupied much of Russian Poland; the latter territory, although unruly, was wealthy and strategically significant, and St Petersburg wanted it back at any cost.

A growing rift between the Entente rapidly became apparent. Britain and Italy both stood at an arms’ length from their wartime allies- both had in fact not technically been allied with either France or Russia before the war, and with Germany and her allies defeated they both feared Russian power in Europe. In part this growing rapproachment was bolstered by the strong personal relationship between the leading delegates. Sydney Sonnino was born to a Welsh mother and raised as an Anglican by his Jewish father; stern and uncompromising, he had few friends, but his fluent English and staunchly Protestant stoicism resonated with the pious Lloyd George, and their shared Welsh heritage and reformist patricianism gave them a ready political rapport. Increasingly the two prime ministers collaborated extensively, often meeting informally and discussing their positions before formal negotiations.

France, as Russia’s main ally and the principal western power, had definitive leverage over the conference. Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau was a radical and liberal, having cut his teeth in the Paris Commune of 1871. Mindful of France’s relative weakness, his overriding concern was neutering Germany to the point that she could no longer feasibly threaten France; although not inclined, like his more reactionary countrymen, to thoroughly dismember Germany or annex the Rhineland, he had insisted successfully on the annexation of the Saarland, a strategic salient with substantial coal and iron reserves. The French had also supported Bavarian independence and wished to normalize the new state’s secession with formal recognition by the allies; Britain was eventually won over thanks to fears of a Russian-dominated Prussian monarchy, and the cession by France of the latter’s claims to the Mosul oil fields in northern Iraq, for which she was additionally awarded full control over Cilicia. Austria, the mutilated core of the Habsburg Empire, would be attached to the new state as a bulwark against both Russian and revolutionary influence in the Balkans. Bavarian independence was thus secured, albeit the state’s precise borders remained in dispute; Italy insisted on annexing southern Tirol, if not the entire province, while the Illyrian Slovenes staked their claim to Austrian Carinthia; the Volarlberg region in western Tirol briefly contemplated union with Switzerland, but this never seems to have been considered by any of the belligerent nations and was perfunctorily abandoned given Switzerland’s own antipathy towards the proposal. The unrecognized Austrian republic continued to stake claims to both South Tirol and Carinthia and also the Sudetenland in Bohemia, citing Wilsonian self determination and the predominately German populations in the disputed territories. Self determination, however, had not won Wilson’s re election campaign, and it was given no regard whatsoever by the victorious allies, who were unwilling to grant it any legitimacy even in principle lest it interfere with their established interests and ambitions. Nevertheless both Poland and Bohemia would be recognized by the western Entente, justified like Bavaria on the grounds of (racist and unequally applied) Western European civilization and the need to prevent these countries from falling entirely into the hands of Russia or Germany.

An early proposal was that Congress Poland should be re-established as an autonomous constitutional monarchy under the rule of Nicolai Nikolaevich. Poland had been a constitutional monarchy in personal union with Russia from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the abolition of its autonomy in 1867, partially in response to numerous revolts and uprisings by the Poles against hamfisted attempts at Russianization. France- deeply attached to the Poles due to longstanding emigre ties and Romantic nostalgia for Polish auxiliaries in the Napoleonic Wars- lobbied intensely to recognize the new Polish state, and ultimately despite intense opposition from the Russians their financial leverage secured a compromise agreement. One hundred and twenty years after the end of Poland’s independence, she would finally restored to the map of Europe- not merely as a dynastic union, but a truly independent state. Nicolai Nikolaivich would be offered the crown, and it would be promised nearly all of Russian Poland, excluding Vilnius and Chelm, annexed on the basis of Lithuanian and Ruthenian majorities and their strategic significance. The new state would be enlarged with German and Austrian territory- Krakow, the ancient capital, as well as the rich Upper Silesia region; Poland was further granted from the ethnically Polish Grand Duchy of Posen, known to the Poles as Greater Poland and the cradle of their state, would be detached from Prussia, as would be Pomeralia east of the Oder, including the ethnically German cities of Danzig and Allenstein; the rest of Prussia, along with nearly the whole of Austrian Galicia, was awarded to Russia, who claimed the region on the basis of the “Pan Russian sympathies” of the indigenous Carpatho-Rusyn and Ruthenian populations, and ethnically mixed populations in the former Kingdom of Poland; Russia gained Nowy Targ, Nowy Sacs, and Samov, which granted them control over the Austrian state railway linking Premysl with Bohemia. Russia was additionally guaranteed her annexation of Ottoman Armenia as well as exclusive zones of interest in Sinkiang, Mongolia, northern Manchuria, and northern Iran. Finally Schleswig-Holstein would be re-established as a grand duchy under a cadet branch of the Romanov dynasty- a return to roots for the house of Holstein Gottorp, securing Russian control over the the Kiel Canal and thus unhindered access to the Atlantic.

In contrast to the relatively smooth dismemberment of Germany, the fates of Austria and Turkey threatened the wholesale dissolution of the wartime alliance. World War One began with the Russian mobilization in defense of Serbia; neither the Tsar, nor his ambassadors, nor the general population were inclined to abandon their fellow Slavs. Nor would they relinquish claims to Constantinople, the holy grail of Russian foreign policy, and an explicitly guaranteed war aim promised under the various treaties negotiated by Sykes, Picot, and Sazonov throughout 1915 and early 1916. Yet Sazonov’s demands found little sympathy among their western allies, his position further hampered by the constant meddling and general intransigence of Tsar Nicholas. Russia had been explicitly promised the Dardanelles; for Britain and France to carve up the Levant as promised, and then hand the city over to Greece was a rank betrayal. Greece’s late entry into the war infuriated St Petersburg, who went so far as to encourage Bulgaria to attack Thrace in conjunction with a Russian descent on Constantinople. Romania itself, as another latecomer, was pressured into admitting Russian soldiers, who entered into Bucharest on June 11th 1917 after sweeping aside disorganized resistance in Moldova. Bulgaria, with her army still largely intact, suddenly found herself courted by Russia, who offered to support Bulgarian claims to Thrace- including Adrianople- and Thessalonika and the cession of Romanian Dobruja in return for a renunciation of claims to Macedonia and support in attacking Greece. These schemes were intercepted by British intelligence, who warned the Greeks of the potential danger and orchestrated the occupation of Sofia by French and British soldiers; Bulgaria was unilaterally disarmed by the Entente and forced to renounce her territorial ambitions. In retaliation the Tsar ordered a naval sortie against the Greeks, but the Black Sea Fleet was intercepted by a British squadron, and forced to turn back to Sevastopol without bloodshed.

This final humiliation provoked the the Russian delegation to abandon the conference entirely on June 22nd 1917, threatening to sign a separate armistice with Germany and even hinting at a possible alliance against her erstwhile and treacherous allies. To the fury of the Russians, the Entente thereafter agreed not only to endorse maximal Italian gains under the Treaty of London but to support Italian protectorates in Hungary and Illyria. Neither territory had been discussed during the prewar agreements as the allies had generally presumed Austria’s survival, but granting them wholesale to Italy granted them control over the heart of the Balkans, thwarting any Russian plans in the region; with Romania under Russian occupation the Hungarians were also able to revive their claims on Transylvania, thus bringing the Western Entente into the quixotic reality of supporting their former enemy against a former ally who was under occupation by another wartime ally.

The fates of Romania and Slovakia illustrate the broader geopolitical calculations underlying the conference. Romania- like Italy a former member of the German Triple Alliance- had entered the war due to promises of Austrian territory, specifically Transylvania, the Banat, and Bukovina. The presence of Hungarian, Serbian, German and other minorities in the region was never considered- Clemenceau grounded his demand for a Romanian Transylvania solely on the grounds of the Treaty of Bucharest, and the broader necessity of limiting Italian influence in the Balkans; likewise the Russians supported Serbian claims to the Banat principally due to their alliance with Belgrade, although ideologically Russia gave at least lip service to Panslavic nationalism and couched her demands accordingly. Russia’s withdrawal weakened the Serbs’ position, as did an abortive coup attempt in Montenegro; Romania would be awarded all the Banat, as well as most of Transylvania. Vojvodina, Bosnia, and Croatia were partitioned: Montenegro regained Old Herzegovina, and Illyria annexed northern Slavonia (including the Croatian capital Zagreb) and the Croatian Adriatic littoral south of Istria; Serbia additionally annexed eastern Slavonia and the Krajina- literally meaning “frontier”- north of Bosnia, a position encouraged by the Italians as a method of suppressing Croatian nationalism. Dalmatia was partitioned between Italy and Serbia, granting the northern territories around Split and Zara to Italy and Ragusa in the south to Montenegro. Slovakia, an ethnically Slavic region near the Carpathians, was claimed by Italy on behalf of the Hungarians, and by Russia in the name of panslavism. Russia’s claims were quietly dropped after the Russian delegation departed, and Hungary was promised the territory in return for withdrawing from Transylvania.

The Treaty of Versailles was believed to be a preliminary congress meant to present allied terms to the defeated Central Powers, and thus end the war. These assumptions were wrong on both counts: they were not preliminary terms, and they did not end the war. In the first place there was no single German government, but two regimes, one republican state in Berlin and a monarchist military dictatorship in Prussia, along with the separatists in Bavaria and communist revolutionaries sprouting like daisies in the major cities. Erzberger’s provisional republic was eventually recognized by the allies, over Russian objections, as it was the first to signal its acceptance of the Versailles terms. This support was tactically sound, given Germany had unequivocally lost the war and was in no position to continue fighting- the British were maintaining their blockade, the Russians were advancing across the Vistula, and the French occupying the left bank of the Rhine. Yet Erzberger’s decision to trade formal acceptance of the republican government for accepting the treaty destroyed the German Republic’s legitimacy. The right denounced the state as a Jewish led communist regime and traitors to Germany; Erzbirger lost the army to Kaiserism and his refusal to endorse repression of Leibnecht’s socialists, fearing- correctly- that this might spark an insurrection. Leibnecht himself opposed the Versailles treaty as he had opposed the war, denouncing it as Entente imperialist aggression and demanding a just peace without annexations grounded on Wilsonian self determination- in effect, turning the Social Democrat’s language against them, reviving hopes in Germany of an honest negotiated peace rather than unilateral capitulation. News of Poland finally lit the fuse of a broader, bloodier insurrection.

Pilsudksi’s provisional government flatly refused to recognize the borders granted at Versailles. Poland’s territorial losses- not only the cession of Galicia but parts of Russian Poland- were politically infeasible, and the Poles hoped to exploit Russian disunity to revise the terms, going so far to open separate negotiations with Berlin in the hopes of a formal anti-Russian alliance. Pilsudksi finally declared war on Russia on June 28th 1917, but this proved somewhat premature. An initial Polish offensive against Lvov failed, and a Russian counter attack overran Galicia, finally taking Krakow on July 4th 1917.

News from Poland fell on Germany like a bombshell. Poland’s ambivalent status was largely forgotten- the socialists embraced Pilsudksi and the Poles and demanded a resumption of the war in the east. Anti-Russian sentiment- fears of a new Cossack terror in Prussia- fueled a mass insurrection. On July 22nd 1917 worker’s militias orchestrated a coup in Berlin. Although their numbers were comparatively small, with roughly five thousand, they successfully targeted key points in the capital, occupying power stations, railways, and government offices. In addition to German workers and disgruntled former soldiers, the core of the revolutionary vanguard were contained militantly anti-Russian Polish exiles and a smattering of Russian revolutionary emigres. The new self proclaimed worker’s republic denounced the treaty and demanded Russia withdraw from Poland entirely; failure to do so led to a formal declaration of war against Russia, and appeals to European labor for a general insurrection.

Lenin arrived in Vilnius on April 22nd 1917. Finland, as a semi autonomous province, had nominally remained neutral, but the war had hurt trade and crippled the Finnish economy. Nearly 1500 Finns had fought on one or both side of the conflict as volunteers and they returned home with new and dangerous ideas about self government. With German backing Lenin’s movement was able to incite a general strike, eventually culminating in a formal declaration of independence as a Finnish People’s Republic on April 29th which joined its German counterpart in a renewed war against Tsarist Russia.

Nicholas had faced revolution before- but learned nothing from it, repeating the same mistakes as in 1905. Although demobilization and the resumption of trade did ease much of the burden on the general public, but two years of war and nearly 1.7 million deaths had strained the tsarist regime. Ironically the improved circumstances of the armistice exacerbated the issue- demobilization led to a wave of unemployment, while the increased trade led to immediate expectations of relief; the loss of this false hope, and the necessity of garrisoning formerly Ottoman and Austrian possessions further strained the Russian economy. On August 4th 1917, while he was touring the city of Lviv, Nichola’s entourage was attacked by Polish nationalists; his motor car was hit by an explosive, severely wounding the tsar and killing his wife, along with the driver and one of his bodyguards. At the urging of his councilors, the grief stricken Nicholas finally acquiesced to calls for his abdication, pronouncing that Russia had died with Tsarina Alexandra. The twelve year old Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, crippled by haemophilia, acceeded to the throne as Tsar Alexei II of Russia, with his great uncle the liberal war hero Grand Duke Nicholai Niklaeivich as the regent. Although unsuccessful in handling the Russian war effort through 1914 and 1915 he remained personally popular with both the army and the general population, and as the brother in law of the late king Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, he was viewed, perhaps unjustly, as a national savior, especially since he had publicly urged Nicholas to grant a constitution in 1905 and explicitly promised a new constitution as regent. Yet despite his pragmatic willingness to tolerate tactical political or economic reforms he was an irresolute and arbitrary ruler; more ominously, his martial bearing and outlook predisposed him towards tyrannical methods, as he was either unwilling or unable to halt abuses against racial minorities or political opponents. An irresolute and amiable ruler, he lacked the ruthlessness, talent, or vision to truly lead Russia; Alfred Knox, the British liason to the Russian army, praised his patriotic diligence but acknowledged that the man was unlikely to be personally diligent in the exercise of his office.

The new government finally succumbed to western pressure and agreed to accept the loss of Constantinople; on paper, at least, the Entente were now unified. Yet while the new government was able- with liberal support- to crush the worker’s strikes in Moscow, they still faced demands for national autonomy from the Empire’s minorities. Nor was Russia alone in facing substantial unrest- in Italy’s Emilia Romagna a general strike paralyzed the nation’s economy, inciting fears of a socialist uprising spreading into the west; as a precaution Luigi Amedeo agreed to a partial demobilization of the army, beginning a gradual drawing down of Italian forces in the Balkans. Albania was reduced to a garrison in Durres, and the country was partitioned between Serbia, Greece and Italy; practically Albania was given over to anarchy as various national insurgents took control over the countryside. Illyria saw massive riots in Dalmatia at the Italian occupation, leading the Italian state to call for the mass expulsion of Slavic nationals; martial law was declared, and Croatian national literature banned. In France prime minister George Clemenceau was assassinated by a disgruntled soldier; his successor was Alexandre Millerand, a moderate parliamentary socialist who had gradually shifted towards the center and was chosen as a compromise candidate. Millerand’s cabinet suffered intense suspicion from the left, and was consumed by negotiations over the treaty and a power struggle between the French legislature and an increasingly activist and centralizing Millerand. In Britain Lloyd George’s government faced labor unrest but was primarily occupied by the Irish uprising, which by the end of 1917 had evolved into a full blown armed insurrection. Under the circumstances the Entente were neither willing nor able to intercede in Germany; although the French maintained the occupation of the Rhineland, the British would rapidly draw down their commitments, particularly following engagements with German forces near Cologne. With the aid of President Hughes Britain and Italy began tacitly sounding out a separate agreement with the Germans; in return for acknowledging Austria’s territorial losses, the independence of Bavaria, and withholding support from the Hungarian revolutionaries, both Britain and Italy agreed to withdraw their forces from the Rhine, and end the blockade, allowing the resumption of trade between Germany and the broader world. Berlin grudgingly came around to accepting the agreement, as the French and Russians continued to support Polish aggression against Germany’s eastern frontier, with the newly established Kingdom of Poland formally declaring war on Germany and invading Prussia with Russian backing. The final issue of Germany’s frontier was to be determined not by treaty but by force of arms, and neither Germany nor Russia were ready to end hostilities.

[1]It should be noted, however, that Slovakia is somewhat reduced territorially, having pre-emptively lost most of the territories that would be seized by her opportunistic neighbors after Munich- the Carpathian regions, southern Slovakia, and Tencin

Next: Look to the East

Deleted member 117308

Rip Germany. At least there wont be a Dolchstoßlegende.
Goodness what a absolute cluster. Who knew Italy getting all they wanted would lead to such a total mess.

You could argue that the events in Germany and Russia are happening for the sake of plot, but I totally believe that Italy would have issues digesting their new territory in the Balkans. Illyria would not become a Italian toy without a lot of violence and mass ethnic expulsions and same goes for Albania. Also I foresee Italy having issues controlling their new African colonies - their colonial military was nothing to write home about.

Hungary in the Italian sphere of influence is a total joke. I just have a hard time seeing Italians being able to enforce any kind of real control over the Magyar nation.
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