Challenge: 1919, the Year of Revolution

At the end of World War I, Europe was filled with unrest, especially in Germany, France, Poland, and Hungary. The year 1919 was filled with several failed socialist revolutions, beginning with the Spartacus uprising in Germany.

So, my question is, how can we get successful socialist revolutions in Germany, Poland, and Hungary, with a POD no earlier than 1919.
Further, none of these revolutions can be Bolshevik in nature--I'm looking for something more along the Luxemburgist variety: a large and developed proletariat rising up in an organized and orthodox Marxist fashion.
I'm looking to create a new TL, so as much help as possible is encouraged.

GO!!
 

Hnau

Banned
I've looked for such a POD so many times... this is really hard, man. If you want a Red Europe by 1919, you gotta do something about Poland. The Red Army was gobbling up formerly-occupied German territory, spreading the revolution... until they ran into Poland pushing in the opposite direction. If they had been able to continue, they could link up with the German socialist movement and give them enough arms and will to topple Ebert and the Chancellery.

Maybe the best thing to do is start with Germany... if you killed Ebert off early on, that would weaken the anti-council movement. But the Germans really needed their version of Lenin, someone who could organize all of the council republics and rally them to take control of the entire country. If a Red Germany could come about by early 1919, they could spread the revolution to Hungary, smash Poland together with Russia, and create a whole new Revolutionary Bloc.

The problem is, that Russia was going to be Bolshevik. The Bolsheviks had too many advantages... namely that they were the only ones with good leaders (Lenin being at the top), fantastic managerial skills, organization, and were the most powerful faction that demanded immediate peace. To get rid of the Bolsheviks you'd need to kill the man who started it in the first time, Vladimir Lenin. And that, my friend, is why I created my own timeline, A Lenin-less World. The problem I am discovering, though, is that a non-Bolshevik Russia would most definitely become a Socialist-Revolutionary Russia, and the SRs weren't committed to spreading the revolution.

To get the results you want, you need to go back quite a bit... back far enough the World War I might be butterflied away. And that in itself is a huge project. So, take it from me: I've tried for years to find one good POD to create a non-Bolshevik Red Europe, or at least a Red Eastern Europe. But it can't be done with one POD, especially not one during 1919. By January 1, 1919, in OTL, the German Revolution was already waning. You might have luck with Hungary by killing Bela Kun, keeping the Social Democrats in charge of Hungary, and then allowing the Red Army to help them take control of Slovakia and Transylvania, but then that entire area would be Bolshevik anyway.
 
Having the Red Army sweep across Europe may not be the only - or even the best - way to bring about this goal. I agree that Germany is the most likely to go Communist, and there are a lot of armed, disgruntled, demobilized soldiers returning home. I don't know much about the history of Germany in the immediate post-World War I period, but it seems at least plausible that a Communist government aligned with the USSR might have taken power. Then it could use its economic and political power to spread communism across Europe in the coming decades.

Britain and France would also experience more unrest in this scenario than they did in OTL? Is it even remotely plausible that France could have turned Communist if not only Russia but also Germany had both gone Red?
 

Hnau

Banned
Luxemburg and Liebknecht weren't decisive enough, or organized. Eugen Levine, the leader of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, could have been a good enough man: once in power he turned the Bavarian Soviet Republic to Communist reforms immediately, built up the local Red Army, and did everything that was needed by the Revolution. His only problem was that by the time he came to power, the Revolution in the rest of the country had failed. If he had somehow seized the initiative early enough and took control when Kurt Eisner did (November 1918), then he might have enough time to organize effectively a bastion from which socialist forces could have rallied and pushed forward to take the entire country. Alas, little is known of Eugen Levine, and why he wasn't able to take power earlier on.
 
I wonder if you're better off starting with Germany "winning" the Great War, prolonging it until 1919.
 
I think a "no American intervention" might be the best POD for this. I think the Entente would've won the war anyway, since they stopped the German's '18 Spring Offensive, the last German chance to win, by themselves. So the war drags on longer, but without the hammer blow of American intervention the German leadership isn't jarred into the view that the war must be ended before it can be hung around their neck.

The Entente keeps grinding on, pushing the Germans back and back, out of France and into Belgium and Germany proper. The army begins to disintegrate as supply shortages that have been a fact on the homefront for years reach the battlefront. A cease fire is called for in November 1919.

The longer war, and the clear sense in the German regular army that it has been lost, creates a much different scene on the homefront. The German army disintegrates, with angry troops returning home. The Kiel Revolt sparks a general rebellion across the country. The Kaiser's government is still in charge, and recalls many front-line units to try and keep control of the population. Many of the troops join the revolutionaries. Demands for the abdication of the Kaiser are met, and the Kaiser flees the country. On the western front reports of units shooting their officers and leaving the front become increasingly common.

With choas in Germany, the Entente draws up a treaty, and starts looking for a German government to impose it on.

Germany gets more choatic. With many more soldiers on the revolutionary side, the general rebellion turned into a civil war. A coherent revolutionary government emerges, and it appears to have the upper hand.

The Entente decides that Germany cannot be allowed to "fall" to communism, and decides to intervene.
 
I think a "no American intervention" might be the best POD for this. I think the Entente would've won the war anyway, since they stopped the German's '18 Spring Offensive, the last German chance to win, by themselves. So the war drags on longer, but without the hammer blow of American intervention the German leadership isn't jarred into the view that the war must be ended before it can be hung around their neck.

The Entente keeps grinding on, pushing the Germans back and back, out of France and into Belgium and Germany proper. The army begins to disintegrate as supply shortages that have been a fact on the homefront for years reach the battlefront. A cease fire is called for in November 1919.

The longer war, and the clear sense in the German regular army that it has been lost, creates a much different scene on the homefront. The German army disintegrates, with angry troops returning home. The Kiel Revolt sparks a general rebellion across the country. The Kaiser's government is still in charge, and recalls many front-line units to try and keep control of the population. Many of the troops join the revolutionaries. Demands for the abdication of the Kaiser are met, and the Kaiser flees the country. On the western front reports of units shooting their officers and leaving the front become increasingly common.

With choas in Germany, the Entente draws up a treaty, and starts looking for a German government to impose it on.

Germany gets more choatic. With many more soldiers on the revolutionary side, the general rebellion turned into a civil war. A coherent revolutionary government emerges, and it appears to have the upper hand.

The Entente decides that Germany cannot be allowed to "fall" to communism, and decides to intervene.
Yeah, a different ending to World War 1 (but still a central power defeat) might be the way to go. What we should be aiming for, is for the attempted communist revolutions to break out around the same time that the Bolsheviks are in a position to help. In OTL history there were attempted revolutions and even short lived soviet governments in Bavaria and Hungary, but they were both crushed in 1919. The westward advance of the Bolsheviks was halted by their defeat in the Polish-Soviet War some time later. What we would want is to alter the timing of things so that the Bolsheviks win in Poland and that this occurs at the same time as the communist revolutions start up in Central Europe.

So as Matthais Corvinus says lets have the Americans stay out of the war. This can prolong the war and also cause the continuing blockade to cause an even greater economic crisis in Germany. Let's also have the German revolutionaries-to-be make better decisions be better organized etc, with someone becoming the Lenin figure Hnau wants.

We might also have the war in the east end faster. Trotsky could accept the Germans' original terms for peace causing an earlier Brest-Litovsk and letting the Bolsheviks lose a bit less territory in the Belarus/Ukraine area. This way the Bolsheviks will already be stronger and possess territory further west when the Germans eventually fall, allowing them to advance west to Poland and beyond more quickly. Giving the Germans less eastern territory to occupy also frees up more soldiers to fight in the west which helps prolong the war and the economic troubles in Germany.
 
So I was thinking about it. The "No American Intervention" and most of 1919 is spent with grinding Anglo-French advances. With this extra year of war Germany is in a bad way. And as the winter of '19 starts to set it, the German Army is on the edge of breaking. Mutinies began during the campaign season of '19, but they were of the French variety, with German troops simply refusing to go over the top. As the winter of '19 starts, the mutinies start to take on a different character. A few units shoot officers. With defeat almost certain and fears that the Army may soon break, the German High Command (ie Luddendorf and Hindenberg) decide to ask for an Armistice. Before they can howevere, the Kiel Revolt occurs, and revolution spreads across Germany. Word soon reaches the front lines, and the limited mutinies turn into full fledged ones, as whole units decide to leave the front and return to Germany.

The Entente doesn't initially react. The Kaiser abdictates, but it is seen as under threat of death, as stories of his escaping the country in disguise appear in Western newspapers. The German Republic is declared, and asks for an Armistice with the Allies.

Karl Liebknecht declared his own Republic the same day as the German Republic, but with the large number of returning troops, decides that force can be used to quickly achieve power. He sets about organizing the "Red Guards." He finds ready support from returning troops, and in January 1920 the the Red Guards attack and occupy the Reichstag, and the Free Socialist Republic (FSR) is re-declared.

With the Communists apparently in charge in Germany, the Entente decides that the Armistice with the nascent German Republic is a dead letter, and advances, basically unopposed, to the Rhine. Though there is unrest among their own troops, the Entente's leadership decides that it is more important to put down the Communists than demobilize.

The FSR is able to rally support by blaming the advancing allied troops on the SDP and the Army High Command. With the worse conditions and longer war, many more troops continue to join the FSR's Red Army (the new iteration of the Red Guards). With the more military character of the conflict, many SDP begin to join the FSR forces, as right-wing forces carry out massacres against anyone they feel is "leftist". The German Revolution begins to take on more characteristics of a civil war as '20 drags on.

Thoughts?
 
So I was thinking about it. The "No American Intervention" and most of 1919 is spent with grinding Anglo-French advances. With this extra year of war Germany is in a bad way. And as the winter of '19 starts to set it, the German Army is on the edge of breaking. Mutinies began during the campaign season of '19, but they were of the French variety, with German troops simply refusing to go over the top. As the winter of '19 starts, the mutinies start to take on a different character. A few units shoot officers. With defeat almost certain and fears that the Army may soon break, the German High Command (ie Luddendorf and Hindenberg) decide to ask for an Armistice. Before they can howevere, the Kiel Revolt occurs, and revolution spreads across Germany. Word soon reaches the front lines, and the limited mutinies turn into full fledged ones, as whole units decide to leave the front and return to Germany.

The Entente doesn't initially react. The Kaiser abdictates, but it is seen as under threat of death, as stories of his escaping the country in disguise appear in Western newspapers. The German Republic is declared, and asks for an Armistice with the Allies.

Karl Liebknecht declared his own Republic the same day as the German Republic, but with the large number of returning troops, decides that force can be used to quickly achieve power. He sets about organizing the "Red Guards." He finds ready support from returning troops, and in January 1920 the the Red Guards attack and occupy the Reichstag, and the Free Socialist Republic (FSR) is re-declared.

With the Communists apparently in charge in Germany, the Entente decides that the Armistice with the nascent German Republic is a dead letter, and advances, basically unopposed, to the Rhine. Though there is unrest among their own troops, the Entente's leadership decides that it is more important to put down the Communists than demobilize.

The FSR is able to rally support by blaming the advancing allied troops on the SDP and the Army High Command. With the worse conditions and longer war, many more troops continue to join the FSR's Red Army (the new iteration of the Red Guards). With the more military character of the conflict, many SDP begin to join the FSR forces, as right-wing forces carry out massacres against anyone they feel is "leftist". The German Revolution begins to take on more characteristics of a civil war as '20 drags on.

Thoughts?
Is it possible that the quagmire might trigger off similar Red Revolutions by the Mid 20's from the Rhine all the way to the Atlantic ? And by the thirties , large parts of Europe have been devastated , and horrific fighting still rages on from the Urals to the Atlantic , while the British have finally decided that continuing to pour resources into the European Madness is not worth the potential collapse of the British Economy and possibly Empire?

It ends with a Red depopulated Europe, and with a strict isolationist Britain and the United States by the 40's , with the former European colonies placed under British protection , with the British desperately finding some way to ditch their empire without losing it to the Euro Marxists?
 
Sorry to gravedig, but I'm actually developing a timeline around this exact question, and I believe I have a passable point of divergence. This point of divergence revolves around the founding of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD), after antiwar revisionists grouped around Eduard Bernstein and antiwar centrists grouped around Karl Kautsky and Hugo Haase were purged from the SPD. In our timeline, these groups, along with the Spartacist League grouped around Rosa Luxemburg, founded the USPD on April 6, 1917.

The point of divergence is that, for whatever reason (polemics with groups such as the Bremen Left, inability to attend the conference due to sickness or accident, unwillingness of the centrists or the revisionists to include revolutionaries, etc.), the Spartacist League does not join the USPD. Instead, shut out of this party and probably critiquing it mercilessly due to being shut out, it regroups with the other left forces in Germany (the aforementioned Bremen Left, which included Pannekoeck, Gorter, and Radek; Eugen Levine's group in Munich; other, smaller, groups based in Berlin) to found the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) on June 24, 1917.

This means that the KPD exists a year and a half "early" (in OTL it was founded January 1, 1919), meaning that it, not the USPD, will attract the most militant workers coming out of the January Strikes, that the Revolutionary Stewards will ally with them instead of being put off by the Left's alliance with the Center as in OTL, and that the recruitment of Red Guards, particularly in Bavaria and Bremen, will begin in early November 1918, rather than in mid-December, giving them time to prepare for combat. It will also mean a more effective propaganda in the Berlin garrison, particularly in the People's Navy Division after the Christmas Crisis. Not incidentally, it will also mean that the German government, fearful of militant action at home, will act in a more temperate fashion during the Brest-Litovsk negotiations and in Finland, allowing the Bolsheviks to escape the negotiations with Latvia, Estonia, eastern Poland, and Ukraine formally theirs, and encouraging the Bolsheviks to intervene more boldly in the Finnish Civil War, leading to the victory of the Finnish Reds.

By the time the Versailles Treaty is ready to sign, the Communist government will be the only government with significant control over German territory. von Seeckt will have established a military dictatorship in east Prussia, Ebert and company will have fled to Freiburg, and Adenaur will have brought off a declaration of Rhenish independence. Versailles will reflect this, with Prussia, Swabia, and the Rhineland being granted independence, and with all the other clauses (reparations, loss of territory to Poland, Denmark, war guilt, etc.) in place.

You then have the Germans able to intervene in the Polish-Soviet War. They help the Soviets win, and claim the Corridor and Upper Silesia for themselves as spoils. Pilduski's National Front is fatally weakened, and the SDKPiL manages to bring off a revolution. Luxemburg and Radek travel to Poland to help bring this about, and remain there.

Italy's revolution begins in 1919 but matures in 1920, with Bordiga and the southern wing of the party able to compliment the council movement in Turin, Milan, Venice, and Florence with similar uprisings in Naples and Palermo. France provides military aid to the Pope, who reclaims the Patrimony of St. Peter. France and Britain also divide Italy's colonies, and France occupies Sardinia, but the rest of Italy falls to the communists.

Not quite what you wanted (I assume you were going for something more complete), but feasible given the PoD.
 
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