By 1901, Crispi had been one of the most influential leaders in Italian history. Ruling the nation for decades, the strongman forcibly industrialized large swaths of the country, stemmed the tide of mass emigration from his homeland in Southern Italy, and centralized power in the once infamously decentralized peninsula. Moreover, he had forged something resembling a genuine foreign colonial empire, namely Albania, Macedonia, Libya, and Tunisia - the crown jewel of the Italian Empire. However, this came at a cost. Italian "democracy" had very little legitimacy with the actual populace. He had totally alienated the Catholic Church into being an implacable enemy of the Italian state, with peasants regularly spitting on small portraits of the King. And his brutal suppression of socialists and leftists in both Sicily (the Fasci Siciliani) and the North created a pandemic of anarchist and socialist terrorism in Italy.
Blind and dying, the leader still gave regular speeches - and it was during one speech when Gaetano Bresci, an Italian-American anarchist, shot at the Italian Prime Minister and King Umberto I - managing to wound Umberto and kill the already sickly Italian Prime Minister. The political struggle to regain control would immediately break out. Celebrations broke out among leftists in the street, further radicalizing a furious right, who saw that as a direct slander against the monarchy. Leftists and radicals in the streets of Milan broke out in protests, calling for universal suffrage. Alongside them were conservatives, who demanded rapprochement with the Catholic Church and an end to state support to the Union of Rome.
In parliamentary intrigues, Giovanni Giolitti climbed up on top and announced that widespread voting reforms had to be made. Namely, to grant at the very least the demands of universal suffrage and to return the Italian state to a position of neutrality between the Avignon Papacy and the Union of Rome. King Umberto I, still furious at the Avignon Papacy for denying his father last rites, dismissed Giolitti immediately. Giolitti refused to step down - and Italian troops under Luigi Pelloux gained the King's support when they launched a military takeover of Rome, gunning down protestors who clamored in the streets to oppose their "coup." With order restored, the King lauded Luigi Pelloux as a hero. The remaining MPs, at gunpoint, were forced to nominate Pelloux's choice as Prime Minister (it could not be himself since he did not want to appear like he was taking over in a coup). Reluctantly, the Parliament selected Foreign Minister Sidney Sonnino, who was well-known in international circles and well-regarded.
However, Sonnino's responsibility would remain dominated by foreign affairs and now to a large extent economic policy. Sonnino threw himself into dramatically industrializing the underdeveloped Italian South, as massive factories popped up in Naples, Palermo, and other cities, employing thousands upon thousands of workers. Railroads in Southern Italy became as advanced as those in the North. In contrast, Pelloux's men would monopolize internal security, justice, and other domestic matters, where they continued a hard line against both conservatives and leftists. In many ways, these goals coincided, because the Italian Army forcibly broke up strikes across Italy, keeping industrial labor cheap. Literacy rates scored even as the wealth gap remained as large as ever (having massively spiked during the Crispi era).
The Sonnino-Pelloux ministry became increasingly concerned about Italy's military preparedness. For one, Italy was surrounded by enemies - namely both France (Enemy #1 due to the Avignon Papacy) and Austria-Hungary who sat on Italian lands). Although friends were located in the United Kingdom (Sonnino was both Protestant and perfectly fluent in English) and the Ottoman Empire, they were not seen as particularly reliable. Italian war strategy would naturally assume British aid. Significant expenditures were spent on fortifications in both the Alpine borders with Austria and France. Instead, the initial thrust of any Italian battle would be in North Africa.
Italian administration of North Africa contrasted remarkably in France. Whereas in France, under the cosmopolitan-traditional policies of the Bonapartist monarchy, the French had gained the support and loyalty of many of Algeria's indigenous leaders, the Italians were modernist and secular in a way that repulsed most of indigenous Muslim Berbers. As in the mainland, the Italian Army crushed all dissent with force, Moreover, Italian restrictions on Southern Italian emigration (as part of Crispi's Southern strategy), meant that many Italians needed somewhere else to go. In general, the easiest place to go was North Africa - where the Italian Army engaged in widespread land theft and expulsion against indigenous Berbers. This meant intense violence in Tunisia and Libya as Berber leaders effectively resisted Italian government and often launched devastating raids against the Italian Army. However, the violence also sparked many locals to flee to French Algeria - allowing their lands to be taken over by (not entirely willing) Italian settlers. These policies were continued under Pelloux - who considered the resulting violence actually pretty good training for his army in war.
The Italian strategy for any possible was to swarm Egypt - and try to crush the French from both sides with Ottoman aid. Luckily for the Ottomans, the Italians still recognized Egypt as Ottoman territory. Perhaps even the Ethiopians could be enticed into the war. Then with the British in Gibraltar and the Ottomans in the Suez, the Italians would be able to prevent the French from unifying their naval forces - and could crush the French Navy in the Mediterranean. What happened after wasn't that well-planned out - but the Italians presumed there would be assaults and blockades across Dalmatia and France, with a special eye towards Corsica.
Well, things just seem to be getting more tense all the time. Europe is turning into a hodge-podge of tensions and conflicting powers with Italy still straining under a harsh government. I have a feeling that this'll lead to backlash at the worst possible time for it.
It’s really hard to tell how the Second World War is going to go honestly, both alliances have areas where they’re strong and where they’re weak. I’d say the balance of power seems to lean towards the French led alliance, yet their two best assets (Russia and Austria) are both full of their own issues hampering what should be an easy war to crush the northern Germans. There’s also the Qing who did exceptionally well in the last war, the Japanese who want a rematch, and all of the foreshadowed internal issues within Italy. This isn’t even considering the role north and South America will play in the conflict.
The world ITTL is in for some interesting times, that’s for sure.
You know in a way if the former USA wins against the confederate they will annex their former land back to the USA that how it will be in a realistic setting of it so no ww2 and if the south does want to extermate the blacks that really won’t happen either their too civilized to even do that
New to this thread, just finished binge-reading the past pages, definitely following this now. And seriously, for a TL with a sensible premise (realistic, non-wanked CSA), it's gone pretty bonkers. Confederate Bosnian enclaves? Russo-Japanese Alliance, with an already divided Korea? Serbia allied with Austria?! (Well, not allies, but definitely close)
Still, it's pretty fun seeing where this TL will go.
The tactics of Spain were perceived to have succeeded in Cuba. They would thus try them again. Spanish troops rounded up thousands of Filipino villagers in rebel-dominated areas in concentration camps, hoping to deny the rebels local support. However, this only had a radicalizing effect on the rebels, who often turned to Japanese technological and ideological tutelage. Toyama Mitsuru, the leader of the new Eastern Pearl Society, wrote extensively about the necessity of Asians to unite in the face against Western colonialism - by themselves also adopting ultranationalist and militarist structures. Unemployed samurai flocked to the Eastern Pearl Society, simply sneaking their way into the Philippines to support the Filipino rebels. Japanese aid to the rebels was generous and this caused the rebels to do far better than the Spanish had originally expected. In addition, many of these samurais had previously volunteered in World War I and were thus combat veterans, providing combat expertise to the rebels that the Spanish themselves did not have (their last war being the successful Spanish-Confederate War - which the Spanish won largely not on land, but at the sea). Ambushes, traps, and selective use of new technologies inflicted terrible losses on Spanish troops.
That besides, many Japanese did not realize they were playing with fire. Spain was widely considered a global power, having crushed the Confederate States of America and even establishing its own colonial concessions in the State of Georgia. In contrast, Japan was viewed as a third-rate power, largely because it had been defeated by the Qing Empire previously, the Qing being widely considered a second-rate power (alongside the Ottomans). However, the Qing defeat was nearly 25 years ago, and Japan had significantly developed, technologically, militarily, and economically since then. Although the Japanese Army still lagged significantly behind their European competitors (especially in artillery and machine guns), the Japanese Navy was small, but well-drilled. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, the Japanese Navy was up to par with the West, at least man-for-man. Moreover, Spanish triumph in North America did not actually reverse all economic and political stagnation at home - many gains were made, but some was simply concealed by the triumph of victory.
Thus, the world was not surprised when the Kingdom of Spain, outraged by a samurai who had attacked Governor-General Weylar at night with a katana (chopping off his right-hand before being shot by guards), demanded that Japan force its agents to withdraw. The Japanese government, largely run by civilian landowner selected by an Imperial Diet elected under limited suffrage (aka landlords), was eager to apply, condemning radical activists in the Philippines. Ever since the political reforms and the enactment of the new Constitution, Imperial Japan had steadfastly refused to enter conflicts abroad, its conservative leaders fearing any conflict would jeopardize the social hierarchy of Japan and their careful modernization program. The Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy were ordered to withdraw completely the Philippines. As the Prime Minister was supreme under the Okubo Constitution, they followed such orders and did so. Emperor Meiji, although sympathetic to the Filipino rebels, signed off on the order.
The problem for Japan was that the Spanish were still not satisfied. The Spanish government demanded that Japan withdraw all militants from Philippines, something they could not have done given the fact that they were largely private individuals. Worst of all, most of these criminal and extremists organizations were actually based in a supposed Japanese "protectorate", the Kingdom of the Ryukyus, whose internal sovereignty Japan was specifically prohibited from interfering with, as per their earlier peace treaty with the Qing, the 1877 Treaty of Peking. The Spanish simply did not believe that such sophisticated weaponry and equipment could have been acquired without the knowledge of the Japanese government, but they largely underestimated the reach and power of Japanese secret societies and criminal syndicates - and were furious that the Japanese were unable to sever the Ryukyu connection. Although Japanese diplomats ran around like headless chickens trying to dissuade their Spanish counterparts, they were not swayed. At the turn of the century, the Spanish Cortes voted to declare war on the Empire of Japan and the Ryukyu Kingdom , changing the political trajectory of three nations. Japan begged for aid from its partners in Russia and France, but both nations sat on their heels, waiting to see what would unfold.
Humiliating Japan like it did the Confederacy, war reparations, maybe force unequal treaties on Japan.
Problem is, this is the Spain in the state of weakness of OTL Spanish-American War, but now it's come off the success against the CSA, which has inflated their heads and blinded them to the possibility of defeat. Japan is going to be a harder nut to crack than a bunch of backwards idiot slavers who refuse to industrialize.