Fenians, Brits, Mexicans, Canucks and Frenchies....OH, MY! An alternate American Civil War

Map of South America - 1905
Fenians - Map of South America - 1905.png
Chapter 305
March, 1905


In full revolt, the Spanish Army would be forced to retreat before the Cuban rebels. Within a few weeks, most of the countryside would be in insurrection.

Requests would immediately be sent out to America for recognition. Puerto Rico would soon follow suit.


Emperor Napoleon IV would flatly refuse to acknowledge Britain's accusation that French agents had provided any weapons to the Fenian movement in Ireland. The idea was simply ludicrous and the Emperor decried Britain's "warmongering".


The British Army would uncover yet another stash of weapons in Cork in March, 1905. Here, the evidence was even stronger. The weapons even had receipts from the French arsenal signed by a Major Ferdinand Esterhazy for the French Army. The stash included bombs identical to the one which killed the King as well as rifles, pistols, grenades, etc.

East Prussia

With so many troops invested in Poland, the Russian Army was easily able to overrun much of East Prussia. While conquest of the Protestant German exclave was not the intent, the Russian Court wanted the Polish rebels crushed.

What was more, the Russians had been deeply suspicious for years of the fact that German arms had been discovered in rebel hands.

More importantly, the recent Revolution throughout Germany had horrified the Czarina who feared that the idea may spread east into Poland.....or even Russia itself. No, the contagion must be stopped here.

Beyond mere ideological concerns, the abolition of the divisions between German states would finally make, in Russian opinion, a unified German nation which was much more of a threat than the petty squabbling autocratic Kingdoms had been. On more than one occasion, Czarina Anna had considered intervening on behalf of the Kings of Germany to maintain their God-granted power to rule. With the evidence of German supply of the Polish resistance.....and the obvious German sympathy for the Polish plight (or at least the desire to see Russia's influence on their border ended).....would leave the Russian deeply distrustful of their neighbors.

Though the new German Confederation's vastly more centralized government maintained the old German view that the Prussians in General were arrogant asses, no German could stand a blatant invasion of German territory.

Threats were made back and forth for weeks.
Chapter 306
April, 1905


President McKinley had been gracious enough to write a personal letter to Winston Churchill and his brother Lieutenant Jack Churchill offering his condolences upon the death of their father, Randolph. The brothers would accompany their widowed mother, Jennie Jerome Churchill, back to England in March for the funeral. While it was common knowledge that the marriage had effectively ceased to exist, Jennie had used her connections to assiduously help her husband over the years in his career.

What was more, the Conservative Party was happy to extend an offer to the elder son to "run" for his father's spot in Parliament. Given the strong Conservative position in the district and sympathy for the family, Churchill was considered a shoe-in.

However, the young man was more than a little disgusted by the crass politicization of his father's murder and would decline the honor, instead agreeing to serve on the American Civil Service Reform Committee (for years, Churchill had written position papers for his friend and sponsor, Theodore Roosevelt, while serving as the Senator's chief of Staff). In truth, Roosevelt had lived in America for the better part of a decade and had come to think of that nation more as his home than Britain.

What was more, Churchill had made the acquaintance of Theodore's relations Tadd Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. While the entire Roosevelt clan was a bit.....RADICAL.....for his tastes, he still found them more invigorating than the snobbish Arthur Balfour and his ilk.

There was also the rather embarrassing problem that Churchill's Mother's many affairs had become widespread gossip and the young man had no particular interest in dealing with the snickers behind his back.

April, 1905


The uncrowned young King was but nine years old in 1905 and under the care of his mother, Mary of Teck, dowager Princess of Wales. There was some support for Mary to assume the role as Regent. However, the lady was not inclined towards politics....certainly not enough to stand in as monarch for a decade before her son achieves his majority.

The alternatives were the 40 year old Prince George, Albert's uncle and a Captain in the Navy (though recently given a desk job in England) and the final surviving son of Victoria, Albert's great uncle Arthur, Duke of Connaught, a lifelong naval officer now in his mid-fifties and having served recently as Viceroy of Australia.

In the end, the Privy Council would opt for the more experienced man and select Arthur as the Regent with Mary of Teck's approval. George, resentful, would go back to his stamp collecting.

In the meantime, the national outrage over the death of Edward VII and the ever greater evidence of France supplying the Fenians with weaponry would lead to an ultimatum: France must reveal all her documentation as to the distribution of weapons and prosecute all who had partaken in the conspiracy.


Napoleon IV, oddly, was not remotely as concerned about Great Britain as one might think. What was Great Britain REALLY to do to France?

The French Empire had been stripped of her colonies years ago. Was Great Britain going to...INVADE?

Good luck with that given the modest size of the British Army and its commitments around the world.

What Napoleon IV and his ministers WERE carefully tracking was the matter brewing between the German Confederation and Russia. The Russians appeared intent on picking a fight with Germany and that may be to France's benefit. The previous war with Germany had ended poorly for France. The Emperor was grateful to escape with this throne intact after that fiasco. And that had occurred despite the divided nature of the German polity and the fact that France had effectively launched a sneak attack.

Now Germany appeared intent on unifying into a true nation and this created arguably the only potential threat to French border security. Great Britain was hardly likely to invade and the other border states (Spain and Italy) were allies in the Latin Alliance and probably not a military threat to France anyway even had they been hostile.

Though Napoleon IV had longed to regain an overseas Empire, that was always going to be difficult, expensive and time-consuming even if such an effort was successful. The threat from a united Germany was FAR more of a present concern. On more than one occasion over the past few years, the Emperor had seriously considered finding a pretext for war. However, neither Italy nor Russia were inclined for cooperation on that matter and, having lost two wars to the Germans in the past few decades, the Emperor was not inclined to gambled his throne.

A Germany......surrounded by France, Italy and Russia.....still in the throes of massive political upheaval would be more vulnerable now than ever before.....maybe never again. If Germany was to be laid low, it was best to be done now.

The Emperor consulted with his ministers and his ally in Rome. A secret diplomatic mission was issued to Moscow with a treaty assuring Russia of support should a war emerge between Germany and Russia.
Chapter 307
May, 1905


Czarina Anna would formally summon the German Ambassador to Russia and hand him papers notifying him of the formal declaration of war. He was then given seven days to exit Russian territory.

In the meantime, over 150,000 Russian troops (mostly regulars but with some recent conscripts) would be gathered in the coming months for dispatch to Poland. This would bring the total number of troops on hand to 200,000, more than enough, Her Imperial Majesty thought, to maintain control over Poland and intimidate the Germans.


Though Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, was not eager for war, he felt he had not choice. The evidence of French involvement in supplying the Fenians with the arms that killed Arthur's late brother was simply too overwhelming. The fact that Napoleon IV refused to even acknowledge the matter infuriated all segments of British society.

Worse, the Fenians would launch a general offensive throughout Ireland in late March, culminating in a massive battle in the middle of Dublin which waged for weeks, only to be put down in May. The rebellion was fueled by rumors that Napoleon IV had already agreed to recognize an independent Ireland.

The British reprisals were brutal. Men caught in arms were summarily executed under the Riot Act and Marshall Law. Any opening supporting the Fenians from newspaper men (most print had been forced to close anyway), pro-"Home Rule" MP's (which was most of them) and any even suspected of belonging to the Fenian movement's various tendrils. Hundreds of Irishmen would be rounded up, ushered into Dublin Castle for interrogation......only to disappear.

With a heavy heart, the Prince-Regent would approve a declaration of war despite no clear path as to how to defeat France beyond order the Royal Navy out of their slips and to blockade French ports. In the previous war, the modernizing Royal Navy had not enough modern warships to blockade the majority of French ports as they could during the Age of Sail. Instead, the strategy was to consolidate into mobile squadrons and seek decisive battles at sea.

The Admiralty would now seek to blockade as many French ships as possible in port while dispatching "flying squadrons" to seek out any stragglers. The seaworthiness and size of new ships would allow perhaps longer periods at sea than previous British blockades could expect of their navies (and the virtual elimination of scurvy and other diseases).


Though the German Diet would prove less than eager to declare war upon Russia for the sake of some Prussians, it knew that failing to do so would risk breaking the newfound unified nation.

As it so happened, the massive Polish uprising would so discombobulate the Russian occupying force that the German forces, already massed along the border, would find crossing into Poland shockingly easy. Apparently, the Czarina and Her Ministers were under the impression that the Germans would be too frightened or too unready for active battle along her western border. However, the German Army had been at the forefront of creating the new nation and, as a result, had been given a free hand to reorganize over the past few years as the General Staff saw fit.

This would give the Germans a rather large advantage as 80,000 soldiers crossed into Poland with the intent of reclaim East Prussia and "Liberate" the Poles (though the Poles would obviously wonder if having Germans on their soil would be any better than Russians).

Rio de Janeiro

Though the young Pedro III had been shocked at the comprehensive defeat at American hands in the previous years. Since the loss of the lands north of the Amazon, the Emperor had quietly pushed the nation to rebuild her army and navy as well as build a series of railroads north towards the southern shore of the Amazon. Previously, the Brazilians, having lost control of the South Atlantic, would find the sheer distances through the Amazon rainforest insurmountable and barely put up a fight when over a quarter of their nation's territory (though a negligible portion of the population) had fallen to the Americans.

The Brazilian army had been built up to 50,000 active men and the reserves saw great investment in training and material. With the arrival of several modern ships from France and Italy and the extension of railroads towards the Amazon, the Brazilians were certain that a return engagement with America would not go the same way.

The Emperor saw his nation's future as a Continental Hegemonic Power akin to the United States in North America. But to do that, the United States must be removed from the region's balance of power.

And despite statements to the contrary, the Brazilians were equally concerned with the potential reconciliation between the Argentine and Buenos Aires (facilitated by the British rather than the Americans). The old Viceroyalty of the Rio Plata had been the only potential geographic rival to Brazil in eastern South America. The last thing the Brazilians wanted was a new regional rival.
Chapter 308
June, 1905


Though the King of Morocco had managed to squelch the worst of the rebellions by the summer of 1905, the close relationship between Great Britain and Morocco would lead the Kingdom into yet another war.

Rather than wait for the British to implement a naval blockade (really the only option for the British), the French Navy would choose to go on the offensive and attack both the British fleet at Gibraltar as well as the Moroccan port of Tunis (a common port for the Royal Navy in northern Africa).

Though he loathed the expedience, the King of Morocco was forced to declare war the next day. If Great Britain were to be defeated, the covetous and grasping hands of France and Italy were destined to look next upon North Africa.


Though the authoritarian young King of Italy, Umberto I, would hesitate to engage in another war, he recognized that this may be the best chance to lay low the British at sea and gain the remainder of the Tirol from Germany on land (and part of the Adriatic coast from the Kingdom of Croatia and Slovenia). Failure to act now may prove to be the greatest defeat of all.

War was declared upon Germany due to their alliance with France and the Italians would hastily conclude their own treaty with Russia.

By the end of June, the alliances between Britain and Germany had been signed (and via proxy, Germany's allies in Hungary and Croatia/Slovenia.


Chancellor Von Bulow would order his General Staff to call up the reserves and prepare for a war on THREE fronts, the ultimate nightmare of the German High Command. The only thing his people had going for him was the fact that Russia, by all accounts, had drastically underestimated the will of the Polish people for independence. The whole of Poland convulsed in rebellion and the Germans were happy to arm the rebels wherever found. As an added bonus, the Finns had also declared independence in May, assuring at least SOME of the Russian forces no doubt lumbering into position would be directed northwards.

Luxembourg, German Confederation

The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke Alexander II, had married Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, in the Spring of 1905. A granddaughter of Queen Victoria, there had been talk of marrying King Alphonso of Spain. However, the King's mother would nix this not because of the Princess' Protestant roots (she was willing to convert to Catholicism) but because of the hemophilia now known to be carried by the descendants of Queen Victoria. Similarly, an attempt by the late queen to marry off her Granddaughter Alix into the Russian Royal Family was similarly rejected.

Instead, the pretty Victoria Eugenie would marry the young Duke of Luxembourg and almost immediately find her nation under attack by the French.

The British Royals had married into or inherited many of the thrones of Germany (Hesse, Coburg, Luxembourg, Prussia, Wurttemberg, Baden) over the past generations and blood ties ran deep.

Fortunately for the Germans, the powerful defensive fortifications in Luxembourg, Alsace and Lorraine had been upgraded and over 50,000 German troops had been tasked with guarding them. They would not be taken by surprise by the 85,000 strong French assault. Again, the improvement in artillery, rifle range and rapid fire weapons would lead to a heavy tool demanded of attacking troops. The German General Staff had also taken the lessons learned from the previous war and build enormously powerful artillery emplacements at key spots along the Rhine to take a dreadful bounty in blood.

Within weeks of the war's commencement, the French were already preparing to swing north through Belgium.


The American General Staff, spurred on by the Presidential Mansion, would prepare actively for war (or, to be more specific, "Protect American interests in uncertain political climate" as McKinley put it). The Navy was put on alert throughout the world while the army immediately was granted authority to accept 100,000 volunteers.

While America had not officially declared war upon anyone, the likelihood of remaining aloof was rapidly dropping. Technically, America was only beholden by treaty to defend the Co-Protectorate. If Great Britain wanted to fight a war on mainland Europe, that was THEIR business.

But both the Administration and the public as a whole realized that the Co-Protectorate would almost certainly come under attack. There were also calls to aid Cuba in their desire for independence from Spain. And reports from Brazil and Chile were not promising either. The Chileans no doubt hoped to seize more of Patagonia and possibly Bolivia and Peru while the Brazilians had been openly spoiling for a fight for the better part of a decade.

The only way for America to remain out of the fray would be to cede any interests in Africa or South America.

And that would not do at all.

Thus, the nation prepared for a war it didn't want and had nothing in particular to gain. The last time that happened, America "won".....but the gains bore no particular value (the Amazon and Sakhalin island) and served mainly to spark another war.

McKinley also recalled quite well that the Republicans went on to lose the next election, partially as a reflection of the costs and bloodshed expended in winning a war for benefit.

Thus far, no nation had officially declared war upon America.....but, again, it seemed only a matter of time. Indeed, Senator Roosevelt was SO convinced that the war was inevitable that he requested....and received.....a commission as a General in the US Army and given leave to form a Corps. McKinley, who found the man a pompous ass, would happily give up the rank just to be rid of him. He also approved a commission for Roosevelt's adjutant Mr. Churchill.


King Alphonse VIII of Spain would host a quiet gathering of the Latin Alliance (France, Italy and Spain), Russia and their two potential allies in South America (Brazil and Chile). Like the Americans, most of these nations assumed it was only a matter of time before the war expanded to western shores.

The Brazilian and Chilean representatives would demand one simple thing for their alliance: a powerful and permanent European squadron in American waters to protect against the United States Navy. The Spanish would demand the same as the United States had been openly sympathetic to the Cubans in their desire for Independence. Also, while the Spanish had made efforts to improve their Navy, it would be no match for the American Atlantic and West Indian Squadrons. War with America would mean the loss of the Spanish West Indies if Spain did not have adequate support.

Thus, the secret (though most of the world knew about it within days of its commencement) agreement to add three French, three Italian and two Brazilian vessels to the Spanish West Indian Fleet was arrived upon. It would be an open and obvious challenge to American hegemony in North America.
Chapter 309
July, 1905


Vice-Admiral Von Otter, a Swede by birth, who had maintained a career in the British Royal Navy, had been appointed Viceroy a few years prior. Finding the task tedious, he requested a return to duty. Therefore he was appointed the new Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy forces in Australia (South Pacific Station) and of the Royal Australian Navy. The Duke of Connaught had been his replacement as Viceroy but Prince Arthur was now back in Britain serving as Regent for the underage Prince Albert Victor who technically could not ascend to the throne until 18 years (though the Privy Council could theoretically waive a few of those years but, at age 10, it would seem imprudent).

In the meantime, Von Otter would pull double-duty as temporary Viceroy while also reorganizing the FAN and RN fleets into a single functional navy. Fortunately, Von Otter was popular with the Australians, both the politicians and the sailors. He had supported Australian autonomy during his time as Viceroy and didn't meddle with local affairs overly much. As for the sailors, he earned their loyalty by demanding perfection and treating them as equals to the Royal Navy.

By 1905, the Royal Australian Navy had constructed three heavy battle cruisers, the HMAS Victoria, New South Wales and South Zealand locally in the Melbourne shipyards. Another, the North Zealand, was expected to launch in the Spring (October due to this being the Southern Hemisphere). Local construction had been demanded by the Australian Parliament not only for prestige reasons but a desire to diversify the remote Dominion's industrial base. Bearing among the highest gross income per capita in the world but much of the Australian prosperity was still based in primary resource extraction and agriculture. Australia aspired to be an industrial power in her own right not beholden to the mother country or any other.

In addition to the four medium battlecruisers of the Victoria-class, the Australians also had several ships built in Britain including two older cruisers and a host of smaller frigates, corvettes, etc. In addition to this, the Royal Navy usually offered a half dozen or so vessels to the Vice-Admiralty in Sydney on a rotating basis, often to give younger crews experience on the high seas they often could not get in Great Britain. These RN ships would be seconded to the Australian Fleet while in situ.

On the whole, this was an impressive fleet given that the population of the Dominion of Australia was still only 5,500,000 (Including Tasmania, North and South Zealand and Hawaii but not the "colonies" in the East Indies which were almost entirely Asian). Even maintaining a relatively modest fleet was expensive.

Still, with the obvious expansion of the Japanese and Chinese navies, the loss of India (and therefore a main harbor for the British Royal Navy) and the British financial crisis which severely tightened the strings of the Royal Navy would ensure that Australia felt more and more on its own in an ocean full of sharks. Britain's improved relations with America ensured that there would be challenge from THAT quarter but it remained obvious that Britain was no longer in a financial condition to simply outspend any (or all) other nations in naval spending. The mechanical age ensured that seamanship, long as great a strength to the Empire as her financial power, was less important than heavy armor and huge guns.

With obligations in North America, South America, Africa and so on, the Royal Navy would be stretched thin in any conflict and Australia facing Japan or China would likely be facing them alone.


The United States Navy, like most of the world's fleets, would engage in an ever-escalating arms race to build bigger and more powerful ships.

The Norfolk Naval Base and Construction Yard had been tasked with building the new, heavy "Michigan-Class" vessels, the most powerful the Americans had ever built. Of course, the rest of the world was doing the same. Rumor had it (well, American spies had it) that the British "Dreadnaught" launching the following year would put even the Michigan class to shame.

The USS Michigan would launch in 1905 while the South Carolina would follow in early 1906.

Other powerful ship classes included (with dates of production):
Maryland-class 1898-1904
Dakota-class - 1890-1897
Iowa-class 1890 - 1895
Mississippi-class 1886 - 1890
Louisiana-class - 1880-1888

These classes were alternately called "battleships", "heavy cruisers" or "ships of the line". Typically, if a ship hit 10 years old, it was likely already obsolete even if considered the epitome of modern vessels at time of launch. Most of these vessels had been refitted over the years with bigger guns, better armor, occasional stronger engines. If the heavy ships were not quite up to matching the most modern vessels, they still were considered ships of the line.

Lighter to medium cruisers (like the Connecticut-class), frigates, corvettes, destroyers (a new name gaining popularity) and various other vessels filled out the line.

American Atlantic Fleet: list of heaviest ships
Primary ports New York, Savannah and Norfolk

USS Michigan - Michigan-Class
USS Arizona -Dakota-class
USS Maine - Dakota-class
USS Mississippi - Mississippi Class
USS Delaware - Mississippi-class
USS Mescalero - Maryland-class
USS Florida - Maryland-class
USS Montana- Iowa-class
USS Massachusetts - Louisiana-class (older, refitted)
USS Virginia - Louisiana-class (older, refitted)

American West Indian Fleet: list of heaviest ships
Primary ports Mobile, Pensacola, Galveston, Key West, St. Thomas

USS Ohio - Dakota-class
USS Pennsylvania - Mississippi-class
USS Indiana - Mississippi-class
USS Kanawha - Mississippi-class
USS Oregon - Iowa-class
USS Santee - Iowa-class
USS Wisconsin - Maryland-class
USS Kansas - Louisiana-class (older, refitted)

American Pacific Fleet: list of heaviest ships
Primary ports: San Diego, San Francisco, Esquimalt, Apia, Guam, Midway, Tahiti

USS Yakima - Iowa-class
USS Idaho - Iowa-class
USS Santee - Iowa-class
USS North Carolina - Mississippi-class
USS California - Maryland-class
USS Missouri - Dakota-class
USS Louisiana - Louisiana-class (older, refitted ships)
USS Alabama - Louisiana-class (older, refitted ships)

Despite an ambitious ship-building program since the Civil War, the American Admiralty always felt more than a little behind. In truth, most nations felt this way and seldom launched more than one or two heavy ships in any given year. This was as much due to the potential for obsolescence as the high cost. Protected by two oceans and generally having good economic times (the last five years of the century being a notable exception), the American fleets rolled out a relatively steady streams of new vessels. Only occasionally over the past 40 years did the American sailors realize they'd fallen behind and would generally catch up quickly.
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Chapter 310
August, 1905

"Western Front"

The French assault on the German defenses went as well as might have been expected. For over a decade, the Germans had constructed concrete fortifications armed with massive guns that had been strategically placed to cause maximum damage to human life. While certain areas of the German lines would be cut through to the Rhine, this had been expected due to the uneven nature of the terrain. Land which COULD be defended in depth was. That which was not....was allowed to fall. In the end, roughly half of Alsace and German Lorraine had fallen but at a terrible cost. Over 50,000 French lives had been lost already compared to 25,000 German in just two months. The numbers were staggering....unless compared to what was to come.

It would only be the beginning as both France and Germany would rapidly escalate their conflict. Hundreds of thousands of regulars, reserves and volunteers would enter uniform in the next months....followed by millions more.

Napoleon IV had gambled on another rapid strike east to to crush the German army while occupied with the Russians. It had failed rather spectacularly.

"Eastern Front"

The Czarina had made several mistakes in the past months. The first was assuming that any German resistance....if it existed at all.....would be months in the coming. Certainly, the Russian Army was only with great difficulty assembling their forces.

This allowed the modest Russian force of 50,000 already in Poland for months to face the wrath of superior German forces augmented by Polish revolutionaries. The Russians were routed with shocking speed before reinforcements arrived.

Naturally, Chancellor Von Bulow would recognize the "Polish Republic" long before any such government was formed.


The Royal Navy was not delinquent on acting. Beyond blockading several northern and western French ports, the Royal Navy would sail to St. Petersburg's port of Kronstadt, on Kotin Island in the Gulf of Finland, and cut to pieces several Russian ships, seize dozens of merchants and bombard the island city's fortifications. The Russian Baltic Fleet, comprised of perhaps four modern ships and six somewhat older and obsolete ships, would suffer terribly and were forced to hide under the city's guns for the rest of the winter.

This greatly eased the rebellion of the Finns in the fall of 1905. Apparently, the Russian government was shocked.


Despite the best efforts of the British and Germans, the King of Sweden and Norway would refuse to partake in the coming war even on behalf of their Finnish co-religionists.

The King of Denmark would similarly refuse to pick a side (and probably wouldn't support the Germans in any case).


While the King of Bohemia was sympathetic to his relatives (the Kings of Austria, Croatia-Slovenia and Hungary), it was quite clear that the Bohemians feared the Germans more than the Russians. Bearing a German majority or significant minority in several western districts, the German Confederation had long sought to add the Sudetenland to their ranks. Surrounded by the Confederation on almost 2/3rds of its borders, Bohemia had sought good relations with the Czar in hopes of counterbalancing the German avarice.

The war would prove a nightmare for Bohemia as it left the small, central country no where to turn. Should it pick a side, it would be on the front lines. Even in victory, it was likely that the German or Russian "allies" would dictate the peace entirely to their own benefit.
The Royal Navy was not delinquent on acting. Beyond blockading several northern and western French ports, the Royal Navy would sail to St. Petersburg's port of Kronstadt, on Kotin Island in the Gulf of Finland, and cut to pieces several Russian ships, seize dozens of merchants and bombard the island city's fortifications. The Russian Baltic Fleet, comprised of perhaps four modern ships and six somewhat older and obsolete ships, would suffer terribly and were forced to hide under the city's guns for the rest of the winter.
The Royal Navy? The English?
Chapter 311
September, 1905


As per agreement, the Spanish-French-Italian fleet would depart from Cadiz (thereby avoiding the British at Gibraltar) of 4 Spanish, 3 French and 3 Italian ships would sail west across the Atlantic. Continental gossip, which held that the fleet was heading southeast to protect the coast of Brazil or to reinforce Havana......would be wrong.

By fall of 1905, it became obvious to the Latin Alliance and their ally Russia that the United States was almost sure to enter the war within a few months. The Franco-Italian attacks on North Africa ensured this. While America did not have a direct military alliance with Morocco and Egypt, the war would naturally progress to the Co-Protectorate in time.

Instead, the allies would choose a separate target per agreement with the Brazilians and Chileans.


In all the insanity ongoing through the world, the work of Congress did not end. The application for Long Island to secede from New York continued to be reviewed...as was a series of complaints between northern and southern California in which San Diego and the southern counties were feeling particularly neglected by the northern regions.

Vancouver and Lower California's applications for statehood had been momentarily denied until formal censuses could take place.

In the meantime, President McKinley would spend months preparing the nation for war....without actually looking like he was preparing the nation for war lest the opposition paint him as a warmonger.

While there was some sympathy for the British, few Americans wanted to join a war for amity's sake. There was also a large German and a smaller but substantial Polish population which sought common cause with their relations back in Europe.

A series of newspaper articles would lambaste the Spanish for their treatment of Cubans illustrated by horrific prisoner camps for dissenting civilians.

Still, no American assets had been directly attacked. In spite of British demands to "get in the fight", the American population held little interest in getting involved in European affairs and were lukewarm enough the Co-Protectorate. Certainly, Africa was a nice little trading partner but trade with Canada, Quebec and the Maritimes alone exceeded what occurred with all of Africa. While America no longer subsidized the Co-Protectorate government, the US Navy continued to spend resources to patrol and protect the region (though Admiral Mahan would say this effectively meant that Africa provided free naval bases for American naval power and was an exchange well worth making).

The Hague

William IV of the Netherlands, a somewhat weak and dissolute ruler, had assumed power after his father William III was finally declared insane in 1875. Serving as Regent, the man would finally marry his love in 1876, Countess Matilde von Limburg-Stirum. As the marriage was "unequal", his parents refused. There was also the rumor that Matilde might have been the daughter of his lecherous father (thus his half-sister).

But, once Regent, William would marry her anyway. Their first son was born in 1882 (after two daughters) and a second born in 1884. After that, the marriage fell apart and the couple lived separate lives. William would fall into debauchery and expire from syphilis-related issues in 1890, only a few weeks after his father died in his asylum.

The "half-sister" issue died down as all four children would prove to be healthy and intelligent (no webbed toes).

Given that the power of the monarchy had been greatly reduced in the past half century (largely due to the incapacity of William III and William IV (who was King for only a few weeks but still made the history books), the Dutch Parliament would accept Matilde as regent. Dutch politics had entered a stable phase and no one thought the lady could do much damage. In 1900, King William V was crowned at the age of 18 and was already proving to be a better monarch than his father and grandfather. Knowing his limited political role, William V would make himself available to the people and made a habit of cutting ribbons and the like at public functions.

Now, twenty-three, the young King looked askance at the war quickly expanding about his small and vulnerable nation. Neither Germany nor France had spent overly much time respecting borders in the past war. The King of Belgium's government had already mobilized to protect their nation though few suspected that the Belgians would be able to deflect the armies of either combatant. The Netherlands was even less prepared with few natural barriers and even few fortifications capable of withstanding modern weapons.

While the Low Countries had once been the foundation of an economic juggernaut in trade and manufacturing, this was centuries in the past.

The best William V could do is mobilize 20,000 reservists to augment the 4000 regulars on the borders and order his handful of obsolete "warships" to alert status.
Chapter 312
October, 1905

Eastern Poland

The Russian Army, after months of mobilization, would manage to aggregate nearly 300,000 men in Byelorussia and Poland. Like the Poles, the Byelorussians would seek independence but the revolutionary movement did not have enough support to adequately threaten Russian rule.

By this point, the German army in Poland had swollen to 150,000 with another 100,000 Poles in arms.

The Rhine

The French counterattacks all summer and fall had managed to reach the Rhine, reclaiming most of Alsace and German Lorraine. However, this came at great cost as the German resistance stiffened.

Both Germany and France would realize the war in the mountains was futile. Thus, once more, the neutrality of the Low Countries was violated as the French army of 200,000 would swing north along the coast through southern Belgium. The French, though, underestimated the Belgian willingness and capacity to resist and severely slowed the French advance.

This gave the Germans time to prepare the attack as it swung north itself, blunting the French strike. The French moved ever further north in hopes of bypassing the German lines through October and November, eventually crossing into the Netherlands.

It was all to no avail. The line stabilized, this time with both Belgium and the Netherlands firmly attached to the German Confederation.

The invasion of two neutral powers was enough for Great Britain to finally accept the need to dispatch forces directly to the Continent in the spring. The British had long hoped to avoid this, instead utilizing the strength of their navy to cover for the relative weakness of their army.


The Finnish resistance would throw off the Russian government, declare independence and call upon all patriots to support the Finnish revolution. Calls to Sweden and Denmark for aid were summarily rejected....with apologies. The Scandinavian countries had given up the pretense of relevance in the European politics.

Instead, the Finns reached out to Great Britain, the only nation with the power to aid them....at least at sea.

The Russian army would have to take the long way round to reach Finland for Great Britain was able to prevent any seaborn invasion. This would give the Finns a winter to prepare for the inevitable assault.


King Luis Philippe of Portugal, now 18, was able to ascend to the throne in early 1905 but was still feeling his way. Some attempts had been made in past years to his cousin Princess Patricia of Connaught (daughter of the current Regent of Britain) but, like the Royal Families of Russia and Spain, the hemophilia endemic to the House of Hanover/Saxe-Coburg had caused reservations (the heir to Hesse had died of the affliction) inherited from Victoria, his grandmother.

Among his many tutors was Sidonio Pais, who had formed the young King's mind. Though Pais was considered something of a radical in politics, he had come to appreciate his intelligent young charge and....moderated....his views a bit, enough to accept a Constitutional Monarchy.

Now the boy was left to his own devices. Both the French and British were attempting to gain Portuguese "alliance". Exactly why, no one could understand. Portugal had no military capacity to contribute to a war. Certainly, no one in Lisbon believed French promises of "opportunity in Africa for Portugal" as if the great powers would ever allow such a thing.

But the resentment of losing their final territories to Britain and America would linger as well.

The only proponents of joining one side or the other lay with political parties who sought to sue a war to unify the people of Portugal. Of course, Portugal had engaged in wars for centuries....and that had led them to this dismal situation.