Glory For The Homeland - An Alternate History Of The 20th Century From 1914 And Beyond

Shots That Would Change The World
Glory For The Homeland

An Alternate History Of The 20th Century From 1914 And Beyond


While officially beginning on January 1st 1901, the 20th Century truly began with the assassination attempt on Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28th 1914. Tensions had already been high between the Great Powers, Europe was a powder keg waiting to explode and as Bismarck predicted, the Great European war had started over some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.

Shots That Would Change The World

Two deafening gunshots ripped through the air, coming from Gavrielo Princip's pistol.

At first, everything seemed eerily still. Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie sat unsuspectingly in their convertible. But soon, a crimson stain began seeping through Sophie's peach dress. She slumped forward, collapsing face-first onto the vehicle floor.

Franz hurriedly clutched at his wife's wound, desperately trying to stem the blood flow with his bare hands. But it was too late. The bullet had pierced Sophie's heart, delivering a fatal blow. Her eyes glazed over as her life force drained away. Franz weeped as he realized his wife was gone forever.

Military Governor Potiorek had also been hit, a single bullet tearing through the side of his neck. Blood gushed from the wound as he fell from the vehicle, convulsing on the ground. The Governor remained ominously still in a growing pool of blood.

Princip moved quickly, fleeing the scene of carnage. But he was tackled by an enraged bystander who began pummeling the assassin. Princip managed to swallow a vial of cyanide he kept on his person. But the poison had lost its potency over time. Instead of killing him instantly, it caused him to violently retch and heave. He was soon overpowered and arrested, destined to spend his remaining life in prison.
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The Powder Keg Ignites

The Powder Keg Ignites

Archduke Franz Ferdinand was furious at the death of his wife. He wanted to destroy Serbia, and went into a berserker rage. As Franz Joseph described “He wanted to rip Serbia apart with his bare hands and then salt the earth after”. German Kaiser Wilhelm The Second when he heard of the assassination left his vacation off the coast of Norway back home, he and the Archduke had been close friends; The Kaiser and his wife had been guests at Ferdinand’s country estate just weeks earlier. In Britain and France, the assassination aroused little interest, both were focused on internal affairs. A murder trial worthy of its own TV show, combining love affair and political scandal, and a crisis in Ireland in the United Kingdom.

In the Dual Monarchy itself however, Emperor Franz Josef seemed like he had almost wished Ferdinand died instead of Sophie. Ironically the Archduke wanted to give more representation to the South Slavs of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. These reformist ideas had always been a nuisance to Franz Joseph and the Austro-Hungarian court. However, he had allies in his endeavor against the Serbs, Conrad Von Hotzendorff and many in the Austrian Parliament allied with the Archduke. Ferdinand had been the Serbian’s greatest ally in the Empire, and all the warmongers had to do was say, “He was their only ally, look at what they did to him! What do you think they will do to us?. In the end Franz Joseph was convinced. The Hungarian Parliament was strongly against any annexations, and thus the Austrian parliament reluctantly promised to not annex a millimeter of Serbian land. It was now July 5th, and Feridnand only needed to consult the Germans for support. After a consultation with his long time friend, Kaiser Wilhelm, The Archduke and the Austrian Army agreed to the “Halt In Belgrade” plan, the Austrians would only occupy Belgrade, and then start negotiations..

Almost every European leader was invited to Sophie Of Huhenberg’s funeral. Franz Ferdinand gave a speech at the funeral “This cowardly act of terrorism, against the very idea of Monarchy, must not go unpunished! The Serbian Fanatics have committed a grave crime, against not only Austria, but the very Monarchic ideals which so many of the Great European nations are built upon.” - Archduke Franz Ferdinand, July 10th 1914. Austria had already started Mobilization efforts since July 3rd, and had mobilized three armies on the border by the 16th. On July 17th 1914, Austro Hungarian armies moved on Belgrade.
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Intresting beginning. So FF just go war against Serbia to avenge death of Sophie? And even quicker than Franz Joseph was ready in OTL.
The Archduke's Battle

The Archduke’s Battle

The March to War
The majority of the Austro-Hungarian army invaded Serbia through the Šumadija region west of Belgrade, intending to surprise the Serb forces and capture the capital swiftly. The Austrians quickly charge, moving fast along river valleys towards Belgrade.

A smaller Austro-Hungarian force crosses the Danube and Sava rivers in a surprise amphibious flanking maneuver aimed at taking Belgrade from the east. They secure several bridgeheads before Serb forces can react.

Outnumbered Serb troops fight fiercely from improvised defenses within the city, but cannot hold back the invading forces for long. After three days of urban combat and house-to-house fighting, the Austro-Hungarian army seizes Belgrade. However, the majority of the Serb army manages to escape the city, living to fight another day. With Belgrade captured, the Austrians imprison and execute countless Serbian soldiers and civilians on spurious charges of being complicit with the Black Hand. While the Austro-Hungarian punitive expedition succeeds in capturing Belgrade as an example, its wider strategic objective of "Halt In Belgrade" in one stroke is not achieved. The majority of the Serb army remains intact, and the campaign will require a prolonged effort.

The world waited, the clock was ticking, and the world was watching Austrian and Serbian actions. On July 22nd, a Serbian division, who had lost communications with its command center, had launched a raid on Austrian troops near the western part of Belgrade. In retaliation the Austro-Hungarians attacked from all sides, they’d reach Smederevo to the East, and attack Sabac to the west. As soon as he heard, the Russian Tsar announced general mobilization on the 24th. In response, Germany and Austria did so on the 25th. Austria begins its three-day invasion of Montenegro, resulting in full occupation of the small country. On July 30th, Russia declared war on Austria, causing Germany to declare war on France and Russia a day later. The Great War has begun.

Austria Hungary: 70,000
Serbia: 150,000

Thoughts? Even if its ASB or "Good thus far" I'd like to hear feedback and comments.
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With Serbia and Montenegro knocked out of the War from the beggining is going to open up chance for the Austro Hungarian Army to focus on the Eastern theatre more than OTL. Not to mention scaring Italy and Romania into neutrality.

The Archduke’s Battle

The majority of the Austro-Hungarian army invaded Serbia through the Šumadija region...

The world waited, the clock was ticking, and the world was watching Austrian and Serbian actions. On July 22nd, a Serbian division...
Austria-Hungary apparently invaded Serbia without issuing an ultimatum or declaring war. You've skipped over that.

In any case, this is unlikely - it's not how things were done then. And the "Royal and Imperial" army could not march to war from Hungarian territory without the authorization of the Hungarian government, which could not be obtained in secret.
As soon as he heard, the Russian Tsar announced general mobilization on the 24th.
Russia would issue an ultimatum to Austria-Hungary demanding withdrawal from Serbia the moment they heard of the invasion, and declare war as soon as it expired.
In response, Germany and Austria did so on the 25th.
Austria-Hungary would have to mobilize before invading Serbia.
The Battle Of The Frontiers

The Battle Of The Frontiers

Most German war plans were based around one fear, the fear shared by many in the German Military and civil administrations, that Germany was surrounded by enemies who were growing stronger and stronger every day. The Schlieffen Plan was the manifestation of this fear, the Germans feared that after 1917, the Russian Empire would simply be too strong for Germany to defeat. The “Russian Steamroller” was a fear that many Austrian and German planners shared. Germany’s plan was to attack the French through Belgium, taking Paris and encircling French Forces in Lorraine.

On August 2nd, the German army occupied Luxembourg and sent an ultimatum to Belgium, demanding passage for its armies. Belgian king Albert refused, and the Belgian Army began blowing up bridges and railways from Germany to Belgium. As German armies crossed the Belgian border, Liege suddenly became the most important city in Europe. This fortress city, if held by the Belgians, would kill the German advance in its crib. This would be no easy task however, as the city was built in concrete and was designed in a way that could resist the heaviest artillery in the whole world. The city was defended by no less than 8000 Belgian men; the Germans had mobilized 30,000 men. The Belgian Army continued its retreat to Antwerp, followed by the German First Army, who split into two wings as one attacked towards Brussels and the other was in pursuit of the Belgians towards Antwerp. To the south, French commander in Chief Ferdinand Foch, despite Lanzerac’s warning of an impending German Invasion, continued Plan XVII, launched when Germany declared war.

The French Plan XVII first started with a French capture of Mulhause with a partial victory achieved. The second was an attack by the French Second Army along with Michel-Josheph’s Maunoury’s army on the German Sixth Army in Loraine. At first Successful, the attack was quickly countered by a German counterattack that even ended capturing Nancy. In the Ardennes front the Fourth Army moved in from Luxembourg meeting with the French near the Meuse, the French as a part of Plan XVII attacked on the Ardennes front, being a minor victory. The German Second Army had besieged the Namur fortresses on August 20th and took it 4 days later. The French Fifth Army, which had concentrated its lines around the Meuse and Sambre rivers, fought with the German Second and Third armies at Charleroi on the 21st, the battle ended three days later in A German victory. This was the start of the Great Retreat by the French Army.

On August 4th, the British Empire and its dominions had declared war on Germany, after the expiration of the ultimatum to Belgium. On August 16th, the British landed their expeditionary force, the BEF in Belgian ports. The German First Army had not noticed the BEF, until they were already at Antwerp, as per orders by Sir John French. The German Army, instead of engaging the British in battle, crossed the Scheldt river to the southern flank of the city, surrounding the Belgian army and the BEF on August 27th. The BEF had no choice but to go through the neutral territory of the Netherlands to supply Britain’s continental army. This violation of Dutch neutrality, caused the Dutch Government to send an ultimatum to the British on September 5th. A day later, the British Empire and The Netherlands were at war.

Germany: 275,000
France: 260,000
Britain: 50,000
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The Russian Bear Strikes

The Russian Bear Strikes

In the summer of 1914, the Russian Empire found itself embroiled in the chaos of the Great War. With tensions escalating and alliances being tested, the Russian armies launched offensives on multiple fronts, including the strategically significant regions of Tannenberg and Galicia.

In August 1914, the Russian Second Army, under the command of General Alexander Samsonov, initiated an attack on German forces in the vicinity of Tannenberg, located in East Prussia. The Russian plan aimed to swiftly defeat the German Eighth Army, led by General Paul von Hindenburg, and gain a foothold in German territory.

However, the Russian offensive was plagued by several critical factors. The Russian command structure faced communication challenges, hampering coordination and strategic decision-making. Moreover, the German forces had the advantage of superior mobility and more effective use of artillery, which allowed them to counter Russian movements effectively.

Recognizing the vulnerabilities in the Russian strategy, General Hindenburg and his chief of staff, General Max Hoffman, devised a plan to encircle and trap the Russian Second Army in a classic pincer movement. They swiftly moved reinforcements and skillfully exploited weaknesses in the Russian lines.

The Battle of Tannenberg, fought from August 26 to 30, 1914, witnessed a resounding victory for the German forces. The Russian Second Army suffered heavy casualties and faced significant losses in both personnel and equipment. General Samsonov, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the defeat, ultimately took his own life.

Simultaneously, on the Eastern Front, Russian forces clashed with the Austro-Hungarian armies in the region of Galicia. The Russian advance initially appeared successful, as they managed to push deep into Austrian territory and capture several key cities. However, despite their initial gains, the Russian forces faced significant challenges, including a lack of supplies and difficult terrain.

The Russian forces, lacking adequate supplies and facing the formidable Austro-Hungarian defense, struggled to maintain their momentum. Ultimately, the Austro-Hungarian counteroffensive proved successful, forcing the Russian forces to retreat and solidifying Austrian control over Galicia. The Austrian victory in Galicia not only halted the Russian advance but also demonstrated the effectiveness of their military strategy and resilience. This significant turn of events on the Eastern Front shifted the balance of power in favor of Austria-Hungary and dealt a significant blow to Russian aspirations in the region.

Austria Hungary: 100,000
Germany: 12,000
Russia: 450,000
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