Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Antony444, May 18, 2013.
Sure but no reason to make it any easy for Russia.
Russia could take 3 times the Ottoman's losses and not get slowed down. I don't like Russia too much (I prefer good old Bengal), but I'm being realistic. Though I do hope Russia can get some nonpuppet allies to balance out against France's coalition.
Too many, far too many. To be sure, the majority is still Russian, but if there were concerted revolts from all minorities, it would be a hell of a civil war.
For the moment, not many nations would jump the gun...except the Ottomans, the kingdoms, republics and empire have been bled white by the Great War. But what is impossible now might be completely different in twenty years.
Don't forget that while for exemple Chuan China doesn't like France (they fought by virtue of being in opposite blocks) it was the Russians who made a mess of Northern China and sold the weapons which killed hundreds of thousands Chinese. France isn't liked because it's one of the 'foreign devils'. Russia is loathed and the unwritten order if that should you meet a Russian soldier spying inside Chinese territory, the minimum is to kill him slowly.
Stranger things can and have happened, but an alliance between those two nations would be like Hitler allying with Stalin OTL. Sooner or later, one is going to betray the other and launch vast armies in an act of spite and hate.
Have't calculated the Russian population for now.
On this point the Ottomans are probably the 'least bad option' around. It allows France not to bother with a military occupation of a vital strategic point, and the country having it is not a Great Power so they can invade and take it if it really becomes necessary.
In theory, Russia can do that. In practise...they will need large garrisons across the Empire to hold it and a lot of troops can't be send soaking up the bullets before the commanders wake up one morning to realise that for example one or two division of Mandchu-recruited troops have decided it's much better to mutiny and kill the servants of the Tsarina rather than losing their lives storming forts the old-fashioned way.
Russia at the moment can't put down all the small rebellions and afford another war. The Great War was also a significant drain of manpower for them, and even Russians, used to serve an autocrat, do not like very much spending decades after decades on the frontlines as entire army corps are reduced to mere regiments and then companies.
And nobody at Moscow is under any illusion taking Istanbul is going to be easy. The Ottomans know the Russians are the most likely opponent they're going to face for the next survival challenge, and it's not exactly like the defenders will have a lot of difficulty discovering the deployment of Russian armies. Moreover, they will have to break through on the naval side too, because if the Ottomans can reinforce constantly the city from the eastern side, the siege will rapidly turn into an attrition nightmare.
In the kind of city fighting and fortress-breaking offensives that will be needed to take Ottoman Europe, any invader will need to fight the best armies of the Sublime Porte, and those will be well-entrenched, adequately supplied for the short and the middle term, and of course extremely motivated (if the tales of what Russia does in its annexed territory to non-Orthodox rebels doesn't motivate them, I don't know what will).
In the long term, the Russian victory is likely unavoidable. But taking Constantinople might be the crucible inflicting the first death blow to the apparently invincible Russian Bear.
Im fairly certain Russia isn’t up for any foreign adventure land anytime soon. Soon as in a hundred or so years crushing the massive amounts of territory it annexed.
That and the Ottomans have a trump card if worst comes to worst. They do what they did a while back and just sell some territory to France in return for a full commitment into a defensive war. (What exactly do the Ottomans hold now besides Anatolia and a bit of Greece?)
In a rational world, I'm sure war would be a prospect recognised as not affordable and thus put back in dusty boxes and forgotten in some old forgotten archives. We don't live ina very rational world.
This is not a very good idea. First, unless you sell the territory before the first Russian boot has taken it, France is going to refuse point-blank the sell. Yes, Paris don't want Moscow expanding further and beginning a rampage in Constantinople and Anatolia. Do they want instead to be suckered in a long and unpleasant war for the pretty eyes of the Ottomans? No, they don't. If the Sublime Porte tried a stunt forcing France to begin a new world war when they don't want it, they would be hell to pay, and while the Bourbon sovereigns are not as ruthless as the tsars, there are plenty of ways the Sultan and his subjects can rue the day they chose this strategy.
The Ottomans hold right at this moment Eastern Thrace and the neighbouring regions, Constantinople, Anatolia, some Caucasus lands, Mesopotamia, Syria, OTL Lebanon some Palestinian lands and the coastal lands of the Red Sea on the Mecca side. But selling any of these lands would be very much the beginning of the end, because it would be tantamount to admit they can't be the defenders of the Muslims and fight against the infidels and other unbelievers. And when the first domino falls...
One Japan, Zero Emperor (Japan 1902-1910)
The fratricidal war was at last over in the Japanese islands. Though the Great War had been responsible for many events, a lot of them awful and tragic, the realm which had been divided between Tokugawa Shogunate and Satsuma Shogunate was reunified. The ‘Chinese scenario’ where one dominant realm towered over a much weaker one dancing on the tune of foreign parties was avoided.
The first policies ordered by the victorious Southern Japanese were of course to rebuild. While the War of Reunification – the name the conflict on the Japanese Islands was given when Edo was captured – was a triumph, it also brought an incredible amount of devastation and deaths. In the plains, in the mountains and on the seas, Japanese had killed Japanese and modern artillery had rendered fertile lands uncultivable. Starvation was not unavoidable, but rationing didn’t end with a signature at the treaty of Manila. Large areas of central Honshu needed to be demined, their bunkers and trenches removed, and the former inhabitants found when they had not been slaughtered in the first offensives.
In second came the Southern efforts to erase the potential of a second civil war happening. The North had begun this war – a position which had the great advantage to be the truth – and the North had lost it. End of the story. The Emperor’s divine blood was evidently not divine enough to prevent him from giving his followers a great victory, and several newspapers and great authors hired by important figures of Nagasaki and Kagoshima took great care to unveil the problems generated by Tokugawa rule. Daimyos and senior figures of the Northern regime were tracked and searched for, and by 1906, those who had not fled their homeland were languishing in prisons for common criminals.
This had several effects in the Japanese culture. First, the title of Emperor was no longer to be used. There was some mysticism left, but this was mostly from the period preceding the era of Tokugawa rule. When Shogun Shimazu Teruhime died in 1904 of old age, her nephew Shimazu Takamori continued to be called Shogun. The title ‘Protector of the Japanese Lands and Seas’ was added to it, but Takamori would not seek divine justifications and neither would his descendants. No speech declared it in front of tens of thousands men, but the Japanese population wanted to be rule by a man, not by a semi-legendary figure they never saw or heard. The Northern nobility, which had remained several times more powerful than its Southern rival, was annihilated. Between the losses in the Great War, the revolts, the purges and the exiles, the daimyos families were but a shadow of themselves by 1905. And this led directly to the new status quo: Kagoshima was to remain capital of the new Japanese realm. There would be no official command to move the government’s seat to the old capital of Kyoto as it was proposed by several Northerners. Northern Japan was gone, the Tokugawa legacy was not one the Shimazu and their allies in the new Parliament wanted. Edo was not even chosen to be a provincial capital, when the new administrative reforms ended in 1907.
There was much discontent, but the numbers were supporting the Satsuma reforms. By 1902, the Japanese population on the mainland had descended to 41 million, but it was not a 50-50 repartition: there were twenty-six million ‘Southerners’ to prevail over fifteen million ‘Northerners’, a consequence of the short-sighted policies of the Tokugawa finance and agriculture rule. Worse, there were three million Chosen to add in this new nation and the survivors of the Tokugawa administration sent panicked secret messages overseas when they realised that, far from fighting each other, the Southern Japanese and the Southern Chosen population were allying to make sure no Northern influence would come to influence the new Japan they were building. For the Northern peasants who had been forgotten by their tyrannical masters, it was a neat period of improvement. The situation which developed for the rest of the decade didn’t improve the mood of those opposed to the rule of Kagoshima: industrial nodes rose from the earth by the hundreds, and the population skyrocketed, always with a good advantage for the South. By 1910, the Japanese Shogunate was home to fifty-one million inhabitants, and plenty of Southern men and women were moving north to export their way of life and find business opportunities.
The Emperor-in-exile, the exiled Tokugawa Shogun and his advisors, were front to confront the fact their hereditary enemies had broken the back of any potential fifth column well before they could be in position to stage a coordinated uprising.
And to pour salt on the injury, it was obvious the Satsuma Shogun and the reunified government were more preoccupied by two new potential enemies westwards rather than eastwards. The first was unquestionably Russia. In the beginning, the extension of Russian influence had been seen as a good thing, since it prevented a future Chinese reunification and having an Emperor next door demanding the return of Chosen. But as years passed, even the most optimistic General could not say there was a scenario where Beijing could emerge victorious if the Chuans mounted a new offensive. The Wu were a paper tiger, and the Japanese were beginning to remember who was currently occupying Hokkaido, preventing any Japanese expansion northwards.
Unfortunately, Chuan China was many things but not an ally. The anti-foreigner position was a strict one and Japanese were firmly anchored in it. The fact the Satsuma Shogun was year after year selling high-quality food and finished products out of its factories to Guangzhou and Shanghai never produced the warming-up in the relationships the politicians expected, guaranteeing Kagoshima continued to modernise its naval forces and renewed treaties with the French Empire. Encircled by potential hostile giants, the Japanese had little wish to provoke a war, but the tense diplomatic waters made obvious that sooner or later, there would a war to avenge the hatred created by the Great War...
Yeah, the Bear really need to work on his PR before he find himself alone against the rest of the world. I mean even allies do not trust him anymore. It is interesting to see Southern Chosen welcoming Japan because of the giants around sure but still, it is a development that can change a lot of things in this region.
Also from where did the nephew come? And why him? Will we see the first carrier in the Pacific before the next war?
Well, the Entente is truly dead by 1910, so it isn't exactly like Japan and Russia are allies. Former allies, yes. They have a common interest in ensuring China does not rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the Great War. But they are not allies, and it's extremely unlikely or not, there will be a new treaty signed between Moscow and Kagoshima the next decade.
The Shogun had no children who lived up to old age, so it's her brother's son, being the first in the line of succession who inherited the titel of Shogun.
As for the first carrier...there are experimentations by late 1910, but there's no frontline warship answering even to a lax definition of the term for the moment.
Nice to see that Japan is recovering and is a regional power, now that Wu is trash-tier and the only 2 threats are Chuan (who isn’t even close to them since it doesn’t share any borders) and Russia (and Russia has other issues, though it would still likely beat Japan but it would be hard and bloody).
I wonder why Japan didn’t take anything from Wu China when it went to hell, like a city or a province?
Also, why doesn’t Chuan China take over Taiwan? It’s not like California can take it back (even if it could, it’s people are likely more sick of war than the people in Chuan China are).
Even though the Tsarina is hot headed, she or her advisors should be aware she is losing international support. I’d keep Manchuria and drop the rest including the Japanese main island. Allies are worth more.
My friend, When has Russia EVER done the rational choice? It can be our timeline or any timeline, the result is the same.
Wrong angle of analysis, Russia like most country think "I need such resources for such purposes so I am strong enough to survive and prosper" Most of the time, your allies are a secondary concern. There is also the matter of national pride. ITTL Russia probably want to be an equal of France at the very least, Pride push them to try to surpass France by light years. Then in their culture, to be dominant is to subdue others.
When you think like that, the relations between nations, religions, cultures, ethnics, businesses, beliefs, etc, etc make a lot more sense. Pride, Envy, Greed, Vanity are behind most conflicts if you pass the surface. One of the reasons I am proud to live in Europe now, all these different countries trying to work together... It is hard, slow, sometimes frustrating but dammit we are building something big here (the Brexit will only be temporary, the younger generations are pro-EU) All things worth it are hard to attain, I just hope we will succeed in the end even with all the internal and external problems.
Japan didn't took anything from Wu China because they saw the return of flame from Russia's actions and didn't want to be seen in the same light, domestically or internationally. Plus Japan before the end of the Great War was mostly half of the home islands, and they already had to administer Tokugawa former lands and southern Korea. They didn't advance further or try to conquer more because otherwise, they would have been very thin on the ground and it places more strain on the treasury.
Chuan China may be able to take over Taiwan...emphasis on maybe. The Californian warships defending the island are more powerful than what China currently has available, and the island was well-fortified once it was taken from the Spanish (in order justly to avoid a Russian or French amphibious operation). It would take a lot of troops to conquer...and result of course in a declaration of war from at least the UPNG, California, Brunei and other clients from the former Central Alliance. They likely wouldn't be able to invade successfully China, but a naval blockade is largely within their means and the Chuan shipyards and economy would be devastated by such a blow.
Hokkaido has been successfully colonised by the Russians by now, and even the local Ainu are a tiny minority. Pride aside, the Japanese aren't exactly impartial here...and there's always the risk that once you abandon a piece of terriotry freely, the domino cascade follows some months later. First, it's Austria, then the Sudenten, then Lithuania and so on...
Interesting question. That said, on a purely strategic perspective, the possession of Hokkaido places the Russian armies perfectly for a northern invasion of Honshu should the Japanese declare war (instead of fighting them in Manchuria and the continent). So the perspective of gaining in ally is struggling against the vision of limiting the attraction of this attack axis.
Yeah, Russia need ressources...and so far, there has been nothing to disclaim ITTL that being a colonial power is a bad idea. Portugal lost Brazil and lost all respect and power, when the Dutch lsot their colonies in Batavia and the like they became a mere footnote, etc...
Yeah, too often wars are started by very questionable feelings and reasons. Looking that way, not much has changed since Rome fought the first Punic War with the Carthaginians.
If I had to guess, this would be the pecking order as of 1910:
Potential Superpowers/"Great Powers":
3. Chuan China (btw, if someone could tell me a rough estimate of Chuan China's population then I'd appreciate it)
4. Kingdom of Bengal
Where was the last world map?
Page 101 as well as 102.
Also, since the Scottish language will fade, I guess the Demoman from Team Fortress 2 will be Irish instead. Since Irish sounds far more similar to Scottish than British English does.
Also, I wonder when the next Great War is gonna be. These things are never just "once in a century", if I've learned anything from this website. If I had to guess, it'll be 1920's at the earliest and 1940's at the latest.
Puppets and Great Powers (East Indies 1902-1910)
There were countries which were relatively spared by the massive casualties of the Great War. The East Indies were not such a place. The world-spanning conflict was not a major change; it was a world-ending earthquake for the local populations, society and cultures. For as long as anyone could remember under these latitudes, Batavia had ruled the East Indies and the VOC had been its mailed fist. It was not a status quo which had been enjoyed: the exilic Dutch were far too fond of using mercenaries and professional troops to crush the rebellious heads and disperse the crowds by force.
But at least it had been orderly. During the war, the situation could be described a lot of way, but orderly was not one of them. As the Batavian claimants fought each other and the invading armies and fleets, order collapsed and neighbours fought neighbours. Local tribes and alliances decided to turn warlord, greedily gazing at the vacant spot left by their dead masters. The result was a pre-war unimaginable amount of chaos and tens of thousands deaths per month. There was no unifying figure and common ground now that the VOC inspector was gone, and a not-insignificant number of islands were the sites of awful behaviour involving coordinated massacres and ethnic cleansings.
The effect was catastrophic for the war effort, of that there was no doubt. But the Batavians didn’t care very much anymore about the Great War. Theirs was now an internal conflict against everyone and everything threatening their lives.
It was felt in the population numbers. By 1897, there were 38 million Batavians, all castes accounted for. By 1902 and the treaty of Manila, there was no VOC, no kingdom left, and the population in its former possessions was barely 27 million. Between the killings of the Aceh soldiers eager to regain the lands of their ancestors, the Brunei executions and the massive civil war, the East Indies were half-dead and one of the most impoverished theatres in the whole world.
Accordingly, the post-war situation of what had been a lone kingdom and was now divided between numerous states was a bit difficult, if one enjoys the euphemisms. Vital assets like bridges, harbours, roads or factories had been demolished, burned down or riddled with holes, when it was not the three at the same time. The finances were so bankrupt new expressions were used to describe the phenomenon. And the security forces were all six feet under the ground or sleeping with the fishes.
France and Madagascar had the easiest path to administer their conquests. By any standard, the territories they had conquered were utterly ruined. But it also meant they were plenty of purchases possible for ambitious colonists, and India and Antipodea were not far from Java. Madagascar assimilation policies were extremely popular, especially as people figured they were not under the rule of a power which could afford ignoring the voice of the local population. The people in French-held lands had a more pessimistic view of their new conquerors. Alas for them, rioting and mounting insurrections did not work. The French Empire had never been famous for its love of Batavians, and after the collapse of the Pact, there were hundreds of thousands French civilians who wanted to invest in the lands where the VOC had enjoyed its monopoly. The rebellions were put down brutally and the leaders sent to mining sites southwards.
Aceh and Singapore, on the other hand, had not the economy to survive the end of the Great War. Aceh had extended too much with a ridiculously small territory at the beginning, while Singapore had been a small part of Batavia. Alone, without a major industry, the two nations could not hold. France however had the will to keep them out of bankruptcy, and the raw resources of the region made them acceptable partners for the Empire’s internal markets. In 1908, the French Empire formalised the arrangement by signing the Reunion Accords – often nicknamed the Malay Accords – with the Kingdom of Singapore and the Sultanate of Aceh. No one voiced it out loud, but it was recognised for it was: an economic and military alliance destined to keep the UPNG and its allies east of the Malay barrier. Only shadow on the board, Madagascar refused to sign. They wanted a part of Mozambique and a treaty of alliance against the Republic of the Cape – and not the defensive kind of treaty either. Knowing of London’s stranglehold over Portugal, Charlotte II and her diplomatic envoys refused.
This was a serious gap in the Malay barrier, but the UPNG, exhausted by the Great War and meeting incredible difficulties to assimilate its annexations, was not in a position to exploit this. The population of the Philippines was not happy at the idea of trading the Spanish for the Granadans. The Sultanate of Brunei wanted more money to repair everything now that Borneo was theirs. New Guinea belonged to Carolina, but Columbia lacked a proper merchant navy in the East Indies after it was sunk or blockaded for years. And of course the Republic of Vietnam proved itself a difficult partner, preferring to sell to the highest bidder its rice harvests and the products of its fertile soil. The Accords of the South Seas signed in 1910 were thus more an agreement fixing the conditions of trade and the principal resources of the region. It also gave the Philippines and Celebes the status of ‘Dominion’ of the UPNG, the islands would be eventually integrated ‘as soon as possible’ in the UPNG and its inhabitants would become full citizens.
One thing was sure, before war there would have to be rebuilding, because by 1910 the ravages of the Great War were still clearly visible and the ex-Batavians often lamented at the prosperity they took for granted under the golden system of the VOC...
11 million dead? Yikes.
Madagascar is already becoming too greedy, let's hope it is only because of the actual ruler and that the next one will be smarter.
Ace and Singapore are really lucky France feels strong enough that there is no need to "vassalize" both countries more than necessary.
UPNG is also showing they were not ready for this mess. Conquering lands might seems a good idea at first till you look at the cost of fixing them.
Carolinas is in a bad position, no fleet to either fix the conquered lands or import wealth from them. Good luck explaining to their people this mess "Our military was victorious but we have no way to capitalize on it, sorry"
The situation of the UPNG and Carolinas in this theater are paving the road for a conquering Japan. They are just lucky Russia have become such a scarecrow that Japan can't look East or South. Still, they better fix the situation in a hurry. After all, France could also choose to conquer these lands itself if both American countries need to be humbled.
Yes, it was...well, bloody is underestimating the magnitude of the carnage.
Yes, a king overseas has taken the big head and needs a few checks on his ego. Unfortunately, he is the King.
By this point, France doesn't really feel the need to annex more, especially that right now, it's more nations in ruin to deal with and populations which have never been in the French sphere of influence.
Yes, the ex-members fo the Central Alliance are discovering that imperialism does not tolerate improvisation in this age.
Yes, Japan...well, the Philippines do not interest the Shogun or his advisors. It's full of rebels, and there's not much resources to exploit. The East Indies would have been more valuable, but seeing the mountain of corpses and the difficulties of the current colonisers does not encourage foreign adventures in this direction.
Yes, this is a situation which could pave the road for a Japanese conquest...or another country having big ambitions.
Separate names with a comma.