Let Them Pass

Author's fiat - Belgium will be fought over.
Again sorry, but that is a comment by an unreliable narator, that also sounds very French. Also destined could Imo mean that the French planned to go into Belgium... but until now we have not seen them do it in a major way. Add that a naval bombardment of the coast or a raid could still count towards Belgium being a battleground.

So in the end, we do not know how the TL will resolve and as of right now, I personaly see the Germans in a much better position then in OTL. Even with the uncaracteristicaly defensive French in the beginning Germany is still better of then OTL as they control very important resource areas that OTL were important in keeping the French going and the better position regarding the Channel.

One thing that is still shrouded is the Eastern Front and that could scupper up the German position, but without the fighting in Belgium and thus the availability of troops OTL bound there, I think that the course should not change overly much. As the systemic problems of the Russians are still the same as OTL and Germany should have more resources available to deal with them.
 
That is authors fiat. OTL the French army never had much success against the German in offensives and the two armies moved north and west would allow German counters
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
Belgium didn't abandon their sovereignty. I'm not sure if you've forgotten or just didn't notice, they agreed to allow the Germans to pass through, on the condition that the German Army respect the lives and property of Belgium's citizens, and that any and all misdemeanors will be duly acted against by the Belgian Army and police. A condition that the Germans accepted and lived up to.

German troops aren't occupying Belgium. No German officers are dictating internal affairs to the Belgian government in Brussels. The Belgian Army retains a deterring element against German (or Entente) attempts at outright aggression.

Belgium merely secured their sovereignty by non-military means.
Belgium also breached her international obligations under the Treaty of London and the Hague Convention.

Now, the Germans would have done so first, by requesting passage through a nation whose neutrality was supposedly assured by international agreement.

But Belgium, no matter what the reason (& I happen to think it is a reasonable if not best decision), has effectively aided Germany in the invasion of a third nation, and that will not be forgotten by France.

Realistically Belgium was in a no-win situation OTL & TTL. You either end up fighting the Germans or fighting the Entente. There is no middle ground.
 
Belgium didn't abandon their sovereignty. I'm not sure if you've forgotten or just didn't notice, they agreed to allow the Germans to pass through, on the condition that the German Army respect the lives and property of Belgium's citizens, and that any and all misdemeanors will be duly acted against by the Belgian Army and police. A condition that the Germans accepted and lived up to.

German troops aren't occupying Belgium. No German officers are dictating internal affairs to the Belgian government in Brussels. The Belgian Army retains a deterring element against German (or Entente) attempts at outright aggression.

Belgium merely secured their sovereignty by non-military means.
Belgium post war will be diplomatic isolated and with the only nation capable to be an immediate counter to Germany not only neutered but hating them guts...they will not having other choice that align themselfs with Germany more or less like Finland had done with the URSS and that's the most optimistic scenario, as it's more probable that Berlin will politely request to have bases for his army and navy in Belgium postwar as protection against the British. The Belgian Army credibility as deterrent ceased the moment the Germans were permitted to pass through (and now even if they want do to do something they are in a worse strategic position than before the war), now in Berlin eyes they can simply do a show of force, made their request acceptable and erode the nation sovereignity a piece at the time as Bruxelles don't have the mean to stand alone against Germany and everybody knows it
 
The Belgian Army credibility as deterrent ceased the moment the Germans were permitted to pass through (and now even if they want do to do something they are in a worse strategic position than before the war), now in Berlin eyes they can simply do a show of force, made their request acceptable and erode the nation sovereignity a piece at the time as Bruxelles don't have the mean to stand alone against Germany and everybody knows it
There wasn't long term enmity towards the French for Vichy, after Vichy was taken over.

King Albert may be thought of as a Heel, but keeping Belgium out of being a battleground, that a goal.
And no-one bags on Luxembourg for being overrun by a far larger military without a fight.

And for loss of sovereignty, hasn't the EU been doing that anyway?
 
King Albert may be thought of as a Heel, but keeping Belgium out of being a battleground, that a goal.
And no-one bags on Luxembourg for being overrun by a far larger military without a fight.
Not saying that i don't understand his choice, just merely pointing the fact that action had consequences and by letting the German pass, he merely choose death by thousand cuts and Luxemburg is not bagged because, it's small and really nobody believe that had the mean to resist more than a couple of hours...Belgium is different and by doing that King Albert has openly broken a lot of treaties and basically handed victory in the western front to Germany on a silver platter, it's not something that can easily forget, not by Paris and not by London that in any case they will understand that Belgium port are basically in the hand of the German navy in case of any crisis unless they strike first.

There wasn't long term enmity towards the French for Vichy, after Vichy was taken over.
Mostly because of De Gaulle and the rest of the Free French and frankly mostly will depend on the terms the French will receive and i doubt they will be lenient...so it's a very different situation, the only thing certain is that by now Belgium neutrality will be considered a joke by everyone.

And for loss of sovereignty, hasn't the EU been doing that anyway?
Oh my...there is a 'little' difference between whatever Imperial Germany want to do with the MittelEuropa project in term of sovereignity kept by the partecipant that's are not called Germany and whose interest first and foremost are served by such project and the volutarily mutally beneficial cooperative alliance that's the European Union and if you believe they are remotely similar, well there is a serious problem
 
At the moment, the British haven't locked out the Transatlantic cables, so the story of the French Army, merrily Raping poor Wallonian girls next to the bodies of their family members, only stopped by the relieving Germans, has already hit the teletypes
Historically the RN only managed to sever the telegraph cable between Germany and North America at the end of April 1915, communications continued until this point.

Also Germany has a radio link, through the installation at Nauen, which could reach North America. In 1914 it was the only radio station that could do so.
Historically it transmitted news two or more times each to the two Telefunken stations in the USA, mainly the one at Sayville in Suffolk County in New York (the other station was at Tuckerton in New Jersey).
Interestingly (and I'm getting a little OT) during the war Sayville operated under USN supervision to preserve neutrality; no communication to German ships was permitted.
This ended when the USMC seized the station on 01APR1917. It was a focus of US espionage efforts from it's opening in 1912.
From Sayville, clerks passed the news via the telegraph network to the main American news agencies and up to two thousand newpapers.
 
Chapter 15: The Marne Disaster (Part 4)

Geon

Donor
Chapter 15: the Marne Disaster (Part 4)

August 17, 1914: Paris: The news of the evacuation of the government and the emptying of the Louvre, the National Library, and the National Bank spreads slowly. President Poincare’ has reluctantly decided based on General Joffre’s recommendation to keep the news quiet. So, while Parisian newspapers do not report the news that morning, nevertheless the news still spreads by word of mouth.

By 9:00 a.m. word has spread throughout Paris. The government has abandoned the city! At this point alarm sets in followed by panic.

By 10:00 a.m. there is a run on the banks as Parisians seek to draw out their funds. By noon all the banks in Paris are forced to close their doors as their assets are completely gone. Armed police try to break up crowds outside the banks and riots ensue.

Likewise, stores are raided by panicked mobs seeking whatever they can get whether they can pay for it or not. Looting is widespread. People are in grab and run mode. Again, the police are forced to use deadly force in various areas.

In his headquarters Joffre is made aware of the rising unrest but is unconcerned. He is concentrating on the offensive which should be under way at this moment and is anxiously awaiting word of its success. He simply tells the Commissioner of Public Safety in Paris to “deal with it.”

For the Commissioner “deal with it” means send in squads of police in force. Within hours the jails are full to bursting. And anxious relatives and loved ones who were preparing to flee the city are gathered outside demanding the release of their loved ones. Over the day the mood of these crowds is becoming more and more ugly.

Meantime the roads out of Paris to the south become clogged as the citizens of the city flee. Cars, horses, wagons, all join a massive exodus out of the city. Traffic control is non-existent. And fights and accidents are quite common.

All of this should not be taken to mean there were no acts of kindness or compassion during this time. Many store owners throw open their doors and gave food out for free, only making sure that everyone who comes to them is able to get something until their shelves are empty.

At churches throughout the city the clergy hold prayer vigils for those whom for whatever reason are unable to leave the city and seeking some measure of comfort. And in some cases, priests are seen helping gendarmes to guide traffic in some areas of the city where the police are stretched to the limit.

As night falls looting becomes even more widespread and fires break out in several sections of the city started by communists, fascists, anarchists, hooligans, take your pick! The Parisian Fire Department finds themselves swamped trying to deal with the various calls. And getting through the streets still crowded with evacuees is difficult if not impossible.

By sunset the Great Panic has claimed 350 lives, with another 1,002 wounded. Several million francs of damage have been done. And this is only the beginning.
 
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And so it begins, the German drive to Paris. Given fresh troops, superior logistics this time around, I’d give Germany good chances at breaking through, or at least taking more of France’s coal and iron fields.
If Paris is taken, or even neutralised by artillery, it will have catastropic implications for France. The morale blow, the loss of railway infrastructure and connections, the disruption to the bureaucracy that runs the country and the loss of manufacturing will probably force France to make peace. After all very few people in 1914 expected the war to be as large, long or catastrophic as it was.
 
Chapter 8: Take the Long Road to Paris

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Meantime Herrick is concerned for the safety of the monuments he has been tasked with protecting. He wires a request to President Wilson for a “small contingent” of about 60 army troops to be debarked immediately for France to help guard the various monuments, specifically the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre.
<>
Isn't that going to constitute a gross breech of US neutrality?
 
Isn't that going to constitute a gross breech of US neutrality?
Pretty sure that's why Wilson said no. He's not going to risk having to answer funny questions from Congress on why he put American troops in a situation where they'd have no choice but to involve themselves in a war between Great Powers.

France isn't some tin pot banana republic in the USA's backyard, where the President has unofficial leeway to send in the marines for some gunboat diplomacy to secure American economic interests. It's a Great Power, and one involved in a war with other Great Powers, and the President does not have the unilateral authority to involve the USA in such serious issues without consulting Congress first.

Well, at the time the President didn't have the authority, but I'll digress on that point.
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
If No-Mans Land runs mostly thru France for four years rather than Belgium, the Belgians won't mind that the middle ground isn't on their territory
They will if, at some time in the future - next month, 4 years time... the Entente push the Germans back. The French will be all too willing to return some of the destruction visited by the Germans and (in Entente eyes) abetted by the Belgians. The French held a grudge for 40 years over Alsace-Lorraine; they will be even more set on revenge for Lille & Bethune.

It might have been a smarter play for Albert to simply surrender but also offer no aid to the Germans - no Belgians working the trains, no German access to supplies - except at the point of a bayonet. Then he could cry that it was force majeure.
 
hey will if, at some time in the future - next month, 4 years time... the Entente push the Germans back.
The only time there was large changes in the Front, was 1914 and 1918, as theGermans moved in and then when the German fell apart.

Fast moving armies cause far less Devastation than sitting on the same ground of four years of shellfire, over the same ground, again and again, with the other bits as occupied territory by both sides,with Allied Occupied areas in better shape since the Belgians were part of that alliance, not that it made any difference to the Belgian refugees on both sides of No-Mans Land.
This TL,all of Belgium isn't occupied by anyone beside the Belgian Army, who is making sure that the Germans stay in their lane at this point of 1914.

Point has been made that French have declared War on Belgium, but have they responded with their own Declaration?
 
Chapter 16: Disaster on the Marne (part 5)

Geon

Donor
Chapter 16: The Marne Disaster (Part 5)

August 17, 1914; The Marne River: At 6 A.M. after an artillery barrage starting at 4 the French launch their counterattack. Elements of the French 4th and 9th armies under Generals Langle and Foch cross the Marne to engage German forces before they can reach the Marne. The 9th crosses near Chateau Thierry and the 4th near Epernay.

Observers for the French News agencies reporting on this most important of battles note how resplendent the French look in their colorful uniforms. Those uniforms are quickly shown to be a liability as the forward lines of the French attackers are mowed down by waves of machine gun fire and artillery from the advancing Germans.

Within less then a half hour the first attack waves of both 4th and 9th Armies are shattered and retreating across the Marne. At 9 A.M. the French order a second artillery bombardment and then attempt a second attack after regrouping at Noon.

The second counterattack fares no better than the first. As the French are preparing for a third attack wave the Germans reach the Marne.

For the rest of the afternoon the battered 4th and 9th Armies hold the southern bank of the Marne, but the incessant German pressure is starting to strain the lines

By evening the French forces have suffered major casualties and the Germans have begun to breach the Marne Line. Foch and Langle have been out of contact with Joffre in Paris for the entirety of the day due to German units who have successfully slipped behind the lines to cut telegraph communications.

By runner Foch is able to communicate with Langle that the French armies must retreat if they hope to survive. Langle agrees. And so, without orders from Joffre and on their own recognizance Langle and Foch retreat to a line from Pontoise to Montmirall.

By the time these orders are issued messengers arrive from Joffre in Paris demanding information on the success of the counteroffensive. They are shocked to learn the counterattack has been a disaster. Foch acting for himself and Langle sends word back via the messengers on the present tactical situation and urges Joffre to reconsider declaring Paris an “open city” to spare the inhabitants.

The messengers leave to return to Paris at 4:45 P.M. but given the havoc in the city now, it will be well after dark before they are able to reach Joffre with the news.

French troops have suffered 15,000 casualties (8,913 dead, 4,300 wounded, and 1,787 taken prisoner). The Germans have suffered 3,432 casualties (2,100 dead, 1,282 injured, and 50 taken prisoner).

Both 4th and 9th Armies need time to regroup. But Generals Hausen and Bulow have other plans.
 
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Any chance of a map? Even a screen shot of Google maps with the front line towns joined by walking direction would do. I'm lost trying to visualize Paris and the sea flank
 

Geon

Donor
Any chance of a map? Even a screen shot of Google maps with the front line towns joined by walking direction would do. I'm lost trying to visualize Paris and the sea flank
There are some maps back on page 4 of the thread @Riain . Sorry, but I've never had any luck with posting maps or illustrations here for some reason. Best I can say is that Foch and Langle have pulled back to a line closer to Paris. If you look at the maps on page 4 draw a line from Pontoise to Montmirall. That will give you the general idea.
 
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