This is an idea I've had kicking around since I studied World War I in high school, and the irrational paranoia with which everyone proceeded at the beginning. I've had the rather heretical hypothesis (but not unfamiliar on here I'm sure) that a German victory in WWI would have been a more positive outcome, as it would have avoided the Weimar period, the rise of the Nazis, and WWII. Germany winning WWII is certainly the most common theme in alternate history, but I haven't heard of much exploring WWI. The other question that stands out is why the conflict between the Central Powers and Russia escalated into a continent-wide war. It seemed to me that France, and by extension Britain, were in no mood to get into a war, and it could easily have been limited to the east. The key moment is the confrontation between Kaiser Wilhelm II and Helmuth von Moltke the younger on the night of August 1, 1914. Having received some diplomatic dispatches indicating Britain and France were prepared to stay neutral in the already declared Russo-German war, the Kaiser declares "We march then, ...only to the east." Moltke replied, "It cannot be done." The troop trains were already on their way towards Belgium, and the precise coordination of the railway schedules made it impossible to stop them. Wilhelm famously snapped at Moltke, "Your uncle would have given me a different answer." The POD: Seeing Moltke stunned and wounded by this reproach, the Kaiser demands to be put in touch with the head of the railway division, General von Staab, to hear from him whether the westward bound trains can be stopped. Von Staab (known for writing a book refuting Moltke's position), informs the Kaiser that they can. Greatly relieved, Wilhelm orders an immediate change in course, and the trains grind to a halt before any German troops have crossed into Belgium. Following von Staab's design, three armies are left near the French border to guard against any attack, and four are redeployed to the east, arriving by August 15. Having avoided a two-front war, Germany repulses the initial Russian attack on East Prussia and advances quickly into Russian territory. By the end of 1914, at the latest, Russia is defeated. A treaty is signed similar to Brest-Litovsk, and Germany sets about establishing its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe much as it did in OTL 1917-18. Europe in 1915 looks like this: Germany annexes the Polish Border Strip, with the remainder of Congress Poland becoming a client kingdom under Archduke Karl Stephan. The rest of the territory taken from Russia is formed into five client states: the Kingdom of Lithuania (Wilhelm of Urach) the United Baltic Duchy (Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg) the Kingdom of Finland (Frederick Karl of Hesse) the Ukrainian State the Belarusian Republic German troops remain stationed in all except Finland, while Austria-Hungary occupies Bessarabia and Serbia. Part 2 to follow soon.