Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Rattigan, Dec 17, 2018.
Interesting, I await more with some eager anticipation.
I wonder if the Bolsheviks will leak the secret treaties as they did OTL, and if they will, what effect would it cause among the Entente, given that there are no 14 Points and no one is promising national self-determination to the Central Europe.
By the way, has Italy remained neutral?
Yes, Italy (and Romania) have remained neutral thusfar. The key difference is that Antonio di san Giuliano remains at the Italian Foreign Ministry for several more years (IOTL he died in 1914) and his cynicism (plus support from the business community) keeps the country neutral. Italy is actually doing pretty well out of the war so far: its manufacturing and agricultural industries have been boosted through orders from both sides (much like the UK, but in a smaller way).
ITTL Bolsheviks are interesting (or, at least, I think so). Without giving anything away, at the beginning of the next update they'll take a series of very un-OTL-Bolshevik decisions.
Breaking the Iron Circle: The Great War, 1918
Left to right: EEF cavalry maneuvering at the Battle of Megiddo; IEF infantry advancing with tanks at the Battle of Trier; American infantry celebrating the signing of the Armistice of Cochem in July
The destruction of the Kaiserliche Marine as a viable force had completely changed the calculus of the war, not just for the belligerents but also for neutral powers. Thus, when the Entente hosted a supreme war council in London in January 1918, they were joined not only by representatives of all the members of the Entente (including the Bolsheviks) but also, secretly, by representatives of the governments of Italy and Romania. Although both the British and the Russians were keen (albeit for different reasons) to prevent more countries joining in and having territorial claims in an eventual peace treaty, they did not manage to overrule their French and American allies, who wanted more countries on their side and were now actively seeking the dismemberment of the Habsburg and Hohenzollern Empires.
The Russian government was represented by Yakov Sverdlov and Leon Trotsky. Although none of the other Entente powers were comfortable with a Marxist government, they managed to swallow their objections in the circumstances, extending official recognition to Lenin’s new regime. They also agreed that the campaigning in 1918 would focus on the Western, Balkan and Middle Eastern Fronts, allowing the Bolsheviks to have a free reign to consolidate their regime in Russia. In return, Trotsky agreed to keep Russia (formally) in the war, although it was understood that for at least a year their presence would be to prevent the Germans from reassigning too many forces to the Western Front. Furthermore, the Russian representatives negotiated with the British government to keep the lines of credit open to them (albeit under significantly tighter restrictions than had been in place before) and provisionally agreed to continue to pay back loans taken out under the Tsar and the provisional government. Also agreed, but kept off the books, was that the British would receive the Tsar and his family as political refugees.
Although both Wood and Joffre wanted to incorporate the IEF into their own flagging forces, both Monash and Kitchener were opposed to this and received support from Lloyd George, who was adamant that the UK put distance between itself and the rest of the Entente. Instead, it was agreed that the IEF would take the lead role in a fresh offensive along the stretch of line between Belgium and Alsace-Lorraine. Under Monash’s command, the IEF successfully deployed their combined-arms ‘lightning war’ techniques in a crushing victory at the Battle of Reims (8-12 March). This was followed up by another victory at the Battle of Sedan (21-29 March), which broke the German lines and forced them to enter a full retreat back to their defensive positions within Germany itself.
That same month saw further success for the Entente, as Italy and Romania finally entered the war. Romanian forces invaded Transylvania on 7 March, catching the Austrians by surprise and being able to advance as far as Klausenburg before a credible defence could be mounted. The Austrian defenders lacked the numbers and morale to successfully repel an invasion of a region with a significant Romanian population. On 9 April, the Austrians suffered a tactical defeat at the Battle of Timisoara, which forced the Austrians to abandon plans for a counter-attack and from thereon in the front settled into a stalemate.
Under the overall command of Marshal Armando Diaz, the Italian army attacked a hastily-organised Austrian army at the Battle of the Isonzo, winning a victory and breaking into the Slovenian plateau on 15 April, opening up the path to then Vienna itself. Germany hastily attempted to come to the aid of their allies by reassigning Prince Rupprecht and his Bavarian 6th Army from the Eastern Front down to the Alps. However, they arrived too late to help as the Italians inflicted another defeat on the Austrians at the Battle of Ljubljana on 24 May - 4 June. Seeing the situation for what it was, Austrian Emperor Franz Ferdinand I sued for an armistice with the Entente and Rupprecht diverted his army to Munich. There, Rupprecht overthrew his pro-Hohenzollern father, Ludwig III, on 7 June and proclaimed himself King of Bavaria in his stead. Rupprecht then seceded Bavaria from the German Empire and signed the Armistice of Vittorio Veneto with the Italians, Austrians and Romanians on 12 June.
Although the rest of the Entente was furious about the Italian-arranged armistice it was presented as a fait accompli and, with the Austrian government rapidly withdrawing its troops from the Eastern and Balkan Fronts, there was little appetite to actively reject it. The absence of the Austrians in the Balkans meant that the League could organise a (primarily) Bulgarian push for Constantinople. With the German Eighth Army withdrawn, all that stood between the League and Istanbul was a demoralised and under-equipped Ottoman army. The assault began with an artillery barrage on 15 April, which had a devastating effect on Ottoman morale and lead to mass desertions.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the Hejazi army had advanced to the outskirts of Baghdad by January 1918. Faisal, the commander in chief of the Arab forces, successfully outmaneuvered the Ottoman defenders and expelled them in disarray on 11 March. In April, Allenby’s forces resumed the offensive in Palestine and inflicted another decisive defeat on the Ottomans at the Battle of Megiddo on 25 April. By now, the Ottoman lines in Palestine was riddled with holes, allowing the EEF’s mounted and mechanised forces to push through and destroy three Ottoman armies at Sharon, Nablus and the Jordan Valley over the course May. The EEF and Hejazi armies then began to race into Syria, trying to seize as much territory even as they knew that the Ottomans were in armistice negotiations with the Entente. EEF and Arab forces (commanded in Palestine by T.E. Lawrence) joined up and were able to enter Damascus unopposed on 1 June 1918. At the same time, Faisal’s forces advanced up the Tigris and captured most of another Ottoman army at the Battle of Sharqat on 23 June. Two days later, the Arab-EEF army captured Aleppo. The Three Pashas agreed to give up Istanbul without a fight in exchange for agreeing the Armistice of Constantinople on 30 June.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the IEF was advancing along the Mosel River, while French and American forces harried the German armies from the south and north, respectively. Falkenhayn had been removed from command in the winter of 1917 and command handed over to August von Mackensen, who attempted to organise a defence. However, the hastily-constructed ‘Mackensen Line’ was broken by the IEF at the Battle of Trier on 8 June. After this, German forces were in a state of absolute retreat and combat devolved into a series of fighting rearguard actions as the IEF cut towards the Rhine. The defeat at Trier convinced the German High Command that an armistice was the only option. Ludendorff, now in command of what was left of Germany’s reserve forces, informed the Kaiser that he could not guarantee that he could keep his armies in the field and recommended that Germany adopt a democratic constitution to better encourage a favourable peace from the Entente. When Wilhelm II demurred, he was removed in a coup on 3 July. In his place, his son was crowned Wilhelm III and the liberal Max von Baden was appointed Chancellor, with instructions to seek an armistice.
An armistice was hurriedly agreed upon in a British troop train outside Cochem, with negotiations lasting lasting from 8-11 July. It was signed at around 5:30 am and came into effect at midday. The terms of the armistice were an immediate end to all fighting, the surrender of German artillery and machine guns west of the Rhine and the evacuation of German troops from the Rhine Province and the Rhur region. Although peace had still to be negotiated, after 5 years the fighting had finally stopped.
So how many seconds is it going to take for the German high command to start spreading rumours of the British entering the war due to a Jewish plot?
Especially when you consider that the Entente was funded by a syndicate of British banks of which Rothschild & Sons was amongst the most prominent...
It comes to a point where you nearly want the communists to take over East Germany. "Break up the junker landowning class" is certainly preferable to "Kill all the Jews", at least it would be targeting a group much more responsible for Germany's situation than Jewish Germans.
Sadly. I think you'd be hard-placed to call the GDR a humanitarian success but when you look at what came before it you have to admit that that ruling class didn't exactly help its case...
I suppose Max von Baden is appointed on July 3rd, not October 3rd?
Otherweise, fascinating. Keeping the Bolsheviks in the war is going to change a ton. First of all, if TTL's October Revolution featured an alliance with the Left SRs, too, then that alliance might not break (or at least we haven't heard of such a split), so the possibility of a two-party system is still there. Also, no Entente support for the "Whites" means the Bolsheviks take control much faster. In the best case, the Red Terror is butterflied (or at least postponed) altogether. Btw, how is the internal situation in Russia?
Also, no Kiel Mutiny, so no German revolution so far. What is the political landscape of defeated Germany roughly like ITTL?
If this heads where I think it heads - less frightening Red Russia and less of a communist domino across Europe -, then the chances for Labour in the UK to actually govern (not just calm bourgeois panic) are significantly improved.
It seems unlikely that britain would allow an arrengment that divides the marmara region in two. The UK would taje control of the region as a protectorate like in otl. Also half or more of eastern thrace population is muslim what is gonna happen to them? Also what about Attaturk and the turkish independence war?
Britain is in good conditions can they interfiere to avoid the ethnic mess of the greek turkish war? Maybe the ethnic frontier between the two is less "pure" in this tml.
On von Baden - good catch on that typo: I've changed the date.
So my next update will be on the peace conference which will touch on European politics. I'll then do another update after that on domestic events in Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia (not, as you'll see, that they are unrelated), then one on the Middle East and then an update on British domestic politics up to the next election. That will take us, more or less, up to the end of 1922, at which point I'll switch back to my primary focus on British and Imperial events with occasional digressions to cover the American/European/Latin American scene.
On the future of the Bolshevik regime, the question of whether the one-party state was inevitable or not is certainly an interesting one. I tend to think that the vanguard party ideology to which Lenin subscribed made a kind of dictatorship pretty much inevitable but I think it's reasonable to speculate otherwise.
The ethnic make-up of the Balkans and Asia Minor is just as much of a mess ITTL as IOTL: there isn't a simple solution ahead, that's for sure.
I agree that the British aren't happy that the Greeks and Bulgarians captured Constantinople but the Entente ITTL is even less of an alliance than IOTL: basically every member is trying to pursue its own ends in a way that conflicts with the aims of another member.
Ataturk is still about ITTL and is going to be a big figure in Turkish politics. I'll be doing an update covering the Middle East up to c.1922 soon so that should hopefully answer your questions on that front.
But the British, should have both the political and military might to force a compromise in the face of all the different claims by the Entente?
I wouldn't think so tbh. I mean, IOTL, the US emerged in 1918 as the world's preeminent economic and diplomatic power but, frankly, the rest of the world didn't recognise that at the time and so the Americans were very far from being able to impose their will freely at Versailles (for a variety of reasons).
But the different, is that the British Empire was arguably the sole Superpower at the time, and quite a lot of knew it at the time.
But who the hell knows, what the rest of Entente might do.
Great Britain certainly isn't the sole superpower or preeminent, this isn't an reversal of the UK and USA at the end of the Great War.
The economy of the USA still outmasses the UK, even if the UK should have a superior per capita after years of peace and exports.
The USA and France will both considerably more men under arms, and be more responsible for the frontline with the Central Powers.
With years of peace instead of bloody trench warfare, a far more tranquil home situation, and a navy that's become the global standard bear of commercial activity, the British are definitely sitting pretty at the table. But while their views will be considered and hold some sway, they definitely cannot dictate to France, the USA, or USSR.
Particularly when the French and Americans have spent years bleeding together as comrades, while also discussing their plans for the post-War world. I wouldn't be surprised if the Franco-American diplomats are far more aligned and conciliatory with one another, as opposed to Perfidious Albion.
Got to remember pre WW1 just how much of the US economy is actually owned by Britain, some estimates put it as high as a quarter. Britain's income from abroad was 1/10 trade , 9/10ths services including dividends, loan repayments etc. ITTL that ratio is likely to be if anything higher. So Britain is sitting there full of money ( especially if Russia pays up unlike OTL ) but actually in many cases does not care too much what happens as long as Europe stays balanced.
As the Greeks/Bulgarians are no longer aligned with Russia, due to the revolution, Britain will be happy that they control Constantinople, indeed them being stronger is a plus. The Ottomans are being dismembered come what may and Britain will use its Arab links as well as boots on the ground to its advantage. France is still going to want a slice so haggling will occur. The Americans will not be after territory in Europe but like the French are probably after ensuring Germany does not get a round two ( war ITTL was longer so positions will be harder) together with self determination for the former parts of Austro-Hungary.
Japan will as OTL claim all the pacific colonies, this will cause friction with America and being more invested, a slightly different outcome is possible.
Or for the liberal government they argued should negotiate the peace being the real reason they lost?
The Kaiser should have listened to his generals! Anglo-French hoards! 1 A7V = 5 FT17s!
If the Hashemite arab Kingdom is under british influence then maybe france or italy declare turks to be under their protectorate? This gives them an excuse to claim a prise in turkish majority lands and even some influence on the straits. Also in otl Italy reclaimed to be the protector of the albanians I guess they would take advantage of their lack of war exhaustation to take over Albania, which the albanians may even recibe entusiastically compared of what the balkan powers have recerved for them.
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