Speaking of Dreyfusards, is the case proceeding as per OTL? There were quite a number of things that could have been butterflied easily- the mysterious deaths, the assassination attempt on the lead defence counsel that probably led to the failure of the retrial etc.
 
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Can I ask something? Can we get a list of what happened all around the world? I really love reading this story but I, sometimes, have things that doesn't interest me *cough* France and English Army *cough* and I know they will be important.
So, can you please give us a small summary of this wildly different world?
 
Speaking of Dreyfusards, is the case proceeding as per OTL? There were quite a number of things that could have been butterflied easily- the mysterious deaths, the assassination attempt on the lead defence counsel that probably led to the failure of the retrial etc.
The rabbit hole of genuine historical French conspiracies - and the beliefs people at the time held about imaginary conspiracies - is deep. Mines of Moria-deep. It is really hard to beat the historical twists and turns of these events, and hard to write about them without starting sound too tinfoil-hatted. But they offer excellent timeline material.
The fact that Wilhelm II has already made his grand declaration at Jerusalem will make some Frenchmen very, very agitated indeed.
 
Can I ask something? Can we get a list of what happened all around the world? I really love reading this story but I, sometimes, have things that doesn't interest me *cough* France and English Army *cough* and I know they will be important.
So, can you please give us a small summary of this wildly different world?
Certainly. Roughly in chronological order:
China has a new dynasty after the Boxer revolt turned into an actual war.
France staged an intervention to southern China, and Japan kept her presence in the Boxer War rather minimal.
Russia and Japan found enough common ground to avoid a war in the Far East.
President McKinley is alive.
Russian Empire sees no need to do any internal major reforms, but is suffering from terrorism. Lenin is dead, tuberculosis got the better of him.
The Anglo-Japanese alliance has been signed, and later on extended to cover the North-Eastern Frontier if need be.
British politics are a tad different, with a new Liberal cabinet of Earl Spencer being opposed by protectionists led by Joseph Chamberlain.
German foreign policy under Chancellor von Eulenburg has been cautious, but Britain is still not amused by the German attics. Some cooperation, like the Baghdad Railway, have been achieved.
France and Britain are trying to solve their colonial disputes, but mutual suspicion and hostility linger.
Abdülhamid II has been assassinated, and the constitutionalist officers of Haliskar Zabitan are in charge instead of CUP.
The Powers have imposed a vast list of demands to the Ottomans during the turmoil after the assassination, including Armenian vilayets and Jewish settlements in Palestine.
Norwegian secession from the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway was followed by failed negotiations and a short war, that threatened to escalate to a wider European conflict until an armistice was hastily imposed by a joint naval intervention of the Powers.
The Eulenburg Affair culminated to abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
The following shake-up of German political life led to army prominence at the expense of the navy.
All Major Powers are engaged in a mutual arms race, and are also reforming their armies and navies.
 
The rabbit hole of genuine historical French conspiracies - and the beliefs people at the time held about imaginary conspiracies - is deep. Mines of Moria-deep. It is really hard to beat the historical twists and turns of these events, and hard to write about them without starting sound too tinfoil-hatted. But they offer excellent timeline material.
The fact that Wilhelm II has already made his grand declaration at Jerusalem will make some Frenchmen very, very agitated indeed.

It really is a remarkable time for strange plots. Like that nobleman and devout antisemite who decided he was going to start a vast jihad in the sahara to drive the British out of Africa, and got shot by tribesmen before he made it out of Tunisia.
 
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Most importantly, he is remembered for having rebuilt the French navy from a demoralized, incoherent force into the second navy of Europe in the interwar period. OTL, he held the Navy ministry several times from 1917 and managed to rebuilt its image, clench important and stable credits for it in a climate of post-war cuts to the military, foster the development of a more coherent doctrine after the Jeune École mess, and launch important modernisation and naval construction programs. The fact that the Royale named a major ship after him, a civilian who never (well, almost never) held wartime authority, should tell you enough about how grateful they felt.

TTL, not only does he come to power a decade earlier, but Pelletan, whose mess he had been cleaning up OTL, hasn't climbed into the Navy ministry at all. What Karelian is setting the groundwork for, basically, is a French Navy that will be in a better shape than it had been since 1870 TTL, or would be till the 1930s OTL. Combined with the relative eclipse of the Kaiserliche Marine he mentioned, that means the french Navy will be the second naval force of Europe around 1915.

Which... Kind of scares me for France. If the British government singles out the growth of French naval power as the single greatest threat to its naval hegemony, in line with its thinking in the early 1900s, while Germany increases the margin of superiority of its ground forces, it leaves the République in a most uncomfortable position. Of course, it is also very much possible that Leygues will become a sobering influence on french diplomacy - he will realise he needs several years to rebuild the Flotte d'échantillons he has inherited, can't hope to defeat the Royal Navy in the meantime, and probably that french naval power actually has a much better "productivity" as an ally of the Royal Navy than as a contender against it.
 
Most importantly, he is remembered for having rebuilt the French navy from a demoralized, incoherent force into the second navy of Europe in the interwar period. OTL, he held the Navy ministry several times from 1917 and managed to rebuilt its image, clench important and stable credits for it in a climate of post-war cuts to the military, foster the development of a more coherent doctrine after the Jeune École mess, and launch important modernisation and naval construction programs. The fact that the Royale named a major ship after him, a civilian who never (well, almost never) held wartime authority, should tell you enough about how grateful they felt.

TTL, not only does he come to power a decade earlier, but Pelletan, whose mess he had been cleaning up OTL, hasn't climbed into the Navy ministry at all. What Karelian is setting the groundwork for, basically, is a French Navy that will be in a better shape than it had been since 1870 TTL, or would be till the 1930s OTL. Combined with the relative eclipse of the Kaiserliche Marine he mentioned, that means the french Navy will be the second naval force of Europe around 1915.

Which... Kind of scares me for France. If the British government singles out the growth of French naval power as the single greatest threat to its naval hegemony, in line with its thinking in the early 1900s, while Germany increases the margin of superiority of its ground forces, it leaves the République in a most uncomfortable position. Of course, it is also very much possible that Leygues will become a sobering influence on french diplomacy - he will realise he needs several years to rebuild the Flotte d'échantillons he has inherited, can't hope to defeat the Royal Navy in the meantime, and probably that french naval power actually has a much better "productivity" as an ally of the Royal Navy than as a contender against it.
While the Kaiserliche Marine isn't going to have wide support from the Kaiser and this will certanlly affect its growth, I believe this will make them go the quality > quantity route as Japan did since they'll realize they can't out build the UK. So altough smaller than OTL the Kaiserliche Marine maybe ends up being more effective during a possible Great War. Also remember that the UK still views Russia as a naval threat since no Tsushima.
 
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Most importantly, he is remembered for having rebuilt the French navy from a demoralized, incoherent force into the second navy of Europe in the interwar period. OTL, he held the Navy ministry several times from 1917 and managed to rebuilt its image, clench important and stable credits for it in a climate of post-war cuts to the military, foster the development of a more coherent doctrine after the Jeune École mess, and launch important modernisation and naval construction programs. The fact that the Royale named a major ship after him, a civilian who never (well, almost never) held wartime authority, should tell you enough about how grateful they felt.
He is indeed the closest thing postwar France had for Jackie Fisher.
TTL, not only does he come to power a decade earlier, but Pelletan, whose mess he had been cleaning up OTL, hasn't climbed into the Navy ministry at all. What Karelian is setting the groundwork for, basically, is a French Navy that will be in a better shape than it had been since 1870 TTL, or would be till the 1930s OTL. Combined with the relative eclipse of the Kaiserliche Marine he mentioned, that means the french Navy will be the second naval force of Europe around 1915.
Assuming that the government he is a part of manages to stay in office.

Also, the Russians are also investing massively to their navies and are not demoralised by the Russo-Japanese War.
Which... Kind of scares me for France. If the British government singles out the growth of French naval power as the single greatest threat to its naval hegemony, in line with its thinking in the early 1900s, while Germany increases the margin of superiority of its ground forces, it leaves the République in a most uncomfortable position.
And the French political leaders by and large acknowledge this. The previous times the French really tried to compete with Britain with a strong navy while also retaining a strong army, the ancien régime met a revolution, and the ambitions of Napoleon were also checked.

Of course, it is also very much possible that Leygues will become a sobering influence on french diplomacy - he will realise he needs several years to rebuild the Flotte d'échantillons he has inherited, can't hope to defeat the Royal Navy in the meantime, and probably that french naval power actually has a much better "productivity" as an ally of the Royal Navy than as a contender against it.
Main thing here is to have any kind of a long-term naval construction plan at all.

While the Kaiserliche Marine isn't going to have wide support from the Kaiser and this will certanlly affect its growth, I believe this will make them go the quality > quantity route as Japan did since they'll realize they can'r out build the UK.
This is what they tried to do in OTL.

So altough smaller than OTL the Kaiserliche Marine maybe ends up being more effective during a possible Great War. Also remember that the UK still views Russia as a naval threat since no Tsushima.
The German navy was very much a prestige project - but France, Germany and Russia are not the only Powers after that same prestige.
 
The German navy was very much a prestige project - but France, Germany and Russia are not the only Powers after that same prestige.
Yes and with Willy 2 out they could have the chance to actually use their strengh against a foe, the british would be overjoyed seeing the 3 next biggest naval powers (excluding the US) blowing each others naval power away. I'm already assuming that a war big enough between european powers is going to happen and after that the more liberal/progressive parties, with the support from the war exausted population, can maybe press the government of said powers into naval treaties limiting the size of the battle fleet. Say, as an exemple, 15 40k tonnes battleships?
The German navy was very much a prestige project - but France, Germany and Russia are not the only Powers after that same prestige.
I'm assume you're talking about Italy and A-H, hell maybe the dutch go through with their project.
 

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I'm assume you're talking about Italy and A-H, hell maybe the dutch go through with their project.

In this universe, what would the Dutch see as the focus of their fleet? A coastal defence force for the North Sea, or more heavily invested in protecting the DEI from potential poachers?

I'm assuming A-H views the Italians as their primary naval antagonist and the Adriatic as the main field of contention

Do the Italians worry more about the French navy or the A-H navy in this altered universe?
 
I'm assume you're talking about Italy and A-H, hell maybe the dutch go through with their project.
Mediterranean is indeed the spot where the naval arms race ran wild in OTL - and here the situation is similar.
In this universe, what would the Dutch see as the focus of their fleet? A coastal defence force for the North Sea, or more heavily invested in protecting the DEI from potential poachers?

I'm assuming A-H views the Italians as their primary naval antagonist and the Adriatic as the main field of contention

Do the Italians worry more about the French navy or the A-H navy in this altered universe?
The Dutch are facing the same strategic situation they did in OTL - the need to maintain naval presence on two vital areas nearly the opposite sides of the planet at the same time.
See above, the situation in the Med will feature in future updates.
 
The French Navy, Part VI: Notre Mer?
The growing tensions between the Major Powers at the beginning of the century were very much maritime affairs, as practically every crisis of the first decade of the century from the Boxer War onward had a major naval element involved.

But while the Pacific, Baltic, Black Sea and the North Sea were all potential flashpoints, Mediterranean formed the scene of the most complex naval arms race of the era.

Every Great Power in the region was building larger navies, while none of them was able to force the others to accept dominance outright. This gave room for diplomacy.
In the North Sea, diplomacy culminated to a joint efforts to prevent various international issues stemming from the war in Scandinavia from spiralling out of control in 1905.
In the Mediterranean, with several Powers all pursuing their own agendas through naval power, the situation could only be more complex, with more variables, problems and other issues for each power to explore and consider.

Geographically, the Mediterranean was a British lake due the control of Gibraltar and the Suez Canal.
It was also linked to equally landlocked Black Sea through the Ottoman-controlled Bosphorus.
Internally it was however much more complex area of operations than the wide open North Sea.

Not only were there several Great Powers with coastlines on the Mediterranean. There were also numerous minor powers and strategically important islands, all providing the various powers on the Mediterranean even more problems to face. As always, personaly diplomacy played a prominent role in the politics of the day, emphasising the role of the key diplomats and decisionmakers over the future course of events. Upset from the Fashoda war scare and with her metropolitan mainland up north and her North African colonies at the southern shores of the Mediterranean, the French political and military leaders begun to seriously reconsider the strategic priorities of French naval efforts.

To them it was clear that in order to succeed, they would have to be be able to take into account both the current and future British, Italian, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, Russian and German naval plans in the region. And in order to do so, they started by compiling a detailed analysis of the status quo of each would-be ally and competitor.
 
The French Navy, Part VII: Moving amidst mobility
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"...to catch it called for harpooning it—which was Ned Land’s business; to harpoon it called for sighting it—which was the crew’s business; and to sight it called for encountering it—which was a chancy business."
― Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

The first problem of French naval strategy that had emerged during the Fashoda Crisis was the threat of a Royal Navy close blockade of French ports, a repetition of the British naval strategy from the Napoleonic Wars.

With her ports blockaded, the French surface raiders - 23 armoured cruisers built between 1888 and 1904, universally recognized as the best larger units of the diverse French fleet - would be unable to carry out guerre de course against British merchant shipping.

Vice Admiral Fournier, the leading Jeune Ecolist, was a former disciple of Admiral Aube. He felt that the offensive role Aube had once assigned to the torpedo boat could be turned into reality by new submersible ships.

The new hope of the French navy was championed by Gustave Zédé, a new experimental craft built in 1892-3. The 270-ton vessel had been the largest submarine in the world for more than a decade after her launch. The last heralds of Jeune Ecole, Paul Fontin and Matthieu Vignot, had placed their hopes upon these vessels in their Essai de stratégie navale from 1893.

Fournier, their supporter, championed a navy consisting of truly seaworthy torpedo boats and submarines, as well as armoured cruisers for commerce warfare. He was convinced that with 40 submarines in the Mediterranean and 25 in the Channel, France would make itself master of its maritime destiny and gain the ability to dominate the choke points such as the Straits of Dover, Gibraltar and Messina. Denying them to the Royal Navy would enable the French cruisers to threaten the British shipping lines.

The new French submarine technology arrived too late to save the Jeune Ecole from the general refocus to battleships in every navy in Europe after the introduction of lighter nickel-steel Krupp type armour. It did, however, caught the attention of the British. And they were not amused.
 
The French Navy, Part VIII: Underhand, unfair, and damned un-English
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Pioneer of wireless telegraphy, Henry Jackson was initially ignored on the matter of submarine threat as well.

The British naval attachè in Paris was up to date. Cpt. Henry Jackson, a pioneer of wireless telegraphy and a scientifically minded officer kept a close watch to the French experiments with pioneering prototype designs such as the small 11-ton Le Goubet.

His conclusion was clear: “These submersible vessels have reached a practical stage in modern warfare, and will have to be reckoned with, and met, in a future European war.”

The British ambassador endorsed Jackson’s report in 1899 and warned the Admiralty that “belief in the success of this invention is likely to encourage the Frenchmen to regard their naval inferiority to England as by no means so great.”

This was so unusual from a diplomat that Capt. Edmund Jeffreys expressed real interest in the report, even though it was actively ignored by the rest of the Admiralty.

He wanted to know more about submarines, since, “whether...their development continues, might not be of great value for offensive purposes against an enemy’s fleet in their ports...As we could convoy or tow them across to within short distances, I am of the opinion that they might be used most effectively.”

Reginald Custance, the director of Naval Intelligence, buried the Gustave-Zédé report by summarising the new French vessels as “a failure”, insisting that “her return from Marseilles after her recent trip was very problematic. “For political reasons”, the French ship was “bound to succeed and they said she did so, but she is not worth much.”

The technology-oriented faction of the Admiralty knew that the submarine would eventually mature as a weapon of war, but that it would take substantial sums of money and a lot of effort to reach this situation.

More reactionary views were also present.
Admiral Sir A.K. Wilson described submarines as “underhand, unfair, and damned un-English”. Lord Charles Beresford echoed the notion, dismissing the submarine as “a useless weapon, always in a fog.”

The Royal Navy had kept watch of all types of naval development across the world for centuries. It was not that the potential of submarine was ignored. It was merely estimated that submarines - British or French alike - could not cross the Channel and blockade the coast in a way that a surface vessel could not, while at the same time costing less and having the ability to remain in place for a longer period of time.

The news from France were thus hushed for a year, until the Naval Intelligence Division was literally flooded with reports indicating that submarine development was now in rapid progress across the world. Something had to be done.
 
The French Navy, Part IX: Jack and the Submarine
The new naval attaché in Paris, Captain Charles L. Ottley, sent in to replace the troublesomely alarmist Jackson, soon turned out to be a similar disappointment. He supported the views of his predecessor. Describing the Gustave-Zédé-type boats as real success, he added that “the extremely difficult problem of submerged navigation is looked upon as practically solved after ten years of laborious experiment."

Dismissing a single technology enthusiast like Jackson had been one thing. Ignoring a second opinion as well as Foreign Office reports would have seemed too unreasonable. Slowly the general opinion in the Admiralty begun to change.

But the Admiralty attitude was far from energetic, at first. “The French seem to be overcoming the difficulties of the submarine boat, and we cannot altogether afford to disregard them and their increased proficiency”, noted Admiral Lord Walter Kerr.

And Jackson was no longer alone in his opinion. After Paris he had been appointed to H.M.S. Vulcan, for command of the torpedo boats of the Mediterranean Station. There he had made quite an impression to his new Commander-in-Chief.

Vice-Admiral Sir John A. Fisher wrote, "I cannot speak too highly of this officer's ability & his usefulness in the exercises of the fleet & the excellent use he makes of the resources of the Vulcan."

Soon Fisher was pestering the Admiralty about the matter, requesting advice on how to best protect warships at anchor from the threat of a submarine attack. Fisher expressed his opinion that the easiest solution would be to plant a protective barrier of contact mines around his anchorage.

Fisher, who knew full well that the Admiralty policy since 1895 had been to actively avoid using or even experimenting with contact mines so as not to “justify and encourage” the efforts of other powers.

Predictably enough, the Board initially refused. But a committee report of the matter concluded: “...foreign nations, especially France and Russia, have not waited for our “justifying and encouraging them”, but have already adopted contact mines on an extensive scale. The submarine boat also appears to be rapidly approaching a defined position as a new instrument of warfare, and it seems likely that very soon British warships would find themselves confronted with underwater craft.

So far the only practical way to stop these boats, or frighten them so much as to keep them at home, seems to be by blockade mines. If so, he concluded, the ban on using contact mines ought to be lifted.


Dispatch of contact mines to the Mediterranean fleet followed. Fisher knew the Admiralty politics. It could hardly be accepted that the blockade mine, that loathed infernal machine, would be the only practical way to meet the submerged boat.

The old admirals might have disliked the notion of submarines, but they absolutely loathed the idea of widespread mine warfare. Thus, in order to promote the cause of submarines, one had to present an even worse option.
 
The French Navy, Part X: A Live Specimen
The Admiralty was predictable.
Soon after Fisher got his contact mines, it was announced that "...the march of events now calls for some response on our part to the action taken by foreign powers in their construction of submarine boats. The success of French submarine boats appears to be sufficiently assured to make it necessary now to meet them."

The final excuse was from the United States. The United States Navy was now sponsoring a program of submarine development after Fleet Admiral George Dewey, the hero of Manila Bay, had strongly advised Congress to grant funds for such a project.

As Lord Charles Beresford observed: “when a common sense level headed nation like that of the United States has tried and adopted submarine boats, it would appear probable that such craft must have some value in wartime operations.

Navy torpedo schools at Portsmouth and Devonport were tasked to organise a secret program of experiments, with the mission to discover the best means of dealing with submarine boats and destroying them when discovered. Portsmouth delegation immediately announced that they now needed a submarine of their own, preferably several, since it would be hard to develop means of avoiding and destroying them otherwise.

Buying a boat “for the purpose of ascertaining for ourselves the limit of the powers of these vessels and the best means of avoiding and destroying them” was based on irrefutable logic. But acquiring a practicable submarine design for the Royal Navy was easier said than done. After the Nordenfeldt experiments of the 1880s, no shipbuilding firm in the United Kingdom had experience in building such craft. Thus the Admiralty gazed across the Atlantic.
 
The French Navy, Part XI: Sponsored by the Fenians' Skirmishing Fund
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The Irish-American inventor Seán Pilib Ó Maolchalann, born in County Clare, was a former school teacher from Ireland. He had migrated to the United States and submitted his submarine plans to the U.S. Navy in 1875 only to be rejected.

The plans of man known as John Holland in English only bore fruit after Holland received initial funding from the Fenians, who hoped to use the invention to destroy the British naval power. With the Fenian funding Holland was able to continue his work, and finish his 28-year old plan to privately build and launch two prototype submarines in 1895. The Holland VII and Holland VIII were revolutionary.

His key invention was the combination of a petroleum engine for surface propulsion and an electric engine for submerged operations. His boats combined an internal combustion engine for surface propulsion, electric underwater propulsion from batteries charged by the engine while surfaced, and the torpedo. In 1900 the US Navy finally bought his ship, named it the USS Holland, and asked the inventor to build several more ships like it for further testing.

Soon afterwards the British delegation announced their intentions to buy one as well. It was their luck that Isaac Rice, a Bavarian-born immigrant businessman, had bought the company from Holland. He was willing to sell, despite the fierce objections of Mr. Holland himself. Five boats were ordered in November 1900 from Vickers Shipyard. They were laid down at Barrow-in-Furness with the American patent and engineering assistance, with the first launched in November 1902 and commissioned in 1903.

With their own submarines for further testing, the Admiralty was happy to toss some money to the problem and forget about it. Inspecting Captain of Submarine Boats, Reginald Bacon, received relatively free hand in developing and modifying this new weapon system. He wasted no time in devising a periscope, and improved the new submarine systems further. Bacon instituted a series of trials, supposedly to evolve tactics against submarines. In reality Bacon started a determined program to develop submarine tactics for use against surface ships.

A new naval arms race had begun, because the French submarine force had not spent these years in idleness.
 
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