The Miracle of the Marne: An Entente Victory Scenario

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by ETGalaxy, Apr 1, 2019.

Loading...
  1. ETGalaxy Long live the King of America!

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Location:
    Equatorial Commonwealth
    Hey everyone! One part of history that has always really interested me is the Great War. I've toyed around with Entente victory scenarios in the past, however, as they started to become really popular on this website, I was discouraged from starting yet another timeline where the Entente wins the Great War. However, I think that this timeline, the Miracle of the Marne, should bring something original to the table without just repeating old cliches. Not only will the Great War be more chaotic and prolonged ITTL, but there will be numerous major global conflicts after the Great War to keep things interesting. I've also been toying around with some other ideas for upcoming chapters, such as a communist Russia, a reactionary Germany, and maybe even a Japanese-American War.

    With that being said, I hope you enjoy Miracle of the Marne: An Entente Victory Scenario. :)
     
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter One: The War to End All Wars

    ETGalaxy Long live the King of America!

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Location:
    Equatorial Commonwealth
    Chapter One: The War to End All Wars


    [​IMG]

    Newspaper reporting on the British declaration of war on the German Reich, circa August 1914.


    Ever since the ascension of Otto Von Bismarck to the position of chancellor of Prussia, it had been seemingly apparent to the entire world that Prussia, and later Germany, was on the rise to a position of power few nations had boasted before. Following the Franco-Prussian War, the German minor states had united under a single banner, that of the German Reich, and with one of the largest populations and industrial capacities in Europe, Germany automatically became a regional power. As the German military was built up and colonies were established in the name of Kaiser, it was anticipated that the German Reich would become one of the greatest global powers, and even possibly usurp British hegemony.


    Of course, this would not be the case.


    On June 28th, 1914 the world was forever changed. It was on this day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie, the Duchess of Hohenberg, decided to tour the city of Sarajevo. This particular city was actually the capital of the Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a territory within Austria-Hungary that was annexed in 1908 and contained a large Slavic population, many of whom despised the Austro-Hungarian occupation of their homeland. This discontent culminated with the assassination of the Archduke and his wife next to Schiller’s Delicatessen by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Pan-Slavic Black Hand organization. Upon turning down the wrong street, Franz Ferdinand and his wife were pierced by two bullets that flew out of the young Princip’s pistol. Within minutes, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was dead, and a series of dominoes would begin to fall, which would unleash one of the bloodiest wars that mankind has ever seen.


    Within the next month, all of Europe’s great powers would begin to point weapons at each other as the two largest alliances of the continent, the Triple Alliance and Entente, began to pull all titans of the continent into an increasingly inevitable war. While the Austro-Hungarian high command thirsted for war with the Kingdom of Serbia as an act of revenge for the death of the Archduke at the hands of a Serbian nationalist. Upon achieving German assistance in the case of a potential conflict, Austria-Hungary would deliver an ultimatum to the Serbian government on July 23rd, 1914, which was intended to ensure that Austria-Hungary could stamp out any support for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand within Serbia, and if enacted would turn the Kingdom of Serbia into an Austro-Hungarian puppet. Of course, the Serbian government could not accept such extreme demands. A month after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and mere days after the Serbian rejection of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy(1) would declare war on Serbia on July 28th, 1914.


    The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy’s invasion of Serbia would trigger a chain reaction that quickly pulled all of Europe’s empires into war. First, the Russian Empire’s alliance with Serbia caused the forces of the Tsar to mobilize in preparation for war with Austria-Hungary. In retaliation, the German Reich would mobilize against Russia and declared war on the Russians on August 1st, 1914. Two days later, Germany declared war on the French Republic, Russia’s ally, and would declare on Belgium a day later in order for German soldiers to move around French defenses on the Franco-German border. This invasion, deemed the Schlieffen Plan, would prove to be initially successful within the upcoming months, however, for the time being its biggest consequence was bringing the biggest threat to German continental domination into the growing war. The Schlieffen Plan naively violated Belgian neutrality, which caused the United Kingdom of Great Britain and her dominions around the world to declare war on the German Reich on August 4th, 1914.


    With nearly all major European powers suddenly fighting each other within the span of less than a week, the largest conflict mankind had seen up to that point had initiated. This conflict was supposed to be the “war to end all wars,” however, this hope would prove to be ironically incorrect, for we now know this war as the First Great War(2).


    [​IMG]

    Soldiers of the recently mobilized British Army, circa 1914.


    After conquering the meek Belgium within a matter of days, the German invasion of northern France would begin. As the mightiest forces of Europe clashed, it appeared as though the predictions that the 20th Century would become the German Century were prophetic. As the German Reich dug into northern France, the French military was shredded apart by the infamous German war machine and it appeared as though not even Great Britain could save France from the ascension of Germany.


    Eastern Europe was an even worse story for the Entente. It was out here where Russia, an undoubtedly powerful force but a barely industrialized backwater nonetheless, engaged the combined forces of Germany and Austria-Hungary. The initial Russian invasion of East Prussia was repelled in a decisive German victory near the very end of the August of 1914, and by the end of 1914 the German military had shifted attention to the Eastern Front and was conducting an offensive into Poland while the Russian invasion of Galicia was repelled by Austria-Hungary with German assistance.


    Less than a year into the First Great War, it was already appearing as though the Europe of the future would be kneeling to the Reich. By the September of 1914, German soldiers were approximately seventy kilometers from Paris, and it was at the Marne River that it appeared as though Germany’s ultimate victory over France was approaching. After months of pushing back two of Europe’s greatest of powers, what could possibly prevent a German victory in the First Great War? However, it was here at the Marne that Germany faced perhaps its most fatal loss in the First Great War. In order to bring in an influx of reinforcements to the Battle of the Marne, French General Joseph Gallieni ordered the utilization of Parisian taxis to carry in soldiers to the frontlines on September 7th, 1914(3).


    The reinforcements provided by General Gallieni’s plan would soon lead to the deterioration of German forces at the Battle of the Marne. German offensives in the west were broken down, while French morale grew. Soon enough, the French were leading their own offensives against the Germans, and as German regiments began to fall back, Helmuth von Moltke suffered a nervous breakdown and ordered a complete German retreat on September 10th, 1914. Against all odds, the Entente had emerged victorious and defeated the German invasion of France at what would become known as the Miracle of Marne, while the German Reich fled north. While the First Great War was far from over, it seemed as though the beginning of the end of the German war effort was approaching. Even Moltke saw the writing on the wall, and would report to Kaiser Wilhelm II, “Your Majesty, we have lost the war."


    [​IMG]

    French soldiers at the Battle of the Marne, circa September 1914.


    After the Battle of the Marne, German soldiers retreated north to the Aisne River, where the Germans dug trenches into the ground as a defensive maneuver against the Entente offensive. Across northern France, Entente soldiers would push the Germans into their holes in the ground, which would manage to halt the Franco-British offensive, who would also resort to digging down into the Earth to stop yet another German offensive, which meant that soon western Europe was a slow war of attrition, where any advances out of trenches were quickly defeated by gunfire from the enemy’s secure fortress within the ground(4). Advancements were typically only a few meters, which was enough to be considered a victory by the demoralized and eventually war-weary armies of Europe. It was this miserable situation that the European powers of the west would find themselves within for the next handful of torturous years and was the method of warfare that would define the First Great War in its entirety.


    In eastern Europe, the Russian Empire was not doing as well as its western allies. Germany continued to direct the majority of its mighty army towards the Eastern Front, and Russia, an apparent paper tiger would fall to the might of the German Reich. Austro-German collaboration proved to be extremely successful, and by the middle of 1915, the Russians had been forced out of Poland. However, by the June of 1915, the continuation of a two-front war due to the Miracle of the Marne meant that less and less resources were going to the war against Russia when, if anything, more resources were needed, which led to the Russian military successfully stopping the German offensive as trenches were dug from Riga to Ternopil.


    And thus, a vast line of trenches would define Europe for the next few years. The Eastern Front was more or less stagnant, however, it helped that Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire officially declared neutrality in the October of 1915, which at least kept Russian territory in the Caucasus secure for the time being, and allowed western aid (particularly British aid) to arrive in southern Russia via the Bosphorus Strait. As for the Western Front, the Entente was having better fortunes. The French experienced moderate success under the leadership of Commander Philippe Petain, who would successfully lead an offensive for Artois in the August of 1915, cutting off German supply lines in the region and leading to a French victory at the Battle of Reims on September 1st, 1915. Throughout the fall of 1915, Petain’s Artois Offensive continued to be a success, ending in the December of 1915 with the inconclusive Battle of Agnon. Petain was heralded as a hero(5), and would become a name recognized throughout the western world in due time, with the upstart officer being promoted to the position of a general later on.


    [​IMG]

    General Philippe Petain, circa February 1916.


    The Central Powers would, at least at first, find success at deterring the British Empire outside of Europe. In the February of 1915, in collaboration with the German Reich, Indian nationalists, primarily within the Ghadar Party, stages mutinies throughout the British Raj, starting in the Punjab region. Even without much physical German aid, the Indian Revolt(6) proved to be initially successful. Under the leadership of the Ghadarites, the revolution spread across India, primarily the interior, and as militias began to form from the mutinies, Ghadar Party and its followers in India established the Indian Republican Army (IRA) in the May of 1915. The declaration of the IRA had little significance in scattered pockets of resistance across India, however, in the swath of occupied territory by the Rajputana Agency strongly benefited from the IRA, and by the December of 1915 the Agency had fallen to the Ghadar Party.


    As the IRA moved south for Kathiawar, it was beginning to seem as though Great Britain’s grip on the Indian Subcontinent was about to slip away, after centuries of colonialism and oppression. Colonial forces were failing to suppress the Indian Revolt, and in the March of 1916 Emir Habibullah I declared that Afghanistan would become completely independent of foreign affairs, thus seceding from the British sphere of influence(7). At first the British did not recognize Habibullah’s declaration, however, Prime Minister Asquith, fearing an escalation of the war in India, would recognize the demands of Afghanistan, a move that was incredibly unpopular with both the Liberal Party and much of the rest of the British government, resulting in Henry Asquith’s resignation on April 3rd, 1916 and his replacement by Herbert Kitchener, the 1st Earl Kitchener.


    [​IMG]

    Prime Minister Herbert Kitchener of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.


    Under the leadership of Lord Kitchener, the United Kingdom would reassert its militaristic strength, with militaristic production quickly accelerating, especially in British dominions, which instituted more demanding drafts early into the reign of Kitchener. While the British masses often condemned the increasingly authoritarian Kitchener administration, which relied on keeping factory workers in place to preserve the war effort against Germany, conservatives celebrated Kitchener as the competent and experienced veteran Great Britain needed in one of its most desperate hours, when the gem of the British Empire was up in arms.


    As British military production increased, the presence of the infamous Royal Navy was felt in the waters of northern Europe. Germany would slowly be starved off, especially once the Kitchener administration implemented hostile war policies to crush the naval capabilities of the German Reich. In retaliation, the Germans attempted to encircle the British Isles with a blockade of their own, however, this proved to be more trouble than it was worth. The German navy simply could not match up to the Royal Navy, and at most the German blockade made the waters around the British Isles dangerous for commercial transportation, something that the British could overcome through naval supply lines from their vast empire.


    One nation that did not, by any means, support the German naval blockade of the British Isles was the United States of America. Under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson, the United States had stayed away from the First Great War, and Wilson personally campaigned to preserve the policy of neutrality in the face of clashing European titans that had defined American foreign diplomacy since the Monroe administration. At first, this policy was beneficial for the United States of America, whose people more or less couldn’t care less about the ensuing conflict in Europe. Americans sold to both the Entente and the Central Powers, which generated profit for the sleeping giant, even after the brutal German occupation of Belgium generated disapproval of the German war effort.


    However, the German naval blockade of the British Isles would quickly change the American opinion on the First Great War. The blockade was guaranteed to disrupt international commerce in British waters (that is, afterall, the point of a blockade), however, this came at the expense of American merchants, who had to fear losing their lives to a U-boat. At first, the German blockade went without any notable problems, however, on August 8th, 1916, a German submarine would sink the SS Kroonland, a passenger ship carrying military supplies, which had, ironically enough, been involved in a previous crisis following a brief British detainment. Thousands of Americans, who had never sought to involve themselves in the affairs of European warfare, died from the sinking of the Kroonland, and the fate of the United States’ role on the global stage was permanently changed by one ocean liner.


    [​IMG]

    Painting of the SS Kroonland.


    The sinking of the SS Kroonland had to occur at one of the most inconvenient times possible for Germany. Within just a few months, the incumbent President Woodrow Wilson would face re-election against Republican Charles Evans Hughes, who had been arguing that the United States had not undertaken any of the necessary precautions to fend off potential German aggression, and now these criticisms appeared to be legitimized. Wilson would insist that starting a war over a single ocean liner was pointless, especially when the United States already knew that it was on the moral high ground, however, this came off as careless and unempathetic to many Americans, which Hughes, who had become a supporter of, at the very least, substantial sanctions on the Central Powers, took advantage of in November. After just barely winning the electoral college, Charles Evans Hughes would go on to become the president of the United States on March 4th, 1917, as calls for war rang through America.


    [​IMG]

    President Charles Evans Hughes of the United States of America.


    Within a matter of days after assuming the presidency, the Hughes administration levied heavy sanctions on the German Reich and its allies, and began to build up its military production in preparation of combat. Germany, which was already starting to lose the First Great War, could not afford a war with the United States and sought out any possible diplomatic solution, however, efforts were futile. The United States demanded that Germany ended its blockade of the British Isles, which was non-negotiable in the eyes of the Germans, and all Germany could offer was a vague promise to try and prevent attacks on ships waving the flags of neutral powers.


    After negotiations with the German Reich failed, the United States mobilized for war in Europe, ending a century of American international neutrality. Finally, on April 2nd, 1917, the fateful day arrived. After addressing the entirety of Congress, Charles Evans Hughes would sign a bill into effect that had barely passed through both houses with his support. On this day that would influence the rest of American, and arguably global, history, the United States of America officially declared war on the Central Powers(8).


    For Germany, which was on the brink of collapse, the entry of the United States into the First Great War was the final nail in the coffin. The German Reich could barely hold back the British and French, who had been fighting for over two years. The Americans had just mobilized, and their vast militaristic capabilities had not yet been worn down by years of vicious combat. The German grip on Poland was already beginning to slip, with Russia making a quick offensive into Galicia under the leadership of General Lavr Kornilov, who had reached Uzhhorod by the October of 1916. The Western Front was continuing to move in favor of the Entente, albeit much slower than before, and British forces held onto Ostend against the onslaught of German aggression. As Lord Kitchener sent in more and more reinforcements to the British Raj, the IRA was being starved off and it appeared as though the Indian Revolt was coming to an end.


    As President Hughes presided over the deployment of American forces in Europe, a slow and tedious process, the German military high command rushed to make a quick offensive into France, hoping to copy the success of the Schlieffen Plan before American forces could completely arrive in western Europe. In an act of desperation, Paul von Hindenburg would amass a large invasion force by concentrating the majority of German offensive forces in one place and making a push for Paris. The plan was definitely a risk, and would leave much of Germany’s defenses increasingly vulnerable, however, the German Reich had no better plan, and if successful, Hindenburg would force the western Entente to sue for peace before the United States could truly entangle itself in the First Great War.


    And so, on April 10th, 1917, the Spring Offensive began.


    [​IMG]

    German soldiers at the Battle of Soissons, circa April 1917.


    The Spring Offensive began with success. By moving around the invasion force of Philippe Petain and moving west, Hindenburg averted the largest Entente army in western Europe, which allowed the German Reich to take Soissons on April 12th, 1917. With the Entente on the retreat, the Germans quickly mobilized and overran the Foret Domaniale de Retz within a week, and continued on for Paris. However, it was at this point that General Petain realized that continuing to push against weak German defenses would be pointless if Paris were to fall. And so, Petain completely committed to stopping Hindenburg’s Spring Offensive, arriving at Betz, where Petain and Hindenburg engaged each other on April 21st, 1917. Hindenburg would win the Battle of Betz, but at the cost of heavy casualties (more than Petain), while the French military had used the battle to quickly mobilize and relocate forces fighting the Germans. Paul Von Hindenburg would not win his next encounter with Philippe Petain, losing at the Battle of Chevreville on April 25th, 1917, which ended in the retreat of the German military as the Entente mobilized forward.


    The Spring Offensive had failed. Germany’s last hope to win the First Great War had ended in the destruction of Hindenburg’s army, and a coalition of Entente forces would rush towards the poorly defended and demoralized German defenses. And worse yet, the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) had arrived under the leadership of General Leonard Wood. However, as the German Reich faced an impending doom, Germany’s allies faced an even worse fate. The IRA was collapsing under continuous British military pressure, with reinforcements from Australia and New Zealand proving to be especially beneficial. By the end of the April of 1917, the IRA was reserved to a few small guerrilla pockets in western India, and on May 3rd, 1917 the last holdout of the IRA in Jaipur capitulated following a vicious siege, thus ending the Indian Revolt.


    The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was even worse off. The Sick Man of Europe had only been kept alive via German aid, and with German attention being completely shifted to the Western Front, Austria-Hungary was left for dead. As the Russian Empire dug deeper into Galicia, the western Slavs, who were among the groups who had felt the worst economic effects of the First Great War, would become disgruntled with the monarchy that had oppressed their people and sent them to war, and began to view Russia, which was fighting alongside the Czechoslovak Legions, an army of Czech and Slovak nationalists fighting for a unified western Slavic state(9), as their liberators. By the May of 1917 western Slavic mutinies were widespread throughout the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and local support for “Czechoslovakia” was growing.


    By the time the Russian Empire conquered Kosice, support for a pan-western Slavic nation was booming, which Russia would take advantage of. On May 2nd, 1917, the Slovak member of the Czechoslovak Legion, Milan Rastislav Stefanik, would declare the independent Principality of Slovakia with Russian permission, and Prince Gabriel Konstantinovich was crowned Prince Gabriel I of Slovakia (Rastislav preferred a Slovak Republic over a constitutional monarchy, however, the Russian Empire insisted on the installation of a Romanov as the Slovak head of state in order to ensure that Romanov authority would extend, and to keep the otherwise left-wing Slovakia in check, and these demands were backed by other Czechoslovak nationalists, such as Karen Kramar). Following the Slovak Declaration of Independence, the Russians would establish similar constitutional monarchies out of Carpathia and, surprisingly enough, Galicia. These nations grew close together, but first the Kingdom of Hungary would capitulate to the Entente after suing for peace on May 7th, 1917, thus cutting off Hungarian ties to Vienna via the Treaty of Budapest, ceding all territory claimed by Slovakia to Gabriel’s realm, and establishing an independent Hungary. This resulted in the end of Emperor Karl I’s reign as the king of Hungary, and without a monarchy the Hungarian government declared the Republic of Hungary on May 11th, 1917.


    [​IMG]

    Flag of the Republic of Hungary.


    Following the Treaty of Budapest, the three constitutional monarchies established by the Russian Empire were pressured by Milan Stefanik, the prime minister and head of government of Slovakia, encouraged the unification of all three kingdoms into a single nation, which he believed would lead to the establishment of a great power in central Europe that would contain regions, which not only had similar cultures, but often pockets of the same cultures as well. Not long after the Treaty of Budapest, representatives of the Slovak, Carpathian, and Galician governments arrived in Kosice to draft a constitution for the new nation, named Zapadoslavia. This nation, an extension of the concept of Czechoslovakia, would be a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with Prince Gabriel I of Slovakia being chosen as the first king of Zapadoslavia. After a satisfactory constitution had been written, Slovakia, Carpathia, and Galicia officially federated into the Kingdom of Zapadoslavia on May 27th, 1917, and two days later Milan Stefanik was elected the first prime minister of Zapadoslavia.


    [​IMG]

    Flag of the Kingdom of Zapadoslavia.


    Not long after the declaration of Zapadoslavia, what remained of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy would ultimately surrender to the Entente on May 29th, 1917, thus leaving the German Reich alone in a war against the greatest powers of the Western Hemisphere. As Entente delegates arrived in Vienna to debate the post-war fate of Austria, the Western Entente charged over trenches, retaking more and more of northern France day after day. Even the Russian Empire, once the paper tiger that had folded to the might of Germany, quickly overran Poland, stepping foot into the then-German city of Swiebodzin on June 4th, 1917. As the German people starved and the armed forces of what had once been Europe’s upstart power were crushed, even the German high command demanded peace with the Entente, however, Hindenburg and Ludendorff still held out, hoping for some kind of miracle to save the German Reich.


    And yet, this miracle never came. Instead, Germany continued to retreat out of northern France, and later Belgium. And as Germany was starved, both militaristically and literally, the people took the crisis into their own hands. Anti-war protests became widespread, and German mutinies became commonplace on both frontlines of the First Great War. As Germany began to fall into a severe recession, general strikes became widespread and radicals took to the streets. For some, it appeared as though the German Reich was on the brink of a civil war. For the time being, however, such a crisis was averted when Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg was forced to resign by the Reichstag, and was succeeded by Constantin Fehrenbach of the Centre Party on June 10th, 1917. A few days later, the Fehrenbach administration assumed control of the German Reich, and the Reichstag would approve of a resolution of declaring a ceasefire. Chancellor Fehrenbach eagerly approved of the resolution, and declared a ceasefire on June 21st 1917, ending all fighting in the trenches within a handful of hours.


    By the end of the day, the First Great War was over.


    [​IMG]

    American soldiers returning home from Europe, circa July 1917(10).


    Immediately after the ceasefire of June, the German Reich would officially unconditionally surrender to the Entente, and would send representatives to Vienna to negotiate a peace treaty. Austria came out of the First Great War surprisingly better than expected, although that isn’t saying much. Serbia would be granted its independence yet again, however, the regions of Bosnia and Vojvodina were ceded to a new Pan-Serbian nation, named the Empire of All Serbs, otherwise known as the Serbian Empire, which was a federation of monarchies structured similarly to the German Reich, in which King Peter I of Serbia simultaneously ruling as Emperor Peter I of All Serbs. Montenegro, whose people had adopted Pan-Serbism during the First Great War, would also agree to annexation into the Serbian Empire in accordance to the Treaty of Vienna.


    Aside from the declaration of the Empire of All Serbs, Austria had to cede much of Bohemia, particularly the ethically Czech regions, to Zapadoslavia, thus accomplishing the dream of a unified state consisting of both Czechs and Slovaks. Otherwise, outside of war reparations, the rump Austrian Empire was left alone by the Entente, with Germany being viewed as the bigger priority of the Treaty of Vienna. However, the fragile Austrian Empire would not last long, for nationalist and left-wing would force a new constitution to be written in the September of 1917, and was put into place in September 22nd, 1917. In place of Austria was the Empire of Cisleithania, a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy that ensured every subject of Emperor Karl I, from the Slavs of Dalmatia to the Italians of Tyrol, would have equal representation in their government.


    [​IMG]

    Flag of the Empire of Cisleithania.


    And with the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy partitioned, attention shifted to the fate of Germany. The colonial territory of the German Reich was completely ceded to Entente powers, with Tanganyika and Togo going to Great Britain, Cameroon going to France, Sudwestafrika being split between Great Britain and South Africa, Kaiser Wilhelm’s Land going to Australia, German holdings in Asia going to Japan, and all remaining German Polynesian colonies being partitioned between the British, French, and Japanese. While the partition of the German colonial empire was humiliating for Berlin, it was an anticipated consequence. After all, Germany’s colonies had been occupied within the first two years of the Great War relatively swiftly. Therefore, the German colonial empire was easy to transfer to the Entente, and while Berlin was obviously frustrated by the transfer, it did so without any dispute.


    The redesign of the borders of Germany itself was a different story. Obviously, the occupied nations of Belgium and Luxembourg were restored, as was the Russian puppet regime in Poland. France was given back Alsace-Lorraine, which had been annexed by Germany following the Franco-Prussian War, however, the new borders of France were extended a bit further than they had even been prior to 1871. Furthermore, the Entente would go as far as to establish a new nation out of all German land west of the Rhine, named the Rhenish Republic, which was more or less a puppet regime of the Entente, with the British, French, and Americans occupying the nation until it would be “ready for democratic self-governance.” Theodore Roosevelt, the former president of the United States who had led American regiments in France and had been a strong supporter of a stable post-war Europe, was selected as the first president of Rhineland(11).


    In eastern Europe, the territory of Germany was also substantially reduced. Pomeranian borders were replaced by the extent of Prussia following the 1772 partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which extended Russia’s reach ever so further west. Silesia was completely taken from the German Reich, and was partitioned between Russian Poland and Zapadoslavia, the latter of which sought to retake all former lands of the medieval Bohemian Kingdom. The annexation of Silesia into the Kingdom of Zapadoslavia was odd, because Lower Silesia was primarily German, thus making it the first region of Zapadoslavia to not be predominantly western Slavic.


    One of the worst prices Germany had to pay for the First Great War was not geographic, but rather militaristic. In order to ensure that Germany would never again pose a threat to the status quo of Europe, the Treaty of Vienna would substantially reduce the size of the German military to prevent it from being capable of ever waging war against any of the members of the Entente. In other words, the Treaty of Vienna crushed the German war machine. In order to further limit Germany’s potential to pose a threat to the great powers of Europe, the German Reich was required to dismantle much of their navy. Whatever ships weren't torn down for spare parts or handed over to Great Britain was blown up, and sunk into Davy Jones’ Locker. And in order to make it especially difficult for the German Reich to ever invade Western Europe, the Treaty of Vienna outlined demilitarized zones along Germany’s border with France and the Rhenish Republic, regions in which no German military presence was permitted, with retaliation from the former western Entente being a possible consequence.


    Once the Treaty of Vienna was ratified on August 1st, 1917, the First Great War was truly over. Whatever soldiers had yet to return home would leave the trenches of Europe, thus abandoning the hell that had been built for almost three years. The forces of the Entente would celebrate, for the greatest threat to their dominance across the planet was no more and they had gained substantial power in the process. However, in the defeated German Reich, there was little celebration for the end of the First Great War. Instead, there was a sense of humiliation and anger. Some would direct this anger towards the conservative German establishment, which had led the people in a war that would have never benefited them much, but cost them dearly. Others, particularly the elite who had promoted and commanded the German war effort, shifted their anger towards the Entente, arguing that a vicious revenge must sweep over Europe and punish those who had fought against the Fatherland.


    It was believed that the First Great War was the war to end all wars. However, the Treaty of Vienna had not prevented any future conflicts, but had rather set the stage for yet another clash of the great powers. Germany faced two crossroads, both of which would lead Europe down a path of great change. The people of Europe did not know it at the time, but a Second Great War was inevitable.


    First, however, a particular revolutionary would pay a visit to his home in Russia(12).

    [​IMG]

    Map of the World, circa September 1917.



    (1)Due to the collapse of the Dual Monarchy ITTL, there is no Triple Monarchy and thus the Dual Monarchy is continuously called the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (a term used by the Monarchy in OTL), much like how the Triple Monarchy was also (rarely) referred to as the mouthful that is the Austro-Hungarian-Illyrian Monarchy.


    (2)Yup, the First Great War. This timeline won’t have one, but rather three Great War-esque conflicts. Hopefully this won’t get repetitive, but I personally think that this should make for an interesting read.


    (3)And here’s our POD. As it turns out, this was in fact a plan that General Gallieni had legitimately considered, however, he quickly swept it under the rug due to fears of logistics, as well as the impracticality of utilizing small taxis to transport soldiers. Of course, things go differently ITTL.


    (4)Imagine something similar to the Iranian-Ottoman War of OTL, except now that war of attrition will be on a continental scale, in a time before modern medical practices, and the two forces are relatively evenly matched, so there’s no Russian army to come in and change the tide of the war. Yeah, the First Great War ITTL was definitely not pretty.


    (5)Yup, Petain’s getting a significant role ITTL, too. Of course, with a French victory in the Great War, he won’t be Churchill’s crony in the Iron Curtain, but will rather be influential in shaping western European geopolitics, especially during the Second Great War.


    (6)This should be pretty self-explanatory, but the Indian Revolt is just the timeline’s name for the Indian War of Independence. Turns out that “Indian Revolt” was actually the British name for the Indian War of Independence, and the current name only became popular after the Great War due to the circulation of said name by the Central Powers.


    (7)Even without Ottoman intervention in the Great War, I think that Afghanistan would, at the very least, seize the opportunity presented by the Indian War of Independence ITTL and eject the British.


    (8)There definitely won’t be any Thomas Doctrine ITTL! In fact, after the end of the First Great War, the United States will try to become an influential force in European, and for that matter global, politics.


    (9)Yup, this was a real thing. This militia fought on behalf of the Entente to win support for a proposed nation called “Czechoslovakia,” which, as the name implies, would consist of Slovakia and the Czech region of Bohemia. It’s definitely one of the weirder proposals to come out of the Great War, but I also think that it offers some very interesting potential for an alternate history scenario.


    (10)This is actually a photograph of an Independence Day military parade in OTL, with many of these soldiers being veterans of the American intervention in the Mexican Revolution.


    (11) I know this might sound bizarre, but I think Roosevelt would actually make for a good choice as the leader of a Rhenish occupation zone. Not only would he have previous political experience, but he would also satisfy the Americans and was a strong supporter of a post-war “League of Nations” (a global peacekeeping alliance), which means that he would be a strong supporter of post-war stability.


    (12)Just because the Russian Empire won the First Great War doesn't mean that it’s safe from revolution, at least if Leon Trotsky has anything to say about it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 4:30 PM
  3. savemase Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2015
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Looking good so far, watched
     
    ETGalaxy likes this.
  4. ETGalaxy Long live the King of America!

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Location:
    Equatorial Commonwealth
    Thanks! Hopefully my idea for a communist Russia will pay off, it's something I've never seen before, and most people seem to think a communist Russia is implausible, but in my opinion it could be interesting, and not as unlikely as people claim it is.
     
  5. FillyofDelphi Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2017
    TO be fair though, Mr. Trotsky would have alot more and alot sterner competition for power afterwards without the chaos of total warfare and less jury-rigged competition than the Provisional Government. Its think its fair to say we woulden't see the Bolsheviks rise to supremacy without a very unique set of circumstances

    Um... I'm a little less certain on this. Not because he's not qualified but because the Hughes Republicans weren't exactly keen on Roosevelt at this point after the whole Bull Moose debacle and its been awhile since Teddy has directly commanded troops. Or was he allowed to lead his proposed volunteer divisions as part of the AEF in this timeline that Wilson denied him in ours? In that case, if he got back into the public limelight with a San Juan Part II in Europe and looked like he might make a comeback for the Presidency AGAIN (Which could be viable: there's been enough of a gap now to weaken the immediate fatigue and hesitancy) than this would make a huge amount of sense as the party subtly trying to get him out of the way.

    I'm looking forward to seeing more. In particular, the Balkans tensions that started all of this mess haven't ACTUALLY been solved, so I imagine there's going to be a Third Balkan War in there somewhere, especially as Serbia is limping and broke from the strains of war and Macedonia is still an ethnic hodge-podge, while Italy has had time to stabilize influence over Albania and now has seen Habsburg influence in the region decimated and have their playground to form a proper Great Power sphere.
     
    ETGalaxy likes this.
  6. Lazer_Pages I hate Illinois Nazis

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2017
    This is interesting so far, though it is admittedly hard to imagine the mighty German Army of 1914 being destroyed by taxicabs.

    Watched
     
    ETGalaxy likes this.
  7. ETGalaxy Long live the King of America!

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Location:
    Equatorial Commonwealth
    Keep in mind that the Russian Empire is very war-weary. Without a Russian Democratic Federative Republic to turn to like in OTL, the disgruntled masses will resort to Trotsky's plot instead. The Bolsheviks will definitely have their work cut out for them, but the Empire won't be getting any support from the Entente, which really doesn't want yet another quagmire.

    Yup, Roosevelt does fight in Europe ITTL. The main reasoning behind inserting Roosevelt into power in the Rhineland is that he is not only very qualified, but is also supportive of a lot of the interests of the Entente. And yeah, I would assume that one justification is a fear that he would otherwise usurp Hughes.

    Serbia will definitely play a significant role ITTL, and I can see a rivalry with Bulgaria developing. As for Italy, without the socialist takeover of OTL, it will be playing a very influential, yet very different, role ITTL.
     
  8. ETGalaxy Long live the King of America!

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Location:
    Equatorial Commonwealth
    Thank you! I know that the plan might sound crazy, but it actually did exist. I came across it in one video on SieSchauen.
     
  9. Evil Crusader Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2016
    Location:
    Italian Riviera
    Thanks for Zaposlavia! Didn't know about that, it's a refreshing idea for sure and one that makes sense.

    My gripes/comments are as follows
    - are the British essentially letting France and Russia duke it out and hope they mangle each other? It seems to me they'd push hard for less gains on both fronts, as either becomes definitely dangerous enough (at least on paper) that it can't but rival the UK on certain parts of the world stage.
    - Hungarian nationalists were really adamant about their (overblown) pre-War borders. Never mind that they did choose well, what actually made them realize that need?
    - Cisleithania is in a very odd spot. Why weren't the Sudetes occupied by ascendant and Russia-backed Zaposlavia? OTL concerns about the defensive western border are still valid, and the area is a logistical nightmare. Even more nightmarish is the prospect of keeping Dalmatia; even if it was de jure in the Austrian half, I think either Hungary or Serbia would want and likely be able to seize it. Plus, as soon as Hungary folds alone, Cisleithania would want to fold and fight her, not the Entente.
    - while we're on the matter of strange things: why is Poland separate from Russia? Even as a puppet, it runs contrary to traditional Russian policy on Polish matters (there must be no more Poland). Either way, Poland will be an hotbed of rebellion. Also, what are the new French borders? If they encompass most of the Saar, I don't see them really needing to detach further German lands.
    - what kind of torpor has overtaken Romania and Italy? Both only stand to gain from jumping on the Entente ship, even if just as an opportunistic last minute land grab. Italy especially would have still asked for concessions beyond Albania.
     
    The Undead Martyr and ETGalaxy like this.
  10. Von Tyrconnell Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2015
    (OOC: Is this basically a DBWI TL? Very creative.)

    Presumably the Easter Rising still happened but might Ireland remain British or become a dominion of the empire? I can't see Ireland getting independence without the British introducing conscription and German support.

    I'm surprised Germany got off so lightly, French plans suggest they wanted to completely dismantle Germany had they won: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2a/FR-WW1-1915-French-plans.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
    ETGalaxy likes this.
  11. Military tactics Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2018
    • Ban
    What happening with russia
     
  12. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Philippines
    Will Chen Jiongming play any role in this China? In our world, Chen Jiongming became one of the "Founding Fathers" of China along with Sun Yixian (even if they disagreed fiercely on the issue of federalism v.s centralism).
     
  13. ETGalaxy Long live the King of America!

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Location:
    Equatorial Commonwealth
    ...Erm, DBWI? What are you talking about? This is just a normal alternate history timeline, because, as we all know, Germany won the Great War.

    I plan for Ireland to remain part of the British for now. Without OTL's Treaty of Berlin, I can't really see a rebellion right next door to the global superpower succeeding.

    I saw this plan, but it seemed to have affiliations with ultranationalist organizations. I'd assume that any Entente-mandated peace treaty would be a bit more sane.
     
  14. ETGalaxy Long live the King of America!

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Location:
    Equatorial Commonwealth
    Maybe? My current idea is that instead of Japan and China becoming allies like in OTL, the Japanese will go down a more militaristic route. I don't have much in mind for China domestically yet, although I did have one idea where China is split between communist and Entente-backed groups.
     
    Whiteshore likes this.
  15. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Philippines
    Hopefully, this China sees Zhang Tianran become a relatively obscure figure as the "Three Zhangs": Zhang Tianran, Zhang Zuolin, and Zhang Xun were the main leaders of the Qing Restoration in the North in the 1920s-30s which ended in the Japanese Intervention which resulted in the Sino-Japanese Entente. Zhang Tianran was arguably the person which brought the most harm to China with his combination of religious fundamentalism under the Yiguandao and loyalty to the Qing.
     
    ETGalaxy likes this.
  16. ETGalaxy Long live the King of America!

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Location:
    Equatorial Commonwealth
    We'll see. There won't be as big of an internal mess in China ITTL, but internationally, things will suck with a militaristic Japan knocking on your door.
     
    Whiteshore likes this.
  17. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Philippines
    At least there will only be one nominal central government instead of the situation where Russia backed the Qing in the North and the Republicans in the South were backed by Japan.
     
    ETGalaxy likes this.
  18. ETGalaxy Long live the King of America!

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Location:
    Equatorial Commonwealth
    Eh, will see. I'm kind of warming up to the idea of a communist China, albeit one where the territory is greatly diminished.
     
    Whiteshore likes this.
  19. pandc Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2017
    Just a detail, if you don't mind: your "the German Reich would officially unconditionally surrender to the Entente, and would send representatives to Vienna to negotiate a peace treaty" contains a self-contradiction.

    "Unconditional surrender" means that the vanquished is utterly at the mercy of the victor(s). In particular, no negotiations, the vanquished endures whatever the victor dictates. (The fact that in OTL the Treaty of Versailles was imposed upon Germany without a chance to negotiate doesn't alter the fact that the 1918 armistice was not an "unconditional surrender", indeed the German expected to be a party to negotiations at Versailles and only the threat of an Allied resumption of hostilities against which the remains of the German army would be of little use compelled Germany to submit - very reluctantly!)

    The "unconditional" nature of Germany's surrender in 1945 is witnessed by (a) the complete extinction of German government (the arrest of Doenitz et al at Flensburg in late May '45), and consistent with that (b) Germany was not a party to the 1947 Treaty of Paris.

    What about Japan's "unconditional surrender" in 1945, that also led to a "peace treaty" (San Francisco, 1951) but to which Japan was a signatory, you may well ask? The simple answer is that Japan's surrender in 1945 was not unconditional, despite how it may have been popularly described. In particular, preservation of the Japanese "polity" (system of government, including the emperor) was a condition of Japan's acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, at least implicitly accepted by the Allies (even if the status of the emperor was to be subjected to a determination by the Japanese people). Notably, the Japanese army remained in being, at least long enough to be used to maintain order while European powers resumed control of their colonial possessions (in some cases at least).

    Thanks for listening
     
  20. The Undead Martyr GOP Delenda Est

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Location:
    south of the (Canadian) border
    I am rather surprised Italy did not join, they would have no reason to remain neutral- and the Entente will at the very least give them South Tirol and part of Istria IMO.
    Frankly with the Dual Monarchy collapsing there's basically nothing stopping them from invading Austria and annexing those two provinces...
     
Loading...