The New Kratocracy: A Boulanger Coup TL

En tant que Français, je n’ai qu’une seule chose à dire EXCELLENT vraiment incroyable et bien écrit, j’espère sincèrement que vous pouvez le garder en place et nous nous réjouissons de la prochaine mise à jour.:)
 
I have a question about your timeline, in fact several questions

1) Is that the "royal" fleet(france) is as powerful as the royal navy
2) Could you make a map of the colonies to see the changes
3) Is French still the international language or is it English?
4)Agreement will be as formed by France, Russia and the USA.
5) In the long term, will the French army have learned the lessons of the war or will the risks of trench warfare appear?
 

CalBear

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En tant que Français, je n’ai qu’une seule chose à dire EXCELLENT vraiment incroyable et bien écrit, j’espère sincèrement que vous pouvez le garder en place et nous nous réjouissons de la prochaine mise à jour.:)
Please note that ALL posts written in any language other than English MUST include an English Translation.

Thank you.
 
This is a quite interesting TL, on account of of it both exploring in detail the political & social ramifications of a boulangist coup, and giving a more detailed look at what a french-german war in that timeframe would have looked like (although I suspect you of having tilted the balance in favour of the french in order to set up a french victory scenario). Not to mention that your writing makes for pleasant reading; I really hope this TL is going to continue. :)

But unlike Amon, I doubt this is going to end up in a France wank!... There are some ominous & clear hints here and there that France has reached heights from which it is going to fall. Outsides, Germany is neither crippled nor reconciled and if France can't or won't avoid a round 3, she will likely end beaten (that is, unlike french diplomacy pull off some impressive stunts). Inside, a decade at least of dictature is going to leave the country in a poor spot - most of the splendour we see here is the work of the Second Empire and the IIIrd Republic and I don't see Boulanger's frankly unimpressive regime paving the way for an era of french strenghtening.
 
I have a question about your timeline, in fact several questions

1) Is that the "royal" fleet(france) is as powerful as the royal navy
2) Could you make a map of the colonies to see the changes
3) Is French still the international language or is it English?
4)Agreement will be as formed by France, Russia and the USA.
5) In the long term, will the French army have learned the lessons of the war or will the risks of trench warfare appear?
Thanks for your interest.

The French Marine Nationale stays broadly comparable to OTL, a respectable force but no where near in the same league as the Royal Navy. However it continues to be far more significant than the German Navy (who as a result of the defeat overwhelmingly focus on land matters after).

Maps wise I have a few made for later stages I planned for the TL, but haven’t got one of Africa and the colonies for the immediate aftermath of the Second Franco German War.

Broadly the changes in Africa is that Kamerun and Togo are now French as opposed to German (the Germans retained Namibia and tanganyika), whilst the German Pacific colonies are now exclusively American. Tunisia is also split between France and Italy as in the map shown.

Languages wise, the end state of this TL should broadly leave English as the international language of commerce and diplomacy as it is in OTL. Otherwise German will be more widely spoken in Central Europe, French marginally less spoken, and all other languages broadly at the same level (albeit each with more speakers since the global population and especially the European population will end up a notch higher). Tbh the most prominent change will be the number of Russian speakers, which will be far far higher than OTL.

Otherwise your questions will be answered in future updates (if I ever get the chance to write them)..This TL has been on hiatus for a while due to work, but I will hopefully get one or two updates in before new year ish.
 
thank you very much for answering my questions and good luck for your next chapter that your story has great potential, I would like to put it on the same level as a blunted sickle
 
Le Boulangerie....
Ich bin ein Boulanger?

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Benjamin Harrison might get reelected, which would have big implications. They'd be holding the bag when the Panic of 1893 comes around.
Harrison signed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, so we could see more of a shift towards Silver in US monetary policy under Harrison (contrast with the goldbug Cleveland).
The McKinley Tariff probably takes a reputational hit if Harrison is reelected, as tariffs would take some blame for the 1893 panic. An earlier shift to free trade could occur, and McKinley likely isn't the 1896 nominee. I'm unsure who would be nominee though.

Without the second Cleveland Term, the Democratic Establishment isn't utterly discredited like OTL and Bryan isn't the 1896 nominee. Instead the nominee will be a Bourbon Democrat (John Palmer?) or (more likely) a compromise candidate like Richard P Bland. Pattison or Matthews are also possibilities, as are many others. William E Russell could be Cleveland's preferred pick. If Bland dies in 1899 like OTL, then there's a wild card in who his VP is.
No Democratic President elected in 1896 would be in favor of seizing Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines from Spain - big FP knock-on there.

Harrison wasn't an imperialist and was skeptical of the US acquisition of the Philippines OTL, thinking it'd have been preferable just to keep a small port there but otherwise leave the place to its own devices. Samoa and Hawaii were different in that they were small archipelagos with key strategic purposes (ports/coaling stations). The US might have taken German New Guinea and Northern Solomons, but it might not be inclined towards keeping it under a Harrison administration. The US has disputes with Britain over Samoa (which the British still claim), the Alaska border, and Venezuela which it might be able to horsetrade about. Liberia too, maybe. An American Yukon might be desired because of all of the gold and the relation of gold to US monetary policy.

A big knock-on would be that the Lodge Bill would be reintroduced in Harrison's second term. The dilemma there is that it'd be repealed if Democrats took back power in 1894 or 1896 (or 1898 or 1900...). Dixiecrats also were setting up parallel electoral systems for state and local elections, which means Democrats would still have control over Senate appointments (Senators being chosen by legislatures after all), though Republicans might have an advantage in the House of Representatives (though gerrymandering would marginalize that as well). 4 more years of patronage might save the North Carolina Fusionists and Virginia Readjusters though - both of whom were hurt by Cleveland's Administration.

Harrison gets two more appointments to the Supreme Court here, but that at best makes Plessy a 5-3 rather than a 7-1. Brewer (who abstained) might go with the three dissenters, but that just makes it a 5-4. Even if Plessy somehow won his case, odds that'd just mean states cannot compel businesses to engage in Segregation - it would not mean that states have an obligation to make equality a reality. It'd be an improvement over OTL, but not a massive one. Lack of state imposition of business segregation might have positive social effects though - businesses don't like disrespecting their customers and having two sets of everything (railroad cars, dining arrangements, etc.) would have been expensive.

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Germany likely puts more focus into its remaining African holdings here. Is the Zanzibar-Heligoland Agreement butterflied away? The Franco-German War started in March, but the agreement was in July. The Kaiser likely cares more for East Africa than for Heligoland, unlike Bismarck. Germany thus may end up with Kenya, Jubaland, and Uganda but not get the Caprivi strip or Heligoland.

Germany might care more about Morocco too.

Does the Ethiopian War go any differently for Italy?

Germany's hunger for the Philippines might be greater TTL if the Americans don't take the place.

Alliance between Britain and Germany seems more likely here.
 
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By the way, did the Boulanger government see the potential of the "frères Lumière" inventions?(cinema)
 
Die Weltzerfallen
DIE WELTZERFALLEN:

"I know that I shall be covered in mud, that I shall fall ingloriously"
~ Chancellor Leo Von Caprivi, upon his appointment circa 1890 [1]

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Whilst France had entered the new decade at triumphant, ecstatic heights; the darker tale of Germany had emerged blighted in sodden, desolate mires. Defeated on her Eastern and Western fronts alike, humiliated internationally, and now engulfed by raging political chaos in the Reichstag - Kaiser Wilhelm II could hardly have imagined the despairs his early reign would discover.

With the signature of the Treaty of Versailles in January 1890, Kaiser Wilhelm’s tolerance of Bismarck had at last snapped. The once Iron Chancellor had become a rusted relic - an old fool in his eyes, whose duplicity and lack of decisiveness had poisoned the Reich’s position in Europe and squandered it entirely abroad. Though their relationship had always been characterised by tension and conflict, the war and associated tumult had finally ensured its total breaking point. Poetically perhaps, much as conflict had defined their relationship in office, it would be conflict that would bring about Bismarck’s ultimate demise.

To many the lessons of the war were crystal clear. Germany’s armed forces had become overconfident, languished in the traditions of the past and therein failed to embrace the frenetic advances in modern technology and tactics. The Reich’s foreign policies had become convoluted and asinine - the once vaunted Bismarckian treaties and secret pacts proving too clever for their own good. And at home, the detestable Junkers [2] had grown fat at the Reich’s expense, at every conceivable turn slowing up the political and economic modernisations necessary for a great power such as Germany.

In all these regards, the true and shocking fallacy of the “sonderweg” [3] had been exposed. Germany had deluded herself into thinking it was set on a special, chosen path. That God himself had entrusted Germany to naturally rise unquestioned and unabated. That she was not bound to the natural rules of honourable diplomacy. That maintaining the decadent privileges of the Junkers and modernising society at the same time were possible. That she could sit idly by as the world progressed ever farther forwards, assured solely in the martial traditions of Frederick and ancient Prussia. The war was but an exposure of these failings, a symptom even of them, and one which France had ruthlessly and catastrophically exploited.

Alas however, Germany had survived the enemy onslaught - albeit heavily bruised. Though deprived of the valuable coalfields and industrial strongholds of Alsace-Lorraine and the Saar - the Rhineland had held, and the territorial changes to the Reich had proved otherwise admissible. The loss of ethnically Polish frontiers in Posen and East Prussia, whilst of course unfortunate and of outrage to the landowning Junkers, had at least acted to free the empire of some of its more disaffected minorities. The movement of the border to the Saar river, (though at detraction to defensive depth), had similarly provided a new and much more defensible frontier from which to campaign in wartime. Furthermore the loss of certain uneconomical colonies (held for little else than prestige and self vanity) proved a great relief of burden to the Chancellery - and more importantly permitted a far greater sense of strategic focus on the continent, and not on fanciful adventures abroad in Africa or the Orient [4].

Nevertheless the Reich desperately required reform if it was to do more than just survive, but lift itself out of the trough it had found itself turbulently cast into. The Kaiser therefore searched for a man who might bring about a “Neuer Kurs” (New Course) [5] for the Empire - one who might revive its fortunes, ironically much as Marshal Boulanger had for France. The man he would ultimately come to choose, was Count Georg Leo Von Caprivi.

Caprivi was an affable man, not known for being loud or particularly disagreeable. Unmarried and with few close friends, he was said to be intensely awkward in person, of little words and without great passions. Such underwhelming attributes, nearly the diametric opposites of the bullish and capricious personality of the Kaiser, of course raise the question of why such a man would be considered for the highest political office in the Reich. However such a shallow analysis does great disservice to the unique dichotomy of Wilhelm and Caprivi, the political alliance which would go on to utterly define the course of Germany at the turn of the 20th Century.

In nearly every role Caprivi had found himself appointed to, regardless of prior experience or vigour, he had proven himself an unrivalled administrator. He was tirelessly hard working, utterly devoted to whatever cause thrust upon him, and perhaps most importantly of all, steadfastly loyal. It is through these remarkable attributes that he had managed to advance so far in spite of powerful friends or allies, and against a backdrop of rampant Prussian elitism and nepotism.

Notwithstanding these past successes, the jump to the Chancellorship nevertheless remained a sizable hurdle - his highest office prior being Chief of the Admiralty - and as such he remained a more unlikely choice from the potential cohort. Certainly Wilhelm strongly considered other candidates, the Imperial Court far from short of vying opportunists. In particular Admiral Albrecht Von Stosch for a while appeared the leading front runner [6], given his vocal opposition to Bismarck (placing him in good stead vis-a-vis his demise), and distinct association with the moderate social agenda of the Kaiser. Von Stosch was however a close personal friend of the Kaiser’s father, Frederick III - and therefore Wilhelm, in his eagerness to utterly break from the past and escape the looming shadows of his predecessors, ultimately turned against him as a viable candidate. A number of others from the court were similarly considered for a time - Maximilian Von Der Goltz, Moltke the Younger, even Philipp, Prince of Eulenburg - however all would eventually fall to the wayside in lieu of Caprivi.

Certainly Caprivi was himself greatly reluctant to accept Wilhelm’s offer - he felt his inexperience in foreign affairs would stand against him, as would his character and its incredible contrast to the Kaiser and his mercurial court. Most of all he felt in the shadow of Bismarck, the man who had charted the course of Germany for the past 20 years, and who even whilst diminished, still shamed the pride of those who might follow [7]. In effect, Caprivi expected to fail. However, his duty of service to the Reich and to his Kaiser eventually outweighed any of these misgivings. Apprehensive at best, he shortly provided a reluctant acceptance to the Chancellorship with scant gusto.

Setting to work in earnest, the reforms he was certain were necessary, would certainly not be easy. Any changes made domestically would almost unanimously be at odds with the Junkers, whose cohorts dominated the Reichstag and much of the Berufsbeamtentums (Civil Service). At yet greater threat were the Junkers personal influence around the Kaiser himself - the so-called Camarilla [8] - and their venomous ranks of Prussian aristocratic courtiers ready to circle at a moment's notice. Caprivi thus quickly realised the importance of befriending the Kaiser, keeping close to his side, and watching guard of those who might try to whisper in his ear and offer alternative interpretations to his policies.

In particular this strategy focused on satisfying Wilhelm’s insatiable passion for social agendas, and therein keeping him inattentive with other more contentious political reforms. Wilhelm had long contested with his predecessor Bismarck over the well-being of the working man (often wholly disregarding the political realities of his reliance on conservative votes to prop up his “Kartell” in the Reichstag). The Anti-Socialist Laws in particular had become the lynchpin of this contention, the laws which prohibited trade unions, social democratic conventions and the wearing or display of any socialist symbols, alongside a litany of onerous restrictions on press freedoms to report the pressing social issues of the day.

Reichsgesetzblatt34_1878.png
Wilhelm, much like many great men born into privilege, felt an imperative urge to help the needy over which he ruled, and thus these laws in his eyes had become a towering obstacle to his rule. Caprivi was thus wise to focus on their abolition - not only had they become a cornerstone of hatred for the Kaiser, but also highly contentious within the Reichstag, and seen as a sore legacy of Bismarck whom Wilhelm now so despised.

Within a month, Caprivi had successfully rammed their abolition through the chamber. With the lack of Bismarck to compel the centrist parties to his cause, the liberals and moderates swung swiftly behind the new Chancellor, allowing the laws to either be repealed in short succession, or simply allowed to lapse. For the first time in 12 years, workers were able to form workplace committees - proto trade unions - that might represent their interests in a united front. With the Halbergerstadter Congress of 1892, these workplace committees had grown at such rate that the first national trade unions could once again be revived, marking the first wave of Germany’s modern social democratic traditions. Further to this, the laws abolition prompted an explosion in left-leaning political tendencies - of those who might try to alleviate societal ills through the almighty power of the state. Caprivi did much to foster this, keen to promote a “Sammlungspolitik”, or policies of coming together that might bridge the stark divides between left and right. The mutual motive of improving German society such that it might face France again and prove triumphant was a powerful story, and one which could assuage the rising extreme tendencies on both the conservative right, and Marxist left [9].

The February 1890 Federal Elections thus saw sweeping gains for the Social Democrats, and liberal parties at the expense of Bismarck’s favoured right-wing Conservatives. The SPD, springboarding off the political and economic chaos post-war, soon emerged as the third largest grouping in the Reichstag, winning some 62 seats. Together with Zentrum, and the DFP (alongside the more minor NLP), moderates and liberals now held a deadlock over the parliament, coalescing almost a two-thirds majority of seats [10]. As such, Caprivi’s social reforms were able to advance in rapid succession. Industrial courts were soon introduced to allow workplace arbitrations, employment hours were restricted, regulations introduced to minimise industrial accidents, and social security schemes strengthened in case of injury or old age. In little time, Germany had emerged with the strongest social protection apparatus of any major nation state on the continent, if not the world [11].

However, whilst these reforms succeeded in utterly captivating the front-pages and the socially-minded Kaiser, Caprivi was only just beginning a series of vicious battles against the Prussian establishment behind the scenes. Most disputed of these controversial administrative reforms was Caprivi’s repeal of the Bismarckian system of extensive tariff protections. The Junkers had long relied on the privileges of these obtrusive barriers to block competitors to their agricultural monopoly, however this had come at great detriment to Germany’s balance of payments and growing trade deficits. Similarly this lack of competition had been blamed for Germany’s perceived technological deficit with France, and lagging innovations.

Naturally of course, reforms against such entrenched vested interests proved nefariously difficult for Caprivi to enact - and the Junkers certainly did their utmost to oppose them on every field of battle conceivable. However, no longer able to rely on the patronage of Bismarck, or the deadlock on votes by his Kartell in the Reichstag, their opposition in the legislature remained an ultimately doomed endeavour. Instead the Junkers sought to defeat Caprivi’s efforts in the upper council of states, or the Bundesrat, and later on by sheer mass of protest. Breaking with the long running precedent of voting as directed by the Minister-President of Prussia (a position held simultaneously by the Reich Chancellor), several of the Prussian Deputies in the Bundesrat outright refused to vote in favour of Caprivi’s proposed tariff reforms. It was only thanks to the narrow agreement of three members of the Prussian delegation (avoiding the bill failing to get the necessary majority) in return for extensive personal concessions, that the reforms scathed through [12].

Such opposition was unprecedented, and a far cry from the days of Bismarckian strong-arming in the legislature. In return, the Junkers' increasing anger fostered the formation of several mass protest organisations against the tariff reductions. Allied with their considerable cohort of disgruntled landowners and farmers, these movements would soon coalesce into the Agrarian League, an organisation which commanded some 250,000 members by 1892 in hostile opposition to Caprivi’s chancellorship. It would prove a continued thorn in his side.


Hahn_075.png
Caprivi’s recriminations against such Prussian insolence were swift and far-reaching. Within weeks, the Chancellor moved to have the independent Prussian Foreign Ministry abolished and subsumed fully into the powers of the Reich Chancellery. Furthermore, Caprivi, in his role as head of the Prussian state government, had much of the previous Prussian delegation dismissed, and replaced by deputies more favourable to his reformist cause. This in turn allowed him to ram through a series of critical changes to the Imperial Constitution with lasting implications - most prominently the removal of the 14-vote against limit in the Bundesrat, in favour of simple majorities (in effect removing the Prussian right of veto over Reich legislation).

Perhaps more wide reaching still, was Caprivi’s changes to the structure and exchequer of the federal government and armed forces in lieu of this. The burdens of war had exposed severe failings in the administration and inadequate funding of the armed forces, and whilst Germany had escaped financial indemnities in the peace treaty, reforms had nonetheless become an economic necessity. Previously the federal government had lacked the initiative to enact direct taxation, and as such had become increasingly dependent upon high tariffs and indirect taxes to fund itself - in turn stifling trade flows and prompting technological stagnation. Should these revenues not be sufficient, as they so often were, the individual states were then obliged to contribute to the central budget according to their population - the so-called matricular contributions (Matrikularbeiträge). The burden of military expenses during wartime had however stretched this system to breaking point, and the central governments reversion to debt financing to fund the war effort, had resulted in a worrying explosion in the Reich’s credit burdens.

Similarly of concern, were the internal barriers which still persisted between the Reich’s constituent states. Different tax regimes, regulations and border controls, each nefariously complicated. prevented the creation of a genuine German internal market, and hindered the enormous shifts in population and resources as the nation rapidly shifted from an agrarian to an industrial economy. Were Germany to become the industrial juggernaut it was destined to be, this labyrinthine system would have to change.

As such, Caprivi’s solution was simple and forthright in its nature - the formation of a single Heer funded directly by the Reichstag, and the transfer of almost all of the individual states' tax and regulatory powers to the central government. Support to such a drastic constitutional change would have been almost unthinkable only a few years earlier, but the recent rebuffs of Prussia, the apparent necessity of the reforms in lieu of Germany’s military defeat, and the perceived agreement of the Kaiser, corralled the other states into reluctant acceptance. Within Caprivi’s first year of office, he had successfully centralised and consolidated the modern German state to levels surpassed on the continent only by France and the United Kingdom.

Initial administrative, social and political reforms completed, and the nefarious Junkers enraged but most definitely on the back foot for the time being - Caprivi’s next tasks lie in the Reich’s foreign and military policies. Such efforts came at great apprehension to Caprivi, his inexperience in foreign affairs and mercurialness of the Kaiser on such matters equally well known. However, the chaos of the war, and the near total disintegration of the Reich’s relations on the continent in consequence, made the adoption of a “new course” an unfortunate necessity.

Key to this new policy was Caprivi’s aim of reconciliation with Great Britain. Though the new Chancellor was not well versed on international statecraft, the total collapse of his predecessors' agreements with Russia, emphasised the necessity of alliance with a third party equally opposed to burgeoning Franco-Russian interests. Britain had long clashed with Russia in the Great Game across the Balkans and Central Asia, and her animosities with France had persisted almost since time immemorial. Moreover the Mediterranean Agreements of 1887 [13] had proven the possibility of Anglo-German reconciliation and a British retreat from their long held policy of “splendid isolation”.

Nonetheless great obstacles remained to fostering such a relationship. In particular, British and German explorers had repeatedly clashed in colonial ventures across Southern and Eastern Africa, much to the chagrin of the British colonial office. As such, Caprivi saw the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone as it were - secure and consolidate Germany’s remaining colonial interests in Africa, and simultaneously secure and consolidate an alliance with the British.

In particular in East Africa, tensions had been inflamed over the growing entanglement of the Sultanate of Zanzibar with European powers, and moreover with the British obsession over securing the source of the River Nile. Establishing proper borders between the German and British spheres of influence in this region was thus seen as critical to avoiding any potential conflict. Though each party argued vigorously over their respective rights to each region, the agreement which would follow later on in October 1890 reflected a well-negotiated compromise that largely accepted the territorial status quo and agreed a new mutual accord between the two imperial powers.


1890_Anglo-German_Agreements_East_Africa.png
In return for a German recognition of the British protectorates over Zanzibar and East Africa between the Pangani and Tana Rivers, the British delegation agreed to recognise German control over Wituland and their respective East African coastal strip near Dar es Salaam. Demarcations of the borders between these territories further inland were also agreed, alongside the transfer of the so-called “Caprivi Strip” to German South-West Africa in return for concessions to the British Bechuanaland Protectorate. Furthermore it was also agreed that each party would desist from further colonial ventures against one another in their now clearly demarcated spheres of influence, in effect a guarantee of one another’s unambiguous rights to these territories [14].

The agreements, whilst limited in their scope, provided the first steps in a broader and more cordial relationship between Britain and Germany. The British recognition of Germany’s remaining colonies in Africa effectively secured the Reich’s continuing participation in the global imperial project, whilst the German deference to British territorial interests assuaged London’s fears of having to face off against not just French but also German threats to the Nile and Suez Canal beyond. Lastly the agreements greatly appeased the Kaiser and the pro-colonialist lobby of the German establishment, securing their “place in the sun” and further entrenching Caprivi’s position as Chancellor.

As the years passed this policy of appeasing the British in hopes of drawing them into a full alliance continued to develop. In accordance, Caprivi time and time again opted for the non-confrontational position against them, often at great dissatisfaction to his domestic critics. For example, when the Reich Naval Laws came up for renewal, the new Chancellor opted to pursue a far more cautious approach to the rebuilding of the navy than advocated by the Kaiser, in the efforts of avoiding excessive antagonisation of Britain’s paramount naval interests. Instead Caprivi pointed to the increasingly widespread post-war consensus that Germany should instead focus solely on land matters - after all the performance of the Heer in particular had been where the French had exposed the Reich as so sorely lacking.


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Alongside the burgeoning relationship with Britain, Caprivi also sought to appease Germany’s “natural allies” on the continent - namely the Austrians and Italians. The collapse of the Triple Alliance during the Second Franco-German War had been particularly traumatising to the Reich Foreign Ministry, and in doing so had rather ironically proven its own importance in preventing German diplomatic isolation. As such, rebuilding this alliance was seen as a paramount objective above almost all other matters.


The new Italian government under Prime Minister Antonio Starabba, was however less than keen on these strenuous German diplomatic efforts. The Palermo Agreement of 1889, the abrupt collapse of the Germanophile Crispi government, and growing French economic interests in the nation rightly appeared to have closed off Italy from any potential alliance or diplomatic arrangements. Instead, Italy was viewed as increasingly tied to the informal Franco-Russian bloc, not just by Germany, but also by many in the British Foreign Office, and numerous ambassadors across the globe.

Instead it would be Austria which would come riding back to Germany’s aid. Austria-Hungary was perhaps the most obvious of these “natural allies”, sharing a disdain for growing Russian influence across Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and harbouring many deep connections and personal relationships with the German Reich. Emperor Franz Josef had only narrowly avoided joining the war in the first place, largely in outrage at the duplicitous treaties signed by Caprivi’s predecessor Bismarck. However with the Iron Chancellor evicted from office, and the Reich far more pliable to make concessions, the Austrians were more than happy to rekindle their Dual Alliance.

In just a year, Caprivi had utterly overhauled the socio-political systems and constitution of the Reich, triumphed at least for now over the aristocratic Junkers, and set Germany on the long path to rebuilding her military and diplomatic prestige on the continent. Though each would take many long and arduous years to fruition, the Weltzerfallen and the debilitating shock of military defeat, had already begun to fade in lieu of Caprivi’s common crusade to rebuild the Reich. As in so many age old parables, perhaps the night was truly darkest before the light…



[1] What a cheerful chap…as you can tell, in OTL as in this, he wasn’t too keen on the idea of becoming Chancellor, and didn’t much fancy his chances either. Thankfully unlike OTL, his fortunes don’t quite match his prophecies.
[2] The Junkers were the conservative Prussian aristocracy who dominated the German government.
[3] “Sonderweg”, or special path. The idea that Germany was distinct, and could modernise whilst retaining its unique constitution, Prussian aristocracy, and entrenched age-old traditions.
[4] Even the Kaiser mostly understood the importance of focusing on Germany’s position on the continent, not on colonial adventures afar - at least for the time being. However this was not to say he wouldn’t attempt to seize any potential opportunities where they arose.
[5] “Neuer Kurs” or New Course. The political sentiment that Germany needed to break from the Bismarckian and Frederickian past, and embrace a new path that might ensure its rightful greatness.
[6] I strongly considered going with Stosch as Bismarck’s successor, however I thought it would be a stretch. In OTL the Kaiser summoned Caprivi to Berlin in February 1890, in preparation for dismissing Bismarck the month after. Whilst in this TL, Bismarck is sacked in January, I didn’t think moving it forward by a month was enough to justify any other candidate being chosen - especially when the reasons for choosing Caprivi (moderate, young, reformist etc) are still the same in spite of the war.
[7] As in OTL, Bismarck still attempts to trash his replacements, albeit with far less success due to his own disgrace for wartime failure.
[8] Camarilla is actually a fairly generalised Spanish term for courtiers with excessive influence over the King behind the scenes.
[9] Pretty much all as OTL, and for the same motivations of appeasing the Kaiser and weakening Bismarck’s Conservative Party. The only difference is there is also the added motive of social/industrial reform to remedy the issues exposed in military defeat.
[10] Fairly similar to OTL, only with the SPD winning 62 seats rather than 35 thanks to post-war political tumult.
[11] Broadly the end state of this TL, will have Germany comparable to the Scandinavian countries of today in terms of their strong social welfare systems and high, albeit very expensive standards of living.
[12] Basically the Bundesrat had 58 members to represent the states, but only needed 14 votes against for a bill to fail. Since Prussia had 17 votes, and they traditionally voted as directed by the Reich Chancellor/Minister-President, they effectively had a total veto. In this TL, Caprivi changes this so that bills in the Bundesrat only needed a simple majority, or 30 votes in favour, for a bill to pass. This in turn allowed him to pass other various sweeping constitutional changes, like direct federal taxes, which in reality only came much later on during the chaos and de facto military dictatorship of WW1.
[13] The Mediterranean Agreements of 1887 were a series of British recognitions of the status quo in the Med, alongside agreements with Italy, Spain, Austria and the Ottomans of the need to prevent the Straits from falling to the Russians. Since Germany arbitrated these accords, it was seen as drawing Britain out of isolation and somewhat into the Austro-German-Italian anti-Russian bloc.
[14] This is basically in place of the OTL Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty. Britain only really offered Heligoland to the Germans as a result of a fluke by Lord Salisbury, but with the recent naval defeat of Germany by the French, the importance of this North Sea fortress had once again been reaffirmed. Instead, this TL treaty is more recognising one another’s spheres than an outright trade. Without the offer of Heligoland, the Germans are able to maintain control over Wituland, however their weaker diplomatic strength results in a slightly smaller Tanganyika and Namibia colonies.
 
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The new Italian government under Prime Minister Antonio Starabba, was however less than keen on these strenuous German diplomatic efforts. The Palermo Agreement of 1889, the abrupt collapse of the Germanophile Crispi government, and growing French economic interests in the nation rightly appeared to have closed off Italy from any potential alliance or diplomatic arrangements. Instead, Italy was viewed as increasingly tied to the informal Franco-Russian bloc, not just by Germany, but also by many in the British Foreign Office, and numerous ambassadors across the globe.

Instead it would be Austria which would come riding back to Germany’s aid. Austria-Hungary was perhaps the most obvious of these “natural allies”, sharing a disdain for growing Russian influence across Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and harbouring many deep connections and personal relationships with the German Reich. Emperor Franz Josef had only narrowly avoided joining the war in the first place, largely in outrage at the duplicitous treaties signed by Caprivi’s predecessor Bismarck. However with the Iron Chancellor evicted from office, and the Reich far more pliable to make concessions, the Austrians were more than happy to rekindle their Dual Alliance.
If the German are looking for ally they might start looking and focus more heavily on the ottoman seeing the actual political situation in Europe .
 
So I suppose the next Great War will see Britain ranged alongside Germany and Austria against Russia and France. Italy and Turkey are both wildcards here.
 
So I suppose the next Great War will see Britain ranged alongside Germany and Austria against Russia and France. Italy and Turkey are both wildcards here.
As much as Britain will end up more closely allied to the German bloc in this TL, they’re still very much cautious to avoid being drawn formally into European conflicts or alliance systems.

But yeah, my estimation from the original Boulanger POD is that another major European war was gonna happen at some point no matter what. Whether it matches the scale of the OTL Great War is another question however.
 
history always excellent but are the USA still "isolationist" or are they close to the French-Russian bloc and if so, do they want British Canada?
 
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