The Soft Underbelly - a Gallipoli TL

Interesting, so it looks like Russia won but is unstable and might end up like OTL Italy as has been said already.

France gets A-L and Greater Syria (Syria plus Lebanon) which isn't too bad.

I'm curious if the British Empire will keep all German overseas colonies or not?

And Italy seems to have gotten more territory then OTL.
Huh, Germans were way too smarter than OTL, accepting early on that war was lost. OTL Hindeburg and Ludendorff hang onto their delusions while everything around them was falling apart. Though Russia not collapsing unlike OTL, and Kuk throwing the towel might have been cause of their (realistic) lack of confidence in continuing war at this point.
Would be hard to push for stab in the back myth, if its Generals who negotiated ceasefire.
I cannot see Germany keeping most of her colonies, Alsace-Lorraine, or Bohemia-Moravia, they will probably also cede some border strip to Russia, just so they wont get left out.
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A wee update :).

Chapter V: The Paris Peace Treaties, 1917-1918.

On June 18th 1917 the guns fell silent on the battlefields of Europe and peace negotiations commenced in Paris the following month, starting with territorial aggrandizements. Germany had to cede Alsace-Lorraine to France, thereby undoing the national humiliation of 1871. German Cameroon and Togoland were divided by Great Britain and France, Belgium gained Ruanda-Urundi in north-western German East Africa, Portugal annexed the Kionga triangle from the same colony and added it to Mozambique, and Great Britain obtained the lion’s share, thus gaining the “missing link” in the chain of British possessions stretching from South Africa to Egypt. German Southwest Africa was annexed by the Union of South Africa. Japan gained German islands north of the equator as well as Tsingtao while German Samoa was annexed by New Zealand and German New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and Nauru by Australia.

Russia originally wanted to annex East Prussia, West Prussia, Pomerania and Posen, but those aims were clearly out of reach. Plans for such annexations would be met with ferocious resistance by Germany since all these areas were inhabited by Germans. Conquering millions of angry Germans who didn’t want to be ruled from Petrograd would also likely fuel revolutionary sentiments. Russia settled for more token expansion at Germany’s expense since its demoralized troops by now were preoccupied with internal unrest and didn’t really want to fight the Germans anymore. They opted to annex the region of Memelland where the Prussian Lithuanians lived (though Germans still formed the majority of the population there).

The Paris peace negotiations affirmed the Treaty of Livadiya, also known as the partition of the Ottoman Empire: Turkish Armenia and eastern Trebizond; France got south-eastern Anatolia, Syria and the Mosul vilayet which became the Kingdom of Syria; Britain established the Kingdoms of Transjordan and Mesopotamia; Italy got Antalya; Greece got Imbros, Tenedos and the Anatolian coast from Smyrna to Sinope while Constantinople became an international city; and Bulgaria got the rest of Thrace. The Treaty of Trianon arranged the division of that other defeated declining multiethnic empire: Austria-Hungary. It also detailed several other territorial changes in the Balkans. Russia annexed Galicia, Austrian Silesia, Carpathian Ruthenia, and northern Bukovina. Southern Bukovina, the eastern Banat and Transvylvania passed to Romania. Vojvodina, the western Banat, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia and Croatia (except for Dalmatia) were annexed by Serbia, which also annexed Montenegro and formed the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, also known as Yugoslavia.

Italy annexed South Tyrol, the Austrian Littoral, Dalmatia as well as Fiume and negotiated the partition of Albania: Serbia annexed the city of Shkodër in the north and Greece got Northern Epirus in the south. The rest of the country became the Kingdom of Albania and a regency council saw King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy as the prime candidate, unsurprising since Italian troops occupied the country. He was declared King of the Albanians and a few noble titles were added for good measure. His cousin Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta, was appointed Viceroy. Albania formed a personal union with Italy and, apart from a shared monarch, was an independent country with its own parliament and constitution. That was reality on paper, but in practice Albania became a dependency of Italy and its parliament a rubber stamp institution. The small Albanian armed forces were commanded by Italian officers, Italians held key cabinet positions and Italian business interests dominated the economy.

The Kingdom of Bohemia, the Margraviate of Moravia and the Slovak regions of Hungary now formed an independent “Kingdom of Czechoslovakia” state under the auspices of Russia, the Slavic big brother. Upon its declaration of independence a regency council convened in Prague and accepted the candidate presented by Tsar Nicholas II, namely his cousin Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich. They were cousins and he was third in the line of succession after Alexei, the Tsesarevich, and the Tsar’s younger brother Grand Duke Michael. If Alexei were to die without issue then his uncle Michael would succeed him, after which Cyril would automatically be the successor. Michael’s son George Mikhailovich, Count Brasov, was born from his marriage to Natalia Brasova, who was not of royal blood and twice divorced. Since Michael had ignored the rule that the Tsar had to give permission for any marriages in the imperial family, he’d been banished from Russia. He’d been allowed to return for military service along with his family and his son was created a noble, but George and his descendents were excluded from the line of succession. In the event that Alexei died without issue, which seemed likely given his frail health, Cyril would succeed Michael and unite Russia and Czechoslovakia in personal union.

In the meantime, Emperor Charles I – the successor of Franz Joseph, who had died in 1916 – was left with an Austrian rump state. It was composed of Voralberg, Tyrol (minus South Tyrol), Salzburg, Carinthia, most of Styria, Upper Austria, and Lower Austria and it got Pressburg and Sopron as consolation prizes. Charles initially considered assuming the historical title Archduke of Austria (after all, it’d be rather laughable to hang onto the title of Emperor), but settled for “King of Austria.” The Entente recognised this, but demanded that Charles renounced his claim on the Hungarian throne (which was all the easier since the Hungarians had rejected his rule and had become a republic). Austria was left a miserable little country with an economic malaise and lacking in national identity; the vast majority of the population wanted to join the German Empire. The allies allowed this, but in return Germany had to foot half of the bill for Austria-Hungary’s ten billion gold marks in war indemnities. War guilt was dumped on the now defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire, concluding the partition of the Habsburg inheritance in a fashion palatable to the great powers.

Germany, in the meantime, didn’t just lose its colonies and some territory in Europe. It was also subjected to restrictions to the size of its military as well as war reparations. Again, the French were the most radical and wanted to completely demilitarize Germany and only leave it with a gendarmerie for internal security. France also wanted to burden Germany with crippling war reparations. The British were mostly interested in cutting the Imperial German Navy down to size, especially after it had damaged and humiliated the Royal Navy so much in the Battle of the West Frisian Islands. The German navy had been the second largest fleet in the world and the British felt it threatened their dominance of the seas (even though their battle line still outnumbered the German battle line 3:2 and British production capacity was likely to increase that gap). Beyond naval concerns, Great Britain was still mostly concerned with the balance of power and rejected the French proposal for a total demilitarization of Germany. Britain had learnt of Russian ambitions to take over East Prussia, West Prussia and even Pomerania. Although Russia had abandoned those claims for the sake of its own internal stability, Britain was still worried about them. If these plans were ever realized, Russia would be the dominant power in the Baltic Sea and there would be little Sweden, Denmark or a fangless Germany could do to keep them bottled up there. A fully demilitarized Germany would be a speed bump to Russia if it rose again, which was more a question of “when” rather than “if” given its plentiful natural resources and ocean of unskilled labour (American investors were already lining up to replace the nigh bankrupt French government as Russia’s main investors). In the meantime, Russia itself wanted recompense for the damage done by the German army, but it didn’t want to cripple Germany economically either since it was the main market for Russian cereals (unsurprising since it was the second most populous country in Europe after Russia itself and not self-sufficient in agricultural production).

In the finalized Treaty of Versailles, signed on May 8th 1918 after six months of talks, Germany had to pay a total of 25 billion gold marks in war reparations in twenty years, most of it to France, Russia and Belgium. The German army was not to exceed 675.000 men or 45 divisions, was prohibited from possessing chemical weapons, and it wasn’t allowed super heavy and siege artillery (defined as calibres over 155 mm or 6.1 inches). Germany complained it couldn’t defend itself from foreign aggression with such a small army, but Britain, Russia and France guaranteed its neutrality, albeit reluctantly.

As for the Imperial German Navy, Britain dictated terms since the issue concerned them the most and they wanted a German navy too weak to threaten them, but strong enough to keep the Russian Baltic Fleet bottled up in Kronstadt in the Finnish Gulf. Germany was allowed a total tonnage amounting to no more than 30% of the Royal Navy’s and was disallowed U-boats. Besides that, Germany was allowed to have a core fleet of eight capital warships, defined as battleships and battlecruisers. Germany was allowed four battleships and four battlecruisers and complied with these stipulations in its own way. The German navy scrapped all its pre-dreadnoughts and the older Nassau-class, Helgoland-class and Kaiser-class dreadnoughts. The four more modern König-class battleships were sold off to Argentina where they served another forty years. Germany was left with two Bayern-class dreadnoughts and another two that were nine and twelve months away from completion respectively. Württemberg and Sachsen were completed in 1918 and joined their sister ships Bayern and Baden, constituting the 1st Battleship Division of the Imperial German Navy from 1918 onward. They also retained Seydlitz, Moltke and the two remaining Derfflinger-class ships to form their 1st Battlecruiser Division. Additionally, gun calibres were restricted to 15 inches (380 mm) while displacement was limited to 33.000 tonnes full load.
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Will the peace treaty save the monarchy?

Will germany and Russia remain a monarchy after the treaty since the Germans are probably angry at the kaiser and there probably revolutionaries who would like to remove the tsar
Will germany and Russia remain a monarchy after the treaty since the Germans are probably angry at the kaiser and there probably revolutionaries who would like to remove the tsar

Who knows ;)? Anyway, is there anyone who can make a map for me based on the last chapter.
Despite the war ending sooner, looks as if the victor's still got their pound of flesh from it all. Now it'll be interesting to see the fallout from this treaty and the war itself as you've got Europe, damaged, but much better off than OTL and Russia just hanging onto its Monarchy. I really can't see a happy ending for the Tsar even with the victory though. If you get enough people wanting reforms for fighting such a brutal war and Nicholas refusing them, it's going to cause issues indeed.
A different ending to the war, we do not know if i.t.t.l. Hitler survived with all the butterflies. Even if he did the odds of him making even close to the same impact I would put as slight.
Update :).

Chapter VI: Reconstruction, 1918-1925.

With the war over, the victorious powers started to attend to their economic recovery, a comparatively uneventful process in Great Britain and France. Great Britain did experience major trouble in Ireland, which eventually resulted in the partition of the island between the dominions of South Ireland and North Ireland. The latter, dominated by a population of Protestant Irish unionists, exercised its right to rejoin the United Kingdom almost immediately, much to the outrage of the Catholic Irish nationalists. Besides that, there were disturbances in India because many were angry because they didn’t get more autonomy as a reward for aiding the British war effort. Besides that, the most serious political consequence was that the Liberals were virtually wiped out in the 1918 UK general election. To prevent the Labour party from taking power, the Conservatives agreed to a coalition with the Liberals and Andrew Bonar Law became Prime Minister. Winston Churchill, whose prestige had been incredibly boosted by the success of Gallipoli, simultaneously held the posts Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary (two out of four of the “Great Offices of State”, the other two being PM and Home Secretary).

France also had issues. The areas under German occupation had produced 58% of the country’s steel and 40% of the coal and had suffered serious damage in the closing months of the war. Combined with a national debt of 160% of GDP this meant France was left with a weak economy. Using war reparations and American credit the government initiated a large-scale reconstruction program. Taxation policies were highly inefficient and there was widespread evasion, which the government needed to address to acquire more funds. German reparations weren’t enough and the government couldn’t just keep borrowing money willy-nilly from the US. The socialist government introduced “squeeze the rich” taxes, adjusted the system of tax collection, and reduced spending drastically to balance the budget and stabilize the franc.

Russia was a radically different story. Widespread discontent about the faltering economy was mixed with political demands from the bourgeoisie for a Westminster-style parliamentary system instead of Tsarist autocracy. Among the rising working class voices were raised about an eight hour workday, better working conditions, safety regulations, an end to child labour and legalization of trade unions. A portion of the working class turned to communism as these demands fell on deaf ears. War veterans also wanted their due for their toil in the war, proposing a scheme of social insurances for widows, orphans and handicapped veterans.

Besides demands for more democracy, working class rights and support for the victims of the war, nationalist sentiments manifested as well. On August 14th 1914, Grand Duke Nicholas had proclaimed the “Manifesto to the Polish Nation” which promised reunification of the Polish land and autonomy to the Poles under the aegis of the Russian Tsar. Reunification had been partially realized with the annexations of Galicia and Austrian Silesia (Posen and West Prussia remained German). Nicholas, however, reneged on his promise to grant autonomy to the Poles, although he did resurrect the title “King of Poland.” That was a purely symbolic gesture that didn’t even satisfy pro-Russian Poles like Roman Dmowski, never mind voices that insisted on independence. Nicholas was determined to maintain the autocracy he’d inherited from his father Alexander III.

On May 11th 1918, a political demonstration was organized in Warsaw against “the Tsar’s betrayal” which initially seemed to be peaceful despite obvious Polish resentment. Having learnt from 1905, the Tsar ordered the police to fire in self-defence only to avoid a repeat of “Bloody Sunday.” Things turned grimmer when angry workers led by the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) arrived demanding the right for workers to unionize and to vote for a Sejm (parliament) seated in Warsaw. They burnt effigies and portraits of Tsar Nicholas II and chanted Polish nationalist anti-Russian slogans. That didn’t go down well with Russian soldiers that had just marched into the city to replace the German garrison that had returned home now that peace negotiations had been completed. These veterans who had fought and bled didn’t appreciate this perceived ungratefulness from “Slavic brethren that had been rescued from German rule and certain Germanization.” At some point a fight resulted between some drunken Russian soldiers and a bunch of Poles on the barricade. Russian soldiers pulled their service pistols to intimidate the Poles and a misfire from one of them caused chaos. Russian troops fired and the crowd scattered, but the Poles returned with a vengeance equipped with hunting rifles, Molotov cocktails, knives, bats, awls, pokers, pitchforks, broken bottles and bricks. Warsaw descended into chaos with rioting and looting. Word about the Warsaw Uprising quickly spread and led to more protests in places like Lublin, Radom, Kielce, Krakow, Lemberg and other major cities in Russian Poland. The Polish Legions led by Josef Pilsudski, established under German auspices in 1914, had taken on civilian attire and had gone underground after the Germans left. Now they returned to lead the armed insurrection that became known as the Polish Revolution, the first Polish revolt in 55 years. The May Uprising was the start of the Russian Revolution of 1918-1919.

The Russian army quickly re-established control of the cities, but they were harassed by terrorist bombings and sabotage as well as being demoralized by the passive resistance of an unfriendly Polish population. Sabotage and bombings were mostly ended by martial law, summary executions and the Okhrana’s successful covert operations, infiltration by undercover agents and “perlustration” (reading of private correspondence). The Russians, however, couldn’t win the hearts and minds. Pilsudski’s legions remained in control of much of the countryside where they waged a guerrilla campaign, which inevitably died down due to lack of outside support. By then, however, revolutionary violence had spread.

The Poles were under control by autumn 1918, but in the summer a peasant revolt had erupted in Ukraine. During the war the army had conscripted many men, who subsequently couldn’t help out with the harvests, and they confiscated many draft animals, which also frustrated the rural population. Besides that, a sense of Ukrainian identity could be traced back to Cossack nationalism and had been developed strongly in the decades before the Great War. Manifestations of Ukrainian nationalism had been met with policies of Russification ever since Peter the Great. This led to the 1863 Valuev Circular that stated the Ukrainian language had never existed and never would, culminating in the Ems Ukaz that banned the use of the Ukrainian language in print. Deprivation, war and oppression exploded into the Ukrainian Revolution of 1918. Its military leadership was the Ukrainian Military Council led by Pavel Skoropadskyi who was also President of the short-lived Republic of Ukraine. Skoropadskyi coordinated with Pilsudski and everything between Warsaw and Kiev was plunged into chaos. The revolutions peaked in August 1918 with unrest in the Baltic, Finland, the Caucasus and Central Asia too, but especially in Russia. There were mass demonstrations in Russian major cities for a truly democratic constitution, free and fair elections and an empowered Duma. Communists established a soviet in Petrograd once again. There were also the anti-revolutionary, pro-Tsarist demonstrations by the ultranationalist Black Hundreds, resulting in anti-Semitic pogroms. The vast majority of the Russian people, however, wanted change.

By the winter of 1918-’19, the army had managed to reassert control and restore order, but only after a change in leadership. Tsar Nicholas II hadn’t been extremely popular ever since the Russo-Japanese War and the Russian Revolution of 1905. With the western parts of the Russian Empire in chaos and the loyalty even of ethnic Russians questionable, his position became untenable. On August 16th [O.S. August 3rd] 1918, four days after his son’s fourteenth birthday, Nicholas abdicated and retired to the Alexander Palace, his favourite residence at Tsarskoye Selo, with the title of Grand Duke. His son became Tsar Alexis II, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, while the boy’s uncle Grand Duke Michael became his regent until his 21st birthday, as determined by the leaving Tsar’s instrument of abdication. Nicholas and his wife Alexandra were determined to keep their sickly son close for as long as possible. In the confines of Alexander Palace, Alexei was educated in the art of statecraft by tutors and continued living his comfortable family life, almost completely isolated from the outside world save for a handful of public appearances.

Grand Duke Michael became the face of Imperial Russia and in the name of his nephew he enacted the most serious reforms since the reign of Alexander II (widely known as “the Liberator” for his emancipation of the serfs in 1861). He passed a decree granting male suffrage to all men aged over 18 for elections for a constitutional assembly in October 1918. They designed a new democratic constitution which was ratified in June 1919, over a year after the revolution had begun. The 1919 constitution included freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, free elections, the requirement of regular parliaments, and the separation of powers. The branches of government are described below. The elected State Duma formed the lower house of the legislative and its 500 seats were divided through proportional representation with elections once every four years. The Governing Senate was transformed from a legal, judicial and executive body into an upper house, solely concerning itself with scrutinizing and amending bills passed by the Duma. It didn’t have the authority to actually reject bills; only the Tsar could do so by refusing royal assent. The Senate was to be half appointed by the Tsar and the other half to be elected through a gerrymandered district based system once every six years. The cabinet would be formed by the largest party or, if it lacked an absolute majority, a coalition of parties with a majority in the Duma. If no cabinet could be formed, if a cabinet lost a vote-of-no-confidence, or if it no longer enjoyed a majority in the Duma, then the Tsar could issue new elections. The executive officially consisted of the cabinet and the Tsar, though some considered the Senate a part of it as well given the Tsar’s influence on its composition. The constitution prohibited the judiciary to test laws and treaties against the constitution as it considered this a prerogative of the legislature, and thusly there was no constitutional court. Crucially, the constitution provided for the possibility of a state emergency that would enable the executive to rule by decree and suspend certain civil liberties. Poland got its own constitution and a semi-autonomous status with a democratically elected Sejm (parliament) in Warsaw.

In July 1919, Russia’s first truly democratic elections took place and they produced a fragmented political landscape. There were six major political parties in the so-called Fifth Duma: the liberal, centre-right Constitutional Democratic Party (“Kadets”), Octobrist Party and Progressist Party; and the leftwing Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), the Socialist Revolutionary Party, and the Labour Group (Trudoviks). Besides the “big six” there were also the Bolsheviks that had broken away from the RSDLP, single issue parties, Russian nationalists, non-Russian national groups, and independent leftists and rightists (Russian parties had a tendency to fragment over disagreements, with the minority going its own way). The Kadets gained 117 seats or 23.4% of the popular vote and became the largest party. The Octobrists and the Progressists gained 9.3% and 7.7% respectively. The now purely Menshevik RSDLP became the second party with 113 seats or 22.6% of the vote with a program addressing the lower middle class, the working class and the peasantry, promoting an elaborate system of social insurances and land reform. The Bolsheviks had formed their own faction since 1903 and had definitively formed their own party in 1912, the RSDLP (B), which was changed to Russian Communist Party in 1919. They disagreed with the Menshevik program to achieve social reform through electoral rather than revolutionary means, and rejected the most recent RSDLP program that was no longer explicitly anti-monarchist. The communists were virulently anti-monarchist and solely turned to the urban working class for votes, ignoring the peasants, and performed poorly in the July 1919 elections.

The Kadets, the Octobrists, and the Progressists, who together represented 40.4% of the vote, banded together early on, planning on forming a mostly centre-right coalition with support from the RSDLP. Negotiations to bring them in failed and instead the three liberal parties had to turn to single issue parties and independents. After four months of political paralysis a governing coalition composed of eight parties finally formed in March 1920 and Pavel Milyukov became the first democratic Prime Minister of Russia. Democracy and political parties were still fairly new to Russia and many parties lacked party discipline, leading to frequent splits and mergers between factions (the Kadets and the RSDLP were the notable exceptions). Michael was able to manipulate the divides in the Duma by exhaustively networking with the leading figures of the moment, which often disappeared into obscurity again as quickly as they’d risen. As it turned out imperial patronage still was prestigious enough for influential Duma members to merit attaching their approval to Michael’s agenda and to persuade others to do the same. In the meantime, the governing coalition’s composition changed quicker than the weather in March. Cabinet formations after elections took long enough, but the factional strife prompted frequent renegotiations to maintain a majority. When that didn’t work, there had to be new elections, and those happened frequently. Between 1919 and 1925 there were six governments, the longest of which was the 1923-1925 Kadet-RSDLP-Progressist coalition. In a 1922 party congress the party made the final step to becoming a social democratic party in the Western sense: it recognised that, with such a small proletariat, it was never going to get an absolute majority of the popular vote and therefore it was permissible to form coalitions with “bourgeois capitalist” parties to realize socialist goals. Milyukov’s fairly stable 1923-1925 government passed groundbreaking social legislation that largely imitated the Bismarckian welfare state Germany had: the Duma passed a sickness insurance law, an accident insurance law, and an old age and disability insurance law in those two years. 1925 was also the year that Tsar Alexis II turned 21 and assumed his full responsibilities. Though formally educated, for the last seven years he hadn’t known much else than the family life with his parents and older sisters and knew very little of the political landscape in Petrograd. His uncle Grand Duke Michael therefore played an overbearing role in his nephew’s early reign.

And then there was Germany. In June 1918, the SPD won a landslide election and yet Emperor Wilhelm II refused to appoint a social democrat to the office of Chancellor, instead opting to support a minority government of conservative nationalists and rightwing liberals. The public was outraged that the Kaiser dared to ignore their will and – combined with frustrations about Wilhelm’s ineffective wartime leadership, the lost war, stagflation and the de facto military dictatorship of Hindenburg and Ludendorff – this led to protests. The duo effectively running Germany were under the illusion they could maintain their power after the war, but the protests were so massive that there were fears for a revolution as bad as Russia’s or worse. Hindenburg and Ludendorff were forced to give up their position of power and had to advise the Kaiser to do the same. He abdicated on July 8th 1918 and Crown Prince Wilhelm became Emperor Wilhelm III, in large part due to the army. The officers’ corps and, by extension, the army remained a bulwark of monarchism and ensured that the Hohenzollern dynasty held onto the throne. Many in Germany desired and expected a second round, and the new Emperor had to decide whether he wanted a second war to restore Germany’s prestige.
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So Russia is Weimar with a Monarchy and Germany seems to be turning into Mussolini's Italy, looking foreword to more but at the same time cautious about how much better things will turn out.
Another good update and it looks as if things are generally calm, although it could go quite bad should something tip the scales. The Russian reforms seemed a bit too all encompassing although they were balanced by the Tsar keeping that much power.
Interesting. In Russia, Tsar abdicated in what was essentially compromise with army, which both won war, and crushed internal dissent. And then promptly retired to his palace, which was probably what he always wanted OTL.
In Germany, there was nominally no change in constitution nor revolution, but in blinking contest between Reichstag and Kaiser, latter blinked first, which gives similar end-results: German Empire had effectively parliamentarised, as even though army also saved institution of monarchy, next Kaiser won't be able to basically ever defy the Reichstag. Look what happened to previous one who tried.