To the Victor, Go the Spoils (Redux): A Plausible Central Powers Victory

Why are the socialists worried about Universal suffrag? Reichstag has been elected by universal male suffrage since the formation of German Empire in 1871. Yes Weimar constitution added right to vote to woman. BUT. What was the point of contention was the three tiered franchise for election to Prussian Diet and that the Chancellor served at sole pleasure of the Kaiser. Whats more they wanted the various state secretaries to be responsible ministers that the Reichstag could question. In other words they wanted power to shift to Reichstag and government to function like parliamentary governmen.

Change in franchise for Reichstag zero impact.
Doing an election for Reichstag zero impact.

Kaiser can chose whoever as Chancellor and all of the state Secretaries. Yes without cooperation of Reichstag the Chancellor would have major problem. BUT with Germany at war and a state of siege declared the Chancellor / Government had VERY wide powest.

nice story.

Michael
 
Why are the socialists worried about Universal suffrag
Because I keep 👏 forgetting 👏 to remove 👏 that 👏 bit 👏 like 👏 a dumbass 👏

You're absolutely right - Im gunna comb through and amend later today.

Basically I mixed up universal suffrage (Austria Hungary issue) with the Prussian three tiered system and keep forgetting to update it.

Cheers for spotting!
 
Calling into question the loyalty of the interfactional committee and harking tones associated with the Fatherland Party, von Hertling labelled the SPD and peace group as anti-German traitors who wished to throw away all of Germany’s war gains.
Hertling labelled his own party traitors?
 
Hertling labelled his own party traitors?
From what i understand the Zentrum party had both left and right wings and was a broadly Catholic party in Germany, so its possible Hertling is from the right of his party and views the more peace-supporting left and "centre" unfavourably.
 
Winning the Peace: British Negotiations (October 1918)
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Winning the Peace
British Negotiations
October 1918

With the general strike over and the Military Government having been partially toppled at least, Chancellor von Payer sought to establish order in the country while satisfying his partners in the SPD and Zentrum. It should be made clear though, while Germany was now politically in the hands of the interfactional committee, they did not have total control over the state - and had no direct control over the military.

A liberal aimed at reforming the state, but unwilling to act directly against the monarchy or limit German war aims, von Payer straddled both the nationalist military clique and the pacifist socialists bloc and aimed to establish a lasting peace that would satisfy all parties. First and foremost though, this required securing talks with the British.

Contacting German ambassador to Denmark Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau and instructing him to approach the British delegation with a proposal for talks, von Payer made clear to the stalwart liberal but proud patriot von Brockdorff-Rantzau that he should approach Britain for serious negotiations for an armistice.

Von Brockdorff-Rantzau, the man instrumental in delivering Lenin to Russia and close with SPD leader Ebert, made the approach on October 19th. He was a cautious man, but equally a very pragmatic one. Widely considered an option to become Germany’s Foreign Minister, Von Brockdorff-Rantzau would be a trusted figure able to negotiate an amicable deal with Britain - provided he was left to his own devices and interference from the OHL was kept to a minimum.

The meeting with the new British ambassador in Copenhagen Sir Charles Marling took place in a ‘chance encounter’ at near Frederiks Kirke. Of course in actual fact Marling had received a memo from an assistant to Von Brockdorff-Rantzau asking that the two meet nearby the castle, prompting both men to set out on midday walks nearby the church and ‘bump into one another’ without the constraints of their extensive staff.

Von Brockdorff-Rantzau’s proposals were simple; Germany was willing to agree to a conditional armistice with Britain immediately provided that Britain accept guarantees that the blockade would be lifted upon the completion of peace negotiations in Copenhagen.

Building on preliminary discussions about peace in 1917 by then foreign secretary Kühlmann, Von Brockdorff-Rantzau’s immediately conceded that there would be no German bases in the channel. Further, Germany would surrender to British demands for a politically independent Belgium under King Albert. This would however require border adjustments, and the Ambassador made clear that Germany in surrendering control of Belgium would be forced to seize what it labelled as ‘forward defences’ from both France and Germany to assure Germany’s longer term security. This would primarily be focused around the Ardennes region.

This peace would be negotiated between the two parties in Copenhagen, with issues such as the future of Germany’s colonies being open for discussion - albeit with great hesitation on the part of Germany. The German Government would also would insist that Britain respect the terms of the new settlement in eastern Europe, while Germany would honour British arrangements with the Turks.

Finally, Germany would agree to surrender her pacific territories - often seen as a burden more than a benefit - after a period of peace to either Britain, the United States or Japan.

Taken aback by the proposals in a position so unfamiliar to the war cabinet, Denmark Minister Sir Charles Marling immediately relayed the offer to the British Government and Prime Minister Bonar Law.

Aware of the political strife in Germany, the British cabinet had become divided between two new peace and war parties.

The war party, led by War Minister Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner, firmly believed that to prevent later German expansionism, Germany must be pushed to the brink of catastrophe before any peace could be negotiated by economically isolating her, potentially for years.

The peace party meanwhile, led by Foreign Minister Austen Chamberlain, believed firmly that Germany could be contained using international treaty obligations and organisations such as the American-backed League of Nations, and that without peace soon Britain would be susceptible to major social unrest.

Bonar Law for his part straddled the two groups. His priority was political unity in the country and providing the British people with ‘compensation’ for their immense sacrifice in France. However, like Lloyd George and Asquith before him, he feared that a Germany unleashed upon the world would create an irrevocably unstable influence in Europe and would threaten British national security.

For Bonar Law two questions stood out though; how long could Britain realistically resist Germany without herself appearing the aggressor, and if the new German Government failed to secure peace, what would replace it?

Both questions were vital for British interests. If Britain continued to prosecute the war alone, it may alienate the overwhelming trade and navigation focused Americans and paint Britain as the belligerent state. While it is unlikely America would ever demand Britain withdrew the blockade, she risked being seen as an obstacle in the way of peace, rather than the side attempting to limit German demands. This would isolate her during a period where she would need allies to isolate Germany.

Further, if Britain rebuffed the Germans now when they were offering Britain influence over the final European settlement, would Germany’s new more liberal regime survive, or would it be replaced by nationalists who would further dominate the continent by force? Or even, if Germany failed to do that, might she herself fall to Bolshevism in the longer term?

Ultimately, the Prime Minister chose to walk a steady and specific line towards peace. This was not controversial among the cabinet or Parliament, in fact Britain had very seriously considered a settlement with Germany in 1917 with assurances over Belgium. Her main priorities, after all, were preventing German naval access to positions that would undermine British security, even in the worst case a weakened France would be preferable to German control of Belgium.

Agreeing to begin negotiations in Copenhagen between British and German delegates, the two parties officially opened talks at Denmark’s Christiansborg Palace on October 21st. This would be a negotiation where there was no armistice, both sides would merely have to agree on terms, or there would be no peace.

While British warships and German submarines would pull back to an extent to avoid dramatically damaging the morale of either Government, with Germany suspending unrestricted submarine warfare on October 20th, both sides would fight until the moment the ink was on the paper.

For Germany, Britain’s agreement to the plan was bitter sweet. News of the talks in Copenhagen instantly electrified the German public after it was revealed in the monday morning papers on the 21st. Carefully worded, the Government had ‘guided’ the papers on how to present the story, aiming to spin it less as a British capitulation and more as a British admission of futility in a longer term conflict.

The German public quickly took to the streets to celebrate, while German diplomats continued their exhaustive work drawing up fine print for the Germans to present Britain in the initial proposals on both sides. Discussions would no doubt take months as both sides haggled over the fate of western Europe, but for a moment the world all at once celebrated - the war was at last coming to a close.
 
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Out of curiosity, will of the presumed reforms or changes to the German Empire in the aftermath of WW1 be detailed in future updates (things such as changes to the voting franchise in terms of age, gender, method of voting; changes in terms of government policy, such as if an SPD government were to implement or increase government healthcare assistance/benefits to veterans/their dependants or implement/expand unemployment insurance etc)?
 
Out of curiosity, will of the presumed reforms or changes to the German Empire in the aftermath of WW1 be detailed in future updates (things such as changes to the voting franchise in terms of age, gender, method of voting; changes in terms of government policy, such as if an SPD government were to implement or increase government healthcare assistance/benefits to veterans/their dependants or implement/expand unemployment insurance etc)?
I'll be going into more detail on the domestic side of things post peace treaties mainly, but I'll touch on post-truce reforms in a not so far away future update.
 
One thing worth considering when you get around to dealing with the tricky business of the colonies. Smuts was adamantly opposed to returning Namibia to Germany no matter what happened in France. However Germany's biggest interest in Southwest Afrika was the very small but diamond rich Sperrgebeit. If they could get that back they would be willing to write off the rest of the colony as a tax loss (so to speak). Botha might then be willing to tell Smuts, "Hey we're only giving up this tiny sliver. Our subjects will look at the map and feel that keeping most of the land is good enough."
 
Considering the financial and domestic situation, do you think the german government would support a naval treaty to downsize the fleet and maybe level the playfield a little?
 
Would Britain? IRL, Britain could accept the Naval treaty because their most direct rivals (Russia and Germany) had just gotten smacked down. Sure, France and the US, etc, were concerns, but Britain didn't need to maintain quite as strong an advantage over them given the context.

ITTL, Germany dominating the continent still leaves Britain needing all the navy it can get.
 
Considering the financial and domestic situation, do you think the german government would support a naval treaty to downsize the fleet and maybe level the playfield a little?
Hard to say. On one hand, it would allow them to purge any leftist sympathesizers and their track record in the war was not exactly rife with success.
 
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