Trying to develop a timeline where U.S. and Britain stay out of World War One.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by brunohusker, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. brunohusker Well-Known Member

    Dec 10, 2012
    I've been trying to develop this timeline for a whie, but i'm stuck. I know that with Britain, there was some opposition, and that they didn't declare war until a week after Germany and Austria declared war on Russia and France. I know in Britain a lot of it had to do with neutral belgium being invaded, but even then I know some politicians wanted to stay out of a continental war, so I could see Britain staying neutral.

    In the U.S. it is a bit trickier. If Britain stays out than I can see that the U.S. wouldn't be as likely to be involved, but what if Britain was involved. Why would the U.S. stay out. As far as I know the Lusitania would have been sunk no matter what, though I could see that the Zimmerman telegraph might not be found, thus the U/S wouldn't be as afraid of Germans helping mexico. Still, i feel that isolationism might have been strong enough, though due to the progressive spirit many would want to go to war.

    So thats where I am at this point. It's seems easy to continue on. With no UK or US involvement, Germany beats the French, keeps alsace lorraine, and helps prop up the Austro-Hungarian Empire, maybe even helps the Ottoman Empire to industrialize and build up its oil industry in Arabia (since the Arab revolt wouldn't be as successful). Also, Germany would still send Lenin in his sealed train to Moscow, but later in 1918 Lenin would try to spread world wide communism, and encourage revolts in Eastern Europe, playing up Nationalism while trying to build communism. as a result the Germans invade Russian Piland and Ukraine and set up buffer states in Poland, the Baltics and maybe the Ukraine in order to appease these people. Same with Austria Hungary. They'd create puppet states for all their ethnic groups so they wouldn't fall victim to communist expansion. However, Lenin would still try to send the Red Army after the Russian Civil War into E. Europe in 1919-20 and will keep fighting until Lenin's death. Idk what would happen after this though. I would think Stalin would still beat out Trotsky, but whether he'd continue fighting the Germans, IDK.

    In my UK but no Us. scenario though, I see more of a stalemate. The Great War lasts until 1920. The UK and commonwealth keep sending more men, but with Russia out of the War Germany sends her troops west. Austria falls victim to nationalist revolutions, though the Germans try to keep it in line. However, Germany feels Britain and France are the bigger issues. The War continues, but German determination makes Britain and France sue for peace, while Germany sees it as a victory. While Germany does have to pay reparatiosn for invading belgium, it still keeps its colonies in Africa and continues to be a strong power. This also allows for the Social Democrats to stay in power, saying they are the party of peace, while also promoting a strong Germany. However, Germany becomes more scared of communism, which has become a threat (since there would be no poland, Warsaw would be a part of Moscow) and throws out the Social Democrats sometime in the early 20's. Germany continues to be more Nationalistic, seeing itself as the bulwark against communism. It even encourages Poles to continue to fight the Russians through the 20's. This is where I get stuck though

    Any suggestions
  2. hugh lupus Known to very few....thankfully

    Sep 3, 2011
    land of the long white cloud
    keeping the UK out of WW1 is soooo difficult .the push factors were so strong your pod must be far back .Simply put British policy was then ,and had been for centuries that no one country could achieve hegomny in Europe especialy if that country sought naval power and invaded a country deliberatly set up to be neutral because of its geographical position. You might delay the entry by a very short time at best.
    The UK would not be able to trust Germany to wage war only or primarily against Russia I think but Maybe that is your best bet. even that is long odds
  3. Glenn239 Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2012
    Make Victoria 20 years younger.
  4. anotherlurker Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2010
    Mountains, everywhere...
    you can have ireland blow up earlier.

    war ends in 1915 ala 1871, nothing much changes, except serbia getting screwed. an early end means not many border changes. sure there's social unrest bordering on revolution in russia, shame of defeat in france and the feeling of some missed chances in italy, romania and turkey.

    as for A-H, no break up for you, national struggle gets replaced by class struggle as it continues to rapidly industrialize.
  5. Politician Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    WWI delayed

    Inorder for that to happen you need to find a way to delay WWI. The assassination on Franz Ferdinand was perhaps one of the greatest modern tragedies that for the most part could've been avoided, had the driver not took the wrong turn he would still be alive.

    On June 28, 1914, the future Emperor Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary faced an assassination attempt. The attempt was unsuccessful and he proceeded on to his scheduled Town Hall reception. Following this reception, he went to the hospital and visited the victims of the assassination attempt, except this time the driver does not take the wrong turn. 2 years later, on November 21, 1916, Emperor Franz Joseph would die of natural causes and Franz Ferdinand would become Emperor or someone else.


    If he does die, the Austria-Hungarian Empire acts swift and decisively and invades Serbia, except this time not waiting for an international reaction.

    This would now buy enough time for Russia to continue with its plan to modernize the military. Eventually another Crisis would erupt in the Balkan region (they always were) and giving the continental powers another pretext to fight. Now Germany would have to abandon its plan to invade France and hold off a defensive line against her Western neighbor, whilst focusing entirely upon Russia. Remember one of the reason for the German reaction was that they believed Russia would eventually be too strong to defeat and given a few years it would start to make Russia look like a force to be reckoned with. As a result, this would butterfly away any German invasion through Belgium, thus the British at the time would have no reason to intervene and especially with trouble brewing in Ireland.
  6. victoria944 Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2011
    Yes Britain would never allow the continental balance of power to shift in a way that allowed one power to be dominant.
    Which means that somehow France has to still be a threat to British colonial interests, somehow the entente cordial never gets signed.
    Well a different 1870 where Prussia isnt so successful, so that France isnt humiliated, doesnt lose AL but Prussia still unites Germany might go some way to that.
    Germany doesnt feel so unabashedly confident of defeating France in a future war so they concentrate more on there army and dont build a huge navy. The Anglo German naval race is removed, so Britain doesnt feel so threatened by germany.
    A different 1870 allows for myths that the French army is stronger than it actually is lessens British concerns of Germany dominating the continent.
    if Turkey can collapse earlier then britain wont feel a German Turk treat to its middle east interests.
    Or maybe Russia is more of a threat to British interests, thats difficult
    because the Russian focus on supporting Slav powers in the Balkans requires Austria to have no aspirations there.
    One way to get there might be to have Austria join France in 1870 helping to bring about a more limited Prussian victory as mentioned above, that leaves the problem of Austro Prussian relations afte 1870.
    But maybe in response to Austria joining france in 1870 Austro German relations dont develop so closely.
  7. Dan Pink mice from pink chocolate! Awesome!

    May 18, 2010
    Reading the above, would a situation where Germany declares war on Russia, but not France. The Germans hold their western Border but do not attack France or Belgium. France declares war on Germany after a couple of weeks and being unable to attack Germany via their mutual border requests, and is denied access via Belgium.

    Would France violate Belgian Neutrality and could they spin it so that they convinced the world that they did so in support of Belgian Neutrality without drawing in Britian on the German side?
  8. TRH Tries Really Hard

    Sep 19, 2012
    If everything before 1914 still goes as OTL then the British will likely find an excuse to weigh in against Germany anyway - they weren't exactly a neutral party at that point.
  9. Garrison Well-Known Member

    Feb 24, 2012
    Milton Keynes UK
    There were significant disagreements about going to to war in the British cabinet and it wasn't really until after the invasion of Belgium that there was any great impetus. If things had gone a little differently it's possible the government might have fallen and by the time a new one was in place the strategic situation and public attitude might have changed radically; especially if the newspapers report how bloody the fighting is between the Germans and the French.

    Britain may not stay out altogether but there is no guarantee that they would send large forces to fight in Europe.

    ETA: Here we are article on the problems within the cabinet and the British attitude:
  10. victoria944 Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2011
    Its true there were a lot of disagreements in cabinet but i think in the broader general corridors of power, the press and professional and middle class opinion the mood was for war. I think if any one thing made war with Britain inevitable it was the German Naval Build up, it left Britain with no where to go except rapprochement with France, the naval build up was threatening enough to put conflict's with France into a different light. Rapprochement with France meant rapprochement with Russia since German foreign policy pushed France and Russia into each others arms.
    Again i think the way out of this situation is for Prussia to have a less conclusive victory in 1870 leaving them more circumspect. that's the only way i see the naval race being avoided, and the only way to limit British fears of continent dominated by German arms.
  11. Will Kürlich Kerl Banned

    Jan 3, 2013
    Huis Doorn
    Delay the war for a few years, say Franz Ferdinand doesn't die in 1914. Russia continues to modernize. That poses a threat to British interests in the Middle East and in Central Asia, as well as to Japan, allied to Great Britain. An alternate crisis starting with Albania and Serbia over Kosovo erupts into a world war. With a stronger Russia, von Moltke is forced to abandon the Schlieffen Plan and focus on Russia. No Schlieffen Plan, no invasion of Belgium. With Russia now posing more of a threat to Great Britain, Great Britain becomes more reluctant to join the war on the Entente. So, we get a situation where Great Britain might go the way of Italy ITTL. In fact, France has the Plan XVII, which calls for an invasion of Belgium. If France executes Plan XVII as OTL, without Germany invading Belgium, we could see the pro-German Belgian king join the Central Powers.

    No British Blockade of Germany ITTL means Germany won't start unrestricted submarine warfare. No American ships sinking. Great Britain isn't in the war, so there is no need for an alternate Zimmerman Telegram. Without unrestricted submarine warfare, a Zimmerman Telegram, nor a Great Britain in the war, there is basically no motives for the USA to join the Entente.
  12. NothingNow Banned

    Jul 28, 2009
    Greater Ybor City, FL
    Pretty much.

    And really, without the RN's involvement, and the Italians coming in on the side they were supposed to, the Germans should control the seas within a year (to the point that a couple cruisers could easily be deployed to west africa with a Seebattalion detachment to support Zimmerman's Shutztruppe.) That'd mean the French are honestly fucked, and really don't have the time or resources to mount their own submarine campaign.

    The Japanese could always get involved on the side of the central powers however, since they'd still be really touchy over the treaty of Portsmouth, and with the Russians being busy in the west, and the Russian navy being a joke at the time, it'd be the perfect time to do it.
  13. Karelian Well-Known Member

    Sep 8, 2011
    If WW1 equals a major European war fought at the first decades of 20th century, then an early PoD could achieve this. It requires so major changes in key political leaders and diplomatic affairs that it wouldn't be even close to our WW1 though.
  14. unprincipled peter Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    New York
    Leaving aside the how to keep UK out of the war (no UK means no US), why would Lenin still get shipped to Russia? No UK means that Germany most likely kicks France and Russia's butt, or at the very least, wins. Lenin was shipped in order to destabilize Russia. The war gets shorter, not longer, and there is no reason to ship Lenin.

    Remove either the UK or the US, and Germany wins in an earlier timeframe, if for no other reason than economics. The UK financed the early part of the war, the US financed the later part of the war.
  15. Martinus Paduei Generic Witty User Title

    Dec 28, 2005
    20 neoparsangs east of Manahattaborg
    I have this scenario in a TL I am intermittently working on, with a POD in 1901. I think you need a Germany which is not interested in attempting to compete with the British as far as navy is concerned, and also assiduously makes nice and reassures the British on an ongoing basis. German agreement to swap some land, specifically giving the British a swath of land in the western part of German East Africa, so that the British can construct that Cape to Cairo railway would be a good thing. A Germany which didn't violate Belgian neutrality, focusing on the east first, and going defensive against France would be very helpful as well.
  16. jony663 Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2009
    I am not sure if Japan get involved. Without British support and the Anglo-Japanese Treaty I see Japan entering very unlikely.

    Than again if no UK Von Spree has no reason to leave the Pacific.
  17. katchen Banned

    Aug 15, 2012
    I am in the process of reading :July 1914: Countdown to War" by Sean McMeakin Basic Books 2013. MxMeakin identifies many PODs that could have prevented WWI or made WWI come out differently.
    For example, Russia was VERY concerned about the UK delivering dreadnaoughts to the Ottoman Empire. Had the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand not happened, it is quite likely that war would have broken out a month later with Russia as the aggressor against the Ottoman Empire via a Russian landing at the Bosporus to capture Istanbul before those two dreadnaughts could get there.
    Would Germany have backed the Ottomans against Russia?
    Very likely. Would France have fought the Ottomans with Russia? Also very likely--to get a piece of the Middle East. Would Germany fight Belgium to get at France directly and would Russia attack Germany directly over the Ottoman Empire? Quite possibly. Would Britain get involved? Possibly not. By this time, Britain might well be convulsed by the Irish Question. A month could make a big difference--especially if Russia and France were the initial aggressors.
    So by all means read July 1914. Your analysis and POD will be much more insightful.
  18. GarethC Donor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Actually, I reckon it's more up for debate than that. The German concession at Tsingtao was an attractive target, and von Spee would quite as outmatched by Hiei and Mutsu as he was by Invincible and Inflexible.

    It's all a bit questionable whether a Britain still splendidly isolated from the Continental struggle would encourage Japan to make the OTL seizures of German Pacific possessions, but equally a Prusso-Japanese incident might be the later casus belli that brings Britain into the Great War - not as part of the slog through Belgium, but to strip Germany of its overseas colonies.
  19. pedmore1202 Well-Known Member

    Sep 23, 2012
    My thoughts are that by 1914 Britain would get involved in WW1, no matter what, however, the exact circumstances can be changed slightly.

    If Germany decides on a Russia first policy and remains on the defensive in the west, especially if they don't declare war on France until France declares war on them, then Britain's entry into the war would be delayed somewhat (opposition against the war and no German invasion of Belgium), although Britain is likely to supply France with equipment, resources etc at a reduced cost in order to help keep France in the war.

    Fast forward a couple of months, and it is likely that Britain decides to declare war due to German transgressions against it (sinking British ships etc), although it is unlikely to commit large forces to the Western Front after seeing the casualties being taken by the French (any forces committed to the Western Front would likely be about a year after Britain declares war, in order to properly train their troops in trench combat and to develop tactics and weapons in order to break the stalemate.) More than likely, they would use as much of their influence over the French as they had (once they joined the war), to try and limit offensive operations in order to limit losses. They are also likely to send non-direct combat troops and equipment - artillery units, pilots and planes, medics etc to show that they are helping.

    They are also likely to focus on other theatres of the war - Gallipoli, Egypt, East Africa, Southern Europe etc, allowing for more forces to be deployed there, potentially even making Gallipoli a success, forcing the Ottomans out of the war and opening up a Southern Front in Europe.
  20. NothingNow Banned

    Jul 28, 2009
    Greater Ybor City, FL
    Unlikely, but it's a very tempting opportunity. It's almost as tempting as the one the Ottomans have, as for them it's a chance to repudiate the massive debts owed to France and Russia.

    I was actually thinking they'd come in on the side of the central powers. Since they are still fuming over the resolution of the Russo-Japanese war. Joining the Entante would utterly defeat the point. Plus, compared to Sakhalin and Vladivostok, Tsingtao isn't that great a prize, and Vladivostok's defenses aren't what they were in 1905, while the IJA can afford the land campaign to beseige it.

    The French are also extremely weak in the Pacific (unlike the Germans, who have Von Spee's squadron and the III. Seebattalion stationed in Tsingtao,) so taking all of French Polynesia and New Caledonia (or rather, splitting it with the Germans) isn't out of the question.