WI: Great Britain & Germany march together to world hegemony

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Aloha May, May 30, 2019.

  1. Aloha May Active Member

    May 20, 2019
    Great Britain and Germany, with the exception of the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty, were largely antagonistic with each other. They called each other despots and imperialists, yet they shared much in common. Germany had the potential of Great Britain, but repressed itself to minor colonial expansion and continental politics. So, what if, through any means possible, Great Britain and Germany became allies in the quest towards world domination. I've seen scenarios like this before in timelines where WWI starts later and Great Britain is pushed into Germany for the sake of the balance of power (because of the growing power of Russia). I've also seen timelines like this that stem from the Fashoda War, or the Russo-Japanese War, which are based around France and Great Britain going to war.

    Could you please come up with a timeline wherein Great Britain and Germany willingly ally for the sake of their mutual growth? Perhaps involve the planned Anglo-German partition of the Portuguese Empire?
  2. catalfalque Wandering Historian

    Feb 28, 2006
    Joseph Chamberlain was pushing for an alliance and in the wake of the collapse of the Dreikaiserbund and before the Entente, things seemed possible. Most of the problem was the Kaiser himself. So you would need to, er, remove him.

    The Crown Prince would only just attain his majority in 1900, but coming to the throne then his grandmother, Queen Victoria's daughter Victoria, would still be alive (widow of Frederick III).

    William III, as he would be, would probably throw far less spanners into the works, not least because his uncle and cousins would be advising him, and you could see a British government during the Boer War, afraid of a potential French Copenhagen, reach out and agree an alliance with a Germany that is not whipping up bombastic propaganda against them
  3. Michele Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2007
    Why does Britain even need to share out-of-Europe resources with Germany at all?
    The British policy in the 1800s was to do their best to hamper anyone, including the French, in out-of-Europe ventures. The British policy since time immemorial, additionally, was to favor even less a continental power that seemed heading towards continental hegemony, and after 1871 that's Germany.
    Germany, in turn, has its own fish to fry in Europe, on all sides.

    One or another crowned head might make things worse, yes, but making them better against these well-established and sound principles - I don't think so.
  4. Aloha May Active Member

    May 20, 2019
    Britain does not have to share anything with Germany, the two great powers just have to agree not to fight each other.

    France was the one with the second largest colonial empire, and a chance at partitioning that empire is better than getting no chance to stab at it at all
    Teutoberg Forest likes this.
  5. Teutoberg Forest Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2014
    Perhaps if France was able to colonize more of Africa, especially by gaining the Congo, Britain would have more of a motive to be antagonistic towards France and subsequently become friends with Germany. Also, have Russia do better in the Great Game, exerting more influence in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and Britain would be even more wary of allying with the Tsar.
  6. snerfuplz Liveral Fascist

    Aug 23, 2007
    You would need Germany to not be so threatening to France. The French public was incensed by the Fashoda Affair but the French government recognized they had no choice but to secure British friendship to counteract the ever present Germany threat.
  7. Constan's Shah The Shah

    Nov 18, 2016
    Replace French republic with an empire and German empire with a republic of confederate states and Britain then might be more willing to ally with due to threat of French continatal domination.
    Michele likes this.
  8. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2009
    Britain needs to prop up Qing China as an ally in this case.
  9. Michele Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2007
    Do not think that "sharing" means territorial control only. It also means allowing economic penetration.

    Exactly. France was allowed to have that by the Royal Navy, because by 1871 France was not the leading continental country. Glad that you see the second point.
  10. RPW@Cy Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2006
    Agreed. I think to get a Anglo-German alliance at this point would require a French victory somehow in the Franco-Prussian war, especially if it can be tied in to a tighter Franco-Russian alliance so that Britain fears French hegemony more than German.

    My only personal favorite POD for an Anglo-German hegemony is about a century and a half earlier, and relies on the curious fact that for a while Frederick the Great was something like fourth or fifth in line to the British throne (his mother, Sophia of Hannover, was George I's sister). You don't need that many unfortunate accidents to get Britain and Prussia (and Hannover) united in personal union under Frederick, after which wackiness ensues.
  11. Aloha May Active Member

    May 20, 2019
    So... Anglo-German House of Hohenzollern vs. French Capetian Dynasty vs. Austrian House of Habsburg?
  12. Britannicus Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports

    Sep 11, 2017
    Some months ago on a different thread I posted this, which largely achieves the OP's aims:

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  13. Tibi088 Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2013
    So why couldnt Germany and Brittain by allies? In the end imo it boils down to: Because Germany didnt want to.

    The real game changer was the franco-russian alliance. It was directed on Germany and A-H, however both participating power were traditional enemies of Great Brittain with existing conflicts. This forced Brittain ou of its splendid isolation. Even if their fleet reigned supreme - and there was a naval challenge as well from France and Russia - they couldnt be content with that. A war with France and Russia could be fighting all ower the world: In most of Africa against France and in China, India and Persia against Russia. The british fleet cant protect the british interest in these territories and the british army was woefully inadequate to dealing with both france and Russia alone especially if the 2 said states werent engaged in fighting in Europe in the same time. So to secure the Empire Brittain needed an ally: either Germany in Europe who (with its allies) was the only capable power to stand up to Russia and France or alternativly to join the latter.

    So seeminly both had problems mainly with the Franco-Russian alliance. Why didnt the enemy of my enemy is my friend principle work?

    Germany was not keen on the idea of a british alliance. It didnt seemed to add much landpower which they would mainly need in the fight and would also bring a lot of extra possibilities of conflict. The prospect of fighting a two front war of life and death for british colonial interest was understandably not an alluring one for Germany. Brittain in their hand could sit safely on its island and pick up the colonies of the french which they would be too busy to concentrate on while the war in Europe raged. So Germany would take the great risk and do the heavy lifting for Brittain likely to take most of the spoils of a victory. On the british part they too werent thrilled by the possibility to be involved in a global war that started out in the Balkans between Austria and Russia.

    So though they had possible common enemies but not common interests. So fighting those common foes would be not for common interests. And both - especially the germans - were loath to be involved in an any case huge and very costly - both in life and material - conflict that started for the interests of the other party.
    Zagan likes this.
  14. Michele Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2007
    Many good points there, but in the end, with:

    you correct the initial statement that it was Germany who didn't want the alliance. The British did not want it either, and for the reasons already mentioned.

    One thing I disagree with you on is that the Russian bid for naval power was meaningful, or worrisome for the British. As long as Russia had the badly positioned seaports it had, it could build all the warships it wanted, it was no real threat.
  15. Tibi088 Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2013
    IMO the german were more reluctant than the british but yeah neither side was thrilled to fight a war on the probable scale for interest other than their own.

    In regards of the franco-russian naval challenge: I didnt want to downplay it and specifically mentioned it. Sorry if it didnt came across like that but im no english native. It was actually more dangerous to british naval supremacy than the german fleet building ever. The point I wanted to make was that even without the naval challenge a war between the franco-russian alliance and Brittain would have been a global war nearly impossible to cordinate and wage successfully especially if said powers werent involved in a european war at the same time. It would have been incredibly risky. Though im not sure how serious was the threat of a russian attack on India but the brits took it very seriously and thats what matters when discussing the reasons for diplomacy.
  16. funnyhat Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2013
    Except that until the war of 1870, France was generally assumed to be stronger than Prussia. Still, France conquered Algeria, southern Vietnam, Cambodia, New Caledonia and Polynesia during that time, and built the Suez Canal in Egypt.

    Germany’s whole colonial expansion happened after 1871, when (according to this reasoning) the British should have been afraid of them. This thinking is too simplistic. The UK was not a world policeman. It could coexist with the other powers as long as its own empire (centered on India) was secure. In fact during the 1871-1900 period, they often got along better with Germany than with France. The Entente cordiale was not necessarily the inevitable outcome we see it to be now.
    Last edited: May 31, 2019