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The Weltkrieg

Main article: Weltkrieg

1914

  • While visiting Sarajevo on the 28th of June, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie are assassinated by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. In reaction, Austria-Hungary sends an ultimatum to Serbia, whose contents are deliberately made unacceptable to the Serbs. Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia shortly after receiving German backing. Russia in turn declares war on Austria-Hungary and Germany. Germany, wanting to knock France out of the war before it can assist its Russian ally, declares war on France on August 3rd.
  • When Germany invades neutral Belgium to execute the Schlieffen Plan, the British Empire declares war on Germany. The German advance to Paris is halted at the Marne and a series of flanking attempts, known as the Race to the Sea, prove unsuccessful. The war in the West grinds down to a halt.
  • The Germans are much more successful in the East, repulsing the Russian invasion of East Prussia and defeating the Russians at the battles of the Mazurian Lakes and at Tannenberg. The architects of these victories, Field Marshal von Hindenburg and General Ludendorff, would play key roles in the final German victory.
  • The Ottoman Empire joins the Central Powers in October, after a dispute with Britain about the confiscation of ships being built for the Empire.
  • Almost all German colonies are occupied before the end of the year, besides German East-Africa. It is here that Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck will play a game of cat and mouse with the Allied forces until the end of the war.

1915

  • In the West the lines remain static, but the fighting increases in brutality, with chlorine gas being first used during the Second Battle of Ypres on 22nd of April.
  • In the East, Russia is being pushed back by the Germans, but manages to hold on to Galicia.
  • Bulgaria joins the war on the side of the Central Powers, and Serbia becomes the first Allied nation to be defeated.
  • Italy joins the war on the Allied side, hoping to claim Austro-Hungary's Tyrolian and Illyrian provinces. The campaign bogs down into trench warfare.
  • In an ill conceived effort to knock the Ottomans out of the war, Allied troops land near Gallipoli, hoping to gain control of the vital Dardanelles. The whole campaign becomes a disaster and the Allies will pull back their forces before the year ends. A British invasion of Mesopotamia is repelled and the remaining troops retreat to Kut, where a disastrous siege will start.
  • A German submarine sinks the Lusitania. A severe backlash in the United States leads to Germany abandoning its unrestricted submarine warfare, which had hoped to strangle Britain into submission. Many speculated that a continuation of the unrestricted submarine warfare could have led to the entry of the United States into the war.

1916

  • The Battle of Verdun starts, attempting to bleed the French Army dry. In reality, all sides bleed equally in a battle which soon loses its military objective. A similar attempt against the British forces at the Somme has the same outcome. 1916 also saw the first use of tanks at the Battle of the Somme.
  • In the East, the Brusilov offensive is launched. While very successful at first, the offensive doesn’t manage to either knock the Austro-Hungarians out of the war or drive Germany from Russian Poland.
  • The British troops at Kut are forced to surrender, dealing a heavy blow to British prestige. The Ottomans are being pushed out of the Caucasus and Armenia by a successful Russian campaign. The Sharif of Mecca starts of a general Arab revolt against the Turks.
  • At sea, the First Battle of Jutland ends in a tactical German victory, but a strategic British victory, as the Hochseeflotte will remain in port until late 1918.
  • Romania tries to profit from Austrian setbacks and invades Transylvania. German assistance would lead to a quick collapse of Romania, with Bucharest being taken by August von Mackensen within the year. Further south the Allies have taken positions around Salonika.

1917

  • On January 8th, the Kaiser hears arguments from military leaders for reopening unrestricted submarine warfare, but ultimately decides against them. This is the point where the Kaiserreich universe diverges from our own.
  • Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg is forced to resign and is replaced by Georg Michaelis. It is soon clear that Michaelis is little more than a puppet for Generals von Hindenburg and Ludendorff.
  • On the Western Front, the heavy French casualties at Chemin des Dames lead to a strike among the French soldiers. This disaster discouraged the French high-command from continuing great offensives until the end of the year, giving Germany a chance to recover from the Brusilov Offensive.
  • Russia collapses into anarchy, with the Tsar abdicating in March 1917 (O.S. February). A provisional government is formed under Alexander Kerensky, but this government was overthrown by Lenin's Bolsheviks in November (O.S. October), starting the Russian Civil War.
  • In Italy, the Caporetto Offensive beats the Italians back to the Piave river, where only a last minute defense saves Venice from occupation.
  • The Ottomans receive blow after blow, with both Baghdad and Jerusalem being lost to British forces.
  • A British submarine mistakenly torpedoes an American freighter carrying Christmas gifts to Germany, killing several US citizens. The public backlash forces a partial opening of the blockade, averting the looming spectre of famine in Central Europe.

1918

  • In early March, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed between the Germans and the Bolsheviks, freeing thousands of German and Austrian troops for other fronts. The Bolsheviks cede Finland, the Baltic states, Congress Poland, and Belarus to the Germans. Ukraine is ceded to the control of Austria-Hungary.
  • A great Allied spring offensive, designed at breaking the German lines before their reinforcements arrive, is repulsed at great cost of life.
  • Operation Teutoburg is launched, attempting to kick Greece out of the war. Instead of assaulting the Salonika stronghold head on, the Central Powers make extensive use of specialized storm-troopers and so called "infiltration" tactics. The defenders at Salonika are pinned down while the rest of the German-Bulgarian forces sweep through Greece. Athens falls on July 3rd, causing the Greek government to surrender. The western forces at Salonika are evacuated soon afterwards.
  • Anti-Bolshevik White Russian forces of the "Volunteer Army" under General Lavr Kornilov retreat south from Rostov across the frozen Kuban steppe from February to May. The famous "Ice March " campaign concludes with Kornilov narrowly escaping death from an artillery shell on his headquarters during the Battle of Yekaterinodar. The city's capture cements the Whites' control over the Kuban Cossack heartland.
  • General Allenby manages to pull off the last great Allied victory of the war, encircling and destroying large parts of the Ottoman Army and conquering Damascus. Only the last minute arrival of two German divisions in Asia Minor prevent an invasion of Anatolia.
  • Vladimir Lenin, the famous leader of the Russian Bolsheviks, is assassinated by Fanny Kaplan following the Bolsheviks' suppression of the Left SRs. Lev Kamenev quickly succeeds Lenin, but Bolshevik spirits are seriously shaken.
  • Successful Allied tactics against Germany's U-boats and the blockade of Germany leads to a desperate sally of the Hochseeflotte, now led by Admiral Hipper. The Second Battle of Jutland ends in a tie, but the shock of being assaulted forces the Royal Navy to break their blockade. The total end of the blockade and the influx of Ukrainian grain ends all fears of Germany being starved into submission.
  • Meanwhile, Kaiser Karl, under pressure by the continually crumbling homefront and ever-swelling spirit of revolution, issues the "Völkermanifest", promising national self-determination within the Empire once the war is won, placating Austria's numerous ethnic minorities. Even though the manifesto did not pose any demands to Hungary, self-determination of a Croat state was agreed upon by both sides of the Dual Monarchy by the end of October, resulting in the Kingdom of Croatia achieving the same status as Hungary.
  • After almost a month of negotiations between the anti-Bolshevik Constituent Assembly and Siberian governments, Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak reluctantly launches a British-backed coup to unite the fractious Whites. The situation is salvaged by the arrival of Boris Savinkov, who convinces Kolchak to accept many of the SR's demands, and limit his power to only supreme command over military affairs.

1919

  • On March 2nd the Germans launch their Great Offensive at St. Mihiel, south of Verdun. Their infiltration tactics prove to be successful, with Nancy falling on the 16th. The French organize an ad hoc defense, leaving their flank exposed. An attack on Reims on the 26th splits the Allied forces in two. An attack on Château-Thierry meant the French couldn’t retreat back to the Marne. In effect, the entire French army was forced to retreat south and Paris was placed under siege.
  • Operation Radowitz is launched on the 11th of March, attacking the Italian forces from Trento instead of the Piave. Vicenza and Verona fall on the 24th, pinning the Italians between two Central armies after Venice was reached on the 10th of April. The Siege of Venice would last until July, but with most of the Italian army occupied the rest of Italy lay defenseless, with Rome falling on August 1st. Italy would surrender a few days later. The surrender of Italy meant the road to Southern France was now open, with Marseilles falling in September.
  • As Italy collapsed, Empress Zewditu of Ethiopia and Sayyid al-Hasan of the Dervish State declared war on the fledgeling nation, retaking Italy's colonies and reversing a European colonization of Africa for the first time.
  • Allied setbacks would lead to Allenby, and most of his troops, being redeployed to France. Allenby's successor, Sir William Marshall, is forced to slowly retreat because of a lack of manpower.
  • The retreat of the French Army leads to the positions of the BEF becoming indefensible. Most of the British forces are evacuated at Dieppe in June, leaving the French on their own. At this point the French Army, battered, war-weary and with little hope of victory was in open rebellion. With a second mutiny, a general uprising of the working classes imminent, the fall of Paris a certainty and Marseilles in German hands, the French government capitulated on the 4th of October, ending the war in Europe. One month later, the Central Powers and the remaining Allied Powers signed a ceasefire in Copenhagen.

The Treaties of Versailles and Rome

  • The fall of France, Russia, Italy and their allies in the Balkans reduced the Entente to the British Empire, Japan and Portugal. While none of these countries were under direct German threat, none were able to pose a threat to Germany likewise. The battle between Germany and Britain continued for two more years by proxy, in Ireland and elsewhere, while the otherwise victorious Central Powers divided up their conquests.
  • Serbia cedes Macedonia to Bulgaria and is forced to accept Austrian-Hungarian oversight in most of her domestic and foreign affairs. Albania suffers a similar fate. Montenegro is annexed by Austria outright.
  • Greece was forced to cede Greek Macedonia and Salonika to Bulgaria.
  • Romania was forced to cede the entire Dobrudja to Bulgaria and the Carpathian mountain passes to Hungary. It was however granted the former Russian province of Bessarabia. Full religious minority rights were instituted in the country and the economic interests of the Central Powers were secured.
  • Italy was decentralized into a pro-Austrian Italian Federation, and the Habsburg general Archduke Joseph Ferdinand of Austria became the Head of the Council of the Federation.
  • Libya returned to Ottoman rule, with direct Ottoman control being reasserted in Tripolitania and Fezzan, and the Senoussi Order retained control of Cyrenaica.
  • France ceded Dahomey, Cote D'Ivoire, Madagascar, all of French Equatorial Africa south of Lake Chad, Pondicherry, Indochina, and her Pacific colonies, along with a swath of territory from Pas-de-Calais to Lorraine. However, the revolution prevented the occupation of anything outside Lorraine.
  • Belgium was reorganised into the Kingdom of Flanders-Wallonia, with the Kaiser's son Adalbert becoming the new king. The Belgian Congo was given to Germany and southeast Wallonia would be occupied as long as the German government deemed necessary. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg would become a constituent state of the German Empire.
  • In the East, the acquisitions of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk were organized into a series of puppet states. Estonia and Latvia were fused into the United Baltic Duchy, with Adolf Friedrich von Mecklenburg becoming its first Grand Duke. The Kaiser's brother Heinrich became King Genrikh I of White Ruthenia (Belarus). Poland and Finland became independent states under German protection, with the Kaisers brother-in-law Friedrich-Karl von Hessen becoming King of Finland. Lithuania became independent with Wilhelm von Urach, Duke of Urach, becoming King Mindaugas. The Austrian Archduke Wilhelm Franz ascended to the throne of Ukraine, aligning the country with Mitteleuropa.

The Peace with Honour (1921)

Main article: Peace with Honour
  • As the ceasefire began to run out and neither side willing to re-enter direct conflict, General Ludendorff proposed a ‘Peace with Honour’ to the Entente. The remaining Entente members would acknowledge the peace treaties between Germany and the former Entente members and return Germany's colonies (Including those transferred in the peace treaties) in exchange for status-quo ante-bellum. The peace itself was signed at 11 AM on the 11th of November, 1921, ending the Weltkrieg after seven long years.

Postwar developments

1919

  • The Southern White Russians begin their "Volga Campaign" with the capture of the city of Tsaritsyn. Led by General Pyotr Wrangel, the Whites swiftly seize Saratov, but are halted at Samara by Leon Trotsky. It takes until July for a Siberian White counter-offensive to force Trotsky to withdraw and surrender Samara, ultimately uniting the two largest White fronts.
  • In the Baltics, the White Russian Northwestern Army under General Nikolai Yudenich launches its offensive towards Red Petrograd. The outnumbered Reds are quickly forced to withdraw to Petrograd itself, and the Whites (with White Ruthenian and Baltic support) place the city under siege.
  • The Southern and Siberian Whites meet in the recaptured city of Ufa to negotiate a union of their governments. It is ultimately decided that Aleksandr Kolchak will remain supreme military commander of all White Russian forces, with Sergey Sazonov acting as prime minister. Most importantly, however, the Siberian Whites agree to follow the example of the Southern Whites, and cut ties with the Entente. Petrograd falls shortly afterwards to Yudenich's troops, and he presents the city as a gift upon also ratifying his support for the new, unified Provisional All-Russian Government.
  • Jacobin radicals, inspired by their Russian brethren and Leninist theories about a revolutionary vanguard start a series of attacks on government officials and public buildings, ending the chance of the CGT and Provisional Government of reaching any agreement. An attempt of the government to use demobilized soldiers to restore order ends in many soldiers joining the revolutionaries. France in engulfed in a short but bloody war, ending in a victory for the revolutionaries. Emile Pouget starts with the difficult task of changing the French Republic into the Commune of France.
  • The remains of the French establishment flee from Nice to Algiers, setting up a government-in-exile, led by Marshal Ferdinand Foch.
  • Pursuant to a clause in the 1815 Treaty of Paris, Switzerland occupied Haute-Savoie during the closing stages of the French Civil War.
  • Following the Treaty of Rome, republican and nationalist rebels rose up all over northern Italy, fighting against both the forces of the Italian Federation and the Austrian garrisons in the Italian Civil War. Central Italy fell to the rebels by November, and looked to proceed into Rome and Abruzzo.
  • Unfortunately for their cause, the republicans would soon split into feuding "Red" and "White" factions, leading to yet more devastation and conflict in Northern Italy. Meanwhile, the Savoyard loyalists were driven out of Liguria by the Socialists and the Savoy-Aostas fled to Sardinia, where they would remain for the next twenty years.
  • The Hashemite Rebels, in disarray and without any foreign support, are crushed by a Saudi-Ottoman joint campaign.

1920

  • Though Moscow had been under siege from a combined army of Whites since November of 1919, it takes until January 22nd, 1920 for the Bolsheviks to finally submit a formal surrender. Outnumbered, outgunned, and crippled by starvation and desertion, the Reds have little choice but throw themselves at the mercy of the Provisional Government. The Whites stand victorious at the formal conclusion of the civil war.
  • The White Russians send a delegation of Aleksandr Kolchak, Sergei Sazonov, and Alexander Kerensky to ratify a modified version of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, despite furious protestations from nearly all elements of Russian society. With the nascent Russian Republic in almost as poor shape as the Bolsheviks had been in 1918, the Russians have little choice but agree to German demands, lest they face "punitive action" by the Kaiser's armies.
  • Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo becomes the 29th President of the United States, with Alexander Palmer as his Vice-President.
  • The Italian Civil War reaches its de facto end, as Austrian and Republican forces defeat the Socialist attackers in the "Miracle at the Po". Wary of starting a full scale war with Austria, and with most of its territory devastated by conflict, the SRI quits its offensives. The "White" republicans join the Italian Federation as part of their deal with Austria, formally becoming the Republic of Lombardy-Venetia. The Prime Minister of the Republic would become the Interim Head of the Council of the Federation.

1921

  • Kaiser Karl reconvenes the Imperial Council and announces his intent to move forward with the institution of national self-determination within the Empire.
  • The promising political career of Franklin Roosevelt is tragically cut short when he succumbs to polio.

1922

  • After the Easter Uprising in 1916 and five years of war, a peace treaty is concluded between the UK and Irish rebels that leads to the creation of a new Free Irish State on 1st January, 1922. With the Protestant north as an autonomous region and the King as a figurehead only nominally acknowledged, opposition to the treaty is minimal.
  • South Rhodesia joins South Africa, nervous of potential German expansionism in its region.

1923

1924

  • In the United States, President McAdoo is reelected.
  • In Russia, a coup is attempted by a loose coalition of businessmen, industrialists, centre-right conservatives, and Siberian autonomists, all of whom are united chiefly by strong anti-German resentment. Aleksandr Kolchak, despite having little involvement with the plot, is declared provisional dictator. However, only a handful of units in Siberia side with the plot, and all ultimately agree to stand-down rather than fight the army units sent to suppress them. Seeing the writing on the wall, the plotters disperse, with Kolchak accepting an Anglo-Japanese offer to be installed as an anti-German pretender in the "Russian Republic" of Transamur.
  • Seeing the chaos engulfing Russia in the wake of the Kolchak Putsch and resentful of broken promises for autonomy, the Don, Kuban, and Terek Cossacks mutiny on the urging of General Pyotr Krasnov. Though support for the rebellion is far from universal among the Cossacks, the feeble state of the Russian army leads Kerensky to reluctantly agree to Krasnov's demands. The newly-created Don-Kuban Union that arises is independent from Russia in all but name.
  • The Consolidation of Resources Act merges Australia and New Zealand into the Australasian Confederation. Elections are suspended and much of the new Dominion is put under martial law.

1925

  • Sun Yat-sen dies of cancer, setting off a power struggle in the Kuomintang (KMT). Eventually, Wang Jingwei of the left faction assumes the position of generalissimo and Chiang Kai-shek of the rightists becomes commander of the KMT's military.
  • A British general strike over coal tariffs escalates into a nationwide uprising when government troops massacre striking miners. After the army begins to stand down or defect and the Royal Navy begins to mutiny, the government flees to Canada. A coalition of leftists centered around the Trade Unions Congress take control under the charismatic John Maclean, creating the Union of Britain.
  • The collapse of the British government led to a massive land-grab among its overseas possessions. Gibraltar finally fell into Spanish hands, Argentina quickly seized the Falkland Islands, Egypt gained sole authority over the SudanNejd invaded the Trucial States, Jabal Shammar ensured the fealty of Kuwait, and the Ottoman Empire regained control over Cyprus and Aden, the latter of which was placed under Yemeni jurisdiction. Germany managed to secure most of the British African holdings as well as the strategic colonies of Malta, Suez, Berbera, Ceylon, the Strait Colonies, Brunei, and Sarawak.
  • Australasia keep control over the British parts of New Guinea and Fiji.
  • The facade of a protectorate Britain claimed in Somalia collapses, and Sultan Mohamoud formally proclaims Somali independence.
  • The Royal Navy's Caribbean Squadron secures the British colonies in the region. These colonies, together with the former French colonies in the region would form the Caribbean Federation. Venezuela protests its claims in Guyana to the United States yet again.
  • The retreat of the United Kingdom's East China Station to Australia leaves their Chinese possessions undefended. A request by Governor Claud Severn of Hong Kong for German protection leads to the Shanghai Scramble where the foreign powers in the region, particularly Germany and Japan, begin a series of standoffs across the remaining concessions.
  • Emboldened by their new ally in Britain, the Socialist Republic of Italy lobbies their French and British allies to aid them in their Second Risorgimento. Both powers, wishing to prevent another European war, attempt to dissuade the Italians from attacking the south. Nevertheless, the Red Guards begin crossing the border in Abruzzo, and the Austrian troops are recalled from southern Italy to reinforce the Empire in Central Europe itself. Outraged, the Two Sicilies abandons the Italian Federation, swiftly followed by Sardinia, which aligns itself with the Entente. Ultimately, the SRI does not feel secure enough to win a war against the south alone, and demobilizes.
  • A supposedly Serb-sponsored pan-Slavic revolt sweeps over the Southern parts of the Austrian sphere, endangering Austrian hegemony in the region. The Kaiser deals with this by playing the Croats against the Serbs, establishing a Croat-led Panslavic kingdom under the name of Illyria. Hungary is not amused.

1926

  • The Kuomintang launches the Northern Expedition, a campaign against the Zhili Clique with the long-term goal of reuniting China. Perceiving the KMT as syndicalist due to their backing by the French Commune, Germany begins supplying the besieged Wuchang garrison with food (claiming it to be mail) causing fighting to break out. This gives Germany justification to launch a full intervention in China, using forces from Indochina to take the KMT's provisional capital Guangzhou.
  • Brazil falls into Civil War after São Paulo state-president Washington Luis is assassinated, after heightened tensions due to federal troops trespassing into said state.

1927

  • A major battle near Jinhua pitches the core of the National Revolutionary Army against the forces of warlord Sun Chuanfang, supported by German reinforcements from Qingdao. The Kuomintang is decisively defeated. Combined with the loss of their capital, morale is severely damaged and various units defect, desert, or outright disintegrate. Blamed for the disaster, Chiang Kai-shek is assassinated after which Wang Jingwei flees to the French Commune. Some remaining KMT units retreat to Yunnan, while others form an underground resistance.
  • King Ferdinand of Romania dies and is succeeded by his grandson Michael, after his son Carol had been forced to renounce his claim to the throne. As Michael is still a minor he is effectively a puppet of the military who now have complete control over the country.

1928

  • The Fourth Zhili-Fengtian War breaks out, and soon escalates into a proxy war between Germany and Japan. When a train with foreign occupants is captured by bandits outside Shanghai, a portion of the Japanese military attempts an unauthorized rescue which devolves into a battle with local German and Chinese forces. Escalation is prevented by American mediation. The Shanghai Conference has all the warlords of China, besides the Fengtian Clique, recognize the Qing government. Several eastern cities become the International Mandate for the Concessions, where foreign powers are free to trade equally and no Chinese armed forces may enter.
  • Brazil has it's first elections of its New Republic. João Pessoa's Republican Party wins a landslide victory.
  • Juan "The Catfish" Gomez is ousted from power in Venezuela after losing military support.

1929

  • Bolivia launches an attack against Paraguayan held positions, triggering the Chaco War.
  • The current Council of the Italian Federation's term expires, and, seeing the Federation as a dead idea, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lombardy-Venetia decides not to renew the Council, forming instead the Italian Republic.

1930

  • Reichskanzler Alfred von Tirpitz dies on March 6th. Considered the most successful and popular chancellor in German history behind Otto von Bismarck himself, he is replaced by Franz von Papen.

1931

  • The Creditanstalt, Austria's largest bank, almost collapses after a brief, but intense, banking scandal. A major CS politician is implied to be among the guilty parties, putting in hazard the Christlichsoziale influence over Austrian politics.
  • Chile, after bankruptcy and several years of instability, has a Syndicalist revolution breaking out and succeeding in toppling the government thanks to large amounts of Navy and Army support. Arturo Puga becomes head of state.

1932

  • Herbert Hoover is reelected by the House of Representatives after the socialists win enough states to deny any party an electoral majority. Denied the Democratic nomination, Huey Long forms his own American Union Party.
  • In South Africa, Barry Hertzog wins the elections and declares South Africa to be a republic, and the country leaves the Entente.

1933

  • The Chaco War ends in crushing Paraguayan victory. Bolivia, in utter disarray, sees its republic dissolve into a dictatorship.

1934

1935

  • The military government of Romania is violently ousted by one of the right-wing political groups they collaborated with, the fanatic nationalist Iron Guard. Their leader Corneliu Zelea Codreanu is set up as the new Leader (Conducător), while the young king flees the country.
  • Marmaduke Grove, a former military man, is elected the second chairman of the Chilean Syndicalist Republic.
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