This timeline explores what might have happened had the Decembrist revolt-a revolt against Russian Czar Nicholas I-had succeeded. I'm only here to lay the bare bones of this TL. Anyone who wants to add their own ideas is welcome to do so.
POD-World War I
POD-The Decembrist Revolt is successful in deposing Nicholas I and installing Constantine as Czar of the Russian Empire.
The new Czar convenes a Constitutional convention in St. Petersburg. The document produced is very similar to OTL's Constitution of the German Empire, in regards to the Czar's power. However, the constitution still makes Russia considerably freer. The most celebrated part of the Constitution is the part abolishing serfdom. Another milestone is the establishment of a parliament called the Duma, consisting of a House of Commons (elected by the people) and a House of Boyars (appointed by the Czar). The constitution establishes a federal structure, granting autonomy to the Ukraine, Byelorussia, and the Baltic Nations. It also included a Bill of Rights similar to that of the United States.
The first Duman elections take place on the 1st anniversary of the revolt. The parties involved are the Free Royalist Party (a liberal party) and the Russian National Party (A more conservative party). The Free Royalist party gains the majority, and Sergei Troubetzkoy becomes the 1st Prime Minister of the Russian Empire
Meanwhile, the rest of Europe watches with anxiety. Many of the conservative monarchs of the period feel threatened by the success of the liberals in Russia and tighten their grips on their respective countries.
For the next 20 years, the Russians turn their attention to modernizing and catching up with the rest of Europe. The history of the rest of Europe goes largely the same as OTL. When Louise-Phillipe comes to the throne of France, he is more liberal than OTL, thanks to the inspiration of the Russians. The Austro-Hungarian compromise is created 30 years earlier than OTL, although it does not satisfy the Slavic minorities.
The people of northern Italy revolt and drive out the Austrians with Russian help-much to the shock of Austria, who expected the Russians to side with them. However, the Russian Czar Alexander II-who succeeded his uncle in 1831-was more sympathetic to the nationalist Italians. The Italian revolution paves the way for the Unification of Italy.
In Germany, the Frankfurt parliament convenes for the first time, offering king Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia leadership of a unified German Empire. Wilhelm is at first reluctant to accept the offer of the revolutionaries. However, the prospect of uniting Germany under the Prussian sphere and shutting out Austrian influence persuades him to accept the title of Kaiser (Emperor) of Germany.
In Austria, the loss of Italy and fear of further revolution drives the Hapsburgs to modify the Imperial system after the Russian model. The Hapsburg Federation is created, with the Slavic peoples of the Empire gaining autonomy-albeit still subject to the will of Vienna.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish the Communist Manifesto. Although ignored at the time, the document would play a major role in the history of the 20th century.
The Crimean War ends in Russian victory. Palestine is handed over to Russia and becomes the Grand Duchy of Judea, a homeland for Russia's Jews, and eventually Jews worldwide.
The Kingdom of Egypt,newly freed of foreign influence, begins work on the Suez Canal.
1865-Early 20th Century
After the defeat of the South in the American Civil War, the US begins a process of centralization that continues to the point where the state governments are nothing more than rubber stamps for Washingtom D.C. While it ensures that blacks gain their civil rights earlier, it draws criticism from those who feel that the principle of federalism is being violated. The centralization leads to a more authoritarian climate in politics, setting America up for the eventual Communist Revolution.
Russia sells Alaska to the U.S. Japan overthrows its last shogun. The three Laotian kingdoms are unified.
The Central Asian nations of Khiva and Bukhara are conquered by Russia.
The Franco-German war begans after a small border skirmish. The conflict ends in a decisive German victory, and France is forced to cede Alsaice-Lorraine.
Yakutia gains autonomy.
The 2nd Mexican War begins when Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz attempts to retake the American Southwest. The war ends with Mexico crushed and incorporated into the United States. This begins the expansion of the US across North America that is completed by the mid-20th century.
Russia sides with America in the Spanish-American War. America gains Puerto Rico, Guam, and Cuba while Russia annexes the Phillipines.
The US under Theodore Roosevelt purchases the Isthmus of Panama from Colombia to begin work on the Panama Canal.
Alexander II dies at the age of 88 after ruling for an incredible 75 years, the longest reign of any Russian czar. He is succeeded by his grandson Nicholas II.
The United States annexes the Central American nations, supposedly in the interest of ovethrowing dictatorial regimes, but the real goal of the annexations is to protect American business interests. The Chinese Empire adopts its own Constitution and begins a process of modernization.
Japan annexes Korea in 1910. Although nobody knows it at the time, this is the beginning of Japan's imperialist streak.
World War I
World War I begins as in OTL. After Austria declares war on Serbia in revenge for the murder of Franz Ferdinand, Nicholas II declares war on Austria with the support of the Duma. Germany declares war on Russia in response, following by Britain and France delcaring war on Germany.
After a two year-long stalemate on the eastern front, Russia is able to cripple the Austrian army, forcing the Hapsburgs to sue for peace. With Austria out of the war, the Russian Army advances to the German border, where the German Army puts up an extremely stiff resistance fueled by a fevered desire to protect the German heartland from the "Slavic menace." The Western Front is the same as OTL.
The US enters the war, tipping the balance in favor of the Allies. A German force stationed in Samoa attempts to take the Phillipines but fails.
Allied forces surrounded the German capital of Berlin. Kaiser Wilhelm II comes out and an armistice is made.
The Treaty of Versallies is signed. Germany receives harsh terms identical to OTL, except that the Kaiser is allowed to remain on the throne. The Hapsburg Federation stays intact, but must surrender the southern halves of Croatia and Bosnia to Serbia, which unites with Montenegro to form the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Russia gains the part of Poland that was ceded to Prussia in 1795. The Ottoman Empire is forced to cede Syria to France, and Mesopotamia to Britain. Constatinople is ceded to Greece, and the Ottomans are forced to move their capital to Ankara. The League of Nations (LoG) is formed.
Britain, in an attempt to ameliorate post-war economic troubles, sells its Caribbean territories to the US, as does France. St. Pierre and Miquelon is sold to Canada.
Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Chechenya become autonomous territories in the Russian Empire.
"Roaring Twenties" marked by unprecendented prosperity in US and Russia. The Unification of North America under the U.S. is completed. Underneath the surface, however, trouble is brewing...
In Germany, the Nazi Party is slowly gaining ground among the discontented German people. In Italy, which sided with the Allies only to get meager territorial gains, Benito Mussolini and his Fascists rise to power rather smoothly. In the US, a communist underground is growing. They know that American prosperity cannot last long, and plan to seize power when the bubble of prosperity bursts.
The Roaring Twenties come to a abrupt end with the Wall Street Crash. Within weeks of the stock market collapse, the communists stage a revolution in Washington D.C. William Z. Foster becomes the first president of the United Socialist States of America. In Russia, Czar Nicholas II dies of a stroke, and is succeeded by his son Alexei. Alexei's daughter Anna is born.
The Social Recovery party wins the Russian House of Commons elections. Its leader, Leon Trotsky, promises to take measures to ameliorate Russia's ailing economy. In America, the communist government under Foster becomes more and more repressive as it fails to lift America out of the crisis. A system of prison camps are set up in the Mexican deserts to contain political dissidents.
Adolf Hitler is elected Chancellor of Germany. He quickly establishes himself as the power behind the German throne, held by an increasingly senile Wilhelm II.
In America, President Foster deliberately excaberates a famine in the Midwest to weed the region of dissent, resulting in thousands of deaths from starvation. The event-called Foster's Dust Bowl-goes down as one of history's darkest moments.
Fascist Italy invades Albania. The LoG condemns the invasion, but does nothing more for fear of starting another war.
In the Far East, Japan seizes Manchuria.
Fascist Italy invades Ethiopia. Again, the world does nothing. Russia walks out of the LoG in protest.
Germany passes the Nuremberg Laws, subjecting Germany's Jews to extreme persecution. Many German Jews flee to Judea, where the local parliament sets up refugee camps. Jews in the rest of Europe, on the other hand, fail to see the danger. This will cost them dearly.
Wilhelm II, at the behest of Hitler, moves the German Army into the Rhineland. The Anglo-French forces occupying the region quitely withdraw, not wishing to provoke Germany into an armed confrontation. In Britain, the British Union of Fascists seize power. The new British government allies itself with Germany and Italy, creating the Axis Powers.
Japan, allied with the Axis, invades China.
Germany annexes the Germanophone portions of the Hapsburg Federation. The Hapsburg royal family flees to Budapest. In St. Petersburg, Czar Alexei and PM Trotsky watch intently. They want to do something, but they know Russia is still economically weak and is not ready for war. When Wilhelm finally shows opposition to Hitler's actions, he is shot by SS snipers and put into a coma.
World War II
At the start of the year, Fransisco Franco seizes power in Spain.
Hitler invades Poland on Sept. 1. France and Russia declare war on Germany. In turn, Britain declares war on France.
At first things do not go well for Russia. The German Army penetrates deep into Polad, reaching Warsaw on the 15th. Mercifully, Hitler-now exercising power on behalf of the "incapacited" (read, put in coma by Hitler's goons) Wilhelm-withdraws the German forces to assist British forces in France, leaving behind a skeletal occupation force. Going unwillingly with the retreating forces are captured Jewish civillians. These unlucky POWs, numbering around 1 million, will be imprisoned in concentration camps in the heart of Germany, where nine-tenths of them will perish under harsh conditions.
Russia is in a tight situation. Poland is lost, and the occupational force, although small, sits dangerously close to the Ukraine-the "breadbasket" of the empire. Nonetheless, the Polish front will remain relatively quiet for another year. In that time, the Russians begin work on a new, devastating weapon.
The year begins rather bleakly for the Allies. In France, the French Army has been clashing with Fascist British forces in Normandy and Calais. The French do not anticipate a German attack due to the Maginot Line of fortifications. However, the German Army is able to circumvent the line via the Belgian forests. German forces reach Paris in April. France surrenders, with Anglo-German forces occupying the north, and a puppet regime ruling in the south. The French Royal Family goes into hiding, becoming the center of the French Resistance commanded by Prince Patrice and General Charles de Gaulle. Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg are also occuppied in quick succeesion. Denmark and Norway are also subdued. Wilhelm comes out of his coma, but by now his mental facilities have deteriorated to the point where he cannot even comprehend what is happening under his trusted chancellor Hitler.
The remainder of the Hapsburg realms fall to German forces based in Austria.
In Eastern Europe, the Germans go on a second offensive. However, the Russians are prepared, and a stalemate ensues at the Polish-Ukrainian border.
In Asia, Japan carves a path of destruction through French Indochina, Thailand, and the Dutch East Indies.
Meanwhile in America, President Foster watches the war intently. He knows America cannot remain neutral for long-especially with a British possession on its northern border-and quietly prepares the USSA for war. Of special importance to him is Foster City, formerly known as New York City.
The British open the year by launching an attack on Turkey from British bases in Cyprus. The Turkish military holds out, though, and the British assault is stopped cold just 10 miles short of the capital.
Having failed in Turkey, Britain turns its attention to America. Mosley had always spoken of the Americans as "Britain's wayward children." The British leadership made plans to invade and subdue America. In the summer of 1941, the British army launched its first assault on the USSA via the Canada-USSA border. American forces put up a stiff resistance. The British establish a beach-head near Long Island and besiege Foster City. What follows is a grueling siege that lasts for 18 months. In Central America, British forces based in Belize and Guyana launch an assault on Central America. The assault fails, and Belize is seized by the Americans.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Axis forces launch an attack on Greece and Yugoslavia. Greek forces repel the Albania-based Italians, while the Yugoslavian forces hold off the Germans. In Germany itself, Hitler tires of using Wilhelm as a figurehead and has him murdered. His heir Ludwig Ferdinand has already been imprisoned for speaking out against the Nazi regime. With the Hohenzollerns out of the way, Hitler declares himself Kaiser Adolf I and installs an absolute monarchy.
In North Africa, Egypt sides with the Axis and attacks Russian-held Judea. The local Jewish Brigade assigned to the defense of the Grand Duchy holds fast. The brigade, led by David Ben-Gurion slowly repels the Egyptian assault, pushing into the Sinai.
In the Pacific, Japanese forces launch an assault on the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Hawaiian military resists bitterly, wearing down the Japanese forces. The Philippines are also targeted, yet the forces there also prove to be impossible for the Japanese to overcome.
The British open up a new front when they send forces from British India into Central Asia to face the Russians.
In Germany, Adolf green-lights the Final Solution, the total extermination of European Jewry. Special death camps are set up in Germany and France.
Spain and Portugal join the Axis.
This year proves to be the turning point in WWII.
First, after a long time on the defensive, American forces begin taking the fight to the British. The USSA Army pushes the British back into Canada, then begins a long march through the large dominion. Within a year, all of Canada is under American occupation.
Meanwhile, in Eastern Europe, Russian forces break the stalemate in Poland. From June 1943 to December 1944, Russian forces slowly push towards the German border. Their assault is slowed by stiff German resistance.
In the Middle East, Judeo-Russian forces plow through North Africa, defeating Franco-Italian forces.
In Scandinavia,the Germans are driven out by Russian forces based in Finland. With Norway freed, the Allies gain access to the North Sea, setting the stage for the invasion of Britain the following year.
In the Mediterranean, Allied forces stage an invasion of Italy. Though the push towards Rome is vey difficult, by the end of the year Benito Mussolini has been captured and Italy has joined the Allies.
In the Pacific, the Russians began turning back the tide of Japanese expansion, with help from the Hawaiians.
In Central Asia, the British are pushed back into India.
The decresendo of WWII.
The Americans land in western France and begin the march towards Germany. Along the way, the Americans occupy France, Iberia, and the Low Countries.
The Russians make plans for the invasion of Britain. The Invasion-codenamed operation Canute, after the Scandinavian king who invanded England in the 11th century-commences in April. By the summer, Mosley's regime has been toppled and a pro-Allies government installed.
In Eastern Europe, Russo-Yugoslavian forces invade Hungary and topple the pro-Axis regime. Resistance by residual Nazi forces would continue for the remainder of the decade.
In the Pacific, all of Japan's conquered territory has been liberated, and the Allies are slowly closing in on the Japanese home islands.
The Allies finally breach Germany's borders in January. Hitler commits suicide on Apr.30, and Germany surrenders the following month. The victory against Germany is bittersweet. PM Trotsky, the architect of Russia's war effort, dies of a heart attack on Apr. 12 and is succeded by Lavrenty Beria. Germany is divided into Russian and American zones of occupation. As the depth of Nazi crimes against European Jewry is revealed, surviving Nazi officials are put on trial Potsdam.
In the Pacific, Russia faces a dilemma. Although they are planning an invasion, they know that the Japanese taboo against surrender may result in a long, onerous occupation that could claim the lives of up to a million Russian soldiers. However, the Russians have an ace up their sleeve-the atomic bomb. The first glimpse of the new weapon happens at Novaya Zemlya, when the Russians stage a detonation. Czar Alexei decides that the atomic bomb will be the key to victory. On Aug. 2, the first A-bomb is dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The Japanese, however, state their refusal to give in. So the Russians drop another bomb on Nagasaki. At this point, Japanese Emperor Hirohito sees the futility of continuing the fight and sues for peace on Sept. 2. World War II is officially over. A new conflict lies on the horizon...
The Cold War
Signs of tension begin to show between the two Chief Allied Powers, the Russian Empire and the United Socialist States of America. The USSA refuses to release Canada. On top of that, it installs communist governments in the Western European countries it occupies. The Russians view America as trying to force communism on the world. The two sides dig their trenches, and the Cold War begins...
The divided halves of Germany gain their independence. The eastern half, a continuation of the pre-war German Empire ruled by Ludwig, becomes know as East Germany. The western part becomes the People's Democratic Republic of Germany, ruled by a Communist government. Germany becomes the focal of the power struggle between liberty and communism.
The USSA tests an atomic bomb on Ellesmere Island. The Russians first learn of America's "nuclear breakout" when Russian weather stations on the Arctic coast detect high amounts of radiation in the atmosphere. In response to America's challenge, Russia, Austria, China, Britain, Yugoslavia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria,and Turkey form the Eurasian Treaty Organization (ETO). The participant nations pledge to defend one another in case one of them is attacked.
Czar Alexei dies of a massive stroke. Because he left no male heirs, the male-only succession law is repealed, and his daughter Anna is crowned Czarina.
The British Empire-minus its former North American territories-restructures itself into the British Imperial Federation. The new superstate is created with the intention of giving Britain's colonies a greater say in how they are governed. Jawarhal Nehru of British India becomes the first Governor-General of the Federation.
Italy falls to communist revolution.
The French Royal Family, exiled from metropolitan France, set up a government in exile on the island of Reunion, known as the Kingdom of the French Free Territories. It establishes control over Madagascar and France's Pacific territories, while the French communist government in Europe controls France's colonies in mainland Africa.
Tatarstan gains autonomy.
When the Union of South Africa tries to pass apartheid laws, the BIF cracks down on it, dissolving the South African government and calling for new elections. The move is controversial, and starts debates about the power of the BIF over its members.
The first great challenge of the war comes in the summer of 1950. Korea, divided into a communist South and democratic North, erupts in conflict when the South attempts to conquer the North. Fighting breaks out at the 38th Parallel dividing the countries.
In Southeast Asia, the Kingdom of Vietnam faces a communist insurgency led by Ho Chi Minh, beginning the Vietmanese civil war.
The North Korean government, losing ground against the South, requests the help of Russia. Czarina Anna sends the Russian Army into the peninsula, pushing the South Koreans back towards the 38th Parallel. A stalemate ensues.
The Treaty of Vladivostok brings the Korean War to an end on Jan. 16. In exchanged for its guaranteed independence, South Korea withdraws from its northern neighbor. The war is recognized as a triumph against Communism.
Russia discretely places missiles in Colombia.
The Vietnamese Civil War comes to an end with the Treaty of Hue. Vietnam is divided between the communists in the south and the Kingdom of Vietnam in the north.
East Germany joins ETO. In response, the USSA and its European allies form the Amsterdam Pact as a rival organization.
The Social Recovery Party, after 25 years in power, is defeated in Duma elections. The Russian National Party comes to power, and Georgi Zhukov-the former commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during WWII-replaces Beria as Prime Minister. Zhukov's foreign policy de-emphazises military confrontation as a means of containing communism, instead focusing on diplomatic efforts to stave off communist influence. Many observers describe this as "waging peace."
The Sinai Crisis erupts when communists take over Egypt in March and threaten to seize the Sinai Peninsula from Russian Judea. Egypt is backed by the USSA. After a two-month standoff, which includes small skirmishes along the Egypt-Judea border, Egypt sees the futility of starting a war with Russia and backs down, much to the disappointment of American leaders.
The Russians launch the Sputnik satellite. The USSA reacts with shock, and the government-controlled American media tries to cover up the embarrassment by alleging that the satellite crashed before reaching space.
The French communist government, viewing colonialism as an unacceptable legacy of pre-communist France, prepares its African colonies for independence. Over the next decade, Francophone African countries will gain their independence with the same borders as in OTL. These countries will become another front in the Cold War.
The Turkic peoples of Central Asia each get their own autonomous territories-Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan.
The Shah of Iran is deposed by communists. The Russian government is alarmed, because now the Russian Empire has a communist state on its border.
Aleksander Solzhenitsyn is elected Prime Minister. He advocates a confrontational approach to fighting communism. At home he promotes traditional Christian morals as a counterpoint to communist atheism.
In the USSA, president William Z. Foster dies. He leaves behind a legacy of incredible repression-30 million Americans have died in the prison camps set up at Foster's behest. The ideals of democracy and liberty-concepts that were revered before the revolution-have been all but extinguished by Foster's reign of terror. Foster is succeeded by Richard Nixon. Nixon is less dictatorial than Foster, yet he leaves the communist police-state apparatus in place, albeit in a slightly-scaled back form.
The Iranian Missile Crisis erupts in October when the USSA places missiles in Iranian territory. The threat of an American nuclear strike on Russia looms. PM Solzhenitsyn is able to negotiate an end to the crisis by having the USSA remove the missiles in exchange for Russia removing its own missiles from Colombia. The world breathes a sigh of relief.