This timeline follows a world where the War to End All Wars never happened.
1907: realizing their army is mostly lackluster, Austria-Hungary passes a series of military reforms.
- Among them:
- A reorganization of the Army's and Navy's High Command.
- Redesign of the mobilization process along German standards. As opposed to a single rallying point, to which soldiers can take weeks to arrive, multiple points are established in the territories of the Empire.
1904-1913: Irredentists in Italy continue to grow in power, winning a majority count three elections in a row. Large rallies are conducted by the Irredentists, calling for the "return" of Italian areas, especially in Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary, a mutual member of the Triple Alliance with Italy, mostly brushes the events off. However, the Entente countries grow wary of Italy, and begin seeing them as aggressive and expansionist.
In OTL on June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was riding around Sarajevo and heading to the local hospital when his driver made a wrong turn. When the driver realized his mistake, he stopped to shift into reverse. Gavrilo Princip was sitting in a nearby cafe and saw his chance. He ran outside, shot and killed the Archduke and his wife. This was the spark to ignite the largest and deadliest war Europe had ever seen.
What if the driver never made a wrong turn? Princip was still in the cafe, and the motorcade drove in the opposite direction. The Black Hand's attempt to kill the Archduke ... fails. Kiel Week is able to finish and the participating nations leave in good relations. July goes by uneventfully, opposed to the diplomatic crisis in OTL.
The failure will have major repercussions, Italian irredentism overrules alliance, Austria opens up to democracy, Fascism takes root in different countries, military technology lags behind OTL, and the twenties will be warring instead of roaring.
Immediate differences from OTL
- Nations don't yet know the atrocity of chemical warfare.
- The tank goes undeveloped.
- The airplane doesn't get the chance to effectively prove itself.
- The evolution of aircraft carriers slows; the age of dreadnoughts continues.
- Tactics of armies advancing line-abreast remains to be thought a viable strategy.
- Austria-Hungary federalizes in 1919.
- Fascism finds a different home.