An alternate timeline by Althistorian 2005.
A timeline where Italy invited Germany, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania to a conference in Milan.
Just as in Fashoda Incident, I will not focus much on Asia because everything there goes exactly the same as in OTL. However, in this ATL, Russia loses the Russo-Japanese War, too, so there are absolutely NO differences in Asia in this ATL.
And yes, I know this is very similar to Fashoda Incident. After all, I did copy lots of material from it and only made a few changes to meet the circumstances of this timeline. But it's OK, both timelines have the small differences that make them unique, so they're both just as interesting as each other.
1900-1914: 1st Cold War
When all the delegates had arrived, Italy revealed the purpose of the conference: He wanted to create an alliance, the Coalition Against Austria-Hungary (CAAH). The six countries agreed on how to partition Austria-Hungary and signed the alliance treaty then they returned home.
Austro-Hungarian tourists in Germany had found out about the CAAH when they read the newspapers in their hotel rooms. When they got back, they told the government about the CAAH and encouraged the government to seek allies.
When Austria-Hungary had found out about the CAAH in 1901, he began seeking allies. France decided to ally with him since Germany was a member of the CAAH and France hated Germany.
Anglo-French relations had been improving ever since the Fashoda Incident in 1898, and now in 1904 they signed the Entente Cordiale, effectively bringing Britain into the Franco-Austrian alliance. The new alliance was named the Triple Entente.
France tried to take over Morocco but was opposed by Germany. War was narrowly avoided but the situation got tenser. Meanwhile, the Russo-Japanese War started.
The Russo-Japanese War ended in a Japanese victory. Russia hastened its military build-up.
Austria annexed Bosnia. Russia and Serbia protested, but Britain and France threatened war, so they backed down, but now Russia hurried its military build-up even more by building more oil wells in the Caucasus and more factories throughout the empire.
Italy attacked the Ottoman Empire to gain Libya. The war ended in an Italian victory, then Montenegro immediately attacked the Ottoman Empire, followed by Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. This war ended in another Ottoman defeat, but the land was split up differently than in OTL, so the Second Balkan War didn't happen. Meanwhile, the Second Moroccan Crisis ended with the French annexation of Morocco.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist. This led to the start of the First World War.
1914-1916: 1st World War
German and Italian colonies are occupied by Britain and France as Germany and Italy focus on Europe. The African Front, although not important, ends in an Entente victory.
Serbia, Montenegro and Romania pushed Austro-Hungarian forces out of the Balkans and ended the Balkan Front in an Allied victory. Austria-Hungary was quickly defeated in 1914.
Russia advanced into Austria-Hungary and the Allies were able to quickly defeat Austria-Hungary in 1914, thus the Eastern Front ended in an Allied victory.
Germany and Italy advanced into Austria-Hungary and quickly defeated it in 1914, ending the Central Front in an Allied victory.
Germany and Italy advanced into France. Germany didn't attack Belgium in this ATL, but Britain still took 'attack on ally' as a casus belli to join the war. Nancy and Marseilles fell, but Germany and Italy fought back-and-forth against France on the whole frontline, and there was no trench warfare.
With only the Western Front left to fight on, both sides began pouring their entire war efforts on the Western Front. Germany and Italy were the main combatants and Russia sent General Brusilov to carry out a grand offensive in September. The offensive surrounded a number of French troops in the Lyons region, and the French troops surrendered. Then, the Allies pushed to Paris, but they were defeated at the Battle of the Marne in December. They retreated, but planned to attack from the rear and front later on.
Italy sent most of his troops north to attack Paris from the rear. Allied reinforcements helped the remaining Italian troops in the south to defeat French troops in the south. The Battle of Paris began, and in a rare act of diplomacy between nations at war, Germany agreed not to bomb the Eiffel Tower. The battle raged on, and France lost. France surrendered, and Britain asked for an armistice, no longer seeing any point in fighting a lost war. The First World War now ended in an Allied victory.
1917: Berlin Peace Conference
Treaty of Potsdam
- French colonies in Africa are divided between Germany and Italy.
- French Indochina and the French Pacific Islands are ceded to Italy.
- All French land and maritime borders are to be demilitarized inland 100 km.
- France will be required to pay an indefinite sum of war reparations.
- France will be required to accept the blame for starting World War 1, along with Britain.
- The French armed forces will be reduced to:
- 200,000 soldiers
- No submarines
- No air force, including naval air force
- Ten battleships
Treaty of Königsberg
- Austria-Hungary will cede Romanian ethnic lands to Romania.
- Austria-Hungary will cede German ethnic lands to Germany.
- Austria-Hungary will cede Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian, and Bosnian ethnic lands to Serbia and Montenegro, who will unite, after all treaties are signed, to form Yugoslavia.
- Austria-Hungary will cede Polish and Ruthenian ethnic lands to Russia.
- Czechia and Slovakia will gain independence.
- The remainder of Austria-Hungary will gain independence as Hungary.
- Hungary will pay one million German marks in total war reparations to the Allies.
Treaty of Munich
- British colonies in Africa are divided between Germany and Italy.
- Most British colonies in Asia are given to Germany but Italy gains Australia and New Zealand.
- Ireland will gain independence.
- Britain will be required to pay an indefinite sum of war reparations.
- Britain will be required to accept the blame for starting World War 1, along with France.
- The standard currency for international exchange rates will switch from the British Pound to the German mark.
- The British armed forces will be reduced to:
- 500,000 soldiers
- Five submarines
- No air force, including naval air force
- Five battleships
1918-1939: The Interwar Period
Russian Revolution, 1918
In March 1918, Tsar Nicolas II abdicated, in the hope that Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich would stabilize Russia. However, this caused the Russian government to collapse when Michael refused to take the throne. Russian influence left Manchuria and the Bolsheviks took control of all of Russia, except for Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, which declared independence.
The Åland Dispute, 1922
In May 1922, Sweden sent an ultimatum to Finland stating that Finland would have to cede Åland to Sweden within three months or Sweden would declare war. The world was shocked at this, although the Swedish claims on Åland had legitimate ethnic and historical grounds. Finland tried to peacefully resolve the crisis, offering Sweden military access through Åland, among other offers, but Sweden wouldn't accept any offer except the acceptance of the ultimatum. With time running out, Finland ceded Åland to Sweden and the crisis was resolved without war.
Treaty of Amsterdam, 1925
Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands unite to form Benelux.
Wall Street Crash, 1929
When the Wall Street stock market crashed in October 1929, the world economy was plunged into the Great Depression. By the winter of 1932, America was in the depths of the greatest economic depression in its history. The number of unemployed people reached upward of 13 million. Many people lived in primitive conditions close to famine. One New York family moved into a cave in Central Park. In St. Louis, more than 1000 people lived in shacks made from scrap metal and boxes. There were many similar Hoovervilles all over America. Between one and two million people traveled the country desperately looking for work. Signs saying 'No Men Wanted' were displayed all over the country.
Japanese invasion of Manchuria, 1931
Immediately during the Mukden Incident on 18 September 1931, Japanese troops of the Kwantung Army flooded into Manchuria. There was an international outcry at Japan's actions, and most countries condemned Japan, but as Japan won victory after victory, the international community left Japan alone to establish the puppet state of Manchukuo.
Fascists rise to power in Britain and France, 1933
In 1933, with the global economy in free fall, Britain and France turned to Oswald Mosley and Marshal Philippe Petain respectively to free them from the economic crisis.
Italian colonization of Ethiopia, 1935-1936
In 1935, Italy attempted to colonize Ethiopia. Emperor Haile Selaisse agreed to discuss colonization terms with Italy peacefully. In 1936, an agreement was reached that Ethiopia would become an Italian protectorate but would be allowed to conduct it's own foreign affairs.
Anti-Comintern Pact, 1937
In 1937, Britain, France, and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, effectively an alliance against the Soviet Union.
The Wallonia Crisis, 1938
In 1938, France claimed Benelux was oppressing French peoples in Wallonia. Petain demanded that Wallonia be ceded to France by 1 October 1938 or France would declare war without hesitation. Germany and Italy negotiated with France, but soon it became clear that Petain expected unreasonable gains from this when he started demanding parts of Dutch-speaking Flanders too. Both sides mobilized for war and it seemed likely that war would break out - but then Mosley arranged a conference in Lyons and Wallonia was handed over to France without war.
French takeover of Benelux, 1939
In March 1939, Benelux had effectively collapsed, so French troops took this chance and poured into all that remained of Benelux. The Netherlands were created as a French puppet state, causing Italy to end its policy of Appeasement. Later on, Germany and Italy found out from spies that France's next target was Norway, due to its fishing and oil industries, so they guaranteed Norwegian independence.
French invasion of Norway, 1939
After concluding a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union in August 1939, France invaded Norway on 1 September 1939 via paratroopers. Germany and Italy warned France to withdraw, but France refused. On 3 September 1939, Germany and Italy declared war on France. The 2nd World War had begun.
1939-1945: 2nd World War
After conquering Norway, France decided not to attack Germany at the moment. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union swiftly occupied and annexed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania without war. Also, Britain invaded Ireland.
Battle of Germany
After France unleashed the blitzkrieg on Sweden and Denmark surrendered immediately, French troops flooded into Germany, also using the blitzkrieg technique. (Despite France being the one who used the blitzkrieg in this ATL, it was German newspapers' name for it, 'blitzkrieg', that caught on with most people.) After the battle, Nuremberg Germany was set up as a French puppet under Adolf Hitler, but parts of Germany remained under occupation.
Battle of Italy
After the Fall of Germany, most of the German Army fled to Italy. Some escaped to the German colonies, but mostly to Italy. Italy constructed massive defenses to withstand the French blitzkrieg tactics, so Petain decided on a sea invasion. But for that to be feasible, he would have to gain control of the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, the German Navy refused to pledge allegiance to Hitler. Instead, they remained loyal to the Kaiser, so now France had to defeat the combined Allied Navy to invade Italy.
Petain's plan was simple, and theoretically practical:
- The Axis air force would bombard the Allied air force on the ground, as they had the air advantage.
- With the Allied air force decimated, the Axis navy would go full steam ahead with air support.
- With air and sea superiority secured, the Axis would destroy the Italian fortifications from both sides.
- Finally, the Axis would go for a quick victory in Africa, and win the war.
It went well at first, but then a bombing raid was made on Paris. The Allies didn't gain much from the bombing raid, but the Axis now decided to bomb civilians instead of the air force. This gave the air force breathing space, but now the most terrifying part of the war for civilians started.
First Balkan Campaign
During the Battle of Germany, Petain 'persuaded' Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to join the Axis. Yugoslavia agreed to join the Axis at first, but then a coup deposed the leader at the time and installed a new anti-Axis leader who refused Petain's offer. With his offer rejected, Petain swiftly conquered Yugoslavia and set up a few puppet states. Then, the remaining three neutral countries in the Balkans, Albania, Macedonia, and Greece were subdued.
Partition of Poland
During the Balkan Campaign, Stalin and Petain agreed to invade and divide Poland like they did with Norway. So within one week of the Polish Campaign starting, French and Soviet troops shook hands in Warsaw.
After the partition of Poland, Stalin asked Petain if he wanted to join Stalin in conquering Finland, which Stalin saw as an easy task, but Petain said no and turned his attention to the Battle of Italy, which had been taking place ever since the Fall of Germany. When Petain said no, Stalin said 'Well then, more Finland for me' and invaded Finland despite Petain dismissing it as a cripplingly difficult challenge.
It soon turned out to be so when the numerically and technologically superior Soviet army was repeatedly defeated by the skiing Finnish army. In the end, both sides agreed on a ceasefire which saw Finland cede a little bit of border land to the Soviets, and the Finnish public vowed revenge on the Soviets.
Much like Operation Barbarossa in OTL was named after a famous German emperor, Operation Napoleon was named after the much more famous French emperor who almost conquered Europe but was defeated by the Russian winter. This naming would soon become ironic when Petain, too, was defeated by the Russian winter.
The operation was a full-scale invasion of the Soviet Union which, in a matter of months, drove the Soviets back to Moscow. Despite losing the Battle of Moscow, Petain hoped to defeat the Soviets in the Battle of Stalingrad, a battle which Petain hoped to win and which would pave the way to the Second Battle of Moscow if Petain were to win. Finland also joined in with the Axis and got his land back from the Soviets.
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, same as in OTL.
Battle of Stalingrad
After months of fighting, French troops were encircled and surrendered.
Second Balkan Campaign
In May, Italo-American troops invaded Axis-occupied Greece, restarting the Balkan Campaign. By the end of the year, all of Greece was liberated and the Greek government was restored. Meanwhile, Italy and the USA persuaded Romania to switch sides, which they did in January 1943, starting the Third Balkan Campaign.
Third Balkan Campaign
In January, Romania switched sides and immediately invaded Hungary and Bulgaria while the Italian and Americans liberated Macedonia, Yugoslavia and Albania. At the end of August, the Balkan Campaign ended in an Allied victory.
Central European Campaign
In August, with the Balkan Campaign ending in an Allied victory, Allied forces liberated Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, and Germany. Czechia and Germany were liberated by Italo-American forces, but Slovakia and Poland were liberated by the Romanians. The Kaiserreich was reinstated, as promised.
After defeating the Axis in western Russia, the Soviets turned their attention north, to Finland. A few divisions were left behind to mop up the remaining Axis troops, but most troops were committed to Finland, Axis-occupied Sweden, and Axis-occupied Norway. By the end of the year, all three countries were controlled by the Red Army.
The British Campaign
In April, Italo-American forces invaded Ireland. By October, the Italo-American forces were approaching London. By the end of the year, Britain had surrendered and Allied troops had reached France's borders. Meanwhile, British Partisans cooperated with the Allies and were given control of Britain after the war.
Invasion of France and Victory in Europe
On 6 June, Allied troops landed en masse on the beaches of Normandy. At around the same time, Allied troops invaded from northern Italy and western Germany. The French troops resisted fanatically and enacted a scorched earth policy, and managed to slow the Allies down until February 1945, when they had no choice except surrender during the Battle of Paris.
After France surrendered in February 1945, Japan continued fanatical resistance even more fanatical than the French fanatical resistance. It was only after Little Boy and Fat Man were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively that the Japanese surrendered, ending the Second World War.
1946-1948: Post-War Settlements
After the war, France was divided into occupation zones:
- British (controlled by British Partisans)
Central and Eastern Europe
After the war, Romania puppeted the following countries:
The British and Americans objected, so Romania came up with a compromise by which it would not puppet Albania, Macedonia or Yugoslavia and that Greece would be unpuppeted. The Italians and Americans, seeing no other solutions other than war or this compromise, decided to agree to the compromise since public opinion was turning their back on war.
After the war, the Soviet Union puppeted Finland, Norway, and Sweden, ignoring their governments-in-exile. The British and Americans protested, but decided the status quo was better as the public opinion was turning against the war.
Nothing was changed by the post-war settlements.
After the war, Italy had trouble keeping control of Indochina as the Viet Cong had revolted during the 2nd World War.
1949-1991: 2nd Cold War
1956: Hungarian Revolt
The Hungarian Revolt was on a more larger scale than in OTL, and almost caused the Fascist bloc to collapse.
1959: Swedish Revolt
The Swedish Revolt happened exactly the same as the Hungarian Revolt, and brought the Communist bloc even closer to collapsing in 1959 than the Hungarian Revolt had brought the Fascist bloc to collapsing in 1956.
1962: Cuban Missile Crisis
The infamous Cuban Missile Crisis happened exactly the same as in OTL.
1965: Oslo Spring
In 1965, the new Norwegian leader advocated 'socialism with a human face' and a tsunami of anti-government propaganda was produced as a result. The Soviet Union threatened to crush the 'revolt' with the Red Army, so the Norwegian government retightened controls a little bit. But that caused the people to revolt for real and the Red Army crushed the Oslo Spring.
1968: Prague Spring
In 1968, the new Czech leader advocated 'fascism with a human face' and a tsunami of anti-government propaganda was produced as a result. Romania threatened to crush the 'revolt', so Czechia retightened controls a little bit. But that caused the people to revolt for real and Romania crushed the Prague Spring.
1985-1991: Gorbachev Reforms the Soviet Union
And encourages the same policies throughout the Communist bloc. Eventually, Warsaw Pact countries overthrew their governments and SSRs declared independence from the USSR. By 25 December 1991, when Gorbachev dissolved the USSR, the Communist bloc had mostly collapsed, save for a few countries.
The collapse of communism ended the 2nd Cold War but the Fascist bloc still existed and even gained a new member when the newly independent Ruthenia (formerly the Ruthenian SSR) gained independence with a fascist government.
1991-Present day: 3rd Cold War
With the collapse of communism and the end of the 2nd Cold War, the Romanians feared that what happened to the Communists might happen to them, so they either deported or killed any reformists they found as part of a Grand Purge, much like the one Stalin had enacted in the USSR during the 1930's. And now, the Fascist bloc, along with what remained of the Communist bloc, continued to challenge the power of the capitalist bloc in a 3rd Cold War. The 3rd Cold War is still going on until this day.