An alternate timeline by Althistorian 2005.
What if George V had decided to try creating an official alliance with his cousins, Russian Tsar Nicholas II and German Kaiser Wilhelm II, following his coronation in 1910? How would this affect the Entente Cordiale and the Triple Alliance? And how would the 20th century play out?
1910: Following his father's death, George V is inaugurated as the king of the United Kingdom. His cousins, Russian Tsar Nicholas II and German Kaiser Wilhelm II, visit London to celebrate his coronation. The three kings then agree to try using their family relations forging an alliance between their three kingdoms, despite the existing mistrust and hatred between their people.
1911: At the Second Moroccan Crisis, Britain and Russia try to mediate between France and Germany, instead of flat-out opposing Germany as in OTL. This helps pave the way to a formal Anglo-Russo-German alliance while also having the side effect of slightly hurting Anglo-French relations. Later, when Italy attacks the Ottoman Empire, starting the Italo-Turkish War, the three cousins speak out against the aggression, despite Germany and Italy both being in the Triple Alliance, and Russia's long history of opposing the Ottoman Empire.
1912: Immediately after Italy wins the Italo-Turkish War, the Balkan League (Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Greece) attacks the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, starting the First Balkan War. Meanwhile, having won the war, Italy decides to seek revenge on Germany for opposing their actions by leaving the Triple Alliance.
1913: The Treaty of London is signed, ending the First Balkan War and formalising the Balkan League, which was formerly a loose alliance of Balkan nations. Albania also gains independence. Later, the Treaty of Munich is signed, formalising the Germano-Slavic League (Britain, Russia, and Germany). Austria becomes worried about the two newly-created Leagues, fearing that Germany might once again decide to unite all Germans under one banner. Later, Bulgaria attacks Serbia and Greece, betraying them and starting the Second Balkan War. Bulgaria is swiftly defeated by Romania, the Ottoman Empire, and the rest of the Balkan League. The entire war takes place in a matter of weeks, so quickly that the Germano-Slavic League doesn't even have time to react. After the war, Romania joins the Balkan League, while Bulgaria is placed under joint Balkan League occupation until 1920. The Ottoman Empire gains some land in Eastern Thrace, but is excluded from occupying Bulgaria.
1914: On June 28, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is assassinated by a group of Bosnian Serbs. Austria sends an ultimatum to Serbia, but later withdraws it when threatened with the full force of the Germano-Slavic League. This confirms to them that the Dual Alliance is effectively abolished, and they formally end it later that year. Meanwhile, France decides to ask Britain about the status of the Entente Cordiale. King George says that it will remain in force unless France attacks Germany, which will prompt Britain to assist Germany in war by ending the Entente and declaring war on France. Faced with such bleak prospects, France decides to try a rapprochement with Germany while also negotiating an alliance with Italy in case of war.
1915: France, Italy, and Austria create the Neo-Triple Alliance, with Austria ceding Italian ethnic lands to Italy to ensure their loyalty. They invite the Ottoman Empire to join them, but Ottoman public opinion is divided. On the one hand, the Germano-Slavic League supported them during their war with Italy. But on the other hand, they were just at war with the Balkan League not too long ago, and the Balkan League is now effectively protected by the Germano-Slavic League. The government supports staying neutral, but few support the idea.
1917: Without the First World War aggravating tensions within Russia, Tsar Nicholas is able to prevent the February Revolution. Plus, Vladimir Lenin stays in Switzerland because Kaiser Wilhelm doesn't send him to Russia to stir up the October Revolution, since he's allied with Tsar Nicholas in this timeline.
1918: Internal tensions within the Ottoman Empire over whether to join the Triple Alliance or to align with the Germano-Slavic League boil over, breaking into civil war. The government tries to arrange a referendum at the last minute, but then Sultan Mehmed VI is sent into exile by a coup. He requests political asylum in Italy, and is initially refused, but then the Italian government allows him to enter their country in return for him returning as leader of the pro-Triple Alliance forces in the Ottoman Civil War. He refuses these terms, wanting his empire to remain neutral. He looks to Spain, and is allowed political asylum there. He then lives out the rest of his life peacefully before dying in 1926. Meanwhile, the leaders of the coup dissolve the sultanate government and announce plans for democratic elections and a referendum on which alliance to join. However, these are largely ignored and both sides continue the fighting.
1919: With the Ottoman Civil War raging between the pro-Triple Alliance forces and the anti-Triple Alliance forces, the Arabs revolt with the help of existing Arab kingdoms in the interior of the Arabian Peninsula. With a three-sided civil war raging and the government already being dissolved, the Ottoman Empire is effectively dissolved. The Arab rebels manage to swiftly invade the Ottoman-controlled parts of the Arabian Peninsula with the support of the local Arab populations. They then decide to open peace negotiations with the other two sides while declaring independence and establishing the United Arab Kingdom.
1920: Bulgaria is released from Balkan League occupation and rejoins the Balkan League with a new government, so as to prevent a Third Balkan War. Meanwhile, both remaining sides of the Ottoman Civil War open peace negotiations with each other despite sporadic fighting. The fighting slowly ends, and democratic elections are finally held, as well as a referendum on which alliance to join. The results of the referendum end with Triple Alliance supporters winning by a slight margin.
1921: Out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Turkey is established. Negotiations to join the Triple Alliance are opened, based on the results of the referendum, but they almost break down when the new Turkish leaders demand the return of Libya. However, since the Triple Alliance is desperate for allies, what with the two most powerful navies in the world potentially able to destroy them at any moment, France and Austria pressure Italy to reluctantly accept the demand, promising them Nice and Savoy from France in return. The Treaty of Marseilles is then signed, turning the former Neo-Triple Alliance into the Mediterranean Pact.
1924: After three years of joint planning, the Mediterranean Pact attacks British Egypt and other British colonies in Africa, starting World War 1. With the British distracted, Arabia decides to attack and occupy British territories in the Arabian Peninsula. Meanwhile, back in Europe, France and Austria try a joint offensive on Germany from Bohemia and now-occupied Alsace-Lorraine to cut off southern Germany. However, the Germano-Slavic League retains the upper hand in Europe, while the French military is permanently damaged by the offensive, becoming only capable of defense for the rest of the war. The Balkan League then pushes on Austria from the south while Russia pushes from the east and Germany from the north, collapsing the Austro-Hungarian Empire as various ethnic minorities rise up in united opposition, becoming a united majority against their Austrian minority rulers. Later, Arabia successfully opens peace negotiations with the British, not wanting to be engulfed by the flames of war any further. King George agrees to take the first step towards peace, not wanting to risk having vital oil supplies cut off. Arabia annexes occupies territories and leaves the war.
1925: The Battle of Egypt ends mostly in a draw, but is an overall British victory. The Royal Navy and the Kreigsmarine then unite under a Joint Allied Command to defeat the Mediterranean Pact's joint navy and immediately see increased effectiveness against them, managing to sink vast amounts of French battleships. In Europe, the Germano-Slavic League and the Balkan League make landings on Italy's Adriatic coast while also attacking the north. To prevent France from sending reinforcements, German troops march into northern France supported by British troops landing across the French coast. The French and Italians then decide to evacuate their European territories and move to Africa, ending the war in Europe. Many of the transport ships sending the Franco-Italian troops over are sunk by British and German warships, weakening them even further. Meanwhile, Russian troops finally break the stalemate in the Caucasus and advance into Turkey. The government and a part of the army then try to escape to Libya, but they are captured. Turkish troops in Libya gradually surrender to the British, with some even executing their officers who refuse to surrender.
1926: The French and Italian governments are executed by disillusioned officers who then finally surrender to Germano-Slavic forces. The loss of leadership causes what little remains of the Mediterranean Pact to dissolve and surrender. A peace conference is then held in Berlin to discuss peace terms:
Treaty of Potsdam
- The French colonial empire will be ceded to Germany.
- German New Guinea will be ceded to Britain.
- France will hold democratic elections to decide the new government, since the old government is dead.
- France will pay war reparations.
- After electing a new government, France will not be allowed to have a military, except for self-defense forces. The self-defense forces will also be limited to a certain size except in case of war.
Treaty of Danzig
- What remains of Italy's colonies will be ceded to Germany, as well as British Somaliland.
- Italy will hold democratic elections to decide the new government, since the old government is dead.
- Italy will pay war reparations.
- After electing a new government, Italy will not be allowed to have a military, except for self-defense forces. The self-defense forces will also be limited to a certain size except in case of war.
Treaty of Weimar
- Turkey will elect a new, neutral government to replace the old one.
- The old government will be exiled to Sweden, because why not.
- After electing a new government, Turkey will not be allowed to have a military, except for self-defense forces. The self-defense forces will also be limited to a certain size except in case of war.
- Turkey will pay war reparations.
- Turkish Libya will be split between Germany and Britain.
Treaty of Berchtesgaden
- Romanian ethnic lands will be ceded to Romania.
- Serbian ethnic lands will be ceded to Serbia.
- Croatian, Slovenian, and Bosnian ethnic lands will gain independence as Croatoslovenia.
- Czech and Slovak ethnic lands will gain independence as Czechoslovakia.
- Hungarian ethnic lands will gain independence as Hungary.
- Polish and Ukrainian ethnic lands (the province of Galicia) will be ceded to Russia.
- Austria will be annexed by Germany.
- Austrian Germans living in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia are allowed to move to Germany.
With the treaties concluded and signed, Europe ushers in a delicate peace.
1927: After numerous protests, Tsar Nicholas finally grants Finland independence from Russia. Sweden then offers financial aid to Finland in return for the Aland Islands, which Finland accepts. Later, King George also agrees to give Ireland independence after numerous protests. However, since the population of the region of Ulster wants to remain in the United Kingdom, as they are Protestants unlike the rest of Ireland, Ulster remains in the UK as Northern Ireland. This angers the newly-formed Irish government.
1929: Albania and Croatoslovenia decide to join the Balkan League. Also, the Wall Street Crash doesn't happen (yet) because World War 1 and the post-war boom happen later than in OTL, although the global financial center still moves to New York anyway.
1931: After crushing another Polish uprising, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas finally decide to free Poland anyways to stop the incessant protests. They also agree, along with King George, to rename the Germano-Slavic League into the European Union (EU), which Poland then joins in return for independence. The Balkan League also agrees to merge with the new EU, which Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland promptly decide to join too. Meanwhile, a revolution occurs in Spain, establishing a republic.
1933: Czechoslovakia and Hungary join the EU. Later, the Wall Street Crash happens, collapsing the global economy and starting the Great Depression. The EU begins economic cooperation between members in addition to the existing military cooperation, finally justifying some members' decisions to join.
1934: Due to the Depression, Japanese silk exports suffer, causing the Japanese to invade the Chinese region of Manchuria. The international community opposes this move, but can't actually do anything.
1936: Internal tensions within Spain break out into a civil war between the Republican government and Nationalist rebels. The EU then tries unsuccessfully to get both sides to calm things down, although they manage a blockade of foreign arms shipments to Spain. Meanwhile, King George V dies and is succeeded by his son, who becomes Edward VIII. King Edward then abdicates later on in favor of his brother, who becomes George VI. Also, popular revolutions occur in France and Italy, toppling the old elected governments in favor of militaristic fascists led by Benito Mussolini in Italy and Philippe Petain in France.
1937: The Marco Polo Bridge Incident causes China and Japan to erupt into actual all-out war, unlike the 1934 invasion of Manchuria. Meanwhile, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (nicknamed FDR) is inaugurated as President of the United States. He then begins economic reforms to try alleviating the effects of the Depression on the US.
1938: Due to the EU restriction of outside support, the civil war ends in stalemate, leading to the creation of two separate Spanish states:
- Spanish State, aka West Spain, in all Spanish colonies and some western parts of Spain, led by Generalisimo Francisco Franco. Capital: Sevilla.
- Republic of Spain, in the remaining eastern parts of Spain, led by the Republican government. Also known as East Spain. Capital: Barcelona.
Madrid is split into East and West Madrid.
1939: Petain, Mussolini, and Franco sign a treaty guaranteeing mutual security and assistance between their three fascist nations, creating the Axis Pact.
1940: Despite not having completely subdued China yet, Japan begins making plans to invade British and German colonies in Asia while also joining the Axis.
1941: After five years of massive secret remilitarisation, Petain and Mussolini mobilise their armies for war. A few months after the initial mobilisation, Japanese forces launch a surprise attack on British Burma and German Indochina, starting World War 2. The EU and the Axis declare war on each other, but the EU underestimates the Axis' power and fails to stop the massive attack, going deep into Germany and the Balkans. To make matters worse, German morale is low after the death of Kaiser Wilhelm II in June. His son succeeds him as Kaiser Wilhelm III. Also, Petain persuades the Japanese to delay the planned attack on Pearl Harbor. A few Japanese divisions storm Russian-ruled North Sakhalin, but the Russian navy manages to make a naval stalemate with the few Japanese battleships sent to fight them. Russian troops attempt to storm Manchuria, but dig trenches and fight a war of attrition when the infamous Kwantung Army inflicts heavy losses on them.
1942: Kaiser Wilhelm III flees into exile as French troops storm Berlin, defeating the mightiest land power in Europe. Petain credits his success to the people of France and a new strategy he calls guerre éclair, although the term is soon replaced by its German counterpart, "blitzkrieg", due to it being easier to pronounce. Meanwhile, with French support, West Spain defeats and annexes East Spain, becoming simply Spain.
1943: The Axis dominates mainland Europe. Sweden, Norway, Greece, and Russia are on the front lines, barely holding back the mighty French and Italian armies and navies, supported by a German army and navy controlled by a puppet state (known as Nuremberg Germany) under a certain Adolf Hitler. In Asia, Japanese troops occupy everything from southern China all the way down to the island of New Guinea, except Thailand, which joins the Axis in return for retaining its independence. China, Australia, and British India are on the front lines, constantly losing naval battles to the seemingly invincible Japanese navy. An Axis victory looks certain, and fascist troublemakers are trying to persuade the Turkish government to remilitarise and join the Axis. The only place the Axis can't reach is Africa, and the EU continues fortifying the North African coast, hoping to stop the supposedly inevitable invasion. The EU needs a big boost, or they will completely lose the war. And soon, that boost comes in the form of the USA. With Axis forces seemingly unstoppable, Petain gives the Japanese the go-ahead to bomb the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor, which proves to be his worst mistake ever.
1944: With America now in the war, Allied forces begin seeing increased successes in both Asia and Europe. In Europe, American forces arrive to reinforce the Russian and Greek armies, successfully defending strategic cities like Volgograd, or capital cities like Moscow and Athens. The Siege of Thessaloniki, started in 1942, finally ends as the Allies liberate most of central Greece. In Asia, New Guinea is liberated, but at a massive cost, because the Japanese believe fighting to the death is more honorable than surrendering. Parts of Burma are liberated, and Thailand decides to switch sides.
1945: The Allies make landings in Spain and Italy, marking the beginning of the end for the Axis. Greek and Russian troops with American reinforcements liberate large parts of Germany and the Balkans, but before Berlin is liberated, Petain decides to annex Nuremberg Germany. Soon, Mussolini and Franco are deposed. The new Spanish and Italian governments then execute both deposed leaders and lead their countries to switch sides. In Asia, the Allies make progress towards the Japanese home islands and the Manchurian stalemate is finally broken. Most of Japan's occupied territory in mainland Asia is liberated by the Allies, leaving the Japanese trapped within their own home islands. In April, President Roosevelt dies and is succeeded by Harry S. Truman.
1946: The Allies make landings in northern France, the German government is restored to power, and Paris is soon surrounded. Petain, not wanting to be tried and executed for war crimes, (probably) commits suicide, but some people later theorise that he actually escapes to Argentina. Nonetheless, Petain's absence causes his senior government officials to finally surrender. Finally, the war ends with American bombs falling on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as in OTL. Adolf Hitler is later executed by the German government for high treason. The Allies, as the victors of the war, begin making plans to rebuild Europe and Asia.
1947: After several conferences, the EU and the US agree on the post-war status of the defeated Axis:
- France and Spain are split up into British, German and American occupation zones.
- Japan will be completely occupied by American forces.
- Italy will be split into German and American occupation zones.
- Allied occupation will last until 1952, when democratic elections will be held.
1949: Tsar Nicholas II dies peacefully in his sleep. His son succeedes him as Tsar Alexis II. Meanwhile, the Chinese government finally defeats the communist rebels with Allied support.
1950: Tsar Alexis decides to reform the Russian government due to internal tensions and outside influences.
1951: 10 years after his father’s death, Kaiser Wilhelm III dies and is succeeded by his son, who becomes Kaiser Louis Ferdinand I.
1952: France, Italy and Japan hold democratic elections. The EU is renamed as the Global Democratic Alliance (GDA) so that Japan and the USA can join. Meanwhile, George VI dies, and his daughter succeeds him as Queen Elizabeth II.
1953: India gains independence, beginning decolonization and the breakup of the British Empire.
1956: After having successfully remained neutral in both World Wars, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands join the GDA. France and Italy also join the GDA.
1957: Due to Tsar Alexis’ reforms, many countries in Central Asia gain independence from Russia. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine also gain independence. Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan gain independence soon after. Tsar Alexis is briefly criticised as a weak leader for allowing so many countries to peacefully break free of Russian rule, but overall world opinion approves of him.
1960: The Cuban Revolution occurs later than in OTL, but as a popular democratic movement. The new government maintains good relations with the US government, but US companies are no longer allowed unfair exploitation of the local populations.
1964: Turkey and Arabia are finally convinced to join the GDA. Persia also joins the GDA later on.
1967: All remaining colonies are given independence in return for joining the GDA.
1969: All of Latin America joins the GDA.
1972: Most non-GDA countries agree to join the GDA to avoid international geopolitical exclusion.
1975: The GDA is reformed to become a truly international organisation, no longer an economic and military partnership, but similar to the UN in OTL. The GDA is then renamed the World Congress.
Relatively uneventful, except for an failed fundamentalist coup in Persia led by Ayatollah Khomeini.
Still relatively uneventful, except for the widely-mourned deaths of Tsar Alexei II and Kaiser Louis Ferdinand I, both in 1994. They are succeeded by Tsar Michael II (named after Tsar Alexei’s uncle) and Kaiser Georg Friedrich I.
Relatively uneventful, except for the election of the first African-American president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama.
Uneventful. Simply uneventful. There is less political polarisation and less extremism than in OTL, perhaps even none at all. World peace is mostly secured, but it still seems too late to call.