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- 1 Points of Divergence
- 1.1 #1. China- Qing Dynasty reform
- 1.2 # 2. Russia- 1905 Revolution
- 1.3 #3. The United States- Communists and the Labor Movement
Points of Divergence
Multiple points in this timeline diverge from our own. However, the history of most countries in this timeline is identical to that of our timeline, even after the timeline first diverges.
#1. China- Qing Dynasty reform
The first point at which this alternate timeline diverges from our timeline is in 19th century China. The Guangxu Emperor drafted a reform plan, named the Hundred Days' Reform, to transform China into a constitutional monarchy. In our timeline, opposition to this reform was intense, with conservatives condemning it as too radical. This lead to the 1898 coup, in which Empress Dowager Cixi thwarted these plans and took control of the government. This, however, only further weakened the imperial government, leading to the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912.
In this timeline, Kang Youwei's influence was much greater than in our timeline. Yuan Shikai and many conservatives were convinced by Kang Youwei to join the emperor when the reform plan was enacted. Youwei convinced conservatives that westernization and industrialization was necessary for China to defend itself against Japan. Consequently, Shikai never defected to the empress during the 1898 coup, and Cixi was put under house arrest instead of Guangxu. The failed coup lead to a distrust for conservatives, making any further attempt to stop the reform practically impossible. The opposition to the reform was much less intense than in our timeline as a result of Youwei's actions. Guangxu then bribed wealthy Chinese bureaucrats into supporting him, by guaranteeing them seats in the Lower House of his new government. On September 22, 1899, the reform was completed. China had transformed into a modern nation, with Youwei's political theory put into effect: a constitutional monarchy with democracy.
The Hundred Days' Reform became known as the "Guangxu Revolution", as the emperor's reform plan was fully enacted as the Chinese Constitution. On December 9, 1899, the first annual election was held in China, with Yuan Shikai being voted into office as Prime Minister of China. Shikai and Youwei then drifted apart, with Shikai supporting militaristic policies and Youwei supported social and technological development. China was divided among local militias into partially self-governing "provinces" that remained loyal to the emperor and the "Empire of China" was formed, which was later renamed the "Middle Kingdom of China" by Yen Chia-kan. Yuan Shikai wanted to merge local militias as a single national army, the "Royal Preservation Army", for China to defend itself against Japan, in the event of a second war between China and Japan. Mongolia still became through a revolution, with nationalists allying themselves with the Central Powers in World War 1. With the weapons given to the Mongolian armies, Mongolia was granted independence in 1915; though it continued to recognize the Chinese emperor as its monarch. This incident legitimized Shikai's fears of China not being able to defend itself, convincing warlords to unite their militias into a single national army.
The new Middle Kingdom
Throughout the early 20th century, China stabilized and gained influence as a global power, rather than suffering periods of instability and unrest that it did in our timeline. The Warlord Era never happened, because Yuan Shikai and Zhang Xun's failed attempts to restore the monarchy never happened, because the monarchy was never overthrown in the first place. The emperor remained the legitimate and legal monarch of China, protected by the Chinese Constitution, albeit in the form of an almost entirely powerless head of state. Tensions between nationalists and the communists in China still grew, though the intervention of Sun Yat-sen prevented an armed conflict. The influence of the Xuantong Emperor prevented tensions from resuming after Yat-sen's death, and as a result, the Chinese Civil War never happened in this timeline. Japan still invaded China, and captured the same land it did in our timeline, but held onto it for considerably less time than in our timeline, as Chinese forces quickly pushed them back. China is industrialized and westernized in this timeline, comparable to Japan of our timeline.
# 2. Russia- 1905 Revolution
In December of 1904, in the Russian Empire, a strike occurred at the Putilov plant, starting the failed Russian Revolution of 1905. A workers' procession preceded to the Winter Palace to deliver to a petition to the Tsar. Troops guarding the palace opened fire on demonstrators in an event known as "Bloody Sunday". Workers went on strike throughout the empire and thousands of protesters died. This lead Nicholas II to create the State Duma of the Russian Empire on February 18 in 1905. On our timeline, this Duma would posses consultative powers only, which only caused civil unrest to increase and the revolution continued, ultimately ended in a victory for the Imperial Army as the revolution was ended. The Imperial Army's victory only highlighted tensions, eventually leading to the Russian Revolution and the creation of the Soviet Union.
The Tsar turns
In this timeline, however, Nicholas II took inspiration from the Hundred Days' Reform when creating the Duma. The Russian Revolution of 1905 was simply known as the Russian Revolution, and spanned from January 22 to February 25 of 1905. He drafted and ratified the Articles of Democracy, a document that turned Russia into a constitutional monarchy. He still lost power, but retained his throne, allowing the Age of the Tsars to continue. The Duma was given actual legislative powers in this timeline, and Russia's development eventually turned it into the largest democracy on Earth.
The "Republic of Russia"
A federal government structured after that of that of the United States' and of China's would take control. The Tsar would still own the territory of the Russian Empire, but would give all profits of it to the Russian government. In exchange, the royal family would receive a free annual salary from the government that would allow them to continue their life of luxury in the Winter Palace. The Tsar retained partial executive powers determined by the country's prime minister, though they gradually removed these powers. With the adoption of a constitution, the capital was moved from Saint Petersburg (which was never renamed to Petrograd) to Moscow. On June 18, Sergei Witte was selected by the Tsar to be the first prime minister of Russia, though an election for prime minister was later held in 1910, with Lenin winning the election. Russia was later renamed the "Republic of Russia" by Lenin, later renamed the "Democratic Republic of Russia" by Trotsky. The new government implied socialist policies intended to help the working class. Russia industrialized, but millions did not die under the Soviet polices of our timeline. Without his arrest and escape to Europe, Trotsky's relationship with Lenin never improved. Consequently, Trotskyists never allied themselves with Leninists and instead distanced themselves from them. Trotsky lead the Mensheviks against the Bolsheviks, leading to the rise of the Mensheviks and right-wing opposition groups.
Mensheviks, peace, land, and bread
Without the Tsar in power and the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks fighting each other for popularity, the Russian Revolutions of 1917 never occurred and the Soviet Union never existed. Russia became socialist, but not communist, and was only briefly involved and World War 1. Casualties of the war were blamed on Lenin and the Bolsheviks instead of Nicholas II, and lead to a distrust for Bolsheviks and socialists in general, resulting in the rise of nationalists and anti-Bolshevik groups. World War 1 had the exact opposite effect on Russia in this timeline, as the Bolsheviks supported Russian involvement in the war, while Nicholas II and the Mensheviks opposed the war. Nicholas II made an alliance with Trotsky, the leader of the Mensheviks, against Lenin as they wanted to the pull Russia out of the war. In this timeline, World War 1 killed the Bolsheviks' support and healed relations between the Tsar and the Russian people, ending Lenin's support while growing Trotsky's support. Lenin and the Bolsheviks were discredited, and Leninism was never popularized or accepted into mainstream communist circles. The Mensheviks then became the only faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. In 1917, Lenin was voted out of office and replaced by Trotsky, who industrialized the country. Despite its brief involvement, the German Empire initiated the Schlieffen Plan and invaded Belgium before Russia left the war, resulting in declaration of war by the British Empire, causing the conflict to grow into the world war it did in our timeline. While the Central Powers were still defeated by the Allied Powers, it was far more brutal, as the Western Front of the European theatre became the sole front of that theatre of World War 1. The development of Russian culture is never stalled by the Soviets, and is much more developed than in our timeline.
A different motherland "Russia Today"
Repression and discrimination in this alternate Russia is nowhere near the levels it is in our timeline. Under the influence of Prime Minster Mikhail Gorbachev and Tsar Nicholas III (son of Alexei Nikolaevich), Russian culture has been forced to align itself with that of the rest of Europe, and consequently is far less conservative and much more tolerant than in our timeline. Russia grows and becomes one of the many powerful social democracies in Europe. In this timeline, Russia is a capitalist and modernized global superpower in Eurasia today.
#3. The United States- Communists and the Labor Movement
to be added