An alternate timeline by Althistorian 2005.
What if Britain and France actually did something after declaring war on Germany in 1939?
1918: World War 1 ends. German Kaiser Wilhelm II is overthrown and flees into exile, ending the Second Reich (aka the German Empire; so named because the First Reich was the medieval Holy Roman Empire) and creating the Weimar Republic (named for the town its constitution was drafted in). The Treaty of Versailles is signed by the new government and the German people feel a great sense of indignation.
1931: Japan invades Manchuria.
1933: Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party, takes power in Germany, creating the Third Reich (aka Nazi Germany). He immediately launches an ambitious rearmament program in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.
1935-6: Italy invades Abbysinia and swiftly conquers the country. Hitler takes advantage of the crisis to remilitarise the Rhineland. The Spanish Civil War starts.
1937: Germany and Italy create the Axis.
1938: Germany annexes Austria. Czechoslovakia cedes the Sudetenland to Germany as per the Munich Pact. Japan joins the Axis.
1939: Despite promising not to, Germany invades what remains of Czechoslovakia in March. In April, the Spanish Civil War ends with the fascist Nationalists winning with German and Italian support. In the same month, Italy conquers Albania in just 5 days. In August, the Nazi-Soviet Pact is signed, dividing Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. On September 1, German troops enter Poland. Britain and France soon declare war. However, the Italians refrain from declaring war on Britain and France to defend their ally, due to not being ready to join the war. A few days later, the French army steamrolls western Germany. Due to not expecting such a move, the bulk of the German army is in Poland. The war ends by Christmas (with a German defeat), and the Treaty of Versailles is abolished since a vast majority of people across the globe consider it unjust. Another more lenient treaty is later signed at Verdun to replace it (Germany gets to keep Austria, but Czechoslovakia must regain independence; reparation payments are reduced, but further restrictions are put on German military power). Due to the short timespan of the war, it is simply known as the Versailles War, after the Treaty of Versailles that caused it. As for the Nazi-Soviet Pact, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin abandons it after witnessing the Anglo-French reaction to the German invasion of Poland. He later invades Finland, suffering defeat after defeat before getting the Finns to cede a little bit of territory anyway.
1940: Having been defeated again and feeling extremely disappointed by Hitler, the German people launch a revolution, execute Hitler and the entire Nazi Party (after torturing the highest-ranking officials, including Hitler himself), and call for the Kaiser's return. Wilhelm II then returns from his exile in the Netherlands with a grand welcome parade, restoring the German Empire (now as the Fourth Reich). He immediately leaves the Axis and applies for Germany to rejoin the League of Nations, causing Hungary (under German influence) to begin removing fascist elements from their country. Meanwhile, Italian troops invade Greece, suffering numerous defeats after their initial success and leading to the Greek liberation of Albania, along with the Greco-Albanian Alliance shortly after. Benito Mussolini, the leader of Italy, is later deposed along with the puppet monarchy in a republican revolution due to this humiliating defeat. The new government then abolishes the Axis with Japan and also attempts to rejoin the League of Nations.
1941: Kaiser Wilhelm II dies in June, and his son succeeds him as Kaiser Wilhelm III. The new Kaiser decides on a rapproachment with Britain and France, significantly improving the diplomatic atmosphere in Europe and even lifting the restrictions on German military power. However, just as things seem to be settling down, tension brews in the Pacific, and Japan attacks the American naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On that same day and following dates, Japanese troops invade British, French, and Dutch colonies throughout Southeast Asia, as well as the Philippines (then under American control). This starts the Great Pacific War (at this time, World War 1 is still called the Great War).
1942: Without the threat of a strong Nazi Reich weakening them, Britain and France successfully defend their Southeast Asian colonies from Japan. They then push the Japanese back into China, supporting the Chinese United Front already fighting the Japanese. However, the American troops on the Philippines are forced to retreat and only manage to hold some southern islands with Anglo-French reinforcements.
1943: The Japanese are defeated on the Chinese coast, but the Philippines fall. This success is short-lived, however, as the Philippines are liberated with an amphibious invasion (a naval blockade traps the Japanese troops there). Manchuria and Korea are then liberated, isolating the Japanese home islands. The Royal Navy and the US Navy then continue to maintain a tight naval blockade around Japan, constantly bombing and firebombing Japanese cities from airfields in Iwo Jima and Okinawa (which have already been liberated).
1944: Due to the delayed development of the atomic bomb in this timeline (there was no Nazi atomic project, so Einstein never wrote to President Roosevelt calling for the Manhatten Project, thus significantly slowing down the Soviet atomic project), Operation Downfall takes place, beginning the very bloody invasion of Japan. Japanese cities are firebombed day and night, and napalm wipes numerous Japanese cities off the map. Emperor Hirohito then surrenders to the Allied forces without the agreement of his generals, and they capture him, holding him prisoner as retaliation. Seeing their emperor touched against his will horrifies the Japanese people, and they ask the Allies to help free him. The emperor is freed, and the Japanese people drag the generals out to be executed. The fighting ends, but American troops don't occupy Japan. Instead, the emperor himself decides that the Japanese people should demilitarise themselves to focus on rebuilding the economy. He also decides to seek an alliance with the Allies to deter Soviet aggression.
1945: The Treaty of Tokyo is signed, ending the Great Pacific War. Manchuria is returned to China, and Korea gains independence as a Western-style democracy. The Allies also guarantee Japanese independence and give the Japanese government massive financial aid to rebuild their economy. With the war over, the Chinese Communists betray the Chinese United Front and the Allies, causing Allied presence in China to continue.
1946: British and American spies manage to steal information from the Soviet atomic project, causing their governments to begin an atomic project of their own, codenamed the Manhattan Project (because it's centered in New York City). Einstein, seeing that his theory of relativity may be put to violent uses, publicly condemns both atomic projects, unintentionally revealing to the Soviets that the US government is aware of their project and causing them to increase funding and publicity for it.
1947: With the Chinese Civil War seeming to turn in the favor of the Chinese Communists, the Allies decide to launch a large-scale bombing campaign of Communist supply lines similar to the bombing campaigns of the Spanish Civil War and the Great Pacific War. This effectively reduces the strength of the Chinese Communists despite causing many thousands of deaths. Meanwhile, India gains independence from Britain, signalling the beginning of decolonization, and the ends of the grand European empires built through centuries of blood, war, death and destruction.
1948: During the bombing campaign of the Chinese Civil War, Allied bombers accidentally violate Soviet airspace and unintentionally bomb Soviet territory while tracking Chinese Communist supply lines. The Soviet government, thinking the bombing was intentional and calling the accident story a cover-up, declares war on the Allies, starting World War 2. Soviet troops then storm into eastern Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as northern China (to support the Chinese Communists). Germany joins the Allies, sending troops to assist Polish resistance to Soviet invasion.
1949: US troops land in eastern Siberia, prepared to fight in the cold weather. Soviet troops are also pushed out of Lithuania and eastern Poland. Allied bombing of Soviet territory increases and intensifies as the Soviet airforce starts getting decimated, and the Manhattan Project seems to be almost finished. In China, the Chinese Communists continue getting pushed back, despite their massive popular support.
1950: German and Polish troops with British and French (primarily French) reinforcements manage to liberate Latvia and Lithuania as the Red Army diverts more troops to stopping (or, more realistically, slowing down) the American advance in Siberia. They also liberate the Ukrainian and Byelorussian SSRs, gathering local Ukrainian and Byelorussian recruits, still bitter about the Holodomor of 1932-3. Nationalist ethnic revolts begin springing up in Central Asia and the Caucasus, all while the Allies relentlessly advance from east and west. Finland also attacks the Soviet Union in retaliation for the Winter War. Later, nuclear bombs are finally dropped on several extremely important Communist bases in northern China, signalling the completion and end of the Manhattan Project. The Chinese Communist leader, Mao Zedong, is killed in the bombings, fracturing the Chinese Communist Party and allowing the Allies to finally defeat them. The Chinese United Front then march back to Peking, declaring the end of the Chinese Civil War and the establishment of the United Republic of China. Some Communist resistance continues in the mountains of western China, but most of it is easily defeated.
1951: The German army reaches the gates of Moscow, where the Kremlin is bombarded, killing Joseph Stalin inside. Without Stalin's leadership, the Soviet Communist Party and the Red Army collapse, ending the Second World War.
1952: The Soviet Union is partitioned between the various ethnic minorities that populate it (many newly independent nations are formed and hold democratic elections), with the Russian majority area being split up into German, Polish, Finnish, and American occupation zones until 1962, when they hold democratic elections to create a new government. Finland also regains land lost in the Winter War.
1954: On 28 May, the Third Balkan War starts when Bulgarian troops enter the Greek region of western Thrace, attacking as far as Thessaloniki. The Greek defenders are caught off guard, and Albania and Greece swiftly issue a joint declaration of war against Bulgaria, hoping for a repeat of the Second Balkan War. However, their hopes are shattered when Yugoslavia and Romania declare neutrality while Turkey even sends aid and supplies to support the Bulgarian army, hoping to gain influence in the Aegean Sea following a Bulgarian victory.
1955: Greek troops fail to stop the Bulgarian advance, and the Greek government proposes peace to Bulgaria. Bulgarian Tsar Simeon II agrees to peace, with his advisors demanding former Bulgarian territories from before the Second Balkan War and World War 1. With no other choice other than to either accept the peace offer put forth by Tsar Simeon's advisors, or continue fighting and lose the war, the Greeks accept the offer and sign the peace treaty. Tsar Simeon also secretly adds £50 million (the British pound is still the global reserve currency) of Bulgarian financial aid to rebuild Greek infrastructure after the war, without the knowledge of his advisors and possibly as an apology. After this, the Turkish government demands increased Turkish influence in the Aegean Sea. In their current weak position, the Greeks ask Tsar Simeon for mediation. An agreement is reached, and Tsar Simeon's popularity skyrockets. His advisors then recommend using their current dominant position to create a Bulgarian-led Balkan League like the one destroyed by the Second Balkan War, and to retake Serbian Macedonia from Yugoslavia, as well as southern Dobruja from Romania.
1957: On 14 April, Bulgarian diplomats deliver an ultimatum to the Yugoslavian and Romanian governments: cede Serbian Macedonia and southern Dobruja or face the now-mighty Bulgarian army. Meanwhile, the Greek, Albanian, and Turkish governments sign the Treaty of Plovdiv with Tsar Simeon, establishing the Balkan League. Despite the overwhelming pressure, Yugoslavia and Romania reject the ultimatum and mobilise their armies for war. On 17 June, Yugoslavian and Romanian troops launch a coordinated preemptive offensive against Bulgaria, starting the Fourth Balkan War. A few days later, the rest of the Balkan League declares war on both countries. Then, on 28 December, Armenia (one of the countries that gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1952) attacks Turkey to "avenge the genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire".
1958: Romanian troops are pushed out of Bulgaria while Greek and Albanian troops invade Serbian Macedonia, trapping the bulk of the Yugoslavian army and causing King Peter II of Yugoslavia to surrender. Now fighting alone, King Michael I of Romania also offers an armistice, which is accepted. Both countries then sign the Treaty of Craiova, ceding Serbian Macedonia and southern Dobruja to Bulgaria and then joining the Balkan League as well. Meanwhile, the Turkish government publicly apologizes for the Armenian Genocide, causing the Armenian government to accept the armistice they later propose, as well as £250 million in compensation.
1960: Despite massive foreign aid for his government, Chiang Kai-shek is assassinated by a disgruntled peasant who blames his government for the Great Chinese Famine, which started in 1959 and was actually caused by a variety of natural disasters. The assassin and his accomplices are arrested and executed, but Chiang's death inspires peasants throughout the inland regions of China to take advantage of the government's supposedly "weak" position and revolt. The revolt is easily crushed, but the inland regions gain independence as West China after the government agrees that the region is too difficult to administer properly. Thus, while East China (the coastal regions) continues to grow their economy, West China is stuck as an agriculture-based backwater. Still, trade flourishes between the two countries as West China exports food to East China in return for economic aid.
1962: With Russia finally regaining independence after 10 years of foreign occupation, the Allies worry that a neutral Russia would be dangerous and could cause another world war. So, to prevent this, the Northern Democratic Alliance (NDA) is created as a defensive alliance consisting of:
- East China
West China immediately applies to join the new alliance, as well as the various nations that gained independence from the USSR in 1952. The Balkan League establishes and strives to maintain good relations with the new alliance, but remains a separate, independent entity.
Due to the lack of a communist threat, the Islamic Revolution is avoided as the Shah is successfully pressured to make democratic reforms. Other totalitarian governments throughout Africa and the Middle East are also avoided due to international pressure for democratic reforms. In Yugoslavia, King Peter II dies from cirrhosis of the liver, but his son succeeds him as Alexander II, preventing Yugoslavia from a potential collapse.
Relatively peaceful. The NDA agrees to try again for world peace (the League of Nations was disbanded due to failing to prevent World War 2, and no such organisation was ever reestablished), but it proves to be too big a task to accomplish in 5-10 years. Still, the progress made by the program is encouraging.
Absolutely no wars anywhere in the world for the entire DECADE. The NDA, now a de facto world government, manages to stop all potential conflicts before they begin. Concerns are raised regarding climate change and the stability of Yugoslavia, but steady progress is made towards a true, lasting world peace.
A big step is taken towards world peace when the American and Russian (leftover from the USSR) nuclear arsenals are completely dismantled. Tanks and heavy tanks also begin to be dismantled and sold for scrap, but some former tank factories are converted into museums just in case a rebellion someday appears and military equipment has to be reproduced. Reforms are also made in Yugoslavia to give more autonomy and rights to non-Serbian populations, increasing stability. Towards the end of the decade, machine guns and even artillery are also taken apart.
All firearms around the world are finally eliminated, even in the US, where the 2nd Amendment is repealed. World peace is declared, and all remaining military forces are disbanded. Plans are drawn up to establish a democratic world government, marking the next step towards "heaven on earth".