An alternate timeline by Althistorian 2005.
What if the Schlieffen Plan had been rejected?
1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo, beginning World War 1. However, Germany does not attack Belgium, and Britain stays out of the war. German troops manage to repel French and Russian attacks on both fronts and advance into France and Russia with Austrian support.
1915: The French army suffers considerable losses at the hands of the Germans, leading them to consider an invasion through Belgium while Italy and Sweden, seeing that France and Russia are headed for failure, join the Central Powers to reclaim historical territories. Then, Bulgaria also joins the Central Powers to get revenge on Serbia and Greece for the Second Balkan War, causing Greece to have to join the doomed Allies. Romania is also invaded by Bulgarian forces.
1916: Paris is captured after continuous attacks by Germany in the north and Italy in the south. After the easy defeats of Greece, Serbia, and Romania, Russia now stands alone and suffers never-ending attacks on all fronts. The Treaty of Potsdam is also signed:
- France cedes border territories to Germany.
- France cedes Nice, Savoy, and Corsica to Italy.
- French Madagascar and French Somaliland are ceded to Italy, but the rest of France's colonies are ceded to Germany, except Morocco, which regains independence as a German ally.
- The Aegean Islands are ceded to the Ottoman Empire.
- Bulgarian-claimed territories in Serbia and Greece are ceded to Bulgaria.
- The rest of Serbia is annexed by Austria-Hungary.
- Greece becomes a Bulgarian puppet state.
- Romania cedes Dobruja to Bulgaria and becomes an Austrian puppet state.
- Albania is required to relinquish all Serbian troops that escaped to their territory or face war.
- All non-annexed defeated countries are required to pay reparations.
1917: In February, a revolution deposes Russian Tsar Nicholas II, who escapes to Britain, but the new leaders continue the war nonetheless. Then in October, another revolution lead by Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolsheviks, signs an armistice with the Central Powers and begins treaty negotiations.
1918: The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed:
- Poland is created as a German puppet state.
- Estonia is created as a German puppet state.
- Latvia is created as a German puppet state.
- Lithuania is created as a German puppet state.
- Belarus is created as a German puppet state.
- Ukraine is created as a German puppet state.
- The Crimean Peninsula is ceded to the Ottoman Empire.
- Caucasia is created as a German puppet state.
- Finland is ceded to Sweden.
- Several territories in the southern Caucasus are ceded from Caucasia to the Ottoman Empire.
- Bessarabia is ceded to Romania, which remains an Austrian puppet state.
- Russia, now the Russian SFSR, has to pay reparations.
- All the terms of the Treaty of Potsdam are reconfirmed.
1919: With the treaties signed and the terms agreed, World War 1 ends, while the Russian Civil War starts between the new Bolshevik government and the rebelling supporters of the old Tsarist government, namely the landlords and nobles. German "volunteers" eventually begin showing up to fight for the Tsarist rebels, although Germany itself doesn't enter the war so they can focus on quelling ethnic tensions in their new Eastern European puppet states.
1922: The Russian Civil War ends in a stalemate, causing the establishment of two new states:
- The Siberian Empire in Turkestan and eastern Russia, headed by the reinstated Tsar Nicholas II and his German advisors, essentially a German puppet, although with high autonomy.
- Soviet Russia in the Caucasus and western Russia, led by Vladimir Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks.
Meanwhile, Italian ex-socialist Benito Mussolini marches into Rome and forces the king to appoint him prime minister. He then voices his ideas that Italy was underappreciated in World War 1. Also, the Irish Free State gains independence from the UK.
1924: After centuries of ethnic tensions, the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapses into total chaos. German troops swiftly move in to restore order, but they find a broken land, war-torn after just a few weeks.
1925: The Treaty of Vienna is mediated by Germany, effectively dissolving Austria-Hungary:
- German ethnic lands are annexed by Germany; Austria retains independence as an autonomous kingdom within Germany.
- Most of the rest of the empire is approximately divided according to estimated ethnic boundaries.
- Romania regains full independence and annexes Romanian ethnic lands.
- Italy gains Italian ethnic lands.
- Polish and Ruthenian ethnic lands are annexed by the German puppet states of Poland and Ukraine, respectively.
The newly independent states are:
- Croatia, with the autonomous region of Slovenia
In the wake of Austria-Hungary's dissolution, the Bulgarian Tsar issues a public statement declaring Bulgaria the dominant power in the Balkans as Bulgarian troops take control of the fledgling Serbian state, turning it into a Bulgarian puppet. This causes some international outrage and the Ottoman Empire mobilizes for war. Albania, however, submits to Bulgaria, signing a non-aggression pact with them late in the year.
1926: On the 1st of March, the Ottoman army pours into Western Thrace and Eastern Bulgaria, beginning the Turkish-Bulgarian War, also known as the 3rd Balkan War. Despite initial successes, the Ottoman forces are soon pushed back to the border, partially due to the strength of Bulgarian forces and partially due to troops having to be redeployed in the Middle East to fight the Arab Revolt (which occurs later than in OTL).
1927: Bulgarian forces siege Constantinople and subject it to round-the-clock bombardment.
1928: Bulgarian forces capture Constantinople after a bloody battle, causing the Ottomans to make peace so that they can fight the Arabs. The Treaty of Plovdiv is then signed:
- Eastern Thrace will be ceded to Bulgaria.
- The city of Constantinople will be ceded to Greece.
- The new capital of the Ottoman Empire will be Ankara.
- The Ottoman Empire will pay war reparations and ally with Bulgaria.
- Bulgaria will help fight the Arab rebels.
Ottoman troops then march to the Middle East to fight Arab rebels, with Bulgarian support.
1929: With Bulgarian help, the Arab Revolt is defeated. However, the war continues into the Kingdoms of Arabia, which by now have begun official military support for the defeated Arab rebels.
1930: The Arab Kingdoms are defeated and annexed into the Ottoman Empire, but at a great cost. By now, the global economy has collapsed and international cooperation is as important as ever. However, some people don't see it that way, preparing the path toward yet another conflict deadlier than World War 1.
1931: Due to the global economic crisis, Japan invades Manchuria for badly needed natural resources and causes international outrage. Also, a revolution occurs in Spain, establishing the Second Spanish Republic.
1934: Following a period of political and economic turmoil, French WW1 veteran Marshal Philippe Petain takes power, criticizing the Treaty of Potsdam and vowing to return France to its Napoleonic greatness. He immediately begins trying to reverse any terms of the treaty he can, although he advocates equality and freedom for all, unlike his OTL counterpart.
1935: Mussolini begins Italian expansion with the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (Italy had been defeated in the First Italo-Ethiopian War in 1896, and many of the older Italians were still bitter about that defeat, as it was seen as Italy's humiliation to be the first European power to be defeated by an African backwater).
1936: Ethiopia is annexed as part of Italian East Africa while Petain signs a naval limitation treaty with Britain, stating that the French navy is only allowed to expand up to 75% of the British navy's size. Meanwhile, the Spanish Civil War starts between the government and Nationalist rebels.
1937: Japan attacks China again, this time sparking full-scale war while a Franco-Japanese alliance is signed, soon to be joined by Italy, forming the Axis Powers.
1938: Petain purchases Nice, Savoy, and Corsica back from Italy to further improve relations.
1939: Petain demands the French-speaking Belgian region of Wallonia to be ceded to France, and receives it despite British opposition. The remainder of Belgium is renamed Flanders and eventually becomes a Dutch puppet peacefully. He then encounters overwhelming international outrage following his demands for French-speaking Swiss lands. He concedes, but then turns his attention to Germany's French-speaking lands, especially Alsace-Lorraine. However, the Kaiser stands his ground and refuses the demand, gaining a guarantee from Britain that the two empires will stand together in case of war. Meanwhile, the Spanish Civil War ends with the victory of the Nationalist rebels, who establish the Spanish State.
1940: After signing a non-aggression pact with Soviet Russia, Petain gives up on diplomacy and invades Germany and Switzerland, starting World War 2. Mussolini follows suit and claims Italian-speaking Swiss lands for Italy. Britain declares war on France, but doesn't count on the French air force being able to help keep the mighty British navy at bay. Meanwhile, French troops steamroll Switzerland and western Germany with tactics similar to OTL's blitzkrieg. Soviet troops also march straight into Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and Caucasia, although Finland and the Crimean Peninsula are ignored. Poland survives too, but for how much longer?
1941: After months of hard fighting, Berlin and Warsaw finally fall to French and Soviet troops respectively, giving France control over large swathes of Africa, most of which were formerly French colonies already. From French East Africa and French Southwest Africa, newly-arrived French troops pour into British holdings in southern Africa. British Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the Gold Coast colony are also occupied while Italian troops pour into British Somaliland, British East Africa, and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Meanwhile, Soviet Russia annexes the already Soviet-occupied German puppet states in Eastern Europe and begins repelling Siberian advances made in 1940. On December 7, Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbor, dragging the USA into the war. However, earlier in the year, Petain agrees with Mussolini to suspend Japan from the Axis Powers due to the intense Japanese persecution of ethnic minorities, thus leaving the Japanese to their own devices against the full force of the USA. Hideki Tojo is offended and leaves the Axis Powers while intensifying persecution of Chinese and other ethnicities even further, finally causing Japan to be fully expelled from the Axis Powers. Also, the Netherlands declares neutrality, allowing Japanese troops to pass through the Dutch East Indies and Axis troops to pass through the Dutch homeland peacefully.
1942: Petain and Mussolini decide to discuss Soviet Russia's potential entry into the Axis Powers after Japan is expelled. Meanwhile, Croatia, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, and Romania join the Axis due to the concept of "if you can't beat them, join them". They invite Bulgaria and his puppet states to the Axis too, but they decline the invitation, preferring to remain neutral. However, the Ottoman Empire takes up the invitation, although they don't immediately join the war. Also, the Soviets invade Finland, starting a minor conflict ending in 1944.
1943: After seeing the Siberian gulags, which are kept running by the Soviets despite the Siberian defeat, Petain and Mussolini decide that the Soviet Union is not to be admitted into the Axis. However, the Ottoman Empire is allowed to enter, since the shabby state of Arab civil rights is better than those gulags and can still be tolerated for the moment. Then, Ottoman troops pour into Egypt, dealing the final blow to the British defence. The British presence is finally expelled from Africa, followed by various Arabian territories which are swiftly occupied by Ottoman troops. Then, the Treaty of Lyons is also signed:
- Alsace-Lorraine and all border territories ceded in the Treaty of Potsdam are returned to France.
- German colonies will remain under Axis occupation for the time being.
- Germany will regain independence as a member of the Axis.
- Switzerland is partitioned according to ethnic boundaries.
1944: With the combined Axis military threatening to invade at any moment, the British decide to open negotiations. An armistice soon takes effect at 12 Noon on June 6.
1945: After lots of hard negotiations, the Treaty of Edinburgh is signed:
- Northern Ireland is ceded to Ireland, who joins the Axis in return.
- Scotland and Wales both gain independence as members of the Axis.
- Canada also gains independence.
- British territories in the Middle East are ceded to the Ottoman Empire.
- Egypt is ceded to the Ottoman Empire.
- Most former French colonies are returned to French rule, except those now under Italian rule. British and German Guiana will also be ceded to Italy as Italian Guiana. British Somaliland is also ceded to Italy.
- All remaining German and British colonies in Africa will be ceded to Italy.
- All British and German colonies in Asia, including numerous Pacific islands, will be ceded to France after Japan is defeated. The Falkland and South Georgia Islands are also ceded to France.
- Australia and New Zealand will gain independence as members of the Axis and will also continue their fight against Japan, provided they agree to the terms of the treaty.
- The Axis Powers recognize American rule over the Philippines and will enter the war against Japan.
- The remaining part of the British Isles regain independence as the Kingdom of England, the newest member of the Axis.
That November, due to the absence of the atomic bomb in this timeline, the island of Kyushu is invaded.
1946: Japanese forces are expelled from the mainland, completely isolating Japan, while Shikoku is invaded. Soviet forces also unexpectedly join the war and occupy Hokkaido.
1947: Axis and American forces rush to invade Honshu in the fear that the Soviets might capture more Japanese land and resources. The Japanese are finally persuaded to enter negotiations, ending World War 2.
1948: The Treaty of Tokyo is signed:
- The Japanese will regain their independence as a reinstated member of the Axis Powers.
- Korea will gain independence, also as a member of the Axis
- The island of Formosa will be ceded to China as Taiwan.
- Minority persecutions will be ended.
- The USA will join the Axis Powers.
- All colonial ownership will be restored according to the Treaty of Edinburgh.
1949: Following 2 years of status quo and treaty implementation, the Soviets suddenly make an unexpected move, invading Central Europe and the island of Honshu, starting World War 3. They manage to push into eastern parts of Germany, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary as well as some border territories in China, Mongolia, and Manchuria. They also occupy Crimea. Meanwhile, Ottoman troops flood into the Caucasus, facing surprisingly low amounts of resistance. However, they are stopped at the gates of Volgograd by Soviet reinforcements. Also, the Chinese Communists attack Kuomintang forces, restarting the Chinese Civil War as a theater of World War 3. They are soon defeated the following year due to Axis military superiority.
1950: The Axis counterattacks, exposing the Soviet decision flaw of starting a two-front war. American troops with Japanese reinforcements flood into the oil-rich wastelands of eastern Siberia and liberate the gulags, while French and Italian troops turn back the Soviet tide, pushing deep into Eastern Europe. The Baltic region is also liberated, while Ottoman troops continue pouring into southern Russia after capturing Volgograd.
1951: Moscow is captured, while the American troops successfully cut off Soviet retreat routes in western Siberia. The Red Army, badly beaten, surrenders without permission from Joseph Stalin. Stalin himself is soon captured, put on trial, and executed for his crimes against humanity, ending World War 3. Then, Petain passes away a few days after Stalin's execution.
1952: With the Soviet Union effectively destroyed, the Treaty of Volgograd is signed to divide the land:
- Northern Siberia is ceded to the USA as the Siberia Territory.
- Southern Siberia is ceded to Japan as Japanese Siberia.
- The entire Caucasus is ceded to the Ottoman Empire.
- Poland and Ukraine are given independence as new members of the Axis.
- The remaining part of Russia regains independence as yet another member of the Axis.
After this, China also decides to join the Axis.
1953: Decolonization begins with the independence of India, which later splits into India and Pakistan, requiring constant Axis mediation.
1955-6: The Montgomery Bus Boycott causes tensions within the Axis as the French and Italians support it, ultimately resulting in the USA leaving the Axis as a protest. The non-violent Civil Rights Movement begins receiving financial and political support from the Axis.
1958: The Arabs, seeing the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, decide to also start their own Civil Rights Movement in the Ottoman Empire, whose semi-violent (eventually increasingly violent) suppression of the non-violent movement gets them kicked out of the Axis too.
1960: John F. Kennedy is elected President of the United States, sparking a renewed hope for the Civil Rights Movement. The Axis supports the Civil Rights Movement even more following this change.
1963: The March of Washington takes place, with the active involvement and participation of the Axis' leaders. President Kennedy is not assassinated in this timeline because there is no Cold War.
1964: The Civil Rights Act is signed, paving the way to a solid Kennedy victory in the presidential election and the USA's reentry into the Axis. However, the Ottoman Empire continues suppressing the Arab Civil Rights Movement, which has to become increasingly violent due to the high loss of lives.
1965: The Siberia Territory becomes a state.
1967: The Second Arab Revolt begins. Later that year, a joint Axis space program reaches the Moon.
1968: Despite the Ottoman-Bulgarian alliance and the Bulgarian assistance in crushing the previous revolt, Tsar Simeon II announces his support for Arab civil rights, finally agreeing to join the Axis on the condition of freedom for all Bulgarian puppet states. Bulgarian supplies start appearing in Arab camps, but the Ottomans ignore this to prevent a three-front war.
1969: Following countless defeats, the Ottoman military marches to Ankara, overthrows the Sultan, and proclaims the Turkish Republic. The United Republic of Arabia gains independence, ending the Second Arab Revolt. Both countries then join the Axis to improve relations marred by the Revolt. Meanwhile, the LGBT rights movement begins with the Stonewall riots. This, unlike the Civil Rights Movement, is unanimously opposed by all members of the Axis.
1974: The Carnation Revolution ends the Estado Novo regime in Portugal, freeing all Portuguese colonies.
1976: The Spanish State ends with the death of its leader, Francisco Franco.
1979: The Iranian Revolution happens, deposing the Shah and establishing the Islamic Republic of Iran.
1981: China, Korea, and Japan peacefully leave the Axis. Japanese Siberia is sold to the USA as part of the state of Siberia. Puerto Rico is also admitted as a state.
1982: The Falkland and South Georgia islands are sold to Argentina.
1987: As a sign of goodwill, Hong Kong is handed over to China.
1989: Macau is handed over to China.
1990-1: The Axis silently crumbles away as popular movements slowly dismantle the alliance. It is finally disbanded on Christmas Day, December 25.
1995: The Turkish Republic sells the Caucasus to Russia.
2001: Terrorists sponsored by the Iranian government attack the World Trade Centre Twin Towers, sparking an Arab-American invasion of Iran, which eventually ends up as an unwinnable insurgency.
2008: Siberia gains independence from the US, inspiring a wave of secession movements across the States.
2016: The US government collapses following the 2016 election, in which secessionists boycott the polls and prevent others from voting. An international coalition is soon formed to occupy American territory, move the secession and partition process along, and prevent a civil war.