The Eagle and the Bear, United - A TL on a Russo-German Alliance

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Chapter I: The Russo-German Alliance and the Realignment of European Alliances
Hello to all who are reading this new TL of mine. It's been a (very) long time since I was into the TL writing business on this board and this is effectively my first TL since it's been that long.

I hope that my TL isn't too zany and I hope to entertain you with a good story to tell...

Chapter I: The Russo-German Alliance and the Realignment of European Alliances.

After the declaration of the German Empire in 1871 following its victory over the Second French Empire, the European order was drastically reorganized, with the old ‘balance of power’ doctrine being shaken with the formation of a new mighty German Empire. With the formation of the German Empire, its ruling chancellor Otto Von Bismarck very well knew of the potential enemies the Reich might face if did not do diplomacy wisely. The Reich faced mighty neighbors on all sides, the French and British in the West, and the Austrians and Russians to the East. Through a complex net of alliances to isolate France from launching a war of revanchism against Germany, Bismarck made sure to appease the Reich’s neighbors and formed alliances, such as with Austria-Hungary and Italy under the Triple Alliance. One of the most important friendships however that Bismarck sought to maintain was with the mighty Russian Empire to the East, which Bismarck made sure to appease to prevent Russia from turning to hostility toward the Reich (and more so, potentially allying with the French).

In 1887, the Dreikaiserbund (aka. League of the Three Emperors), an alliance that sought to maintain an understanding between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia would be dissolved. This was in part due to tensions between Russia and Austria-Hungary over who shall be the master over the Balkans. Despite the collapse of the Dreikaiserbund, Bismarck and the Russians still sought to maintain cordial relations. In early 1887, Russian diplomat Nikolay Girs proposed the ‘Reinsurance Treaty’ with Bismarck, which proposed that if Germany were ever at war against France, Russia would remain a friendly neutral. In return, Germany would recognize influence in Bulgaria and be neutral if Russia ever were to seize the Bosporus and the Dardanelles from the Ottoman Empire. Bismarck wholly supported the Reinsurance Treaty, as Bismarck sought to keep Russia as a neutral ally towards the Reich. Despite Alexander III initially opposing the Reinsurance Treaty, he was convinced by Nikolay Girs to go ahead with the treaty.

Though in 1890, the status of the Reinsurance Treaty would be thrown into question with the rise of a new Kaiser, Wilhelm II. Rising to the throne in 1888 after the successive deaths of Wilhelm I and Frederick III in the same year, the new Kaiser Wilhelm II sought to take Germany on a ‘new course’ and aimed to achieve Germany’s ‘place under the sun’. Wilhelm II also wanted to change course with the domestic situation in the German Empire, especially in regard to Bismarck’s anti-socialist laws, which would cause a collision with Bismarck’s domestic policies for the German Empire. On March 18, 1890, after the relationship between Bismarck and Wilhelm II was effectively broken, Chancellor Bismarck would resign as German Chancellor and effectively retire from German politics. After the retirement of Bismarck, his post would be replaced by Leo von Caprivi as chancellor.

In the wake of Bismarck’s dismissal, the state of the Reinsurance Treaty was left up in the air as without Bismarck, the old alliance system that Bismarck forged seemed to be no longer relevant. There would be a debate in the German government in regard to its alliance with the Russians. Caprivi would support the decisions of officials in the Foreign Office advised by Friedrich von Holstein, which called for a straightforward alliance with Austria-Hungary and perhaps an approach to an alliance with the British Empire. Wilhelm II however would be hesitant to fully begot the Reinsurance Treaty, as he personally assured Russian Ambassador Pavel Shuvalov that the treaty shall be renewed. When Caprivi approached the emperor about possibly rejecting the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia, Wilhelm II would consider whether or not to reject the Reinsurance Treaty. Though in a sudden personality shift [1], Wilhelm II decided that it was the best course for the German Empire to keep its commitment to the Russians. Caprivi would protest and after heated arguments with his Emperor, Caprivi would yield to the Emperor’s insistence and formally renew the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia in 1890.

Following the renewal of the Reinsurance Treaty, the Russians would be kept as a neutral ally to Germany as Bismarck strived to do. Despite the signing of the Reinsurance Treaty, however, Alexander III still made diplomatic moves with the French from 1891-1893 for financial loans to bolster the Russian economy and to form a potential alliance. However, Russia’s commitment to the Reinsurance Treaty prevented the talks with France to evolve into an actual financial and military alliance between St. Petersburg and Paris, much to the disdain of France, which wanted to break out of its general diplomatic isolation. Despite Tsar Alexander III’s disdain towards the German Empire and Wilhelm II, Alexander III would prevent an outright rupture of relations between St. Petersburg and Berlin. Germany was also forced to continue to balance its alliances and friendships with both Austria-Hungary and Russia throughout the 1890s.

In 1894 however, Alexander III would pass away from illness and would be succeeded by Nicholas II. Unlike Alexander III, Nicholas II enjoyed a far more positive relationship with Wilhelm II and was generally positive towards Germans, with his very own wife Alix of Hesse being a German herself. With Wilhelm II and Nicholas II being close cousins and positive towards one another, the two royal cousins would improve the relationship between Russia and Germany. In 1895, following Japan’s victory over the decaying Qing Empire, the Russians would demand a Japanese withdrawal from the occupied port of Dalian. To guarantee Russian support and out of fear of the Japanese ‘Yellow Peril’, Wilhelm II and the German Empire would wholly support Russia in the ‘Dual Intervention’ [2]. The ultimatum would ultimately force the Japanese out of Dalian, with Germany’s support for Russia further advancing Russo-German cooperation.

In 1896, Wilhelm II would decide to meet with Nicholas II for formal military and economic alliance talks between Russia and Germany since Russo-German relations were at a positive all-time high. Wilhelm II would promise Nicholas II that Germany shall embark on investment and loans to the Russian economy to help in its modernization effort to become an industrialized country. In addition, Wilhelm II also declared that Germany shall support Russia's aims in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Far East. In exchange, the Russians shall support Germany if it found itself at war against France, or potentially with the British Empire, which both the Russians and Germans had a rivalry with. After months of discussion in St. Petersburg between Russian and German diplomats, the two monarchs would approve the establishment of a formal economic and military alliance, with the Russo-German alliance being declared.

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The Kaiser and the Tsar together, (albeit with swapped uniforms) whose empires were both allied to one another.

In the wake of the declaration of the Russo-German alliance of 1896 and the increasing Russophile shift of German foreign policy towards Russia, Germany’s ally of Austria-Hungary would feel increasingly alienated. Austria-Hungary found itself in the backseat of Germany’s alliance system under Wilhelm II. This was especially in regard to Russian interests in the Balkans, which Germany under Wilhelm II often favoured to appease the Russians rather than support Austria-Hungary's expansion into the Balkans. In the Austro-Hungarian government, there was a perceived feeling that Germany was no longer reliable to look on to contain Russian expansionism in the Balkans. Even more so, Austria-Hungary did not fully get along with another German ally, the Italians, giving much fewer reasons to remain in the Triple Alliance.

With Germany seemingly no longer a reliable ally for Austria-Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian government would begin to look elsewhere in Europe for new allies. One of these powers was the French, who were already desperate for allies to break out of their diplomatic isolation (especially since the 1891-1893 alliances talks with Russia failed). In 1897, Franz Josef I and the Austro-Hungarian government would enter into high-level talks with the French under President Félix Faure over military and economic alliance in order to protect Austria-Hungary from perceived German-Russian aggression. The French would eagerly accept the alliance with Austria-Hungary, quickly approving a series of loans to invest in the Austro-Hungarian economy and military commitments to protect Austria-Hungary. In 1897, the Franco-Austrian ‘Entente’ would be declared, with Austria-Hungary de facto annulling its alliance with Italy and Germany by doing so.

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Franz Josef in negotiations with a French diplomat during the 1896-1897 alliance talks.

With Austria-Hungary’s exit from the Triple Alliance following Vienna’s refusal to renew the Triple Alliance in the wake of the Russo-German alliance, the Triple Alliance would effectively dissolve. Despite Vienna’s exit from the alliance, Italy, a signatory of the Triple Alliance, would still cling to its alliance with Berlin. Italy had many reasons to stick to both Berlin’s and St. Petersburg’s side, as Italian interests were hostile to France since the French takeover of Tunisia in 1881 and both Austria-Hungary and France over claims to Italian Irredenta, such as Nice, Savoy, Corsica, Trentino, Istria, and Dalmatia. In the late-1890s, alliance talks between Rome, Berlin, and St. Petersburg would see the formal inclusion of Italy as a partner of the Russo-German alliance, forming a wholly new Triple Alliance with Russia, Germany, and Italy as its central powers.

By the end of the 1890s, the European alliance system would begin to coalesce into more permanent alliance blocks that would pit each other against one another. On one side, the Franco-Austrian Entente was pitied against the Triple Alliance of Russia, Germany, and Italy. The Entente of France and Austria-Hungary would be at a general disadvantage against the Triple Alliance since the combined armies and resources of the Entente were meager in comparison to the massive resource potential of the Triple Alliance. The additional inclusion of Italy in the Triple Alliance would further isolate Austria-Hungary, being surrounded on all sides by hostile neighbors, further worsened by the already positive relationship that Romania held with Germany and its claims to Transylvania.

Though eventually, a saving grace for the Entente against the Alliance would come in the form of the world’s largest empire coming to their side, ending its disdain for European alliances…

[1] The point of departure for this timeline. I deem it not too implausible that Wilhelm II had a personality shift (or foresight) to ally with Russia since Wilhelm II throughout his reign IOTL attempted to get close to Russia. Examples include the Triple Intervention of 1895, German support to Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, the aborted Treaty of Bjorko, and Wilhelm II’s hesitance to declare war on Russia in 1914.

[2] France is visibly absent from the Triple Intervention ITTL, with no Franco-Russian alliance being formalized ITTL, France sees no reasons to intervene in the matter of Russia against Japan like IOTL.
 
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Wow. Ok.
Germany-Russia alliance changes the game alot.

Russian influence in the Balkans and Turkey, and Germany possibly against Austria-Hungary....hell, AH, is surrounded on two sides, three with Italy.

If Germany's eastern flank is secured they just need to worry about France to the west....

Great Britain joing France still could make this interesting. Britain no matter what always has interests in maintaining a balance in Europe.
 
I would say this either a CP (if they are still called that) victory or a stalemate, but I don't see how they can lose.

AH lacks the strategic depth of Russia, so a France first strategy doesn't make sense here. The Austrians have one of the weakest armies out of the Great Powers, and will be fighting a war against pretty much the full might of Russia (Ottomans and Japan might join in, but the Caucasus is very defensible and they can trade space for time in Siberia pretty much indefinitely) and the cream of Germany's army, since in this scenario they would only need to garrison the Alsace Lorraine forts in the West.

I can't see AH living past the initial offensive here, nevermind all the war. Vienna is relatively close to Germany, and the main industrial area of the Empire, Bohemia, is in the border. Add to that the Russians having pretty much illimited manpower to throw at Galicia and at the very least having to garrison the Italian border, and they are done for. There's also the fact that this war will be unpopular among a lot of groups in the Empire, notably the German nationalists.

Even if not so involved in the breakout of the war, Serbia will undoubtedly join to try and get some scraps.

As for the British, they'll lack a clear casus belli in the form of Belgium, but I reckon they'll still join one way or another. The prospect of a dominant Germany in Europe allied with Russia is far too much for them to bear. However, the blockade will not be as harmful as OTL. The ITTL will have Russian grain to avoid famines and Russian resources to keep going. It also probably wont be long till they have all of Eastern and Central Europe under their control. This also means that Germany doesn't feel the need to carry unrestricted submarine warfare, without the noose of the blockade slowly tightening and needing a response.

As for the Western Front, I'm not sure. At some point you would probably have all of Germany's and a Russian Expeditionary Force against the complete French army and the BEF, but with WW1 paradigm that might result in a stalemate.

The domestic situation in Russia is probably better. The war might never touch inside their borders, and Russia here after the fall of AH, which should be relatively quick (at most a year I would say, two being extremely generous) would play more of a supporting role to Germany which would mean less stress on its system. Lenin also never gets sent to Russia.

I can't see the alt CP losing, tho. With the blockade being ineffective and Germany being able to carry on almost indefinitely, as well as the US being fairly unlikely to join, would mean that the only way to force Germany to a surrender would be marching troops into the Rhineland, which is borderline ASB.
 
Chapter II: The End of Splendid Isolation and the Rise of the Quintuple Entente
Chapter II: The End of Splendid Isolation and the Rise of the Quintuple Entente

Throughout the history of the British Empire, the one thing that the British Empire feared the most was a continental hegemony rising to power in Europe. Time and time again, the British sought to maintain the so-called ‘Balance of Power’ by intervening in Europe wars, such as the War of Spanish Succession in the 18th century and the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century against the dominant French. From 1815 onwards, the balance of power was restored after the fall of Napoleon and the British turned to ‘Splendid Isolation’ focusing on the development of their empire and the establishment of trade networks globally. Though in the 1870s, the old ‘balance of power’ system in Europe would be severely challenged by the rise of the newly unified German and Italian empires. Doubled with that was the fear of Russian hegemony in the Balkans, the Near East, and Asia, which the British had always viewed as a major threat to their empire.

So when the German Kaiser and the Russian Tsar declared an alliance in 1896, the officials in London freaked out at such a prospect. Two of the greatest threats to the British Empire, the German and Russian Empires, were now bound together in an alliance, which might very well overturn the hegemony that the British Empire had comfortably held since 1815. This fear was further proven when during the Second Boer War, the Russians and Germans supported the Boer Republics with arms, supplies, and even volunteers. Then in 1898, a series of Naval Acts would be passed in the German Empire throughout the 1900s, championed by Admiral Tirpitz and the Kaiser. The acts would see the expansion of the German High Seas Fleet in order to maintain Germany’s growing colonial empire and commercial interests while at the same time competing with the naval hegemony of the British Royal Navy.

With the emergence of new threats to the British Empire, the British would withdraw from their status of ‘Splendid Isolation’ and now sought to establish alliances. In 1902, the British and the Japanese would form the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, promising that they will support one another if involved in a war with more than one great power. The British also began to make diplomatic moves with the French. Despite the colonial dispute at Fashoda leading to a brief crisis between the British and French, the French would back down during the crisis, as the French wanted to get the British into their alliance. Eventually, that came to be in 1904, when a series of agreements between the United Kingdom and the French Republic bore fruit in a military alliance [1]. The ‘Entente Cordiale’ would end the longstanding Franco-British rivalry and reverse course both countries’ policies by allying with one another. With the inclusion of the British Empire, the Dual Entente between the French and Austro-Hungarians was expanded as the ‘Triple Entente’.

In 1900, a crisis would occur in the decaying Qing Empire, in which radicalized anti-Western Chinese militias known as the ‘Boxers’ would launch a series of attacks against Westerners and Christian Chinese. For decades, the Western powers had been advancing onto China and extracting various concessions from the moribund Chinese Empire. In the 1890s, the Chinese would be forced to contend with further humiliations, such as their defeat by the upstart Japanese Empire in 1895, which saw the Japanese annex Formosa and get Korea into their sphere of influence. The Chinese would also be forced to make concessions to the European powers, such as conceding Samnen Bay to Italy [2] and Tsingtao to Germany in the late-1890s, which brought the province of Zhejiang under an Italian sphere and Shangdong under a German sphere.

The Boxers would descend onto the Qing capital of Beijing and assault the Legation Quarter in a bloody siege. Soon after, the Qing Empress, Dowager Cixi, would declare the Qing court’s support for the Boxers, declaring war on any foreign power in China. In relation, the great powers formed the ‘Eight-Nation Alliance, which was a multinational coalition that sought to restore order in China. Soon after, the allies defeated the Chinese army in Tianjin and captured the city, soon arriving in Beijing, relieving the besieged Legation Quarter. In Manchuria, the Russian army would invade the region due to the Boxers threatening the Russian-controlled Chinese Eastern Railway. After the capture of Tianjin and the allied siege of Beijing, the Qing Court would be forced to flee to the more inland city of Xi’an and sue for peace with the allies. The Boxer Protocol of 1901 would formally conclude the Boxer Rebellion, with the allies extracting even more concessions from the Chinese.

Troops_of_the_Eight_nations_alliance_1900-1200x640.jpg

Troops of the Eight-Nation Alliance in a photo during the Boxer Rebellion

Following the Boxer Protocol and the restoration of order in China, a new crisis would emerge in the Far East. The Russians had occupied the whole of Manchuria with a 100,000-strong army, refusing to withdraw from the territory even after the conclusion of the Boxer Protocol in 1900 and continuing to strengthen their presence. The Russians would also claim Dalain as a concession from China (renamed as ‘Port Arthur’) as their secondary outlet to the Pacific along Vladivostok to the East. The Russian presence in Manchuria would conflict with the Japanese, who feared the continuing buildup of Russian troops in Manchuria and the possibility of Russia making moves to claim Korea in their sphere, which the Japanese wanted to be on their own.

Eventually, tensions between Japan and Russia compelled both empires to demarcate spheres of influence in the Far East to avert war between the two empires. The Japanese, though recently victorious against the Chinese in 1895, did not feel confident enough to take on the mighty Russian Empire. The Japanese government feared that it did not have enough financial and military strength to eject the Russians from Manchuria. From 1903-1904, the Japanese and Russian diplomats would meet to formally demarcate spheres of influence in the Far East. A settlement for the Far East was eventually reached by the two empires, which had the Japanese government confirm the Russian sphere of influence in Manchuria in exchange for the Russian recognition of a Japanese protectorate over Korea [3].

In Africa, the process of the European conquest of the continent was going swimmingly, with all the representing powers of the Berlin Conference nearly completing their conquest. One of the last independent African kingdoms, the Ethiopians, still remained free of European conquest for the longest time. Though in the 1890s, the Italians sought to bring the large African kingdom under their sway, desired under the leadership of Crispi, as he wanted to turn Italy into a strong colonial power, especially in East Africa. In 1895, the Italians would launch the Italo-Ethiopian War under the pretext of a disputed treaty that turned Ethiopia into an Italian protectorate. Invading from Italian Eritrea, the Italian army would square off the Ethiopian army at Adwa in March 1896 and emerge victorious, capturing the Ethiopian Emperor and absorbing the kingdom into the Italian colonial empire. The Ethiopian Protectorate along with Italian Somalia and Eritrea would be merged into the colony of Italian East Africa. The victory would validate Crispi to remain as Italian prime minister until his death in 1901.

M251020_Battle-of-Adwa-First-Italo-Ethiopian-War-1896.png

Italian colonial troops in battle with the Ethiopians during the 1896 Battle of Adwa

Though in 1905, a colonial crisis would break out over Morocco. Morocco had remained precariously independent by playing the European powers against one another, though by the 1900s, the French had begun to make serious inroads into Morroco. So in March 1905, the German Kaiser Wilhelm II would land in the Moroccan city of Tangier and declared his support for the sovereignty of the Morrocan Sultan, challenging French influence in Morroco. To defuse the crisis, an international crisis was called in Algeciras, which saw each alliance system back against one another. The Germans were supported by the Russians and Italians while the French were supported by the British, Spanish, and Austro-Hungarians. Though the war would be defused, the Tangier Crisis would further cause the British and French to ratify a formal military alliance with one another later in 1905.

With the Triple Alliance becoming increasingly belligerent, the Entente continued to seek allies for a potential war. The Entente would find an ally in Spain, whose interests in Morroco clashed with the Germans. The Tangier Crisis would further diplomatic relations between the Spanish and the Anglo-French Entente, resulting in the Cartagena Pact of 1907. The pact would declare that in exchange for British and French support against Spain, the Spanish would support the French in the case of war against the Triple Alliance. The Anglo-French would also promise the Spanish influence in Morroco in the future. Meanwhile, the Portuguese remained de facto-allied to the Entente through their centuries-old treaty with the British. The Portuguese had also begun to fear German desires to acquire Angola, who got the guarantee of the Britsh that they will defend Portuguese colonies from any type of German aggression.

The Entente would also see the eventual inclusion of the Ottoman Empire into their alliance system. Despite the Ottoman’s reputation as the ‘Sick Man of Europe’, the Entente saw the Ottomans as an important strategic check to the Triple Alliance in the Mediterranean. The Ottomans had a lot of reasons to join the Entente, from Italo-Russian expansionism and containing the Christian Balkan kingdoms who sought to expel the Turks from Europe. In the late 1900s, the Entente would sign a defensive pact with the Ottoman Empire, promising to come to the Sublime Port’s defense if attacked by either Russia or Italy. The Entente would also invest in the Ottoman Empire to help modernize it, such as modernizing infrastructure and helping modernize the Ottoman army up to modern standards.

With the inclusion of the British, Japanese, and Ottoman Empires into the Franco-Austrian Entente alliance system, the Quintuple Entente would be formed as a worthy adversary to the Triple Alliance of Germany, Russia, and Italy.

[1] Not only does the British have the German Empire to fear ITTL, but the British also have to contend with the Russians (and to an extent the Italians) as a German ally, which causes the Entente Cordiale to be a full-blown military alliance instead of a simple understanding between the French and the British.

[2] The Italians were able to acquire a concession over Samnen Bay ITTL due to a stronger Italy following its victory over Ethiopia in 1896 and full support from their German-Russian allies.

[2] There is no Russo-Japanese War as we know it, due to alternative decisions by the Russian government to accept the Japanese proposal to demarcate influence and Wilhelm II not pushing for Russia to go to war against Japan. IOTL, Wilhelm II supported Russia to go to war to gain Russia’s favour for an alliance though ITTL, Russia had been a firm German ally since 1896, so Wilhelm II does not push Nicholas II for war, despite still being Japanophobic as IOTL. This and also for originality reasons, I decided to avert the Russo-Japanese War ITTL.
 
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So probably no Balkan wars ITTL, since the Entente is behind the Ottomans. At least as we know them.

This would put Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania firmly behind Germany and Russia. It's true that Romania also has the Bessarabia dispute with Russia, but commiting to the Entente on the firmly CP dominated Eastern Europe is too risky, and Transylvania is also far more important to them
 
Watched! This is good! I’d echo that I foresee most of the Balkan powers joining Germany, Russia, and Italy.
 
Aside from the argument I already gave above for the alt-CP adopting an Austria first strategy, there's the need to secure the interior lines between Germany, Russia, Italy, and the likely belligerent balkan nations.

The Adriatic is especially important to bring Italy into the war. Even though Italy has very little incentive to change sides like OTL and would very much like to take it's pound of flesh from Austria and France, they are dependent on coal imports. As long as Austria Hungary stands, the alt-CP won't be able to replace British coal, making it impossible for Italy to sustain a war effort. With the Adriatic secured, German and Russian coal.

Also, as a result of Germany not committing to a Schlieffen plan, we will probably see the BEF deployed to another front, most likely helping out the Ottomans in the Balkans.
 
Aside from the argument I already gave above for the alt-CP adopting an Austria first strategy, there's the need to secure the interior lines between Germany, Russia, Italy, and the likely belligerent balkan nations.
You are indeed right that the CP shall plan accordingly for an Austrian-first war plan (since A-H is the weakest link in the Entente alliance system). A-H will also have to contend with the pro-CP Balkan kingdoms of Serbia and Romania, especially since the 1903 coup in Serbia that brought in a Russophilic government that booted out the old Habsburgphilic royals. I expect that A-H shall focus solely on defensive war against the CP ITTL, which might compel the Anglo-French to plan their own 'Schlieffen Plan' to invade Belgium and N. Italy in order to relieve A-H from a total collapse.
The Adriatic is especially important to bring Italy into the war. Even though Italy has very little incentive to change sides like OTL and would very much like to take it's pound of flesh from Austria and France, they are dependent on coal imports. As long as Austria Hungary stands, the alt-CP won't be able to replace British coal, making it impossible for Italy to sustain a war effort. With the Adriatic secured, German and Russian coal.
Agreed. Plus, Italy has no good reasons to be neutral like IOTL when WW1 comes around ITTL as they have been given promises of not only irrendenta from A-H but doubled with France. This and Italy ITTL have much better relations with Berlin ITTL rather than with OTL Triple Alliance with A-H over the status of Trento/Trieste and Balkan disputes. Yes, and after A-H goes down under, Italy shall be supplied heartily by the Russo-Germans of coal, and quite possibly armies too since the English might be dabbling with a storming of Sardinia and Sicily in some kind of Gallipoli operation.
Also, as a result of Germany not committing to a Schlieffen plan, we will probably see the BEF deployed to another front, most likely helping out the Ottomans in the Balkans.
Good conclusion, though the BEF still be deployed to France in order to help protect the French from any type of CP incursion (though the French might be too busy banging their head on Alsace-Lorraine). As an alternative plan, the BEF might even participate in a 'reverse Schliffen' invasion of the lowland countries/Switzerland in order to put pressure on the Italo-German assault on A-H and as a way to relieve their battered Habsburg allies (whether or not this would work is another question).
 
I expect that A-H shall focus solely on defensive war against the CP ITTL, which might compel the Anglo-French to plan their own 'Schlieffen Plan' to invade Belgium and N. Italy in order to relieve A-H from a total collapse.
That’s an interesting scenario, tho you would have to justify it well. I‘m not sure if the conditions that led to OTL Schlieffen Plan are there. For once, the Rhine is probably an almost impassable natural barrier, so whatever the result is it’ll not be a knockout blow for Germany. The Germans also had a doctrine of quick victories they inherited from Prussia, and they were hoping to repeat 1871, while the Entente here doesn’t have such a history. They also lack the sense of urgency they had from being encircled that the Germans had.

As for Northern Italy, I’m not sure Italy will be able to join the war until the Adriatic is secured for reasons above.
Agreed. Plus, Italy has no good reasons to be neutral like IOTL when WW1 comes around ITTL as they have been given promises of not only irrendenta from A-H but doubled with France. This and Italy ITTL have much better relations with Berlin ITTL rather than with OTL Triple Alliance with A-H over the status of Trento/Trieste and Balkan disputes
All the Trieste/Istria region might actually also be an issue ITTL. Since Germany won’t make gains in the East and possible gains in the west are rather limited, I would argue their main war objectives would be in the south, probably the dissolution of AH and annexation of the ethnic German areas plus some more. That would leave them pretty close to a Med port, so the Istria peninsula might be among their objectives. Italy, in turn, would probably be appeased with French territories, colonies, and Dalmatia.

Similarily, Trentino is ethnically German in some areas, so I would expect a division along ethnic lines.
Yes, and after A-H goes down under, Italy shall be supplied heartily by the Russo-Germans of coal, and quite possibly armies too since the English might be dabbling with a storming of Sardinia and Sicily in some kind of Gallipoli operation.
Speaking of Gallipolli, I think a mix of it and Plan XVII might be more suitable instead of a reverse Schlieffen. Maybe assaulting Crimea through the Black Sea, as the French try an offensive through A-L?
As an alternative plan, the BEF might even participate in a 'reverse Schliffen' invasion of the lowland countries/Switzerland in order to put pressure on the Italo-German assault on A-H and as a way to relieve their battered Habsburg allies (whether or not this would work is another question).
Switzerland doesn’t make much sense, since an offensive would inevitably stall in the Alps.
 
Switzerland doesn’t make much sense, since an offensive would inevitably stall in the Alps.

Yeah I don't see the desperation here, Austria should be reachable from the Ottoman Empire, so if there is to be any aggressive offensives it would be into Serbia/Bulgaria to ensure that AH can be supported from the South.
Any desperation would be in keeping Italy out of the war.
 
Yeah I don't see the desperation here, Austria should be reachable from the Ottoman Empire, so if there is to be any aggressive offensives it would be into Serbia/Bulgaria to ensure that AH can be supported from the South.
Any desperation would be in keeping Italy out of the war.
Yeah that’s fair. Problem is that the important part of the Empire, the capital and its industrial heartland in Bohemia, are too close to Germany to last that long. Galicia and Transylvania are also probably lost with offensives from Romania and Russia. The real fight will probably be in the southern Balkans.

I would point out that even if Austria is technically reachable, the region’s infrastructure probably doesn’t support many more troops.
 
so how modernize is this version of the Russian empire ?
Modernization and industrialization in the Russian Empire shall be carried out mostly like IOTL under Witte and Stolypin. Though one thing of note is that without a Russo-Japanese War, the absolutist autocracy shall remain intact with a 1905 Revolution to destabilize the autocracy to force Nicholas II to accept democratic reforms. Of course, much like OTL Dengist PRC, government repression combined with stunning economic growth shall keep a (temporary) lid on domestic unrest. There is also the case that Witte and Stolypin could convince Tsar Nicholas II to (minimal) government reforms, but for the most part, Russia shall be absolutist for the rest of the decade until WW1 (I shall give no spoilers).
 
You are indeed right that the CP shall plan accordingly for an Austrian-first war plan (since A-H is the weakest link in the Entente alliance system). A-H will also have to contend with the pro-CP Balkan kingdoms of Serbia and Romania, especially since the 1903 coup in Serbia that brought in a Russophilic government that booted out the old Habsburgphilic royals. I expect that A-H shall focus solely on defensive war against the CP ITTL, which might compel the Anglo-French to plan their own 'Schlieffen Plan' to invade Belgium and N. Italy in order to relieve A-H from a total colapse.

In OTL 1914 Russia had:
Against Germany 17.5 infantry and 8.5 cavalry divisions, total 250,000 with 1,104 guns
Against AH: 34.5 infantry and 12.5 cavalry divisions, total 600,000 with 2,099 guns
ITTL Russia is going to have approximately 30% more of everything against AH

In 1914 AH had on the Russian front 35.5 infantry and 11 cavalry divisions, total 850,000 with 1728 guns.

Germany in 1914 had on the Eastern Front 15 infantry and 1 cavalry division, total 200,000 with 1,044 guns (including 156 heavy).

Taking into an account the relative performances in 1914 even just having all available Russian troops against AH is going to have Austrians suffering very serious defeat and adding a half pf the OTL Eastern Front German troops will make this defeat a disaster while seriously improving German position on the Western Front (extra 100,000 with 500-600 guns at the Marna).

The Brits and French would be lucky if they manage just to stop the German advance into France so them “playing Schlieffen” in Belgium does not look realistic to me or at least I have serious doubts that such a plan could succeed, especially taking into an account a split allied command and very questionable tactics (it seems that in 1914 the French were trying to replay 1870 with the massive infantry attacks, to be fair, so did the Germans).

As for the “Schliffien in Italy”, I did not quite get how such an operation is going to impact the Russian (even less so Russin-German) advance into AH.

Anyway, as far as BEF is involved, in 1914 it had, AFAIK, 6 infantry and 1 cavalry division, total 247,000 with 480 (?) guns. Ability to conduct operations far away from the sea coast is questionable due to the logistical problems and the French with 200K less and 100K more Germans in 1914 will be most probably beaten.

Bottom line is that AH is most probably going to be destroyed within first few months but after this things are getting interesting because sending big numbers of the Russian troops to the Western front also creates a logistical nightmare. So most probably Germany keeps fighting there pretty much alone but with a much better supply situation.

 
Modernization and industrialization in the Russian Empire shall be carried out mostly like IOTL under Witte and Stolypin. Though one thing of note is that without a Russo-Japanese War, the absolutist autocracy shall remain intact with a 1905 Revolution to destabilize the autocracy to force Nicholas II to accept democratic reforms. Of course, much like OTL Dengist PRC, government repression combined with stunning economic growth shall keep a (temporary) lid on domestic unrest. There is also the case that Witte and Stolypin

Witte and Stolypin are very unlikely tandem: not only did they intensively dislike each other, their policies, AFAIK, had been substantially different on most of the important issues like the second branch of TransSib or Agrarian Reform.

But without the RJW and OTL-like reforms (new package of the labor laws, as in OTL, and agrarian reforms) the domestic issues can be kept under control without the fundamental changes in both directions, repressions (against whom?) and/or “democratic reforms”.

could convince Tsar Nicholas II to (minimal) government reforms, but for the most part, Russia shall be absolutist for the rest of the decade until WW1 (I shall give no spoilers).
The OTL government reforms did little to stabilize regime except very short-term. Both Duma and expanded State Council had been filled by the grandstanding incompetents who predominantly saw opposition to the government as a matter of principle.
 
while seriously improving German position on the Western Front (extra 100,000 with 500-600 guns at the Marna).
I don’t think there will be anything similar to Marne in the first few months of the war. For a Germany allied with Russia and Italy, knocking out Austria is much more important and easier than knocking France out. In comparison, the Schlieffen Plan is a gamble that is not really necessary, since other than defending, the Western Front isn’t the critical front of the war for Germany. The general strategy will probably be to secure all of Central and Eastern Europe, and only then have Russia take care of the Ottomans while the Germans focus on the French, while the Italians would probably help in both fronts.
 
I don’t think there will be anything similar to Marne in the first few months of the war. For a Germany allied with Russia and Italy, knocking out Austria is much more important and easier than knocking France out. In comparison, the Schlieffen Plan is a gamble that is not really necessary, since other than defending, the Western Front isn’t the critical front of the war for Germany. The general strategy will probably be to secure all of Central and Eastern Europe, and only then have Russia take care of the Ottomans while the Germans focus on the French, while the Italians would probably help in both fronts.
Knocking out Austria was a task which Russia could handle pretty much on its own with a minimal German help, for example, in heavy artillery. Getting defensive against France in these circumstances does not make too much sense (at least to me): why to leave the initiative to the most dangerous of the opponents with a border not too far away from Germany’s important industrial region? With any serious Franco-British offensive the troops would have to be taken from the Austrian front and rushed to the West.

Just a minimal number of troops along the German-AH border would be enough because AH is going to get too busy being beaten by the Russians to try offensive against Germany.

The Ottomans are not a major consideration at all. They had been beaten in OTL by a fraction of the troops which Russia could spare from the important fronts.
 
Would all of this make Hungary more or less likely to be Habsburg-loyal? On the one hand you have nationalists who will finally see their chance at independence. On the other you have proponents of Greater Hungary seeing the incoming Romanians and Serbs as threats to their future vision for their country.
 
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