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

Did the Serbian May Coup of 1903 still happen in this timeline? Because unless it did, then Serbia should still be friendly towards and allied with Austria-Hungary.
 
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.
It’s true that Russia would eventually win in a one on one against Austria, but it would take time during which Italy won’t be able to join the war, and Russia also has to deal with the Ottomans. Germany OTOH, can launch an offensive that would threaten Austria’s capital and industrial heartland, unlike the Russians who would have to go through all the underdeveloped parts of the Empire and undertake the logistical challenges that implies.

And btw, Austria had some decent heavy artillery. Skoda 305mm were in fact used by the Germans to bring down the Belgian forts.
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.
You’re not considering how hard of a nut to crack Alsace-Lorraine is. It’s terrain is immensely favorable to the defender (in fact one of the big reasons Germany took it in the first place, despite Bismarck’s reservations, was cause the South German states wanted a buffer against France) and the fortresses will make any attempt to take it with WW1 technology Verdun on steroids. The forts would likely be even stronger and plentiful than OTL, with the Germans actually expecting a defensive war here.

In the unlikely scenario where the Entente manages to break AL, they would still have to cross the Rhine to threaten Germany’s industrial heartland, and that’s no small task.

While it’s true that France is the most dangerous enemy on land, staying defensive in the West will give them the choice to either try some sort of Plan XVII and take tremendous losses while likely failing, or to refrain from any offensive movements in the West and try to help allies in other fronts, where logistical concerns would prevent them from using their army to its full potential. Either way, Germany profits, and can use the bulk of its army to secure quick victories with much better odds in central and eastern Europe.
 
It’s true that Russia would eventually win in a one on one against Austria, but it would take time during which Italy won’t be able to join the war, and Russia also has to deal with the Ottomans.

Dealing with the Ottomans is not a problem capable of impeding operations against AH. In OTL it was beaten while Russia was fighting both Germany and AH.
Germany OTOH, can launch an offensive that would threaten Austria’s capital and industrial heartland, unlike the Russians who would have to go through all the underdeveloped parts of the Empire and undertake the logistical challenges that implies.

As I said, it does not make sense to commit a major effort against a weaker opponent that is going to be defeated by your ally while leaving much more dangerous enemies with a complete freedom of operations. Russia did not have to occupy all AH, it just had to defeat its army (principle formulated by Moltke #1) and AH’s army could be defeated without the German help.
And btw, Austria had some decent heavy artillery. Skoda 305mm were in fact used by the Germans to bring down the Belgian forts.


It does not matter. In OTL AH was defeated by the Russians more than once to be saved by the German troops. Even Serbia was kicking its posterior. Italy was pretty much the only country that was beaten by the Austrians and, anyway, it is too far from any of the main fronts to be of a serious importance.



 
As I said, it does not make sense to commit a major effort against a weaker opponent that is going to be defeated by your ally
It makes sense cause Russia knocking out AH would take years, while Germany can do it in a few months or even weeks. All that time Russia takes is time Italy can’t join the war. Furthermore, the Germans and the Russians don’t know the exact state of the Austrian army, and can’t tell if Russia will defeat it at all.
leaving much more dangerous enemies with a complete freedom of operations.
They are welcome to have freedom of movement. Their options are either running headfirst into German defenses or trying to deploy their army to another front with all the logistical constraints that implies. Either way, it forces the French not to use their army to its full potential and frees German troops for other objectives, at no cost.
In OTL AH was defeated by the Russians more than once to be saved by the German troops.
They don’t have that foresight.
 
It makes sense cause Russia knocking out AH would take years, while Germany can do it in a few months or even weeks.

False logic because the main goal is France, not AH.
All that time Russia takes is time Italy can’t join the war. Furthermore, the Germans and the Russians don’t know the exact state of the Austrian army, and can’t tell if Russia will defeat it at all.

State of the AH army was well known. Actually, state of most armies was well known but in the case of AH there was colonel Redl who proved to be quite useful to the Russians.

They are welcome to have freedom of movement. Their options are either running headfirst into German defenses or trying to deploy their army to another front with all the logistical constraints that implies. Either way, it forces the French not to use their army to its full potential and frees German troops for other objectives, at no cost.

They don’t have that foresight.
The logic of that type had been applied by the French before WWII. Did not work out quite well. There was no an impregnable belt of defenses along all German border.

Anyway, an idea that a massive German deployment elsewhere will come “at no cost” is unrealistically optimistic: there will be losses and serious logistical issues, especially if the need arises to get troops back to the Western Front. What’s worse, it does not make a practical sense because the Russians will do the job even if it takes longer. OTOH, after AH is destroyed the Russians will be of no help on the Western Front so the whole scenario results in the huge reshuffling of the German troops with no serious gain.

AH is in a hopeless geopolitical situation: except for pretty much useless Italy, it is completely cut off its allies and there is no need to march to Vienna to force its capitulation: after the first serious defeats it is going to sue for peace.
 
False logic because the main goal is France, not AH.
The main goal is neither France or AH. The main goal is winning the war. In OTL, that goal was intrinsically linked to defeating France, since the blockade was an ever tightening noose on Germany’s neck, and a French capitulation was the only way to achieve a quick end to the war.

Here, OTOH, Germany has no issues with time. With Russian resources it can carry on with the war as long as it takes. A stalemate and following white peace in the Western Front, after having accomplished their objectives in Central and Eastern Europe, is a satisfactory ending for Germany. There’s very little they could annex from the Western Front anyways.

I already went through why AH first serves their strategy better.
State of the AH army was well known. Actually, state of most armies was well known but in the case of AH there was colonel Redl who proved to be quite useful to the Russians.
We don’t know if Redl did the same here. The POD was a good 25 years before WW1, so there are butterflies to consider.
The logic of that type had been applied by the French before WWII. Did not work out quite well. There was no an impregnable belt of defenses along all German border.
That’s a false equivalence. Firstly, the French did the same in WW1 and it worked out well. The Germans never managed to get through Verdun. Secondly, WW2 is not WW1. The military paradigm of WW1 favored the defender much more than in WW2, where tanks had already provided a reliable answer to machine guns and trenches.
Anyway, an idea that a massive German deployment elsewhere will come “at no cost” is unrealistically optimistic: there will be losses and serious logistical issues, especially if the need arises to get troops back to the Western Front
The German rail network was quite optimal for fast deployments to the Western Front. You can see that in OTL after Russia‘s capitulation.
What’s worse, it does not make a practical sense because the Russians will do the job even if it takes longer. OTOH, after AH is destroyed the Russians will be of no help on the Western Front so the whole scenario results in the huge reshuffling of the German troops with no serious gain.
Germany doesn’t need a crushing victory in the Western Front, and it’s unlikely it could ever get one. There’s a reason why the Schlieffen Plan failed in OTL. Similarly any offensive into France is a massive gamble that Germany needn’t undertake.
 
The main goal is neither France or AH. The main goal is winning the war.
The fastest way to achieve this goal is to defeat the enemies on a battlefield. When WWI started nobody seriously expected that it will take the OTL form and both sides were replaying a modifying version of the Franco-Prussian War.

Anyway, it looks like we have the fundamentally different opinions on the issue and none of us is going to change them. So thanks for explaining your view. It has its own logic.

I’m out of this exchange before it deteriorates into a bickering match.
 
Dude there wouldn't be a war at all, Austria knew a war is suicide and wouldn't try, if there a war would be about the Balkans as a whole but the Brits and french lack any direct way to attack the Russo Germans..
If anything I can see an early cold war
 
Dude there wouldn't be a war at all, Austria knew a war is suicide and wouldn't try, if there a war would be about the Balkans as a whole but the Brits and french lack any direct way to attack the Russo Germans..
If anything I can see an early cold war
This cold war between authoritarian semi-absolutist monarchies vs liberal democracies will be interesting, maybe by the end of the 40s we will have the race for the first man on the moon.
 
While I understand the logic of removing AH from the fray as quickly as possible, an offensive on the western front similar to OTL still has huge advantages for Germany. Even if it’s only as successful as otl, you put a huge dent in Entente industrial capacity. Massive amounts of coal and iron would be taken by Germany as otl and with Russia able to largely handle AH, this may still make the most sense. I am of two minds on this.
 
Did the Serbian May Coup of 1903 still happen in this timeline? Because unless it did, then Serbia should still be friendly towards and allied with Austria-Hungary.
ITTL the 1903 coup still takes place and Serbia is a (junior) ally of the Central Powers. I was admittedly debating whether or not to have Serbia be allied to A-H ITTL with the 1903 coup averted to (somewhat) balance the odds in favor of A-H in the Balkans.
Dude there wouldn't be a war at all, Austria knew a war is suicide and wouldn't try, if there a war would be about the Balkans as a whole but the Brits and french lack any direct way to attack the Russo Germans..
If anything I can see an early cold war
Quite possible, the A-H Emperor and his ministers very much know the odds are totally against A-H, so do not expect A-H to launch any type of wars of aggression in the Balkans. Though the aggression is most likely to come from the Triple Alliance who want to expand their domain into the Balkans, in which comes a point that A-H does not want to be totally boxed in.
 
ITTL the 1903 coup still takes place and Serbia is a (junior) ally of the Central Powers. I was admittedly debating whether or not to have Serbia be allied to A-H ITTL with the 1903 coup averted to (somewhat) balance the odds in favor of A-H in the Balkans.
Serbia has territorial ambitions primarily on Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian territory, and there’s also all the pan-slavism thing they share they Russia. I would say they naturally fit among the CP ITTL.
 
Well, interesting timeline. Not an expert on the period, but here are my thoughts.

The German - Russian rapprochement and, later, alliance would have alarmed many in Vienna; it would also have raised the stakes for and the urgency of reform. While the diplomatic situation at first glance looks bleak, I don't think that it would be entirely hopeless for Austria and ITTL, it might lead to Vienna becoming much less complacent.

On the domestic front, the need to organise a state-of-the-art defence system combined with access to ample British and French funds to finance it could perhaps allow for some crucial reforms to take place. Therefore, the drastic expansion of the railways in the empire, combined with their standardisation (I think the Hungarians would see that their heads were on the line too) could help to allow for the quick deployment of troops and flexible defence. Furthermore, we could see perhaps a more energetic programme of industrialisation centred on state backed armaments industries aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of output to deal with the new military situation - British and French capital would probably help here too. Reforms in the organisation of the army, perhaps borrowing some pages from the Germans if possible, by strengthening the NCOs corps and making training and organisation more regulated and intensive in order to increase the army's effectiveness, complementing the aforementioned modernisation drive would aim. If successful, all these could make Austria-Hungary (much) better prepared for a European conflict ITTL.

Also, Russia wouldn't necessarily have to be that invincible. I think that the alliance with Germany would butterfly at least a good degree of the drive to modernise the Russian economy and army. Although the German officer corps and its missions could provide a good amount of help - potentially - in improving the army, I think that due to its proximity and the mentality/character of many of the "Prussian" officers, Russia might not be very willing to accept such missions, especially if, as I wrote, the urgency for reforms wasn't there. ITTL, the likely enemies of Russia would be the Austrians, the Ottomans and the British in India and Persia, all enemies which the Russian military leaders could perhaps consider possible to be dealt with by the existing Russian army. Although the aforementioned Austrian preparations could have alarmed some in St. Petersbourg, I don't think that said preprations would be considered that threatening. So it is possible that the Russian army wouldn't change as much as it might be necessary and that German - Russian stategic and military cooperation would leave much to be desired.

Serbia is still under the control of the Obrenovic dynasty, which has a vested interest in keeping Russia at arm's length in order to keep the Karadjordjervics out of power; if Russia, emboleded by German neutrality, doubled down on expanding their influence in the Balkans, the Serbian royals could at first seek closer cooperation with Austria to prop up their position; but they would need something with which to counter the popular ideas of their opponents (alliance with Russia and, more importantly, liberating the Austrohungarian territories populated by Serbs). Vienna, for its part, would need breathing space and a neutral, if not friendly Serbia would be infinitely better than a pro-Russian government in Belgrade; therefore, it might be possible that Vienna would use Bosnia-Herzegovina as an instrument for this, promising it to the Serbs, perhaps in exchange for recognising Austrian economic interests in the area and a non-aggression pact. Britain and France, who in this scenario would have every reason to relieve Austria-Hungary, could perhaps in turn exert influence to the Sublime Porte to officially relinquish its rule over the two provinces and hand over de jue control to Vienna, which in turn would cede the region to Serbia. Such a move could perhaps help the Obrenovic reinforce their position and take some wind off the sails of the Russophiles.

Italy is another country on the fence: while its territorial interests are almost entirely under Austrian or French control, Italy is still in many ways the weakest of the Great Powers: iirc, it imports most of its coal from abroad, with Britain being a major supplier and is generally dependent to a very large extent on maritime trade. This means that in case of war with Britain, the Italian economy would suffer from rather serious shortages of strategic materials or even food and worse, it would be isolated from its other two major allies. Therefore, I think that in such a scenario,, Italy would probably be a bit like Greece IOTL during the First World War, but in reverse: there would be significant pressure to join the Russians and the Germans because their enemies are the ones controlling most of the Italian European and colonial claims but there would also be an influential faction which would stress Italy's relative isolation from its potential allies and its weak position in the area.

If Italy and Serbia seem to be at least ambivalent towards Austria, then Romania might decide to stay neutral as well and weigh its options a bit further. So, although it would take a lot of lucky breaks, it might be possible, with a more than fair amount of lucky breaks, for Austria to even the odds to a large extent and thus be able to pose a much greater problem to the Germans and the Russians than anticipated.
 
Chapter III: The Rise of Russia and the Bosnian Crisis
Chapter III: The Rise of Russia and the Bosnian and Manchurian Crisis

Since the start of the 1890s, the Russian Empire had seen an incredible increase in economic growth in the empire. A process kickstarted by Alexander II and furthermore by government minister Sergei Witte, the Russian Empire would see rapid economic and industrial growth in their empire in the decades from the 1890s-1910s. Under Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II, the process of Russian industrialization would be continued unabated. Soon being known as the ‘Great Spurt’ among future Russian historians, Witte’s reforms and large amounts of foreign capital, chiefly from Germany and to an extent France, had helped fund the construction of new plants and factories in Russian cities such as St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, and others.

By 1900, the Russian empire was among the world’s top producers of steel and petroleum. As part of industrialization, the Russian Empire would also see the development of a new railroad network to connect the vast empire together to help facilitate the construction and operation of factories, mines, dams, and other projects. One of these major railways was the Trans-Siberian railway which sought to connect the remote region of Siberia to the bustling and booming cities of European Russia. With its construction started in 1891 and completed in 1904, the Trans-Siberian railway opened up Siberia’s resources for exploitation and also helped facilitate the future settlement of the region for Russian settlers.

The Russian Empire would also see a massive population boom during the ‘Great Spurt’, with many Russian women having lots of children in comparison to the industrialized West due to a high fertility rate, having around 5-6 children. Much of the growing population would often settle in the booming cities to seek a new job and life. Though the rapid pace of industrialization would cause significant social stress in Russian cities as the infrastructure of Russian cities could barely accommodate the massive influx of workers. Many Russian settlers would also take to the colonization of the rest of the empire, with millions of peasants and workers moving to the Eastern parts of the empire, such as Central Asia and Siberia rather than the cities of Russia. The completion of the Trans-Siberian railway would also help accelerate the colonization of Central Asia and the Far East.

In 1906, the long-reigning Sergei Witte would be replaced by Nicholas II in favor of the more conservative Pyotr Stolypin due to Witte’s progressive views on how to manage the Russian government. Stolypin however will still continue the socioeconomic reforms of the Russian Empire like his predecessor, though Stolypin would focus on the reforming of Russian agriculture. Stolypin sought to abandon the transitional communal land tenure in rural Russia and replace it with individual land ownership. Stolypin hoped to increase the economic success of Russian peasants and gain their loyalty to the Russian imperial government. As for Russian agriculture as a whole, the Russian Empire would be among the world’s net exporters of wheat and grain by 1910, in part stimulated by the Stolypin reform.

Pyotr_Stolypin_LOC_07327.jpg

Pyotr Stolypin, successor to Sergei Witte

Although the Russian Empire would prosper, revolutionary unrest would continue to slowly simmer. The rapid pace of change in the Russian Empire would cause tremendous social stress, with many Russian workers in the factories of the cities living in squalid conditions. It did not help that Russia was still one of the world’s few absolute monarchies. For some struggling Russians, the gospel of Marx would become ever more attractive, with the Russian Empire struggling to deal with far-left terrorism in the empire. These far-left cells within Russia would focus their revolutionary efforts to assassinate Tsars and prominent imperial government officials. One such instance that took place was in 1911, in which Stolypin was nearly killed by a far-left assassin in the Kiev Opera House, one of many near-death attempts for Stolypin. The Russian imperial government and its secret police, the Okhrana, would dedicate its effort to crushing far-left terrorism and domestic opposition to Tsarist autocracy.

Feeling ever more confident in Russian strength and power, the Tsar would flex Russia’s newfound strength through imperialism. In 1906, without consulting the rest of the world’s great powers, Tsar Nicholas II would declare that the Russian Empire would formally annex the Russian protectorate of Inner Manchuria into the Russian Empire. Manchuria had many reasons to be a desirable territory for annexation for the Russians, as Manchuria was a valuable mineral-rich territory, and annexing the territory would give Russia a direct land connection to their secondary pacific port in Dalian. The conclusion of the Russo-Japanese Accord of 1904 demarcated Manchuria in the Russian sphere and Korea in the Japanese sphere. The Russians would begin preparations to annex and integrate the territory of Inner Manchuria into Russia.

manchuria1900.png

The region of Inner Manchuria, annexed by Russia in 1905

Following the declaration of the Russian annexation of Manchuria, the Qing Empire would see mass nationalistic unrest in response to the Russian annexation, especially by Han Chinese nationalists. Despite the nationalistic uproar, the Qing could do little to nothing to get the Russians to return to Manchuria, which was still in the midst of attempted reforms to their army, which was in no shape to stand up against Russia. Eventually, the Russians and Chinese would resolve the issue by signing the Beijing Treaty of 1906, or the Sino-Russian Treaty of 1906, in which the Russians would agree to give the Chinese financial compensation for their annexation of Manchuria though, in exchange, the Chinese would recognize Russian control over Inner Manchuria. The Qing would decide to save face and agree to the treaty. The loss of Inner Manchuria and its apparent acceptance by the Qing court would cause a Han Chinese uproar and further humiliate the Qing in the face of the majority-Han population, further fanning the flames of anti-Qing revolutionary groups.

The rest of the world had mixed reactions to the Russian annexation of Manchuria. Since the Germans were allied to Russia and Wilhelm II approved of Russian incursions in Northern China, the Germans approved of the Manchurian annexation, and along with their Italian allies, soon recognized Russian jurisdiction over Inner Manchuria. The British would oppose the Russian annexation, though this would be done through minor diplomatic protests and a further strengthening of the Anglo-Japanese alliance in the wake of Russian expansionism. The Japanese would also voice their opposition to the Russian annexation of Manchuria, as it brought the Russians dangerously now close to the Korean border. Though Tokyo would dare not escalate tensions to a point of war with the Russians, fearing that the Japanese army was not ready to take on the Russians in a one-on-one match. The Japanese would reluctantly accept the new political status of Manchuria, though, in relation to the Russian annexation of Manchuria, Japan would force the Koreans into a protectorate with Japan, eventually annexing the territory in 1910. The Japanese also began preparations for a war against the Russians in the Far East and additionally constructed new fortifications to defend Korea in the case of a Russian attack.

In the Balkans, another act of imperialism would trigger another international crisis. In 1908, following the revolutionary instability in Turkey following the Young Turk Revolution, Bulgaria declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria since 1878 had been a relatively autonomous vassal of the Ottoman Empire, though with the apparent instability following the 1908 Revolution, Tsar Ferdinand I would proclaim the full independence of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire, destabilizing the Ottoman position in the Balkans by doing so. Taking advantage of Ottoman weakness, Franz Josef would declare the formal annexation of the territory of Bosnia into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, under its jurisdiction since being granted the territory in the 1878 Berlin Conference though de facto under Ottoman control. The Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia would trigger a diplomatic crisis between the Russians and Serbs against the Austro-Hungarians. Serbia, since under a Russophilic regime following the deposition of the pro-Habsburg Obrenović dynasty in the 1903 May Coup and its replacement by the pro-Russian Karađorđević dynasty, would vehemently protest the annexation. The Austrian annexation of Bosnia would upset Serbia since Bosnia hosted a large population of ethnic Serbs, which Serbia sought to control.

800px-Le_Petit_Journal_Balkan_Crisis_(1908).jpg

A French journal depicting Franz Josef and Ferdinand I tearing their piece of the Ottoman Empire as Sultan Abdul Hamid II looks on.

Following the Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia, the Russians would be drawn into the crisis. The Russians would initially approve of Vienna’s right to annex Bosnia, though the Russians would additionally insist on an international conference to reassess the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. The Austro-Hungarians however aimed to execute the annexation without the consultation of other great powers and did not aim to host an international conference over the matter. Additionally, the French would firmly throw their support behind Austria-Hungary during the crisis and threatened war if the Russians and Serbs attempted to wage war against Austria-Hungary over Bosnia. The Russians would eventually bow down and failed to gain full support from their German allies, who fears a possible intervention from the British, which they were not yet prepared to engage in a war. By 1909, the Russians would notify Vienna and Paris that they would recognize Austro-Hungarian rule over Bosnia, while the Serbs would reluctantly recognize Austro-Hungarian rule too and renounce support to any nationalist groups in the territory. Many in Russia felt that the crisis was a humiliation diplomatically to the Russians, and Nicholas II vowed not to bow down if another diplomatic crisis of such were to occur.
 
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If the Japanese are closer to the Russians and Germans here, they could turn on the British alongside the Russian Pacific fleet and German Pacific squadron.

Would be awesome to see a Tsushima against the Royal Navy
 
Intresting. I Hope WE will See more.
Maybe a Reaktion from German emmigrants in the USA and south American that there Home country have Allied with a absolute monarchy
 
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