To the Victor, Go the Spoils (Redux): A Plausible Central Powers Victory

So with a “Victorious” Germany, will they be keeping the gains at Brest-Litovsk? I’m sure the Soviets will be wanting that back
well, yes, some, but can they get it back?
The key IMHO is: If the Germans aren't too Cartoon Villain Stupid Evil, those places wont want to come back. Being a de-facto Dominion of the German Empire is leagues better then a province of either Tsarist or Communist Russia.
The key IMHO is: If the Germans aren't too Cartoon Villain Stupid Evil, those places wont want to come back. Being a de-facto Dominion of the German Empire is leagues better then a province of either Tsarist or Communist Russia.
Didn't the Germans want to annex Lithuania and the Baltic duchies directly into the empire? Although I doubt they'd actually do so, I think that's indicative of the German establishment's attitude towards its conquests.

Map of Europe as of the signing of the Treaty of Zurich
It really weirded me out to see this "new chapter" linking forward to the next threadmark but there being no chapter on the next page. Amusing realization, though.

Though I have to ask, and this might just be a standard I'm not aware of, what's with the differing colorization of Estonia/Courland/Lithuania/Ukraine/Crimea/Georgia vs Belarus/Livonia? I'd assume it's some measure of control, with Poland being example of even less control with its national color and german border, as opposed to vice-versa?

Are the -what-I-assume-to-be -rebels in Spanish Africa the Rif?
And there are two rebellions in French Morocco, one of which is labeled? What is the other one?

In Libya, is the orange-brown the remaining Italian control?
Social Conflict & Elections: France (August 1918 - May 1919)

Social Conflict & Elections
August 1918 - May 1919

While the immediate post-war period after the Franco Prussian war in 1871 was marked by turmoil and revolution in France, culminating in the ultimate betrayal as the Germans and French collaborated to crush their own people, the period after the great war was remarkably stable. While the Government remained immensely unpopular, there was no other popular alternative to take power besides Philippe Petain who remained by far the most popular man in France. As such there would be no revolution, or uprising. There would be no coup, or mass strikes. There would merely be paralysis, depression and denial.

Peace came to France while the country was basically in a state of ruin. She had suffered approximately 1.7mn military and civilian dead and 4.3mn wounded, 27% of young men between the ages of 18 and 27 had also been killed. 120,000 hectares of its territory was also classified in the ‘red zone’ - denoting very significant destruction. Further, 812,000 buildings, factories and mines had been completely or partially destroyed. While a large part of the road network was unusable, the rail network was disorganised and in many places damaged, and many bridges were destroyed.

More importantly though, France had approximately 46.9 billion gold francs of annual revenue, and expenses amounting to 56.6bn Francs - a deficit of 9.7bn, or nearly 20% of all Government expenditure. Debt after the war meanwhile now sat at an estimated 170% of GDP compared to just 66% prior to the war, an estimated 125 billion gold francs. France had quite literally expended more wealth fighting the war than the entire collective value of the state prior to it.

Not to mention, France had now agreed to pay Germany 10bn Marks in reparations - approximately 5bn Francs (and rising), putting her at approximately 38bn Francs in debt to foreign powers, and owing around 213bn in debts in total. By the end of 1919 this was expected to reach 250bn, putting France in excess of 200% debt to GDP as the Franc began to implode and inflation began to bite.

In simple terms, this left France broke not just once, but nearly twice over. For every franc a Frenchman owned, they would owe three to some select banks and foreign governments by the end of the year. This of course meant labour and military unrest was rampant, even if political unrest was minimal.

After the ceasefire much of the army had all but ceased to function, soldiers went AWOL regularly, equipment was stolen and sold on the black market, ‘red’ troops and nationalists, or even royalists, regularly clashed in towns while on leave or even while armed. Workers meanwhile regularly protested, some factories striked, but most labour organisations opposed direct action against the Government out of fears of a second German offensive that would occupy the country.

Yet despite general unease, among the populace there was more than anything a sense of dreadful relief. The country had borne the brunt of awful and extensive warfare, occupation and political turmoil for four years. 90% of all the buildings in the ten northernmost departments of the country were destroyed. Yet France was not starving, nor was it about to surrender huge swathes of land. She had failed in her attempt to break Germany, but she had not been destroyed - not at least in the eyes of the French people immediately.

Joseph Calliaux, who had led the country prior to the war in 1911-1912 and had subsequently become the leader of the ‘peace’ faction had initially led the country out of the war by being the man who was willing to ask for an armistice. Yet his Government had eventually collapsed due to the weight of German demands in the initial phases of negotiation, and the revival of the British death grip over the Germans following the Hochseeflotte’s failed sally.

Caillaux, a cautious, but not unwise man of the last century - unable to see the long term threat posed by Germany - was one of those men who saw no shame in surrender. In every war there is a cadre that believe that defeat is inevitable, and thus say ‘why fight at all’, Caillaux epitomised that role. Yet by requesting the armistice, he inadvertently had left himself near valueless to the political order. They needed only a man to admit defeat for them, and thus let him take the fall. He resigned in disgrace during the negotiating period, reviled by his country, his party and his own ministers, and was replaced by stronger men.

This had allowed France to rally and had strengthened their hand in negotiations, restricting German power to make demands for extensive annexations which had initially shocked the French people when announced. Aristide Briand, who had briefly attempted to negotiate a status quo peace with Germany, then had taken the reins of the Premiership and negotiated the Treaty of Brussels. This was horrendously damaging for France economically in the long term, but survivable in the short term - and on paper maps at least looked almost as though Germany had taken nothing at all. The devil, though, was always in the detail - and the loss of the Briey Longwy iron basin was a disaster that everyone in the political establishment recognized would haunt them later.

For most frenchmen this was something vile, but something they could stomach. Psychologically battered after the war, the middle class French largely swallowed what was given to them and accepted it as a fait accomplis. But despite accepting defeat, the French people had lost faith in the system. The Republic, it seemed, was deeply flawed; with a revolving door of Prime Ministers, an ailing economy and a deeply conservative military. It was no surprise therefore that the country and its people began to look for alternatives, with more than 100 political parties emerging in France within six months, incorporating all kinds of weird and wacky policies and usually involving no more than a few hundred members.

While revolution no doubt was an attractive prospect for some, those who remembered the Paris Commune and the brutal crackdown against its participants were sober enough to realise that in a revolt the military would never back them and they would likely fail - even if some soldiers themselves could be won over.

Understanding the French
While French politics has always been somewhat confusing, it’s important to understand the context behind the political parties in France in 1918. In France after the fall of the monarchy in 1871 the country’s political order mostly revolved around three questions. First, the never ending battle between the generally secular republicans, and the historically monarchist catholics.

After Napoleon III fell from power and the Paris commune was crushed, the country had fallen into chaos and confusion, and a political divide emerged between these two camps. By 1902 this had become disruptive enough that a concerted effort by the French political establishment had been made to stabilise the country - even appealing to the Pope for aid. This was granted by Pope Leo XIII, who called on French catholics to integrate themselves into French republican institutions and eventually excommunicated the leaders of Action Francais - the main monarchist organisation.

This over time led to the gradual establishment of several pro-catholic, but also pro-republic parties; namely the Popular Liberal Action party (ALP). Others included the Republican Federation, who primarily were established by more conservative Republicans opposed to the strict secularism of the French state, and the socialists, but supportive of the Republican system.

The second issue was over what kind of socialism a party sought to follow. The ‘radical’ parties, such as the PRRRS, Clemenceau’s Independent Radicals and the Democratic Republican Alliance, had once been liberal parties, often influenced by socialist thought. These had gradually been pushed more and more rightward over time though as increasingly more socialist parties emerged, arguing for greater state action, and by 1919 even the most left wing of the ‘socialist’ labelled parties, the SFIO, was also embroiled in a battle over its identity. This was a consequence of bolshevism, which had left the party undecided over whether a dramatic, aggressive capture of absolute power, or a slow and democratic use of existing state institutions were the better paths for socialism.

While some like Fernand Loriot and Charles Rappoport favoured close ties with the Bolsheviks and even revolution if it could be bloodless, the majority of the SFIO was against direct action against the Government. That being said, the prospect of eventual revolution remained an attractive one, and by 1918 had become prominent among the SFIO’s rank and file, giving the extremists the edge.

Finally, the last question was over the issue of the Union Sacree. The union was essentially a national front of all the main French political parties and even trade unions who had agreed that the war effort had to come first and that political battles should be fought after the war. This had begun to wane by 1916 and come 1918 was staggering on, waiting for the end of the war to finally put it out of it’s eternal misery.

On the left, the minority faction of the SFIO was against the union sacree and were no longer willing to cooperate with the Government - even without a revolution. Radicals such as Pierre Monatte inside the General Confederation of Labour quickly gained control of the union’s delegates and galvanised a division within the SFIO who’s own left bloc leader Fernand Loriot, along with radicals such as Alexandre Blanc, René Bureau and Amédée Dunois, demanded a more militant platform for the party.

The move was vehemently opposed by the right wing of the party under Léon Blum, while the party's centrists’ under Ludovic Frossard remained largely ambivalent over the issue. By the time peace with Germany had been signed in December 1918, the party had essentially split apart over the issue though.

The SFIO’s left, under Loriot, were driven increasingly towards policies associated with the Russian bolsheviks; advocating an aggressive capture of power through democratic ballot or revolution if one emerged naturally. The issue over the party’s relationship with bolshevism finally took hold over the party as a consequence of the union sacree debate, leaving SFIO delegates debating whether the party could be both revolutionary and truly socialist in the bolshevik sense, all while essentially writing the Government a blank cheque to do whatever it wished. Ultimately, much like British Labour concluded, with the war drawing to a close it seemed illogical for the centrists among the party to remain part of the union, prompting a true split in the SFIO as the right wing of the party under Blum sought a new home, unwilling to reconcile themselves with the radicalism of the party’s left.

Joining with the centrists, Blum and his cadre joined and endorsed the Republican-Socialists under Briand, who had gained significant political capital for his party which was nominally the smallest in the French Assembly. Confusingly, while the PRRRS, or Party for Republicans, Radicals and Radical-Socialists under Edouard Herriot was actually the larger party, the Republican-Socialists were historically more closely tied with the SFIO.

The PRS were essentially what was left over of the historically fractured Republican-Socialist left who had merged into the SFIO in 1910, preferring to remain something of a party that bridged the divide between the liberal Radicals and the SFIO’s socialists. Blum, essentially leaving for near identical reasons to the PRS’s original dispute with the SFIO, naturally preferred the relative political independence of the PRS, over more radical leaning PRRRS.

Despite this, the PRRS and the PRS cooperated often and maintained good relations. Benefitting from being one of the larger parties in the French centre, Radical leader Herriot and current PM Briand in a strong position to retain power in the next election. This was aided by a desire from the centre right Democratic Republican Alliance (ARD), led nominally by President Poincare and former Foreign Minister Louis Barthou, to continue the union sacree.

A National Bloc
It’s easy to see why one would sympathise with the idea that, given the circumstances, France probably needed stability above all else after the war and thus many in the centre and primarily the right wanted to continue the union sacree.

The consequence of this would be the establishment of the National Bloc. This centrist bloc posed a significant threat to the parties on either wing of the political divide, incorporating the newly strengthened Republican-Socialist Party (PRS), the Radical Party (PRRRS), the Democratic Republican Alliance (ARD) and Clemenceau’s Independent Radicals (IR).

Fearful of the slow and relatively insignificant but still noticeable number of pro-monarchist paramilitaries throughout the most catholic areas of the country, the National Bloc would soon also be joined by the Popular Liberal Action Party (PLA) under Jacques Piou. Piou and monarchist Charles Maurras had been opposed to one another for decades, and thus by 1919 Piou sought to pour water over any potential rise in monarchism to ensure stability in the country.

The ‘true right’ meanwhile was largely led by the Republican Federation, an (obviously) pro-Republic, anti-secular and largely conservative party that had participated in the union sacree. The party, which had advocated in favour of women’s suffrage since its creation is generally understood to have been an institutionally liberal, but socially conservative bloc that throughout the war had seen a steady rise in the influence of it’s right wing. By 1919 though this right wing, which were opposed to continued cooperation with the radicals on the grounds of their secularism, were not yet dominant.

Instead, party bosses had installed political outsider Augustus Isaac as the head of the party by late 1918. Isaac, a moderate within the party who fought back vocally and loudly against the party’s rightward drift, willingly joined the National Bloc soon after his appointment. This created a significant stir within the party which would return later, however for now this essentially ensured that the entire centre left, centre right and true centre of the political spectrum were to cooperate come election day.

Immediately upon the signing of the Treaty of Brussels on December 2nd 1918 the French Government under Briand announced plans for new elections on Sunday 5th January. The poll would be the first since 1912, and the campaign would be brutal.

The Spring of Strikes
Inspired by the events in Germany, the now left dominated SFIO recognized that despite having widespread popular support the party would be very unlikely to seize power by ballot. This was simply because France used a proportional elective system by department, meaning the party simply would not be able to win over enough voters. The country was still, after all, more rural than it was urban, and the rural population were not keen on the left - let alone their new more aggressive stance.

Instead, the head of the Syndicalist wing within the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) Pierre Monatte quickly contrived a justification for a general strike. One of the more radical politicians in the country, Monatte desired a revolution and was willing to push the country towards one - aiming to do what both the Paris Commune and the German left had failed to achieve.

Rallying the bakers of all people, Monatte pressed for an immediate strike among bakers in order to prohibit the late night work that many French bakeries demanded from their employees and that many bakers across France wished to be banned. This actually was a quite popular policy, and the overworked bakers quickly took to the plan, announcing their intent to strike two days after the peace treaty was signed with over 500,000 joining initial protests on December 1st.

Unexpectedly though, Briand and the National Bloc were in no mood to fight protesters and immediately caved to all demands. Promising an immediate law abolishing night work in bakeries and 8-hour day laws. Briand was more than happy to make concessions to strengthen his political position for the elections, particularly while benefiting from their continued union sacree.

The promises quickly broke the first strike, but unleashed a floodgate of other strikers. On December 5th the railway workers announced their intent to strike too, capitalising on the Government’s weakness and apparent willingness to make immediate concessions. Demanding a nationalisation of the railways, this strike was arguably more damaging as the first and brought the country to a standstill. Unwilling to nationalise the railways, the Government offered alternative concessions in pay rises and greater investment in working conditions for rail workers, but the revolutionary aims of the workers quickly began to snowball.

While most railway workers would likely have been satisfied with better pay, their leaders were not, and the now radicalised General Confederation of Labour quickly endorsed a general strike in support of the railway workers on December 10th after failed weekend talks. Demanding the nationalisation of major public utilities, an end to all colonial expeditions and total general disarmament, two million workers would come out for the strike by the 16th.

The move was disastrous for the country, particularly the rapidly falling Franc which now went into freefall and triggered hyperinflation. For four months strikers paralyzed the country, briefly breaking for Christmas, before returning until early April. Some cities such as Marseille would see nearly universal worker strikes, while marches in Paris led to the death of several workers and violent clashes with nationalist militias.

Chaos in Italy too acted as a driver for violence in the south, especially when on January 15th sailors of the French Fleet led by André Marty in Marseilles mutinied and demanded democratically elected military leadership.

Ordered to move to the port of Toulon away from the striking workers, a brief standoff ensued when Government torpedo boats trained their weapons on several major French capital ships flying the red flag, who themselves aimed at the boats. Ultimately part of the fleet would leave port, while several vessels remained in the city and joined with the tens of thousands of workers in the city. Something of a compromise in a deeply uncomfortable and dangerous situation. This mutiny would eventually be put down by loyalist troops in an effort directly led by General Henri Mordacq, who threatened to shell the Naval base into oblivion in February.

This created an atmosphere that could very well have led to revolution, yet somehow, despite the genuine threat to the state that the strike posed, the Government clung on. Instead, the radicals and would-be french bolsheviks faced the wrath of the furious and exhausted french public. The strike itself was extremely unpopular across the country and served to alienate an enormous cadre of middle class and even working class voters nationwide who felt the timing and demands levied by the unions were particularly poor, and obviously politically motivated.

Faced with an election that, unlike other countries, was actually still scheduled to be held on normal time thanks to France’s extension of their legislative terms from four to five years in 1914, many saw April’s planned polls as a chance to decide the country’s direction. Along with a now deepening economic crisis, the threat of German aggression and images of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia fresh in the mind, many Frenchmen quickly grew to resent the strike. This did not aid the SFIO’s campaign, and thus left the French left in a truly dreadful position when election day approached.

As popular opinion began to show, with violent clashes between strikers and not just right wing, but everyday demonstrators in cities, sometimes armed, sometimes leading to bloodshed, strike leaders began to realise the situation.

Come March, numerous unions would slowly begin to call off their strike action - often placated by less aggressive alternative concessions by Briand. Some workers simply started to cross pickets, by March they had endured months without pay, and the expense of the winter months combined with the rapidly inflating price of the Franc left many without the means to sustain themselves. By April the general strike would be abandoned after worried SFIO leaders called for its end. In some parts of the country the strikes would continue on as individual factories took the ‘Italian example’ and simply took over factories by force, continuing operations to generate sales but refusing to pay their bosses. This was an option in some of the hotbeds of the country - but not in most of it. By April it was clear that there would be German style socialist capture of power.

January to April
The period between January and May 1919 is largely seen as a period of flux for France. While the strikes went on, the Government waited patiently, legislating where it could with the aid of their massive parliamentary majority.

Areas of particular attention included the issue of labour relations, with the aforementioned ban on late night work in bakeries being introduced, alongside the introduction of an eight hour work day and a six day working week. Limits on agricultural working hours were also introduced, with farm workers being prohibited from working for more than 2,900 hours a year - the equivalent of 8 hours a day, every day. This, while at a glance quite a relaxed policy, actually was welcomed by farmers as being not too restrictive on their often lengthy working days, while providing greater legislative oversight over working hours and pay for labourers.

Demobilised workers were also swiftly returned to work, partly in an effort to stem the effects of the general strike, but also to ensure a restoration of stability in France and to avoid any potential disruption from soldiers returning to ordinary life. Briand further made an effort to reform the civil service, aiming to introduce a number of ‘gifted’ administrators from military backgrounds. France, while still operating under a politicised Napoleonic system of civil administration, generally left administration to men appointed by Governments from a variety of political backgrounds.

This was largely backed by the radicals, but during the war had been seen as having created a caste of capable but often unserious and ineffective civil servants who while often inventive were ineffective at delivering the results expected from wartime administration. Incorporating elements of the military, often in the form of discharged military logistics officers, therefore created a new clique of administrators uneducated in the traditional French civil service schools and thus focused on new ideas and military style administrative discipline.

Reform was also sought for the military, who the civilian Government had partially feared since almost the first day of armistice negotiations. Philippe Petain, who was made Marshal of France, quickly was allowed significant leeway to introduce stricter rules of conduct around military discipline. Additionally, efforts were made by the top brass to root out and crush the spread of mutineerism and socialism within the ranks, discharging suspected sympathisers and surveilling military units through informants.

Thankfully, no right wing militarist coup emerged through this period, and extremist tendencies were largely kept for the discharged men - though the rank and file had by the end of the war taken to the view that while Petain was to be respected, the Government was not.

Finally, and most importantly, a concerted effort was made by the new Government to seek out new lines of credit and - most importantly - secure new import rights for vital natural resources like iron and coal. Thankfully coal was relatively easy; having seized Lebanon, the British had both reneged on their deal with the French in the Sykes-Picot agreement, and taken the spoils for themselves. Unwilling to hand over the surprisingly coal-rich Lebanese province, the British instead opted to provide France, after some persuading, with the extraction rights in the territory once a new political order had been established there.

While this was not the same as owning the territory, and of course French companies would be taxed on their output by the British rather than French Governments, this importantly allowed France an additional source of coal - thus limiting price rises for French companies and citizens for energy and heating.

Iron proved a more difficult area. While some small deposits had been identified in French North Africa, which the Government would aggressively investigate and encourage extraction, any such mines would take years to establish and would require credit to establish that the Government could not spare. In this France instead turned to the Americans and, bizarrely, the Japanese Governments.

While America had already proven itself a very generous lender, something that would quickly change come the exit of the Wilson administration, by 1919 US banks such as JP Morgan who had provided enormous amounts of capital for the allied war effort required additional collateral for their investments. France thus sought to create a cyclical relationship between the US banking sector, US steel manufacturers and the French manufacturing industry.

Dubbed the Koltz-McAdoo Deal, the French Government, borrowing money from US banks, would greatly slash import tariffs on steel and iron ore. This would allow French companies, with some limited Government backing, to purchase American steel at a reduced rate domestically, while still providing US companies with increased revenues and also a return of capital invested by US banks into France back to the US market - thus avoiding capital extraction from the US.

This worked for US banks, who received better rates, good return on their investment, and the US Government whose steel markets received a boost and their capital would not be totally extracted from US coffers - being returned to the state in the form of taxation on the steel companies. It also provided French companies with a source of steel and iron ore for industrial use while French mines in north africa were established - which American banks now got a large stake in. The downside was that this did little for the French steel industry who, without access to the great swathes of ore they once received, quickly began to implode.

While some companies would survive, the steel industry’s struggle would prove catastrophic for the job markets in the greater Calais area and northern France, along with various steel-funded settlements in the Alps.

The April & May 1919 Election
Held in two rounds, as was custom in France at the time, the result when the votes were counted was never really in doubt. From the moment the National Bloc was formed, it was rather obvious who would win. Such a combination of parties simply consolidated too many voters and too many resources. Yet, in some ways, the election did trigger some unexpected and alarming results.

First and foremost, turnout was down - a lot. Participation in the poll fell from 77% in 1914 to just 64% in 1919 as nearly 4.2mn French voters simply did not turn up on the day. This was indicative of the rapid decline in faith in the Republican system since the end of the war, but also represented the anger at the increasingly ideological and radical views of the left.

The National Bloc, naturally, won the poll. After winning the first round relatively convincingly on April 27th, by the time of the final poll on May 11th the block stacked up 63.3% of the vote, winning 477 of the 612 seats up for grabs. The PRRRS would ultimately secure 114 seats, a net loss of 78 on their pre-election numbers and winning 17.1% of the vote. However, party leader Herriot took solace in the comfort that his close allies in the PRS under Briand won a remarkable 46 seats, a gain of 20 on their 1914 result - nearly doubling their numbers and securing 10.5% of the vote.

The biggest party in the bloc, the Republican Federation, would stack up an impressive 138 seats - near enough restoring their 1910 figure of 131 and gaining 50 seats on their disappointing 1914 result and winning 19.3% of the vote. Their allies in the Popular Liberal Action party (ALP) though were less lucky. Fractured by the war and seeing voters absorbed by Poincare’s democrats and Briand’s radicals, the party won just 24 seats and 8.9% of the vote - losing over half of their 50 seats prior to the vote.

President Poincare’s democrats meanwhile remained relatively steady, absorbing some votes from their ally to stack up with 11.2% of the vote, a 1.5% rise since 1914, and wining 115 seats, up from their previous 77. Finally, the last of the national bloc’s members, Clemenceau’s Independent Radicals, would secure 64 seats - a slight decline on the party’s last result of 66 seats, but a surprisingly strong result given the party fell from 16.6% of the vote to just 5.2%. While this may seem bizarre, this was largely the consequence of pre-agreed lists for the national bloc vastly over estimating the party’s expected results, while the fall likely represented a collapse after the party’s voters moved to other allied parties in the Bloc, and a loss of faith after the war defeat.

The fringe right too experienced a boost, but never officially. The monarchist Action Française party for instance began to gather more support behind their anti semitic nationalist and ultra catholic leader Charles Maurras, but the right also suffered a slow splintering as smaller ‘splitter’ parties began to form behind charismatic officers and would be dictators. Maurras for his part did find an elevated level of support, but the infrastructure of Action Française remained so weak and its influence over key institutions so small that in practice it was never expected to win many seats in the subsequent elections - but would prove to be a growing cancer on the fragile republic.

It’s inability to even compete in elections legally also was a great inhibitor to the party’s success, instead relying on friendly independents in the ‘right wing independents’ bloc nominally led by Hyacinthe de Gailhard-Bancel. This unofficial alliance would win 42 seats in the poll and 8.2% of the vote, but would remain too fractured throughout 1919-1924 to ever achieve anything, let alone form a united policy platform to be competitive in the subsequent election.

The biggest and most expectedly unexpected flop of the election though were the SFIO. Split by Blum and the right of the party’s defection to Briand’s Radical Socialists, and having alienated many potential voters with their unequivocal backing of the much despised strikes, the party would secure just 48 seats in the legislature - despite winning 15.2% of the vote. This was largely reflective of the party’s isolation within France’s metropolitan areas, and was met with deep frustration within the party’s moderate, now arguably ‘right’ wing under Frossard.

Finally, various independents across the country would secure 21 seats, winning around 4.1% of the vote for a total of 612 seats in the legislature - one having been severed totally by the Germans.

Ultimately it seemed that France had survived its brief flirtation with chaos. While the state was undeniably unpopular, racked with domestic and economic issues and at this point just staggering on - it seemed France’s republican experiment would survive as it always had; with a bit of protest along the way.
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Me trying to explain the absolute nightmare that is French politics in the early 1900's.

For the record; this update was about 2.5k words about 5 hours ago.
Personally, I like the absence of the frequent cliché that France, after a defeat in the First World War, either immediately falls victim to a Communist revolution or serves as a mirror image of OTL Germany with a rise of some kind of Nazi party with French characteristics.
France is politically unstable, which is more or less normal at this time, the government and the state are unpopular, which is understandable, but the democratic parties have joined together to stabilise the state.
In addition, there is a need for a quick and decisive response to ensure access to necessary resources.
There are long-term risks that France could fall victim to an economic crash in the US, but that is certainly many years away and not guaranteed to happen.
I still think it’s funny that the French establishment brought Caillaux into power just so he could agree to an armistice and then dumped him immediately. Seems a bit transparent, but I suppose they would’ve sent him off after that regardless.
Hmm, so the Third Republic clings to existence... For now. Personally I just don't' see it as being viable long-term ITTL as this election proves, the radicals are gaining real steam and the 'center' while does have support has little in the way of credibility and the long-term economic problems from the peace treaty are going to eat at France's 'center' like a cancer until the radical left or right seizes power.

This is not peace, this is a truce for a decade at most.