I wonder how Nepal's doing? I get the feeling that whilst it's neutral it's listening to both sides (Europa and the Central Powers) and making various deals with both (although it would likely lean Europa). It helps that unlike OTL India isn't unified underneath Britain but instead it's a bit more divided particularly since the Dutch have land there (not near to Nepal but still enough to cause problems elsewhere in India).


Leopold Klapil, the Prime Minister of Bohemia, signs the Versailles Concordat

The autumn and winter of 1913 was catastrophic for civilization. It would see a large front of the bloodiest war in human history crumble to a peace that satisfied no one and massive civil unrest would sweep the world. The disease known in America as the Beckie Flu had mutated, becoming far deadlier than ever before. This new form of the disease was first reported by Russian troops during the Siege of Budapest and it quickly spread throughout the globe. This wave of death and rot was so horrifying that, at long last, Czar Viktor called for his forces to hold the line rather than attack. He was running dangerously low on able-bodied troops, but so were the other nations. Indeed, most every nation in the war was becoming exhausted both in manpower and ability to continue the war and the bodies of dead sons killed in combat were joining the bodies of their dead families killed by the flu. It was the darkest time in world history since the Black Death. It was the apocalypse. On the Atlantic coast of Europe, anthrax still lurked in the waters and food supply. In Paris, mobs that had roamed the streets were dispersed partly by Perrault, back from the Rhine Front, but mostly by the fear of catching the Second Black Death, as it was being called in Europe.

Before Perrault returned to Paris at the behest of Napoleon IV to quash a potential revolution, there had been a suspicious lull in activity in the Rheinbund theatre, with almost no new attacks being launched from the Nordreicher trenches. Instead, the formerly eager and battle-ready Germanic forces now seemed to be in a state of confusion and weakening morale. This mysterious lull was one of the only things keeping the Imperial Army together and away from mutiny. The New Black Death was wreaking havoc in Berlin. The Kaiser was dying, and several key military leaders, such as Erich von Kellerburg, the Army Chief of Staff, were also in a critical state. Now, as the year rolled into October, the Nordic Army ceased all attacks. On October 10, 1913, a telegram was delivered to General Ernst Schloss in Nordic-occupied Hamburg. All attacks were to cease. Kaiser Eitel Wilhelm I was dead at 30. Now the real problems began. Helmut Wilhelm, the only child of the Nordic emperor, was not even yet a year old. The widowed Kaiserin Erika now became Kaiserin Regent in the stead of her son until he would come of age. For about two weeks she reigned with the full respect and confidence of the Army Chiefs and the government. But fifteen days into her reign, the unthinkable happened: Prince Helmut Wilhelm was sick and things were looking grim. Faced with a potential collapse of the dynasty, she knew there was now a potential civil war brewing. Fearing a situation like the Greek fiasco which had helped to start the inferno of the Great World War, she knew she had to act fast. With a sad, depressing realization that continuing the war could mean the end of everything, she dispatched ambassadors to Paris to negotiate a ceasefire.

This moment was absolutely key. Without Kaiserin Erika's desperate effort to bring peace, the war could have stretched on much longer. Indeed, while Erich von Kellerburg declared his absolute confidence in the Kaiserin's ability to forge a new path, others within the aristocracy and government began to mutter words of discontent, such as Ernst Schloss, the wildly popular "blood and guts" commander of the Rheinbund front who waded into battle himself frequently. But chief among the opposition was the indomitable Wolfgang Kapp, Reich Prime Minister. The bespectacled, mustachioed gentleman held in his heart what he called "an iron will" to break Paris once and for all. He warned the Kaiserin that making peace now would "enable the Gallic Jackal to rear its head again" further down the road. On Halloween, 1913, Kapp tendered his resignation, saying he no longer held confidence in the monarchy.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Perrault was really coming into his own. No longer a sad drunk, the overwhelming feeling of what he viewed as Destiny's call to save France was taking over his mind and body. He worked long hours through the night orchestrating troop movements and supply routes while also attempting to provide a modicum of relief for the sick and dying throughout the country. On October 20, Caesar officially ended his direct control over the armed forces of Europa, a century-old tradition of the caesars, and declared Perrault to be the Imperial Chief of the Armed Forces. Napoleon IV was almost catatonic by this point and had recently been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Exhausted from the overwhelming load of the war and worried he was dying, he felt he had no other choice but to name Perrault supreme commander. This nicely coincided with Kaiserin Erika's ambassadors arriving to propose a ceasefire.

On November 4, 1913, at the old Palace of Versailles which now served as the Europan Imperial Army headquarters, Perrault represented the United Empire of Europa at the very secret peace talks. Neither side would admit guilt for the war and anger and rage were still the foremost emotions at the conference. But slowly, bit by bit and piece by piece, a treaty was being devised.

As neither side would admit fault for the war or defeat, this led to an interesting situation. Particularly in the Rhinebund, where the Reich demanded the entire nation. While Perrault was willing to give up Holland and hand it back over to the rightful King Louis Napoleon, he did not want to give up the Bund for fear of making it look like a total defeat. He had to get some victories out of this. Luckily for him, Erich von Kellerburg was a very sensible man. He knew the Reich would have a devil of a time holding down the overwhelmingly Catholic southern Bund and also share a border with Switzerland and Italy in the Alps, so a compromise was reached. What was finally decided was that the Reich would annex the northern Bund to form the Grosse Reich of Germania. It would also be allowed to hold the colonies it captured in Africa. However, the southern Bund countries of Nassau, Baden, Wurttemberg, and Bavaria would be allowed to remain free of Germania and would become independent buffer states. High King Franz Josef was furious, as this meant he was no longer a High King. This greatly impacted the Hapsburg part of the Empire. When he would return to live in Vienna for the first time since his childhood, he would be greeted with crowds waving the old gold-and-black colors of the House of Hapsburg.


Angry crowds waving the old Hapsburg colors march in Vienna to protest the "growing inadequacy of the Europan system"

What made this treaty so odd was that it only concerned Europa and the new Germanian state, and did not involve the rest of the Central Powers or the Russian elephant in the room. Interestingly enough, von Kellerburg had actually pulled Perrault aside and told him that the Kaiserin was actually terrified of Viktor. There had been rumors several months before that Viktor had moved troops onto the Reich's eastern border and that Viktor wanted to capture Berlin on his way to sacking Munich and Paris. This absolutely terrified the Reich government and explained why troop movements had been so slow in Budapest. Indeed, von Kellerburg supplied telegraphed orders captured by spies that had ordered a general readiness to be made by Russian forces to invade and sack the Reich and Bohemia. This all made too much sense, as Viktor clearly desired world domination and he never had any great love for the Hohenzollern-Wettins, even if they were cousins. The mutation of the Second Black Death seemed to have stalled his plans for now, but if the Reich's military was busy invading and occupying Europa still, it would leave the Eastern Front precariously undermanned. Viktor could quite literally steamroll over the border with ease if he managed to find enough men and equipment to send in. The Slavic Poles, although many had fled the Reich's oppressive policies against them years ago, were still nothing to be laughed at. If Viktor promised them freedom, as he always viewed himself as a twisted liberator, they might even rise up and rebel. Even Napoleon IV thought the idea of the Reich under Russian control was a complete nightmare and it was the main argument Perrault used to talk him into agreeing to the peace.

Finally, on December 10, 1913, the two sides signed the Versailles Concordat. On the Rhinebund Front, soldiers begrudgingly picked up their rifles and marched home for Christmas. The fall of the Rhinebund was a messy affair. In the Protestant north, now occupied by Germanian forces, citizens celebrated and used this moment to begin the "Christmas of Broken Glass." Catholic storefronts were vandalized and Catholics beaten in the streets. Several famous cathedrals were set alight as mobs of torch-wielding Lutherans celebrated, waving their new black-red-and-white tricolor jubilantly. In the south, in Bavaria, Baden, and Wurttemberg, the citizens were mortified at the treatment of their Catholic brethren in the north, but there was little they could do. The Catholics in the Reich felt abandoned. As they were persecuted, they felt that Caesar had left them to rot. This would not be good, as time would tell.


Troops bearing the Imperial Kriegsbanner parade through Hamburg


Germanian police hassle a Catholic citizen


Germanian police round up those deemed to be "enemies of the state" before sending them to work camps in Finland

Bohemia would also sign the Concordat, which would further alleviate the Budapest Front and allow much troops to be allotted to defending against Viktor. On December 31, Sweden and Norway would also sign the Concordat, ending the war in Western Europe aside from on the British Isles, where the battles between Churchill's forces and the Irish still raged on with no end in sight. King Louis Napoleon finally made his return from London on January 14, 1914, marching triumphantly back into Amsterdam with all of the Royal Army troops who had not seen their families in two years. Despite the plague, massive parades celebrated the return of the rightful king, but this was a horrible mistake, as the New Black Death spread even more rapidly than before. As Europan troops pulled out of Holland, more were sent to Budapest. The defensive line, however exhausted, was growing. Also, Europa had just built several battles of what it deemed to be "land battleships," which were giant, lumbering metal behemoths on treads and mounted with cannons and grinders. French weapons experts told Caesar and Perrault that the new weapons might be able to bring peace with the Russians. The Reich was very close to having its own version of the machines, which would have made potential use against them a moot point, but the Russians were the least technologically advanced nation of the great powers and would be completely shocked by the war machines if they found themselves facing them. Perrault ordered as many of the machines to built as possible, along with more two-man aeroplanes, to finally break the siege of Budapest. Jerusalem also still was holding out against the Egyptian and Persian forces. Perrault was determined that the Holy City should not fall.


A returning Dutch soldier is given the news that his family had been wiped out by the Second Black Death

Back in the Reich, the Kaiserin was being finally vindicated to some extent by the massive territorial gains she had secured, but still her internal enemies protested, saying that they should have taken the entire Bund and sacked Paris. They said that Napoleon IV had gotten off far too lightly and that Perrault was a bloody war criminal for what he had done in Holland, but still the overwhelming feeling was of relief. Peace had arrived, and both sides could admit that things could be worse.

When news arrived in the Republican Union of the Versailles Concordat, the Americans were furious. Acme Ashton declared, "It is a great travesty, a farce even, that our European allies should so easily lay their weapons aside and allow the popemongers to remain on their thrones another hour." A formal condemnation of the Concordat was handed down from Philadephia and Reich flags were burned in front of the Germanian Consulate. What everyone expected was an official reaction from Custer, who seemed strangely quiet recently. Though it was excused away as him deep in thought, controlling the war effort from Point Overlook, the reality was far different. For in reality, Custer was now infected with the Beckie Flu and had been bedridden for two months. Though he had mostly overcame the infection, the aftereffects were proving very hard for him to recover from. On January 28, 1914, Joe Steele was summoned to leave occupied California and come to Point Overlook. His father was dead....
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Sorry it took forever guys! This was a major chapter and I restarted it like three times and wasn't satisfied with it. lol I guarantee nobody knows where I'm going with this. I love how the world is really on a cliffhanger right now. Literally anything can happen.

Also, as the war apparently begins to draw to a close, I cannot wait to get back to cultural updates. The post-war world is gonna be insane.
As for interesting possiblities I see, with the resurgence of Haspurg support and the German Catholics feeling abandonded by Paris, I see a new civil war brewing for Europa where the Haspurgs try to break off or even take power from the Bonapartes based on German Nationalism (of the Catholic variety) and proclaiming themselves to be true defenders of the faith. Boy would that not end well if America or the Kaiaser decide to strike.
As for interesting possiblities I see, with the resurgence of Haspurg support and the German Catholics feeling abandonded by Paris, I see a new civil war brewing for Europa where the Haspurgs try to break off or even take power from the Bonapartes based on German Nationalism (of the Catholic variety) and proclaiming themselves to be true defenders of the faith. Boy would that not end well if America or the Kaiaser decide to strike.
And the Hungarians might splice things up (along with Bohemians still in Europa (basically what we'd call Slovaks) and Croatians).
Porugal is probably f*cked. Napoleon IV isn't going to forget its "betrayal" and the country is still sorrounded on all sides by french territory
Well, now that the only two great powers that aren't run by genocidal madmen are at peace, I feel a lot less ambiguous for cheering for Europa. Here's hoping that Perrault reminds the Russkies exactly who won the Battle of Friedland; plus, now there's actually hope for the Irish pulling off a miracle.
Hes not in any position to do anything about it, what with Peraullt and others in charge and his stomach cancer.
1)This can easily happen after the war
2)The fact is dying will probably encourage him to act against Portugal as quickly as possible.
3)It is unlikely that France is going to forgive Portugal so this could be done by his successor
Also, Europa had just built several battles of what it deemed to be "land battleships,"

Mistake here?

Grosse Reich of Germania

Now that will make some Fins upset, a possible wedge between Scandinavians and Germanics?

Viktor could quite literally steamroll over the border with ease if he managed to find enough men and equipment to send in.

That's the thing while Viktor can likely take Berlin in such a scenario and knock out the Prussians, I really doubt that he can go much further fast enough, Russian logistics where never that good. I personally see such a surprise attack ending with Europan troops grinding down the Russians into nothing as they are driven back over the Elbe.

Sorry it took forever guys! This was a major chapter and I restarted it like three times and wasn't satisfied with it. lol I guarantee nobody knows where I'm going with this. I love how the world is really on a cliffhanger right now. Literally anything can happen.

The global balance of power has shifted in that now the RU has almost achieved complete territorial integrity, with only the backwater of Russian America left as a possible enemy beachhead, not like that matters as the Japanese can sink every Russian ship in the Pacific in a few weeks at most.

The problem for the RU is that its undemocratic nature makes it rather brittle, especially in an environment of servile revolt, competing private armies and societal dysfunction caused by the plague. Steele's succession will almost certainly be contested and a civil war is quite probable. In such an environment I don't see the RU going for something big yet, there is no reason to as:

- All competing polities that could pose a threat on the North American continent have been driven to extinction.
- Europe is divided into 3 competing alliance structures with roughly equal strength.
- The creation of a Eurasian coalition has been made less likely rather than more.

As for what the RU can do if what was able and willing to make a move, well attacking either Europa or the Central Powers directly (the metropole in the former, the metropole or the periphery in the latter, the Germans won't care that much about the RU taking parts of Europan Africa though it would be close). Would result in an alliance between the Greater Reich and Europa, a troublesome result. Though manageable if Steele manages to doublethink his way towards propping up Russia, the weakest power in Europe and ergo the RU's 'natural' ally. It would also permit the Oceanic Fascists to wreck absolute havoc through the bloated colonial empires, The Japanese by themselves should be able to roll the whole of Dutch Greater Indochina in a year or less.

Attacking Russia would be safer as the European balance of power would not be shifted that much, with the RU gaining a massive chunk of East Asia in a fait de complis that Viktor would have not choice but to accept. It would also grant the RU total territorial integrity as a nice bonus.

Honestly once the RU stabilises there is good reason for it to go on the warpath against the European colonies. Europe being divided three-ways is not going to last long, might as well attack during a time of instability. What complicates this is that the obvious choice of a Russo-American alliance would be difficult to create but I honestly think that Steele can think of some excuse.

As for Europe it went from:

Europa >>>>> Russia >> Central Powers


Europa >>> Central Powers > Russia

There is much greater parity between powers and now they all hate each other too. It all now depends on how much external pressure the RU is willing to put on them, internal stability and the result of the Europan-Russian war.

To conclude there is not that much reason for the war to escalate now. The RU is unstable, has got everything it wanted and is dealing with internal revolts and a possible civil war. Europa is busy with Russia. The Reich is worried about Russia but a Paris-Berlin Axis is for now non-viable without a great deal of external pressure. Russia is somehow even more diplomatically isolated now than IRL, (a foreign policy achievement worthy of Wilhelm II).

All of that is the Watsonian analysis, in Doylist terms, my guess is that the RU goes for broke and declares war on the Central Powers. That would make things a challenge at the very least.
Well at least the Dutch get there country back, actually if anyone's won the war it's them. They got some extra land and everything they lost they got back again. There certainly going to be a thorn in Japan's and Russia's side (especially since now they can wholeheartedly support the Southern Chinese and no one will stop them).

Edit: I can also see the NordReich changing there rules on who becomes Kaiser since all the male heirs have died off in spectacular fashion. If the Kaiserin as a girl I can see them going "Well if it keeps the Empire going"
This went better than I expected. Luckily, sanity prevailed and the war in the western European front is mostly over. Viktor acting as a common enemy for France and Germany is really an interesting development, just like the Hapsburg celebrations in Austria (maybe hints for events to come?). Also, Custer is dead, long live Joe Steele! Overall, a great chapter, well worth the wait.
Hopefully with the Nordreich off their throat, Europa can get around to giving Ireland some proper help and either kick them off the island or put enough pressure on to force a ceasefire.

And it’s interesting to see the cracks widening across Europe. Will we see facisim and Eduism rising up in the years following? Balkanisation for everyone!

Hoping the young Kaiser survives, though did any of the past Nordic Kaisers have any siblings?

Napoleon or his heir are gonna have a difficult time to hold together the Empire now
Hopefully Perut winning battles and hopefully the war in Hungry will be able to shift the people back to Europa.

The Fascist powers might as well make peace by this point, Australia and North America are secure. Only England has to worry about Ireland. If the RU can make a deal to get Europa to agree to the captured lands in place of them declaring war on Russia then the tide will really turn.

How does Europa even expect to make a beach head anyway?