While visiting Sarajevo on the 28th of June, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie are assassinated by Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip. In reaction, Austria-Hungary sends an ultimatum to Serbia, whose contents are deliberately made unacceptable to the Serbs. Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia shortly after receiving German backing. Russia in turn declares war on Austria-Hungary and Germany. Germany, wanting to knock France out of the war before it can assist its Russian ally, declares war on France on August 3rd.
When Germany invades neutral Belgium to execute the Schlieffen Plan, the British Empire declares war on Germany. The German advance to Paris is halted at the Marne and a series of flanking attempts, known as the Race to the Sea, prove unsuccessful. The war in the West grinds down to a halt.
The Germans are much more successful in the East, repulsing the Russian invasion of East Prussia and defeating the Russians at the battles of the Mazurian Lakes and at Tannenberg. The architects of these victories, Field Marshal von Hindenburg and General Ludendorff, would play key roles in the final German victory.
The Ottoman Empire joins the Central Powers in October, after a dispute with Britain about the confiscation of ships being built for the Empire.
Almost all German colonies are occupied before the end of the year, besides German East-Africa. Here Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck will play a game of cat and mouse with the Allied forces until the end of the war.
In the West the lines remain static, but the fighting increases in brutality, with chlorine gas being first used during the Second Battle of Ypres on 22nd of April.
In the East, Russia is being pushed back by the Germans, but manages to hold on to Galicia.
Bulgaria joins the war on the side of the Central Powers, and Serbia becomes the first Allied nation to be defeated.
Italy joins the war on the Allied side, hoping to claim Austro-Hungary's Tyrolian and Illyrian provinces. The campaign bogs down into trench warfare.
In an ill conceived effort to knock the Ottomans out of the war, Allied troops land near Gallipoli, hoping to gain control of the vital Dardanelles. The whole campaign becomes a disaster and the Allies will pull back their forces before the year ends. A British invasion of Mesopotamia is repelled and the remaining troops retreat to Kut, where a disastrous siege will start.
A German submarine sinks the Lusitania. A severe backlash in the United States leads to Germany abandoning its unrestricted submarine warfare, which had hoped to strangle Britain into submission. Many speculated that a continuation of the unrestricted submarine warfare could have led to the entry of the United States into the war.
The Battle of Verdun starts, attempting to bleed the French Army dry. In reality, all sides bleed equally in a battle which soon loses its military objective. A similar attempt against the British forces at the Somme has the same outcome. 1916 also saw the first use of tanks at the Battle of the Somme.
In the East, the Brusilov offensive is launched. While very successful at first, the offensive doesn’t manage to either knock the Austro-Hungarians out of the war or drive Germany from Russian Poland.
The British troops at Kut are forced to surrender, dealing a heavy blow to British prestige. The Ottomans are being pushed out of the Caucasus and Armenia by a successful Russian campaign. The Sharif of Mecca starts of a general Arab revolt against the Turks.
At sea the First Battle of Jutland ends in a tactical German victory, but a strategic British victory, as the Hochseeflotte will remain in port until late 1918.
Romania tries to profit from Austrian setbacks and invades Transylvania. German assistance would lead to a quick collapse of Romania, with Bucharest being taken by August von Mackensen within the year. Further south the Allies have taken positions around Salonika.
On January 8th, the Kaiser hears arguments from military leaders for reopening unrestricted submarine warfare, but ultimately decides against them. This is the point where the Kaiserreich universe diverges from our own.
Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg is forced to resign and is replaced by Georg Michaelis. It is soon clear that Michaelis is little more than a puppet for Generals von Hindenburg and Ludendorff.
On the Western Front, the heavy French casualties at Chemin des Dames lead to a strike among the French soldiers. This would paralyze the French Army until the end of the year, giving Germany a chance to recover from the Brusilov Offensive.
Russia collapses into anarchy, with the Tsar abdicating in March 1917 (O.S. February). A provisional government is formed under Alexander Kerensky, but this government was overthrown by Lenin's Bolsheviks in November (O.S. October), starting the Russian Civil War.
In Italy the Caporetto Offensive beats the Italians back to the Piave river, where only a last minute defense saves Venice from occupation.
The Ottomans receive blow after blow, with both Baghdad and Jerusalem being lost to British forces.
In early March the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed between the Germans and the Bolsheviks, freeing thousands of German and Austrian troops for other fronts. The Bolsheviks turn over Finland, the Baltic, Russian Poland, Belarus and Ukraine to the Germans.
A great Allied spring offensive, designed at breaking the German lines before their reinforcements arrive, is repulsed at great cost of life.
Operation Teutoburg is launched, attempting to kick Greece out of the war. Instead of assaulting the Salonika stronghold head on, the Central Powers make extensive use of specialized storm-troopers and so called "infiltration" tactics. The defenders at Salonika are pinned down while the rest of the German-Bulgarian forces sweep through Greece. Athens falls on July 3rd, causing the Greek government to surrender. The western forces at Salonika are evacuated soon afterwards.
Anti-Bolshevik White Russian forces of the "Volunteer Army" under General Lavr Kornilov battle pursuing Red forces across the frozen Kuban steppe from February to May. The famous "Ice March" campaign concludes with Kornilov narrowly escaping death from an artillery shell on his headquarters during the Battle of Yekaterinodar, the city's capture cements the White Russians' control over the Kuban Cossack heartland.
General Allenby manages to pull off the last great Allied victory of the war, encircling and destroying large parts of the Ottoman Army and conquering Damascus. Only the last minute arrival of two German divisions in Asia Minor prevent an invasion of Anatolia.
Vladimir Lenin, the famous leader of the Russian Bolsheviks, is assassinated by Fanny Kaplan following the Bolsheviks' suppression of the Left SRs. Lev Kamenev quickly succeeds Lenin, but Bolshevik spirits are seriously shaken.
Successful Allied tactics against Germany's U-boats and the blockade of Germany itself leads to a desperate sally of the Hochseeflotte, now led by Admiral Hipper. The Second Battle of Jutland ends in a tie, but the shock of being assaulted forces the Royal Navy to break their blockade. The end of the blockade and the influx of Ukrainian grain ends all fears of Germany being starved into submission.
Meanwhile, Kaiser Karl, under pressure by the continuingly crumbling homefront and continually swelling spirit of revolution, issues the "Völkermanifest", promising national self-determination within the Empire once the war is won, placating Austria's numbrous ethnical minorities. Even though the manifesto did not pose any demands to Hungary, self-determination of a Croat state was agreed upon by both sides of the Dual Monarchy by the end of October, resulting in the Kingdom of Croatia achieving the same status as Hungary.
After almost a month of negotiations between the anti-Bolshevik KOMUCH and Siberian governments, Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak reluctantly launches a British-backed coup to unite the fractious Whites. The situation is salvaged by the arrival of Boris Savinkov, who convinces Kolchak to accept many of the SRs demands, and limit his power to only supreme command over military affairs.
On March 2nd the Germans launch their Great Offensive at St. Mihiel, south of Verdun. Their infiltration tactics prove to be successful, with Nancy falling on the 16th. The French organize an ad hoc defense, leaving their flank exposed. An attack on Rheims on the 26th splits the Allied forces in two. An attack on Chateau-Thierry meant the French couldn’t retreat back to the Marne. In effect, the entire French army was forced to retreat south and Paris was placed under siege.
Operation Radowitz is launched on the 11th of March, attacking the Italian forces from Trento instead of the Piave. Vicenza and Verona fall on the 24th, pinning the Italians between two Central armies after Venice was reached on the 10th of April. The Siege of Venice would last until July, but with most of the Italian army occupied the rest of Italy lay defenseless, with Rome falling on August 1st. Italy would surrender a few days later. The surrender of Italy meant the road to Southern France was now open, with Marseilles falling in September.
As Italy collapsed, Empress Zewditu of Ethiopia approached Germany and offered to join the Central Powers in exchange for being able to annex the lands Italy had stolen from her. Lacking any interest in them, the Kaiser agrees.
Allied setbacks would lead to Allenby, and most of his troops, being redeployed to France. Allenby’s successor, Sir William Marshall, is forced to slowly retreat because of a lack of manpower.
The retreat of the French Army leads to the positions of the BEF becoming indefensible. Most of the British forces are evacuated at Dieppe in June, leaving the French on their own. At this point the French Army, battered, war-weary and with little hope of victory was in open rebellion. With a second mutiny, a general uprising of the working classes imminent, the fall of Paris a certainty and Marseilles in German hands, the French government capitulated on the 4th of October, ending the war in Europe. One month later, the Central Powers and the remaining Allied Powers signed a ceasefire in Copenhagen.
The fall of France, Russia, Italy and their allies in the Balkans reduced the Entente to the British Empire, Japan and Portugal. While none of these countries were under direct German threat, none was able to pose a threat to Germany likewise. The battle between Germany and Britain continued for two more years by proxy, in Ireland and elsewhere, while the otherwise victorious Central Powers divided up their conquests.
Serbia cedes Macedonia to Bulgaria and is forced to accept Austrian-Hungarian oversight in most of her domestic and foreign affairs. Albania suffers a silimar fate. Montenegro is annexed by Austria outright.
Greece was forced to secede Greek Macedonia and Salonika to Bulgaria, and had to accept a German lease on Crete for as long as the Kaiser deemed necessary.
Romania was forced to cede southern Dobruja around port of Constanza to Bulgaria and demilitarize Oltenia. The oilfields of Ploesti where leased to Germany until the year 2012. However, the chaos of the Russian Civil War allowed the country to annex Moldova.
Italy was split apart into a number of weak republics, duchies and principalities with Tuscany, the Papal States and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies returning on the map of Europe. The Republic of Venice was made completely demilitarized as a buffer for Austro-Hungary.
Libya became a kingdom under Ottoman protection while Germany's last-minute ally Ethiopia was allowed to reannex Italian Somalia.
France ceded the French Congo, Madagascar and the French Pacific colonies, in addition to the occupation of parts of French Lorraine. The revolution prevented the ratification of the treaty, causing Germany to simply occupy these colonies.
Belgium was changed into the Kingdom of Flanders-Wallonia, with the Kaiser's son Adalbert becoming the new king. The Belgian Congo was given to Germany and Wallonia east of the Meuse, the location of most Belgian industry would be occupied as long as the German government deemed necessary. The Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg would become a constituent state of the German Empire.
In the East, the acquisitions of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk were organized into a series of puppet states. Estonia and Latvia were fused into the United Baltic Duchy, with Adolf Friedrich von Mecklenburg becoming its first Grand Duke. The Kaiser's brother Heinrich became King Genrikh I of White Ruthenia (Belarus). Poland and Finland became independent states under German protection, with the Kaisers brother-in-law Friedrich-Karl von Hessen becoming King of Finland. Lithuania became independent with Wilhelm von Urach, Duke of Urach, becoming King Mindaugas. The Austrian Archduke Wilhelm Franz ascended to the Ukrainian throne, alligning the country with Mitteleuropa.
As the ceasefire began to run out and neither side willing to re-enter direct conflict, General Ludendorff proposed a ‘Peace with Honour’ to the Entente. The remaining Entente members would acknowledge the peace treaties between Germany and the former Entente members and return Germany's colonies in exchange for a status-quo peace. The peace itself was signed at 11 AM on the 11th of November, 1921, ending the Weltkrieg after seven long years.
The Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), led by anarcho-syndicalist Emile Pouget, declares a general strike in reaction to the bloody defeat of the French army during the German Great Offensive and the second mutiny. Its main aim was an immediate end to the war. After the fall of Paris, the government of Georges Clemenceau was replaced by a Provisional Government under Aristide Briand.
The Southern White Russians begin their "Volga Campaign" with the capture of the city of Tsaritsyn. Led by General Pyotr Wrangel, the Whites swiftly seize Saratov, but are halted at Samara by Leon Trotsky. It takes until July for a Siberian White counter-offensive to force Trotsky to withdraw and surrender Samara, ultimately uniting the two largest White fronts.
In the Baltics, the White Russian Northwestern Army under General Nikolai Yudenich launches its offensive towards Red Petrograd. The outnumbered Reds are quickly forced to withdraw to Petrograd itself, and the Whites (with White Ruthenian and Baltic support) place the city under siege.
The Southern and Siberian Whites meet in the recaptured city of Ufa to negotiate a union of their governments. It is ultimately decided that Alexander Kolchak will remain supreme military commander of all White Russian forces, with Sergey Sazonov acting as prime minister. Most importantly, however, the Siberian Whites agree to follow the example of the Southern Whites, and cut ties with the Entente. Petrograd falls shortly afterwards to Yudenich's troops, and he presents the city as a gift upon also ratifying his support for the new, unified Provisional All-Russian Government.
Jacobin radicals, inspired by their Russian brethren and Leninist theories about a revolutionary vanguard start a series of attacks on government officials and public buildings, ending the chance of the CGT and Provisional Government of reaching any agreement. An attempt of the government to use demobilized soldiers to restore order ends in many soldiers joining the revolutionaries. France in engulfed in a short but bloody war, ending in a victory for the revolutionaries. Emile Pouget starts with the difficult task of changing the French Republic into the Commune of France.
The remains of the French establishment flee to Algiers, setting up a government-in-exile, led by Maréchal Foch.
Baron Ungern von Sternberg and his ‘Wild division’ take the Mongolian capital of Urga, with Sternberg declaring himself Mongolia's supreme ruler.
Though Moscow had been under siege from a combined army of Whites since November of 1919, it takes until January 22nd, 1920 for the Bolsheviks to finally submit a formal surrender. Outnumbered, outgunned, and crippled by starvation and desertion, the Reds have little choice but throw themselves at the mercy of the Provisional Government. The Whites stand victorious at the formal conclusion of the civil war.
The White Russians send a delegation of Alexander Kolchak, Sergei Sazonov, and Alexander Kerensky to ratify a modified version of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, despite furious protestations from nearly all elements of Russian society. With the nascent Russian Republic in almost as poor shape as the Bolsheviks had been in 1918, the Russians have little choice but agree to German demands, lest they face "punitive action" by the Kaiser's armies.
Republican candidate Leonard Wood defeats his democratic opponent William McAdoo, replacing president Woodrow Wilson. Wilson's deteriorating heath prevented him from running for another term.
Wood would become known for his strong crackdown on socialism and syndicalism alike and a policy of strict isolationism, jailing Eugene V. Debs, but was unable to prevent the Zapatistas from gaining control in Mexico.
Kaiser Karl reconvenes the Imperial Council and announces his intent to move forward with the institution of national self-determination within the Empire.
The promising political career of Franklin Roosevelt is tragically cut short when he succumbs to polio.
After the Easter Uprising in 1916 and five years of war, a peace treaty is concluded between the UK and Irish rebels that leads to the creation of a new Free Irish State on 1st January, 1922. With the Protestant north as an autonomous region and the King as a figurehead only nominally acknowledged, opposition to the treaty is minimal.
South Rhodesia joins South Africa, nervous of potential German expansionism in its region.
Thrown into depression as his marriage falls apart, Prince Joachim of Denmark attempts suicide. The scandal is initially covered up but leads to speculation.
President Wood is reelected, defeating his democrat opponent Albert Smith.
In Russia, a coup is attempted by a loose coalition of businessmen, industrialists, centre-right conservatives, and Siberian autonomists, all of whom are united chiefly by strong anti-German resentment. Alexander Kolchak, despite having little involvement with the plot, is declared provisional dictator. However, only a handful of units in Siberia side with the plot, and all ultimately agree to stand-down rather than fight the army units sent to suppress them. Seeing the writing on the wall, the plotters disperse, with Kolchak accepting an Anglo-Japanese offer to be installed as an anti-German pretender in the "Russian Republic" of Transamur.
Seeing the chaos engulfing Russia in the wake of the Kolchak Putsch and resentful of broken promises for autonomy, the Don, Kuban, and Terek Cossacks mutiny on the urging of General Pyotr Krasnov. Though support for the rebellion is far from universal among the Cossacks, the feeble state of the Russian army leads Kerensky to reluctantly agree to Krasnov's demands. The newly-created "Don-Kuban Union" that arises is independent from Russia in all but name.
The German press, dominated by DVP supporter Alfred Hugenberg, discovers the truth of Prince Joachim's suicide attempt and accuses Ludendorff of running a dictatorship. Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, now the leader of the DVP, manages to gain the Kaisers support to force Erich Ludendorff to step down. Tirpitz then replaces the aging von Hindenburg as chancellor.
A coalminers strike in Wales quickly escalates into a general strike when the government threatens to send in the army. The strike was quickly followed by a mutiny of parts of the navy and ended with the king and the government fleeing to Canada. A coalition of syndicalists, Labour, Welsh and Scottish nationalists and suffragettes take over the government under the charismatic John McLean.
Michael Collins dissolves the Irish Free State and the autonomy of Ulster, proclaiming the Republic of Ireland with himself as President.
The fall of Britain itself lead to a massive landgrab by many of its longtime enemies. Gibraltar finally fell into Spanish hands once again, while Argentina quickly seized the Falklands, Egypt gained sole authority over the Sudan and the Ottoman Empire regained control over Cyprus. The German Empire managed to secure most of the British African Empire as well as the strategic colonies of Malta, Suez, Aden, Ceylon, the Strait Colonies, Brunei and Sarawak.
Australia and New Zealand seize the British part of New Guinea and Fiji. Later in the year both nations would form the Australasian Confederation for mutual protection.
India, once the pearl in the British crown breaks down into three new states. The Princes of Kashmir and the Punjab unite with the other remnants of the Raj to create British friendly Delhi while a revolt in Bengal leads to the establishment of a syndicalist state there. The Princes of the South form their own, independent Princely Federation. Burma becomes an independent kingdom once again.
South Africa manages to secure the Bechuana Protectorate and Nyassaland. Tension between pro-Entente Smuts and pro-republic Hertzog grows.
The only thing left for Canada and the Royal Navies Caribbean squadron is to secure the British colonies in the region. These colonies, together with the former French colonies in the region would form the Caribbean Federation.
In Canada the senate is replaced by a House of Lords, members of the British aristocracy who fled to Canada.
Xu Shichang manages to become president of the divided Chinese Republic. In an effort to restore order, Xu asks the German Empire to help him restore order in China. In exchange he would accept the restoration of Pu Yi to the Chinese throne. The Guominjun accuses Xu of betraying the Republican principles of Sun Yat-Sen and declares war on him.
In order to manage its many Imperial possessions in Africa,Germany creates the Freistaat Mittelafrika after the model of the British Raj. Field Marshall Von Lettow-Vorbeck becomes its first Stadthalter.
A supposedly Serb-sponsored pan-Slavic revolt sweeps over the Southern parts of the Austrian sphere, putting in hazard Austrian hegemony in the region. The Kaiser deals with this by playing off Croats against Serbs, establishing a Croat-led Panslavic Kingdom under the name of Illyria. Hungary is not amused.
Governor Hans von Seeckt of German Indochina is ordered to intervene in the civil war in support of Xu. Within six months Germany manages to defeat the Guominjun and secure most major centers of industry and population. The opponents of the government retreat to the remote west, Yunnan or Manchuria, while Pu Yi is restored as Emperor, but has to accept a conglomerate of German enterprises, known as the AOG (Allgemeine Ostasien GmbH) taking economic control of the industrial south. Hans von Seeckt would become its first governor-general. In order to safeguard the economic interests of other major powers all the port cities are united as the Legation Cities and are put under joint control.
Japan intervenes in support of Zhang Zuolin, but isn't willing to risk conflict with Germany. The Fengtian Government is established in Northeast China.
President Wood dies of a malignant brain tumor. His vice president Irvine Lenroot becomes the next president.
Revolts sweep through Guatemala, toppling the government. British Honduras quickly falls to revolution too, joining the new syndicalist state.
King Ferdinand of Romania dies and is succeeded by his grandson Michael, after his son Carol had been forced to renounce his claim to the throne. As Michael is still a minor he is effectively a puppet of the military who now have complete control over the country.
Republican Herbert Hoover defeats New York governor Al Smith.
The Central American revolt spreads to El Salvador. Guatemala and El Salvador merge to form Centroamerica
The inability of the Entente nations to pay off their enormous debts and German heavy protectionism have hurt the American economy for years but in 1929 the New York stock exchange finally collapses, sending America into the Great Depression. The economic crisis remains limited to the American continent, with the European economies now oriented on the Berlin stock exchange.
Grand Admiral Afred von Tirpitz dies on the 6th of march. He is replaced by Field Marshall Oskar von Hutier, the man finalizing the encirclement of Paris during the Weltkrieg. He was the most successful and popular chancellor in German history behind Otto von Bismarck himself.
In a reaction to the growing threat of Centroamerica, Nicaragua and Costa Rica unite to form the United Provinces.
The Creditanstalt, Austria's largest bank, almost collapses after a brief but intense banking scandal. A major CS politician is implied as amongst the guilty parties, putting in hazard the Christlichsoziale influence over Austrian politics.
Herbert Hoover narrowly defeats his Democratic challenger, mainly because the once reliable South voted for Gerald K. Smith, the candidate put forward by popular Louisiana governor Huey Long and his American First movement. The syndicalists, led by Alexander Berkman and John ‘Jack’ Reed manage to win the state of New York.
In South Africa Barry Hertzog wins the elections and declares South Africa to be a republic. South Africa leaves the Entente.
Chancellor Von Hutier dies and is replaced by Franz von Papen.
A series of border skirmishes between Paraguay and Bolivia leads to Argentina and Bolivia go to war over the alleged Bolivian attempts to annex Paraguay.
Argentina manages to drive the Bolivians out of the disputed Gran Chaco region. Brazil decides to intervene on Bolivia’s behalf, sparking off the Great South American War. Small Uruguay is quickly overrun by Brazilian forces, having the misfortune to be in the way. The march towards the River Plate ended in trench warfare.
Argentinian troops, fresh from defeating Bolivia counterattack the Brazilian lines along the River Plate. The tired Brazilian forces break and Brazil quickly seeks terms. Paraguay and Uruguay join Argentina in the newly created Federation of La Plata.
The military government of Romania is violenty ousted by one of the right-wing political groups they collaborated with, the fanatic nationalist Iron Guard. Their leader Corneliu Zelea Codreanu is set up as the new Leader (Conducător), while the young king flees the country.