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Under His Shadow, Alternate History

Kerensky

Provisional Government Chairman
#1
Under His Shadow postulates the setting where Britain does not join the Great War on the side of the Entente, but rather finds itself the shocked onlooker at the savagery of the war, and of the victory of the German Empire under Kaiser Wilhelm II against the combined might of the Russian Empire and France. The Kaiser now has a majority of Europe in his sphere, the humiliated France and Bolshevik Russia but shadows of themselves as where the shadow of defeat looms extremism, and a brewing conflict emerges - civil wars, revolution and the rise of extreme politics has begun to shake Europe and the wider world. The Ottomans struggle to keep themselves together, Austria-Hungary is gone, Italy has become a mirror for an eccentric dictator to flash his monstrous ego onto it as the world stumbles forth into the 20th century, which may perhaps be its last as the atom’s potential had been unlocked in 1917. It is the year 1925 as a tense presence fills the air.

Summary of the Weltkrieg (World War)

The death of Franz Ferdinand in Imperial Sarajevo would spark the powder-keg that was Europe, as the outraged Austria-Hungary would issue an impossible ultimatum to supposed plotter Serbia, resulting an invasion of the small Balkan kingdom which had been guaranteed by Russia, the massive empire which touched from the Baltic to the Pacific. Russia had been struggling with internal revolution, including the increasingly violent socialists, while various nationalist movements threaten to tear away at the borders of the once-vast Empire.France, a stalwart ally of Russia mobilizes to its side as Austrian troops attack Serbia but are initially held at bay, until German reinforcements - committing the Central Powers - along with Bulgarian troops enter Serbia and occupy it, while the remnants of the Serb army flee through Albania and to France where they remain for the latter half of the war. The French army would be held after an initial push into Alsace-Lorraine, capturing the city of Metz as German reserves forced them back to the ironclad line of forts between the two nation’s borders, while the bulk of the German army focused on the Eastern Front.

The war had been going on for a year now, and Germany was in pursuit of a method to break the stalemate; this came in the highly controversial move to sail to the Faroe Islands, considered a Danish administrative site, and use it as a landing platform to deploy the German navy in raiding attacks on the French coast, along with terrifying the French government with the possible threat of a naval invasion by Germany.The initial circumstances of the incident are unknown, but witness reports say that under Admiral Scheer a strike force of a squadron of Dreadnoughts, cruisers and destroyers made anchor around the islands, and an ultimatum was sent to Danish officials in charge of the island. Aside from stirring the potential fires of war against a neutral country, the fact the Danish officials willingly gave up without a fight knowing full well the Royal Navy at Scapa Flow was well in range to intervene has lead to rampant speculation as to how pro-German the Danish navy and military is.Most of what happened on the island itself has been covered up, but speculation implies heavily that bribery and coercion was involved against the Danish government. As a result of this, Germany had a staging ground to enter and exit the Atlantic that saw disaster for the French fleet as it was rendered inert off the coast of Brittanny in what became known as the 'Battle of Biscay'. Even now, in times of peace, Faroe remains a dark stain on Danish history and a topic of conspiracy in British parliament.

1917 - von Spee is leading the East Asia squadron out of Indochina after a successful raid on French merchant ships, attempting to slip south of the Philipines to make for Chile, and hopefully make for neutral grounds, unfortunately for the German ships, the Japanese 1st and 2nd Fleet, refitted after the capture of Tsingtao, and stocked with experimental seaplanes, submarines and torpedeos had caught them in the straits, as the two fleet groups encircled the desperate German ships - Von Spee ordered no quarter given, as a brutal battle resulting in total German losses broke out; though the Squadron managed to sink several Japanese destroyers and damage the IJN Iki, a Russian vessel taken as loot in 1905. However, Von Spee, and all hands for his Squadron went down.
Aside from one ship - the SMS Emden, commanded by Von Muller. The Emden had broken off earlier in 1914 to pursue a pirating campaign around the Pacific. He returned a people's hero in 1918 after the Emden sustained heavy damage off the coast of Argentina by a cruiser squadron sent to hunt the honourable pirate - four long years, Von Muller's lone ship terrorized French and Japanese shipping, and when the Japanese finally caught up, he and his crew were killed by a consistent barrage from Japanese guns.

The French would resist initial German retaliation, holding the line in Verdun, Metz, and other vital fortresses along their border as German infantry backed by sharpshooters would be utilized in attempt to break through weaker points along the defensive line. Notable battles include the Battle for Verdun, Battle of Metz, Battle of Strasbourg, Battle of Mulhouse, Battle of the Seine, Siege of Paris. Ultimately following the defeat of Russia in the east the combined might of the German army, superior numbers and the upheld naval blockade would doom France in the long term. The French government would officially capitulate and surrender to German occupation in 1921, prime minister Georges Clemenceau would sign the surrender with approval from acting president Raymond Poincare who would replace him as prime minister following France’s surrender to be the primary signature of the Treaty of Potsdam representing the Third Republic.

In Italy, things would be no better as the rural Italian army faced against Austro-Hungarian mountain troops in the Alpine territories, as constant fighting in these narrow valleys and snowy mountains would see the development of specialist shock troops dedicated to surprise attacks and rapid, fast-moving infantry units. The Italian army would eventually be forced to deadlock at Isonzo, and would remain there until 1921, where victorious German troops would swarm through the weaker Italian-French border at Savoy and cut off the majority of the Italian army in the north of the country, trapping them in the Alps between the Austrian and German troops. The Italian royal council officially surrendered in late 1921, its army starved and its people drained of war morale. Notable battles on this front include the Battle of Isonzo, Battle of the Piave River, Battle of Savoy, Asiago Offensive of 1918, Istrian Offensive of 1919, and the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. Giovanni Giolitti would sign the surrender of the Italian state, while Victor Emmanuel III met with Wilhelm II as part of the Vienna Agreement, which would later lead into the Treaty of Potsdam in 1922. The lack of any major success would result in satisfaction with the Italian government and shortly after, active nationalist Benito Mussolini would come into power.

Russia, the orthodox brother of Serbia, would march to war in 1914, securing major strongholds all along ancestral Prussia, Galicia and German Poland, seeing initial victories on every major front while the Russian navy saw success in the Baltic, though this would soon turn at Tannenberg where the now feared General von Hindenburg would destroy the better part of the 1st and 2nd armies of Imperial Russia. This shocking defeat would place the Russians on the back foot against Germany, while only small gains could be made through the mountainous Galicia against Austria-Hungary. German troops would advance and take Russian Poland by the end of the year, 1915 seeing the Great Withdrawal, and further defeats along the front as desperate enclaves from the southern Russian troops in Galicia held out. Russia would continue to fight this losing battle until February, 1917, where the world was brought to standstill as revolution took the streets, seeing the fall of Tsarist authority and the rise of a provisional government. The revolution had been to end Russia’s participation in the war, though the following civil war would bring further concern to German authority, as radical socialism tore through Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. The Bolsheviks would eventually be the ones to sign the Brest-Litovsk treaty, cutting Russian participation in the war in 1917 as the increasingly unstable French army would be facing a freshly reinforced German army. Notable battles include, Battle of Tannenberg, Battle of Przemysl, Battle of Warsaw, Battle of Krakow, Battle of Kiev, Battle of Minsk.

Short Summary of Post-War Activites
Clemenceau’s controversial Luxembourg Act would also see France fall out of favour towards the end of the war with Belgium and the United Kingdom, whose guarantee of the low countries almost brought the British into the war. Poincare would oversee the dismantling of French Africa and the reorganization of what became known as Deutsches-Afrika, handing over full colonial authority to German officials, shortly resigning himself due to extreme unpopularity. From there, a string of presidents and prime ministers taking and losing office within a span of days would follow as the Parisian Strikes, or as the Second Revolution in honour of the Bolshevik struggle in Russia, until finally Marcel Deat came to power at the head of the French section of the Workers’ Internationale, or known more commonly as the French Party of Socialist Workers in 1923, and has held the record following the war for the longest government in the country at 393 days. While not outwardly stated, French policy and government has become increasingly disparate as active socialists along with Deat’s own brand of ‘constructive revolutionaries’ struggle to maintain power in parliament against Sebastien Faure’s anarchists, Blum’s socialists, and various fringe conservative and nationalist groups. The south would in 1924 later declare itself in favour of establishing a new government in Montpellier under the leadership of Philippe Petain, the Lion of Verdun. This second government would be initially unopposed as a recent scandal had resulted in German military troops entering Dijon, which had been intended as the primary route for the French national guard, though with the change of tides in the East anything is subject to drastic shift.

Shamed and betrayed by it’s ally, France, Italy would suffer heavily in the post-war years, being pushed to the extreme ideologies as lack of faith in the King has divided the Italian people. Revanchists in the south believe in the recreation of the old kingdom of Two Sicilies known as the True Monarchy Party, or the Veri Monarchici Partito. The VMP would be made up of conservative and liberal ministers who had chosen to break from Gilotti’s Liberal Union, the coalition in parliament soon collapsing following the rise of Mussolini and his Blackshirts. The Fascist Party would soon take charge through brute force and promises of restoration of the glories of old Italy - a promise seen appealing to many of those who eye with unease at the military government currently in place in Venice under the leadership of Wilhelm Groener. Talks of secession from the VMP and the loss of direct administration of Rome through papal influence has forced Mussolini to establish government in Milan, where he now orchestrates an alliance with the French Montpellier government, which seems more cooperative with the fascistic Mussolini than it did with the old liberal coalition. A myriad of other politicians and political parties have also emerged during the few months of peace, convening in Rome as part of a neutral ground that even Il Duce is not able to march on it after he had been made Prime Minister.

Officially the Russian Republic, an ally of Germany, Russia has been divided since 1917 and the civil war between red Bolsheviks and white Tsarist. The civil war which had raged for nearly five years would end with the death of Generals Yudenich and Kornilov, as Denikin would take the majority of the Tsarist faction to the Crimea, capturing elements of the Black Sea fleet along with securing support from the local government. Eventually the Whites would come to control over the Caucasus above the Ottoman treatise line, with a puppet Mountain Republic satisfying the interests of the Sultanate. The Russian Duma, which had been arrested would reform under the leadership of other, minor politicians in the form of a Siberian council, made up of the liberal Kadety Party, an Oktyabritsi formation, and several Kappelvetsy, and Chernosotentsy. These dramatically different parties have turned the Siberian duma into little more than a representative body for a fallen Republic, as true power is divided among the two most militarily capable powers; the Bolshevik Soviet Russia in the west based in Petrograd and Kolchak’s increasingly militant government in Vladivostok. By the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, a majority of Europe views Lenin’s Soviet as the legitimate Russia, while powers like the United States, Japan and other anti-communist bodies view Kolchak as the true ruler of Russia, a spiritual successor to the Tsar in the form of an all-powerful despot. The Soviets fare no better in terms of unity, as different factions, ranging in militancy and pacifism have formed out of the core Bolshevik party which had now been renamed to the Communist Party. Those influenced by the increasingly successful Limerick Soviet in Ireland believe that the best way to total socialist takeover is through organization of the workers over the wartime revolutions of the Great War. These more liberal reformists form a fringe group in the communist regime while more hard-liner politicians such as the burgeoning hero of Tsaritsyn, Joseph Stalin, general-secretary of the communist party. Although even these extremist politicians are not united, as the Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs and famous war hero, Leon Trotsky has held the limelight for some time as a potential candidate for Lenin’s heir, especially for his evocation for the world revolution despite the previous failure of Hungary. The now ill Lenin has been forced to retire from active politics, acting as a hesitant representative for the policies of the new Soviet Council of Internal Matters, or SOVCON. The Communist International gradually grows stronger as industrialization policies and rapid development of a country stuck one hundred years in the past will have to catch up, or be wiped away by history.

At the height of it’s glory, it’s power deemed absolute by matters of war. The German Empire, under Kaiser Wilhelm II of the house of Hohenzollern has secured it’s position in Europe and Africa with the signature of the creation of the Mitteleuropa Organization; an economic union intent on tying all of Europe to the German economic machine which had suffered little during the duration of the war, but a series of agreements with major industrial bodies, both national and international have resulted in large amounts of debt stacking onto the current Ludendorff Cabinet. Ludendorff’s effective rule as dictator of Germany during the War has resulted with the walkout of FVP and SDP ministers, leading Ludendorff to continue his military dictatorship aided by the army, navy, and unopposed by the Kaiser, who is reported to have become increasingly ill and frail. The status of the Kaiser has drawn concern from much of the populace as the lack of ending to rationing and other austerity measures have not been lessened, and the Easter Promises, a bill created following the Kaiser’s speech regarding post-war liberalization and changes made in government, has not put into place. The continued ban of the German Communist Party (KPD), and the encouragement of the development of Freikorps units from retired soldiers finding difficulty finding employment has seen the rise of extreme anti-communist sentiment. Ludendorff would double down on this, opting instead to maintain power around himself as Chancellor rather than reform and reconciliation with the other major politicians and the public. Japanese superiority in the Pacific has been permitted through the deadlock of the admiralty, army command, and colonial officials as Ludendorff attempts to force his own reforms and changes through only to be met by unwilling civil servants, so Germany must either wake it's Kaiser, suffer the boot of Ludendorff's thugs, or seek out the freedom of democracy in this golden age for it may not last long without decision.
 

Arion

ρυт ιт ιитσ ρєяѕρє¢тινє
#2
Where is the US in all of this? I would imagine that the Hun would have still attacked American naval vessels. Why wouldn't they have joined the war?
 

Kerensky

Provisional Government Chairman
#3
Where is the US in all of this? I would imagine that the Hun would have still attacked American naval vessels. Why wouldn't they have joined the war?
The United States sold guns, food and other vital supplies to both sides in the war. With the French navy effectively at the bottom of the sea the Germans could blockade it for the duration of the war which lead to mutinies, dissidence and rampant collapse of infrastructure. The Americans got more profit out of being the neutral party and simply bypassing German blockade through high tariffs (which is in part as to why it's in huge debt in 1925, along with rumored Japanese piracy) Wilson would keep America out of the war as it dragged onto towards the end of his presidency and the Lusitania not being sunk would gurantee the American people having no interest in sailing across the Atlantic to fight a war for a losing France. Wilson's successor, President McAdoo (elected in 1920) would gradually pull America out of any economic involvement but it was too little, too late, which would wind up being this timeline's catalyst for the Great Depression, along with a myriad of other things. The states are currently watching Europe while also worrying about the elections of 24, as I'll be allowing the player to determine who wins in 1924 to set them up for the RP itself. There is also the lack of the Anglo association that the States had with Britain, giving it less of an interest in involving itself in the war.
 

Kerensky

Provisional Government Chairman
#5
I'll likely do this through the forums and bypass the creation of a Discord entirely to avoid inactivity as Discords tend to burn out people quickly or slow down RP, not sure why, but not everyone likes to use Discord. I'll open a proper thread for signup later today for those who are interested, along with a rundown of systems featuring three (3) General Secretary Handbooks
 

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