This timeline is known as either the "Russo-Japanese War expands into an earlier World War one", or "Early World War one" timeline. The Russo-Japanese War was in 1905 between the Russian Empire and the Japanese Empire, which began with the Japanese naval attack on Port Arthur, had its roots in the simultaneous determination of both Japan and Russia to develop 'spheres of influence' in the Far East, mainly at the expense of China. Japan issued a declaration of war on 8 February 1904. However, three hours before Japan's declaration of war was received by the Russian Government, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the Russian Far East Fleet at Port Arthur.
The Dogger Bank Incident is the main point of diversion for this timeline, as in OTL the incident doesn't cause a war between Great Britain & Russia despite a serious diplomatic conflict between Russia and Britain, which was particularly dangerous due to the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. In the aftermath of the event some British newspapers called the Russian fleet 'pirates' and the Russian admiral Zinovi Petrovich Rozhestvenski was heavily criticised for not leaving the British sailors lifeboats. In OTL the incident was settled due to diplomatic pressure on the Russian government, so they agreed to investigate the incident, and Rozhestvenski was ordered to dock in Vigo, Spain, where he left behind those officers considered responsible (as well as at least one officer who had been critical of him). Then on November 25th, 1904, the British and the Russian governments signed a joint agreement in which they agreed to submit the issue to the International Commission of Inquiry at the Hague. The commission completed its report on February 26, 1905, in which it criticized Admiral Rozhestvenski for his decision to fire upon the British ships. The fishermen eventually received £66,000 from Russia in compensation and the matter was solved in a diplomatic way.
The British were bound by the Anglo-Japanese Alliance to aid Japan, and technically as Article 3 of the alliance states:
- "If in the above event, any other Power or Powers should join in hostilities against that ally, the other High Contracting Party will come to its assistance, and will conduct war in common, and will make peace in mutual agreement with it."
Since Russia and Montenegro both declared war on Japan, the British should of joined in technically anyway, however Montenegro probably wasn't considered as a power; as in OTL this article of the treaty stopped France joining the war on Russia's side.
However this alternative history gives a glimpse of what could of happened if instead of the incident being solved in a diplomatic way, what if the Russian government ordered the fleet to keep going to help the worsening situation in the Russo-Japanese War. What if they didn't comply with the British government's demands? War breaking out between Britain and Russia over the Dogger Bank Incident, would greatly change the outcome of the Russo-Japanese War, and probably allow Japan to gain even more from this war than they did in OTL.
Now in this timeline, the British do join the war on Japan's side in order to help Japan, to avenge the British fishermen killed in the Dogger Bank incident, to weaken Russian Imperial power and defend British interests in Persia & India.
Now combine a larger-scale Russo-Japanese War, with Britain on Japan's side against Russia with the slowly increasing tension in Europe due to the Triple Alliance being created in 1882 & the Franco-Russian Alliance signed in 1892. The expanded Russo-Japanese War in this timeline allows the theoretical dominoes of alliances in Europe to fall into place like they did in OTL's First World War, and causes an Earlier World War I.
Other important events happened after the 21st of October 1904, including Charles Edward Magoon dying of Yellow Fever during his role as the Governor of Panama Canal Zone; meaning that the more imperialistic Henry E. Burnham is installed as Provisional Governor of Cuba during the US intervention in Cuba after the 1906 rebellion in Cuba. This more imperialistic intervention causes more US government officials to want the United States to expand across the Americas.
And another minor POD is Leon Trotsky catching a cold the day before the raid on the St.Petersburg Soviet on December 3rd 1905, and was bed resting at the time of the raid. All of the major leaders in the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party where convicted thanks to this raid, except Trotsky and Lenin in this timeline, and this leads to Trotsky becoming the main leader of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, after eventually overtaking Lenin's popularity thanks to Trotsky's plans for a socialist revolution in the next 2 years or so.
Below is a table showing the timeline with it split into sections depending on the current period, for example the World War I period, the Aviation period, etc. As well as the timeline itself, there are also links to various pages containing more information about the timeline as a whole, such as nation profiles and the images used in the timeline.