This timeline is intended to be rather boring, as in no massive second World War.
Point of Divergence
A planned meeting in Silesia between the Kaiser and his staff scheduled for January 4, 1917 is postponed due to the illness of the Kaiser. (Wilhelm had also wished to postpone the discussion on the admiralty's memo on unrestricted submarine warfare.)
In late January 1917, the German ambassador to the United States cabled the German foreign minister:
[Colonel] House suddenly invited me to visit him ... If only we had confidence in him, the president was convinced that he would be able to bring about peace conferences. He would be particularly pleased if Your Excellency were at the same time to declare that we are prepared to enter peace conference on the basis of his appeal ... If the U-boat campaign is opened now without further ado, the president will regard this as a smack in the face and war with the United States will be inevitable ... On the other hand, if we acquiesce in Wilson's proposal and plans come to grief on the stubbornness of our enemies, it would be very hard for the president to come into the war against us even if by that time we begin unrestricted submarine war. It is only a matter of postponing the declaration for a little while ... I am of the opinion that we shall obtain a better peace now by means of conferences, than we should if the United States joins the ranks of our enemies.
It is quite likely that Colonel House expected Germany to vacillate or refuse as both sides had done earlier in December 1916, and that the USA would enter the war on the side of the Entente. It is also quite likely that Count von Bernstorff, overstated the tone of the conversation, unaware of House's private discussions with Sir Edward Grey. This is the general consensus among modern historians. von Bernstorff opposed the unrestricted U-boat campaign.
Nonetheless, the German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweig is informed of this message. The Chancellor, who had generally opposed unrestricted submarine warfare also as too risky a gamble was able to convince the Kaiser to delay its resumption, despite vehement demands from the Admiralty and General Staff, at least until March and to accept Wilson's mediation proposal, echoing the German Ambassador's argument, that only if the United States remains neutral Germany can prevail. Bethmann-Hollweig is hopeful the Entente will refuse Wilson's offer out of hand, giving Germany the justification to resume the U-boat campaign. The general staff and admiralty bitterly oppose the chancellor who agrees to withdraw his opposition if the Entente refuses Wilson's offer.
The chancellor on behalf of Germany publicly accepts Wilson's December, 1916 offer to mediate unconditionally. (To the surprise and dismay of House, and Secretary of State Lansing.) American President Woodrow Wilson who renews the offers to mediate peace between the warring European powers, inviting all to Washington, or offering to come to Europe. Britain and France refuse, believing a German ruse. The American Congress adjourns and Wilson is now more committed to keeping the United States out of the war, despite the effect on the American economy of the lack of trade with both sides in Europe, and especially Britain. Germany resumes unrestricted submarine warfare in May, 1917, well after the adjournment of hte American Congress. American and neutral shipping largely remain idle in port. By November, 1917 an average 500,000 tons of shipping is sunk each month by U-Boats, and England and France run out of credit in the American markets.
In December, 1917, American President Wilson announces his Ten Point Peace Plan in a speech to the America Congress. After formally concluding peace with Russia and Romania in early 1918, and following the mutinies of the French armies in late 1917, Germany plans a massive offensive in the West in the spring of 1918, after freeing up significant manpower from the Eastern front. (However, Germany is also compelled to assist Turkey in the Arabian peninsula and to garrison Ukraine.) The offensive succeeds in critically reducing the morale of the French and British. Combined with the deteriorating domestic situation for Britain after the loss of American trade and unrestricted submarine warfare, Britain on behalf of herself and her ally France, communicate with Wilson with the object of seeking an armistice based on the "Ten Points." During Winter, 1918 riots and strikes have broken out in various British cities, and in April 1918 shortly after the announcement of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, a "Soviet" is declared in Glasgow, Scotland, and in several other British cities. In May, 1918, strikes sweep Britain, France, but also war-weary Germany and her ally Austria-Hungary. France with tacit understanding of Britain, communicates directly with Germany and requests an armistice. Germany agrees, on condition Britain lift its naval blockade. A commune in Paris is proclaimed. The French Soviet Republic is declared, but the commune is suppressed by the French Army.
In late July an armistice is signed. In July, in the middle of the Russian civil war, the Czar and his family are murdered near Ekaterinburg, as the "Czech Legion" moves westward through Russia. Germany and the United States begin supplying arms to the "White Russian" armies. Britain will soon follow suit, as the governments of Britain, France, and Germany see a great menace in Bolshevism. The Czech Legion engages in combat with the Bolshevik "Red Army," and for a time is the strongest non Bolshevik army in Russia. It will form the basis for the Czechoslovak National Army, and its existence as a fighting force, will contribute to the ultimate dismemberment of Austria-Hungary. In secret negotiations, Germany had sought the assistance of the Czech legion on the Western Front, providing vague guarantees of support for a Czech and Slovak state, despite its original purpose in fighting Austria-Hungary. Similar promises were made to Poland, and a Polish force under Marshal Pilsudski provided a considerable and welcome force in the German spring offensive. Marshall Pilsudski had supported Germany and Austria-Hungary against the Russians. While hoping for an Entente victory against the Central Powers after the defeat of Russia, he was not willing to gamble when that outcome appeared to favor the Central Powers. Pilsudski pledged direct Polish assistance on the Western Front, but only under the Polish flag, and only after a Polish government was established and with specific guarantees of an independent Polish state. Pilsudski agreed to an elective monarchy. "With the Germans we lose our land, with the Russians we lose our souls."
Germany, having previously accepted Wilson's mediation offer, cannot decline now, although Germany does not trust Wilson. Germany, facing serious domestic difficulties as well, agrees to a peace conference at Wilson's invitation. Peace negotiations are to take place in New York, USA. Germany's foreboding proves accurate as the USA welcomes separate Hungarian and Czech delegation, over the protests of Austria and Germany, and a separate Polish delegation. This portends the future break up of Austria-Hungary, but comes with the recognition of Polish independence by the Americans.
Despite this, the peace negotiations result in territorial and economic concessions in Africa and Asia by France, a new guarantee of Belgian neutrality, and a demilitarized zone along France's frontier with Germany. Germany insists upon a "condominium" with Belgium over the Congo, which will eventually result in transfer of the colony to Germany in 1925. Germany is held to her commitment at the commencement of hostilities to compensate Belgium for damages to property, to which Germany agrees. Britain, although weakened, still has command of the seas and is able to bargain successfully at the conference.
Wilhelm, as now the most conservative monarch in Europe, proudly claims victory but, ironically encourages a relatively moderate peace with Britain, declines to demand much in the way of territorial acquisition in Europe, much to the dismay of his conservative supporters and sees the preservation of monarchy in Europe, and stemming the spread of Bolshevism, as an overarching goal. France, is subject to the loss of portions of French Central Africa, creating for Germany a "Middle African Empire." This leads to a great deal of scorn in the German press, "Two million Germans for one million Africans ..."
Wilson's ideal of a "League of Nations" is given weak support by Germany, and Wilson experiences domestic opposition within his own party. Although a League is formed as part of the ancillary New York Accord, it exists on paper only/
Founding of the EEC
In 1919 Germany forms the European Economic Community (Europäische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft) This is initially an expansion of the original Prussian Zollverein adding Austria-Hungary, and the newly created countries of the Baltic State, Belarus, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, and the Ukraine. This becomes a free trade zone in Central Europe, leading to significant development of Poland and the Baltics.
Second Congress of Berlin
In 1922 The Second Congress of Berlin was convened upon the imminent collapse of Austria-Hungary after the sudden and untimely death of Karl I. It resulted in the affirmation of the borders of states created from the former Russian Empire, and the ratification of the dissolution of Austria-Hungary which had been only loosely held together by the uncertainty after the war and the force of German arms.
German Emperor, Wilhelm II insisted upon restoration of the heir of his friend Franz Ferdinand to Austrian thrones, and was reticent regarding a formal union between "Austria" and Germany. Wilhelm II was reluctant to add a large Catholic population to the Empire, and more importantly diluting the influence of Prussia against the South German states, nor did the Empress Zita as Otto's regent wish to recognize the Hohenzollern dynasty as "Großdeutscher" emperor over the Hapsburg dynasty, hence negotiations failed on the topic of bringing Austria proper into the German Empire, and ultimately the Austrian Empire survived under Otto, rather than Franz Ferdinand's heir. Wilhelm was also reluctant to bring non-Germans into the Empire, (Polish nationalism in Posen only worsened with the creation of the Kingdom of Poland) despite otherwise cordial relations with the Czechs, after the Great War. Former Austro-Hungarian Admiral Horthy becomes regent in Hungary due to minority of Karl's son Otto, the heir presumptive to the Crown of St Stephen. His regency would last until his death in 1957. The Austrian Empire was reduced to the German speaking lands of the former Empire, the Austrian Littoral, and the Southern Slav states "Yugoslavia" a union of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. This state was in a quasi-personal union with Austria; "The Austrian Empire and the States of the Southern Slavs." or "Austria-Yugoslavia" in the press, although never officially. The "Czechoslovak" state, became a republic. Germany had more or less guaranteed support for a Czechoslovak state, while negotiating for support from the Czech legion.
Post Great War Timeline
1919 New York Peace Accords. League of Nations founded, but without membership of the United States and Germany, is unable to function.
1919-1932. Russian Civil War. Kolchak unites several "White Armies" and emerges as Supreme Warlord of the Russians. Josef Stalin establishes an independent state in the Caucasus. Other warlords assume power in former parts of the Russian Empire and create independent or semi-independent states, including parts of Siberia and Mongolia.
1919 Establishment of economic bloc in Central Europe
1920s United States joins the League of Nations. Relative prosperity in Central Europe and USA, offset by political instability in France and Russia, leads to economic dislocation caused by cost of war and debts from war. Britain and France struggle to repay American loans and absorb Russian losses. Over extension of American credit to Europe, and to a lesser degree, German credit in Europe causes crises in the Frankfurt, London and New York financial markets. Margin buying on the New York Stock Exchange leads to collapse of several large banks, triggering similar collapse in France, followed by Britain. Crisis in the French franc and the USA dollar followed by the German mark, which was guaranteeing the Polish and Baltic currencies. American stock collapse, similar events in London and then Frankfurt, triggers worldwide depression. Integrated economy of the EEC suffers from drop in trade with USA and France.
1930s Germany joins the League of Nations. Rise of Imperial Japan, Rise of Fascism in Spain, France and Russia. Japan begins gradual expansion into China. Siberia signs a non-aggression pact with Japan. World economic conditions begin to improve. The beginning of Great Pacific War Germany, technically still at war with Japan since 1914, supplies arms and advisors to the Chinese Republic. France, although filled with no less revanche is hesitant to risk war with Germany, without a guarantee of English support combined with the relative security of Germany's eastern frontier and overall weakness of Russia.
1940s The Great Pacific War expands; Co-ordinated Japanese attacks on American and British possessions extend war the UK and the USA. France acquiesces to Japanese occupation of Indochina, leading to tensions in Europe. This leads to German and French re-armament, but outright hostilities do not open. The Kaiser's grandson is killed in a airplane crash in France. Germany suspects French extremists, but the evidence is inconclusive. America emerges as a super power.
1950s Louis-Ferdinand era in Germany, rapprochement between Germany and France. "Dreikaiser" (Louis-Ferdinand, Otto, and former US President Thomas) initiatives to further integrate Europe economically and politically, expand the EEC into the European Commonwealth, and to expand the role of the League of Nations, and integrate United States more thoroughly in international community. Colonial policy in Africa however, is unaffected, leading to greater independence movements. The Pan-African movement gains momentum, with tacit support of the United States. Multiple appeals and resolutions by the League of Nations attempt to ameliorate the situation. Several African states admitted to membership. Third Congress of Berlin to address colonial situation in Africa. This is supplanted quickly by League of Nations sponsored Baltimore and Boston Compacts.
1960s International Space Organization is formed. First mission to the moon. Significant cultural changes, "rebellion" or "backlash" against "conservatism" of the 1950s and 1960s. Independence movements gain momentum in African colonies leading to widespread warfare. Americans begin to provide "moral" support African independence movements. "Cultural rebellion" becomes anti-war. Rise of "boheme" movements in Europe and ("bomees") America.