|First World War|
|Date:||8 February, 1904 - November 11, 1910|
|Location:||Europe, other parts of world|
|Casus belli:||Russian presence in Manchuria; however many other long-term factors.|
|Result:|| Entente victory
The First World War took place in very different circumstances. In our timeline, many nations changed sides, depending on current circumstances, but in the ATL, far more nations had a real grudge against each other and this allowed alliances to form and harden far more quickly, and as a result war broke out in 1905.
As mentioned before, more nations had genuine grievances in ATL. These are summarised in the table below:
|Prussia||Germany||Prussia had suffered due to leaving Germany.|
|Hungary||Germany||War of 1879, when Germany had seized Croatia from Hungary.|
|France||Germany||Germany had become a major rival. (Same as OTL.)|
|Italy||Germany||Germany possession of Venetia. Germany had also seized Libya, considered an Italian sphere of influence.|
|Hungary||Russia||Rivalry in the Balkans. (Same as OTL.)|
|Japan||Russia||Fears of Russian expansion in the East. (Same as OTL.)|
|Russia||Prussia||Polish autonomy in Prussia had caused unrest in Russian Poland.|
Already in 1884, France, Italy, Prussia and Hungary formed the Entente alliance - in all apart from name it was an anti-German pact. In response, Germany and Russia drew closer together.
Britain becomes involved
During all this time, Britain had remained neutral. Germany, however attempted to form an alliance with her, visualising an Alliance of the Three Emperors. The opportunity for this came in 1898, when British and French troops clashed at Fashode in the Sudan. Although in OTL, they managed to avoid war, in the ATL Germany signed a treaty with Britain and the war went ahead. Faced by both British and German troops, France backed down, losing the Sudan to Britain and Gabon to Germany. The Germans had successfully soured French-British relations. Many historians now consider this to be the true start of WW1.
The Powers test their strength
Even before the War of Fashoda, Russia and Hungary had in 1896 tested their strength against each other. This took place in the Romanian-Bulgarian War. Bulgaria, an ally of Russia's (due to Pan-Slavic tendencies) had claimed territories along the Black Sea coast of Romania where large numbers of Bulgarians lived. Unlike the Bulgarians, who were fairly enthusiastic supporters of Russia, the Romanians were wary of both Hungary and Russia, who both had conquered parts of Romania in the parts. They had reluctantly allied with Hungary, who had promised them Russian Romania and given the Romanians in Hungary autonomy.
Despite military aid from their allies, the war soon reached a stalemate. Tensions, however, had dramatically risen. Japan saw that the only way of countering Russian expansionism was to join the Entente, and this was quickly done. All alliances had now been formed and it only remianed for a small inflammatory incident to begin the most violent war the world had ever seen
The War begins
WW1 was triggered when Japan attacked the Russian Pacific Fleet on the 8th of February 1904, after Tsar Nikolai II had naively refused to remove Russian troops from Manchuria. This sparked off a chain reaction, as Germany declared war on Japan and Prussia, France, Hungary and Italy declared war on Germany and Russia. Britain was the last to enter the war, on the side of Germany and Russia.
Although the Imperial alliance was militarily stronger, Germany was not in a good position strategically as she had to fight a war on four fronts. She therefore attempted to dispose of the most powerful, France, by means of the Schlieffen Plan, i.e. encircling Paris before the Prussians could mobilise. However the Prussians mobilised surprisingly quickly and the Germans had to turn back before they could take Paris. It was then that trenches was built extending from the North Sea to the Swiss border.
Meanwhile on the Eastern front, the Hungarians and Prussians made some gains in Russia due to the poorly equiped Russian army. The German army was unable to concentrate its full forces against them due to its preoccupation with France.
Britain were only able to take Calais, due to a very efficient system of coastal defence.