This Alternate history starts with when Napoleon III, Emperor of the Second French Empire, does not rise to the bait of Otto Von Bismarck and the Prussians. Instead he waits another one and a half years to repopulate the depleted french army and to send diplomats to Russia, Austria, and Italy (who they recently liberated from Austria). The Ambassadors to Austria and Russia. deliberated a deal where Russia would not intervene as long as Prussia was the aggressor. The ambassador to Italy made a grave error and insulted the new republic of Italy. During this deliberation a German prince inherited the throne of Spain to the anger of France.
Dec. 2nd, 1872 (Biggest effect of POD)- Prussia was running low on supplies and coffers were being pulled from at dizzying rates. Forced by his allies Otto Von Bismarck Invades France and the Franco-Prussian War begins.
Dec. 10th, 1872- The Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Prussia and the kingdoms of Bavaria, Hesse, Wurttemberg, and Baden decide to remain out of the ill-favored war.
Dec. 12th, 1872- Prussia alone in a war against Austria-Hungary and France makes an error and splits its armies to confront their enemies in the east and west.
June 7th, 1874- The siege of Berlin is concluded by the Treaty of Berlin. This is the last of only three major battles in the Franco-Prussian War.The terms of the Treaty of Berlin are as follows: Prussia will cede Austrian land that it won in the Austro-Prussian War, Prussia will cede large portions of its lands to Saxony, Bavaria, Hesse, Wurttemberg, Baden, and several other lesser lords that are independent of Prussian rule, and a stifling war reparations that made Prussia one of the poorest states in Germany. (Austria expected more from the peace talk which pushes them away from France and toward Bavaria.)
Jan. 3rd, 1875- Bavarian King Ludwig II Wilhelm speaks to an assembly of leaders from around Germany. While thought of as somewhat of a dreamer he is now the most powerful man in Germany. His scolds the childishness of the prussian leadership and warns others of what happens when Germany gets to sure of itself. He then calls for a Unification of Germany without the chains of medieval lordship. Scared by the looming French threat the other kings and princes agree. Although King Ludwig II Wilhelm supported a different, candidate King Wilhelm was elected the new Kaiser who chose the diplomatically savvy Otto Von Bismarck to be his Chancellor. Their rule set up a glorious empire that began the process of centralization from the new capital of Germany Munich. Which was widely supported by the German people (partially because of the great works of Kaiser Ludwig II Wilhelm who built marvelous buildings across the lands with his own personal wealth. Kaiser Ludwig II also secured the support of the recently established Italy, Austria and Spain (who is ruled by a relative of Ludwig II).
The Rising Storm (1875-1914)
Ludwig II had a long reign from 1875 to the August of 1890. He was preceded by his younger brother Otto Wilhelm. Who was mentally ill and Luitpold von Bayern of house Wittelsbach was elected as the Prince Regent. Luitpold reigned until 1912 (age 91) when he died.
Without a acceptable regent the German people wanted a new Kaiser. The next year the Throne of Germany passed to Ludwig III Alfried who was the son of the popular regent Luitpold. Kaiser Ludwig III Alfried was a conservative ruler who was quite aware of the great impending storm. At the urging of his military advisors he modernized the army and dug hundreds of miles of defenses around the German emperor.
(AUTHOR'S SIDE NOTE- It is important to be aware that during this timeline Helmuth von Multke, and Von Schlieffen were both never promoted because of their failure during the Franco-Prussian War. Because of this the Von Schlieffen Plan was never created. Ludwig II hired newer more adaptable generals and the German military enjoyed the ability to adapt to the new era of warfare. This would allow them to keep up with the British and French armies.)
In France the success in the Franco-Prussian War reinforced the waning power of the Empire. They remained the Second French Empire until the Great War. The Emperor when the war erupted was Louis-Napoleon III's son Eugene Napoleon IV whose reign started in the year 1881 at the age 25 reigning until 1929 (at the age of 75).
Without the French opposition in the year 1872 (which was blocked by the French in our timeline) the new king of Spain was Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. The new king set up strong Spanish-German ties in mutual defense against French aggression. Leopold died in the year 1905 and his son William Hohenzollern-Sigmarignen becomes the next King of Spain at the age of 41 and his reign would last until 1927.
Italy, much like the in our timeline, was ruled by Vittorio Emanuele III until the Republic of Italy broken apart in the year 1942. The power of the Monarch was never very strong but Vittorio Emanuele was genuinely loved by his people we was called Il Re Soldato (the Soldier King). In this timeline he followed through with his alliance to the Central Powers because of the more negative view of the French Empire.
Serbian and Austrian tensions rose just as in our timeline that culminated in a powder-keg that was set to explode just as our World War 1 did. With three major exceptions; the authoritarian German sympathizing Spain, a slighted Italy that feared French power, and a modernized Germany that had more manpower and better allies than in our timeline.
The Great War
In this timeline what we call the first world war starts the exact same way. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is shot by Gavrilo Princip in the street of Sarajevo on June 28th of 1914. His death caused Austria-Hungary to give a war declaration one month later to Serbia. In response Russia declared war on Austria, Germany declared war on Russia, France declared war on Germany, Spain and Italy declared war on France. All within a week almost the whole of Europe was locked in a war. The fighting was trench warfare and little to no movement.