Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary is assassinated by a Serb militant, Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo in the Austrian province of Bosnia. Austria presents a number of demands to Serbia, all but one of which is accepted, Austria uses this as an excuse to declare war. Through a network of alliances, Russia, France, Germany and Montenegro are soon involved. Britain says it will only intervene if Belgium is threatened. On the Eastern Front Germany deals several crushing defeats to Russia, but the Austrian armies are outdated and decrepit and the end of 1914 sees Russia on top in Galicia. In Serbia an Austrian army tries to invade but is repulsed by Montenegrin and Serbian forces. On the Western Front German troops initially advance far into France but are eventually halted.
The Western Front remains a stalemate, while on the Eastern Front, despite more setbacks for the Austrian Army, the Germans continue advancing into Russian territory. Italy joins the war on France's side and attacks Austrian Croatia with stunning success and sends 65,000 troops to Serbia. Bulgaria joins the war against Serbia and Bulgarian, German and Austrian troops mass in readiness for an invasion of Serbia in early 1916. In Africa and Asia France conquers Germany's colonies of Kamerun, Togoland and Tanganyika as well as German Samoa.
The strictly neutral Greek government refuses a Bulgarian request for an alliance, in response Bulgaria invades but is halted by a spirited defence of Thessaloniki. The anticipated offensive in Serbia starts on February 1st when Bulgarian, German and Austrian troops invade from the north and east of the country, the Allies abandon most of the country, and German soldiers enter Belgrade on February 28th. The Allies rally in Montenegro and repel an Austrian army, forcing them to retreat to Belgrade. The Allied counter attack begins with an Italian push towards Belgrade. Germany sends an ultimatum to the Romanian government, demanding it become Germany's protectorate, threatening an invasion if the demand is refused. German troops march into Romania and take command of the entire Romanian Army. King Ferdinand sacks the government and a military government nominally under the King takes over. On the Western Front Britain authorises volunteers to fight in France and Germany asks for a truce with France, which is refused.
In Serbia, the Allies mount a huge and successful offensive encircling Belgrade, trapping 500,000 Austrian and Bulgarian soldiers in the city. Using Romanian ports, Germany mounted an amphibious assault on the Crimea, taking the peninsula in a month. In February the Tsar is forced to abdicate and a provisional government takes over in Russia which continues the War. In the Baltic Germany takes Riga and continues to advance north. In the west Germany offer peace to France to break the pointless stalemate on that front. France agrees. In November a Croatian rebel group raise the banned Croatian flag in Zagreb, and proclaim Croatia an independent republic. Similar events occur in Bosnia and Slovenia. In Vienna Emperor Karl abdicates and Austrian armies surrender en masse. With Austria's collapse, Italy's war objective is complete and asks for peace with Germany, Romania and Bulgaria. In the same month the Bolsheviks take power in Russia and end the war with Germany.
All parties of the Great War meet in London, it is agreed upon that Austria Hungary will be dissolved into the Republics of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia and the Kingdom of Hungary. Germany will lose all it's colonies except South West Africa, Italy will get Dalmatia, Romania will get a huge amount of territory from Hungary and Bessarabia from Russia but will lose Dobruja to Bulgaria. Germany will get Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In Belarus the Belarussian National Republic will be established as a German puppet state, Finland will be an independent Kingdom ruled by a German noble, but the Finns reject this, adopt a republican constitution and ally to Britain instead. German occupied Crimea becomes the Republic of Crimea, another German puppet state.
Germany occupies Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, renaming it the province of Ostland with its provincial capital at Riga. German troops occupy Belarus, establishing the Belarusian National Republic and putting Jan Sierada into the Presidential Palace in Minsk. Germany also imposes terms on the republic demanding that its army be limited to 30,000 troops and 20,000 German soldiers will also be stationed in the republic.
Noman Çelebicihan is installed as puppet leader of the new state of Crimea, which the Germans allow a 20,000 man army under the condition that Crimean ports are be open to German ships. This agreement allows the German navy to control the Black Sea.
In Romania the Germans demand control over the country's oil resources, limit the country's army to 40,000 men and station another 25,000 Germans in the country. The military government also would stay in power for the next 10 years. Germany would also control all Romania's foreign relations, diplomacy and defence, Romania would not be allowed to ally with any country other than Germany.
In Finland civil war breaks out between Republican and Monarchist factions supported by Germany against Russian-supported Communists: by May the Republicans were victorious. In Russia similar events had started between the Bolsheviks and Tsarist forces. In the Caucasus Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan declared independence and small numbers of German troops were sent to assist them.
In Hungary, a short lived Communist regime was deposed and the country taken over by authoritarian leader Miklos Horthy.
Germany admits to the world that, after years of war it is almost bankrupt. To cope with this Germany sells the colony of South-West Africa to Britain for hard currency. German aid to the Caucasus republics is also halted and forces stationed in its puppet states are downsized by half.
Germany forces Crimea, Belarus, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria into a new Central European Pact to replace the defunct Central Powers.
In Russia, the Tsarists are defeated by the Bolsheviks, but Britain guarantees the independence of the Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan so the Soviet Union recognises their independence.
German ships blockade Petrograd, demanding that Russia make Ukraine a demilitarised zone for the next 30 years. Lenin agrees and the blockade is lifted.
Irish Free State established in Ireland, Ireland rejects a German offer of alliance. Italy creates The Ionian League, an alternative power bloc to Germany's Central European Pact, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia are the founding members. Austria and Slovenia go to war over a minor territorial dispute, Slovenia loses, causing it to seek membership in the Ionian League. Austria is offered membership of the Central European Pact, but declines.
Greece and Slovenia join the Ionian League, Germany's industrial output is now almost as high as the pre-war years, a campaign directed at getting Volga Germans to settle in Crimea is initiated.
The Soviet Union conquers Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, integrating them into the USSR.
Lenin dies from a stroke brought on by a bullet still present in his body from an assassination attempt years ago. In the interests of diplomacy almost every European country sends condolences for his death. A power struggle emerges between Stalin and Trotsky over leadership of the USSR. In Ottoman held Arabia the British supply Arab tribes with weapons and they revolt against Turkish rule. Anglo-Turkish tensions rise.
Trotsky becomes leader of the USSR, Stalin is sent to be head of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. In Austria the Communist Party stages a coup taking over the country in a week. Seeing its chance, Germany invades Austria to restore the previous government. 214 Austrians and 97 German troops are killed during a two week campaign to establish control over the country. A puppet regime is emplaced and Austria is coerced into joining the Central European Defence Pact.
On a visit to the Turkish Consulate in Tblisi, Stalin is shot by six men in Red Army uniforms on the steps of the bulding. He dies in hospital an hour later. Germany asks the members of the CEDP to ban their country's Communist parties. Within a month the Communist Parties of Belarus, Crimea, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania are all banned. The Bulgarian government refuses the request and is suspended from CEDP.
The Austrian Purges begin: up to 10,000 suspected Austrian Communists are arrested by the German military and Austrian police. President Sierada of Belarus de-legalises all political parties except his own and proclaims himself president for life.
Outraged by British support for Arab rebels, the Ottoman government declares war on the UK. British troops land at Basrah and Kuwait, march into Ottoman Palestine and north into Arabia from Aden. Sanaa falls and Yemen declares independence but under strong British influence. By the end of the year, Britain controls Baghdad and most of Iraq, the whole of Palestine and the Turks abandon Arabia to the Arab rebels. The front line now stretches from Tyre in southern Lebanon to Tikrit in Iraq.
Britain invites Persia and Greece into an anti-Ottoman coalition, eager for a chance to press their claims on the Turks, these nations accept. Persia attacks from the East, while Greeks land at Izmir. However, this attack is quickly stopped but the Greek forces resist attempts to push them into the sea and maintain a beachhead at Izmir.