Point of Divergence (1914-1935)
The history of this world is exactly the same as ours, up until June 28, 1914. On this day in our world, Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand. But in this world, The Archduke's limousine took a different route, and never encountered Princip, who died in a conflict with police one month later.
Thus the Victorian-era balance of Europe held all through the 1910s without any incident.
However, in October 1924, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) set off a series of bombs in Dublin, Belfast, London, and York, thus sparked a war for Irish independence. The war finally ended in 1927 with the whole of Ireland being granted independence. This inspired ethnic nationalists across Europe to fight for their own freedom.
In Spain, the Basques, Galicians, Valencians and Catalonians all fought the Spanish government viciously. The war was bloody and violent, and lasted from 1928 until 1933, ending in the ultimate collapse of Spain as a country, with five new nations rising from the ashes: the Kingdom of Castille-y-Leon, the Republic of Galicia, the Republic of Valencia, the Republic of Catalonia, and Euskal Herria (the Basque Country).
Austria-Hungary also suffered a crippling civil war starting in 1932; though after witnessing the horrors of the Spanish War, they chose to come sue for peace and help the Yugoslavs to create the Republic of Yugoslavia in 1934 and granting Hungary significantly higher autonomy.
An odd civil war fought in both Germany and Russia finally resulted in the recreation of Poland in 1932.
Starting in 1930, the Russian Revolution, pushed back by Czar Nicholas II implementing a few reforms to placate the common people and no World War I in Europe, began, but was ultimately beaten back by the Czar's forces, which, without WWI, were still strong. The whole affair ended in 1934, when Czar Nicholas's forces rounded up Trotsky, Stalin, and all the other Bolsheviks (Lenin having died years earlier), and executed them by firing squad. This move was heavily frowned upon in the West.Instead, Marxism would find a new home. In the Great Lakes region, an irredentist movement led by a man named George Templin would unite the polities of the Manitoulin Archipelago together, resulting in an entity called the Confederation of Orbin Isles, or COI ("Orbin" being a corruption of a native word meaning "People of white skin who come across great water in large canoes"). The COI was built on Marxist ideals, with the notable exception that unlike Marx, an atheist, Templin was a devout Christian. Templin also believed that Communism must be the result of a peaceful transition, not a bloody conflict.
The COI finally unified everyone from Lonely Island in the Georgian Bay to Drummond Island, from Great Duck Island in Lake Huron to Clapperton Island in the North Channel, in 1936. Templin was Premier of the Confederation from then until 1948.
Because of Templin's work, Marxism never earned the negative association with Russian despotism and Chinese human rights atrocities; but instead earned an association in the mind of the world with the peaceful, egalitarian Orbins of Manitoulin and the Isles, colloquially called Orb.
Japan stayed largely isolationist until the early 1940s, when they began seeking to unite Asia under their flag. Japan started with Korea; and after a brief war with China, took Manchuria and Taiwan by 1946. In 1949, China, led by a man named something transliterated as Mao Zedong, assembled together and prepared to resist Japanese expansionism.
Mao took influence from Marx, Engles, and Templin. However, he, like Marx, believed that a true Communist state could only be established through violent revolution. He created the People's Republic of China, which controlled the northern, inland half of the country, while the Republic of China controlled the southern coastal portion. The two China's agreed to unite together for the common cause of fighting off Japan, and on March 18, 1952, the PRC and ROC simultaneously declared war on the Empire of Japan.
Japan had superior firepower, but China had a larger military and incredible determination. After massive bloodshed and destruction for both sides, and China taking massive blows, the Chinese finally forced the Japanese out of China. While some called for them to be "fully expelled from the continent", the Chinese allowed Japan to keep Korea, Taiwan, and part of Manchuria, so long as Peking was returned to China. Peace was declared on July 19, 1957. Historians would later say that the Chinese won the Sino-Japanese War "by sheer will."
With no common enemy to fight, the two Chinas quickly returned to fighting each other. The War-of-The-Two-Chinas, as it came to be called, would be fought off-and-on from late 1957 until borders were finally drawn in 1966, bringing an uneasy peace between the two nations.
Pax Occidens (1950-1970)
In the 1950s, after witnessing the success of the Orbins under Templin, United States President Adlai Stevenson, as well as the leaders of Canada and various European nations, began a program to implement various aspects of what was termed "Templinite Marxism."Templinite ideas such as universal healthcare, equal rights for women, and racial integration spread throughout the Occident. However, they were met with resistance in various regions, such as parts of the Southern United States, the Empires of Europe (Germany and Austria), and elsewhere. Eventually, though, the progressives won out.
Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia all transitioned to parliamentary monarchies. By the 1960s, the world had entered an era of peace and economic prosperity, afterward called the Pax Occidens, or "Western peace." During this period, North America, Europe, Russia, and Australia were at peace and cooperated.
Colonial Spring (1971-1979)
The Pax Occidens came to an abrupt end when rebellions across Africa broke out and sparked numerous rebellions in other parts of the world. It all started on December 18, 1970, when a merchant in Tunis, after being harassed by French police, immolated himself in protest. Shortly afterwards, more protests in Tunis, and other cities in Algeria and France's other African colonies broke out. These events inspired people in colonies belonging to Germany, Portugal, Britain, and Belgium to rise up. Violence also broke out in French Indochina.By the end of the decade, much of Africa was sovereign, and the once-great empires of Europe were reeling after several bloody wars that had stretched their militaries fairly thin. Great Britain, however, lost the fewest colonies because of their reformed, egalitarian and overall gentle treatment of native populations, who felt relatively content. The United States actually lost no colonies for the same reason as Britain as well as the fact it granted its colonies a great deal of self-rule already.
On August 22, 1979, the Confederation of Orbin Isles, as well as much of the western world, mourned the death of George Templin. His last words were: "What an age this has been..."
End of the Century (1980-1999)
By the start of the 1980s, the world had managed to put the turbulence of the 1970s behind it, and, with the help of Great Britain, Russia, the United States, and Orb, the People's Republic of China and Republic of China agreed to work toward peaceful cooperation and eventual reunification.
As this was going on, in Japan Japanese and Korean leaders were negotiating a peaceful independence for Korea, on the grounds that it would remain on good terms and conduct trade with Japan.
Germany, meanwhile, was now implementing colonial policies similar to those used by Britain and the USA in hopes of holding on to its remaining colonies by treating them more nicely.
In North America, George Templin Jr. was touring the COI, USA, and Canada, promoting environmental awareness. He made many a rousing speech about the importance of protecting nature. This inspired artists from all three nations, as well as Europe, to paint, sculpt, compose, write about, or in any other way they chose depict nature as well as life among the common folk. This inspired similar movements in Asia, South America, and Africa. Thus began what art historians would refer to as the Second Romantic Era, starting around 1983-84.
This, combined with the increased use of diplomacy and relative peace, earned this period the name Pax Mundi; World Peace.
In 1987, at a conference of the leaders of North America, US President Ed Clark declared: "At long last, mankind's dream of peace has been achieved!"
In 1990, Edward Benson, Premier of the Confederation of Orbin Isles since 1965, retired from office. In his place, Parliament elected Lakemark provincial governor Joshua Riley Premier.
The 1990s would be called "the lazy decade", as nothing of particular historical note took place during that time. However, 1999 was marked with a violent incident at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, United States. Two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, set off several explosives and went on a shooting spree, killing over 30 and injuring nearly a hundred.