The Great War in 1905
by D Fowler
WW I in 1905, Part V - Unsteady Peace
The war aims of each nation had been somewhat unclear. This had all begun over Morocco, but France wanted Alsace and Lorraine. After much debate, it was deemed that these latter two would be French once more.
However, as 1909 wore on, it appeared that many peculiar factors needed to be figured into the equation. First of all, France had actually made the first declaration of war, and staged the first offensive, though the Germans provoked it. Two former allies of the victors were totally out of the war, and had suffered internal revolutions. Austria was in danger of breaking apart, and as the year wore on one could sense the old empire fragmenting.
And then, there was Italy, which had earned enough ire to be branded "the Nation of Turncoats" by Germans and Austrians, and which even Prime Minister Asquith of Britain termed "a nation with a fitting shape, for it jumps around like a premier ballerina." The Italians, for their part, defended their actions as "merely attempts to get all the colonies we could."
It was then that President Roosevelt, in The Hague (a neutral nation was used to lessen German animosity), loudly issued his famous speech. "It is against the rules for a country to be on both sides in the same war," he began. One could sense that the Italians would be called upon to give up something. Roosevelt chose to let an associate, Professor Woodrow Wilson, one of the leading thinkers in the Democratic Party, deliver what seemed the fairest idea of all. "Any nations which Italy attempted to conquer are hereby independent of any European colonization."
The British loved this notion, for the new nations of Tripoli (our Libya plus the northern, Muslim haf of Chad), Tunisia, and Chad would clearly soon fall under their economic domain, though not their political empire. Britain also claimed all of Germany’s African colonies. The parts of Algeria which had been taken by Italy were given back to France, but there was considerable sentiment to give the Germans some part of Morocco, since the French had attacked first. This nearly caused the French to walk out of the convention, so a compromise proved necessary. They didn’t want to give up *that* much land, and other European nations disliked letting too many colonies gain independence.
Finally, after much haggling, Morocco was given to the Dutch. Dutch authorities were somewhat miffed by Asquith’s comparison of the lesser power to "a good little boy who stands peaeefully by while the ruffians fight amongst themselves," but they received a colony on a continent where they had had none for a century. Asquith, for his part, defending his condescion as "a comeback for a Dutchman suggesting that the colony be given to Ireland."
The U.S. also hammered out a deal wherein Poland would become independent, encompassing some German land but mostly containing all Polish land occupied by Russia and Austria. There would be no Polish Corridor as Poles had desired, but they were at least not landlocked. Duma leaders were a little unhappy about the Polish state created out of Russian terrotiry, but a Polish buffer state had been one of their war aims, and this did eliminate a major headache for Russia. Finland would be hard enough for Russia to retain.
Germany, however, was spared major economic reparations, as the "Europe First" party in France was more than satisfied having gotten back the territories lost in the Franco-Prussian War. Not getting any additional colonies, and losing some of their own - well, that was the price voters paid for electing them. The French got a little bit of money out of it, but the sum was quite modest. Italy had to pay France for the loss of its colonies to independence, and also the Ottomans for the loss of some of their land.
By Christmas, 1909, all nations had agreed to the Peace Treaty. One could tell, however,t hat it was a somewhat uneasy peace.
Russia is stabilized under a constitutional monarchy, though the czar retains some minor veto power. Britain’s model is used for this system. Communist elements still cause some problems, but with Lenin still in London, and the British monitoring him to ensure he doesn’t leave and foment rebellion in Russia, the Communists are without their biggest leader, and can’t get very far with the masses.
Taft is chosen as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Though Charles Fairbanks is Roosevelt’s VP, Charles Hughes is seen as the most likely successor to TR in the Republican Party.
Lenin finally makes it to Switzerland, but the war ended quickly enough that he is unable to consider going to Russia, and nobody will let him through. However, several small states do splinter off and rebel, with Russian forces forced to battle them for years.
Kaiser Wilhelm, since there is no limitation on military buildups, begins one. His objective this time is not yet the west, but Austria. He invites the Emperor of the declining nation to join his Austrian portion with Germany "in an effective union to be completed upon your death." In legal terms, the Habsburgs retain a life estate in Austria and major parts of Czechoslavakia,, with the remainder to Germany. Hungary would then become independent and have to deal with the other ethnic groups on their own. Wilhelm would someday like to take on Italy and, once more, France to recreate Charlemagne’s empire.
In the U.S., Roosevelt’s Progressive faction of the Republican Party pushes through a watered down version of Roosevelt’s national health care and social security system. Though TR wishes he could have gotten more of his agenda passed, he is satisfied that at least some of it will go into effect. Late in the year, he announces his intent to retire from public office after the election of 1912.
Lithuania, which had been taken by Germany during the war, is finally crushed by the Russians, who face similar independence movements in Finland, the Ukraine, and the Caucasus. The latter two are believed to be supported by Turkey. There is concern that war will break out, though the Duma is not in a mood to wage war to get the Bosphorus. Czar Mikhail does finally reach a treaty with Britain over their Middle East differences.
Charles Hughes wins election over Woodrow Wilson, a "compromise candidate" who, according to some experts, "was at the Hague two years too early, and his efforts in winning the peace were not present in the minds of most Americans by the time the election rolled around."
The League of Nations proposed by Wilson gathers steam, as most independent nations are members, including the U.S.
WWI in 1905, Part VI: Et Tu, Trotsky?
Ethnic Armenians had been among several small groups rebelling in Russia in 1910, a revolt whose organizers found a seeming ally who turned on them in the end.
Joseph Stalin saw the chance to create for himself a major personality cult by rising to the top of the rebels involved in the Armenian independence struggle, if only they would turn to Communism, which they loved at first, because Stalin emphasized how they would be "liberated." Dissatisfied that the Red revolt hadn’t totally succeeded in 1910 - though Mensheviks did occupy quite a few seats in the more powerful Duma - Stalin chose to take his Bolshevik philsophy down to some people who desparately sough freedom from the "imperalist Russians" - not to mention trying to infiltrate those rebelling against the Turks, though that civil war was such a mess he practically had to take a number. Stalin’s incursion into the Caucasus would do two things, he hoped - it would increase public opinion of Bolsheviks as "freddom fighters," and it would cause Russian workers to revolt. It wound up only making a dent in the first, and did nothing to aid in the second cause.
Lenin and Trotsky were of two minds as 1913 dawned, and Lenin snuck across Italy in an effort, he hoped, to get into Russia via the Adriatic and Mediterranean, then through Turkey. He’d already obtained Turkish permission to enter Armenia, under the guise of helping to set up a "buffer state" between Turkey and their traditional enemy, Russia. With the problems Ataturk was having with his republican government during the civil war there, he knew it would be dangerous, but he was also a hunted man in some circles, and what better way to elude capture than go through a no man’s land? Who would dare pursue him?
Lenin believed now was an opportune time to foment rebellion in Russia. They’d had two revolts in just over five years, and life in Russia still was not happy. As a member of the Bolsheviks, he favored instant rebellion.
Trotsky, OTOH, had returned to Russia from abroad during the uprising that saw Nicholas abdicate and a much stronger Duma established. He’d taken part in some of the latter demonstrations, but by the time he’d gotten there, much of the constitutional monarchy was in place. He felt that the small number of Mensheviks who sat in the Duma were satisfactory for now, because Russia, a backward nation, was probably not ready for a full-scale "workers’ revolution" yet. Indeed, he much preferred the thought of travelling to Germany or France should war break out again.
March, 1913 came around, and Lenin arrived in Armenia. He was greeted somewhat coolly by Stalin, who enjoyed the thoughts of being able to run the entire show himself; he’d already gotten rid of the heads of a number of revolutionary units, and had begun to organize Armenian, Georgian, and other peasants into one cohesive unit. Stalin came up to Moscow with Lenin, however, both in disguise, to see if Lenin could manage to muster a major revolution with his great oratory.
As for Trotsky, he was torn. He wished to help his comrade, Lenin, but he also knew that he was slowly gaining prestige as a reform leader. He’d tried to be a bridge builder between the two factions, but knew it was impossible if Lenin tried to foment immediate revolt. "If you try to attack now," he warned Lenin, "the authorities will hunt you down. We are starting to make progress, but you mustn’t hurry things."
Lenin scoffed at him, though, proclaiming that according to Marx, it should have begun decades ago, and that Russian workers were as ready as anyone to rebel.
So it was that in March, 1913 - interestingly, as one Communist leader noted, on the very Ides of March - Lenin arrived before an incredible throng of people and cried out for them to unite to overthrow the government. His incredible oratory lasted for about five minutes...and then shots rang out.
Lenin slumped to the ground as Russian soldiers ran to him to ensure he was dead. As others forced the crowd to scatter, several men rushed up to Lenin. Among them was Leon Trotsky. "I tried to warn you, Nikolai Ilyich," came the somewhat somber whisper of the man. Lenin gasped, as if ready to say something, then expired. The more romantic reported he’d said "et tu, Trotsky?"
The interesting part of the murder came days later, when Menshevik forces began to circulate rumors that Stalin had been involved in the murder of Lenin to hog glory for himself, as he had slowly been rising to the head of the Bolshevik movement, thanks to his effective - though brutal - leadership in the Caucasus War. The rebels were winning, though partly because Russian forces concentrated more on corralling the vital Ukraine and its vast farmland.
Bolsheviks, in turn, challenged Trotsky to explain his actions vis a vis Lenin’s death, and why he was so willing to be out in the open following it, rather than in hiding from a government which they claimed murdered Lenin. Indeed, several Bolshevik leaders called Trotsky a "second Brutus, a second Judas Iscariot," who had sold out the cause.
Whether either was involved, or whether it was government troops acting to silence a dangerous man, or merely a lone assassin as some claim, is forever blurred by history. The murder of Lenin is a fascinating topic among history buffs, and so many ocnspiracy theories exist that it dwarfs all other political murders in terms of theories about it.
What is know is that within weeks, Russia had to endure not only a full-scale war between their countrymen and rebels in the south, they had to endure a mini-war between sides in the Communist Party. Without their unifier in Lenin, the Bolsheviks had problems. With Trotsky under suspicion by Bolsheviks, he could not unite the two factions the way he’d hoped.
However, in August of 1913, several important things occur. Russia, weary of war, afraid of another revolt if they kept shelling out money for the military, granted independence to Finland, which had also had some rebellion, and Caucasus. The Ukraine had been brought back under control, luckily.
The second important thing is how Stalin was viewed among ethnic non-Russians; as a liberator. He had won this battle through incredible tenacity. And, what had Trotsky done? He’d acquired a seat in the Duma and done little outside of pushing legislation forward. Yes, it is hard for a young politician to accomplish a lot, and yes, advances were being made, and yes, Trotsky could be Prime Minister someday, but among Communists, Stalin’s independence movement spelled one thing - he was much more a champion of Communism.
The rest of the world didn’t pay much attention to "that little dictator" in Caucasus. He ruled only the area from the Turkish and Persian-Russian borders north to the port city of Krasnodar, which Stalin had renamed Stalinodar. The area wasn’t that big, they would say.
Ah, but it had oil, lots and lots of oil. And, starting with intervention in the Turkish civil war, Stalin would grow to be a major thorn in the side of the rest of the world.
Part VII: Where There’s A Will...
The London Times’ headline of Feb. 9, 1916 screamed "Where There’s A Will, There’s A War." Agatha Christie would one day be inspired by events to write a murder mystery with some of the same intrigue, where Hercule Poirot prevents a war by solving the murder of a Dutch nobleman and regent and preventing the murder of a young King.
This was not a murder mystery, but it was close. The death of the emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, which he, Francis Joseph, knew would lead to civil strife, led to a will wherein he left the remnant of the Hapsburg Empire to the Kaiser, with Charles a mere vassal, much like the ruler of Bavaria or some other German state.
Charles, of course, did not like this, and soon found his nation at war with Germany over a German invasion of Austria. However, his nation proved to be most unfit to fight, as the Germans had been building up their military for several years, to recoup the losses suffered in World War One. By mid-summer, he’d ceded Austria, western Czech regions [OTL’s Czech Republic], and bits of OTL’s Yugoslavia, with the rest remaining Hungarian. "Now, I only have half the ethnic squabbles and headaches," he told an aide soon afterward.
This has interesting ramifications for the rest of the world.
First, American voters, having witnessed not only the Russian Civil War - and a near war with Turkey over their support of rebels at one point - and now the battles between monarchs, became more and more enamored of isolationism, and of staying out of foreign affairs. The image of Teddy Roosevelt was not as strong as in 1912, and so President Hughes faced a major problem winning re-election.
Democrats, sensing this, wisely stayed away from Woodrow Wilson, whose very rpesence at the Hague peace conference spelled disaster if they were to run him. William Jennings Bryan was brought up ("even he couldn’t lose this time," one delegate proclaimed of the three-time loser), as was Champ Clark and William McAdoo. James Cox of Ohio was also considered. House Speaker Champ Clark, though rather old, would go on to win the election in November.
France and Britain, united in the First World War and for a time before in colonial matters and in areas such as the Crimean War, have a difference of opinion over Germany. While it didn’t create a major rift, it was enough of one that a more opportunistic nation could have taken advantage; as Germany would later.
What happens to create this rift is that France, mostly concerned with preventing another Bismarckian move like the Franco-Prussian War, bends over bakcwards to be nice to the Germans, supporting them in their war against Austria and their annexation. They are way too jittery to allow Germany to have any excuse to fight them and re-retake Alsace and Lorraine.
Britain, meanwhile, is very concerned about the growing German military. The Kaiser is attacking a former ally, it is true, but their policy in Britain has long been to prevent one nation from gaining control of all of Europe. Trying to maintain a balance of power, Britain quickly signs a treaty of friendship with Charles I of Austria, while warning Germany to stay away from lands which are not German. The Kaiser, not wishing to risk war with Britain yet, complies.
As 1917 rolls along, the enlarged Germany considers its next move. The Kaiser begins to consider specific war aims for his next attacks, which he believes should be against Italy. His desire to re-create Charlemegne’s empire fascinates some on the romantic level, but it scares the heck out of the British. The French, meanwhile, have merely beefed up their defense, and they plan to play a waiting game - wait until the Kaiser is out of power and a more sensitive man, without battleship envy, without a desire to be the dominant nation on the Earth, is the German head of state.
In Russia, meanwhile, the fallout from the murder of Lenin is complete. Many hard-line Communists have been either exiled to Siberia, killed, or escaped to Caucasus, where Stalin has purged many of those who don’t fall in line with him. The Mensheviks no longer are a legal party, either, and so reform exists in Russia, but it moves slowly without the threat of Communist revolts. Those who are Communist and wish to keep their standing in the nation are either former fence-sitters between the two sides, like Trotsky, or former Mensheviks. Each of these groups is labelled "Socialist" now, to distance themselves from the rebel Lenin and the crude Stalin; they even begin to produce tons of propaganda against Stalin.
Stalin, meanwhile, has begun to industrialize Caucasus, and had signed a treaty with Germany - his oil for German weapons and machinery. "Those two are planning something," Czar Mikhail remarks to a diplomat. "I don’t know what, I only know it could be very bad for us."
Stalin’s rapid, forced industrialization of the region is a little more difficult because it doesn’t feature as much of a farming community as Ukraine would have. Still, they import food from enough places, and grow enough of their own in Georgia and small parts of other regions that it’s no problem - for now, anyway.
As Stalin’s ruthless reputation grows, the Red Scare hadn’t been as large around the world as it could have been had Russia gone Communist. As of the end of 1917, Russia is under a stable Duma, with a Socialist Prime Minister.
The fact that this Prime Minister hates Stalin’s brand of Communism, dubbing it "much closer to a monarchy, the way he runs it, only giving propaganda lip service to workers," shows what more and more leftists were beginning to see. Soon, an interesting split will form in many of Europe’s left-wing parties. Less revolutionary Communists, with Trotsky as their "spiritual guide," so to speak, find themselves allying more with Socialists, as Stalin’s reign more and more is seen as a dictatorship by the government rather than rule by workers, which was Marx’s original theme. Hard-line Communists who stuck with Stalin, OTOH, found themselves allying more with right-wing governments, as Stalin was doing. Soon, it was hard for people to recall just what Marx’s original intent was, as the entire movement had branched into Trotskyism and Stalinism.
WWI in 1905 - Part VIII - Kraft, Mussolini, and Cheese
(I know, I get carried away with puns sometimes :-)
The year is 1919.
One nation where the split in Communist factions was obvious was Italy. Benito Mussolini, originally a socialist, began to grow dissatisfied with their views early in the decade. While he disliked Communism, his was, ironically, one of those voices which supported Stalin. The reason? He recognized that Stalin, more than anything, sought complete control of things, as a dictator. Mussolini sought the same thing in Italy. He dubbed his fascism, but what were word differences?
Mussolini had visions of turning the Mediterranena into an Italian lake - of creating a new Roman Empire. This, of course, conflicted with German designs on Italy as part of a new Charlemegne’s Empire - or so it seemed.
Protests had grown steadily in the years after the First World War. This was in part because Italy had not only jumped sides, but managed to lose a little on each side, but was mostly due to its post-war excursions into the Turkish Civil War, in which it invested heavily. Early in 1919, anto-monarchists had attained a large enough minority in the Italian Parliament that the King invited Mussolini to march on Rome and declare a coalition government. Unbeknownst to the King, Mussolini had been engaging in some secretive dealings with the Kaiser.
Kaiser Wilhelm had sensed quite a bit of unrest in Italy, and felt that this would be an oportune time to send troops into the country. However, he also recognized some help would be needed if he were to avert a full-scale war. His troops needed to have a reason to enter and occupy parts of Italy.
He’d thus sent a diplomat from the Foreign Ministry, Ernst Kraft, to Mussolinin to discuss possible German aid should he take ove rthe government. Kraft originally offered the assistance as a means to "squelch any Communist insurgency." Mussolini welcomed the help as he took control of the government - after all, the Socialists were a much stronger force with numerous former Communists on their side. The British tried to insist that France also assist, but the French were still being extra wary of Germany. Britain sent in a few troops, as did several lesser nations. Soon, Mussolini’s forces held complete sway, and the Sociatists and Communists had been squelched.
Germany now has a dilemma. Do they risk war with Britain if they pull their surprise now, or do they wait? True, France would not be involved, most likely, but Britain would still be formidable. Also, Germany simply wishes hegemony over the continent - Kaiser Wilhelm could care less about Britain if they are superior in Europe, and later he can always try to grab some colonies, maybe even from Japan. They want a few overseas colonies, but that could be handled later.
It is then that Germany considers requesting aid from Caucasus. True, Stalin can’t guarantee victory over a major power yet, but if he can just worry the British enough, they might decide Italy isn’t worth committing major resources to. Of course, this would mean Stalin would have to attack Persia full force, and make the British wonder about India.
Kaiser Wilhelm decides against this, though. That will be much more important should France be attacked. It also wouldn’t hurt to have Japan in the mix, too, but they are still beefing up their military. Besides, Britain would be reluctant to enter a prolonged war a scant decade after an incredibly bloody one had been fought. He chooses to give Mussolini, and the King, an offer they can’t refuse.
The crux of the deal is this - Italy will join Germany as a client state, on a higher plane than the federated kingdoms like Bavaria, but yet subservient to the kaiser. Mussolini will be given a position in the Germany Chancellor’s main office, with a chance to be chancellor someday, or so the Kaiser says. If they refuse, thousands of German soldiers are in control of mountain passes and can easily romp through parts of Italy. Thousands more are already there, stationed where a little while earlier they had been crushing rebellion.
Mussolini considers fighting for a while. The King knows even if Italy won, there were very few who supported the continuation of the monarchy besides Mussolini. Mussolini might not survive, meaning the King couldn’t survive. An emergency conference was set up regarding the situation, in which Britain, very leery of another war, chose to appease Germany, provided that Germany agrees to take "no more territory on the continent, and no colonies." Italy lacked major industrial areas, it was not as large a concern as some other places would be.
A fight still ensued, but it didn’t last long - merely a couple months, as revolutionaries rallied. German military prowess simply overwhelmed the weaker Italians. By the summer of 1921, Italy has been subdued. Daiser Wilhelm declares that "Middle Europe is now totally German, and any kingdom whic wishes may join the glorious German Federation founded by Bismark. We shall slice through any who oppose us like a knife through cheese!"
Britain and France fidget a little, but they choose not to threaten Germany directly; the League of Nations is already considering kicking Germany out for its actions, and economic sanctions had been implemented. However, the Kaiser still hadn’t given the incredible war machine he’d created a major test, "one which would have taken all of Europe in the first war, had we just gotten to wait ten more years," according to his rhetoric.
The British and French now sincerely hope that Kaiser Wilhelm would just pass away. He’d been much more warlike than his predecessor, who’d died of cancer in 1888. Hopefully, a successor could be found who would not be so belligerent. Some even spoke of assassinating the Kaiser, though these voices were quickly shushed, to allow for "civilized principles" to govern, rather than "the law of the jungle."
In the US, Champ Clark died in late 1921 at the age of 71, having achieved a record as the oldest President while in office. James Cox of Ohio succeeded him, but like Clark, his administration was not very noteworthy. It does, however, feature some rising sentiment that the US should become more involved in world affairs, though isolation is still the major policy.
Stalin, meanwhile, had been very quiet for about a decade. In the 1920s, things would really begin to be shaken in the Mideast.
WW I in 1905 Part VIII: Of Kurds, Turks, and Perks
The year is 1922
Stalin has spent the latter part of a decade consolidating all power under his leadership in Caucsus. He uses the Communist banner, but not many Communists wish to be assocated with his brutal dictatorship, as his legacy spreads, partly thanks to Trotsky. Trotsky is still "the man" to them, and in fact Trotsky holds a number of major positions in the Duma. He is considered a prime candidate for Prime Minister, as well. Except for Hungary, where a revolt failed, Trotsky hasn’t intensely pushed for open revolt by any nation, though there are operatives within Germany and France which could quickly strike if another major war occurred.
This greatly annoys Stalin, who uses every chance to blast Trotsky as "totally undeserving of the title ‘Communist,’ for he fails to support any sort of worldwide worker revolt. In fact, you can throw ‘worldwide’ and ‘revolt’ out completely, and workers are still enslaved in Russia."
The last part is not true - in fact, Russia is a truly Socialist nation. [Much like OTL’s Sweden today.] The Mensheviks which remained a decade ago have managed to push through immense amounts of legislation, so much so that Trotsky often retorts "the age of the imperialists will end not with a bang, but with a whimper." He also uses his own spies to determine what Stalin is up to, and Trotsky’s people have reported to the world that "the only reason Stalin dislikes me is he doesn’t have the support I do - he has to force people to support him."
Stalin is brutal, as the world is finding out, but he is also devious. The Kurdish Revolts, stemming from the Turkish Civil War, are a perfect example. As of this year, Stalin’s secret operatives have funneled massive amounts of arms and food to Kurdish guerillas in both the Turkish Empire and Persia. While he wasn’t quite capable of helping Germany, he might have been in several years. Right now, he has most of Kurdistan thanking him profusely.
Turkey and Persia are quite miffed at this, but the latter is too weak to declare war. Turkey, meanwhile, is under pressure from League of Nations ambassadors, led by America’s Woodrow Wilson [he doesn’t overexert himself in and after World War One and so doesn’t sufer a stroke - yet], who are pressing for the independence of the Kurds, the last major group which the Turks have held onto, desspite many problems. Without them, Turkey will truly be a rump nation. Atrocities were also rumored to be committed against the Kirdish population, prompting formal protests.
In June of 1922, Stalin announced he was declaring war on Turkey, and he invited "every European power who cares about people to join." Massive amounts of weaponry, mostly German, are used to crush the Turks, and within a couple months, most of Anatolia has been captured.
Now, Britain and France sense major problems. Bulgaria has begun to move on Constantinople in an undeclared war. Britain and France don’t mind Bulgaria per se owning access to the Dardenelles, except for the fact that they are in league with Germany. Britainand France promise Greece "whatever you wish" if they will join the war as well, and then they go down not so much to fight Turkey, but "to do the same thing we’ve done for the last century, prevent an unworthy power from controlling the Dardenelles."
Stalin offers his own perks. He will let any group join which wishes to become part his "Grand Confederation of the Caucasus," and suggests that numerous Arab groups stage "an instant revolt." Soon, rebellion is breaking up what remains of Turkey, as Muslims protest the secularization of the Ataturk government. It appears that Ataturk may be forced to step down after a very tumultuous decade.
In late fall of 1922, however, British and French forces land together in Constantinople , announcing they have "patched up differences" over other matters, and they try valiantly to wrest control from militant Arabs. The Greek military joins them, and suddenly pundits worry that a new world war could break out, as Bulgaria sends back an urgent request to Germany for aid in taking the Dardenelles from occupying French and British forces.
The Kaiser considers it, but chooses not to back Bulgaria. Backing them would also mean backing Caucasus. There have been protests in Germany, as well as other lands, by forces loyal to Trotsky. The antipathy between Trotsky and Stalin means that if Germany should back the nations invading Turkey, it would mean there could either be an attempted coup, or worse, Russia would enter on the side of the Allies, Britain and France. In the last decade, Russia had become much stronger, and Germany didn’t wish to deal with the Russian threat. The time to attack would be when France and Britain could not count on Russian rupport.
Hence, on Jan. 1, 1923, the Treaty of Cairo was signed. Greece received all of Turkey’s remaining European territory and Constantinople, as well as the Western coast of Asian Turkey, including Troy and Smryna. Kurdish portions of Turkey and also of OTL’s Iraq were transferred to Caucasus, where the Kurds soon found Stalin was almost as bad as the brutal Turks when it came to massacres. Stalin’s forces had driven down to Baghdad, but Britain took part of Turkey and created the nation of Iraq out of it. France acquired Syria and Lebanon, while Britain took the rest. A Jewish state was promised, as well, by the British. Turkey was downto a very minor piece of land, and Ataturk was deposed. To prevent a Hohenzollern from taking power, a relative of the Spanish King was offered the throne. He accepted.
The Kaiser didn’t mind this too much. Greece was not a hard and fast Ally, so oil from Caucasus still flowed freely tot he Germans, and his lack of involvement in that little war had been seen as a nice goodwill gesture by the outside world. He still set his sights on France, but he could wait a few more years. Once he had acquired France and attained the heights Charlemegne had, he would rest easily.
As for Stalin, he hadn’t expected Germany to assist; they’d provided enough weapons, troops weren’t essential. Still, he didn’t have an unlimited supply of manpower, and he couldn’t very well conquer all he wished unless some other nation helped him. Right now, he could afford to nibble - the Kurds were "free," he declared, and Persia could be a worthwhile target. He wanted India, however, and that required aid from somewhere else. However, Russia would never help him, and Germany was more centered in Europe.
Then, he hits upon an idea. He wonders if they’ll go for it.
WW I in 1905 Part IX: Stalin Goes East
The year is 1924.
James Cox is gearing up to run for the White House for his first full term, a race he will win handily over Charles Dawes. Kaiser Wilhelm is gearing up for an all-out war on France to commence withina year. And Joseph Stalin is flying to Tokyo, to cement a possible deal with the Japanese government. He knows that Japan and Britain are Allies, but he also realizes that the Japanese are expansionistic, and could turn on Britain if the need arose. Stalin, meanwhile, would like nothing morethan to gobble up part of India, under the pretense of "liberating" it from the British yoke. Even before that, while the British are busy fighting the Japanese, Stalin could attempt to take the entire Mideast, and all those lush oil fields which are now in British hands. His plan is to corner much of the world’s oil supply, for while oil isn’t as important as it likely will be years from now, he knows it is still vital.
Talks initally go rather well. The japanese have their thoughts set on China, but Stalin correctly points out that the conquest of China would drain incredible amounts of manpower, given their large population. Why not go after something a little easier to swallow? Besides, they might get more world support if they sought to "liberate" colonies.
The Japanese, of course, are not interested in such diplomacy; they didn’t want to speak of liberating anything. Stalin reluctantly agrees that liberation would be his line. He also signs an agreement to begin supplying immense amounts of German arms and designs to the Japanese; some of the designs are alrady with his staff. The Japanese, for their part, provide naval designs to Caucasus. The Japanese leader ends the summit by proclaiming "I hope you will be out in the Persian Gulf to meet us soon."
Japan has been building up its military for years, and though they’d experienced some years of reform in the early 1910s after World War One, reform movements had not gotten too far, because it was hard to argue that democracies had overwhelmingly won. By this time, when some of the reform movements might have taken off, the nation was once again shifting toward a very militaristic approach to foreign policy. Japan was closer in political philosophy to the Kaiser’s Germany. As an example, they provided for far less than universal male suffrage (to say nothing of the fact women couldn’t vote), and theirs was a one-party system.
OTOH, animosity against China wasn’t as strong as it might have been a few years later. The Dutch East Indies or, as had been proposed, Indochina were just as ripe for conquest. Indochina, Caucasus diplomats pointed out, provided an excellent launching point for a two-pronged assault on China later, as well as India.
Therefore, Japan decides to prepare for a war against France and, if necessary, Britain. With France being so cautios about Germany, it appears that the Japanese could easily claim that parcel.
German advisors get wind of the planned invasion late in 1924, and urge Japan to wait until Jan. 1, 1925, when Germany will launch a two-pronged invasion of France, from their own border and from Italy’s. By having these two prongs, they hope to make Britain think twice about entering - after all, no neutral nation will be violated.
Japanese officials agree to this timetable, and actually plan to invade several weeks after the Germans do. Notifying Caucasus officials of this plan, they learn that Russia plans to invade Persia next year. Stalin is positively giddy over this - the world will never pay attention to him wil France is being massacred. He might even have a chance at French Syria. The more lands he conquers in the name of "liberation," the more the world’s workers will turn to him as the leader of Communism, and not to Trotsky’s Russia, where he has been Prime Minister for the last year.
Russia, meanwhile, has seen their economy sagging somewhat lately. Stalin’s nation of Caucasus held the vast majority of the oil Russia could have. As the nation has drifted more toward his idea of the "utopian workers’ state," economic pressure on Russia has grown tighter and tighter, and the military and industry have been slowed considerably. He finds himself in a no-win situation - he cannot blame the Czar because the Russian people recognize the Czar has no power anymore. He cannot blame Stalin’s Bolsheviks, because all the Bolsheviks are in Siberia, dead, or somewhere in Caucasus (where theymight well be dead, anyway, though few really know.) The voters who elect the Duma are upset that the "miracle" Trotsky promised hasn’t yet occurred. It’s been a disaster, in fact, compared to what was before.
Reluctantly, Trotsky must make a choice. He felt long ago that Russian workers weren’t ready for the glorious revolt spoken of by Marx; everyone in the world’s Parties expected it to occur in Germany, France, or Britain first. As a member of the Duma for over a decade, he’d managed to push forth many reforms which brought them closer to that goal. However, the people seemed ready to turn back, and elect a more conservative government. He saw it as falling for the ways of the capitalist world, but whatever it was, he needed to make a decision. Should he call on those revolutionaries he knew of to start a revolution, one which the people may not be ready for and whic, if it failed, would leavehim dead for sure? Or should he back off, and let the voters decide, and allow what he felt to be his dream to slip throughhis hands?
Trotsky pondered this for months as 1924 drew to a close, and as Caucasus prepared to attack Persia, Germany prepared for an assault on France, and Japan prepared to "protect" Indochina with troops.
1925 would turn out to be perhaps the most turbulent year in world history.