Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys
During 1917 the French were
hurting badly. They’d won Verdun
with massive losses and some parts of their army were in mutiny, while the
Russian revolution was sapping the troops morale.
No two sources agree on how bad it really was, but it seemed pretty bad.
Let’s have the French
government make secret overtures to the Germans, offering a peace based on the
status quo of 1914, at least in the west. Some
Germans would take this as a sign of weakness, but one report had it that
Hindenburg was opposed to the ‘Kaiser’s Battle’ of 1918 and wanted a peace
in the west, provided that Germany’s conquests in the east were acknowledged.
So, in late 1917, the French
announce the peace deal, to general French jubilation.
The Germans get to keep Alsace-Lorraine, provided it is demilitarised.
The French have one month to get the British and whatever American units
have arrived out of France. The
King of Belgium remains trapped in his small corner of the country.
The British Government would
have been furious at the betrayal, but it is hard to see what they could have
done about it, short of declaring war on France.
Some British units could be moved into Belgium, but supply and logistics
would have been very bad. Good
enough to keep the Germans back, but not good enough to attack themselves.
The Americans would have been annoyed as well, but they’d be in an even
worse position, vis-à-vis Germany.
My best guess is that the
British will extend the blockade on ‘war goods’ to France as well, causing
some suffering. Anti-British
feeling will grow in France, but the French probably won’t start another war. Instead, the British will concentrate on the Ottoman Empire,
taking most of the Middle East by 1918. The
increased British (and perhaps American) manpower means that the Empire
collapses sooner than OTL, with less chance to put themselves together again.
Assuming that Germany allows it, Italy would probably get some of Turkey
as they were promised in OTL. That
said, Italy would probably sign a peace deal with Germany before they got
The British would probably
finish off the German colonies and then…what?
Even with American manpower, invading Germany directly would be very
difficult, while Germany would be growing stronger though the resources of
Russia and perhaps trade with France. I
suspect that – blaming the French – the British will make peace on the basis
of the status quo.
Germany will be occupying most
of western Russia, which means that the communists will probably not gain as
much power as they did in OTL. At a
rough guess, the Germans will pick some Russian noble and appoint him tsar,
while slowly converting Russia into the German granary.
Japan will probably still try to
absorb China, which might succeed with British support, or perhaps get bogged
down in war.
Britain will have fewer debts to
pay off and a harsh attitude to extracting them from France.
It’s not impossible that Britain will seize Indochina in ilea of
payment. I suspect that the British
will go back to the traditional anti-French attitude and ignore Germany.