German Civil War of
1917 by Eric Lipps
says: what if Tsarist Russia exported the revolution to the Kaiser's
Germany, muses Eric Lipps? Please note that the opinions expressed in this
post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
In 1917, workers in the
Russian capital of St. Petersburg (Petrograd) staged a massive riot for
increased food rations. Russia was in the throes of a famine exacerbated by
World War I, and popular resentment was stirred by radicals of the Social
Tsar Nicholas II (pictured) responded to the riots with orders to the
military to gun down the demonstrators. The result was a bloodbath far
beyond what the Russian ruler could have expected, for many of the troops
receiving the orders joined the demonstrators instead. On March 15,
Nicholas, his wife Alexandra and their daughter Anastasia were forced to
flee the city, carrying with them the coffin containing the body of Crown
Prince Nicholas, who had died three weeks earlier. Nicholas, a hemophiliac,
had sustained fatal internal hemorrhaging following a fall.
Ironically, the death of his beloved son had galvanized the Tsar, who
persuaded himself that Nicholas's affliction and eventual demise had been
a divine punishment for "weakness" on his part. When in April the
Petrograd revolt was joined by radical leftists under the leadership of
Vladimir Ulyanov, also known as Lenin, the Tsar demanded the immediate
suppression of the revolt "by all means necessary" and rallied loyal
forces under Gen. Lavr Kornilov for the purpose. An all-out offensive
followed, culminating in the so-called "July Days" in which the
provisional government established after the imperial family's flight from
the capital was disbanded by force and most of its members, who by then
included Lenin and other SRP leaders, arrested and shot.
The Tsar then
turned his attention to the still ongoing war with Germany and its allies.
The Germans had permitted Lenin and other radicals to cross territory
under their control to enter Russia in the hopes of disrupting the Russian
war effort; Nicholas II now returned the favor, smuggling German-speaking
agents into Germany through divided Poland to carry out acts of sabotage
and spread antiwar propaganda. their efforts would contribute to the
collapse of the German war effort in October 1918 and to the subsequent
revolution, which began with a sailors' mutiny and quickly spread
throughout the German Empire, resulting in the establishment of a
socialist republic under Karl Liebknicht.
The German civil war which followed was a nightmare for the country's
citizens. When it finally ended, in October 1923, Germany was ruled by a
military junta under Gen. Erich Ludendorff, who ordered the establishment
of a new government agency, the Heimatsicherheitspolizei, or Homeland
Security Police, to weed out "subversion". Civilian political activity was
severely restricted except for a single party, the Deutschevreiheitspartei
or German Freedom Party, a militantly right-wing group dominated by
ex-soldiers, in which a former Austrian corporal by the name of Adolf
Hitler would emerge as a rising star. The DVP would take full control of
Germany, with the generals' assent, in 1930. Then, with the world
distracted by the gathering global depression, Germany would quietly begin
rearming in preparation for seeking revenge against the West and Russia.
says comments on this story can be viewed on the
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Other Contemporary Variants
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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
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