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Old 03-02-2012, 05:16 PM   #21
Rasputin
 
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Default Re: [IW] Non-Nazi Germany-Dominant World?

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Originally Posted by Lord Carnifex View Post
WWI happens much differently (if at all), and the Prussian Empire survives to be much stronger.
You have to switch much more than the Franco-Prussian War (and Germany couldn't even pretend to get more land than it did; the only reason it got what it got was that Elsaß and Lothingren were German-speaking) to stop the Great War. The immediate cause—assassination of Franz Ferdinand—happened due to conflicting interests in the Balkans, Austro-Hungarian and Russian (Serbia had a coup in 1904 that brought to power a pro-Russian monarchy). The Habsburgs didn't want their non-German and Hungarian subjects breaking off as the Ottomans were having happen (great powers just hate independent actors), and the Russians wanted free access to warm-water ports by controlling the Bosporus and Dardanelles. (In the end, Josef Stalin and Nicholas Romanov had the same basic foreign policy: control Eastern Europe, control Turkey) The powers almost came to a head after the annexation crisis in 1908; they all were just cruising for a bruising by the end. A.J.P. Taylor had it best: the last date to stop the Great War was to not reverse the Treaty of San Stefano, which let there be a pro-Russia Greater Bulgaria in the Balkans.

Again, Germany wins the Great War, or somehow unifies along the lines England and France did. The Kaiser wins the Investiture Controversy, perhaps?
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:39 PM   #22
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Hmm...

I guess part of the question in my mind is, how big does the Great War have to get before it's great?

My thinking, more-or-less, was that without France as a Great Power, there's no pact between France and Russia that leads France to declare war on Germany after Germany declares war on Russia. And without France, would the U.K. really go it alone against Germany? For the purposes of the end goal here, I assume not*. Now, without France, does Russia declare war on Austria-Hungary? Maybe, maybe not. If they do, they might get steamrollered by Germany which is only fighting a one front war (assuming the Germans don't go after Italy, which seems unlikely). Would that be a war great enough to be a Great War? Maybe.

Otherwise, Russia decides that discretion is the better part of valour, and hangs the Serbs out to dry, and WWI fizzles before it lights off.

About the only thing I think leads to greater Prussian annexation of France after the Franco-Prussian war is if the French, instead of agreeing to an Armstice to end the seige of Paris, choose to fight it out to the bitter end. At which point Germany does pretty much whatever they want with it.

* I can see England, and especially the house of Hannover, deciding they have more in common with Germany than either Russia or a rather denuded France. So they stay out of what they feel is a 'Continental War' that doesn't concern them.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:23 PM   #23
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Default Re: [IW] Non-Nazi Germany-Dominant World?

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My thinking, more-or-less, was that without France as a Great Power, there's no pact between France and Russia that leads France to declare war on Germany after Germany declares war on Russia.
I need to have a reason to not count France as a great power. France and Germany simply have loads and loads of natural resources, including an abundance of arable land (other than eastern Germany). Losing the Moselle department to Germany after the war in 1870 hurt France and boosted Germany, sure, but France has a long seacoast and thus easily established colonies. Germany, since it took so long to unify and didn't have a long western seacoast, had to regard eastern Europe as its colonial playground—as did Russia.

Even if France and environs are split—say, Holland and Flanders and Alsace and Lorraine go to Germany, Walloons and Burgundy and Brittany are independent polities or at least separate of France, southern France goes to Spain—someone is going to have control of those resources. Spain? I can see a super-Spain with Spain, Portugal, and the Langue d'Oc parts of France, but now it controls resources and stays a great power. But it's a different power, more rural. I presume it holds onto Gibraltar, which boosts its prestige and saps England's.

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And without France, would the U.K. really go it alone against Germany? For the purposes of the end goal here, I assume not*. Now, without France, does Russia declare war on Austria-Hungary? Maybe, maybe not.
This isn't a maybe; Russia and Austria-Hungary have conflicting interests in the Balkans (Russia needs warm-water ports, Austria-Hungary needs to keep its empire together and every resource it can muster to compete with France and England and Germany). They will fight, in the end, if both have the same interests in the region. Russia wins the Crimean War, perhaps? That's a big blow to England too, and might weaken the Anglo-Ottoman alliance, though they did ultimately wind up on opposite sides in the Great War.

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Otherwise, Russia decides that discretion is the better part of valour, and hangs the Serbs out to dry, and WWI fizzles before it lights off.
Serbia isn't that independent an actor in these times. After the coup of 1904, Serbia was more and more a proxy for Russia in the region, Bulgaria becoming more and more independent. The Black Hand's assassination plot had supporters in Petrograd. It's seriously debatable that the assassination would have gone on had it lacked that support, or even moved to that point. I don't buy Irving's assertion that there was a Russian plot to destroy Germany (or anything else Irving says), but there was Russian involvement in the assassination plot, and Serbian foreign policy was based on having Russia as its protector.

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About the only thing I think leads to greater Prussian annexation of France after the Franco-Prussian war is if the French, instead of agreeing to an Armstice to end the seige of Paris, choose to fight it out to the bitter end. At which point Germany does pretty much whatever they want with it.
It's one thing to beat a country, another thing to occupy it or annex it. It gets expensive; it's why Nazi Germany initially didn't occupy southern France in 1940, and probably would have withdrawn from most of northern France if the UK had come to terms. (As an aside, it's my biggest issue with the CSA mockumentary other than that there weren't enough slaves for the Northerners to avoid the slave tax. The non-industrial South would have been pressed to hold the industrial North, given inevitable Northern resistance and the serious desire of France and the UK to keep the two separate if they could, and they could have.) The acquisition of Elsaß-Lothingren was predicated on the fact that the residents were German speakers, and Lothingren was incorporated into France through a dodgy deal with a failed candidate for King of Poland.

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* I can see England, and especially the house of Hannover, deciding they have more in common with Germany than either Russia or a rather denuded France. So they stay out of what they feel is a 'Continental War' that doesn't concern them.
That's always a joker, and was in 1914: England's longstanding desire to keep Russia out of the Mediterranean was overridden by its fear of the growing German Navy, the construction of which was a huge strategic error on the part of the Kaiser. Germany keeps its naval ambitions limited to the Baltic, perhaps?

So some points of divergence. This is interesting:

* I can't see the Reformation being stemmed, since, regardless of whatever theological issues, there was too much to gain for so many states to split from Rome. You have make Germany more independent of Rome first. (I'm sure you can dig up other places, but I'll again pitch the Investiture Controversy.) Regardless, Germany is sprawling, but Habsburg-dominated and generally unified.

* Richelieu somehow botches the Thirty Years War, which unifies Germany under Habsburg domination. The capital of Germany is Vienna and it includes Bohemia and the Low Countries but not Poland; Prussia proper (or, as they used to say in Germany, Altpreussen), oddly enough, is probably also left outside, but still German-speaking. France is sapped, to the weal of Germany and Spain and to a lesser extent England.

* Prussia joins the Third Coalition, helping England, Austria and Russia defeat France and the Holy Roman Empire stays intact. Germany is probably still bipolar as it is (modern Germany being essentially the remains of Prussia and its those southern lands that basically gave up their independence, and modern Austria being south Germany), though Austria would dominate Bavaria, Swabia, Saxony and the Rhineland, maybe Hanover and Oldenburg (or those go to the British crown in some sort of loose union with the UK), leaving Prussia to itself and Mecklenburg and Holstein, and maybe Hanover and Oldenburg. Or, the events of the 1860s happen to the benefit of Austria, not Prussia (which becomes the lesser allied satellite). Russia wouldn't dare to move into the Balkans to upset this state, and negotiates some help from Germany and Prussia (wow, that's weird to type) in the Russo-Japanese war to keep Russian interests away from the region.

* Germany doesn't bother to build up its navy in the 1890s or at least limits it to the Baltic, keeping England at least neutral, though this also probably keeps the Ottomans out of any conflict.

* Kerensky thinks of Russia and not France and throws in the towel in 1917, letting Germany and Austria-Hungary mop up in Italy and the Balkans and move all troops into France before the Americans can send troops. Fascism takes hold in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Romania rather than Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Romania, leading to Germany being allied with England and America in the inevitable anti-fascist war, with Russia being the wild card yet again, or going fascist itself.
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:05 AM   #24
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I want to do one that's German-centric, but not Nazi-centric. A world that built upon the cultural and intellectual advances of the country, and which came to an alpha position in the world b/c it really is that good, not b/c some goose-steppers forced it on others.
Took me a while to find it (forgot the name), but here's one with a POD in 1196:
http://www.shwi.alternatehistory.com...ead.php?t=2687
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:30 AM   #25
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maybe a successful revolution in 1848? 12 years later a young unified and democratic Germany sides with the North vs. the "slavekeeper states" of the South, thus leading to a "special relationship" with the Union. Add some german colonies (esp. in the Pacific and Africa) and let it cook for a few decades...
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:22 AM   #26
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Default Re: [IW] Non-Nazi Germany-Dominant World?

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maybe a successful revolution in 1848? 12 years later a young unified and democratic Germany sides with the North vs. the "slavekeeper states" of the South, thus leading to a "special relationship" with the Union. Add some german colonies (esp. in the Pacific and Africa) and let it cook for a few decades...
Alright ... how do the liberals win in 1848? The reactionaries won all throughout Europe. If they win in Germany only, there will be about the same reaction the monarchs of Europe had to the French Revolution. Do they win in all of Europe? This might lead to a German-led (having the most industrial production) United States of Europe, excluding England and Russia and the Ottomans.

I'm not saying it isn't possible, but there needs to be a clear reason why history doesn't happen this way.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:06 AM   #27
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Problem with that assumption set is that so much of that is true elsewhere in Europe.
I attended a couple of lectures and seminars on these topics and while I agree that things were not always much better elsewhere there does seem to be an especially entrenched racist/anti-Semite element in German upper-class and upper middle-class (Bildungsbürgertum) thinking. Some of this was certainly due to pretty liberal treatment of Jews in post-1848 Germany.

Its manifestations might not have been so different from earlier anti-Jewish sentiment, but there was a strong biologist component to German racism. I don't want to say Goldhagen and Fischer are right, but there is certainly some continuity that makes me doubtful of a really positive German parallel.

I am not saying that a "good guy" Germany would not be possible or indeed likely with a different outcome of WWI, but visitors from our timeline would still have to contend with quite a few opinions and customs that would come rather close to Nazi thinking. Victory also precludes the need for re-orientation and self-examination like it took place in post-WWII Germany

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Alright ... how do the liberals win in 1848? The reactionaries won all throughout Europe.
You would probably have to occupy Prussia elsewhere and if possible Austria too. A more successful Polish Independence movement should do the trick. Whether it manages to stay independent in the first place or somehow stages a massive uprising is irrelevant, as is whether it exists for more than a year. It just has to begin a bit earlier to draw out troops into the Polish areas. That would give the revolutionaries a better chance in the capitals and would also make it impossible for the Prussians to intervene quickly in South and West Germany. You'd probably have to boost the revolutionaries a bit and make them a bit less willing to work with the monarchs, but it's not really much more likely than a German victory in WWI (at least once the UK joined in).

An 1848 divergence point would have the advantage that you don't have to make up that many new German artists, scientists and philosophers. The end result would be easily recognisable. You should include a lot of infighting between different members of the new confederation, though. But that makes for good stories and a healthy political culture.

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I'm Bavarian, where "Prussian" is basically the equivalent of "Yankee", and defined as anyone living above the Danube (i.e. our Mason-Dixon line). So yeah, what you've said ;)
I our case it's the Main (with Frankfurt being sort of neutral ground). Do you guys really hate the Franconians so much as to call them "Saupreußen"? ^^


One general point about the scenarios arguing for greater power, expansion or more unified German state. I may be prejudiced in this regard, but I think loose confederations are more conductive to both scientific and cultural achievements. It might not hold up to scientific scrutiny in every case, but it certainly makes for a good narrative trope to distinguish "Culture Germany" from "Power Germany".

This might even work if some other power conquers them in the end. The Baltic Germans were very influential in the Russian Empire, for example, and they were a tiny minority. Think of what could have happened if Russia conquered everything to the Rhine and then found it couldn't hope to govern without extensive help from the conquered. It's just like the "defeated Greece conquered Rome" scenario.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:18 AM   #28
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Actually, now that I think of it, Iron, one of the timelines in GURPS Steampunk, could plausibly be described as German-dominant, though the United States, Japan, and Sweden are important secondary powers imitating the German model as far as possible. There's a backstory involving the UK and France going to war over the Fashoda Incident and Friedrich Engels meeting Charles Babbage, among other things.

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Old 03-03-2012, 08:27 AM   #29
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Kaiser Wilhelm II has an uneventful birth, and grows up strong, healthy, and deeply influenced by (rather than hostile to) his equally fun British cousins. This ended up having a profound impact on the young man. Without a disfigurement to over-compensate for, his impetuousness was channeled into a sharp satirical wit and playboy lifestyle rather than hot-tempered militarism.

Upon taking the throne, the new Kaiser largely left the day-to-day operations of the throne to Bismarck. Under Bismarck, Germany increasingly sought to tie the great powers together with a series of complex and entangling alliances, designed to prevent an alliance directed against him. Wilhelm's early efforts were largely directed at suppressing pro-democratic forces to provide cover for Bismarck's supposedly "timid" policies. As Bismarck did, he attempted to defuse democratic sentiments by buying the public off with ambitious entitlement programs. It largely worked. The militant German nationalist press condemned him as a "meek, besotted dilletante", and history has largely seen his reign as a wasted opportunity.

In particular, they decry his botched handling of the assassination of his dear friend, the Archduke Ferdinand. In the end, the Russo-Austrian war of 1918 proved to be a comic collision of two powers incapable of harming each other, but more than capable of smashing themselves into oblivion. The farce spiraled out of control and ended with both empires collapsing. One fell to communism, while Austria became a network of smaller states, under heavy german influence but nominally independent. What might have been a golden opportunity to double the size of the German Empire, became a major communist rival and a festering sore of ethnic bloodshed in the Balkans that took more than two decades to quell.

Meanwhile, German industrialization, technology and demographic advantages made it the dominant power in Europe, despite its leaders' timidity. At a time when England might otherwise have turned against it, a combination of French petulance and the personal relationship between Wilhelm and the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (especially his childhood friend King Edward) lead to England staying on the sidelines as Germany consolidated its power. He and Edward are remembered as "the Playboy Kings".

Democracy in the modern world is considered a peculiar Anglo-Saxon institution. The British Empire remains strong but sclerotic. The Americans remain isolationist but heavily industrialized; while they may well be the most powerful country in the world, the other European powers would be surprised to hear it (so would the Americans). France remains a basket case, as a series of leaders still follow the model of Louis Napoleon and are still bewildered that they get the same results. Russia remains backward and still struggles to escape international isolation; under Stalin, their main concern is uniting nationalist and internationalist socialism under a single (russian-lead) banner. Incredibly, the Ottoman empire clings to life.

German's main role in the international community is to keep all the teetering and out-of-control powers on their border from destroying themselves and their neighbors. It's an economic powerhouse, politically stable and (finally) nationally self-confident.

Antisemitism, always a feature of European culture, remains rife but relatively benign compared to what the Nazis brought. Actual violence is limited to Russia, where purges never target Jews directly, but always seem to hit them the hardest. Anti-Jewish laws were mostly repealed in the 20's, but discrimination remains common and socially acceptable. Einstein and other jewish scientists remained in Germany or its satellites, and Germany retains its position as the world leader in both science and technology.

Games in this world should center on European countries other than Germany. France, Spain and Italy are constantly swinging between revolutions. Conspiracies, terrorist cells, and radical student movements embrace any and every cause. In Eastern Europe, it's Cold War adventure-- only this time, it's between the German Empire and the Soviet Union, and the gloves are off on both sides. Adventures in the ottoman empire are a mix of the two: separatists and revolutionary movements contend with Great Power skullduggery. Upperclass Germans, Englishmen, and now some Americans often go on a wanderjahr that includes idealistic or opportunistic meddling in local politics.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:00 AM   #30
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I'm Bavarian, where "Prussian" is basically the equivalent of "Yankee", and defined as anyone living above the Danube (i.e. our Mason-Dixon line). So yeah, what you've said ;)
Ah! Works for me.
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