In 1914, on this day the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sofia were assassinated at Sarajevo, the provincial capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Gavrilo Princip, a member of Young Bosnia and one of a group of assassins organized by the Black Hand.
The Last Chance for Peace #1 By Steven FisherThe Sarajevo crisis was suposed to ignite the world into a 4 year war that would devastate much of Europe. But what if it didn't? What if, in the dwindling lgiht, when it looked like war was certain, the determination of one man prevented a continent wide conflict.
Bethmann-Hollweg, the German Foreign Minister and an avid Anglophile, realized that Count Berchtold had double crossed him and was courting disaster. Knowing what he had to do, he recalled Wilhelm from his cruise early, to stop the crisis. After many arguments, he convinced Wilhelm to withdraw the "Blank Cheque", and declare neutrality in this conflict. Wilhelm agreed, and a proclamation was issued later that day that Germany would not be mobilizing in the defense of Austria.
With Germany staying out, France takes a limited position in the war, and WW1 stays as an isolated war between Austria and Russia, ensuring that the German Reich survives. Austria Hungary falls in a three-year war with Russia, fragmenting the Balkans, who slowly polarize around Germany and Russia. The Balkans light the fires of WW1, a war with more advanced tech, and a forknowledge of the impenetrable defense. The world feels the flames of war once again, but this time there is no knowing when they will die out. The whole thread is available at the Alt History Wikia.