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.
In 1916, on this day Romania declared war on Austria Hungary, joining the side of Russia in the Third Balkan War, and opening up another important front.
Article continues from Part #1.
The Last Chance for Peace #2 By Steven FisherThe war had been raging for two years, and both Austria-Hungary and Russia continued to battle, with neither having a decisive victory. The Austrians had pursued a bleeding defense strategy against Russia, standing on the defensive in the East while they attempted to secure their flank by conquering Serbia. The battle had mainly been fought in the Hungarian province of Galicia, where the Dual Monarchy hinged its defenses on the San River. The Russians forced this river line, but were unable to make headway against the Austrian defenses in the Caprathian Mountains. With the failure to force the Austrian defenses, the Russians turned towards influencing Romania to join their side in the war, while the Austrians focused on Bulgaria.
The Russians knew that if they could have Romania join their side in the war, then they could outflank the Austrian defenses on the Carpathian Mountains and flood inner Hungary with troops. They could also use an overland route to reinforce their faltering Serbian ally, who was coming under increasing pressure fromn the Dual Monarchy. They promised the Romanians that they will recieve Translyvania from a defeated Austria-Hungary, and will recieve generous financial support from the Russians. Eventually, the Romanians agree to join the war on the side of Russia.
However, the war had marched on. Bulgaria had joined the war on the side of the Dual Monarcy, in an attempt to exact revenge on Serbia for their defeat in the Second Balkan War. With pressure from the Bulgarians and Austria-Hungary, Serbia had fallen. The Serbian Army had evacuated to Korfu, and had then joined the Russian troops in Galicia. When Romania joined the war, massed russian armies slammed into the unprepared Austrian defense lines. From this point onwards, the war would continually turn in Russia's favor, as the Austrians were stretched further and further. They also fell on economic hard times as they attempted to support thew war effort.
The war would last for one more year, as the Austrians desperately tried to stabilize the situation on the Romanian front. However, the death of Franz Joseph I and the continued defeats, destroyed the morale of the army, and under the pressure of a Russian offensive, it began dissolving around itself. Commanders were unable to stop it, and Austria-Hungary is forced to sue for peace in 1917. During this time, Turkey also declares war on Bulgaria in what is seen as an opportunistic move to gain territory.
The peace treaty will hurt Austria-Hungary hard. They will lose segments of territory to Russia, Romania, and will give up the northern territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They will also be forced to pay Serbia for the damages that they dealt to her. It will be a cost that Austria-Hungary cannot bear. By the end of the year, the Dual Monarchy will have collapsed under civil unrest, military defeat in the war, and economic hardship.
The whole thread is available at the Alt History Wikia.
In 1917, on this day Emperor Karl I abdicated the throne of the Habsburg Monarchy, heralding the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy.
Article continues from Part #2.
The Last Chance for Peace #3 By Steven FisherDomestic turmoil in Austria-Hungary had been steadily increasing ever since the signing of the Treaty of Berlin on August 2. The devastating Austrian defeat in the Third Balkan war, and the harsh terms given to it by the Russians, had greatly increased peoples dissatisfaction with the government. This, combined with a faltering Austro-Hungarian economy had turned people against the Habsburg Monarchy.
An unusually harsh winter, combined with the already existing economic deprivation, finally lit the tinderbox of revolution. On December 19, people took to the streets of Vienna, calling for an end to the Monarchy. The army and police were sent to stop them, but to the governments horror, some army units and policemen began siding with the rebels. The riots quickly spread from Vienna to the other parts of the Empire. Clashes began between protesters and army troops. But defecting troops managed to turn the tide in favor of the protestors, since many in the army blame the current government for getting them into a losing war, and having them fight for nothing. A loyalist Army group moving to attempt to rescue the King from his palace in Vienna is defeated in heavy street fighting.
Finally, the Republican forces break into the palace in Vienna, and force Karl I to abdicate the Habsburg throne. The Austro-Hungarian Empire is dissolved, with Austria and Hungary both breaking off and forming the Austrian Federation and the Republic of Hungary. Ethnic minorities in both nations attempt to break off and form their own nations, such as the Czechs in Austria, but their attempts fail. The Austrians are more compromising, and form a federation within which the Czechs have some autonomy.
The peace was not to last though. On January 2, 1918, the Italians announce the annexation of Trentino, and march troops into the region. International condemnation of the move does occur, but the Italians brush it off by saying that they are taking this action to protect the Italaians living in the region, who they claim are suffering oppression from the Austrian authorities. The Austrians vehemently oppose this act, but cannot do anyhting, as their people are unwilling to fight a war.
Their inability to prevent the annexation of Trentino would spell the end of the Austrian government. On May 19, the Austrian military coups the government, establishing a German backed military dicatorship under Conrad Von Hotzendorf. It heralds the beginning of the poalrization around the powers of Russia and Germany, a situation that will inflame tensions between the two nations, and be a cause of World War 1 in 1921.
The whole thread is available at the Alt History Wikia.
In 1919, on this day Russian troops crossed the border into Socialist Hungary after the rejection of a Russian ultimatum, marking the beginning of the Ten Week War.
Article continues from Part #3.
The Last Chance for Peace #4 By Steven FisherThe direct cause of the war was establishment of a socialist government in Hungary. Another harsh winter had rocked the Balkan region,and had further harmed the popularity of the Hungarian government. In the bitter cold, radical elements had decided to make their move. On February 7, the Hungarian government was overthrown, and a new government was put in power with the socialist Bela Kun as it's head. In the weeks following Kuns rise to power, he set about establishing his brand of socialism on the Hungarian population.
The Russian government looked on Kun's activity in alarm. A sucessful socialist state in Hungary would surely inflame radical elements in Russia. the decision was made to remove Kun's government through force. the Russian army massed on the Hungarian border, in preparation for the invasion. The Hungarians saw this large marshalling of force, and began their own mass mobilization, and began preparations for fierce resistance of a Russian invasion.
Things finally came to a head on March 1, when the Russian government sent an ultimatum to the Hungrian government, demanding the dissolvement of the socialist government, and the turning over of Bela Kun to Russian authorities for trial on charges of terrorism. When these demands were rejected, the Russians declared war.
Russian troops under Aleksei Brusilov crossed the Hungarian border, but only made it a few miles before Hungarian defenses brought their drive to a halt. As the Russians geared up to crack the Hungarian defenses, they were caught by large-scale peasant uprisings, armed by the hungarians and demanding greater freedom, and by a sharp Hungarian offensive. While Russian troops crushed the revolts, the Hungarian offenasive was skillfully fought to a halt by Brusilov.
With the return of Russian troops who had been dispatched to crush the revolts, Brusilov initiated his offensive. The Hungarian defense lines crumbled under overwhelming Russian force, and the Hungarian Army continually had to fall back. The offensive slowed when the Hungarians drew Brusilov into a devastating city battle in Budapest. However, Brusilov managed to encircle Budapest, mitigating the amount of casualities that the Russians took.
The End came quickly for the hungarians. After a coup attempt against the socialist government, Bela Kun knew that nothing would stop the Russians. Diplomatic efforts to involve the Germans had failed, since the Kaiser didn't want to see a sucessful socialist state either. Kun fled the nation through austria to Switzerland, where he took up residence with Lenin and other socialist exiles. The new Hungarian government sued for peace, and the war ended on May 24.
With peace, a Pro-Russian government was set up in Hungary. This contributed to the increasing polarization of the Balkans, especially when the Balkan Entente between Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Russia was set up later that year. It would be especially important when World War One started in 1921.
The whole thread is available at the Alt History Wikia.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.