Plausibility Check: A Mid-20th Century World War I?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
Is this scenario plausible? :

Cooler heads prevail in 1914 and thus WWI doesn't break out back then. After Russia's Great Military Program is completed in 1917, Britain moves away from France and Russia and towards Germany for balance-of-power reasons. Over the next couple of decades, a broad anti-Russian alliance is formed with Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan as members. (Both Italy and Romania remain nominal but unreliable allies of Germany in this TL.) As the decades go on, Russia's military and economic power significantly increases (in large part due to large-scale French investments in Russia). In turn, this results in Russia gradually becoming much more assertive in various parts of the world (something that might very well still be true even if Tsarism eventually collapses in Russia in this TL; after all, even a non-Tsarist Russian government might very well be pro-expansionism).

Anyway, around the middle of the 20th century (as in, around 1950; for the record, the development of nuclear weapons is delayed by at least a couple of decades in this TL), Russia feels sufficiently confident in its military abilities to begin undermining the international order. Thus, Russia sparks some crisis somewhere worldwide in an attempt to expand its own territory and causes the broad anti-Russian alliance mentioned above to declare war on Russia. Afterwards, France enters this war on the side of its Russian ally. Thus, World War I breaks out about 35 years later in this TL than it does in our TL.

Anyway, is such a scenario plausible?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,768
Dispargum
I don't see a balance of power between France/Russia = Britain/Germany/A-H/Ottomans/Japan. Maybe with Italy/Romania/Serbia/Bulgaria added to France/Russia.

Cooler heads would have to prevail prior to 1914. Your scenario fits better if Britain and Germany never engage in a naval arms race which started 10 years before. As early as 1898 Britain and France resolved their rivalry over Africa. Change those two facts and Britain can more easily ally with Germany.

There's little chance for Britain to get involved on the continent. The British and French might fight a lot in Africa over their colonies. Britain, with the larger navy, would have the advantage.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
I don't see a balance of power between France/Russia = Britain/Germany/A-H/Ottomans/Japan. Maybe with Italy/Romania/Serbia/Bulgaria added to France/Russia.
I find it hard to believe that Italy would enter such a war on the Franco-Russian side unless the Franco-Russian side was perceived as already being on the verge of victory. After all, I have recently found out that Italy imported a whopping 90% of its coal from Britain in the early 20th century!

Cooler heads would have to prevail prior to 1914. Your scenario fits better if Britain and Germany never engage in a naval arms race which started 10 years before. As early as 1898 Britain and France resolved their rivalry over Africa. Change those two facts and Britain can more easily ally with Germany.
Completely agreed with all of this.

There's little chance for Britain to get involved on the continent. The British and French might fight a lot in Africa over their colonies. Britain, with the larger navy, would have the advantage.
What about if the alternative to British involvement on the continent is an eventual Russian domination of all of Europe, though?
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,037
Iowa USA
Is this scenario plausible? :

Cooler heads prevail in 1914 and thus WWI doesn't break out back then. After Russia's Great Military Program is completed in 1917, Britain moves away from France and Russia and towards Germany for balance-of-power reasons. Over the next couple of decades, a broad anti-Russian alliance is formed with Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan as members. (Both Italy and Romania remain nominal but unreliable allies of Germany in this TL.) As the decades go on, Russia's military and economic power significantly increases (in large part due to large-scale French investments in Russia). In turn, this results in Russia gradually becoming much more assertive in various parts of the world (something that might very well still be true even if Tsarism eventually collapses in Russia in this TL; after all, even a non-Tsarist Russian government might very well be pro-expansionism).

Anyway, around the middle of the 20th century (as in, around 1950; for the record, the development of nuclear weapons is delayed by at least a couple of decades in this TL), Russia feels sufficiently confident in its military abilities to begin undermining the international order. Thus, Russia sparks some crisis somewhere worldwide in an attempt to expand its own territory and causes the broad anti-Russian alliance mentioned above to declare war on Russia. Afterwards, France enters this war on the side of its Russian ally. Thus, World War I breaks out about 35 years later in this TL than it does in our TL.

Anyway, is such a scenario plausible?
My opinion for this OP would be that the most implausible element is political stability in Russia throughout the '20s and '30s. Nicholas would have turned 65 years old by 1933 and the succession was going to be a problem. Would Nicholas have moderated his stance on making the monarchy a ceremonial rather than true 'head of state'?

If Nicholas and Alexandra refused to use their English cousins as a model, then I can't imagine Russian political stability to survive past Nicholas years of decline (about early or mid 1930s).
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
My opinion for this OP would be that the most implausible element is political stability in Russia throughout the '20s and '30s. Nicholas would have turned 65 years old by 1933 and the succession was going to be a problem. Would Nicholas have moderated his stance on making the monarchy a ceremonial rather than true 'head of state'?

If Nicholas and Alexandra refused to use their English cousins as a model, then I can't imagine Russian political stability to survive past Nicholas years of decline (about early or mid 1930s).
What about having Nicholas be ousted in a palace coup and be replaced with someone more competent as the new Russian Tsar, though?
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,037
Iowa USA
What about having Nicholas be ousted in a palace coup and be replaced with someone more competent as the new Russian Tsar, though?
Well, if we depart from the actual timeline around 1911 in this scenario... would a palace coup be perceived as the work of the capitalist-lower nobility or the smaller group of families with the rank of 'Prince'?

If the coup was the work of exceptional members of the lower nobility, then that is a better opportunity for stability. If the coup was simply to put an usurper from one of the princely lines on the throne, though, I'd guess that the chances of the crown losing control would be greater.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
Well, if we depart from the actual timeline around 1911 in this scenario... would a palace coup be perceived as the work of the capitalist-lower nobility or the smaller group of families with the rank of 'Prince'?

If the coup was the work of exceptional members of the lower nobility, then that is a better opportunity for stability. If the coup was simply to put an usurper from one of the princely lines on the throne, though, I'd guess that the chances of the crown losing control would be greater.
What about if both of these groups cooperated together to overthrown Tsar Nicholas II, though?
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,037
Iowa USA
What about if both of these groups cooperated together to overthrown Tsar Nicholas II, though?
That seems quite unlikely?

Please add some specifics so that I can appreciate which Princely family might have been on close enough terms to the finance and industrial interests, and I can do my own research.

Not saying that you are incorrect, mind you. I am saying I don't which Princely families would have been trusted by the financial and industrial interests.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
That seems quite unlikely?

Please add some specifics so that I can appreciate which Princely family might have been on close enough terms to the finance and industrial interests, and I can do my own research.

Not saying that you are incorrect, mind you. I am saying I don't which Princely families would have been trusted by the financial and industrial interests.
I've got a question--wasn't Prince Felix Yussupov a member of the lower nobility?
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,037
Iowa USA
I've got a question--wasn't Prince Felix Yussupov a member of the lower nobility?
The surname isn't familiar to me from 18th or 17th century history that is immediately coming to my mind.

However, isn't there a significant gap between the planning necessary to lure Rasputin into a trap and a takeover of the State?