Plausibility Check: A "periphery alliance" to contain Russia without WWI?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,070
SoCal
#1
Is this scenario plausible?:

If WWI doesn't break out sometime in the 1910s, a "periphery alliance" of Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan is formed to combat the risk of future Russian expansionism. (The "periphery alliance" is a reference to most of these alliance powers being located on Russia's periphery.) The logic behind such an alliance is quite simple--Russia could have territorial claims on all of these countries or their empires and thus it would be smart for these countries to ally with each other in order to reduce the risk of Russia ever going to war with any of them--since a war with any of them would mean that Russia would simultaneously have to fight all of these countries. In other words, such an alliance would be viewed as a form of deterrence.

Also, if this scenario is plausible, does France stick to its alliance with Russia or does it--in spite of its anger over losing Alsace-Lorraine in 1871--try making a deal with the periphery alliance? FTR, my bet is on France sticking with Russia due to all of the investment that French banks have previously poured into Russia--though perhaps with the caveat that France is only willing to fight on Russia's side in a defensive war rather than in an offensive war.

In such a scenario, countries such as Italy and Romania are likely to initially remain neutral in any future Great War and will wait and see how this war is unfolding before deciding whether or not to enter it--specifically enter it on the side that they think is winning this war.

Anyway, is this scenario plausible? Also, is such a "periphery alliance" likely to permanently deter Russia or is Russia likely to eventually feel strong enough to successfully take on this alliance--perhaps sometime in the mid-20th century assuming that nukes aren't developed yet?

Also, what would the strategy of both the "periphery alliance" and the Franco-Russian alliance be in any future Great War in this scenario? In addition to this, what are the war aims of both the "periphery alliance" and the Franco-Russian alliance going to be in any future Great War?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,070
SoCal
#3
France wanted Alsace-Lorraine. That would have been the price Germany would have had to pay to detach France from Russia. But I believe Britain would not have joined this alliance, in the interests of keeping the balance of power
Would France have still hungered for Alsace-Lorraine in 1950 in the absence of the World Wars, though? By 1950, French people with memories of the events of 1871 would have been in their 80s or older. In turn, what this would have meant is that, by 1950, the overwhelming majority of French people would not have had any memories of Alsace-Lorraine being a part of France.

As for Britain, it is worth noting that Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan are probably unlikely to continue being able to defeat Russia in a war even if all of them would have allied with each other. In turn, this is why I suspect that, in the long(er)-run, Britain's best bet to preserve the balance of power in Europe would have been to join this alliance.
 
Likes: stevev
Jan 2010
4,374
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#4
Would France have still hungered for Alsace-Lorraine in 1950 in the absence of the World Wars, though? By 1950, French people with memories of the events of 1871 would have been in their 80s or older. In turn, what this would have meant is that, by 1950, the overwhelming majority of French people would not have had any memories of Alsace-Lorraine being a part of France.

As for Britain, it is worth noting that Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan are probably unlikely to continue being able to defeat Russia in a war even if all of them would have allied with each other. In turn, this is why I suspect that, in the long(er)-run, Britain's best bet to preserve the balance of power in Europe would have been to join this alliance.
Sorry—I misread your hypothetical. I agree that under your assumptions France sticks with Russia and therefore no war breaks out. But the peripheral alliance deters Russia and France deters the peripheral alliance
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,070
SoCal
#5
Sorry—I misread your hypothetical. I agree that under your assumptions France sticks with Russia and therefore no war breaks out. But the peripheral alliance deters Russia and France deters the peripheral alliance
I don't think that the Periphery Alliance countries are going to be looking for war since they would know that a war would be long and bloody. Since France isn't that powerful, I don't think that France would have been that large of a factor in the calculations of the Periphery Alliance.

I do think that you are correct that the existence of the Periphery Alliance is going to make Russia more wary about starting any new wars.

Also, I agree with you that France likely sticks with Russia in this scenario since a lot of French money was already invested in Russia and France certainly wouldn't want Russia to repudiate its foreign debts--including to France and to French creditors. If Germany is willing to hand Alsace-Lorraine back to France, then France can abandon Russia, but I certainly don't see Germany actually agreeing to do this since countries generally don't like to give up their territory and since this could open Germany to territorial claims by countries such as Belgium, Denmark, and--most importantly and crucially of all--Russia.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,257
#6
I think such an alliance would have confirmed Russia's worst paranoid fears about others being out to get it.

Done like that, Russia is deterred from interfering with Austrian expansion in the Balkans, Japanese expansion in the Far East etc.

At some point Russia could realistically point at this dog-pile of it as an alliance of convenience clearly intended to facilitate the imperial ambitions of just about everyone except Russia.

Maybe Russia+France+US+Italy to counter Britain+Germany+Austria+Ottomans+Japan?
 
Likes: Futurist

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,695
Stockport Cheshire UK
#8
Without German naval building why does Britian seek an ailaince with anyone??
Even with the German naval build up Britain didn't formally ally them to either France or Russia.
However if the Russians did attempt to use naked aggression to expand its influence, I see no reason why Britain would not join an alliance to either stop or limit the Russian aggression.
It's something the British had already done before in the Crimean war.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,383
Sydney
#9
The problem with widespread alliances is that too many interests end up clashing with allies
would Germany be happy with Japan taking over china ?
would Austro Hungary be contented with having no Balkan policy , not to rock the boat
the Turkish empire was in it's death throe ,
Britain had serious political capital in the region and would resent any German or allied interference
Whitehall was slowly sliding toward some entente against Germany ,
they had no issue with Russia , the "great game" was for newspapers and novelists , diplomats and the royals knew better

the larger an alliance the more fragile it is
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,070
SoCal
#10
Without German naval building why does Britian seek an ailaince with anyone??
There would still ne German naval building in this TL. The Anglo-German naval race would end in 1912 in this TL just like it did in our TL.

As for Britain's alliance commitments, it would make them on the basis of preserving the European balance of power. Once Russia completes its Great Military Program in 1917 and begins being perceived as much more of a threat to European order and stability (and let's face it, the Anglo-Russian Entente might have very well not been renewed in 1915 without World War I), Britain would feel more inclined to develop close relations with Germany and perhaps even to ally with Germany (assuming that Germany doesn't do anything stupid at that point in time) in order to combat the threat of Russian expansionism.