What would have been the most likely triggers for an alt-WWI that breaks out 20+ years later than the real WWI?

Futurist

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May 2014
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In real life, World War I broke out as a result of Franz Ferdinand's assassination in Sarajevo--which was itself caused as a result of Serbian grievances against A-H (especially the A-H annexation of Bosnia in 1908) and the desire of Serbian nationalists to create Yugoslavia (a goal that they ultimately succeeded as a result of WWI in real life). Anyway, what would have been the most likely triggers for an alternate World War I that breaks out 20 or more years later than the real World War I (so, in 1934 or later rather than in 1914)?

For what it's worth, a major development of European diplomacy post-1917 in this scenario might be the gradual British abandonment of France and Russia and having Britain gradually move closer to Germany--assuming, of course, that Kaiser Bill won't do anything stupid to screw this up. (Kaiser Bill was able to continuously maintain good relations with A-H and the Ottomans, so it's not completely out of the question that he could wise up and avoid doing anything new and stupid to alienate Britain after 1917.) I don't know which other countries--if any--are likely to shift their alliances in this scenario. Germany and A-H would have still remained allies--as would France, Russia, Serbia, and Montenegro. Italy and Romania will be nominal Central Powers allies but be unreliable and easily capable of defection in a Great War just like they were in real life. The Ottomans would be either Austro-German allies or neutral--while Japan might either remain neutral or ally with Britain and Germany against Russia.

Anyway, any thoughts on what events/issues could trigger an alt-WWI 20 or more years later than the real WWI? For instance, might a Russian desire to seek a rematch with Japan in the 1930s or 1940s trigger a general European war as a result of Britain, Germany, and other countries deciding that war is necessary in order to halt any additional Russian expansion? What about other potential triggers--such as a revolution in Russia and/or A-H triggering an alt-WWI in the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s?
 
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Chlodio

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Aug 2016
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Assuming there is still a global Depression in 1929 then economic stress can be a contributing factor.

The Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires were all somewhat fragile in the 1910s, and if they survived into the 1930s at least one of them would be even more fragile, so some kind of imperial collapse in Eastern or Southeastern Europe could lead to war in 1934.

1934 is a little early but Japan's adventurism in China could involve the US, British, French, and/or Dutch in an Asian war which might then spread to Europe - too many forces deployed to Asia exposes vulnerabilities at home and opportunities for Germany or another power to attack.

Italian expansion in the 1930s could start a European war. Britain and France might fight Italy over Somoliland or Albania. Churchill wanted to oppose Mussolini in the 1930s, but could not muster any support among his fellow Brittons.

Again 1934 is a little early, but the Spanish Civil War might drag in several European powers.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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Assuming there is still a global Depression in 1929 then economic stress can be a contributing factor.
Will there actually be a Great Depression without WWI, though?

The Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires were all somewhat fragile in the 1910s, and if they survived into the 1930s at least one of them would be even more fragile, so some kind of imperial collapse in Eastern or Southeastern Europe could lead to war in 1934.
The war doesn't have to be in 1934. It could be in either 1934 or sometime after 1934. It has to either be or become a World War, though.

1934 is a little early but Japan's adventurism in China could involve the US, British, French, and/or Dutch in an Asian war which might then spread to Europe - too many forces deployed to Asia exposes vulnerabilities at home and opportunities for Germany or another power to attack.
I don't think that Japan would be willing to fight against an alliance of all of the other European Great Powers, though. Too suicidal.

Italian expansion in the 1930s could start a European war. Britain and France might fight Italy over Somoliland or Albania. Churchill wanted to oppose Mussolini in the 1930s, but could not muster any support among his fellow Brittons.
There won't be a Mussolini in power in Italy without WWI, though.

Again 1934 is a little early, but the Spanish Civil War might drag in several European powers.
Would Wilhelmine Germany actually be interested in Spain, though?
 

Rodger

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Jun 2014
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Assuming there is still a global Depression in 1929 then economic stress can be a contributing factor.

The Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires were all somewhat fragile in the 1910s, and if they survived into the 1930s at least one of them would be even more fragile, so some kind of imperial collapse in Eastern or Southeastern Europe could lead to war in 1934.

1934 is a little early but Japan's adventurism in China could involve the US, British, French, and/or Dutch in an Asian war which might then spread to Europe - too many forces deployed to Asia exposes vulnerabilities at home and opportunities for Germany or another power to attack.

Italian expansion in the 1930s could start a European war. Britain and France might fight Italy over Somoliland or Albania. Churchill wanted to oppose Mussolini in the 1930s, but could not muster any support among his fellow Brittons.

Again 1934 is a little early, but the Spanish Civil War might drag in several European powers.
Good assessment. Japan at some point was going to expand to the point that it interfered with the interests of wither the U.K. or the U.S. and maybe France.
 

Futurist

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May 2014
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Good assessment. Japan at some point was going to expand to the point that it interfered with the interests of wither the U.K. or the U.S. and maybe France.
Very possibly not at the risk of war with these countries, though.
 

Rodger

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Jun 2014
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Very possibly not at the risk of war with these countries, though.
Do you believe the U.K. would have permitted the Japanese to occupy parts of their colonial empire without a pushback. Even more so, don't you think the U.S. would have attempted to curb Japan's influence in the Pacific, given its holdings in the Philippines, Hawaii, Alaska and other smaller islands?
 
Apr 2019
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Ireland
Nationalism among the various elements of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires would have been still sparks near the powder-keg, revanchism in France would be strong enough to assure any sleight could be a pretext for war. Ottoman decline or aggression would still attract AH, Russian and British vultures. Intense patriotism and blind duty were in most of these countries embedded in the very fabric of society in a way that today is looked upon with sadness and fatalism. The press of course was a huge element in whipping up popular fervour over any perceived sleights. This mixture of elements was all present in 1914 and would have existed after this date if war had not broken out.
Britain moving closer to Germany may have the effect that she could stay out of a European War, however ultimately she would not like to see the continent be dominated by a single power or the balance upset against her.
For me Austria and Russia are doomed because they don't bend with the wind as much as Britain and France (concerning internal affairs). Germany is more stable and prosperous than Austria and Russia. For me Austria, Russia or the Ottomans would be the most likely candidates for the immediate crisis leading to a war.
Another act of intransigence by a major power over a smaller one like the Austria/Serbia scenario could get the steamroller moving.
Spain could be a good example of a crisis leading to war. The war weariness of the powers post WWI would not be an issue if the war hadn't have happened.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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Do you believe the U.K. would have permitted the Japanese to occupy parts of their colonial empire without a pushback. Even more so, don't you think the U.S. would have attempted to curb Japan's influence in the Pacific, given its holdings in the Philippines, Hawaii, Alaska and other smaller islands?
I completely agree with you; I just don't think that Japan itself is going to be willing to go to war alone against a Great Power coalition.
 

Rodger

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Jun 2014
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I completely agree with you; I just don't think that Japan itself is going to be willing to go to war alone against a Great Power coalition.
I don't know. Japan was very confident in the 1930s and 1940s. They were intent on an empire.