This world diverged from ours in 1914 with a German Victory at the Battle of the Marne. The German victory was followed by an occupation of Paris by the year's end and a rising hope that the Great War would end swiftly. This would not be the case, as the French Civilian Government moved to Montoire and the Western Front devolved into a seemingly endless struggle of trench warfare like OTL. The Western Front however proved less pronounced than OTL, allowing for a greater German focus on the East and an earlier collapse of Tsarist Russia, its brief return under a provisional government, and then excision from the war due to a Bolshevik Revolution. Although France continued on for years and was bolstered by the British Expeditionary Forces on the Mainland, the loss of Russia, the stronger German position (and German control of the majority of France's Cereal Lands), and a growing pacifist counter current led to a military coup in France by July 1917 and the negotiation of its surrender, followed by an official end to the Great War weeks later.
Although the victorious Central Powers did seek to take some European land from their wartime enemies the focus of the post-war treaty, spearheaded by Germany, was the dismantling of the colonial system of the Allies, a form of containment to seal them off in Europe and forever curb their power. The dismantling of Franco-British colonies was largely successful, especially in the case of France, but Britain, which had significant support among its White Dominions and was in a better position post-war than its mainland allies, was able to keep it suzerainty over the White Dominions and spatterings of Africa. The dismantling of empires was to be supplemented with the creation of a global forum for peace and reconstruction after the war, a World Concert based on many of the principles of the old Concert of Europe, only now with the intention of limiting Franco-British power instead of preventing Pan-German Nationalism. The dismantling of the Empires and the establishment of the World Concert brought with it German, and later Ottoman, entrenchment in East Asia, as relations with the Empire of Japan collapsed over Japanese demands over former French Indochina, former Dutch Indonesia, and a high seat in the World Concert. In response the World Concert, through Ottoman proxies, broke the Anhui Warlordship away from Japanese patronage and formed an Anhui-Zhili "Provisional Constitutional Chinese Government" (Also known as the Second Republic), which itself was given a seat in the World Concert in place of Japan.
While the Central Powers extended their reach across the Earth via the World Concert the postwar order in Europe proved intolerable to the French and British public as it was intolerable to OTL's Germany, and popular dissent and desire for revolution fermented, culminating in communist revolutions along the Soviet model in both countries in the late 1920s, with loyalist governments fleeing to Canada and Algeria respectively. The communist revolutions and with them the subsequent loss of millions of dollars of capital invested into continental Europe led to a worldwide depression around '27.
The World responded to the Great Depression in many ways. America went down the path of unitary ordoliberal government under the principles of Huey Long, the Central Powers levied their control over vital trade ways and the world's petroleum resources to heavily subsidize their economies, the Soviet Union began a crash industrial project and jockeyed for former Imperial Russian land lost during the Great War, all the while Japan squeezed its mainland Asian colonies harder and subsidized its employment through a massive expansion of the military. Meanwhile, the battle between nationalist, communist, and princely factions in Free India in the face of a collapsing world would lead to its dissolution by the 30s and the rise of the United Provinces in the West of the former Raj.
These various responses would come to head during the German-Soviet War (1940-43) which ended in the ultimate destruction of the Soviet Union (its collapse also leading to a Japanese occupation of much of the East in the last months of the War) but also in the over extension of Germany and Austria-Hungary and their descent into military juntas in the years following the War. From the 40s to early 60s continental Europe became a tinderbox of various martial and communist states, breaking out into regional conflicts which had to be repeatedly stamped out by the Ottoman Empire which found itself the unexpected head of the still extant, but greatly weakened World Concert. Persia would return to a semblance of prominence as it gorged itself on the former Soviet Union and began its association with the United Provinces in the former battleground of the Russian and British Empires. In Asia, Japan seized control of Indochina under a Vietnamese Cadet Government and supported a Thai Nationalist State as struts in its growing Asian Imperial Alliance. Meanwhile, with the lack of continual Concert support the Second Republic in China (which had by this point formed a united diarchy with the KMT government to the South) became once again a target for the Empire of Japan, but found itself with a new ally, Longist America which itself had adopted an increasingly anti-Japanese stance following Japan's annexation of the Philippines during the Longist State's earlier period of isolation.
The Pacific War (1951-55) ultimately ended in Sino-American Victory, its turning point coming with Manchuria's heel-turn against Japan and its alliance with America and China (though it refused to recognize China officially at the time, as it considered itself a continuation of the original Manchurian Imperial Restoration) and the Cambodian Revolution against Greater Vietnam. The war culminated in the occupation and disassembly of Japan, the balkanization of Thailand, and the birth of Greater Cambodia and its associated states from the ashes of Greater Vietnam. Following the Pacific War the Sino-American-Cambodian de facto alliance sought rapprochement with the Ottoman Empire and entry into the World Concert, breathing new life into the organization and beginning its march to true global reach. This was followed by many of the Post colonial governments of Africa, which had begun to come into their own at this time, most notably the German influenced East African Union and the Republic of Egypt.
In the 1960s and 70s a series of velvet revolutions swept across Europe, bringing an end to many of the military governments that took root after the German-Soviet War and giving birth to the Democratic Union of Peoples, a very government-skeptic union based upon a fusion of principles that our world would call syndicalism and libertarianism. Their ultimate ascension to the World Concert would begin its transformation into the form it is in this world's modern era. Many of the former communist states would go in the same direction of the new Democratic Union and its Postnational Allies, with the notable exception of the Commune of Europe, a state forged out of parts of the former communist states of France and Spain, which would turn inward towards a Juche style of governance, although far more of a concern to world peace than our world's North Korea due to its greater scope, population, and industry. As of the modern era it still refuses to contact much of the world beyond broadcasts of nuclear detonations and deafening orchestras.
The year is 2017, more specifically July 2017, and the 100 year anniversary of the end of the Great War is approaching. The world is, for the most part, loosely united under the framework of the reformed World Concert, now a truly globally centered organization dedicated to peace, economic development, and combating problems such as climate change, terrorism, and resource exhaustion. A far more multipolar world in the national sense, owing to earlier decolonization and an earlier breakout of India and China, the world's divisions are more easily understood through the World Concert, which is fought over by two main factions, the Principilists and the Freemen.
Dedicated to the principles of state control, civil service, ordoliberalism, and globalism, the Principlists are dominated by the United States of America and the Third Chinese Republic (A confederal project which emerged as a replacement for the AZ-KMT Coalition that was the Second Republic) with the US representing the more Unitary branch of the Principlists and the Chinese representing the Confederalist branch. The Principlists believe that the future of the World Concert is as a true World State, uniting mankind under a single framework that hopefully will lead to the eventual dream of a utopia. The Principlists invest much into the World Concert Peacekeeping Force and are the main proponents for the destruction of the World's rogue states and the ascension of the remaining independent states to the Concert.
Staunch defenders of the rights of the individual man and skepticism of the state, the Freemen work for the "streamlining" of the World Concert and the devolution of many of its departments back to national governments (or in the case of the Democratic Union and its allies, back to local counties, communes, mutualships and free associations) with the African Renaissance Movement representing the more National branch of the Freemen and Postnationalists representing the Localist branch. The Freemen believe that the goal of the World Concert should be to give people and states the tools to govern themselves as best as they can freely and to promote mutual free association between states, rather than act as a stepping stone on the way to world government. The Freemen however push much of this agenda from within the World Concert itself, supporting Concert patronage of independent companies, NGOs, and other social movements, and working for no-strings loans for developing nations and the national projects of member governments.
In the middle of both the Principlists and the Freemen is the Indo-Iranian Cooperative, which is in theory merely a regional voting bloc to forward the interests of the Indo-Iranian governments and their allies, but has found itself made the frequent kingmaker of disputes between the Principlists and the Freemen, much to their chagrin. Beside them are the other members of the World Concert who are largely ambivalent to the Principlist-Freemen Ideological Skirmish and focus largely on using the Concert to benefit themselves. One subject that the factions and neutrals of the World Concert do agree upon though, although this might seem unthinkable to OTL sensibilities, is the necessity of World Concert controlled territories across the globe, especially in environmentally sensitive places like the Amazon, Antarctica, the Methane fields north of Scotland and Polynesia, and in places where the Concert protects oppressed minority and national groups. Because of this, and the overall more zealous support of the Concert by its proponents, despite its open ideological schism the World Concert is still a far more powerful organization than OTL's United Nations.
The nature of this world's Great War and the 20th century that followed sent this mankind on a wildly different technological path than ours, owing greatly to the dominance of sea and slow land warfare in the German-Soviet and Pacific Wars as opposed to the leapfrogging of aeronautics and rocketry based warfare seen in our world with the fields of computer science, and oceanographic and geological sciences advancing beyond ours while fields like astronomy, space travel, and fundamental theoretical physics stagnated in comparison to us.
As of 2017 man has not been to space, that is to say that not a single human has even made it into orbit, although a spattering of low orbit telescopes do exist. However, sea floor and underground colonies cover the world, the deep oceans and their wildlife have been mapped to a degree hardly imaginable to our world (and with it the biological sciences are more refined in this world than ours), oceanic methane has become a major form of energy generation and fuel processing, and sea floor/crustal/volcano mining fields have all been investigated and developed. As a result of underground and ocean colonization, geothermal and nuclear sciences have advanced and this humanity has had commercial thorium reactors and portable modular nuclear reactors for military use for a decade.
With the absence of an orbital communications network, and the lack of advances in astrophysics necessary to crack the secret of wireless fidelity, while this world has made advances such as exaflop computing it does not have things like wireless internet. As to be expected then the internet is a far different beast in this world than ours. The net is dominated by physical fiber optic connections which crisscross the ocean floor in far greater density than ours, and the net is provided by a number of large national telecomm communications, with services being doled out by "email" providers. There is no social media, this world is dominated by IM groups integrated into email profiles, anonymous image boards, and various file sharing sites (mp3, video, image, text all of which are routed to one's email). There are multiple competing wikipediaesque services, many of which are provided by national governments, and the net is inundated with sandbox and mmorpg games, many of which are popular due to their ability to skirt the control of email providers and governments as private IM dens. Lacking many of the frills of our net, this net is still far faster than ours, more secure due to the ability of exacomputers to create extremely secure connections and solid keys, and more populated than ours, used by >7 billion of the world's 9 billion people as opposed to our 3 billion.
Currently the boundary of this world's science is being pushed by the Democratic Union in the Deep Station Lidenbrock, an underground research facility that reaches deep into the litho-mantle boundary region where an ecosystem of chemosynthetic bacteria feeding off of upper mantle hydrogen and hydrous rocks has been found. For years work on replacing the mantle biosphere with an organic geocomputer was investigated with the aid of the World Concert and finally the first trials are ready to begin. If it works it could usher in a new age of computing for mankind, and, some Principlist backers of the project hope, pave the way for eventual human unity by ceding immense computational power to the Concert. Detractors bring up that the wearing away of the boundary zone during biosphere replacement could result in the buckling of the upper lithosphere and an epidemic of earthquakes... everywhere. The even more paranoid bring up that the replacement procedure is being carried out by a simple AI which carries the risk of a hard AI takeoff, and with it human extinction, should the project go too well.
Regardless of the risks and concerns the project moves on. In a few months the Lidenbrock Geocomputer will be activated and everyone's questions, concerns, and hopes will be answered.
This part just caught my attention. How can it be enforced? Won't Britain simply take over all French colonies?
Speaking of the USA, are we one of the countries with our own Wikipedia variant? And if so, how do I create an account there?
Yes, and you'd have to get approved via the State Department of Department of Education to create an account that allows you to post and review content.
+ It's nice to see post-national syndicalism and Ottoman Empire coexist in the same world <3
- There is no mention of Ottoman collapsing along the road. If anything here it should be too strong to lose Arabia, Palestine and Kurdistan. Hell, they'll absorb pretty much everything sans Oman. Rather, I would expect decentralization.
- I overlooked bigger Armenia there. boo :<
It's not really meant to be a collapse, I just don't see the Ottomans feasibly holding on to the majority of their Arab territories by the end of the 20th century. Either there would be Arab Revolts generationally or there would be a process of devolution and/or peaceful secession. I imagine a bit of both, with Mesopotamia likely being given devolved powers but remaining a part of the Empire. A Scotland as opposed to an Ireland so to speak.
Bigger Armenia is something I try to sneak in because I can't help myself.
Not the Kurds, because at least the ottoman regime won't be out to actively destroy their culture, and they'll be in good position to squeeze for demands because the state will want to keep access to Mosul and Gulf wells, and that Kurds tend to have good upward mobility in the army.