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Cross of Fire by RvBOMally Cross of Fire by RvBOMally
The Russo-Japanese War ended in victory for the Russian Empire. In the peace that followed, Japan was expelled from Korea, and the Russians gained a powerful sphere of influence in Korea and Manchuria. The defeat placed strain on Anglo-Russian relations, but with the emergence of the German threat to both of them, the Great Game gave way to the Triple Entente of France, Russia and the United Kingdom. 

Russia entered the Great War of 1913 with confidence, believing that the German and Austro-Hungarian armies would be defeated just as the Japanese had been eight years prior. It was not to be. The Russian military had triumphed over Japan, but only through luck in the seas and by prolonging the conflict in the east enough for Russian land forces to overwhelm the Japanese. Against the larger, more disciplined, more advanced armies of the German Empire, the Russians folded. The Tsar was humiliated, and forced to abdicate in 1916 as the populace demanded reforms. Soon, the entire monarchy was abolished, replaced with a Russian Republic that made peace with Germany in 1917.

But even as the Russian bear bowed out of the war, the Entente fought on. France lost Paris in 1917, driving the remaining French military to fight harder to avert a repeat of 1871. The British, and later the Americans, poured more and more men into the trenches of the Western Front to halt the German advance. But all was not well for Germany. The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed into a whirlwind of ethnic violence, forcing the Germans to devote men to keeping the Dual Monarchy together. Their Ottoman allies dropped out of the war, their empire to be carved up by the Entente. The final straw came in 1919, when communist revolutionaries toppled the government in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin. Massive portions of the German Army defected, disillusioned with their leaders. Germany was plunged into civil war. The Entente wanted to stop the revolutionaries from winning, but with war exhaustion threatening to bring down their own governments, they settled for an armistice with the Spartakist government along the Rhine. 

The post-war world would be tough for Europe. Germany emerged as the first communist state, with a small group of satellites. The Russian Republic went through its own period of chaos, including an aborted communist revolution, before settling down as a corrupt presidential autocracy. France and Italy, though part of the victorious Entente, felt that they had been stiffed by the British in the post-war agreements given their own sacrifices, and with the fear of red Germany turned to increasingly nationalistic political parties for protection. 

By 1939, a new war was brewing. France was under the control of the Croix-de-Feu Party, a former group of Great War veterans that felt that they had a duty to unite Europe under French rule to protect it from Spartakism and Anglo-American capitalism. Their intervention in the Spanish Civil War, along with that of their Fascist Italian allies, left Spain under a fascist government that had lost some territory to the Croixists. In the East, Japan was formulating a plan to gain vengeance for the War of 1905 and dominate East Asia, and thus forged the Pact of Iron with the French and the Italians. 

In the heart of Europe, the communist threat stood alone but proud. The Union of European Spartakist Republics was far from the workers' paradise envisioned by the more idealistic leftists on both sides of the Rhine. Under the chairmanship of Wilhelm Pieck, the UESR is a totalitarian one-party state that has become committed to the vision of global revolution. However, surrounded on all sides by enemies, the UESR has put carrying out that vision through force on hold. Instead, the UESR is attempting to take advantage of the split between the Anglo-Russians and the French, so that the two sides do not make the decision to crush the UESR on two fronts. 

The Allies are the successors to the Entente. Leading them is the United Kingdom, which remains a constitutional monarchy committed to the ideas of liberty, democracy and national self-determination. Perhaps the most powerful military force in the world, the British Empire has taken it upon itself to preserve the order left by the Great War and preventing a new one from brewing. Their primary ally in Europe is the Russian Republic. Though corrupt, militaristic and autocratic, the Russian Republic is nowhere near as bad as its Tsarist predecessor, to say nothing of the Croixists or the UESR. The Russians are fearful of the Spartakist and Japanese threats on its borders, and with the British is desperately courting the unstable Republican regime in China. 

Apart from this all stands the United States. Disgusted with the outcome of the Great War, the American public are steadfastly opposed to joining the next war, which they see as an inevitable result of European folly. The Americans are content instead to rule their half of the world while the Old World tears itself apart in war. Their only real worry is the Japanese, which have been eyeing the Philippines as a route to Europe's colonial possessions in southeast Asia. But Washington remains convinced that the Japanese just need a stern reminder of just who would win a war between the two powers to avert it. 
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:iconepileptictrees:
epileptictrees Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014
So, Fascism and Communism moved westward instead? Also, Communist Germany is what Marx (a German) definitely expected more, and in contrast to popular conception, he hated Russia as a backwater serfdom. 
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:iconwatcherinthepuddle:
WatcherInThePuddle Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
History repeats itself. 
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:icontlhikan:
TLhikan Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
Ah, good old Croixism...
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:iconrvbomally:
RvBOMally Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
Croix-de-Feu is where I got the name from. :)
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:iconmeloa789:
meloa789 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
Did the nationalist sentiments like of Serbia in OTL have an effect for the ensuing chaos?
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:iconrvbomally:
RvBOMally Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
Yes. It brought down Austria-Hungary.
Reply
:iconmeloa789:
meloa789 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
Was it because of the assasination, or was it because of something else?
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:iconrvbomally:
RvBOMally Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
War exhaustion. The ethnic minorities of the Empire, agitated by the Entente, saw an opportunity to carve out their own states.
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:iconmeloa789:
meloa789 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
OK.
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:iconkyuzoaoi:
kyuzoaoi Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Student Artist
Prussian Germany is Best Germany!
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