A non-dystopian (indeed, noblebright) Central Powers victory scenario, set in the same universe as this: rvbomally.deviantart.com/art/C…
The Great War was not as epic a conflict as the Napoleonic Wars that occurred a century before. While the great powers of Europe had entered the conflict, the German triumph at the Marne quickly put the war in the West to an end. With Paris surrounded by German troops, as it had been in 1871, the French surrendered. Britain, its expeditionary force nearly annihilated, withdrew soon afterward. Now, the Russians were alone in facing the war machine of the Central Powers. Tsarist troops surrendered and deserted in droves, but Nicholas II stubbornly demanded the war go on. Another defeat would ruin his reputation forever. Instead, as anti-war sentiment built up after more defeats against the Germans, Nicholas II was deposed by a popular revolution. The new government, the Russian Republic, quickly sued for peace. By 1916, Germany stood triumphant over the European continent.
The years after the war were marked by Germany's ascension to first among equals at the table of the great powers. True, its economy was still eclipsed by that of the United States, and its navy still small compared to the Royal Navy, but it was the master of Europe. The French and Russian republics were unstable, wracked with social discontent. Britain retreated from European affairs, focusing instead on its global empire. Austria-Hungary, already playing second fiddle to Germany in 1914, fell further within the German orbit as ethnic tensions forced it to reform with the aid of German bayonets. Germany worked on creating a greater European community with itself as a center. This Central European Community, later expanding into the European Community and then the European Union, had three purposes: (1) to increase economic activity between European states, (2) to prevent European wars and, most importantly, (3) to ensure that German dominance of the continent is secured.
By 2014, the European Union is a major economic bloc, and indeed the largest economy in the world. It is still dominated by the German Empire, which has relegated the Kaiser to a more ceremonial position after democratic reforms throughout the 20th century. Even its old rivals, France and Britain, are part of the EU and contribute to its economic well-being. The join EU mission to Mars back in 2013 has further increased a feeling of European integration, and the possibility of a truly federal Europe is widely discussed.
Challenging Germany in a friendly rivalry is the United States and its League of Nations. The growth of German and Japanese power in the 20th century helped wake the sleeping giant from its sphere of influence in the Western Hemisphere, and now it leads a bloc of democratic countries. Still, Americans are uninterested in foreign wars, and the League of Nations is a primarily humanitarian and economic organization that helps its weakest and poorest members. The Russian Republic had shaky beginnings, but after the establishment of stable democracy and aid from the United States, Russia gradually industrialized and now provides the world, but particularly the US and its League allies, with the petroleum products it needs.
China had a rough 20th century, but it stabilized by the 1930s and became a democratic republic closely aligned with the US and Britain. Seeking to emulate the Japanese, the Chinese Republic opened up to the West and Japan, and foreign investment has helped China ascend. By the 1980s, China's economy grew enough that the tail began to wag the dog, and by the 21st century, China is a true contender for superpower status, along with the Germans and Americans. The Chinese middle class is growing, and it is believed that China may eclipse Germany (but not the EU) sometime in the next few decades. China's main ally, the Ottoman Empire, is a prosperous parliamentary democracy, its economy bolstered by oil revenue and tourism in the Holy Land.
The Japanese remain a force to be reckoned with, even if they have had a recent slump. With its democratic tendencies from the Taisho era continuing well into the 20th century. Instead of seeking dominance through military means, the Japanese turned to economic dominance, a strategy that has worked well for them. They still remain the go-to country for quality electronics. India, too, has ascended. After independence in the 1950s, prompted by a growing hostility against colonialism, India has become a shining example of functioning democracy in the former European colonies. It still has its problems with economic inequality, but as its infrastructure improves, so are the lives of all Indians.
The world has its problems, of course. Africa is still wracked with ethnic warfare, underhandedly fueled by the great powers in their attempts to gain dominance. Petty dictatorships exist around the world, although they are generally shunned. Famines still happen, despite the international community's best efforts, and many scientists warn about the dangers of global warming resulting from the burning of fossil fuels. The scientific community is trying to find ways around this energy issue, and the bright minds of the European Science Institute are ready to publish a report about the possibility of tapping energy from "anomalous dimensions." Whether or not this "vacuity energy" is a dead end or the key to sustainable energy won't be known until the first experiments are conducted. People are hoping for the best.