27-06-2015: The Great War
(this works better on DeviantArt: https://nlspeed.deviantart.com/art/The-Great-War-An-Alternative-1914-542554867

The twentieth century has just entered its second decade; it's the year of 1914. The Great War, not yet. But soon, politicians in all countries predict, soon this great war will erupt.

How could it not? The Spanish Kingdom is the largest power in the west, while the Austrian Kingdom rules the east. Although they're not ruled by the Habsburgs anymore (well, the kings make sure to prove their Habsburg ancestry, but... It's comparable to people who're proud of their 1/128 German ancestry), they have come together under the Seal of Habsburg, which more or less makes them best friends forever.

Many have been their causalities, while they expanded and rose to prominence once more. Napoleon's empire may have been Europe's premier power, after Napoleon achieved stunning and miraculous victories everywhere, but it veered away from the ideals of liberty, equality, and brotherhood, and descended into totalitarianism and corruption. Spain profited, and even now holds land past the Pyrenees.

An Italian Confederacy was created, as France's reach grew shorter and shorter. Alas, Italy was but the powerless plaything of her neighbours; whereas France's authoritarianism caused corruption and a descent into ruin, Italy's democracy caused corruption and a descent into ruin. The people needed to be in power, not the corrupt elite, so the nation chanted. But, wasn't this what had been tried with the France revolution? And look at this blue carcass now, a pale imitation of France's former glory. Four years of civil war, three months of Revolutionist (a combination of French revolution liberalism and our communism) government, one more month of civil war, five more months of Revolutionist government, seven more months of civil war... And then Italy was spent.

Half a century later, the king of Serbia found himself with seven daughters, whom he all married off to the most influential Italian princes, aristocrats, and noblemen, who ruled Italy (that is, they each controlled one province, de jure (de facto it was very hands off), and as for Italy as a whole, eh, who cares). Roughly a year later, the Italo-Serbian Republican Monarchy (... Yes... Just yes) was proclaimed. Lead by both an Italian king (he liked high society and was an excellent politician; sucking up to all the right people and whispering all the right words) and a Serbian king (a military genius with visions of grandeur, but realpolitik enough to accomplish said visions), Italy was no longer the sick man of Europe. Italy? Yeah; Serbia lies in east Europe, whereas Italy lies in west Europe, and west Europe is where it's at. So the Italo-Serbian Republican Monarchy is called 'Italy', and 'Serbia' is quietly forgotten.

Though the Italian Confederacy may have failed, the Germanic Confederacy succeeded. Indeed, Germany is the premier power opposing Spain and Austria, and has been cultivating close relationships with her Germanic cousins; the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Hungarian Nation. Cultivating the same kind of relation with France may be a bit more difficult, however; both Spain and Germany profited from France's collapse, and these are the kind of grudges that last centuries.

As for the United Kingdom of Britannia (fun factoid; 'Great Britain' is 'Britannia Maior', whereas 'Ireland' is 'Britannia Minor' - everything to erase the Irish identity), they have been quite amicable to Spain at times. Initially, simply to kick Napoleonic France and restore balance to the European continent, but one can also look at British Middle Africa or British Guyana; the fact that they exist at all means something.

Norway can't really be bothered by 'those southerners' and just goes its own way - which inevitably means being friendly enough to Spain and Austria, as they more or less rule the world.

As far as a hypothetical Great War goes, it's unsure where these two nations will fall. But Germany can count on the support of mighty (oh yes, powerful indeed) Hungary - where dictionaries do not contain the word 'freedom' - and sturdy Poland. And considering that Spain can probably count on Byzantium's help - strong religious ties, mostly - that means Germany can count on Italy's help - because Byzantium is a juicy target for Italy - and... Persia, Byzantium's archenemy. But Germany really dislikes Persia. That will be interesting. With Persia comes Arabia. Ethiopia has close ties with both Arabia and Byzantium, and considering Ethiopia's religion, it'll probably side with Spain. Meanwhile, with Byzantium comes Russia. Finally, because Spain is the most ardent supporter of slavery, it is likely that the Midwestern Confederacy will seize this opportunity to declare war on the side of Spain. Which presents a problem, as that would mean the United States would declare war on the side of Germany.

Regardless, the above are mostly sure. But there are many questionmarks as well. Britain, for example, could follow the United States in declaring war on the side of Germany. Norway could do the opposite. The Golden Nation could decide it wants to have another try at conquering Russia - or perhaps at invading Europe, through Hungary or Poland? What about Egypt, which currently has close ties to Byzantium, Britain, and Persia? What about France? Neutrality, perhaps? Will the Netherlands opt for neutrality, too, or will the massive Spanish cultural influence be enough to sway the Netherlands? And will Aztlan join on the Spanish side, even though Aztlan really can't handle any war at the moment?

Who knows! All we know is that, as of 1 January 1914, the world looks as it does above.

1) We would call this island 'the Falkland island'. Well, no, we would call it 'la Isla Malvina'. Or...

2) The United States was once destined to stretch from sea to sea, but a nasty civil war put a stop to that. The Midwestern Confederacy is all about slavery, so naturally, Spain supports her. And that kinda makes the Confederacy invincible, except from internal collapse... Or a world war...

3) You know what they say about two dogs fighting over a bone? Well, neither the United States nor the Midwestern Confederacy were fighting over Florida, but details.

4) Aztlan was set up as a place for natives. That's nice in theory. In practice it's a feudal state run by countless of noblemen from all over Europe - indeed, a common joke is that, should one have no money to pay, a land grant in Aztlan will be sufficient payment. 'Tis the American Dream, but entirely different. Currently they're supportive of Spain, but that might be because the Spanish secret service has... Redistributed the land grants, shall we say.

5) The Pacific States should really be part of the United States, but the Midwestern Confederacy broke them up and conquered quite a bit of these Pacific States. With Britain moving in to to pre-emptively cut off the Midwestern Confederacy from the Pacific, the Pacific States are a small and sad excuse of a nation. Indeed, looking at the poverty and crime, it is doubtful the United States would want them back.

6) A risky and daring move by Britain, occupying this land, but fortune favours the bold. The British are masters of exploiting every opportunity to the fullest.

7) When Napoleonic France fell deeper and deeper into destituteness, Spain had an easy time reclaiming her empire. Because of a lackadaisical king and a very determined people, however, this part successfully applied for membership of the United States, which means that, for now, they're safe from Spain's Conquistadors.

8) There are some Germanic - Dutch! - islands here, inhabited by a populace that refuses to accept they're Germanic - but they're Dutch! - and not Dutch anymore - but they are, dammit!

9) Spain helped expanding Suriname, at the cost of British and French possessions. Curiously enough, Suriname now also desires to join New Holland. Perhaps some ethnic cleansing or resettlement acts will put things right.

10) French Guiana saw the writing on the wall and successfully bargained for statehood in the United States; it was pretty obvious Spain was going to absorb French Guiana whole.

11) Spanish America is a thing. Much booing from the non-Spanish people living there, though. Much like how 'America' means 'the United States of America' here, but than a lot worse. For one, people actually care.

12) Tawantinsuyu was allowed to survive. That is, it was conquered, annexed, and a good 50 years later it was told to, y'know, be independent. Somehow, Tawantinsuyu managed to do just that, without dropping a few kilometres on the ranking of most developed nations in the world (not that it's particularly good or anything, but it's admirable that they didn't collapse into civil war and poverty).

13) The Sapa Inca and his family fled to these islands. They're now known as the 'Sapa Inca Islands'. Bonus points for creativity.

14) This sliver of land was supposed to go to Austria, but Spain quite enjoyed its access to the Pacific, so alas.

15) In return, Austria got this piece of land, which isn't even bad! Most of the remaining land was bought by dozens of Germanic noblemen and all; Spain got very rich selling South American land grants.

16) But then they realised Germany now had a considerable presence in South America, which could prove to be a threat. A few... Accidents... And negotiations later, Norway was brought in to counter the Germanic presence by a newly-crowned Spanish king. Which was quite the diplomatic incident, as the previous king had intended to gift the land to Austria. But then the king died and the Austrian delegation attending the king's burial arrived three days too late (some kind of bureaucratic error), and the new king sold the land to Norway over the corpse of the old king - literally. That gave a whole new meaning to 'over my dead body'.

17) This could easily develop into the Cuban Missile Crisis. Except that it'd be Spanish, and with bombers. Mostly, however, it's Germanic scaremongering - and a good excuse for those Germanic barons and all who own land closest to Las Malvinas (an internationally accepted name, how's that for a change?) to get extra funding from the state.

18) You'll find a lot more Irish people in North America than you'll find in Ireland (pardon; Britannia Minor). Well, unless we're counting dead Irish people, but then we'd also have to take the forced migrations into the frozen wastelands of the far north of North America into account. Let's just say the Irish identity has been almost completely erased.

19) A success story of decentralised expansion; hundreds - if not thousands - of provinces and city-states and national committees and supra-national institutions have come together under the banner of the Germanic Confederacy... Holy Roman Empire... Something. A hundred people have a hundred and one different opinions when it comes to the name of this beast. But, somehow, it works! Except for the massive, massive, massive amounts of bureaucracy...

20) They actually liberated themselves from the Mongols - the rest was 'liberated' by Norway, which had fun poking the Golden Nation again and again - and are now known worldwide as big, muscular, hairy lumberjacks.

21) The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is one of the sturdiest nations in the world, having survived invasion after invasion. The Commonwealth also has the most homogenised culture, which is especially evident in architecture; if you've seen one city, you've seen them all. The Commonwealth would like to reclaim the lands lost to Germany and Norway, but it'd prefer to stay in peaceful safety. Still, with such a strong ally as Hungary to back it up...

22) Perhaps the most powerful nation on the continent (discounting colonial possessions; otherwise Spain and Austria would be far more powerful), perhaps just second to Germany. But Germany suffers from bureaucratic inaction, whereas Hungary has one powerful leader and ample amounts of nationalism... Authoritarianism... Totalitarianism... Fascism... All those fancy buzzwords make for great cultural marketing.

23) The Roman Empire - oh, fine, Byzantium, mostly based out of 'ancient' Bulgaria, but that's still Roman enough - survived, thanks to Persia handling the hordes trampling through her territory differently - better, too, for Persia - as well as different migrations by the Norsemen who'd establish Russia.

24) The first of hopefully many conquests. Truly the Italian king and the Serbian king are a match made in heaven (and no, they're not married... But they might be gay), what with their combined political and militarist acumen.

25) Russia is a close ally of the Byzantines, having protected Anatolia from invasion quite a few times, and, as such, serving as Byzantium's shield. They're also staunch Orthodoxists (the few Jews that are still alive have migrated to the southern, Egyptian part of the Sinai Peninsula), which occasionally leads to (verbal) fights with Persia. Then again, Persia is Byzantium's historical archenemy.

26) Trying to position itself as an important trading nation - and succeeding, too, despite all odds; from the Caspian Sea to China, all kinds of cultures and products pass through here.

27) A rather popular island for Europe's elite; look how progressive and cultured we are, going to this tribal wasteland where we're exposed to all kinds of quaint cultures. Admittedly, outside the comparatively few cities, 'tribal' isn't entirely a misnomer.

28) Persia would like her northern lands back. Sure, centuries have passed, but an existential threat who's occupying our homelands and oppressing our people is always useful for a nation's stability. As was absorbing lots of violent nomads, many centuries ago, and directing them all westwards; look at the size of Persia!

29) Apparently an 'existential threat' to Persia. Definitely in the top ten of 'most primitive nations', coming close to topping illustrious categories such as 'most maternal deaths' and 'most child pregnancies'.

30) When Persia says 'jump', Arabia takes a split second to think about the likeliest intended height and then jumps ten times as high. This wasn't always the case; for a long time, Arabians fumed and stewed and swore they'd exterminate the entire Aryan race to get Mecca back. But ever since Persia 'graciously' (read: They saw the writing on the wall) gave a lot of land back, including Mecca, Arabia has been the most loyal 'ally' anyone could wish for.

31) Because of Arabia's loyalty, Persia didn't see the need to pay much attention to her. That changed when Austria set up some trading posts and oh lookie our trading posts magically expanded to include lots of shiny clay - but by then it was too late. Persia knows she can't challenge Austria directly, but should a world war break out...

32) It's interesting how the fanatically Christian Ethiopians and the fanatically Muslim Arabians have been friends for quite some time (admittedly, the south-western coast of Arabia is mostly inhabited by very tolerant Muslims - if not polytheists, even). Just like Arabia, Ethiopia would like the land just beyond her eastern border.

33) Yep, Austria has done well for herself. It took a lot of espionage and annexations-through-marriage, but hey; nube, felix Austria!

34) This 'India' is actually a mostly artificial construct based on the old Maratha Empire, propped up by France to counter Austria's presence, for all the good that does.

35) This piece of land, connecting 'Indian' Austria with 'Chinese' Austria, is the most unsafe place worldwide. Raiders and tribals and whatnot shoot on anyone and anything that moves, and if that gets boring, they switch to everything that doesn't move.

36) Nepal has been a faithful ally of Austria. But so has Tibet. Tibet has had a taste of violent expansion, what with China collapsing left and right. Tibet liked this taste. And it's more convenient to have one ally, than to have two, Austria would say...

37) As an example of Tibet's grand plans; this fabricated claim on Chinese lands will soon become a political reality.

38) The north of China seceded; it's pretty obvious China has lost divine favour, what with its blasphemy and heresy, so this new Kingdom of Heaven shall regain the Mandate of Heaven. It's a totalitarian theocracy, and a curious mix of fascism and religious extremism, but... It kinda works, in so far that, when half of the male populace is employed in the army (the other half are priests), others will think twice before invading. That is to say... The Golden Nation only sees a perpetually shrinking China-prey... And the Golden Nation does have a valid claim on its long-lost homeland, doesn't it?

39) Joseon and Britain have always been close. Britain went from being the first European nation to trade with Joseon, to protecting Joseon from the Nihonese and the Chinese, to an alliance, to beating off a combined invasion by the Golden Nation and Nihon, to actually turning this invasion around and taking a bit of land here and there, to outright annexing Joseon (mostly voluntarily; there are always some pesky dissenters, but eh, there are always armies that need more manpower) and letting British imperial ambitions run wild. The Golden Nation was a bit miffed at the outcome, as were Nihon and China to a lesser extent.

40) However, as some kind of peace offer (or, more accurately; we don't want the Germanics to own this land), Britain allowed the Golden Nation to occupy this sliver of land, cutting the Chinese off from the sea (it's not as if the Bohai Sea, below Beijing, will do them any good). The Golden Nation, meanwhile, enjoyed her improved access to the spice market and all those juicy colonial goods that travel through Austria's holdings in Asia.

41) It's the edge of the world and all of eastern civilisation. The sun may rise in the east, it has finally set on this location. Dream of Nihonification.

Alas; no anime nor hentai here, only forgotten glory. I mean, this is 1914, what do you expect? Certainly no hardcore soft porn. And first-born unicorns can only be found in North Korea, which doesn't exist here.

42) This used to be a restored Napoleonic empire. Then it declared independence and became the Revolutionary French Republic. Then it just decided to join up with France again, because imperialism is quite cool. And thus they expanded some more.

43) As for those revolutionary ideals; Siam adopted them, and... 'Twas actually quite benevolent, surprise surprise! The king dramatically improved the living standards and equality of his country, for example. All in all, Siam is very free and nice when it comes to sex and gender related things. Seriously, this Siam wouldn't look out of place in our current western world, which is just insane in 1914.

44) But for some people, nothing is ever enough; that king sitting on his golden throne is a huge affront to equality and freedom. No gods - wait, we mean, yes to gods! - no kings, no masters! And then we had a mini-USSR, though a bit more anarchistic. Just be glad there's no Mao or Pol Pot to turn the extremism up to eleven... Well, not yet anyway...

45) Germany was here before France, but never did anything besides adding tariffs and tolls and bureaucracy to the area.

46) Austria also liked an independent slice of these profitable islands. Quite useless, as all trade simply goes through the independent nations that don't raise so many taxes.

47) Though, 'independent'... They're independent so long as they obey Spain's every command. Of which Spain doesn't issue many, besides 'hey, give us some money at the end of the day'. Then again, maybe Spain will wise up one day, and see that the smart thing to do is to replace all the food crops with money making crops. What could possibly go wrong?

48) An independent confederacy of nations, following a combination of the Spanish hands-off policy and their very own 'if we just decentralise enough nobody will know anyone with enough power to make meaningful complaints to' model. It's working well, so far, and it has managed to successfully combine states' rights with slavery!

49) New Holland, set up by angry men who didn't want to lose their national identity, and filled with Spanish slaves (80%+ of the populace is Spanish in some way, though not all of them slaves of course). So, in a way, Spain has successfully conquered the Netherlands - culturally speaking, at least. It's also a nice land of opportunity, what with it being large and sparsely populated, and having a convenient source of slaves nearby (oh hello there 'independent confederacy' mentioned earlier), so who knows what will happen eventually, culturally speaking?

50) The French were here first, but this close to the south pole... Norway just couldn't resist that enticing attraction of snow, ice, and permafrost. And the French, well, they have enough trouble holding on to what they have, so in a way, Norway did France a service.

51) A group of British privateers and a few rogue admirals set up shop here. Eventually, the royal navy hunted them down and brought hundreds of islands under British control. This is broadly similar to how the Spanish came to own the hundreds of islands eastwards (that is, the far west on the map); private or state-sponsored 'conquistadors' (anyone from an adventurous peasant wanting a better life to a nobleman hiring himself a mercenary army) would explore the Pacific and seize any island they saw. Only now, sometimes centuries after the islands have been acquired, Spain is bringing them under the state's control. Many people who used to own these islands are pissed off, of course, but what can they do about it?

52) The roughly thousand kilometres long wall here is but one symptom of the dysfunctional Byzantine-Persia relationship.

53) Although, they cooperated excellently to fill up this land with as many people as they could. Byzantium found many Russians willing to emigrate, whereas Persia found a bit less Turks less willing to emigrate - but who cares about those dirt-eating (it's not an insult if it's true) Turks?

54) The Germanics were here first, but beyond a few ports to facilitate sea travel, they didn't do much. A costly mistake, when the Spanish showed up in their eternal quest for more land. Though Germany did make up for this 'loss' by colonising the land to the north, Germany still wants the land it once claimed, especially after hearing of vast gold and gem depots.

55) Which is probably what attracted Spain in the first place. It's also what lead to the infamous Alliance of Romance, wherein Spain, Byzantium, and Persia agreed to divide southern Africa between themselves. This started out well enough, as is evident by the eastern coast, but soon enough the three found themselves disagreeing over everything. Fortunately (for them, that is), they had the foresight to void the 'alliance' before it could come to war.

56) The 'alliance' did have some use, in that Persia managed to grab some Germanic lands. Persia made an enemy for life that day.

57) Even Austria is rather miffed that Spain snatched this land. Supposedly, it was to prevent Hungarian expansion. 'Supposedly', because people know better than to bring up this subject.

58) Say, ever heard about the Congo Freestate and that charming king Leopold II? Well, you'll be glad to know Nzari is different! I mean, Leopold II never drafted the inhabitants en masse to create humongous Belgian armies. Hungary's leader, however, did just that. Lots of filthy brownies in white and pure Hungary now, though.

59) Those men of the frozen north found the humid heat of the tropics and the dry heat of the deserts entirely too hot, and subsequently wrote off the whole continent as a waste of time. Still, they weren't about to abandon their settlements here, which over time have basically become an independent, native-ruled kingdom. #NotAllColonies (are ruled from Europe, are exploitative, are oppressive, and so forth...)

60) British Middle Africa is a curious project that could only be realised in the tiny period of time wherein Britain had friendly relations with Spain (to keep the rest of Europe down - but that was before Spain became such a superpower), Egypt (Byzantium faced a few terrible harvests, and Byzantium's emperor turned to the age-old solution of violently seizing the fertile Nile - Britain disagreed), and Persia (always in for a war against Byzantium). Even now, British people are (stereotypically) known for seizing every chance and using it to its fullest potential, all because of this.

61) 'Course, a while later, Egypt and Persia teamed up against the British. To be honest, Britain didn't care much; Middle Africa had grown beyond their wildest dreams, and there were more pressing matters in North America.

62) To strengthen the ties between Hungary and Poland, this land was graciously donated from one leader (Hungary's) to another (Poland's). And no, Poland doesn't intend to deport the populace all the way north, to Europe, to serve in the Polish army there. Frankly, Poland's a bit scared of Hungary's totalitarianist and megalomaniac tendencies.

63) Although Ethiopia and Arabia (and through Arabia, Persia) are historically close with each other, that never meant Ethiopia wasn't just as close with Byzantium, what with their shared religion. As such, some of the more adventurous Byzantines have long since explored the lands south of Ethiopia, and the fact that it's now an equal (y'know, wealthy and free and all, not exploitative and oppressive) part of the Byzantine Empire isn't very surprising.

64) This colony makes it a lot easier to maintain French Indochina, providing a base of operations closer to home, and it also served as a neutral ground (of sorts) for European and Asian France to come together once more. Which they did; the Revolutionary French Republic - Indochina - is no longer an independent, separate policy from the actual France located in Europe.