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Literature / A Central East

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A Central East is a counterfactual history of the Great War and what comes after, posted at (also home of Look to the West, Decades of Darkness, Holding Out for a Hero: Gustav Stresemann Survives, Superpower Empire: China 1912 and The Series).

The divergence is Henry Hughes Wilson dying in an accident in December 1901 (although that is only revealed a little while in; the author didn't come up with the idea until the first few chapters had already been written). This leads to Britain being ever so slightly less bound to alliance with France, which in turn leads to Germany maintaining East First plans. Cue 1914, German High Command deciding to expect a long war and going for Russia first, and Italy being persuaded to join the Alliance...


Contains examples of:

  • The Alliance: Not really as such, but the alliance that in our world would have been called the Central Powers is consistently identified as the Alliance.
  • Alternate History: Well, obviously.
  • Balkanize Me: Russia after the Great War is smaller than modern-day Russia. There are two Chinas (and that is not counting all the warlords ostensibly part of one China or the other).
  • Binding Ancient Treaty: A certain 'scrap of paper' meant Britain was supposed to declare war on France. While they don't actually do that, Belgium and Germany use that little fact to encourage Britain to remain officially neutral.
  • Civil War: Both Russia and China suffer from that particular affliction. Russia's is resolved within three years of beginning. China has a brief burst of intense fighting, after which it freezes and transists into an unofficial cease fire.
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  • Dirty Communists: Russia does not avoid left-wing extremism. So far it seems to be less dirty and extreme than the OTL counterpart, though.
  • Double-Meaning Title: A Central East refers both to that Germany's East First policy lead to the Eastern Front being more central to the War, especially in Germany's eyes, and to that much of Eastern Europe ends up under the influence of what in another world would have been known as the Central Powers.
  • The Emperor: The Tsar is mentioned in passing, and the German Kaiser and the Chinese Emperor (despite not being Emperor of China at that point) are even named. Interestingly, one case is averted compared to OTL?while Yuan Shikai plays a fairly important role in the Far East towards the end of the Great War, one of the main differences for China is that he doesn't declare himself Emperor.
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  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The very first chapter title is The Black Week and the beginning of the Great War, Part 1, and is about the Black Week of failed diplomacy and the beginning of the Great War.
  • Word Salad Title: A later chapter title is The Tri-Crescent Falters. This is one of the slightly better cases: the chapter is about the surrender of the French government, by then located in Bordeaux... whose traditional symbols happen to include three interlocking crescents.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: Averted. Neither side is all that good or bad. For that matter, both the Alliance and the Entente include both republics and empires.
  • Historical Domain Character: The changes only really beginning in 1914, and the timeline being around 1925ish depending on the region, means practically everyone so far is historical.
  • Irony: Historical irony, to be precise. Among other things, France ends up invading Belgium in an attempt to bypass Germany's defences, and Stalin ends up in exile from the Soviet Union-analogue.
  • No Party Given: Partly averted. Parties are mostly mentioned when applicable. However, not all politicians are actually members of parties...
  • Oh, Crap!: September 1914: Counting states able to strike directly at them, Russia is at war with Germany and Austria-Hungary. Dangerous, but should be survivable, even winnable with luck, right? September 1915: Counting states able to strike directly at them, Russia is at war with Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Japan, Romania and Sweden.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: For one, the U.S. president at the end of the Great War is Charles Evan Hughes.
  • Putting on the Reich: The German Empire, being the Deutsches Reich, has some of this. Their need to be rid of surplus equipment once the War is over leads to this cropping up in Eastern Europe and southern China as well.
  • Shout-Out: Many of the chapter titles.
  • Take That!: 'The Bloody Baron' Roman von Ungern-Sternberg was a Russian noble and officer, strangely popular in Alternate History (possibly for being the kind of blend of Ax-Crazy, temporary successes and just plain weird that goes into near-insanely cool). He is killed off in a footnote.
  • What If?: What if Britain remained neutral, Germany went East First, and Italy remained in the Alliance in the Great War?
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Averted while, at the same time, played straight. Zeppelins have not been mentioned once. At the same time, this is the early 20th century, the zenith of the Zeppelin... and this is Another World where nothing so far has made Zeppelins less popular.