Chapter 3 – Present – Alternate World War 1


On the following day, Kenji’s dad went to his office job as usual despite what had happened the day before. Kenji himself also went to school as normal. He recalled the events of yesterday during the first-period math lesson.

Yesterday, my dad suddenly froze as soon as I used up all the space on the notebook page, thought the boy and rubbed his eyes while in the process of taking down the notes from the blackboard.
And then, he noticed a brand new line in an alien handwriting being written on the page…

<Is the Esteemed Sage feeling well?>

What!? Can this possibly be continuing!? Even though it’s a different notebook…?! Kenji almost shouted out loud despite being in class, but he somehow managed to hold his tongue by grasping his mouth.

<Why would anything happen to the sage?>

<The Esteemed Sage honored us with a visit the other day. Thanks to that, the governing elite has come to terms with your existence too.>

<Uhmm, how did the sage come across?>

<Quite peculiar… And rude. He was half transparent like a ghost, but everyone saw him. With that appearance, he basically came off as a transcendent being, not a person.>

Wow… What are you doing Dad… Hmm, considering dad, they probably talked about his theory. Kenji gazes out of the window, eyes glazed over. Ah. Such a fine weather.

<So did the upper brass have a change of heart and sell the continental gains?>

<Pretty much. They couldn’t outdo the Esteemed Sage’s intellect and quick wit. In the end, almost all of them were convinced.>

<Everything that has been prophesied in the notebook is something that the transcended being knows, eh?>

<Exactly. I am very fortunate to have interacted with you, O Great Prophet. Please send my regards to the Esteemed Sage too.>

<Will do! But what are you planning to do from here on?>

<In regards to that… If communication in this manner is still possible, I would like to receive some advice from the Sage.>

<I understand. I will ask him later.>

<My deepest gratitude.>

<Ah, I don’t know what the date is where you live, but a war will erupt in Europe in 19141.>

<W-what… That’s eight years from now…>

Apparently, his delusion progressed to the year 1906. Kenji shuddered at the sudden thought that the delusion might actually be a reality.
The possibility that dad really went there makes me feel uneasy. Kenji, his thoughts fully occupied by the notebook, skipped the rest of his classes. Not that it changed much. he tended to sleep through most of them anyway.

 

◇◇◇◇◇

 

As soon as Kenji came home and was done with his chores, he consulted his dad about the news from the notebook.

“Dad. The notebook person wrote that you went there…”

Kenji showed his dad the exchange from this morning at school to his dad, but his father had no new insight to offer.

“Umm… I can’t remember, Kenji. I can’t say anything for certain. You said yourself, I was like frozen yesterday.”

“Yeah, you seemed like you were scared stiff.”

“I may have well been doing something at the time, but I can’t recall anything.”

“If these notes really are connected to the past, and Dad time-travelled to that period…”

“Hahaha! I think you’ve been reading too much isekai novels, Kenji. Such a thing can’t happen in real life.”

“Nevertheless, Dad, this notebook… It’s rather fantasy-like.”

“… Hard to argue that.”

The father and son combo looked at the notebook with mystified faces. This was an item of the sort sold in hundred-yen shops, yet the person behind the notes claimed to be from the distant past.
No way, right? The two of them looked at each other, and immediately dismissed that idea.

“W-well… Dad. This guy still wants some future advice.”

“Well, since your dad also enjoys this kind of theory-crafting… Alright, let’s go over the situation and figure out countermeasures.”

“Okay, Dad.”

“Let’s see… The situation did begin to deviate from actual history, but from a global perspective, I don’t think there would be much variance.”

“Yeah. Nevermind Manchuria, even the Korean Peninsula shouldn’t affect the global situation much.”

“Exactly, Kenji. But Manchuria should be more developed than Japan had enabled it to in the historic timeline, due to the United States’ presence. Therefore its influence on mainland China ought to increase accordingly.”

“What about Japan?”

“I think the levels of technological advancement and economic development will be higher than in our own history. That would increase our international influence somewhat, I guess?”

“Because of the closer than original relations with the US, UK, and Germany?”

“Precisely.”

Kenji’s father proceeded to briefly summarize the web of alliances2 leading up to the World War 1. One side had the United Kingdom, France and Russia allied together3, the other was composed of Germany, Austria4, and, tentatively, Italy5.
Italy’s ‘tentativeness’ came from its preexisting territorial disputes with Austria, and it would, in fact, ultimately side with the UK later on.
Until the beginning of Word War 1, those two blocks had kept each other in check.
The question was — since Japan’s relationships with the US, UK, and Germany had all improved due to common interests, wouldn’t the relations with the Germans become an issue in such an environment?

“I see… Dad, didn’t Germany have a hostile relationship with the UK?”

“It did. Hmm… Will there really be a problem, however? That fictional Japan is not bound by a military alliance with the Germans, so when the Great War erupts, we can simply participate based on the Anglo-Japanese pact6.”

“In reality, until the hostilities erupted, we traded both with UK and Germany in a normal manner. Shouldn’t the same thing happen here, Dad?”

“Mhm, there likely won’t be much divergence from the known history until World War 1. The real issue starts there.”

“There are too many variables to consider, it’s hard to make heads or tails out of things.”

In the timeline that Kenji remembered, World War 1 was a war with Europe as the main battlefield, which took place from 1914 to 1918. There was also fighting between the colonies of Germany and the UK.
The Russian Revolution occurred in 1917, in the middle of all the fighting, and Japan dispatched troops to Siberia to oppose the Russian Revolutionary Government7.
The outcome of World War 1 was German-Austrian surrender ratified through the Treaty of Versailles8. The Russian Revolution, on the other hand, was a success and Russia had become the Soviet Union of today.

“The most impactful thing would be to stop the World War 1 itself, but this might be impossible.”

“Maybe if the notebook’s recipient was in Germany… But he’s Japanese.”

“Indeed. But there are two major turning points in that time period. Kenji, can you think of the other one?”

Turning points in history, hmm… Should we intervene in the World War 1 itself? It certainly might be possible to change the history somewhat with a pinpoint intervention. Assuming that succeeds, and sided with Germany, can we achieve a better outcome compared to our own history?
Nah, if we are even a bit careless, things are bound to turn for the worse instead. We don’t want hellish outcomes, even if this is just theory-crafting…

Kenji sunk deeper into his thoughts.

Ahh. That’s it! We should do the same as with the Russo-Japanese War and intervene into the post-war peace treaty. The Treaty of Versailles will become a source of dissatisfaction for the losers and that will be one of the causes of World War 29. But being defeated doesn’t necessarily have to turn into a reason for discontent.
Therefore, the contents of the peace treaty are vital. In fact, after the real Russo-Japanese War, the relations between both parties were good. The world post-World War 2 was also like this. There were skirmishes, but no serious wars between the major powers10.

“I got it! Dad, how about intervening in the Versailles Peace Treaty?”

“Oh, that’s an idea.Unlike you, Kenji, I was thinking about intervening in the war itself.”

Reluctantly at first, Kenji started to think aloud.

“The Treaty was too harsh on the defeated countries. Should we consider changing that?”

“Mhmm. Ideally. But even if its international standing is a bit better, Japan at that time…”

“I hear you, Dad. But according to the person in the notebook, there should still be eight more years to change that. Assuming our economy would grow further by the time we’re called for war…”

“Alright then, let’s consider the best possible outcome. To what extent can Japan build up strength and courage by the time the Paris Peace Conference11 starts?”

“How about checking the present situation there through the people in the notebook so we can come up with an appropriate advice?”

“Ah. That’s a good idea. Let’s give them better recommendations based on future news whenever we get that information.”

The father concluded that waiting for the picture to become clearer would indeed be prudent.

“In that case, Dad, what do you think our goals should be in the Treaty of Versailles?”

This question made Kenji’s dad groan. Eventually, he brought out a notepad and placed it in front of his son.


Footnote

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I tensions regarding territories and interests around Europe prior to this date were already mounting for years and the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria set of the whole thing. This war lasted for roughly 4 years.
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_World_War_I#Web_of_alliances there were a lot of treaties and pacts at the time that bound the countries together, but the most noteworthy of them were the Central Powers and the Triple Entente.
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_Entente feeling some pressure from the Central Powers, France initiated an alliance with Russia and UK to feel secure in case a war was to erupt at the time. UK and Russia reluctantly allied with each other as well. Do note that each country in this alliance was previously an enemy to the other two. Kek.
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Powers Germany, feeling haughty and wanting to conquer the world, agreed to an alliance with Austria-Hungary since Austria-Hungary was pretty shaky at the time as a result of internal ethnic tensions. Germany had no qualms about helping Austria-Hungary in the short term since they were gonna conquer the place anyway and Austria-Hungary’s achievements would end up being Germany’s achievements. Hue.
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Italy#Italy.27s_territorial_settlements_and_the_reaction tentatively, because Italy were allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary due to their fear of France, but Italy had an ongoing dispute with Austria regarding Istria and Tirol (the region around Venice). They initially wanted to stay out of the war at first, but UK talked them into siding with the Entente by promising to recognize all their territorial claims
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Japanese_Alliance#Terms_of_the_1902_treaty basically revolved around not touching China and Korea. It also served as a promise that whenever either side go to war, they would remain neutral until they get teamed upon, they also promised not to have secret talks with other countries.
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Provisional_Government it was a provisional government established immediately after the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II of the Russian Empire.
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Versailles allied victors from the World War 1 gathered in Versailles Palace in Paris to set peace terms and conditions for the Central Powers. Japan was one of the “victors” as they were allied with the UK. Do note that their relations have already fallen through prior to this Treaty as they both considered their pact as a hindrance to their respective interests. Read more from this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Japanese_Alliance#Demise_of_the_treaty
9. Hitler and the Nazis gained support from the German people as they were unsatisfied with the results of the World War 1, and attacked the Polish under the false pretense that the Poles had sabotage operations near their border, that caused the UK and its colony to declare a war on Germany.
10. No major wars happened at the time, but there was a cold war ongoing between the USSR and the US, and it even extended to Korea where both parties got involved in the Korean War during the 1950s, supplying either side weapons and such.
11. An alternate term for the Versailles Peace Conference


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