Another reupload, with only a few changes related to expanding on the existing scenario. QuantumBranching's advice re: demographics in the old version's comments has been kept in mind for the entirely original no-WWI world that's a ways down my to do list.
Anyways, here's a "No world wars" scenario directly inspired by a decade-old thread on AH.com by Aedh Rua with of course elements shamelessly "borrowed" from an excellent no world wars map by QuantumBranching. The archduke's car doesn't make a wrong turn, the long 19th century continues and a lucky world manages to preserve a certain kind of innocence lost on the battlefields of OTL. The Ottoman, Russian and German Empires survive while the Austrian, British and French all decline. Of course, I've done certain adjustments to factor in the divergence.
It hasn't been a smooth march into the future, though. The 20th century has experienced booms and busts, with two relatively painful busts in the 1930s and 1990s. Colonialism in the high imperial form continued decades longer than OTL and the western world never became more egalitarian 1933-70. However, on the positive side of the ledger the third world avoided communism, totalitarianism hasn't ever really emerged and the first world is larger(Russia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Malaysia, Cuba, Venezuela, Costa Rica are all first world. Also, there are many more more middle-income nations).
The world has emerged from a bad recession in the 1990s caused by an energy crisis and the future although it remains largely optimistic doesn't look as automatically bright as it used to. The civilized world faces the prospect of actually having to work to ensure it remains headed in a good direction instead of just coasting on decades of peace and good governance...
These nations are the three biggest economies, military powers and of course the most culturally dominant -- Hollywood, Tokyo and St. Petersburg are the world's film capitals. This order emerged slowly in the years after 1914 as the powers of Europe experienced relative economic decline compared to the growing economies of these three giants. the British empire's decline led to a tripolar world instead of OTL's pattern of transferring the reins to the US. The biggest economy, Russia is no more than 25% larger than the smallest economy, the United States of America. This similarity in economic size masks the gap in standards of living between say the US and Russia or the US and Japan.
The Russian Empire has the world's largest economy and 720 million citizens living in the area from warsaw to kabul to vladivostok. Russia is a parliamentary democracy even if it's prone to extravagant corruption, strong political turbulance and populist agitation. Since the late 1990s, Russia has become even more federal and now areas such as Afghanistan, Turkestan, Poland and Ukraine have extensive autonomy. It's economy is a mature capitalism with corporatist and welfare state influences. It is a land known for loud televangelists, aristocratic high society and belligerant nationalism. Without the misery of the 20th century, Russian literature is even more turgid and depressing than in the real world because writers feel a need to compensate for the bland prosperity around them and Make A Statement.
The second member of the big Three is Japan which is a parliamentary democracy on the British model, and no longer as militaristic as it was in the early 20th century. Japan has even liberalized to the point where there's extensive local autonomy for Koreans, Taiwanese and Okinawans by now. It is modern, but not anywhere near as modern or wealthy as in OTL -- This is very much the Japan of Bushido and geishas, and not that of anime and pokemon. In this more euro-centric world Japan is unique for being able to retain it's cultural autonomy in a way that few other non-western nations in this world have managed -- even wealthy places like the Ottoman Empire are visibly more westernized than OTL's middle east. Without the disruption of the War, there are more powerful zaibatsu, on the old Meiji model, and there is much more inequality and class tension. This is expressed in the usual way, by a powerful socialist party. The Emperor is still considered a deity, and still has more power than the British monarch, but he stays in the background, as has been the Japanese tradition for centuries. The Japanese empire has significantly higher population than OTL and makes our world's Japan look almost rural in comparision -- there are 470 million Japanese living in the home islands and Korea.
The United States of america has the second largest economy in the world and isn't anywhere as internationally involved as our United States. America dominates the Western hemisphere and has trade connections with Asia, but has little interest in European or African affairs. Demographics are a tad different from OTL: Firstly there are 340 million Americans, extended european immigration(pre-WWI rates of immigration continued into the middle of the 1930s, there no "great migration" north, the baby boom never happened, the composition of modern immigration since the 1970s has been different(more europeans, more east asians, more educated/rich latin americans and far fewer poor third worlders) and the settlement of the west/south hasn't happened to OTL's extent. . It remains segregated unlike OTL and at most there have been a few of the whiter states in upper dixie giving black schools equal funding or setting up toothless "Negro assemblies". There are 50 states just like in OTL(Puerto Rico is a state(since 1983) and Jefferson split off from OR/CA in the early 1940s but neither Alaska nor Hawai'i are states yet(Alaska is still a territory due to there being no cold war-induced pushes for settlement and Hawai'i is majority asian)). Culturally, America differs in having more influence from south/east europeans, germans and is somewhat less protestant -- prohibition never happened(even if the US came close a couple times), the modern religious right as we know it didn't happen and the "southernization" of American culture that's been going on since the 1970s hasn't happened.
OTHER GREAT POWERS
These are the rest of the large players. Your Britains, Frances, Germanys, etc. all of these are prosperous, capitalistic and liberal (by world standards) but don't have the same weight as the big three. However, they may compete on par with the big three in one or two areas.
Germany is prosperous, powerful, and much respected abroad -- While it is not one of the superpowers germany can punch above it's own weight. As in most countries, the average German is a working class factory hand, who lives in a combination of a consumer society and a welfare state. The difference from 1900 is that now the factories are cleaner and Germany now produces high-end consumer goods and electronics. The German class-system is almost as rigid as the British, which keeps Socialist politics alive. The government is much more democratic than at the beginning of the century, although populist nationalism remains acceptable. German companies are probably the most advanced in the world and compete on equal terms with the megacorps of the US or Russia or even Japan's ziabatsu. Now that the Russian military has displayed its ineptitude to the world, the common opinion is that the German military is the most high tech and most competent man or man on the planet, though the Germans cannot function on the same sheer scale as the Americans or Russians.
The British Empire has evolved into a very loose federation of nations, not too dissimilar from the OTL Commonwealth in certain ways. However, there are clear distinctions between the more integrated areas and associated states -- it's possible to travel between Britain and Canada or Britain and Australia without passports but you need passports to go between say Britain and Rhodesia. Britain is in most ways exceedingly similar to OTL, perhaps a bit more prosperous, a bit more influenced by the empire, a bit more conservative and of course a bit more culturally influential. Even though Britain is not one of the big three, London's cultural output equals any of the Big Three's. The British upper classes find it easier than in OTL to maintain the illusion that everything is at it was a century ago; British fashion remains quite conservative compared to OTL even though society has liberalized extensively. However, almost all of the old colonies are independant in everything but name and the few which remain have become integrated into the metropole.
The white dominions are all surprisingly similar to our world, except for the fact that all have retained. Both Australia and New Zealand are significantly wealthier than in our world, thanks to the integrated world economy continuing to provide a market for their products. South Africa is whiter and has more Indians and Chinese, but is still pretty similar to our pre-1980s South Africa.
Italy is a Great Power, right behind France, or maybe about even in power-political terms. It's surprisingly similar to OTL's italy, even though it's still under a monarchy. Without the fascist interlude, it's more leftist than OTL and has been ruled by socialist coalitions a couple times. It even retains it's posessions and is doing it's best to culturally italianize it's locals. Italian culture is similar to OTL, even if it followed the trends of being more florid and decadent than OTL. There are many of the same food, fine cars, fashions, and arts.
France is still under the Third Republic. Like OTL, it is is still stagnant in demographic and relative power terms. The French aren't overly happy that the cultural center of Europe has moved first to Berlin and then St. Petersburg. As a result, they have compensated for this by becoming increasingly decadent. In a more libertine world than OTL, France is now known as the world's main center of pleasures, whether those of the table, the beach, or the bed.
China is an authoritarian state in which multiple parties are technically legal, but in which only the National Party actually holds power -- think our Current People's Republic of China but with more actual socialists around and a government that uses a bit less force and more gerrymandering. It's economy is still state capitalist, but there is a bigger welfare state than OTL combined with policies aimed at repressing consumption and sumptuary taxes. As a result of the efforts to repress consumption at the top, there is less of a class system than in many countries, but the Chinese are mostly poorer by far than Europeans or Americans. However, the Republic of China is about a decade ahead of OTL in terms of wealth -- It's not quite in the ranks of the "Big Four" yet but it's close. The long period of foreign rule has left China very xenophobic and prone to nationalism.
The portions of Latin America which are inside America's sphere. Cuba, Mexico and Costa Rica are all democracies while most of the rest of the region are either dominant party states or capitalistic juntas. All of these puppet states have certain things in common: larger european populations than OTL because of puppet regimes wanting to 'europeanize' the population via immigration and capitalistic economies.
The portions of Latin America which in our world were major centers of european immigration before the war now even have orthodox minorities ranging from 5-20% of the population thanks to lots of eastern european immigrants. Oddly enough, a world that's less Americanized means that much of the expansion of evangelical protestantism in Latin America that our world
Brazil's standard of living is around 40% of first world norms and has 420 million people thanks to extended immigration combined with a later demographic transition. It's whiter, more influenced by Europe culturally and has more towns of germans or italians in it's south. Extended european immigration combined with Brazil being richer to pick up immigrants from the global south mean that Brazil is even more cosmopolitan than in our world. Brazil still remains the power of the future and hasn't gotten there yet, but it's in a better position than it ever had been in OTL's 20th century.
Argentina has 81 million people and a per capita GDP on par with France. Buenos Aires is one of the grandest cities in the world, and a center of fashion on par with Paris or Milan.
The Ottomans are sitting pretty on oil, have a mildly corrupt government and remain a conservative and pious society. The government is a constitutional monarchy where the army often has the upper hand but there are occasional elections. The christians of the empire ended up in the new world by the 1930s instead of being massacred or dumped in greece like in OTL. Wahabism has been repressed and overall the country is no more religiously conservative than OTL Jordan.
The other giant that benefitted from globalization, India lags OTL by 20 years in economic development. A non-communist China, Russia, Brazil, The Ottomans and various other areas both inside and outside of the great empires have taken up much of the investment that went to India in OTL. India is more conservative, corrupt and unequal than in our world but at least is more prepared for economic growth in the long run since it's intellectual environment is much less socialist-dominated. The caste system in India is more alive than OTL but other aspects of traditional culture do rather less well in India thanks to longer colonization combined with the west retaining a certain prestige it lacks in OTL.
Most of the third world is rather more rich and stable than OTL and the extended period of colonialism translated into the populations being more exposed to capitalism than in OTL's postcolonial world along with them being able to get away with less. Life is still wretched for those living in the backwaters like Sudan, Sikkim or the Mali Confederation. The fact that the great powers tie aid for favorable trade terms and occasionally send troops in isn't helping matters. Compared to our world, there is a lack of attempts at third world cooperation. Perhaps for the same reasons there is also more cultural prestige for the west and less willingness of non-western cultures to stand up. Also, third worlders who want to modernize attempt to copy Japan's model(rightist government, adoption of certain western cultural forms.
The powers of Europe have withdrawn from their empires but retain more bits and pieces than OTL. For example, all 3 of the guyanas remain colonies, most of the caribbean is still colonial, The entirety of Papua is still owned by europeans, Cyprus remains british, etc. There are also efforts to try retaining ex-colonies as part of imperial federations or economic unions with varying results.
People tend to be fairly conservative, but also believe in their empires, their leaders, and in progress - the power of science to make a better future. They accept that there is a basic code of civilised behaviour that under-pins society (though the details of this may vary depending on where they come from) and have faith in the necessity of material progress. This is extended to include strongly assimilatory policies towards regional(Quebecois, basque, kazachs) or immigrant minorities aimed at turning them into members of the majority culture.
The costs of living is considerably lower than in the real world due to there being much less inflation over time thanks to governments spending less and devaluing their currencies less combined with reduced costs of production thanks to more of the third world being capitalist and able to make cheap plastic stuff to sell in western markets. This reduced costs of living is part of why there hasn't been more labor unrest in response to globalization.
Demographically, the net effect of removing the wars has been to 1) increase populations in europe and northeast asia 2) delay the demographic transition in europe, places which recieved european immigration and northeast asia 3) speed up the demographic transition in the rest of the planet. The net effect is a world still having 7 billion people, but with certain differences in distribution(older third world, younger atlantic world to name two). Besides the numerical differences, there are very visible differences in population: Europe's former colonies in this world often have at least small european minorities with places like Algeria or Malaysia or Rhodesia retaining demographically significant minorities. Then there is the case of the Chinese diaspora in the empires of Europe with many places having 10-20% chinese and the norm for even the most isolated african former colonies to be 1-5%. Britain's Empire with it's Indian diaspora is a special case since cities as far away as Duban or lagos or even Salisbury have india-towns.
In terms of social mores, this world is quite different from OTL both in specifics and the history behind them. Instead of our world's periods of reform followed by reactionary cooldown, there has been a gradual evolution with more token preserving of old forms. Also, there isn't our world's confused mixture of neo-victorian window-dressing(as expressed in the form of current fears of teen sex,certain anti-gay types and portions of the feminist movement) and libertinism. There is no gay marriage anywhere, but it is fully acceptable to be gay and over the years there has been a gradual accreting of inreased legal recognition of gay partnerships -- no marriage or government-recognized civil unions but it's the norm for employers to offer them the same deal as married people and the idea is out there that there will be gay marriage in time. Not now, and probably not the next generation but definitely by mid century. Premarital sex is of course accepted, but unlike OTL there is no corrosponding acceptance of unwed children. Intoxicants of all kinds are quite legal due to no expansion of governments to fight the wars
There is a great faith in technology, science and the future, but much less interest in spirituality. There is a sort of relaxed optimism mixed with self-serving hedonism, and the quest for meaning in a rather boring world. Various worries that our world takes for granted simply don't exist -- there is much less concern about the 'decline of family' or fear that our technology will do us in(this deprives this world' cinema of many 50s and 60s B movies
One side effect of this world's blase optimism is a worse environmental situation than our world for the most part in some ways. Think the kind of troubles that nations have had when modernizing up to modern first world levels, rather than the OTL soviet bloc. Resources are in a bit shorter supply than OTL, but none have yet run out. However, the situation has gotten to the point where the recession of the 1990s was in large part caused due to rising energy prices. The recession was ended thanks to expansion of nuclear power, promotion of solar power and rather moe serious attempts to find technical and economic solutions to the energy crisis than our 1970s. Essentially, due to the economic convergence of more of the planet(Russia, Brazil and other nations), the world is roughly where OTL is expected to be in terms of energy/resource costs in 2030.
We may note that the literary and artistic products of this world are mostly of higher quality as art than in OTL, but way too over-wrought, florid and amoral to be really likable by most viewers from OTL. A world without our world's traumas overcompensates by going in directions our culture would consider "emo".
Different economic trends have lead to the advanced nations continuing the early 20th century trend towards more leisure time, even if compared ot OTL if the expansions of it came later than OTL. The four day full-time workweek and three months of paid vacation is normal in the United States by now. This has led to a mix of positive consequences like less stress, but on the other hand to a bit more decadence.
Technologically, the world is roughly the same as OTL with areas that lag being compensated by areas that are boosted. Biotech, synthetics, solar power, material science and medicine are all boosted. Nuclear power is much more common than OTL. There are multiple city or country-wide computer networks but the idea of a single unified "internet" is still mostly theoretical. Airships are still around and used much more than OTL. Also, Jet aircraft remain less common and are decades behind OTL.