The unmarried Emperor of Austria Franz Josef tries to undermine his mother, Archduchess Sophie, who favors niece Helene as the future Empress and to keep the Hapsburg line in power.
The English princess, Queen Victoria's eldest daughter Vicky, marries Prince Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia and is unprepared for her new life in Germany, when her liberal views clash with the Prussian doctrine of blood and iron.
Bismarck's aim of a unified German empire is furthered through a new League of Emperors. His plans also extend to Fritz and Vicky's son Wilhelm, who has become estranged from his parents.
The Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary and his young mistress are found dead at a hunting lodge near Mayerling.
Alexander III doubts the ability of his son and heir, young Nicholas, to rule Russia. Meanwhile, the autocratic conservatism of Tsarism is breeding revolutionaries.
Nicholas II has now been Tsar for nine years. In Russia, the question is when to carry out a revolution and by whom. In London, Lenin is developing his own, more radical, brand of Marxism.
Nicholas is pre-occupied by the war with Japan and the health of his son, a rising tide of discontent among St. Petersburg's working class may lead to a strike.
When Grand Duke Serge is murdered, Nicholas dismisses his Police Chief. He considers Ratchovsky to be a suitable replacement, but both Witte and Alexandra have their doubts about his character.
Foreign Minister Izvolsky has his sights firmly set on the Dardanelles and the freedom of the Russian fleet, rather than peace in the Balkans.
Heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand causes fear for Franz Josef over Austria-Hungary's future.
Nicholas and Alexandra have begun to rely heavily on the advice of Gregory Rasputin while the Russian army drowns in their own blood.
As the fires of revolution fan in Russia, Lenin and his comrades are stuck in Switzerland. However, Germany may prove to be an unexpected ally.
As America enters the war and British tanks made advances across France, Germany's grand poobah, Kaiser Wilhelm II, calls a supreme council of war in occupied Belgium.