ITTL, Roosevelt managed to get the Republican nomination, so he's still a Republican and never had to form a Progressive Party.November 7 - Charles Evans Hughes defeats Roosevelt in the election, but the Republican party only have minority control of Congress. The Progressive Party remains the largest opposition party, the Democrats in third place.
It's already been established that a Franco-German rapproachment began in 1916, and from the way I see it, that would be very hard with the conditions that were in place in 1912. I reasoned that one way to help facilitate that rapproachment would be a solving of the Alsace-Lorraine crisis - if that problem was settled, it would do wonders for any Franco-German relationship. The only thing I could come up with that would be a peaceful solution suitable to both sides was a referendum. In addition, it sets up for any future turns that may be taken.Are you sure about that?
@Redolegna would know better than I do about how likely or not that is from the French point of view, but from my research:
1. Referenda was not a common way of determining important matters of state in Europe at the time.
2. If there is a warming between France and Germany (which, given 1870-1914 OTL, strikes me as a bit of a stretch), then I'm finding it hard to see how either the French or the German Governments would allow an unpredictable referendum to potentially mess up any agreement they come to.
3. I note that Germany was, in 1914 OTL, undergoing a massive internal split between Prussia (which dominated the legislature with Traditional Views) and many of the other northern states, which had a much wider plebiscite resulting in a much more Socialist view. This split showed up in the 1912 German elections, where the SPD won a lot of seats but, because of the veto rules in the Bundesrat (14 votes required to block any laws passed by the Bundestag; Prussia held 17 votes), Prussia could ensure that Traditional Laws remained dominant, leading to rows over education, workers rights, extension of the franchise. I'm finding it hard to believe that the Prussian Junkers, who ensured that less than 10% of the adult population of Prussia could vote in Prussian elections, would allow a referendum on the prospect of allowing Alsace Lorraine to return to France, just because the people who lived there might want that.
If you do go down the road of France and Germany agreeing to allow the local people to decide which country they want to belong to, then I would imagine the consequences for the internal politics of Germany is going to be significant.