Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Berus, Aug 19, 2012.
What would happen if Austria would have won the Austro Prussian War ?
would prussia get annexed ?
First of all OTL, everything was militarily in Prussia's favor so how would you see Austria winning? A speedy intervention by France or Russia? Also, it would depend a lot on how decisive that victory was.
It wasn't really that much in Prussia's favor. Prussia had a significant number of advantages in mobilization size and speed, organization, and logistics in general, but at Koniggratz, the Prussian army had run a very significant risk of being destroyed in detail, a risk which had been largely, but not totally ameliorated by Prussia's advantages. As for the results, I should think that you'd see a collapse of the present Prussian government, and perhaps the loss of Silesia and some of Prussia's Saxon territories, but full annexation is pretty much impossible. Prussia's dominance in German affairs could quite possibly be ended however, and you probably butterfly away German unification, which was not in Austria's interests.
Ah, the only thing working in Prussia's favour in the Battle of Sadowa was the fact that they had breech-loaders, as opposed to the Austrian muzzle-loaders. The Austrians had better artillery, superior cavalry and, to top it all of, the Prussian needler was ludicrously short-ranged due to issues with the seals that tended to expel hot gas when fired (meaning Prussian troops did a lot of firing from the hip).
The Austrians, granted, played straight into Prussian hands by going for a close-range encounter, despite their rifles generally having a distinct advantage at range (even if at a lower rate of fire).
So, let's say the Austrians are victorious by not being idiots, the Prussian army in Bohemia is as good as lost. They need to retreat, over the mountains across territory they'd already pillaged for supplies ... while being pursued and harassed by Austrian troops.
Ultimately, even in a status quo peace, Prussia is in deep trouble. They'd left the German Confederation prior to the war and you can bet Austria wasn't going to let them back in, which is not likely to make the German nationalists happy. Prussia literally gambled everything on winning the Austro-Prussian war.
Napoloeon III is likely to intervene as he planned, so you'd likely see Prussia continue existing. Depending on the aftermath of Sadowa, you might see Prussia stripped of some choice bits of land (Silesia, for one, it was a major Austrian goal; Saxony was angling for it's Napoleonic War borders; not sure about the Prussian Rhenish territories, Napoleon wanted to grab bits around the Saar and towards the Rhine, which he might be able to walk away with), which, incidentally, have a majority of Prussian industry.
I agree that there was a theoretical risk but really, it seemed that the only thing in Austria's favor at Königgrätz were initial numbers (later in the battle this disappeared). Austrian generalship was far far too timid to take advantage of this. Even their superior artillery was largely nullified by the terrain.
I'm not a Prussia-phile. I actually wish that Austria had won. It might have butterflied much unhappiness later.
Weren't the Austrians still using muzzle-loaded weapons while the Prussians were using some early model bolt-action rifles?
They were, but there were some serious technical issues.
Overall, the Austrian advantages were not few, but the Prussian advantages largely nullified them. The best chance for Austria lay either in France intervening (which would probably result in France seizing some of the Rhineand, however I think the primary risk here was more to raw materials than industry, which was more to the north) or (albeit unlikely) Prussian mistakes at Koniggratz.
I tend to be more ambivalent on the positives of an Austrian victory, but this is me as a Prussophile and Germanophile speaking.
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