The German and Dutch speaking areas in a Napoleonic victory timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by pompejus, May 29, 2008.

  1. pompejus Hertog van Gelre

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    Often you see that in a napoleonic victory timeline that France keeps the Netherlands and the large parts of Germany Napoleon annexed. I was wondering if that would realy happen in such a scenario. It is quite a large non-french speaking area (see the added map I butchered in paint for what I guess are Dutch and German speaking areas are). Would France really be able to annex and Francofy all that. Dutch in the Netherlands was already an established language, with its own litarature, history, newspapers, etc. I assume the same is true for german in these areas. I have serious doubts that France can assimilate it all. Would these areas later be released as vasal states (like a reestablished kingdom of Holland or Batavian republic) when France had won the war, keeping only the Rhine border (even though that would still be a lot of german/Dutch/Flemish area). Or would France keep it and after a while these areas try free themselves from French rule and revolt (supported by Great Britain/Prussia/Russia/everyone else who doesn't support France). Or am I completly wrong and can France easily absorb these areas.

    I would like to share an amusing (but probably very improbable) idea I got about this. When I started thinking about this, I assumed that France would try to keep all this. The population of these lands resisted the French attempts to Francofy them, clinging to their old language and customs. in the meantime German nationalism rises in the German lands east of France. The Germans (and partly the Dutch and Flemish) notice this and have a lot of symphaty for it. many of them saying that clearly they are not French, they differ from them by language, but they are German as their regonal languages are a lot closer to the german language. the French notice this and are afraid things are spiraling out of control, so they start making consessions. They start to admit that the French language is not the most important part of the French heritage. the original French where the Franks a german tribe, speaking a Germanic language. So that language is also part of the French heritage. As they want to convince the 'German' speaking parts of France that they too are french and not Germans, the French decide that they cannot use standard German for it, so they need another Germanic language, that is close enough to the dialects spoken, but still recognisable different from German. They end up choosing Dutch, because Dutch already has a history of being an official language and Dutch Frankonian language, in theory the language the Franks spoke. So from that point France is a bilingingual country speaking both Dutch and French.

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  2. Susano Banned

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    The problem is that german at that time also already is aan established language of theater works, newspapers and whatever else writing. That writing may have been different depending on where you went, true, but just because German wasnt unified didnt mean it didnt exist.

    Had the French areas in Germany only covered East Frisia or the Emsland Id have agreed, as those were hardly cultrual and economcial centres on their own and quite clsoe to the Netherlands anyways. As it was, though, the areas also included Hamburg, Lübeck, Bremen... and those ARE centres on their own. So, they wont just dutchify ;)
     
  3. pompejus Hertog van Gelre

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    I realise that, it was just an amusing conclusion I had when I thought about it. If course it is completely influenced by me finding it amusing if such a large part of Germany was convinced by the French to speak Dutch. Still the original question stands, what would happen to the Dutch and German speaking areas of such a France. Even you should admit that it would probably easier to Dutchefy those German areas than Francofy them (not saying Dutchefying them would happen).
     
  4. Valdemar II Banned

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    I think it's more likely that Dutch will rejoin German in this case, but beside that I once tried very superficial to calculate the numbers of Germans and Dutch 1812 France would have today, and got around 50 million. So it's quite likely that France will turn into somekind of Super Belgium.
     
  5. Susano Banned

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    Of course teh question is how such a Napoleonic State would survive. It all dependon circumstances and details... the questiosn ratehr too general, I fear...
     
  6. Valdemar II Banned

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    Russia (and later USSR) survived even through Russian only made up half of its population from 1815-1990. I think France could easily survive a century in this form.
     
  7. rcduggan 大元帅

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    But there were Russians spread everywhere throughout the empire, including in the non-Russian area... but that is not the case in the Netherlands. Unless France embarks on a settlement program, which I'm not sure would work.
     
  8. Valdemar II Banned

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    Not really, there was large area with quite a low Russian population especially at the time of the Czar.