Zwei Adler, Ein Kaiser

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Jimbrock, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. Jimbrock That's Sir Jim to you

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    The two men sat at a large semicircular desk, talking intensely and pointing at the documents scattered across the surface of the desk. Just by looking at them, one could tell that they were hardly ordinary men. One of the men was in his mid forties, though he looked somewhat older. He was military looking, with a vaguely cruel face and greying hair. The other man was younger, just about twenty years old, but he did look like the man sitting opposite him. He resembled him just a little, enough to say that they must have been related. Being young and rebellious, he had discarded the white wigs of the time and his dark brown hair was stark against his face. They seemed to be arguing over something.

    “Fritz, you must be prudent in these matters. Do not be idealistic, young fool. Marriage is simply a political tool, you can keep as many mistresses as you want afterwards…” the older man rambled on, obviously not thinking much of his younger companion.

    “I know, father” Fritz spat. “What do you take me to be? What political gains can…she” and he pointed to one of the documents, which like all the others had a small picture of a woman attached. “What gains can she provide to the Kings in Prussia?” he continued, raising his voice. “I don’t want to marry her. The prospect disgusts me.” He shuffled the documents about and picked up one of them. “I want to marry her.”

    The father took a look at the document his son was holding. “You can’t!” he exclaimed. “She’s…” he hesitated, not knowing what to say. “She’s Catholic. You can’t marry a catholic.”

    “I can convert” said Fritz. “I was never a religious fanatic, was I? Vienna is worth a mass.”

    “Vienna?” wondered the father. Then realization dawned on him. “Vienna… Charles is in need of a male heir… the Pragmatic Sanction…”

    “Yes, father.” Fritz now smiled. “Surely, some prestige might be lost through conversion, but wouldn’t it be all worth it to have a Hohenzollern on the throne? Imagine it… the joined dominions of Habsburg-Hohenzollern will rule Europe.”

    The father smiled too, but to conceal it he attempted a fake sigh. “Alright then, Fritz, you win. I will contact Charles. I doubt this will work, son, but it if does…”
    Without continuing the sentence, he left the room, leaving Fritz alone. He took another look at the document, and smiling read the title aloud.

    “Archduchess Maria Theresa Habsburg of Austria. Not bad. Not bad at all.”​
    ---​

    From the creator of Just one stroke of a pen...
    Comes a new tale of love, scheming, diplomacy and war...​

    That's right, guys, a new TL. I simply preferred a slightly more dramatic introduction for this one. Now, I am in the middle of the longest school term and have lots of work to do, but I will try and update weekly, at least. As you may see, the main PoD is that Frederick of Prussia marries Maria Theresa of Austria, but the origins lie in the death of Francis Stephan along with his brother of smallpox.
    I must thank ImperialVienna a whole lot, for always providing suggestions, corrections, and his patient proofreading, as well as constant support. Thanks.
    As always, comments and suggestions very much appreciated, as well as the odd bit of praise. Now, without further ado...​

    ---​

    Zwei Adler, Ein Kaiser
    [​IMG]


    Europe in the early eighteenth century was in a state of change. In the west the great Bourbon dynasty grew in power through colonial proceedings, in the east the once powerful Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was faltering and seemed a mere Russian satellite. In the heart of the continent, the mighty Habsburg empire was left without a male heir, while in the north Sweden’s power had collapsed and the emerging Brandenburg-Prussian power looked about for territory.

    The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, knew that the lack of a male heir put his domains in a bad situation, and so he was eager to marry his daughter, Maria Theresa, to a suitable husband. His favourite for the post was Leopold Clement of Lorraine, a suitably controllable man from the borders of the Empire. But unfortunately, he caught the smallpox in 1723 and, along with his brother Francis Stephan, died horribly of the disease shortly. This of course left the Emperor in an even worse position, but some hope was presented when Frederick William of Prussia came with a suggestion. He informed Charles about his son Frederick’s ‘desire’ to marry Maria Theresa and his willingness to convert to Catholicism if necessary. This intrigued Charles and he agreed to let young Frederick come down to Vienna to meet him and Maria.

    Rebellious ‘Fritz’ put aside his usual non-conformism and looked his best when he arrived in Vienna in 1732. Charles obviously saw the great political advantages to such a marriage, as indeed Frederick William had back in Berlin. In fact, at first the King in Prussia was hesitant to allow his son to convert to Catholicism, but Fritz talked him into it, and though he would hate to admit it, this instilled some admiration and rare fatherly love for his son. In the few times that Fritz and Maria Theresa did meet, they appeared to get on very well indeed. Frederick later wrote of Maria Theresa: “She is astonishingly informal with her manner of speech, and though fair and pretty, she has a certain charisma about her and comes across as a caring person.”

    The negotiations went well, and after some deliberation and a hasty conversion to Catholicism for Frederick, Charles announced the engagement between the Prince of Prussia and the Archduchess of Austria. The two were wed in Austria soon after, and the news astounded most of Europe. In the meantime, ‘Fritz and Maria’, as they were called, took up residence in Breslau, a city in between Prussia and Austria where they lived a private life for but a few months till the next war would crop up. But evidently, a few months relatively alone were enough for the new couple, and rumours soon began to spread that Maria Theresa was pregnant.

    A note- The Treaty of Vienna of 1727 took place ITTL, but the Second Treaty dissolving the Ostend Company has not been signed and the seven years will be allowed to relapse in 1734 before a follow-up treaty is created.
     
  2. Susano Banned

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    Oh, is that the 18th century version of the Austrian CoA? ? The quarters are very nicely and logically arranged... just as I like it... hm, means theyve been going downhill in the 19th century, heraldry-wise...

    Ehem. Anyways, that scenario has been often proposed but I think never followed through. Personally, I think the problem with the premise is not on Prussia, but on Austrian side. Also, why would ImperialVienna support that? Hohenzollern is too senior a house, it would not be absorbed by Habsburg - it would be the House of Hohenzollern ruling Austria - and IV supports that? :D
     
  3. Gonzaga Well-Known Member

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    :D
    However, it raises an interesting question. If both the last members of the House of Lorraine had died before Maria Theresa's marriage, who would be available to her in the same conditions as them? I mean, belonging to a house not so unimportant to the point of being too low ranking to be married to the Archduchess, but not senior enough to threat Habsburg's preponderance?
     
  4. Jimbrock That's Sir Jim to you

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    Are you sure? Remember, Prussia at this stage is only a *small* German state, and with Frederick converting to Catholicsm, it is obvious which family is dominant. A bit of realpolitik also shines through, and the Habsburgs are the prestigous dynasty for now, not the Hohenzollerns.
     
  5. Susano Banned

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    No, by no means it is. It already was military quite crucial in the wars against France (Devolution, Grand Alliance, Spanish Succession...), but more crucical and more to the point is ranking: Brandenburg is an Electorate. That makes the Hohenzollerns one of the eight most senior dynasties of Germany at that point. Additionally, Prussia already is a kingdom, and that makes the Hohenzollerns royal. Thats quite a difference to the simply ordinarily ducial Lorraines. And, as Gonzaga has said, the Lorraines had the advantage of being reduced to two brothers as well, which married two Habsburg sisters, and hence the House was fully subsumed. Not possible with Hohenzollern.

    I mean, of course Habsburg, the Archhouse, the Imperial dynasty is still more senior. But remember patrilinearity is the universal norm - married couples take the name of the husband, and anything else was quite extraordinary. And the difference in standing between Hohenzollern and Habsburg would IMO not be enough to differ from that norm.

    Of course, thats just my estimation. Its not like we have a test sample from real life :D So it might be that dynastical union is named Habsburg - which however would raise the point from Prussian side again, what the Hohenzollerns gain from it.

    Eh, I would think any other ducial house would do. Didnt we already discuss that once and discovered that... Este I think, but it might have been your namesake house ;) , too... was at much the same position and could have been absorbed, too? But even if we dont look for absorbtion, rankwise I think as said any senior but not prince-electorly (and especially not royal) house would do.
     
  6. DrakeRlugia Well-Known Member

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    Definitely an interesting start to an interesting timeline. But would this proposed union even last beyond their lifetimes? After all, Frederick the Great had no children with his wife in OTL, and I highly doubt it was because she was barren. Given Maria Theresa's dominant personality, I imagine the two might clash.
     
  7. ImperialVienna Franz Joseph's Moustache

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    Ivy cannot comment as to his support without giving away details not yet released, but yes I do approve :D

    EDIT: See that vvvv
     
  8. Jimbrock That's Sir Jim to you

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    I dont think I am giving away significant spoilers when I say that like OTL the new dynasty will be called Habsburg-Hohenzollern, as is fitting. And yes, Frederick will be the head of the family. But Maria Theresa is hardly going to complain about that, especially with the great military, political, and prestigous (marrying into other prestigous dynasties can only increase prestige, especially if they convert to your religion, in my opinion) advantages that come from the marriage. Also remember that Frederick was by far the best candidate as the Lorraine family are now all dead, apart from Charles Alexander who is a tiny tot at the moment, which may cause problems later on...

    In OTL, Frederick was not at all interested in his wife and sent her off into a palace somewhere all her life. But ITTL since Frederick himself chose his wife, he is interested and so they may have a... unique relationship but they will have a relationship.
     
  9. Korporal Nooij Well-Known Member

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    This is looking very interesting and well-written! I really am enjoying reading the TL and I have thus subscribed to it. Please keep up the great work. I can't wait to see more, Jimbrock! ;)

    Oh, and I love the name of the TL aswell! Very nice! :D
     
  10. stevep Member

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    Jimbrock

    Very interesting and dramatic twist but two points come to mind.

    a) While the importance of religion is fading I'm guessing that Frederick is giving up his claim to the Prussian inheritance? Can't remember if he had a younger brother but can't see him becoming husband to the Hapsburg monarch and inheriting Prussia. That would almost certainly mean war as neither France nor many of the other German states would be happy at such a concentration of political and military power. You would probably see both the Netherlands and Britain at best neutral in such a conflict

    b) Even without that I would expect some tension as a result. OTL the French were hostile enough to the idea of Maria Theresa marrying the heir to the Lorrainian house that they insisted it be swapped with Tuscany and Lorraine passed to France. They are going to be very, very unhappy about Austria getting a close marriage contact with probably what is already the most powerful other German state.

    However interesting to see where things go from here.

    Steve
     
  11. Susano Banned

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    Hm? Inheritance is independent of religion. Pretty much everywhere in Europe except GB at that point in time in Europe (well, I dont think it would go over well in Spain or France, but theoretically...). And in the HRE, thats even protected by the Westphalian Treaties. Rulers converted all the time in the HRE without much fuss. I mean, look at the Prince-Electors of Saxony, who were the heads of the Corpus Evangelicorum in the Imperial Diet - even after having converted to Catholicism. Really, religion is the smallest and least of the problems in that.

    Your point b), thats much more of a problem.
     
  12. Valdemar II Banned

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    I don't think B is going to be a problem while Prussia was a important state it was poorer than the alternative heir the Bavarian and Saxons. The Hohenzollern are the least bad choice among the major families, the Wittelsbach would risk a new War of Succesion every generation with all the sidelines, the Wettins would risk create a HRE-Polish-Hungarian personal union. The Oldenburgs(/Gottorps) have their own issues and I doubt the Hanovean would give up London even for a empire.
     
  13. Sapiento Well-Known Member

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    Interesting start. Can't wait to see the next chapter.
     
  14. Konrad13 Prince and Grand Duke

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    Keep it up
     
  15. Jimbrock That's Sir Jim to you

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    Thanks, and you must thank IV for the inspiration for the title. Another one of the things he helped in. :p

    As Susano said, point A is not as important but both your points are very valid. I cannot comment further without giving spoilers. ;)
    Thanks, and I intend to post the next part soon as this was only a small intro.
     
  16. Saya Aensland Well-Known Member

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    *can't wait to see just how apeshit France will go*
     
  17. Monty Burns Well-Known Member

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    This is very true. We can expect a series of wars ITTL. However, it would be interesting how European alliances turn out with Prussia and Austria on the same side.

    France will oppose them. Probably Saxon-Poland also. Which in turn could bring Russia on the Austrian-Prussian side. And I just cannot see fighting British and French alongside each other, thus either the British fight the French overseas or stay neutral. True, balance of power in the HRE/Europe is changed completely - on the other side, combined Austria-Prussia is a perfect counterweight to France.
     
  18. mailinutile2 Arrogant Bastard

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    Very interesting, but I think the bit about couple moving away from Vienna is a bit over the line.
    Despite Susano's comment (which has several good points), prussia WAS significantly a lesser power than austria at the time, and the line of FredrickWilelhm politics was that he was a loyal vassal of the emperor.
    Mind my wods, he indeed had a model army, and gave significant contributions to Austrian campaigns, but he was not the one dictating the policy on how his regiments were to be used: he was just the man renting them to the emperor.
    Also remember thet he was not King of Prussia; the official title was the he was King in Prussia; when in brandenburg he was feudal vassal of the emperor.
    Also, population and wealth difference between Austria and Prussia was relevant, especially since the whole succession war affair is averted (or has not happened yet, at least).
    Regarding the personal viewpoint, I wonder how such a couple of strong personalities could go along: both will probably want to be the one wearing trousers at home :D
     
  19. The Federalist Petty Partisan Pamphleteer

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    Jimbrock, I hope you write scenes of the interactions between Frederick and Maria on a personal level. Like mailinutile2 said, it would be very interesting to see how those two get along.
     
  20. Monty Burns Well-Known Member

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    I'd say Maria-theresia will wear the trousers at home, since Fritz will wear them on the battlefield for a long, long time.