Baltic Blunder: Europe at war in 1727 (the 2nd Edition)

The obvious thing that Menshikov could do but did not do in OTL (perhaps due to the shortage of time in power) was to arrange marriages of his remaining children to the main competing families : in OTL after exile his son Alexander married princess Golitsina (daughter of the Senator Peter Golitsin who died in 1722) and daughter Alexandra - Gustav Biron. In your TL Alexandra (if you chose the schema) may get betrothed to Ivan Dolgoruki (instead of OTL Countess Sheremeteva). Of course, this type of an alliance implies certain degree of a power-sharing but it also brings the OTL rivals closer to each other: at that time the family links did matter (which did not prevent Menshikov from dealing harshly with Devier 😜). A resulting ruling clan is pretty much unbeatable short of the OTL events following the death of PII when the members of two leading families completely misread the political situation and lost support of the nobility.
At this point he still wants to marry Alexander to Natalya to cut out anyone else from power and also to put his family in line in case Peter should die without progeny. Regarding Alexandra though, I think Menshikov will begin to look for a husband for her as his clashes with Peter II continue. And Ivan would be the ideal husband due to his proximity to Peter II and him being a scion of the Dolgorukovs.
 
At this point he still wants to marry Alexander to Natalya to cut out anyone else from power and also to put his family in line in case Peter should die without progeny. Regarding Alexandra though, I think Menshikov will begin to look for a husband for her as his clashes with Peter II continue. And Ivan would be the ideal husband due to his proximity to Peter II and him being a scion of the Dolgorukovs.
Exactly my point. Of course, Ivan’s OTL marriage was rather extraordinary and probably “heroic” is only adequate word to describe behavior of his wife but you are creating a new history, not just retelling the existing one. 😉
 
Last edited:
25: The Ansbach Incident
25: The Ansbach Incident
339px-Markgraf_Carl_Wilhelm_Friedrich_von_Brandenburg-Ansbach_und_Friederike_Louise_%28Pesne%29.jpg

Friederike Luise of Prussia and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich of Brandenburg-Ansbach

With the ratification of the Treaty of Vienna by both the British Parliament and the royal court of Prussia, the occupation of Hanover and the detainment of Prince Frederick of Brunswick-Luneburg came to an end. After spending nearly a year as the sole representative of the Hanoverian dynasty in its ancestral capital and a lifetime before that in a similar occupation, Prince Frederick's first thought was to return to his place as the presumptive leader of Brunswick-Luneburg's government. However, along with the news of Britain's ratification of the Treaty of Vienna came orders from King George II that instructed the Geheimrat or Secret Council to take over all responsibility for governing the Electorate in the absence of the Elector. When the new head of this council, Gerlach Adolph von Münchhausen, relayed this change to Prince Frederick, the prince's first response was to ask what role he would play on the council. Von Münchhausen informed the prince that his instructions regarding the council and its members included no mention of the prince. Furthermore, von Münchhausen had the displeasure of telling the prince that "in light of the peace" his command in the army of Brunswick-Luneburg had been revoked. In other words, George II had stripped Prince Frederick of any responsibility of possible vocation he had or could have in Brunswick-Luneburg [1].

The young Griff struggled to understand the meaning of his father's orders and refused to accept the thought lingering in the back of his mind that his father wanted nothing to do with him [2]. Defending against this thought, Griff begged of von Münchhausen if the letters from Britain included any request or invitation for Griff to go to Britain, join his family, and join in Britain's governance. Von Münchhausen could only reply in the negative, which made an obvious impression on Griff as his eyes widened and his face sunk. In an effort to give the prince who he knew well and did not dislike, von Münchhausen suggested that perhaps such letters were still to arrive since all the commands that von Münchhausen had received were in regard to Brunswick-Luneburg and its arrangements, not Britain. Thus, von Münchhausen recommended that Griff write to his father to receive clarification on the situation and hopefully an invitation to Britain. In line with von Münchhausen advice, Griff wrote a letter that offered all the formalities asking after his father and mother's health, acknowledging the accomplishment of peace, and so on, but within this letter, Griff rather directly asked whether he would be invited to Britain or if he should stay in Brunswick-Luneburg. If the latter, Griff asked what role he would have within Brunswick-Luneburg. George II's reply although swift was not at all satisfactory. George II bluntly refused to invite Griff to Britain as his presence was not needed [3]. George II also denied Griff any official role or capacity within the Electorate because as George II put it, the quick defeat of the Electorate demonstrated the necessity for "a serious government", which he strongly believed that Griff could not provide. Griff, of course, protested this sleight and tried to no avail to gain his entrance into Britain. Ultimately, Griff gave up and accepted his exile in Brunswick-Luneburg.

Left alone and without much at all to do in Brunswick-Luneburg, Griff at first tried to find some fulfillment in participating in some of the rebuilding efforts in Hanover and other nearby towns [4]. Although these projects occupied some of Griff's time, they did not occupy enough of his time. Worse yet, the winter sojourn of the commanders of the Viennese Alliance in Herrenhausen had given him a taste of a real, full, and rich court life. Although in the peace, Herrenhausen returned to its lively nature with frequent visitors and occasional balls, nothing matched the splendor and exoticness of the previous winter. Sorely he missed dancing and talking with people of all nations and yearned for some return to the excitement and intrigue of a full court. He also missed his once promised bride, Wilhelmine, with who his brief flirtation during his imprisonment had left him deeply infatuated and even in love. Finally, Griff missed little Fritz of Prussia, his friend and former "foe" who shared with him the unfortunate experience of a poor father. Although Griff wrote to both Wilhelmine and Fritz, these verbal communications were poor substitutes for the dances and laughs that they had exchanged with one another [5].

In Griff's state of boredom and longing for a Prussian connection, he rather suddenly decided to interfere in Prussian politics when reading about the upcoming marriage between Friederike Luise of Prussia and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich of Brandenburg-Ansbach. In the letters from both Wilhelmine and Fritz, Griff heard complaints about the unsuitability of the marriage, of how a margrave of so low a state as Brandenburg-Ansbach had no right to marry a Princess of Prussia. Additionally, Wilhelmine complained about her younger sister marrying before her and how she had only done so to become their father's favorite. Meanwhile, Fritz reflected poorly on Karl Wilhelm Friedrich as an uncultured and brutish man from Fritz's encounters with him during the war. These complaints moved the Prince of Brunswick-Luneburg and made him feel no choice but to intercede on the behalf of his love and his friend with their father, King Friedrich Wilhelm I, to stop the marriage [6].

The plan of the twenty-two-year-old prince was not very sophisticated nor underhanded as neither befits the nature of Griff. Instead, all Griff did was send a single soldier, Lieutenant Colonel August de la Motte, who had been a friend of Griff as a youth and brother-in-arms in war, to Potsdam to seek out Friedrich Wilhelm and plead the case against marriage [7]. Despite the recent war between Brunswick-Luneburg and Prussia, de la Motte was able to make his trip across the border and to Potsdam without encountering any difficulties. Once he reached Potsdam, he immediately requested an audience with the king and refused to discuss his business with anyone else. This curious appearance by a foreign military officer fascinated Friedrich Wilhelm enough that he granted de la Motte the audience. Once alone with the king, de la Motte read a letter from Griff that detailed his misgivings about the marriage between Friederike Luise and the Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach. This discussion initially carried little interest for Friedrich Wilhelm who saw it as a foreign prince imprudently interfering in Prussian affairs. Thus, the failure of de la Motte's mission seemed inevitable until de la Motte listed Wilhelmine's bachelorette status as one of Griff's reasons for objecting to Friederike Luise's marriage.

The mention of Wilhelmine caused Friderich Wilhelm's head to pop up and a question to pop out asking what Griff's meaning was. When de la Motte said that Griff had not written anything more on the topic, the Prussian king pressed him for an answer. Friedrich Wilhelm was under the impression that de la Motte was closer to an official dignitary with the knowledge of Griff's plans and the power to negotiate beyond the scope of his written materials. Friedrich Wilhelm failed to understand that de la Motte was nothing more than a prince's friend. However, de la Motte himself was untrained in diplomatic affairs and inexperienced in dealing directly with a king. In that moment, de la Motte forgot himself and suggested that Griff eagerly looked forward to marrying Wilhelmine and that he would prefer to marry Wilhelmine before any settlement for Friederike Luise was made [8]. The idea of marrying his eldest daughter to the future King of Great Britain and Elector of Brunswick-Luneburg had long excited Friedrich Wilhelm and this latest suggestion of its possibility in spite of Prussia's war against Britain and Brunswick-Luneburg reinvigorated Friedrich Wilhelm's belief in the project. In Friedrich Wilhelm's excitement, he consented to delay the Ansbach marriage until after Wilhelmine's if he received positive confirmation of Griff's intention to marry Wilhelmine and approval from the English court. Friedrich Wilhelm looked forward to the opportunity to secure an alliance with Britain that might advance his interests in the Baltic.

With this happy news of the Ansbach marriage being put off and a potential marriage for Griff with his beloved, de la August wrote back to Griff claiming victory. Griff was less certain and less happy. He had only asked for de la Motte to try to stop Friederike Luise's marriage not to arrange his own. Not to mention that de la Motte had only gotten a delay of Friederike Luise's marriage, not an end to it. Had de la Motte just tried to break off the Ansbach marriage and failed then Griff could have accepted that he had tried and failed. Now, however, he found himself in a much more difficult spot where he had to navigate either potentially insulting his own father by revealing that he had negotiated a marriage without his father's involvement or insulting the King in Prussia by failing to follow up on the promises given by de la Motte. Since Griff was unsure of how to broach the topic to his father, he delayed sending word of the development to Britain until he could figure out what to do. In the meantime, he asked de la Motte to stay in Potsdam until Griff recalled him just in case Griff needed to pass more messages on to Friedrich Wilhelm [9].

As Griff delayed, news of his intervention in the Ansbach match inevitably leaked out. First, in Brandeburg-Ansbach, the margrave was informed of the potential delay of his marriage to Friederike Luise until other matters were sorted out. Then in Potsdam, word slowly spread about de la Motte being a friend and a messenger of the Prince of Brunswick-Luneburg, which spawned rumors about his reasons for being in Potsdam and those rumors were often tried to the Prince and Wilhelmine's previous betrothal. Finally, someone revealed to Queen Sophia Dorothea that de la Motte was in fact in Potsdam for the purpose of securing a marriage between Griff and Wilhelmine, which she took to mean that Griff intended to marry Wilhelmine on his own without seeking the consultation of George II. This was an idea that Sophia Dorothea relished because George II had denied her the inheritance she had expected from her father. First, he had claimed that George I had felt her nothing at all but when Prussia's ally, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel revealed otherwise, George II continued to deny Sophia Dorothea her piece of the inheritance. Thus, she was eager to humiliate her brother by stealing away his eldest son. Unfortunately, the forever indiscreet Sophia Dorothea chose to reveal the assumed elopement of Griff to many members of the court and it ultimately reached the British minister in Potsdam, Brigadier-General Charles Dubourgay. Unhesitantly, Dubourgay relayed this rumor and the Queen's conviction in it to the British court and King George II [10].

News of Griff's alleged plans to elope with Wilhelmine of Prussia created outrage within the British royal family. George II had already grown to dislike his son for usurping his place as leader of Brunswick-Luneburg, then as a soldier, and finally as a leader of men. George II's jealously had driven him to keep his son out of England where his popularity could be a rallying point for the Opposition and thus a rallying point for opposition to George II's rule. However, at all these points, George II had still thought of Griff as a faithful member of the Hanoverian dynasty. Now, Dubourgay's news suggested that Griff was not faithful at all. Instead, he would willingly ignore his filial duty to elope without the consent of his parents. Instead, he would align himself with Prussia, one of the states that had just helped oversee the partition of Brunswick-Luneburg. Instead, he would make himself a servant of the Prussian crown. He was a disloyal and mischievous villain that George II could not believe was his son. At the same time, George II's wife, Caroline of Ansbach, was furious that Griff had interfered with the marriage of her nephew, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich, to a Prussian princess. Even though Caroline was now a British queen and had not been in Germany for fifteen years, she still remained loyal to her family and its interests including the incredible marriage of her nephew to one of Friedrich Wilhelm's daughters. Griff's interference was unwanted and Caroline could not forgive it [11].

Despite these feelings of disgust at the actions of Griff, neither George II nor Caroline wrote to Griff to reprimand him for his behavior. Instead, the two of them were so shocked and appalled by Griff's actions that they did not write to him at all about the event. George II's only action was to inform Dubourgay that he had been given no notice about Griff's plans and had not approved them. Accordingly, he had Dubourgay issue a protest to Friedrich Wilhelm for his participation in Griff's unsanctioned misadventure and especially Friedrich Wilhelm's apparent consent to Griff's plans to elope. Friederich Wilhelm denied that an elopement had ever been mentioned to him. However, knowing the mind of his brother-in-law, Friedrich Wilhelm ordered the arrest of de la Motte as evidence of his truthfulness [12]. De la Motte tried to argue against his arrest and repeatedly pointed out that he had all the necessary papers but no one in Potsdam dared to oppose the will of the irritated Friedrich Wilhelm after he beat his wife viciously for her role in the affair. Furthermore, both Dubourgay and the Brunswick-Luneburger representative refused to ask for de la Motte's release or even extradition. Besides arresting de la Motte, Friedrich Wilhelm satisfied the demands of Caroline by removing the final obstacles for Frederike Luise and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich's marriage and setting the date for the following summer in 1730.

All the while Griff was left in the dark about what had transpired. The British court communicated nothing to him as he had few friends among its members and very few in places close to the King and Queen. The Prussian court also went silent because Friedrich Wilhelm was too humiliated to tell Griff of the breakdown of talks and of de la Motte's arrest. Ultimately, a letter from Fritz revealed all that had happened, and Griff was saddened to think that his friend had gotten arrested over overblown rumors. Griff's sadness was worsened by his realization that he might never marry Wilhelmine and that he might forever remain exiled in Brunswick-Luneburg. In his sadness, Griff defaulted to his pre-war habits of drinking nightly, gambling daily, and involving himself with a number of women [13]. His disreputable behavior quickly reached the British court where it combined with the Ansbach incident made for a powerful argument to finally bring Griff to Britain. George II entertained the thought but dismissed it when he began to think that Griff had organized the whole episode just to be called to Britain. Thus, Griff was left to languish all alone in Hanover through the winter.

Overall, the Ansbach episode failed to create any meaningful changes in European politics as all it served to do was temporarily delay the Ansbach marriage. However, the episode demonstrated the extent of the distance and distrust between Griff and his parents that had arisen from years of physical separation. This distance and distrust left Griff isolated in Hanover and drove him to engage in independent diplomacy. Meanwhile, when his parents heard of Griff's actions they assumed the worse and did not even try to discipline him for his perceived misbehavior. And on both sides, this episode only furthered the distance and distrust. Additionally, the episode showed that although Friedrich Wilhelm was willing to put his war with George II behind him and move on to reestablish positive relations with the Hanoverian dynasty, this sentiment was not mutual. George II still considered Prussia to be an enemy. In the end, Friedrich Wilhelm had still chosen to pursue positive relations with George II by imprisoning de la Motte but this did not earn any reciprocal action from Britain. Outside of what the episode showed and did, the episode also served as a precursor to the coming events by keeping tensions between Britain and Prussia high and further developing the relationship between Griff and Fritz.

[1] Similar to OTL, George II ultimately leaves Frederick of Wales without a role in Hanover. This happens TTL, just later due to the war delaying George II from depowering his son.
[2] In OTL, Frederick of Wales was the one who tried to bridge the gap between him and his parents when he first arrived and was ultimately rebuffed. So here, he is giving his father the benefit of doubt.
[3] George II kept Frederick of Wales out of Britain for more than a year in OTL (in contrast to what has been suggested in other TLs). Here with Frederick of Wales being considerably more popular as a war hero, George II is also going to keep Frederick of Wales out.
[4] Firstly, Frederick of Wales participated in putting out a fire when he was Prince of Wales like a commoner. So here, Frederick of Wales helps rebuild.
[5] In OTL, Frederick of Wales and Frederick of Prussia were known to have written to each other. What started this correspondence is unknown but it is known that they wrote as young men. So here, having met each other they will also be writing each other. Additionally, Frederick of Wales' physical encounter with Wilhelmine has resulted in her becoming a frequent correspondent of his.
[6] So in OTL, there was an incident in which August de la Motte went to Potsdam, met with Frederick William I of Prussia, stayed in Potsdam for some time, and was ultimately arrested. The exact specifics of this incident are unknown. Wilhelmine's memoirs state that August de la Motte came as an envoy of Frederick of Wales to arrange her marriage to Frederick of Wales. Some sources go so far as to suggest that Frederick of Wales wanted to elope with Wilhelmine in Potsdam. Other sources make no mention of the marriage proposal. Meanwhile, Frances Vivian finds that Frederick of Wales was actually interfering with the Ansbach marriage. I tend to believe Frances Vivian that interfering with the Ansbach marriage was either Frederick of Wales' original or main intention. In TTL, the Ansbach marriage is still going to go through because Ansbach is still a Prussian ally and I am suggesting that one of Frederick of Wales' motivations for interfering in the marriage is Wilhelmine and Frederick's disagreement with the marriage. In Wilhelmine's memoirs she seems bitter about the marriage and in Frederick's biographies his disagreement with the Margrave of Ansbach is mentioned, so it seems reasonable to believe that they would voice their objections to Frederick of Wales.
[7] August de la Motte is the character who in OTL carried out this assignment and in TTL he is still a friend of Frederick of Wales so I have kept him as the character.
[8] I do refuse to believe, as Andrew C. Thompson suggests, that Frederick of Wales and Wilhelmine's marriage had nothing to do with this mission. Wilhelmine's memoirs were exaggerated, mistaken, and even false at points but her description of this episode is so vivid that some validity must been given to it. Also, the accepted OTL sequence of events does not make sense if all that was at stake was the Ansbach marriage. Frederick William I has no reason to postpone the marriage unless Frederick of Wales has something to offer and if Frederick William I is not going to consider postponing the marriage then it will never become a large enough issue for Ansbach to mention it to Britain as Thompson suggests. Nor will de la Motte be able to stay in Potsdam for as long as he did before getting arrested. Something greater must have been at stake. Thus, I am going to hypothesize that what happened was that de la Motte, a soldier without diplomatic experience or training, said something to the effect of Frederick of Wales marrying Wilhelmine, which captured Frederick William's attention. Frederick William seemed to be in favor of the match, so it would be something that would capture his attention and give him pause.
[9] Again, de la Motte stayed in Potsdam from his arrival until his arrest in OTL. Hence de la Motte staying in Potsdam TTL.
[10] In Wilhelmine's memoirs she says that her mother revealed the scheme to Dubourgay who was obligated to tell London and then London killed the scheme and de la Motte was arrested. Whether that exact occurrence happened or not is unknown but I think Dubourgay finding out from the general court gossip is certainly plausible.
[11] In OTL, George II was at least willing to give Frederick of Wales half a chance when he first arrived. Caroline never gave him a chance and very early on was noted as being incessantly hostile to him. It is hard to imagine why she would act this way toward him when she literally does not know him. I am going to hypothesize that Frances Vivian being right about the Ansbach purpose of de la Motte's mission also is linked to Caroline's early and seemingly unwarranted hatred of Frederick of Wales. Essentially, Frederick did interfere and as the aunt of the Ansbach margrave, Caroline was so upset that she decided to hate Frederick early on. The only other hypothesis is another one that historians only really mention in passing. This theory states that Caroline had an affair that produced Frederick of Wales and her own shame resulted in her hatred toward him. This theory emerges from her calling him a half-caste repeatedly. However, for Caroline to have had an affair in Brunswick-Luneburg after what happened to Konigsmarck just seems incredibly unlikely. Thus, a different explanation is necessary.
[12] As in OTL, Frederick William arrests de la Motte to keep Anglo-Prussian relations intact.
[13] In OTL, this is the type of behavior Griff was pursuing up until he was called to Britain. In TTL, he pursued that behavior up until the war but his experiences through the war sobered him up temporarily. However, in his isolation he returned to this type of behavior.

Word Count: 3715
 
Last edited:
Given what this war will likely do to Britain's economy, could we see an early patriot movement in the colonies? Obviously they're not likely to be gaining a lot of native land for settlers to want to expand into, but the taxes will be tremendous if Britain loses and likely if they win
Seems unlikely whilst France is still a power in North america, only after that would matters unravel. For eg The Iroquoise were very astute at playing off one against the other, until the end of the 7 years war which in some ways they caused (in North America) led to that being impractical.
 
26: The Crisis of the Parmese Succession
26: The Crisis of the Parmese Succession
450px-Admiral_The_Honourable_Charles_Stewart%2C_1681-1741.jpg

Rear Admiral Charles Stewart

Spain's victory in Empress Catherine's War was memorialized by the Treaty of Madrid by which Spain regained for herself Gibraltar and Sardinia and gained for one of its sons, Don Carlos, then rights of succession to the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza and the Duchy of Tuscany. Although France and especially Britain had exacted their price for these concessions the peace was still incredibly advantageous to Spain and satisfactory to its court. The reason for this satisfaction was that beyond the treaty granting Spain so many material gains it gave Spain something that it had been missing and searching for ever since the Treaty of Pyrennes, redemption. For decades, Spain had suffered nothing but defeat in its wars against the states of Europe. From the Franco-Spanish War to Louis XIV's wars to the War of the Quadruple Alliance, all Spain received was defeat after defeat. And with each defeat, Spain's enemies and even allies stole away another slice of Spain. What had started as Spain just losing Roussillon quickly spiraled into Spain losing Portugal, the Spanish Road, the Spanish Netherlands, all of Spanish Italy, and even Gibraltar and Menorca. Besides these losses of land, these defeats began to steal away at Spain's ideas of empire, Spain's ideas about itself, Spain's identity. What was Spain if not one of Europe's most preeminent and influential states? What was Spain if it was hemmed in behind the Pyrennes and powerless in the Mediterranean as it had been when France conquered the Basque counties and Britain destroyed the entire Spanish navy at Cape Passero? Even with these harmful thoughts entering the minds of the Spanish, they still held on to their pride and their memories as they dreamed of a day that Spain might take it all back and with it take back her dignity. While with the Treaty of Madrid, that day came and Spain once again saw herself as a power to be reckoned with. Decades of trial and turbulence had finally been vindicated.

That vindication went unbothered through the remainder of Empress Catherine's War and the rest of 1729. However, when Antonio Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, died in January 1730, that sense of glorious achievement was put under threat when half of the hard-fought terms of the Treaty of Madrid came under threat [1]. Immediately following the death of Antonio Farnese, the Hapsburg governor of Milan, Wirich Philipp von Daun, crossed the Milanese-Parmese border with more than 10,000 soldiers [2]. The unprepared and overall weak Duchy of Parma and Piacenza could do nothing to stop the Hapsburg army and within a few short weeks, the whole duchy was under Hapsburg occupation. Dorothea Sophie of the Palatinate, the regent of Parma and Piacenza and former duchess, vigorously protested this "illegal" occupation but her appeals to Daun and her letters to Prince Eugene of Savoy failed to alter the situation [3]. All Dorothea Sophie's protests were rewarded with the taciturn reply that the Hapsburg army did not mean to conquer Parma, just to keep law and order under Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI could invest the proper successor to Antonio Farnese with the dignity of Duke of Parma and Piacenza. An experienced and intelligent woman, Dorothea Sophia placed no faith in that statement and instead wrote to her daughter, Isabel Farnese, of the Hapsburg invasion.

Isabel Farnese naturally was furious at the Hapsburgs' blatant attempt to deprive her eldest of his rightful inheritance. Isabel was not the only one displeased with the Hapsburg action as Felipe V also was interested in establishing a separate estate for his third son. Meanwhile, the first minister of Spain, Jose Patino, and the rest of the Spanish court felt insulted by the Hapsburg violation of Spain's reward for its participation in Empress Catherine's War. This multilateral and government-wide resentment toward the Hapsburg action led to the Hapsburg ambassador in Spain, Joseph Lothar Dominik Graf von Königsegg-Rothenfels, becoming the victim of some rather heated criticisms. The overall message was that Don Carlos was the rightful Duke of Parma and Piacenza according to both the Treaty of Madrid and the Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance. Although the Hapsburgs were not a party of the former treaty, they were among the signatories of the Quadruple Alliance. Thus, Spain viewed the Hapsburgs as in clear violation of their treaty obligations and Spain threatened to wage war against the Hapsburgs unless they made amends.

In the face of energetic Spanish resistance, Prince Eugene did raise some questions about the long-term feasibility of the Hapsburg mission. In particular, Prince Eugene pointed out the difficult financial situation for the Hapsburg monarchy would make a war with the other signatories of the Treaty of Madrid and Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance nigh impossible. However, other members of the Hapsburg government and Hofkriegsrat were more confident and few believed that Britain and France would actually stand by Spain. With Prince Eugene making any strong protest to counter, the influence of the more bellicose officials led to Emperor Charles VI approving the dispatch of 30,000 men to Milan and Parma. Through this show of resolve, the Hapsburgs intended to cow the Spanish and if the Spaniards refused to be cowed then the Hapsburgs felt that that army would be more than sufficient to defeat any Spanish invasion. Altogether, the Hapsburgs were putting together an army of more than 40,000 men in northern Italy and to command it, the Hapsburgs chose none other than the victor of Bassignana, Count Claude Florimond de Mercy [4]. For Emperor Charles VI, this action was not just about possibly securing Parma for himself but also about showing the strength of the Hapsburgs in the wake of Spain, Prussia, Saxony, and Russia's victories during the Empress Catherine's War.

Even before this reinforcement, Spain was already readying for war. Whether the Hapsburgs complied or not, Isabel Farnese was eager to use the slight delay in her son's ascension to the throne of Parma as an excuse for an all-out war against the Hapsburgs. In these dreams of war, Isabel Farnese imagined placing the crowns of Naples and Sicily on Don Carlos' head. As she dived into these dreams they became grander and more elaborate with a Lombard crown for her second son Felipe. For Felipe V, Patino, and the Spanish court their own edging toward war was less about an intense desire to give Don Carlos a crown and more about adding to the glory of Spain through defending the Treaty of Madrid and besting the Hapsburgs. For all of them continuing Spain's resurgence through another display of martial prowess seemed like a necessary venture. Only, Patino hesitated as he knew the costs, the high, high costs, of the Empress Catherine's War for Spain's treasury and he was reluctant to impose another set of high, high costs just a little over a year after Spain had finished that last war. On a military level, however, Patino shared the confidence of Spain's courtiers and generals that Spain could defeat the Hapsburgs [5].

In preparation for war, Spain initially reached out to Britain and France to ask that they fulfill their obligations under the Treaty of Madrid. Specifically, Britain and France's obligations to each contribute 8,000 infantry and 4,000 horse to help install Don Carlos and a Spanish garrison in Parma [6]. In both Britain and France, the first instinct was toward diplomacy due to the private inclinations of the leaders there. Both Sir Robert Walpole and Cardinal Fleury felt that charging into war would be unwise and detrimental to their own agendas. At the same time, neither Britain nor France wanted to lose Spain as an ally. Already Spain had proved itself militarily competent in Empress Catherine's War, which made Spain a good ally in general. However, for Britain and France specifically, the alliance of Spain was an important counterweight to each other [7]. Thus, while the British and French ambassadors in Spain, William Stanhope and Louis de Brancas, respectively, delivered their governments' promises of support to Felipe V and Isabel, the ambassadors in Vienna, James Waldegrave and François de Bussy, inquired into the possibility of a peaceful settlement.

Both the British and French diplomats informed the Hapsburgs that their governments would not tolerate Don Carlos being deprived of his rights. This stern reproach threw some cold water on the Hapsburg emotions. Nevertheless, the Hapsburgs were still interested in showing their resolve and coming out of this little crisis ahead. Thus, the Hapsburgs wanted it recognized that the Emperor, not Britain nor France was responsible for determining the Duke of Parma and Piacenza. The Hapsburgs wanted the duchy's succession recognized as reverting to the Emperor before he invested Don Carlos with it. In this way, Imperial authority in Imperial and in general would be reinforced. Additionally, the Hapsburgs wanted the return of the neutral Swiss garrisons for Parma that they had agreed to in the Quadruple Alliance rather than the Spanish garrisons that Britain and France had conceded in the Treaty of Madrid. Next, the Hapsburgs wanted to keep the question of Tuscany's succession open and also wanted that to flow through the Emperor's authority. Finally, the Hapsburgs wanted Spain to guarantee the Pragmatic Sanction [8].

For both Britain and France, the Hapsburgs' demands were too much as they represented a step back from the Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance, which Britain and France were inclined to few as the absolute floor for negotiations. When Britain and France aggressively refused the Hapsburg terms, the Hapsburgs did temper their terms by offering to reaffirm Don Carlos' rights in Tuscany but other concessions were slow to come. The Hapsburgs stalwartly defended their demands of neutral garrisons and a Spanish guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction. This stalwartness affected both the British and French opinions on the crisis. In Britain, the fears of the Hapsburg threat to the balance of Europe of Lord Townshend, Secretary of State for the Northern Department and senior secretary of foreign affairs, had been confirmed by the Hapsburgs being on the winning side of the Empress Catherine's War. And whereas before other members of the British parliament including Townshend's former brother-in-law, Walpole, were reluctant to agree, many including Walpole now did see at least some validity in the assertion. Even more importantly, King George II strongly supported Townshend's viewpoint and more than that wanted revenge against the Hapsburgs for their role in plotting the partition of the Electorate of Brunswick-Luneburg. Thus, the British had entered into peace negotiations they had done so with the goal of gaining greater concessions from the Hapsburgs to curb their power. When the Hapsburgs instead argued for concessions to be given to them they only proved Townshend's point and diminished the remaining sympathy for them in the British parliament. The end result was that the British approach to the crisis hardened and the opinion of parliament began to shift in favor of using arms to humble the Hapsburgs. Even Walpole began to suggest that action against the Hapsburgs might be necessary to safeguard the Treaty of Madrid and Britain's commercial relationship with Spain [9].

In contrast to the coalescing of anti-Hapsburg feelings among both leadership and government in Britain, France saw a major division between Fleury and the other leading ministers of France arise over the Parmese question. Fleury vehemently thought that war against the Hapsburgs was misguided. In Fleury's opinion, his view about the Hapsburgs being militarily stronger than France and of the Hapsburgs having commanding authority in the Holy Roman Empire had been proven by Empress Catherine's War. On the Rhine, the Hapsburgs had ultimately pushed the French back and in Germany, every secular Prince-Elector had raised arms in support of the Holy Roman Emperor. Due to this strength, Fleury thought that France needed to avoid war with the Hapsburgs and agree to the demands of the Hapsburgs, which he did not feel would strengthen them too much nor cost France much. Fleury was opposed in this viewpoint by the Minister of State, Marshal d'Huxelles, who saw France's defeats as the fault of Fleury. If France used its full might then the Hapsburgs would fall easily before the French sword. Meanwhile, the French failure of diplomacy in Germany was a natural extension of its reluctance to use arms. No one would ally with France if it feared that France would not actually come to its support when the time came. For these exact reasons, d'Huxelles felt that not only would a war be in France's favor but also that a war was necessary. If France did not fight to defend the Treaty of Madrid then it would immediately lose Spain as an ally to either Britain or the Emperor. in either case, France would be worse off. D'Huxelles was supported in this debate by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Germain-Louis Chauvelin, and of course, the entire military establishment of France. Despite being outnumbered, Fleury's direct line to king meant that Louis XV allowed Fleury's view to dominate [10].

Given these two perspectives in Britain and France, Britain joined Spain in readying for war while France desperately tried to achieve peace. In Vienna, de Bussy tried to find any room for concessions from the Hapsburgs that might make the Spaniards amenable to a settlement that did not exactly match the Treaty of Madrid. Meanwhile, in Spain, Louis de Brancas, cautioned Felipe V and Isabel against war and suggested that they accept neutral garrisons as they had done in the Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance. This suggestion did not go over well with the Spanish monarchs who questioned why France did not support her ally. To which de Brancas was authorized to reply that France would look indifferently upon Spain's actions as it would do upon any of its allies who decided to act without consulting France. This answer only further upset the Spanish monarchs who replied that if France was so indifferent to Spain then Spain need not consult France with regard to its actions [11]. Subsequently, de Brancas found himself almost completely shut out of the diplomatic flurry in Spain. At the same time, Jose Patino's brother, Baltasar Patino, Marquis of Castelar, vociferously denounced the French and Cardinal Fleury, in Paris. Thus, just as d'Huxelles had predicted, Fleury's strategy had jeopardized the Franco-Spanish alliance and also, just as he predicted the British were swooping in to steal France's natural and dynastic ally away. While the French tried for peace, the British admiralty prepared a full war fleet numbering more than thirty ships to sail to the Mediterranean. Additionally, Walpole promised to submit to parliament a bill requesting funds to support 12,000 soldiers just as Britain had agreed in the Treaty of Madrid. Both of these actions were well received by the Spanish [12].

The British moves toward war gave Spain even more confidence and led to Jose Patino making the necessary arrangements to put together a full Spanish army to invade Italy. On the diplomatic front, Isabel Farnese began to discuss with Britain the possibility of launching a very punishing war against the Hapsburgs. The Spanish mentioned attacks against the Southern Netherlands, Milan, and Naples. Naturally, the prospect of war in the Southern Netherlands frightened the British, even more so after the idea leaked to the French and d'Huxelles voiced his support for it. At that point, the British were seized with premonitions of a French invasion of Britain via Antwerp and many parliament members absolutely rejected the idea of attacking the Southern Netherlands. However, the overall displeasure at the Hapsburg actions and willingness to support Spain went undiminished. Although Britain would no one way condone or support an attack on the Southern Netherlands, Walpole said in a speech to the Commons that a war "below the Alps" had been made necessary by the unlawful occupation of Parma.

The idea of a war "below the Alps" was brought to Spain through Stanhope and through his talks with the Spanish government a scheme began to form. Britain was going to raise an army of 12,000 men and Spain an army of 30,000 men to create an army of 42,000 men. To this army, Britain and Spain would invite France to contribute its 12,000 men and also invite the Duke of Tuscany, His Holiness, and the Duke of Savoy. This army would be tasked with liberating Parma and Piacenza and then razing Milan to punish the Hapsburgs for their recaltricance. At the same time, the British navy and some additional Spanish soldiers were to land in Naples and Sicily and liberate them from Hapsburg occupation. Ultimately, Parma and Piacenza, Naples, and Sicily would all be turned over to Don Carlos to form a separate Italian kingdom. Don Carlos' succession to Tuscany would also be affirmed and so would his exclusion from the Spanish line of succession. In this manner, Isabel Farnese's ambitions for her son would be satisfied, Spain's desire to beat the Hapsburgs and defend its honor would be fulfilled, and Britain's plan to curb the Hapsburgs while avoiding empowering the Spanish too much would be accomplished. Accordingly, both the Spanish court under Isabel's influence and the British government under Walpole and Townshend's consented to the "below the Alps" plan [13].

Neither Britain nor Spain delayed in preparing to put the plan into action. As promised, Walpole submitted his bill for troops to parliament and it passed with a majority of 213-117. This majority was not as large as Walpole's typical majority, which usually surpassed 100, and the opposition made a better showing than their typical number of less than 100. Still, the majority was close to 100 and the opposition vote was below 150, so Walpole's government was under no threat of collapse. Across the courts of Europe, the results of this vote were relayed and described as evidence of Britain's strong favor toward war against the Hapsburgs [14]. Many diplomats expected that this would be the first of several anti-Hapsburg bills with rumors of a subsidy for Spain and another bill for soldiers, neither of which was actually true as neither would have been palatable to the British parliament. Besides passing the bill, the British government also oversaw the departure of Rear Admiral Charles Stewart and a British war fleet for Spain. With Britain and her allies controlling the Atlantic, the Admiralty did not believe it was necessary for the fleet to wait in Britain to convey the British army [15]. Instead, it was of greater importance for the British fleet to arrive in the Mediterranean early and support the already mobilizing Spanish army.

The full-hearted shift toward war by Britain damned Fleury's policy of peace and served a major defeat of him within the French government. Fleury would have been well-served to immediately change his tune into something more befitting the realities that he faced. However, vainly Fleury refused to completely admit his mistake and still tried for peace. At the same time, d'Huxelles prepared several war plans to match the "below the Alps" scheme and even passed them on to the British ambassador to France, Horace Walpole. These two opposing tracks created an image of France dithering, which did it no good at all in its relations with Britain and Spain. Fleury damaged French relations with Britain and Spain even further when he decided to try to subvert their alliance. Fleury tried to convince the Spanish that the British meant to kidnap Don Carlos and use him as a hostage against Spain. To avoid this fate, Fleury offered the Spanish a fleet of more than forty ships to oppose the impending British naval attack on Spain. In response, Spain suggested that France send its fleet to Barcelona and if the British turned out to be foes then together Spain and France would fight them off. If not, then France's fleet that wanted to fight Britain could surely support Spain in fulfilling the Treaty of Madrid. Fleury's silence served as its reply. Fortunately for France, Spain decided against informing Britain of Fleury's offer. Had they done so, it might very well have been fatal to the Anglo-French alliance [16].

Even more fortunately for France was that with the amicable arrival of the British fleet at Cadiz, the Hapsburg resolve crumbled [17]. When Admiral Stewart dined with Felipe V, Isabel Farnese, and Don Carlos in Seville, any hope the Hapsburgs had of the British bluffing evaporated and the threat of an Anglo-Spanish attack on Naples and Sicily became all too real. Once Prince Eugene confirmed that the Hapsburgs could no way fund a war against the British and Spanish, the Hapsburgs reopened serious talks with the British and French, albeit with the French being viewed as less important and being given less time to talk. Having already accepted Don Carlos in Parma and Piacenza and Tuscany, the Hapsburgs now came to accept Spanish garrisons in Parma at the number of 6,000 men as the Treaty of Madrid outlined. However, the Hapsburgs still clung to their demand that Spain guarantee the Pragmatic Sanction. Britain found this agreement to be acceptable as it peacefully preserved the Treaty of Madrid and brought it to the Spanish.

In this moment, the Spanish tried to convince the British that the Hapsburgs were not to be trusted and that war should proceed. The sentiment in Britain, however, was not the same. These terms were good and Britain could not see itself fighting the Hapsburgs if Spain had rejected these terms. Fearful of fighting alone, the Spaniards accepted the idea of peace but still tried to find a better deal. Firstly, the Spanish tried to return to the 1725 Treaty of Vienna by asking that Don Carlos receive Naples and Sicily in return for marrying Maria Theresa. However, the Hapsburgs had no interest in that offer, and the British also quietly informed the Hapsburgs of their opposition to a Bourbon marriage for Maria Theresa. Next, the Spanish tried to get a marriage between Don Carlos and Maria Amalia including a dowry of Sicily, but the Hapsburgs also felt no pressure to accept this offer. Ultimately, the Spanish accepted to give the Hapsburgs their guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction but only in return for the Hapsburgs recognizing Don Carlos as the heir to Tuscany and agreeing to invest him upon the death of Grand Duke Gian Gastone. This term regarding Tuscany was considerably stronger and more clear than previous treaties in which Don Carlos' vague "rights" to Tuscany were acknowledged.

The crisis was definitively ended in late April with the Treaty of Vienna of 1730 between the Holy Roman Emperor, Spain, and Britain. Its terms stated that the Emperor would invest Don Carlos as the Duke of Parma and Piacenza and promise to invest Don Carlos as the Grand Duke of Tuscany upon the extinction of the House of Medici. Don Carlos was to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Emperor. To secure Don Carlos' rule, Spain was permitted to send a garrison of 6,000 men into Italy and they would be permitted to stay permanently. In return, Spain guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction. Secretly, the Hapsburgs also agreed with Britain that no Bourbon would be married to Maria Theresa. The British also tried to get the Hapsburgs to consent that no Hohenzollern would be wed to Maria Theresa, but the Hapsburgs were unwilling to jeopardize their relationship with Prussia by calling out the Hohenzollerns by name. Instead, the Hapsburgs agreed that no husband that might alter the balance of Europe would be accepted [18].

Altogether, the Crisis of the Parmese Succession was a victory at varying degrees for Spain, Britain, and the Hapsburgs. Spain had the terms of the Treaty of Madrid fulfilled through the latest Treaty of Vienna and indeed had them improved upon with the Emperor investing Don Carlos with Parma and promising to do the same with Tuscany. Beforehand, the Emperor's stance on Don Carlos in Parma and Tuscany had been vaguer and vagueness creates room for cheating and conflict. Of course, Spain had hoped to gain more through the crisis, particularly through war. However, victory was not necessarily certain and wars are expensive, so Spain was not displeased with what it gained without war. Britain also found itself coming out ahead as it solidified its alliance with Spain at the expense of the Franco-Spanish alliance, which further secured Britain against joint-Bourbon action. Additionally, Britain got some security about a Bourbon not inheriting the Hapsburg empire and thus returning Europe to the state it had been before the death of Carlos II. Finally, the Hapsburgs were able to reinforce Imperial authority by making Don Carlos' succession something derived from the Emperor rather than Britain and France. Lastly, the Hapsburgs added one more signature to the guarantees of the Pragmatic Sanction and a very important one at that. The notable losers in this crisis were France and the Papacy. France's lack of support for Spain severely damaged Franco-Spanish relations and put France at risk of having Spain once again be an enemy across the Pyrennes. Meanwhile, France's lack of concerted action with Britain was viewed poorly by the British and led to some attacks against the French alliance during the debate on the bill for soldiers. The Papacy also lost because its own claims to suzerainty over Parma were denied favor of the Emperor.

[1] Antonio Farnese died in OTL in February of 1731. TTL he dies in January of 1730. He is an old man and perhaps with the stress of a war in Italy from 1727 to 1729 he dies a little faster. The main point of him dying at a different time is for the sake of divergence. Other people will also die at different times or different people will be born.
[2] Just as in OTL, Austria invades and occupies Parma after the death of Antonio Farnese. In OTL they did it to extract concessions from Spain and assert Imperial authority. Here a stronger and more confident Austria is also toying with the idea of not giving Parma to Don Carlos at all.
[3] Dorothea Sophie was the OTL regent upon Antonio Farnese's death. Also, I will take this opportunity to note that TTL we do not have Henriette d'Este's false pregnancy issue because she has been married to Antonio Farnese for a shorter period of time and has less reason to believe herself pregnant.
[4] This Hapsburg debate is completely made up. The Parmese Succession is not covered much in biographies about Eugene, so I just made up an internal debate that seemed consistent with Eugene's character and Austria's OTL actions. In OTL, Austria did send an army of 30-40,000 men into Parma during the crisis. TTL Austria does likewise because it faces similar threats as OTL.
[5] In OTL, Isabel Farnese wanted to use the crisis as an excuse to take Naples and Sicily. Isabel Farnese is not a different person TTL, so she TTL she also wants to do this. Also, in OTL, the Spanish court seemed to favor an assertive stance during the crisis, which is carried over TTL. The only difference being that Patino is watching the treasury closely due to the recent war.
[6] This number of 8,000 infantry and 4,000 horsemen is taken from the OTL commitments of Britain and France. I used it TTL because it seemed like a reasonable number.
[7] In OTL, despite the Anglo-French alliance lasting more than 15 years there was always mistrust and when they got Spain into their alliance they both tried to keep Spain on their side of the alliance. Essentially they still viewed the alliance as a duo and viewed Spain as a junior and wanted to make sure that Spain was their junior rather than junior of the other. In TTL, the same views exist and are even stronger because Spain being on one side of the alliance versus another is viewed as even more important after Spain has shown its military competence again.
[8] These demands from the Hapsburgs are significantly stronger than their OTL demands because in TTL they have survived the French attack on the Rhine, so they are much more confident. They also already have French and British guarantees of the Pragmatic Sanction in TTL so they are not going to demand those as they did in OTL.
[9] So in OTL, Townshend was opposed to the Hapsburgs as a threat to the balance of power. This opposition has been overblown by history as it was not rooted in personal belief but a calculated opinion of the Hapsburgs as described by Jeremy Black. Townshend did show a willingness to consider the Hapsburgs as allies when the French started to look more and more distrustful. In TTL, the Hapsburgs look like even more of a threat so Townshend thinks of them as threatening even more so than OTL and probably closer to what many historians have claimed his him to think. Regarding this crisis specifically, in OTL, the British parliament including Walpole was in support of Spain. So in TTL with the Hapsburgs actually looking somewhat threatening, the British parliament will double down on that support. Finally, George II's personal opinion of Parma in OTL is unknown but his early opposition to the Hapsburgs in OTL was known. TTL after the Hapsburgs invested other Imperial princes with Hanoverian land, George II is much more opposed to the Hapsburgs and will see Parma as a means of punishing them.
[10] In OTL, d'Huxelles was dead when the Parmese Succession occurred. Here the crisis comes a year earlier and he is alive. In OTL, Fleury was reluctant to help out Spain and in TTL he is even more so reluctant because his fear of the Hapsburgs has been increased and his lack of faith in France's ability to contest the Hapsburgs is also increased. In OTL, without d'Huxelles, the war party was very much in favor of Spain. D'Huxelles was a huge support of the Franco-Spanish alliance in OTL and with him still alive the war party will be even louder in its opposition to Fleury's position on the Parmese succession. Nevertheless, Louis XV listened to Fleury on Parma in OTL and he does so in TTL because Fleury still has influence over the young man.
[11] This interaction between de Brancas and the Spaniards is based on the OTL interaction between the French ambassador, Rothenbourg, and the Spanish. TTL this interaction remains similar because the interaction was based on instructions from Fleury rather than the ambassador taking some independent action.
[12] In OTL, Britain did prepare a fleet and a bill to send 10,000 soldiers to the Mediterranean was drawn up. In TTL, with stronger anti-Hapsburg sentiments similar events occur. The fleet might be slightly bigger and the bill is for 12,000 rather than 10,000.
[13] This Spanish proposal is based on an OTL proposal for an all-out war against the Hapsburgs during the OTL crisis and the British support for a war against the Hapsburgs but restricted to below the Alps is also the OTL response of Britain to the OTL Spanish proposal. Some slight details with the war plan have been added but the overall plan of installing Don Carlos in Parma and conquering Naples and Sicily are based on OTL.
[14] That number does not add up to the total number of seats in Parliament because there were frequently many absentions. Also, in OTL, this bill never had to get passed because Austria backed down more quickly. TTL a more confident Austria takes longer to back down so the bill gets heard and passed. Also in TTL the bill is getting heard earlier than it probably would have been heard in OTL due to the greater anti-Hapsburg sentiments in Britain.
[15] In OTL, Admiral Charles Wager led this mission. In TTL, Wager's reputation was ruined by the Battle of Kymmenedalen during Empress Catherine's War. Accordingly, a different admiral is chosen. Since John Norris' reputation is also damaged, Charles Stewart was chosen. In OTL, the fleet left before the army bill was passed and in TTL the same thing happens. I am not sure why in OTL the fleet left without the army so I just offered a plausible reason.
[16] In OTL, even after the British showed they would support Spain, Fleury was reluctant to. TTL's Fleury is more fearful and thus also reluctant. In OTL, Fleury also thought it was a good idea to try to convince Spain that Britain would attack Spain but after some initial doubt, Spain just moved on and acted like France had not said anything. In TTL, Spain believes France even less because d'Huxelles is going to be leaking information to the Spanish. In TTL, Spain also does not tell Britain because doing so might break the Spanish and French alliance permanently.
[17] In OTL, the Austrian resolve crumbled around a similar time. In TTL, the British navy is still scary enough to get the Austrians to crumble.
[18] This agreement is notably different from the OTL one. In OTL, Austria did not yet have Britain's guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction and was focused on getting that one rather than Spain's because Britain is more powerful than Spain. In OTL to get that guarantee from Britain, Austria had to make a concession to Britain by putting the Ostend Company on hiatus. In TTL, Austria already has Britain's guarantee and instead can focus on getting Spain's. As a result, Spain is able to get more concessions toward it with Britain's help. Those concessions are stronger protections for Don Carlos in Italy. In OTL, the Austrians were able to be more vague and make trouble through that vagueness.

Word Count: 5609
 
Last edited:
26: The Crisis of the Parmese Succession
450px-Admiral_The_Honourable_Charles_Stewart%2C_1681-1741.jpg

Rear Admiral Charles Stewart

Spain's victory in Empress Catherine's War was memorialized by the Treaty of Madrid by which Spain regained for herself Gibraltar and Sardinia and gained for one of its sons, Don Carlos, then rights of succession to the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza and the Duchy of Tuscany. Although France and especially Britain had exacted their price for these concessions the peace was still incredibly advantageous to Spain and satisfactory to its court. The reason for this satisfaction was that beyond the treaty granting Spain so many material gains it gave Spain something that it had been missing and searching for ever since the Treaty of Pyrennes, redemption. For decades, Spain had suffered nothing but defeat in its wars against the states of Europe. From the Franco-Spanish War to Louis XIV's wars to the War of the Quadruple Alliance, all Spain received was defeat after defeat. And with each defeat, Spain's enemies and even allies stole away another slice of Spain. What had started as Spain just losing Roussillon quickly spiraled into Spain losing Portugal, the Spanish Road, the Spanish Netherlands, all of Spanish Italy, and even Gibraltar and Menorca. Besides these losses of land, these defeats began to steal away at Spain's ideas of empire, Spain's ideas about itself, Spain's identity. What was Spain if not one of Europe's most preeminent and influential states? What was Spain if it was hemmed in behind the Pyrennes and powerless in the Mediterranean as it had been when France conquered the Basque counties and Britain destroyed the entire Spanish navy at Cape Passero? Even with these harmful thoughts entering the minds of the Spanish, they still held on to their pride and their memories as they dreamed of a day that Spain might take it all back and with it take back her dignity. While with the Treaty of Madrid, that day came and Spain once again saw herself as a power to be reckoned with. Decades of trial and turbulence had finally been vindicated.

That vindication went unbothered through the remainder of Empress Catherine's War and the rest of 1729. However, when Antonio Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, died in January 1730, that sense of glorious achievement was put under threat when half of the hard-fought terms of the Treaty of Madrid came under threat [1]. Immediately following the death of Antonio Farnese, the Hapsburg governor of Milan, Wirich Philipp von Daun, crossed the Milanese-Parmese border with more than 10,000 soldiers [2]. The unprepared and overall weak Duchy of Parma and Piacenza could do nothing to stop the Hapsburg army and within a few short weeks, the whole duchy was under Hapsburg occupation. Dorothea Sophie of the Palatinate, the regent of Parma and Piacenza and former duchess, vigorously protested this "illegal" occupation but her appeals to Daun and her letters to Prince Eugene of Savoy failed to alter the situation [3]. All Dorothea Sophie's protests were rewarded with the taciturn reply that the Hapsburg army did not mean to conquer Parma, just to keep law and order under Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI could invest the proper successor to Antonio Farnese with the dignity of Duke of Parma and Piacenza. An experienced and intelligent woman, Dorothea Sophia placed no faith in that statement and instead wrote to her daughter, Isabel Farnese, of the Hapsburg invasion.

Isabel Farnese naturally was furious at the Hapsburgs' blatant attempt to deprive her eldest of his rightful inheritance. Isabel was not the only one displeased with the Hapsburg action as Felipe V also was interested in establishing a separate estate for his third son. Meanwhile, the first minister of Spain, Jose Patino, and the rest of the Spanish court felt insulted by the Hapsburg violation of Spain's reward for its participation in Empress Catherine's War. This multilateral and government-wide resentment toward the Hapsburg action led to the Hapsburg ambassador in Spain, Joseph Lothar Dominik Graf von Königsegg-Rothenfels, becoming the victim of some rather heated criticisms. The overall message was that Don Carlos was the rightful Duke of Parma and Piacenza according to both the Treaty of Madrid and the Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance. Although the Hapsburgs were not a party of the former treaty, they were among the signatories of the Quadruple Alliance. Thus, Spain viewed the Hapsburgs as in clear violation of their treaty obligations and Spain threatened to wage war against the Hapsburgs unless they made amends.

In the face of energetic Spanish resistance, Prince Eugene did raise some questions about the long-term feasibility of the Hapsburg mission. In particular, Prince Eugene pointed out the difficult financial situation for the Hapsburg monarchy would make a war with the other signatories of the Treaty of Madrid and Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance nigh impossible. However, other members of the Hapsburg government and Hofkriegsrat were more confident and few believed that Britain and France would actually stand by Spain. With Prince Eugene making any strong protest to counter, the influence of the more bellicose officials led to Emperor Charles VI approving the dispatch of 30,000 men to Milan and Parma. Through this show of resolve, the Hapsburgs intended to cow the Spanish and if the Spaniards refused to be cowed then the Hapsburgs felt that that army would be more than sufficient to defeat any Spanish invasion. Altogether, the Hapsburgs were putting together an army of more than 40,000 men in northern Italy and to command it, the Hapsburgs chose none other than the victor of Bassignana, Count Claude Florimond de Mercy [4]. For Emperor Charles VI, this action was not just about possibly securing Parma for himself but also about showing the strength of the Hapsburgs in the wake of Spain, Prussia, Saxony, and Russia's victories during the Empress Catherine's War.

Even before this reinforcement, Spain was already readying for war. Whether the Hapsburgs complied or not, Isabel Farnese was eager to use the slight delay in her son's ascension to the throne of Parma as an excuse for an all-out war against the Hapsburgs. In these dreams of war, Isabel Farnese imagined placing the crowns of Naples and Sicily on Don Carlos' head. As she dived into these dreams they became grander and more elaborate with a Lombard crown for her second son Felipe. For Felipe V, Patino, and the Spanish court their own edging toward war was less about an intense desire to give Don Carlos a crown and more about adding to the glory of Spain through defending the Treaty of Madrid and besting the Hapsburgs. For all of them continuing Spain's resurgence through another display of martial prowess seemed like a necessary venture. Only, Patino hesitated as he knew the costs, the high, high costs, of the Empress Catherine's War for Spain's treasury and he was reluctant to impose another set of high, high costs just a little over a year after Spain had finished that last war. On a military level, however, Patino shared the confidence of Spain's courtiers and generals that Spain could defeat the Hapsburgs [5].

In preparation for war, Spain initially reached out to Britain and France to ask that they fulfill their obligations under the Treaty of Madrid. Specifically, Britain and France's obligations to each contribute 8,000 infantry and 4,000 horse to help install Don Carlos and a Spanish garrison in Parma [6]. In both Britain and France, the first instinct was toward diplomacy due to the private inclinations of the leaders there. Both Sir Robert Walpole and Cardinal Fleury felt that charging into war would be unwise and detrimental to their own agendas. At the same time, neither Britain nor France wanted to lose Spain as an ally. Already Spain had proved itself militarily competent in Empress Catherine's War, which made Spain a good ally in general. However, for Britain and France specifically, the alliance of Spain was an important counterweight to each other [7]. Thus, while the British and French ambassadors in Spain, William Stanhope and Louis de Brancas, respectively, delivered their governments' promises of support to Felipe V and Isabel, the ambassadors in Vienna, James Waldegrave and François de Bussy, inquired into the possibility of a peaceful settlement.

Both the British and French diplomats informed the Hapsburgs that their governments would not tolerate Don Carlos being deprived of his rights. This stern reproach threw some cold water on the Hapsburg emotions. Nevertheless, the Hapsburgs were still interested in showing their resolve and coming out of this little crisis ahead. Thus, the Hapsburgs wanted it recognized that the Emperor, not Britain nor France was responsible for determining the Duke of Parma and Piacenza. The Hapsburgs wanted the duchy's succession recognized as reverting to the Emperor before he invested Don Carlos with it. In this way, Imperial authority in Imperial and in general would be reinforced. Additionally, the Hapsburgs wanted the return of the neutral Swiss garrisons for Parma that they had agreed to in the Quadruple Alliance rather than the Spanish garrisons that Britain and France had conceded in the Treaty of Madrid. Next, the Hapsburgs wanted to keep the question of Tuscany's succession open and also wanted that to flow through the Emperor's authority. Finally, the Hapsburgs wanted Spain to guarantee the Pragmatic Sanction [8].

For both Britain and France, the Hapsburgs' demands were too much as they represented a step back from the Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance, which Britain and France were inclined to few as the absolute floor for negotiations. When Britain and France aggressively refused the Hapsburg terms, the Hapsburgs did temper their terms by offering to reaffirm Don Carlos' rights in Tuscany but other concessions were slow to come. The Hapsburgs stalwartly defended their demands of neutral garrisons and a Spanish guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction. This stalwartness affected both the British and French opinions on the crisis. In Britain, the fears of the Hapsburg threat to the balance of Europe of Lord Townshend, Secretary of State for the Northern Department and senior secretary of foreign affairs, had been confirmed by the Hapsburgs being on the winning side of the Empress Catherine's War. And whereas before other members of the British parliament including Townshend's former brother-in-law, Walpole, were reluctant to agree, many including Walpole now did see at least some validity in the assertion. Even more importantly, King George II strongly supported Townshend's viewpoint and more than that wanted revenge against the Hapsburgs for their role in plotting the partition of the Electorate of Brunswick-Luneburg. Thus, the British had entered into peace negotiations they had done so with the goal of gaining greater concessions from the Hapsburgs to curb their power. When the Hapsburgs instead argued for concessions to be given to them they only proved Townshend's point and diminished the remaining sympathy for them in the British parliament. The end result was that the British approach to the crisis hardened and the opinion of parliament began to shift in favor of using arms to humble the Hapsburgs. Even Walpole began to suggest that action against the Hapsburgs might be necessary to safeguard the Treaty of Madrid and Britain's commercial relationship with Spain [9].

In contrast to the coalescing of anti-Hapsburg feelings among both leadership and government in Britain, France saw a major division between Fleury and the other leading ministers of France arise over the Parmese question. Fleury vehemently thought that war against the Hapsburgs was misguided. In Fleury's opinion, his view about the Hapsburgs being militarily stronger than France and of the Hapsburgs having commanding authority in the Holy Roman Empire had been proven by Empress Catherine's War. On the Rhine, the Hapsburgs had ultimately pushed the French back and in Germany, every secular Prince-Elector had raised arms in support of the Holy Roman Emperor. Due to this strength, Fleury thought that France needed to avoid war with the Hapsburgs and agree to the demands of the Hapsburgs, which he did not feel would strengthen them too much nor cost France much. Fleury was opposed in this viewpoint by the Minister of State, Marshal d'Huxelles, who saw France's defeats as the fault of Fleury. If France used its full might then the Hapsburgs would fall easily before the French sword. Meanwhile, the French failure of diplomacy in Germany was a natural extension of its reluctance to use arms. No one would ally with France if it feared that France would not actually come to its support when the time came. For these exact reasons, d'Huxelles felt that not only would a war be in France's favor but also that a war was necessary. If France did not fight to defend the Treaty of Madrid then it would immediately lose Spain as an ally to either Britain or the Emperor. in either case, France would be worse off. D'Huxelles was supported in this debate by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Germain-Louis Chauvelin, and of course, the entire military establishment of France. Despite being outnumbered, Fleury's direct line to king meant that Louis XV allowed Fleury's view to dominate [10].

Given these two perspectives in Britain and France, Britain joined Spain in readying for war while France desperately tried to achieve peace. In Vienna, de Bussy tried to find any room for concessions from the Hapsburgs that might make the Spaniards amenable to a settlement that did not exactly match the Treaty of Madrid. Meanwhile, in Spain, Louis de Brancas, cautioned Felipe V and Isabel against war and suggested that they accept neutral garrisons as they had done in the Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance. This suggestion did not go over well with the Spanish monarchs who questioned why France did not support her ally. To which de Brancas was authorized to reply that France would look indifferently upon Spain's actions as it would do upon any of its allies who decided to act without consulting France. This answer only further upset the Spanish monarchs who replied that if France was so indifferent to Spain then Spain need not consult France with regard to its actions [11]. Subsequently, de Brancas found himself almost completely shut out of the diplomatic flurry in Spain. At the same time, Jose Patino's brother, Baltasar Patino, Marquis of Castelar, vociferously denounced the French and Cardinal Fleury, in Paris. Thus, just as d'Huxelles had predicted, Fleury's strategy had jeopardized the Franco-Spanish alliance and also, just as he predicted the British were swooping in to steal France's natural and dynastic ally away. While the French tried for peace, the British admiralty prepared a full war fleet numbering more than thirty ships to sail to the Mediterranean. Additionally, Walpole promised to submit to parliament a bill requesting funds to support 12,000 soldiers just as Britain had agreed in the Treaty of Madrid. Both of these actions were well received by the Spanish [12].

The British moves toward war gave Spain even more confidence and led to Jose Patino making the necessary arrangements to put together a full Spanish army to invade Italy. On the diplomatic front, Isabel Farnese began to discuss with Britain the possibility of launching a very punishing war against the Hapsburgs. The Spanish mentioned attacks against the Southern Netherlands, Milan, and Naples. Naturally, the prospect of war in the Southern Netherlands frightened the British, even more so after the idea leaked to the French and d'Huxelles voiced his support for it. At that point, the British were seized with premonitions of a French invasion of Britain via Antwerp and many parliament members absolutely rejected the idea of attacking the Southern Netherlands. However, the overall displeasure at the Hapsburg actions and willingness to support Spain went undiminished. Although Britain would no one way condone or support an attack on the Southern Netherlands, Walpole said in a speech to the Commons that a war "below the Alps" had been made necessary by the unlawful occupation of Parma.

The idea of a war "below the Alps" was brought to Spain through Stanhope and through his talks with the Spanish government a scheme began to form. Britain was going to raise an army of 12,000 men and Spain an army of 30,000 men to create an army of 42,000 men. To this army, Britain and Spain would invite France to contribute its 12,000 men and also invite the Duke of Tuscany, His Holiness, and the Duke of Savoy. This army would be tasked with liberating Parma and Piacenza and then razing Milan to punish the Hapsburgs for their recaltricance. At the same time, the British navy and some additional Spanish soldiers were to land in Naples and Sicily and liberate them from Hapsburg occupation. Ultimately, Parma and Piacenza, Naples, and Sicily would all be turned over to Don Carlos to form a separate Italian kingdom. Don Carlos' succession to Tuscany would also be affirmed and so would his exclusion from the Spanish line of succession. In this manner, Isabel Farnese's ambitions for her son would be satisfied, Spain's desire to beat the Hapsburgs and defend its honor would be fulfilled, and Britain's plan to curb the Hapsburgs while avoiding empowering the Spanish too much would be accomplished. Accordingly, both the Spanish court under Isabel's influence and the British government under Walpole and Townshend's consented to the "below the Alps" plan [13].

Neither Britain nor Spain delayed in preparing to put the plan into action. As promised, Walpole submitted his bill for troops to parliament and it passed with a majority of 213-117. This majority was not as large as Walpole's typical majority, which usually surpassed 100, and the opposition made a better showing than their typical number of less than 100. Still, the majority was close to 100 and the opposition vote was below 150, so Walpole's government was under no threat of collapse. Across the courts of Europe, the results of this vote were relayed and described as evidence of Britain's strong favor toward war against the Hapsburgs [14]. Many diplomats expected that this would be the first of several anti-Hapsburg bills with rumors of a subsidy for Spain and another bill for soldiers, neither of which was actually true as neither would have been palatable to the British parliament. Besides passing the bill, the British government also oversaw the departure of Rear Admiral Charles Stewart and a British war fleet for Spain. With Britain and her allies controlling the Atlantic, the Admiralty did not believe it was necessary for the fleet to wait in Britain to convey the British army [15]. Instead, it was of greater importance for the British fleet to arrive in the Mediterranean early and support the already mobilizing Spanish army.

The full-hearted shift toward war by Britain damned Fleury's policy of peace and served a major defeat of him within the French government. Fleury would have been well-served to immediately change his tune into something more befitting the realities that he faced. However, vainly Fleury refused to completely admit his mistake and still tried for peace. At the same time, d'Huxelles prepared several war plans to match the "below the Alps" scheme and even passed them on to the British ambassador to France, Thomas Robinson. These two opposing tracks created an image of France dithering, which did it no good at all in its relations with Britain and Spain. Fleury damaged French relations with Britain and Spain even further when he decided to try to subvert their alliance. Fleury tried to convince the Spanish that the British meant to kidnap Don Carlos and use him as a hostage against Spain. To avoid this fate, Fleury offered the Spanish a fleet of more than forty ships to oppose the impending British naval attack on Spain. In response, Spain suggested that France send its fleet to Barcelona and if the British turned out to be foes then together Spain and France would fight them off. If not, then France's fleet that wanted to fight Britain could surely support Spain in fulfilling the Treaty of Madrid. Fleury's silence served as its reply. Fortunately for France, Spain decided against informing Britain of Fleury's offer. Had they done so, it might very well have been fatal to the Anglo-French alliance [16].

Even more fortunately for France was that with the amicable arrival of the British fleet at Cadiz, the Hapsburg resolve crumbled [17]. When Admiral Stewart dined with Felipe V, Isabel Farnese, and Don Carlos in Seville, any hope the Hapsburgs had of the British bluffing evaporated and the threat of an Anglo-Spanish attack on Naples and Sicily became all too real. Once Prince Eugene confirmed that the Hapsburgs could no way fund a war against the British and Spanish, the Hapsburgs reopened serious talks with the British and French, albeit with the French being viewed as less important and being given less time to talk. Having already accepted Don Carlos in Parma and Piacenza and Tuscany, the Hapsburgs now came to accept Spanish garrisons in Parma at the number of 6,000 men as the Treaty of Madrid outlined. However, the Hapsburgs still clung to their demand that Spain guarantee the Pragmatic Sanction. Britain found this agreement to be acceptable as it peacefully preserved the Treaty of Madrid and brought it to the Spanish.

In this moment, the Spanish tried to convince the British that the Hapsburgs were not to be trusted and that war should proceed. The sentiment in Britain, however, was not the same. These terms were good and Britain could not see itself fighting the Hapsburgs if Spain had rejected these terms. Fearful of fighting alone, the Spaniards accepted the idea of peace but still tried to find a better deal. Firstly, the Spanish tried to return to the 1725 Treaty of Vienna by asking that Don Carlos receive Naples and Sicily in return for marrying Maria Theresa. However, the Hapsburgs had no interest in that offer, and the British also quietly informed the Hapsburgs of their opposition to a Bourbon marriage for Maria Theresa. Next, the Spanish tried to get a marriage between Don Carlos and Maria Amalia including a dowry of Sicily, but the Hapsburgs also felt no pressure to accept this offer. Ultimately, the Spanish accepted to give the Hapsburgs their guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction but only in return for the Hapsburgs recognizing Don Carlos as the heir to Tuscany and agreeing to invest him upon the death of Grand Duke Gian Gastone. This term regarding Tuscany was considerably stronger and more clear than previous treaties in which Don Carlos' vague "rights" to Tuscany were acknowledged.

The crisis was definitively ended in late April with the Treaty of Vienna of 1730 between the Holy Roman Emperor, Spain, and Britain. Its terms stated that the Emperor would invest Don Carlos as the Duke of Parma and Piacenza and promise to invest Don Carlos as the Grand Duke of Tuscany upon the extinction of the House of Medici. Don Carlos was to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Emperor. To secure Don Carlos' rule, Spain was permitted to send a garrison of 6,000 men into Italy and they would be permitted to stay permanently. In return, Spain guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction. Secretly, the Hapsburgs also agreed with Britain that no Bourbon would be married to Maria Theresa. The British also tried to get the Hapsburgs to consent that no Hohenzollern would be wed to Maria Theresa, but the Hapsburgs were unwilling to jeopardize their relationship with Prussia by calling out the Hohenzollerns by name. Instead, the Hapsburgs agreed that no husband that might alter the balance of Europe would be accepted [18].

Altogether, the Crisis of the Parmese Succession was a victory at varying degrees for Spain, Britain, and the Hapsburgs. Spain had the terms of the Treaty of Madrid fulfilled through the latest Treaty of Vienna and indeed had them improved upon with the Emperor investing Don Carlos with Parma and promising to do the same with Tuscany. Beforehand, the Emperor's stance on Don Carlos in Parma and Tuscany had been vaguer and vagueness creates room for cheating and conflict. Of course, Spain had hoped to gain more through the crisis, particularly through war. However, victory was not necessarily certain and wars are expensive, so Spain was not displeased with what it gained without war. Britain also found itself coming out ahead as it solidified its alliance with Spain at the expense of the Franco-Spanish alliance, which further secured Britain against joint-Bourbon action. Additionally, Britain got some security about a Bourbon not inheriting the Hapsburg empire and thus returning Europe to the state it had been before the death of Carlos II. Finally, the Hapsburgs were able to reinforce Imperial authority by making Don Carlos' succession something derived from the Emperor rather than Britain and France. Lastly, the Hapsburgs added one more signature to the guarantees of the Pragmatic Sanction and a very important one at that. The notable losers in this crisis were France and the Papacy. France's lack of support for Spain severely damaged Franco-Spanish relations and put France at risk of having Spain once again be an enemy across the Pyrennes. Meanwhile, France's lack of concerted action with Britain was viewed poorly by the British and led to some attacks against the French alliance during the debate on the bill for soldiers. The Papacy also lost because its own claims to suzerainty over Parma were denied favor of the Emperor.

[1] Antonio Farnese died in OTL in February of 1731. TTL he dies in January of 1730. He is an old man and perhaps with the stress of a war in Italy from 1727 to 1729 he dies a little faster. The main point of him dying at a different time is for the sake of divergence. Other people will also die at different times or different people will be born.
[2] Just as in OTL, Austria invades and occupies Parma after the death of Antonio Farnese. In OTL they did it to extract concessions from Spain and assert Imperial authority. Here a stronger and more confident Austria is also toying with the idea of not giving Parma to Don Carlos at all.
[3] Dorothea Sophie was the OTL regent upon Antonio Farnese's death. Also, I will take this opportunity to note that TTL we do not have Henriette d'Este's false pregnancy issue because she has been married to Antonio Farnese for a shorter period of time and has less reason to believe herself pregnant.
[4] This Hapsburg debate is completely made up. The Parmese Succession is not covered much in biographies about Eugene, so I just made up an internal debate that seemed consistent with Eugene's character and Austria's OTL actions. In OTL, Austria did send an army of 30-40,000 men into Parma during the crisis. TTL Austria does likewise because it faces similar threats as OTL.
[5] In OTL, Isabel Farnese wanted to use the crisis as an excuse to take Naples and Sicily. Isabel Farnese is not a different person TTL, so she TTL she also wants to do this. Also, in OTL, the Spanish court seemed to favor an assertive stance during the crisis, which is carried over TTL. The only difference being that Patino is watching the treasury closely due to the recent war.
[6] This number of 8,000 infantry and 4,000 horsemen is taken from the OTL commitments of Britain and France. I used it TTL because it seemed like a reasonable number.
[7] In OTL, despite the Anglo-French alliance lasting more than 15 years there was always mistrust and when they got Spain into their alliance they both tried to keep Spain on their side of the alliance. Essentially they still viewed the alliance as a duo and viewed Spain as a junior and wanted to make sure that Spain was their junior rather than junior of the other. In TTL, the same views exist and are even stronger because Spain being on one side of the alliance versus another is viewed as even more important after Spain has shown its military competence again.
[8] These demands from the Hapsburgs are significantly stronger than their OTL demands because in TTL they have survived the French attack on the Rhine, so they are much more confident. They also already have French and British guarantees of the Pragmatic Sanction in TTL so they are not going to demand those as they did in OTL.
[9] So in OTL, Townshend was opposed to the Hapsburgs as a threat to the balance of power. This opposition has been overblown by history as it was not rooted in personal belief but a calculated opinion of the Hapsburgs as described by Jeremy Black. Townshend did show a willingness to consider the Hapsburgs as allies when the French started to look more and more distrustful. In TTL, the Hapsburgs look like even more of a threat so Townshend thinks of them as threatening even more so than OTL and probably closer to what many historians have claimed his him to think. Regarding this crisis specifically, in OTL, the British parliament including Walpole was in support of Spain. So in TTL with the Hapsburgs actually looking somewhat threatening, the British parliament will double down on that support. Finally, George II's personal opinion of Parma in OTL is unknown but his early opposition to the Hapsburgs in OTL was known. TTL after the Hapsburgs invested other Imperial princes with Hanoverian land, George II is much more opposed to the Hapsburgs and will see Parma as a means of punishing them.
[10] In OTL, d'Huxelles was dead when the Parmese Succession occurred. Here the crisis comes a year earlier and he is alive. In OTL, Fleury was reluctant to help out Spain and in TTL he is even more so reluctant because his fear of the Hapsburgs has been increased and his lack of faith in France's ability to contest the Hapsburgs is also increased. In OTL, without d'Huxelles, the war party was very much in favor of Spain. D'Huxelles was a huge support of the Franco-Spanish alliance in OTL and with him still alive the war party will be even louder in its opposition to Fleury's position on the Parmese succession. Nevertheless, Louis XV listened to Fleury on Parma in OTL and he does so in TTL because Fleury still has influence over the young man.
[11] This interaction between de Brancas and the Spaniards is based on the OTL interaction between the French ambassador, Rothenbourg, and the Spanish. TTL this interaction remains similar because the interaction was based on instructions from Fleury rather than the ambassador taking some independent action.
[12] In OTL, Britain did prepare a fleet and a bill to send 10,000 soldiers to the Mediterranean was drawn up. In TTL, with stronger anti-Hapsburg sentiments similar events occur. The fleet might be slightly bigger and the bill is for 12,000 rather than 10,000.
[13] This Spanish proposal is based on an OTL proposal for an all-out war against the Hapsburgs during the OTL crisis and the British support for a war against the Hapsburgs but restricted to below the Alps is also the OTL response of Britain to the OTL Spanish proposal. Some slight details with the war plan have been added but the overall plan of installing Don Carlos in Parma and conquering Naples and Sicily are based on OTL.
[14] That number does not add up to the total number of seats in Parliament because there were frequently many absentions. Also, in OTL, this bill never had to get passed because Austria backed down more quickly. TTL a more confident Austria takes longer to back down so the bill gets heard and passed. Also in TTL the bill is getting heard earlier than it probably would have been heard in OTL due to the greater anti-Hapsburg sentiments in Britain.
[15] In OTL, Admiral Charles Wager led this mission. In TTL, Wager's reputation was ruined by the Battle of Kymmenedalen during Empress Catherine's War. Accordingly, a different admiral is chosen. Since John Norris' reputation is also damaged, Charles Stewart was chosen. In OTL, the fleet left before the army bill was passed and in TTL the same thing happens. I am not sure why in OTL the fleet left without the army so I just offered a plausible reason.
[16] In OTL, even after the British showed they would support Spain, Fleury was reluctant to. TTL's Fleury is more fearful and thus also reluctant. In OTL, Fleury also thought it was a good idea to try to convince Spain that Britain would attack Spain but after some initial doubt, Spain just moved on and acted like France had not said anything. In TTL, Spain believes France even less because d'Huxelles is going to be leaking information to the Spanish. In TTL, Spain also does not tell Britain because doing so might break the Spanish and French alliance permanently.
[17] In OTL, the Austrian resolve crumbled around a similar time. In TTL, the British navy is still scary enough to get the Austrians to crumble.
[18] This agreement is notably different from the OTL one. In OTL, Austria did not yet have Britain's guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction and was focused on getting that one rather than Spain's because Britain is more powerful than Spain. In OTL to get that guarantee from Britain, Austria had to make a concession to Britain by putting the Ostend Company on hiatus. In TTL, Austria already has Britain's guarantee and instead can focus on getting Spain's. As a result, Spain is able to get more concessions toward it with Britain's help. Those concessions are stronger protections for Don Carlos in Italy. In OTL, the Austrians were able to be more vague and make trouble through that vagueness.

Word Count: 5609
Probably my favorite update yet! Welcome surprise to see this back.
 
Fleury's looking really bad in all this.
Although I have an overall negative opinion of Fleury’s leadership, I’ve done my best to rein that in and stay objective while I take in information and figure out the events of the TL. However, from my reading of the Parmese Succession it’s really clear that Fleury severely misplayed the situation. Also, the Polish and Austrian Succession there also is a lot less room for forgivenesses.
 
27: Young Hanover Brave
27: Young Hanover Brave
image.jpg

King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia reviewing the Potsdam Guards

Not even a year removed from George II's ignominious return to Britain after the horrific experience of the British campaign in Germany, George II was already thinking of returning home, to Brunswick-Luneburg that is. However, under the terms of the Hanoverian dynasty's accession to the British throne, the king was not permitted to leave Britain and its dominions without the express approval of the parliament. Any attempt to return to Brunswick-Luneburg had to be brought to and passed by the parliament. Previously, the parliament had only approved George I's various returns to the Continent reluctantly, but George I unlike George II had not overseen the worst military defeats for Britain since the Dutch sailed up the Thames to destroy the English navy. Not to mention that George II had been in Brunswick-Luneburg less than a year before and for more than a year. The only time that the Parliament had let George I make visits so closely together was when he had been personally negotiating an Anglo-Prussian alliance [1]. So in the spring of 1730 when George II revealed his desire to go home, Walpole knew he was in for a fight with either George II to convince him not to go or with parliament to convince them to let him go.

Initially, Walpole chose to dissuade George II by explaining that the Commons would never permit the king to leave Britain when a war for Parma banging on the gates of Britain [2]. George II rather angrily explained that that war was his reason for wanting to go home. He pointed out how easily Brunswick-Luneburg had been swamped by enemy soldiers during Empress Catherine's War. George II blamed it all on his son, who George I had foolishly left in charge of the Electorate. The coxcomb, drunkard, and man-whore had been without any experience in war and as a result, he had left Brunswick-Luneburg unprepared and vulnerable to the Viennese Alliance. George II, of course, ignored the fact that he had arrived in Brunswick-Luneburg before the Viennese soldiers had and that he had chosen the ultimate strategy for Brunswick-Luneburg's defense. So with another war hovering over the horizon, George II wanted to go home and personally ensure its protection before the Viennese Alliance struck again. However, Walpole remained stout in his resistance to George II and his request. All Walpole could promise was that if war did break out, as many expected it would during those months, then Walpole would ensure that a proper defense for Brunswick-Luneburg was established and paid for by Britain. That promise in itself was a grand promise since by the law of succession Britain had no obligation to defend any of the king's non-British domains, and after the most recent war, the British parliament would certainly think carefully before defending Brunswick-Luneburg again.

Ultimately, by April the Hapsburg agitations of war had begun to quiet down after Walpole's soldier bill was passed and Rear Admiral Stewart was dispatched to the Mediterranean. By late April, peace was secure at hand with the latest Treaty of Vienna and George II was once again was talking about going home. This time, George II brought up an entirely new set of reasons including the need to see how rebuilding efforts had progressed, review the defenses, and attend to some personal governance [3]. Once more Walpole tried to discourage George II from the idea, but the King insisted and grew angry when Walpole tried to deny him. George II reminded Walpole that he had gotten permission for his father to leave time and time again and went on to say that if Walpole was no longer capable of doing that then maybe he was no longer capable of leading the government. This threat of dismissal was enough to push Walpole into bringing the matter before the Parliament. Before Parliament, Walpole argued that George II's presence in Brunswick-Luneburg was necessary to secure it against the threats it faced from all sides and once secure, Brunswick-Luneburg would serve as much less of a liability to Britain. This argument did not convince many and evoked a number of questions about why the Prince of Wales could not govern the Electorate and if he was not needed to govern the Electorate then why was not in Britain. Sir William Wyndham even asked what justification there was for the King to have the largest Civil List yet if he could not even be bothered to live in Britain. If he wanted to live in Hanover then so be it, but then Brunswick-Luneburg, not Britain would pay for him [4]. In the end, as always, Walpole was able to lead the Parliament to his desired outcome and permission for George II to return to Brunswick-Luneburg was granted. However, with many of Walpole's Whigs abstaining from the vote, Walpole's majority was barely above 80, compared to 100 he considers standard. A declining majority portended a difficult future ahead for Walpole's second ministry.

In June 1730, George II departed from Britain for the second time in his reign. With him, he took a whole host of courtiers and officials including Lord Townshend [5]. In Britain, George II left his wife, Caroline, to serve as regent and Walpole to keep the Parliament in check [6]. Out of preference, George II sailed to the Dutch Republic rather than Danish Oldenburg to land on the Continent [7]. There, George II and Townshend met with various members of the Estates-General to discuss the Anglo-Dutch alliance and the most recent war. The Dutch made it clear that they were uncomfortable about a French army having been raised and maintained on the border of the Southern Netherlands. For them, the entire war had been spent fearing that the French would invade the Southern Netherlands and conquer it. George II and Townshend were sympathetic to these concerns as they too did not look kindly upon the prospect of the French in Antwerp. Additionally, the British and Dutch were both disturbed by the French seemingly rebuilding Dunkirk's fortifications, which would be a clear violation of the Treaty of Utrecht. However, George II and Townshend's main concern remained the Hapsburgs who had greatly disturbed the balance of power in Germany and the Baltic and through their alliance with Prussia threatened both the Dutch Republic and the Electorate of Brunswick-Luneburg. Although the Dutch found it hard to agree that the Hapsburgs needed to be regarded as enemies, they did concur that the Prussians were a dangerous breed. In particular, the Dutch were frustrated over the illegal recruiting conducted by the Prussians in Dutch territory [8]. At the end of these discussions, no alterations had been made to the Anglo-Dutch relationship nor were any new joint strategies developed. Nevertheless, both sides felt better having talked and increased their understanding of each other.

After this exchange of concerns, George II briefly visited the Prince of Orange, Willem Karel Hendrik Friso, and his mother, Marie Luise, at Leeuwarden. As the Prince of Orange and the symbolic successor of William III in the Netherlands, Willem, was a suitable husband for one of George II's daughters. The boy was just nineteen years old and his spine had grown wrong, which led George II to call him a hunchback in conversation with Townshend. Nevertheless, the boy was educated and respectful and he was on a year away from becoming the Stadholder of Friesland, Groningen, and Gelre and Drenthe in his own right. Even if the boy never become the despot that William III was able to be, he was still bound to become one of the most powerful people in the Dutch Republic and as such became one of the marriage candidates in George II's mind for his eldest daughter, Anne, Princess Royal. However, George II was in no rush to marry Anne off, especially not with the Dutch alliance already seemingly secure. Thus, George II left Leeuwarden without making any promises to the boy or his mother [9].

From the Dutch Republic, George II traveled on to Hanover by land. Although George II traveled through the Bishopric of Munster to get to Brunswick-Luneburg, he did not stop to meet with any of its officials as both its ruler, Clemens August, and its first minister, Ferdinand von Plettenberg, were too far to the south at Bonn. Upon reaching Hanover, George II decided to establish himself at Herrenhausen despite his son's residence there. In their absence from one another's lives, George II's distaste for his son had gone completely unabated and Griff's distrust of his father had only grown. Still, the two were able to greet each other respectfully and kept that aura of respect through dinner and the welcoming ball for George II [10]. The peace held through the next two weeks in spite of Griff's efforts to rejoin Brunswick-Luneburg's government, gain an invitation to Britain, and push the idea of his and Wilhemine's marriage all being rebuffed strongly by George II and in spite of Griff continuing to engage in hedonistic behavior such as heavy drinking and gambling. Griff's unprincely behavior was in part a consequence of the British courtiers being very reluctant to befriend him. Although many expected that Griff would be the next king whether George II wanted him to be or not, many also realized that George II was still in good health and that for the time being Griff was politically powerless. Thus, for older men such as Townshend, there seemed to be little point in irritating George II by associating with Griff, which only furthered the isolation of Britain's heir [11].

Eventually, a peace did break but not the peace of George II and Griff. In Potsdam, when Friedrich Wilhelm I was informed of George II's arrival in Brunswick-Luneburg in July 1730, he prepared an emissary to offer a welcome to his British brother-in-law. However, Friedrich Wilhelm I told the British minister in Potsdam, Charles Dubourgay, that the emissary could not be sent until George II offered the ceremonial notification of his arrival in Brunswick-Luneburg just as his father had always done. Dubourgay passed this message on to Townshend in Hanover. Townshend's reply was that evidence of such notifications from the past was not to be found in Brunswick-Luneburg's chancery and no one from the court recalled such notifications. When Dubourgay relayed this response and also the information that George II had been in Brunswick-Luneburg for well over a week without notifying Friedrich Wilhelm I, he was visibly infuriated. However, he kept enough of his composure to avoid beating Dubourgay as he often beat his own children. Instead, Friedrich Wilhelm had his ministers pull out all the necessary receipts of notification and personal letters of George I, all with the proper seals and signatures, to prove that his brother-in-law must be mistaken. Dubourgay reviewed the documents and verified them as authentic and then passed on that assessment to Townshend. The Prussians also sent a message of their own that inferred that if George I as the father-in-law of the King in Prussia showed him such respect then George II as only his brother-in-law should show the same respect. No reply was received from George II and Townshend, which the Prussians viewed as a clear and obvious insult. A diplomatic crisis seemed to be brewing between Britain and Prussia and their rival kings [12].

Even though the Prussians were in truth the aggrieved party, George II was the one who chose to escalate the little crisis further when he instructed a party of Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers to enter the Clamei Meadow. Clamei was a tiny parcel of land without a shred of significance outside of the fact that both Brunswick-Luneburg and Brandenburg claimed it [13]. Out of the expectation of the Prussians making some kind of retaliation, George II had ordered soldiers along the border to be vigilant to any counterattack. Amid the tension of this moment, a group of Prussian recruiters and Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers made a series of tragic mistakes. The Prussian recruiters who were illegally in Brunswick-Luneburg and without proper papers tried to secretly return to Brandenburg but were easily identified by their dark blue uniforms. When they were stopped by a group of Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers swords were drawn and muskets were raised. Tensions were running high as the Prussians feared execution for their illegal presence in Brunswick-Luneburg and the Brunswick-Luneburgers feared that rather than recruiters that these men were part of some advance force for a Prussian invasion. Still, the officers of both groups tried to maintain the peace and avoid anyone's death. However, as the Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers were arresting their Prussian counterparts, one of the Prussians chose to punch one of his arresters in the face and make a run for it. A Brunswick-Luneburger chased after him but when he could not keep up, he pulled out his pistol and fired. The shot created panic among the remaining Prussians and the Brunswick-Luneburgers. A brawl broke out as the Prussians fought with their fists and whatever weapons they could pull off the Brunswick-Luneburgers. By the end of it, three Prussians and two Brunswick-Luneburgers were dead [14].

With shots fired and men dead on both sides, what was a diplomatic crisis instantly became something far far more dangerous. Both Friedrich Wilhelm and George II were furious over the series of events. Friedrich Wilhelm called out the Brunswick-Luneburger actions as murder and refused to accept any version of the story relayed by Dubourgay that stated that the Prussian had swung first. In fact, when Dubourgay first offered up that story, Friedrich Wilhelm offered to show him what a Prussian striking first would really feel like. This complete break of barely veiled threat frightened Dubourgay and he was frightened even more so when Friedrich Wilhelm took out his anger on his son Fritz and then his daughter Wilhelmine and his wife Sophie Dorothea when they tried to intervene [15]. In Hanover, George II saw the deaths of the Prussians as them getting their just due for their illegal recruiting behavior. However, from the account, he heard it was clear that the Prussians had started the fight and that they had breached the peace by violating Brunswick-Luneburg's borders and attacking its defenders. On both sides, there was a clamoring for war but also a call for caution. In Potsdam, Friedrich Wilhelm von Grumbkow under the direction of the Hapsburgs asked Friedrich Wilhelm to attempt to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Meanwhile, in Hanover, Gerlach Adolph von Münchhausen begged George II not to initiate a war against the much stronger Prussia. Both Friedrich Wilhelm and George II did see the sensibility in their ministers' advice and agreed to hold off on war.

Rather than war, the alternative means of resolution that Friedrich Wilhelm sought was a duel. In Friedrich Wilhelm's mind, part of this dispute was personal, it was about George II failing to show him the necessary honor and respect. Although Friedrich Wilhelm did view the killing of Prussian officers as an affront to his nation, he also viewed it as an affront to his personage. Thus, as a Christian and just king, Friedrich Wilhelm had an obligation to avoid spilling his own soldiers' blood over personal matters. Instead, personal matters and personal disputes of honor were better resolved through duels. Thus, Friedrich Wilhelm challenged George II to a duel to end their feud once and for all. He proposed Hildesheim as the neutral location of their duel with Christian Reinhold von Derschau serving as Friedrich Wilhelm's second. The choice of weapons would be swords as befit the royal blood of both Friedrich Wilhelm and George II. Rather desperately, Friedrich Wilhelm's ministers tried to convince him not to follow through on this plan, but in his frustration with everything, he sent the challenge anyway [16].

When George II received the challenge he, like his brother-in-law, was eager to solve the dispute through a personal display of arms. For George II this duel was much less about saving lives and only partially about avoiding a war. More importantly than either of their issues was George II's vivid memories of being beat repeatedly by Friedrich Wilhelm when they were both youths growing up in Hanover. Despite being the elder of the two, George II had always lost and to that day it still bothered him. With a chance to redeem a childhood of defeat, George II was practically jumping at the idea of a duel especially after Brigadier Richard Sutton agreed to serve as his second. Townshend, von Münchhausen, and everyone else, however, were doing anything but celebrating the prospect of a duel. As far as they could tell, George II was an older gentleman, more than two decades removed from actually fighting in a battle rather than commanding a battle from away. The odds of him losing the duel were running high. Even if he did not lose the duel, an injury might become gangrenous and result in George II's death shortly afterward. In either case, Townshend's political career would likely be over without the support of George II and for von Münchhausen what the duel meant for Brunswick-Luneburg was dangerously unclear. Even with these men and others all telling George II of reasons not to fight Friedrich Wilhelm he was insistent on accepting the challenge. If George II said no then he would be the coward and Friedrich Wilhelm would always have that over him. Death was better than cowardice and George II held on to the belief until Townshend said one fateful thing. In the unfortunate case that George II did lose then Griff would immediately become the King of Great Britain and Ireland and the Elector of Brunswick-Luneburg. Griff, a man who had never even seen Britain, a man who was in love with a Prussian princess, and a man who lived a life of hedonism would become the inheritor to all that was George II's. He would be responsible for the fates of Caroline, Anne, William, and all the rest. The thought sent a shiver through George II's spine and finally, George II dropped the idea of the duel. Townshend found a way to decline the prospect of a duel respectfully, but internally George II felt shame over the choice he had been forced to make [17].

With the duel off the table, the prospect of war returned. After George II rejected the Prussian demand for the Brunswick-Luneburgers to evacuate Clamei, Friedrich Wilhelm responded by mobilizing more than 40,000 men over the course of a month. With each day, the Prussians reiterated that if satisfaction was not given for the offense against the King and the death of the Prussian soldiers then Prussia would have no other recourse than to create their own satisfaction. To match the Prussian mobilization, George II ordered a mobilization of Brunswick-Luneburg's own army, activated Brunswick-Luneburg's contract for Hesse-Kassel's mercenaries, and called upon the Dutch Republic and Denmark-Norway to fulfill their treaty obligations. Even with all three of these states consenting to provide help, their joint army could not match the numbers of Prussia's initial mobilization, let alone a full Prussian mobilization. Altogether, they numbered approximately, 37,000 men, more than half being from Brunswick-Luneburg, a little over 10,000 being Hessians, just 5,000 being Dutch, and a paltry 1,200 being Danes. In contrast, the Prussians were mobilizing 44,000 men. Worse yet, those 44,000 men were all mustering at Magdeburg just a hundred miles from Brunswick-Luneburg while the Hessians were separated from Brunswick-Luneburg by both Saxony and Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, the Dutch were all the way in the Low Countries, and Danes were blocked by the Holstein-Gottorp duchies. Despite this inferiority and these difficulties, George II refused to back down, especially after he had already backed down from the duel [18].

Faced with the threat of war breaking out across northern Germany, Emperor Charles VI offered the mediate the dispute as the Holy Roman Emperor, liege of both the Elector of Brunswick-Luneburg and the Elector of Brandenburg, George II and Friedrich Wilhelm respectively [19]. This offer was firmly rejected by George II because he did not consider Charles VI to be a remotely unbiased and favorable mediator. In George II's eyes, Charles VI was still an ally of Prussia and would clearly side with Prussia again. If George II accepted mediation then Charles VI would use that mediation to strip George II of even more land. Interestingly, Friedrich Wilhelm also declined Charles VI's interference out of the fear that Charles VI might demand future favors from Friedrich Wilhelm in return for a favorable outcome to mediation. Furthermore, neither George II nor Friedrich Wilhelm wished to unnecessarily reinforce Imperial authority by giving up their freedom of action in this dispute between the two of them.

While George II rejected Charles VI's overtures, he and Townshend sent overtures to the Wittelsbach union of Bavaria, the Palatinate, and Cologne. George II and Townshend were interested in forming an alliance with the group to oppose the Prussian and possibly Imperial aggression. As part of these negotiations, Ferdinand von Plettenburg personally traveled to Hanover to meet with both George II and Townshend. Plettenburg began by talking about a 14-year alliance between Bavaria, the Palatinate, and Cologne. That alliance would include British peacetime and wartime subsidies for each of the electors, British support of Karl III Philipp of the Palatinate's claims to Julich and Berg over the claims of Friedrich Wilhelm, Brunswick-Luneburg ending its interference in the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne's holding of Hildesheim, British support for the Archbishop of Cologne succeeding to the Bishopric of Liege and numerous other bishoprics, British payment of the arrears in Hapsburg subsidies for Cologne, a British guarantee of a Spanish payment of one million piastres to Bavaria from previous Bavarian-Spanish treaties, and potentially the coordination of electoral votes to select a new Holy Roman Emperor upon the death of Charles VI. These demands seemed extreme to both George II and Townshend and were refused. Instead of 14-years, Townshend offered 2 years. For subsidies, Townshend could only offer wartime subsidies. Regarding Julich and Berg, George II would only recognize the claim of Karl III Philipp in return for support from the Wittelsbachs in reasserting Brunswick-Luneburg's claims to Bremen-Verden, Lauenburg, Grubenhagen, and Calenberg. Finally, Townshend wanted the Elector of Mainz included in the alliance. Yet while Plettenburg easily listed off the Wittelsbach demands he balked at the suggestion of reciprocal demands from George II. This poor opening to Anglo-Wittelsbach negotiations hurt the resolve of George II who realized that even if these negotiations succeeded later, later might be too late with the Prussian army already at Brunswick-Luneburg's throat [20].

Friedrich Wilhelm's government also reached out to its allies and friends to secure support in the coming war. Friedrich Wilhelm first reached out to King Augustus the Strong of Poland who as Elector of Saxony was in a prime position to cut off any Hessian reinforcement of Brunswick-Luneburg. Augustus II, however, was reluctant to engage in another war so soon after the last one. Augustus II's desire for glory had been sated for the moment and he was more interested in enjoying the frivolities of life [21]. Also, Augustus II was very concerned with making the Wettin succession in Poland secure, which would be threatened by attacking and aggravating the British king. Thus, rather than offering troops, Augustus II offered to mediate the conflict. Friedrich Wilhelm declined the offer as he still was desirous of war. Without Saxony blocking the Hessians, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel also rejected Friedrich Wilhelm's call for help. Only the Holstein-Gottorp rulers, Charles Augustus of Bremen-Verden and King Charles Frederick of Finland were even willing to entertain the thought of war. However, the war they entertained was one against Denmark-Norway [22]. They offered to let Prussian soldiers into Holstein to block any Danish-Norwegian effort to support Brunswick-Luneburg and even suggested that a preemptive strike against Denmark-Norway might serve them all well. Although Friedrich Wilhelm appreciated their willingness to fight along his side again, he demurred from engaging in a war against Brunswick-Luneburg, Britain, Denmark-Norway, the Dutch Republic, and Hesse-Kassel with just Bremen-Verden, Holstein, and Finland as his support.

Regarding British support, George II actually found that hard to come by. Although Townshend was at George II's side and was willing to consider the idea of war. Walpole in Britain was never favorable toward the thought of war and Townshend also cooled toward it after the difficulties encountered in finding a reasonable alliance with the Wittelsbachs. George II was informed that the British parliament was unlikely to support Brunswick-Luneburg in the prospective war. Angrily George II pointed out that they had already voted for 12,000 men to fight the Hapsburgs in Italy. What difference did it make if they fought the Hapsburg ally, Prussia, in Germany? As Walpole wrote it made all the difference in the world. The proposed war in Italy had been one agreed to by Parliament due to Parliament's interest in supporting its friendship with Spain. On the other hand, a war in Germany for a landlocked electorate provided few benefits for Britain. When George II tried to argue that he was the king and that Parliament was supposed to serve him, Walpole reminded George II that both he and his father had agreed that Britain did not have to protect the German dominion of the Hanoverian dynasty. Without even a mediocre level of parliamentary support for the war, Townshend instructed Dubourgay to inform the Prussians that Britain would play no role in a war between Brunswick-Luneburg and Prussia. In reply, Friedrich Wilhelm realized some British sailors that had been detained following the killing of the Prussian soldiers [23].

In the end, both George II and Friedrich Wilhelm found themselves lacking the considerable help they had hoped to rally. With just a medium composite army, George II had no confidence in his ability to hold, let alone repel, the Prussian army. On the other side, Friedrich Wilhelm began to realize the pointlessness of the war and the potential for an ugly result. As a consequence, both kings gave in to the many advisers and ministers on both sides arguing for peace [24]. For a few weeks, letters went forward and back between Potsdam and Hanover until George II agreed to remove his troops from Clamei and release all captured Prussians. In return, the Prussians consented to not enter Clamei without any soldiers of their own and to demobilize their army. Finally, the two sides agreed to have their dispute mediated by two other princes, one selected by each side. George II named Wilhelm, regent of Hesse-Kassel, and Friedrich Wilhelm named Friedrich II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. The date of the mediation was set for December of 1730 and the set was set in Hanover [25]. With a peaceful solution in the process of being designed, the Clamei Crisis came to an end, soldiers stood down, and normal relations resumed. In November, weeks later than George II had intended, he returned to Britain with Townshend and the rest of his retinue. Griff remained in Brunswick-Luneburg.

[1] The second trip being the one in 1727 when George I died in OTL and in TTL.
[2] In OTL, Parliament as far as I am aware never refused the king when he asked for leave and under Walpole, a bill was passed that allowed George II to return to Hanover whenever he wanted without having to ask Parliament. TTL, Parliament will probably not vote negatively even now but the strength of a ministry was not determined by having a majority. Instead, it was determined by the strength of its majorities. If a bill could not pass with close to a 100 majority then the ministry was expected to collapse. So here the threat is not that Parliament will vote no but rather that Parliament will not vote yes strongly, which will weaken the perceived dominance of Walpole. This is why Walpole tries to dissuade George II.
[3] George II just wants to go home as he has found Britain to be frigid toward him after his defeat abroad.
[4] Wyndham is a Jacobite, which is why his dissent is not based around the Prince of Wales but rather the overall disappointing reign of the Hanoverians.
[5] Whenever George I or George II went to Germany they often took one of the principal leaders of the government. George I took Stanhope and Townshend and George II took Townshend and later Carteret.
[6] Whenever George II left for Germany, he left Caroline as his regent.
[7] George II always sailed from Britain to the Dutch Republic. He never used the Bremish ports or the friendly Danish ports in Oldenburg. Andrew C. Thompson rather oddly and vaguely argues that he did this because it "shortened the land journey". However, in OTL, George II's possession of the Bremish ports would have meant that George II could have sailed directly and avoided any land journey at all, so I tend to believe that Thompson misinterpreted whatever document he read to give him that impression. Rather than George II sailing to the Dutch Republic to shorten the land journey, his choice of port within the Dutch Republic was probably chosen based on which one shortened the land journey. The only other option is that George II was also considering landing in France (the only next set of friendly ports farther away from Hanover than the Dutch Republic), which in my opinion is a near ludicrous thought as George II never visited France as King of Great Britain. So rather than the choice to sail to the Dutch Republic over some other state being due to "land distance" calculations, I am saying that George II just preferred to go through the Dutch Republic. There are political reasons including getting to personally visit the major leaders of the Dutch Republic and there also might be personal reasons such as George II not being a naval man and thus being less comfortable with traveling completely by sea. It should also be noted that for George II, traveling by sea to Bremen would have been faster. George II took an immense retinue and amount of baggage with him whenever he traveled to Hanover.
[8] During the 1720s-1730s, the Dutch and Prussians had a number of issues including Prussian recruiting issues. The Dutch and Prussians almost went to war in 1733 in OTL, which speaks to the hostility between the two governments.
[9] In OTL, Negotiations for Willem Hendrik Friso and Anne's marriage took 6 years. Given that in 1733 Friso submitted the official request to Leeuwarden to be married and that in 1734 the couple was married, OTL negotiations would have started in 1727 or 1728. In TTL, the war would have gotten in the way of negotiations starting so rather than negotiations starting in either of those years, they start in 1730.
[10] George II and Frederick of Wales managed to have respectful relations for much of Frederick of Wales' adult life. They did not like each other, but they managed to hold their tongues with one another in public, in contrast to what other TLs claim.
[11] Politicians and courtiers picking between the King's party and the Prince's party was always a thing. Oftentimes those who felt that they could gain the favor of the king and gain pensions and land from him would support him and denounce the Prince's party. Whereas those who fell from power or were blocked from power rallied around the Prince.
[12] This diplomatic crisis is based on the OTL diplomatic crisis that occurred during George II's first visit to Hanover. Given the TTL hostility between George II and Friedrich Wilhelm due to their war against each other that crisis still begins when George II purposely insults Friedrich Wilhelm.
[13] Also, like in OTL, George II escalates the crisis by bringing soldiers into Clamei Meadow, a disputed acre of land.
[14] In OTL, the crisis escalated even further when Prussian recruiters who were legally in Brunswick-Luneburg were arrested. In TTL, the recent war means that Prussian soldiers will not be granted papers to enter Hanover, so they do not have papers and have to enter Hanover illegally. This raises the stakes for the Prussians. Meanwhile, the recent invasion of Hanover by the Prussians means that the Hanoverians are also afraid. Due to these two increases in tension the OTL arrest is botched and killings occur. In OTL, even arrests were enough to bring Prussia and Hanover to the brink of war, so deaths certainly will. Also in OTL, the killing of a recruiting officer in the Dutch Republic almost led to a Prussian invasion of the Dutch Republic in 1733.
[15] In OTL, Friedrich Wilhelm still treated Dubourgay with decorum throughout the crisis. In TTL, with Prussians dead that decorum goes out the window. The beatings of Fritz, Wilhelmine, and Sophie Dorothea occurred in OTL and will be even worse in TTL with Friedrich Wilhelm's emotions running much hotter after the death of Prussian soldiers.
[16] In OTL, Friedrich Wilhelm challenged George II to a duel over the tensions during the summer of 1729.
[17] In OTL, George II seems to have accepted the duel according to Jakob Friedrich von Bielfeld's record of the incident. Lord Hervey also indicates the same but Hervey's memoirs are practically fiction. In TTL, two things working against George II's inclination to accept the duel are that he has had his physicality tested recently and due to the hardships of the retreat from Hanover, come out worse from it. Additionally, George II dislikes Frederick of Wales even more than OTL by this point, which makes him less willing to chance forfeiting his life. In OTL, the reason the duel did not occur was that Friedrich Wilhelm had recently been ill and Baron von Borck used that recent illness to convince Friedrich Wilhelm in the foolhardiness of a duel.
[18] These numbers are all derived from the comptemporary source on the OTL crisis, A Letter from an English Traveller to his Friend at London: Relating to the Differences betwixt the Courts of Prussia and Hanover. The numbers for the Dutch are based on treaty obligations and for the Hessians on contract obligations, so they are the same as OTL. For the Danish-Norwegian number of 1,200, I am not sure why this contingent was offered in OTL, but I assume that Denmark-Norway just wanted to sent a single regiment, so that number would also be the same as OTL. The Prussian number of 44,000 I matched with OTL out of simplicity and may have been based on the peacetime disposition of Prussian soldiers.
[19] In OTL, Imperial interference in the crisis was rejected. In TTL, George II has even less reasons to be amenable to Imperial interference while Friedrich Wilhelm still has no need for it.
[20] In OTL, Townshend and Plettenburg used George II's trip to Hanover to open negotiations for an alliance. In OTL, the Wittelsbachs demanded mainly the same stuff. These demands already seem to be asking for everything they could possibly want, so I was not sure what else they could ask for. The only additional demand in TTL is the Wittelsbachs asking for George II to help them elect a Wittelsbach emperor. In OTL, in contrast to what some historians have claimed but in line with what Jeremy Black's recent analysis has found, Townshend rejected the Wittelsbach demands as too much and tried to negotiate them down. In OTL, Townshend's concern was Hanoverian influence in Mecklenburg and protection for Gibraltar. In TTL, Hanover has also completely lost influence in Mecklenburg and lost Gibraltar, so the focus is now on re-empowering Hanover. A stronger Hanover can support British policy on the Continent. In OTL, Plettenburg rejected Townshend's counteroffer and in TTL this counteroffer requires even more military support from the Wittelsbachs, which they were reluctant enough to give OTL.
[21] In OTL, Augustus II did not want to get involved in a war over this dispute and offered to mediate. In TTL, Augustus will have less incentive to get involved militarily, so he also stays out.
[22] In OTL, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel was a British ally, but having taken land from Hanover they are now a Prussian ally. Also, in OTL, the Holstein-Gottorps were not strong enough to contact. In TTL, they are and they are also unfriendly with Denmark-Norway and Britain, so they are ideal targets for Prussia to make allies.
[23] In OTL, Britain refused to back up George II in this crisis and in TTL after having already lost a war in Brunswick-Luneburg they are definitely not supporting George II in this war. The only reason Townshend seems supportive is that he is personally with George II and knows that he can improve his personal relationship with George II by acting friendly to his interests. Still, in OTL Townshend had to order Dubourgay not to talk about the crisis with Prussia as that would indicate British involvement. A difference from OTL is that in OTL Prussia immediately released a sailor arrested from Britain. In TTL, multiple sailors are arrested, not just one, because overall relations between Prussia and Britain are less friendly than OTL due to their war. Ultimately, in TTL those sailors are arrested once Britain confirms it will stay out.
[24] In OTL, with time the crisis died down and an agreement for mediation was reached. In TTL, with time and a failure to gain allies, the crisis also dies down.
[25] In OTL, the mediation was between Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel for Britain and Saxe-Gotha for Prussia. In TTL, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel is no longer friendly enough with Britain so George II picks a different more friendly German prince.

Word Count: 6271
 
Last edited:
27: Young Hanover Brave
image.jpg

King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia reviewing the Potsdam Guards

Not even a year removed from George II's ignominious return to Britain after the horrific experience of the British campaign in Germany, George II was already thinking of returning home, to Brunswick-Luneburg that is. However, under the terms of the Hanoverian dynasty's accession to the British throne, the king was not permitted to leave Britain and its dominions without the express approval of the parliament. Any attempt to return to Brunswick-Luneburg had to be brought to and passed by the parliament. Previously, the parliament had only approved George I's various returns to the Continent reluctantly, but George I unlike George II had not overseen the worst military defeats for Britain since the Dutch sailed up the Thames to destroy the English navy. Not to mention that George II had been in Brunswick-Luneburg less than a year before and for more than a year. The only time that the Parliament had let George I make visits so closely together was when he had been personally negotiating an Anglo-Prussian alliance [1]. So in the spring of 1730 when George II revealed his desire to go home, Walpole knew he was in for a fight with either George II to convince him not to go or with parliament to convince them to let him go.

Initially, Walpole chose to dissuade George II by explaining that the Commons would never permit the king to leave Britain when a war for Parma banging on the gates of Britain [2]. George II rather angrily explained that that war was his reason for wanting to go home. He pointed out how easily Brunswick-Luneburg had been swamped by enemy soldiers during Empress Catherine's War. George II blamed it all on his son, who George I had foolishly left in charge of the Electorate. The coxcomb, drunkard, and man-whore had been without any experience in war and as a result, he had left Brunswick-Luneburg unprepared and vulnerable to the Viennese Alliance. George II, of course, ignored the fact that he had arrived in Brunswick-Luneburg before the Viennese soldiers had and that he had chosen the ultimate strategy for Brunswick-Luneburg's defense. So with another war hovering over the horizon, George II wanted to go home and personally ensure its protection before the Viennese Alliance struck again. However, Walpole remained stout in his resistance to George II and his request. All Walpole could promise was that if war did break out, as many expected it would during those months, then Walpole would ensure that a proper defense for Brunswick-Luneburg was established and paid for by Britain. That promise in itself was a grand promise since by the law of succession Britain had no obligation to defend any of the king's non-British domains, and after the most recent war, the British parliament would certainly think carefully before defending Brunswick-Luneburg again.

Ultimately, by April the Hapsburg agitations of war had begun to quiet down after Walpole's soldier bill was passed and Rear Admiral Stewart was dispatched to the Mediterranean. By late April, peace was secure at hand with the latest Treaty of Vienna and George II was once again was talking about going home. This time, George II brought up an entirely new set of reasons including the need to see how rebuilding efforts had progressed, review the defenses, and attend to some personal governance [3]. Once more Walpole tried to discourage George II from the idea, but the King insisted and grew angry when Walpole tried to deny him. George II reminded Walpole that he had gotten permission for his father to leave time and time again and went on to say that if Walpole was no longer capable of doing that then maybe he was no longer capable of leading the government. This threat of dismissal was enough to push Walpole into bringing the matter before the Parliament. Before Parliament, Walpole argued that George II's presence in Brunswick-Luneburg was necessary to secure it against the threats it faced from all sides and once secure, Brunswick-Luneburg would serve as much less of a liability to Britain. This argument did not convince many and evoked a number of questions about why the Prince of Wales could not govern the Electorate and if he was not needed to govern the Electorate then why was not in Britain. Sir William Wyndham even asked what justification there was for the King to have the largest Civil List yet if he could not even be bothered to live in Britain. If he wanted to live in Hanover then so be it, but then Brunswick-Luneburg, not Britain would pay for him [4]. In the end, as always, Walpole was able to lead the Parliament to his desired outcome and permission for George II to return to Brunswick-Luneburg was granted. However, with many of Walpole's Whigs abstaining from the vote, Walpole's majority was barely above 80, compared to 100 he considers standard. A declining majority portended a difficult future ahead for Walpole's second ministry.

In June 1730, George II departed from Britain for the second time in his reign. With him, he took a whole host of courtiers and officials including Lord Townshend [5]. In Britain, George II left his wife, Caroline, to serve as regent and Walpole to keep the Parliament in check [6]. Out of preference, George II sailed to the Dutch Republic rather than Danish Oldenburg to land on the Continent [7]. There, George II and Townshend met with various members of the Estates-General to discuss the Anglo-Dutch alliance and the most recent war. The Dutch made it clear that they were uncomfortable about a French army having been raised and maintained on the border of the Southern Netherlands. For them, the entire war had been spent fearing that the French would invade the Southern Netherlands and conquer it. George II and Townshend were sympathetic to these concerns as they too did not look kindly upon the prospect of the French in Antwerp. Additionally, the British and Dutch were both disturbed by the French seemingly rebuilding Dunkirk's fortifications, which would be a clear violation of the Treaty of Utrecht. However, George II and Townshend's main concern remained the Hapsburgs who had greatly disturbed the balance of power in Germany and the Baltic and through their alliance with Prussia threatened both the Dutch Republic and the Electorate of Brunswick-Luneburg. Although the Dutch found it hard to agree that the Hapsburgs needed to be regarded as enemies, they did concur that the Prussians were a dangerous breed. In particular, the Dutch were frustrated over the illegal recruiting conducted by the Prussians in Dutch territory [8]. At the end of these discussions, no alterations had been made to the Anglo-Dutch relationship nor were any new joint strategies developed. Nevertheless, both sides felt better having talked and increased their understanding of each other.

After this exchange of concerns, George II briefly visited the Prince of Orange, Willem Karel Hendrik Friso, and his mother, Marie Luise, at Leeuwarden. As the Prince of Orange and the symbolic successor of William III in the Netherlands, Willem, was a suitable husband for one of George II's daughters. The boy was just nineteen years old and his spine had grown wrong, which led George II to call him a hunchback in conversation with Townshend. Nevertheless, the boy was educated and respectful and he was on a year away from becoming the Stadholder of Friesland, Groningen, and Gelre and Drenthe in his own right. Even if the boy never become the despot that William III was able to be, he was still bound to become one of the most powerful people in the Dutch Republic and as such became one of the marriage candidates in George II's mind for his eldest daughter, Anne, Princess Royal. However, George II was in no rush to marry Anne off, especially not with the Dutch alliance already seemingly secure. Thus, George II left Leeuwarden without making any promises to the boy or his mother [9].

From the Dutch Republic, George II traveled on to Hanover by land. Although George II traveled through the Bishopric of Munster to get to Brunswick-Luneburg, he did not stop to meet with any of its officials as both its ruler, Clemens August, and its first minister, Ferdinand von Plettenberg, were too far to the south at Bonn. Upon reaching Hanover, George II decided to establish himself at Herrenhausen despite his son's residence there. In their absence from one another's lives, George II's distaste for his son had gone completely unabated and Griff's distrust of his father had only grown. Still, the two were able to greet each other respectfully and kept that aura of respect through dinner and the welcoming ball for George II [10]. The peace held through the next two weeks in spite of Griff's efforts to rejoin Brunswick-Luneburg's government, gain an invitation to Britain, and push the idea of his and Wilhemine's marriage all being rebuffed strongly by George II and in spite of Griff continuing to engage in hedonistic behavior such as heavy drinking and gambling. Griff's unprincely behavior was in part a consequence of the British courtiers being very reluctant to befriend him. Although many expected that Griff would be the next king whether George II wanted him to be or not, many also realized that George II was still in good health and that for the time being Griff was politically powerless. Thus, for older men such as Townshend, there seemed to be little point in irritating George II by associating with Griff, which only furthered the isolation of Britain's heir [11].

Eventually, a peace did break but not the peace of George II and Griff. In Berlin, when Friedrich Wilhelm I was informed of George II's arrival in Brunswick-Luneburg in July 1730, he prepared an emissary to offer a welcome to his British brother-in-law. However, Friedrich Wilhelm I told the British minister in Berlin, Charles Dubourgay, that the emissary could not be sent until George II offered the ceremonial notification of his arrival in Brunswick-Luneburg just as his father had always done. Dubourgay passed this message on to Townshend in Hanover. Townshend's reply was that evidence of such notifications from the past was not to be found in Brunswick-Luneburg's chancery and no one from the court recalled such notifications. When Dubourgay relayed this response and also the information that George II had been in Brunswick-Luneburg for well over a week without notifying Friedrich Wilhelm I, he was visibly infuriated. However, he kept enough of his composure to avoid beating Dubourgay as he often beat his own children. Instead, Friedrich Wilhelm had his ministers pull out all the necessary receipts of notification and personal letters of George I, all with the proper seals and signatures, to prove that his brother-in-law must be mistaken. Dubourgay reviewed the documents and verified them as authentic and then passed on that assessment to Townshend. The Prussians also sent a message of their own that inferred that if George I as the father-in-law of the King in Prussia showed him such respect then George II as only his brother-in-law should show the same respect. No reply was received from George II and Townshend, which the Prussians viewed as a clear and obvious insult. A diplomatic crisis seemed to be brewing between Britain and Prussia and their rival kings [12].

Even though the Prussians were in truth the aggrieved party, George II was the one who chose to escalate the little crisis further when he instructed a party of Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers to enter the Clamei Meadow. Clamei was a tiny parcel of land without a shred of significance outside of the fact that both Brunswick-Luneburg and Brandenburg claimed it [13]. Out of the expectation of the Prussians making some kind of retaliation, George II had ordered soldiers along the border to be vigilant to any counterattack. Amid the tension of this moment, a group of Prussian recruiters and Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers made a series of tragic mistakes. The Prussian recruiters who were illegally in Brunswick-Luneburg and without proper papers tried to secretly return to Brandenburg but were easily identified by their dark blue uniforms. When they were stopped by a group of Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers swords were drawn and muskets were raised. Tensions were running high as the Prussians feared execution for their illegal presence in Brunswick-Luneburg and the Brunswick-Luneburgers feared that rather than recruiters that these men were part of some advance force for a Prussian invasion. Still, the officers of both groups tried to maintain the peace and avoid anyone's death. However, as the Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers were arresting their Prussian counterparts, one of the Prussians chose to punch one of his arresters in the face and make a run for it. A Brunswick-Luneburger chased after him but when he could not keep up, he pulled out his pistol and fired. The shot created panic among the remaining Prussians and the Brunswick-Luneburgers. A brawl broke out as the Prussians fought with their fists and whatever weapons they could pull off the Brunswick-Luneburgers. By the end of it, three Prussians and two Brunswick-Luneburgers were dead [14].

With shots fired and men dead on both sides, what was a diplomatic crisis instantly became something far far more dangerous. Both Friedrich Wilhelm and George II were furious over the series of events. Friedrich Wilhelm called out the Brunswick-Luneburger actions as murder and refused to accept any version of the story relayed by Dubourgay that stated that the Prussian had swung first. In fact, when Dubourgay first offered up that story, Friedrich Wilhelm offered to show him what a Prussian striking first would really feel like. This complete break of barely veiled threat frightened Dubourgay and he was frightened even more so when Friedrich Wilhelm took out his anger on his son Fritz and then his daughter Wilhelmine and his wife Sophie Dorothea when they tried to intervene [15]. In Hanover, George II saw the deaths of the Prussians as them getting their just due for their illegal recruiting behavior. However, from the account, he heard it was clear that the Prussians had started the fight and that they had breached the peace by violating Brunswick-Luneburg's borders and attacking its defenders. On both sides, there was a clamoring for war but also a call for caution. In Berlin, Friedrich Wilhelm von Grumbkow under the direction of the Hapsburgs asked Friedrich Wilhelm to attempt to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Meanwhile, in Hanover, Gerlach Adolph von Münchhausen begged George II not to initiate a war against the much stronger Prussia. Both Friedrich Wilhelm and George II did see the sensibility in their ministers' advice and agreed to hold off on war.

Rather than war, the alternative means of resolution that Friedrich Wilhelm sought was a duel. In Friedrich Wilhelm's mind, part of this dispute was personal, it was about George II failing to show him the necessary honor and respect. Although Friedrich Wilhelm did view the killing of Prussian officers as an affront to his nation, he also viewed it as an affront to his personage. Thus, as a Christian and just king, Friedrich Wilhelm had an obligation to avoid spilling his own soldiers' blood over personal matters. Instead, personal matters and personal disputes of honor were better resolved through duels. Thus, Friedrich Wilhelm challenged George II to a duel to end their feud once and for all. He proposed Hildesheim as the neutral location of their duel with Christian Reinhold von Derschau serving as Friedrich Wilhelm's second. The choice of weapons would be swords as befit the royal blood of both Friedrich Wilhelm and George II. Rather desperately, Friedrich Wilhelm's ministers tried to convince him not to follow through on this plan, but in his frustration with everything, he sent the challenge anyway [16].

When George II received the challenge he, like his brother-in-law, was eager to solve the dispute through a personal display of arms. For George II this duel was much less about saving lives and only partially about avoiding a war. More importantly than either of their issues was George II's vivid memories of being beat repeatedly by Friedrich Wilhelm when they were both youths growing up in Hanover. Despite being the elder of the two, George II had always lost and to that day it still bothered him. With a chance to redeem a childhood of defeat, George II was practically jumping at the idea of a duel especially after Brigadier Richard Sutton agreed to serve as his second. Townshend, von Münchhausen, and everyone else, however, were doing anything but celebrating the prospect of a duel. As far as they could tell, George II was an older gentleman, more than two decades removed from actually fighting in a battle rather than commanding a battle from away. The odds of him losing the duel were running high. Even if he did not lose the duel, an injury might become gangrenous and result in George II's death shortly afterward. In either case, Townshend's political career would likely be over without the support of George II and for von Münchhausen what the duel meant for Brunswick-Luneburg was dangerously unclear. Even with these men and others all telling George II of reasons not to fight Friedrich Wilhelm he was insistent on accepting the challenge. If George II said no then he would be the coward and Friedrich Wilhelm would always have that over him. Death was better than cowardice and George II held on to the belief until Townshend said one fateful thing. In the unfortunate case that George II did lose then Griff would immediately become the King of Great Britain and Ireland and the Elector of Brunswick-Luneburg. Griff, a man who had never even seen Britain, a man who was in love with a Prussian princess, and a man who lived a life of hedonism would become the inheritor to all that was George II's. He would be responsible for the fates of Caroline, Anne, William, and all the rest. The thought sent a shiver through George II's spine and finally, George II dropped the idea of the duel. Townshend found a way to decline the prospect of a duel respectfully, but internally George II felt shame over the choice he had been forced to make [17].

With the duel off the table, the prospect of war returned. After George II rejected the Prussian demand for the Brunswick-Luneburgers to evacuate Clamei, Friedrich Wilhelm responded by mobilizing more than 40,000 men over the course of a month. With each day, the Prussians reiterated that if satisfaction was not given for the offense against the King and the death of the Prussian soldiers then Prussia would have no other recourse than to create their own satisfaction. To match the Prussian mobilization, George II ordered a mobilization of Brunswick-Luneburg's own army, activated Brunswick-Luneburg's contract for Hesse-Kassel's mercenaries, and called upon the Dutch Republic and Denmark-Norway to fulfill their treaty obligations. Even with all three of these states consenting to provide help, their joint army could not match the numbers of Prussia's initial mobilization, let alone a full Prussian mobilization. Altogether, they numbered approximately, 37,000 men, more than half being from Brunswick-Luneburg, a little over 10,000 being Hessians, just 5,000 being Dutch, and a paltry 1,200 being Danes. In contrast, the Prussians were mobilizing 44,000 men. Worse yet, those 44,000 men were all mustering at Magdeburg just a hundred miles from Brunswick-Luneburg while the Hessians were separated from Brunswick-Luneburg by both Saxony and Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, the Dutch were all the way in the Low Countries, and Danes were blocked by the Holstein-Gottorp duchies. Despite this inferiority and these difficulties, George II refused to back down, especially after he had already backed down from the duel [18].

Faced with the threat of war breaking out across northern Germany, Emperor Charles VI offered the mediate the dispute as the Holy Roman Emperor, liege of both the Elector of Brunswick-Luneburg and the Elector of Brandenburg, George II and Friedrich Wilhelm respectively [19]. This offer was firmly rejected by George II because he did not consider Charles VI to be a remotely unbiased and favorable mediator. In George II's eyes, Charles VI was still an ally of Prussia and would clearly side with Prussia again. If George II accepted mediation then Charles VI would use that mediation to strip George II of even more land. Interestingly, Friedrich Wilhelm also declined Charles VI's interference out of the fear that Charles VI might demand future favors from Friedrich Wilhelm in return for a favorable outcome to mediation. Furthermore, neither George II nor Friedrich Wilhelm wished to unnecessarily reinforce Imperial authority by giving up their freedom of action in this dispute between the two of them.

While George II rejected Charles VI's overtures, he and Townshend sent overtures to the Wittelsbach union of Bavaria, the Palatinate, and Cologne. George II and Townshend were interested in forming an alliance with the group to oppose the Prussian and possibly Imperial aggression. As part of these negotiations, Ferdinand von Plettenburg personally traveled to Hanover to meet with both George II and Townshend. Plettenburg began by talking about a 14-year alliance between Bavaria, the Palatinate, and Cologne. That alliance would include British peacetime and wartime subsidies for each of the electors, British support of Karl III Philipp of the Palatinate's claims to Julich and Berg over the claims of Friedrich Wilhelm, Brunswick-Luneburg ending its interference in the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne's holding of Hildesheim, British support for the Archbishop of Cologne succeeding to the Bishopric of Liege and numerous other bishoprics, British payment of the arrears in Hapsburg subsidies for Cologne, a British guarantee of a Spanish payment of one million piastres to Bavaria from previous Bavarian-Spanish treaties, and potentially the coordination of electoral votes to select a new Holy Roman Emperor upon the death of Charles VI. These demands seemed extreme to both George II and Townshend and were refused. Instead of 14-years, Townshend offered 2 years. For subsidies, Townshend could only offer wartime subsidies. Regarding Julich and Berg, George II would only recognize the claim of Karl III Philipp in return for support from the Wittelsbachs in reasserting Brunswick-Luneburg's claims to Bremen-Verden, Lauenburg, Grubenhagen, and Calenberg. Finally, Townshend wanted the Elector of Mainz included in the alliance. Yet while Plettenburg easily listed off the Wittelsbach demands he balked at the suggestion of reciprocal demands from George II. This poor opening to Anglo-Wittelsbach negotiations hurt the resolve of George II who realized that even if these negotiations succeeded later, later might be too late with the Prussian army already at Brunswick-Luneburg's throat [20].

Friedrich Wilhelm's government also reached out to its allies and friends to secure support in the coming war. Friedrich Wilhelm first reached out to King Augustus the Strong of Poland who as Elector of Saxony was in a prime position to cut off any Hessian reinforcement of Brunswick-Luneburg. Augustus II, however, was reluctant to engage in another war so soon after the last one. Augustus II's desire for glory had been sated for the moment and he was more interested in enjoying the frivolities of life [21]. Also, Augustus II was very concerned with making the Wettin succession in Poland secure, which would be threatened by attacking and aggravating the British king. Thus, rather than offering troops, Augustus II offered to mediate the conflict. Friedrich Wilhelm declined the offer as he still was desirous of war. Without Saxony blocking the Hessians, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel also rejected Friedrich Wilhelm's call for help. Only the Holstein-Gottorp rulers, Charles Augustus of Bremen-Verden and King Charles Frederick of Finland were even willing to entertain the thought of war. However, the war they entertained was one against Denmark-Norway [22]. They offered to let Prussian soldiers into Holstein to block any Danish-Norwegian effort to support Brunswick-Luneburg and even suggested that a preemptive strike against Denmark-Norway might serve them all well. Although Friedrich Wilhelm appreciated their willingness to fight along his side again, he demurred from engaging in a war against Brunswick-Luneburg, Britain, Denmark-Norway, the Dutch Republic, and Hesse-Kassel with just Bremen-Verden, Holstein, and Finland as his support.

Regarding British support, George II actually found that hard to come by. Although Townshend was at George II's side and was willing to consider the idea of war. Walpole in Britain was never favorable toward the thought of war and Townshend also cooled toward it after the difficulties encountered in finding a reasonable alliance with the Wittelsbachs. George II was informed that the British parliament was unlikely to support Brunswick-Luneburg in the prospective war. Angrily George II pointed out that they had already voted for 12,000 men to fight the Hapsburgs in Italy. What difference did it make if they fought the Hapsburg ally, Prussia, in Germany? As Walpole wrote it made all the difference in the world. The proposed war in Italy had been one agreed to by Parliament due to Parliament's interest in supporting its friendship with Spain. On the other hand, a war in Germany for a landlocked electorate provided few benefits for Britain. When George II tried to argue that he was the king and that Parliament was supposed to serve him, Walpole reminded George II that both he and his father had agreed that Britain did not have to protect the German dominion of the Hanoverian dynasty. Without even a mediocre level of parliamentary support for the war, Townshend instructed Dubourgay to inform the Prussians that Britain would play no role in a war between Brunswick-Luneburg and Prussia. In reply, Friedrich Wilhelm realized some British sailors that had been detained following the killing of the Prussian soldiers [23].

In the end, both George II and Friedrich Wilhelm found themselves lacking the considerable help they had hoped to rally. With just a medium composite army, George II had no confidence in his ability to hold, let alone repel, the Prussian army. On the other side, Friedrich Wilhelm began to realize the pointlessness of the war and the potential for an ugly result. As a consequence, both kings gave in to the many advisers and ministers on both sides arguing for peace [24]. For a few weeks, letters went forward and back between Berlin and Hanover until George II agreed to remove his troops from Clamei and release all captured Prussians. In return, the Prussians consented to not enter Clamei without any soldiers of their own and to demobilize their army. Finally, the two sides agreed to have their dispute mediated by two other princes, one selected by each side. George II named Wilhelm, regent of Hesse-Kassel, and Friedrich Wilhelm named Friedrich II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. The date of the mediation was set for December of 1730 and the set was set in Hanover [25]. With a peaceful solution in the process of being designed, the Clamei Crisis came to an end, soldiers stood down, and normal relations resumed. In November, weeks later than George II had intended, he returned to Britain with Townshend and the rest of his retinue. Griff remained in Brunswick-Luneburg.

[1] The second trip being the one in 1727 when George I died in OTL and in TTL.
[2] In OTL, Parliament as far as I am aware never refused the king when he asked for leave and under Walpole, a bill was passed that allowed George II to return to Hanover whenever he wanted without having to ask Parliament. TTL, Parliament will probably not vote negatively even now but the strength of a ministry was not determined by having a majority. Instead, it was determined by the strength of its majorities. If a bill could not pass with close to a 100 majority then the ministry was expected to collapse. So here the threat is not that Parliament will vote no but rather that Parliament will not vote yes strongly, which will weaken the perceived dominance of Walpole. This is why Walpole tries to dissuade George II.
[3] George II just wants to go home as he has found Britain to be frigid toward him after his defeat abroad.
[4] Wyndham is a Jacobite, which is why his dissent is not based around the Prince of Wales but rather the overall disappointing reign of the Hanoverians.
[5] Whenever George I or George II went to Germany they often took one of the principal leaders of the government. George I took Stanhope and Townshend and George II took Townshend and later Carteret.
[6] Whenever George II left for Germany, he left Caroline as his regent.
[7] George II always sailed from Britain to the Dutch Republic. He never used the Bremish ports or the friendly Danish ports in Oldenburg. Andrew C. Thompson rather oddly and vaguely argues that he did this because it "shortened the land journey". However, in OTL, George II's possession of the Bremish ports would have meant that George II could have sailed directly and avoided any land journey at all, so I tend to believe that Thompson misinterpreted whatever document he read to give him that impression. Rather than George II sailing to the Dutch Republic to shorten the land journey, his choice of port within the Dutch Republic was probably chosen based on which one shortened the land journey. The only other option is that George II was also considering landing in France (the only next set of friendly ports farther away from Hanover than the Dutch Republic), which in my opinion is a near ludicrous thought as George II never visited France as King of Great Britain. So rather than the choice to sail to the Dutch Republic over some other state being due to "land distance" calculations, I am saying that George II just preferred to go through the Dutch Republic. There are political reasons including getting to personally visit the major leaders of the Dutch Republic and there also might be personal reasons such as George II not being a naval man and thus being less comfortable with traveling completely by sea. It should also be noted that for George II, traveling by sea to Bremen would have been faster. George II took an immense retinue and amount of baggage with him whenever he traveled to Hanover.
[8] During the 1720s-1730s, the Dutch and Prussians had a number of issues including Prussian recruiting issues. The Dutch and Prussians almost went to war in 1733 in OTL, which speaks to the hostility between the two governments.
[9] In OTL, Negotiations for Willem Hendrik Friso and Anne's marriage took 6 years. Given that in 1733 Friso submitted the official request to Leeuwarden to be married and that in 1734 the couple was married, OTL negotiations would have started in 1727 or 1728. In TTL, the war would have gotten in the way of negotiations starting so rather than negotiations starting in either of those years, they start in 1730.
[10] George II and Frederick of Wales managed to have respectful relations for much of Frederick of Wales' adult life. They did not like each other, but they managed to hold their tongues with one another in public, in contrast to what other TLs claim.
[11] Politicians and courtiers picking between the King's party and the Prince's party was always a thing. Oftentimes those who felt that they could gain the favor of the king and gain pensions and land from him would support him and denounce the Prince's party. Whereas those who fell from power or were blocked from power rallied around the Prince.
[12] This diplomatic crisis is based on the OTL diplomatic crisis that occurred during George II's first visit to Hanover. Given the TTL hostility between George II and Friedrich Wilhelm due to their war against each other that crisis still begins when George II purposely insults Friedrich Wilhelm.
[13] Also, like in OTL, George II escalates the crisis by bringing soldiers into Clamei Meadow, a disputed acre of land.
[14] In OTL, the crisis escalated even further when Prussian recruiters who were legally in Brunswick-Luneburg were arrested. In TTL, the recent war means that Prussian soldiers will not be granted papers to enter Hanover, so they do not have papers and have to enter Hanover illegally. This raises the stakes for the Prussians. Meanwhile, the recent invasion of Hanover by the Prussians means that the Hanoverians are also afraid. Due to these two increases in tension the OTL arrest is botched and killings occur. In OTL, even arrests were enough to bring Prussia and Hanover to the brink of war, so deaths certainly will. Also in OTL, the killing of a recruiting officer in the Dutch Republic almost led to a Prussian invasion of the Dutch Republic in 1733.
[15] In OTL, Friedrich Wilhelm still treated Dubourgay with decorum throughout the crisis. In TTL, with Prussians dead that decorum goes out the window. The beatings of Fritz, Wilhelmine, and Sophie Dorothea occurred in OTL and will be even worse in TTL with Friedrich Wilhelm's emotions running much hotter after the death of Prussian soldiers.
[16] In OTL, Friedrich Wilhelm challenged George II to a duel over the tensions during the summer of 1729.
[17] In OTL, George II seems to have accepted the duel according to Jakob Friedrich von Bielfeld's record of the incident. Lord Hervey also indicates the same but Hervey's memoirs are practically fiction. In TTL, two things working against George II's inclination to accept the duel are that he has had his physicality tested recently and due to the hardships of the retreat from Hanover, come out worse from it. Additionally, George II dislikes Frederick of Wales even more than OTL by this point, which makes him less willing to chance forfeiting his life. In OTL, the reason the duel did not occur was that Friedrich Wilhelm had recently been ill and Baron von Borck used that recent illness to convince Friedrich Wilhelm in the foolhardiness of a duel.
[18] These numbers are all derived from the comptemporary source on the OTL crisis, A Letter from an English Traveller to his Friend at London: Relating to the Differences betwixt the Courts of Prussia and Hanover. The numbers for the Dutch are based on treaty obligations and for the Hessians on contract obligations, so they are the same as OTL. For the Danish-Norwegian number of 1,200, I am not sure why this contingent was offered in OTL, but I assume that Denmark-Norway just wanted to sent a single regiment, so that number would also be the same as OTL. The Prussian number of 44,000 I matched with OTL out of simplicity and may have been based on the peacetime disposition of Prussian soldiers.
[19] In OTL, Imperial interference in the crisis was rejected. In TTL, George II has even less reasons to be amenable to Imperial interference while Friedrich Wilhelm still has no need for it.
[20] In OTL, Townshend and Plettenburg used George II's trip to Hanover to open negotiations for an alliance. In OTL, the Wittelsbachs demanded mainly the same stuff. These demands already seem to be asking for everything they could possibly want, so I was not sure what else they could ask for. The only additional demand in TTL is the Wittelsbachs asking for George II to help them elect a Wittelsbach emperor. In OTL, in contrast to what some historians have claimed but in line with what Jeremy Black's recent analysis has found, Townshend rejected the Wittelsbach demands as too much and tried to negotiate them down. In OTL, Townshend's concern was Hanoverian influence in Mecklenburg and protection for Gibraltar. In TTL, Hanover has also completely lost influence in Mecklenburg and lost Gibraltar, so the focus is now on re-empowering Hanover. A stronger Hanover can support British policy on the Continent. In OTL, Plettenburg rejected Townshend's counteroffer and in TTL this counteroffer requires even more military support from the Wittelsbachs, which they were reluctant enough to give OTL.
[21] In OTL, Augustus II did not want to get involved in a war over this dispute and offered to mediate. In TTL, Augustus will have less incentive to get involved militarily, so he also stays out.
[22] In OTL, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel was a British ally, but having taken land from Hanover they are now a Prussian ally. Also, in OTL, the Holstein-Gottorps were not strong enough to contact. In TTL, they are and they are also unfriendly with Denmark-Norway and Britain, so they are ideal targets for Prussia to make allies.
[23] In OTL, Britain refused to back up George II in this crisis and in TTL after having already lost a war in Brunswick-Luneburg they are definitely not supporting George II in this war. The only reason Townshend seems supportive is that he is personally with George II and knows that he can improve his personal relationship with George II by acting friendly to his interests. Still, in OTL Townshend had to order Dubourgay not to talk about the crisis with Prussia as that would indicate British involvement. A difference from OTL is that in OTL Prussia immediately released a sailor arrested from Britain. In TTL, multiple sailors are arrested, not just one, because overall relations between Prussia and Britain are less friendly than OTL due to their war. Ultimately, in TTL those sailors are arrested once Britain confirms it will stay out.
[24] In OTL, with time the crisis died down and an agreement for mediation was reached. In TTL, with time and a failure to gain allies, the crisis also dies down.
[25] In OTL, the mediation was between Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel for Britain and Saxe-Gotha for Prussia. In TTL, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel is no longer friendly enough with Britain so George II picks a different more friendly German prince.

Word Count: 6271
Probably my favorite update yet! Welcome surprise to see this back
I don’t suppose there would be a War of the Austrian succession or Polish Succession? France can’t risk moving to support any proxy claim to the Polish throne without the support of Spain. I doubt whether Saxony & Bavaria are enough to stand against the emperor. Plus even without Russia, Austria already looks stronger which would further deter Prussian attack once Karl VI does die.
 
I don’t suppose there would be a War of the Austrian succession or Polish Succession? France can’t risk moving to support any proxy claim to the Polish throne without the support of Spain. I doubt whether Saxony & Bavaria are enough to stand against the emperor. Plus even without Russia, Austria already looks stronger which would further deter Prussian attack once Karl VI does die.
There is still a solid possibility of both. A War of the Polish Succession is practically bound to occur. The Poles want to elect a native and Poland's neighbors would rather not see a native revitalize Poland. The scale of that war of succession is what is under question. For the war to be semi-Continental you need France to support Stanislaus' candidature. Louis XV most definitely is in favor of having Stanislaus elected since Stanislaus is his father-in-law and its adds to the prestige of Louis XV by getting him a king for a father-in-law.

One thing favoring a French intervention for Stanislaus is that Britain's relations with the Hapsburgs are significantly worse and Townshend's health is better. Although Jeremy Black demonstrated that Townshend was by no means the structural anti-Hapsburg that he has been painted as by some, Townshend did lean anti-Hapsburg and did have enough stature to have a more independent foreign policy compared to his successors who were much more subservient to Walpole and thus his pacific inclinations. With Townshend's anti-Hapsburg rhetoric proven correct and George II also much more opposed to the Hapsburgs, its quite likely that Britain does not drift all the way from France to the Hapsburgs by the time of Augustus II's death. Additionally, George II may more interested in allowing a Polish war to break out to create the space for him to perhaps attack Saxony, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, Mecklenburg, or the Holstein-Gottorps to regain his land. This is hugely different from OTL where Britain was officially a Hapsburg ally when the Polish war broke out. The Hapsburgs had already ruined the alliance by failing to coordinate with the British, which prevented the British from feeling any obligation to join in the war in the Hapsburgs' favor. But Britain was still friendly toward Hapsburg interests by threatening naval action if the French did anything too crazy in the Baltic and by pressuring the Danes into not starting a war in northern Germany with Hamburg and Holstein, which would have forced north German princes to redeploy soldiers from the Rhine to northern Germany. Now, in TTL, if a Polish crisis breaks out, Britain is more likely to allow France to be more aggressive in the Baltic (against Prussia and Russia) and may itself be responsible for creating a northern German war. So this world, Britain may encourage France to take action to defend Poland's liberty.

One thing that is currently not favoring a French intervention is their sorry relations with Spain. As you point out, France and Spain are not on good, friendly, and trusting terms, all of which are somewhat necessary to launch a joint-military operation against the Hapsburgs in Italy. Without such an operation, the French and especially Fleury become incredibly more cautious about engaging in what would be a one-on-one single theatre war with the Hapsburgs on the Rhine (the Austrian Netherlands is out of the question due to British resistance to any French invasion of the Austrian Netherlands and Fleury's unwillingness to provoke the British). This one on one war didn't go well enough for the French last time and now that they have already exposed the Hapsburg weaknesses on the Rhine, they can expect Eugene to fix those weaknesses before another war. Thus, France really would want to have a secondary front to distract the Hapsburgs and the only realistic secondary front is Italy and in Italy, France needs Spain. Since relations right now aren't good, yes France may be disincentivized from starting a war over Poland. However, this issue is far from insurmountable. First off, the Spaniards, especially Farnese, want Italy desperately. If Fleury is willing to promise them coordination and the assistance of a French army then the Spanish will certainly join him. So not much is needed to achieve reconciliation between France and Spain. Additionally, the Savoyards are still reeling from the loss of prestige caused by their defeat in Empress Catherine's War, so they might be eager to fight the Hapsburgs. One reason the Savoyards may prefer to fight the Hapsburgs is that Sardinia has now been conquered three times in as many decades and looks very vulnerable. Thus, the Savoyards will be more attracted to land holdings that they can have a direct connection with, the rich Milan for example.

So right now, things are looked mixed for France to go to war for Poland but for France to make that step does not require much. Honestly, so long as King Louix XV decides in favor of the scheme, Fleury has little choice in the matter, and then only slight maneuvering with Spain and Savoy are necessary to create a coalition in Italy.

An Austrian Succession is far off and much less certain. If there is a Polish succession war and it goes well then a Fleury-led France might not feel the need to fight the Hapsburgs again (similar to OTL). If the war went poorly then Fleury may lose his influence or may accept the arguments of the war party and create a far more aggressive France ahead of the Austrian Succession. For Bavaria and Saxony, they are second-tier players in Germany and their willingness to attack the Hapsburgs will depend very much on if they can find foreign support and if someone else strikes first. Because you are right, they have no business fighting the Hapsburgs on their own. For Prussia, yes the Hapsburgs look more competent currently, but the Prussians also do and they are also stronger. The Prussians have all of Pomerania compared to OTL. So even though the Hapsburgs look stronger, so do the Prussians. What will really matter are if there are any Hapsburg-Prussian clashes between now and the Austrian Succession. If Austria placates the Prussians with Julich-Berg, East Friesland, Hildesheim, Polish land, or something else then Prussia may remain friendly to Austria and Maria Theresa's succession. But of the greatest importance is the disposition of Russia. In 1726, Prussia was a member of the Hanoverian Alliance on the verge of a double marriage with Britain and fundamentally anti-Hapsburg policy. Although the death of George I hurt Anglo-Prussian relations, an alliance between George II and Frederick William was not impossible. What really killed the alliance was Russia joining the Austro-Spanish alliance of Vienna. The Prussian military assessment was that they would be swamped by Russia, Saxony, and the Emperor before the French crossed the Rhine and the British landed in Bremen. That military assessment is why Frederick William switched from the Hanoverian to the Viennese alliance and that military assessment is the result of Russia taking a pro-Austrian stance. Currently, Russia is holding on to that stance but if Russia doesn't. If Russia or Austria breaks that alliance then Prussia's aggressiveness gets unleashed. If Prussia isn't concerned about Russian hordes then Prussia will begin to ask if the Emperor has given it enough and if the Emperor hasn't then Prussia may take what its feels is its just due by force.
 
I don’t suppose there would be a War of the Austrian succession or Polish Succession? France can’t risk moving to support any proxy claim to the Polish throne without the support of Spain. I doubt whether Saxony & Bavaria are enough to stand against the emperor. Plus even without Russia, Austria already looks stronger which would further deter Prussian attack once Karl VI does die.
On the other hand, there is a anti-habsburg coalition with the UK in it, possibly with a good relationship with prussia.
 
27: Young Hanover Brave
image.jpg

King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia reviewing the Potsdam Guards

Not even a year removed from George II's ignominious return to Britain after the horrific experience of the British campaign in Germany, George II was already thinking of returning home, to Brunswick-Luneburg that is. However, under the terms of the Hanoverian dynasty's accession to the British throne, the king was not permitted to leave Britain and its dominions without the express approval of the parliament. Any attempt to return to Brunswick-Luneburg had to be brought to and passed by the parliament. Previously, the parliament had only approved George I's various returns to the Continent reluctantly, but George I unlike George II had not overseen the worst military defeats for Britain since the Dutch sailed up the Thames to destroy the English navy. Not to mention that George II had been in Brunswick-Luneburg less than a year before and for more than a year. The only time that the Parliament had let George I make visits so closely together was when he had been personally negotiating an Anglo-Prussian alliance [1]. So in the spring of 1730 when George II revealed his desire to go home, Walpole knew he was in for a fight with either George II to convince him not to go or with parliament to convince them to let him go.

Initially, Walpole chose to dissuade George II by explaining that the Commons would never permit the king to leave Britain when a war for Parma banging on the gates of Britain [2]. George II rather angrily explained that that war was his reason for wanting to go home. He pointed out how easily Brunswick-Luneburg had been swamped by enemy soldiers during Empress Catherine's War. George II blamed it all on his son, who George I had foolishly left in charge of the Electorate. The coxcomb, drunkard, and man-whore had been without any experience in war and as a result, he had left Brunswick-Luneburg unprepared and vulnerable to the Viennese Alliance. George II, of course, ignored the fact that he had arrived in Brunswick-Luneburg before the Viennese soldiers had and that he had chosen the ultimate strategy for Brunswick-Luneburg's defense. So with another war hovering over the horizon, George II wanted to go home and personally ensure its protection before the Viennese Alliance struck again. However, Walpole remained stout in his resistance to George II and his request. All Walpole could promise was that if war did break out, as many expected it would during those months, then Walpole would ensure that a proper defense for Brunswick-Luneburg was established and paid for by Britain. That promise in itself was a grand promise since by the law of succession Britain had no obligation to defend any of the king's non-British domains, and after the most recent war, the British parliament would certainly think carefully before defending Brunswick-Luneburg again.

Ultimately, by April the Hapsburg agitations of war had begun to quiet down after Walpole's soldier bill was passed and Rear Admiral Stewart was dispatched to the Mediterranean. By late April, peace was secure at hand with the latest Treaty of Vienna and George II was once again was talking about going home. This time, George II brought up an entirely new set of reasons including the need to see how rebuilding efforts had progressed, review the defenses, and attend to some personal governance [3]. Once more Walpole tried to discourage George II from the idea, but the King insisted and grew angry when Walpole tried to deny him. George II reminded Walpole that he had gotten permission for his father to leave time and time again and went on to say that if Walpole was no longer capable of doing that then maybe he was no longer capable of leading the government. This threat of dismissal was enough to push Walpole into bringing the matter before the Parliament. Before Parliament, Walpole argued that George II's presence in Brunswick-Luneburg was necessary to secure it against the threats it faced from all sides and once secure, Brunswick-Luneburg would serve as much less of a liability to Britain. This argument did not convince many and evoked a number of questions about why the Prince of Wales could not govern the Electorate and if he was not needed to govern the Electorate then why was not in Britain. Sir William Wyndham even asked what justification there was for the King to have the largest Civil List yet if he could not even be bothered to live in Britain. If he wanted to live in Hanover then so be it, but then Brunswick-Luneburg, not Britain would pay for him [4]. In the end, as always, Walpole was able to lead the Parliament to his desired outcome and permission for George II to return to Brunswick-Luneburg was granted. However, with many of Walpole's Whigs abstaining from the vote, Walpole's majority was barely above 80, compared to 100 he considers standard. A declining majority portended a difficult future ahead for Walpole's second ministry.

In June 1730, George II departed from Britain for the second time in his reign. With him, he took a whole host of courtiers and officials including Lord Townshend [5]. In Britain, George II left his wife, Caroline, to serve as regent and Walpole to keep the Parliament in check [6]. Out of preference, George II sailed to the Dutch Republic rather than Danish Oldenburg to land on the Continent [7]. There, George II and Townshend met with various members of the Estates-General to discuss the Anglo-Dutch alliance and the most recent war. The Dutch made it clear that they were uncomfortable about a French army having been raised and maintained on the border of the Southern Netherlands. For them, the entire war had been spent fearing that the French would invade the Southern Netherlands and conquer it. George II and Townshend were sympathetic to these concerns as they too did not look kindly upon the prospect of the French in Antwerp. Additionally, the British and Dutch were both disturbed by the French seemingly rebuilding Dunkirk's fortifications, which would be a clear violation of the Treaty of Utrecht. However, George II and Townshend's main concern remained the Hapsburgs who had greatly disturbed the balance of power in Germany and the Baltic and through their alliance with Prussia threatened both the Dutch Republic and the Electorate of Brunswick-Luneburg. Although the Dutch found it hard to agree that the Hapsburgs needed to be regarded as enemies, they did concur that the Prussians were a dangerous breed. In particular, the Dutch were frustrated over the illegal recruiting conducted by the Prussians in Dutch territory [8]. At the end of these discussions, no alterations had been made to the Anglo-Dutch relationship nor were any new joint strategies developed. Nevertheless, both sides felt better having talked and increased their understanding of each other.

After this exchange of concerns, George II briefly visited the Prince of Orange, Willem Karel Hendrik Friso, and his mother, Marie Luise, at Leeuwarden. As the Prince of Orange and the symbolic successor of William III in the Netherlands, Willem, was a suitable husband for one of George II's daughters. The boy was just nineteen years old and his spine had grown wrong, which led George II to call him a hunchback in conversation with Townshend. Nevertheless, the boy was educated and respectful and he was on a year away from becoming the Stadholder of Friesland, Groningen, and Gelre and Drenthe in his own right. Even if the boy never become the despot that William III was able to be, he was still bound to become one of the most powerful people in the Dutch Republic and as such became one of the marriage candidates in George II's mind for his eldest daughter, Anne, Princess Royal. However, George II was in no rush to marry Anne off, especially not with the Dutch alliance already seemingly secure. Thus, George II left Leeuwarden without making any promises to the boy or his mother [9].

From the Dutch Republic, George II traveled on to Hanover by land. Although George II traveled through the Bishopric of Munster to get to Brunswick-Luneburg, he did not stop to meet with any of its officials as both its ruler, Clemens August, and its first minister, Ferdinand von Plettenberg, were too far to the south at Bonn. Upon reaching Hanover, George II decided to establish himself at Herrenhausen despite his son's residence there. In their absence from one another's lives, George II's distaste for his son had gone completely unabated and Griff's distrust of his father had only grown. Still, the two were able to greet each other respectfully and kept that aura of respect through dinner and the welcoming ball for George II [10]. The peace held through the next two weeks in spite of Griff's efforts to rejoin Brunswick-Luneburg's government, gain an invitation to Britain, and push the idea of his and Wilhemine's marriage all being rebuffed strongly by George II and in spite of Griff continuing to engage in hedonistic behavior such as heavy drinking and gambling. Griff's unprincely behavior was in part a consequence of the British courtiers being very reluctant to befriend him. Although many expected that Griff would be the next king whether George II wanted him to be or not, many also realized that George II was still in good health and that for the time being Griff was politically powerless. Thus, for older men such as Townshend, there seemed to be little point in irritating George II by associating with Griff, which only furthered the isolation of Britain's heir [11].

Eventually, a peace did break but not the peace of George II and Griff. In Berlin, when Friedrich Wilhelm I was informed of George II's arrival in Brunswick-Luneburg in July 1730, he prepared an emissary to offer a welcome to his British brother-in-law. However, Friedrich Wilhelm I told the British minister in Berlin, Charles Dubourgay, that the emissary could not be sent until George II offered the ceremonial notification of his arrival in Brunswick-Luneburg just as his father had always done. Dubourgay passed this message on to Townshend in Hanover. Townshend's reply was that evidence of such notifications from the past was not to be found in Brunswick-Luneburg's chancery and no one from the court recalled such notifications. When Dubourgay relayed this response and also the information that George II had been in Brunswick-Luneburg for well over a week without notifying Friedrich Wilhelm I, he was visibly infuriated. However, he kept enough of his composure to avoid beating Dubourgay as he often beat his own children. Instead, Friedrich Wilhelm had his ministers pull out all the necessary receipts of notification and personal letters of George I, all with the proper seals and signatures, to prove that his brother-in-law must be mistaken. Dubourgay reviewed the documents and verified them as authentic and then passed on that assessment to Townshend. The Prussians also sent a message of their own that inferred that if George I as the father-in-law of the King in Prussia showed him such respect then George II as only his brother-in-law should show the same respect. No reply was received from George II and Townshend, which the Prussians viewed as a clear and obvious insult. A diplomatic crisis seemed to be brewing between Britain and Prussia and their rival kings [12].

Even though the Prussians were in truth the aggrieved party, George II was the one who chose to escalate the little crisis further when he instructed a party of Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers to enter the Clamei Meadow. Clamei was a tiny parcel of land without a shred of significance outside of the fact that both Brunswick-Luneburg and Brandenburg claimed it [13]. Out of the expectation of the Prussians making some kind of retaliation, George II had ordered soldiers along the border to be vigilant to any counterattack. Amid the tension of this moment, a group of Prussian recruiters and Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers made a series of tragic mistakes. The Prussian recruiters who were illegally in Brunswick-Luneburg and without proper papers tried to secretly return to Brandenburg but were easily identified by their dark blue uniforms. When they were stopped by a group of Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers swords were drawn and muskets were raised. Tensions were running high as the Prussians feared execution for their illegal presence in Brunswick-Luneburg and the Brunswick-Luneburgers feared that rather than recruiters that these men were part of some advance force for a Prussian invasion. Still, the officers of both groups tried to maintain the peace and avoid anyone's death. However, as the Brunswick-Luneburger soldiers were arresting their Prussian counterparts, one of the Prussians chose to punch one of his arresters in the face and make a run for it. A Brunswick-Luneburger chased after him but when he could not keep up, he pulled out his pistol and fired. The shot created panic among the remaining Prussians and the Brunswick-Luneburgers. A brawl broke out as the Prussians fought with their fists and whatever weapons they could pull off the Brunswick-Luneburgers. By the end of it, three Prussians and two Brunswick-Luneburgers were dead [14].

With shots fired and men dead on both sides, what was a diplomatic crisis instantly became something far far more dangerous. Both Friedrich Wilhelm and George II were furious over the series of events. Friedrich Wilhelm called out the Brunswick-Luneburger actions as murder and refused to accept any version of the story relayed by Dubourgay that stated that the Prussian had swung first. In fact, when Dubourgay first offered up that story, Friedrich Wilhelm offered to show him what a Prussian striking first would really feel like. This complete break of barely veiled threat frightened Dubourgay and he was frightened even more so when Friedrich Wilhelm took out his anger on his son Fritz and then his daughter Wilhelmine and his wife Sophie Dorothea when they tried to intervene [15]. In Hanover, George II saw the deaths of the Prussians as them getting their just due for their illegal recruiting behavior. However, from the account, he heard it was clear that the Prussians had started the fight and that they had breached the peace by violating Brunswick-Luneburg's borders and attacking its defenders. On both sides, there was a clamoring for war but also a call for caution. In Berlin, Friedrich Wilhelm von Grumbkow under the direction of the Hapsburgs asked Friedrich Wilhelm to attempt to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Meanwhile, in Hanover, Gerlach Adolph von Münchhausen begged George II not to initiate a war against the much stronger Prussia. Both Friedrich Wilhelm and George II did see the sensibility in their ministers' advice and agreed to hold off on war.

Rather than war, the alternative means of resolution that Friedrich Wilhelm sought was a duel. In Friedrich Wilhelm's mind, part of this dispute was personal, it was about George II failing to show him the necessary honor and respect. Although Friedrich Wilhelm did view the killing of Prussian officers as an affront to his nation, he also viewed it as an affront to his personage. Thus, as a Christian and just king, Friedrich Wilhelm had an obligation to avoid spilling his own soldiers' blood over personal matters. Instead, personal matters and personal disputes of honor were better resolved through duels. Thus, Friedrich Wilhelm challenged George II to a duel to end their feud once and for all. He proposed Hildesheim as the neutral location of their duel with Christian Reinhold von Derschau serving as Friedrich Wilhelm's second. The choice of weapons would be swords as befit the royal blood of both Friedrich Wilhelm and George II. Rather desperately, Friedrich Wilhelm's ministers tried to convince him not to follow through on this plan, but in his frustration with everything, he sent the challenge anyway [16].

When George II received the challenge he, like his brother-in-law, was eager to solve the dispute through a personal display of arms. For George II this duel was much less about saving lives and only partially about avoiding a war. More importantly than either of their issues was George II's vivid memories of being beat repeatedly by Friedrich Wilhelm when they were both youths growing up in Hanover. Despite being the elder of the two, George II had always lost and to that day it still bothered him. With a chance to redeem a childhood of defeat, George II was practically jumping at the idea of a duel especially after Brigadier Richard Sutton agreed to serve as his second. Townshend, von Münchhausen, and everyone else, however, were doing anything but celebrating the prospect of a duel. As far as they could tell, George II was an older gentleman, more than two decades removed from actually fighting in a battle rather than commanding a battle from away. The odds of him losing the duel were running high. Even if he did not lose the duel, an injury might become gangrenous and result in George II's death shortly afterward. In either case, Townshend's political career would likely be over without the support of George II and for von Münchhausen what the duel meant for Brunswick-Luneburg was dangerously unclear. Even with these men and others all telling George II of reasons not to fight Friedrich Wilhelm he was insistent on accepting the challenge. If George II said no then he would be the coward and Friedrich Wilhelm would always have that over him. Death was better than cowardice and George II held on to the belief until Townshend said one fateful thing. In the unfortunate case that George II did lose then Griff would immediately become the King of Great Britain and Ireland and the Elector of Brunswick-Luneburg. Griff, a man who had never even seen Britain, a man who was in love with a Prussian princess, and a man who lived a life of hedonism would become the inheritor to all that was George II's. He would be responsible for the fates of Caroline, Anne, William, and all the rest. The thought sent a shiver through George II's spine and finally, George II dropped the idea of the duel. Townshend found a way to decline the prospect of a duel respectfully, but internally George II felt shame over the choice he had been forced to make [17].

With the duel off the table, the prospect of war returned. After George II rejected the Prussian demand for the Brunswick-Luneburgers to evacuate Clamei, Friedrich Wilhelm responded by mobilizing more than 40,000 men over the course of a month. With each day, the Prussians reiterated that if satisfaction was not given for the offense against the King and the death of the Prussian soldiers then Prussia would have no other recourse than to create their own satisfaction. To match the Prussian mobilization, George II ordered a mobilization of Brunswick-Luneburg's own army, activated Brunswick-Luneburg's contract for Hesse-Kassel's mercenaries, and called upon the Dutch Republic and Denmark-Norway to fulfill their treaty obligations. Even with all three of these states consenting to provide help, their joint army could not match the numbers of Prussia's initial mobilization, let alone a full Prussian mobilization. Altogether, they numbered approximately, 37,000 men, more than half being from Brunswick-Luneburg, a little over 10,000 being Hessians, just 5,000 being Dutch, and a paltry 1,200 being Danes. In contrast, the Prussians were mobilizing 44,000 men. Worse yet, those 44,000 men were all mustering at Magdeburg just a hundred miles from Brunswick-Luneburg while the Hessians were separated from Brunswick-Luneburg by both Saxony and Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, the Dutch were all the way in the Low Countries, and Danes were blocked by the Holstein-Gottorp duchies. Despite this inferiority and these difficulties, George II refused to back down, especially after he had already backed down from the duel [18].

Faced with the threat of war breaking out across northern Germany, Emperor Charles VI offered the mediate the dispute as the Holy Roman Emperor, liege of both the Elector of Brunswick-Luneburg and the Elector of Brandenburg, George II and Friedrich Wilhelm respectively [19]. This offer was firmly rejected by George II because he did not consider Charles VI to be a remotely unbiased and favorable mediator. In George II's eyes, Charles VI was still an ally of Prussia and would clearly side with Prussia again. If George II accepted mediation then Charles VI would use that mediation to strip George II of even more land. Interestingly, Friedrich Wilhelm also declined Charles VI's interference out of the fear that Charles VI might demand future favors from Friedrich Wilhelm in return for a favorable outcome to mediation. Furthermore, neither George II nor Friedrich Wilhelm wished to unnecessarily reinforce Imperial authority by giving up their freedom of action in this dispute between the two of them.

While George II rejected Charles VI's overtures, he and Townshend sent overtures to the Wittelsbach union of Bavaria, the Palatinate, and Cologne. George II and Townshend were interested in forming an alliance with the group to oppose the Prussian and possibly Imperial aggression. As part of these negotiations, Ferdinand von Plettenburg personally traveled to Hanover to meet with both George II and Townshend. Plettenburg began by talking about a 14-year alliance between Bavaria, the Palatinate, and Cologne. That alliance would include British peacetime and wartime subsidies for each of the electors, British support of Karl III Philipp of the Palatinate's claims to Julich and Berg over the claims of Friedrich Wilhelm, Brunswick-Luneburg ending its interference in the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne's holding of Hildesheim, British support for the Archbishop of Cologne succeeding to the Bishopric of Liege and numerous other bishoprics, British payment of the arrears in Hapsburg subsidies for Cologne, a British guarantee of a Spanish payment of one million piastres to Bavaria from previous Bavarian-Spanish treaties, and potentially the coordination of electoral votes to select a new Holy Roman Emperor upon the death of Charles VI. These demands seemed extreme to both George II and Townshend and were refused. Instead of 14-years, Townshend offered 2 years. For subsidies, Townshend could only offer wartime subsidies. Regarding Julich and Berg, George II would only recognize the claim of Karl III Philipp in return for support from the Wittelsbachs in reasserting Brunswick-Luneburg's claims to Bremen-Verden, Lauenburg, Grubenhagen, and Calenberg. Finally, Townshend wanted the Elector of Mainz included in the alliance. Yet while Plettenburg easily listed off the Wittelsbach demands he balked at the suggestion of reciprocal demands from George II. This poor opening to Anglo-Wittelsbach negotiations hurt the resolve of George II who realized that even if these negotiations succeeded later, later might be too late with the Prussian army already at Brunswick-Luneburg's throat [20].

Friedrich Wilhelm's government also reached out to its allies and friends to secure support in the coming war. Friedrich Wilhelm first reached out to King Augustus the Strong of Poland who as Elector of Saxony was in a prime position to cut off any Hessian reinforcement of Brunswick-Luneburg. Augustus II, however, was reluctant to engage in another war so soon after the last one. Augustus II's desire for glory had been sated for the moment and he was more interested in enjoying the frivolities of life [21]. Also, Augustus II was very concerned with making the Wettin succession in Poland secure, which would be threatened by attacking and aggravating the British king. Thus, rather than offering troops, Augustus II offered to mediate the conflict. Friedrich Wilhelm declined the offer as he still was desirous of war. Without Saxony blocking the Hessians, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel also rejected Friedrich Wilhelm's call for help. Only the Holstein-Gottorp rulers, Charles Augustus of Bremen-Verden and King Charles Frederick of Finland were even willing to entertain the thought of war. However, the war they entertained was one against Denmark-Norway [22]. They offered to let Prussian soldiers into Holstein to block any Danish-Norwegian effort to support Brunswick-Luneburg and even suggested that a preemptive strike against Denmark-Norway might serve them all well. Although Friedrich Wilhelm appreciated their willingness to fight along his side again, he demurred from engaging in a war against Brunswick-Luneburg, Britain, Denmark-Norway, the Dutch Republic, and Hesse-Kassel with just Bremen-Verden, Holstein, and Finland as his support.

Regarding British support, George II actually found that hard to come by. Although Townshend was at George II's side and was willing to consider the idea of war. Walpole in Britain was never favorable toward the thought of war and Townshend also cooled toward it after the difficulties encountered in finding a reasonable alliance with the Wittelsbachs. George II was informed that the British parliament was unlikely to support Brunswick-Luneburg in the prospective war. Angrily George II pointed out that they had already voted for 12,000 men to fight the Hapsburgs in Italy. What difference did it make if they fought the Hapsburg ally, Prussia, in Germany? As Walpole wrote it made all the difference in the world. The proposed war in Italy had been one agreed to by Parliament due to Parliament's interest in supporting its friendship with Spain. On the other hand, a war in Germany for a landlocked electorate provided few benefits for Britain. When George II tried to argue that he was the king and that Parliament was supposed to serve him, Walpole reminded George II that both he and his father had agreed that Britain did not have to protect the German dominion of the Hanoverian dynasty. Without even a mediocre level of parliamentary support for the war, Townshend instructed Dubourgay to inform the Prussians that Britain would play no role in a war between Brunswick-Luneburg and Prussia. In reply, Friedrich Wilhelm realized some British sailors that had been detained following the killing of the Prussian soldiers [23].

In the end, both George II and Friedrich Wilhelm found themselves lacking the considerable help they had hoped to rally. With just a medium composite army, George II had no confidence in his ability to hold, let alone repel, the Prussian army. On the other side, Friedrich Wilhelm began to realize the pointlessness of the war and the potential for an ugly result. As a consequence, both kings gave in to the many advisers and ministers on both sides arguing for peace [24]. For a few weeks, letters went forward and back between Berlin and Hanover until George II agreed to remove his troops from Clamei and release all captured Prussians. In return, the Prussians consented to not enter Clamei without any soldiers of their own and to demobilize their army. Finally, the two sides agreed to have their dispute mediated by two other princes, one selected by each side. George II named Wilhelm, regent of Hesse-Kassel, and Friedrich Wilhelm named Friedrich II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. The date of the mediation was set for December of 1730 and the set was set in Hanover [25]. With a peaceful solution in the process of being designed, the Clamei Crisis came to an end, soldiers stood down, and normal relations resumed. In November, weeks later than George II had intended, he returned to Britain with Townshend and the rest of his retinue. Griff remained in Brunswick-Luneburg.

[1] The second trip being the one in 1727 when George I died in OTL and in TTL.
[2] In OTL, Parliament as far as I am aware never refused the king when he asked for leave and under Walpole, a bill was passed that allowed George II to return to Hanover whenever he wanted without having to ask Parliament. TTL, Parliament will probably not vote negatively even now but the strength of a ministry was not determined by having a majority. Instead, it was determined by the strength of its majorities. If a bill could not pass with close to a 100 majority then the ministry was expected to collapse. So here the threat is not that Parliament will vote no but rather that Parliament will not vote yes strongly, which will weaken the perceived dominance of Walpole. This is why Walpole tries to dissuade George II.
[3] George II just wants to go home as he has found Britain to be frigid toward him after his defeat abroad.
[4] Wyndham is a Jacobite, which is why his dissent is not based around the Prince of Wales but rather the overall disappointing reign of the Hanoverians.
[5] Whenever George I or George II went to Germany they often took one of the principal leaders of the government. George I took Stanhope and Townshend and George II took Townshend and later Carteret.
[6] Whenever George II left for Germany, he left Caroline as his regent.
[7] George II always sailed from Britain to the Dutch Republic. He never used the Bremish ports or the friendly Danish ports in Oldenburg. Andrew C. Thompson rather oddly and vaguely argues that he did this because it "shortened the land journey". However, in OTL, George II's possession of the Bremish ports would have meant that George II could have sailed directly and avoided any land journey at all, so I tend to believe that Thompson misinterpreted whatever document he read to give him that impression. Rather than George II sailing to the Dutch Republic to shorten the land journey, his choice of port within the Dutch Republic was probably chosen based on which one shortened the land journey. The only other option is that George II was also considering landing in France (the only next set of friendly ports farther away from Hanover than the Dutch Republic), which in my opinion is a near ludicrous thought as George II never visited France as King of Great Britain. So rather than the choice to sail to the Dutch Republic over some other state being due to "land distance" calculations, I am saying that George II just preferred to go through the Dutch Republic. There are political reasons including getting to personally visit the major leaders of the Dutch Republic and there also might be personal reasons such as George II not being a naval man and thus being less comfortable with traveling completely by sea. It should also be noted that for George II, traveling by sea to Bremen would have been faster. George II took an immense retinue and amount of baggage with him whenever he traveled to Hanover.
[8] During the 1720s-1730s, the Dutch and Prussians had a number of issues including Prussian recruiting issues. The Dutch and Prussians almost went to war in 1733 in OTL, which speaks to the hostility between the two governments.
[9] In OTL, Negotiations for Willem Hendrik Friso and Anne's marriage took 6 years. Given that in 1733 Friso submitted the official request to Leeuwarden to be married and that in 1734 the couple was married, OTL negotiations would have started in 1727 or 1728. In TTL, the war would have gotten in the way of negotiations starting so rather than negotiations starting in either of those years, they start in 1730.
[10] George II and Frederick of Wales managed to have respectful relations for much of Frederick of Wales' adult life. They did not like each other, but they managed to hold their tongues with one another in public, in contrast to what other TLs claim.
[11] Politicians and courtiers picking between the King's party and the Prince's party was always a thing. Oftentimes those who felt that they could gain the favor of the king and gain pensions and land from him would support him and denounce the Prince's party. Whereas those who fell from power or were blocked from power rallied around the Prince.
[12] This diplomatic crisis is based on the OTL diplomatic crisis that occurred during George II's first visit to Hanover. Given the TTL hostility between George II and Friedrich Wilhelm due to their war against each other that crisis still begins when George II purposely insults Friedrich Wilhelm.
[13] Also, like in OTL, George II escalates the crisis by bringing soldiers into Clamei Meadow, a disputed acre of land.
[14] In OTL, the crisis escalated even further when Prussian recruiters who were legally in Brunswick-Luneburg were arrested. In TTL, the recent war means that Prussian soldiers will not be granted papers to enter Hanover, so they do not have papers and have to enter Hanover illegally. This raises the stakes for the Prussians. Meanwhile, the recent invasion of Hanover by the Prussians means that the Hanoverians are also afraid. Due to these two increases in tension the OTL arrest is botched and killings occur. In OTL, even arrests were enough to bring Prussia and Hanover to the brink of war, so deaths certainly will. Also in OTL, the killing of a recruiting officer in the Dutch Republic almost led to a Prussian invasion of the Dutch Republic in 1733.
[15] In OTL, Friedrich Wilhelm still treated Dubourgay with decorum throughout the crisis. In TTL, with Prussians dead that decorum goes out the window. The beatings of Fritz, Wilhelmine, and Sophie Dorothea occurred in OTL and will be even worse in TTL with Friedrich Wilhelm's emotions running much hotter after the death of Prussian soldiers.
[16] In OTL, Friedrich Wilhelm challenged George II to a duel over the tensions during the summer of 1729.
[17] In OTL, George II seems to have accepted the duel according to Jakob Friedrich von Bielfeld's record of the incident. Lord Hervey also indicates the same but Hervey's memoirs are practically fiction. In TTL, two things working against George II's inclination to accept the duel are that he has had his physicality tested recently and due to the hardships of the retreat from Hanover, come out worse from it. Additionally, George II dislikes Frederick of Wales even more than OTL by this point, which makes him less willing to chance forfeiting his life. In OTL, the reason the duel did not occur was that Friedrich Wilhelm had recently been ill and Baron von Borck used that recent illness to convince Friedrich Wilhelm in the foolhardiness of a duel.
[18] These numbers are all derived from the comptemporary source on the OTL crisis, A Letter from an English Traveller to his Friend at London: Relating to the Differences betwixt the Courts of Prussia and Hanover. The numbers for the Dutch are based on treaty obligations and for the Hessians on contract obligations, so they are the same as OTL. For the Danish-Norwegian number of 1,200, I am not sure why this contingent was offered in OTL, but I assume that Denmark-Norway just wanted to sent a single regiment, so that number would also be the same as OTL. The Prussian number of 44,000 I matched with OTL out of simplicity and may have been based on the peacetime disposition of Prussian soldiers.
[19] In OTL, Imperial interference in the crisis was rejected. In TTL, George II has even less reasons to be amenable to Imperial interference while Friedrich Wilhelm still has no need for it.
[20] In OTL, Townshend and Plettenburg used George II's trip to Hanover to open negotiations for an alliance. In OTL, the Wittelsbachs demanded mainly the same stuff. These demands already seem to be asking for everything they could possibly want, so I was not sure what else they could ask for. The only additional demand in TTL is the Wittelsbachs asking for George II to help them elect a Wittelsbach emperor. In OTL, in contrast to what some historians have claimed but in line with what Jeremy Black's recent analysis has found, Townshend rejected the Wittelsbach demands as too much and tried to negotiate them down. In OTL, Townshend's concern was Hanoverian influence in Mecklenburg and protection for Gibraltar. In TTL, Hanover has also completely lost influence in Mecklenburg and lost Gibraltar, so the focus is now on re-empowering Hanover. A stronger Hanover can support British policy on the Continent. In OTL, Plettenburg rejected Townshend's counteroffer and in TTL this counteroffer requires even more military support from the Wittelsbachs, which they were reluctant enough to give OTL.
[21] In OTL, Augustus II did not want to get involved in a war over this dispute and offered to mediate. In TTL, Augustus will have less incentive to get involved militarily, so he also stays out.
[22] In OTL, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel was a British ally, but having taken land from Hanover they are now a Prussian ally. Also, in OTL, the Holstein-Gottorps were not strong enough to contact. In TTL, they are and they are also unfriendly with Denmark-Norway and Britain, so they are ideal targets for Prussia to make allies.
[23] In OTL, Britain refused to back up George II in this crisis and in TTL after having already lost a war in Brunswick-Luneburg they are definitely not supporting George II in this war. The only reason Townshend seems supportive is that he is personally with George II and knows that he can improve his personal relationship with George II by acting friendly to his interests. Still, in OTL Townshend had to order Dubourgay not to talk about the crisis with Prussia as that would indicate British involvement. A difference from OTL is that in OTL Prussia immediately released a sailor arrested from Britain. In TTL, multiple sailors are arrested, not just one, because overall relations between Prussia and Britain are less friendly than OTL due to their war. Ultimately, in TTL those sailors are arrested once Britain confirms it will stay out.
[24] In OTL, with time the crisis died down and an agreement for mediation was reached. In TTL, with time and a failure to gain allies, the crisis also dies down.
[25] In OTL, the mediation was between Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel for Britain and Saxe-Gotha for Prussia. In TTL, Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel is no longer friendly enough with Britain so George II picks a different more friendly German prince.

Word Count: 6271
Correct me if I’m wring but AFAIK the duel codex generally accepted in Europe was leaving selection of the weapons to a challenged. So FW, as a challenger, can’t demand duel on the swords: the weaponry choice is up to GII, if he accepts. 😉
 
Correct me if I’m wring but AFAIK the duel codex generally accepted in Europe was leaving selection of the weapons to a challenged. So FW, as a challenger, can’t demand duel on the swords: the weaponry choice is up to GII, if he accepts. 😉
I guess, the rules probably get a little more flexible when kings of opposing countries challenge each other because as far as I have read Frederick William challenged George II to a swords duel specifically, and even though Frederick William backed out in OTL due to health reasons, no one claimed honor was saved or lost as might have been expected in a normal duel. Honestly, its an interesting case of just two kings wanting to actually kill each other in the 1700s and them trying to figure out how they can do it while all their ministers try to stop them.
 
28: A Giant's Fall
28: A Giant's Fall
300px-MariaMenshikova.jpg

Maria Menshikova, Empress of All Russia

On January 25, 1730 (February 5), Peter II was coronated as the Emperor and Autocrat of All Russia in Saint Petersburg. This coronation followed all the customs and traditions that had been established or affirmed during Empress Catherine's coronation five years previously. First, Peter II and the Russian court descended from Saint Petersburg to Moscow with Peter II stopping in Vsesvyatsk to pray and fast for a week. When Peter II did enter Moscow, he did so in a carriage drawn by eight horses with his tutor and companion, Andrei Osterman, on one side, and his generalissimo and the de facto leader of his government, Prince Aleksander Menshikov, on the other side. The party was energetically greeted by thousands of Moscovites who had not seen a ruler in years. As tradition dictated, they stopped at the Chapel of Our Lady of Iveron and paid respect to the Blessed Virgin of Iveron's icon. Finally, Peter II entered the Kremlin and retired to his palace. In the meantime, a three-day holiday was instated, local prisoners were pardoned, fines were remitted, proclamations read, and receptions held. The next morning, the Emperor accompanied by all of his generals marched from the Red Porch to the Cathedral of the Dormition and carried with them the imperial regalia. Once in the Cathedral of the Dormition, Peter II underwent a series of rituals and prayers under the guidance of the Metropolitan and Archbishop of Moscow, Archbishop Theophanes Prokopovich. Finally, Peter II took the imperial crown out of Prokopovich's hands and placed it on his own head. Further prayers were made and cheers were shouted and songs were sung to praise the new Emperor and Autocrat of All Russia.

In spite of Peter II's coronation, he remained a boy no older than fourteen. In the face of his youth, the will of Empress Catherine still dictated that the Supreme Privy Council rule in his name, and on that Supreme Privy Council only one voice ruled, Menshikov's. Even though the Supreme Privy Council was supposed to operate by majority rule, even though the exiled King Charles Frederick of Finland was the President of the Supreme Privy Council, and even though Menshikov could at not even call a single one of the six other members of the council his friend, he and he alone determined the direction of Russia. Menshikov alone ruled Russia despite what any will nor coronation implied. Not even the fact that almost the entire aristocracy of Russia despised Menshikov as an upstart and usurper nor the fact that Peter II had already clashed with Menshikov over Menshikov's incessant interference in Peter's life could stop Menshikov from being the first-man of Russia. So long as he maintained the loyalty of the army, particularly the Guard, and a decent level of tolerance from Peter II, Menshikov was supreme. The supreme nature of Menshikov's power was displayed by how he stopped even visiting the meetings of the Supreme Privy Council. He just made decisions without them entirely [1]. The nobles viewed this behavior as a usurpation but the nation bent to Menshikov's sheer will and acted as if he, not Peter II was the ruler of Russia. When returning to Saint Petersburg from the far east, Vitus Bering made the report of his findings to Menshikov rather than to the Emperor [2]. Furthermore, Bering asked Menshikov not the Supreme Privy Council for the funding to go on a second expedition. Another example is seen with Christoph von Munnich writing letters to both Peter II and Menshikov to declare the completion of the Lagoda Canal in the summer of 1730 [3]. In these letters, Munnich made the traditional praises to the Emperor for his support but also praised Menshikov for all the work he had done on starting the canal. The fact that Menshikov had transferred the task to his friend, Skornyakov-Pisarev, who Peter I later arrested for incompetence and corruption went completely unsaid.

The power of Menshikov can also be seen beyond Russia's borders in Russia's foreign policy. Among the old aristocracy, many did not appreciate the very adventurous foreign policy of Peter I that had seen Russian armies sent to far-off places like Mecklenburg, which held no interest to the Russians. Yet under Catherine I, Menshikov and Osterman had stood by that policy, and even with Peter I and Catherine gone, Menshikov and Osterman still perpetuated that policy despite continued aristocratic resistance to it. Support for this policy is the extent of Menshikov's involvement in foreign affairs as he let Osterman do most of the work including figuring out exactly how to implement this policy. Under Osterman's guidance, Peter II's Russia remained allied to the Holy Roman Emperor alongside whom Russia ensured the weakness of Poland, protected against the Ottomans, and maintained the allegiance of Prussia. In the Baltic, Russia continued to treat the husbands of the daughters of the late Catherine generously and retained them as allies of Russia. Russia continued to support the claims of King Charles Frederick of Finland to the Dano-Norwegian-held Schleswig and continued to pay him 50,000 pounds a year until Schleswig in its entirety was returned to him. In return, Charles Frederick made his ports available to Russia and quartered Russian soldiers in his land, which provided Russia with a much-needed buffer against Sweden. Russia's also supported Charles Frederick's cousins, Charles Augustus, Duke of Bremen-Verden, and Adolf Friedrich, Prince-Bishop of Lubeck, with guarantees of protection in return for promises of support in Russia's Baltic affairs. Another relationship that Osterman held on to was the Russo-Mecklenburger alliance. Despite Duke Karl Leopold of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and his Russian wife, Tsarevna Catherine Ivanovna, being separated, Russia promised him its military support should his difficulties with the knights of Mecklenburg-Schwerin arise again. In exchange, he gave the Russian navy the rights to dock at Wismar. In Courland, Menshikov had a greater degree of involvement because he treated its rulers, Maurice of Saxony and Anna Ivanovna, as practical puppets. Should they ever disagree with that treatment Menshikov had Peter Lacy's army at the ready to depose them both and place someone else on the throne of Courland. Through these relations, Menshikov and Osterman kept pushing Peter I's vision for Russian domination of the Baltic and Russian involvement in Germany.

As powerful as Menshikov may have seemed and felt in early 1730, cracks were beginning to show in his grip on Russia and the Emperor. Already in 1729, Menshikov and Peter II had clashed over some small monetary matters and Peter II not showing enough affection for his fiancee, Menshikov's daughter Maria. In 1730, these clashes continued as Menshikov reprimanded Peter II for not taking his education seriously enough, not spending time with Maria, and spending too much time engaging in dissolute behavior with the young aristocrats of Russia [4]. None of these criticisms had their intended effect on Peter II who did not care to change his behavior for Menshikov's pleasure. If anything, Peter II's willingness to behave in such a manner was only increased by Menshikov's interference. At the same time, similar efforts from Osterman to cajole Peter II into studying harder so that he might emulate his grandfather, Peter I, failed miserably. Peter II's elder sister, Natalya, could also do little to inspire him to better himself [5]. Instead, Peter II avoided meetings with the government and spent his hunting and socializing. Peter II's disdain for the navy and reluctance to participate in army matters was of particular concern. However, when Menshikov and Osterman approached him on the need to spend more time with the military he bite back that Russia was at peace and that they should act like it. If Russia was at war then Peter II would lead its armies, but in peace, Peter saw no need for spending hours on end with the military [6].

The reason for Peter II's drift away from the influence of Menshikov and Osterman and toward self-indulgence can be placed firmly at the feet of the Dolgorukov family. The Dolgorukov family was made of old aristocrats who disliked the autocratic behavior of Peter I and now of Menshikov and instead desired that power for themselves. Despite some good maneuvering by them during Empress Catherine's rule, the Dolgorukov's held only a single seat on the Supreme Privy Council, Vasily Lukich's, and a single member of their family was a field marshal, Vasily Vladimirovich. These numbers were matched by Menshikov alone being a member of the council and being the Generalissimo. Worse yet they were outdone by the Dolgorukovs' direct opponents, the Golitsyns, who had a field marshal Mikhail Mikhailovich, and two seats on the council, one held by Marshal Golitsyn and the other by Dmitry Mikhailovich. Even though the Golitsyns despised Menshikov just as much as the Dolgorukov's, the Golitsyns were not willing to depose Menshikov and hand power to Dolgorukovs. However, the Dolgorukovs had one advantage over both Menshikov and the Golitsyns, that was the fact that Ivan Alekseevich Dolgorukov had been a member of Peter II's household since 1725 and by 1730 had become the boy's closest friend.

Through Ivan, the Dolgorukovs steadily gained influence over Peter II. They took advantage of Peter's desire to ride through and of Saint Petersburg to separate Peter from Menshikov who was far too old and too busy to ride for fun with a child. Instead of Menshikov, Ivan rode with Peter every day and talked with him about all of Peter's concerns including his distaste for Menshikov. Ivan also led Peter II to the Dolgorukov estates outside of Saint Petersburg where Peter could breathe and talk freely, which he often felt unable to do in the confines of Menshikov's palace on Vasilievsky Island to where Peter had been taken after Catherine's death. While he was at their estates, Vasily Lukich and Alexey Grigoryevich made sure that the Emperor had nothing to want for and had no responsibilities or tasks to concern him. While Peter II had to study and face constant judgment while with Menshikov, at the Dolgorukov's estates Peter could hunt, eat, play, do anything freely. This contrast between the liberal lifestyle he had with the Dolgorukovs and the more ordered one expected of him with Menshikov naturally led to the youth favoring the Dolgorukovs over Menshikov. The constant disparagement of Menshikov by the Dolgorukovs in private with Peter also added to Peter's drift away from Menshikov [7].

Menshikov was not blind to Peter's drifting especially when Peter II as their arguments continued. Still, Menshikov carried on and Peter continued to tolerate living in Menshikov's palace in a fractious peace. A year after Peter II's ascension to the Russian throne, at the beginning of May 1730, that peace saw one of its more violent episodes. At the time, Peter's indifference toward Maria Menshikova was particularly noticeable and when Menshikov saw what essentially amount to love letters written by Peter to his aunt, Duchess Elizabeth of Bremen-Verden, he reproached Peter. Menshikov called out Peter for being a poor partner to Maria as he had done many times before and even hinted at the sinfulness of Peter's behavior toward Elizabeth [8]. Peter in turn asked Menshikov whether stealing from the crown was sinful because Peter did not believe Menshikov could have amassed so much wealth on his own. This belief had in part been driven by the Dolgorukovs relaying the stories and accounts of Menshikov's corruption under Peter I. Peter II added to these charges the charge that Menshikov was a traitor to Russia who was giving Russian money away to Charles Frederick freely. Obviously, Menshikov denied these charges of corruption and pointed out that by treaty, Russia was obliged to pay Charles Frederick an annual pension until Schleswig was recovered. That reply led to Peter II exclaiming that the only reason that Schleswig had not been recovered was that Menshikov had abandoned his post during Empress Catherine's War. Peter reminded Menshikov that he had left the German front to return home months before the war had ended. In the wake of this heated episode, Peter chose to take his leave of Menshikov's palace and returned to Peterhof Palace [9].

In the ensuing weeks, the distance between Peter and Menshikov became apparent as Peter visited Vasilievsky Island infrequently. The event that eventually awakened Menshikov to just how far Peter had drifted from him was when Peter declined to visit Vasilievsky Island on July 17 (July 28) when Menshikov opened a newly constructed part of his place that commemorated his victory at Munster. Even with most of Russia's generals including Marshal Golitsyn and Marshal Dolgorukov in attendance, Peter declined Menshikov's invitation. When Menshikov insisted, Peter said that he did not believe that it was right to celebrate Maurice of Saxony's victory without him. This statement directly stripped Menshikov of his role as the victor of Munster and thus the conqueror of Brunswick-Luneburg. Menshikov was shaken by this attack as he felt that even with his differences with Peter that his military record remained unimpeachable and that his role as generalissimo could never be taken away from him. However, with Peter now crediting someone else with the crowning triumph of Menshikov's career, Menshikov became seriously concerned that his place in the court of Russia was not secure at all [10].

This feeling of insecurity led to Menshikov finally calling for the marriage of Peter II and Maria Menshikova to take place. Instantly and without much elaboration, Peter rejected Menshikov's demand. When Menshikov insisted that Peter was engaged to Maria and that she go ahead and marry, Peter answered that although he and Maria were engaged there was no need to rush their marriage. Peter would rather wait until he was 25 before marrying [11]. The thought of Maria and Peter not being married for another decade perturbed Menshikov who feel his health faltering and knew he would not last another ten years. So again Menshikov insisted and again he was denied. At this point, Menshikov realized that he could force Peter to marry Maria, so he instead proposed that Natalya should get married. Although Menshikov had previously held some ideas of marrying Natalya to his own son, Aleksander, Menshikov instead chose to propose that proposals for her marriage to the Crown Prince of Prussia, the Electoral Prince of Saxony, the Prince of Brunswick-Luneburg, a Bavarian prince, or even a Holstein-Gottorp should be accepted. Menshikov even wrote up instructions for Russia's ambassadors in London and Vienna to investigate the potential terms for these matches more closely. When Peter caught wind of this he was outraged and vigorously refused the idea that Natalya should be sent off to some foreign court [12]. This reaction was the result of Peter's reliance on his sister and had been exactly the sort of response that Menshikov had wanted. Menshikov replied that unless Peter married Maria, Natalya would be sent abroad and if Peter tried to stop Menshikov then he would be the one responsible for breaking Russia's relationships with one of Europe's powers. The stratagem was probably a bluff because Menshikov doubtless still had hopes to marry Natalya to his son and because Osterman may have intervened in favor of the Emperor against a scheme to send Natalya abroad. Still, the stratagem had its intended effect. Peter consented to marry Maria in November of that year on the condition that any discussion of Natalya's own prospects being put on terminated until Peter chose otherwise.

For the next few months, Peter and Maria saw each other more consistently as the preparations for the marriage were finalized and put into order. Despite many members of Russia's aristocracy, especially the Dolgorukovs, trying to dissuade Peter from going through with the marriage, the Emperor refused to break his word. Peter was determined to see the marriage through and to protect his sister from Menshikov's plots. Finally, on November 8 (November 19), 1730, Peter II and Maria Menshikov were married at Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, which was still under construction. Afterward, a huge feast was held at Menshikov's palace with tens of courses and thousands of guests while food and money were also distributed to the inhabitants of Saint Petersburg. To cap off the night, Peter and Maria were carried off to bed where Menshikov ensured that practically the whole court of Russia witnessed evidence of the consummation of the marriage. Menshikov wanted no doubts cast about their marriage and the legitimacy of any of Maria's children. This marriage proved to be the pinnacle of Menshikov's career.

Even though Peter married Maria and treated her as his wife and with all required respect, he hated Menshikov for the vile inference in his life and his childhood [13]. Peter was determined to get his revenge on Menshikov and intended to never forget or forgive Menshikov's many insults against Peter and his authority as Emperor. While Menshikov finally relaxed after having secured Maria's marriage, Peter began to scheme with the Dolgorukovs to bring about Menshikov's downfall. This scheming happened right under Menshikov's nose as the Dolgorukovs were united in their desire to take down Menshikov and none of them defected. Meanwhile, Peter II's visits to the Dolgorukovs had become such a frequent and usual occurrence that nothing was thought of him spending even more time with them. Just weeks after Peter and Maria's marriage rumors of letters between Menshikov and Charles Frederick emerged that suggested that Menshikov had offered to help Charles Frederick usurp Peter in return for being made King of Finland. Of course, the claim was false and the letters probably fabricated since Menshikov would have no desire to usurp the possibility of his own grandchildren ruling Russia [14]. However, added to these rumors were letters from some officers of the Menshikov's German campaign describing excesses and corruption by Menshikov.

By December 4 (December 15), 1730, Peter II had enough material to accuse Menshikov of high treason, corruption, and embezzlement of crown funds. Accordingly, Peter II ordered the Majors Semyon Andreevich Saltykov and Grigory Dmitrievich Yusupov of the Preobrazhensky Life Guards and Major Stepan Andreevich Shepelev Semyonovsky Life Guards to no longer obey any orders from Menshikov and to arrest him. He additionally ordered the commandant of the Peter and Paul Fortress, Yegor Ivanovich Famintsyn, a supporter of Menshikov, to step down or be arrested for disobedience. The coup saw the Guards rather hesitantly cross over to Vasilievsky Island and surround Menshikov's palace because many of the guards were conflicted about their loyalty to Menshikov. Even though none of the guards were willing to disobey their Emperor, few of them wished that harm would befall Menshikov or worse yet that they would be responsible for that harm. Fortunately, Menshikov's health had declined in the days leading up to the coup so when he saw the soldiers baring arms before his door he chose not to fight back. He believed that he would not live much longer, especially not with the stress of governance, so he was better off avoiding bloodshed that might jeopardize Maria's place as Peter's wife [15].

Following his arrest, Menshikov asked to be brought to Peter to make one last appeal. However, when Menshikov reached Peterhof Palace he found Peter II surrounded by all of his enemies from the Dolgorukovs to the Golitsyns to even Golovkin and Osterman. Everyone had fallen in line with the plot. At that point, Menshikov realized that he was done and there was no possibility of recovery. Rather than beg for clemency or to keep his position, Menshikov offered to retreat to Ukraine and finish out his days on his estate there. All Menshikov asked in return was that no harm should be done to his daughter and that her marriage with Peter should remain intact. Peter consented to let Menshikov retire to Ukraine because he saw an old and broken man before him who could threaten him from Ukraine. However, Peter made no promises about Maria's fate. Furthermore said that the results of his investigations revealed that Menshikov had stolen 1 million rubles from the crown, which Menshikov would now have to return. Menshikov accepted the situation as it was and made the necessary reparations by selling his palace on Vasilievsky Island and all of its possessions [16]. Within a week, Menshikov was gone. Menshikov had served as Russia's de facto ruler for a year and a half by that point and during that time his rule was not challenged once until he was arrested. Menshikov's stable reign was only made possible by the Emperor's willingness to tolerate his usurpation of powers but soon after he lost that tolerance, Menshikov's rule crumbled. With a single set of orders and over the course of a single day, Menshikov fell from being the first man of Russia to a retired country gentleman banished from the court of Saint Petersburg to the quiet plains of Ukraine.

[1] Menshikov was known for not attending the Supreme Privy Council after Catherine's death in OTL. In TTL, Menshikov feels even more powerful and so he would have even less reason to visit the council.
[2] Bering came back to Saint Petersburg in 1730 in OTL and with how far away he was from the war, I do not think the war would have affected his return.
[3] Munnich finished the canal in 1730 in OTL. I see the canal still being finished in 1730 because when the war ends, Russia will have so many mobilized soldiers for Munnich to use in constructing the canal that he can make up for a slow down during the war.
[4] In OTL, during the short months that Menshikov was with Peter II they clashed over a lot because Peter II seems to have been a free-spirited kid and Menshikov was trying to instill some discipline and probity in him. Neither Peter II nor Menshikov's personalities are any different, so these clashes still happen. Peter II wants to be free to do as he wants and Menshikov wants to control him.
[5] In OTL, Osterman and Natalya also tried to influence him but they both lost their influence over time because of Peter II's free-spiritedness.
[6] Peter II's reluctance to engage in government or military duties was known in OTL and again he has the same personality as OTL, so TTL he acts the same.
[7] The Dolgorukovs' role in Peter II drifting away from Menshikov is the same as OTL because the Dolgorukov goal of taking power is still the same.
[8] In OTL, Peter II had a weird obsession with his aunt that seemed to border on attraction. In TTL, Elizabeth has gone to Germany, but Peter will still have memories of her and her beauty, so that obsession has translated into letters.
[9] In OTL, Peter II left Menshikov Palace while Menshikov was taken with illness, and Peter II was shown the documents revealing Menshikov's role in his father's death. This occurred only a few months into Peter II's reign. Here, Menshikov avoided falling seriously ill so his opponents never got the chance to show those leaders. Instead, Menshikov and Peter II clashed for close a year before Peter II felt the need to leave Menshikov's palace.
[10] In OTL, Menshikov was shown that he lost his hold on Peter II through a similar incident in which Peter II refused to attend a ceremony at Menshikov Palace.
[11] In OTL, Peter II implied that he wanted to marry at 25.
[12] In OTL, Peter II was attached to his sister, so I cannot imagine him being willing to part with her.
[13] Again in OTL, the trigger for Menshikov's downfall was the revelation of his role in the murder of Tsarevich Alexei. In TTL, Peter II has not been shown those letters, so a different trigger serves and that is Menshikov threatening Natalya and coercing Peter II into a marriage.
[14] In OTL, the Dolgorukovs fabricated a letter in which Menshikov was going to usurp Peter II himself and was getting bribed by Prussia. Although Menshikov may have been getting bribes from Prussia (Menshikov was a corrupt individual), he would not have usurped Peter II. In TTL, the Dolgorukovs fabricate a similarly bogus letter with similar plausible issues. I do not think highly enough of most of the Dolgorukovs for them to have a better more authentic-seeming letter.
[15] In OTL, Menshikov was arrested by these men and they received promotions for making the arrests. I imagine that nothing personal went into their decisions to arrest Menshikov and simply the prospect of promotion and loyalty to the Emperor made them do it. Overall, in my opinion, the loyalty of the Guards to the Emperor is too strong for Menshikov to survive losing the support of the Emperor. Menshikov does make things easier because he thinks he is dying but in the end, what matters is the Emperor's orders.
[16] In OTL, Peter II originally wanted to send Menshikov to a desolate post. In TTL, Menshikov commands greater respect so I see the original plan being for Menshikov to be treated generously, just completely removed from power. Hence, Menshikov from the get-go is permitted to retire to Ukraine.

Word Count: 4188
 
Last edited:
Supposing as you suggested that France was to intervene in Poland; how would she fare against the Three Black Eagles? Assuming they bought off Spain, Spain, Savoy and its backers would most likely be tied up in Italy. Presumably the Hapsburgs have to detach troops to meet the threat. Even so, France is operating almost alone in Poland with long lines of supply. Plus, she's facing the full might of the Russian and Prussian armies. And she only has Saxony and some of the German states behind her.
 
Supposing as you suggested that France was to intervene in Poland; how would she fare against the Three Black Eagles? Assuming they bought off Spain, Spain, Savoy and its backers would most likely be tied up in Italy. Presumably the Hapsburgs have to detach troops to meet the threat. Even so, France is operating almost alone in Poland with long lines of supply. Plus, she's facing the full might of the Russian and Prussian armies. And she only has Saxony and some of the German states behind her.
First off, France won't have Saxony behind her because either one of two things will happen. Either like OTL, the Black Eagles will decide to support a Wettin prince, in which case Saxony will side with the Black Eagles. Or Saxony is forced into neutrality by the fact that it borders both Prussia and Austria. France may be able to get the Wittelsbach Union behind it through the line of negotiations that Britain has opened. However, in that case, that only really helps France in the west. So thus far, France has no further help in the East. However, it should be noted that France may not have to face the full might of Prussia. For Austria to secure the full might of Prussia, it would have to agree to give Prussia part of Poland. In OTL, Austria refused to do so and instead only asked for Prussia to provide 10,000 men as per its treaty obligations. Still, 10,000 Prussians, some amount of Austrians, an army of Russians, and maybe even some Saxons, is always going to be more than what France can send east.

Regarding what France can send east. Realistically France cannot send a full army. France can't send a stack of 30,000 men. It's not just the logistics but also a question of political willingness to risk that many men. Fleury will never be fully supportive of the war so he won't want to send troops to Poland and the military establishment would view Poland as it did Ireland, a far-off place where they can send some troops to support a rival king and create a distraction. In which case, at best, the French send 10-12,000 but they are much more likely to send half that if they are really trying. More likely than sending French troops, the French might hire either Swedish or Danish soldiers to act as France's contribution. In that case, France might send 10-15,000 Swedes or Danes. Still, woefully insufficient in comparison to the opposing armies.

What France did try to do and would try to do, is incentivize an Ottoman attack on Russia. And possibly a Swedish one too. In OTL, France actually nearly convinced the Ottomans to throw its army at Russia in 1735. The problem was that the Ottomans wanted some guarantees against Austria, so that Austria didn't just attack the Ottomans while the Ottomans were fighting Russia. The French refused to either declare war on Austria or guarantee that no peace with Austria would occur until the Ottomans had found peace with Russia. As a result, the Ottomans did not feel comfortable attacking the Russians until much later. Had the necessary guarantees been made then Russia will be facing an Ottoman invasion and will have to divert its attention to fight the Ottomans instead of conquering Poland. The hope is that while the Ottomans distract the Russians and the French distract the Germans and the Spaniards distract the Austrians that there are few soldiers left to fight in Poland that the Poles themselves can rally enough troops to eject the foreigners and secure Stanislaus' rule. Even then, a French victory in Poland is far from guaranteed.

So yeah France needs a lot of things to go right for it to win in Poland.
 
First off, France won't have Saxony behind her because either one of two things will happen. Either like OTL, the Black Eagles will decide to support a Wettin prince, in which case Saxony will side with the Black Eagles. Or Saxony is forced into neutrality by the fact that it borders both Prussia and Austria. France may be able to get the Wittelsbach Union behind it through the line of negotiations that Britain has opened. However, in that case, that only really helps France in the west. So thus far, France has no further help in the East. However, it should be noted that France may not have to face the full might of Prussia. For Austria to secure the full might of Prussia, it would have to agree to give Prussia part of Poland. In OTL, Austria refused to do so and instead only asked for Prussia to provide 10,000 men as per its treaty obligations. Still, 10,000 Prussians, some amount of Austrians, an army of Russians, and maybe even some Saxons, is always going to be more than what France can send east.

Regarding what France can send east. Realistically France cannot send a full army. France can't send a stack of 30,000 men. It's not just the logistics but also a question of political willingness to risk that many men. Fleury will never be fully supportive of the war so he won't want to send troops to Poland and the military establishment would view Poland as it did Ireland, a far-off place where they can send some troops to support a rival king and create a distraction. In which case, at best, the French send 10-12,000 but they are much more likely to send half that if they are really trying. More likely than sending French troops, the French might hire either Swedish or Danish soldiers to act as France's contribution. In that case, France might send 10-15,000 Swedes or Danes. Still, woefully insufficient in comparison to the opposing armies.

What France did try to do and would try to do, is incentivize an Ottoman attack on Russia. And possibly a Swedish one too. In OTL, France actually nearly convinced the Ottomans to throw its army at Russia in 1735. The problem was that the Ottomans wanted some guarantees against Austria, so that Austria didn't just attack the Ottomans while the Ottomans were fighting Russia. The French refused to either declare war on Austria or guarantee that no peace with Austria would occur until the Ottomans had found peace with Russia. As a result, the Ottomans did not feel comfortable attacking the Russians until much later. Had the necessary guarantees been made then Russia will be facing an Ottoman invasion and will have to divert its attention to fight the Ottomans instead of conquering Poland. The hope is that while the Ottomans distract the Russians and the French distract the Germans and the Spaniards distract the Austrians that there are few soldiers left to fight in Poland that the Poles themselves can rally enough troops to eject the foreigners and secure Stanislaus' rule. Even then, a French victory in Poland is far from guaranteed.

So yeah France needs a lot of things to go right for it to win in Poland.
There are two problems:

1st with the Poles - they could not rally anything of a substance because the modern armies were not growing on the trees and the PLC had only (very few) thousands of those while an extremely low value of the “traditional” Polish armies had been proved beyond any reasonable doubts during the GNW. Besides, while Leschinski had support of the powerful Potocki family, the Lithuanians had been generally pro-Russian and decision of the convocation Sejm which would exclude all foreigners did not get a required consensus. The same goes for the election Sejm: Leschinsky got a majority but not a consensus and minority immediately complained about violation of liberum veto and elected Frederic August.
Situation was so obviously lousy that four days after election Lechinsky “retreated” to Danzig. Probably it should be telling that Lacy with a small army (12,000 at Danzig) crossed all PLC without any noticeable problems and that later Munnich was able to bring additional troops there (and the Saxons - train of a heavy artillery) without facing any military opposition worth noticing. Sweden, of course, could and did send some volunteers (under 200, IIRC) but a great commitment, even under a guise of the mercenaries could easily create problems to which Sweden was not ready (in your TL even less ready than in OTL). Anyway, 10-15,000 troops of any composition against 60,000 Russians at Danzig only does not look very encouraging. And in your TL it is much worse than in OTL psychologically and otherwise because, unlike the OTL, the Russians already have a terrifying military reputation on the European scale while one of the French is more or less along the “embarrassing” lines.


2nd, the Ottoman card. Probably in the Versailles this schema looked meaningful but in a reality it was not. To start with, just at that time the Ottomans are at war with Persia (1730-35) and, while in 1733 the Ottomans temporarily got an upper hand, in 1734-35 they kept being beaten. But this is a side show. The main problem with the schema is that at that time the Ottomans can’t attack Russia in any meaningful way … thanks to the Treaty of Prut: the border region between Russia and Crimea is turned into no man land and the Ottomans do not have a common border with Russia. Theoretically, they can launch an attack either from Crimea and/or from the low Dniester/Bug region (base in Ochakov) passing through the Sich territory and then crossing the Dnieper. They can also march from Moldavia through the PLC territory (surely, the Poles will be ecstatic 😜) into Ukraine. In all these cases their logistics becomes unsustainable well before they reach anything of any importance in Russia. Look at Munnich’s baggage train during his Crimean campaign and multiply it, optimistically, by 2. Plus, the Ottomans are going to carry with themselves enormous numbers of the extremaly heavy guns (which, admittedly, provided their victory at Prut: 400+ pieces vs. 130), which means that there is, besides an enormous number of oxen who ate a lot of forage, an extremely slow march with crossing of even the minor rivers turning into a very serious problem. And the Janissary most probably are not fancying an opportunity to spend a cold winter outside their barracks so the campaign may end very soon after it starts.
What they could do and what they were usually doing, was to order a major Crimean raid into Ukraine (joined by some Ottoman troops with artillery). But these raids were just the raids and, while devastating to the local population (not that the government excessively cared), they were reasonably short termed and to one degree or another contained by the landsmilitia, the Cossacks and the locally placed units of a regular army. Plus, the Kalmuks could be reasonably easily persuaded to attack the Nogai Horde.
 
Top