German Unification: How early could it have happened?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Mort the Reaper, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2019
    What's the earliest that German unification could have happened?
  2. Mr_Fanboy Well-Known Member

    Jul 17, 2016
    How about a point of divergence in the 5th or 6th century? I have suggested something like this before: the Ostrogothic/Visigothic personal union under Theoderic becomes the basis for a united Gothic kingdom that is able to leverage its great influence over the Burgundians and Vandals to essentially recreate the Western Roman Empire before coming to encompass the entirety of Western Europe, eventually bringing almost all of the Germanic peoples under the rule of one crown.
  3. DanMcCollum P-WI

    May 29, 2011
    Wauwatosa, WI
    Have Herman survive the assassination attempt on hia life abd forge the Germanic tribea together into - if not a true kingdom - then at least a long lasting tribal Confederacy with his family at the top?
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  4. PBJ Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    Arminius' issues are that he existed in a sort of "twilight zone" of civilization - he was too Germanic for the Romans, and too Roman for the Germanic tribes. The tribes themselves did not understand nor tolerate the idea of a single undisputed ruler, or at least would only tolerate one if he could provide enough war loot to win the loyalty of the other families. If Arminius wants to be an undisputed king, he needs to achieve more concrete victories, such as outright subduing the Marcomanni instead of accepting a hopeless stalemate or defeating Germanicus, no easy task.

    He won a great victory at Teutoburg, but was unable to follow up with any other concrete successes in battle or by marriage (the latter is mostly Germanicus' fault). So long as he attempts to hold on to power without proving that he is worthy of remaining Druhtinaz, his life will be at risk.
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  5. God.the.Truth Banned

    Sep 8, 2019
    Carolingian Empire and the Holy Roman Empire are the best candidates.

    If you're looking for a Unified Pagan Germany, then we would need a POD during the Roman Empire when some leader would unify the tribes and create a centralised structure.
  6. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    The Carolingian Empire was already the first German unificated entity, as it encompassed all the non-Nordic Germanic tribes which survived the first era of migrations (excepting the Anglo-Saxons in the British Isles): Franks, Saxons, Alamannic/Suebii, Bavarians, Frisians, Thuringians, Burgundians, Lombards and the remainders of the Visigoths.

    Maybe if it would have rather become a true federation of German tribes (like it was later modeled on stem duchies during the Salian period) instead of a failed revival of the WRE, we would have got a more stable 'early Germany'.
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  7. Ivan Lupo Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2018
    Los Angeles, CA
    Perhaps Otto the Great if he hasn't pursued becoming Holy Roman Emperor and subsequently based himself in Rome towards the end of his reign. That opportunity fell into his lap when Adelaide came to him for help and whom he took as his 2nd wife. His 1st wife was Edith of England, who he was very devoted to, so if she lives about as long as he does, perhaps Adelaide goes to someone else for help.

    Otto's decision to seek the Imperial throne wasn't popular in Germany; his nobles accused him of neglecting his German subjects and had wanted him to marry a German noblewoman after Edith's death. At any rate, Otto's and Edith's son Liudolf would have become King of Germany and likely would have continued to consolidate his family's control over Germany and the other stem duchies. The succession of the German throne slowly becomes hereditary, while future German kings vie with French, Italian, and possibly even Burgundian kings to be the true heirs of the Roman Empire.

    Where would Adelaide go if she manages to avoid imprisonment by her late husband's usurper Berengar? Otto was a key ally of Adelaide's brother King Conrad of Burgundy, while Otto's son Liudolf was already married to Adelaide's relative Ida. The heir to West Francia, Lothair, would have been about 10 years younger than Adelaide, but she might not have had too many other options.
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  8. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Mar 12, 2019
    Now this would be an interesting TL. I doubt Burgundy would last. they had a pretty unique spot otl due to the HRE's less than existent centralization compared to France (though they themselves had a king who only held power in the ile-de-france for a while) ITTL, a surviving German state encourages French centralization which encourages English and German centralization and so on and so on. Burgundy, unless it conquered Italy, would struggle in that legal arms race. It was tiny compared to them. Especially because France plus Italy (per your Adelaide marrying the Heir of West Francia, assuming they pop a lad out quick enough) would be terrifying. Like actually the Western Roman Empire terrifying. Europe better hope they suffer the fate of otl's hre.

    but Germany participating in the Age of Exploration would be fun.
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  9. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    This is a map of how an early 'German federation' could have looked like with the right PoDs:


    The recreated 'Vandalia' would indeed refer to the eventual German-Wendish mixed population in the East.
  10. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Mar 12, 2019
    Lombardy and Gothia seem iffy in general because they are very rich areas and France would want them, which with their massive population advantadge, could go very poorly for Germany. plus Lombardy could reasonably recreate an italian state and really would just be a thorn in Germany's side instead of an asset.

    Burgundy is a maybe, but i can't help but feel France would end up with it, if not Italy.
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  11. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    I think you are taking facts from later Middle-Ages which were not that apparent during the early Middle-Ages.

    France (West Francia) was at first a quite dysfunctional state which struggled to control the southern lands until the later Middle-Ages: Burgundy was an independent entity tied to the HRE until the 14th century and Gothia was more tied to Aragon until the 13th century. Let's say that during the 10th-11th centuries nobody of the era would grant or foresee that these lands would be 'French' in the future and not German/Spanish for example.

    And regarding Lombardy, the sense of pan-Italian state was gone for long time and never recovered until the 19th century.
  12. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Mar 12, 2019
    Perhaps, but, and this might just be me, there is the fact that the HRE claimed to be Roman, but this Germany is claiming to be German, which i can't help but feel would at least wind up creating some tensions with the rest of the country, especially since it would be among the wealthiest provinces (at least until the age of exploration). And there being an early Germany as well as France, at that point italy seems far more plausible to me for some reason
  13. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    And that's why Rome is not included.

    During most of the middle-Ages, northern Italy was more politically and socially tied to Germany than to the rest of Italy, it is not casual that the term 'Lombardy' (which refers to the 'Germanic Italy') survived there and refered for most of the Po Valley (the Greater Lombardy) for long time until it was reduced to the lesser Lombard region of today.

    I would say that since the time of Charlemagne until the Renaissance Italy was divided into two blocks separated by the Papal states, with the more 'Italian/Latin' half in the south (tied to Aragon/Spain for long) and the more Germanized Italy in the North.

    So, before the times of the Renaissance and the Reformation, a northern Italy included in the German sphere makes complete sense, even more than tying it to the south.
  14. Janprimus Well-Known Member

    Mar 13, 2010
    North Brabant, The Netherlands
    For West Francia to effectively control or even be able to move their armies into Italy, West Francia would, especially in the long run, need to indirectly or directly control Burgundy (Arelat). Since Burgundy blocks West Francia from direct access to Italy. Their focus will shift to there, which ITTL would give East Francia an even better than IOTL position to incorporate Lotharingia (Upper Lorraine, Lower Lorraine & Frisia).
    A West Francian HRE in many ways will have similar weaknesses as the OTL HRE, an Emperor too focused on Italy will get difficulties in West France and vice versa.
  15. Monter Well-Known Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    Define Germany, does the HRE counts?
  16. Rdffigueira A citizen of the Southern Hemisphere

    Nov 14, 2014
    That's great. This a POD I wanted to explore in a TL someday, WI Otto never ressurrected the HRE, but instead remained solely the King of Germany. It could very well permit a very early formation of Germany and, also likely, of Italy, which existed still as a Kingdom under the Unruochings.

    We can simply get rid of Adelaide altogether, and have Berengar actually found a dynasty in Italy. This might do the trick for both nations.
  17. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

    Mar 12, 2019
    That's basically what I was saying. In TTL, this hypothetical king of Francia and Italy would want to conquer Burgundy to effectively rule. And then probably set up Provence as a capital since it would be the best place between the kingdoms. Or somewhere in Switzerland
  18. Mario Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2013
    In fact, the early HRE encompassed all the German-speaking lands (even the 'German in broad sense' ones like Switzerland and the Low Countries), something that the later German Empire did not.

    If that 'King of Francia, Burgundy and Italy' would move the capital to the Mediterranean coast, he could say goodbye to their lands north of the Loire.

    Something like this map:

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019 at 3:14 PM
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  19. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

    May 4, 2009
    Santa Marta,Magdalena,West Venezuela
    Maybe more succesful Arabs push the franks to the Rhine and we sees a 'germany, as that map?
  20. Prince de Pringondani Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2014
    IMO it would be the United Kingdom of Aquitania Burgundy and Italia because it has hardly any real Frankish territories (Neustrian or Austrasian)