Habsburg Bavaria?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Magnum, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Magnum Well-Known Member

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    So as part of my recent trip to Bavaria, I got to learn about Karl Theodor, the 70 year old Wittelsbach ruler of Bavaria who died without a direct heir, and about his young wife who also acted to have a cadet branch quickly assume power upon the latter's death. Also read about the War of Bavarian Succession, which was more or less about this very issue of who should inherit Bavaria.

    So, without going into too many details of how it happened (smallest and latest possible POD), what are the consequences of Habsburg Austria gaining Bavaria at the end of the 18th Century?
     
  2. JackLumber Mildly belligerent Canuck

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    At the end of the 18th century ? Well I presume the Prussians would proceed to kick their teeth in and give Bavaria to whomever they pleased.

    To have any chance of holding Bavaria they need to get it before the Prussians have eclipsed them.
     
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  3. Benevolence Well-Known Member

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    Might I suggest keeping Bavaria in the WoSS and giving the Bavarian Wittlesbachs Sicily or Sardinia, if more petty the Kingdom of Majorca (gets the king title he always wanted, but it's a small not rich island)
     
  4. Jürgen Well-Known Member

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    As I see there's 2-3 times this could happen

    1: In the War of Spanish Succession, here the Autrians could pretty much get away with confiscate Bavaria.
    2: War of Bavarian Succession
    3: If the French Revolution are avoided or defeated in 1799 with the new Bavarian Succession crisis.

    I think 2 would be the best, the POD could either be that Maria Theresa died early or that she supported her son's attempt to gain Bavaria.

    In case number one we see a bigger and bloodier War of Bavarian Succession.

    In case number two, we see better diplomacy behind the attempt to gain Bavaria. We likely see Bavaria plus Jülich-Berg traded for the Austrian Netherlands, which are raised to kingdom status. The Austrians gives up Jülich-Berg to the Prussians against them recognise Austrian annexation of Bavaria. The Habsburg also recognise any future sale/annexation of Ansbach-Bayreuth to Prussia. Saxony get bribedby the Habsburg supporting one of their princes becoming prince-bishops of one of the major prince-bishoprics.

    So no War of Austrian Succession. So what do this mean for the reign of Joseph II, well his reforms get a lot easier, while he still have to deal with OTL revolts, not having to move soldiers to the Austrian Netherlands make it easier for him to put them down. Also Bavaria are pretty lousy area to revolt in, so it's likely a relative peaceful area. So in general I see himforcing his reforms down into the throats of his subjects. This means that Austria will be a relative unitarian state moving into the 1790ties. He's also less likely to start a war with the Turks, so Austria don't have that disaster. His land reforms will remove power from the Hungarian and Galician nobility and his ecclessial reforms will likely create a kind of Austrian Catholic Church. While the peasants was unhappy over the latter, his land reforms will likely be very popular in the 1790ties, when the peasantry see the effects, which makes a new uprising hard. His ecclessial reforms which includes making the clergy civil servants and removing celibacy, will help benefit Austria in the 19th century, as it strengthen the state but also help create academic families (in Lutheran countries the priestly family produced a lot of lawyers and other civil servants). The push of German as the official language will push for more widespread use of German and help creating a kind of Austrian nationalism for the entire empire. The survival of Joseph for longer will also help Leopold II alive in Italy, Leopold was pretty competent and would likely do a lot to keep the French out, but moreso it would keep Francis II away from the throne a little longer, and if he see his uncle having success with his liberal policies, there's a good chance that Francis will stay more liberal (as he was in his youth, before he saw his uncle's failures and spend 23 years fighting the forces of liberalism).
     
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  5. unprincipled peter Well-Known Member

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    pretty much all of Europe, including Russia was against Austria gaining Bavaria in the WoBS. Prussia is the only one to put up arms, but Russia was threatening to get involved and France was voicing displeasure. France had it's eyes set on the American Revolution, but if Austria got more serious about getting Bavaria, France is likely to dump the Americans and attend to matters closer to home.

    There's a reason Joseph II backed down, and that's because he saw everyone was against him. Going to take some serious diplomacy to avoid that.
     
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  6. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member

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    What about the Bavarian-Belgian exchange? Prussia has to agree, of course.
     
  7. Marquis de Lafyatette Well-Known Member

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    There are multiple historical inaccuracies that surround the Austrian acquisition of Bavaria.

    1: Austria had no interest in Bavaria during the War of the Spanish Succession. Austria desired more than anything the rich Spanish holdings in Italy, not the poor, War ravaged Bavaria. Thus you would have to make some major changes to the War of the Spanish Succession to make Austria's acquisition of Bavaria at all plausible.

    2. What really needs to be cleared up is what Joseph II wanted versus what he was willing to do to get it. Joseph wanted all of Bavaria, but once his wife died he lost almost any potential ability to claim all of Bavaria. Instead he found an ancient claim for Lower Bavaria. He offered Charles Theodore unhindered succession to the electorate in return for the cession of Lower Bavaria. Joseph never had any intention of ceding any land to Charles Theodore. It was only Charles Theodore who had hoped that Joseph might. Joseph's intention was always to increase Austria's power and ceding the rich Austrian Netherlands did not seem to advance that goal.

    If you want Austria to gain Bavaria after Max's death you have to keep Joseph's wife alive and give the couple offspring. Joseph can then claim Bavaria for the child. He of course will start a war against Prussia it's allies, Saxony, Bavaria, and perhaps Russia as a result of this. This is a war Austria will lose, not because of the Prussians as some expect but because of the Russians. At this time Russia has the most formidable army in Europe and when unhindered and crush any foe.

    France was already far too entangled with the American conflict to do anything about Bavaria.

    That exchange was never going to happen and is a myth.
     
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  8. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member

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    It is? I'm quite sure they had it planned, but Prussia objected and started the Fürstenbund...
     
  9. Marquis de Lafyatette Well-Known Member

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    It is. Joseph offered to not hinder Charles inheriting Bavaria in exchange for Lower Bavaria. Charles wanted to also get some of the Aistrian Netherlands o the side, but Joseph didn't even ask acknowledge it.
     
  10. Simon Thread Killer Extraordinaire

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    How wealthy were the Kingdom of Sicily and the Kingdom of Naples versus the northern Italian states at the time?
     
  11. Marquis de Lafyatette Well-Known Member

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    Naples was quite wealthy similar to the northern Italian states, Sicily much less so.
     
  12. Simon Thread Killer Extraordinaire

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    Hhmm. On the one hand Siciliy as a kingdom would technically be a promotion over an electorate, on the other as you say Naples is fairly wealthy, on the gripping hand with the Papal States being in the way the Habsburg hold was always never that firm.
     
  13. Benevolence Well-Known Member

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    Yes, completely true. However maybe of someone pushes for it with Charles it may fly. It was kind of already within French & British assumptions that Austria may keep Bavaria and so provisions were made that the former elector would receive Sardinia. Also I can't recall who but there was a member of the Austrian court during Joseph I & Charles VI reign who recognised that Austria really couldn't hold much of what she was aiming for. If said person (I'm still trying to find the source link) were to convince Archduke Charles (difficult, I know) it could work. Plus given Bavaria's state after the pillaging done (to convince the elector to switch sides) they could use that as a bargaining chip for other lands (say territory France has recently annexed from the former Spanish nederlands) just a thought, may not be plausible though
     
  14. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    "Austria" becomes a substantially larger part of Germany, with various down the line effects.

    There is also a possible effect when the HRE gets consolidated and reorganized circa 1800. At this time, the HRE's ecclesiastical states were secularized, and most of HRE's petty states were annexed to larger states; also most of the Imperial cities and the domains of Imperial Knights. Many exclaves were also consolidated into neighboring states.

    Before all this, the Habsburgs held a fair amount of land in SW Germany - i.e. north of Switzerland, along the upper Rhine and around the upper Danube. This territory was a collection of small non-contiguous fiefdoms, well separated from the main Hapsburg realm of Austria/Tyrol/Vorarlberg/Styria/Carniola/Carinthia. It's designated "Hither Austria" on some old maps. In 1800-1809, the Habsburgs ceded all this land, which was (along with the petty states in the area) added to the Grand Duchy of Baden and the Kingdom of Wurttemberg. It doesn't appear they much cared, and they couldn't do much about it with Bavaria in the way.

    If the Habsburgs have Bavaria, that's a potential link of these lands to the Habsburg "mainland". So instead of letting them go in the consolidation period, the Habsburgs may keep them and also add the surrounding petty states. This would further expand "Austria" in Germany.

    Another effect is that Habsburg Bavaria is unlikely to acquire Franconia or the upper valley of the Main river.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  15. Socrates Well-Known Member

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    If you break Prussia as a power during the 7YW, which is easy enough, this becomes a lot more likely. France and Russia would still not like it, but gains for them elsewhere, or defeat in a war, could allow it to happen.
     
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  16. JackLumber Mildly belligerent Canuck

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    That is indeed the key, Prussia as long as it is able will do what it can to stop the Habsburgs from getting Bavaria and will likely have no shortage of benefactors to this end.
    If you want this to happen the Hohenzollerns will need to be cowed