Harsher Prague Peace?

Hey Guys,

I realise that the Peace of Prague was about as harsh as Bismark was willing to go, and I don't doubt that it'd be highly implausible for it to have been any harsher with Bismark steering the peace, however as a thought exercise how harsh could it have been?

IOTL it was fairly lenient on Austria, but if someone other than Bismark had been running the peace, or if Bismark was somehow willing to go the harshest he could possibly go, what would the peace have looked like?
 

yourworstnightmare

Banned
Donor
Well annexation of Bohemia- Moravia and Austrian Silesia would have been maximum harshness from Prussia. However that would steer Austria to the French camp.
 

MSZ

Banned
Annexing Austrian Silesia is completly within the scope of possibilities, as was surrendering some dalmatian territories together with Venice to France.

As a thought exercise, it could have been harsher if more powers got involved in the conflict - or even if it just lasted longer. Czechia going to Germany, Galicia to Russia, Transylvania to Romania (if they got involved) are possibilties.
 

yourworstnightmare

Banned
Donor
Annexing Austrian Silesia is completly within the scope of possibilities, as was surrendering some dalmatian territories together with Venice to France.

As a thought exercise, it could have been harsher if more powers got involved in the conflict - or even if it just lasted longer. Czechia going to Germany, Galicia to Russia, Transylvania to Romania (if they got involved) are possibilties.
For that Russia and Romania need to enter the conflict. And if Austria seems to be losing on all fronts the Magyars would revolt (since the Dual Monarchy was not yet in place).
 
I think some of these proposals are a bit "over the top".

Afaik, even King Wilhelm wanted only Austrian Silesia and a border strip in Bohemia and possibly Moravia - something approximating to what was later called the Sudetenland - plus the Kingdom of Saxony. I've not heard of anybody calling for the annexation of all Bohemia.

The King's terms would have left Austria still a great power, though a disgruntled one.
 
Bismarck didn't want to destroy Austria. King Wilhelm's feeling's to Austria may have changed had Austria's survival been in danger. Both Austria and Prussia had an interest in stemming Slav nationalism. Both and Russia had an interest in preventing the rise of Polish nationalism. The death of Austria would unleash these asperations.

Bismarck wanted peace quickly because he couldn't be sure Prussia could win. The Hanoverian army defeated a Prussian army twice its size early on.
It's possible the Hannoverian could have escaped to Bavaria. There was the danger of Austrian reinforcements from the Italian front, and Prussia didn't have an easy time of it against the Austrians. Battle of Trautenau - Austrian victory, plus the Austrians successfully defend Bratislava against Prussia.

If Prussia hadn't settled when they did, they may have been defeated.
 
A harsher peace would simply put the Hapsburgs backs up and lead back into conflict. Austria would call on her allies, and France at least would answer the call, not wanting all of the German states to fall to Prussia. Even IOTL Louis-Napoléon nearly invaded at the height of the Austro-Prussian War so if Prague turned into merely a temporary ceasefire instead of a peace settlement you'd likely see French troops on the Rhine within weeks.
 

Eurofed

Banned
A feasible PoD for Prussia making harsher demands would be Italy winning a clear victory at Custoza (extremely feasible with a couple tweaks in the Italian High Command) and Lissa not happening as a result.

This would leave Austria without an intact army and on the brink of military collapse, making the Prussians feel much more secure, and the Italians enforce harsher peace demands (surely direct cession to Italy of Veneto and Trento and most likely Gorizia-Gradisca as well, but not South Tyrol or not Trieste). This in turn would drive the Prussian King and generals to overrule Bismarck and increase the demands of Prussia as well. Surely annexation of Saxony and Austrian Silesia, most likely the equivalent of the Sudetenland as well. Not Czechia, if nothing else because, as for Trieste, Napoleon III is going to apply diplomatic pressure and veto it.
 
I'm not sure what Prussia would have done if Austria was on the brink of collapse, none of Monarchies wanted republican nationalist revolts to break out.

Cant be sure also that France or Russia wouldnt intervene to prop up Austria.
 
I thought the French army was woefully unprepared for war in 1866.

Not in 1866; at that time the French army was at its peak. Now, by 1870 the monarchist-controlled Senate, to which Louis-Napoléon had delegated most of the day-to-day governing powers of the state as he grew older, sicker, and attempted to shift to a constitutional monarchy, had weakened the military by slashing the war budget and pruning the office corps that France was disastrously weak in the Franco-Prussian War. But in 1866 Louis-Napoléon still holds the greater total of the reigns of power, and above all Louis-Napoléon was a professional soldier.
 
I'm surprised, i keep reading about the sorry state of the French army in France at this time, some studies suggest only 100,000 troops would have been available to intervene on the Rhine. There seems to be a concensus that the Army was short of ammunition and other critical supplies.

Still, what do historians know, tut. :)

And just where did Napoleon III prove his military prowess, - ah, in the bathtub. :)
 

Eurofed

Banned
I'm not sure what Prussia would have done if Austria was on the brink of collapse, none of Monarchies wanted republican nationalist revolts to break out.

This is not 1848 anymore, and even then, the republicans were typically not the strongest faction. In the 1860s, the unifications of Germany and Hungary are happening under the helm of nice, safe, liberal-conservative Hohenzollern and Savoia monarchies. The Magyars magnates do not have any special republican sympathies, they may be expected to pick a king if Hungary breaks away, almost surely on their own initiative and certainly if the great powers tell them to.

If the Habsburg empire does collapse, you may surely expect it to be partitioned between Hohenzollern Greater Germany, Savoia Italy, Tsarist Russia, and the Kingdom of Hungary-Croatia.

Cant be sure also that France or Russia wouldnt intervene to prop up Austria.

Russia would not intervene to prop up Austria, it did it in 1849 and as a reward Austria embraced anti-Russian armed neutrality in the Crimean War, they are not going to do it again. If anything it would grab a piece in the partition with the other neighbor powers, and rejoice that it has lost its main rival for domination of the Balkans. France would, but in this scenario Napoleon III has been caught with the pants down, with no military preparations and the wrong diplomatic platform: he expected a limited Prussian-Italian victory that would allow him to play the umpire. He may be expected to make an hasty swing to a pro-Austrian stance and make diplomatic pressure on the victorious allies to rein in their extreme demands (Czechia, Trieste) but no more. Bismarck and the Italian government are going to heed it, since they'd rather not risk a two-front war with most of their forces deep within Austria, even if it's collapsing.

Prussia and Italy would still make much more gains than OTL (Saxony, Austrian Silesia, and Sudetenland; Trento and Gorizia-Gradisca). The shock of a double total defeat is most likely going to send Austria on a death spiral to domestic collapse in a few years, even if the peace allows them to temporarily pull the empire together. The Hungarians would make harsher demands than OTL, there would be a massive upsurge of Pan-German sentiment in German Austria, the Croats and Czechs would be more uncooperative, the few remaining Italians even more rebellious.

As it concerns France, Napoleon's pro-Austrian diplomatic intervention would win him no friends in Berlin or Florence. The Italo-Prussian alliance would get reaffirmed and emboldened, in a few years France shall face several issues of contention with it where Napoleon III cannot afford to compromise (Luxemburg, Rome, the Spanish Succession), usher in the Franco-Prussian/Italian War, and the rest is alt-history.
 
Last edited:
I'm surprised, i keep reading about the sorry state of the French army in France at this time, some studies suggest only 100,000 troops would have been available to intervene on the Rhine. There seems to be a concensus that the Army was short of ammunition and other critical supplies.

Still, what do historians know, tut. :)

And just where did Napoleon III prove his military prowess, - ah, in the bathtub. :)

Jacques Louis Randon, the French Minister of War in 1866, informed Louis-Napoléon on 3 July that '80,000 men could be concentrated on the Rhine immediately, and 250,000 in twenty days.' The French had plenty of ammunition and supplies. Again, this is 1866, not 1870; the French imperial army is at its peak right now. Look to its performance in the Mexican Intervention as a comparable scenario; there the French won every major battle and were well supplied; on a tactical level they never truly lost. Strategically speaking though the position wasn't sound with the republican Mexican rebels in the countryside and the Americans bringing their influence into the situation following their Civil War.

Also I think you're either ignorant of, ignoring, or dismissive of Louis-Napoléon many military successes (and failures). He was a soldier, and had from a very young age learned the tactical and strategic skills necessary to operate a modern campaign. Look to the French performance in the Second War of Italian Independence, which Louis-Napoléon personally led. The Crimean War was also a massive French success, and Louis-Napoléon skillfully handled both the diplomatic and militaristic aspects of that campaign from Paris.
 
I'm surprised, i keep reading about the sorry state of the French army in France at this time, some studies suggest only 100,000 troops would have been available to intervene on the Rhine. There seems to be a concensus that the Army was short of ammunition and other critical supplies.

Still, what do historians know, tut. :)

And just where did Napoleon III prove his military prowess, - ah, in the bathtub. :)
Supposedly in 1866 it had a "mobilisation figure of 290,000". It wasn't until after 1866 that Napoleon wanted that number increased to "at least 1,000,000".
 

Eurofed

Banned
Again, if you wish a somewhat harsher peace deal in 1866, the best way to do it is to make it a double-front Austrian defeat, rather than Prussia more greedy. This way, Austria is more screwed-up and the Italo-Prussians driven to and justified in making harsher demands, without making the Prussian military situation too vulnerable vs. the threat of a French intervention.

Of course Bismarck, much less the Italian government, would never gamble a two-front war with France, even if Austria is thoroughly defeated. All the same, if it does, even the threat of French intervention is not going to reset the peace deal all the way to OTL levels. The military and diplomatic balance of forces won't allow it.
 
Ok, i'm sold on the deeper defeat of Austria.

Hows this.

Russia siezes Galicia.
Bohemia Moravia becomes independent.
Prussia annexes all of Saxony.
Hungary becomes independent.
France recieves dalmatia ?.
Italy recives trieste and Tyrol.
Remnant Austria joins the German Confederation.

How realistic is this?.
 
Ok, i'm sold on the deeper defeat of Austria.

Hows this.

Russia siezes Galicia.
Bohemia Moravia becomes independent.
Prussia annexes all of Saxony.
Hungary becomes independent.
France recieves dalmatia ?.
Italy recives trieste and Tyrol.
Remnant Austria joins the German Confederation.

How realistic is this?.

Unless the Prussians have nuclear Airships that rain Greek fire, not plausible at all. The Prussians would have to had occupied all of the Austrian Empire, among other things. (No freaking way would the French get Dalmatia...)
 
Top