Ich Bin Ein Frankfurter - The Revolution of 1848 Unites Germany (actual timeline)

[FONT=&quot]OOC: Stay tuned for the sequel, "Ich Bin Ein Hamburger".
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[FONT=&quot]The initial, seemingly minor point of divergence for this timeline is a random Russian serf catching a nasty case of tuberculosis and dying. However, before his death, he passes on the disease to several people. One of these people is the land-owner and serf overseer. Eventually, after 6 months of going around, the tuberculosis reaches Nicholas, Tsar of Russia on January 12, 1848. The disease leaves the Russian leader incapacitated and bedridden for the next two years.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]The timing of the Tsar’s illness could not have been more ominous. Just a few days later, a revolution breaks out in the Two Sicilies. The people have risen up and are demanding democracy and liberty. Many other nations across Europe are stricken with revolution as well: France, Prussia, Austria, Hungary and the Balkans just to name a few. When news of the Tsar’s illness reaches Poland, they revolt as well; believing that Russia’s weakened leadership at this time may result in a greater chance of any revolution in Poland being a success, they rise up.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Throughout 1848 and 1849, Austria is wracked with revolution, both in Vienna and in the Hungarian territories. Due to increased strife on the home-front due to the revolutionaries being emboldened by the incapacitation of Russia, the “Gendarme of Europe”, the Hungarian diet withdraws its regiments earlier than in our universe, thereby weakening military commander Josef Radetsky’s position against Sardinia in the First Italian War of Independence.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]One of the most interesting cases is the revolution in Germany. After establishing a parliament in Frankfurt and writing up a constitution that, among other things, declares freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, suffrage and weapons ownership as rights, the parliamentarians go before the King of Prussia, Freidrich Wilhelm IV, and offer him a crown – the crown of the German Empire. Friedrich did not want to accept the crown initially; his pride as a Prussian and his stiff reactionary tendencies made him question the idea of uniting Germany under a crown crafted by the lower and middle classes rather than the aristocracy and nobility.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]However, the weakness of Russia at this time, and by extension that of Austria, was a factor he was forced to take into account. Had Russia and Austria still been strong, he could merely have turned down the crown on the basis that Russia and Austria would intervene to preserve the balance of power in Europe. He could not make such an excuse now. Additionally, he also came to the conclusion that, if he, as German Emperor, could establish his Prussian influence throughout the German states, he could completely neutralize Austrian influence in Germany once the revolutions came to an end.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Thus, history reaches a turning point of what later generations would see as mammoth proportions. Somewhat begrudgingly, the King of Prussia accepts the crown of the Frankfurt Parliament. Though, in order to ensure the co-operation of the most potent force in Prussian politics, the landed aristocracy known as the Junkers, Freidrich Wilhelm seeks guarantees of their land rights within Prussia before accepting the crown. The parliament agrees to this condition.[/FONT]
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As the Frankfurt Parliament is being established, the Schleswig War breaks out. The Prussians move to support the Schleswig-Holsteinian forces. FW IV's acceptance of the German crown from the Frankfurt Parliament comes at a critical point in the war, and other German countries begin to join with Prussia in the war against Denmark. This, combined with solid Prussian leadership, turns the tide of the war. After seeing the solid performance of the Prussian-led German forces against Denmark, Württemberg and the Bavarians also decide to join forces with this new German state.

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[FONT=&quot]Meanwhile, after a defeat at the battle of Custoza at the hands of Charles Albert, King of Sardinia due to the lack of the Hungarian regiments, the Austrians are forced to withdraw, handing the Sardinian-led Italian forces the lands of Lombardy and Venetia. A nationalistic fervour sweeps the region as a result of the liberation of these territories from the Austrians, and negotiations regarding the establishment of a unified Italian nation ensue.

However, these negotiations are not 100% successful. Both the Papal States and the Two Sicilies, being generally against the liberal movement, are unwilling to give up their territories to form a unified Italian state. Thus, a three-state solution emerges. The Papal States and the Two Sicilies each maintain their then-current territories, while the kingdoms of northern Italy, from Piedmont-Sardinia in the north to Tuscany in the south, unify into the Kingdom of North Italy, a unitary monarchy under the rule of the House of Savoy and with the Albertine Statute as its constitution.

The Papal States are briefly displaced by a Roman Republic after Pope Pius IX flees during 1848. However, a newly-elected Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, seeing an opportunity to not only improve his standing amongst France’s Catholics, but also to counter the balance of power on the Italian peninsula, deploys troops to the Roman Republic to restore the Pope’s authority. However, without significant Austrian assistance due to increased Austrian instability, this takes two months longer than in OTL. However, with the Papal States unstable during this time, the Kingdom of North Italy takes this opportunity to seize the territories of Romagna, Umbria and Marche.

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies did not last long; though - the liberalization and unification of North Italy stirred up nationalist sentiment in the region to an extreme level. By mid-1850, the Two Sicilies were completely overrun by the revolutionaries. Ferdinand II had fled the country, and, much like with the Papal States in 1848, a liberal republican government emerged after the monarch's departure. However, Ferdinand would not be as fortunate as Pius, with the Two Sicilies monarch receiving no help from the French. This republican government, seeing the French presence in the Papal States as a threat and vying for Italian unification, opted to become part of North Italy by the end of 1850. The Kingdom of North Italy is promptly renamed the United Kingdom of Italy.

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[FONT=&quot]Back in Austria, the stresses exerted on the nation from Hungarian and Italian nationalists and the insurrection in Vienna, combined with a distinct lack of Russian assistance and a refusal by the Austrian Emperor, Ferdinand I, to abdicate in favour of his more competent relative, have proven too much for the Habsburgs and their empire. The Austrian empire collapses, leaving the surrounding nations to pick up the pieces. Following negotiations, Germany formally accepts Austria and Bohemia as its newest member-states, with Ferdinand I as both King of Austria and King of Bohemia (the two territories are in personal union). The newly-independent and republican Hungary, with Lajos Kossuth as its head of state, moves to seize Galicia and Bukovina, as well as most of Croatia (excepting the coastal region of Dalmatia). The Kingdom of North Italy, in turn, moves to annex Trentino, Kustenland and Dalmatia.

Finally, after a long illness, Nicholas I perishes in late 1850, at the age of 54. His son, Alexander II, replaces him shortly afterwards. Being significantly less reactionary than his father and recognizing the need to gain the co-operation of the (now-liberal) Germans and Italians in order to make expansion into the Balkans run more smoothly for Russia, Tsar Alexander II opens up negotiations with both countries for a defense treaty, or, at the very least, a neutrality agreement in 1851. These negotiations would not conclude until over a year had passed.

Seeing the presence of France and Great Britain as a threat to their recent unification, the German Empire and the United Kingdom of Italy enter negotiations for an alliance in 1851. By early 1852, a deal, the Berlin Treaty of 1852, is reached - a mutual defense treaty, where, if one member of the treaty is attacked, the other nation must come to its defense; however, if the party calling upon the treaty is the aggressor nation, there exists no defense obligation. Russia refocuses its efforts into becoming a member of this new alliance.

In late 1852, almost two years to the day that Alexander II took the throne, Russia secures membership in the defense pact with Italy and Germany, hoping to deter French or British interference during any Russian activities in the Balkans in the near future.[/FONT]
 
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[FONT=&quot]In December 1851, in the third year of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte's term as president of France, Bonaparte attempts to launch a coup in order to establish an authoritarian regime, with all real political power within his hands. However, whilst the coup is successful, it is not as stable due to a more prominent radical-liberal movement in France ITTL courtesy of the successful nature of the 1848 Italian, Hungarian and German revolutions. Napoleon III goes on to establish the Second Empire via referendum in December 1852, much like in OTL, albeit with a lot less support from the left and through a reliance on conservatives and reactionaries instead.

A few years later, in 1857, the Germany-Italy-Russia alliance faces its first test. Since 1854, the Russians, Germans and Italians have been covertly collaborating to destabilize the Balkans, the chief objective being to weaken the position of the Ottoman Empire in the region, allowing for the Russians, Germans and Italians to expand their influence in the region.

The Italians have, through their ports in Dalmatia, been supplying nationalist revolutionaries in Montenegro with arms, as well as providing logistical support. Likewise, the Russians have been arming expatriate Wallachian liberal forces in republican Hungary, who had fled there after the failure of the 1848 revolutions in the Danubian provinces, where they have been plotting a potential future Wallachian revolution ever since. The Germans, hoping to gain favor with its new allies, has been providing both Russia and Italy with its Dreyse Needle Gun, one of the most advanced infantry rifles of the day, for distribution to the various rebel forces.

It all starts in 1857. A rebellion begins in Bucharest, Wallachia, with locals demanding the withdrawal of Ottoman troops from the region and for greater Wallachian independence from the Empire. Soon after, a similar rebellion begins in Montenegro, with similar demands being issued. The Principality of Serbia also becomes hostile to the local Ottoman garrisons. The expatriated liberals in Hungary make their move, invading Wallachia under the leadership of 1848 revolutionary Alexandru Ioan Cuza. In Montenegro, Prince Danilo announces his support for the rebel forces, declares total independence from Ottoman suzerainty, and the establishment of the Kingdom of Montenegro, and himself king.

The Serbians, eager for an opportunity to weaken Ottoman influence in the Balkans, declares its support for the Wallachian and Montenegrin rebels, and mobilizes its own forces in support. Additionally, upon hearing of the rebellions in the Balkans, separatist Serbs in Serbian Banat (a Hungarian possession at this time) mobilize, entering the Principality of Serbia to attack the more isolated Ottoman positions.

At this point, the Russians ask that they comply with the rebels' demands and withdraw their forces from these regions. A Russian military force in Bessarabia is on standby at this point, ready to enforce Russia's ultimatum if the Ottomans deny it.[/FONT]
 
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The Italians join the Russian position on the matter, with Garibaldi declaring Italy's intention to stand by the Montenegrans against "the Asian tyrants who have oppressed the Balkans for so long" if the Ottomans fail to comply with Russia's request, and calls for the establishment of a legion of volunteers for this mission. Germany, Russia's other major European ally, adds that if France or Britain make any incursion upon Russian or Italian territory in order to stop their Balkan operations from proceeding, Germany would consider it an act of aggression, resulting in the terms of the German-Russo-Italian defense pact, AKA the Berlin Treaty of 1852, coming into effect.

Meanwhile, the French and British Empires declare their intent to support the Ottomans against the rebels and the Russian ultimatum. However, while France stands 100% ready to fight, the British find themselves preoccupied with the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and thus can only put forward a fraction of the forces they would have normally.

There was a somewhat-brief standoff between the main European powers over the matter. Ottoman forces, defying the Russian ultimatum, tighten their grip in the rebellious regions and attempt to wipe out the resistance there, starting in late May of 1857. Part of the Ottoman anti-revolutionary campaign in Wallachia results in a number of Ottoman atrocities, mainly carried out by the bashi-bazouks. This included several mass-killings in the region, as well as war rapes.

The Ottoman crackdown spurs Russia into action, and they cross the Danube into Wallachia and Moldavia to fight the Ottoman forces. Whilst their outdated equipment and the inefficiency of the serfs as a fighting force hold them back severely, their presence, combined with the intensity of the rebellion, forces the Ottomans to withdraw.

Meanwhile, on the western Balkan front, Montenegrin forces have, with Italian backing, expelled the majority of Ottoman troops from their territory and gone on the offensive, invading neighboring Albania and capturing the town of Scutari, even going so far as to pose a threat to Durazzo.

Seeing this quick degradation of the situation, Britain and France issue their own ultimatum to the Italians and Russians - withdraw from Montenegro, Wallachia and Moldavia. To reinforce this point, French and British naval units hold exercises in the Black Sea, preparing for a potential invasion of the Crimean peninsula. In response, Russian and German ships visit Italian ports in Dalmatia, to reinforce the solidarity between the three allied nations.

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[FONT=&quot]After a series of diplomatic notes going back and forth between all nations involved, Emperor Frederick William of Germany sends Queen Victoria a personal letter in December 1857, calling for a pan-European summit regarding the matter to be held in a neutral country, in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Matters to be addressed would include the future status of the Ottoman Empire and its various suzerainties, the matter of international access to the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits, as well as the internationalization of the Danube river.

With Britain not truly willing or prepared to go to war at this point, Victoria agrees to the Kaiser's proposal. The two nations then go about persuading their respective allies to do likewise, in order to avert a total European war. With the agreement of France, Italy and Russia to the idea of a Dutch-hosted summit regarding the Eastern Question, the Amsterdam Summit is set to begin.

The summit commences on January 19, 1858. The terms laid out over the next two months are not particularly favorable to either of the two alliances, and the Treaty of Amsterdam will inevitably be seen by history as a mere stopgap measure. This is no surprise - each nation enters the negotiations with their own aims. The British and French are mostly interested in keeping the Ottoman Empire alive, and to deny the Russians an easy way to Constantinople. This clashes directly with the Russians' aims, who wish for nothing more than to crush the Ottomans, seize Constantinople and legitimize their claimed status as the "Third Rome".

On the other hand, the Italians and Germans, being new imperial powers, wish mostly to maneuver this newest asset, the Balkans, in such a way as to advantage themselves whilst not conforming too strictly to the desires of the British. Additionally, whilst generally supportive of their eastern ally, they do not want Russian influence to swell to such a point where it would threaten their own Balkan assets - Dalmatia, Hungary, Montenegro and Albania.

Eventually, despite all their differences, a number of terms are agreed upon by the six nations.[/FONT]
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·[FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Wallachia and Moldavia are united to form a new entity, Romania, which is effectively independent. The popularly acclaimed Alexandru Cuza is to become king. The Romanian assembly will propose a constitution to be approved by the six powers at a later date.[/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot](Ottoman) Serbia is also formally recognized as independent. Additionally, a referendum will be held in the Serbian Banat and in Serbia proper to approve unification of the territories as the Kingdom of Serbia. However, unification and independence comes with the provision that Serbia is not to annex neighboring territories under Italian or Hungarian influence or control, such as Montenegro, Syrmia or Backa.[/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]A European prince is to be chosen by the powers as king of the united Serbia. Additionally, a constitution, drawn up by the Serbians, will be forwarded to the six powers at a later date.[/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Montenegro gains the port of Scutari and the independence of the Kingdom of Montenegro is recognized. However, the Treaty of Amsterdam prohibits any union with Serbia. Montenegro will abide by the same regulations as Serbia in regards to the establishment of a constitution.[/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]The Danube River is to be internationalized and opened to all shipping.[/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]The status quo ante bellum of the Turkish Straits stands, with the terms of the London Straits Convention still in force.[/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Russia is appointed as protector of the Christian population in Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia. Italy is given the same rights and responsibilities in Bosnia.[/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Russia and France share equal rights in the administration of the Holy Places in Palestine.[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]The British sign off on these terms with little disagreement. The Russians, though disappointed with this Treaty's handling of the Straits Question may be unhappy, but does not have the military or diplomatic support it needs to change it. However, they are happy for a free hand they have been granted in Bulgaria. Germany and Italy are satisfied with the outcome.

Hungary, though it has lost the Serbian Banat, has gained the internationalization of the Danube. The Ottoman Empire, while it has lost the North Balkans to these various independence movements, has not conceded much else. Neither of these countries raises too many complaints, and sign quickly enough.

However, the real problems behind the conflict are still unresolved; additionally, the Russians now have the window they need to start infiltrating Bulgaria. Germany, wishing to avoid a complete Russian hegemony in the Balkans, starts to build diplomatic ties with Romania over the coming months.

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I think that's enough for now. I've got about 10 more pages worth written up, but I don't think I should post it all at once just yet. It may obscure any criticism or comments on what I've posted thus far.

What do you think?
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[FONT=&quot]The newly-independent and republican Hungary, with Franz Lajos Kossuth as its head of state, moves to seize Galicia and Bukovina, as well as most of Croatia (excepting the coastal region of Dalmatia).[/FONT]
Why is Kossuth named Franz Lajos now? And wasnt Croatia part of Hungary back then? Anyway, great work, looking forward to the rest.
 
I'm really digging this. I'm a Monday morning forty-eighter myself.

One quibble: I'm not sure, but I do believe that in OTL the revolutionary parliament offered the crown to the Hapsburgs first, then the Hohenzollern. Of course in TTL they could just refuse it as OTL and then the parliament turns to Prussia...
 
[FONT=&quot]Here's some more.

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Alexander II, after hearing of the poor performance of Russian forces in the Balkans, especially with regard to the serfs' performance, begins a massive reform program in Russia. With Italian and especially German help, the Russians modernize their military, adopting modern European tactics and training, as well as gaining access to modern rifled musket and even breech-loading technology.

In exchange, the Russians, wishing to be able to project naval power beyond the Black Sea without breaching the Treaty of Amsterdam, help to solidify the comparatively weak naval forces of the Italian and German navies, transforming their relatively young navies over the next few years.

The most important reform comes in Russia in mid-1860, when Alexander II formally signs the Emancipation Reform of 1860, freeing the serfs of private land holders and granting them rights. The timing of this reform could not have come at a more curious date, with another debate, half a world away, regarding the status of forced laborers and the rights of governments and private individuals to decide their fate is about to spill over into a bloody civil war.

[/FONT][FONT=&quot]After the election of Abraham Lincoln, candidate for the pro-abolitionist Republican Party, to the presidency, the South becomes worried. They fear that a pro-abolitionist president may breach what they consider their rights as separate states and push through anti-slavery laws in the emerging states and territories, and, eventually, through their own lands. Not willing to let themselves become part of this federal subjugation, seven states officially secede from the United States of America between Lincoln's election victory and his inauguration.

The civil war between the now-divided America begins with the Battle of Fort Sumter, a victory for the Confederates and the casus belli Lincoln needs to declare war against the South, to re-establish the territorial integrity of the Union by force. This conflict draws the interest of the rival European powers, who all mull the implications of siding with either the Union or Confederacy.

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[FONT=&quot]The British and French seriously consider the idea of open, albeit indirect assistance to the Confederacy, in the form of volunteer forces, naval vessels sold with a sharp mark-down in price, and general blockade running. Hearing word of this, the Russians, Italians and Germans all openly declare their support for the Union, and begin small-scale shipments of supplies and arms. Germany and Italy also offer some of their most experienced generals and military experts, including Italy's Garibaldi, a veteran of the Montenegro campaign. This is an offer which the Union, somewhat lacking in proper military leadership, gladly accepts.

When the Trent Affair takes a turn for the worse in November 1861, it becomes the tipping point for the British. Delays in releasing the Confederate diplomats beyond those of OTL drive Britain to the brink of war with the Union. Whilst open war is averted, the combination of delays in prisoner release and news of low-level German, Russian and Italian intervention on the side of the Union leads to Britain being much less open to Union apologies than in OTL.

They begin to openly flaunt the blockade of the Confederacy, increasing merchant shipping to the South exponentially. At one point, they even go so far as to deliver one of their newest ironclad vessels to the Confederacy with a serious discount. France's Napoleon III goes even further; he sends more troops to Mexico to expand imperialist aims there, whilst at the same time deploying a large portion of France's available naval assets to force the Union's blockade of the Confederacy. A French volunteer corps is also deployed to assist the Confederate efforts on the ground.

When news of a series of Confederate victories against Union forces reach France in early 1863, they take one last step against the Union - they recognize the independence of the CSA. Hostilities between the American and French, and by proxy with Britain (France's main ally at the time), degenerate even more swiftly than before. The Union cuts diplomatic ties with France, halves grain shipments to Britain and calls upon the Russians, Germans and Italians for further military aid.

The Berlin Treaty members are quick to respond, and increase shipments of arms and other materiel to the Union. The three nations also deploy additional volunteer corps to directly assist them against the Confederacy. The increase in foreign intervention in the conflict results in the Civil War dragging on until November 1866, when General Robert E. Lee formally surrenders the military of the Confederacy to the Union. The CSA collapses quickly afterwards, and is formally dissolved on 31 December, 1866.

In part to recoup losses incurred by military intervention in the United States and also to help fund liberal reforms back home, Russia offers the colony of Alaska for sale for an initial asking price of 7 million US dollars. However, America, weary from its civil military conflict, bargains with the Russians, with the selling price eventually agreed upon being a mere 5.2 million US dollars in March of 1868.

Still in need of further funds, Russia turns next to its close ally, Germany. Kamchatka, one of Russia's furthest-east holdings, was once a significant stop-over point for shipments to and from Russian America. With Alaska having been transferred to US control, though, it has lost a great deal of its utility. Additionally, an attack on one of the peninsula's major forts by Japanese naval forces while the American Civil War was ongoing (the attack the result of a completely separate conflict over the Kuril island chain), whilst eventually repulsed, revealed the vulnerability of such a far-flung colony to the Russians.

Thus, the peninsula was offered to the Germans for the asking price of a mere 3.1 million Goldmarks. Germany, wishing to establish international prestige as a colonial power, as well as to secure its position as a blue-water naval force, responds by asking for, in addition to Kamchatka, the portion of the Kuril Island chain then controlled by Russia, as well as basing rights out of the Russian port of Vladivostok, for a total asking price of 4 million Goldmarks.

Much like the Alaska Purchase in the United States, the sale is controversial. The incumbent government believes that it is a good idea, citing the potential of not only military projection, but also of trade with the United States. The chairman, Otto von Bismarck, of the main German opposition party, the German National Party [1], was strongly opposed to the purchase, however, as well as the concept of colonial expansion anywhere beyond Europe. He wished to focus attention towards domestic issues, such as managing relations with Britain and ensuring the continuation of the Berlin Treaty alliance.

Regardless, the German government goes ahead with their offer to purchase Kamchatka, the Kurils and obtain leasing rights for Vladivostok. The Russians, needing the money to finalise Alexander II's many social, economic, military and infrastructure reforms, agree, and authority over Kamchatka and the northern Kurils, along with basing rights in Vladivostok, is conveyed in February 1869. German Siberia, as the Kamchatka-Kurils colony is soon titled, will be the first of many German colonies around the globe.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]

[1] - The German National Party is a pro-monarchy right-of-centre political party, and Germany's third-oldest and second-largest political party ITTL. Its main support comes from the upper-middle and upper classes; its core demographic the landed aristocracy. Its political ideology is described by party chairman and founder Otto von Bismarck as what he calls "Realpolitik".
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Why is Kossuth named Franz Lajos now? And wasnt Croatia part of Hungary back then? Anyway, great work, looking forward to the rest.
OTL his name was Franz Lajos Kossuth.

And Croatia was IOTL loyal to Austria, rather than the Hungarian revolutionaries; assuming TTL goes kinda similar to the Hungarian revolt's early stages, then Kossuth's Hungary will likely move to occupy Croatia.
 
[FONT=&quot]Another post. What do you think?

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Whilst these things have been happening overseas, a great deal has also occurred back on the home front between the Great Powers. Throughout the time of the American Civil War, which had essentially become a European weapons and tactics testing ground, tensions between the Berlin Treaty alliance and the Anglo-French became more and more strained.

It was this strain in relations, in addition to controversy over the Kamchatka Purchase, that led to the election of Otto von Bismarck as German chancellor in early 1868. His "Realpolitik" holds great appeal with those German citizens concerned with the uncertainties of European relations. The timing of the election comes at a crucial point, as well.

In the months leading up to the election, a dispute over the status of Luxembourg between Germany and France had been heating up. Luxembourg had been part of the German customs union since the days of the German Confederation, before the establishment of the German Empire. This economic agreement remained after German unification in the late 1840s and early 1850s, though Luxembourg was allowed to remain independent (though still in a personal union with the Netherlands via the monarchy). The Prussians (and later, Germans) still stationed a garrison of troops in Luxembourg, nevertheless.

The French, wishing to circumvent the threat of another German-friendly nation on their borders, asked to purchase Luxembourg from the Netherlands for 5,000,000 guilders. While the Netherlands had no qualms about the deal, the Germans did. Whilst the French had been negotiating for the purchase of Luxembourg, the Germans had been in talks with government officials in Luxembourg itself, arranging a military defense pact.

The Germans decried the French attempt to purchase Luxembourg, claiming it to be an expansionist act of agression and an infringement on the rights of the Luxembourg residents. In order to cool tensions and to tone down the apparent expansionism, Napoleon III responded by calling on the Germans to withdraw their troops from Luxembourg, threatening military action if they did not comply.

The newly elected chancellor Bismarck, believing that the French would not follow through on their promise due to a combination of a lack of English support following France's diplomatic disaster in America and a lack of troops following the deployment of several volunteer regiments to the Confederacy, and believing that compromising with the French would weaken Germany's position in Europe, refused the French demands.

[/FONT] [FONT=&quot]Half of Bismarck's predictions came true. For, while France did not gain England's sympathies regarding this matter, the French nevertheless went on an offensive, declaring war on Germany and invading Luxembourg. This turned out to be disastrous for France, as Italy, wishing to expand into French-held territory without provoking Britain or the other powers by appearing aggressive or expansionist, sided with Germany and staged a counter-offensive south of Switzerland. Combined with a German counter-offensive which went beyond Luxembourg and into France itself, the French were forced to fight on two fronts. Russia, while supportive of the German position, did not declare war due to logistical issues and the fact that the terms of the Berlin Treaty did not actually come into effect in this instance.[/FONT]
 
Why do the British and French take a greater interest in meddling in the Civil War than in OTL?
Because there are some mishaps along the way when resolving the Trent Affair - bureaucratic delays due to butterflies, mostly. This leads to chilled relations between Britain and America. Anyway, alternate timelines are always more fun when the Monroe Doctrine is violated.
 
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I would not have expected the Czech lands to remain united with an Austrian state within the liberal German Empire of 1848.
 
I would not have expected the Czech lands to remain united with an Austrian state within the liberal German Empire of 1848.
At this time the Czech lands would still be seen as fairly German; Bohemia was a pretty fundamental part of the Holy Roman Empire so there's strong historical ties, and the area has a reasonably-sized German minority. The historical legacy, German population, and the economic value of holding Bohemia are probably enough when all put together to bring Bohemia into the new German state. Could be interesting to see how that develops.
 
[FONT=&quot]The war lasted 4 months, from 10 October 1868 to 14 February 1869. France, forced to fight on two fronts against the combined force of Italy and Germany, was no match. German battlefield prowess, an improved Italian Navy (thanks in part to Russian and, to a lesser extent, German assistance) and the lack of English intervention doomed the French position from the start.

Chief amongst the military tactics used by the Prussians was the ingenious use of railroad technology. This allowed the Prussians to respond exceptionally quickly to the French invasion of Luxembourg, transporting thousands of troops and vast quantities of materiel to the front-line to back up German garrisons already in Luxembourg. This innovation in the use of railroads and steam-driven trains for military purposes later on led to accelerated research into railroad and steam technology.

After the ceasefire of 14 February 1869, the Luxembourg City Conference was called to settle issues such as war reparations, annexation of land and, most importantly, the status of Luxembourg. After a month of negotiations between delegations from Germany, Italy, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, an agreement was worked out.[/FONT]

·[FONT=&quot]Germany was to gain the territories of Alsace and Lorraine[/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot]Italy was to annex the French Riviera and Corsica[/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot]Luxembourg was to remain an independent state[/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot]Luxembourg's personal union with the Netherlands was to end, and the nation would be assigned an independent monarch[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Until the new monarchy issue is settled, Luxembourg would be a protectorate of the Netherlands.[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]France was to compensate both Italy and Germany in full for the conflict via war reparations.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]This proves too much for the French populace to bear. Although Napoleon III had been captured towards the end of the war by German troops, the French Third Republic which established itself to replace the Empire became quickly unpopular due to their methods of acquiring funds from landholders, taxpayers, etc. so as to pay the war reparations to Germany and Italy. A communist government is established in Paris by revolutionaries soon afterwards. Karl Marx, one of the great intellectuals of communism, plays an indirect role in this regime - whilst he himself is not in any position of power, his ideas form the core of the government structure [2]. Nevertheless, the revolutionary order is quickly overthrown and the French Third Republic re-established.

[2] - Karl Marx had virtually nothing to do with the Paris Commune OTL - here, the communists follow many of his ideas to a T. This ends up impacting on perceptions of communism and socialism in the coming decades.
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At this time the Czech lands would still be seen as fairly German; Bohemia was a pretty fundamental part of the Holy Roman Empire so there's strong historical ties, and the area has a reasonably-sized German minority. The historical legacy, German population, and the economic value of holding Bohemia are probably enough when all put together to bring Bohemia into the new German state. Could be interesting to see how that develops.
I'm not saying that it won't be part of Germany, but that it would be separated from Austria within Germany.
 
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