La Guillotine Permanente: A French Revolutionary Timeline

I'd go for republic of the rhine, but that could sound like we want all of the rhine valley (which we do) and that might lead to a mess during negotiations...
Everyone, reply suggesting names for the sister republics!
Piémont&Savoy can vaguely be annexed to France or become a République des Hautes-Alpes.
Ambrosian Republic for Milan.
Ligurian Republic for Genoa.
No need to touch Venice.
Etruscan Republic for Tuscany.
Latin Republic for Rome.
Parthenopean Republic was fine, and so was Helvetic Republic.
Syracusene Republic for Sicily, perhaps ?
I think République Mosellane might work for the Rhenish one, perhaps, but it doesn't fit too well;
 
I'd go for republic of the rhine, but that could sound like we want all of the rhine valley (which we do) and that might lead to a mess during negotiations...
Everyone, reply suggesting names for the sister republics!
Lotharingian Republic could work, especially as a sort of romantic call back to the Frankish division of Europe.
 
Could have Belgium be created early, although I figured it'd still be annexed by France since they've been after it for so long.
 
Lotharingian Republic could work, especially as a sort of romantic call back to the Frankish division of Europe.

I don't think it'd be a name they'd use - it might sound too "monarchist", and also there's the problem of possibly referring to a region that's not even intended to be part of the republic.

I'd toss "Austrasian Republic" into the hat.

Piémont&Savoy can vaguely be annexed to France or become a République des Hautes-Alpes.

You know, the Piedmont had two republics of its own - the Piedmont Republic, and after that, the Subalpine Republic.
 
Chapter 7: The Campaign in Italy
Chapter 7
The Campaign in Italy
War of the First Coalition - WorldAtlas


"War is the furnace of revolution, where the metal of our will is forged into the blades of change. Let us not fear the fire, but embrace it, for it is only in the heat of battle that we shall find the strength to shape our destiny."
Napoleon Bonaparte, 1794


After the Austrians completely abandoned Piedmont following the humiliation at Mondovì, the Piedmontese were completely incensed. Seeing this as a complete betrayal, they began suing for peace. Thankfully for the French, negotiations were led by the level-headed Philippe-Francois-Joseph Le Bas, the representative on mission to the Army of Italy. Sardinia-Piedmont was to cede the territories of Nice and Savoy to France as well as allowing the French army to march through Piedmontese territory towards the rest of Italy.

After Mondovì, de Vins was relieved from command and replaced by Johann Peter de Beaulieu, a Walloon officer from the Austrian Netherlands, Beaulieu had the singular goal of preventing Bonaparte from crossing into the Po valley at all costs. To achieve this, he swiftly determined the ideal defensive position to be that of Pavia, as It sat across one of the many tributaries of the Po river, the Ticino. The only viable crossing would be across the Ponte Coperto, an arched bridge that would make an extremely vulnerable target for whoever would try to cross it. Beaulieu had also been very active in organizing reinforcements and reforming his heavily demoralized army. Beaulieu's plan was very simple, either force Bonaparte to attack his fortified position across a river or force Bonaparte to circumvent his position and take Milan. This would give Beaulieu some extremely crucial time to reorganize his forces to better face the French army.

Bonaparte did not waste any time after peace with Sardinia-Piedmont had been achieved. He knew that the longer he waited, the more time the Austrians had to recover. His army moved rapidly through Piedmont, far faster than Beaulieu expected. Bonaparte reached Pavia on 22 Vendémiare [1] and immediately began preparing his assault. He knew that if he wanted to circumvent Pavia to take Milan he could, easily, but this would give the Austrians time to recover and therefore, he needed to strike as quickly as possible to completely remove the Austrians from Italy.

As Bonaparte surveyed the Austrian defensive position at Pavia, he knew that a direct assault on a heavily fortified bridge would be suicide. However, he also knew that time was of the essence, and he needed to act quickly and decisively. With his usual audacity and tactical brilliance, Bonaparte devised a plan to outmaneuver and outflank the Austrians. He ordered a small detachment of his army to create a diversionary attack on the bridge, drawing the Austrian defenders' attention to that area. Meanwhile, he sent the bulk of his forces to cross the Ticino River upstream, where the Austrians had not fortified their position.

The diversionary attack succeeded in drawing the majority of the Austrian forces to the bridge, leaving their flank exposed to the French crossing upstream. With this opening, Bonaparte unleashed a fierce assault on the Austrians' unguarded flank, catching them completely by surprise. The French forces charged forward, bayonets fixed, and smashed into the Austrian lines. Despite fierce resistance, the Austrians were overwhelmed by the sheer ferocity and speed of the French attack. The battle quickly devolved into a chaotic melee, with soldiers fighting hand-to-hand in a swirling maelstrom of dust and smoke.

Bonaparte personally led his troops in the attack, riding his horse to the front lines to inspire and direct his men. His presence galvanized the French troops, who fought with almost reckless bravery in their devotion to their commander. With the battle raging on, the sound of clashing metal and the screams of the wounded and dying filled the air. Bonaparte's plan had worked perfectly, and the Austrians were in complete disarray. The French forces pushed forward relentlessly, driving the Austrians back with every step. The battle quickly turned into a route with the Austrians fleeing in panic from the ferocity of the French attack. Bonaparte himself was everywhere, directing his men with precision and bravery. Despite the chaos around him, he remained calm and focused, constantly assessing the situation and adjusting his tactics as needed. His mere presence on the battlefield was enough to inspire his troops, who fought with a fierce determination to win. With their flank collapsing on them, the Austrian army began to break. By this point. The diversionary force attacking the bridge finally seemed to break and retreat back across, opening up an escape for the Austrians, who began to flee across it in desperation. However, Bonaparte planned this as he had one more trick up his sleeve. He ordered his artillery to target the bridge, unleashing a barrage of cannon fire that destroyed the structure and sent the remaining Austrians tumbling into the river below. The bridge collapsed in a cloud of dust and smoke, sealing the fate of the Austrian forces. With the bridge destroyed, the Austrians were trapped on the wrong side of the river, cut off from their reinforcements and their lines of supply. The French forces pressed their advantage, chasing down the fleeing Austrians and inflicting heavy losses. By the end of the day, the Austrians had suffered a crushing defeat, losing many thousands of men and countless numbers of supplies and equipment.

As the sun began to set on the battlefield, the French began the grim task of tending to their wounded and burying their dead. The cries of the wounded echoed across the field, and the sight of so many corpses was enough to turn the stomach of even the most hardened soldier. Despite the horrors of the battlefield, there was a sense of pride and camaraderie among the French troops. They had fought bravely and tenaciously, and their victory had secured their path to Milan and beyond. As they worked to tend to their wounded and prepare for the next phase of the campaign, there was a palpable sense of determination and resolve in the air. For Bonaparte, the victory at Pavia was a triumph of his tactical brilliance and audacity. He had outmaneuvered and outflanked a superior force, using his wits and boldness to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

After Pavia, the road to Milan was completely open. On 26 Vendémiare [2], the French arrived in the city and were met with jubilation. Philippe Le Bas promptly declared the formation of the new Transpadane Republic, with Milan as its capital, and saw to the creation of an emergency ruling Committee to stabilize the new nation. The immediate aftermath also saw the consolidation of French gains in Italy as their forces marched on Modena and Parma, which were annexed into a newly formed sister republic, the Cispadane Republic (which was to encompass the areas south of the Po river recently conquered by the French) in which another emergency Committee was formed to maintain stability. This opened up Tuscany for invasion. The Grand Duke of Tuscany, Duke Ferdinand had ironically been the first monarch in Europe to formally recognize the new French Republic. He was persuaded however, by the British to join the Coalition against France. When the French armies approached Florence he peacefully surrendered so as to prevent the city from being damaged and looted by enemy soldiers, surrendering his Duchy to the Republic. Bonaparte also forced the cession of Romagna from the Papal States without war. Following these rapid victories, Bonaparte took the time to rest and reorganize his forces for his future plans.

The developments in Italy were of great interest to the General Jourdan of the Army of the Rhine and Moselle. He believed that if Austria could be further pressured from the north, then an Austrian exit from the war could occur. Jourdan began a campaign across the Rhine, aiming to both divert attention away from Italy and to potentially open up a way into the Austrian heartland, threatening Vienna itself. Archduke Karl had been recalled following his failure to assist the Prussians in the Battle of Pirmasens and was replaced by József Alvinczi, a Magyar nobleman. The sheer size of his opposition as well as their greater mobility meant that, without Prussian support, his position was effectively hopeless. Rather than holding the defensive position that Archduke Karl was so focused on, he opted instead to launch a fighting retreat while pleading for sufficient reinforcements so he could have a fighting chance. This was granted as the Army of Italy seemed preoccupied with battling minor Italian states, and they should be able to delay Bonaparte long enough to handle the situation in Germany.

The rapid expansion of the territory of the Transpadane and Cispadane Republics forced the Committee of Public Safety in Paris to re-examine its goals in Italy. Some believed that France should not change much in terms of the geopolitical situation in the area while still spreading revolutionary ideals. One revolutionary who disagreed with this line of thought was a very young yet influential member of the Committee of Public Instruction [3], Marc-Antoine Jullien. Jullien was a protégé of Maximilien Robespierre and therefore, had a great amount of influence in politics. Jullien believed that the division of Italy was a product of post-Roman degenerate feudal monarchism and that this should be rectified by forming a unified Italian Republic. This was generally in line with the popular Enlightenment and revolutionary ideology that viewed the fall of Rome as the greatest tragedy in the history of Western civilization and the Roman Republic as the ideal and most virtuous form of government throughout history. The unification of Italy, Jullien argued, would help redress this as well as providing a powerful bulwark against other monarchist powers. Jullien was part of Robespierre's inner circle and his ideas soon began to take root among other members of the revolutionary government.

Bonaparte knew that the fall of Mantua would effectively mean the end of the campaign in Italy, as it would destroy the last Austrian presence on the peninsula as well as open up Venice and Austria to invasion. On 25 Brumaire [4] Bonaparte, with characteristic speed, marched on Mantua. He had assembled a massive siege train of guns from his conquests across Italy. The Austrians were caught completely off guard by this, as they had expected him to both take far longer to conquer the Italian states and to have waited considerably longer afterward to recover his strength. The Austrians tried to redirect forces to relieve Mantua, but this was already too late. The staggering barrage of Bonaparte's artillery was simply too much for the Austrians to bear, and Mantua surrendered. Bonaparte wasted no time and swiftly moved through Venetian lands with incredible speed. Austrian reinforcements initially meant for Alvinczi; then, Mantua were sent to the Venetian border to hold a last-ditch defense against the coming French army. Bonaparte responded to this move by simply circumventing them and coming straight for the Austrian heartland. This made the Austrian government start to panic, as reinforcements needed by Alvinczi never arrived, and Jourdan's forces were now also beginning to potentially threaten Austria. The situation had put them into an almost impossible predicament, where the only winning move was not to play, so the Austrians sued for peace.

The peace with Austria was similar in nature to the peace with Prussia. Austria would recognize the French Republic as the legitimate French government, cede the Austrian Netherlands to France, and like the Prussians, support the ceding of all lands west of the Rhine in the Imperial Diet and cede its territories in Italy to the Transpadane Republic. In return, France would release all of its Austrian prisoners. Austria and France would also agree to partition Venice between them, with the Transpadane Republic gaining its mainland territory, while Austria would gain overseas possessions like Istria and Dalmatia.

These events were joyous news for France, just as the winter arrived. The defeat of Austria, the greatest rival of France in mainland Europe, did much to boost the popularity of the Jacobins, who could point to their emergency wartime measures, which had been criticized by some, as critical to French success. This also means that potentially disastrous winter food shortages could be alleviated by foreign food imports from allies made through victories abroad.

The question of Italian unification still remained in the minds of those within the revolutionary government. To some, officially forming a Republic of Italy would effectively threaten the other Italian states with war which could destabilize the peace with Austria that had been so dearly desired by so many. To others, the ideals which the French Revolution fought for could only be achieved once it fully abandoned any remnants of abhorrent feudal monarchy, and embraced ancient republican traditions. To let Italy remain divided, and to actively promote this division through the maintaining the Transpadane and Cispadane republics, was tantamount to betraying the revolutionary ideals which scores of Frenchmen had bled for. These debates made the other Italian states weary, as they now believed French invasion may be inevitable. Some of them even began considering joining the Coalition as a preemptive strike, but this was not likely as the French position was very strong and as of the moment they had little great incentive to move forward with any such plans.

One remaining question however, was the question of the Netherlands. The formidable natural defensive barriers of its mighty rivers had been very effective at deterring any invasion. It was therefore, as if the Supreme Being himself had smiled upon his children as the winter of year III ended up being an extremely cold one and all the rivers of the Netherlands had frozen over, opening the nation up to invasion.



[1]: 14th of October 1794.

[2]: 18th of October 1794.

[3]: Subsidiary of the Committee of Public Safety created and tasked by Robespierre to reform the education system.

[4]: 15th of November 1794.

EDIT: Retconned Italian unification and the names of the Italian sister republics
 
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Viva la Republic!

So with the Italian Republic rising formed it looks like nationalism might spill across Europe even quicker then IOTL especially with French support.
 
It sounds like ittl that napoleon didn't engage in as much looting of Italian art as in OTL?

Shame that this still means the end of the venetian republic though, presuming that like the French republic the Italian republic is a unitary government and not a (con)federal one.

Am i right in understanding that Piedmont & Sardinia aren't part of the Italian republic (yet)?
 
It sounds like ittl that napoleon didn't engage in as much looting of Italian art as in OTL?

Shame that this still means the end of the venetian republic though, presuming that like the French republic the Italian republic is a unitary government and not a (con)federal one.

Am i right in understanding that Piedmont & Sardinia aren't part of the Italian republic (yet)?
1: Napoleon has Le Bas as a watchdog checking him to make sure he is a good boy so no.

2: The Italian republic is very much modeled on the French one with jacobin ideals of governance included.

3: This is true. Sardinia-Piedmont remain independent as they were never conquered by Napoleon
 
Excellent chapter. Regarding spain, it may not become a republic but I think it could become a constitutional monarchy if you can give the liberals enough motivation to force the king to accept the constitution at gunpoint.
 
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Great chapters as always, hopefully the French can succeed in landing in Ireland and kicking out the Brits, also looking forward to how Haiti and the rest of the Americas develop ITTL, Simon Bolivar was really big into Revolutionary France until Napoleon called himself emperor after all...
 
Good boy Nappy :p
This TL is full of surprises
Hope they're logically consistent ones!
Excellent chapter. Regarding spain, it may not become a republic but I think it could become a constitutional manarchy if you can give the liberals enough motivation to force the king to accept the constitution at gunpoint.
Thank you! Liberal ideas may develop faster in Spain as they're not associated with the French invasion.
Great chapters as always, hopefully the French can succeed in landing in Ireland and kicking out the Brits, also looking forward to how Haiti and the rest of the Americas develop ITTL, Simon Bolivar was really big into Revolutionary France until Napoleon called himself emperor after all...
Thanks! The Americas will definitely develop differently due to the lack of Napoleon reinstating slavery and invading Spain, causing all the wars for independence.
 
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