No Napoleon - enter the other Generals

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Kaze, May 15, 2019.

  1. Kaze Well-Known Member

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    The French Revolution is failing. It was a matter of time - either they would fall back into monarchy or some other leader. Who among the French elite at the time could seize the reins of power?
     
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  2. HIM Dogson Rationally Royalist

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    A surviving Lazare Hoche really was the only one who could have challenged Napoleon; his death was very convenient. I'd say that as long as he survives he's the most likely candidate.
     
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  3. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    Would this alt-Napoleon still make himself Emperor or would he opt for a "republican dictatorship".
     
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  4. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    The Austrians and Prussians appear unbeatable in the field. Believing that the Jacobins are both too radical and unable to protect the country, Lafayette conducts a coup and serves as the provisional first minister of France.
     
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  5. alexmilman Well-Known Member

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    Only the generals who in OTL still had been around when push came to shove:

    Moreau - the best of the available generals (but preferred enjoying life to looking for power; also seemingly had at least some principles, which could be a huge minus)

    Bernadotte - the only one who is a political animal and a good administrator; quite popular among the military; as history demonstrated, extremely flexible in pretty much all areas and not overburdened with any principles; minus - by the reasons above was considered by some political leaders as being too independent (and out of all people, Bonaparte was considered manageable; small wonder that the Directorate was in trouble with its leaders being that blind). Friendly with Moreau, which could come handy.

    Massena - a reputable general with a good record. No known political ambitions and probably easy to manipulate; as administrator - zero (or less); no known political ideas and seemingly no ideas at all outside the area of stealing everything that is not nailed (and perhaps even that); extraordinary stingy.

    Dumas - the most exotic one; good record and a lot of a personal heroics; no known talents or interests in legislation, administration or even strategy; France of that time was not PC enough to chose a leader based upon skin color but he could make a good front-end figure for a strong puppet master.

    Lefebvre - brave and a good soldier; his wife definitely did not qualified as a queen or empress or whatever; OTOH, in November of 1799 commanded the Paris troops...

    Most of the rest (Lannes, Kleber, Davout, Soult) are too junior to jump all the way to the top without being blocked by their superiors. OTOH, Soult could expect support of Moreau under whom he served (and his later career was probably second only to one of Bernadotte, which shows a lot of a potential); Vandamme - managed to get court martialed for looting (which, taking into an account “environment”, was kind of an achievement), was known for his insubordination (plus) and managed to quarrel with Moreau (minus).
     
  6. Maxamillion96 Ah! Well. Nevertheless,

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    The failure of the Revolution wasn’t inevitable
     
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  7. HIM Dogson Rationally Royalist

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    But it was inevitable, IMO, when the Directory started using the army as a club against anyone they didn't like who won elections.

    Although, come to think of it, no Napoleon could impact the siege of Toulon, which would have impacts ranging way far back. In this scenario it's possible the Mountain never falls.
     
  8. piratedude Pirate Lord of the Great Lakes

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    I mean in some ways it was necessary to surpress royalist votes, but their constant back and forth of repressing one group and then the other did little to help their stability.

    And really, the revolution would have been so much more successful and less bloody if it didn't turn so rabidly anti-clerical.
     
  9. HIM Dogson Rationally Royalist

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    Any Republic that feels it necessary to use military force lest the people vote back the monarchy has lost its legitimacy; the same applies to its repression of Jacobinism.
     
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  10. piratedude Pirate Lord of the Great Lakes

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    I mean you're right, but also they werent wrong in that the royalist really were trying to undo the republic from the inside.
    Oh and also keep in mind that voter turnout through the whole revolution was atrocious, so in a sense everyone's legitimacy was suspect.
     
  11. jb3 Well-Known Member

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    I think people seriously underestimate how much the Civil Constitution of the Clergy constituted to the fracture of France, Louis XVI's bad decisions, and the rise of the Terror. Even French people don't like to talk about it because in the era of laicite, the French Government's determination to remake the Church (complete with election of bishops and priests by EVERYONE including non-Catholic citizens) in the way it wanted (and outright massacring those who refused such as in the Vendee or the Nuns of Compiegne) makes the goals of the Revolution looks bad and hypocritcal.

    But here again is why Napoleon is the man of the moment - he sees the mistake (including the treatment of Pius VI, who dies a prisoner in France) and doesn't make it (until MUCH later when he kidnaps the Pope himself) and during his reign he had the Church as part of his support and bulwark. Most French marshals weren't just anti-clerical, they were anti-religious and many high members of the Directory and Napoleon's cabinet (including obviously Fouche) were part of the de-Christianization effort. The only French general who I could legitimately see make peace with the Church as Bonaparte did is Hoche (who did it in the Vendee even though he too was an anti-clerical) and even he wouldn't have done the Concordat or made the Church his ally as Bonaparte did.
     
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  12. Irene Professional Cactus

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    That and peace, Napoleon pre-coup was seen as a "peace-maker" (I know right?) since he made peace in Italy (after he started hostilities). You're correct in that he saw the problem of war-weariness, just that he didn't listen in this case since his power-base in the military-demanded it.
     
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  13. isabella Well-Known Member

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    The only no-Napoleon acceptable scenarios for this kind of games are the ones in which he die after the end of the Italian campaign (or he is blocked or taken prisoner in Egypt)
     
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