Rule Bavaria: An Alternate War of the Austrian Succession

The War of the Austrian Succession was, in my opinion, one of the best chances for Bavaria to rise as a Great Power. Austria was collapsing. Charles VII of Bavaria was elected Holy Roman Emperor, and had styled himself Archduke of Austria. However, something went wrong. The Anti-Austrian Coalition turned away from Vienna to Bohemia, prolonging the war.
So, what if the Anti-Austrian Coalition had marched on Vienna?
In the other thread, we formulated that this terrible blow to morale and prestige would mean that Theresa's plea to the Hungarians would fail, and that Britain would not get involved slightly later.
Add your thoughts, please. :)
 

Redbeard

Banned
The War of the Austrian Succession was, in my opinion, one of the best chances for Bavaria to rise as a Great Power. Austria was collapsing. Charles VII of Bavaria was elected Holy Roman Emperor, and had styled himself Archduke of Austria. However, something went wrong. The Anti-Austrian Coalition turned away from Vienna to Bohemia, prolonging the war.
So, what if the Anti-Austrian Coalition had marched on Vienna?
In the other thread, we formulated that this terrible blow to morale and prestige would mean that Theresa's plea to the Hungarians would fail, and that Britain would not get involved slightly later.
Add your thoughts, please. :)
I'm not that much into the period, but would a Bavarian on the throne in Vienna necessarily make Bavaria a Great power? Wouldn't it rather have Bavaria be included in the core possessions of the Holy Roman Emperor?

It would of course greatly increase the number of German speakers in the Empire (didn't/doesn't Bavaria and Austria have about the same number of inhabitors?), and I wonder how that will infuence chances of a federal solution in the future. If the Hungarians succeed in one of their attempts to break away, the remaining parts would still be a great power, probably stronger than OTL Austria-Hungary - Bavaria after all was and is a very rich country.

Bavaria firmly under Imperial rule would be bad hair day for French powerplay in Germany, and Prussia would be unlikely to gather Germans beyond protestants.

Regards

Steffen Redbeard
(secretly Bavarian - like their flag - and beer - and cars - and women...but the politicians are strange)
 
I'm not that much into the period, but would a Bavarian on the throne in Vienna necessarily make Bavaria a Great power? Wouldn't it rather have Bavaria be included in the core possessions of the Holy Roman Emperor?

It would of course greatly increase the number of German speakers in the Empire (didn't/doesn't Bavaria and Austria have about the same number of inhabitors?), and I wonder how that will infuence chances of a federal solution in the future. If the Hungarians succeed in one of their attempts to break away, the remaining parts would still be a great power, probably stronger than OTL Austria-Hungary - Bavaria after all was and is a very rich country.

Bavaria firmly under Imperial rule would be bad hair day for French powerplay in Germany, and Prussia would be unlikely to gather Germans beyond protestants.

Regards

Steffen Redbeard
(secretly Bavarian - like their flag - and beer - and cars - and women...but the politicians are strange)
But that sort of thing woulld more likely mean Bavaria is in control of the Empire, not the other way around. Besides, by this point I think the HRE is a dead corpse. Bavaria COULD use it to unify Germany- under Bavaria.
 

Philip

Donor
I'm not that much into the period, but would a Bavarian on the throne in Vienna necessarily make Bavaria a Great power?
If it includes all of Habsburg possessions, including Bohemia (and Silesia) and Italian duchies, then I think it would. It would probably also ensure that the Elector of Bavaria is HRE.

It would of course greatly increase the number of German speakers in the Empire
:confused::confused: Bavaria is already part of the HRE. Are you thinking of the Austrian Empire? That's about 50 year later.
 

Rockingham

Banned
If Vienna were to fall, France would be sure to ensure that the Bavarians didn't recieve the entirety of the Habsburg territories. Tirol and Bohemia would be likely, with the Austrian Netherlands and Milan going to France, Silesia to Frederick, and Hungary and Austria proper going to Maria Theresa in consolation. 17th century politics rarely involved the total displacement of somwone from the throne, and such a tripolar HRE would be in France's interest.

That would still make Bohemia a great power, relatively.
 

Philip

Donor
If Vienna were to fall,
You say 'if' like it is unreasonable. Vienna falling the War of the Austrian Succession is a very real possibility. Had Prussia continued to press Austria rather than backing off after acquiring Silesia, Vienna probably would have fallen.

France would be sure to ensure that the Bavarians didn't recieve the entirety of the Habsburg territories.
France did not hold all of the cards and was trying to minimize its involvement in the early phases of the war. Since it is during the opening stages that Vienna is most likely to fall, the French may not have to much say in the peace talks.

Tirol and Bohemia would be likely,
Agreed. Bohemia to Charles VII is almost guaranteed. He was elected King of Bohemia after all.

with the Austrian Netherlands and Milan going to France,
Not so sure about this. The British will not be happy about the French taking the Austrian Netherlands. Neither would the United Provinces. Milan to France is also unlikely. Maria Theresa nearly traded Milan for Savoyard support. If that fails, Spain will be calling for Milan.

Silesia to Frederick,
Since Maria Theresa treated Silesia away to Prussia in the opening stages of the war, this is all but a given.

Hungary and Austria proper going to Maria Theresa in consolation. 17th century politics rarely involved the total displacement of somwone from the throne,
I disagree. It was the position of much of Europe that Maria Theresa had no legitimate claim to Austria. In the view of the Bavaria, Maria Theresa was a usurper -- Austria properly belonged to Charles VII. Further, I don't see Hungary electing Maria Theresa if she looses the war.
 
Hmm, I see it being called the "Austrian Partition".
That is, we all understand here that Austria loses?
So:
"
If Vienna were to fall, France would be sure to ensure that the Bavarians didn't recieve the entirety of the Habsburg territories.
"​
I can't see all of Hapsburg territory going, either, but as said before, Bavaria -will- take territory.
"
Originally Posted by Emperor_of_Rockingham
Tirol and Bohemia would be likely,

Agreed. Bohemia to Charles VII is almost guaranteed. He was elected King of Bohemia after all.​
"​
Bohemia, yes, I agree. All of Austria (NOT Hungary) might go too, but that is up for question. Would Bavaria get a port?
"
Originally Posted by Emperor_of_Rockingham
with the Austrian Netherlands and Milan going to France,

Not so sure about this. The British will not be happy about the French taking the Austrian Netherlands. Neither would the United Provinces. Milan to France is also unlikely. Maria Theresa nearly traded Milan for Savoyard support. If that fails, Spain will be calling for Milan.
"​
Agreed w/ Philip. Silesia is pretty obvious...
"Originally Posted by Emperor_of_Rockingham
Hungary and Austria proper going to Maria Theresa in consolation. 17th century politics rarely involved the total displacement of somwone from the throne,
I disagree. It was the position of much of Europe that Maria Theresa had no legitimate claim to Austria. In the view of the Bavaria, Maria Theresa was a usurper -- Austria properly belonged to Charles VII. Further, I don't see Hungary electing Maria Theresa if she looses the war.​
"​
True, true.​
 
I saw this thread and had to comment as I’ve considered this scenario several times myself. There are several points to consider here. One really needs to understand the various parties’ particular claims to understand how they would play out. Under the Mutual Succession Pact that Joseph I and then Archduke Charles worked out during the War of Spanish Succession the Austrian dominions passed to Joseph’s male descendants then to Charles’ then to Joseph’s daughters then to Charles’. This pact was later overridden by the pragmatic sanction but only for those who accepted the latter as valid. This was how Charles Albert (who married Joseph’s daughter Maria Amalia) claimed the Austrian Succession. Then there is Hungary which only ever made the Habsburgs hereditary in the male line. Should that fail the Hungarians were free to elect a King.

So assuming Austria is knocked out right away then it would likely be Bavaria in Austria and Bohemia and Prussia with Silesia. This leaves Italy (Milan+Mantova), Hungary and the Austrian Netherlands. Savoy would almost certainly jump at the chance to occupy Milan once Austrian stumbled (look out how many times they tried that during the following 100 years until they finally succeeded).

That leaves a fight over the Netherlands. Obviously France would want it but has no legit claim and is faced with Anglo-Dutch opposition. Spain could make a claim too based on the fact that they used to be the Spanish Netherlands. Maria Theresa could stake a claim. In fact having lost Austria she might be given this as a consolation, a kind of compromise candidate that no one would really be happy with.

That leaves Hungary as a wild card. In our timeline Maria Theresa got it by appealing to the Hungarian Diet. But anyone else could be put in that role for the sake of this argument. Maybe it goes to Maria Theresa as a counterweight to Bavaria (neither Prussia nor France would want too strong a Bavarian state) or perhaps to some other German noble house like Baden or Hesse (Hungary would need a soldier-King to stand on its own). Or perhaps, most likely, it would simply settle on Bavaria on some pretty favorable terms likely involving much greater autonomy.

What this gives us is a Savoy dominated north and central Italy replacing Austrian domination and likely speeding up subsequent Italian unification. Maria Theresa in a Belgian buffer state. And a temporarily strengthened Bavaria. I say temporarily because it really wouldn’t last as I’ll explain later.
 
As to the original notion of Bavarian becoming a great power that is very unlikely in the long run or even the short run. Mostly this is because of Bavaria’s own very unstable succession during the latter half of the 18th century (look at the ‘war’ of Bavarian succession in 1778). Bavaria passed from one branch of the Palatine line of the Wittelsbachs to the next right up through the French revolution, not a good time to be having internal problems. This is also where the nature of the Bavarian claim becomes important.

Consider that the Palatine branch of the Wittelsbachs have no claim to the Habsburg inheritance since it was made through the Charles VII’s marriage to Joseph I’s daughter Maria Amalia which can’t be transferred to another branch of the family. Legally as far as the law matters in such matters the Austrian lands would default to the next claimant: Maria Theresa and her heirs. Ultimately with revolutionary France occupying the Rhinish territories (Berg, the palatinate, the Austrian Netherlands should Bavaria get them) and the HRE all but completely dismantled its likely that the Bavarian super state would collapse.

In theory Maria Theresa’s son Leopold (head of the family at this point) could make a play to regain Austria and restore the dynasty but with the French ascendant and Napoleon de facto in charge of reorganizing the Empire after annexing the left bank of the Rhine its unlikely that he’d let either party gain too much power so what was left would probably be split up equally probably with a Bonaparte on the throne of Hungary (having broken away when the male line of the Wittelsbachs failed again). This leaves Prussia the only real German power. How this plays out is uncertain but it’s likely that if we flash forward to the mid-19th century we’ll get a Grossedeutsche solution for German unification rather than a Kleindeutsche that excludes Austria. I honestly loose interest in the scenario at this point but it has some interesting ramifications.
 
You say 'if' like it is unreasonable. Vienna falling the War of the Austrian Succession is a very real possibility. Had Prussia continued to press Austria rather than backing off after acquiring Silesia, Vienna probably would have fallen.
I say if because I do believe it unreasonable. Vienna is an annoyingly hard city to capture historically, the Turks couldn't do it, the Sun King couldn't do it. In fact I think only the Hungarians ever did it. Yea Bavaria had France and Prussia, whoop-de-freakin-do, its still a pain in the ass to have to seige a city and have the closest route for supplies from home run through the Alps or occupied Territories and thats just from Bavaria, Prussia and France are a whole other story.
 
As to the original notion of Bavarian becoming a great power that is very unlikely in the long run or even the short run. Mostly this is because of Bavaria’s own very unstable succession during the latter half of the 18th century (look at the ‘war’ of Bavarian succession in 1778). Bavaria passed from one branch of the Palatine line of the Wittelsbachs to the next right up through the French revolution, not a good time to be having internal problems. This is also where the nature of the Bavarian claim becomes important.

Consider that the Palatine branch of the Wittelsbachs have no claim to the Habsburg inheritance since it was made through the Charles VII’s marriage to Joseph I’s daughter Maria Amalia which can’t be transferred to another branch of the family. Legally as far as the law matters in such matters the Austrian lands would default to the next claimant: Maria Theresa and her heirs. Ultimately with revolutionary France occupying the Rhinish territories (Berg, the palatinate, the Austrian Netherlands should Bavaria get them) and the HRE all but completely dismantled its likely that the Bavarian super state would collapse.

In theory Maria Theresa’s son Leopold (head of the family at this point) could make a play to regain Austria and restore the dynasty but with the French ascendant and Napoleon de facto in charge of reorganizing the Empire after annexing the left bank of the Rhine its unlikely that he’d let either party gain too much power so what was left would probably be split up equally probably with a Bonaparte on the throne of Hungary (having broken away when the male line of the Wittelsbachs failed again). This leaves Prussia the only real German power. How this plays out is uncertain but it’s likely that if we flash forward to the mid-19th century we’ll get a Grossedeutsche solution for German unification rather than a Kleindeutsche that excludes Austria. I honestly loose interest in the scenario at this point but it has some interesting ramifications.
First of all, thanks for the detailed, through, and rather enjoyable explanation.
However, there is one flaw: The butterfly theorem lets me change/tweak events that would later happen. Say, I can kill off Maria Theresa. I can kill off Napoleon. I can tweak more minor events to my liking, and that can decisively shatter the scenario you propose. History can, and often wll, run wild. Napoleon Bonaparte is a prime example of such a thing. I applaud you, and your argument might actually help me change events up in Bavaria's favor.
(Hopefully we all understand that this timeline is specifically for Bavaria being a Great Power).
 
Last edited:
Frst of all, thanks for the detailed, through, and rather enjoyable explanation.
However, there is one flaw: The butterfly theorem lets me change/tweak events that would later happen. Say, I can kill off Maria Theresa. I can kill off Napoleon. I can tweak more minor events to my liking, and that can decisively shatter the scenario you propose. History can, and often wll, run wild. Napoleon Bonaparte is a prime example of such a thing. I applaud you, and your argument might actually help me change events up in Bavaria's favor.
(Hopefully we all understand that this timeline is specifically for Bavaria being a Great Power).
Bah.
And I who hoped they would be the dominant part of a German Superpower, or at least a Superpowery Great Power.:D
Looking good, good sir!
 

Rockingham

Banned
1)You say 'if' like it is unreasonable. Vienna falling the War of the Austrian Succession is a very real possibility. Had Prussia continued to press Austria rather than backing off after acquiring Silesia, Vienna probably would have fallen.



2)France did not hold all of the cards and was trying to minimize its involvement in the early phases of the war. Since it is during the opening stages that Vienna is most likely to fall, the French may not have to much say in the peace talks.





3)Not so sure about this. The British will not be happy about the French taking the Austrian Netherlands. Neither would the United Provinces. Milan to France is also unlikely. Maria Theresa nearly traded Milan for Savoyard support. If that fails, Spain will be calling for Milan.



4)Since Maria Theresa treated Silesia away to Prussia in the opening stages of the war, this is all but a given.



5)I disagree. It was the position of much of Europe that Maria Theresa had no legitimate claim to Austria. In the view of the Bavaria, Maria Theresa was a usurper -- Austria properly belonged to Charles VII. Further, I don't see Hungary electing Maria Theresa if she looses the war.
1)That was not my intention.. in any case, see ImperialVienna's post.

2)They held the most out of all parties if they capture Vienna though.

3)France is going to gain something, and Austria historically was reluctant to hold their portion of the Netherlands, so Bavaria wouldn't be over eager to hold it either IMO. Britain and the Netherlands can't exactly do anything without a major military powers support.

As for Milan, so what if the Austrians revieve it? France can crush the Savoys, and take Milan.... using their historic claim in the WoSC as the precedent. Spain might recieve the Duchy of Parma as a consolation. Or not.

4)Most of Silesia was given away, Prussia would recieve the Habsburg portion that remained....

5)If not Theresa, then perhaps a Hohenzohlern(sic)....they had a (incredibly loose) claim considering the Hungarian rebels offered them the throne in the WoSS.

I say if because I do believe it unreasonable. Vienna is an annoyingly hard city to capture historically, the Turks couldn't do it, the Sun King couldn't do it. In fact I think only the Hungarians ever did it. Yea Bavaria had France and Prussia, whoop-de-freakin-do, its still a pain in the ass to have to seige a city and have the closest route for supplies from home run through the Alps or occupied Territories and thats just from Bavaria, Prussia and France are a whole other story.
Ever heard of Napoleon:D....

Its difficult, but not impossible....
 

Redbeard

Banned
If it includes all of Habsburg possessions, including Bohemia (and Silesia) and Italian duchies, then I think it would. It would probably also ensure that the Elector of Bavaria is HRE.



:confused::confused: Bavaria is already part of the HRE. Are you thinking of the Austrian Empire? That's about 50 year later.
I was thinking of the parts of the HRE which the Emperor had personal "ownership" to. I don't know the English expression, but wern't they called "Erbländer" in German?. These parts of course can be considered a core of the Empire, and if Bavaria is included a later "peeling off" of non-german (i.e. Hungarian) parts will still leave a significant German part. The HRE is unlikely to survive anyway, but if/when it comes to a successor Austrian Empire, a such incl. Bavaria but without Hungary, IMHO would be much stronger than the OTL Austria-Hungary.

I know various Slavic movements later demanded their own identity, but by these years they were considered German too, although the Poles usually were treated with a certain distrust.

Regards

Steffen Redbeard
 

Glen

Moderator
I say if because I do believe it unreasonable. Vienna is an annoyingly hard city to capture historically, the Turks couldn't do it, the Sun King couldn't do it. In fact I think only the Hungarians ever did it. Yea Bavaria had France and Prussia, whoop-de-freakin-do, its still a pain in the ass to have to seige a city and have the closest route for supplies from home run through the Alps or occupied Territories and thats just from Bavaria, Prussia and France are a whole other story.
What makes Vienna so hard to capture?
 

Philip

Donor
I was thinking of the parts of the HRE which the Emperor had personal "ownership" to. I don't know the English expression, but wern't they called "Erbländer" in German?
Thanks. That does make sense -- sorry for the confusion. BTW, I think the corresponding English term is 'demesne'. I have also seen 'imperial lands' used.
 

Philip

Donor
I say if because I do believe it unreasonable. Vienna is an annoyingly hard city to capture historically,
More accurately, Vienna has been very lucky.

the Turks couldn't do it,
The first time the Turks failed because they began their campaign too late and prosecuted it half-heartily. Oh, and don't forget the outbreak of plague in the Ottoman army.

The second time, Vienna was saved by Sobieski and the greatest calvary charge in history. Remember, when Sobieski arrived, Ottoman sappers were in the process of blasting holes in the walls of Vienna. There about 10 000 defenders against about 125 000 Ottomans. Had Sobieski been delayed, Vienna would have fallen.

Further, had Kara Mustafa Pasha been more interested in defeating the Austrians rather than securing the riches for himself, he could have launched an early assault. Vienna would have fallen while Sobieski was gathering his troops. Instead, he choose to hold his troops back rather than let them plunder Vienna.

the Sun King couldn't do it.
The Franco-Bavarian force failed in the WotSS because Leopold I was able to rally the whole of the HRE (save Bavaria) to his defense. Don't forget to include support from Britain, the United Provinces, Portugal, and Savoy. Without the Duke of Marlborough, it seems likely that Vienna would have fallen.

You see, it is not that Vienna is intrinsically hard to take. It just happens that through out history, many different powers have seen it to be in their best interest to protect Vienna.

In the WotAS, Marie Theresa did not have this support. Prussia, Bavaria, and Saxony were aligned against her. Hanover had declared its neutrality. Britain was extremely hesitant after the embarrassment of Cartagena. There was no Sobieski or Marlborough riding to the rescue.

In fact I think only the Hungarians ever did it.
And Napoleon (twice, I think). The Soviets too. Prussia would have taken it in 1866, the Habsburgs surrendered too quickly.

Yea Bavaria had France and Prussia, whoop-de-freakin-do, its still a pain in the ass to have to seige a city and have the closest route for supplies from home run through the Alps or occupied Territories and thats just from Bavaria, Prussia and France are a whole other story.
Perhaps you should read up on the situation during 1741, especially September. Upper Austria was 'occupied' by Bavaria. More accurately, Upper Austria had received Charles VII rather warmly. There was no chance of partisan action to threaten his supply lines. He had ~20 000 troops in Linz. Another 20-40 000 from France and 15 000 from Saxony were moving to join them. There were virtually no troops in Vienna. Austria's forces were tied down defending the Bohemian lands or withdrawing to Pressburg to join Marie Theresa and her court. There was little to stop the fall of Vienna.

So, why didn't Vienna fall? Two factors stand out: Frederick II cut a side deal with Marie Theresa, and Charles VII decided to take Prague instead. (He was afraid that Frederick Augustus would beat him to it.) In the world of AH, either or both of the events can easily be changed.
 
I think Bavaria would not be given Hungary. Austria, probably. Hungary, no. Hungary would be an independent kingdom. So, anyone have a decent map of the period right before the WotAS?
 
Top