The Napoléad: What if Napoléon won the war in Russia?

Discussion Thread:éad-what-if-napoléon-won-the-war-in-russia.422843/


Near Vitebsk, Russia
27 July, 1812
10:05 AM

Napoleon sat atop his horse. A kilometre away was half of the Russian Army, his latest foe in the ten-year conflict that had lined up most of Europe’s powers against him. Russia had been beaten once before, as had Austria twice and Prussia once. Those two nations weren’t likely to trouble him again, but Russia, with its vast land and population, had resumed trade with Britain. If the Tsar wouldn’t keep the British out on his own accord, Napoleon’s Army was going to force him to.
A few minutes earlier, he had called off the attack on the Russian positions. Behind those positions was a river, and if the Russians could get across that river, they could retreat towards Smolensk.
Napoleon scratched his chin. He didn’t want to chase the Russians deep into their territory, which could mean all the way into Siberia. Something like that was still happening in Spain, and the Spanish ulcer didn’t look like it would heal any time soon. That left a quick, decisive campaign, followed by Tsar Alexander begging for peace, as the only option.
If he had caught the Russians with the full force of the Grande Armee, he could annihilate them without trying especially hard. Even half of his force was bigger than the estimates he had been given. Unfortunately, he had only about twenty thousand men here at Vitebsk. He was outnumbered. Some would say he could win anyway. He had been outnumbered at Austerlitz too, but not by such a great margin.
A messenger rode up. “My Emperor, what shall I tell the commanders?”
The Emperor looked around again. The Russians were in lines of battle, although still well out of range. Some sort of activity was definitely happening behind the lines though, which troubled him. If the Russians wanted battle, they wouldn’t be building bridges over the river. They would be building fortifications or setting up cannons.
“They’re trying to pull back.” Napoleon observed.
“Sir, our commanders are ready to resume battle.” The messenger had obviously overheard him.
“No, not our commanders. The Russians.” Napoleon said, his eyes focussing on the works at the river.
“You know what, soldier? Tell the cannons on our right to concentrate their fire on those bridges. Left and centre are to be ready to provide covering fire if the Russians charge us.” Napoleon ordered. After he looked at his own lines again, he added “and get the cavalry ready to charge along the river line.”
Fifteen minutes later, the bridges splashed into the river. The Russian Army was trapped.

Aftermath of the Russian Campaign, 1812-13

After Napoleon’s triumph at Vitebsk, and the death or capture of upwards of 50,000 men, Russia was in no position to continue carrying out the war with what remained of its standing army. Napoleon was urged by his advisors to offer terms before new forces could be raised and the war being given a chance to bog down. Recognising that his advisors were right, Napoleon offered Tsar Alexander peace, in exchange for Russia’s return to the Continental System and a piece of Lithuanian territory to join the Kingdom of Poland. Tsar Alexander agreed, and on August 19th, 1812, the Treaty of Smolensk was signed.

In London, the fall of the last European Great Power to Napoleon’s alliance quickly produced a wave of anti-French hatred. The British government rushed an army of 50,000 to assist the Spanish forces, while diplomats travelled to Vienna and Berlin in the hope of assembling a Sixth Coalition, although the Coalition never formed. Meanwhile, other options began to be explored.

The Great Lakes War, 1812-14

Alternatively known as the War of 1812, the Great Lakes War began as a result of the British policy of impressment, where they would force American sailors (British citizens under British law), to serve in the Royal Navy as their own manpower pool was depleted. For the first few months of the war, Britain’s small but professional army appeared dominant over the hastily assembled American militias, although it remained a secondary theatre as London concerned itself with affairs in Europe.

By early 1813, British public opinion was beginning to turn against the war, as victory seemed impossible against Napoleon, who was hailed as a greater general than even Alexander. The Emperor had returned to Spain, where veterans fresh from the successful Russian campaign mercilessly crushed not only a huge number of partisans, but the latest British Expeditionary Force as well. Hoping to reverse the tide of disaster, someone in the British parliament, his name now lost to history, gave a short but infamous suggestion. “If we cannot beat the French, destroy their allies. Crush the old colonies.” Sensing no better option, the order was given to begin a vicious campaign in America.

To say that the old colonies were crushed would be an overstatement, but not a particularly large one. In addition to the forces that were already operating in Canada and Michigan, the British Army assembled another hundred thousand men, organised into two armies that quickly overwhelmed the militias of the northern US states. Five of the ‘original frigates’, the lead ships of the tiny US Navy, were sunk or scuttled after a fight off the coast of New Jersey. (The Constellation slipped through the British blockade late in 1812 to escape to the French port at Bordeaux, where Napoleon welcomed the sailors as heroes, and kept the ship safe until peace was declared in 1814).

Following their victory, the British Navy landed the 40,000-strong Second American Expeditionary Force, under the command of the Duke of Wellington, off the coast of New York. The city itself was sacked in August 1813, and Washington and Baltimore came under British cannon fire, from land and sea, by the beginning of winter, although neither would fall by the end of the war.

On the Great Lakes Front, the situation managed to be even worse. Allying with local Indian tribes, the British First American Army, which had by now absorbed the earlier forces in that theatre, pushed past the Great Lakes into Ohio and Michigan Territory. A large battle occured on the south bank of the Maumee River in Ohio, where General Harrison was killed, opening the recently acquired Louisiana Territory for conquest.

By February 1814, the US economy lay in ruins, and most of the country’s west and northeast lay under some form of occupation. The British people had been delivered a great victory, and the stage looked set for the complete conquest of the United States, which many still believed to rightfully belong to the British Crown.

The Treaty of Lisbon, 1814

While the British were exacting a terrible revenge on the ‘old colonies’, Napoleon’s 1813 Spanish campaign dealt a mortal blow to the power of the anti-French forces operating there. As the majority of the country came under French control once again, Napoleon set his sights on Portugal, a thorn in his side for several years. Unwilling to lose the USA as an (unofficial) ally, he instead sent peace offers to London, hoping that the threat of losing Portugal and Gibraltar would be enough to stop them from returning America to colonial rule. Great Britain agreed to begin talks in Lisbon, and a cease fire brought peace that Europe had not seen since before the turn of the century.

Even with Talleyrand on his side, Napoleon could not get everything he wanted out of the Lisbon deal. The northern part of Massachusetts (OTL Maine), Michigan Territory and much of the territory west of the Ohio border became a part of British North America. West of the Mississippi, British protectorates officially under the control of various Indian tribes were set up.

Was Napoleon a fool for accepting such an offer? This is a question that is still debated, two centuries on. In Europe, at least, he could have easily taken Portugal, and probably would have if he had allowed the conflict to continue into the spring. Austria and especially Prussia weren’t going to assemble another coalition without outside help.
Yet the fact remains that the Franco-American Alliance (officially signed in 1815) would prove enormously beneficial to both countries as the decades passed, and had a treaty been delayed too much longer, the United States would not have been able to continue resistance. Whether they could have lasted another week or another six months will never be known, but there is no doubt that every day cost them negotiating power that they could ill afford to spare.

The Napoleonic Order, 1814

The outbreak of peace on February 20, 1814, represented a shift in thinking that had not been seen since the days of the Reformation. Napoleon returned to Paris with the intention to abolish the old order, and without the threat of interference from the British Army, it became possible for him to give internal matters attention they had not seen enough of since the wars began.

Of the most interest to many people studying this period will be the advent of industrialisation. Although mass production and machine-based economies had begun as early as the late eighteenth century, it was the laying of the first track of railroad in England in 1826 that symbolised the beginning of a truly industrial world. Curiously, France did not adopt these technologies in any significant way until after the death of Napoleon I in 1833, and a likely reason for this being his dismissal of them as “nonsense”. By 1840, with the establishment of an industrial complex in Antwerp and along the banks of the Scheldt River, France looked set to overtake their great rival, although as industrialism spread to the four corners of the globe, neither nation was able to gain decisive advantage.

The best records of the late 1810s and 1820s don’t come from industrial output or the size of armies (Britain leading the first and France having a decisive advantage in the second). Instead, I think the seismic shift in the banking world is the best indicator of these times. Before 1814, Britain had considerable control over the world’s supply of money, which is unsurprising considering her imperial dominance over much of the lucrative Asian markets (and then a near monopoly of them when she took over the former Dutch East Indies in the closing years of the Napoleonic War), while France’s once-great colonial empire virtually vanished. When historians uncovered the banking records of 1818 though, it was France that investors favoured, with approximately 40% of the world share. This money only appeared to line Napoleon’s pockets in his dying years, but one cannot doubt its importance in the reign of his successor.

The Year of Darkness, 1816

“Napoleon thought he had beaten God. How very wrong he was when God forced him into the hands of his enemies.”
- Charles Harmit, British religious philosopher, 1922

If any one event is responsible for polarising the world as dramatically as happened in Napoleon’s later reign, it is the eruption of a volcano in 1815 and the resulting ‘Year of Darkness’, when global temperatures plummeted and crops were destroyed by the harsh conditions. The resulting food crisis left both Britain and France without enough to feed their populations, while the other nations of Europe struggled to break even.
Napoleon’s first call was to the British Empire. India was taking up a lot of the slack for the British Isles, so he offered a considerable price (almost three times the standard 1814 rate) in exchange for enough food to carry the nation through the disaster. London’s reply was a simple reminder of the terms of the Continental System, which had finally ended with the signing of the Treaty of Lisbon, at least in name. When three weeks later, the British colonies in Canada asked for aid from the United States, the reply was quite simply “Go to hell, Governor”, Not that it was a surprising result given what Canada had helped do to the USA just three years earlier.

While the food situation was eventually resolved with Russia assisting both powers, the diplomatic crisis never was. Talks between London and Paris continued intermittently, preventing wars from breaking out even more frequently than they ended up doing. Full trade relations became a thing of the past. France would deal with the German States, Spain and the USA. Britain had control of the rest of the world’s markets (although China and Japan remained fairly closed off until well into the twentieth century). Between them lay only a great divide that would gradually be filled with the blood of millions.

The Future of the Spanish Empire, 1810-1822

The Rebellion Period (typically defined as beginning sometime after 1808 until Peru’s independence was recognised by France in 1822) in the South American colonies is often defined as beginning with the Treaty of Lisbon. Unhappy with being the colonies of a nation that sat under Napoleon’s thumb (some would say under his hand and most of his arm as well), rebels sprouted out of every corner of the continent to fight for a free South America. While the diplomatic isolation of most of the continent from both the Coalition and the Alliance* made its impact on the world minor after the initial declarations, there is no doubt that it was for the better, as at least one corner of the world could go on without the constant threat of warfare.
In my history of the last two centuries, these events really only belong as a footnote if I am to condense this account into something less than fifty books’ worth of writings that would consume my whole life. However I feel Napoleon’s reaction to hearing of Argentina’s successful campaigning against the Bourbon Spanish government in Peru (the Madrid goverment under Napoleon’s brother having had little influence over events here) is important in understanding the events that shook the Alliance in coming years. Far from being an expert in this part of history, I have chosen to defer to Professor Sabitov’s account of Europe’s reaction to this, having decided it better sums up the situation than any paragraph I could come up with on my own.

“Here in Russia, we were a lot further out of Napoleon’s orbit than France or the German States. Even so, Napoleon’s release of Argentina from the grip of his brother’s government without a fight, and we need only look west to realise what a fight with Napoleon means, is an event that shows just what kind of ruler Napoleon is: he is not out for the system that has become known as the French Alliance, but for himself as an emperor. When he signed France to an agreement with the United States, he appears to have done so to use the United States against his decades-long enemy in London. He has the help of the upstart Polish state because he wanted to use them against us in the summer of 1812. (...)
The interests of Spain, one of the largest members of the Alliance, were to keep control over the colonies in the New World. The king before Bonaparte, still in exile in Peru, certainly thought so, going so far to raise an army from loyal elements of the population. Because of one man’s opinion in Paris, for reasons that were never given, no Spanish army was sent from the homeland, and Argentina was made free. What that told me is that one day, perhaps while I am still alive but more likely after my death, Russia too may have the ability to leave this alliance that bears so much resemblance to rulership by a foreign king.”
- After Vitebsk (Sabitov, 1818)

Why Napoleon didn’t intervene on the side of the rebels, and recruit the new nations (now joined by Ecuador, Brazil, Chile and several others) to his Alliance baffles me. If Napoleon was such a strategic genius as so many claim, why didn’t he see the risk that leaving them open to British influence caused? Only Britain’s preoccupation with troubles in India and elsewhere during the 1820s, and then more direct competition with France from the 1830s appear to have kept at least some of the nations out of the Coalition.

Although Professor Sabitov was dead before 1822 came along, he appears to have very accurately spelled out the last fifteen years of Napoleon’s reign. Even as ‘rebel’ (although Peru by now had declared independence and written the beginnings of a constitution) forces were preparing to break in to the Bourbon hideout in the Andes, Napoleon was interfering to solve a personal grudge that dated back to the French Revolution. Ferdinand VII was a Bourbon, and a Bourbon had apparently planned an attempt on Napoleon’s life in 1804. While ordering the death of a king would have only made Britain look like an attractive ally for neutral nations (not that France didn’t have experience killing its king already), Napoleon could safely order him into exile. Ferdinand ended up in a fortified camp on Helgoland, where he was kept until his death in 1834.

* = the “Coalition” being a general name applied to various allies of Britain, the “Alliance” the allies of France. The exact countries that belonged to each varied occasionally with time.

Aftermath of the Great Lakes War, 1814-1823

The United States’ recovery from the Great Lakes War was never going to be quick. Substantial parts of the country had been occupied and some had been added to Britain’s other colonies. Hostile Indian nations were now propped up along much of the northwestern border, and the majority of the territory gained in the Louisiana Purchase was now either under British, Spanish (later Mexican) or Indian control. Externally, the USA was in a worse position than it had ever been in before. Internally, it is hard to say that things were much better. The economy was devastated, many estimates believing it only weeks away from collapse at the time of the peace treaty. Creek and Seminole peoples in Alabama and Georgia terrorised the countryside, while the government was unable to spare forces to fight them.

Napoleon’s peace treaty was able to stop Britain from smashing its way into Virginia. No such piece of paper would stop the British from continuing to cause as much chaos as they could for Napoleon’s ally. British representatives met with the Indian leaders and proposed a joint invasion of ‘Spanish’ Florida (which had lost all semblance of government by this point), to establish an Indian state as a British protectorate. Although unhappy at the idea of leaving their lands, the Indians agreed, knowing that their other choice was forced expulsion by the United States. As the Seminole leader Osceola later said, “it was better for my people to leave with their friends than be forced out by their enemies.”

Napoleon and Joseph Bonaparte sent official protests to London, arguing that the intervention was an invasion of legitimate Spanish territory, with the Alliance briefly considering to reopen hostilities against Great Britain, although British naval dominance meant that assisting the Spanish colony would be virtually impossible. Instead, once news that the Indians were torturing American settlers in Northern Florida reached Paris, Napoleon offered for the USA to join his alliance, ensuring that Britain would be unable to bully the nation out of any further concessions.

For President Madison, cutting a deal with France was not going to be enough. Requests were made to Congress to begin forming a large professional army, as well as the possibility of using conscription in wartime, the success of both in Europe making them much more attractive choices over the failing American system of relying on state militias. While the economy was not decided strong enough for such a system to be possible by the end of Madison’s term in 1817, the option would be continually debated until a much smaller plan eventually passed in 1825.

Greek Rebellion, 1823

Although the Greek territories had been working to break free from the Ottoman Empire since the fifteenth century, the most significant effort was triggered by rebel success in South America some time around 1816 with the founding of the Guild of Freedmen in Athens. The Guild itself can only be described accurately as something along the lines of a secret political party, the name an intentional misnomer so that it would be ignored by Ottoman authorities.

Buying arms from Britain, the Guild quickly spread across most of the Greek parts of the Ottoman Empire, planning to incite revolts everywhere from Bulgaria and Constantinople to Macedonia and the Peloponnese. On April 6, 1823, with the Ottomans almost completely unaware, the revolts began, quickly overwhelming the loyal garrisons. For a brief time, Constantinople was placed under siege, while the sultan fled to Hüdavendigar (Bursa).

Although he did not appear concerned at the efforts of the American rebels, the fact that the rebellions had spread to Europe (and particularly, to an Alliance member), deeply alarmed Napoleon. After a contacting the sultan, Napoleon resumed the role of general, one that he had almost completely avoided since the Treaty of Lisbon, and marched his army into the rebellious territories. Almost overnight many of the rebels disbanded, although elements of them continued the fight until the final rebel stronghold of Pirgos was finally taken in 1826. Ottoman justice was swift, executing hundreds of leaders, agitators and major Guild members.

The Ottoman Crisis, 1824

- Memorandum submitted to British Prime Minister Jenkinson, Earl of Liverpool, 1824

Although Britain had helped fund and arm the Greek Rebellion (a fact that appears never to have reached Napoleon’s ears), it was the actions of Alliance members that created the resulting diplomatic crisis, with very little input from the Coalition.

Russia’s invasion of the Ottoman Empire began in May 1824, and immediately rose questions that challenged the Napoleonic order. Both nations were members of the Alliance, and the rest of the Alliance could not possibly support both sides at once. Furthermore, no other Alliance member dared go against whatever Napoleon had decided upon, his recent decision to intervene in Greece having told the world that he was willing to once again rule by pure force of arms if negotiations did not fall in his favour.

The Emperor was furious. There are unproven rumours that he smashed a porcelain dining plate upon being told that Tsar Alexander had invaded, especially when he was still clearing up the Greek campaign. He eventually demanded that the tsar break off the invasion immediately and send a representative to Sofia. Should the tsar refuse, it would mean war with France and the rest of the Alliance. He acknowledged the risk of British interference, and told his brother Joseph to prepare an army to march on Gibraltar as soon as London declared war.

The Ottoman sultan sent protests too, saying that the Ottomans deserved the chance to take lands in the Caucasus that they claimed rightfully belonged to them and not Russia. Napoleon ignored him, instead offering that he join the meeting in Sofia. The sultan agreed.

In London, the government was watching closely, even sending a representative to Sofia. If something so much as thought about being a threat to their interests, London was eager for another chance at dethroning Napoleon. Even if no casus belli for war arose, the opportunity to recruit the Ottomans or the Russians to the Coalition could not be ignored.

The Council of Sofia was tense. Russia demanded Ottoman lands as far as the Danube, as well as a huge chunk of their eastern territories. The Ottomans likewise insisted upon ownership of the entire Caucasus region, far more than any realistic claim would allow. Accepting either one, Napoleon knew, would mean greatly embittering the other, certainly driving them into the arms of Britain.

The solution he eventually found was hardly acceptable to either. Russia was awarded the Ottoman land north of the 42nd parallel in the Caucasus, while the Ottomans set up a nominally independent Armenia in formerly Russian areas, although Armenia quickly became a French puppet with neither the Ottomans nor the Russians being permitted any control. The sultan, still grateful for Napoleon’s efforts the previous year, willingly surrendered the territory.

In St Petersburg, the reaction was more angry. Tsar Alexander, still annoyed at the result of the war in 1812, effectively broke from the Alliance, formally joining the Coalition in 1832. He knew that his army was superior to the Ottomans, and vowed that Wallachia and Armenia would become part of the Russian Empire. Napoleon, upon being told of this, simply said “he is welcome to try, but let him first remember what happened the last time he ignored me.”

Brest, France
September 10, 1826
12:00 PM

Napoleon looked out at the six ships that waited in port. At first glance, they looked like a slimmer version of a third-rate with another set of sails attached at the stern. Only on closer inspection would one notice that there was iron, not wood, sitting at the waterline. The ‘iron-rates’, people called them, and although the Emperor thought the name was silly, no-one had suggested anything else.

Twenty years down the track, Napoleon supposed someone would create a true iron ship, propelled by a steam engine instead of sails, just like a rail train on the seas. As things were, attempts had been made to build such things, but all of them had been restricted by the fact that steam engines were simply too big to be practical yet. One day, someone might even make something better than the steam engine, perhaps burning lamp oil instead of coal or wood. Then the ironship would be reduced to the ash heap of history too.

For now, the iron-rate would do. Over the period of two and a quarter years, Napoleon and his engineers had made the entire British fleet (which had been expanded yet again in the wake of the Ottoman Crisis) totally obsolete. While each one carried hardly more than fifty guns, nothing this side of an act of God could sink them, not even each other. Lord Liverpool, the British Prime Minister, was sure to be shaking in his boots (or he would when his minister returned to London). Oh well, let the British have their four hundred frigates, for we have the power to sink them all, Napoleon thought.

“People of France!” Napoleon shouted to the crowd. “Twenty years ago, some of you, your fathers, your comrades, you fought alongside France, as members of the Grande Armee! England thought that she was better than us. She ordered the Austrians against us, she ordered the Prussians against us, she ordered the Spanish against us, and she ordered the Russians against us. At the end of a ten-year war, though, she could not defeat us. Refusing to accept defeat, she built a wooden wall, sat behind it, and proved herself a coward. A nuisance, absolutely, but a coward.”
“That changes today. She may have a wooden wall, but we have the power of iron. Just as the Roman gladius broke through the shields of the Celts, we too can break through their ships. The Victory that Nelson used to wreck our old fleet? I could have that nuisance sent to the bottom within the month. France is the future, people, and the future has no place for nations that refuse to accept its superiority.”

10 Downing St, London
September 18, 1826
2:30 PM

“Mr Prime Minister, here is the copy of the Emperor’s speech that you requested.”
Lord Liverpool looked over the papers that he had just been given. When Napoleon launched his six new iron-rates, he had spent a couple of hours insulting the British Empire. It wasn’t as if Englishmen didn’t spend every fifth word insulting France (‘Frenchman’ having even become a new slang word for ‘bastard’), but this seemed to be a new world record for it.
“He really has it in for us, doesn’t he?” Lord Liverpool remarked. “If you have any idea how we can finally destroy France, I’d like to know.”
“That’s not what I’m concerned about, sir.” The Royal Navy man (who exactly Liverpool couldn’t remember) said. “These ships render all of our fleet obsolete. Third-rates, First-rates, the Victory. The lot of them might as well be burned for the good they can do.”
“There’s only six of them, unless Brest isn’t the only place they’re being kept. Fifty-two guns. Those ships would run out of cannonballs before we run out of power to stop them.” Liverpool observed.
“Yes, but we may lose a line of battle, and the Little Corporal will lose but a handful of men on the deck, maybe a sail or two.” The Navy man said.
“Then what else can we do?” Liverpool wondered. “We need to rebuild our wooden wall or we’ll have Frenchmen in London week after next.”
“Could we build our own iron-rates?” The Navy man asked. “I saw very few factories in my time in France. We could outbuild France. We don’t have to worry about the half-million army that Napoleon needs to keep.”
“That... that could work.” Lord Liverpool said eventually. “We would need enough to get a decisive advantage in numbers, but I think that could be done. Then we sink Napoleon’s puny fleet and we’re back to 1812.”
“There was one other thing.” The Navy man said. “The guns we’re using now aren’t going to sink an iron-rate. Cannon shot bounces off them as if we were throwing rocks. Hang it, we are throwing rocks.”
“Then we’ll need to create better guns, won’t we?” Liverpool said calmly.

The Iron-Rate, 1826

The iron-rate was an unusual design. Effectively a third-rate ship of the line with iron taking the place of wood, Napoleon’s introduction of it in 1826 immediately rendered all wooden ships obsolete. Although it was less heavily armed than larger line ships, even first-rates proved unable to sink it.
While the Battle of Normandy Coast in the War of Napoleonic Succession (the first and only time iron-rates met in combat) gave no conclusive result despite Britain’s superior numbers, the iron-rate proved itself as the bringer of a new era in seamanship: the age of metal ships.
The iron-rate shares many more similarities with the wooden ships of the 1700s than the line-ironships of the 1840s, despite being usually categorised with the latter. Iron-rates were powered entirely by sail, often unable to achieve more than eight knots and being totally unsuitable to ocean travel (the Dangerous (1847), the first all-metal ship to cross the Atlantic, was powered by a steam engine). Naval tactics did not change with their introduction, although commanders eventually decided not to fire traditional ammunition at them.
When analysing the introduction of the iron-rate, I am forced to disagree with several leading historians. The most remarkable consequence of the iron-rate was not the almost bloodless Battle of Normandy Coast or the arms race that begun after 1826. It was the Panic of 1827, an event that played a large part in the beginning of the War of Napoleonic Succession six years later.

The Panic of 1827

The crisis that began on March 15, 1827, was the first significant failure of the world’s economy. A direct result of the arms race that arose from the building of iron-rates, it highlighted the vulnerabilities of the Napoleonic Order that the Emperor would have preferred not to reveal.
The Panic of 1827 had its roots in the boom following the Year of Darkness. The value of the New Napoleonic Franc rose against the Pound and the U.S. Dollar almost continuously for almost ten years. In the year of 1825, the franc’s value increased by almost 50%, and in 1826 that record was surpassed by August. Perhaps a classic example of growing quicker than its support base, something had to give.
In the end, it was the expiry of a French loan with the Austrian Bank that wiped the value of the franc. Investors in French banks lost thousands of pounds and francs and dollars almost overnight.
Across the world, effects were immediate, especially in Britain. For a brief period, the low prices that had graced markets rose by as much as ten times their 1825 average. Factory owners, suddenly unable to pay for work at old rates, resorted to eighteen-hour days while cutting wages and sacking large portions of their workforce. It was only by the fact that France had seen little industrialisation to this point that stopped them from falling even further than they did, and ultimately being able to haul the world out of the disaster.
Napoleon’s reaction to the crisis was unconventional to say the least. Although some members were not even sixteen, Napoleon prematurely called up the conscription classes of 1828 and 1829, ordering thousands of cotton uniforms from the United States to equip them. At the same time, he ordered an armed expedition into one of the African kingdoms in what was possibly the largest robbery of all time, stealing thousands of tons of gold from the palace of the tribal king. Some of the gold was then sent to the United States to pay for all the cotton (and other goods), while many other fractions of it made their way into the economies of Russia, Prussia, Spain, the Ottoman Empire and the Confederation of the Rhine. In what might have been a crucial oversight, very little wealth flowed into Vienna, angering the Austrian Emperor in a way that had not happened since the War of the Fifth Coalition.
By November, France had mostly recovered from the effects of the Panic. England struggled its way through a difficult winter (although the harvest had been good that year, which lessened the amount of damage done), before trade with neutral powers allowed them too to mostly recover in the spring of 1828.

Conscription Act, 1829

Napoleon’s invasion of Africa in 1827 caused more alarm in London than the Ottoman Crisis three years earlier. France had proven that they would willingly invade lands for as petty an excuse as financial troubles. While the African kingdoms that felt Napoleon’s wrath were never aligned with either the Alliance or the Coalition, this was not the first time Napoleon had attempted to stay on top by force of arms. Had the Council of Sofia not ended as he willed, war would have broken out then.

Prime Minister George Humphries, Lord Liverpool’s successor, abandoned his predecessor’s policy of negotiations with France. In a newspaper address to the nation in 1828, he said that Britain would have to be ready for the next fight. Relying on the navy alone, with other nations supplying armies to crush France, would not be enough. Every major European nation save Russia was tightly in the Napoleonic orbit, and Russia alone was not strong enough to take on the whole Alliance.

Humphries’ solution was similar to the methods Napoleon and later the USA had adopted. Half of the nation’s men, upon turning twenty-one, would serve one year in the British Army or Royal Navy. In the event of war, the term of service would be extended to a length to be determined in Parliament, with three years being proposed.

The reaction to the bill was divided. One public petition gathered 50,000 signatures in the hope of stopping the Conscription Act’s passage, drawing the attention of Humphries himself. After a bitter debate in Parliament, it was decided to hold a popular vote. If 55% of the nation agreed, the bill would be sent directly to the King (Parliament having already agreed to support it).

The votes were cast over a week in May, 1829, with counting procedures continuing until the middle of June. The results were revealed to be 59% in favour of the Act, and the Act was submitted to King William IV for signing. The King is reported to have said “it is time we stood up to those Frenchmen” as he signed.

One unexpected result of the Conscription Act was the collapse of the Poor Laws and the workhouse system. Many poor Englishmen opted to remain in the Army after the end of their one year service, leaving workhouses and parishes that had relied on working men for income to struggle on without them. Humphries then raised taxes for wealthy landowners to pay for the new workhouses (many of which were little better than prisons), intended as an intermediate measure while new trading routes in Asia were to be set up, although the taxes lasted for much longer than anyone anticipated.

Unsurprisingly, the Humphries government was ousted after an election was called in 1830, but despite the unpopularity of many of his policies, they remained in place.

War Order #254, 1829

In Paris, Napoleon followed the news surrounding the Conscription Act closely. He was one of the signatories of the petition against it (a fact that was only noticed in 1967), and even consulted his advisors on whether war would be a suitable solution. His advisors warned that war would only hasten the passing of the Act, instead suggesting that a diplomatic statement, or an attempt at restoring relations with Britain, would be a better course of action.

Napoleon didn’t start a war, but his response was almost the complete opposite of what the advisors suggested. War Order #254 (the exact reason for the large number never having been found) was issued, its message less than friendly.

War Order #254
15 September 1829

The British Empire seeks to destroy us. If we are to achieve a victory against them, we must match their destruction with our own. To stop them from destroying France, we must destroy Britain, in every way possible.
Treat all ships flying Coalition flags as though they are hostile. Supply and trade ships help our enemy as much as ships of the line, and they must be treated accordingly. Spare them no warning. Spare them no quarter. When war comes, we must be ready against all threats, nothing else matters.

Within the French military, War Order #254 was initially interpreted as an order to begin war against Great Britain, and probably the Coalition as well. By September 20, the Emperor was being asked to clarify whether France was at war with the Coalition. He stated that War Order #254 was an instruction for use when the next war came, although France remained at peace.

No word of War Order #254 reached London until several months into the War of Napoleonic Succession, when the captain of a French fourth-rate was captured and revealed the contents of the order.

The New Tsar, 1830

The accession of Tsar Nicholas I to the Russian throne in 1830 represented a great shift in the way the world appeared to organise itself. While Tsar Alexander I appeared to have been content to do what Napoleon said (possibly fearing another invasion on the scale of 1812), Nicholas made it very clear from his first day in power that this was not the case any longer.

Nicholas put himself in a difficult position, and many historians have wondered just how he managed to break free from the Alliance. Napoleon, after all, invaded Russia in 1812 for doing just that. However he did it, he sent a message to Prime Minister Humphries asking to join the Coalition. Humphries, eager for a chance to get even with Napoleon, quickly accepted the offer.

Nicholas then planned a move to give Russia a form of conscription too, although his dreams were dashed when the new British government, headed by Sir Robert Peel, cautioned him against acting too aggressively. By this point, it was evident that Napoleon’s health would not hold out forever, and in a meeting at Smolensk, it was agreed that war against France would be delayed, if at all possible, until the Emperor’s son (universally claimed to be less capable than his father) took the throne in France. In the end, Nicholas decided to keep the volunteer-only army, although attempts at recruiting men were stepped up.

The Death of the Emperor, 1833

“I entered a Europe on fire and made it a land of glory”
- Napoleon’s final words, January 2, 1833

After a long battle with what was becoming known as ‘leather-throat disease’ (diphtheria to OTL people), Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, died in his sleep. The effects were quickly felt around the world, but no more so than in France, a nation that had practically revolved around Napoleon’s personal leadership for more than three decades.

Twenty-one year-old Napoleon II, the old Emperor’s son, was raised to the throne in a spectacular ceremony that would rival Charlemagne’s mere days after the Emperor’s death was made public. His first action as Emperor was to declare a month of national mourning. Construction of a huge monument in the centre of Paris soon followed, to be placed on top of the site of the guillotine from Revolutionary days as a symbol of the Bonapartist triumph over all that came before it.

Across the world, millions of people were shocked by the news, and many people are known to have predicted an imminent end of the world, although the descriptions given vary wildly from one account to the next. A daughter of the King of Westphalia is said to have had a heart attack upon hearing of Napoleon’s passing, although she apparently survived.

Robert Peel was probably the happiest man on the planet when the news reached London on January 4. “Now we can beat them!” he shouted triumphantly when he was given the newspaper for that day. He quickly invited Tsar Nicholas to London, hoping to begin preparations for a war against the Alliance, which was beginning to unravel.

Napoleon II and the breaking of the Alliance, 1833

While the elder Napoleon was not a skilled diplomat by any stretch of the imagination, his son was undoubtedly worse. From the moment he became Emperor, his advisors were insisting that he marry, solidifying an alliance between France and one of Europe’s other great powers.

Napoleon II’s choice was Princess Caroline, the granddaughter of Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III and sole child of the Prussian heir. While the two were very close, diplomatically the choice made little sense. Prussia was probably the most committed Alliance member after the USA (which had no royal house), and no further alliance needed to be formed with them. At the same time, relations with Russia were deteriorating rapidly, while Austria appeared to also be drifting further from the alliance.

When the marriage was announced and word spread to Vienna, Emperor Franz Karl (OTL son of Emperor Francis I) is said to have been enraged, cursing Bonaparte’s name with vile intensity for several hours before one of his advisors urged him to get back to ruling his nation. Franz Karl announced that seeing as France wanted no further part with Austria (despite Napoleon’s mother being Austrian), Austria would have nothing further to do with France. He demanded the Austrian copy of the treaty that bound them to the Napoleonic Alliance, which he then had burned. Popular legend says that he also had a cow defecate on the ashes, although the first written record of this dates from 1887, making it unlikely.

Robert Peel sent a diplomat to Austria upon hearing of this, offering Austria the return of Illyria should Austria declare war on France and the Alliance. Franz Karl, after being given assurances from St Petersburg, the declared war on Prussia. The same day, Russia invaded the Ottoman Empire and Armenia. Napoleon II brought France into the fight against both of them, and the United States declared war on Great Britain after three weeks. The War of Napoleonic Succession had begun.

War of Napoleonic Succession: 1833
The War of Napoleonic Succession, Part I

Eastern Front, 1833

The most eager Coalition leader at the beginning of hostilities was undoubtedly Tsar Nicholas of Russia, and it was little surprise to anyone that he was the first to act on the declaration of war, ordering a quarter of a million men into the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, insisting that Russia would reclaim the territory that had been taken from it in 1812.
For the first month of the invasion, the Russians ran into very little resistance. The old lands, including the city of Kovno, were rapidly overrun, while the small (although well-trained) Polish army retreated towards Warsaw. Nicholas made good on his promise, annexing the lands that it claimed.
Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III grew alarmed by the Russian advance, which was approaching the border near Tilsit, and ordered a declaration of war against the Tsar. Although fighting an Austrian invasion of Silesia at the time, Friedrich Wilhelm decided to take a gamble and sent several corps’ worth of men to aid the Poles. The gamble paid off, for the Russians were halted not far west of Bialystok.

Friedrich Wilhelm’s weakening of the Silesian line gave confidence to the Austrian forces too. While the invasion had begun as an oversized probe with the relatively limited objective of Glogau in mind, Franz Karl ordered its escalation once he received a report confirming the Prussians were withdrawing some of their men. The Austrians would now aim for Berlin.
Such was not to be. The Austrian army was able to secure Glogau, as well as Dresden in the Confederation of the Rhine. To go any further proved impossible when the Battle of the Oder was fought slightly north of Glogau. Despite a slight numerical advantage, the Austrians were unable to break through the Prussian defenses. The Battle of the Oder was a Pyrrhic Victory for the Prussians, but the heavy casualties were enough for Emperor Franz Karl to pull his men out of most of Silesia and saving Berlin from Coalition forces.

Southern Fronts, 1833

Austria’s joining the Coalition was in no small part due to the opportunity for them to regain their Illyrian territories, and in Vienna, it was decided that Illyria needed to be captured early in the war before Napoleon II had a chance to defend the territory properly.
Owing to the long border that the French territory shared with Austria, the armies that Franz Karl sent quickly liberated most of Illyria, including the provincal capital of Trieste, and by July the Austrians had fortified the mountain passes that led into the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.
Had Napoleon II or one of his generals tried to force their way through the mountain line, they almost certainly would have failed, and probably would have been badly bloodied in the process. After the Austrians made no moves to invade Italy, the Alliance instead appears to have simply accepted the loss of the territory, tying down numerous Austrian forces that would be better used against other Alliance forces.

In their invasion of the Ottoman Empire, Russia was much more successful than they were in Poland. Dividing their invading force into two armies, the Russians launched overwhelming assaults into both the Caucasian and Bessarabian territories of the Ottoman Empire, as well as Armenia.
In a lightning campaign, the Russian Army secured not only Bessarabia, but Moldavia and parts of Wallachia, reaching the Danube in places before the year’s end. The most significant battle in this theatre was that fought near Jassy, where almost 50,000 men from each side engaged until a massive cavalry charge broke through the Ottoman lines.
The battles in Armenia and Georgia were less decisive. Russian forces overran territory as far west as Trebizond with little organised resistance from the Ottomans. Unorganised resistance was much more significant, with a partisan campaign erupting on a scale comparable to that of Napoleon I’s ‘Spanish Ulcer’ from 1809-1813, although involving less men from both sides. The efforts of the Armenians and Georgians forced the Russian army to keep as many as three corps behind to fortify their recent gains, severely depleting the force that could be put into action against the Ottoman regulars, a problem which would trouble them until the end of the war.

The War at Sea, 1833

War Order #254 was put into place from the moment war was declared against the Coalition, and initially proved very successful. British merchant shipping had been relatively safe from French attack once the blockade cut Europe off from the seas. The French Navy, gathered at Brest and Calais, was much more powerful than it had been in 1805 when compared with the Royal Navy, which made the enforcement of a blockade more difficult.
Napoleon II recognised this and took advantage of the brutal orders that his father left behind. Assembling a large fleet of outdated fourth-rates, Napoleon’s fleet took to the seas only a couple of days after the beginning of the war, and headed for the northwestern coast of Africa, along a major British trading route.
The British ships were not even aware that war had broken out, some having left port in Britain mere hours before the declaration was announced, and the French Squadron was quick to pounce on the unsuspecting targets, many of which did not even carry guns. Records from the squadron suggest that dozens of thousands of tons of shipping were sent to the bottom, including the HMS Hastings, which was carrying eight chests of silver bound for China. When the British finally intercepted the French Squadron in October 1833, they had the captains of the ships publicly executed as pirates. Other squadrons obeying War Order #254 continued to trouble the British until they were finally destroyed by 1836, with similar punishments being applied to many.
Napoleon II wasn’t content with simply destroying the British merchant fleet. He wanted to achieve what even his father had failed in: an invasion of England. Gathering the six iron-rates, alongside traditional wooden first- and third-rates and transports to carry 80,000 men, Napoleon’s fleet was to assemble from Brest and Calais at a point near the beaches of Normandy, where the army would be loaded on and transported to a location near Southampton.

“I was farming the lands outside my pa’s old shed when a hundred hazy shapes came over the horizon. The Frenchmen were leaving port. My pa said it was like 1805 all over again.”
- Jeremy Collins, 1834, in an interview with the London Report

The story of Jeremy Collins is an interesting one, even though history is full of chance events. Ten or eleven years old at the time and working in a field outside Dover, chance is the only logical explanation. From the limited sources available to us today (the London Report building was destroyed in a fire in 1893, along with most records), it appears that he happened to look up from what he describes as farming, and saw something moving along the horizon, which is most likely just off the French coast. He then told his father, who rushed into Dover to tell the local postmaster. Someone from Dover was then rushed into London to inform the Navy of the sighting.

Luckily for England, the eighteen iron-rates of the Royal Navy were gathering supplies in Portsmouth when word reached them of the coming French fleet. Prime Minister Peel himself had ordered that the iron-rates’ captains were not to return to London if the French could not be repulsed. In addition, wooden elements of the fleet were also dispatched from nearby ports.

The fleets clashed about fifteen kilometres north of Cherbourg, both sides bringing newspaper reporters along to cover what was to be a historic battle. The iron-rates made short work of the obsolescent third- and fourth-rates, despite being roughly equal in gunnery. The British, with their superior numbers, used their iron-rates to target the lighter transport ships (some of which were converted sixth-rates from the 1810s), while mostly ignoring the nearly invulnerable iron-rates, which continued to duel with first-rates.
The Battle of Normandy coast resulted in thirty-four ships sunk (fifteen British) and three captured, all of them wooden. Although tactically the battle was a draw, strategically it was an unquestionable victory for the British. Napoleon II called off his plans to invade England, while the French were forced to retreat to their ports. A limited blockade was put in place around France, although the French iron-rates repeatedly broke through to allow lighter ships to break through to the Atlantic, where they continued to enforce War Order #254.

The war at sea never regained the intensity of the first six months of conflict, and indeed continued to wind down until the French fleet was almost completely worn down by 1836.

American Front, 1833

As hostilities reached America, US planners faced a difficult situation. They were almost completely surrounded by Coalition members: British Canada, the Indian Confederacy under Tecumseh, the Quapaw nation to the west of Tennessee and the Creek nation in formerly Spanish Florida. In addition, the New American Navy was outnumbered by the Royal Navy almost 20:1 and included no iron-rates, meaning that much of the coast would be vulnerable at any given moment, should the British decide to commit to the American theatre.
President Hugh L. White dismissed the naval situation as a lost cause from the beginning of the conflict, hoping that France would be able to tie down enough of the Royal Navy with their War Order #254 (a copy of which was secretly sent to the US government in 1831), so as to prevent a significant landing from occuring. In addition, White kept a 40,000-strong army in Virginia, ready to react if word of invasion did come.
On the ground, White recognised that the Indian nations that the British had propped up since the end of the Great Lakes War, would not be able to resist an immediate invasion before the British arrived with soldiers from Europe, and for the two months that it would take for those soldiers to come, Canada would be vulnerable to invasion as well.
Under General Winfield Scott, the US First Army pushed out of Ohio before the Indians could be told of the war’s beginning, and the results were horrendous. The 30,000 man army vastly outnumbered the Indian warriors, which were slaughtered in the Battle of Buffalo Hill after the US cavalry caught the encamped Indians off guard. The whereabouts of Tecumseh were never known after the battle, and he was declared dead after a month-long search. His death caused the immediate collapse of his Confederacy, and lands as far as the Mississippi River were annexed back into the United States.
While Scott was reasserting the US claim to what had been the Indiana and Illinois territories (the name of this territory would be changed in 1834 due to the troubles the Indians had caused the USA), another Army was sent into Canada in a move similar to the attempts to capture it in the Revolutionary War and again in the Great Lakes War. Not only had part of Massachusetts (OTL Maine) been torn from the United States as part of the Treaty of Lisbon, but such a large expanse of British territory to the north was deemed a security risk to the Union.
The US Third Army, under the command of General Wade Hampton Jr (OTL Hampton II), made quick progress into North Massachusetts, where they were welcomed by many of the locals. Hampton’s army then began an advance towards the St Lawrence river, although fears of a British landing in their rear (which turned out to be unjustified) caused him to retreat into Northern Massachusetts, where he waited for news from Scott’s army.
By the end of the year, the USA looked ready to resume a march to the St Lawrence, a better position they had been in since the earliest days of the Great Lakes War.

War of Napoleonic Succession: 1834
War of Napoleonic Succession, Part II

Spanish Front, 1834

At the beginning of 1834, Prime Minister Robert Peel announced the Coalition’s intention of restoring the Bourbons to the Spanish throne. Francisco, the brother of the late King Ferdinand VII, had escaped from South America in the aftermath of the rebellions, and after spending ten years in exile in London, he joined the British Army in Lisbon.
Francisco’s return to Iberia tore open the barely-healed wounds of the ‘Spanish Ulcer’. As news spread across the peninsula, thousands of men, many of them the sons of guerrillas from the 1808-13 campaign, took up arms once again to push the unpopular King Joseph out of Madrid.
King Joseph’s army was formidable, numbering almost a quarter of a million French and Spanish loyalists. No matter how powerful his force was, he proved unable to use it effectively. In the month-long march between Madrid and the Portuguese border, the XIII Corps recorded fifty-six independent ambushes (other units came in with similar records), losing almost one in five effective soldiers before a halt was called outside Salamanca. King Joseph requested aid from his nephew in Paris, only to find that rebels had taken control of the northern cities of Pamplona and Zaragoza.
Although the Alliance intended to invade Portugal, the British army acted first, catching the Alliance off guard. Joseph’s army, exhausted from the long and difficult march across hostile countryside, retreated into their encampment in Salamanca, where they endured a three week siege. Meanwhile, Francisco led a detachment of loyalists to liberate the country between the Alliance army and Madrid.
An outbreak of cholera emerged in the Salamanca camp at the beginning of May, further weakening the already battered French-Spanish Army, to the point that when British cannons knocked down the star fort walls, the commander of the Alliance army surrendered without a fight.
On the 16th of May, 1834, Francisco returned to Madrid, where an ecstatic populace installed him as King Francisco I of Spain. King Joseph fled north to Paris, where Napoleon II vowed revenge. As new classes of conscripts filled the ranks of the French Army, Napoleon began working on a new army to make good on his promise.

Eastern Front, 1834

Whatever the Coalition gained in Spain, they lost undoubtedly more on the Eastern Front. While the Russians resumed their steady advance into Poland, the Austrians began to feel the effects of their virtual encirclement by the Alliance.
At the beginning of 1834, the French Eastern Army had been boosted by 100,000 conscripts and the main body of the Army of the Confederation of the Rhine. Napoleon II stayed behind in Paris, instead allowing his generals to manage the campaign, although they were given some vague orders, the heart of which was a plan to knock Austria out of the Coalition.
Austria was unprepared for the onslaught that came from the west. The army that had advanced into Silesia in the earliest days of the war suffered renewed pressure from the Prussians (who had been reinforced by the forces of Mecklenburg). Meanwhile, the Confederation-French Army launched an assault into Bohemia, where Prague fell to the Alliance in the midsummer and Vienna was placed under threat before the end of the year. Emperor Franz Karl panicked, moving the government to Budapest, although the remnants of the Austrian Army were able to regroup after a fighting retreat towards Vienna.

Ottoman Front, 1834

For the Russian Army, crossing the Danube proved to be a significantly harder task than reaching it, every bridge within reach having been burned by the retreating Ottoman forces. Tsar Nicholas grew famously annoyed with the apparent lack of progress that he ordered the soldiers to swim across the river, although his generals refused to carry the order on to their troops.
By the time the Russians did force their way across in July, they found the land to be dotted with hundreds of new fortifications and armed with new cannons that could only have come from France. Despite this, the Russians were able to slowly force their way through to reach the outskirts of Adrianople by Christmas, Ottoman manpower having been drained to such an extent to make proper reinforcement almost impossible.

In the Caucasus, the difficult terrain combined with an intense partisan campaign by the Armenians continued to hamper Russian efforts to conquer Turkey from the east. While Trebizond was taken at the end of 1833, the city was eventually liberated, becoming a high-water mark of the Russian invasion in the process. Hoping to gather support from the Georgians, the Sultan promised that an Alliance victory in the war would mean a free Georgian nation, torn out of Russian lands. Tsar Nicholas was furious, but the risk of an Austrian collapse in Europe meant that he was unable to send reinforcements to that front in significant quantities.

American Front, 1834

The invasion that General Hampton had feared in 1833 eventually arrived in 1834. Britain, confident that they would not be threatened by the Napoleonic fleet (which had been smashed down to the six iron-rates and a few dozen commerce raiders) again, assembled their own invasion fleet. The army that this carried landed on the coast of Massachusetts and quickly forced its way into Boston.
General Hampton got word of the invasion before the President did, and acted without orders from his commander-in-chief, pulling the majority of his army out of what was formerly North Massachusetts (and which the American government still claimed as its rightful land). The British meanwhile burned Boston (just as they had done to New York in 1813), destroyed the USS Constellation and hanged as many of its crew as they could find, and sent back a request to London for reinforcements, as Canada was still not defended as well as they would have liked.
The American Armies got to Massachusetts before the British reinforcements did, and when General Hampton met with the commanders of the Army of Virginia, he was given a message from an angry President White, who wanted to be consulted before any major redeployments occured. The general threw the note on the ground, although a trailing soldier picked it up and held onto it. The letter is has been preserved in a South Carolina museum since 1996.
Probably the only thing that saved General Hampton’s career (as well as helping to boost the image of his son several years later) was his decisive victory over the British force in Boston the next day. Catching the British unprepared in an attack a quarter-hour before dawn, Hampton was able to break through the defenses that the British had set up and liberated the centre of Boston by noon. In disarray, the British fled to the docks, where many of them were evacuated and escaped to Canada.
Interestingly, when word of the evacuation reached London, it was hailed as a victory. The 1946 film Out of the Eagle’s Nest celebrated this, becoming the most popular British war film and a landmark propaganda piece.

On the Michigan Front, General Scott’s army was threatened by an Indian uprising, which hoped to restore the native government that had collapsed with the death of Tecumseh. Although heavily outnumbered, the Indians managed to play a drawn-out game of cat-and-mouse until they were eventually caught on the bank of the Mississippi. General Scott shattered the Indian army, refusing to take prisoners.
Once the uprising was put down, Scott’s attention turned back to Michigan Territory. The Maumee Lands (more or less the Toledo Strip of OTL), a piece of land that had once been part of Ohio, was secured as the British pulled out of Boston, and the US Cavalry stormed into the Michigan Territory a week later. Although expecting very little resistance from the mostly unsettled territory, the cavalry spotted a large British column moving through, at most two days’ marching from the US position.
Scott decided to attempt to repel them, believing that the column was planning an invasion of Ohio (or possibly trying to bring the Indian Confederacy back to life), even though that would place severe strain on his plans to secure the whole territory by the end of the year.
The column turned out to be a large force of Canadian militia combined with some crack units of the British Army, comparable in numbers to Scott’s force. Scott himself was unwell on the day of the battle, and gave command of the army to his subordinates.
Scott’s subordinates proved less competent than their general, and lost the battle, although the US force was able to retreat successfully, pulling back to Fort Stephenson, the fort itself being annexed back into Ohio. The British did not pursue, worried about a winter campaign in difficult, unsettled territory, and pulled back to Fort King George in the Michigan territory.

War of Napoleonic Succession: 1835
War of the Napoleonic Succession, Part III

Austrian Front, 1835

Austria entered the year 1835 in a precarious position. French and German troops had made substantial inroads into Bohemia and had taken Linz further south. Yet the Austrian Army, although beaten in several battles further north, remained powerful, and Emperor Franz Karl ordered his army to make a final stand outside Vienna.
Marshal Nicolas Oudinot, a victorious veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, had other ideas. Correctly assuming that the Austrians would position their forces in the direct path of the French Army (near the town of Hollabrunn), he ordered the Prussians into the city of Pressburg, threatening Vienna from the east.
Franz Karl panicked, and after losing contact with the French, moved the majority of his army to try and retake Pressburg from the Prussians.
Oudinot caught the Austrians just outside the small town of Gerasdorf, while the Prussians attacked from the east. In the resulting battle, the Austrians were shattered and Vienna was left open to capture. Napoleon II even travelled from Paris to be part of the city’s capture, triumphantly leading a column across the Danube and into the city.
The fall of Austria effectively knocked the Austrians out of the war. Franz Karl returned to Vienna to negotiate terms, which returned Austria to the Alliance (allowing French troops right of passage through its territory, and meaning it would side with France in future conflicts), and forced it to pay reparations to France and Prussia.
Austria’s withdrawal from the war drastically altered the balance of power in Eastern Europe. The Russians fighting in Poland and Thrace, once able to count on the Austrians to secure their flanks, now were at risk of being isolated by Allied armies operating out of Hungary.

Eastern Front, 1835

This alone was not enough to deter the Russians, who had seen the most success of any Coalition member in the war. Under the command of General Ivan Paskevich, the Tsar’s Army focussed its attention on the fortress at Adrianople, hoping to draw whatever remained of the Ottoman forces in Europe into a pitched battle, where the superior Russian Army hoped to defeat them.
The Sultan’s commanders appear to have realised this, and concentrated their forces in Constantinople, while refusing to move their forces in Greece (the Guild of Freedmen having reestablished itself with the beginning of the war). A further detachment was sent into Austria, hoping to hasten that country’s collapse and meet up with the French and German forces.
Adrianople was eventually taken without a major battle, frustrating Paskevich, who decided that the best way to end the war would be the capture of the City of the World’s Desire. (The Tsar is said to have toyed with the idea of declaring himself to be the direct successor of the last Roman Emperor, and establishing Russia as the Third Rome, although these plans never came to fruition.) By the beginning of summer, Constantinople was placed under incomplete siege, although the Ottomans managed to keep a limited corridor open across the narrow Bosphorus strait (albeit under heavy Russian cannon fire).
The Sultan was trapped inside the city, vowing to die with the city should the defenses fail. Reporters at the time declared this to be an act of utter foolishness, while the Tsar ordered invitations to the Sultan’s funeral to be written.
By November, Paskevich’s force found itself in a suddenly much more difficult position. After the withdrawal of Austria, Oudinot forced his army through the fallen country in record time and crossed the Danube using the same bridges that the Russians had built the previous year (the tiny garrisons in Wallachia being brushed aside with little effort). Ottoman loyalists in Wallachia, in hiding after the Russian takeover, joined his army to form the Liberation Corps (although their numbers never came close to that of a true corps).
Meanwhile, the Ottomans had seen some success in the Caucasus, no doubt helped by the intense partisan activity in the region. Although precise records have been lost, when examining other sources, it appears that the offensive began in 1834 was resumed during the summer months, eventually pushing the Russians out of the Ottoman Empire, then out of Armenia, and finally out of Georgia, which was then declared to be an independent country (although it was created much more as a buffer state for the Ottomans than anything else). The Ottomans do not appear to have attempted marching beyond this line, despite Russia still being in possession of some lands that were lost during the Crisis of 1824. The only explanation thus far has been the need to pull forces back for the defense of Constantinople.
When Paskevich heard of what was going on around him, he muttered something exceptionally foul, so much so that I will not repeat it in this writing. Regardless of his choice of language, Paskevich’s attack on Constantinople grew from an intended siege to an almost total assualt, with parts of cannons literally melting from the amount of ordnance they fired in an attempt to smash through the Ottoman defenses. Despite his boasts, the Sultan did sneak out of the city three days before the New Year, but he landed on the European side of the Bosphorus. Oudinot’s Army had arrived.

Barbary Intervention, 1835

During the 1820s, the Ottoman Army (at the request of the USA) was turned against the leaders of the semi-autonomous Barbary States of Morocco, Algeria, Tunis and Tripoli, which had long been entrenched as a bastion for piracy. The resulting ‘invasion’ (although Ottoman sources claimed it merely as an action to boost Ottoman power in that part of their empire) quickly replaced the authority of local leaders (the majority of which fled into the hills in Algeria) with that of the Ottoman Sultan, and anti-Alliance piracy quickly ceased.
By 1835, the Coalition was in control of any waterways that the Royal Navy sailed (although War Order #254 continued to trouble them), and the recent fiasco at Boston meant that the British government was hesitant to order another invasion of Alliance territory. Robert Peel remained insistent that war must be brought to the enemy shores.
His chance came when the sixty-two year-old Algerian pirate Reis Hamidou broke out of the Ottoman prison where he had been kept for the past fifteen years (after refusing to accept Ottoman authority), and escaped to Gibraltar on a stolen fishing boat. He proposed that the British work with the Barbary leaders to throw the Ottomans out of Northwest Africa. The reason he gave was to restore Coalition power over the Western Mediterranean, but historians have almost universally agreed that profit was his main motivation, and total Alliance control of the Mediterranean did not support this.
Hamidou eventually met with the Prime Minister, who agreed to restore Barbary power provided the Barbary pirates would only attack Alliance ships, in effect adding them to the Coalition. Hamidou agreed (although his successors would begin to target Coalition shipping too from the 1850s).
The British landed at five points along the Barbary Coast to find the Ottomans had almost entirely evacuated the area (sending the troops against the Russians). The British Army quickly deposed the Ottoman governors, establishing Hamidou as the Sultan of Algeria (while other Berbers took control in Morocco, Tripoli and Tunis). In addition, the British turned over some captured French warships (most of which dated from 1805 or earlier) to ensure the French would not return and overthrow the restored nations immediately.

Spanish Front, 1835

Napoleon II had other priorities. The Barbary Intervention was a defeat for the Alliance, but in terms of the outcome of the war, it was a relatively minor one. The humiliating defeat of the Bonapartes in Spain was a far greater threat, as it opened up the possibility for a Coalition march into the French homeland. Such an event, even if it proved unsuccessful, was likely to cause the Alliance to disintegrate.
When the Conscription Class of 1835 was called up in January, Napoleon felt confident. The British had yet to reestablish Bourbon control over a sizeable part of the peninsula, and King Francisco’s government remained disorganised. Ex-partisans (who had yet to swear allegiance to the Bourbons) still controlled much of the country, particularly in the northwest. The British might have an army, and the Coalition might have their king on the throne, but Spain was not completely in Coalition hands.
In early March, Napoleon struck, sending an enormous army storming across the Pyrenees into Navarre and Aragon. At the head of the army was Marshal Bertrand Clausel, who had served with distinction in Italy in 1798 and Spain from 1809-13. The meagre British and (pro-Coalition) Spanish forces were quickly swept aside, and by the end of May France had control of almost a third of Iberia once again. Napoleon rejoiced and restored his uncle Joseph to the throne in a spectacular ceremony in Zaragoza. The British feared that a repeat of the campaign of 1813 was going to chase them off the continent once again.
As fate would have it, Marshal Clausel suffered a stroke* mere days after the Bonapartes were restored to the throne, paralysing his army as communications broke down in the resulting chaos. One of Clausel’s subordinates was eventually promoted once Napoleon II heard of the event, but the army would never regain its initial momentum (although this change has also been attributed to the fact that Clausel had marched through the largely pro-Alliance parts of Spain).

Meanwhile, the political situation in Spain was descending even further into total anarchy. With two rival kings holding claims and backed up by armies, partisan groups clashed in the streets as the Spaniards attempted to give their chosen claimant control over the whole country. Control was only certain in the areas where armies marched, which ensured that the Bourbons would hold Madrid and the western two-thirds of the country, while King Joseph’s new ‘Kingdom of Aragon’, as it came to be known, held sway over the area roughly corresponding to Navarre, Aragon and Valencia.

American Front, 1835

After the stalemate on the Ohio border, President White decided that American attention would be better spent on trying to secure as much of the Trans-Mississippi lands as possible while Britain was still heavily involved in the war in Europe. To that effect, he eyed the Quapaw Confederacy, an Indian nation (although little more than a British protectorate) that controlled a large amount of land north of Louisiana.
Under the command of General Zachary Taylor, the Americans launched their assault (coincidentally) on the same day as Napoleon’s army invaded Spain. The Indians, outnumbered and far from British support (Mexico having refused to allow British troops passage through its territory), were quickly slaughtered and whatever native government had once existed quickly fell into ruins. After Taylor won a conclusive victory at the major Indian encampment known as the Hills of Seven Eyes (the reason behind the name remains a mystery), White annexed the area to form a new US territory, with the temporary name of North Louisiana (the previously considered name of Arkansas being rejected on the grounds of how much trouble the Indians had caused the United States).
On the Michigan Front, General Scott launched another attack, aiming to capture Detroit in Michigan Territory. Although intially successful, the attack bogged down just after crossing the 42nd parallel, and the town never saw American forces.
The British instead chose to focus on retaking what the Americans liked to call North Massachusetts, vowing that the Battle of Boston would be avenged. Having finally been backed up by reinforcements both from the Boston Expedition and from fresh conscripts in Europe, an attack was launched out of Canada that pushed all the way to the (1832) border with the United States. General Hampton, after consulting with President White, chose not to launch an attack, but sent a message to the British commander, warning that any invasion of US territory would be met with ferocious resistance, even greater than that of either the Revolutionary War or the Great Lakes War.
The reply was a request for a ceasefire, to apply across the entire Western Hemisphere. The British cited growing discontent at home (which had grown significantly after the stunning Alliance victories in Spain and Austria), as well as the apparent stalemate across the continent. Hampton forwarded the message on to President White, who agreed on the condition that the US-British Canadian border between Lake Michigan and Lake Erie be moved to the 42nd parallel. As this area was almost entirely under US control, Britain quickly agreed.

*Clausel survived the stroke, but retired. He eventually died in 1839.

Battle of Constantinople, 1836

In what may be the greatest New Year’s firework display of all time, Marshal Oudinot welcomed in 1836 by firing on the Russian encampment outside Constantinople. Within minutes, men from both sides had formed battle lines and were blasting away at each other. Russian General Paskevich had feared the battle ever since the fall of Austria, and killed himself rather than risk seeing his country suffer yet another defeat at the hands of the French. Three hours later, the Russian Army broke ranks and fled, leaving 10,000 casualties in their wake.

Off the tails of the Aragon Restoration, the fall of the Quapaws and the withdrawal of Austria, the Battle of Constantinople was the final nail in the coffin of the Coalition’s war effort. French troops looked ready to invade Russia, which was fast becoming the only active front of the war.

The End of a Storm, 1836

After two and a half years of conflict, the war had begun to take its toll on Britain at home as well as in the field. Although their numbers were dwindling, the French Navy’s ferocious implementation of War Order #254 had caused severe stress on the British economy, which finally gave out in early February. Robert Peel, knowing that prolonged fighting would only lead to further damage to the country, gave in and asked Napoleon II for a peace treaty.

Britain was merely the first nation to collapse from the pressure of the immense conflict. Napoleon II had spent several days discussing matters with his financial ministers, hoping to squeeze extra months out of his own economy, with the most generous predictions saying that he could last until June. Upon receiving Peel’s letter, he called a global armistace and invited the European diplomats to Paris to negotiate the terms for the end of the war, while a similar arrangement in Washington would settle the American conflict.

Although the Alliance was the undisputed victor of the war, the terms suggested a peace of mutual exhaustion. Both powers agreed to leave Spain divided into Bourbon and Bonaparte kingdoms, and Napoleon accepted the loss of the Barbary Coast in exchange for Russian acceptance of the independence of Georgia and Armenia (the latter of which had never been fully accepted by St Petersburg).
In America, Britain continued to prop up the Creek state in Florida but surrendered the other Indian states as lost causes. In addition, Britain and the United States came to an agreement on the Western Frontier dispute, agreeing to divide the lands west of the Great Lakes along the 42nd parallel.

Old Summer Palace
Peking, China
20 November, 1836

The Daoguang Emperor looked at George William Chad, the diplomat that the British had sent to negotiate new trading arrangements. Like Macartney forty-three years prior, the barbarian had refused to perform the kowtow, a great insult to His Imperial Majesty. Despite the insult, Daoguang was willing to give the Englishman at least some time to explain himself.
“Your Imperial Majesty, I have come today to present a message from His Majesty’s government in London. In light of the current situation in Europe, we have found the trading arrangements to be unsuitable and would like to discuss alternatives.”
Chad offered a letter, which was certainly written in the strange script that the barbarians used, not the fine Chinese or Manchu characters that the Son of Heaven was accustomed too. The Emperor dismissed it.
“I’m already aware of the situation.” The Emperor said. “My father had the heads of the people who bought your opium. The Celestial Empire will not accept any arrangement other than the present. We are managing perfectly well on our own.”
After a translator explained this to Chad, the diplomat’s face turned.
“If your government does not want to continue to deliver silver as they have done for many years, why should we continue to deliver our tea and luxuries?” Daoguang added.
“Your Imperial Majesty, I feel as though you would be unwise to decline this.” Chad said eventually. “In Europe, my King will not be pleased.”
“Then maybe your King should think about allowing trade to continue as it has been since the reign of my grandfather.” Daoguang offered.
“Your Imperial Majesty, the situation in Europe means that we cannot provide silver, although we have many other goods we can offer you.” Chad said, visibly choking on some of the words.
“If you have no silver, then do not bother me.” Daoguang said, fed up at the nerve of the Englishman.
Chad stood up, about as far from proper court behaviour as one could get, and raised his voice. “Very well, I shall report this to London. China may consider itself not in need of trade and friendship today, but this will surely raise fury in Europe. And one day, my son, or my grandson, or my great-grandson will return, and should the Emperor refuse him, I can assure you that it will be China, not Europe, that regrets their decisions.” He walked out without a backwards glance.
The Emperor turned to Lin Zexu, his close friend and advisor. A barbarian threatening the mighty Chinese Empire? Preposterous.

Politics in America, 1836-37

Unsurprisingly, President White’s relatively successful conclusion of the war in North America, and especially the destruction of the Western Indian states that had served as a national humiliation, ensured him a landslide victory in the election of 1836, which left him a Congress so supportive of his actions that the he ended up being jokingly called a king by European papers.

However, White’s victories revealed weaknesses in the American government that had been building since the breakup of the Democratic-Republicans in the 1810s. In light of the disaster of the Great Lakes War, most political leaders had banded together to form the Union Party (which was not a true party in any sense of the word). Almost the entirety of the government from 1818 until 1838 belonged to the Unionists, who had placed national interest before any domestic concerns. Men that would have been rivals came together to ensure that a strong army could be built, backed up by a federal banking system, even if this began to infringe on state rights.* The four-yearly elections devolved from party rivalries into a decision by the public on who would lead the Union Party.

(* it should be noted that the Union Party was quite concerned with remaining as democratic as possible, and many of its leaders worked to ensure that no-one would take advantage of the fragile system to create a dictatorship)

As White was a national hero by the time the 1836 election came around, the Union Party opted not to put forward an alternative candidate, although several non-Union candidates chose to run against the popular President. However, the war had been over for almost a year, the United States had claimed a place under the sun, and most of the Louisiana Purchase was back under their control. The whole purpose of the Union Party, namely a strong nation, had been achieved, and as an emergency system, was no longer really suitable in the eyes of many. Very quickly the Union Party dissolved, with President White leading one faction that came to be known as the Nationalists. By the 1838 midterm elections, the final Unionists broke up, joining one of the several factions that formed in its wake.

Unrest in Germany and The German Worker’s State, 1837

While America benefitted from the war, the German States were undoubtedly the ones who suffered the most. Under the increasingly dominating shadow of the French, their armies had lost the prestige of being independent, as Napoleon II had ordered them around the way he ordered his own marshals. When France’s economy finally collapsed in August 1836, the Germans decided that they had had enough.

Nowhere was this more clear than in the Confederation of the Rhine. At the immediate end of the War of Napoleonic Succession, two of its members: Bavaria and Westphalia, had emerged as the strongest of the German States (with Prussia a close third). Combined, they were (for the moment) stronger than even the mighty French Army, having not participated in the Balkan Campaign in 1835 while Oudinot’s men bled. Knowing this, many in Germany felt that bowing down to France was an insult to their honour, and rioting began to break out.

The most significant person in these events was Joachim Buhl, a twenty-two year old Bavarian writer. Buhl’s famous text The German Worker’s State outlined a radical plan for a German unification, led by a union of Bavaria and Prussia (Buhl appears to have assumed that Westphalia would submit to this idea shortly after, and France appears not to have been a consideration). As part of his plan for German unification, Buhl’s text suggested a worker’s revolution to topple the kings (who were villainised as puppets of Napoleon), which would lead to a worker’s government and eventually a classless society, with prosperity and wealth for all.

Buhl’s father worked at a printing press, and is said to have very quickly shown great belief in his son’s radical ideology. As hundreds of copies were published each day, The German Worker’s State circulated throughout Bavaria, before making inroads in the other German States. After one radical nailed a copy to the door of the Bavarian King’s palace, the King quickly caught on to the idea of German unification (whether he finished reading the text is doubtful), and began attempting to join with Prussia.

Westphalia found out about the plans of the Bavarians before the Prussians did, and immediately got to work on ensuring that they, not the Bavarians, would have primacy in a German Empire. They focussed their efforts on the smaller states in the Confederation of the Rhine, while Prussia dismissed the Bavarian ambassadors.

Annoyed that the Westphalians were trying to gain power within the Confederation, the Bavarian king (who by now was growing weary of all the resentment and unrest that was occuring within his nation), declared war on Westphalia, hoping to bring about unification by force. Buhl himself fled the country, staying in neutral Sweden for several years.

The Worker’s Party, 1837

The German Worker’s State grew in popularity so dramatically within Germany that word of it quickly reached the USA, and for many, it offered an answer to the question of what would follow the Union Party.

General Zachary Taylor, credited with the destruction of the Quapaws, was one of the first Americans to read the text, and quickly saw that while much of Buhl’s proposal did not truly apply to the American continent (where France had little direct control), there were elements of it that could be used to create a better nation. In particular, Buhl had proposed that internal development and restructuring were vital to the success of a modern nation, rather than the aggressive expansion that White’s Nationalists were suggesting.

Taylor opted to found the Worker’s Party, a new faction of the old Union Party. In his opening statement, he emphasised that America was as large as it needed to be, while farms and industry had struggled, especially in the territories that had been ravaged in the recent war. Taylor did not mention the classless government that Buhl proposed, but the consensus of historians is that he did not believe this to be attainable, and that a governing class was needed to ensure that the nation did not become an unruly mob.

G.W. Chad Returns, 1837

Chad’s return to London in the summer of 1837 began a seismic shift in the direction of the trading world. King William IV ordered the diplomat to meet him as soon as the boat docked in the Thames, but Chad did not bear the news that the king hoped to hear. China had all but told the King to go to hell, and London’s ruined treasury would not support an expedition to persuade them otherwise.

Instead, King William’s ministers looked for alternatives to China, and soon found some in South America. Brazil had remained fiercely neutral during the War of Napoleonic Succession, and grew coffee in large enough quantities that the King felt that it could be made into a substitute for tea if prices dropped far enough. Brazil, unlike China, felt that a suitable arrangement between goods from the British East Indies and coffee could be arranged, without the need for silver or gold, and Brazil became one of Britain’s most important trading partners, a fact that would serve it well in the coming century.

Napoleon’s reaction was unlike anything that his father would have thought up. Instead of deeming the Brazilians as a threat or even potential Coalition member, Napoleon attempted to steal the good idea of the British for himself, and settled a number of trade deals with the South Americans mere months after the British did. In addition, he relaxed War Order #254 to not apply to South American shipping, provided they allowed French inspectors to examine their goods. This altered order was never put into place, for the British began their own version of War Order #254 before the next war between the Coalition and the Alliance broke out, and the Brazilians appear to have accepted this, as long as the French and British only used their own vessels for trade and no native Brazilian ships would be targeted.

The Death of Kings, 1838

The year of 1838 saw the deaths of two ruling kings, and combined with the rise of Buhlism, the year marked a sharp turning point in the history of Europe.

The first to pass was King William IV of England, who had reigned for almost eight years when his heart finally gave out. He was succeeded by his brother Adolphus, who became known as King Adolf I. His reign was relatively uneventful, with his two crowning achievements being the recovery from the depression of 1836 and the addition of several Pacific island groups, including Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand, to the British Empire (although this account’s author continues to wonder why they were interested in such far-flung territories). Adolf I would die in 1843, and become remembered by history as Adolf the Forgotten, his achievements overshadowed by that of his brother’s disastrous reign and his son’s successful one.

Then in the late summer, King Joseph of Aragon, the brother of Napoleon I, died of a cause yet to be accurately established. His only surviving child was his daughter Zenaide, who was proclaimed Queen in a brilliant ceremony organised by her cousin in Paris.
The fact that a woman was reigning in Aragon caused great amusement to the newspapermen in Bourbon-controlled Madrid. One such journalist famously published a cartoon of the Queen knitting while on the throne, with flames engulfing the kingdom around her.
Queen Zenaide reacted by ordering a Zaragoza artist to publish a cartoon of a woolen net tying King Francisco to the ground, with the Queen holding up a pair of needles triumphantly. The image to this day remains one of the most influential works to appear in a Spanish newspaper, and despite the great rivalry that divided the Iberian kingdoms (and by extension, most of the world), the two monarchs became close friends in the aftermath of these jokes.

The German Wars, 1838-39

“If in 1833, the Alliance could be called a great monolith, ten years later it was but a collection of pebbles, torn apart by a great fire started from the inside.”
- Jacob Williams, “The Second Napoleonic War and Aftershocks”, 1857.

The war between Westphalia and Bavaria spelt the doom of the Confederation of the Rhine, and for the small states that comprised the centre of the Confederation’s territory, the loss of that protection meant a loss of independence as the larger kingdoms began a frenzy of annexations.
Bavaria, as the nation that started the war, unsurprisingly acted first, storming into Wurzburg and then Frankfurt. Westphalia reacted quickly, storming into Hesse before Bavarian soldiers could take the land for themselves. The various Saxon states, so far neutral in the conflict, asked for protection from the Kingdom of Saxony, although they too were quickly absorbed. Baden and Wurttemberg, wary of the Bavarians to the east and the French to the west, declared neutrality, although to the rest of the world, this meant that they were happy to remain part of the Alliance.

When Napoleon heard of the unrest and the fighting, he remarked to his advisors that the Confederation was now worth less than the titles that the nobles there claimed. With the Prussians refusing to join in what everyone claimed was a unification, the dream of a German Empire was all but ruined, but Napoleon knew that allowing the Coalition the chance to make further inroads into the region was a risk too great to be taken (Bavaria having joined late in 1838). He asked for advice from his treasurer, and when he found the economy to have partially recovered from the last war, he ordered a 40,000 man expedition into the remaining ‘neutral’ territories of Mecklenburg, Nassau and Berg, joining them to the French Empire and keeping them within the Alliance (while promising their leaders a large amount of autonomy).

The French Intervention risked turning the local conflict into a total war with the Alliance, something that the Bavarian King knew would result in, at the very least, an Allied assault from every direction, against which he had little hope. The troops were recalled, while a peace with Westphalia was quickly patched up. Unification, at least for now, was not going to happen, but with Germany reduced to just six kingdoms, the region now could enjoy a position of strength, one that it had not seen since the Middle Ages.

The Revolution Spreads, 1839

In the wake of the German Wars, the Buhlist call to arms began to affect the nation that had suffered the most under the Napoleonic System: Austria. Although the nation had suffered ethnic tensions for decades, the War of Napoleonic Succession created a new concern: whether to align with the Coalition or the Alliance.

Unsurprisingly, war-torn Austria and Bohemia had no interest in once again suffering under the weight of the French Army, as well as those of their German Allies, and believed that remaining in the Alliance would be in their best interest. The eastern part of the Empire, dominated by the Hungarians, had seen little of the French in either 1805 or 1833, and harboured resentment, not just towards the French, but also towards Emperor Franz Karl, who had shown himself to be a weak-willed ruler. Many Hungarians also wished to remain in good standing with the Russians across the Carpathian mountains, and worried that being part of the Alliance would leave them vulnerable to Russian invasion.

Upon hearing of the early success of the Bavarian uprisings, the Hungarians began their own uprising. A large mob took control of Pest and other major cities, overwhelming the loyalist militia through sheer force of numbers. After the ‘Council of Five’ overthrew Franz Karl’s government, a call was made to St Petersburg, and a Russian Army was welcomed in to back up the fledgling revolution, confirming its place in the Coalition, much to the annoyance of both Napoleon and Franz Karl, although both were unwilling to provoke another total war.

In January 1840, Franz Karl acknowledged the independence of Hungary and Galicia, finally confirming that Austria had lost her great power status.

Replacing the Union Party, 1840

Although the process had begun as early as President White’s second inauguration, the real end of the Union Party System came with the fourteenth United States presidential election, held in November of 1840. President White, citing George Washington’s decision not to seek a third term, refused to run (and died three months after he left office).

Although seven fragments of the Union Party competed for the presidency, by the end of summer it was clear that the expansionist Nationalist Party and the Buhlist Worker’s Party were the two most seriously considered by the public.

With White out of the equation, John Davis of Massachusetts emerged as the leader of the Nationalists, with James K. Polk as his running mate. Davis promised to settle the Western Territory, and offered to open up the nation to refugees fleeing Germany, where the Buhlist rebellions still simmered. He also vowed to clear the Western Territory of hostile Indian tribes and to take a hard line against the British. During his campaign, a poem emerged in Ohio that has become one of the most famous pieces of electoral propaganda. I believe that the poem was once much longer than this, but the rest appears to have been lost.

‘John Davis and James K. Polk,
the Tennessee and the Boston folk.
They’ll head west and get you lands,
Taylor and Ty’ll just sit on their hands.’

The Worker’s Party, led by Zachary Taylor and John Tyler, offered a more conservative approach, aiming to build up the existing twenty-two states instead of trying to found new ones. Taylor’s campaign was focussed heavily on economic reform, hoping to ensure America’s safety in the case that another depression hit the world’s markets.

The Nationalists, after taking all of the Northern States, as well as Virginia, Tennessee and the newly admitted state of Illinois (which contains about half of OTL Indiana too), won the hard-fought election. When Davis was inaugurated on March 4, 1841, he famously waved a sword in the air, pointing west while shouting to the crowd:

“The last thirty years have been a great tragedy for America. For too long, we have been trampled on by the foreign powers. No more, I say! We shall go forward. We shall go west. And we shall never bow down to the British again!”

Scars of the Revolution, 1841

Bavaria’s failure to defeat the Westphalians enraged many Buhlists within their army’s ranks, and while the King had started the war with Buhlism in mind, his failure to follow through made many believe that he wasn’t as committed to the cause as they were.
With more than 100,000 troops returning from the front lines in Saxony and Westphalia, this put the Bavarian monarchy in deep trouble almost immediately. When orders were issued to demobilise the army, the soldiers levelled their guns on the royal officials sent. The King then called up the reserves of the Palace Guard, hoping to deter the Buhlists.
Of course, an army that spends a year in the front lines can be expected to remain a much more cohesive force than several hundred guards that have come from all across the country. The Buhlist “Army of the Workers” unanimously elected one of their members, now known to history as Otto the Usurper (or Otto I), as ‘Leader of the Working Class’ (in effect he had the powers of an absolute monarch). Under Otto’s leadership, the Army of the Workers stormed through Bavaria in a massive demonstration of force, busting up royalist strongpoints wherever they were seen, until the lead elements of the Army made it to the Royal Palace. The King was thrown out (and most likely shot), and Bavaria became a firm Buhlist state.

While one Buhlist government rose, another one fell. In Hungary, the Council of Five had quickly turned into a corrupt, bickering mess that left the country’s government effectively on sale to the highest bidder, if anyone would want to buy such an ineffective organisation. By 1841, the country was notably worse off than it had been under the Hapsburgs, and the people yearned for an end to the inefficiency.
In a gathering at Debrecen, a political group that called itself New Hungary decided upon a noble named Charles (who was distantly related to the Russian Tsar via his great-grandmother), who they intended to install as King Charles IV.
Unlike in Bavaria, the Hungarians were able to achieve the restoration rather peacefully. One of the Council members, an ogre of a man named Vladislav, was furious after his wife gave birth to a bastard daughter and was more interested in that than Council activities. Another Council member died of natural causes at around the same time. After receiving help from the Tsar, Charles then bribed the other three Council members into giving up their positions, taking the throne for himself. Charles IV remained a popular king into the 1850s.

Opening Up the American West, 1841

President Davis’ first term stood out for a multitude of reasons, but the one with the most effect is the idea that America would start being an active part of the affairs in Europe. This was not entirely a new thought, considering that America was founded with considerable help from the French and Spanish, or that they had been a founding member of Napoleon’s Alliance, but the early 1840s was the first time when the civilian populace of the United States was directly affected by happenings across the Atlantic.

Davis’ election campaign had been based around the idea that the lands across the Mississippi needed to be populated by Americans, and he wasted little time opening up the territories for settlement. The government began selling off the land to potential farmers, with Western acres being offered at the prices of New York square metres.

Davis fueled this growth by ordering the construction what became known as the First Railroad (although railroads had been in America as early as 1829), taking people from Philadelphia and New York to the Mexican border, with another line breaking off along the Mississippi and going through the North Louisiana Territory to connect it with New Orleans. Although the lines were only finished in 1844, their impact had been apparent from the moment they crossed into the territories for the first time.

The President also had his eyes looking at the chaotic situation in Central Europe, where Buhlism was turning half of the continent into a cesspit of violence. Sensing an opportunity in this, he funded efforts in Germany to make it easier for Germans affected by the wars to cross the ocean and start a new life, and within a couple of years, more than 5000 made the journey.

By 1844, thousands of settlers had populated the territories, enough so that Davis offered them the chance to be granted statehood. The easternmost region of the Western Territory was the first to accept this, becoming the free state of Frederick (named after Frederick Barbarossa by the large German population). In the North Louisiana Territory, the issue was bitterly divided, as many of the settlers had come from the Southern States with slaves. Davis however, refused to expand slavery, and insisted that if North Louisiana was to become a state, it would be a free one, which annoyed many Southerners. The issue remained unresolved by the end of his term in March 1845.

Adams-Lincoln-Ivanov Treaty, 1842

In the years following the Great Lakes War, European claims to the American Northwest had fallen out of consideration, with the independence of Mexico and the suppression of the USA reducing the drive to the west to a standstill. Only after Russia began industrialisation in 1838 and the Tsar’s attempt to expand their colony in Alaska did the British take serious note of affairs in the Northwest once again.
To solve these disputes, US President Davis proposed a conference be held in Washington to divide the Northwest between the three great powers (France having finally renounced their claims to any territory of the Louisiana purchase as early as 1816). In addition, Mexico was offered a seat at the table, but they sought none of the disputed territory, and offered to negotiate the western border with the USA in a separate negotiation late in 1842. Russia and Britain agreed, sending Mikhail Ivanov and Robert Adams, both young but already renowned negotiators, to meet with Abraham Lincoln who, although a member of the Worker’s Party, had already shown enough skill that Davis kept him in his own government.
The divisions between the great powers were easily settled, as the British remained unconcerned by Russia’s exntension of their colony to the Mexican border (Alaska remaining relatively unpopulated). Lincoln’s main aim at the conference was to reaffirm the British guarantee that the USA could remain in control of the territories allowed it by the treaties that ended the War of Napoleonic Succession, while the British aimed to secure control of Rupert’s Land, which they extended to include territory north of the 42nd parallel as far as Russia’s greatest claim.
Instead, the main accomplishment of the treaty was the division of control of the remaining Indian tribes. Ivanov, impartial in that discussion, proposed that Indians primarily based north of the 42nd parallel (primarily the Sioux and Blackfeet) would be organised into British protectorates, while those south of it would become American allies. With the exception of the Commanche and the Apache, these were all overrun and exterminated by Davis and his successors by 1852. The Commanche remained a loyal American ally, while the Apache (the greatest rival of the Commanche) retreated into New Mexico, periodically fighting their old rivals.

The Workers Party and Taylor’s Presidency, 1844-48

Despite his efforts to revive the spirit of Manifest Destiny, by 1844 many Americans were growing tired of his government. The Adams-Lincoln-Ivanov Treaty had failed to secure any northwestern lands for the nation, and as expansion had been his main platform in 1840, many saw this as a failure of the Nationalists as a whole, leading to them losing to the Worker’s Party (again led by Zachary Taylor). Taylor’s victory was assured after it became apparent that many slaveholders in the South were unhappy with Davis’ refusal to admit any states to the Union that were not free, and Taylor worked to avoid this by admitting North Louisiana as a slave state in early 1846.
The first half of Taylor’s term was relatively uneventful, with most economic growth occuring in the South as part of his effort to reconcile the states that were left unhappy during Davis’ term. He also attempted to continue repairing relations with Great Britain, becoming the first Alliance member to recognise the Sioux-Blackfoot Confederacy, a large Indian state carved out of the areas just beyond the northwestern US border. As part of this, he also prevented an incident between the Commanche and the Apaches from spiralling into a world war, something that Napoleon II personally thanked him for several years afterwards.
In 1847, Taylor’s fortunes changed dramatically. A sudden drop in the price of tobacco crashed the economy of several Southern states, most notably Virginia and North Carolina. Taylor’s attempts to fix this proved wholly inadequate, making recovery more difficult and alienating the two states from the Workers Party.
This presented a problem for the elites of the South. The Nationalists had shown repeatedly that they had no concern for Southern interests, and now the Workers Party had failed them as well. Their solution was a third faction of the old Union Party, headed by Henry Clay, which became known as the Liberal Party. The Liberals became known as a party explicitly with the interests of the South in mind, although it was several years before they gained popular appeal. In the election of 1848, Taylor lost once again to a returning John Davis (in the third election between those candidates), while the Workers took only North Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina, and the Liberals only Virginia.

Powering Industry, 1847

Mere months later, a major invention was announced in London. James Clerk Faraday, the (ATL) son of Michael, built on his father’s work and produced the world’s first practical coal-powered electric generator, forever revolutionising industrial production. Initially the younger Faraday hoped to keep the invention a Coalition secret, obtaining a patent for it and refusing to sell licenses to any French, German or American companies.
Faraday may have been able to keep the secret if he did not enter the generator in the London Exhibition of 1848. In the middle of the Exhibition, a number of pro-Alliance bandits broke in to the Exhibition building, stealing several inventions including the generator, and then crossed the Atlantic and brought the inventions to some New York engineers for reproduction. King Adolf II of Great Britain offered a million pound bounty on the heads of the four theives, but with the return of Nationalist government, the Americans flatly refused (going so far as to refuse to pay Faraday the sums owed to him by the patent).
The next year, another discovery again changed the face of industry: the process for isolating Aluminium from bauxite via electrolysis. By 1851, thousands of tonnes a year were being forged, as the strong but lightweight metal was introduced into dozens of applications that had been unthinkable mere years earlier. Trains, now made of Aluminium instead of heavier iron or steel, became faster, accelerating travel times dramatically. And most importantly, the export of Aluminium products made the manufacturers rich, finally bringing in wealth to the impoverished great powers.

Minsk, Russia
3 November, 1849
10:30 AM

Mikhail Ivanov stared down the long nose of the Prussian representative. “Herr Bauschinger, France is in disarray. You must notice that. They are on your doorstep now. Wouldn’t it be good to have reliable friends and Poland?”
“Mr. Ivanov, of course I know what France is like. Caroline was my king’s daughter. The uproar caused by her death couldn’t be ignored.” Bauschinger replied. “But you thought France was weak in 1833. 1812 too, I might add. It is not in Prussia’s interest to be flattened by the Alliance. It has happened to us too.”
Ivanov leaned back in his chair and cracked his knuckles. “I have not proposed war with France. I have offered friendship with Russia. We too claim some of the Duchy’s lands. That Duchy has been a running sore ever since Napoleon I started calling himself Emperor.”
“Much has changed, I agree.” Bauschinger said.
“Then you need to help me.” Ivanov said.
“And you need to help me.” Bauschinger said. “Say the French don’t like this agreement?”
“To hell with ‘em.” Ivanov said flatly, in hardly diplomatic language. “You side with us, you have your old borders back at the end of the war. I don’t give the rear end of a rat what Napoleon has to say about that.”
“Yes, yes.” Bauschinger said impatiently. “All this talk of defeating France. Being part of the Alliance served us well in the last war, while Austria, a member of the Coalition, got sat on within a year. How do you propose to defeat them this time? Answer that, or I bid you good day.”
“Look at the map.” Ivanov said calmly, as if he was discussing the weather instead of trying to tear a country out of one alliance and into another. “In 1833, Bavaria was on Napoleon’s side. Now they are not. In 1833, Austria was a great power, now they are not. The rich part of Austria is on our side, the poor part? Not to worry. In 1833, Napoleon owned all of Spain. Now he owns a third of it, and the other two thirds are as hardline Coalition as one can get. In America, half the states look ready to shoot the President, and what has Napoleon’s side gained? A few square miles of dirt in the middle of nowhere.”
Bauschinger nodded but said nothing. Ivanov continued, pulling a small stick of metal out of his pocket. “And most importantly, there is this stuff. Aluminium. The gold of the nineteenth century. The patent for this lies in British hands, and in ten years there will be more money here than in anything since the steam engine.”
Bauschinger looked at the ‘gold of the nineteenth century’. “Well sir, you might just have a deal.”

Riots and Rebellion, 1850

Although the lower classes had only good things to say of the Napoleonic regime by 1850, the noble classes could only see half a century of the two Napoleons taking away their rights bit by bit, in a slow drift towards absolutism. For many nobles, the breaking of Prussia had become the final straw.
“Is it not the role of the king to keep the lands loyal and the merchants rich?” Asked Baron Jean-Henri Hottinguer at a meeting in Paris. “Yet all our king does is lose the loyalty of the Prussian lands and steal the wealth of his people, wasting it on the paupers. Factory Workers’ Program of 1847? What a load of horse dung! He is bribing the factory people into wrecking the lives of factory owners is what he is doing!”
Hottinguer’s speech provoked a riot of the nobility, who decided to attempt an overthrow of the Napoleonic government. What they hoped to achieve is some kind of elective monarchy that would be controlled by a few noble families, although their foreign policy was likely to be similar to that of the Bonapartes (not like the British were much interested in anything else anyway).
Napoleon caught word of the rebellion from a loyal marshal who was asked to join. The army, whose ranks were comprised of more than a million commoners, was more than happy to fire upon the class that enjoyed oppressing them so much, and within a week the rebellion was broken up, and in the following days Napoleon had hundreds of nobles executed for treason. For their loyalty, Napoleon increased the power of the army in the government, establishing a government somewhere between absolute monarchy and military dictatorship. And while all of this was going on, the British government paid them no attention at all.

They should have. The British lower classes had been growing increasingly frustrated with the government after the popular vote for conscription in the late 1820s. Although the vote itself was widely heralded as a beginning of a truly ‘free’ nation, similar to the USA, the government quickly went back on that idea, with elections in the 1830s and ‘40s being once again limited to only the top 20% or so of the British male population.
The idea that one class could rise against another quickly gained favour with the workers of Britain (who conveniently ignored the fact that the French revolt was crushed), and all across the country, workers made plans to get the vote. These varied based on what locality people were in, from strikes to disrupting government meetings.
Crucially, King Adolf II sympathised with the commoners. When the Prime Minister met with him two months to the day after the French revolt started, he gave the simple direct order of “Give them what they want. I don’t care how you do it, but I want to see two million votes in next year’s election.” The Prime Minister complied, and the Election Reform Act of 1850 was passed in Parliament before the year was out, allowing all males over twenty-one to vote, provided they had never been jailed. The King in his later years jokingly said that he regretted his action, because of all the letters of thanks he had to read (estimates say he received upwards of 100,000), but no other action in that century did more to improve the lot of the British people.

President Davis’ Second Term, 1848-52

John Davis returned to Washington intending to “finish the job” that he started in 1841. Land granting, pushed to a minimum by President Taylor, was back in full force, and by the end of his second term, four new free states had been carved out of the remaining Western Territories: New Brittany (named by the large numbers of Bretons that settled there, located in the westernmost corner of the country), North Plains and South Plains, and Davis (which was named as such by Congress, not the President himself!).
These actions predictably tore open the wound between North and South that Taylor had tried to mend (or at least shove under the rug). Davis had been counting on Henry Clay, a political moderate, to quieten the South, and was more interested in securing enough Northern votes (by carving them out of the territories) so that Vice President Polk would one day be able to eliminate the slavery problem once and for all. It is thought that Davis was banking on a Nationalist sweep in the 1852 election, after which Polk would have enough support in Congress as to give the slaves freedom via a constituitonal amendment, which would then allow the country to finally worry about other problems, by which he likely meant a war with Mexico to complete the goals of Manifest Destiny.
Clay instead had the poor fortune to die, and Davis could not have dreamt of a worse outcome for the nation. The Liberal Party was taken over by two of the South’s most famous firebrands: John M. Patton and Robert Hampton, the latter being the (ATL) son of General Wade Hampton Jr. Building off the work of Henry Clay, Hampton and Patton worked vigourously to spread the message of the Liberal Party to all voters in the South, and in the meantime the Party turned from a moderate party aimed at protecting Southern rights to a radical organisation that was openly hostile towards the US government.

The Election of 1852

The election in 1852 was again split between the Nationalists (who ran Polk for President), the Workers’ Party (who ran diplomat Abraham Lincoln) and the Liberals (running Patton for President and Hampton for VP). Davis’ plan for the election went through perfectly, with Polk sweeping every northern state except South Plains (which gave 3 Electoral College votes to Lincoln), while the Liberals took the ten southern states.
Patton was incensed, angrily interrupting Polk’s inauguration speech by stating that “the South is no longer free to choose its own fate. These people seek to destroy our rights and liberties, for no better reason than pure spite. We then want no more business with such swine!”
Polk calmly resumed his speech once Patton was removed by security, but the damage had been done. Patton returned to a Virginia demanding secession from the United States, prompting Patton to sail to London, hoping for British support. He died on the journey, but his staff were able to arrange an agreement with the British.

By November 1853, the ‘League of Southern States’ (the name “confederacy” by now being too deeply associated with Indian nations that had caused such trouble for the American people) had formed, and Hampton worked to draft a declaration of independence. The states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and North Louisiana presented this to Washington on January 1, 1854, where a furious Polk swore that the rebellion would be crushed, at all costs.

The Polish Question, 1853

By September 1853, Tsar Nicholas felt ready for another attempt at breaking the Alliance. The trouble that Patton was stirring up in Virginia appeared to deny Napoleon his strongest ally, while King Friedrich Wilhelm IV had signed a charter to firmly align the Prussians with the Coalition. No better time to strike looked likely, so he sent a telegram (one of the world’s first) to London, and another to Berlin, asking if war should be declared. Both responded positively, and within days armies were pouring into the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.
The country was overrun in a matter of weeks. Friedrich Wilhelm IV was leading the charge from horseback, and when Warsaw fell he was greeted by none other than the Tsar himself. As organised by Ivanov and Bauschinger in 1849, the country was carved up by the two great powers, who then settled down for the winter. Next year, they vowed, Austria would be dealt with.

Napoleon was angered by Prussia’s betrayal, but decided September to be too late to begin campaigning. Instead, he used 1853 to organise France’s massive army, whose ranks were being swelled with hundreds of thousands of patriotic conscripts. Forces were trained and sent to all corners of the Alliance’s territory, awaiting the next move from the Russians and British.
A note was also sent to Preisdent Polk, asking for the USA to join the war against Britain. Polk sent a firm reply, stating that “until our own house is in order, I cannot help you. Give us until May to silence Patton’s hooligans, and we’ll join you then.”
Although technically a violation of the Treaty of Alliance, Napoleon was not bothered, hoping that the extended period of peace would allow Polk to ensure the USA would be able to handle the fight in North America.

“It seems like those donkeys want a third round of fighting us. Let them come, we shall once again ride onwards to victory and glory! For France!”
- Emperor Napoleon II, 2 September, 1853

Second German War: 1854
The Second German War: Part I

Humbling Beginnings, 1853

Hampton’s League of Southern States began with a very rocky start. Although the Deep South states and Kentucky almost unanimously voted for secession, in Virginia and Tennessee there was considerable delay and uproar, neither of which were helped by the fact that the US Army was a massive and well-trained force, while the League had to start from scratch (although they did not lack for numbers of volunteers).
Polk was well aware of his own side’s advantages, and during the closing months of 1853 had worked to get as much out of them as he possibly could. As soon as Hampton began calling for states to leave the Union, Polk ordered the US Navy to Boston, and the huge stores of naval-gun calibre shells were transported to stocks in New York and Massachusetts, ensuring that the League would be unable to conduct any naval action.
Polk also took advantage of the divisions in Virginia and Tennessee, ordering his army in the moment he heard word of the League’s secession. Assisted by the loyal locals, he was able to secure most of the region that voted against secession with virtually no resistance, and by the end of February a new state, Appalachia, had been carved out of the western half of Virginia and the eastern third of Tennessee, a dramatic blow to Hampton’s prestige. Of lesser significance was Maryland being granted some Virginia lands between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers, but with the League’s capital in far-away Charleston, SC, this mattered very little.

Alliances or Personal Loyalties?, 1853

While for the rest of Europe, siding with either the Coalition or the Alliance was clear cut, in Spain the issue had grown tiring, and neither King Francisco of Spain nor Queen Zenaide of Aragon had much interest in bringing further turmoil to an already war-weary peninsula. The two monarchs, although decidedly on opposite sides of the Alliance-Coalition system, were quite close personally (and many believe an affair may have taken place in the 1840s). Meeting in Madrid as calls to arms from both London and Paris came in, the two agreed not to bring the war to Spain. During the meeting, an attempt to negotiate a reunification of Spain was discussed, although neither party’s government was truly interested in the proposal, before the idea collapsed with Zenaide’s death in 1858.

Upon hearing of Spain’s neutrality, the British government was furious. Denied access through Spanish territory, their loyal ally Portugal would be little use as a base for invading France, while France would not have another front to deal with. An invasion of Spain was contemplated, but this idea was shelved after events in America demanded focus there instead.

German Front, 1854

Buhlism in 1854 was holding as strongly to the Bavarian people’s hearts and minds as it had fifteen years prior, and ‘Leader of the Working Class’ Otto wanted nothing more than to finish off the Westphalians and finally gain control over western Germany.
By the beginning of Spring, Otto was ready to strike. His forces, more than 200,000 strong, swept into Baden and Wurttemburg, and after a brief fight the two were annexed into Bavaria, the entire campaign being completed before Napoleon found out that it had begun.

Napoleon II wasn’t waiting all that long however, with word of Otto’s aggression was flooding in to Paris mere days later (along with a call for help from the Westphalian and Saxon kings). Fearing that they would be surrounded by the combined Coalition armies, Napoleon sent a massive army into Saxony, under the command of Marshal Francois Lemire (who had been risen from a lowly common soldier in 1833 to the highest-ranking member of the Army).
Lemire arrived in Dresden to find Prussian soldiers marching through the city’s eastern districts. Although he was tempted to hold the city and make the invaders pay, the Saxon king fled westward, leaving the French with no choice but to follow. Lemire attempted to protest, but Napoleon ordered him to abide by his ally’s wishes.
It was Lemire, not Napoleon, who was aiming to do the correct thing for the Alliance. A previously unnoticed Bavarian column revealed itself in southern Saxony in early July, taking the city of Weimar. Lemire offered battle, fighting the Bavarians to a draw on the morning of July 15, only to be outflanked by the Prussians, who arrived at the battlefield around midday. Lemire escaped unharmed, but the same could not be said for his army, which was routed and then destroyed.

Austrian Front, 1854

As the Prussians were dismantling the remnants of the old Confederation of the Rhine, the Hungarians sought to finally get even with their old rival: Austria. In the wake of the First German War, the old Austrian Empire had split in three, with only the German component remaining in the Alliance. Now, with Russian support, they felt confident that the Austrians could be forced to part with the other parts of their dwindling empire.
The Bavarians had other ideas, seeking to bring the German territories of the Austrian Empire into the new German state that was forming. Otto was the first to strike, aiming his armies at Prague and Vienna. The Austrian Army, by now only a shadow of its former glorious self, fought a battle outside Linz with the Bavarians, where they were utterly defeated. Emperor Franz Karl committed suicide, leaving his twenty-year old son Hermann the dishonour of surrendering the once-mighty Empire to the Bavarians.

Within the space of a little more than a year, the Coalition had established control over all of Central Europe, with Otto of Bavaria readying himself for the final stages of German Unification: Westphalia.

American Front, 1854

Capitalising on his success in Appalachia, President Polk had good reason to feel confident as the winter of 1853/4 passed. ‘Hampton’s Hooligans’ were still greatly disorganised and had yet to assemble enough of an army to combat the large, professional US Army. With the war in Europe going ahead at full pace, Polk resolved to do the same in America.
Against the advice of many of his generals (who favoured a blockade of the southern League), Polk decided to initiate a multi-front invasion of the South. One force, coming out of Maryland, stormed across the Rappahannock and took Richmond, VA in a short but bloody fight on the James River with Hampton’s Virginian militias. At the same time, other elements of the US Army crossed the Ohio, sweeping into Kentucky and taking Louisville before the beginning of April, freeing slaves as they went. Yet another army occupied most of the state of North Louisiana, although no attempt to rejoin the state to the Union was made.

As his army made its way into Tennessee and North Carolina, Polk faced a problem. Hampton’s generals had finally organised the militias of the Deep South states into an appreciable force, and in the Battle of Hendrick’s Farm in North Carolina, they proved themselves competent.
Polk’s concern did not lay with the League’s Army however, but with the British. Without an accessible point in Europe through which they could attack France, the British government had decided to focus on forcing the LSS’s independence by committing a large army to the American theatre, which would then severely weaken France’s most important ally.
Beginning in August 1854, the Royal Navy sailed along the entire Eastern Coast of North America, sinking US ships as it went by. Then, once it had cleared the US blockade, London poured armies in to all of the major Southern ports, where they were attached to League units (an idea of Hampton’s to ensure that the British would not appear to be carrying the load of the independence war).

Second German War: 1855
The Second German War: Part II

American Front, 1855

As the year 1855 opened, US forces remained confident that the Southern rebellion would soon be crushed. Continuing off the momentum of their advance the previous year, the US Army of Maryland swept through much of North Carolina, hoping to capture the League’s capital in Charleston. In Tennessee, the Union was able to capture Chattanooga, hoping to pave the way for an advance into Georgia. All of this had been accomplished with little more than 30,000 Union dead, and if that was not enough of a showing, Kentucky and Virginia were quickly readmitted to the Union.

Polk’s luck however, soon ran out. By the beginning of May, 20% of the entire British Army was based in the South, and after some desperate begging by Hampton (who was beginning to fear that the League would collapse), the Coalition took to the offensive. The Coalition Army of the Carolinas, under the command of British Marshal Somerset (a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars of 1805-1814), marched into North Carolina.
Somerset, always a cautious commander, quickly proved himself to be the ideal choice for the job. Unfazed by the aggressive styles of the Union commanders, he was careful to leave all his ground protected, offering the Union Army no chance to outflank him.
Polk was quickly frustrated by this new lack of progress, and ordered his commanders to move on Charleston directly. This proved foolish, as Somerset found the Army of Maryland and annihilated half of their force in the battle of Britton’s Neck, which became a high-water mark for the Union advance. Somerset pursued slowly, only reaching Fayetteville by the year’s end.

Otto’s Betrayal, 1855

Like James K. Polk, Otto of Bavaria had very good reason to be confident at the beginning of the new year. His military had swept through the German States, had conquered Austria and defeated the main French force sent against them. With the exception of Westphalia and Prussia, he was the sole master of the German region. Otto’s plan was always to unify all of Germany, and this meant incorporating Prussia into Otto’s empire. Otto had hoped to do this peacefully, but when Friedrich Wilhelm IV refused to submit to Otto’s leadership, Otto attacked his old ally.

As Friedrich Wilhelm IV passed away days later, his son King Wilhelm I (yes, the OTL one) knew that fighting France, Bavaria and possibly Russia (who were much more closely aligned with Bavaria than Prussia) was a death sentence for his country. It was this difficulty that prompted him to travel to Paris.

Versailles, Paris
29 March, 1855
2:00 PM

“Your Excellency, the time has come to deal with the Bavarians.” King Wilhelm I of Prussia said.
“Yes, yes.” Napoleon II waved his hand. “It is all very well to come to me now, after forty years of alliance was thrown away in a betrayal that was for little more than a land grab. The leaders of two warring nations do not come together and just forget about these things. If you want my help, Poland needs to be free.”
The Prussian King looked deeply troubled by the fact that he would have to hand over some of Prussia’s old territory. Eventually, he sighed. “Very well, I can put the Grand Duchy back in its place. What the Tsar will think of it, I have no control over.”
“Welcome back to the Alliance then, King Wilhelm.” Napoleon said. “Now let’s talk about this Germany business.”
“I know that France does not like the idea of a unified Germany.” Wilhelm said. “But unless you annex everything from Westphalia to Warsaw, Germany will happen. The words of that upstart Buhl have burned into the minds of millions. Just like your American friends when they came up with independence, the German folk believe the idea worth fighting and dying for.”
“My father warned of strong nations.” Napoleon muttered under his breath. To Wilhelm, he offered “What if we just carved the kingdoms back up to what they used to be?”
“Then it will be 1838 all over again. Buhl is to the Germans what Muhammed was to the Arabs. It would take an act of God to change their minds about him now. Before you threaten the military on them, I will remind you that a nation cannot remain on a war footing forever. You would know, Britain only made peace in 1814 because it was exhausted, and the last war went the same way. It will only take a moment for you to take your hand off the saddle, and Germany will form again.”
“Germany then, but on my terms.” Napoleon said. “Say I let you lead this new nation. Old Bavaria, Old Prussia, Old Austria would be your domains, split into the territories of the old kingdoms, with all but Bavaria keeping their old kings. There will be no mention of any territories considered part of France, and the small border kingdoms will go to France. Westphalia remains independent. In exchange, you will fight the Russians, the Magyars, the Bavarians and the British.”
“I agree to those conditions.” Wilhelm said.
“Then let us march forward against the Coalition once more!” Napoleon boomed.

Prussian Front, 1855

King Wilhelm returned to a nation under fire from two of Europe’s strongest powers. The Russians, having thrown in their lot with Otto’s Bavaria, had decided to claim Poland for the Tsar, while Bavaria was determined to conquer the German-speaking regions for themselves. Knowing that the Prussian Army had little hope against both armies, he consulted with Marshal von Moltke, a distinguished veteran of the last war.
Moltke decided to take a gamble. Counting on the French to distract the Bavarians (Napoleon had been planning an invasion since the end of 1854), he positioned 90 percent of the Prussian Army against the Russians, leaving only a token force to hold his western border.
The move turned out to be a wise one. The Russians had met up with the Hungarians and invaded Poland from the south, hoping to catch the Alliance off guard. Moltke’s Army was indeed moving towards Warsaw, only to meet the Russians somewhere west of Lodz. A furious battle erupted, and for a while it looked like the Russians would break through the Prussian lines.
By the fourth day of the battle the Prussian lines had been bent into a V, with the Russians focussing on breaking the centre once and for all. During the night however, Moltke had picked up on this strategy and thinned his flanks accordingly, bringing the majority of his force to the centre. Then, a quarter hour before dawn, he ordered a charge that broke through the Russian lines, forcing them to retreat into Hungary.

Bavarian Front, 1855

Despite declaring war on the Prussians, Otto’s focus remained the destruction of as many French puppet states as he could get his hands on, and by this point, that meant only Westphalia.
Otto’s invasion of Westphalia was a total disaster. His army, worn out from two years of vigourous campaigning all across Germany, did not have the strength to overcome the Westphalians, who had used their time since the First German War well, building a large and expertly led force. The Westphalian king, long wary of Otto’s expansionist desires, had also prepared a massive defensive network, hoping that the invaders would become bogged down, giving him time to maneuver his own army to meet them.
Against the Westphalians alone, Otto probably would have won the war eventually. His army was larger, Prussia was more a prize for the Russians than a threat to his own nation and Westphalia’s king was far less popular among his own people.

Napoleon, seeing his loyal ally directly attacked, was enraged. Buhlism had somehow grown from a German Worker’s Paradise into a movement that would not stop until it conquered, at a minimum, every German-speaking household in Europe. A movement like that was a direct challenge to French hegemony. It had to go.
Napoleon’s response was swift. Marshal Lemire, still a favourite of the Emperor despite his failures last year, led an army a million strong into the Bavarian heartland. Otto called his troops back from Westphalia, only to have them hammered in a battle outside Nuremburg. Lemire pushed on, capturing Regensburg and burning almost nine-tenths of Munich to the ground. Otto fled, only to be captured and executed by a French cavalry patrol. His empire was reduced to ruins.

Polish Front, 1855

Lemire’s path of destruction was not yet finished. As soon as he was confident that Bavaria was finished as a serious threat, he swung north to meet with von Moltke in Berlin. The Alliance armies united into a force that dwarfed even the Grande Armee of 1812, and marched east.
Unlike his father, Napoleon II was not fueled by excessive dreams for a conquest of Europe, deciding that a decisive defeat of the Russian Army would be enough to bring the Coalition back to the negotiating table (a policy that had worked almost by accident at Vitebsk). Lemire and Moltke soon won that victory, pushing the Russians out of Warsaw and leaving 100,000 Coalition casualties behind in Poland. The Tsar did not bend under the pressure, knowing that the industrialised Russia of 1856 was much stronger than its 1812 counterpart.
Frustrated, the army deciding to wait out the harsh Russian winter and the spring rains that would follow, settled down in Warsaw, plotting its next move.

The Fate of Germany, 1855

After the destruction of the Bavarian government, Wilhelm and Napoleon quickly put into place the plan that had been agreed to at Versailles. France annexed what had been Baden and Wurttemberg, giving those territories a similar level of autonomy to the other German regions of the Empire. Prussia took control of the rest of the Bavarian kingdom, absorbing not only Bavaria, but Bohemia and Austria too, with the Hapsburgs being restored to the throne in Vienna (although in practise they held little power). Westphalia, opted to remain independent (Bavarian invasions had alienated it from Buhlist ideals), remaining wedged between the two giant nations. The German Empire, formed by a bloody dream of unity, was finally born.

Second German War: 1856-1857
The Second German War: Part III

Russian Front, 1856

Napoleon II, from the very beginning of his reign, had sought to be more like his father, and one of the things he knew brought the first Napoleon glory was his invasion of Russia. In the War of Napoleonic Succession, Napoleon II had not had the chance to drive east. This time, he did.

On the 19th of May, 1856, his army set out from Warsaw. Napoleon had only given the army two objectives: break the Tsar’s army and take a big city (whether Vitebsk would have counted as a big city in 1812 is debatable). Upon reaching the old Polish border, von Moltke separated the Prussians from the French, taking them northeast towards Vilna and Riga. Lemire meanwhile advanced towards Minsk.

Tsar Nicholas was not stupid. He knew that Russia’s main advantage against the larger French army was in its size: Napoleon could not occupy everything. After it became apparent where the French Army was headed, he ordered his army to camp in Smolensk, which was gradually turned into a fortress. At the same time, he gave made a call for Russians in the occupied areas to act as bandits against the occupying forces.

Lemire occupied Minsk in early June and reached Smolensk by the end of the month. Seeing the massive fortifications that surrounded the city, he hoped to negotiate a peaceful surrender of the city, more to spare the citizens than anything else. The Russian commander, Marshal Zhidkov, unsurprisingly declined, preferring to settle down for a siege (Zhidkov hoped that Lemire would waste his strength away on the city’s new defenses).

Lemire then attempted to simply bypass the fortress (leaving it under siege) and head for Moscow, an undeniably bigger prize than Smolensk would have been. In this he was also frustrated, as the Tsar had pulled another army out of the Caucasus (where the Ottomans had hardly moved since the beginning of the war), and put them on the main road to Moscow. The new army fought the French outside Vyazma and handily defeated them, forcing Lemire to retreat.

Zhidkov knew that Lemire’s best path of retreat (and one of the only with even semi-paved roads) would take him past Smolensk, and began to prepare for a breakout. As soon as he had word that Lemire was nearby, he launched an attack, smashing through the northeastern corner of the ring surrounding Smolensk. Zhidkov’s army turned sharply to the southeast after this, colliding with Lemire’s at a field that became known as the Field of Ten Thousand Ghosts (despite the fact that the battle consumed almost 50,000 men by its end). Once again, the French were beaten and a disgraced Lemire shot himself. The remnants of the French Army made for Minsk, which they reached as the rains of October began to fall.

American Front, 1856

Events in America, although less dramatic than that in Russia, were no less successful for the Coalition. Marshal Somerset continued to spearhead the League’s recapture of North Carolina, while a new Southern Army, under the command of General Peter Woodlock, began to retake the states of North Louisiana and Tennessee. The front remained fluid, although the League’s armies never reached Union territory.

In June 1856 however, the League government went bankrupt, as years of printing money backed with no rare metals finally weakened the Southern dollar to the point of being worthless. For a brief moment, it appeared that the League would collapse under its own weight.

The British still had a score to settle with the USA, and after four wars had come to the conclusion that they needed every possible ally on the North American continent. If they had to prop up the League’s government with their own gold, they were prepared to do that.

When it became apparent to Polk that the British would not let the League fall, and with the prospect of grinding its armies down looking impossible, he sent Abraham Lincoln to Toronto to attempt to negotiate a peace settlement. “There was no use,” he later said, “in wasting lives in a war that looked hopeless.” Lincoln met with delegates from Great Britain and the Southern League, but when he refused to handover Virginia (a founding member of the League, now back in the Union), the British refused him.

“What you are offering us, is the chance to force a nation’s independence, while at the same time denying it the chance to survive. If you will not give Hampton Virginia, we will fight you until he has it, whether you like it or not.” – Abraham Lincoln’s diary quoting the British delegation.

Without a treaty, Lincoln wired Polk asking for further instructions. Polk ordered him to travel to Mexico, asking him to do anything he could to bring Mexico into the fight as an ally. The Mexican government agreed to join on the condition that the Apaches (who had been raiding Nuevo Mexico for years) be put down by the US Army. Polk, knowing that doing so would grant him favour with the Commanches, agreed, and the entry of Mexico into the Alliance on October 29 was enough to secure for him re-election.

Polk’s 1857 Apache campaign was most unlike the other Indian Wars that the United States had conducted. Instead of seeking total extermination, Polk tried to bring the Apaches to become loyal US subjects with a minimum of force, hoping to earn the respect of their leaders. Bringing in tens of thousands of animals, Polk’s mission was to transform the Apaches into an agricultural people, while saying that anyone that crossed the border with a weapon in their hand would be executed. The Apaches, worried for their numbers, migrated towards the centre of “Apachea” (as the territory became known when it passed to US control), but as their leaders noticed that the United States would help them if they didn’t cross the “wire of death”, they became loyal subjects. In return, Polk allowed Apachea to be almost completely autonomous, a policy he later extended to include the Commanches.

Mexico provided the much needed boost to the Union’s army. Within days of entering the war, Mexican troops were piling into Louisiana, aiming for New Orleans. Hampton found himself forced to pull forces out of North Carolina (where the League had nearly reached the Virginia border), stalling his most successful advance to only barely halt that of his enemies. The League steadily reclaimed the rest of North Louisiana and Tennessee, but both sides were clearly exhausted.

Eastern Front, 1857

As the war in America wound down, the struggle on the Russian front continued as furiously as ever. As 1857 opened, the French army was stung by a Russian winter offensive, where Zhidkov was able to drive them out of Minsk. Napoleon was already sending a new army to the east, but the destruction of Lemire’s force (although not commanded by Lemire any longer) had handed the initiative to the Russians.

Zhidkov used it well, and formed a plan that he hoped would kick the Germans out of Russia as well. Instead of marching across hundreds of miles of forests and bad roads, he struck for Konigsberg (which was hundreds of miles away but had less forests and good roads). Von Moltke noticed this and rushed back to defend the Fatherland.

Zhidkov beat his army anyway, only to be hammered in the flank two days later by Napoleon’s force, now headed by the Emperor himself. (It is thought that his command was actually just a dramatic gesture and that his staff did all of the work, but the propaganda image of two Bonapartes thrashing Russian Armies was a powerful one). And although the Tsar had more armies up his sleeve, no-one saw any further point to continuing the war.

Treaties, 1857

Although the war had been named the Second German War, the greatest impact of it was felt in America. The United States had firmly split, with the eight states left in the Southern League forming their own nation (that would remain on the British payroll well into the 1860s). The Free Indian States controlled by the Commanche and the Apache were no more, each having become a US territory. Mexico had finally shaken off early images of corruption and dispair, now standing as a firm brother to the USA.

Polk signed the South away in the Treaty of Charleston on September 5th, 1857, with the rest of the Union remaining convinced that it was the British, not US weakness, that had made the Union’s breakup inevitable. Despite the lost war, Polk remained a popular president (averaging 58% approval) for the rest of his term.

In Europe, very little appeared to have changed since 1836, or even 1812. Germany was independent, the united kingdom more able to stand up to the French than the divided states had been. In the French orbit they remained however, and with sizeable German territories inside France’s core territory, the unification failed in its main goal of separation from the whims of the French and Russians.

The Ottoman Empire escaped the war with little loss, no major actions having taken place on its borders. Within those borders however, the war left turmoil. Russia, the great enemy of the Sultan, had dealt several major defeats to the French Army, and the only reason they did not defeat the Ottomans was that they had decided to fight the French instead. The Barbary States, once Ottoman vassals, had finally grown far from the Empire, indeed attacking its trade (War Order #254 now being applied by virtually every nation in the Western world), while the Empire’s other minorities (such as the Greeks, Serbs and Bulgarians) were beginning to grow restless.

The world returned to peace on October 26th, 1857, but the only thing the Second German War left behind was anger.

“Never before has a stalemate done more damage to the world than the most brutal of defeats. We have fought four wars now against the French and the Damnyankees. None of the problems raised in 1776, or 1800, or 1833 have been solved, while now we add the resentment of 1853 to go with them. I would say now that a fifth war must be inevitable, and when it comes, a solution must come from it. God help the people of the twentieth century if we cannot find one.”
- King Adolf II of Great Britain, 1858.

Aragonese Succession, 1858

The death of Queen Zenaide in 1858 marked an end to the twnety-year long period of peace and prosperity in Iberia. Her friendship with King Francisco of Spain had been influential in keeping the Spanish kingdoms out of the Second German War, and her passing was mourned in both kingdoms, a rare event as the alliance blocs drifted ever further apart.

Napoleon, unlike the Spanish, did not see the passing of his cousin as a reason for mourning, but a source of trouble. Having died without issue, Zenaide left Aragon without an heir, and if left vacant too long, he knew that the Coalition would be all too happy to drop their own person in. Technically the heir should have been himself, but with France being difficult enough to govern as it was, he passed it down to his second son Louis, who became King Louis II of Aragon.

United States Supreme Court, Washington, DC
28 December, 1858
1:10 PM

President James K. Polk looked across the room at the governors of Kentucky and Virginia. The two men looked back, their eyes filled with fury. Polk was undisturbed: the men had good reason to hate him, for he was the man responsible for bringing them here, to answer for the damage they had caused the United States when they had joined Hampton’s Southern League. Hampton had carried on for the first year of the League’s existance that secession was not explicitly banned in the Constitution. Polk, unwilling to allow a bad precedent to be set, had referred it to the Supreme Court.
“Please stand, gentlemen.” Chief Justice Robert E. Lee said, and Polk stood.
“The Supreme Court, having examined the the issues raised in the case United States v. Virginia and Kentucky, has come to the conclusion that the ten states that formed the League of Southern States are guilty of violating Article One, Section Ten of the Constitution, in particular the fact that states are prohibited to enter into any alliance or confederation.” Lee announced. “The court has decided as a result that the legislatures in power on December 31, 1853, are required to report to Washington within fourteen days to face justice. Furthermore, all living descendants of John M. Patton are to have their United States citizenship revoked for a minimum period of one hundred years, effective immediately.”

The Fourteenth Amendment and Texas, 1859

Polk’s reaction to the Supreme Court ruling was the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which finally cleared up any ambiguities regarding division of the Union. Not only had the ringleaders of rebellion in Virginia and Kentucky been executed (although by now all of the Patton family had been living in South Carolina where they were free from the US hangmen), but any act of secession would meet a reaction even more brutal than that already dished out.

Hampton reacted to the amendment with amusement. “Look at those headless chickens try to make us illegal now! They can’t very well get rid of state governments of another country now can they?”

Perhaps Hampton missed the part of the amendment that would go on to dominate US foreign policy for decades. “Any territory once owned by the United States is forever owned by the United States. Any treaty may relinquish control temporarily, but the claim to the land is irremovable.” In doing so, Polk boldly stated that the USA would one day reclaim not just the Southern League, but the territories it had lost to Great Britain too.

If the Fourteenth Amendment wasn’t enough to restrict Hampton, Polk had a further plan to control him. Offering twenty-five million dollars, Polk asked to buy the eastern third of the Mexican province of Texas, including the port of Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico agreed, knowing that the territory with its French majority was already distant from the Mexican government, and would be better in the hands of a friendly USA than a hostile Southern League.

Tremors in the Balkans, 1860

For the Ottoman Empire, the Second German War had been a major embarrassment. None of the Empire’s campaigns, against Russia and Hungary, had brought any glory or territory, and while the Russians had not successfully invaded, it was only due to their focus being in Poland instead. In the European parts of the Empire, the war was merely symbolic of how little they were profiting from remaining loyal, while the Christian majority was oppressed with taxes that Muslims in the Empire were not forced to pay.

By 1860, leaders in Bosnia and Serbia had had enough. Local leaders banded together to write a list that became known as the Eleven Demands, with greater autonomy and tax equality being the main objectives. The Sultan rejected the demands before he even finished reading them, and when word of this reached Belgrade, it sparked a revolt, which quickly took control of the city.

The Sultan’s response was to send in the military, and for three weeks soldiers and rebels battled it out in the streets of the city, which was three-fifths rubble by the end of the fighting. More than 3,000 soldiers died (rebel casualties are estimated at two to three times that), and although the Ottoman Army won in the end, the risks of further revolts (Sarajevo, Sofia and Athens were all just a few steps away from open rebellion), were too great, and the Sultan decided to appease the rebels.

Although both sides were at least somewhat satisfied with the outcomes of the Belgrade Rebellion, the damage done to the Ottoman state were immense. Although before the Second German War the Ottomans could claim to be among the great powers of Europe, after the rebellion the Empire was lucky to be clinging on to all of its territory. After 1860, the Sultan found it necessary to keep Muslim armies in the Christian-dominated parts of the Empire, while maintaining enough of a force to deter the Russians and Persians, causing a massive financial burden that drained the treasury and (after 1868) left it dependent on French loans just to survive. The end, once unimaginable, was now looming...

Peter IV, 1860

Tsar Nicholas died in his sleep on the 17th of September, 1860, leaving a mixed legacy of defeat and humiliation in the War of Napoleonic Succession and the attempts to take Poland, combined with the heroism attached to the destruction of the French invasion in 1856. Historians, after decades of debate, have yet to establish whether his regime was good or bad for the country, but while he was rarely tremendously successful, Russia’s progress was never truly impeded either.

His son, Tsar Peter IV, is much easier to categorise, being one of the greatest rulers Russia ever had. To the people living in 1860 however, he must have been seen as much more of a Caligula or a Nero than an Augustus. The first recorded words he uttered as tsar were that “Russia must look inward, not outward, if we are to be successful. France has a tenth of the land we do and has beaten us thrice, so I say that we must pull back, not push forward.”

Over the next year, Peter’s first implementation of these “pullback” policies became obvious as he released all of Russian America as the independent Republic of Alaska, with Governor Poltorak as its first ruler. The abandonment of the colony was explained as a way of relieving Russia from the financial burden of an unprofitable region. The new republic shifted its attention to a simple fishing economy, and outside of the local area it became very much forgotten.

Mexican Gold Rush, 1861

In early 1861, a visitor to a Mexican hermit’s mountain home in Alta California found gold in the hermit’s crop of onions. As soon as word reached first San Francisco and then Mexico City, tens of thousands of prospectors flocked to the territory in the hopes of striking it rich. Billions of reales worth of gold was extracted, finally causing the Mexican government to finally take a serious interest in its northern territories.

Although the gold boom was of enormous importance to the Calfornian region itself, the greatest effects were felt in other nations. The first to be impacted was the new Republic of Alaska, just free from Russian rule, and over the first twelve months of the boom, an estimated 60% of the ruling class journeyed to California. With news having reached the Republic far earlier than the major cities of Europe, it was the Russians that grabbed the most easily-accessed gold, which they took back to Alaska. Years later, a joke arose that the Mexicans were paying for the Republic’s survival, which would have been most unlikely otherwise.

In the United States, the response was more aggressive, as citizens decided that Manifest Destiny should be once and for all fulfilled with an invasion of Mexico to take California for itself and claim a Pacific coast. President Williamson (of the Worker’s Party) decided that America would not officially claim the lands (no part of Mexico as it was now definied was ever included in the Louisiana Purchase, so the Fourteenth Amendment did not apply either). This did not appreciably slow the rate of Americans pouring into California, and Williamson’s decree only served to convince some to return to the USA after striking it rich. Many more however, filled the new Mexican cities on the Pacific coast. In 1868, as the boom died down, the Mexican president personally thanked Williamson for not allowing the alliance between the powers to decay.

Worlds Divided, 1862

Ever since the beginning of the century, Chinese society had grown increasingly xenophobic and ignorant of European development and industrialisation, and by 1836 the Qing felt comfortable enough in their position to forever boot the Europeans out of China, before expelling the Portuguese from Macao in 1838. Although the British maintained their colonies in India, Malaya, the East Indies and many South Pacific Islands, these territories became extremely isolated from their large neighbour, to the point that neither was really aware of what the other was doing.

In March 1862, Tsar Peter IV decided to sever China’s final connection with the Western world, sending a Chinese trade caravan over the border without furs or other Russian goods. The merchants simply grunted and said “the world is changing”, but with Peter able to secure better prices in European markets and China uninterested in Europe’s other goods (the Emperor had placed a ban on aluminium imports by declaring it “barbarian foolishness”, and that was virtually the only thing China didn’t already have), the continued trade made little sense to either party.

In hindsight, it is very easy to declare the actions of the Chinese as some of the worst decisions ever made by national leaders, as they led only to stagnation and obsolescence (China’s military saw virtually no improvements over the following century, and was still using archers, lancers and musketmen in 1950). To the people alive in Middle Qing China though, no other course of action would have been seen as politically acceptable. Immense national pride, combined with the fact that China never suffered repercussions for its actions, made expulsion appear far more favourable compared to the humiliation of allowing foreigners into its borders.

Military Reforms, 1863

After kicking the Chinese out of Russia, the Tsar attempted to both improve common Russian life and Russia’s military strength in one great sweep. “Everyone from the lowliest peasant to Napoleon himself knows that the next war is coming. We should avoid invasion by being ready for once.”

His actions greatly annoyed much of the aristocracy. On January first, 1863, he issued a proclamation declaring any Russian who served in the military for seven years would forever be free from any master’s will afterwards, effectively giving the class of serfs a chance to free themselves. Predictably, this lead to a sixfold increase in enlistments. Landowners across Russia were absolutely furious and two attempts were made against Peter’s life (who so far appeared only to have given up everything east of Lake Baikal and then given heaps of power to the peasants).

Their attitudes changed dramatically when the last nomad warlord, a man that called himself Olyuk Khan (Olyuk is thought to be a name he made up for himself), attempted to unite the people of Central Asia and go on a rampage like the Mongols and Timurids had done. Peter’s new army made short work of Olyuk’s tribes (and finally annexed the last disputed lands of Central Asia into Russia), and the nobles could finally see that their new leader was truly making Russia better and stronger.

A Look at Hampton’s Southern League, 1864

In November 1863, the tenth anniversary of the founding of the League of Southern States passed, and Robert Hampton remained in charge of the country by the simple virtue that there had been no election. His political ally John M Patton’s son Edward was beginning to take an active role in leading the military, leading to power in the country being almost perfectly controlled by the two families. Democracy, once the founding tenet of many of the eight states that made up the League, was dissappearing at an alarming rate, but no-one appeared disturbed. For the people living there, the status quo left the people with power rich, so there was no reason to change anything up.

I now refer to the 1880 Common Man’s Guide to the Nations of the World by Arthur Steepman to explain the way of life in the Southern League.

Imagine a purple tumour dropped onto a map of the once-United States of America, carrying with it a large feeling of the fourteenth century despite this being the nineteenth. The plagues aside, this is almost a perfect representation of the League of Southern States (or as you may know it, Hampton’s League).

This fellow Robert Hampton has lorded over the people for twenty-six years like a king. More kingly than Napoleon or Tsar Peter, possibly akin to someone of Henry VIII’s day. The offices of state governors too are becoming kinglike, many of them hereditary. Did the Americans perhaps forget that a century ago they had a fight for democracy in the New World. If they did, it explains a lot of this nation.

Not to be outdone in our simulation of the medieval world is the image of a loyal general that serves King Hampton’s every whim. His name is Patton, and he too gained his position by having the good virtue of a famous father that died before he had the chance to mess up too badly. Patton’s efforts have been fairly hopeless, as an attempt to take down the Creek State in Florida in 1864 caused only the deaths of tens of thousands to show for it. Disease is a big killer, and so too is the fact that fighting a guerilla force with regulars is next to impossible. All the more humilating, for Florida is a mere tenth the size of Hampton’s League.

I now must look at the lot of the common people, and once again the fourteenth century has firmly planted itself in the New World. The common people are peasants. They may have kerosene and electrical power that their ancestors did not have, but there is still the landlord and he will not allow his subjects off his land very often. Worse if you are a black slave, chained quite literally to the land you work. If the lord has a bird for a pet, he feeds it better than he does his slaves. One continues to wonder why the British have propped up this symbol of feudalism for so long, the British themselves having given it up in their own lands before they were even British.

While that was written in 1880, much of it still applied fifteen years earlier.

A Shift in Thinking, 1865

The death of King Francisco “the Good” of Spain in the middle of 1865 ended a period of prosperity that had done the country well for three decades, and his passing was met with sadness all across the Western world. Even Napoleon II, who could say little good for most Coalition countries, reportedly shed a tear for Francisco, who had kept Spain out of the Second German War.

His successor, Francisco II, was undoubtedly the least popular ruler Spain had ever had, even from the very beginning of his reign. His most famous act is his years-long affair with Princess Louise, a daughter of Napoleon II, and his marriage to her a month after taking the throne enraged the pro-Coalition populace of Spain, who feared that he would drag them back into the Alliance.

Within weeks, Francisco II found that the army had turned on him, while his advisors and other officials openly ignored his rulings. After his wife caught word of a planned coup, the two fled to Aragon (where they then took a train to Paris). The next day, the army stormed the royal palace, installing Francisco’s younger brother Philip as King Philip VI.

Philip’s policies were the polar opposite of his father’s and brother’s. Promising tax and land reforms that would move the Spanish government in a direction similar to that of the British, and announcing a policy of unyielding hostility towards both France and Aragon, Philip was able to secure the support of most of the people in the country by 1867.

The Third German War Begins, 1867

Much of the early history of the German Empire was caused by radicals and madmen taking nationalism to such an extreme as to force the country to form with little regard as to how it would operate, and matters finally came to a boiling point in 1867.

Otto of Bavaria had given little consideration to anything other than German language as a reason for why any territory should belong to Germany, leading him to take over Austria and Bohemia. Prussia’s eventual takeover of Bavaria further complicated things, as a Protestant ruler was now in charge of a mostly Catholic nation (62% as of the 1866 census). Although Emperor Wilhelm was not inclined to force the Protestant church on his Catholic subjects, many other Prussians that were appointed to roles in Austria and Bavaria were staunch anti-Catholics.

On the fourth of August, 1867, Emperor Wilhelm called a meeting in Prague (he avoided Berlin so as to make the meeting appear more inclusive to non-Prussian Germans), hoping to resolve the disputes bloodlessly. When the conference broke up for lunch however, a couple of angry Bavarian Catholic leaders decided they had a score to settle with the Protestants, throwing a Protestant clergyman out of a window and killing him.

An hour later, the Emperor returned to a room consumed by chaos, as the incident had provoked what was nearing an all-out brawl between Catholics and Protestants. Knowing that neither side would now negotiate, he left Prague on the next train to Berlin, only to find that Bavaria and Austria had begun an uprising, hoping to overthrow the Prussians and establish one of their own as Emperor.

Prague’s Window Law, 1867

The Third Defenestration of Prague confirmed for the city a quite absurd trend of religious wars starting whenever someone was thrown out of a window there. Historians have worked for more than a century to attempt to find a link between the three events, and most likely they are just a very strange coincidence.

Coincidence or not, they led to the Window Law, which dictated that all windows in the city more than eight feet from ground level at their highest point must be permanently sealed, on the threat of death for the building’s owner. Although the law is likely a result of superstitious nonsense, it is almost certainly the reason behind Prague’s noticeable lack of tall buildings today.

Civil War, 1867

Taking the Prussian and Saxon parts of the ex-German army, Wilhelm immediately worked to ensure that Catholic Bohemia wouldn’t join the Bavarians or Austrians, marching most of his forces into Prague. The Bohemians, unhappy with the thought of being kept under the Prussian thumb, declared their independence from the German Empire, but refused to become part of the Austro-Bavarian kingdom, only to witness the breakup of that short-lived kingdom when both potential rulers got in a dispute for the throne.

The Bohemians, with the help of Austria, managed to evict the Prussians from their land after a short battle southeast of Prague, while the Bavarians attempted an invasion of Prussian Saxony. That invasion too was thrown back, although an early winter prevented the Prussians from exploiting their success.

Beyond Civil War, 1867

Napoleon had watched the developments in Germany with a keen eye, knowing that any unrest would help him get rid of the massive empire that he had hoped to avoid creating in the first place. When he received reports that Prussian agents were trying to incite a rebellion in Mecklenburg and other German regions in France (although the regions were quite happy with French rule), he decided the time was right to take action, and sent in nearly a million troops.

Napoleon does not appear to have had a concrete plan when he marched into Germany, but very quickly the operation became a war between France and the remnant states of Germany, some of whom were fighting each other too. Munich was the first capital taken, with Vienna and then Prague following by May 1868. The Prussian Army however was the most formidable, with nearly half a million regulars. Wilhelm decided to meet the French outside Brieg in Silesia.

The Battle of Brieg is especially notable, not just for being one of the most decisive French victories in the entire history of the Napoleonic Era, but also for being the first use of chemical warfare. Chlorine had been isolated by electrolysis of brine in the early 1850s, although its use as a weapon had not been considered until several people making it in a factory died.

Once Napoleon entered Berlin, he proceeded to tear up the German Empire (he hoped) for good. Bohemia, Austria, Bavaria, Saxony and Prussia were all made independent states. Each kept their king, but a French overseer (answering only to Napoleon himself) was put in charge to ensure that the states would not be disloyal or fight each other again. Effectively this resulted in Germany becoming a collection of puppet kingdoms, although the British do not appear to have realisied this until several years afterward.