The Story of a Party 2.0

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Utgard96, Nov 29, 2011.

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  1. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Story of a Party - Chapter XVII
    Now is the Summer of our Discontent

    "The constitution regulates our stewardship; the constitution devotes the domain to union, to justice, to defense, to welfare and to liberty. But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes."
    - William Henry Seward

    ***

    [​IMG]
    Broad Street, Charleston, South Carolina in 1863.

    From "Deconstruction and Reconstruction: A History of the Postbellum United States, 1862-1924" by Walker Smith
    Abrams Publishing, Philadelphia, 1956

    "The acquisitions of Sonora, Alaska and British Columbia, despite Seward's hopes, served little to unite the nation behind his expansionist agenda; as such, after his first year in office, he increasingly turned to face the massive internal problems of the nation. The occupied South was, of course, still a running sore, and one which did not seem to run dry. Various Establisher groups were waging guerrilla wars against the army of occupation, supported by those remaining ex-Confederates who had not been stripped of their land and rights. Those plantations that were run by freedmen were particularly frequently targeted, and free blacks were lynched by the dozens across the South…"

    ***

    Outside Lowndesboro, Alabama
    United States
    June 21, 1866

    Summers in the Deep South were always hot, but this one was scorching, with temperatures in the high nineties at best [1]. Jake, who'd grown up in the significantly cooler Missouri, was sweating quite a bit, and constantly had to wipe his forehead with a handkerchief to keep the sweat from getting in his eyes. He was waiting for a group of other men from around the state, who were joining him to discuss the situation and any opportunities they might have to change it.
    "Jake Sullivan," a drawling voice called out from behind him. "I haven't seen you since… well, before the war."
    Jake turned around. Facing him were Smiley Johnston, an old friend of his that he'd met while working on a plantation in eastern Texas, and several others. He recognised George Thomas, the old planter at Meadowlawn before the rebellion, and Jim Thomson, another overseer in the county. There were several people who looked like they came from the North, actually; paler than most in normal weather, their skin now resembled smoked ham in its colour.
    "Are all of us here?" he asked.
    "As far as I can tell," said Thomas, "only old Dixie is missing." Some people chuckled at the man's pun, but overall, the party remained silent. Thomas spoke on.
    "The situation here is getting unacceptable," he said. "The upstart niggers, aided by those damn Yankee carpetbaggers, are threatening to overthrow the natural order of things. The white man was created in God's image to rule over the lesser races, and now those very races have seen it fit to overthrow their natural masters and get the foolish notion that they are equal to the white man! The carpetbaggers and all who follow their misguided ideals are traitors to their race. We need to return the South and, in time, also the North, to the ways of the old time, the time before the war!" Thomas' face was nearly red. "We need the old order back! Say it with me: we need the old order back!"

    ***

    From "Deconstruction and Reconstruction: A History of the Postbellum United States, 1862-1924" by Walker Smith
    Abrams Publishing, Philadelphia, 1956

    "As with the slave rebellions during the Civil War, the all-out race war between the Establishers and the freedmen began in the Black Belt of Alabama, in the summer of 1866. The army of occupation took to more violent measures against both groups, but mostly against the Establishers, leading to the Establishers vilifying the "Yankee carpetbaggers" as "traitors to their race" and "not really proper white men", which fuelled their cause across the South, as their claims were seen as more justified. The fighting soon spread in all directions; the two regions that became particularly infamous, apart from the Alabama Black Belt, were the Low Country in South Carolina, and the Gulf Coast between roughly New Orleans and Tallahassee. For this reason, Seward split off the Military District of West Florida from parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, the latter being renamed as East Florida. The new territory was to be occupied by a new army corps, made up largely of New Yorker and Pennsylvanian volunteers. Few people actually volunteered for service, knowing that they would be guarding their own countrymen from each other, and Seward briefly considered enacting the first peacetime draft in U.S. history. However, the measure was never put to the vote due to its unconstitutional nature, which may be the only saving grace of the Seward Administration's internal policy. Instead, he formed a new corps from parts of old ones, chiefly those stationed in the districts in whose territories the new district had been erected. This led to overextension, since those states (possibly excepting East Florida) were the ones where the fighting was the most intense.

    [​IMG]
    Political cartoon from Harper's Weekly, decrying the Establisher goals as "worse than Slavery".

    By the summer of 1866, the army of occupation was forced to use more and more harsh methods of policing the South, and Seward's popularity was rapidly declining. Many moderate Republicans, disgusted with Seward's policies toward Reconstruction (which they dubbed "Deconstruction") left the party and joined the Constitutional Union, for which they ran in the midterms; as a result, the Republicans lost their supermajorities in both houses, although retaining simple majorities in both. However, Seward still retained strong support among the radical Republicans, who believed that the Establishers were a danger to equality and the freedmen's freedom.

    The Readmission Bill, in large part penned by Thaddeus Stevens, was put before Congress on May 18, 1867. It stipulated that all known ex-Confederates and half of the entire populations of all Southern states that wanted to rejoin the Union had to take the Ironclad Oath, by which they promised to never rebel against government authority again. The states also had to have "quelled all such military and paramilitary activity within its borders whose goals involve the active opposition to government authority". This bill was controversial, but was still passed and signed into law due to the radicals' control of the Republican Party and the Republicans' control of Congress. The only state readmitted by this act was Missouri, which had only very narrowly joined the Confederacy to begin with, and had significant Unionist sentiments within its borders even with the loss of Osage. Missouri was readmitted on April 4, 1868.

    By the end of 1867, the situation in the South was almost beyond hope. The army of occupation had suffered debilitating casualties in fending off Establisher attacks, and many areas were seeing their local garrisons withdrawn, leading to spikes of violence in those areas. The army was forced to concentrate itself on major cities, and much of the countryside was overrun with Establisher guerrillas. Many a courier was sent out never to return, and the standard practice adopted after a while was to send as many as six couriers with the same message in order for any information to get around. The violence between races was also intensifying, with some weeks seeing as many as twenty lynchings in a single state. The Establishers never even attempted to hide their racism and their unwavering opposition against giving the blacks any more rights whatsoever than they had before the Civil War. This fact, almost alone, was what kept Seward in office over the vociferous protests of nearly everyone but the radicals. By March of 1868, the administration was contemplating allowing the use of more malicious counterinsurgency tactics such as the salting of farmland and destruction of telegraph lines. At this crucial time, an election was held, which put the fate of the occupied South in the hands of the voters…"

    ***

    From "A History of America through its Presidents"
    John Bachmann & Son, Bluefields, Nicaragua, 1945

    "1868 presidential election

    The election of 1868 was a hard-fought battle between the Republicans and the Constitutional Unionists, with the Democrats caught in the middle but chiefly supporting the Constitutional Unionists, over Seward's reckless policies toward the South. Many Southerners in the border states were enraged over the forcible selling of land to the freedmen, the army presence in the Confederate states to prevent segregation, the lack of compensation for the wartime burning of barns and crops, and a host of other issues. Even in the North, many people found that the road Seward pursued was much too hard on the South, and they wept over the destruction of the historic cities and landscapes of Virginia and Georgia, which little had been done to mend. However, there was also a prominent feeling that the South deserved punishment for initiating the war.

    The Republican convention, held in Harrisburg on April 3, was a fairly quick affair. It was thought that avenging the war and creating a racially equal society came before fairly mending relations with the governments of the Southern states, and so Seward and Hamlin had no difficulty in getting re-nominated.

    The Constitutional Union convention in Baltimore was another matter entirely. The delegates debated for three days over which candidates to put forth, with almost every state delegation having its own "favourite son" who they voted for. Eventually the debate settled down, and it was realised that someone from a large Northern state would be necessary to win the election, since mistrust of Southerners still ran too high for one to gain office. The convention eventually settled on the wartime Governor of Pennsylvania, Andrew Gregg Curtin, who had previously been a Republican, but had switched sides when Seward was elected and began imposing his own methods of reconstruction. For Vice President they nominated Francis Harrison Pierpont, the Governor of Vandalia, who was thought to be able to sway the Upper South.

    [​IMG]
    Andrew Gregg Curtin, nominee of the Constitutional Union.

    The Democrats had an equally hard time settling on candidates, but eventually decided on a dark horse, the Governor of Connecticut, James Edward English. For Vice President they selected Sanford Church, the former Lieutenant-Governor of New York. [2]

    [​IMG]
    James E. English, Democratic nominee.

    The campaigning was extremely harsh, an attribute which characterised many election campaigns of the era. The Constitutional Unionists and the Democrats attacked the Republicans for their harsh reconstruction policies, condemning Seward and his policies as "the Harrowing of the South", and blamed him personally for the civil and political strife that had plagued the South in the five years since war's end. In return, the Republicans condemned the Unionists and, especially, the Democrats as traitors and rebel sympathisers. Famously, the Hartford Post, which at the time was Republican-aligned, described English as "as much of a traitor as Tyler [3]". The Unionists and Democrats, however, were far from united in their efforts to oppose the Republicans, and quarrelled almost as much between one another, chiefly over economic policy, with the Unionists favouring protectionism to strengthen industry, and the Democrats continuing with their established free trade advocacy.

    All three parties fared fairly well in the polls, with the Democrats lagging behind a bit, but still maintaining a good percentage of the popular vote. In the end, however, no candidate managed to gain the majority needed to win, Seward notoriously falling short by a single vote, and so, for the second time in United States history, the election was sent to the House of Representatives."

    ***

    [1] Fahrenheit, of course. The US is still using it. ;)
    [2] So, why not Seymour? Well, IOTL he presided over the nominating convention, and repeatedly refused to accept, stating first that "I must not be nominated by this Convention, as I could not accept the nomination if tendered. My own inclination prompted me to decline at the outset; my honor compels me to do so now. It is impossible, consistently with my position, to allow my name to be mentioned in this Convention against my protest", and then (once several state delegations had announced that he was the only candidate they would accept) "I have no terms in which to tell of my regret that my name has been brought before this convention. God knows that my life and all that I value most in life I would give for the good of my country, which I believe to be identified with that of the Democratic party, but when I said that I could not be a candidate, I mean it! I could not receive the nomination without placing not only myself but the Democratic party in a false position. God bless you for your kindness to me, but your candidate I cannot be." When he had gone out to rest, the convention nominated him unanimously without him even knowing there was a ballot.
    [3] IOTL, the Hartford Post wrote of Seymour as "as much of a corpse" as Buchanan, who had just died at the time. ITTL, with Buchanan losing, the quote instead recalls John Tyler, who died as a Confederate Congressman ITTL.

    ***

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
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  2. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

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    Not exactly a good end to Sewards term. And the violence is certainly more rampant than in OTL.

    So, with the election now making its way onto the House, Seward is the only person that i have heard of out of the three candidates. ANd Yes, i am shocked you didn't pick seymour, so i guess its good not to follow the standard cliche.

    Even besides that i am surprised you didn't pick a military general as the next candidate. (Not Grant, think you already have plans for him anway)
     
  3. CaliBoy1990 A bright future is still possible! =) Donor

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    El Pueblo, East Texas
    Great update, man. Given the anger against the North coming from the recently defeated Southerners, which already seems to be worse than OTL, you think it's possible that perhaps a radical rightist movement, like a mix of OTL's Silver Shirts come into play? It'd be interesting to someone like a *Jake Featherston or *Jefferson Davis Caden at the helm of such an organization, and to see how far it might go.
     
  4. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Indeed. As I said, the rest of the 19th century won't be pretty.

    Well, he did fight the nomination IOTL. And then there's the fact that the Democrats are whittling away in the North, and obscure candidates will hardly be of use.

    Well, we might see the Dems trying to court some general to sign up for them (*cough*Rosecrans*cough*). Because that worked out so well for the Whigs…

    Hmm… You've certainly got an interesting idea; however, I'm not really sure if it fits in with the political direction I'm planning for America to take. We'll certainly see more radical segregationists, there's no doubt about it, but actual *fascists? I'm not so sure.
     
  5. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Not sure if I've mentioned it before in the thread, but this TL now has a wiki page. Hopefully this should help provide an overview of the TL for the newcomers. If there's anything missing, tell me.
     
  6. CaliBoy1990 A bright future is still possible! =) Donor

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    El Pueblo, East Texas
    I think it'll depend on just how angry the Southern elite get and if any radicals take office; if somebody like a more radical version of John C. Fremont gets into office, particularly if they're really liberal, pro-cannabis(this may not be too much of an issue until Mexicans start emigrating en masse into the U.S., although it could still likely be associated with the Afro-Americans as well), pro-reparation, and pro-labor, etc....let's just say that there could be some pretty fertile grounds for organizations like the Klan, or even the Silver Shirts, to develop.....
     
  7. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Interesting… I think I can safely say, without spoiling the TL too much, that there will be someone like that, but also that an organisation of *fascist Southerners would be seen as treasonous.

    EDIT: Oh, and as an aside, I've been working on a new basemap, which is why I haven't updated in a while - rest assured that in a while, there will be maps to make up for it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2012
  8. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Story of a Party - Chapter XVIII
    The Bismarck Gambit

    "All treaties between great states cease to be binding when they come in conflict with the struggle for existence."
    - Otto von Bismarck

    ***

    From "Die Wacht am Rhein: A History of German unification, 1815-1916" by Dr. Prof. Heinrich Dorfmann
    Translated into English by Roland O'Malley
    Harper & Bros. Publishing Company, New York City, 1984

    "It is one of the greatest ironies of the 19th century that when German unification, a goal of liberals and republicans since the French Revolution, was finally achieved, it was done not by any movement of the people, but by a group of Prussian conservatives whose aim it was to extend the Prussian sphere of influence from the Maas to the Memel. It is made even more unusual when put in the framework of 1860s Europe as a whole; all of the powers surrounding Prussia, barring Italy and possibly Russia, were dead-set against the unification of Germany by any means, as it would mean the end of the balance of power that had persisted since the fall of Napoleon. How, then, was this daunting task made possible? Professor A.D. Steiner makes an interesting argument in his recent essay The Creation of a Unified Germany that the success of the Prussians in unifying the German states was primarily attributable to massive popular support, not only within Prussia but also among the other states, whose populaces had seen the liberal constitutions promised in the chaos of 1848 repealed. According to Herr Steiner, the "Volksgeist"[1] of the German people, which had been so brutally crushed a generation prior, poured out in full strength in support of the Prussians and the unification movement. While this is no doubt an important element, it cannot be denied that the people who controlled Prussia, and above all its military, were some of the brightest diplomatic and martial minds around.

    [​IMG]
    Generalfeldmarschall Helmuth Graf von Moltke, Chief of the Prussian General Staff 1857-1886

    The first to come onto the scene was Helmuth Graf von Moltke, who was appointed Chief of the General Staff in 1857. Moltke was a recognised military reformer, having previously aided the Ottoman Empire in modernising its army. He immediately set about reorganising the Prussian army according to his own doctrines and ideas, which involved a much greater degree of logistical flexibility than most previous systems; an oft-repeated saying of Moltke's was "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy". As such, he rewrote significant portions of the official army doctrine to allow for greater flexibility, with the new ideas of officers' initiative being encouraged, and newer tactics being promoted.

    [​IMG]
    Albrecht von Roon, Prussian Minister of War 1859-1872

    Moltke's plans were enthusiastically supported by Albrecht von Roon, who became Minister of War in 1859. Roon's "System" army reform, developed in conjunction with Moltke, was implemented over the course of the next years. When war broke out between Austria and France in 1859, the Prussian army was mobilised and sent to the Rhineland in anticipation of a French attack; however, the Prussians were not eagerly supportive of Austria's cause, and used the mobilisation more as an opportunity to increase the army size than a defensive precaution. At war's end, not all of the conscript forces were disbanded, and the Prussian army stood twice as large by this point than the year before.

    [​IMG]
    Otto von Bismarck, Prussian Minister-President 1862-1871

    The third major figure in the Prussian government of the 1860s, Otto von Bismarck, was perhaps the most important. Although he had little involvement in the actual military reforms, it was his skill for careful diplomacy and negotiation that allowed the German state to come into existence. Bismarck came to power in 1862, the last of the three, at a precarious time. The Landtag [2], dominated by the liberal Progressive Party, rejected the reintroduction of an old tax in order to support Roon's new plan for military expansion, demanding that the Landtag be given full control of the military budget. King Wilhelm I did not approve of this, and threatened to abdicate over the matter. He was convinced not to make such a rash move by, among others, Crown Prince Friedrich; although he increasingly began to view Bismarck as the only person able to manoeuvre through the crisis, the King was reluctant to appoint him at the new Minister-President, since he demanded control over the Foreign Ministry as well. However, when the Abgeordnetenkammer [3] voted overwhelmingly against the measure in September, King Wilhelm relented, and appointed Bismarck to both offices, where he succeeded Prince Hohenlohe and Count Bernstorff, respectively.

    Bismarck was distrusted by the King and Crown Prince, and openly opposed by the Queen; consequently, his first move was to resolve the taxation crisis in the King's favour. He did this by using a loophole in the Prussian constitution, which lacked provisions for when a budget fails to be approved. As such, he was free to readopt the previous year's budget, with the tax still in place.

    Bismarck did not try to hide the fact that he sought war in order to strengthen Prussia; in a speech before the Abgeordnetenkammer's Budgetary Committee, he famously declared that "Prussia must concentrate and maintain its power for the favorable moment which has already slipped by several times. Prussia's boundaries according to the Vienna treaties are not favorable to a healthy state life. The great questions of the time will not be resolved by speeches and majority decisions—that was the great mistake of 1848 and 1849—but by iron and blood." This, along with his general habit of ignoring the Landtag's decisions, earned him the ire of the liberals who dominated the Landtag; in 1863, it passed a resolution declaring Bismarck impossible to come to terms with, and strongly urging the King to replace him. The King protested at this unconstitutional attempt to influence the ministry appointments, and dissolved the Landtag, calling for new elections. The liberals, fuelled by discontent with Bismarck's rule, won a two-thirds majority in the new Landtag, which Bismarck and the executive consequently continued to ignore.

    [​IMG]
    Christian IX, King of Denmark

    At the beginning of 1864, Bismarck's opportunity for war finally came along. In November of the previous year, the Danish king had attempted to directly incorporate the duchy of Schleswig, which was mostly German-speaking, into the core region of his realm. This drew the ire of both Prussia and Austria at once, as it violated the London Protocol, which had been signed ten years prior, after the first Schleswig War, when the Danish king had been allowed to retain possession of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, in exchange for keeping them separate from Denmark proper. Since the succession to the duchies were disputed by Friedrich von Augustenburg, a German-speaking member of the Schleswig-Holstein ducal family, who was supported by most Germans, the issue of the duchies became even further politicised. Bismarck, though holding the Danish king's claim to the duchies as legal, opposed the integration of them into Denmark proper, and so did Austria and much of the rest of the German Confederation; as such, the armies were readied, and war was declared on 29 January [4]. The joint Austro-Prussian army force, under the Prussian Friedrich Graf von Wrangel, advanced across the border within a few hours of the declaration. The Danish had centred their defences around the venerable Dannevirke line, which the Austrians attacked directly; the Prussians went to the east of the line, hoping to bypass the fortifications by going across the frozen Schlei inlet.

    The Austrians were able to beat the Danish in the battle of Königshügel, which, in conjunction with the Prussian advance across the Schlei, forced the Danish to retreat beyond their forts; before the start of April, the Austrians were at Vejle, where they commanded the crossing points of the Little Belt, cutting the mainland off from resupply. The fortifications at Düppel [5] in Schleswig still held out, however, and accordingly, the Prussians moved against the Danish there on April 13. The battle of Düppel would be the largest of the war, with nearly 2,000 dead; however, this would be dwarfed by the later battles fought in the War of Unification. The Danish, seeing their defeat for what it was, sued for peace, and a conference was called at London to draw up terms.

    [​IMG]
    The Battle of Düppel.

    The conference failed, as neither side could agree on a suitable compromise; consequently, the war was restarted in mid-May, with a naval battle off Helgoland. The Danish were able to score a victory against the German fleet, restoring some faith in their military; this was dashed, however, the Prussians captured Alsen soon after, and by mid-July the German forces held all of Jutland. The Danish sued for peace again, and this time, they were prepared to surrender everything.

    The peace treaty was signed on October 5 in Copenhagen. The Danish surrendered all of Schleswig and Holstein to the Prussian King and the Austrian Emperor, except a few parishes in the far north [6]. A few small exclaves within northeastern Schleswig, which since the Middle Ages had been integral parts of Denmark, were ceded as compensation. The small Duchy of Sachsen-Lauenburg, located between the Hanseatic cities of Hamburg and Lübeck, was also ceded.

    [​IMG]
    The course of the war.

    The utter defeat of the Danish army led to severe national trauma, as the last of a long string of defeats in which the country had lost its richest parts; first Scania to Sweden, then Norway to Sweden, and finally Schleswig-Holstein to the Germans. Apart from Copenhagen itself, what remained of the country was largely poor and rural.

    However, the German states also experienced great disarray in victory, as the question of what to do with the duchies recently gained came into the forefront. Some had the idea of making the duchies a "Bundesland", under the administration of the Confederation as a whole; others suggested an Austro-Prussian condominium. A third group suggested placing Holstein under Austria and Schleswig under Prussia; this, however, quickly fell onto itself when the issue of what to do with Lauenburg came up [7]. A fourth group suggested placing the Duke of Augustenburg, the German claimant to the duchies, on their thrones. This became a popular option, if only because both Austria and Prussia could at least tacitly agree to it, and in February of 1865, the Bad Ischl Convention officially granted Friedrich von Augustenburg the titles to the duchies, except for Lauenburg, which Prussia bought from him. The fortress of Rendsburg was designated as a Confederation fortress.

    However, Augustenburg would prove little but a Prussian puppet, folding to the Prussian demands to be allowed to build telegraph lines and a canal across Holstein. This, over time, led Austria to protest the actions of the nominally independent ruler; however, they remained hesitant to move against the Prussians [8]. Instead, the crisis that sparked the inevitable war would come from elsewhere…"

    ***

    17 September 1868
    Cadiz, Kingdom of Spain

    Don Francisco Serrano, Grandee of Spain and until a few months before General of the Royal Spanish Army, was returning to Cadiz from three months of exile in the Canaries. The gunboat which he was currently on had been sent by Admiral Topete, commander of the Cadiz naval base, and a fellow revolutionary. Though by no means a republican, Serrano was of the firm conviction that Queen Isabella's rule was destroying Spain from within, and hoped to be able to replace the authoritarian monarch with someone more liberal. As the ship neared port, he looked out across the city, and there he saw the common people of Spain going about their lives; a group of sailors on shore leave, a poor fishwife selling her husband's catch to the townsfolk, a priest in the black cassock of the Jesuits, a mass of people who might be out to get food, or visit relatives, or buy some household article… These, thought Serrano, these, not the aristocrats of Madrid or the wealthy traders of Barcelona, but these, are whom we're doing this for. They deserve better than Isabella.

    The boat was moored, and Serrano went to land, accompanied by a small group of soldiers. To his surprise, standing on the quay was Topete, along with General Prim and a few others.

    "Greetings, General," Topete said. "I trust your voyage was uneventful?"

    "Of course," Serrano replied. "How come the two of you went to this trouble?"

    "Well," said Prim, "we have an offer for you, that you cannot refuse."

    "As you know," Topete cut in, "I sent for you from the Canaries in order that we could raise the revolutionary banner, march on Madrid and depose the Queen. As a result, we're now calling upon you, General Serrano, to lead the revolutionary army."

    "I accept," was all Serrano could answer. He'd expected the nomination, being the de facto leader of the liberal movement from O'Donnell's death to his exile, but was grateful anyway.

    "Good. Let us proceed to the military encampments, where Generals Sagasta and Martos are waiting. They have both given their support to our cause. There, we will sign the revolutionary manifesto and ready the army."

    ***

    [​IMG]
    General Francisco Serrano.

    ***

    From "The Rise and Fall of the First Spanish Republic, 1868-1882" by Juan Bautista Pérez
    Translated by Anthony Wilkins
    Washington University Press [9], Lexington, VA, 1976

    "After the escape of Queen Isabella, the Cortes gathered, proclaiming Serrano as the new regent and starting work on a new constitution. The constitution, finished in February of 1869, was a major step forward, and the first truly liberal constitution Spain had had since the short-lived constitution of 1812.



    With the new government in order, the Cortes could turn to the daunting matter of finding a new monarch. General Prim, who had been named President [10] by Serrano, famously remarked that "finding a democratic monarch in Europe is like finding an atheist in Heaven" [11]. The Duke of Montpensier, the son of King Louis-Philippe of France, was suggested, as was General Espartero, an old radical who had previously served as President; however, both declined to take the throne if asked. Another suggestion was Prince Alfonso, Queen Isabella's eldest son; however, he was perceived as too dominated by his mother. The choice of the Cortes was Leopold, the Duke of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen; he was offered the crown in September of 1869 [12], triggering an unforeseen crisis abroad…"

    ***

    [1] Hopefully something like "national spirit" or "popular spirit". My German is not good.
    [2] The Prussian parliament; the name (meaning something like "State Diet") is still used for all the German state parliaments, as well as Liechtenstein's.
    [3] The "House of Deputies" (or alternatively, "House of Representatives); that is, the lower house of the Landtag, upon which the Reichstag would later be based.
    [4] IOTL, war was declared three days later; this, while having no significance whatever, is still the first divergence from OTL in the German theatre.
    [5] The German name for the town is used in the English translation of a book published in the 1980s; make of this what you will.
    [6] The border is exactly the same as IOTL.
    [7] IOTL, this division was made, and the division over Lauenburg caused the Austro-Prussian War two years later.
    [8] IOTL, the Austrians brought the issue of administrating the duchies before the Confederation diet, and Prussia, declaring the Gastein Convention (TTL's equivalent being the Bad Ischl Convention) having been nullified, invaded Holstein, eventually sparking the Austro-Prussian War. ITTL, with the Prussians being the ones to break the convention, the Austrians, trying to avoid the war Prussia wanted, was more hesitant to act.
    [9] This is OTL's Washington and Lee University. ITTL, Lee was never its president, and it retained its old name.
    [10] It's worth remembering that in Spain, "President" (or more accurately, "President of the Government") is the title equivalent to a "Prime Minister" in English-speaking countries; ergo, Spain had not been declared a republic (yet; more on that later), and the search for a monarch may continue even with a President in office.
    [11] Prim said this IOTL as well.
    [12] This is a few months earlier than IOTL.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  9. Van555 Social Reformist

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
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    Santa Clara Region, Republic of California
    Most interesting!
     
  10. Nanwe Left-Macronista

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Brussels, BE || Madrid, ES
    Very interesting, indeed.

    The possibilities of a longer First Spanish Republic seem quite interesting, although they'll be probably just as unstable as OTL's, which might be bad for Spain in the short term, and God knows in the long term.

    Anyhow, I fear I have to correct you, Ares, the 1812's Constitution wasn't la romana but la Pepa
     
  11. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Location:
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    Yes, well, it's not going to end well. It'd be interesting to have a longer republic, for sure, but what I've got in store for Spain pretty much dooms the Republic (if it lasts as long as 1882; keep in mind that's just a book title ;)).

    I was actually referring to the Marquis de la Romana; I thought he was still regent at this point (probably from reading A different Finnish War too much). My mistake; I'll rectify it shortly. Thanks for pointing it out.
     
  12. Terranoso Hopeful, but pessimistic Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    Location:
    Across Kentucky
    While I never underestimate Bismarck's proclivity for being a Magnificent Bastard, I have to wonder how Prussia will win this upcoming war. If France takes up arms against Prussia as IOTL, the lack of a war with Austria beforehand (combined with tension over Augustenburg) is going to provide Napoleon with an ally he didn't have IOTL as well as deprive Prussia of the automatic support of most of the German states.

    Furthermore, I remember reading somewhere that Victor Emmanuel II was inclined to support France in 1870, but the presence of French troops in Rome caused such public distaste for the matter that Italy did not intervene. This is not a concern ITTL, so as long as Venice doesn't become a serious point of contention with Austria there might just be a third powerful state against Prussia.



    All and all, I see this War of Unification as a continent-wide affair, which would make German unification an uphill battle.



    But, as I said before, Bismarck and the Prussian diplomatic staff are not to be underestimated. I can't wait to see how it all plays out.
     
  13. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

    Joined:
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    Stress and social tension are becoming serious problems in the modern galaxy, and it is in order that these problems not be further exacerbated that the following facts will now be revealed:
    - The Spanish crisis will, in fact, lead to war with both powers at once.
    - The war, despite what Moltke may think, will most certainly
    not be over by Christmas.
    - Prussia will have an ally of its own.


    Well, I can tell you this much: Italy will be divided over this.

    Wait and see.
     
  14. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

    Joined:
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    Story of a Party - Chapter XIX
    Krieg in Europa

    "A government must not waiver once it has chosen its course. It must not look to the left or right but go forward."
    - Otto von Bismarck

    ***

    From "Die Wacht am Rhein: A History of German unification, 1815-1916" by Dr. Prof. Heinrich Dorfmann
    Translated into English by Roland O'Malley
    Harper & Bros. Publishing Company, New York City, 1984

    "The announcement that the Spanish government had offered their crown to Duke Leopold was met with enthusiastic support by Prussia; however, the French government were enraged at what they perceived as an attempt by Prussia to encircle them. As such, they sent a demand to the Prussian government to force the Duke to decline the throne. This, neither Bismarck nor the King would stand for, and in private correspondence, Bismarck told Roon to prepare a general mobilisation of the army.

    [​IMG]
    Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

    The problematic situation for Prussia was made worse when Austria brought a formal condemnation of Duke Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein's rule before the Confederation Diet. The Prussians promptly declared the Bad Ischl Convention null and void, and sent troops across from Lauenburg into Holstein, in order to support Duke Friedrich's rule. Citing both of these incidents, the Austrians declared war on October 14, and the French followed suit a week later.

    Moltke and the General Staff were rapidly forced to change their plans, with only 80,000 of the half-a-million-strong Prussian army being sent to the Rhineland; although the French were considered a more formidable threat than the Austrians [1], the front against Austria was much wider, and thus more difficult to defend. The rest of the army, numbering well over 300,000 men, was divided into three armies, each stationed at different places along the Austro-Prussian border: the Army of the Elbe in the west, the Second Army in the east, and the First Army in the centre.

    Before delving into the course of the war, it is good if one is familiar with the following factors. First, the Prussian army had superior small arms to the Austrians. The Dreyse needle gun was one of the best of its time, and since it was breech-loaded, the gun could be reloaded while the soldier was lying down, unlike the Austrian muzzle-loaders, which the soldier had to stand up to reload, making the Austrians easy targets. Secondly, the Prussian mobilisation and concentration of troops was much faster than the Austrian system. The Prussian Army used a locally-based organisation, with most soldiers living no more than a day's travel from their regiment's base, while the multiethnic Austrian Empire was forced to use an organisation whereby the regiments were stationed as far from the homes of their men as possible in order to prevent desertion; the railway network was also far more developed in Prussia, making concentrating armies a quick matter. These crucial advantages on Prussia's part led Moltke to declare, a few months before the war's start, that "nothing could be more welcome to us than to have now the war that we must have".

    As such, before October's end, the Prussian armies were mostly assembled at the border, whilst the Austrians were still not fully mobilised at the regimental level. Moltke, taking the opportunity, ordered the army across the border, to stop the Austrians marching into Silesia. The Austrians were slow to respond, but eventually they were able to intercept the Prussians, sparking the Battle of Nausowa [2] on November 21.

    [​IMG]
    Prince Friedrich Karl ordering his troops into battle at Nausowa.

    Although the Prussians were, by this point, outnumbered by the Austrians, their superior organisation carried them through, and the tactical skill of their commanders, Moltke being at the top, secured them a narrow victory [3], albeit with heavy casualties for both sides [4]. The Prussians were checked somewhat by the battle, but were able to continue onward; by the second week of December, the Prussians were in Malatzka. The Austrian Emperor, although advised to ask for a truce, chose to order the army to dig in around Vienna and Pressburg, waiting out the winter. The Prussians made one attempt to break through the Austrian positions, in what became the Battle of Mistelbach on December 16. The Prussians were checked, but as with Nausowa, both sides took heavy casualties. After Mistelbach, the Prussians dug in a few miles from the Austrian lines, and the bitter stalemate was a fact…"

    ***

    Near Stronsdorf
    Archduchy of Austria
    January 4, 1870

    Paul Bäumer lay at the gunner's nest, his arms and legs feeling numb from the cold, waiting for the Austrians to make a move. It struck him that the war had now become something very different from what it had been just a month before; though he'd not taken part in the fighting at Nausowa, he'd marched into Bohemia with the Army of the Elbe, and read Moltke's loud-worded proclamations that the war would be over by Christmas. What a lie, he thought. Even the General Staff should have realised that this was coming. Getting into two wars at once always ends in overextension, anyone knows that.

    As Bäumer opened fire on an Austrian picket who'd reared his head above their foxholes, the platoon sergeant went over to his position, carrying a large newspaper in both hands.

    "Have you seen this, Bäumer?" he asked.

    "No, sir," replied Bäumer, "I haven't. What is it."

    The sergeant turned the newspaper around, and pointed to a very large headline. It said "STALEMATE IN THE WEST".

    "So they've got it too, then?"

    ***

    From "Bonaparte's Legacy: the Life and Times of Napoleon III" by Benjamin Walker
    Princeton University Press, 1959

    "The situation for the French troops, being quite promising in the early months of the war, bogged down completely by the end of 1869. After capturing Saarbrücken in mid-December, the French discovered that the Prussians were fortifying the hills between them and Trier. Since the Dutch fortress at Luxembourg commanded the Moselle valley between French and Prussian lands, the French were forced to take up positions not far away; both the major fronts of the war [5] now settled into trench warfare.

    [​IMG]
    A group of French cuirassiers at Metz, days before crossing into Prussia.

    The warring sides quickly turned to diplomatic offensives in order to bring the neighbouring states into the war on their side. Napoleon III asked the Dutch government in late January to join the war on the Franco-Austrian side; access through Luxembourg would allow the French to move up the Mosel to Trier, bypassing the Prussian lines. The Dutch, however, adamantly remained neutral, since their long border with Prussia would mean that a declaration of war directly threatened their heartland. The Prussians, for their part, tried to court Bavaria and the other south German states to join their side; Bavaria, in particular, was seen as an important potential ally, both because of their relative strength and because the front would be extended against Austria; moving down the Danube to Vienna, at this point, would decide the war in the east.

    One state, however, joined in the fighting: Mecklenburg-Schwerin, having been offered Lauenburg, joined on the Prussian side in February. Saxony joined with Austria shortly after, being promised a return of some of their old lands."

    ***

    From "Die Wacht am Rhein: A History of German unification, 1815-1916" by Dr. Prof. Heinrich Dorfmann
    Translated into English by Roland O'Malley
    Harper & Bros. Publishing Company, New York City, 1984

    "With the opening of the front against France and the entry of Saxony into the war, the Prussians were finding that they'd bit off more than they could chew, and though Roon's Ministry of War was working around the clock to provide more recruits, the Prussians were only able to muster about three quarters of the forces their enemies possessed [6]. However, with the entrance of Saxony, there was an enemy force far behind the Prussian lines, threatening Berlin directly for the first time in the war. Moltke was not slow to respond, sending 25,000 men under Edwin von Manteuffel to invade Saxony and, as soon as possible, occupy Dresden.

    Manteuffel's campaign was a textbook success. He defeated the Saxons at Lützen on March 11, and proceeded to move down the Elbe, taking Leipzig two days after, and Dresden within the week. The Saxons were on their knees, and the Saxon King proceeded to sign a treaty with Bismarck, whereby, in exchange for neutrality and allowing Prussian army units into their country, the Saxons were allowed to retain their entire territory.

    [​IMG]
    Prussian artillery units defending Trier, March 1870.

    By this point, the Prussians, still fighting in Austria and on the Mosel, were finding themselves increasingly overextended, when the unexpected happened…"

    ***

    [1] Although the Franco-Prussian War was much more decisive than the Austro-Prussian War IOTL, this was because the Austrian war was terminated early on to keep the French from intervening, whereas the war against France saw a very early success for Prussia at Sedan, and subsequently the total collapse of whatever semblance of government France had. The Austrians were still old and disorganised, whereas the French had some of the best infantry weapons in the world at this point (the Chassepot rifles, which were equal, if not superior, to the Prussian Dreyse guns) and a large number of veterans from Mexico, the Crimea and Italy.
    [2] Nausowa, or Nousov as it's called in Czech, is a small village located a bit north of Hrádec Králove (Königgrätz) and Sadová (Sadowa), where the equivalent battle was fought IOTL.
    [3] IOTL, the Prussians were (of course) able to beat the Austrians soundly, forcing the Austrian Emperor to come to the table and ending the war. ITTL, with a significant part of the Prussian army digging into the Rhineland, the Austrians fare a bit better.
    [4] IOTL, the Prussians numbered 222,000, and the Austrians 208,000, of which 22,000 were Saxons; the Prussians lost about 2,000 men, and 7,000 were wounded, with the Austrian casualty figures being 5,700 killed, 8,500 wounded, and 21,000 captured. ITTL, the Prussians only have 194,000 men, and lose over 4,000, with 9,000 wounded, with the Austrians suffering about 5,000 killed and 8,000 wounded. (Well, I know these are rough figures, but it's easier than coming up with random numbers.)
    [5] The war is usually called the Unification War by the Germans, the German War by the French and the Austrians, and the First European War by everyone else. For simplicity, Mr Walker chooses to simply call it "the war", avoiding mention of its name where possible.
    [6] The Austrians have got around 380,000 men, and the French have 520,000. The Prussians, through their universal conscription system and a lot of "optimisation" (read:squeezing the countryside of all men who can hold a gun) on Roon's part, have mustered 660,000 men; this is much more than they had mobilised even at the height of the Franco-Prussian War, but it remains to be seen whether it'll be enough to overcome the challenge of facing both empires at once.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  15. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

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    Paul Baumer....All quiet on the Western Front?
     
  16. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Yep. Although this is clearly not him, I thought it'd be nice to use the name as an homage.
     
  17. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

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    Yeah, i figured. Father or uncle, perhaps;)
     
  18. LordCalner Well-Known Member

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    Keep going!
     
  19. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    I suppose. "How's the spirit out there, Paul?"

    Man tackar. ;)
     
  20. Iserlohn Amateur Cartographer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Location:
    County of Mark
    ... Napoleon III dies (a new French Revolution ensues) OR sudden outside intervention in favor of Prussia (South German states, Great Britain?).

    Really interesting developments!
     
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