WI: Alternate War of the Austrian Succession and Post-War

AFAIK, in OTL the Electors of Saxony managed to strengthen their army to a degree making it a meaningful opponent to Prussia or Austria. Now, the part regarding the PLC and Russia is quite intriguing because the Russian policy regarding (and within) the PLC was seemingly mutually-contradictive. On one hand the PLC was considered a potentially useful in the case of conflict with the Ottomans (which seemingly would be an argument in favor of having it stronger) while on the other an idea was to exercise a maximum possible “influence” in it, which meant to keep it weak. As far as I can tell, after the WoPS these seemingly mutually-contradictive purposes merged into one: keep the PLC as weak as possible.

The PLC as a military factor after the WoPS had been looking upon with an extreme disdain and its potential usefulness was considered strictly along the lines of its territory being used as a supply base with an understanding that the Russian troops can march through it with an impunity and that any manifestation of the unhappiness would be crushed without a difficulty (*). Having few pet ...oops... pro-Russian magnates (pensions, some Russian state awards) pretty much guaranteed that the PLC would not be able to implement any anti-Russian policies.

Which means that in an unlikely case the Saxon rulers manage to improve the Electorate’s military capacity that extra capacity would not and could not be used to increase the royal power within the PLC. Both the Poles and the Russians would be against it.

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(*) As did happen during the 7YW and the Ottoman wars of CII. AFAIK, the Polish resistance to the Russian usage of the PLC a territory during the Russo Ottoman War of 1787 - 92 (protests against Russian marching through it, selling supplies to the Ottomans, refusal to sell food to the Russian troops) was one of the underlying motivations which led to the 2nd Partition: in the case of the next Ottoman war there would be no need to go through the PLC lands. Of course, the Polish attempt to create a meaningful state with a reasonably strong army was another factor and an answer to your idea regarding the PLC as a meaningful Russian ally against the Ottomans (I’m not sure whom at that point the Poles hated more, probably the Russians; at least the Bar confederates had been raiding from the Ottoman territory triggering war of 1768-74).

Edit: One possible effect of the crippled Austria is that MT is not in a position to start annexation of the Polish territory by taking Szepes County in 1769–1770. Prussia alone probably would not be enough to blackmail CII into an agreement to the 1st Partition. OTOH, if the Hapsburg “empire” disintegrates as a result of the WoAS than there is no 7YW and the whole partitioning thing does not happen (ditto for many other events).
Very true
On your last point, the edit one...I could see a situation in which Austria might try to form an alliance with Poland-Lithuania as a means of countering Prussian and Russian power. It had always been Hapsburg policy since their earliest days to forge alliances and marriage contracts not just to increase their power but to defend their holdings from rivals. An independent Hungary would be less inclined to ally with Austria and would in any event likely fall back under Turkish influence if not outright control.
 
Very true
On your last point, the edit one...I could see a situation in which Austria might try to form an alliance with Poland-Lithuania as a means of countering Prussian and Russian power. It had always been Hapsburg policy since their earliest days to forge alliances and marriage contracts not just to increase their power but to defend their holdings from rivals. An independent Hungary would be less inclined to ally with Austria and would in any event likely fall back under Turkish influence if not outright control.
Quite possible but the obvious problem would be in the fact that partitioned Austria plus powerless PLC even if put together would have too little power to stand up to Russia or Prussia, not to mention their alliance. The Austrians may try to ally itself with one of these powers but I’m not quite sure what it would be able to offer to Prussia. To Russia it can offer an alliance against the Ottomans but its practical value as an ally during the war would be quite limited (even less than in OTL). Or there still can be Russo-Austrian (plus whoever else) anti-Prussian alliance if Prussia is considered too strong for the comfort of its neighbors.

OTOH, if the Hapsburg empire is dismantled then, depending upon the specifics, there could be sets of the geopolitical interests seriously different from OTL. For example, Hungary may side with Russia against the Ottomans in expectation of getting the territories which had been the Hungarian vassals/dependencies prior to the Ottoman conquests (Serbia, etc.).
 
Quite possible but the obvious problem would be in the fact that partitioned Austria plus powerless PLC even if put together would have too little power to stand up to Russia or Prussia, not to mention their alliance. The Austrians may try to ally itself with one of these powers but I’m not quite sure what it would be able to offer to Prussia. To Russia it can offer an alliance against the Ottomans but its practical value as an ally during the war would be quite limited (even less than in OTL). Or there still can be Russo-Austrian (plus whoever else) anti-Prussian alliance if Prussia is considered too strong for the comfort of its neighbors.

OTOH, if the Hapsburg empire is dismantled then, depending upon the specifics, there could be sets of the geopolitical interests seriously different from OTL. For example, Hungary may side with Russia against the Ottomans in expectation of getting the territories which had been the Hungarian vassals/dependencies prior to the Ottoman conquests (Serbia, etc.).
Indeed.
I would even venture to say that Hungary's first alliance would be with Russia (assuming the Ottomans don't seize the initiative and make a play for Budapest again), with the goal of reclaiming those parts of Serbia, Wallachia, and Bosnia that had either been vassals of the Hungarians or were part of the Hungarian kingdom, allowing Russia their desired objective of Constantinople.

Its also possible that, with their enlarged territory and their claim to the Imperial mantle, Bavaria might attempt to reach a modus vivendi with the Austrian Hapsburgs, and in league with the PLC, the Republic of Venice (for mercenaries) and perhaps even Sweden (though this might be farfetched given their weakened status after constant wars with Russia) to counterbalance the increased power of Prussia and the still-extant, if shakier, alliance they have with France. Of course, I suspect once France got what they wanted in the great Partition of the Hapsburg Monarchy, they'd likely cut ties with Prussia and draw closer to Sardinia-Piedmont, Spain, and the German Rhenish duchies bishoprics like Trier, Mainz, and Cologne as a guard against Prussian expansionism.

Where Britain would come in remains unclear in this scenario. Assuming they manage to make the gains they sought overseas and they were somehow able to maintain the sovereignty of the United Provinces (Netherlands), they may remain aloof from Continental affairs. If there is still unresolved ambitions, or tensions that were never fully settled in this alternate WoAS, it might lead to another war, though not necessarily the 7YW of OTL (might be shorter, might be longer)
 
Okay, seeing that little has been said about the possible future of the Holy Roman Empire in this alternate post-WoAS timeline. Let me lay down some possible situations that could happen and may even, down the road, lead to another round of conflict. Again, any additional input is welcome, especially as if/when I decide to do an alternate timeline coming from the WoAS, I can integrate everything into the timeline.

-Bavaria, with the wealth of the Tyrolean mines, the territorial base to consolidate their newly won Imperial title, and possibly with Vienna as their capital, begin the process of consolidation which is intended to make the HRE more unified. This could cause concern among the middling states, and alarm both Austria and especially Prussia

-As a result of the new efforts by Bavaria, Prussia might either attempt to form a second bloc of Protestant German states to counter, strengthen their alliance with France (despite the fact France backed Bavaria's claims to the Imperial mantle), or even reach a modus vivendi with Austria, all while building their military capacity even further.

-Austria, shorn of nearly all its core territories, militarily weakened and at the mercy of Bavaria, might attempt to reach out to Prussia, consolidate any alliances they have with the PLC and perhaps reach out to Saxony. They would not be able to face Bavaria alone, but in a league they could have a better chance.

-Hannover at this time could reach out to Austria or Bavaria, fearing for their independence in the face of growing Prussian strength. Whether or not the Hannoverian Succession in England still happens (the Jacobites would still be a problem for them), an alliance with Britain is still possible.

-France, fully absorbed with plans to expand their colonial empire, consolidate their new borders (keep in mind, France would get Austrian Belgium at the end of the alt WoAS), tighten their alliances with Spain and Sardinia-Piedmont, and build upon the trade agreements they already have with the Ottoman Empire, could influence those German states along the Rhine River and reach out to Poland-Lithuania, concerned by the militarism and expansionist policies of Prussia.

-Britain, having gained new colonial territory but essentially unconcerned by events in Europe (at first) may view the French militarization, influence on the German Rhenish states, and residual concerns for the safety of Holland as grounds for a reconsideration of their Continental policies. Its likely they may try to reach out to Prussia and Hannover as a means of counterbalancing the diplomatic domination by France. Thereafter, a competition of sorts might develop in Constantinople between French and British diplomats trying to win or maintain favor with the Sultan, which could potentially put them at odds with Russia.

-Russia, alarmed by the growth of Prussian power, dismayed by the easy partition of the Hapsburg Monarchy, the likelihood of growing Prussian or Austrian influence in the PLC and desirous for their conquest of the Dardenelles, could align with Hungary and make plans to partition the Ottoman Empire between them. Russia's leadership would be concerned by the increased Anglo-French influence at the Porte and attempt to counter this through coercion, threats, bribes. They may also apply these means in the PLC to counter Prussian and Austrian influence, but should French diplomacy begin to play a part here again, they could come up against France here.

-Poland-Lithuania, not yet on the carving plate of partition but still under predominant Russian influence, may attempt to counter this with closer ties to Austria (less likely but not unrealistically, they could even ally with Prussia) and seek a nonaggression treaty with independent Hungary. What future role the PLC could play in regard to a future conflict remains to be seen however, as thanks to the Russian-back constitution of 1717 (which would apply here as IOTL), their military capacity would be very limited so long as the liberum veto remains in place.

These are just a few of the possibilities, but please do offer some others and if there important European powers I didn't list, list those as well
Thanks again for all your input on this What If, its much welcome and appreciated.
 
Okay, seeing that little has been said about the possible future of the Holy Roman Empire in this alternate post-WoAS timeline. Let me lay down some possible situations that could happen and may even, down the road, lead to another round of conflict. Again, any additional input is welcome, especially as if/when I decide to do an alternate timeline coming from the WoAS, I can integrate everything into the timeline.

-Bavaria, with the wealth of the Tyrolean mines, the territorial base to consolidate their newly won Imperial title, and possibly with Vienna as their capital, begin the process of consolidation which is intended to make the HRE more unified. This could cause concern among the middling states, and alarm both Austria and especially Prussia

-As a result of the new efforts by Bavaria, Prussia might either attempt to form a second bloc of Protestant German states to counter, strengthen their alliance with France (despite the fact France backed Bavaria's claims to the Imperial mantle), or even reach a modus vivendi with Austria, all while building their military capacity even further.

-Austria, shorn of nearly all its core territories, militarily weakened and at the mercy of Bavaria, might attempt to reach out to Prussia, consolidate any alliances they have with the PLC and perhaps reach out to Saxony. They would not be able to face Bavaria alone, but in a league they could have a better chance.

-Hannover at this time could reach out to Austria or Bavaria, fearing for their independence in the face of growing Prussian strength. Whether or not the Hannoverian Succession in England still happens (the Jacobites would still be a problem for them), an alliance with Britain is still possible.

-France, fully absorbed with plans to expand their colonial empire, consolidate their new borders (keep in mind, France would get Austrian Belgium at the end of the alt WoAS), tighten their alliances with Spain and Sardinia-Piedmont, and build upon the trade agreements they already have with the Ottoman Empire, could influence those German states along the Rhine River and reach out to Poland-Lithuania, concerned by the militarism and expansionist policies of Prussia.

-Britain, having gained new colonial territory but essentially unconcerned by events in Europe (at first) may view the French militarization, influence on the German Rhenish states, and residual concerns for the safety of Holland as grounds for a reconsideration of their Continental policies. Its likely they may try to reach out to Prussia and Hannover as a means of counterbalancing the diplomatic domination by France. Thereafter, a competition of sorts might develop in Constantinople between French and British diplomats trying to win or maintain favor with the Sultan, which could potentially put them at odds with Russia.

-Russia, alarmed by the growth of Prussian power, dismayed by the easy partition of the Hapsburg Monarchy, the likelihood of growing Prussian or Austrian influence in the PLC and desirous for their conquest of the Dardenelles, could align with Hungary and make plans to partition the Ottoman Empire between them. Russia's leadership would be concerned by the increased Anglo-French influence at the Porte and attempt to counter this through coercion, threats, bribes. They may also apply these means in the PLC to counter Prussian and Austrian influence, but should French diplomacy begin to play a part here again, they could come up against France here.

-Poland-Lithuania, not yet on the carving plate of partition but still under predominant Russian influence, may attempt to counter this with closer ties to Austria (less likely but not unrealistically, they could even ally with Prussia) and seek a nonaggression treaty with independent Hungary. What future role the PLC could play in regard to a future conflict remains to be seen however, as thanks to the Russian-back constitution of 1717 (which would apply here as IOTL), their military capacity would be very limited so long as the liberum veto remains in place.

These are just a few of the possibilities, but please do offer some others and if there important European powers I didn't list, list those as well
Thanks again for all your input on this What If, its much welcome and appreciated.
Very interesting ideas.

Couple thoughts:

1. Contrary to a popular perception, Constantinople was not Russian idea fix. Plans related to it had been popping up from time to time but they were on a rather ...er... “fancy” side. AFAIK, during the XVIII century they were formally expressed two times: 1st, in Munnich’s plan for the war of 1736-39 (it turned out that just crossing the Danube was on a far end of the Russian logistics) and 2nd time this was an absolutely fantastic “Greek Plan” of Catherine II (IIRC, this was one of Potemkin’s fantasies unrelated to the real life). Within this TL the main Russian concern would be, as in OTL, to deal with the Crimea (and its raids) and, with some luck, to get possession of the Northern coast of the Black Sea (the same places had been taken two times and returned to the Ottomans before finally annexed in the war of 1787-92). As a result, the Hungarian alliance make some practical sense pretty much along the same lines as OTL Austrian alliance: final border on the Dniester or the Danube with the joined operations in Moldavia-Wallachia and independent operations on the Balkans and Black Sea. The PLC in this system is playing the same role as in OTL: a territory through which the foreign troops are marching with impunity.

2. With a brand new order in the HRE Prussia is seemingly the #1 military power there. In OTL Bavaria was not a major military force and the imperial status and new territory would not produce a powerful army overnight or even in the mid-term. So it would be reasonable to assume that the new emperor is going to look for the anti-Prussian alliances with the major powers. France may be worried about potential Prussian dominance in the Rhine area and Russia about its potential interference into the PLC affairs. So you may end up with something close to the OTL pre-7YW alliance system.

3. Britain would be probably on the side opposite to France as a matter of principle but it will maintain reasonably good relations with Russia due to the economic considerations (during the 7YW they were on the opposing sides but not at war with each other).

4. The Russo-Ottoman wars depending upon the timing:
(a) May impact a possibility of the Russian-French anti-Prussian alliance due to the traditional Franco-Ottoman good relations.
(b) Would have the British support of Russia, as in OTL: Russian naval operations on the Mediterranean would not be possible without a direct British support.
As a result, the major anti-Prussian alliance may become impossible if during that time Russia and the Ottomans are at war or in a state of the escalating hostility. In OTL Elizabeth was at peace with the Ottomans but how the things would develop in this TL?

5. The PLC may try to ally with Austria but this hardly counterweight Russian dominance in its domestic affairs: Austria is too weak and perhaps is going to look at getting some piece of the PLC territory to compensate for the losses elsewhere.

6. Franco-Prussian alliance is an interesting idea but wouldn’t it endanger whatever are the French interests in the HRE? Not sure what they really amounted to at each specific moment (😜) but the fact remains that France kept wasting its resources on pretty much pointless fighting in Europe at the expense of its colonies. What if by some miracle Louis XV (brick falling on his head triggering work of the brain, whatever) figured out that he got all his priorities wrong, stopped meddling in the European affairs and started improving his navy and sending troops to strengthen his colonies? In that case alliance with Prussia makes sense if it formulated correctly limiting French participation in the European wars to giving some subsidies to Prussia.
 
Very interesting ideas.

Couple thoughts:

1. Contrary to a popular perception, Constantinople was not Russian idea fix. Plans related to it had been popping up from time to time but they were on a rather ...er... “fancy” side. AFAIK, during the XVIII century they were formally expressed two times: 1st, in Munnich’s plan for the war of 1736-39 (it turned out that just crossing the Danube was on a far end of the Russian logistics) and 2nd time this was an absolutely fantastic “Greek Plan” of Catherine II (IIRC, this was one of Potemkin’s fantasies unrelated to the real life). Within this TL the main Russian concern would be, as in OTL, to deal with the Crimea (and its raids) and, with some luck, to get possession of the Northern coast of the Black Sea (the same places had been taken two times and returned to the Ottomans before finally annexed in the war of 1787-92). As a result, the Hungarian alliance make some practical sense pretty much along the same lines as OTL Austrian alliance: final border on the Dniester or the Danube with the joined operations in Moldavia-Wallachia and independent operations on the Balkans and Black Sea. The PLC in this system is playing the same role as in OTL: a territory through which the foreign troops are marching with impunity.

2. With a brand new order in the HRE Prussia is seemingly the #1 military power there. In OTL Bavaria was not a major military force and the imperial status and new territory would not produce a powerful army overnight or even in the mid-term. So it would be reasonable to assume that the new emperor is going to look for the anti-Prussian alliances with the major powers. France may be worried about potential Prussian dominance in the Rhine area and Russia about its potential interference into the PLC affairs. So you may end up with something close to the OTL pre-7YW alliance system.

3. Britain would be probably on the side opposite to France as a matter of principle but it will maintain reasonably good relations with Russia due to the economic considerations (during the 7YW they were on the opposing sides but not at war with each other).

4. The Russo-Ottoman wars depending upon the timing:
(a) May impact a possibility of the Russian-French anti-Prussian alliance due to the traditional Franco-Ottoman good relations.
(b) Would have the British support of Russia, as in OTL: Russian naval operations on the Mediterranean would not be possible without a direct British support.
As a result, the major anti-Prussian alliance may become impossible if during that time Russia and the Ottomans are at war or in a state of the escalating hostility. In OTL Elizabeth was at peace with the Ottomans but how the things would develop in this TL?

5. The PLC may try to ally with Austria but this hardly counterweight Russian dominance in its domestic affairs: Austria is too weak and perhaps is going to look at getting some piece of the PLC territory to compensate for the losses elsewhere.

6. Franco-Prussian alliance is an interesting idea but wouldn’t it endanger whatever are the French interests in the HRE? Not sure what they really amounted to at each specific moment (😜) but the fact remains that France kept wasting its resources on pretty much pointless fighting in Europe at the expense of its colonies. What if by some miracle Louis XV (brick falling on his head triggering work of the brain, whatever) figured out that he got all his priorities wrong, stopped meddling in the European affairs and started improving his navy and sending troops to strengthen his colonies? In that case alliance with Prussia makes sense if it formulated correctly limiting French participation in the European wars to giving some subsidies to Prussia.
1) Its true that Russia would wish to deal with the Khanate of Crimea first, before launching into their Great Dream, the conquest of Constantinople. To that end, a Hungarian alliance would be beneficial, though how fully prepared the Hungarian military would be for a war against the Ottomans remains to be seen. They had been subordinated to the Austrian Hapsburgs up to the Partition and it could take time for them to rebuild their command infrastructure...time the Turks would use to attempt to overrun the country again while at the same time sending auxiliaries to help the Crimean Tatars hold off Russia. I feel like if Poland-Lithuania did forge an alliance with Rump Austria, its possible that should the last member of the Wettin house died without male heirs, the Hapsburgs could inherit the PLC, which would give them a larger territory and the ability to cut off Russia's access through Polish territory.

2) I agree-somewhat-that Bavaria would seek out or form an anti-Prussian league with France, Russia, and potentially Sweden and Hannover, but I still feel like they'd have an advantage if one considers that they'd not only seize Upper and Lower Austria but the Tyrol with its gold mines as well. Plus, if they manage to secure subsidies from France and potentially Sweden or Russia, they'd be able to raise enough armies to act as a counter to Prussia. And going on the idea of a possible Hapsburg inheritance of the PLC, that would leave the HRE in a threeway standoff between both houses and the Prussian house of Hohenzollern. (I will however admit I may be missing some puzzle pieces here)

3) If its to be assumed that there is a Seven Years War in this alternate timeline, it may be that while Britain would still oppose France due to threat-proximity, they could also be concerned about Russian designs in the HRE and their efforts to crush Prussia. I feel like (but again, I may be missing some vital info) Britain would therefore seek an accomodation with France on the Continent, draw closer to Prussia as a guarantee against both France and Russia, and pursue their colonial rivalry with France. But as the next war might be shorter or longer than seven years, anything is possible.

4) I could see a situation where the Russians and Ottoman Turks might not directly engage each other (citing the Crimean Khanate summary) but instead arm their respective proxies the Cossacks and Tartars and let them fight it out. This way both nations would remain on France's good side. Should this scenario play out, only the Hungarians would face the full brunt of Ottoman invasion as France would likely not restrain them diplomatically and would not be willing to send troops to aid Hungary, which would break the cordial relations they have with the Ottomans.

5) I think while it is possible Austria could try to claim a piece of Poland-Lithuania (I will give you that one), its also just as likely they could do what's proven to work for them in the past-marriage alliance. Should the last Wettin king of Poland-Lithuania die without heirs, the Hapsburgs could use their still-considerable influence to place a member of their family on the Polish throne in a personal union. With enough time, and barring a sudden escalation of hostilities with Prussia, this could result in a MAJOR gain for Austria. How they would handle the Russian and possibly Prussian influence in the Sejm would depend on variables which cannot really be listed

6)As much as I have postulated on the Franco-Bavarian alignment to counter Prussia, it could be possible that France and Prussia could also align, but not for any conquest or partition of the HRE but to help support Bavaria. Bavaria being an inoffensive German duchy which only won the Imperial mantle because of France and to a lesser degree Prussia would wish to remain on friendly terms with both, knowing that the Hapsburgs wouldn't simply give up on reclaiming the Imperial title even in their greatly reduced state. As this is a whole new situation post-atl WoAS, it remains to be seen how the three main powers with German interests (Bavaria, Prussia, France) would remain amicable given the new situation

Overall, I do agree with you on the points you made.

So with all that said, how do you think the new situation (Partition of the Hapsburg Monarchy, Bavaria as Holy Roman Emperor, French influence therein now greatly increased) would affect the Holy Roman Empire overall?
 
1) Its true that Russia would wish to deal with the Khanate of Crimea first, before launching into their Great Dream, the conquest of Constantinople. To that end, a Hungarian alliance would be beneficial, though how fully prepared the Hungarian military would be for a war against the Ottomans remains to be seen. They had been subordinated to the Austrian Hapsburgs up to the Partition and it could take time for them to rebuild their command infrastructure...time the Turks would use to attempt to overrun the country again while at the same time sending auxiliaries to help the Crimean Tatars hold off Russia. I feel like if Poland-Lithuania did forge an alliance with Rump Austria, its possible that should the last member of the Wettin house died without male heirs, the Hapsburgs could inherit the PLC, which would give them a larger territory and the ability to cut off Russia's access through Polish territory.
It was noticeably more complex than just dealing with the CH. By itself it was already not a major military factor or obstacle but rather a matter of a pure logistics. The steppes to the North of the peninsula were crossed and peninsula itself occupied twice during the war of 1736-39 to be evacuated dur to the unsustainable logistics. By the reign of CII Russian tactics and logistics improved to a degree which allowed the effective occupation which was accomplished when the CH proved to be unreliable vassal of the Russian Empire. Look at the 2nd Ottoman war of CII (1787-91). It was not about the Crimea: most of the time had been spent upon siege of Ochakov and then advances into Moldavia and operations in Kuban area. Of course, we are talking about period which is preceding the OTL events by few decades but the general picture would be more or less the same: as a military force the Tatars proved to be of a very little value even in 1736-39 and the Ottomans had been defeated in a field battle of Slavuchani with the coastal fortresses being taken (to be returned, taken again in the next war and then returned and retaken again). Well, of course, the Hungarians could "play Austrians" in the terms of managing to be beaten but we are getting to the issue of post-Hapsburg Hungary. Does it include Serbia and other OTL Austro-Ottoman theaters on which the Austrians managed to be beaten even during the war of 1787-91? I'm not sure if the Ottomans be able to run over Hungary-proper while fighting the Russians.

But Russian logistics of fighting in Moldavia and Walachia made it almost impossible (within framework of a contemporary warfare and Russian realistic abilities) to go much further than the Danube. Supply problems remained unsolved and advantage in the numbers still had been on the Ottoman side. It was already possible to be sure about defeating the Ottomans in a field with 3:1 or 4:1 disadvantage (but keep in mind that the Russian commanders routinely felt themselves quite free in defining the numbers of their Ottoman opponents and the losses they suffered ;) ) but these tactical victories did not result in a strategic situation allowing to march all the way to Constantinople. Probably it worth nothing that during the XIX the Russians twice had been within an easy rich of Constantinople but did not have any intention to capture it (in 1878 AII explicitly forbade occupation of the city) so I would not be too sure about the true existence of the "Great Dream" outside Potemkin's wild fantasies intended to please CII. x'D
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I quite agree with your position that Hungary would be quite useful in Russian-Ottoman War (it is enough to look at the map) providing it manages to create a meaningful army. But this issue is bringing an obvious question: what post-Hapsburg Hungary looks like in the terms of its government and ambitions. There were some Hungarian contingents raised during the WoAS so probably they could serve as a base but other than that I have no idea.

PLC-Austrian alliance does make sense: both are Catholic countries and both are weak. However, because Austria is weak, would it be allowed to replace (or even try) the Russian "influence" in the PLC? The same goes for the succession in the case of Wettin's demise: would Russia support a Hapsburg or chose more obedient candidate? What if the Poles elect a Hapsburg contrary to the Russian wishes? Would it result in a war, would it "simply" trigger a partition with Russia and Prussia getting pieces of the PLC territory? The answers depend upon the numerous specifics of post-WoAS world which are simply not being defined.


2) I agree-somewhat-that Bavaria would seek out or form an anti-Prussian league with France, Russia, and potentially Sweden and Hannover, but I still feel like they'd have an advantage if one considers that they'd not only seize Upper and Lower Austria but the Tyrol with its gold mines as well. Plus, if they manage to secure subsidies from France and potentially Sweden or Russia, they'd be able to raise enough armies to act as a counter to Prussia. And going on the idea of a possible Hapsburg inheritance of the PLC, that would leave the HRE in a threeway standoff between both houses and the Prussian house of Hohenzollern. (I will however admit I may be missing some puzzle pieces here)
Well, my obvious question is why the Hapsburgs, while in possession of Tyrol, did not use the gold to have a sizeable army by the time of the WoAS. And why Prussia managed to build a powerful army without possession of any gold mines. ;)

Would the Bavarians try to create a militaristic state, which they did not try (AFAIK) in OTL?

As for the alliances, to quote from a famous weather forecast, "today everything is possible" x'D Your scenario looks quite reasonable but the time in question had been full of the unreasonable things as well.


3) If its to be assumed that there is a Seven Years War in this alternate timeline, it may be that while Britain would still oppose France due to threat-proximity, they could also be concerned about Russian designs in the HRE and their efforts to crush Prussia. I feel like (but again, I may be missing some vital info) Britain would therefore seek an accomodation with France on the Continent, draw closer to Prussia as a guarantee against both France and Russia, and pursue their colonial rivalry with France. But as the next war might be shorter or longer than seven years, anything is possible.

Britain could get close to Prussia (as in OTL) and Russia may get allied with France (as in OTL) but this most probably would not result in a direct British-Russian confrontation (did not happen in OTL when they were on the different sides during the 7YW). These two states needed each other with no real substitutes being available. Britain needed the items for its navy and on some of them like flax and hemp Russia at that time was almost a monopolist (add timber, iron, fat, leather, etc.). Russia needed gold and Britain was a country with which Russia had a positive trade balance. Even during the GNW when Russia was not yet such a big exporter (and Sweden was ahead as iron producer), the temporary confrontation did not result in any serious action because trade interests already had been there.

Russian designs in the HRE were pretty much negligible and, IMO, Russian participation in the 7YW was more due to the set of the subjective circumstances (all the way to Old Fritz making public statements about Elizabeth's IQ, which was quite offensive because he was telling truth). Even then the initial official Russian plan did not anticipate any annexations of the Prussian territory and while eventually something of the kind was done to the East Prussia, it was outside the HRE.

Franco-British scenario of yours is quite intriguing.


4) I could see a situation where the Russians and Ottoman Turks might not directly engage each other (citing the Crimean Khanate summary) but instead arm their respective proxies the Cossacks and Tartars and let them fight it out. This way both nations would remain on France's good side. Should this scenario play out, only the Hungarians would face the full brunt of Ottoman invasion as France would likely not restrain them diplomatically and would not be willing to send troops to aid Hungary, which would break the cordial relations they have with the Ottomans.
While the Crimean Tatars (and the tribes of Kuban) had been quite real, the Cossacks at that time hardly could be considered a "proxy" even if formally Zaporozhian Sich was still in existence and Elizabeth restored the Hetmanate: Eastern Ukraine was firmly under the Russian control. France in this equation was pretty much irrelevant except for the engineers and military consultants it was sending to the Ottomans.

Of course, we can't exclude scenario in which Russia and the Ottomans are at peace and the Ottomans are attacking Hungary . Again, the Hell is in the details which are lacking.



5) I think while it is possible Austria could try to claim a piece of Poland-Lithuania (I will give you that one), its also just as likely they could do what's proven to work for them in the past-marriage alliance. Should the last Wettin king of Poland-Lithuania die without heirs, the Hapsburgs could use their still-considerable influence to place a member of their family on the Polish throne in a personal union. With enough time, and barring a sudden escalation of hostilities with Prussia, this could result in a MAJOR gain for Austria. How they would handle the Russian and possibly Prussian influence in the Sejm would depend on variables which cannot really be listed

I have two comments (both are just my personal opinions):
1. Scenario of a Hapsburg on PLC throne is a possibility.
2. Possession of the PLC throne was at that time hardly a noticeable (not to mention "MAJOR") gain for anybody: the country was almost unmanageable.
x'D

So with all that said, how do you think the new situation (Partition of the Hapsburg Monarchy, Bavaria as Holy Roman Emperor, French influence therein now greatly increased) would affect the Holy Roman Empire overall?
Depends upon how successful the Bavarians are in strengthening their position all the way to being able to match Prussia in the military area.
 
I agree, the devil is in the details.
In terms of a post-Hapsburg Hungary, I could almost see a state that would combine the tribal militarism of the ancient Magyars with the efficiency in government that their time as a Hapsburg-ruled kingdom brought them, fusing them into something that could be...well....dynamic to say the least. While they could "play Austrian" in regard to the conflict with the Ottoman Turks, its unlikely that the Hungarians would be as financially exhausted as the Austrians were IOTL, so they could push all the way to the Aegean Sea and link up with Russian forces descending on Constantinople.

To answer your question regarding the Hapsburgs and the Tyrol, I believe (though I may indeed be wrong) that it was because of the numerous occasions in which the Hapsburg inheritance was dvided between two (on occasions three) claimants. I feel like it wasn't until much later IOTL that they fully realized the potential wealth they could collect from those mines. If Bavaria gets the Tyrol, its likely they would harness that wealth more effectively than the Hapsburgs did (which would no doubt rub salt on the wound of losing Tyrol to begin with).
Whether this means Bavaria would become a more militaristic state depends on various circumstances. Do they remain friendly to France once they tap into this source of wealth, or do they cast them aside and start trying to reach accomodation with Prussia in a form of defensive alliance against Austrian revanchism and French retribution? How would Prussia react to the Bavarian olive branch?

A PLC-Hapsburg alliance resulting in marriage between the houses of Wettin and Hapsburg may or may not result in a conflict. It all depends on how Prussia reacts to the personal union of the two crowns, how the Poles feel about being under Hapsburg rule (if the example of Galicia IOTL is indicative, they reacted relatively supportive, compared to their countrymen in the Prussian and especially the Russian provinces of the former PLC), and what Russia would likely do in this alternate situation. It could be that Russia simply bides its time, cultivating its new friendship with Hungary over the Ottoman carcass and watch events in Warsaw play out. If they feel their influence is being too rapidly reduced in favor of Austria's, then they could make common cause with Prussia and alongside Hungary attack both nations, though in so doing, could expand the conflict if France decides to abrogate its treaty with Prussia in favor of an alliance with Rump Austria. France would want to maintain a divided Germany as a means of dominating it, so while they may still support Bavaria against Austria, if they feel Prussia is overreaching, they could easily drop their Prussian alliance in favor of an Austrian one as a means of protecting Bavaria and counterbalancing Prussia.

Its also possible that France could involve itself in the Russo-Ottoman-Magyar war in the Balkans by supplying the Turks with war-materials, funds and even auziliary troops to bolster the Turkish lines. What would have to be determined is how Britain would react to a sudden French military buildup in the Mediterranean, given that they'd have lost Gibraltar to Spain in the closing days of the alt-WoAS and thus be cut off from the Mediterranean. Also the role of Naples would remain to be determined as they would be the closest staging area to the Balkan theater for the French to marshal their forces and materials.

As I've said before, this being an alternate scenario coming off a butterfly, its difficult to have all the information at hand. I can only base my theories and historical hypotheses on what I've learned from my high school Eurohistory class (years ago), my constant reading of history texts (for leisure) and wikipedia (which despite contrary views isnt something people just write anything in. Every article is scrutinized by experts in the various scholarly fields before being published). This is also the reason I welcome all discourse regarding this alternate timeline
 
I agree, the devil is in the details.
In terms of a post-Hapsburg Hungary, I could almost see a state that would combine the tribal militarism of the ancient Magyars with the efficiency in government that their time as a Hapsburg-ruled kingdom brought them, fusing them into something that could be...well....dynamic to say the least. While they could "play Austrian" in regard to the conflict with the Ottoman Turks, its unlikely that the Hungarians would be as financially exhausted as the Austrians were IOTL, so they could push all the way to the Aegean Sea and link up with Russian forces descending on Constantinople.

To answer your question regarding the Hapsburgs and the Tyrol, I believe (though I may indeed be wrong) that it was because of the numerous occasions in which the Hapsburg inheritance was dvided between two (on occasions three) claimants. I feel like it wasn't until much later IOTL that they fully realized the potential wealth they could collect from those mines. If Bavaria gets the Tyrol, its likely they would harness that wealth more effectively than the Hapsburgs did (which would no doubt rub salt on the wound of losing Tyrol to begin with).
Whether this means Bavaria would become a more militaristic state depends on various circumstances. Do they remain friendly to France once they tap into this source of wealth, or do they cast them aside and start trying to reach accomodation with Prussia in a form of defensive alliance against Austrian revanchism and French retribution? How would Prussia react to the Bavarian olive branch?

A PLC-Hapsburg alliance resulting in marriage between the houses of Wettin and Hapsburg may or may not result in a conflict. It all depends on how Prussia reacts to the personal union of the two crowns, how the Poles feel about being under Hapsburg rule (if the example of Galicia IOTL is indicative, they reacted relatively supportive, compared to their countrymen in the Prussian and especially the Russian provinces of the former PLC), and what Russia would likely do in this alternate situation. It could be that Russia simply bides its time, cultivating its new friendship with Hungary over the Ottoman carcass and watch events in Warsaw play out. If they feel their influence is being too rapidly reduced in favor of Austria's, then they could make common cause with Prussia and alongside Hungary attack both nations, though in so doing, could expand the conflict if France decides to abrogate its treaty with Prussia in favor of an alliance with Rump Austria. France would want to maintain a divided Germany as a means of dominating it, so while they may still support Bavaria against Austria, if they feel Prussia is overreaching, they could easily drop their Prussian alliance in favor of an Austrian one as a means of protecting Bavaria and counterbalancing Prussia.

Its also possible that France could involve itself in the Russo-Ottoman-Magyar war in the Balkans by supplying the Turks with war-materials, funds and even auziliary troops to bolster the Turkish lines. What would have to be determined is how Britain would react to a sudden French military buildup in the Mediterranean, given that they'd have lost Gibraltar to Spain in the closing days of the alt-WoAS and thus be cut off from the Mediterranean. Also the role of Naples would remain to be determined as they would be the closest staging area to the Balkan theater for the French to marshal their forces and materials.

As I've said before, this being an alternate scenario coming off a butterfly, its difficult to have all the information at hand. I can only base my theories and historical hypotheses on what I've learned from my high school Eurohistory class (years ago), my constant reading of history texts (for leisure) and wikipedia (which despite contrary views isnt something people just write anything in. Every article is scrutinized by experts in the various scholarly fields before being published). This is also the reason I welcome all discourse regarding this alternate timeline
Just a few thoughts:
1. Loss of Gibraltar does not cut the Britts off the Med because they own Menorca and have a general naval superiority loss of which would be on ASBish side. Which means that they still have freedom of actions and alliances (for example with Naples). Which, in turn, means that with everything else being more of less the same on the Russian side, the Russian Baltic fleet still may find its way to the Med during the Ottoman War and use various ports of the Southern Italy as operational and recruitment bases.

2. Pleeeease, forget Constantinople as the main Russian goal in their wars against the Ottomans. 😜 Short of the permanent occupation of all Western coast of the Black Sea (Moldavia, Rumania, Bulgaria) maintenance of such a remote enclave simply would not be sustainable and “New Byzantine project” is just a single notch saner than conquest of India from Egypt (or by Russian-French land march to India).

3. Hungary is an enigma to me in the terms of its possible organization. Would it be something like the PLC, a paradise for the magnates with a very weak king, or would it have a strong royal power (who and how) capable of making it a reasonably strong military power? Chosen option would define its performance vs. the Ottomans and broader political issues like a further squeezing of Austria.

4. French help to the Ottomans hardly could be more meaningful than in OTL: prior to the major reforms of the early XIX the Ottomans would have a limited usage of the modern artillery and better muskets simply because they did not have properly trained troops and the Janissary had been successfully resisting most of the innovations. So we are talking mostly fortifications, which were important only in the defensive war. An idea of the French direct military involvement on the Balkans seems unlikely to me even if just because it would be extremely difficult to coordinate the land operations with the Turks and their quite different style of a warfare.

5. Hapsburg as a king of the PLC would be facing the same problems as all other kings of that period: almost complete inability to accomplish something meaningful. Not sure if there was already a permanent Russian military presence on the PLC territory by the time of WoAS but it could happen easily and fast. A rump Austria would not be in a position to go to war to help a Polish Hapsburg. Just as Saxony, even backed by OTL Austria could not have its elector on the Polish throne against the Russian wishes.

6. I leave Bavaria completely at the mercy of your imagination. 😉
 
Just a few thoughts:
1. Loss of Gibraltar does not cut the Britts off the Med because they own Menorca and have a general naval superiority loss of which would be on ASBish side. Which means that they still have freedom of actions and alliances (for example with Naples). Which, in turn, means that with everything else being more of less the same on the Russian side, the Russian Baltic fleet still may find its way to the Med during the Ottoman War and use various ports of the Southern Italy as operational and recruitment bases.

2. Pleeeease, forget Constantinople as the main Russian goal in their wars against the Ottomans. 😜 Short of the permanent occupation of all Western coast of the Black Sea (Moldavia, Rumania, Bulgaria) maintenance of such a remote enclave simply would not be sustainable and “New Byzantine project” is just a single notch saner than conquest of India from Egypt (or by Russian-French land march to India).

3. Hungary is an enigma to me in the terms of its possible organization. Would it be something like the PLC, a paradise for the magnates with a very weak king, or would it have a strong royal power (who and how) capable of making it a reasonably strong military power? Chosen option would define its performance vs. the Ottomans and broader political issues like a further squeezing of Austria.

4. French help to the Ottomans hardly could be more meaningful than in OTL: prior to the major reforms of the early XIX the Ottomans would have a limited usage of the modern artillery and better muskets simply because they did not have properly trained troops and the Janissary had been successfully resisting most of the innovations. So we are talking mostly fortifications, which were important only in the defensive war. An idea of the French direct military involvement on the Balkans seems unlikely to me even if just because it would be extremely difficult to coordinate the land operations with the Turks and their quite different style of a warfare.

5. Hapsburg as a king of the PLC would be facing the same problems as all other kings of that period: almost complete inability to accomplish something meaningful. Not sure if there was already a permanent Russian military presence on the PLC territory by the time of WoAS but it could happen easily and fast. A rump Austria would not be in a position to go to war to help a Polish Hapsburg. Just as Saxony, even backed by OTL Austria could not have its elector on the Polish throne against the Russian wishes.

6. I leave Bavaria completely at the mercy of your imagination. 😉
Totally forgot about Minorca *facepalm* Should've taken that into consideration when I proposed the alternate WoAS to begin with. Britain gained Minorca along with Gibraltar at Utrecht.

The Russians' ultimate goal was Constantinople. They pushed toward that goal by bits and pieces. First Azov, then Crimea, then the Danube delta. Had World War I gone differently for Russia (i.e. no October Revolution and rise of Bolshevism) Russia might've finally realized their dream.

Hungary might be able to establish a strong royal power, but it would take some effort for the king and the magnates to agree to a solution which would enable them to have a voice in ruling the country while still leaving the king as final arbiter. Whether it would be British-style, Polish-style, or some unheard of but likely successful combination of both....who knows? It would have to depend on how powerful the magnates in Hungary are, what their motivations for having a strong king be, and the threats from neighboring states.

While it is true that the Turks were extremely slow about adopting Western military tactics, techniques and weapons, I feel like the threat from a combined Hungarian-Russian invasion, especially when they lose cities like Belgrade, Nis, Sofia and Edirne, would finally force even the most extremely religious conservatives within the religious establishment and the government to adopt Western practices and even allow French officers to train the troops on the new weapons. It would be a question then of whether this turnaround would be too little, too late.

Russia didnt have a military presence in the PLC, though the Constitution of 1717 they forced on the Polish Sejm limited the number of troops the PLC could have. Even with the loss of their wealth (Bavaria owns the Tyrol. Bohemia is divided between Bavaria and Saxony, Silesia is Prussian, Belgium is French), they'd likely still have some serious influence-and plenty of children to marry off into other royal houses. A Hapsburg ruling both Rump Austria and the PLC would have untapped resources and manpower and thus could have the ability to circumvent any Russian-imposed limitations including the liberum veto. Russia would, however, likely react to such abrupt changes negatively

Bavaria would be the ultimate enigma. This situation of Bavaria being the Holy Roman Emperor would itself offer a point of divergence. In all, this alternate timeline could end up with multiple PODs before its all said and done. Its what makes this idea more appealing to try and draft.
 
Totally forgot about Minorca *facepalm* Should've taken that into consideration when I proposed the alternate WoAS to begin with. Britain gained Minorca along with Gibraltar at Utrecht.
Well, you gave it to the Brits and now it is too late to take it back so your grand schema of squeezing the Brits out of the Med is in a grave danger. x'D

The Russians' ultimate goal was Constantinople. They pushed toward that goal by bits and pieces. First Azov, then Crimea, then the Danube delta. Had World War I gone differently for Russia (i.e. no October Revolution and rise of Bolshevism) Russia might've finally realized their dream.

Well, they were also be moving Eastward so perhaps their ultimate goal was conquest of the North America. x'D

As for the "dream", the arguments are not convincing. There is a long way from having ports on the Sea of Azov and ending the Crimean raids to the Russian territory to the conquest of Constantinople. Danube delta was a convenient geographic border and also allowed, at least in theory, to control a commercial traffic by the river (as I understand, in OTL the route was important for Austria). If you really paid attention to the pattern of the Russian conquests on the Black Sea and beyond, most of them were in a wrong direction: the Eastern coast of the Black Sea, Caucasus and the CA. Border on the Danube remained stable (with the minor losses after the CW which had been returned in 1878) for all XIX century even if during that century the Russian armies had been twice within an easy reach of Constantinople. Actually, during the war of 1877-78 AII gave an explicit order not to enter Constantinople.

The main and well-documented Russian interest was for the Ottomans not to let the 3rd party warships into the Black Sea.

Of course, I'm not trying to limit a flight of your imagination in any way (after all we are in alt-history) ;) but if you are seriously insisting on that point, you have to bring up something more substantial than capture of Azov and Crimea.

Hungary might be able to establish a strong royal power, but it would take some effort for the king and the magnates to agree to a solution which would enable them to have a voice in ruling the country while still leaving the king as final arbiter. Whether it would be British-style, Polish-style, or some unheard of but likely successful combination of both....who knows? It would have to depend on how powerful the magnates in Hungary are, what their motivations for having a strong king be, and the threats from neighboring states.

Well, a strong monarchy with the powerful magnates is possible in theory but unlikely because, if the said magnates are sane, t6hey'll do everything in their power to curb the royal power down to a size which suits them, aka to make it as impotent as possible. The Polish-style monarchy is a perfect illustration of that pattern and Britain had been lacking the really powerful magnates probably since the Wars of the Roses and those who left had been taken care of by the Tudors.

The key question is how powerful is a newly-created monarch vs. the magnates. The last Prince of Transylvania was Francis II Rákóczi but he is long gone and AFAIK there was no unquestionably top ranking magnate family powerful on it own right, the Hapsburgs had been taking care of this. Some foreign potentate (who) may have an army of his own but I doubt that the newly-independent Hungarian magnates would welcome a foreign army more than the Polish magnates welcomed a Saxon army. Quite clearly, creation of a meaningful monarchy would mean taxation and a power grab by the central power: creation of an army means taxation and as soon as such an army is created and subordinated to the king, the aristocracy as a semi-independent class is gone. Happened in France, Russia and Spain.

I quite agree that a threat from outside can provide some kind of a stimulus for a reasonable behavior (it did not after the death of Mattias Corvinus) but in your scenario there is no clear and present danger: the Hapsburgs are almost powerless (and probably the Bavarian emperors and Kings of Prussia are going to help keeping them in check), the Ottomans are on an obvious decline and mostly in a defensive mode of actions with Russia being potentially available as an ally against them. The PLC is powerless, no matter who is its king, and can't fight an aggressive war without getting Russia involved.




While it is true that the Turks were extremely slow about adopting Western military tactics, techniques and weapons, I feel like the threat from a combined Hungarian-Russian invasion, especially when they lose cities like Belgrade, Nis, Sofia and Edirne, would finally force even the most extremely religious conservatives within the religious establishment and the government to adopt Western practices and even allow French officers to train the troops on the new weapons. It would be a question then of whether this turnaround would be too little, too late.
Let's put it this way, the OTL threat from the Hapsburgs and Russia did not force them into the radical reforms until early XIX, which is well past your time frame. I have no idea how and when in your schema they are losing Serbian territories (unless they simply did not get back the territories they lost much earlier to the Hapsburgs) and I can
for sure that the part about the Russians of the XVIII century marching all the way to Sophia and Adrianople is a pure fantasy which was technically impossible. The far end of the Russian logistics was slightly beyond the Danube (below is the map of the war of 1768-74). To get any further you need the fundamental reforms of post-Napoleonic period and even then it was a risky shoe-string operation (in 1829 out of 100K+ only less than 25K reached Adrianople and the territorial acquisitions had been exclusively on the Eastern Coast of the Black Sea). In the mid-XVIII crossing just beyond the Danube was considered an unbelievable success.

1620502185682.png

Notice that the Ottomans did not reform their army after 1774 when its tactical problems became obvious (defeat at Kagul). The Ottoman Empire still had a greater population than Russia and could master the bigger armies which was considered an adequate answer to the challenge.

Russia didnt have a military presence in the PLC, though the Constitution of 1717 they forced on the Polish Sejm limited the number of troops the PLC could have. Even with the loss of their wealth (Bavaria owns the Tyrol. Bohemia is divided between Bavaria and Saxony, Silesia is Prussian, Belgium is French), they'd likely still have some serious influence-and plenty of children to marry off into other royal houses. A Hapsburg ruling both Rump Austria and the PLC would have untapped resources and manpower and thus could have the ability to circumvent any Russian-imposed limitations including the liberum veto. Russia would, however, likely react to such abrupt changes negatively
Which "untapped resources" are you talking about? The PLC as a military factor proved to be something close to zero during the WoPS and its ruling class resisted attempt of the military reforms even during the reign of Stanislaw Poniatovsky. The same Hapsburg would not be allowed to rule both Austria and the PLC and while ruler of the Rump Austria could potentially raise some army, ruler of the PLC was going to have only the same few thousands troops as in OTL. The union would not be allowed to happen by Russia and Prussia and the same goes for "circumventing any Russian-imposed limitations including the liberum veto" which actually was not imposed by Russia: to give credit where it is due, its OTL application was Polish.

The problem would be not only in the Russian reaction but in the Polish reaction as well: the reforms of Stanislaw had been backed by CII and resisted by the Polish Bar Confederacy. The same goes for some other issues: the Polish nobility proved to be quite self-destructive on the issues which they considered a matter of principle or religion.


Bavaria would be the ultimate enigma. This situation of Bavaria being the Holy Roman Emperor would itself offer a point of divergence. In all, this alternate timeline could end up with multiple PODs before its all said and done. Its what makes this idea more appealing to try and draft.
But it is more or less clear that even if just by the reasons of geography the Bavarian emperors would be mostly concerned with the German and "Western" aspects of the politics: their territories are not really exposed to the "East". So the issues are going to be Bavaria vs. France, Bavaria vs. Prussia, Bavaria and the rest of the HRE, etc.
 
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