WI: Franz Josef, Emperor of all Germany after defeating Prussia in 1866

A very interesting idea, but I think we're misunderstanding the Habsburg dynasty and Austria. First off, a major victory at Königgrätz (including killing Wilhelm I, Bismarck and Moltke) would be the start of the war, not the end. Austria can demand Silesia, the Rhine and the restoration of Saxony's old border all she wants, but is she in a position to enforce those demands? I don't think so. Once Berlin rejects such outrajous demands, Austria will have to occupy or conquer Silesia and the rest of Saxony, then turn towards Berlin as a way to force the peace they want. Is Austria in a position to do all that though? I truly don't know.

Second, I think we're ignoring that a victorious Austria will look very different from a victorious Prussia. Austria isn't in a position to form a Großdeutschland Empire nor would she necessarily want to. Now I think the border wished mentioned by @Mikestone8 is very accurate and would be the likely demands pushed by Vienna. But the structure of the HRE/Greater Empire would be more federalist rather than Prussian & friends. I'd take a look at the 1863 German Confederation reform proposal (@Westphalian posted it a few years ago:https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/1863-reform-act-of-the-german-confederation.282068/) as a basis for the reformed state, though with less duelism and more Austrian dominance.
 
A very interesting idea, but I think we're misunderstanding the Habsburg dynasty and Austria. First off, a major victory at Königgrätz (including killing Wilhelm I, Bismarck and Moltke) would be the start of the war, not the end. Austria can demand Silesia, the Rhine and the restoration of Saxony's old border all she wants, but is she in a position to enforce those demands? I don't think so. Once Berlin rejects such outrajous demands, Austria will have to occupy or conquer Silesia and the rest of Saxony, then turn towards Berlin as a way to force the peace they want. Is Austria in a position to do all that though? I truly don't know.
What forces has Prussia left once those in Bohemia are gone? The latter aren't likely to escape through the mountain passes by which they entered, and they'll be very hungry given that any foraging parties will be picked off by Austrian cavalry - the one arm where the Austrians were superior. Their IV army, out west, had its work cut out just hunting down the Hanoverians (iirc Moltke had to detach forces to assist it). so unlikely to retrieve the situation by itself.

And Prussia is apt to have trouble at home. The war was unpopular until the news of victories came in, with riots against it in several cities. Once the news of a crushing defeat arrives, things may well boil over, esp in Catholic areas like Upper Silesia and the Rhenish provinces.

And the terms I envisage are pretty much those which the French and Austrian Foreign Ministers had sketched out beforehand (see AJP Taylor The Struggle for Mastery in Europe). The only point on which France might jib is that of a Habsburg ruler on the Rhine, and even that is far from certain, given that the likeliest candidates, the Tuscan branch of the family, are by Habsburg standards relatively liberal - not unlike Maximilian of Mexico = so Napoleon III may not object.

Also,, the Prussians may reckon that even if Austria fails to conquer the Rhineland, France may then grab it for herself, and Prussia's chances of recovering it from Europe's premier military power (as then supposed) might seem a lot poorer than those of recovering it from an Austria which may be less lucky in the next war.
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Yes, but that in no way leads to signing away half your country.
Are they in a position to refuse if no foreign power comes to their aid? Afaics the only question is whether they lose the RPs to Austria or to France. And as for Silesia, the French have already ok for Austria to have that, and also for the smaller states to be enlarged. .
 
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Maybe Austrians could try to join Galicia, Upper Silesia and Grand Duchy of Posen in one administrative unit under their control? It would weaken Prussia (especially if Austrians decided to add all lands formerly held by PLC to said unit) and empower their position in GC.
 
Maybe Austrians could try to join Galicia, Upper Silesia and Grand Duchy of Posen in one administrative unit under their control? It would weaken Prussia (especially if Austrians decided to add all lands formerly held by PLC to said unit) and empower their position in GC.
Possibly, but if I were them, I'd leave Poland strictly alone. The Tsar might take iit as a provocation.

In FJs place I'd concentrate on digesting my German gains, rather than stirring things in other areas.
 
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Possibly, but if I were them, I'd leave Poland strictly alone. The Tsar might take iit as a provocation.

In FJs placw I concentrate on digesting my German gains, rather than stirring things in other areas.
These parts were Prussian, so in case of Austrian victory reorganizing them is needed. FJ had good relationship with Polish nobility in Galizia and a Pole served as PM for him.
 
These parts were Prussian, so in case of Austrian victory reorganizing them is needed. FJ had good relationship with Polish nobility in Galizia and a Pole served as PM for him.
I know. Nonetheless I think that if FJ is smart he'll take things one at a time and get Germany settled before trying to change the current division of Poland..
 
I know. Nonetheless I think that if FJ is smart he'll take things one at a time and get Germany settled before trying to change the current division of Poland..
I mean yes, but it's just my side thought. Makes me wonder if Habsburgs would try to exchange some Prussian lands for Lusatia with Saxony. Habsburgs would also hold onto Schleswig-Holstein.
 
Austria fares better *and* gets the lucky shot with a miracle in the aftermath as other countries intervene starting with France and Russia. Austrian Silesia and Magdeburg are broken off of Prussia.
 
I’m in the camp believing that Austria will have a hard time pressing its advantage after a victory in 1866. That doesn’t mean it won’t have achieved its main objective—preventing the Prussian political domination of Germany.

I think they go for a quick, lenient peace to head off any third party interventions, internal dissent or bankruptcy.
Prussia has to rejoin the Confederation and the disputed duchies go to Augustenburg. Prussia is hardly broken but the setback may result in a new leadership more willing to work hand in hand with Austria. Someone mentioned a reform a la 1863 and this is entirely possible in the late 1860s.

Internally, the Ausgleich is still entirely possible. It was in the works anyway and would allow Cisleithania to participate in the Confederation while Transleithania does not.
 
I think they go for a quick, lenient peace to head off any third party interventions, internal dissent or bankruptcy.
What counts as "lenient"?

France wants Prussia out of the Rhineland at least as much as Austria does, so she certainly loses that. And if Franz Josef has to write ioff his Itallian privinces then hee needs aomething in lieu, and /Silesia (or at very least the Catholic portion of it )is the only obvious thing to take.
 
Austria didn't want a formally unified Germany because that'd potentially necessitate making a choice: Germany or their non-Confederation holdings?

They wanted to defeat Prussia, establish principalities in the Prussian Rhineland and Schleswig-Holstein for the deposed Hapsburgs of Italy, and affirm the Austrian Emperor's status as President of the German Confederation with no equal. As for territorial annexations, Silesia would have been the first thing on their list. The German Confederation would be a tighter entity over time and more would be demanded of non-Austrian members in service of the Confederation President (plus there'd be contributions to Presidential coffers ... ie Austrian coffers). But Franz Joseph as outright Emperor is unlikely.
 
I think the conformation of this alternate scenario could be implemented in two phases:

1) Alt-Austro Prussian War won by Austria & allies, with the following result:

- All the allies of Prussia, excepting Prussia itself, are incorporated into the Austrian allied states i.e. Oldenburg and Bremen into Hanover or Anhalt into Saxony.
- Prussia loses most of its territories not belonging to its Branderburg-to-East-Prussia core: Austria receives Silesia, Schleswig-Holstein and Rhineland, Saxony receives the Prussian Saxon province, Hanover receives Westphalia and Magdeburg etc.
- The Thuringian states are bound to a confederation surveilled by Prussia and main allies.
- Italy is defeated and Austria keeps the Venetian-Friuli crownland.
- Finally, Austria and allies replace the defunct German Confederation with a sort of 'Empire of Germany' with Franz Josef as 'figurehead' Emperor, working in fact as a confederation similar, but maybe tighter, to the former GC. Prussia is excluded.

2) After some years, a mix of an alt-Franco-'German' War-early minor WWI won by Austria, with the following result:

- Prussia is incorporated as a Branderburgian state into the reinforced Habsburgian Empire. Proper Prussia and Pomerania are converted into Imperial crownlands.
- France, Italy and the Ottomans are defeated and some of their territories (i.e. Alsace, Lombardy or BiH) are handed to Austria (but maybe just few changes, not major bites).
- Austria gets Russia in its side for a promised consensual division of the Ottoman remainders between the two powerhouses. UK has a limited participation as long as Austria is not involved in overseas adventures (=no colonies, no involvement in international disputes affecting UK).
- If the neutrality of countries like Belgium and Switzerland are violated, they could end divided between the Habsburgian Empire and France.
 
Austria didn't want a formally unified Germany because that'd potentially necessitate making a choice: Germany or their non-Confederation holdings?
And all they really need is control of German military forces. The rest is just details.

The small states which took the Prussian side are now at Austria's mercy and must do as they are told. Their young men will likely serve in a "Federal" army under Austrian control. Any states ruled by junior Habsburgs probably make a similar arrangement, and if Augustenburg wants Schleswig-Holstein he too must sign on the dotted line.

Bavaria et al, at once greedy for Prussian territory and fearful of a Prussian war of revenge, can probably be persuaded to sign treaties of alliance with Austria not unlike those signed with Prussia OTL. The details of these treaties need not be published right away, so that France etc only become aware of them later.

And of course, after a decent interval there's nothing to stop Franz Joseph changing his title to "Emperor of Austria and the German Nation" or something similar. Monarchs may call themselves what they will. Some of the other states may grumble for a while, but they'll probably get used to it in time.
 
And all they really need is control of German military forces. The rest is just details.

The small states which took the Prussian side are now at Austria's mercy and must do as they are told. Their young men will likely serve in a "Federal" army under Austrian control. Any states ruled by junior Habsburgs probably make a similar arrangement, and if Augustenburg wants Schleswig-Holstein he too must sign on the dotted line.

Bavaria et al, at once greedy for Prussian territory and fearful of a Prussian war of revenge, can probably be persuaded to sign treaties of alliance with Austria not unlike those signed with Prussia OTL. The details of these treaties need not be published right away, so that France etc only become aware of them later.

And of course, after a decent interval there's nothing to stop Franz Joseph changing his title to "Emperor of Austria and the German Nation" or something similar. Monarchs may call themselves what they will. Some of the other states may grumble for a while, but they'll probably get used to it in time.
An Austro-German Empire/Confederation/Amalgamation in which all of those military forces are operating together would be ... yowza. There'd be balance of power issues. In 1900 that's about 100 million people under one military authority (compare to Russia with 136).

If you keep the Obrenovics in charge of Serbia, then you've got a very Hapsburg dominated Central Europe.

I wonder how Austria would deal with the Luxembourg Crisis come 1867.
 
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I wonder how Austria would deal with the Luxembourg Crisis come 1867.
Probably use it to get what she wants from the other states.

FJ - "If I am to oppose such things as this, I need soldiers for my army and money to equip them. If you wish me to uphold German rights, send your young men to my army and grant me money for their support. It is idle for you to call upon me to defend Germany unless you are prepared to give me the means of doing so."
 
Probably use it to get what she wants from the other states.

FJ - "If I am to oppose such things as this, I need soldiers for my army and money to equip them. If you wish me to uphold German rights, send your young men to my army and grant me money for their support. It is idle for you to call upon me to defend Germany unless you are prepared to give me the means of doing so."
Would they go to war with France over it? Or even oppose it at all? Bismarck played public opinion to deprive France of the territorial gain. Perhaps it would be Austrian/German inaction in the face of France seizing a slice of the German Confederation (which Luxembourg was) that is used as a basis for consolidation of Germany.
The Luxembourg Crisis also has another problematic element TTL: The Duchy of Limburg. Limburg was part of the German Confederation until its dissolution in 1866 and it was only in 1867 that Limburg was affirmed as a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. France and the Netherlands are going to be on the same page here, I imagine. There might be a weird diplomatic compromise where Luxembourg, in personal union with but not part of France, is part of the German Confederation in the same way as Limburg, in personal union with the Netherlands, is part of the German Confederation I suppose. Such a compromise seems like it'd inevitably result in problems, especially if Paris tries to implement policy in Luxembourg.
 
Would they go to war with France over it? Or even oppose it at all?
Precisely my point.

My notion is that FJ may not oppose it - which will of course have German nationalists screaming blue murder - .- and then point out that he had not the means to do so because Germany still lacked a true national army. So he uses the "national humiliation" to increase his own power within the Confederation.
 
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