WI: Frederick William IV accepts the Crown of Germany...then proceeds to re-establish the HRE

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by GameBawesome, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. GameBawesome Well-Known Member

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    Frederick William IV of Prussia was a hardcore Romanticist, and the one of reason why he refused the Crown of Germany in 1848, besides calling it a "a crown from the gutter", he had Romantic aspirations to the re-establish medieval Holy Roman Empire, and would only accepted if the a re-established Prince-Electors elected him.

    So what if, instead Frederick William IV accepts the crown, and becomes German Emperor in 1848, then proceeds to lock up any liberals involve with the Revolution, and re-establishes the Holy Roman Empire, making the position of Emperor back to a Elected by only new Electors.

    How would the German Kings react? Would they accept to become electors? Would they become candidates for the HRE?
    How would the Habsburg react to this declaring re-establishing of the HRE?
    How would the rest of Europe react to this development?
    Could this Re-establish HRE survive? It’s basically the German Confederation all but in Names and system.
     
  2. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    Most of the (non-microscopic) German states backed Austria in 1866. For all his trouble, Fred the 4th probably ends up handing the crown over to Franz Joseph* when the election is held.

    *where it belongs.
     
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  3. Dolan Lookin fer Gooby

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    Cue this Second HRE becoming more akin to 19th century EU.
     
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  4. GameBawesome Well-Known Member

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    If Frederick William IV did declare a restoration of the HRE, would the other German kings accept becoming electors again. On one hand, they would think that restoring the HRE was crazy, but on the other, they can become candidates to becoming Holy Roman Emperor, unless the Hohenzollern or Habsburgs buy them off.
     
  5. JanWellem Well-Known Member

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    Holding 3 electoral votes themselves, Brandenburg, Cologne and Trier, the Hohenzollerns would only have to buy one vote, either Mainz, held by the Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine, Saxony or Electoral Palatinate, held by Bavaria. The Hapsburgs, holding only one vote, Bohemia, themselves would need to buy all three of them.
     
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  6. Monter Well-Known Member

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    By the Empire's demise Mainz, Trier and Cologne were no longer electorates (France annexed them), other Prince-Electors included Hanover, Wurzburg, Württemberg, Baden and Hesse-Kassel.
     
  7. isabella Well-Known Member

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    Wurzburg also is likely out of the list as was created (with two different GranDuchies) for Archduke Ferdinand of Austria (who before and later that was Grand Duke of Tuscany)...
     
  8. Alcsentre Calanice Our Equivalent of Click Bait

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    There's a big contradiction in your post.

    Accepting the crown proposed to him in 1849 (don't forget that Austria was still represented in the National Assembly in 1848) would mean to accept the liberal constitution at the same time, because the throne was based on the quite revolutionary assumption that the nation had the right to choose its own form of government and its own monarch.

    If you want to know what the "romanticist" Frederick William IV would have done with the revolutionaries locked up... well, look at what he actually did in 1850. He convened a new Constituent Assembly (elected on a much more restricted franchise) and tried to enact a federal constitution based on the Paulskirchen Constitution of 1849. A lot of what was decided back then would later be put into practice in the North German Confederation and in Bismarck's Empire. It was all about increasing Prussia's influence and power. However, unlike fifteen years later, Austria was still an important factor, and Prussia had to back down. The Erfurt Union was dissolved.

    The best (and only) moment when the restoration of the HRE was possible and had quite a few supporters was in 1814/15. However, it was Russia that feared the power of a new German Empire and opposed it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 5:20 PM
  9. isabella Well-Known Member

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    The electoral votes in a restored Holy Roman Empire most likely will belong to:
    • Kingdom of Bohemia
    • Electorate of Brandeburg/Kingdom of Prussia
    • Electorate of Palatinate/Kingdom of Bavaria
    • Electorate of ?/Kingdom of Hannover
    • Electorate of ?/Kingdom of Württemberg
    • Electorate of ?/Kingdom of Saxony
    • Electorate/Granduchy of Hesse-Kassel
    • Electorate/Granduchy of Baden
    Plus maybe either
    • maybe Electorate/Granduchy of Hesse and by Rhine
    • maybe another Habsburg Electorate as replacement for Wurzburg (likely for the Duke of Teschen)
     
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  10. SealTheRealDeal Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't there a rule that one could only hold one electorate? Whereby in event of a personal union between two electorates one would be voided and a new one created?
     
  11. Monter Well-Known Member

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    No, the fusion of the Bavarian and Palatine electorates came that they were de jure the same Electorate divided between two votes due the peace process of the Thirty Years War, so when both Palatine and Bavarian Wittelbach branches merged the division became redundant and voided.
     
  12. Alcsentre Calanice Our Equivalent of Click Bait

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    Any sources for that?

    Only that he accepted the crown as part of the Erfurt Union project. The Union constitution, approved by the kings of Prussia, Hanover and Saxony in 1849 and confirmed by an elected German parliament in 1850, made the king of Prussia president of the union. There was no ambiguity: The German head of state should be a hereditary position, inherited within the royal family of Prussia.

    First, they would probably laugh. Then, Bavaria and Württemberg would leave, just as they left the Erfurt Union, under Austrian pressure. The other German states would follow Prussia for some time before returning to the more modern German Confederation.

    They too would laugh and then wait for Prussia and the northern states getting tired of playing their little HRE game.

    Rejoice that neither Prussia nor Austria has managed to form a viable German state. They would continue to manipulate the German states and set them off against each other for maximum gain.
     
  13. GameBawesome Well-Known Member

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    Mostly from Frederick William IV’s Wikipedia page, so maybe not the best of sources.

    But let’s say FW was a hardcore Romanist, and does reienstate the HRE.