WI: HRE succession altered at Westphalia

The French and the Swedish apparently tried to have written in the peace of Westphalia that no two consecutive emperors could come from the same dynasty. Otl the Germans rejected this as undue interference in their internal affairs but what if the French and Swedish do a little better and it does get written in and eventually enforced. How does this affect the great Turkish war or the 9 years war? Who are some likely candidates for election?
 
The French and the Swedish apparently tried to have written in the peace of Westphalia that no two consecutive emperors could come from the same dynasty. Otl the Germans rejected this as undue interference in their internal affairs but what if the French and Swedish do a little better and it does get written in and eventually enforced. How does this affect the great Turkish war or the 9 years war? Who are some likely candidates for election?
Well...likely if this happens in 1648, the elector of Bavaria (Ferdinand Maria), gets elected emperor in 1657.

The bigger question would be HOW you would get the German princes to agree to it? France and Sweden doing better is likelier to make the German princes stand together AGAINST them. What would be needed (IMO) is for the HABSBURGS to do better so that the German princes can be panicked into this idea.
 
That sounds very specifically aimed at the Hasburgs. Maybe the way you could do it is so the Imperial Throne rotates.
 
Well...likely if this happens in 1648, the elector of Bavaria (Ferdinand Maria), gets elected emperor in 1657.

The bigger question would be HOW you would get the German princes to agree to it? France and Sweden doing better is likelier to make the German princes stand together AGAINST them. What would be needed (IMO) is for the HABSBURGS to do better so that the German princes can be panicked into this idea.
But importantly not too much better, so as to not put them at the Habspurg's complete mercy. Its a decently fine line that would be needed.
 
But importantly not too much better, so as to not put them at the Habspurg's complete mercy. Its a decently fine line that would be needed.
I think Ferdinand II living longer (or peace being signed earlier)might be a good motivator about why the princes might agree to a clause like this. Ferdinand III spent a lot of his reign trying to mitigate the damage his dad had done to the Habsburg rep in Germany. It was why it was so difficult for France to push alternate candidates to Leopold I in 1657, DESPITE that Leopold was technically still underage when Ferdinand III died.

@Vitruvius
 
That sounds very specifically aimed at the Hasburgs. Maybe the way you could do it is so the Imperial Throne rotates.
i think that is the point, break Hasburg at the time monopoly in HRE, and hat give a boost Hohenzollern and Wittelbasch too.
 
Well...likely if this happens in 1648, the elector of Bavaria (Ferdinand Maria), gets elected emperor in 1657.

The bigger question would be HOW you would get the German princes to agree to it? France and Sweden doing better is likelier to make the German princes stand together AGAINST them. What would be needed (IMO) is for the HABSBURGS to do better so that the German princes can be panicked into this idea.
France doing noticeably better is problematic because it’s main war was against Spain and it lasted for an extra decade (POW 1648, PoP 1659). So it would need something like “Sun of Rocroi” scenario (😜) to be able to push the Austrian Hapsburgs really hard.

Or, as you proposed, the German Princes may decide that the Hapsburgs (regardless of their military performance) had been in power for too long and it is time for the change of the decorations, etc. Short of the impossible at that time “Napoleonic scenario”, the issue had to be decided by the princes.
 
But importantly not too much better, so as to not put them at the Habspurg's complete mercy. Its a decently fine line that would be needed.
As was convincingly demonstrated when the princes insisted on Wallenstein’s retirement after he made the Hapsburgs pretty much the only power in the HRE.
 

Vitruvius

Donor
Yeah, I don't think this was ever practical. IIRC this was something that come forth from Sweden in association with some of the German princes that advocated strongly for constitutional reform, most aggressively Hesse-Kassel. But Amalia's position was largely passed over by the majority of the Estates at Westphalia. For one its important to remember that while the Empire was a shared sovereignty of Kaiser and Reich it was also still extremely hierarchical. So the position of the German Princes lining up behind Hesse-Kassel threatened not only the Emperor but the Electors as well. Basically the package of constitutional reforms they wanted would have amounted to sharing out the power and prerogatives of the Prince Electors among the rest of the German Princes (the Counts). Certainly putting limits on who the Electors could elect even if they still retained the exclusive right of Election would be kind of a slippery slope. And what defines a dynasty anyways. Could the main branch of the Habsburgs be followed by a Tyrolean Habsburg? A Spanish Habsburg? Could a Bavarian Wittlesbach be followed by a Neuburg?

Anyways there's also the problem finding a viable non-Habsburg candidate. The Emperor is going to be a Catholic, you'd need a much bigger and probably earlier POD to get a protestant elected in the 17th century. But aside from Bavaria the next most powerful German Catholic house of Pfalz-Neuburg followed by Pfalz-Sulzbach (once they converted) maybe tied with Baden-Baden. Slim pickings. And even Bavaria had questionable ability to rule effectively. Besides the Electors are going to be loath to elevate a lesser Prince to a position above them in the Imperial Hierarchy (see above issues) while they all have too much rivalry with each other to agree on one of their own (Brandenburg had conflicts with Neuburg in Westphalia, Bavaria and the Palatine branches had unsettled issues over Bavaria's elevation to the Palatinate's old electorate). Meanwhile Sweden and France would quickly prove themselves too interested in aggrandizement at the expense of the Empire. Sweden almost immediately in trying to annex the Imperial City of Bremen and France later on under Louis XIV with his reunions. So a foreign candidate isn't really viable.

Having said all that I guess if it somehow happened I think it would quickly lead to the weakening of Imperial institutions. The Riechshofrat wouldn't likely function well under a non-Habsburg leaving the Reichskammergericht as the sole functioning court, but it was notoriously underfunded and it had less ability to enforce it's edicts than the Riechshofrat. The Empire also loses an impartial arbiter in many of the petty disputes between minor states if the new Emperor has less authority, prestige or respect. In some ways the HRE could parallel Poland and the issues that the Kings of Poland had in contending with the power of the Szlachta.
 
Yeah, I don't think this was ever practical. IIRC this was something that come forth from Sweden in association with some of the German princes that advocated strongly for constitutional reform, most aggressively Hesse-Kassel. But Amalia's position was largely passed over by the majority of the Estates at Westphalia. For one its important to remember that while the Empire was a shared sovereignty of Kaiser and Reich it was also still extremely hierarchical. So the position of the German Princes lining up behind Hesse-Kassel threatened not only the Emperor but the Electors as well. Basically the package of constitutional reforms they wanted would have amounted to sharing out the power and prerogatives of the Prince Electors among the rest of the German Princes (the Counts). Certainly putting limits on who the Electors could elect even if they still retained the exclusive right of Election would be kind of a slippery slope. And what defines a dynasty anyways. Could the main branch of the Habsburgs be followed by a Tyrolean Habsburg? A Spanish Habsburg? Could a Bavarian Wittlesbach be followed by a Neuburg?

Anyways there's also the problem finding a viable non-Habsburg candidate. The Emperor is going to be a Catholic, you'd need a much bigger and probably earlier POD to get a protestant elected in the 17th century. But aside from Bavaria the next most powerful German Catholic house of Pfalz-Neuburg followed by Pfalz-Sulzbach (once they converted) maybe tied with Baden-Baden. Slim pickings. And even Bavaria had questionable ability to rule effectively. Besides the Electors are going to be loath to elevate a lesser Prince to a position above them in the Imperial Hierarchy (see above issues) while they all have too much rivalry with each other to agree on one of their own (Brandenburg had conflicts with Neuburg in Westphalia, Bavaria and the Palatine branches had unsettled issues over Bavaria's elevation to the Palatinate's old electorate). Meanwhile Sweden and France would quickly prove themselves too interested in aggrandizement at the expense of the Empire. Sweden almost immediately in trying to annex the Imperial City of Bremen and France later on under Louis XIV with his reunions. So a foreign candidate isn't really viable.

Having said all that I guess if it somehow happened I think it would quickly lead to the weakening of Imperial institutions. The Riechshofrat wouldn't likely function well under a non-Habsburg leaving the Reichskammergericht as the sole functioning court, but it was notoriously underfunded and it had less ability to enforce it's edicts than the Riechshofrat. The Empire also loses an impartial arbiter in many of the petty disputes between minor states if the new Emperor has less authority, prestige or respect. In some ways the HRE could parallel Poland and the issues that the Kings of Poland had in contending with the power of the Szlachta.
Thanks for the comprehensive analysis. It seems that well before the end of the 30YW the Electors (and probably not only them) had been quite satisfied with the arrangement under which they became de facto (almost) independent even if the Hapsburgs retained the title and prestige. Rocking the boat was too risky and consequences could be unpredictable.
France and even more so Sweden had been the foreign invaders and Swedes left on their wake a very impressive trail of destruction so why would anybody responsible want to strengthen their position vs. the HRE? Of course, the aggressive policies of Louis XIV were a master of unpredictable future but the French operations on the HRE territory were a reality. At the time of PoW the Austrian Hapsburgs (with the Spanish help) were the only serious German military force capable of standing up to the foreign invasions and kicking them out would not be a wise political move.

And out of the Catholic candidates even the Duke of Bavaria was just elevated into the Elector rank so making him an emperor could be offensive for the “old” Electors. Situation during the WoAS was seriously different: the male Hapsburg line ceased to exist so it was a choice between the husbands of the daughters of different emperors and Bavaria surely outranked Lorraine.
 

Vitruvius

Donor
Thanks for the comprehensive analysis. It seems that well before the end of the 30YW the Electors (and probably not only them) had been quite satisfied with the arrangement under which they became de facto (almost) independent even if the Hapsburgs retained the title and prestige. Rocking the boat was too risky and consequences could be unpredictable.
France and even more so Sweden had been the foreign invaders and Swedes left on their wake a very impressive trail of destruction so why would anybody responsible want to strengthen their position vs. the HRE?
Yeah, the Peace of Prague in 1635 was basically a bilateral agreement between the Emperor and the Elector of Saxony with input from the Electors of Brandenburg and Bavaria. So the Electors were already pretty well positioned. Schonborn, the Elector of Mainz, flirted with a French alliance in the 1650s but ultimately saw the Election of a Habsburg as the best option. The Electors just made sure to force an Electoral capitulation on Leopold to check his powers.
 
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