WI: No Franco-Prussian War

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by KingOnTheEdge, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

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    Otl, Germany's swift defeat of France and conquest of Alsace-Lorraine were part of the tense relations between France and the German Empires. Started by Napoleon III's fears of a united germany, all the emperor of the third empire accomplished was the southern states joining Germany and the fall of his empire.
    But what if for whatever reason the Empire didnt decide to attack the North German Confederation of Prussian Client States? How would Bismark get the south to join his empire?
     
  2. Nivek Mental Anime,Videogames,Football And Baseball Fan

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    They would join anyway by 1872 anyway and if france try something, we got the F-P war anyway
     
  3. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    This should be in Before 1900.
     
  4. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

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    Whoops, my bad.

    @CalBear can you move this to pre-1900 please?
     
  5. cjc Well-Known Member

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    Well the biggest problem is that both Bismarck and napolion need a war, napolion needed to be seen as victorious war leader so he could launch a coup agenst his own government, and bizmark need a war to undermine the south German elite and force them to except the will of the lower class in regards to German unification, so even if the one or the other loses ther post the other would only see as a amishon of weekness and pounce, you would frankly need a pod be for the austro-prussian war for both leaders to think a war wasn't neseary.
     
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  6. Dan Handsome Active Member

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    Why does France not attack Prussia? A united Germany poses an existential threat to France. Why does France just let the union (which was inevitable at this point) happen without a fight?

    I see Prussia going after France regardless. A united Germany not only threatens France, but also Russia. If Germany does not aggressively plant itself as the hedgemon of Europe, then possibly relations don't deteriorate with Britain, lighting a fire under the Tsar's butt to align itself with France. Bismarck would never let it happen. Either France goes after Prussia, or the other way around.
     
  7. Matteo Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with you, especially concerning Bismarck. Bismarck was a political genius. He did not want to defeat France for the sake of defeating France. He wanted to use France as a scapegoat to force the south German States into a federal/imperial union under Prussia’s rule.

    That’s why he set a trap to have France declare war against Prussia. If Prussia (or the north Germany confederacy) took the initiative of declaring war against France, then not only would the south german States not follow Prussia into war but they would severe the ties that had been forged in 1867 after the Prussian-Austrian war.

    These bilateral treaties between Prussia and the south German States were not offensive and defensive but only defensive. And in the main south German States, opponents to stronger integration won the election of the representatives to the common parliament of the Zollverein.

    The emerging unified Germany did not need to defeat France to become the number 1 military power in continental Europe. It just needed to flex its industrial muscles as it did OTL before as well as after the unification.

    Time and economic development could bring unification with the South German States.

    And confrontation between Germany and Russia was not the only possible outcome.
     
  8. Galba Otho Vitelius Well-Known Member

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    From the accounts I have read it was the ministers of Napoleon III, not the Emperor himself, who blundered into the war. And in any event Napoleon III did not have long to live.

    This is actually a historical event that has pretty big implications and was completely avoidable. For a start, France becomes a constitutional monarchy under the Bonaparte dynasty. The Zulus do not kill the son of Napoleon III. Alsace and most of Lorraine does not spend almost fifty years as part of Germany. And its "North Germany", not "Germany". Bismarck's domestic political tactics are focused more against the Social Democrats and less against the Catholics, since without Bavaria the former are stronger and the latter weaker. There is also no reason at all for an alliance of just about every major power in Europe (Austria-Hungary and Turkey were the exceptions) against Germany, so this is another event that butterflies away World War I. I don't see the south German countries joining Germany voluntarily without a clear war of aggression against Prussia or North Germany, and if Bismarck can't provoke a war against France is he is stuck since he has enough sense to not provoke a war against Russia though for future Chancellors it might be a different story.
     
  9. Matteo Well-Known Member

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    I think they may end up joining voluntarily the Prussia-led German confederacy because modern mass transports (railroads) and the industrial and financial power of Prussia gave it leverage to attract the south German States in its orbit.

    Bavaria and Wurtemberg were poor and far less developed than north Germany then. Their being part of the Zollverein has already made them economic satellites of Prussia.

    So unification may take 20 more years to happen, but I think it would happen, although it may just be in a mere confederal structure instead of a federal one.
     
  10. Wendell Wendell

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    Another war with Austria might get the southern German states into a United Germany at some point.
     
  11. Matteo Well-Known Member

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    Highly unlikely.

    European powers were not going to keep watching Prussia declare war on its neighbors and attack them to annex new territories.

    It must be stressed once again that Bismarck and the Prussian ruling group were aware of it. They knew they had a high risk of triggering an alliance of other european powers to fight against Prussia if they were the aggressor. That’s why they chose to set a trap for France to take the initiative of declaring war in 1870.

    And Austria-Hungary, post 1866, would never go to war against Germany unless it had allies which made her sure of winning against the Prussian army that was the best in Europe.
     
  12. Vanity 6 Well-Known Member

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    Agree the South German states join after a period of time. Economic ties will move this forward. Maybe there are incentives to do so—a degree of enhanced autonomy, separate armies that are commanded by Prussia in wartime. Similar to what Bavaria got to join the empire in OTL. At sometime in the future I think it is within the realm of possibility that an empire would be proclaimed to keep up status wise with AH and Russia.

    Bonaparte is overthrown by a conservative republic that flirts with restoring the monarchy. I have a hard time seeing him tolerating or surviving a transition to being a Constitutional monarch. The new republic brokers a withdrawal from Lazio. The continued French presence there is untenable.

    France and Germany will be mutually suspicious rivals but without the extreme enmity of OTL.

    As for AH, as in OTL, once the German question is settled, Berlin and Vienna become fast friends due to cultural affinity and mutual fear of Russia—especially if there is some version of the 1877 war against The OE.
     
  13. Matteo Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you on all your points, except concerning France’s constitutional evolution. OTL, Napoleon III precisely did this just before declaring war against Prussia : a constitutional reform that turned Imperial France into a really pluralistic democratic regime. It was just a matter of time before the next French emperor would be turned into a constitutional monarch.
     
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  14. cjc Well-Known Member

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    Well he also tried to use the franci-prussian war to strengthen his ties both to his uncals name but to his own army so that he could roll back this reforms, he dint make thos reforms out of the goodness of his heart he did them becuse he had to and he would have told them back if he could.
     
  15. DracoLazarus Ouroborus Cataphractus

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    What I read is actually that it was the Republican government, that had been put in charge after the constitutional reform, that started the war, and Napoleon III was away from Paris IIRC due to his maladie de la pierre at the start of the war.
     
  16. Mikestone8 Well-Known Member

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    german victory came from its greater efficienccy the
    Why? In 1871 the population of Germany was 41 million as against 36 million for France - a modest superiority but hardly an overwhelming one. And that, of course is after the transfer of Alsace-Lorraine, so no FPW makes the disparity even less. The German victory was achieved by greater efficiency and better strategy, not by weight of numbers. And that was something France could have corrected.
     
  17. M79 Well-Known Member

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    France remains an Empire with a Napoleonic Emperor who may/not visit New Jersey during his reign. In addition, the UK may drift more towards Germany if the Emperor remains the focus of British rivalry, perhaps resetting the alliance system for a UK-GER-AH vs FRA-SPA-ITA-OTT-RUS face-off, a sort of Latin League on steroids versus Victoria and the Teutonic hordes and/or Huns perhaps.
     
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  18. Dan Handsome Active Member

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    Germany's population, at the time, was rapidly growing while France's was declining considerably. Took a few decades for Germany to have nearly double France's population.
     
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  19. Mikestone8 Well-Known Member

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    Only about 50% more, nt double.

    Anyway, my point is that in 1870 they were still only about equal in population. There was no particular reason then for third parties to fear a German victory any more tha a French one.
     
  20. Dan Handsome Active Member

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    Unless said party is Russia, which borders with Germany, which ultimately led them to ally with the French.
     
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