A Different War of the Austrian Succession...or....Finis Austriae (STORY ONLY. Discussion thread link provided)

Are people interested in a different outcome of the War of the Austrian Succession


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Before I get to the backstory (which may take a few days as-of the date of this writing, I will soon be preparing for my weeklong vacation in North Georgia which after two very stressful weekends of work at Kroger, I DESPERATELY NEED), I wish to explain why I've chosen to do an alternate timeline from this war and not from say, the Napoleonic Wars or the First World War, or even the earlier Spanish Succession War and Thirty Years War (which will likely be touched upon as part of the backstory) I have been fascinated with Louis XIV and Louis V for quite some time-in particular the wars that were fought under their rule in France. As the Succession Wars (Spanish, Austrian, Polish, Bavarian) are rarely done in favor of an alternate US Civil War, an alternate Rome, alternate Napoleon, or alternate Hitler, I feel like this is the one area of European History and World History that could be further explored in terms of the alternate possibilities. As everyone knows, familiar battles, figures, geopolitical conditions could have either ended differently or not at all through the critical decision of an individual general, king, or even commoner. The Thirty Years War, for example, could've lasted only 5 years had the Emperor been more conciliatory toward the Bohemian Protestants. Holland could've been overrun by the armies of Louis XIV had the dikes they opened done more to slow the French advance. Austria could've unified Germany sooner had Frederick the Great not seized Slesia and started the Hapsburg-Hohenzollern rivalry that eventually led to a Prussian-unified German Empire-and both World Wars. The Renaissance might've happened later or not at all had the Mongol armies under Batu Khan swept across central and western Europe, reaching the Atlantic and the English Channel as easily as they broke across the Vistula, Dnieper, and Danube rivers. Had a moment in time been changed, each of the familiar events could've had a different outcome.

As I said earlier, I will touch upon the Thirty Years War and Spanish Succession War as well as the minor wars fought during the reign of Louis XIV (War of Devolution, War of the League of Augsburg, Nine Years' War) as well as events in Eastern Europe (Turkish Siege of Vienna 1683, 'The Deluge', and the first of the Northern Wars between Poland, Sweden and Muscovy-Russia), only insofar as it sets the stage for the War of the Austrian Succession, which will be the main focus of this timeline. I hope thereby to explore the possibilities of an earlier French Revolution or perhaps no French Revolution, an earlier or nonexistent American Revolution, the idea of a third German state becoming the focus of unification instead of either Prussia or Austria, a possible Intermarium dominated by Poland-Lithuania, and the loss of prestige, influence, and wealth the Hapsburgs could suffer in the wake of a successful partition of their Dominions among the Germanic and French vultures. Because I don't wish this to veer into 'alien space bat' territory, I will also seek out co-authors to help me make this a plausible, informative, and especially entertaining look into an alternate world

Because this thread will be STRICTLY FOR THE TIMELINE ITSELF, the discussion/sounding board for the timeline is hereby linked:
Discussion thread for the timeline

I will very likely begin the backstory once I'm in my rented vacation house in Dahlonega (decided it was cheaper than a hotel, plus it has a jacuzzi)
 
How We Got To This Point
PoD #1: The election of 1696 should've been a forgone conclusion. John Sobieski's son Jakub had no real charisma and thus should not have garnered enough votes to win. The French candidate, Prince de Condi, while managing to bribe enough of the magnates that he should've been a serious contender, had simply given up when it became clear he would not gain the crown of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Saxon Elector Augustus the Strong had Russian gold and enough votes among the magnates and in the Sejm to be the winner, yet Sobieski played on his heroism in the Siege of Vienna and the favors he had garnered from both the Emperor and the Pope to persuade the Sejm to elect Jakub Sobieski king. The szlachta or nobility were strongly opposed to Jakub, even attempting to draw both Russia and Sweden into a league to challenge Sobieski. It was only through the intervention of the Hapsburgs that Sobieski was able to overcome szlachta resistance. His first act upon becoming king as John (Jan) IV was to abrogate the Privilege of Koszyce and the Nihil Novi which had given the szlachta greater power over the monarchy, though he would later offer a conciliatory gesture to those who had supported his candidacy (these would however be limited so as not to give them greater power). John IV pursued ambitions against the Ottoman Empire, winning Moldavia temporarily and remaining neutral in the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia until the Russian victory at Poltava awakened Baltic ambitions, leading to an alliance between the Commonwealth and Russia. Through the Treaty of Narva, it was agreed that Russia would gain Karelia and Estonia, while dividing Livonia with the Commonwealth. However, the rapid advance of Russian armies, the internal crisis triggered by a group of pro-Swedish nobility looking to overthrow John IV, and dynastic disputes in Moldavia prevented a full Polish participation, leading to Russia conquering all of Livonia and setting the stage for an increase in tension between the two reluctant allies, which would only increase with the death in 1722 from complications due to his spinal deformation of John IV. His brother Konstantyn succeeded him only to die four years later in 1726. On his death, the Sejm elected Kazimierz Czartoryski king. As Casimir V, it was guranteed that at least one of the many cadet branches of the Lithuanian Jagiellonian dynasty to retain the crown (with only the Interlude in which foreign-born kings or noble families ruled the Commonwealth)

PoD#2: Charles II, last king of Spain from the Hapsburg dynasty who suffered from many ailments due to the constant inbreeding between the Spanish and Austrian branches, dies on 15 November 1698. Joseph Ferdinand of the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach was selected by agreement between William III, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Stadholder of the United Provinces (Netherlands) and the French king, Louis XIV. This Treaty of the Hague allowed for Joseph Ferdinand to acquire the Spanish kingdoms (Castile, Navarre and Aragon-Catalonia), the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium), and the Spanish American empire. France would gain Naples and Sicily, as well as the Basque province of Gizpukoa, while Austria would gain Milan. Though neither the Spanish nor the Austrians were consulted on the terms, the treaty went into effect. However Joseph Ferdinand would rule only for a short period of time, and with great difficulty as the Spanish nobles were strongly opposed to the partition of their empire, from 17 November 1698 to 3 February 1699 under a regency led by Mariana of Austria who supported the Bavarian candidacy. His sudden death sends the negotiators back to the table for talks, which lead to a second partition treaty in London in June 1699, in which Archduke Charles would receive Spain, the Spanish Netherlands and its overseas empire, while France would receive Naples, Sicily, Gizpukoa and Milan. Milan would be exchanged for the Duchy of Lorraine which was already nearly in French hands. Naples and Sicily would be handed to the Duke of Savoy in exchange for Nice and Savoy. Both Emperor Leopold I and Duke Victor Amadeus opposed the treaty due to the accumulation of French power in the Italian peninsula, considered vital to the security of both nations. In addition, Lorraine had only recently been restored to its duke and thus Leopold I opposed the cession of Lorraine to France. In November of 1700, Louis XIV proclaimed his grandson Philip of Anjou the prospective king of Spain and the resulting military preparations ultimately led to war. Despite the many swings of fortune between Louis XIV and the Grand Alliance, the end result was that Philip won the succession as Philip V. Britain acquired Minorco and Gibraltar as a condition of accepting both the succession of Philip V and the potential-should the young Dauphin (future Louis XV IOTL) die, of succession to the French throne. He would die, the day after the death of Louis XIV on 1 September 1715. and with the deaths of the king's son Louis Le Grand Dauphin and and Le Petit Dauphin Louis, Duke of Burgundy, Philip V was now heir to the French Crown, with only the Duke of Orleans as a potential rival. The Duke reached out to Britain, Holland, and Austria to form a Quadruple Alliance designed to force Philip V to renounce his claim on the French throne and also relinquish the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, recently conquered by Spain. The resulting War of the Quadruple Alliance resulted in the reconquest of Gibraltar and Minorca by the Spanish/French fleets united under Philip V, and the temporary conquest of Panama by the British. The British were forced to come to terms with Philip V as a result of a Jacobite uprising which had received Spanish and French support despite the landing of French forces under the Orleans banner, which linked with a British army sent to suppress it. The Treaty of the Hague of 1720 brought about a shift. In exchange for renouncing the French throne in favor of a Orleanist succession, renunciation of support for the Stuart Pretender, and the evacuation of Sardinia and Sicily, Philip V retained the Spanish throne as well as Gibraltar and Minorca. Sardinia was ceded to Savoy-Piedmont and Sicily was joined to Naples under Hapsburg rule. Louis, Duke of Orleans became king of France as Louis XV.

PoD#3: The Ottoman Empire had past its peak glory under the renowned sultan Suleiman the Magnificent by the time of his death in September of 1566. While minor conquests did continue, such as the conquest of Cyprus under Sultan Selim the Sot, the empire had reached the limit of its expansion potential. From July 1570 on, the empire would struggle to hold on to its many provinces, client-states and vassals. The 15-year-long Great Turkish War saw the loss (temporarily) of the Morea to the Republic of Venice, Hungary to Austria, Podolia to Poland-Lithuania, and Azov to Muscovy-Russia. With the accession of Jakub Sobieski as John IV, further campaigns from Poland brought results which proved inconclusive, although Moldavia was conquered and made a Polish vassal-state under Konstantyn before he succeeded John IV as King of Poland upon his death. With the death of Konstantyn, however, Moldavia fell into a civil war in which pro-Polish and pro-Ottoman factions foought bitterly. A Turkish invasion and the suppression of the rebellious faction was the only major achievement in the otherwise disastrous Austro-Turkish War of 1716-18, which resulted in the loss of Temesvar, northern Serbia and Oltenia. Conflicts with Russia brought about the losses of Zaporhizia (Ukraine) and Azov and freed the Crimean Khanate of Ottoman vassal-status. Equally, wars with Persia proved ultimately inconclusive as Mesopotamia was often swapped between the two foes depending on the fortunes of war. The Ottoman sultan, Ahmed III faces an uncertain future on the throne as the Janissaries, the military organization made up of captured Christian boys brought up and trained in Islamic knowledge had become restless both as a result of the lack of continued military conflict and their humiliation at having lost so much territory to their Infidel opponents. The Suppression of Moldavia brought only a temporary relief to the stresses. Ahmed III would be overthrown in October 1730 and replaced by 36-year-old Mahmud I. With dynastic trouble looming in Austria, Russia preoccupied with Sweden and Persia quiet, some have speculated that another attempt at Balkan expansion could be made.

Sources used:
Pursuit of Glory by Tim Blanning
Wikipedia
 
PoD#4: Muscovy-Russia had emerged from both the Mongol yoke and the Time of Troubles with a new foundation, with the accession of the first of the Romanov dynasty, Mikhail I in February of 1613. During the Time of Troubles, Russia had been under the triple threat of the Tartars, Sweden and Poland-Lithuania, with a Polish king even serving as Tsar or 'Caesar'. As the state of Muscovy began to expand and incorporate the other states of the former Kievan state, they soon came into renewed conflict with Poland-Lithuania in the First Northern War. Their conquest of left-bank Ukraine and Kiev brought the Russians into contact with the Cossack communities. With the acquisition of Smolensk, Muscovy was pushing closer to the West. Faced with setbacks from Cossack uprisings and a resurgent Poland-Lithuania experiencing a dynastic revival under the Sobieski and Czartoryski families, new Tsar Peter I begins reforming Russian government, military and even social customs to bring them more into line with Western technology. Russia's attempt to partition the Swedish Empire with Denmark was nearly disastrous until Polish king John IV agreed to enter the war, and allowed Russia to march into Estonia, Karelia and Livonia. This resulted in a rise in tension as Poland-Lithuania also had claims on Livonia. Peter I was forced to cede Azov, which he had conquered in 1696. Peter I died on 28 January 1725 and his second wife Catherine ruled as empress-regnant until her own death in May 1727. Peter II became Tsar-Emperor on 17 May 1727 and the capital was moved from St Petersburg, which his grandfather had built on territory formerly belonging to Sweden, back to Moscow. He died on 30 January 1730, which ended the direct male Romanov line and brought about shift with the accession of Peter I's half-brother Ivan V's daughter Tsarina-Empress Anna on 26 February 1730. Under her rule, Russian influence in Poland-Lithuania began to increase at the same time that tensions remaining from the Great Northern War led to a Russo-Polish War in which the Commonwealth was forced to acknowledge the earlier losses of Smolensk and Livonia (but for the time being suffered no other territorial losses). At the same time, Russia watched developments in Sweden with great interest, hoping in future to capitalize on Sweden's distress

PLEASE NOTE: A more dynastic Poland-Lithuania with a stronger central authority not only allows for a more semi-absolutist monarchy and a similar 'elective' monarchy as exists in the Holy Roman Empire, but also mitigates any Russian influence within the Great Sejm for many years, hence no Polish Succession War as Augustus II and Augustus III would remain Electors of Saxony. This would however also lead to further tensions between the Commonwealth and Russia


Source: Wikipedia
 
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Prelude to a Crisis
During the reign of Emperor Leopold I, future emperors Joseph and Charles were persuaded to sign a document known as the Mutual Pact of Succession. This document provided for the solution to the vexing problem of the Hapsburg succession in the core Patrimony and prevent the sort of succession war which was-at that time-raging in Spain. Its stipulations were that Charles would assume the succession to the Spanish realms (including its overseas empire), while Joseph would succeed to the Austrian dominions. Should either fail to produce a male heir, the other would succeed to the entirety of the Hapsburg inheritance, but if both sons failed to produce male heirs, then the daughters of the elder brother, Joseph, would have absolute precedence over the daughters of the younger Charles. Leopold I died in May 1705, and Joseph I became Holy Roman Emperor for only 6 years before he also died, in 1711. 2 years later, Charles-now Emperor Charles VI-rewrote the Pact into the Pragmatic Sanction ensuring that should he fail to provide a male heir, his eldest daughter Maria Theresa would inherit the Hapsburg Monarchy and thus assume precedence over the daughters of his late brother. To further guarantee that his daughter would face no challenge, he forced his nieces Maria Josepha and Maria Amalia to renounce any claims to the succession as the price for marrying their husbands, the Electors of Bavaria and Saxony, respectively. While he was successful in getting the Hungarian, Croatian, and Belgian estates to accept the Sanction, getting the other European powers to agree would prove difficult. Despite their renunciations, the husbands of Maria Josepha and Maria Amalia insisted on staking claims to the Hapsburg Monarchy. At the same time, in France and Spain, Philip V was already seeking to reestablish Bourbon rule which had been brought to an end with the Treaty of the Hague ending the War of the Quadruple Alliance. Philip V had been removed from the French throne in place of an Orleanist succession. A grandson of Louis XIV through his legitimated daughter Louise Francoise de Bourbon, Louis Henri began to intrigue with his kinsman Philip V. Dissatisfaction with France's miserly gains in the earlier Spanish Succession War combined with the humiliation of the Orleanist alliance with the 'ancient enemy' Britain made it possible for a palace coup which removed the Orleanist king Louis XV in 1735. Britain, still preoccupied with the fallout from the Stuart Rising of 1715 (known as the Fifteen) and in incorporating their conquests-minus Minorca and Gibraltar which had been restored to Spain as part of the Hague Treaty, was unable to intervene. Louis Henri assumed the Crown of France as Louis Henri I of the Conde cadet branch of the Bourbon dynasty, effectively renouncing his Conde titles in favor of his Bourbon ducal title he previously owned. So thorough was he in restoring Bourbon absolutism to France that the Orleanist Louis XV is often referred to as the Forgotten Louis*. Charles VI hurried to make peace with the new French king and in return was guaranteed the acceptance of the Pragmatic Sanction. Philip V also agreed to adhere to the Sanction, but already Philip V's Italian wife Elizabeth Farnese was already intriguing to get her sons installed in the Italian states and hence return the peninsula to Spanish dominance.

Frederick William I of Brandenburg-Prussia had raised an army of 80,000 which would soon be increased further under his son, Frederick the Great. In 1728, Frederick William I met with Saxon Elector Augustus II, in which a partition of the Hapsburg Monarchy was discussed. Despite his continued desire to maintain cordial relations with the Hapsburgs, Frederick William was also eager to expand his family's dominions-scattered as they were between the districts of the Mark and Cleves and East Prussia. It was believed a secret agreement was reached between the two sovereigns over how to divide the Monarchy between them should Charles VI died without a male heir**. Frederick William I's death in May of 1740 preceded the death of Emperor Charles VI's death in October by only six months, yet this led to an unexpected change. Maria Josepha convinced Frederick Augustus II to strike before her half-sister Maria Theresa could assume the crown of the Austrian Archduchy. She was joined by her sister in demanding that the Austrian estates reject Maria Theresa's claims on the grounds that their uncle had bypassed their father and that not all the estates of the Empire had accepted. Maria Amalia's husband Charles Albert, Elector of Bavaria even signed an alliance with the newly reestablished Bourbon king of France and Philip V of Spain. But it was the accession of Frederick the Great on the death of his father that would set the stage for the War of the Austrian Succession. This war would start with a lightning campaign-a race to claim Silesia and end with an unexpected surprise which would alter the European balance.


* IOTL Louis Henri was Duke of Bourbon and Prince de Conde and served as advisor to King Louis XV. Because Louis XV also died before his grandfather Louis XIV, the Orleanist Louis adopted the regnal number XV,

** There is no documented proof of such a discussion taking place between the two sovereigns, as Frederick William I was concerned with maintaining the peace and building dialog with the other German princes

Source:
Wikipedia
 
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First Moves
In December 1740, Prussian troops crossed into Silesia, pushing the 7,000 Austrian troops which had assembled previously south. Though for the time being the Austrians held the main cities such as Breslau, Prussia was in control of nearly all of the province by the winter of 1741. They besieged Neisse but were forced to retreat when an Austrian army relieved the siege. At the Battle of Mollwitz, near Brieg on April 10th, Frederick ignored the pleas of his generals to flee the battlefield, not willing to retreat in the face of the enemy*. As a result of his own courage, the Prussians won a stunning victory, causing the Austrians to lose 45% of their total force while the Prussians lost 30%. In June the French and Prussians signed a treaty of alliance which allowed the French armies to cross the Rhine on 15 August. They linked up with Bavarian auxiliaries in September and captured Linz, near Vienna. With 20,000 Saxon troops converging on Prague from the west, Prussian troops descending from the north and the allied Franco-Bavarians coming from the southwest, Maria Theresa was forced to recall General Wilhelm Rheinhard von Neipperg, who had been trying to hold what remained of Silesia, back to defend the capital, Vienna. This would allow Frederick to seize Neisse with the aid of Saxon auxiliaries**

On September 20th, the Hungarian diet received reports of the initial invasion by Frederick II and the subsequent convergence of Saxon, French, Bavarian and Prussian forces on the Austrian frontier proper and the imminent siege of Prague. Counsels were divided and despite a plea from the Archduchess herself, the Hungarians remained divided as to whether to support her or attempt to break free of Hapsburg rule and reassert their separate identity. ***. Maria Theresa next tried to use the secretive nature of Frederick II to her advantage by planting a rumor that he had seized Neisse after a secret negotiation with Neipperg allowing the Prussians to take the fortress after a 'mock' battle. Though this was ultimately proven untrue, it did lead to a period of distrust between Frederick and his allies. By this point, Upper Austria had fallen to the Bavarians, and Prague was conquered by the French under Marshal Maurice de Saxe, son of the Saxon elector Frederich August (Augustus II IOTL). This allowed Maria Amaila and her husband Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria to be crowned King and Queen of Bohemia (making Charles Albert Charles III of Bohemia and first King of Germany in centuries).

In Italy, a combined Spanish-Neapolitan army under the command of Jose Carrillo de Albornoz y Montiel 1st Duke of Montmar advanced with the purpose of conquering Milan. Receiving support from the Duke of Modena, they arrived just as the Austrian commander Otto Ferdinand von Traun began to besiege the city****. After an inconclusive battle, von Traun was forced to retreat back into the Tyrol while the allied Spanish-Neapolitan army redressed its casualties and settled into winter quarters, but the battle had been enough to force Maria Theresa and Sardinian king Charles Emmanuel III to negotiate the Convention of Turin which mostly resolved differences and allowed for an alliance. Meantime, continued skirmishing between Montmar and von Traun continued. Unfortunately, with the restoration of Gibraltar to Spain by Britain in the Hague Treaty, Britain was cut off from access to the Mediterranean Sea for the time being, offering little to no help in that theater.


PLEASE NOTE: These initial moves may shorten the length and duration of the war. As a result, I will use asterisks to point out the actual events to better show how the altered timeline had changed from actual events. See the discussion thread for discussions or if you feel corrections are needed. Also, as I lack the full knowledge of military tactics, I may or may not be able to provide numbers in this alternate war, so any discussion posts about such MUST take this into account. As I have returned from my vacation, I now have more resources to draw upon and in future when those are referenced, I will note them after each post. I will visit the discussion thread soon as well to read what's been posted and try to answer any questions to the best of my ability.

* Frederick II did indeed heed the advice of his generals and left the battlefield. It was Count Schwerin who pulled victory from the jaws of defeat, though at a high cost to both sides

** Frederick II only managed to take the fortress of Neisse because of the actual duplicitous agreement with General von Neipperg to evacuate the fortress after a mock battle. This would allow General Ludwig von Khevenhuller to use the troops to defeat the Bavarians and recapture Linz later in 1742

*** September 21st 1741, Maria Theresa successfully convinced the Hungarian Diet, even employing her mothering skills by holding Joseph II (future Holy Roman Emperor IOTL) to her breast. The resulting levee en masse, while not delivering the 60,000 troops she hoped for, did alter the course of the war. Here, the Hungarian Diet would be more divided and hence fail to provide even the 22,000 she desperately needed. This in fact also changed the course of the war.

**** General von Traun, likely using the additional troops Hungary provided, was actually able to reach Modena ahead of the allied Spanish-Neapolitans and conquer the city, forcing the duke to make a separate peace with Austria. But because of the lack of additional troops, von Traun was unable to overcome the allied forces, fighting to a draw and being forced to fall back. This kept Modena on the Bourbon-Prussian side and gave a forward base for the eventual attack on Milan.

Things will start to get more interesting for Maria Theresa as her cousins plot to divide the Monarchy with Frederick II, Louis XV (Bourbon-Conde), Philip V and each other. There will also be action overseas between Britain, France and Spain which may.....or may not....alter the future of the Thirteen Colonies. Lastly, Hungary will make a break for independence and Maria Theresa will be unable to prevent it from happening due to stretched resources
 
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Intermission: The Situation in France in the Beginnning
France in the beginning of the war was still recovering from both the previous War over the Spanish Succession and the Orleanist interlude. With the restoration of the Bourbons under Louis Henri I-who would drop Henri and adopt the numerical XV to show an 'unbroken' Bourbon succession-France had ended its alliance with Great Britain, reorganized its military-fiscal financial system and begun drawing closer to Spain. As the legitimated grandson of the Sun King through the recognition of his mother as legitimated daughter** of Louis XIV and the Madame de Montespan, Louis Henri I (from now to be known as Louis XV) did indeed restore the Bourbon monarchy in France through its many cadet houses. The humiliated House of Orleans, like their Stuart counterparts in Britain, would remain to plague the Bourbons periodically for the next ten years*.

While not yet ready to challenge Britain for naval and global dominance, Louis XV initiated a shipbuilding program under then guidance of the Comte de Maurepas. Building on the efforts of his predecerssor the Comte de Morville, Maurepas used the funding provided to build up the Troupes de Marine (initially created by Cardinal de Richelieu in 1622) and expand the French navy to a degree which allowed it to reclaim its position as second most powerful navy behind only that of Britain. At the start of the war, he convinced the king to keep the navy on a purely defensive footing in regard to Britain as they had not yet committed to the continental war. His strategy was to lull Britain into a false sense of security and keep them uninvolved in the continent until their war-aims in relation to the Hapsburg Monarchy were achieved. This came in opposition to what many others in the ministry wanted, a 'blue water strategy' against Britain which would allow for colonial conquests and potentially even the seizure of valuable outposts which could, in the event of a successful conclusion, be exchanged for areas considered to be more vital to French security or commercial interests. But because Maurepas had the confidence of the king, any opposition was kept at a minimal and Maurepas would bring the French navy to its greatest strength***.


* The House of Orleans would provide a king of France from 1830-1848 with the coronation of King Louis Philippe I (Louis Philippe III Duke of Orleans) IOTL. Here, while the House of Orleans would still be recognized as a Noble House, it is currently uncertain if there will be a Louis Philippe I, King of France, though a settlement will be reached between the houses of Orleans and Bourbon ITTL

** Initially an illegitimate child from the affair with his maitresse-en-titre or Chief Royal Mistress Madame de Montespan (Francoise-Athenais de Rochechouart), she was legitimized by her father King Louis XIV through letters of patent approved by the Parlement of Paris, along with two brothers. As a result of this, Louis Henri Duke de Bourbon-Conde (Louis XV ITTL) is a grandson of the Sun King and hence could be considered an heir IOTL, though he never asserted this.

*** Maurepas was removed from power by the Duke du Richelieu due to a satirical pamphlet about Madame de Pompadour. After 35 years of exile, he was made minister of state under King Louis XVI (IOTL) and appointing then later disgracing in succession Turgot and Jacques Neckar. He died in 1781.

Source:
Wikipedia
 
Spotlight: The Kingdom of Brandenburg-Prussia
The Kingdom of Brandenburg-Prussia was a conglomerate of separate territories united in the person of the great Elector-King Frederick II, who had inherited from his father Frederick William I a strong military, a stable fiscal support for the army and a nobility that was welded to the state. Previously known simply as the Electorate of Brandenburg, the Hohenzollerns acquired sovereignty over (East) Prussia in 1619 as a result of the succession of John Sigismund of Brandenburg to both lands, which was ratified by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Treaty of Bromberg (1657). This treaty also brought about a military alliance between the Electorate and Poland-Lithuania against their common enemy Sweden. The personal union was recognized internationally at the Peace of Oliva (1660). In addition to the two largest states, Brandenburg-Prussia also contained-on its southern and western extremities- the duchies of Cleves, Mark, Ravensberg and the Principalities of Bayreuth and Ansbach. Cleves-Mark-Berg was acquired by Brandenburg in the Peace of Xanten (1614) following the War of the Julich Succession. Bayreuth and Ansbach had been enfeoffed with the Hohenzollerns since 1417. In 1700, as a way of gaining additional support for the war over the Spanish Succession, Emperor Leopold agreed a treaty or Krontraktat with Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg-Prussia allowing recognition as king IN Prussia (this due to the fact that with West Prussia a Polish territory, and Brandenburg an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, only East Prussia which had been recently freed of vassalage to Poland-Lithuania could be considered independent) Despite losing the war, recognition was duly recognized by all the powers of Europe. Frederick William I had raised the military from 25.000 men to 80,000 men and built up the financial resources to sustain them, in essence creating "an army with a country instead of a country with an army"

Crown Prince Frederick had grown up under a father who often treated family like soldiers, which often led to bitterness between a father intent on militarizing and modernizing the state, and a son more interested in philosophy and the flute. When the Crown Prince, with a friend who may have also been his secret lover, attempted to escape his father's tyrannical tutelage, his capture nearly brought on a crisis as Frederick William contemplated removing him from the succession and even execution. In the end, it was the Crown Prince's friend who would be executed (by beheading), though the Prince was forced to watch from his prison cell. It was only in the later years of Frederick William I that father and son would make amends. On the day his father died, Frederick II had a standing army, an aristocracy which was subordinated to the state, and a desire to prove himself.


Source:
Wikipedia
The Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1947 by Christopher Clark
 
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Colonial Collision
Tension had been rising between Great Britain and Spain since the War of the Quadruple alliance of 1725-29, and despite the interlude in which Britain and Spain were at the very least quiet rivals, the underlying tension in the colonies never abated. In 1732, Britain founded the colony of Georgia, part of their Thirteen Colonies along the Atlantic Seaboard, primarily to serve as a penal colony for convicts. This alarmed the Spanish, whose Florida Territory lay just to the south and led to border skirmishes*. Despite the efforts of negotiators to delineate the boundaries between the colonies, Spain ontinued to claim that Georgia was on land claimed by the Florida Territory, making the British colony an illegal settlement. The Colonial governors now began raising troops in preparation for a war and sent urgent letters to their respective countries calling for assistance. Though the Royal Navy had no base in the Mediterranean Sea as a result of the restoration of Gibraltar to Spain as a condition of the Peace of the Hague, they remained a potent force in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Small-scale fighting between the Royal Navy and the Spanish Navy broke out across the Caribbean, leading to one of the most horrific incidents, that of a Captain Robert Jenkins, whose ear was amputated by Spanish coastguards**. In July 1739, a little over a year before Frederick the Great would invade Silesia, the British Royal Navy was given authorization to begin full-scale naval operations against the Spanish. Four months later, Britain formally declared war on Spain.

Initially alarmed by the British declaration as many of their best generals were in Central Europe, France formally announced that its navy would be on a strictly defensive posture in regards to the Royal Navy. This caused some outrage in Spain, which had expected France to come to its aid, but Philip V was astute enough to recognize that his kinsman already had the bulk of the French armies deployed in Germany and so did not push the issue. Louis XV was in fact playing for time, however, while his armies were active elsewhere. There was a lingering disgust with Britain for allying with the Orleanist pretender in the recent war which the king was determined to address. In order to continue to buy time-and as a consequence of the rumor of Frederick II's double-dealing being spread by Archduchess Maria Theresa, Louis XV reached out to George II of Britain in the Treaty of Calais***, providing for a neutralization of the English Channel which would allow for free passage for both navies in exchange for a guarantee of the sovereignty of the Electorate of Hannover, which was also ruled by George II amounting to a French defensive alliance directed against Frederick II (the full contents of this secret agreement would never be revealed to Frederick II. Indeed it was only decades later, in the 1790s that the treaty would be fully disclosed). This treaty did not cover colonial matters, however, leaving the way open to conflict down the line. For Britain and France, the Treaty of Calais gave them sufficient room to handle matters elsewhere, meaning Britain and Spain could conduct their war more or less free of interference from France-though this wouldn't last, and it allowed France to focus on aiding its German allies in dismembering the Hapsburg Monarchy.


* The Convention of Prado settled the Georgia-Florida boundary and awarded Philip V $68,000 in exchange for Spain paying $95,000 for ships seized. Unfortunately, the amount was never paid, which would lead to the actual outbreak of war between Britain and Spain in October of 1739 IOTL

** The incident involving the amputation of Captain Jenkins' ear did not lead directly to war and was eventually settled. It wasn't until later when war broke out between Britain and Spain that the incident would be recalled, leading to the name of the war IOTL

*** There was in fact no such treaty between Britain and France. Britain fought in the WoAS primarily to check the military ambitions of France, the colonial aspirations of Spain and less directly, the expansionism of Prussia. By the time of the start of the Seven Years War, the Diplomatic Revolution would see Britain and Prussia align against France and Austria IOTL

Source:
Pursuit of Glory by Tim Blanning
Wikipedia
 
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The Surprise Victory of Bavaria
General von Khevenhuller attempted to rout a Bavarian army near Sharding, in Upper Austria only to be defeated after a week-long battle which saw the arrival of a strong French army of 12,000 reinforcing the Bavarians who were on the verge of defeat. This victory, coming four months after the Fall of Prague (November 1741) to the French, allowed Elector-Duke Charles Albert to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor as Charles VII on February 12th 1742, making him the first non-Hapsburg Emperor in 300 years. Maria Theresa attempted to raise 28,000 troops under the command of the brilliant Charles of Lorraine for the purpose of liberating Prague from the Franco-Bavarians. Frederick II had used the lull coming off the conquest of Silesia to reorganize his infantry and cavalry, and as Charles VII requested help in order to keep the Austrians from marching on Munich, the Bavarian capital, He, Schwerin, and Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau invaded Moravia, seizing Olomouc (December 1741), Klodzko and Zidlochovice (March 1742). Charles of Lorraine attempted to cut off Leopold before he could join with Frederick, who was now in position to threaten Vienna directly. Frederick II had 10,000 troops while Leopold had 18,000 troops. At Chotusitz (17 May), Charles was crushed comprehensively while attempting to break Leopold's lines before Frederick II could arrive with reinforcements (Frederick II arrived at 8 am, bringing additional cavalry and artillery which tore apart Charles' lines)*. By the time Austrian reinforcements could be brought in, the battle had ended and the reinforcing army was forced to retreat.

Despite running low on funding, Frederick II was unwilling to agree a truce with Maria Theresa given the fact that the French and Bavarians were in occupation of Prague, Prussian troops were a short distance from Vienna and Upper Austria was being overrun by Bavarian troops. Another appeal to the Hungarian Diet remained a dead letter as they remained divided on whether to offer material support or use the weakness of Austria to break free and become a sovereign state once again**. Maria Theresa's only consolation was in the new alliance with Charles Emannuel II of Sardinia-Piedmont, but even this was negated by the dominance of the Spanish and Neapolitan navies in the Mediterranean Sea, which forced Charles Emannuel to keep substantial troops close to the coast in defense against possible enemy troop landings. This left Milan open to the main Spanish-Neapolitan army under Montemar, pushing from the duchy of Modena (19 August 1742). While the declaration of war by Britain three years earlier caused some concern, the Spanish Navy strengthened its Mediterranean Fleet and thus with the fortification of Gibraltar continued to hold the Royal Navy at bay, leaving the way open to a direct attack on Charles Emannuel's territories. A second Spanish army, with forces from France joining them in Dauphine, advanced on Piedmont under the command of Jean Bonaventure de Mont, Count Gages and Jaime de Guzman y Spinola, Marquis de la Mina(10 October 1743)***. They made their way through Piedmont with the support of the Republic of Genoa, who feared being subsumed by the Savoyards. A second army under the Prince de Conti advanced along a more northerly route and eventually linked up with Montmar in Milan, forcing its capitulation (18 July 1744). It was these series of battles in Italy which finally convinced the Hungarians that the Austrian cause was doomed. On the same day ( 30 September 1744) that, in Italy, the Battle of Madonna dell"Olmo near Cuneo brought about the complete destruction of the Sardinian forces and the capitulation of Charles Emannuel II, Hungary formally announced it would break free of Hapsburg control and reassert its separate status as a sovereign kingdom, proclaiming Anton Esterhazy king as Anton I****. Frederick II used the confusion caused by the Hungarian declaration to make the final push to Vienna, while the Bavarians advanced into Tyrol, seizing Salzburg. Preliminary negotiations began between Bavaria and Austria in the town of Fussen which would be incorporated into the larger framework for the Peace of Munich which ended the main war.


PLEASE NOTE: Several battles in the OTL War of the Austrian Succession were intentionally left out due to the fact that unlike the actual war, the ALT war missed the Hungarian reinforcements which Maria Theresa needed to maintain the unity of the Monarchy minus Silesia. As a result the ALT War of the Austrian Succession was three years shorter if you count the main Germanic conflict. If you include the Anglo-Spanish and Franco-Austrian conflicts which are still going on, the war wil only be a couple of years shorter than IOTL. The accumulation of little butterflies made the shorter Germanic war possible.

* The Battle of Chotusitz was considered a Prussian victory in that they held the field, however its more appropriate to view it as inconclusive as the Austrian forces were allowed to withdraw.

** Repeating an earlier statement, Hungary did in fact swear loyalty to Maria Theresa and acknowledged the future Joseph II as their king, providing 22,000 troops which in all likelihood made the final outcome more beneficial to Austria despite having to acknowledge the loss of Silesia to Prussia.

*** The Gallispan Army was led in actuality by the Prince de Conti and Count Gages. The actual results of the battles they fought can be considered as inconclusive as there was no final overwhelming victory for either side and Spain made only modest gains at the OTL Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.

**** Hungary remained a part of the Hapsburg Monarchy with only the brief interlude in 1848 until 1917 when, as the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, it was forcibly separated from Austria by the victorious Allies.

Source:
Wikipedia
Iron Kingdom by Christopher Clark
Pursuit of Glory by Tim Blanning
 
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Two Conventions and a Congress
NOTE: While the main, Germanic portion of the War of Austrian Succession is concluded, France and Austria will remain at war, as will Britain, France and Spain until the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, but for the sake of simplification all treaties will be treated under the general title of the Congress of Munich.

France remained committed to the Germanic conflict only until the Treaty of Fussen which provided recognition of Maximillian Joseph III as King of the Romans and the acknowledged loss of territory in the Tyrol and Upper Austria* (see below) before switching its attention to both the Italian and Belgian theaters. Having already won several battles in Italy, the French armies could switch to a defensive posture while transferring troops to the border with the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium). Maurice de Saxe convinced Louis XV that a strike here would further weaken the Hapsburgs and give France a better defensive position in relation to both the Dutch Republic and Britain. It was proposed that Tournai would be attacked, the fortress being the largest of the Barrier Fortresses guarding the Dutch frontier. At the same time, France ended the neutrality treaty with Britain with a strengthened navy capable of holding off the Royal Navy**. The Battle of Fontenoy (11 May 1745) enabled Saxe to push into the Austrian Netherlands and threaten the Dutch Republic. In rapid succession, the towns of Ghent, Oudenarde, Bruges and Dendermonde fell to the French advance, putting them in striking range of Zeeland. With little help from either the Austrians or the British, the Dutch sued for peace***. At the same time, and in order to keep Saxony closely aligned to the anti-Hapsburg coalition, France invaded the Sundgau, seizing Freiburg, Altdorf, Breisgau, and Winnweiler at the end of 1745****. France also backed the Jacobite Uprising via the Treaty of Fontainebleau to distract Britain from landing troops in Flanders to attack the French flanks. More secure in the Austrian Netherlands as a result, France and Saxony agreed the Convention of Leipzig (4 January 1746)***** which awarded the major towns of Further Austria to the Saxon Elector (this would be ratified by Charles VII at the Peace of Munich). French forces under Saxe pushed into Zeeland as an occupation force while negotiations with the Dutch Republic were under way.

While France, Britain and Spain continued their war over the high seas and in their colonies, the main combatants met at Munich, the Bavarian capital for a congress to divide the Hapsburg Monarchy among the victors. Individual treaties were collected and ratified into a single document, establishing the Peace of Munich (1746). The treaties are as follows:

- Treaty of Fussen - Maximillian Joseph II was recognized as King of the Romans, making him heir to Charles VII. Bavaria acquired the Kingdom of Bohemia (creating a personal union of Bohemia and Bavaria), Upper Austria, the Inn Quarter and Tyrol. This meant that Maria Theresa would now be Archduchess of Lower Austria (with Vienna), Styria and Carinthia

- Treaty of Szeged - Anton I recognized as king of the newly independent Hungary. Burgenland ceded to Hungary by Austria. Hapsburgs forced to renounce the royal title and renounce any claims to the future succession to the Hungarian crown.

- Treaty of Troppau - Austria ceded the part of Silesia not under Prussian rule to Saxony (Troppau, Teschen, Nysa) and recognized the transfer of the Swabian domains from France to Saxony (Convention of Leipzig). Vorarlberg would also be awarded to Saxony in a Final Act.

- Treaty of Dresden - Prussia acquires Silesia (minus the duchies awarded to Saxony) from Austria. Austria forced to pay one million thalers to Prussia and reaffirm the treaties with Saxony and Bavaria. This treaty was also responsible for establishing diplomatic ties between Prussia and Hungary.

- Treaty of Ypres - France acknowledged as new ruler of the former Austrian Netherlands. In a secret protocol made public only at the final signature of the Peace of Munich (Protocol of Brussels) the former Austrian Netherlands are partitioned, with Flanders becoming an independent state and Wallonia (with Brussels) awarded to France. Status of Flanders' ruler would be determined at a later date, with prospective rulers from among the nobility of France, the Dutch Republic, Bavaria, Oldenburg and Portugal likely candidates. This treaty is noteworthy as being the only Europe-centered treaty in which Britain had observers, though they never accepted the treaty as final.

- Treaty of Modena - Spain is awarded the Duchy of Milan, the State of Presidii and Parma. Modena, Piacenza and Guastalla become vassal-states of Spanish Crown. Sardinia-Piedmont forced to pay indemnity of $75,000 for Spanish ships damaged or sunk.

Just two days before the Final Act of the Peace of Munich is signed, news is received of a Convention (18 February) between Brandenburg-Prussia and Poland-Lithuania. This Convention of Wehlau, while stopping short of a full alliance between the two nations, did provide for a mutual assistance treaty between them, and allowed for Prussia to support Poland's claims to Smolensk, Livonia, Ukraine and Gotland, the loan of 20,000 Prussian infantry, 10,000 cavalry and 500 artillery in exchange for the cession of West Prussia. This allowed Frederick II to change his official title to King OF Prussia as opposed to King IN Prussia. With this acquisition there would be no future partition of Poland-Lithuania as Danzig was ceded along with West Prussia. These treaties would be combined into the Final Act of the Peace of Munich on 20 February. Though it would be another two months before the fighting between France, Britain and Spain was brought to a conclusion, future historians would regard the resulting treaties as part of the overall Peace of Munich.

Of the winners and losers in the concluded war, Austria fared the worst, reduced in territory to three states plus the capital, and stripped of the Imperial mantle with the coronation of Charles VII Wittelsbach as new Holy Roman Emperor. The independence of Hungary would also introduce a potentially aggressive new neighbor to their east, whose borders were only a short distance from Vienna. Sardinia-Piedmont managed to escape territorial partition but had to pay indemnities to Spain and Naples. Britain would finally gain a foothold in the Mediterranean Sea with the purchase of Ceuta from Portugal (which feared the increase in Spanish naval and military power) but would still be barred from further expansion of their naval power through Spain's control of Gibraltar. They would remain equal to France and Spain in terms of colonial power, with only the conquest of Maracaibo to show foryears of heavy fighting******. France achieved its major aim of stripping the Imperial mantle from the Hapsburgs by supporting their Bavarian clients, with the acquisition of Wallonia and establishment of an independent Flanders as a bonus. Saxony increased its dominion with the acquisition of the Silesian Duchies (henceforth to be called Saxon Silesia) and the states of the former 'Further Austria' (henceforth to be called Rhine Saxony). Bavaria and Prussia came out best, with Bavaria not only acknowledged as Holy Roman Emperor with the likelihood of succession, but the acquisition of Tyrol with its gold mines, the Inn Quarter, Upper Austria and Bohemia (joined in personal union). Prussia's acquisition of Silesia (minus Saxon Silesia), consolidation of its Rhenish territories (henceforth to be called Prussian Westphalia) and the peaceful acquisition of West Prussia from Poland-Lithuania now allowed Frederick II to be crowned in a second coronation as King OF Prussia. The Dutch were the luckiest, suffering no colonial or territorial losses and with a modest indemnity being the only demand of France.

How long the peace would last, nobody in 1746 knew for certain. Austria was beaten and humiliated, something that would irk Maria Theresa for the rest of her reign and beyond. Poland-Lithuania, losing only West Prussia through peaceful transaction with its Prussian neighbor, was already casting its eyes east, to Smolensk and Livonia, leading to tension with the Russian Empire. Bavaria as the new Holy Roman Emperor would soon discover that other German states were looking to repeat the surprise of the century by claiming the Imperial mantle for themselves, and with only France as their true ally. Hungary, freed of the Hapsburgs, were already looking to finally settle matters with the Ottoman Empire and had begun seeking allies. Spain, fully satisfied with the revision of Utrecht, now hoped to maintain their restored European empire. Britain, with their Mediterranean foothold in Morocco, could now project their naval might in any future war as well as expand their commercial and diplomatic ties with the Muslim states of the Maghreb and Middle East. France, with a more secure northern frontier and a Holy Roman Empire more multipolar than ever before, hoped to maintain its position in western and central Europe. For the time being, however, everyone was financially and militarily exhausted.


alternate Austrian Succession War results2.png

Map of Europe after the War of the Hapsburg Succession. Colored and dotted outline indicates territorial expansion of the powers as a result of the Peace of Munich
(Map based on map of Europe in 1763, which was used as the base map for the purpose of showing the alternate changes of 1748)


* OTL's Treaty of Fussen between the Hapsburg Monarchy and Bavaria consisted of fairly generous terms. In return for relinquishing his claim to the Imperial mantle, Maximilian Joseph would have his Electorate restored to full sovereignty, and his father's reign as Holy Roman Emperor acknowledged by the Hapsburgs. This would allow Francis Stephen, Duke of Tuscany (formerly of Lorraine) to become Holy Roman Emperor as Francis I)

** The British Royal Navy had the run of the English Channel, which made it possible for the battles in the Low Countries to swing back and forth between the Pragmatic Allies (Britain-Hannover, Dutch Republic, Hapsburg Monarchy) and the Nymphenburg Coalition (France, Spain, Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria) and ultimately secured the Belgian estates for Austria

*** As stated above, the Dutch were able in the end to overcome the French with British assistance, however, the loss of the Barrier Forts would be a critical cause for the cooling of relations between the two maritime powers.

**** Further Austria was only attacked by France IOTL as a means of relieving the pressure on Charles Albert, whose Electorate was being overrun by the Austrians in 1742. Here, Further Austria was invaded later because of the success enjoyed by the Bavarians and the lack of additional troops for the Austrians, as a means of providing compensation to Saxony, which had missed out on claiming Silesian lands due to Prussia's overwhelming invasion.

***** No such convention took place between France and Saxony due to the fact that Saxony would switch sides to join Austria and as a consequence be invaded by Prussia IOTL


Historian's Note: The Peace of Munich is here meant to represent what the OTL Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle would would've looked like had fortunes favored the Bavarians, French, and Spanish more. It is to be considered the exact opposite of the terms of the OTL treaty in that regard. The colonial conflicts between Britain, Spain, and France remain to be covered but it should be understood that the treaties agreed at the end would also be incorporated into the Final Act of the Peace of Munich.

Source:
Wikipedia
Pursuit of Glory - Tim Blanning
Iron Kingdom - Christopher Clark
Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy from 1453 to the Present - Brendan Simms
 
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North America during the Austrian Succession War
When news reached the French Canadian colony of Quebec of the French ending their neutral standing with Britain and engaging in support of Spain in early 1745, the colonists wasted no time in drawing up plans to attack the British Nova Scotia colony. Linking up with Mikmaq and Maliseet First Nation forces, they put the harbor and its bastion Fort Anne under siege. To counter the siege and hopefully draw the French from Fort Anne, Louisbourg was beseiged by the British and British American colonial units, taking it on 28 June. This ultimately failed as a French expedition under the Duc d'Anville recovered Louisbourg despite storms and disease taking their toll. Meanwhile to further distract the British from attempting another siege or relieving the siege of Fort Anne, the Wabanaki Confederacy, a Native American federacy allied with France, launched a series of raids known as the Northeast Coast Campaign which devastated parts of the Maine (Massachusetts) Colony. In November, a combined French-Native army assaulted and destroyed the town of Saratoga in New York Colony. The success of this attack forced the British to abandon New York north of the trading hub of Albany, though the French and their Wabanaki allies continued to descend along the Hudson Valley, soon reaching and occupying Albany*. A planned counterattack by Iroqouis (Britain's Native ally), Colonial regiments from Massachusetts, and British Regulars was called off due to the lack of supplies. Meanwhile Britain was also fighting against Spain as their War of Jenkins' Ear had become subsumed into the European conflict. Portobello, in Panama had been taken by the British Royal Navy (and abandoned after three weeks in which major buildings were destroyed), but three attacks against the Spanish port city of Cartagena des Indias failed with significant losses to the British. Capitalizing on the defeat, the Spanish launched an invasion of Georgia from their Florida Colony, landing on St Simons Island on July 1742. Despite the resistance offered by General James Oglethorpe, the Spanish managed to capture the port of Savannah by late in the month**. By the time of the start of conflict between France and Britain, the Royal Navy had suffered from disease and storms as much as through combat, and combat was restricted to privateer strikes on supply ships coming from Europe.

In early December of 1745, a British expeditionary force under the command of Major Lawrence Washington of Virginia Colony. With 3,000 troops (mainly Colonial regiments), he landed at Maracaibo, near the lake. Taking the garrison completely by surprise, Washington and his troops, assisted by the blockade and bombardment of the port by a fleet of 9 ships-of-the-line, seized the citadel and raised the British flag***. By the fourth day of the blockade, the Mayor of the city surrendered to Washington, though it took another two hours for the guns to fall silent. As a result of the expedition, Britain had acquired a major port and harbor from which it could increase its power in the Caribbean, though the conquest of Lake Maracaibo and its port-city did little to offset the loss of Savannah. A similar expedition to Cuba failed due to strong Spanish resistance. At the same time as the Maracaibo Expedition, Grand Pre in Nova Scotia fell to a combined French-Mikmaq assault, which now placed the Massachusetts Colony in range of French raiders, while the occupation of Albany threatened New York City. Britain was left with no choice but to call for peace discussions****. Delegations from the three maritime combatants met in the French port of Calais to begin hammering out peace terms*****. The resulting Treaty of Calais, which was enfolded into the general Peace of Munich listed the following terms:

- Britain would receive the territory and harbor of Lake Maracaibo, but would be forced to cede the islands of Trinidad, Tobago and the Turks and Caicos to Spain.
- The new boundary between British Georgia and Spanish Florida would be adjusted, leaving the British with only the town of Augusta and its hinterland while ceding Savannah and its hinterland to Spanish Florida. The southern and southwestern parts of the Georgia territory would be recognized as Spanish (this would be extended to include the southern halves of OTL Alabama and Mississippi right up to the Mississippi River)

- Nova Scotia and the Hudson Bay territory would be ceded to France, along with upstate New York and Maine.
- Britain's purchase of Ceuta from Portugal was recognized by France and Spain
- Britain dropped its demand for the dismantling of the privateer base at Dunkirk
- Britain recognized all conquests made in Europe during the Austrian Succession War

With fighting also occuring in the Indian subcontinent, it would take months for news to arrive. But once the fighting ended there, any terms reached would be incorporated into the Treaty of Calais. The balance in North America had shifted in favor of France with the conquest of Nova Scotia and retention of the Hudson Bay territory. Spain also benefitted with the conquest of Savannah and annexation of half of the Georgia Colony, which it reorganized as the Captaincy of Savannah. Despite inflicting losses on the Spanish fleet and the acquisition of Lake Maracaibo, the high casualties the Royal Navy suffered in their attempts to seize Cartagena coupled with the devastating loss of Savannah, Hudson Bay and Nova Scotia meant that Britain would become more determined to fortify its remaining colonies and seek to reclaim what it had lost. As a reflection of this new colonial policy, the Governor-General of the Thirteen Colonies was given to one Lord Cornwallis.
 
The Struggle for India-The Subcontinent During the War
FOR FUTURE REFERENCE: Any discussion or comments should be relegated to the discussion thread on this timeline: Discussion thread for the timeline . While I appreciate the comments, I wish to keep this confined to the actual timeline and leave the discussion/commenting/debating to the aforelinked thread. Thank you :)

India had become a fragmented land with the recent Moghul-Maratha Wars which had rent the subcontinent asunder. The death of the last Moghul emperor, Aurangzeb, in 1707 ended the Golden Age of the Moghuls and subsequent emperors could no longer prevent the independence of the Rajputs, Marathas and Afghans, nor stop the increasing incursions from European powers such as the Dutch, Portuguese, French and British. With both major Indian powers now seeking to gain favor with the European powers as a means to check the other's power, warfare between the European rivals was a foregone conclusion.

War broke out in Europe in 1740, the trading companies of the British and French were cordial even while their mother countries were showing signs of unease, with goods often exchanged between their respective trading stations. Only with the declaration of war by Britain on France in early December 1745 did relations between the Companies finally turn sour. Britain began attacking French shipping between their port of Pondicherry and the British port of Madras, capturing a few merchant ships. In retaliation, French ships from Ile de Bourbon (Mauritius) began an escalation leading to an inconclusive naval engagement with the Royal Naby near Negapatam. The French then went on to seize Madras. Their commander, La Bourdonnais was overruled by Governor-General Joseph Dupleix, who turned over the port-city to Nawab Anwaruddin Khan*. With the troops now freed for service, La Bourdonnais moved to beseige and capture the British Fort St David and the town of Cuddalore**. Were it not for a series of storms which scattered the Royal Navy, the French might've lost their primary port, Pondicherry, to a naval siege. Both sides however were now financially exhausted, leading to the negotiations at Calais.

In addition to the listed terms regarding North America and Europe, the following terms were agreed regarding India:
- Britain acknowledged the loss of Madras, reducing their presence in Bengal.
- France acquired Fort Saint David and Cuddalore, and acknowledged the cession of Madras to the Nawab Khan.
- Both companies agreed to pay damages amounting to $75,000*** to the other, essentially canceling out their respective debts.

Though this led to a reduction of British influence in the subcontinent (and the subsequent increase in French colonial territory with the conquest of Cuddalore), Britain was far from finished in India, maintaining parity with their French rivals, due to being in a slightly better position here as opposed to North America, where the losses of Hudson Bay Territory, Georgia Colony (to Spain) and Nova Scotia weakened their power significantly.

*
The Nawab's army was defeated by a small French force at the Battle of Asyar. This enabled the French to exchange Madras for Louisbourg in North America which the British had taken, essentially restoring the status quo ante bellum.

** The arrival of British reinforcements brought about the defeat of the French, and thus the fort and city were never taken. It is likely that with the Fall of Madras and the attempted siege of Pondicherry, the British lacked sufficient troops to relieve the siege, leading to the fall of the fort and capture of the city by the French, although Indian auxiliaries may have also played a role in the French victory. Major-General Robert Clive, captured at Madras, was not released until the Peace of Calais, unlike IOTL, where he escaped to later participate in the defense of Cuddalore and Siege of Pondicherry. His captivity is a factor here in the French victory at Madras and later victory at Fort Saint David.

*** No actual reparations were demanded by either side. Only the restoration of Madras to Britain in exchange for the restoration of Louisbourg to France (North America)

Source:
Wikipedia
Pursuit of Glory - Tim Blanning
 
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The Aftermath of War
PLEASE NOTE: As this is detailing the aftermath of the alternate War of the Austrian Succession, there will be no reference sources listed, though I will continue to use * to delineate where actual history is different from the alternate history. This is the first of what will likely be few such posts in which reference sources are NOT used. Discussion thread for the timeline for any questions/comments

This section will summarize the situation in the main nations which participated in the concluded war, their military, diplomatic, and financial situations and offer clues as to their future plans. As this will be a summary, I will not go into detail on exact numbers but instead offer a rough guess.

France - The financial situation in the kingdom is problematic. Taxes had been raised in order to pay for the war-effort and while France did acquire such valuable territories as the former Austrian Netherlands, Nova Scotia, Hudson Bay Territory, and Maine, they had only begun to determine their fiscal value which made for a period of financial uncertainty. On the diplomatic front, they remained committed to their Bavarian client, providing loans to the Wittelsbachs in order to keep them financially afloat until they could begin to tap into the gold mines in the Tyrol. Their relations with Prussia, while not icy, was somewhat cooler than before the war. Frederick the Great's reputation earned him high praise from many in the French military, but the still-cognant rumor of his double-dealing with the Austrians during the war-despite being fully disproven-nevertheless left the French monarchy ill at ease with what was increasingly becoming a powerful north German state. French commerce managed to return to pre-war conditions with the end of the war and with new sources of fur along Hudson Bay and in Maine, as well as spices and teas from India, France was once more a rival to Britain. Already, plans were being discussed about starting a French Africa Company and opening Antwerp to commerce, though this could prove problematic as the Dutch had demanded that the Scheldt River be closed to commercial traffic, meaning any plans to reopen Antwerp will have to take Dutch, Prussian, and British reactions into consideration. In the meantime, many of the former Barrier Fortresses were rebuilt and even extended along the border between French-controlled Wallonia and the Holy Roman Empire as safeguard against attack from either Hannover or Prussia.

Flanders - Newly established, the Grand Duchy of Flanders remained under French military occupation until the Peace of Munich, pending the selection of its first Grand Duke. After careful consideration and deliberations between French, Dutch, British, Austrian, Bavarian and even Portuguese megotiators, it was agreed that Charles Frederick of the House of Baden (Zahringen) and Margrave of Baden-Durlach* would become the Grand Duke of Flanders, citing the reason that it was unlikely this House would seek to attain regional dominance or threaten the balance of power. Flanders would also remain a part of the Holy Roman Empire, offering additional protection from any future French aggression, although shortly after his proclamation as Grand Duke, Charles Frederick signed a commercial treaty with Louis XV of France, then followed this up with similar commercial treaties with Great Britain, the Dutch Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Prussia, Poland-Lithuania and the Ottoman Empire. In May 1749, The Dutch sold the islands of Saba and Bonaire to Flanders, giving them their first colonial settlements thru an agreement creating a joint condominium between the Flandrines and Dutch in the Caribbean**. In August of that same year a commercial treaty with the Persian empire allowed Flanders to establish fueling and trade stations along the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, while a second commercial treaty with the Dutch allowed for the establishment of a Flanders Quarter in the Dutch Cape Colony of South Africa (which would remain even as the Cape itself would eventually change rulers, going to Britain much later). Protected by Britain, Holland and Prussia, Flanders would prosper.

Spain - Victory over Britain in the Americas brought a well-established port facility with the conquest of Savannah and establishment of the Captaincy of Georgia in 1746, though this was somewhat offset by the British conquest of Maracaibo and its lake, creating what would become the Gibraltar of South America. Thanks in large part to the French advisors that accompanied Philip V when he ascended the throne in 1715, Spain's fiscal budget was trimmed down and reorganized. The addition of Milan, Parma, Piacenza, Guastalla and the State of Presidii as a result of the Peace of Munich provided a consolidation of Spanish influence in the Italian peninsula and would open the door to potential future expansion into North Africa at the expense directly of the Barbary states and indirectly of their nominal overlords the Ottoman Empire. Spain signed the Treaty of Salzburg with Bavaria, acknowledging their hold on the Imperial title and providing loans to the Wittelsbachs in exchange for commercial advantages within the Holy Roman Empire. Relations with the Austrian Hapsburgs gradually improved as it was believed that the Hapsburgs no longer posed a threat to the balance of power in Central Europe, though the increase in power of Prussia, the independence of Hungary and the stagnation of the Ottomans were grounds for concern in Madrid. Rivalry would remain between Spain and Britain in North and South America, not least over the British presence in Maracaibo. Spain would also become the fourth European power to recognize the independence of the Grand Duchy of Flanders, though it would be years before full diplomatic relations would be established between them due to the remaining distrust dating back to the time in which Spain was master of the Low Countries.

Austria - Now a shadow of its former self, Rump Austria as it would become known, fell into an economic depression as a result of the war, the loss of valuable territories, the decline in resources and worst of all the independence of Hungary. Reduced to Lower Austria, Vienna district, Styria and Carinthia and with only the port of Rijeka-Fiume as its outlet to the Adriatic and hence the Mediterranean, Austria struggled to rebuild its economic infrastructure so heavily damaged during the war. They also faced two hostile powers and one which still had the potential to become hostile in their neighbors, Hungary, Prussia and Bavaria. In March 1750, Austria and Bavaria signed the Treaty of Innsbruck which among other things reiterated the loss of Upper Austria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and the Inn Quarter, and recognized the Wittelsbach succession to the Imperial title, but also provided for a customs union which removed tariffs between the former opponents and in the long run brought Austria back from financial ruin (much to the displeasure of France and Hungary) Maximillian Joseph III (Emperor Maximillian III) also agreed to promote Austria to a full kingdom and the resulting elevation of Archduke Francis Stephen and Archduchess Maria Theresa to full regality as king and queen respectively. While the new titles did improve the diplomatic standing of the Hapsburgs significantly, it did little to counter the terrific loss of prestige which the Imperial title had once accorded them. In June of 1752, Rump Austria signed a treaty of alliance with the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania aimed against possible Hungarian aggression-though this would be extended to include Russia once they allied with Hungary. In the same treaty (Krakow) Austria and Prussia reaffirmed the terms of Dresden (though Maria Theresa still harbored a desire to reclaim Silesia as the first step to returning Austria to the status of a respected power again). Austria was the sixth power to recognize the independence of Flanders and opened diplomatic relations shortly thereafter. In addition to the desire to reclaim Silesia, the Austrians also had begun formulating plans to conquer Dalmatia from Hungary as a further means of acquiring more coastal areas for ports and increase Austria's influence in the Mediterranean basin.

Prussia - "The conquest of Silesia, when combined with the diplomatic acquisitions of Cleve-Mark-Berg (Prussian Westphalia), Ansbach-Bayreauth (Prussian Franconia) and West Prussia from Poland-Lithuania had enlarged Prussia to the status of first-rank power in Europe and second-rank in Germany (behind only Bavaria). The Treaty of Wehlau which had given West Prussia to Brandenburg in exchange for a mutual assistance agreement with Poland-Lithuania (in addition to allowing Prussian advisors to help train Polish and Lithuanian troops also granted assistance in Poland-Lithuania's future acquisition of Gotland from Sweden) strengthened Prussia against the only other serious rival on the continent: Russia. Frederick II quietly allowed the alliance with France to terminate without making any effort to renew it, concerned despite the ties Prussia had with Bavaria (which recognized not only the acquisitions listed above but also granted recognition to Frederick II's new title as King OF Prussia as opposed to king IN Prussia which he held previously), Bavaria was still seen as a French client and puppet-state and all authority in the Holy Roman Empire was truly in the hands of the French Monarchy. Prussia also cemented its relations with both Hannover and Denmark not only for commercial but strategic reasons, with the full expectation that any future war involving France would pose a threat to Prussia's new Rhineland Territories. For the time being, Frederick II was only concerned with integrating his new acquisitions into the central government of Brandenburg and insure security, as well as rebuilding the war-chest which had been nearly depleted by the war.

Bavaria - Now holding the Imperial title as well as a personal union with the Bohemian Crownlands, Bavaria was both the most powerful and the most insecure of the German states in the Holy Roman Empire. Despite the gradual warming of relations with Austria, Bavaria still felt uneasy about its southern neighbor. Further insecurity came as a result of the alienation of its Saxon and Prussian allies. Saxony still felt cheated by the loss of all but a tiny sliver of Silesia to Prussia and the acquisition of a group of 'gnat states' once belonging to the Hapsburgs in Swabia, and Prussia now began to view Bavaria as a new rival for Germanic hegemony and a client of France depsite their cordial relations and Bavaria's generous acceptance of Prussia's acquisitions and new regal title. Even Hannover, in personal union with Great Britain under the person of George II viewed Bavaria with suspicion because of their French ties. Maximillian Joseph III who as King of the Romans and successor to Charles VII would ascend the throne on the death of his father and acquire the title Maximillian III, using the newly conquered wealth of the Tyrolean gold mines to make acclamation all but certain (it helped that no other serious candidate presented themselves, although the Hapsburgs, Bourbons and Wettins did consider it. Rapproachment with Rump Austria did alleviate the tension on their southern border, and recognition of the Grand Duchy of Flanders offered possibilities of future diplomatic relations with Britain and the Dutch Republic, but for the present, Bavaria remained in a position of phenomenal power and intense suspicion.

Poland-Lithuania - The Commonwealth or Rzezcpospolita of Poland-Lithuania, the Union of Two Crowns***, remained a formidable East Central European power, only losing (and then not through military defeat) West Prussia to Brandenburg-Prussia. Under new king Michael Frederick ( Michal Fryderyk) Czartoryski, son of Kazimierz Czartoryski, the Commonwealth continued to reform its legal, political and military systems. A new constitution now firmly eestablished the Commonwealth as a parliamentary monarchy similar to Great Britain, with a reaffirmation of the end of the liberum veto which had worked in the past but was now feared to be easily hijacked by szlachta influenced by foreign powers. This enabled the Commonwealth to strengthen its diplomatic standing vis-a-vis Prussia, Rump Austria, Hungary and especially Russia (still seen as the largest threat to Polish sovereignty). With drilling supervised by Prussian officers, the Polish army now became one of the top military forces in Europe, and an exchange with British and French naval officials would help to boost the infant navy to bring them up to par with the Dutch, Danes and Swedes. Another sign that Poland-Lithuania's potential had been recognized was when Austria formed an alliance with the Commonwealth in 1752 directed in the first place against Hungary and later extended to include its new Russian ally. Poland-Lithuania also normalized relations with the Ottoman Empire, in limbo since the time of King John Sobieski III. Lithuanian military advisors were now beginning to plan for a future conflict with Russia, outlining areas the Commonwealth had once ruled over, including Left-Bank Ukraine (with Kiev), Smolensk, and Livonia. The Lithuanian need to secure their eastern border and the Russian drive westward will keep tensions high and could serve as a spark to start a future war.

Hungary - The Kingdom of Hungary under the Esterhazy dynasty had become a dynamic power at the end of the war. Seizing Burgenland and fortifying the former Military Frontier with the Ottoman Empire now gave Hungary greater security against its two most consistent opponents Austria and the Ottomans. Anton I was simultaneously crowned king of Croatia and Dalmatia four months after accepting the Crown of St Stephen. General von Khevenhuller left his military command in Austria to begin training the new royal military for the kingdom****. Though Hungary was now independent, the acquisition of Burgenland at the Peace of Munich would leave Austro-Hungarian relations on shaky ground for years to come. On their southern border, Hungary saw in the Ottoman Empire a chance to restore much of their ancient kingdom and claim vengeance for the 150 years in which it had been a captive Ottoman province. Like other nations post-war, Hungary's economic situation fluctuated, but because of their former connection to the Hapsburgs, the kingdom was able to weather the instability..

Great Britain - The United Kingsom of Great Britain remained a powerful state in the post-war period despite suffering losses in the Royal Navy as well as the losses of Nova Scotia, Hudson Bay Territory, and Georgia. In Europe, careful diplomacy on the part of France had kept Britain from becoming involved on the continent. The war with Spain which had started before the fighting in Europe had begun, had sapped the British economy. Furthermore, the French annexation of Wallonia, possible plans for the reopening of Antwerp, and an independent Flanders increasingly under French influence caused concern within the British government. The fact that their continental partner Austria had been partitioned almost into oblivion meant that Britain would have to find a new continental partner in any future war with France. Nevertheless, British colonial expansion continued both in North America and India, while closer ties were forged with the Dutch Republic, Flanders, Hannover and Prussia were pursued. The Royal Navy gained another advantage with the purchase of Ceuta from Portugal which gave Britain the one key that they did not have in the last war: naval projection into the Mediterranean Sea, though this would for a time be contested as the Barbary pirates were starting to act autonomously of their Ottoman overlords.

Russia - The Empire of All the Russias as it was officially known, had been close to entering the war on the side of the Hapsburgs, but palace intrigue possibly linked to Frederick II, a threatening Sweden and a strong Poland-Lithuania blocked Russia's entry until it was already too late for the Austrians, The Peace of Munich was signed without any reference to Russia at all, which made some in the Czarist government of Elizabeth, Czarina-Empress of Russia and second eldest daughter of Peter I (the Great) uneasy. Another major cause for concern was the budding relationship between Poland-Lithuania and the Kingdom of Prussia. The fact that Prussian officers were drillng Polish and Lithuanian troops could only mean that at some point in the future, the Commonwealth-possibly with Prussian assistance-might make good their continued claims on Livonia, which had been denied them during the Great Northern War. Russia was the only country to fully recognize the new status of Rump Austria as a kingdom, but relations between the two states stagnated as Austria was no longer as large or powerful after the war as they had been before the war, thus Russia was forced to seek new allies against what they viewed as their 'ancient enemy' the Ottoman Empire. This led them to draw closer to the newly independent Hungary and although their eventual alliance was directed primarily against the Ottomans, Russia also hoped to use the alliance to curb the ambitions of the Poles in the Baltic. A commercial treaty with Great Britain, the Dutch Republic, Denmark, and Flanders in the year 1751 brought Russia fully onto the European stage.

Sardinia-Piedmont - Having managed to convince France to restore Nice and Savoie in the Peace of Munich, as well as acquiring Vigevano from their Spanish Milanese neighbor, Charles Emmanuel III had managed to restore a balance that, while not entirely equal did balance his own gains with those of the Bourbons. Thereafter the dual-state settled down to administrative and economic reforms. No longer concerned about a Hapsburg domination of the Italian peninsula, Sardinia-Piedmont would sign commercial treaties with Naples, Rump Austria, France, Bavaria and the Ottomans while staying aloof from the majority of European affairs.

Ottoman Empire - In the post-Suleiman period of Ottoman history, the Turks had been on the defensive. In the last Austro-Turkish War (1735-9) the Ottomans managed to regain Serbia, the Banat of Temesvar and Oltenia. While there was now no longer a threat from Austria due to the fact it was all but partitioned, the new Kingdom of Hungary posed a threat to Ottoman sovereignty-the more so after Hungary and Russia formed their anti-Ottoman alliance. Some reform was introduced, but the state remained firmly determined to block any measures that would provide for a more Western-trained corps


* Charles Frederick would unite Baden and become Elector in 1803 as part of a scheme to prevent Napoleon from seizing the Imperial Title. Napoleon would elevate him to Grand Duke, a title he would hold until his death in 1811

** Bonaire and Saba would remain a part of the Netherlands' Caribbean colonies to the present day.

*** The official name of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is The Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

**** Khevenhuller was decorated by Achduchess-Empress Maria Theresa with the Order of the Golden Fleece. He would die suddenly in Vienna in January 1744 (OTL). ITTL, because the circumstances of his death are not known, it is merely supposed that he lived at least 4-6 more years, which would be sufficient enough to train the new Hungarian military.
 
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1746-1759 The Diplomatic Revolution
Even as the major European powers were licking their wounds and burying their dead, it was already clear that grievances old and new would erupt into a new round of fighting. As a result many of the European powers now began to look at the diplomacy of the previous war and re-assess their allies, in many cases ending alliances which they felt did not bring enough benefit while forging new alliances with nations that, in some cases, they had been at war with in the previous war.

Austria would lead the revolution with its treaty of alliance with Poland-Lithuania in June of 1752 which was primarily to secure an ally against the increasing assertiveness of its Hungarian neighbor. In October of the same year, formal diplomatic relations were opened with the Grand Duchy of Flanders which provided for a series of commercial agreements but would also extend to defensive treaties. This was Austria's first step as a newly promoted Kingdom since the Peace of Munich had rendered it all but inconsequential in the Concert of Europe. In the Second Treaty of Dresden (February 1753) Bavaria and Rump Austria adjusted the boundaries between their respective states, awarding Moravia to Austria as well as a corridor of territory along the Bohemian-Moravian border. This would not only serve to link Austria with the Commonwealth, but also cut off any Hungarian invasion route using the terrain of the Carpathians (though this did not solve the problem that Hungary, in possession of Burgenland, was close to the outskirts of Vienna). A clause in the treaty also provided for mutual assistance in the event of an attack by Prussia-though this would not be revealed until years later, as Maximillian III wished to retain the cordial relations with Frederick II as a way to guarantee the security of Bohemia.

Two years earlier, in April of 1750, Poland-Lithuania, clearing the seas and seeking additional partners, signed the Treaty of Copenhagen with the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway. After Prussia had also signed a treaty with Denmark-Norway, this congealing of alliances and treaties received the nickname 'the Baltic Alliance' which was designed to contain Sweden-Finland but also agreed the provisions should war occur with her. Though Denmark-Norway envisaged including Russia in the triple alliance (which would've made it a quadruple alliance), strong Polish opposition prevented Russia from being invited to join. Poland-Lithuania signed treaties with Great Britain and France in order to continue to reform its navy, and in September of the same year, the Commonwealth reestablished diplomatic relations with the Ottoman Empire, granting mutually beneficial commercial privileges but also offering mutual assistance against a Russian attack.

France, Spain, and Naples-the original members of the Nymphenberg Alliance which had participated in the recent war, renewed their alliance in 1750. In addition, Saxony and France concluded a convention with the purpose of stripping Prussia of Silesia and its Rhenish provinces*. This news alarmed Frederick II and led him to agree to a Convention Treaty with Hannover, Hesse, Oldenburg and Munster to defend the Rhineland Territories against French aggression and enable him to focus on Saxony. Six years later, as tensions began to rise among the German states and between Prussia and France, Frederick II joined George II in the Convention of Westminster to guarantee the neutrality of Hannover as well as prevent enemy armies from traversing the Holy Roman Empire.

With Frederick II becoming increasingly more secure, Poland-Lithuania becoming more assertive in its foreign policy and Hungary increasingly anxious about their Austrian neighbors' recovery after the Succession War, Russia signed a nonagression treaty in Konigsberg** with Frederick II in March 1759 relieving the pressure on the northern frontier and opening up a potential avenue for an invasion of Poland-Lithuania. Four months later, Russia signed the Treaty of Kiev*** with Hungary guaranteeing each other's national boundaries against either Polish or Austrian revanchism and laying the groundwork for a future invasion of Ottoman territory with the ultimate goal of partition. By this time, the Turkish government, fully awake to the potential threats of a Russo-Hungarian invasion signed the Second Treaty of Belgrade with Rump Austria providing for mutual assistance in the event of war and also outlining war-goals should they prove successful. The Ottomans also agreed to put pressure on their Barbary vassals to recognize the maritime rights of the Hapsburgs in the Mediterranean Sea while in turn the Austrians recognized Ottoman commercial interests in the Adriatic (which caused some concern to the Venetians).

By the start of 1760, the many alliances, conventions, and treaties had created a volatile situation which only required a spark in any part of the Peninsula to trigger a new round of war. Russia's desire to acquire the Dardenelle straits and Constantinople, Hungary's ambition to resurrect the great Hungarian Kingdom of the Middle Ages (which at one time even claimed suzerainty over Serbia, Bosnia and Bulgaria), Poland-Lithuania's wish to claim Livonia and reclaim Smolensk, Ukraine and Gotland, Saxony's wish to fulfill its objective from the last war-Silesia, and France's desire to cut Prussia down to size and continue to challenge Britain overseas would all be factors in where and how the next war started.

* No such convention existed between France and Saxony. If such did exist, it is unlikely that Saxony would benefit as they were overrun by Prussian troops in the opening act of the Seven Years War OTL

** As in the above statement, no such convention existed between Russia and Prussia. Here, Russia was part of the coalition that would go to war with Frederick II with the objective of conquering East Prussia and for a brief period they succeeded OTL

*** This treaty follows similar such agreements between the Hapsburg Monarchy and Russia OTL, though the Hapsburgs would more often than not find themselves financially strapped and forced to sue for peace with the Ottomans while Russia made significant gains.


Source:
Wikipedia
 
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Three Potential Conflict Zones
This will outline three potential zones of conflict which will involve more than 2 European powers. There will be smaller engagements between a European and non-European power which will be covered down the line and will also essentially act as a filler for the period of 1746-1760.

North America - Between the incessant conflicts between Colonials and Native peoples, the increasing pressure from the Spanish in both Florida and Savannah, and the fortification of the French Quebec and Louisiana Colonies, Britain was hard-pressed. Britain signed the Treaty of Easton* in 1750 with the Iroqouis Confederacy, the Delaware, and Shawnee Nations to both curb continued colonial pressures and to fortify the nations against French encroachments. Later in 1752 the British signed the First Treaty of Hard Labour** with the Cherokee and Creek Nations which acted in a similar way but with the difference being that here the external threat was the Spanish in Florida and Savannah. This is turn forced the French to sign treaties with the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Caddo nations (in February, May and July 1753 respectively)***. Soon, conflict between the Native peoples, especially in the South, would erupt which posed the real threat of dragging the three competing European powers in. More ominously, as the British American colonists soon learned of the central government's attempts to bar further expansion westward, a simmering rage would begin to build. It remains to be seen if the colonists make common cause with their Native neighbors, attempt to compromise with the king, or push for full independence.

Balkans and Eastern Europe - The recent coalescence of alliances between Austria, Poland-Lithuania and the Ottoman Empire on the one hand, and Hungary and Russia on the other hand, meant that the Balkans would likely become the 'Powder Keg of Europe'. Poland-Lithuania's desire to fully incorporate Livonia and unite Ukraine (Ruthenia) with the Crown would also serve as a source of conflict as Russia was not only intent on holding these eastern lands, but of expanding further westward. Hungary's obsession with reclaiming its medieval glories and finally evict the Turks from Europe, joined with Russia's desire to obtain the Bosporus and Constantinople will mean that the Ottomans may be reduced to a Middle Eastern power unless it can find allies. Russian intrigue also opens the likelihood that the many Balkan peoples under the Ottoman yoke such as the Bulgarians, Greeks, and Serbians could attempt to break away from the Ottomans and themselves seek territorial aggrandizement. Amnbitious pashas in Egypt, Syria and Arabia wait for their chance to 'rescue' the empire by installing their own dynasty on the Throne of Osman, while the Barbary corsairs agitate under the Turkish heel, determined to set their own course.

Baltic Sea - Poland-Lithuania also hopes to establish some form of control over the Swedish island of Gotland, which is experiencing turmoil****. It remains to be seen how well the Commonwealth Navy will stand up to the Swedish Navy, still considered among the best in Europe, as well as how well-trained the Commonwealth military will perform. Of more significant importance is whether Prussia under Frederick the Great will be able to maintain his kingdom's pledge to support the Commonwealth even as the prospects of a Franco-Saxon and Austro-Saxon alignment place his own sovereignty at risk. Will Denmark-Norway, seeing the potential for territorial aggrandizement, join in a war in place of a Prussia forced by threats closer to their borders to hold back on support?


The War That Almost Happened

While the main areas of potential conflict were in Europe, a situation in South America threatened to spread to the Peninsula. Since 1494, Spain and Portugal had divided the world on the authority of the Pope. This gave to Portugal a small portion of Brazil while the rest of South America was to go to Spain. The later Treaty of Zaragoza of 1526 alloted an adjustment in Portugal's favor, but the expansion of Brazil into the area known as Banda Oriental caused tension with the nearby Spanish colony of Rio de la Plata due mainly to the Anglo-Portuguese trade which also supplied the Viceroyalty of Peru, which was the result of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. In particular, the Spanish claimed the colony of Sacramento. In 1735-9, Spain and Portugal went to war in South America over the territory, which ended in a Portuguese victory. However, Spain never fully relinquished its claim to Banda Oriental*****. In 1749. Spain once again protested against the Portuguese presence in Banda Oriental, harboring British privateers, and continuing the illegal trade with Peru. Though both capitals were working to ease the tensions, the governor of Rio de la Plata, Jose de Andonaegui raised a force of 2,000 men and launched a surprise attack on Sacramento. When news of the unprovoked invasion reached the capital Lisbon two months later, outrage at Madrid caused the Portuguese to raise a force of 40,000 and move them to the border in preparation for a counterstrike, raising the alarm in Madrid to such a degree that in response a force nearly the same size (but comprised of veterans from the recent war). At this juncture, Britain and France-still too financially strapped to become engaged in yet another war, acted in unison to restrain their respective allies (Britain restraining Portugal, France restraining Spain-even going so far as to send an expeditionary force of 25,000 to the Pyrenees to prevent Spain from acting against Portugal pre-emptorily, while a British fleet from Ceuta cruised the Portuguese coast as deterrent). The shock of these moves by their allies, in addition to the surprise victory (again) of the Portuguese colonial armies which had rushed to drive the Spaniards out of Banda Oriental before launching a counteroffensive which brought them nearly to Buenos Aires, forced Spain to back down. With the mediation of the Dutch Republic, Britain, and France (in a rare show of collaboration between otherwise rivals), the Treaty of El Pardo was signed in February 1761, calling for an adjustment of the borders and the cession of Montevideo (a fortress-city hastily built by the Spanish but seized by the Portuguese-Brazilians) to Portugal. Though this conflict had been quickly brought to an end by the two dominant European powers (Britain and France) working together, this would be the last time the two would collaborate to prevent a colonial dispute from flaring into war as France looked toward Boston for further commercial gain while Britain sought the restoration of Nova Scotia and Hudson Bay.

* The OTL Treaty of Easton offered a restoration of land seized by the Pennsylvania colony to the Iroqouis in exchange for the neutrality of the Five Nations in any future war against France.

** The Treaty of Hard Labor was signed between Britain and the Cherokee Nation and did not involve the Creek Nation. It also called for the Cherokee to relinquish all land west of the Allegheny Mountains.

*** France never signed treaties with the Choctaw, Chickasaw or Caddo nations as their boundaries did not come into contact with the Thirteen Colonies

**** Gotland was tied to Sweden IOTL. For the purpose of this alternate timeline, however, the island is in a state of revolt, as divisions between pro-Swedish, pro-Danish, and pro-independence factions struggled for a voice in the local government. This would leave them open to an invasion by either Sweden (to reestablish order), Prussia (as a vestigial remnant of the Teutonic State), Poland (for the security of Lithuania from a seaborn attack), or Russia (as a means to consolidate their control over the Baltic and threaten both Sweden and Poland-Lithuania in a future war).

Source:
Wikipedia
 
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The Gotland Civil War
In 1757, the island of Gotland fractured into various quarreling groups on the death of the last governor, Jacob von Hokerstedt on 15 March*. Appointments by the royal government in Stockholm became delayed because of the communities of Danish- and Prussian-speakers that were remnants of times when Gotland had been ruled by Denmark and the Teutonic State respectively. Efforts to mediate between the factions turned into recriminations and tensions began to rise. Into this atmosphere, two interested parties now entered: Poland-Lithuania and the Russian Empire. Poland-Lithuania held out the promise of complete equality for all the inhabitants, citing the 'Golden Liberties' enjoyed in the Commonwealth as example. They manage to win over the pro-Danish faction to such a degree that they become pro-Polish. By contrast, the Russian emissary sent to Gotland, whose name has been largely forgotten due to his failure to bring Gotland into the Russian Empire-cited examples of the falsified brutality of the Polish and Lithuanian governments in relation to the thousands of Orthodox Christians within their frontiers and stress the Catholicism of Poland and the recent Vasa feud in which Polish Vasa kings tried to re-Catholicize Sweden and restore the Suedo-Polish personal union. At the same time a small but substantial pro-Russian faction develops and clashes soon break out among those favoring continued union with Sweden, those now favoring a union with Poland-Lithuania, those seeking union with Russia and those who feel Gotland can thrive better on its own. The clashes become more bloody until a civil war has all but broken out on the island, with Sweden, Poland-Lithuania and Russia now sending money, weapons, and other supplies to prop up their clients. It is at this point that Russia makes overtures to Sweden in the Convention of Abo**, which unifies their efforts to block Polish intrigue and defeat the pro-Polish factions. In yet another unusual act collaborated between traditional rivals, a Russian fleet of 25 ships transport 20,000 Swedish troops to the island. Using Prussian ships (Prussia officially declared itself neutral), Polish arms and munitions were transported and the civil war bogged down as no clear winner emerged. Tsarina-Empress Elizabeth became concerned by the fact that Russian interests in Gotland had been brushed aside for Sweden's intention to hold on to the island and on 16 August 1759 ended the partnership with Sweden and made plans for a military landing on the island to bring it into the empire as a means of gaining better access to the Skagerrak Sound and via the Sound, the North Sea. At the same time Russia abandoned its partnership with Sweden, a naval force trained by French and British officers was being readied at Klajpeda (Memel) to transport a Polish force of 30,000 troops under the command of General Casimir Pulaski***. It would be Spring of the following year before the Commonwealth navy would be able to launch, which would provide enough time for other crises to erupt

* He left office in 1757 IOTL

**There was no such convention IOTL as Sweden and Russia were bitter rivals during this period, Sweden having lost the Great Northern War of 1700-21

*** Casimir Pulaski would be the founder of the US Cavalry during the American War of Independence IOTL

Source:
Wikipedia
 
The Mediterranean Crises of 1759-1760
The Republic of Genoa had been in decline since 1625 when a Franco-Savoyard army had laid siege to the city. Despite making a recovery, Genoa was almost always helpless in the face of French and Savoyard pretentions and had to rely on Spain to guard its sovereignty. They had lost Sardinia first to the Crown of Aragon (Spain) in 1409 during the period of Milanese rule, and barely managed to restore control over Corsica. Losses to the Ottomans in the Aegean Sea also devastated the commerce of the maritime republic during a time in which its chief rival, the Most Serene Republic of Venice had managed to find a balance with their Turkish sometime-enemies. Disturbances in their commercial port of Trabaka in the Beylik of Tunis, however, would signal the beginning of the end of the Genoese commercial empire.

Ottoman interests in North Africa were reawakened with the Barbary States becoming more restless and eager to engage in piracy against the European nations. The Beylik of Tunis in particular began to assert their automomy against their Ottoman overlords. Tabarka, considered a Genoese enclave in Turkish territory, was often threatened with siege by the Berbers who were determined to free their coastland from the hands of Infidels*. Genoa, unable to raise a strong enough military force to hold the colony called on their Spanish ally to render aid, agreeing to pay them $25,000 in ducats to transport a force of 15,000 Genoese, Savoyard and Swiss mercenaries to the port. Spain sought the chance to consolidate its control over the Moroccan coast and seize Algiers and Oran, two port-cities they had briefly occupied during the reign of Charles V (Carlos I in Spain). A Spanish fleet of 25 ships-of-the-line, 15 frigates, and 30 transports sailed from Valencia, stopping to take on additional munitions and supplies at Minorca before arriving to pick up the Genoese armies. Genoa then dispatched an ambassador to the Ottoman Porte declaring their intention to secure Trabaka, but assured the sultan that they would respect Ottoman sovreignty over the Barbary corsairs. Taking the sea route from Genoa to Naples, thence onward to Athens before making the final leg to Constantinople, it took nearly four months, which placed the Genoese emissary arriving at the same time that a Spanish ambassador made demands for Oran and Algiers. The Turks played for time, agreeing in principle to Genoa's declaration while stalling the Spanish.

The Spanish navy was divided, with the frigates providing defense for the Genoan mercenaries being sent to Trabaka, while the ships-of-the-line were sent further eastward with the objective of raiding Corfu, nominally under Venetian administration. This provoked outrage at the Campanile, as they were not involved in the dispute. Venice called upon Spain's allies Naples and France to formally denounce the raid and while Louis XV was eager to appease the Venetions, the Neapolitans were not so sympathetic. On 19 May 1759 a Turkish fleet engaged the Spanish battleships off the Peloponese coast, and suffered a crushing defeat, losing 200 galleys either to sinkings or capture and suffering 9,000 killed or captured while Spain suffered one ship lost with 480 dead. However, one Spanish ship suffered such severe damage that it fell behind the withdrawing group and was eventually captured by Turkish reinforcements, giving the Turks their first ship-of-the-line and allowing them in due course to begin a shipbuilding program to complement their galleys. As Genoese troops disembarked at Trabaka to face the Berbers, the Spanish fleets reunited and commenced a raiding offensive which brought them to Tripoli before they turned back to engage in their first true objective, Oran. Here, they joined a smaller flotilla of 150 transports bearing 40,000 troops and 200 artillery pieces which were landed on the outskirts of the city. The city garrison proved ineffective against the Spanish guns and soon breaches were created in the city walls. After six hours of intense fighting street-by-street, on 27 May, the Spanish troops took the citadel. Faced with the prospect of a second defeat and eager to fully secure the prize of the captured Spanish ship-of-the-line, the Turks urged their Barbary vassals to seek a peace agreement. The Genoese had also managed to secure Tabarka after a four-hour battle with the Berbers aided by Spanish auxiliaries, leading to the Treaty of Algiers** signed on 3 June between the Barbary states, Spain and Genoa. The Turkish sultan, who had convinced their Barbary vassals to agree to peace did not participate in the talks, already concerned about the buildup of troops along their borders with Hungary and in the Crimea between their Tartar vassals and the Russians.

But despite the victory against the Barbary states, Genoa was still merely a shadow of its former glory. Even as their troops secured the Tunisian port city, trouble arose on the island of Corsica. A native rebellion which began on 25 May erupted into a full-scale war with the Genoese garrisons. The uprising drew the attention of France. Louis XV had attempted to purchase the island from Genoa on a number of occasions, but each time only to be rebuffed by the Genoan Doge Matteo Franzoni. Louis XV now threatened to bombard the port while Charles Emannuel II of Sardinia-Piedmont raised an army of 20,000 to march south. Once more Genoa called on Spain to assist, but as Spain was also allied to France, proved reluctant to break the familial ties with France. Only the Papal State offered to mediate between Genoa and the Corsicans, which caused outrage in France and led to calls to annex Avignon and the Comtat Venaissan. Thanks to Papal mediation the situation in Corsica was resolved, though it left bitter feelings among the Corsican elites as they would remain part of the Republic while Genoa suffered from a perceived humiliation that an outsider had been needed to mediate. France, showing equal disgust both by the Papacy and Genoa had already begun making plans to conquer the island


* Tabarka was surrendered to the Beylik of Tunis in either 1741 or 1742 IOTL

** Spain had forgotten the old claims to Oran and Algiers by this time IOTL, focused mainly on the Morrocan coastal ports such as Melilla and Tangier

Source:
Wikipedia
 
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The List of Alliances from 1758 to the outbreak of war. Underlined nations are those which broke from their alliances. Bold nations are those that are members of more than one alliance system. Italicized nations are those that joined alliances with dates.

The Baltic Alliance:
Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania
Kingdom of Denmark-Norway
Kingdom of Prussia
Electorate of Mecklenberg

The Danube Treaty:
Kingdom of Austria (Rump Austria)
Kingdom of Bavaria-Bohemia
Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania
Kingdom of France*

Ottoman Empire

Nymphenberg Alliance:
Kingdom of France
Kingdom of Spain
Electorate of Saxony
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont**

North Sea Alliance:
United Kingdom of Great Britain
Republic of the United Netherlands
Electorate of Saxony
Kingdom of Portugal

Pan-Italian Defense League:
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont**
Republic of Venice
Duchy of Ferrara
Duchy of Modena
Republic of Genoa
Papal States

Balkan Alliance:
Empire of Russia
Kingdom of Hungary

Potential Alliances (North America):
Thirteen Colonies
Kingdom of France

Cherokee Nation
Iroqouis Confederacy
Mayan Republic***

Potential Alliances (South America):
Kingdom of France
Thirteen Colonies

Maracaibo Colony

* France is nominally allied to Austria as a means of further containing Prussia. Prussian victories in the Baltic and Central Europe will lead to France abandoning Austria, though this will not affect the potential outcome of a future war.

** Sardinia-Piedmont will end its nominal alliance with the Republic of Genoa as part of the Pan-Italian Defense League, leading to its ostracization among the other members for aiding France in its conquest of Corsica. Genoa, receiving little material assistance from the League, will leave it.

*** The Mayans will have risen up against the Spanish, using their own guns and artillery and force the Spanish to recognize their republic. They will model their constituion on Britain and even seek closer ties to France and later the Thirteen Colonies as trade partners (this will be covered briefly)

SPECIAL NOTE: Saxony is shown as a member of the Nymphenberg Alliance AND the North Sea Alliance. This is because of a surprise event that will cause them to leave the one, and join the other.

No sources were used for this post.
 
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Obectives and Concerns

For the major powers involved in the upcoming war, this will essentially break down their objectives and offer their major concerns. Objectives will be shown as + while concerns will be shown as -

Poland-Lithuania:
+ Major goals are the island of Gotland, Livonia, Smolensk, and Left-Bank Ukraine including Kiev
+ Objectives will be to take advantage of Russian distraction with the Ottomans to launch their offensive while at the same time offering auxiliary assistance to Austria against Hungary
- One main concern is the invasion of the Hungarians into Austria and Poland simultaneously, forcing the Commonwealth to pull troops from Austria to defend Warsaw abd Lublin
- Biggest concern will be that Russia uses the territory it seizes from the Ottomans to launch a major offensive against Poland-Lithuania, potentially in concert with Hungary

Kingdom of Austria:
+ Queen Maria Theresa still harbors a desire to retake Silesia, which is somewhat more likely with the recent cession of Moravia from Bavaria-Bohemia (Bahemia)
+ Polish auxiliaries can assist Austrians in holding off the Hungarians in Burgenland as the main army advances down the Dalmatian coast, their main goal
- Collapse of both Turkish and Polish fronts exposes Vienna to a major Hungarian offensive which forces Austria to accept humiliating terms
- Prussia manages to woo Poland-Lithuania into abandoning Austria, leaving them ill-prepared to face Prussian or Hungarian attack
- Despite warming relations with the Wittelsbachs of Bahemia, kingdom could declare neutrality and hinder efforts to unite the HRE against Prussia
- France, nominally allied to Austria, could at any time withdraw when offered favorable terms, again leaving Austria vulnerable

United Crowns of Bahemia:
+ With recent unification of the crowns of Bavaria and Bohemia, Bahemia can rally the HRE to declare a war against 'outlaw' Prussia
+ As ally of France, Bahemia could offer forward bases from which French armies could push toward Berlin
- Failure to rally the Empire leaves Bahemia open to Prussian attack

Ottoman Empire:
+ Crimean Khanate holds off a Russian invasion long enough for Turkish armies to knock Hungary out of the war before focusing on Russia
+ With Austrian armies likely to descend on Dalmatia, Turkish armies could work in collaboration. Poland-Lithuania's invasion of Ukraine may also work to the Ottomans' advantage
- A collapse of Austrian resistance, a Hungarian invasion of Poland-Lithuania, or the fall of the Crimea to Russia places Istanbul at risk
- A successful alliance between Russia and Persia would force the Turks to commit to two fronts and leave them open to a Hungarian surprise offensive
- Russian intrigue could result in a major Balkan uprising which forces the Turks to divert armies badly needed in Crimea and along the Danube

Hungary:
+ Successful defense of Dalmatia
+ Military pressure on Vienna
+ Major goal is the conquest of the western Balkans, followed by a conjunction with Russian armies for the final siege of Istanbul
- A sudden Polish offensive over the Carpathian Mountains or through Moldavia in sync with a surprise Austrian or Turkish offensive risks Budapest
- Austrian victories lead to the loss of Dalmatia

Kingdom of France
+ Control of Wallonia offers better defense against any Anglo-Dutch or Anglo-Prussian offensives
+ Nova Scotia provides France with a springboard from which to launch a successful offensive in North America
+ Support for both Bahemia and Austria threatens Prussia's Rhineland Territories
- Support for Sweden could jeopardize relations with Poland-Lithuania
- Saxony defects and joins alliance against France
- Britain launches successful offensive in Canada, forcing France to divert much-needed armies from Central Europe to North America

Russia:
+ Temporary understand with Sweden, plus a major offensive against Lithuania, weakens the Commonwealth enough for Russia to impose a new, more subservient king
+ Conquest of the Crimea gives Russia access to the Black Sea and hence the Mediterranean Sea
+ Alliance with Hungary gives Russia the long-sought goal of Constantinople
- Poland-Lithuania's conquest of Livonia combined with either the fall of Smolensk or Kiev would neutralize any Russian gains at Turkish expense
- Collapse of Hungary to a joint Austro-Polish offensive leaves Russia vulnerable

Republic of Genoa:
+ Successful retention of Corsica offers Genoa further opportunities in North Africa
- Loss of Corsica diminishes the Republic
-Sardinian alliance with France likely to bring war to the Italian peninsula and break up the Defense League

United Kingdom of Great Britain:
+ Retention of Ceuta, Maracaibo give Britain advantage
+Britain's alliance with Prussia keeps France distracted from the colonies and offers new colonial conquests
- French Navy prevents troops being sent to North America
- French or Spanish landing in Ireland or Wales brings war to British shores and offers opportunities for the Stuart loyalists to rise up again
-Maracaiban and American disturbances gain traction, becoming movements for independence which gain French support
 
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Ultimata: 1764
The year 1764 became a critical year in Europe, North America and even the Middle East as the various regional and global powers vied with one another despite enjoying 16 years of relative peace. The Peace of Munich and the Treaty of Calais had left many issues unresolved, many combatant nations greatly reduced in territory, wealth and prestige and left many others with unrealized dreams of glory. In the three major European hotzones of Gotland, Corsica and Central Europe, rivals were poised to make their second attempt to gain advantage and become regional hegemons.

As the year 1764 began, Central Europe was already a jumble of various alliances with often two or more nations members of multiple alliances. Rump Austria (Kingdom of Austria) had normalized relations with Bavaria-Bohemia (henceforth to be known either as Bovaria or Bahemia), but among the magnates there was still resentment over the losses of Upper Austria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Silesia. The diplomatic acquisition of Moravia did little to satiate their demands for revenge which the Queen, Maria Theresa tried to manage her kingdom. Fears of a Hungarian direct attack on Vienna led her to forge an alliance with the reigning king of Poland-Lithuania Michel Frydryk I for mutual assistance against the Hungarians. Though he initially accepted the terms of the treaty, he later pushed the Austrians to accept an addition which also guaranteed the Commonwealth's borders against Russian expansionism. Maria Theresa hated the idea of including Russia as the two absolutist states had a cordial diplomatic relationship, it was Poland's price for agreeing to defend the Hapsburg kingdom. Poland-Lithuania was also a member of the somewhat looser alliance with the Kingdoms of Prussia and Denmark-Norway known as the Baltic Alliance, which received a fourth adherent when Denmark and Prussia strong-armed the Duchy of Mecklenberg into the alliance which was directed against Sweden. Denmark and Poland-Lithuania's biggest fear was that the two Baltic rivals, Sweden and Russia, would put aside their differences to fight off any attempt to gain territory (this was especially worrisome for Denmark as their capital Copenhagen was perrilously close to the Swedish coast). Prussia's only other major power allies were the Electorate of Hannover-in personal union with its second ally the United Kingdom, and the Republic of the United Provinces (also known as the Dutch Republic or Holland), which offered a safeguard to Prussia's Rhineland Territories (Prussian Westphalia) in the event of a French invasion which looked more likely as Frederick II (the Great) had allowed the off-and-on alliance with France to finally lapse without renewal.

France strengthened its relations with Spain, providing both diplomatic and monetary support when Spain challenged the Ottoman Empire and its Barbary vassals for control of Algiers and Oran. France spent the three years leading to 1764 attempting with no success to woo the Grand Duchy of Flanders into an alliance, and gave support to Sardinia-Piedmont in their designs against the Republic of Genoa which ultimately failed despite the combined siege of the port-city during the First Corsican Uprising. It came as a surprise to the French ministers Francois-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis and Etienne Francois, duc de Choiseul* that both Sardinia-Piedmont and Genoa were willing participants in the Pan-Italian Defense League spearheaded by the Pope and the Republic of Venice, Genoa's former maritime and commercial rival. Nearly all the Italian republics and city-states except those vassalized to Spain were members, but even the Spanish vassal city-states were associate members of the League. Choiseul worked hard to persuade Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia-Piedmont to leave the League as it was perceived as an obstacle to French ambitions in Corsica. Despite Papal mediation, the prospects of Corsica falling to France were very high. France and Spain also had ambitions in the Americas, where for Spain the reconquest of Maracaibo was their main goal, though the idea of retaking Jamaica and even conquering the Carolina Colony began to gain traction at the Spanish court. For France, New Hampshire and New York were promising areas of expansion which gave the added benefit of separating the Iroqouis from their British allies. What neither knew at the time was that there was already a brewing separatist movement both in Maracaibo among the Anglo-Spanish population (known also as Spanglish) and in the Thirteen Colonies (due to conflict with the Shawnee and Algonquin nations whom Britain protected).

For Great Britain, the losses of Nova Scotia, Hudson Bay and Savannah were a stinging reminder of the depletion of naval strength which had taken place as a result of the War of the Quadruple Alliance, when it seemed a Bourbon invasion in support of the Jacobite rising was so frightening that the Royal Navy pulled nearly every ship from the Caribbean to defend the Channel. Their one single major victory, the conquest of Maracaibo did offer them a place from which to launch offensives against the Spanish, but the fear that the local Spanish and Spanglish populations would agitate for greater control over the local militias, as well as the feuding between the Native Americans (Shawnee and Algonquin) and their colonists along the Atlantic Seaboard was a cause of concern. The purchase of Ceuta from Portugal, while allowing them to better assist their Portuguese ally against Spain, also left the Royal Navy at a disadvantage compared to the French and Spanish navies. Malta was already being considered as another staging area for the British Royal Mediterranean fleet, though the Order of St John still held the island on Papal grant following their expulsion from Rhodes by the Ottoman Turks. Britain also feared for its trading stations in India as France often switched alliances between the Moghuls and Marathas. Choiseul was even rumored to be working on a diplomatic solution to the Moghul-Maratha conflict in order to better resist British 'encroachments' on their territories**. The Dutch remained concerned about the French military supremacy in western Europe despite allowing the Barrier Fortresses to fall into disrepair due to lack of finances from their British and Austrian allies. The result was that the Dutch and Austrians ended their alliance while diplomatic ties were strengthened with Flanders. Their only true objective in South America was the conquest of the French Guiana colony and Luzon from the Spanish.


THE ULTIMATA START TO FLY (October - December 1764)

On 20 October 1764, Sweden-growing alarmed at the growth of the pro-Polish faction on the island of Gotland and believing that the Commonwealth was clearing the way for a conquest of the Baltic island, issued an ultimatum demanding that the Commonwealth cease providing aid to the insurgency and renounce its alliance with Prussia. Michel Fryderyk replied that as the Sejm would need to be called into session for such a discussion to take place, advocated for a two-month delay as the serfs would be harvesting and thus the nobility would be unable to meet. As a gesture of goodwill, it was agreed that no support would be continued for the insurgency. In actuality, the king had every intention to continue the financial support, but through Swiss bankers with ties to many of the Gotlander nobility. At the same time, the reorganization of the military was stepped up out of concern that Sweden would make common cause with Russia. Sweden sent 30,000 troops to Gotland to suppress the insurgency and fortify the island in preparation for the expected Polish invasion Stockholm knew was coming. Adolf Frederick, the Swedish king, began attempting to mend relations with Russia's Tsarina-Empress Catherine II who had recently deposed her husband Peter III and had him murdered***. The chief obstacle to normalization was Finland, which Adolf Frederick was not willing to cede to Catherine even if the price was to be the acquisition of Pomerania, Zealand and Trondelag from Prussia and Denmark-Norway respectively. At a stroke, the greatest fear of the Commonwealth, alliance between Sweden and Russia, was killed before even being born. This left Adolf Frederick isolated, however.

Michel Fryderyk Czartoryski, king-grand duke of Poland-Lithuania became the most courted royalty in Central Europe, with ambassadors from Prussia, Sweden, Austria, Bahemia and even France vying for diplomatic favors. Having seen off the Swedish ambassador with vague promises regarding Gotland, the king-grand duke reaffirmed his friendship with Frederick II of Prussia in a convention signed in Poznan on 28 October, and even offered to assist Prussia in gaining Swedish Pomerania, though he was unable to convince the Danish ambassador to sell Bornholm to Prussia. On 30 October in a meeting between the Bahemian, Prussian and Polish negotiators, the Prague Protocol was signed neutralizing Bohemia and guaranteeing the Neutrality of the Land. Austria would also sign this Protocol at the urging of the Polish ambassador to Vienna, four days later on 3 November. At a meeting in Krakow between the king-grand duke and the queen, it was agreed that Poland-Lithuania would supply a wing of hussar cavalry numbering 9,000 to the Austrian army being assembled in Styria for their offensive into Dalmatia. It was becoming clear that war was only several ultimata away from erupting, and Maria Theresa was determined to be prepared when it finally happened. Smaller Polish army forces were stationed at all the Carpathian mountain passes to block any Hungarian offensive which tried to strike Austria through Poland.

Russia under Catherine II (the Great) was in a unique position in Europe. With the largest territorial base, and the almost boundless resources which could feed and arm the military, Russia had the capability to target several enemy nations at once. Despite this, Catherine II was concerned about the continued Tartar presence in the Crimea, the reticence of Sweden in agreeing an alliance, and the ambitions of the Lithuanians within the Commonwealth. There was also the danger that the Chinese Empire under the new Manchu dynasty could advance their claims deep into the Russian Far East. Faced with these potential setbacks, Catherine II and her foreign minister Nikita Panin established a dialogue with the Manchu government which for the time being allowed Russia to focus on its two immediate neighbors, the Ottoman Empire with its Crimean vassal state, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. To this end, she sent Panin to Budapest**** to lay out the planned partition of the Ottoman Empire and at the same time deal with the Commonwealth should they become involved. Their negotiations were interrupted when on 12 November an uprising of the Wallachian nobility against Ottoman taxation brought the Turkish army into contact with a Hungarian army that had taken advantage of the distraction to attempt a grab. Both sides studied each other warrily, but it was only on 24 November that the Ottoman government issued an ultimatum to Hungary demanding their withdrawal from the Danubian vassaldoms. Three days later a second ultimatum was issued to Hungary by Austria demanding the evacuation of Dalmatia and recognition of its sovereign status, as well as the cession of Burgenland. The ultimata went unanswered by Budapest as King Anton I was determined to assert Hungary's imperial ambitions against both of their former overlords the Hapsburgs and Ottomans. For the time being, Poland-Lithuania and Russia watched each other with growing suspicion.

On 30 November, after a period of uneasy coexistence, the island of Corsica erupted into rebellion again. Genoa, no longer able to count on Spanish help due to their French alliance, and with little recourse left, appealed to the Pan-Italian Defense League to resolve the situation through diplomacy and if necessary the loan of mercenaries to end the insurrection by force. Spanish gold and French diplomacy enabled the rebellion to continue as none of the League members, not even the Pope, proved willing to support Genoa. It would be two more months before the Republic finally withdrew from the League in disgust. Meanwhile Savoyard military planners were already at work strategizing how they could capitalize on the Genoese distraction with Corsica to finally conquer the city, but it was the French who seized the initiative by issuing an ultimatum to Genoa requesting a plebescite to allow the Corsicans to choose their destiny, failing which a state of war would be declared. At the same time, French troops numbering 28,000 were poised to cross into Sardinian territory, where it was expected to link with a Savoyard force of 17,000 before proceeding against the city.

In North America, fighting had already broken out between the British Thirteen Colonies, French Quebec and Spanish Florida as the Bourbon powers hoped to find weaknesses in British colonial defense before striking. Navy clashes in the Caribbean often did result in the loss of ships and their crews but no decisive strike on any sugar islands had yet been undertaken by the combatants. Growing popular outrage over the losses sustained in the last war forced the British Parliament to act and on 9 December, ultimata were issued both to France and Spain demanding the withdrawal from Georgia, Nova Scotia and the cession of Cuba. Spain responded three days later with an ultimatum of its own demanding the end of the Portuguese-British alliance and cession of the Carolina Colony. News of this particular demand reached the American colonists faster than it reached London primarily because the Spanish governor of Florida intended to drive a rift between the colonial assembly and the London parliament by demonstrating that London would be incapable of protecting the colonists.

The Christmas season was unusually quiet despite the ultimata that were flying across the Peninsula of Europe. It was as if the monarchs and generals were afraid to unleash the Wrath of God on their peoples by going to war, though the clamour for war rose higher among the populations. With the ultimata set to expire and war looking more certain, however, it would be in Central Europe and the Balkans where war would finally erupt.


* Choiseul served as Foreign Minister of France between 1758-1761 and again between 1766-1770. Framcois-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis had served as Foreign Minister preceding the first term of Choiseul. Here, both men would be invited to work together and combine their talents for the monarchy.

** It is uncertain whether France actually made any effort IOTL to forge a temporary Moghul-Maratha peace in order for both to resist continued British entrenchments in India. ITTL, France would be more successful though the outcome would remain uncertain.

*** It remains unclear how Peter III actually died, though rumor and evidence persist to indicate that Alexei Orlov, younger of the Orlov brothers assassinated him. However, official autopsy records indicate he suffered a form of colic and stroke.

**** Panin never traveled to Budapest. He was IOTL, however, a strong advocate of the Northern Alliance idea, which would've brought Russia, Sweden, Poland, Prussia and Britain together to oppose both the Bourbons and Hapsburgs. He would be dismissed after being forced to acquiesce in the Partition of Poland in May 1781

Source:
Wikipedia
Pursuit of Glory - Tim Blanning
Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends - Lonnie Johnson
Europe of the Ancien Regime: 1715-1783 - David Ogg
 
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